Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Rafting North Umpqua

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Back in Virginia, I used to organize an annual canoeing and camping trips for me and friends. It was a long standing tradition (eight times in nine years) that served a good way for a bunch of us to get away from everything for a weekend, drink beer, and eat things that weren’t good for us… oh, and canoe. That tradition died when I moved to Seattle, but I was eager to start it anew.

After a few years of settling into our new city, and feeling the need to set up a new tradition before we had a kid, I decided to set up a rafting trip. Not only is canoeing uncommon in the icy mountain rivers of the Pacific NW, rafting opportunities abound. A bunch of emails later, there were four of us headed down the southern Oregon for two days on the North Umpqua River.

Day one was cold and rainy, but a fantastic representation of spring adventures into nature for this part of the country. The sun did break a few times to warm us up, despite the 50° water temp. Sunday was much warmer; warm enough that two of us tried out an inflatable kayak and I took a (short) swim in the river. Two days of quality, moderate white water and an evening of dry camping… including a wicked sweet turnaround of our campfire situation… made for a pretty good Father’s Day weekend that will be my last as a non-dad.

Here are some photos – a video or two will be posted next.

Another Seven Weeks?

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Hard to believe, isn’t it? The good news is I feel like I’m back on the writing train with a bunch of Yelp reviews. The bad news is I still haven’t managed to get back into posting here regularly.  Judging from the list below, it’s because I’ve been busy… but who hasn’t?

  • A week in Virginia
  • Melissa’s graduation
  • Catching up with a bunch of friends and coworkers back east
  • Visiting my mom in New Jersey
  • 24 hours in Portland
  • Sleeping on a concrete floor instead of couchsurfing there
  • Buying a Mini Clubman S in Portland and driving it back
  • Melissa moved home for good
  • Hosting a BBQ to welcome her home
  • Continued visits to CrossFit
  • Hurting my back at CrossFit
  • Stopping CrossFit for awhile
  • Going to a chiropractor for the first time in my life and loving it
  • A couple Yelp Elite events
  • Replacing the steering wheel on the 911 to something sportier and way retro
  • Getting serious about my 50 mile ride against cancer <– PLEASE DONATE

Wow, that’s a lot. Next Saturday, we fly to San Diego for a week with my family. Yay vacation!

Remember Me?

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Well, it happened. For the first time since I started blogging in January 2006, I went a calendar month without a blog post. I’d say 7+ years is a pretty good run. If I’m honest, I didn’t feel much like writing: no blogging, my Yelp activity was way off and I deactivated my Facebook for two weeks (more on that later). The reason? I wanted to focus on getting through some difficult things in life. There’s more to be done, but I feel like I’m over the hump… especially given all the good news I’m about to drop on you. Let me catch you up on what’s been happening.

  • Melissa’s Graduation – I flew to Virginia yesterday because Melissa is graduating this week! She has an exam to do tomorrow, but otherwise she’s done. I knew she could do it; she’ll tell you differently. We won’t be back together until Memorial Day because we both have some family commitments to take care of, but at least we get to spend half of the time left until then together. This last month was the longest and most challenging out of all of them and I am very, very glad it’s over.
  • Promotion – Last week, I got a manger title at work and another analyst, that will report to me, is starting at Amazon tomorrow. That puts my direct reports at two with headcount open for another analyst… as soon as we find the right candidate. It’s not technically a “level” promotion in Amazon speak, but it did come with more money/stock. I’m a Manager II, Programmer/Analyst but my business title has yet to be decided on – it will probably be something like Manager, HR Analytics. My next milestone is to get promoted up a level; my boss and I are “actively working” on getting that done at the mid-year review in five months. I put “actively working” in quotes because you have to convince more than just your manager that you deserve it. Really it’s about demonstrating to a wide(r) audience that you’re already operating on that level. Face time, if you will. Looking at the last 13 years of my career, I can say I wasn’t ready to be a manger until now. I thought I was; I wasn’t.
  • New Phone – I bought a Galaxy S4 a few weeks ago. My GS2 was getting pretty long in the tooth and I was looking forward to an upgrade. Some of the features are gimmicky and I haven’t bothered, but others (like not turning the screen off when you’re looking at it and gestures) are pretty cool. The screen is pretty big and I actually feel bad for people with smaller screens (yes, iPhones Mike). I’m sure it works for them, but I’m a total screen whore. I’ll save you the babbling fanboi ramble – suffice to say I like it. LTE ain’t so bad either… I can’t believe our cell phones now get speeds similar to WiFi.
  • 911 – Audrey is turning out to be a great city car. It’s fun, it’s small and it gets a lot of attention. Who wouldn’t want to drive that? Not me, I find myself driving it 95% of the time. I’m about as ready as I’m going to get for trading in the Subaru for our “one car.”
  • CrossFit – I’ve continued my devotion, after taking March off. I am down 20 pounds since starting this whole thing and very, very close to being down 50 since I decided to get healthier 6.5 years ago. With any luck, I’ll be setting a new goal for myself in the next month.
  • Food Allergies – I saw a naturopathic doctor to work through diagnosing some seemingly worsening food allergies. Prevailing theory is I have a wheat allergy and adrenal imbalance, although I’ve heard that’s somewhat of a standard diagnosis NDs make. We’re going to be doing a bunch of testing to 1) find answers and 2) re-balance my body. I’m keeping an open mind, in true Pacific NW spirit, and am cautiously optimistic. Even if it turns out to be be voodoo, I got an Rx for weekly massages (read: it’s covered by insurance!). I also scored an EpiPen in case I have a reaction to some of the treatments. Don’t freak out Mom, it’s really only because I seem to be fairly allergic to carrots these days (which you knew).
  • Movies – I’ve seen quite a few over the last month. I can’t wait to see Iron Man 3 this week with Melissa.
    Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Surprisingly entertaining; I liked the way they wove in historical context.
    The Great Gatsby – Zero connection with the characters. I was hopeful because I love period films, but it was very disappointing.
    The Place Beyond the Pines – Good, but depressing. I’m glad I took a chance on it.
    Argo – I’m kinda indifferent about it. Well made but I’m glad I didn’t see it in the theater.
    Red Dawn – Even worse than I expected. Do not see!
    Life of Pi – Visually stunning, with an interesting ending, although it probably would have been better viewed in an altered state.
  • Facebook Deactivation – I don’t want to make this a long winded explanation, even though I feel like I have a lot to say. Let’s just say I used it entirely too much and it became a way to ignore building new friendships. What I noticed in the first few days is how many times in a day my thoughts defaulted to “Oh, I should share this on Facebook RIGHT NOW.” Getting over that was pretty relaxing and I ended up not really missing it. Not having Facebook is not without sacrifice, though. Namely, it was harder to stay up with businesses (e.g. my gym), log into certain websites, play the two games I care about and gets news from close friends that I don’t often talk to. The catalyst for me re-activating was the passing of a good friend’s dad and me finding out about it from Melissa (who read on Facebook) over a week after it happened. I am saddened by his loss and the fact that I couldn’t offer support earlier. In light of this, I think I’m going to compromise by using it but only making very close friends and family visible.