Happy Birthday to Me.

Today is my birthday. Oh, The Old. It hurts me.

I went for a nice little float on the McKenzie yesterday with my good friend, Rob and a few of his friends/coworkers. Rob tracked the trip with a GPS unit and sent me the kmz files. I thought to myself, I wonder if you can embed this” and of course you can. Thanks, Google.

I was in Rob’s sit-on-top kayak, guy had a battered canoe and the rest were in tubes with paddles. I went in the cold, cold water twice and was beginning to think I’d become hopeless at kayaking until Rob noticed that I was sitting very low in the water. He’d forgotten to put in the plug on his kayak and I’d taken in gallons and gallons of water! We pulled out, drained it and continued on.

It was a great, relaxing trip, despite Rob trying to kill me.

Annual Friends and Family Camping trip

It was our something-Annual Friends and Family Camping Trip again. I wasn’t really looking forward to it, but that had more to do with the 10 hour drive than anything else. My new Nook took most of the edge off of the trip. I read like a man possessed. I’d always wanted to read the Wild Cards series that came out back in the late 80s, so I loaded it up and devoured a few of them on the way there and back.

This year we met up a Lake Alpine. It had been almost 10 years since we had been there with Lala’s parents. I had forgotten how beautiful it was there. It’s above 7000 feet, so it’s pretty chilly at night even in the Summer time and there is snow on the ground where the sun never quite gets to. The days are nice and warm with temperatures in the 80s, however.

As usual, it was great catching up with some of the people that I only see at this annual event. Lala’s parents brought enough food to feed everyone there as well as the surrounding campsites. Literally. Her dad made so much tri-tip that we brought an untouched one home with us. We did the requisite s’more making and Lala introduced Owen to fire toasted Peeps.

I got to take our tandem kayak on the lake several times, paddling with Lala, Owen and even Atticus. Atticus didn’t help paddle, but Owen gave it his best try. There was one big tree-covered island in the lake and many small granite islands that were fun to paddle around and explore.

The drive back was uneventful until we got back into Oregon, but the events that unfolded when we got back home are best left private. They did, however, suck out much of the joy that camping created.

I’m composing this in the beta version of Windows Live Writer. I tried with the previous entry but encountered errors that I believe were related to the size of the images. I’ve resized all the images in this post and am trying out the “photo album” option to see how that works and looks.

Chronological Milestone

I reached 40 years of being alive on July 3rd.

While this feels fairly unreal to me, I’m not really fretting it much since I never really had any expectations of what should be happening with my life at this point. If I’ve learned anything it’s that my life rarely, if ever, goes as planned.

Lala and our dear friends, Rob and Tyf, got me a Nook as a gift. Rob loaded with some books he knew I liked, plus a few books that he thought I’d dig that he liked. I instantly tracked down tons of books to put on it and treated it like an iPod. It was only afterwards that I realized that I should probably put new books on it rather than old favorites.

For the evening of my birthday, Lala planned a lovely “Cocktail Party” pub crawl for me in lovely downtown Eugene, in the “Barmuda Triangle.” I wore a snazzy, retro pistachio green suit that belonged to my ex-wife’s grandfather and was probably made in Hong Kong just for him. I was surprised and excited that it fit me again. Yay for regular exercise, I guess.

Here are Lala and I with Owen before we left him in the capable hands of Uncle Timmy.

We started at the Starlight Lounge and I was surprised at the people who showed up. Former coworkers that I hadn’t seen in years and friends that I see regularly and friend that I see rarely. It was short on the twitter people that I thought would want to do the fancy dress pub crawl.

In addition to free drinks, I was given gifts of freshly made cookies and old D&D modules that sparked lovely nostalgia. Thanks, Brian.

Holly Pet and I leaving the Starlight.

We moseyed on over to Jameson’s where a couple more friends showed up. We reminisced and drank more. It was great catching up with old friends. The strange table we sat around reminded me of something out of the milk bar from A Clockwork Orange.Unfortunately I didn’t think to take a picture of it.

I did get pics of Lala and Pet looking lovely and Joel, Brian and I looking sharp.

As we left Jameson’s we lost a few folks to weariness and/or drunkeness. We crossed the street to Davis’ and had more booze and fun. Somehow, I managed to pace myself just right and was never too drunk. I laughed and joked and danced there.

We ended the night at the Horsehead. Not the classiest joint, but good booze and great, greasy, late-night drunken food. At this point it was just Lala, Pet, Yook and her date. Lala and Pet chipped in and got this caricature of me done. Please note the bikini and contrasting manly body hair.


Weary traveller

I just got back home (as of 5/24, when I first started writing this) after spending Wednesday through Friday at a user group conference in Portland, then Friday night until Sunday afternoon at the coast with my coworkers.

The conference seemed like a success, but the best part was getting to meet several of my coworkers who aren’t local and putting faces to the names of clients i’d been supporting. Everyone’s presentations went well, but it was my first user group conference, so I was kind of surprised that it felt like a big “lovefest” for the company I work for (environmental database management software).

I enjoyed interacting with all the attendees during the presentations and afterwards over drinks and dinner. When home, I tend to be a bit of a hermit, but I thrive in social situations too. I did feel the need to “escape” and recharge at the end of the conference.

Immediately after the conference on Friday, all my coworkers drove to the condo the Veep set us up with in Seaside. The person I rode with stopped to pick up cachaca for someone else and also purchased the best vodka I’ve ever tasted (Reyka, if you’re curious).

That first night the little condo was crammed with seven people in cots and sleeping bags, but most left around noon the following day. It was just Lala, Tammy and me for the rest of the time there. We spent our remaining time in Seaside lounging, perusing stores (Lala and I scored some cool hats), relaxing in the huge hot tubs while drinking.

The last day, we drove down to Cannon Beach to see Haystack Rock. It was fairly cloudy but we kicked off our shoes and strolled down the beach to the huge rock sticking out of the ground right on the coastline. It was much greener than the photos made it look and it was covered in birds. They all took off at once when a bald eagle and it’s young cruised by. Pretty impressive. Right as we headed back to drive home (and the airport for Tammy) the clouds let loose with the rain.

It was great having a big chunk of time with nowhere to be or noone needing anything from me.