Archive | October, 2008

Last Night in Oregon

28 Oct

Well, my friendly readers, this will be the last blog I submit from the…interesting…state of Oregon. I fly out for flatter land tomorrow, and will kiss the ground when I land. I’ll smell the salty, marshy air and hug my dog and call it over.

Before I get too sentimental, I’ll go over my day. I got up, got packed, got coffee and got my keister to the school. I was early (typically) and wandered around the building, taking in the students and faculty, the notes and notices on the boards. I met with the admissions advisor and…well, I think I scared her.

We sat down, she handed me a sheet of paper with the curriculum on it (which I’ve had in my possession, long since downloaded from the internet) and asked me if I had any questions.

I grin and open my book.

She blinks, “Oh,” and looks at me like I’ve grown a second head.

Now I’ll admit I look a lot younger than I am. At least that’s what many people tell me. So perhaps she was taken aback by the fact that, while I was no baby-face, I was not wet behind the ears, either. It was rather amusing, really.

I asked my questions and ended up interviewing them more so than they interviewed me. And this is supposed to be a premier institution! Eh, well, perhaps they’re just more laid back up here, as I’ve observed in the town and traffic.

The verdict? I think it can work. I think it’ll work better than Massachusetts or Kansas, but I haven’t been to those places, so I’ll withhold that judgment for now. I think that they focus more on the same things I want to focus on, here, rather than what I’ve seen at the other places, so I’ll give them a greater consideration.

The hard part is going to be deciding if I can handle going back to school. It’s a lot to sacrifice, both in pay and free time. I’ve got my dog to consider as well, so that means most likely living off campus. Which means more money necessary to make it work. Hmm. I’m still not sure about it all. I think this is the best candidate, but there’s still a lot to consider.

Perhaps I shall consult a coin-toss? Nah.

I will admit however that this trip has been something of a self-seeking journey. I’ve pushed my fears and boundaries to the limit and realized things I’d not known about myself.

I am most definitely a flatlander. Even the way I walk is for flatland.

I am a sea-level kinda gal. Taking that elevator 200 feet down within a few seconds made me realize that the great feeling I had in the bottom of that cave had a helluva lot more to do with the lack of pressure in my ears than that wonderful cool mineral feeling one only gets in a cave.

I love the mountains. They’re great for visiting. Yeah.

I am afraid of mountain roads that twist and twine up a paved horse trail from hell that’s less than two horse-butts wide. That’s where that white-knuckle-death-grip comes in handy. And going down? Make sure if you have an automatic, that it also has second gear. Third ain’t gonna cut it.

I will never own a Pontiac Grand Prix. Good gravy that car’s a BEAST. It drives like an old V8 but it’s merely a 6-cylinder! If you like your car purring like a tiger about to strike down a gazelle, this car’s for you, but not me. I like my acceleration predictable, thank you.

I like pumping my own gas. Having some random kid pop up at your window out of nowhere is disturbing and food for my already-existant paranoia. That and I always forget to have ones on hand so I feel guilty about not tipping. Dammit.

I hate squeaky beds. Nothing much else to say about that.

I do not know how to moderate spending when I’m away from home. Note to self: budget like hell when you get home.

All in all, I’ve enjoyed myself. Not immensely, but this is also my first trip anywhere by myself. I do not recommend it on the whole unless you’re just into that whole monophilia thing. Me? Next time I take a trip will be with someone.

That’s another thing that bothers me. If I do this whole school thing, the only person I’ll be able to take with me is my dog. And I’ll only be able to visit home once a year if I take summer terms.

There are pros and cons to that, really.

So I’m going to enjoy my last view of snow-capped mountains, my last night in unfamiliar territory, my last night of stressful aloneness. The next time I deign to blog, I will be happily ensconced in my wonderful little home at sea level, breathing salty, marshy air and hugging my dog.

The End.

The University of Oregon

27 Oct

Well, dear readers, I have not much to report today, not even photographs. I spent my day traversing the campus with the most adorable sophomore you’ve ever seen. His name was Cody. Take a little surfer, a little skater, a little shy geekiness and there ya have him. I was actually quite glad he was giving the tour because he needs the practice speaking in front of people. Don’t get me wrong, he was very informative, helpful, had answers to all our questions, very patient…but he needs some speaking skills. I admire him for doing it. And he was just a cutie, so I hope he does well.

All in all, it was the same as any campus you might see in a movie or in your hometown. Some old buildings, some new…some trailers. There’s always trailers. This campus has something unique, however. A cemetery. Yes, a graveyard is in the middle of the south end of campus. It’s not active, mind you, just…walked through.

Being a Savannahian, that just gives me the creeps to see gravestones walked OVER and not AROUND. Where I’m from, you don’t even walk over the grassy part where the person was buried. Significantly BAD JUJU! But the squirrels there were amusing. Larger than our gray squirrels in Georgia, they were adventurous, playful…one was bouncing around a little bush like he was protecting it from me. It was rather adorable so I excused myself and went on.

Yet more hippies abound to the little streets just west of campus, but there was the most fantastic little bakery where I got a bagel sandwich to DIE for! Basil, spinach, tomato, avocado and mozzarella on an herb bagel. YUM! :9 The funny part was when I asked for an Italian soda and the guy asked me what flavor. I blinked and said no flavor. Straight? …Yes… Um…do we sell it that way? The other guys says, um, I think so…

Regardless, I got my Italian soda (sparkling mineral water basically). Then I wandered around campus a bit, poked my head in the Architectural building, listened in on a lecture and a studio…It seemed normal school stuff.

Tomorrow’s the big day! I meet with the graduate counselor for the program, then head back to Portland for the night. If I have enough time (and room) then I’ll stop at the Clear Creek Distillery in Portland for a whiskey tasting…but we’ll see.

Wish me Luck!

From The Sea Caves to Three Sisters

27 Oct

Wow. Now I understand wool socks, fleece lining and second gear.

I spent the morning in Central Oregon, on the McKenzie Pass in the Cascade Mountains. I drove up a paved horse trail from hell with a white-knuckle-death-grip on the steering wheel to 5,300+ feet and saw Two of the Three Sisters, Mount Washington, Mount Jefferson, Black Butte, and some other mountains I can’t remember the names of. It was a completely different world up there! Black lava rock was EVERYWHERE along with silver-dead conifers that were twisted and knarled from the strong winds up there.

It was breathtaking. Literally. You can’t breathe that high, in that wind, with that cold. I’m not in the best of shape, but I can at least BREATHE.

So. I have to go to the potty right? And conveniently the only one is atop the pass… You know where this is going, dontcha? YEP, I took a seat and WHOOSH! Cold draft up the wazoo! It was a definite experience…one which I will not be repeating unless absolutely necessary. I know you wanted to know that, but there ya go. ;)

Check out pics here. Not of the potty, I promise. All good mountain-y pictures.

Amazingly, I’d planned on spending the day, but was done by noon. I hem and haw and think, well why not. I’ll just go to the coast! It’s only three and a half hours in the other direction…why not.

So off I go, now getting the hang of the mountain roads and sluicing down them like I’m driving Monte Carlo. I make it back in no time and stop at this little restaurant in Eugene where I had an omelet FRIED IN REAL BUTTER!!! With REAL cheese! And the syrup for my pancakes was served HOT…the waitress looked at me like I was nuts when I grabbed the container and went “ow”. Yeah.

I then head off to Florence, which is a much easier drive through Wine Country! Very beautiful. I felt like I was in Tuscany or something. Not that I know what that’s like, but nonetheless. And (gasp) Oregon has MARSH! It’s nothing like Savannah, but it was there! I took pictures (albeit crappy ones of that because I couldn’t stop) and commenced on to the Sea Lion Caves. Ah, the Oregon Coast was beautiful.

The waves were so LOUD. They boomed against the rocks, against the sand, against each other…I was 200+ feet above the beach and it sounded like cannons. The salt air was SO GOOD to smell! And it smelled different than Savannah. I notice that when I’m away, I miss the methane and salt overtone that Savannah has. I literally crave it and get homesick when I can’t smell it. To smell that salt today was just heavenly. And then taking the elevator down 200 feet… I could FEEL the relief of pressure on my body. Yeah, I’m definitely a flatlander. Stepping into that sea cave, smelling the minerals and conifers and salt…it was a little off, but close enough to home that I couldn’t stop smiling.

Today was a big plus. Oregon’s Bounty is in its natural beauty. I shall dream of mountains and rocky shores with booming waves tonight…

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