title optional

It is very hot. I don’t remember if I wrote about this or not, but Portland really didn’t have much of a spring at all this year. It has been rainy and cool, more like fall weather, with a very small handful of springy-ish sunny days sprinkled throughout. And then it became officially summer and the cloudy, fall-like weather continued. I have literally been wearing a fleece jacket on my way to work because it has been so chilly. I actually wore my winter coat to the grocery store about a week ago. And then today the weather went INSANE! It hit 99 degrees F today, which is pretty hot by most standards. In one of my bio-anthro classes in college, I learned that the human body requires 10 days to acclimate to a new climate. So after lots of cool weather, that 99 degrees feels like roughly one million degrees. Also most of the windows in my house are not designed to open, and we do not have air conditioning. It is ridiculously hot inside my house. I checked the thermostat and at 11 pm it is 88 degrees F inside my home. Earlier I put my hand in my purse to retrieve a chocolate bar and realized the chocolate had actually melted. Completely. To a liquid. INSIDE MY HOUSE. I’ve been completely useless all day because I have a really stupid cold, plus the weather, and I’ve done nothing but lay on my bed and sweat since I got home from work. Gross. 

That is particularly annoying because I am leaving for Tennessee tomorrow and I still need to pack. I’m realy not sure how that’s possible. I love packing! I make packing lists on this very blog! I think it is just because I’ve been sick. I managed to get my suitcase pretty much packed up but since I’m delirious with the heat i’m expecting that I’ll get to Tennessee and find that I’ve forgotten lots of important things. 

The other day, I was being really whiny about my sore throat and Chris walked to the weird little grocery store by our house to get me an ice pop. When he came home, he told me that the ice pop and the beer he bought were both free because he found $5 on the ground on his way to the store. Then he gave me $1 of the change. I was like “We can never spend this because it is a lucky dollar.” And the very next day, I actually lost that damn dollar on the street somewhere. I am not sure if that’s karma or irony or what but hopefully someone finds it and buys an ice pop with it. 

The ants are totally crazy this spring. In Eastern Oregon ants aren’t really a problem. I mean they live in their ant hills outside and sometimes you’ll see a ton of them carrying a dead wasp or whatever. Or like if you leave a lollypop on the floor they might try to get it. But really they mostly stay out of your house. In Portland, they are everywhere and it is such a nightmare to me. They sometimes march in their little line to get like a tiny crumb of tuna fish or something, but for the most part, they’re just walking around by themselves. Ants aren’t supposed to do that! They’re literally in every single room of the house. They’re in the bathroom constantly, in the tub and sink. They crawl on our hot water heater and in our kitchen. I find them crawling on the dirt of my houseplants all the time. It just grosses me out so badly. And the WORST is when I find them in the bedroom. There have been ants crawling on my nightstand all afternoon and there’s nothing there for them to eat or even drink and yet THERE THEY ARE. And every now and then, one will get in the bed and crawl across me. It is the most disgusting sensation! So now even though I’m safely on the (hopefully) ant-free couch, I keep feeling like there are ants crawling on me. Ants everywhere, man, crawling all over me!!!!


This is how I feel about ants. 


Today while I was watching ukulele* videos on youtube, I watched an ad that began with “Do you really have time for brown spots?” and it cracked me up. Damn those pesky brown spots on my skin, taking up so much time! “I’m sorry, Judy, I really want to make it to Jack’s birthday party, but you know . . . I’ve got brown spots. They’re just so time-consuming. I don’t think I’ll be able to fit the party into my schedule as well.” What a weird angle.

*I’m trying to learn the ukulele! Well, technically I’ve been “trying” to learn for like a year but I keep forgetting to even touch it. And then, yesterday, I got the best text that a husband has ever texted:


And it made me smile like crazy! Then when I got home from work, he was still at work but I saw he had my cheap ukulele out on the couch and had been playing with it before work.

My current ukulele is nothing special at all. We literally found it in our shop building in a pile of stuff left behind by a previous tenant. It is wooden but is definitely a souvenir someone brought home from Hawaii. This is how I know:



I had been reading reviews online sporadically and checking out Amazon also. A lot of uke-enthusiast websites say that for beginners, a cheap $50-ish ukulele will do the trick. I have a (strong) feeling that my Hawaii ukulele cost less than $50 and it has been working fine for learning on, although it only stays in tune for a few minutes before I have to mess with it. But you can’t really complain about something you found in a garbage pile.

After spending a few hours on Amazon and different ukulele websites last night, we ordered this one. This brand was recommended on a few different websites, and the reviews for this are really good — about 73% of the 236 reviews are five-star. The handful of one-star reviews complain about the uke not staying in tune, but I’ve read you need to break a ukulele in for a week or so before it will stay tuned. Plus there are small adjustments that can be made to the tuning pegs to help with that. It should be here soon and then Chris and I can play together and I’ll be able to compare it to the Hawaii ukulele and post about it here (I’m sure all zero of my readers are waiting with bated breath!).

Oh and! Estate sale-ing!

Whoops, meant to include this with my last post, but totally forgot. The other day, both Husband and I didn’t work until the afternoon, and he woke me up asking if I wanted to go to an estate sale he knew of. He wanted to go because his dad had been and said there was a ton of fishing stuff, tools, etc–I guess the house had belonged to an elderly man, living alone, who had recently passed away. Of course if someone wants to go to an estate sale the answer is always YES.

There really wasn’t very much in the house at all–some rather damaged furniture, and picked-over kitchen stuff, but I did find a couple of very cool things.

First off, this rad vintage first aid kit, for $3. I currently keep my first aid supplies in a plastic storage box from the Dollar Tree, so this is a serious upgrade. Also, it actually still had first aid supplies in it. I was planning on throwing them out, but all the bandages are still wrapped in plastic so I'm tempted to keep them...just in case, I guess?

First off, this rad vintage first aid kit, for $3. I currently keep my first aid supplies in a plastic storage box from the Dollar Tree, so this is a serious upgrade. Also, it actually still had first aid supplies in it. I was planning on throwing them out, but all the bandages are still wrapped in plastic so I’m tempted to keep them…just in case, I guess? In the background you can see another find from the sale, a Fleetwood Mac record. Also got a Sonny & Cher record. They weren’t officially for sale and were in a back room, but I’m shameless, so I managed to buy them! 

The stuff from the first aid kit. See, still in the plastic. It isn't like gauze can go bad, right? So I think I'll just keep 'em.

The stuff from the first aid kit. See, still in the plastic. It isn’t like gauze can go bad, right? So I think I’ll just keep ‘em.

And my best score: this tiny Pyrex, apparently the smallest size of the Horizon Blue mixing bowls. The best part? It was 25¢!! Pyrex for a quarter! Made my day.

And my best score: this tiny Pyrex, apparently the smallest size of the Horizon Blue mixing bowls. (I’m not a Pyrex Person who can identify them on sight–this took some googling!) The best part? It was 25¢!! Pyrex for a quarter! Made my day.

Such a good estate sale made me really excited for estate/yard sale season in general. BRING IT ON! I guess yard sale season is probably spring but in Portland, the spring is so rainy, I’ve noticed a lot of peopled don’t start their sales until summer.

How do I grownup.

Sometimes I feel so under-equipped for adulthood. The husband and I have been floating the idea of buying a house, but holy hell, it seems so confusing. I literally don’t know how any of it works. At all. What is the first step? I don’t even know. We’ve spoken with some of our friends and I guess we are going to make some appointments and try to, uh, figure it out. I guess. Confusing.


Guilty pleasure: curly fries and strawberry Fanta from Jack in the Box. Yep. I said it. Jack In The Box has to be the only place with strawberry Fanta on their soda fountain. When I’ve had a particularly long day at work (like today), I stop there on my way home and get the biggest serving of curly fries and a huge strawberry Fanta and collapse in front of Netflix.

Speaking of Netflix, I’m trying to watch Pretty Little Liars. My friends (so many of my friends) all seem to love it so I’m trying, but I am not feeling it. I’m four episodes in. Do I keep going? I’m LOVING having the internet again and getting to watch all the stuff that has been added to Netflix in the time we went without internet. I’m working my way through Louie, Wilfred, Doctor Who, and a few other shows right now. My coworker says I need to try Orphan Black.

Finished Orange Is The New Black and OH MY GOD. That’s all I can say about that.

All day today, I thought that it was the end of my work week, and I was going to be done with work at 7 pm, so in my head, I was all “woo hoo, Friday, party, yeah!”, only to find there was a typo on the schedule and I wasn’t off until 8. AND THEN, on my drive home, I remembered I had agreed to work someone’s shift tomorrow. Double sad!

Since le hubs and I went out of town on our last days off, we did not accomplish our weekly chores and cleaning, meaning my house is craaazy messy right now. I am regretting volunteering to work tomorrow because, I mean, work, yuck; but this also means I’ll have to put off cleaning by another day and it is kind of stressing me out!

Does anyone have suggestions for other TV shows I should be watching?

This is about the Beatles (Part 2): Liverpool, Day 1

This is going to be a really long post! This is really mostly for my own memories, so please don’t judge me too harshly for writing SO MUCH about this experience. It was so amazing and I don’t want to forget a single detail.

When my husband and I eloped, my grandfather intended to visit us to celebrate sometime in the year after. But his health wasn’t great (he ended up having hip replacement surgery), so he wasn’t really up for the journey. Instead, he wanted my husband and me to go visit him in England. He lives in Cornwall, on the southern coast of England, and it is probably my most favorite place in the whole world, with Oregon falling into second place. Husband had never been to a European country before so he was really excited. It worked out that my mom was able to get time off work also, since we were visiting her father, and we made it a family trip. Husband got one week off work, I got two, and my mom ended up getting three weeks off work. The first week was spent solely in Cornwall, with my grandpa getting to know my husband, since they had never met before. We had a gorgeous time together and I plan on making a post about that portion of the trip soon. After my husband left, I spent a few more days in Cornwall, and then my mom and I took a bus ride up to Liverpool. It is in the north of England and the bus ride took roughly 9 hours or so, because we happened to visit right after some really nasty storms and flooding that had knocked the train tracks out. Such a bummer, since train travel is one of my favorite parts about visiting England. But the Megabus tickets were really cheap, and they did have electrical outlets inside the bus, which was cool. The seats on English buses are small, though. Or maybe that’s just my fat American butt complaining.

Liverpool is the city where the Beatles grew up, met one another, and got their start as a band. I have read a lot about their childhoods, and their lives before they became famous, so I thought I had a pretty good handle on what I wanted to do while there. I made one huge mistake, though, which is that I did not do much research about the city itself. We only spent two days exploring Liverpool and most of that was devoted to Beatles tourism stuff. I want to go back and spend weeks there, or months–hell, I’d be happy living in Liverpool long-term, because it really was a beautiful city with a lot of personality.

We stayed at The Hoax hostel. It was a great choice. First of all, it is a recently renovated space, so everything was new and clean and was aesthetically pleasing. Plus, it was in an AMAZING location for a Beatles fan. It was on Mathew Street, only a few blocks from The Cavern Club, the club where the Beatles played 292 times during the early sixties, before they became nationally and internationally famous. The street signs in the area are patterned after the drum on the cover of Sgt. Peppers so I got really excited just looking out the window and seeing that. Our room also had a funny stylized mural of Paul McCartney on the wall. The prices for The Hoax were great and it was really nicely located, but be warned: if you’re going to Liverpool, the night life there is crazy and this hostel is in a really noisy area. Didn’t bother us since we stayed up pretty late and also had earplugs for when we were ready to crash, but if you need quiet in order to sleep, don’t stay here.

Since it took us 9 hours to get there, we arrived late at night and actually had to walk from the bus station so we were pretty tuckered out when we got to the hostel. My mom was ready to party and wanted to go get a drink at a bar, haha, but I was so tired, I convinced her that we should sleep and start looking around early in the morning. I did take the time to book us a tour of John and Paul’s childhood homes that night, since I wanted to make sure we had a spot the next day.

1. The first, and in my mind most important, order of business for this Beatles pilgrimage (as we took to calling it) was The National Trust tour of the Beatles’ Childhood Homes. The childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney are owned by the National Trust, which you can read more about here. (As an aside, one of my very favorite tourist sites in Cornwall is Lanhydrock, another National Trust property. I’ve been there twice now and am blown away by the quality of the tour. I knew that if the Beatles’ childhood homes were anything like the Lanhydrock exhibition, I’d be in for a treat.) You are able to take a guided tour through both homes, but the tours are done in small groups so the availability is really limited. We got really lucky with booking our tickets the night before, just because we were there in early spring. Had we tried to do the same thing in the peak season, we would have found the tours booked up months in advance! Our tour group ended up being two really lovely middle-aged British couples, plus me and my mom. You are not able to tour either home on your own; you must be part of a tour group, and you must ride in the minibus with the group. Seems kind of strict but I loved the feeling of it; it felt really private and special to be part of a smaller group, rather than shuffling through as part of a huge crowd.

I splurged for the guidebooks along with my tour ticket, because I knew that there is no photography allowed inside the houses and wanted a keepsake [They’re really serious about the no photography rule, and actually take all purses, bags, phones, and cameras and lock them in a broom closet at each house during the tour!]. They’re very well done and I suggest buying them if you do the tour. When you take the tour, you meet at a hotel lobby and the tour group gets on a minibus and you drive to the two houses. We visited Mendips first, the childhood home of John Lennon, owned by his Aunt Mimi. (We drove down Penny Lane on the way and the bus driver played the song for us!) This was followed by the tour through the home Paul’s family lived in when he was an early teen, at 20 Forthlin Road. The quality of the tour was stupendous.

Our tour guides were very sweet and knowledgeable, and I was incredibly impressed with the way the houses have been re-done. At both homes, they’ve tried really hard to recreate the rooms exactly as they appeared in the late 50s/early 60s, with everything from wallpaper and paint colors to retrieving the original counter from the back garden and re-installing it in the kitchen at Forthlin. The tour was peppered with stories about what occurred in each room, which was SO UNBELIEVABLY COOL. I was in a state of shock the entire time, standing in the bedroom John laid in as a kid, looking through the exact window he would stare out while daydreaming. It was just amazing. I also learned little tidbits about the Beatles that I’d never known before. For example:


This photograph was hanging in the entryway of the Forthlin Road house. It shows Paul standing in the entryway of the house, holding his brother Mike’s drum kit. The photo was actually taken by Mike. I always thought the photo just showed Paul carrying the drum kit out of the house, but you see how he is actually holding a drum stick and hitting the drum? Apparently some neighbors were complaining about the noise, because Paul and his friends played music inside a lot, and his answer to the noise complaint was to take the drum outside and bang it on the front steps! That made me laugh, especially when you look at the smirk on his face.

Though we weren’t allowed to take photographs inside the houses, photos do exist of the interiors. This blog post has a great compilation of photos from various sources and gives you an idea of the inside of each home. (That post is just great in general! So well written, and the photographs are very well curated.) Plus, the tour guide invites you to take photos while you’re in the front garden of each home.

Me, experiencing the surreal by standing outside of the front door of Mendips, John Lennon's childhood home.

Me, experiencing the surreal by standing outside of the front door of Mendips, John Lennon’s childhood home. (I dyed the bottom 8 inches of my hair green for this trip! I’m not allowed to have colorful hair at work, so I did it for my 2 week vacation. The Liverpool visit was on the very tail end of the trip, so my hair has faded quite a bit here.)



...and outside of 20 Forthlin Road, the home of Paul McCartney's family during his teen years.

…and outside of 20 Forthlin Road, the home of Paul McCartney’s family during his teen years.

In the back garden of Forthlin Road, there’s a little shed and a tiny garden bed. The tour guide pointed out a huge rosemary shrub and said that it had been originally planted by Paul McCartney’s father and was still alive to that day. And then, she actually plucked a little twig off of it and handed it to me. I was so shocked! One of the ladies on the tour said, “Rosemary for remembrance,” which gave it another level of meaning!

Rosemary for remembrance.

Rosemary for remembrance.

I kept it, of course, and pressed it between the pages of a book. When I got home, I put it in a frame. I need to come up with a prettier frame for it, but I’m so glad I have such an incredible and tangible keepsake from the tour. To imagine that those leaves grew from a plant which was lovingly planted by Paul’s father is just overwhelming to me, especially as a gardener who understands the work and attention put into plants.

2. Next on the agenda was The Beatles Story museum. I had heard bits and pieces and seen some photos for this museum, and was really looking forward to it. We missed the entrance, and accidentally walked into the gift shop first. I was totally overwhelmed, and my mom said it was pretty hilarious watching how big my eyes got when I saw the amount of Beatles merchandise they had for sale. Since I collect Beatles memorabilia, I knew I would be bringing quite a few things home, but I wanted to pace myself. So somehow, without buying anything, we left the gift shop and found the actual museum entrance. (And stopped at the Starbucks inside it [hahahaha yes there’s a Starbucks inside it!] for a little lunch, since we hadn’t eaten yet that day!) The museum was excellent. Lots of actual items that belonged to the Beatles and their friends and family. You get an audio guide and headphones and get to listen to audio information about everything in the museum. It is chronological, so you start out in their early years and the museum ends with current day. It has reconstructions of a lot of important places in Beatles history, like the NEMS record store, the Cavern Club and the street it is on, and Abbey Road. I took a LOT of photographs in the museum, so I’m going to post a little gallery of thumbnails here. Click them to enlarge and read the captions :)


The entrance to the museum.

The entrance to the museum.


It was so crazy seeing things like this everywhere. I have spent so many years of my life squealing whenever I saw a Beatles magazine or something at the grocery store. Seeing Beatles stuff at every turn had my brain on complete overload!

It was so crazy seeing things like this everywhere. I have spent so many years of my life squealing whenever I saw a Beatles magazine or something at the grocery store. Seeing Beatles stuff at every turn had my brain on complete overload!


Once we finished the exhibits in that building, we went back to the gift shop and went a little crazy. I got pins and keychains and postcards and a t-shirt, but my favorite thing was this replica memorabilia pack I’m incredibly impressed with the quality, because it was really affordable. It has reproduction tickets, posters, Beatles Fan Club booklets, and more. I have opened it to look at the items and then promptly wrapped them back up in the package because I actually want to get a big poster frame and frame all of it together.

The Beatles Story actually has two buildings and when you get your ticket into the museum, you also get admission to this other building. You climb up these stairs:


with the names of various Beatles songs, so that made me happy. Then you’re in another gift shop with a lot more stuff in it. Seriously, for a Beatles fan, it took a lot of restraint not to spend all of my money in one store. I probably could have spent a million dollars in Liverpool. Seriously.

There’s also a really nice photo gallery with photos of the Beatles that I had never seen before, all by a photographer who got to go behind the scenes with them when he was just a teenager.

And then, we went on the “Fab 4D” experience,another thing included with your museum ticket, which was hilarious. It was a 3D movie, except you are in seats that move along with the action. Plus other stuff happens, like water spraying you in the face, or bubbles being released, or smells that match what is happening on screen. It was cartoonish and obviously for kids but it only lasted a few minutes and I mean, I love anything Beatlesy! [I’m not a big Elvis fan so I didn’t spring for the Elvis stuff, but apparently there’s an Elvis component to the museum as well! Double whammy for anyone who loves the Beatles and Elvis both.]

3. We walked around the Merseyside docks for a while, and I was really glad we had time to do that. The Mersey is this incredibly moody, wide river and the weather was windy and sprinkling rain that day. It was pretty glorious. A lot of the original shipping warehouse buildings are still intact on the docks, so I kept thinking “When George was a teenager, he probably walked right here and looked up at that exact same building.” That gave me shivers. We got to see the Royal Liver Building (so beautiful). We ate dinner at Jamie’s Italian, a Jamie Oliver restaurant. It was delicious. I can definitely recommend the olives. This section of the day was light on Beatles and heavy on enjoying Liverpool.

4. After dinner, more Beatles-related goodness. My friend had told me that if you get into The Cavern Club in the late afternoon/early evening, there’s no cover; then the bands start to play and they start charging cover but if you’re already in, they don’t make you pay. Being cheap, I was interested in this idea. So my mom and I walked to The Cavern Club after dinner. This was one of the most mind-blowing parts of the trip. I had downloaded this song, Searchin’, on my iPod before we left. I have read that it was the most-frequently-requested song when The Beatles played at The Cavern during their early years. I had planned to play it on my earbuds as I was walking down the stairs into the club, thinking there would be no live music if we got there early in the day.

When we got there, though, I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t actually get my iPod out. I just dashed down the stairs. In Beatles books & firsthand accounts, there are always all these details about the Cavern; especially about the heat and the smell. [Now is a good time to point out that the original Cavern Club is actually a few hundred feet down the block. It was built in the basement of a fruit packing facility. After it got used as a club in the sixties, it was FILLED IN WITH RUBBLE. When they decided to open the Cavern back up, the original location wasn’t safe enough, so they did the exact same thing a few hundred feet down the same road. The entrance looks really similar and inside they’re nearly identical. The new one is a little further underground, I believe. Not gonna lie, I was an eensy bit sad to learn that; they really don’t mention it much so I had no idea I wasn’t going into THE CAVERN CLUB. But really, the experience was so incredible and I’m not sure they could have done a better job reproducing the original club so I’m pretty damn satisfied with it.] When I climbed down those steps, it got hotter and hotter, and the smell rose up–it was disinfectant from the bathrooms, mixed with beer, mixed with the smell of sweaty bodies. Yum? I was just so floored though; thinking about all the times The Beatles climbed down stairs into the club to play their shows; thinking the same sweat/beer/disinfectant smell probably reached their noses each time!

I was surprised to see, when we got there, that there was already live music being played. A John Lennon impersonator was playing and he was really, really good. He looked a lot like John and had his mannerisms down pat. There was a 11-ish year old boy in the audience dressed like John, and the performer pulled the kid onstage and they sang Revolution together. The kid knew all the words! Always makes me laugh when people say that youngsters only like shitty music or that classic music isn’t being preserved and listened to by newer generations. The Beatles are forever! The rest of the audience members seemed to be Beatles fans, or middle-aged couples, and a few groups of younger guys and gals. Liverpool is a really popular place to have hen and stag parties and it seemed like some of them got all dressed up for partying and then came to the Cavern, which kind of cracked me up. And there were a couple of groups of people wearing completely spot-on 1960s outfits, complete with beehive hairdos and winged eyeliner on the girls. It was really cool. Once the John impersonator finished his set, another solo artist came on, and played a mishmash of Beatles songs and other classic rock stuff as well as some more modern songs (like Oasis?).

AND THEN the most magical thing happened. I was having trouble figuring out the band schedule for the night, and since it was a Thursday, I figured if they had any Beatles impersonator/cover groups, they’d likely play on a Friday or Saturday. But after the second solo artist finished, a Beatles cover band called The Mersey Beatles played. They were wearing early Beatles suits, just like the ones the Beatles would have worn in the early 60s in The Cavern, and were even wearing Beatles moptop wigs. They covered all Beatles songs. Not gonna lie, it brought tears to my eyes to see that band perform in The Cavern. For so many years, I have wished so hard for a magical time machine that will transport me back to the 1960s so I could see The Beatles perform in person. I want, so badly, to have that experience, and it does make me sad to know I never will. That’s why this experience was so moving. It is the closest I will ever come to having that wish granted, and it was really wonderful.

Below is the photo I took of the Mersey Beatles playing at The Cavern in 2014, followed by two photos of The Beatles playing at The Cavern in the early sixties.

The Cavern Club with Beatles cover band The Mersey Beatles, 2014. The reconstruction of the club is so detailed, down to the mural behind the stage!

The Cavern Club with Beatles cover band The Mersey Beatles, 2014. The reconstruction of the club is so detailed, down to the mural behind the stage! And check out how busy it got once this band got going! Lots of people dancing and singing in that hot basement club.

One more from the early sixties, slightly pulled back and at a different angle. I was happy to see the arched coves in the reconstructed version, since that's where the girls used to sit to get the best view of the band :D I definitely found a seat in that area while we watched the cover band play!

The early sixties. I was happy to see the arched coves in the reconstructed version, since that’s where the girls used to sit to get the best view of the band :D I definitely found a seat in that area while we watched the cover band play!

The Cavern Club stage without the mural.

The Cavern Club stage without the mural.

The Cavern Club stage, with mural. Hey there, Pete Best.

The Cavern Club stage, with mural. Hey there, Pete Best.


When the band finished playing, my mom and I were so beat from walking all day (and, ya know, drinking at the Cavern), and we knew that we had another packed day ahead of us, so we went back to the hostel and crashed immediately. I thought I was going to be able to fit all this in a single post, but that really is not working out! I will have to do Day Two of Liverpool in a third Beatles-related post!


Tygh Valley/Summer Life List Update

Hey! Remember this post about summer goals?

Well, I already crossed one of them off!

1. Flathead Lake, Montana
2. Tygh Valley, Oregon
3. Enchanted Forest Theme Park, Oregon
4. Camping & Backpacking
5. Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood
6. Portland Japanese Garden

That’s right, we just got home from Tygh Valley. The thing about Tygh Valley is that I am madly in love with it! It is this little tiny town, more like a village really (apparently defined as a “census-desginated place”, that’s right, it is not a village but a PLACE), about 30 miles south of The Dalles in the Columbia River Gorge. The landscape is just so good. This valley, in among these fabulous rolling foothills? And a lot of people don’t know this, but most of Oregon is not wet. There are certain areas that get a lot of rainfall, but vast portions of the state are dry. Tygh Valley is in a pretty dry area. Just think sparse, dry grass, scrub brush, occasional oak and pine forests. The weather is predictably awesome there, with cold, snowy winters and hot summers. My in-laws own a house there and we try to visit at least a few times each year.

We drove out on Tuesday night after husband got off work, and got to the cabin at about 1 am, only to find we had forgotten the keys and had to break in. That was annoying. Spent all day there on Wednesday and left Thursday afternoon. I did a lot of reading outside in the sun. And we drank quite a bit of gin with lemonade. Husband caught a bunch of trout and kept the biggest one, which we put on the grill along with asparagus and the chicken we’d brought, and had surf and turf.

Sometimes I don’t realize how stressed or tired I’ve been from work until I go out to Tygh Valley and relax for a few days. It feels a-w-e-s-o-m-e. It is also really cool to hang out with my best friend for two days, totally uninterrupted. My husband is really funny and when we are at Tygh, just the two of us, he regularly makes me laugh so hard that I cry!

Anyway, here are some photos. I still haven’t found the battery charger for the good camera, but while we were in Tygh, Chris told me that it is in his nightstand. Hah. So these are from Instagram.

Up above the valley, looking toward Mt. Hood. The weather was unspeakably gorgeous.

Up above the valley, looking toward Mt. Hood. The weather was unspeakably gorgeous.

Inside the house. The deer's name is Bingo. (And oh hey, Chief Joseph!)

Inside the house. The deer’s name is Bingo. (And oh hey, Chief Joseph!)

Stopped at Rowena Crest viewpoint on the drive home. We had some of our wedding photos taken here.

Stopped at Rowena Crest viewpoint on the drive home. We had some of our wedding photos taken here.



The view from Rowena Crest is dreadfully beautiful, isn't it? One of my favorite spots in the entire world.

The view from Rowena Crest is dreadfully beautiful, isn’t it? One of my favorite spots in the entire world.


Happy to check that off my summer to-d0 list, though I’m sure we’ll be going back at least once more before fall. This was the first week in a few months during which husband and I had the same days off, so we were really excited to go spend some time together at Tygh Valley. I love you, Tygh!

This is about the Beatles. (Part 1)

I love the Beatles. I’ve mentioned that, right? I mean, I really love the Beatles. I collect a lot of Beatles memorabilia. I was going to write a post about my trip to Liverpool a few months ago, but realized I needed to do this post first, so I can show you just how insane the depth of my love for the Beatles really is. I have a difficult time articulating just why the Beatles mean so much to me, so I’m not even going to attempt that here. This is basically just a chronicle of my fangirlishness. My dad bought me Abbey Road and Rubber Soul on CD for my 11th birthday (the very first CDs I owned) and I listened to them nonstop, but the serious obsession came on when I was about 15 or 16, which means I’ve been a hardcore Beatles fan for over 10 years now.

I have a lot of Beatles records. I would eventually like to own the full core catalog on vinyl. I also have a lot of post-Beatles solo albums, which aren’t in the photo at all. I also have the full discography on CD and quite a few Beatles and solo albums on cassette tape, ha ha!


I also own a lot of Beatles DVDs and VHS tapes too. (And a full shelf of books.)


I have a lot of Beatles memorabilia in general, including 15 or so t-shirts, photographs, trivia card games, post cards, posters, lots of pins, patches, bookmarks, keychains, Yellow Submarine string lights, coffee mugs, pint glasses, and one vintage 1960s collectible thimble with George Harrison’s face on it.


In fact, I have so much Beatles stuff that I am working on setting up my craft room as a Beatles collection room also. Here are some work-in-progress shots of the walls.


(new paint color)

(new paint color)

It doesn’t stop with the collection, though. I have also made a point of seeking out any and all Beatles experiences that I can. I always feel sad that I wasn’t alive when the band was actually together and creating new music, but you’d be surprised at how many people (a lot of them my age or younger) are as obsessive about The Beatles as I am. I’ve made a lot of online friends by bonding over our mutual love of those four Scousers and their music. There are a lot of places to visit and things to see that are Beatles related.

When I was 18 and visited family in England, I made a point of doing a couple of Beatles-related things in London. I visited the wax sculptures at Madam Tussaud’s:



And of course, visited Abbey Road and took the required photo:


so young, whoa

As well as adding my name to the road sign:



“SAUNDRA” with a peace sign and a heart, under the A of “Road”. I sometimes wonder if it is still there, or if they change the sign out frequently!

Although I will never see The Beatles in concert, I can come close by seeing them individually.

I’ve seen Ringo (twice, this photo is from the first time):

three of the group of four from high school--all of us were Beatles obsessed and each had a different favorite.

Three of the group of four from high school–all of us were Beatles obsessed and each had a different favorite. I’m on the far right, if you can’t tell!

And also Paul (just once, though it was AMAZING, as evidenced by the blissful/ecstatic look on my face!)




I’ve also seen George Harrison’s son Dhani live, and John Lennon’s son Sean (and got to meet him in person after the show, and he signed my record!):

Model/musician Charlotte Kemp Muhl, me, and musician/son of rock legend John Lennon, Sean Ono Lennon!

Model/musician Charlotte Kemp Muhl, me, and musician/son of rock legend John Lennon, Sean Ono Lennon!

Aaaaaand to top it all off, I have a Beatles tattoo. George Harrison’s handwriting from the original lyrics of Here Comes The Sun.



Okay so I just wrote all of that to basically build up to the fact that I went to Liverpool in early spring this year. Aside from actually seeing Ringo and Paul live, no Beatles experience has been as amazing as going to their home city, visiting museums, seeing their childhood homes, and being surrounded by their music and by other people who find the Beatles as meaningful as I do. I will post about that experience soon.