Monday, May 27, 2013


My 3-year-old daughter loves tunnels. Fortunately for her there are a couple in Portland that we go through on a semi-regular basis. This one is on I-5, just before the exit for the Oregon Zoo, Korean War Memorial, Children's Museum, and Forestry Center. I personally love this tunnel because you enter it surrounded by city, and when you come out on the other side, the city is gone and all you can see is forest.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Spaghetti & A Walk

This path begins at the original The Old Spaghetti Factory in Portland. It follows the Willamette, and on nice days like this one, it is a lovely walking path.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


On a recent date night my husband and I decided to do our own walking tour of some gourmet chocolate shops in downtown Portland.  This was our last stop, Moonstruck Chocolate, and they had some fantastic truffles on display, including a set of barnyard animals - pig, cow, chicken, cat, dog, sheep, and horse.  The free taste test wasn't too bad, either!

Friday, May 17, 2013


I love cloud-watching.  I saw this on my way home from work earlier this week.  Looks like a strange funnel cloud, but really it's just a small rain shower.  We may not get amazing sunsets here, but we do get pretty clouds.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Crossing the Water

The Glenn L. Jackson Bridge is definitely my route of choice when crossing the Columbia between Vancouver and Portland.  This is the bridge I-205 uses, and I love multiple things about it.  First, the view.  I absolutely LOVE the view east toward Mt. Hood.  Second, the width.  There are four lanes going each direction, and while during major commute times it does get backed up, I rarely hit traffic jams here.  And lastly, it's not a drawbridge.  The only other way across the river between Port-Van is the I-5 bridge, which is smaller, has a blah view, and often lifts for boats, causing hours of delay in traffic.  One of these days they'll build a new I-5 bridge that's tall enough to eliminate the need for a drawbridge feature, but until then...I'll stick with 205.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lacamas Lake 3

Part of the trail around Lacamas Lake is paved, part is gravel/dirt.  I absolutely LOVE tree-lined paths like this, so I couldn't resist this cliche picture of woods in the PNW.  It's very flat, so it's perfect for a family walk.  The Wee One (she just turned one last week) was in the backpack, which my husband carried around, and Little Miss (who will be four this summer) did a good job of keeping up with us.  At least, when she wasn't distracted by petting caterpillars or picking wildflowers for Mommy.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lacamas Lake 2

I absolutely love the lush green of spring here in the PNW.  This is on the southeast end of Lacamas Lake, which is spread out long and thin like a serpent.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Lacamas Lake 1

When it's not raining, my family often goes for walks in the evening, either while dinner is in the oven or after we finish eating.  It's a good way to burn off some of the carbs we've enjoyed, but mostly I just like the feeling of having gotten lungs full of fresh air and stretched my body a bit.  Near Camas, a small town just east of Vancouver, there are a couple of lakes with walking trails.  This is Lacamas Lake.  It was a little chilly the night we took this walk, but it was pretty and I hope to go back and walk farther this summer.  I'll show you a little bit of the scenery here over the next couple of days.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Closeup at the Oregon Zoo 2

I've posted before about the Oregon Zoo and an amazing closeup encounter we had with a polar bear there.  Check out this shot of one of the zoo's sea lions coming to greet my family!  The Oregon Zoo is probably the best zoo I've been to as an adult (I can't say "in my life" because when I was a kid we frequented the San Diego Zoo and I can't be sure which is better), and I highly recommend checking it out if you're ever in the Portland area.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Evening Commute

I have lived here over a year and a half now, and after driving this road at least twice daily since then, I am still blown away by the sight of this amazing mountain.  Every. Single. Time.  This is Mt. Hood, one of the most noted peaks in the Cascade Mountain Range (others being Mt. Ranier, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Shasta).  And yes, I am lucky enough (on clear days) to enjoy this view daily.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


When you cross the Columbia at 6:15 a.m. In early May on the I-205 bridge, you may just be lucky enough to see this.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Big Trees

A couple of blocks from our house is a small city green space our family really enjoys. It's not an official park but it has a short trail around it (it's about the size of a block) and some benches to enjoy the sound of wind rushing through the pines. Since it doesn't have a name, we call the space "The Big Trees." The weather was gorgeous on Sunday so we packed a blanket, fruit, and some Brie, and enjoyed a quiet picnic on the hilltop with this view.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


These doors create one side of a homeless camp in downtown Portland.  Many of them have quotes painted on them such as this one, and I love that it's not only artwork, it's a community.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Flowers for Mommy

My daughter, age 3 1/2, never misses an opportunity to pick a wild flower for me. It may be a weed to you, but to my daughter it is a smile with a stem and to me it is a priceless treasure.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Not long after we moved here, my husband discovered a wonderful place to do some city hiking.  McCleay Park is located at the end of a regular neighbourhood street, and marks the beginning of a walking/hiking trail that follows a creek nestled beneath some large trees.  A bit down the trail is this amazing old abandoned building, which makes a wonderful place for kids to explore while parents rest...or explore with them.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Music of the Night 2

As promised: The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on the inside.  Photo taken from Balcony B, I believe.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Music of the Night

As mentioned in yesterday's post, Portland has a professional symphony called the Oregon Symphony.  They have a couple of different regular venues, but this is the one they use a vast majority of the time.  It's located just a few blocks from Pioneer Square, as seen in yesterday's post.  Husband and I have enjoyed three concerts here thus far; two as date night activities and another as a family event for their annual Sunday afternoon Christmas concert (which we will likely do again).  We already have plans to attend their September performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade," a concert which also features a modern percussion concerto.  As a percussionist and classical music enthusiast, I am extremely excited for this concert and have been waiting on pins and needles for the tickets to go on sale (and for my bank account to have enough money to purchase them).  Tomorrow I will show you what this concert hall looks like on the inside!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pioneer Square

One of the first areas of Portland that I really explored after moving here was this downtown area.  This is the Pioneer Courthouse, as seen across Pioneer Square.  I took this while Husband and I were waiting on the MAX (Portland public transit) after attending an Oregon Symphony concert.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Paper Tiger Coffee

The Pacific Northwest sure loves its coffee, and there are independent coffee and tea shops on just about every corner in both Vancouver and Portland.  I have spent most of my adult life thus far believing this was normal across the country, but I'm beginning to think it's an awesome part of living here in this region. 

I stopped by this little shop to check it out and while I didn't find it to be earth-shatteringly amazing, it was a cute little place I have returned to on occasion.  I do like the atmosphere of the local coffee shops around here (Starbucks all look the same), and Paper Tiger is no exception.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

This is about 45 minutes south of Portland in a town called Woodburn.  Every year at this time they have a festival celebrating their beautiful tulip fields.  You can pay a ridiculous price of $10/car to go in and walk around in the fields, take pictures, play on old tractors, and spend even more money on kids' rides, flower bulbs, and food.  Aside from the cost, it's a beautiful place.  It's definitely worth paying for once in a while. 

Friday, April 26, 2013


On Easter Sunday my family and I decided to go to a sunrise service. We chose a church near our home that we'd never been to before, and we were not disappointed.  They had a fire in their outdoor fire pit, they sang wonderful praise songs to start the service, and the view of the sunrise was amazing.  You can't see it (and there's no way my iPhone could have captured it) but in the gap there on the right-hand side of the trees you could see Mt. Hood in the distance.  I love where I live!

Thursday, April 25, 2013


I love spring in the Pacific Northwest.  These trees blossom all around my neighbourhood, and I love the way the fading evening light looks on the delicate pink blossoms.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Portland's First Presbyterian Church stands between Alder & Morrison at 12th Ave.  The lighting was unpredictable this particular evening, and I think the dark stormy clouds contradicted by the bright sun makes this steeple look even more dramatic than it would normally.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cape Horn

It's spring.  It may not be spring in Montana or Wyoming or New York...but it's spring in the Pacific Northwest!  And you could not ask for a better place to enjoy this season.  Bright tulips, deeply pink dogwoods, long-lasting cherry blossoms, and the beginnings of rosebuds (Portland is, after all, the City of Roses). 

The Columbia River has oft been given the cliche adjective "mighty" because, well...that's what it is.  I see it every day - twice a day, at least - and I never tire of its beauty.  This is perhaps one of the best vantage points I have found, and it is a short 20-minute drive east of Vancouver on WA-14.  I believe it's called Cape Horn and I think I could stare at this picture forever.  Better yet, I'd like a home office with this view.