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Madison, WI

September 3, 2014

It’s kind of crazy that I’ve been to Wisconsin three times in the past year (road trip, Shernell wedding, and now for work).

My coworker Shannon and I headed to Wisconsin at the end of August for a three-day workshop. We got as far as Chicago when we learned our flight to Madison had been cancelled. Rather than sticking around hoping we could get on a stand-by flight and knowing that the next flight with availability (the next morning) wouldn’t get us to work on time, we rented a car for a spontaneous road trip.

Illinois was full of construction and we paid five tolls in the short time we passed through (actually, we only paid four of them… oops), so basically nothing had changed since the last time I was there.

Things improved when we crossed into Wisconsin and I saw a sign for the world’s largest Culver’s. Of course we had to pull over.


(Yes, we were driving a Beetle. This is what happens when you need a car at the last minute and ask for the smallest, a.k.a. cheapest, option.)


Though hesitant at first, Shannon was an instant convert to frozen custard. Our snack definitely helped us survive the rest of the afternoon – setting up the workshop, driving to the Madison airport to switch rental cars and pick up our luggage. We had a very nice dinner and delicious beers at Ale Asylum, simply because it was close to the airport.

The first day of the workshop went well, and in the evening we went to the UW Memorial Union, which had been recommended to us by the participants. At first we were wondering what was so great about a student union, but when we arrived and saw the lake views and beer and brats, we were immediately won over. We each had a Spotted Cow and split the brat as a pre-dinner snack.CIMG2637

We walked along the lake a little bit, then up State Street to downtown and had dinner at The Coopers Tavern. Sitting outside everywhere while eating = winning.

The next day after work we walked out to Picnic Point on the lake and illegally went swimming (shh!). It was too hot and the water was too inviting not to jump in! For dinner, we ate at Craftsman Table & Tap in Middleton (closer to our hotel) and finally got some fried cheese curds. This is also when I realized that Deschutes sells beer in Wisconsin and I couldn’t order that Chainbreaker white IPA quickly enough.

After the last day of the workshop, Shannon and I wandered around downtown for a little while before her flight that evening. We stopped at an awesome cheese shop, then I had an early dinner at Graze before taking the bus back to the hotel (I might have stopped at Culver’s again).


I had a day to myself while awaiting the arrival of Jen, so I went on a long walk in the morning on the trail right behind the hotel to the Pheasant Branch Conservancy. It was still foggy in the morning, but by the time I got back it was hot and humid. I took the bus downtown, visited the Museum of Contemporary Art, and then hung out at the beautiful new public library. When Jen arrived we had a quick beer at Collectivo Coffee while waiting for our table at Graze. Yes, I liked it so much that I went two nights in a row. I tend to do that with places I really like (Boulder Teahouse). I knew Jen would love the cheese selection, and I got to order the other things on the menu I had been eyeing the night before.

Saturday morning was foggy again, so we scampered at Pheasant Branch Conservancy before it got too hot. I knew Jen would want to go to the National Mustard Museum with me, so we explored and tasted the mustards and I got to squeeze a rubber chicken.CIMG2639

Our next stop was New Glarus! By this point it was pouring rain, so we had a quick lunch at a very Wisconsin bar and then headed to the brewery for a self-guided tour/tasting.CIMG2640

It would have been really nice to hang out on their patio if the weather had been better. On the way back to Madison, Jen bought some real-person art at a gallery and I bought cheese curds to take back to my office. We refueled at a coffee shop/liquor store (yes it was as great as that sounds), then headed downtown for a drink at Old Sugar distillery (I finally got an Old Fashioned). We ate dinner at Bassett Street Brunch Club, then called it a night since I had an early flight the next morning. At the hotel we ended up getting sucked into a really, really terrible TV movie.

I had a really good time hanging out in Madison for a week – if only all my other Wisconsin buddies could have been there!

My flight was delayed on the way home (really didn’t have good luck this trip), but otherwise everything went smoothly. Once again, I am the master of transporting valuables in my tiny suitcase.CIMG2643

I only took six beers back this time; Jen, I think you were right and I could have done the full eight. Next time.


Summer: family, Maine, friends

July 17, 2014

I figured since it was the middle of July I should post something about the summer so far. That and I’ve been meaning to post about my Maine trip for a month.

My aunt and uncle were visiting from England, which meant the whole family got together in Beverly for lobsters! And had a photo shoot, in which someone had their eyes closed in almost every photo.

The siblings:CIMG2604

The sisters.CIMG2605

The men.CIMG2608

The ladies. (Look at how tall my 14-year-old cousin is!!)CIMG2610

It was the perfect day, weather-wise. I kept saying that it was an Oregon summer day – sunny, warm, and no humidity. We sat on the deck and ate tomato salad, corn salad, potato salad, and lobsters.CIMG2599



I went to Maine the following week for work, and got to see Jen M. on the drive up! I had the most delicious dinner at the Fiddlehead Restaurant in Bangor, and stayed in Orono in a hotel right on the river. Again, perfect weather. It was killing me that I had to be up and out super early the next day for the workshop, or else I would have loved to run along the path by the river.CIMG2615

The workshop was on a Friday in Old Town, ME (about an hour north of Colby), and featured the sweetest group of Mainers who played with magnets and pretended to be cars going through a model intersection. I’m constantly amazed that this is my job.

I drove down to Camden after the workshop to meet my parents, who had driven up with my aunt and uncle to hang out for the weekend. We stayed in cottages which had some issues with the hot water (there was none) the first day. I thought it was just taking a while to kick in, so I had a nice, refreshing shower.CIMG2622

We’ve stayed here before, the most recent time being in 2007:guard

We hiked up Mt. Megunticook to get a view of the harbor.CIMG2618

We also had breakfast at Cappy’s, ate delicious seafood for dinner, and went to Owl’s Head lighthouse. On Sunday as we were heading home, we stopped at Colby because I hadn’t been since 2008!CIMG2623

Unfortunately, Miller was under construction so we couldn’t go up the steps, there were no tours running, and overall it was very quiet. But we visited the new wing of the art museum, which was awesome.CIMG2624

As we were driving up it felt really weird to be back on the hill, but as soon as I got out of the car, it all came back. There are many changes with all the new buildings (and track! I have a chunk of the old one from when they tore it up after graduation), but it’s still Colby.


To round out this post, I’ve been doing a few local hikes with friends on the weekends. Laura and I had a proper adventure out in Lynn (mostly because I discovered my car had a nail in one tire).CIMG2628

Everything worked out fine, even if we got lost on the way home.CIMG2626

Up next: I thought it was crazy to sign up for a triathlon four days ahead of time, but my coworker and I convinced ourselves to do it, so that’s what we’ll be doing on Sunday. I’ve been playing soccer with a team and we have our last game before playoffs this weekend as well. Then comes August, when I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be around, ever – I’ll hopefully see Christine on the Cape, then I’m off to North Adams, MA for work, Ben and I plan on hiking some mountain in mid-August, then I’m in Wisconsin for a week for work/play. I love that every trip I’ve taken for work I’ve been able to extend into a fun visit. Here we go…


June 14, 2014

I took a bus from Eugene to Portland, where I met Erica for tea and spent a quick night with the Daglens. Bevin took me to a judo class that she led (this was my second time doing judo), and we had a nice home-cooked meal and wine. The next morning I fueled up with the famous Daglen oatmeal, and then Michael took me to the train station on his way to work. I was on my way to Seattle!


I had never really visited Seattle when I lived on the west coast, and I wanted to see Jen while she was there for grad school, as well as the Glovzbys. It all worked out really well.CIMG2589

In Seattle, I rocked the bus system by using my same transfer pass all day long and even traveled by myself a few times (still without a smartphone). We did a lot of walking around the arboretum, then went to Seattle Center to see the Space Needle. We hung out by the giant fountain for a while, then got back on the bus to go to the Pine Box for dinner. I had an amazing mac and cheese made with Beecher’s cheese. We picked up Molly Moon’s ice cream on the way home (possibly rivals Red Wagon, in my opinion, which is saying something) and were dying of thirst from the salted caramel flavor the rest of the bus ride back.

I crashed on the couch in Jen’s apartment and went for a run to Gas Works Park the next morning. The weather had cleared up and I had gorgeous views of the city and mountains! Wished I had brought my camera with me. Jen had to go to work, so I took the bus to Pike Place Market and explored it before it got too crowded.CIMG2591

Next, I met up with Tabby and Daniel at a park near their house and we played in the sandbox and hung out on the porch back home while Daniel napped. After a busy weekend in Eugene, it was so nice to just sit around and chat. When Rick got home from work, we met up with Jen at a delicious Mexican restaurant near the University.

The next morning it was rainy, but I didn’t have anything else on my sightseeing to-do list, so Tabby and I walked at Seward park with raincoats and umbrellas. We warmed up with some tea and pastries at the Essential Bakery, then I met up with Jen and we traveled to Uneeda Burger for lunch (burgers of epic proportions and combinations). Our main goal of the afternoon was to go on a Theo chocolate factory tour! Our tour guide was hilarious and rambly, which made the tour very enjoyable. That and the free chocolate samples and hairnets.CIMG2594

Back at the Glovzbys, I played with Daniel outside for a while (I love how he says my name, and that I could have real conversations with him). We had a delicious beef stroganoff and kale salad for dinner, then walked to another Mary Moon’s for more ice cream (this time Stumptown coffee, hello).

The next morning was my last day in town, so we disrupted Rick and Daniel’s weekly tradition of visiting Rick’s cousin’s coffee shop by all going out to breakfast first and then visiting the coffee shop together. I had a small cup of a delicious pour-over coffee, which was so good.


I love these pictures. So cute.


It was Sarah’s birthday, so we Skyped with her and then Rick took me to the airport. I was sad to leave, but it had been a nice long vacation, and I couldn’t believe how much stuff I did and how many people I saw.

I took a little bit of the west coast home with me:IMG_0100

Note the Iris bottle!! I found a bottle of Pinot Noir from 2012, when I worked there. It got good reviews, so I can’t wait to try it!

Can I go back soon? This trip did help me realize that it’s not that hard to get out to Eugene (although the jetlag is annoying), and it was actually cheaper than my flight to Arkansas, so hopefully there will be more visits in the future.


(Random PS – I just realized that I’ve stopped double spacing between sentences because of work. I hate single spacing, but I guess 9.5 months of EiE formatting has finally rubbed off on me. At least we use the Oxford comma.)

Doctors’ Convention 2.0

June 5, 2014

Now with more doctors!

This is now a few weeks passed (already?), and I definitely didn’t take as many pictures as I should have, but I went back to Eugene in the middle of May for a few friends’ Ph.D. defenses and then made my way up to Seattle via Portland (next post).

Sarah, JZ, and I were all able to fly in for the weekend to spend some time with friends and soak up as much Eugene as we possibly could in a few short days’ time. I think we did pretty well!

Highlights included: Pegasus with DT and the lab; Prince Puckler’s (velvet hammer ice cream!); Bier Stein x2;dinner at Belly; Red Wagon Creamery; walking and running up Mt. Baldy; hiking the Ridgeline Trail with the dogs; donuts at the Nells’; Hendricks Park; Silvan Ridge and Sarver wine tasting and picnicking; crêpe-making at the Elliotts’ with the Glovzbys; hiking Spencer’s Butte in the rain; Falling Sky deli; Sweet Life; private party at Party Downtown; hanging out on campus with Elsa; riding the EmX; Off the Waffle.

Yes, it was a very food-oriented itinerary. But we hiked around a bit between all the eating and drinking. It’s what you do in Eugene.

(I blatantly stole some of these pictures at the beginning from other people via Facebook.)4

(I still miss the old Stein.)


Doctors of the Tyler lab.


So full at this point, but had to get ice cream.


I had great weather for almost my whole trip – it only rained twice, both times when I was hiking.




So good to see Paula! Love this picture of these two.


Storm clouds rolling in…



Wow, I really failed at pictures with Ed and Maggie. But they were a big part of this trip as our gracious hosts!

Congrats to Drs. Ellen, Emma, Bryan, and Ed!

Adventures in Arkansas

May 11, 2014

At the end of April/beginning of May, I spent a week in Arkansas for work with my coworker, Elise (of dog- and cat-sitting fame).  This was the 35th state I’ve been to, and I probably would never have visited otherwise.  We had a good time overall and I learned a bit about the south (where I haven’t spent very much time).

Our workshop was in Little Rock, which was a nice city but much smaller than I was expecting.  We technically stayed in a hotel in North Little Rock, just across the river, but it was within walking distance to downtown.  There was a nice path along the river that I ran on in the mornings and in the evenings we walked across the bridges to have dinner.CIMG2534

This was the only picture I took in Little Rock – yes, that is a submarine (it’s a museum) and the pedestrian bridge was all lit up in pretty colors.

We ate at some nice restaurants – giant pretzels with mustard, salads, queso dip, barbeque (so good), lots of iced tea (luckily there was unsweetened as well as classic sweet tea), pizza, delicious pecan pie…  One evening we were sitting on a patio about to leave and a man carrying cowboy boots started serenading us with “The Gambler.”  Oh, the irony when he got to the line about “know when to walk away/know when to run” and wouldn’t get the hint to leave.

The one major hiccup of this trip was that two out of the thirteen boxes of materials we needed for our workshop didn’t get sent, which we found out the morning of the first day.  Luckily everything we use is pretty easy to find, so we sent someone to the store and Elise spent the morning making parachutes while I ran the workshop.  It could have been a lot worse, and I think we handled it pretty well (one of EiE’s unofficial mottos is that if there is no blood and no crying then it’s a good day, so we had a good day).  Crazy how those scenarios we give people during interviews really do happen!  The boxes were overnighted so we had everything we needed the next day.

After three long days of making parachutes and maglev trains (love this job), we headed to the Ozark mountains in the northwest part of the state for a day and a half of vacation.  Elise had found a cabin near some interesting hiking trails and we figured we should explore a bit more of the state.  We drove right through the town of Mayflower, which had been hit by a tornado the day before we arrived.  Crazy, crazy stuff; I’d never seen anything like that before.

The “town” we were staying in consisted of a post office and a gas station, which was typical for the area.  The cabin was amazing:CIMG2536

We had picked up some fresh local strawberries on the way, which easily made breakfast on the porch one of my favorite parts of the trip.

The hikes we went on were really cool.  On the way to Hawksbill Crag there were lots of rocky outcroppings.CIMG2547

And then we made it to the crag!CIMG2554



We picnicked on the crag and then drove back down the steepest dirt road I’ve even seen.  It worked out well that I had rented the car, so I did all the driving while Elise navigated (I get carsick on windy roads and don’t have a smartphone).

We found another short hike with lots of fun features:CIMG2557

This passageway under the rocks was my favorite.CIMG2558





(Sorry there’s no scale in that one; it was a small rock, not a people-sized ancient dwelling.)


There was a cave at the end of the trail that we could have continued deeper inside, but we didn’t have headlamps and it was really dark.

On the last day we drove back to Little Rock a different way in order to see Petit Jean State Park (which was pronounced “pedigene” and took us a long time to figure out how it was spelled).  We didn’t have a ton of time to visit, but it had nice views and a pretty lake.

Arkansas was quite the adventure!


April 20, 2014

Spring is… mostly here!  I would have been more confident saying that, except last week we were all lulled into a false sense of hope (I biked home from work in a T-shirt one day), only to get some snow/freezing rain the next morning.  The wind can still be chilly, but the sun feels nice and the grass is starting to look green again.  I would love to see some leaves on trees soon.

I finished off another Oregon beer from my stash, Double Mountain’s Vaporizer from Hood River.  I had forgotten how good this one is.CIMG2522

Of course I had it with gaucho burgers and roasted potatoes and broccoli.CIMG2525


Last weekend I went to the north shore with my parents and uncle to try to take advantage of some nice weather.  Of course it ended up being cloudy, windy, and cool on the ocean, but after clam chowder for lunch, we took this awesome trail through the dunes at Crane Beach where we were more sheltered.


I felt like I was on another planet!  The landscape was just so different, with the trees growing right out of the sand and all the tall dunes.  It was especially neat because I had grown up being told not to walk on the dunes, so it was great that a real trail has been established for people to experience the area without destroying it.


It was hard walking on the sand and hills, so we walked back along the beach, where it was much flatter but also windier.  I’ll definitely come back here to explore the rest of the dune trail!

Washington, DC

March 23, 2014

Two weeks ago I went to Washington, DC for a few days for work/play. I left from the Museum around noon on Tuesday, and by 4pm I was riding around DC on a bike from the amazing bikeshare program the city has established.CIMG2471

And in a t-shirt!!CIMG2469

I rode about 5 miles from my hotel in the SE up to the Mall, and around the Tidal Basin to see the monuments. The one problem with the bike was that I didn’t want to leave it unguarded, so I didn’t get to explore the monuments up close.  But that’s ok, because I was trying to keep the cost of the bike down by not having it for too long.




Since I hadn’t been to DC in about 13 years, there were some new things too see.CIMG2470

I dropped the bike off near the White House and then walked up to a restaurant that had been recommended to me called Founding Farmers.CIMG2472

I sat at the bar and had a really nice dinner (brie, onion jam, and apple tartine with a nice salad), then took the Metro back to my hotel.

Wednesday and Thursday were work days.  The workshops went pretty well (the second day was especially great).  I was working with first grade teachers on a unit about hand pollinators/agricultural engineering.  The teachers really impressed me with their character voices when we read a play, and everyone sang along on the chorus about agricultural engineers.

I met up with Erin and Ben (Colby buddies) for dinner on Wednesday because they live literally across the street from my hotel.  Such a random coincidence!  We went to a local restaurant (Park Tavern) and had a nice meal of pizza and beer.


After work on Thursday I spent the night at Erin and Ben’s.  We had a delicious home-cooked meal and then played Dominion and drank wine.  It was just like I was back in grad school!

Here is Zoe, Erin and Ben’s puppy:CIMG2476

On Friday everyone was working so I explored the Smithsonian museums by myself.  I don’t know if I’ve ever been to a museum by myself, but it was amazing because I could see what I wanted to see and then just move on whenever I felt like it!

I started at the Botanic Garden because I had never been.CIMG2478


Then I visited the National Museum of the American Indian, where Erin works, and had lunch with her in the cafeteria.  Another new addition since the last time I was in town!

Then I went to the Hirshhorn to see some art, but much of it was under renovation and the exhibit that was there was weird, even for modern art standards (in my opinion).  But I always like the sculpture garden outside.CIMG2488


I had much better luck at the Natural History museum.CIMG2490

I spent a lot of time in a newish exhibit about the evolution of humans.  I thought it was very well done.

I made a quick stop at the National Gallery and then met up with Camille (high school/elementary school friend), whom I hadn’t seen in ages!  We had a drink and caught up/reminisced, then met her husband and went to Ted’s Bulletin for dinner.  I was too busy eating my burger and drinking my adult milkshake (a grasshopper) to take photos, but it was delicious.  I spent the night at Camille and Andrew’s house in Alexandria.

The next morning we ate the homemade poptarts we took home from Ted’s with some tea.  So good!CIMG2494

Here is Chloe, Camille and Andrew’s pup:CIMG2492

I kept joking that Zoe and Chloe were opposites about pretty much everything, but we all thought they would still get along.

We all met up at Eastern Market and had a great time exploring the vendors and flea market.  Saturday was such a nice day!  I even got some color on my face.  I spent the afternoon putting a grill together with Camille and Andrew, and then we all went over to Erin and Ben’s to grill on their apartment’s rooftop.CIMG2508

We had a bit of a photoshoot in the setting sun.CIMG2496

Andrew and Camille.


Erin and Zoe.


The ladies.


Whole group!


Self-timer fail, but cute candid.


As the sun set, it started getting cold, so we took our feast inside.CIMG2519

I believe there were mint juleps as well…

I spent the last night at Camille and Andrew’s because I had a morning flight home on Sunday.  Camille baked bread before I left, so I had an awesome send-off breakfast.CIMG2521

This was a ridiculously fun trip!  Everything went so smoothly and I got to see a ton of sights and spend some quality time with old (and new!) friends.  Thank you again for hosting me; I can’t wait to come back!