The International Rose Test Garden is now in swing! Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the rainbow spawn of captivating flora at Portland's Washington Park. Incredible colors. Intoxicating aromas. Busy bumblebees. It's a carnival for the senses. Go check it out. The experience is a must-do between now and Labor Day if you find yourself in Rose City.
My partner in crime and I needed to escape. Offensive non-mutual collateral estoppel in Civil Procedure was blurring into constructive conditions fixing order of performance in Contracts; the law school man behind the curtain gave no hint of slowing our hamster wheel, despite our wobbling legs. Pursuing a JD is definitely an endurance game, as almost any lawyer will tell you.
Fortunately, Spring Break gives a reprieve from the chaffing, chapping monotony of case reading right when it's needed most. Not a week to forget law school entirely, taking at least some time to re-center is highly recommended. La and I like to think of ourselves as fairly balanced, so we did just that. After a few days in Newberg, we certainly feel rejuvenated!
Newberg is a town about 30-45 minutes south of Portland in the heart of Oregon's wine country. Tucked against the edge of the Chehalem Mountains American Vinicultural Area (AVA), about 12 minutes east of the Ribbon Ridge AVA, sits one of the most magical luxury escapes in the Pacific NW.
The Allison is Newberg's premier five-star inn, complete with world-class spa facilities, an onsite vineyard, and fine dining...That pretty much sums things up. No need for me to recount the details. A visit in person simply cannot be missed. Minutes from over 100 wineries, the 75-room establishment made the perfect home base for our down time.
When we managed to pull ourselves away from the lap of luxury, the hotel happened to have a fleet of fully-trimmed Lexus vehicles for us to use at our leisure. We took out an IS F Sport to Bergstrom Winery to get the full taste of the Willamette Valley. Heads-up display, 300 horses of vroom, & active seat cooling. Well, yes. Yes, please...
The winery was a fun experience for La. She enjoyed learning about Pinot Noir, loved the blended Chardonnay finisher, and was tickled that we were encouraged to spit during the tasting process. Our friend and classmate Olivier sent us to Bergstrom on recommendation, as he used to work there, and we were not disappointed. Gorgeous views and colorful bouquets, especially the 2012s.
We can't wait for our next journey south... but for now, it's back to appellate brief practice.
This weekend the entertainment was a journey to Beacon Rock, on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. It's a sweet thing when law school coexists with killer recreation! I am sure this won't last long, as the work load ramps up, but I am savoring it while I can! Here are some pics of the over 800 ft. adventure to the top of this monolith...
Anyone transitioning back into higher education after the freedom and free time of a professional life should do it like Lauren and I have...With style. ;)
Properly executed, this lifestyle segue should be channeled through a binge of excellent adventures, scrumptious meals, and social gallivanting. Our rationale? Well, law school, as in our cases, means you can pretty much kiss your life of normalcy goodbye for a year or more. Additionally, income potential has been reduced to a hodgepodge of scholarships, savings, and student loans. Between all of that, we decided it would suck if we couldn't remember the last time we had a truly ridiculous amount of fun half way into our first year of this grueling trek through Academialand.
So, over the past two weeks, with our downtown PDX home base all tidied and livable, we set out to try the best restaurants, take fun pictures, meet new classmates, try a quadrillion beers at the Portland International Beerfest, and explore clandestine sea caves. All of this among other cool stuff, of course.
I can tell you that our plan was, is, and will be (for the remaining days until classes hit full swing) an absolute riot! Our future holds waterfalls, even more trail time, some bicycle adventures, food carts (KOI Fusion is the bomb!), maybe a movie, definitely some milkshakes from Salt + Straw, and Cards Against Humanity with some fellow 1Ls. Soak it up while we can!!! Oh, and whiskey! How could I forget that?!
After a weekend in Portland, we have a future home secured! Despite the outrageousness that is Craigslist in Portland, off of a street called Burnside, just at the north end of the Goose Hollow neighborhood, and next to the Timbers' stadium (that's Portland's professional soccer team for the uninitiated) sits our wonderful new apartment. Though we still have nearly a month before moving in to the place, I can already tell July will be gone in no time. Trips, visitors, and packing will rip through our remaining days in mountain paradise.
PDX was a joy as usual, though! We brought the high-altitude sunshine with us, and the grey didn't stick around for long. It was sunny and blue all of the last three days. After meeting up with Lauren's dad at the airport, we drove into town to grab some grub, explore the area around the then prospective apartment, and then proceeded to meet our new landlord. Our hesitations of losing a few square feet off the size of our old apartment evaporated after diving into the spacious closets, convenient flow, and quality materials of the space. Woohoo, housing success!
We encountered police lines barricading a crazy man in a tree prior to touring the apartment, and received a chuckle insinuating complete understanding when recounting the story to our new landlord. It seems that the 'Keep Portland Weird' mantra is taken pretty seriously ;). Unfamiliar to Lauren and I, but completely welcome however, was our visit to the arboretum at Washington Park, mere minutes from our new place! Talk about an incredible contrast...all the delights of cosmopolitan life juxtaposed against the majesty of Costal Redwood trees, whew; it takes your breath away. I don't know if we could have found a better location for the next three years! We had fun exploring more (markets, bars, restaurants, shops) and scarfing down some gnocchi for the rest of the evening, crashing hard afterwards.
Sunday brought PDX doughnuts, duh. Then we met a friend who lives in the NE side of the city for Brunch at a joint called Mother's. So killer! Mimosas and fun catching up after a few years of communication break-down. It's nice to have built-in friends moving to a new city! More strolling along the riverfront, some World Cup soccer, and a lazy afternoon nap stole the rest of our time before seeing The Fault in Our Stars at a cool Living Room Theaters place for dinner.
It was pancakes this morning at a cool downtown diner and then off to the airport. We have already started reading books to prepare for our law school journey. Can't be over prepared for an undertaking like law school, we figure! Time to start packing...
So it must be Portland sensing we are moving in a little over a month, because the generally gorgeous and sunny Park City landscape has been cold and rainy for days now. The weather even shifted in the last few hours to big, wet snow flakes! Granted we are at 6800' above sea level, but I can definitely say this isn't normal for June. :) Good thing we have a fire going...my coat needs a little while to dry out!
May brought all sorts of excitement! Seat deposit deadlines rolled around, and Lauren and I made our final selection. We will be attending Lewis & Clark Law School in beautiful Portland, OR starting in August. Wow, does it feel good to have all of that hoop jumping complete.
Even more exciting, my younger brother, Dalton, graduated from the elite Pomona College in Claremont, California with his BA in Astro Physics last weekend! In addition to his incredible academic accomplishments and accolades, he managed to compete in two varsity sports each year during his tenure at Pomona, manage research efforts, and work more than one job...whew. He is now in the process of hunting for work. I have no doubt he will find a wonderful place to spread his wings, but I did try to leave him with a job-search philosophy that I have developed over the course of my own employment. This is what I told him:
You are so incredibly well-rounded and socially adept that you can do ANYTHING you want. It doesn't matter one iota that your degree is within a specific field. Yes, it may help to earn you work in that same field, but more importantly, it highlights your ability to play in the most complicated of sandboxes. Don't corner yourself, though, because of the investment you've made in your field of study. It is no affront to the intellectual progress you've made to pursue work in a different area; in fact, it's precisely the opposite. By reaching into new coves of interest, you expand your already broad set of talents, keep your imagination engaged, and set a foundation for a lifetime of fulfillment instead of burnout. Find a company with a vision that resonates with you, seek out a culture you aspire to be a part of, and make the things that bring you joy nto the things you do to earn a living. Dream so big that you are scared of the dream. Then you know your sights are set correctly. You'll pay some dues, but have fun doing it, and always keep reaching for what YOU want!
I hope he and any other new grads that read this take it to heart. It really is doable. I have fun every day and am so excited to be going back to school. Cheers, class of 2014!
Law school looms, and there are only days before decision time. I have been cramming in visits before it's time to put down a seat deposit at my favorite choice...
Portland was a terrific experience! Lewis & Clark Law School is located on the edge of a state park/miniature rain forest. To say that this place is lush is an understatement. From what I understand, things are only going to get greener over the coming months as spring puts even more leaves on the deciduous trees to compliment the already stunning coniferous vegetation.
Trails run in every direction around campus, and I feel a wonderful energy being in such a beautiful place with air this clean. Lauren was equally impressed by the stunning situation of the campus and correlating warmth of its faculty and students.
The city strikes me as a major metropolitan equivalent of Boulder. Clean, friendly, contrasting boutiques and trendy restaurants, and full of outdoorsy intellectuals. Public transit was top-notch with light rail service from the airport to downtown, and wow, the food trucks!!!
Whether Portland winds up being home for the next few years or not, we'll be back for sure!
At Deer Valley on Thursday, TEDxParkCityWomen brought a simulcast from San Francisco to the St. Regis hotel. After session two, I snuck out to the deck to snatch a photo of the alpenglow on the ski run. It's looking like the skiing will be good this week! Perhaps some writing involving a forest...