Sunday, March 29, 2009

How I warmed my day at the Coast

Today is the last day of Spring Break, and I was determined to make something of it and I certainly did not want to spend the day dealing with real estate woes, or wedding planning. Regardless of the weather, I was going to do something fun! Fortunately when I woke up, it was sunny so my mom and I decided to go to the coast. We knew when we got there it would most likely be foul weather, but I knew we could find something to do, and inexpensively.

First, we packed some snacks, including a half PB&J, a bag of strawberries, 1 small green apple, 2 string cheeses, Salsa, a small bag of corn chips, and iced tea. After loading supplies into the car, I appropriately slammed my head with the car door leaving a small scratch and a bruise on my forehead (Coincidentally during spring break '07, when taking a trip to the coast in I smashed my finger in my moms car door leaving a gaping, painful wound).

Our first stop was the beach at Road's End, where the Dory Cove restaurant used to be a landmark, but burned down a few years back. I noticed all the 'For Sale' markers on the beach front property and wondering if they, like my mom, had been watching too many Tsunami movies.

When you're going to encounter some of Oregon's finest beaches on a cold, windy day remember these things:
1) Dress warmer than you think you need to be, wear gloves and a scarf!
2) Don't bother stying your hair or your face.
3) Wear a hooded sweater so when mobs of people start feeding the seagulls right next to you you wont get poop in your hair, which wont be swishing around (The Italians seem to believe that when pooped on by pigeons/seagulls it brings good luck, particularly in Venice where a quarter of the birds have hepatitis).
4) If you get pooped on, and it happens to be in your unkempt hair, let it dry- then it will flake off when lightly brushed (so says the Italians).

Don't listen to the Italian's advice about bird poop . . .

So we walked a small ways down the beach, watching people trying to use their kites, feed the maniacal seagulls, and play chicken with the waves. We decided to head back to the car and eat our snacks, since it looked like rain clouds were blowing towards us. Safely in the car munching on our sandwich, we watched a family try to picnic but were thwarted by swarming seagulls and being pelted by the rain and swooshed by the wind. I suggested to my mom we leave since it was starting to resemble one of Hitchcock's finest flicks, and because it was giving me the heebie-jeebies.

The next best thing the beach has to offer is the shopping! We headed down Highway 101 for Lincoln City's finest. First stop was at a wine shop called C&J Boutique: Wine-Cheese-Cigars, where you can go wine tasting for FREE! My mom and I tasted some great local wines from Honeywood Winery in Salem, Eola Hills Wine and a more expensive Italian wine by Cascina Castlet, along with some brie from Blue Heron, and a locally made treat called Triple Chocolate Nirvana, by Caroline's Desserts.

In the same shopping center we stopped at a favorite candle company where you can smell and buy a variety of candles for yourself or gifts. You'll spend a little more on Newport Bay Candles but they're bigger, burn longer and cleaner than most store bought votives. My favorite thing about NB Candles are the fact you only need to burn and the fragrance carries throughout your home or space. The Fragrances we purchased are Pomegranite, Oregon Noble Fir, Red Hot Cinnamon, and new smells Freedom (a mix of strawberry, vanilla and blueberry) ,and Coconut/Cranberry which cant be purchased online yet.

After that we headed down the strip to the Christmas Shop where you can find multitudes of Christmas ornaments all year round, and at all price levels. Its a great place to go if you love Christmas or you want to purchase a gift for someone, or in my mom's case, your tree doesn't have enough pink flamingo ornaments.

In this same shopping mall, between the NB Candle Store and Christmas Cottage there is a great, inexpensive Mexican restaurant called La Roca, even though we didnt stop there this time, smells permeating the walls made our tummies grumble with memories of past burritos and good times had.

We concluded our visit to Lincoln City at Tiki's at 51st, kiddy corner from Mo's. Whats great about Tiki's is that it looks like a surf shop you'd see in the 60's on a California beac, covered in Kitchy beach finds. They serve everything from Stumptown Coffee, Tillamook Ice Cream, Hot Dogs, Cheese/Veggie Burgers and Fish tacos! While sitting outside (some covered seating available) licking your chocolate chip mint ice cream and admiring your tiki trinkets purchased inside, you can chat with talking Blue and Gold Macaw Gypsy who dances to music and nods her head to questions. You can also pose in back of funny beach goer bodies or try and appease the tiki head by letting him taste some of your mom's ice cream while she isn't looking.

Stopped at the corner of 51st and HWY 101, I noticed a great looking art shop on the left corner, offering everything painted in skulls and across the street a Pirate Pastry Shop! Who knew pastries could fend off scurvy? All these great shops down one small section of a long highway, what more could you ask for.

All in all, even though I didnt get to spend much time on the beach, and the sun was hardly out, I had a great last day of Spring Break.

All photos taken by Becca Martino Mar 29. 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Drink for the Community's Sake

Every St. Patrick's Day, Salem residents gather at local bar and McMenamin's chain called Boon's Treasury, who celebrate in style by wearing green, eating traditional Irish fair, clapping along to live music, oh and don't forget McMenamin's Irish stout! When I spoke on the phone to longtime employee named Sam, he said that for as long as he could remember, they've always celebrated the day.
Lynnette Martino and Valerie Karnes raise their glasses to St. Patty! Lynnette is drinking the Irish Stout and Valerie is drinking McMenamin's Ruby Ale.

So, even though I had a paper due Tuesday night at midnight, and a chemistry final in the morning I decided to go take a look for myself to see what it was all about.

The night's lineup included Oregon Defense Force Pipeband who have been playing the pipe's since 1971 according to the band's website, accompanied by an Irish Dancer, which started around 8:15 in the evening playing for a half hour.

Don't know the lyric's to Irish Eyes are Smiling? Don't worry, the Oregon Defense Force Pipeband encourages audiences to sing-along with lyrics written on some tagboard.

Traditional food included Corn Beef Cabbage and Irish Reuben's served alongside McMenamin's Irish Stout. Now I am a vegetarian so I didn't try the grubs, but I can testify that the Irish stout is a mighty tasty beer, not too dark or hoppy in flavor for those who don't enjoy Guinness, but like a flavorful beer.

For many restaurants and businesses, celebratory nights on holidays are often the most anticipated, especially in our economy. Continuing my phone interview with Sam, he said that the economy hadn't hit them too hard, only having to lay-off a less than part time employee; saying that nights like this, are their biggest money making nights of the year and help reduce the chance of further layoffs.

For Salem residents like myself, celebrating St. Patrick's Day at McMenamin's gives us a chance to set aside stresses like college finals, and to pretend we're Irish for the night.

photo /video credits: © Becca Martino 2009.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kids say the darndest things

Saturday night I went to celebrate my moms 60th birthday at a local Indian restaurant called India Palace. As a vegetarian, I really enjoy eating a wide variety of food from all different ethnicities, especially Indian, Thai and Mexican.

Those attending were my adult cousins Dar & Laura, my sister and her two sons Aspen 4, and Gabe 6 (almost 7), my moms best friend Sally, and myself and Kyle. Before we got served Gabe was unsure that he wanted to eat anything except some Garlic Naan. Then a couple people ordered the tandoori chicken which peaked Gabe's interest. As we were educating Gabriel on the importance of sharing (especially with Aspen) he offered me a bite of his chicken. So I had to decline and say that I dont eat meat, I am a vegetarian! This is how the dialogue followed:

Gabe: YOU'RE A VEGETARIAN?! *giggle giggle*
Me: Yes
Gabe: I eat meat only, sometimes vegetables! *giggle* That must make me a megetarian! *giggle*
Me: Actually that makes you an omnivore, if you only ate meat you would be a carnivore.
Gabe: What about cannibals?
Me: Cannibals eat humans, actually they eat each other like people eating people, hamsters eating hamsters, and so on.
Rachel: it's when one species eats its own species
Gabe: Why do some people only eat vegetables.
Me: [thinking how do you explain awfulness of factory farms to a 7 year old] well Gabe, some people really love vegetables, and some people don't like the way animals are treated in factory farms. Personally, I really love vegetables and I dont like the taste of meat!

Then Aspen proceeds to try and share his "chicky" with me. So I say, No Aspen, i think Chicky is gross.

While Gabe and I continue our conversation, Aspen runs behind the table and proceeds to spit out all his chewed up "chicky" on the floor behind us.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shivering with anticipation

Boy oh boy! This term has a lot in store for me!

Today I filled out my graduation worksheet and knowing that I have fulfilled something this monumental is exciting! Up until this point the most accomplished thing I have done was graduate high school.

Second on the list today, is my very first offer making on a potential home for kyle and I. Cross your fingers!


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Resorting to Coffee

Many people who know me today would not classify me as a coffee drinker. I drink tea, I eat burritos, that is who I am. Coffee is not a part of my life. However, any of the people who knew me in high school know that i used to drink coffee all the time- my favorite: Almond Rocha Mocha or straight black.

In highschool a typical weekend night for me was spent at Shari's where we (my boyfriend at the time and a few or several of his friends) would stay there for at least 5 hours drinking coffee and chatting until the sun was thinking about rising then we would retreat to our beds until about 3 pm. One night, not so different than the one just described, I had an awful feeling in my stomach after my second cup of Shari's coffee, black. When I got home I spent the next two days in bed with stomach cramps and diarrhea and I vowed to never drink coffee again. It wasn't long after that when I broke my vow and was back to my regular almond rocha mocha's at school. It was glorious, I just had the stomach flu I told myself and coffee could never be the culprit of such horrible pain. Or so i told myself. But after every 16 ounce Almond Rocha Mocha I would have stomach cramps and the inevitible 'runny tummy'. This time I was a quitter.

I was feeling good when I got up, and enjoyed a healthy protein packed breakfast of eggs and fake sausage and my 'black n blue' whole wheat pancakes, a good afternoon work out at Curves and now I am ready for bed at 1 in the afternoon.

I thought the 12 hours of sleep i had wednesday night and 2 naps on thursday, plus the 12 hours of sleep I had last night would cure me of a never ending tiredness.That weekend in San Diego definitely must have been a doozy for me. Now, as I sit in my room needing to complete four term papers and fighting off sleep, I am resorting to folgers instant coffee with a tablespoon of vanilla syrup and a package of sugar (we have no creamer).

Hello old friend, don't kill my stomach please.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Turn and Face the Strange

It was 6 something in the morning on Sunday March 1st, our last morning in beautiful San Diego as Max's alarm goes off appropriately playing "Changes" by David Bowie, even though I protested the alarm music switch the night before as I had gotten used to waking up to "Pressure" by Queen. "Turn and face the strange," Bowie tells me,"Ch-Ch-Changes". I grumble a little bit before someone started yelling at me to wake up so I could go exploring.

Now home, I always find that a vacation, no matter how small is very mind clearing for myself. I am facing some extremely large changes in my life right now and I found Bowie's tunes to be encouraging. My whole life is being flipped around from the minor like graduating this June to the major by getting married in August. Not only is "tying the knot" a huge change itself, but I have to live with a BOY for the first time, in a house that is "ours". I will have to leave my safety net of school and start the 40 hour work week as he just got accepted into the fire technology program at Chemeketa Community College. Kyle and I are officially changing roles as it were, I will be trying to pay the bills while he puts his nose back in a book.

Even though I'm 24, this is the first time in my life where I feel like I can be acknowledged as an adult. I will potentially have people seeking my services as a photographer; someone will be depending on me to keep a roof over their head and food in their tummy. My cat population will significantly decrease from seven to two since because I cant afford vet bills and cat supplies for these little guys on my own. No longer will I be having the reassurance of my mom covering whatever I can't, like groceries or gas for my car, nor can I take off on random vacations whenever I get a wild hair. This is the first time in my life (aside from my three months in Italy) that I will not live under my mother's roof and the pennies are so scared they're jumping from my almost empty pockets!

"Oh, look out you rock'n'rollers, Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strange"
Sing on, David Bowie, Sing On.

Monday, March 2, 2009

15 hours of sleep in the Golden State

I just got back from the Golden State with my crew at the Commuter, Linn Benton Community College's Newspaper. We left on Wednesday arriving 18 hours later in San Diego around 1:30 Thursday afternoon- much earlier than expected (especially with Greg driving 10 miles under the speed limit).

I was walking with a fellow commuter, Chris, window shopping in stores around the Old Town district and he said "I've learned a lot about myself by being here". I told him that it would make a good article for our paper, and his comment lead to this blog post.

Recounting the whirlwind of activities I realized I didn't speak much about my fiance Kyle, but had a lot to say about everything else. I even had stuff to say when I wasn't very coherent. On the drive home last night through this morning, it came to me. It is easy for me to communicate about the more depressing details of my life, or the exciting ones, but when it comes to something I really, really love I like to keep it all to myself. Keeping good memories about Kyle to myself means no one can damage them or take them away from me. Somehow this allows me to feel like I am protecting Kyle, that I am keeping him safe from an uncertain world and he'll always be mine.

All the time I hear other girls going on about their boyfriends and fiance's and I don't want people thinking, wow that girl has a fiance but other than the ring on her finger you would never know. It is not because I am unfaithful or looking to be so, or that I am trying to keep some kind of secret.

It is because I am keeping Kyle in a place more sacred than my heart- he will always be a permanent fixture in my soul.

photo taken on Coronado Beach, San Diego CA. on March 1st, 2009 by Becca Martino. All rights reserved.
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