…I was doing… allright?

Merp… yadda yadda things are tough.
And I am very sorry I forgot to post =/

I’ve been staying up until 2 and waking up at 7 or 8 to get all these things done… I’m really feeling it =/ I can tell that I need more sleep and have not taken enough time to wind down. So since I haven’t been able to really think of a descent post for ya’ll I’ll share a bit about what I’ve been doing!

Last night (and this morning) I made a poster for a presentation on Wednesday about mental health and how I believe we aren’t doing enough to support not only the students who have mental illnesses, but the students who are having a rough patch and don’t know how to handle it but wouldn’t be “diagnosed” as having a mental health disorder. I proposed a stigma fighting campaign that would help build community around mental health and help people feel more comfortable speaking up and seeking help if they need it.

On Saturday we were able to get out again for a little hike, our first one in a long time that wasn’t up a mountain =] the trails were incredibly muddy but it was really fun and I love getting out. Plus, it is WARM! I was wearing yoga pants and a long sleeve shirt and was getting hot at times =P Also interesting is that one of the trails we wanted to go on next to the river was completely flooded (!!) It’s wild how high the river gets and how much faster it runs in “winter”. I felt the water and it wasn’t even that chilly.

Today is all about them meetings though… so I best be off to them!

WHAT!?

So… I know that I said last week that I couldn’t believe it was week 8 and I was shocked… well apparently I was wrong because this is week 10… which is the last week of the term… AAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

So basically I am struggling super hard because I need to do way more things than I think are possible to do in one week…. so I’ll just be doing a brief post this week (as per the last few weeks… sorry).

Yesterday Nate and I went on a… HIKE! And it was so warm it was MUDDY! Plus I didn’t even need a jacket =P Since it was below freezing the night before it was beautifully clear at the top of the hill.

From the top we could see the three sisters mountains in the back ground which I was very excited about because I haven’t been able to see them yet =]

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I
t was wonderful to be able to get out and adventure a bit, get some physical exercise in, and breathe some wonderfully fresh air. It was also exciting because there were a bunch of people out, so many that the entire parking lot was full =] I love being in a town where so many people are active

I need to get writing a paper… so I am sorry that this is all the time I can spare =[ I hope that this week is wonderful for you!!

cheers,

Kristen

WHERE DID THE TIME GO!

I’m amazed that time is going by so fast!! I’m already starting week EIGHT of grad school!! AHH!

In other exciting news, I’ve finalized my plans to visit MN for part of winter break, so that will be wonderful =] I also just finished reading the first part (the fellowship of the ring) of the Lord of the Rings, and bought all 3 movies for $4 a piece… SCORE! The nerd level is strong in this one…

This weekend our adventure wasn’t hiking for the first time (eep) it was a day trip down to Eugene, OR. There was much shopping to be done, my major purchase was a new backpack!!!! I wanted something that was more professional and actually rain proof since I bike to class/work every day and have gotten there only to find that my books are damp a few times, which makes me VERY nervous to have my computer there. So I got a Timbuk2 biking bag! I thought very long and hard but decided this was/is the best choice for me. Since I don’t bike for a long distance I don’t need to have a two shoulder bag, and the only pannier that would work as a professional bag too was single and prolly would have tipped me over (and I wasn’t fond of it). I’m really in love with my new bag =]

The full bag looks like this:
timbuk2 bag
And it is SUPER reflective, so I’m actually really visible on my bike, which makes me happy and was/is a big concern for me. The entire center section lights up when headlights shine on/near it =]
I am very, very excited to use it tomorrow! The site that has more info is here.

We haven’t found any head over heals thai restaurants yet in Corvallis and we were super excited to get into one while in Eugene. It was called Sweet Basil, and was sooooooo tasty! My tummy is still happy just remembering it =]

As for classes… I though the heat was on before, but that was a lie. I have things due every single day, and not just little things, but presentations, paper, lit reviews, posters, etc etc etc…

blech

So on that note… I need to go off and work on readings and a presentations =] Have a good week!

Kristen

ADVENTURE!

First off, I apologize deeply for forgetting to post last weekend. Nate and I were puppy sitting for two of our friends, and if you know me, everything else in the world disappears when there are puppies involved, and last week it was this blog post. For the privacy of my friends and their adorable fur babies, I won’t post pictures of them but rest assured, they were/are adorable.

Now for this week!

I love adventures and particularly fresh air adventures. So in this stressful time Nate and I are making it a point to get out and hike/explore outside at least once a week. This week we decided to go somewhere close that has become kinda our go to hike, The McDonald-Dunn forest. We have a particular spot that is just off the main road in the mountains, easy access and perfect for a little loop.

So we headed off this afternoon, “bundled” because it was in the mid 40’s (with clear blue skies). As we drove up all of a sudden we started noticing water falling from the trees. The original guess was that dew was falling but there was far to much water to just be from dew. Then we noticed the glistening branches and piles of what looked like snow on the road. The trees were cased in ice. Our best guess is that the clouds usually hovering over the mountains had frozen to the trees in the night and the sun was slowly melting it off.

The other thing we noticed was the huge branches that had fallen. Nate heard stories recently of trees exploding from frozen sap expansion but we didn’t realize our route would take us right into the heart of it. We found our bend in the road, pulled over, and stepped out.

It was astounding. We just stood there for a minute in awe of everything around us. This place is usually breathtaking with the large trees and mountain views, but today was something else. It was like the trees themselves were raining ice resulting a symphony of tinkling, interjected periodically with gun shot like cracks and cascades from branches exploding and falling down, shaking whole sections as they went.
Purely amazing…

On top of that, everything was exceedingly green from recent rains, and the autumn colors were still alive and strong in many places. These colors were only amplified by them being encased in glistening ice.

So off on our adventure we went. We didn’t go as far as was hoped, but it was more exciting than any other hike I had been on, so I call that a win =] For the visual folks I’ll include some pictures.

the changing leaves

the changing leaves

Samplings bent to the road under the weight of the ice

Samplings bent to the road under the weight of the ice

A massive leaf perfectly crusted in ice

A massive leaf perfectly crusted in ice

the beautiful blue sky we got peeks of as we went along

the beautiful blue sky we got peeks of as we went along

The old pit mine

The old pit mine

Moss on a fallen tree was coated in ice

Moss on a fallen tree was coated in ice

This is a section of the road we went along.

This is a section of the road we went along.

Till next week,
Kristen

Merp

Things are interesting. In this busy time of the term things just kinda keep adding up and I’m not certain what to do about them all. I’ve been able to find some support but it’s all still pretty confusing.

I’m also a bit sick… a lot of people in my cohort have been out of class the last couple weeks due to illness and now I’m worried it’s my turn.

I’m also very very behind on my coursework for this week… so this will be a very short post today (sorry).

In happier news, I get to puppy-sit this upcoming weekend!! (Yaaaaaay)

I dressed up this year for halloween as the golden snitch which gave me a fun opportunity to wear glitter (something I rarely, if ever, do). I painted my nails gold which is also a bit confusing to me because I don’t usually paint my finger nails and especially not a color like gold. Usually it’s like a light peach if anything. So I’m highly confused by the shiny things on the end of my fingers =]

I hope your weekend went better!

Kristen

The best workout!

As usual, I’ve been busy (which makes me wonder if busy is a relative term… and if so and I am constantly busy, does that make me busy at all?)…
I think all the questioning that goes along with grad school is getting to me…

Anywho, I volunteered a total of 7 hours this week over 3 different projects, so that’s pretty cool =] Which is the basis for the title of the post. Yesterday Nate and I volunteered 4 hours in the morning at Trillium¬†as a part of Make a Difference Day. Our main job was to help them prep their garden for winter. Nate was the only volunteer comfortable with a hedge trimmer so he was tasked with using said trimmer to cut down the massive wildflowers in the ditch around the garden. We’re talking a 4 foot wide by around 300 foot long ditch filled with wildflowers that were taller than Nate at times, meaning they were ~6’5″ tall… My job was to clean out everything as Nate went along so that he could come back through and cut down the stuff he missed. This was all fun at first until 30 mins in when my thighs and gluteus started cramping. If you think about it, I was doing constant squats, lunges, and hill hikes (in and out of the ditch to put the debris in piles) for 4 hours. I was also lifting, pulling, and raking as we went along, so it’s of little surprise that every inch of my body is sore today, likewise for Nate. We have to use the furniture to pull ourselves up/sit down, it involves a lot of rolling and propping haha. It’s also a beautiful day outside, but we walk at ~4 hours a mile pace (which is painfully fast for us right now), so we decided not to very sadly. Instead I’m nearly passed out on the couch with the sun shining in on me and the beautiful fall foliage right out the window, it’s still quite nice =] I was telling Nate earlier that I haven’t been this sore since middle school likely. I can’t even touch my toes! and for those who know how normally flexible I am, this is nearly absurd.

In other news, we went to our first dinner party last night!! The chef was astounding… I am still in awe of how tasty it was! The ingredients came from the Corvallis farmers market… that morning =] and we had Oregon wine from the vineyard that she works at… also, Oregon hazelnuts that she toasted herself… twas amazing.

In slightly less impressive culinary achievements, Nate and I made a braided pizza on Friday! It turned out way better than we expected, see for yourself =]
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yummmm… We use Bobby Flay’s recipe for the dough and tend to put whatever we want on the inside. As for the braiding, I just kinda went for it. Next time we’ll braid it more intentionally.

The weather is starting to get more damp, which is interesting because almost every morning we wake up to beautiful fog (no, that was not sarcastic). Yesterday the mountains were fantastic, since it was hazy with scattered drizzles the visibility was a little low. This made it so that when you looked at the mountains you could make out the layers of them as they faded off into the distance, getting lighter as they went. It was beautiful and made for a fun drive after volunteering that morning. Though the picture doesn’t do it justice, I’ll share anyway so you can get an idea:
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The mountains in view here normally look like one solid mass going along, so it was particularly cool to see the different values of them to hint at which is closer and which farther.

I’ve also now seen a day where it is 100% humidity and 0% chance of rain:
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It was noticeable even when you looked across the street =]
I think the most interesting thing is that even if a day is rainy and downpours, it will be be sunny for at least a little bit, and when it is, it’s magnificent
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As you may have noticed… I did not mention classes at all, that is intentional, and that subject will not be discussed today or in the near future as it is fairly overwhelming.

I hope your days are beautiful as well =]
Kristen

Ooooops!

Ok…. let’s just say that I’ll post sometime on the weekend from now on =]

Things are even busier than before, I’m writing more than I ever have… and reading…. and researching…. which takes a large amount of time. It is so wonderful to be able to go out into the surrounding in my little breaks.

For example, today Nate and I were able to adventure out to the Rouge hop yard/pumpkin patch (/hazelnut orchard/ bee hives/everything awesome) for a harvest party. We picked our own pumpkin (which is straight up massive!), had beer made from pumpkins that came from the same field as ours, met a BUNCH of puppies, and adventured through mountains.

It was really a great way to relax before this week.

I have papers on papers due, and I cannot even comprehend the amount of work I’ll be doing…
With that being said, I should get to writing…

NEWS!

Sooo… all the news!

First things first, since it’s official I can now say that my partner Nate has a job (WEEEEEE!!!!!!!) He is working as the network/PC specialist for the 3 newspapers around here. Apparently he is constantly busy and though he just had 3 days of work, he’s already been all over doing all sorts of things. I think this is great, and very,very exciting.

Secondly, it’s getting “colder” here. That means that today is a “cold” day… and it’s in the 70’s =]
meanwhile in mn
ok it’s not that bad there… but there was a frost warning for Minneapolis!
I also shouldn’t tease too much because we have a day with a high of 57 coming up… It’s interesting because in MN, if it’s cold when you wake up, chances are it will stay that way. Here, it’s cold and foggy in the AM, but sunny and I’m sweating by the afternoon. That process is basically everyday.

In other exciting news, I was told that I need to blog every week for one of my classes about how my transition to grad school is going… sooooo…. check! If you notice a shift in content here, or more of an explanation about how something is effecting me or why I’m writing a piece, this is why =]

Also for one of my jobs I am heading up the departments blog, so I will be posting weekly there about things that are more research based and/or my story and how it is impacted by a study/backs up one, ect. Which is also exciting for me because the audience is “educators” at the institution which means I am running a platform from which to advocate for students well-being… WEEEEEEEEEE!

I’m taking a break from the homeworks and going to a haunted corn maze with Nate and some other friends tonight… which if you know me… will be… interesting… because I cannot handle scary things. Nate is prepared to be death gripped and I am prepared to be found tomorrow morning asleep in the corn where I will be hiding.
Wish me luck =]

As for you all, I hope your week has been wonderful and you weekend even better.
Kristen

Some Self Reflection

I’m done with my first week of grad school!!! (cue the matching band)
So that happened.
I also wrote my first APA paper (And first paper of grad school), read an entire book in 2 days, settled into my second office, went to a dinner party, an October fest, a game night, shopped at the outlet mall for “grown up clothes” and “adventure pants”, aaaaand relaxed for one of the last times this season on the beautiful sky high rooftop among wonderful company.
To say we’ve been busy is an understatement.
There were several exciting events that happened that I cannot yet share which made me too excited to remember to post yesterday, I apologize for that.

I am loving my classes, my jobs, and my cohort. I know I’m in the right place when I can describe all my wildest dreams for my career and people not only nod but say things like “that’s great!” and “that is exactly what we need at the university”. Even better is when I tell my bosses and they say “have you heard of ___, because they would be perfect” or “How about if you head up the ____, that way you’re getting some ____ experience in so you can market yourself in the future”. How great is that!?

Recently I learned that someone who was an amazing mentor to me reads this blog when they are feeling unsure about the work that they do and need some inspiration/motivation to keep going. This inspired me to share one of my favorite quotes that contains a message I believe we don’t hear enough and don’t tell others enough.
“If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you” -A.A.Milne
This is actually something that Christopher Robin says to Winnie the Pooh because Pooh was afraid of Christopher Robin leaving. It is easy to get bogged down with feelings of inadequacies, self doubt, and nervousness. It happens to every one, heck, in my field there is even a phrase for it: “impostors syndrome”.
So next time any of you feels that way and doesn’t want to try, this is my message to you that I hope you some day can internalize and tell yourself:
You are capable, you are wise, and you bring something to the world that it cannot get without your voice and your mind. So go try. You may fail, you may falter… you may succeed. Your stumbles are not stupidity. Often a stumble is a step toward something greater you may not see right now. No mater what happens, you are always amazing and worthy of your place at the proverbial table. I will always think that of everyone, especially you. So be brave, you can do it, as you have many times before. Be strong, you always are, even in your weakest moments. And be the smart human I know you are, I’ve seen you engage with your world keep questioning, and keep wondering. I know you are amazing, you’re made up of exploded star stuff, how could you be anything else =]

There are no pictures of my own this week, I apologize again for the business and the late post. I haven’t forgotten about you!
Instead, I’ll leave you with a pep talk from one of my favorites, Kid President!

with all the love I can give,
Kristen