Oregon U-Haul List Update

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Sadly and with regret, I don’t think we will get to some items on our Oregon Bucket List. Let’s review the items that remain unchecked.

Kristen
Snowboard on my birthday (July 19th) at Mt. Hood – I guess this is still a possibility depending on when we move, however this winter has been quite dry so I am not sure if we will have snow available.
Find a Glass Float at Lincoln City’s Finder’s Keepers – Seriously I tried I spent hours walking along the beach looking for a glass float, but it was all in vain. However I am content to just make my own during the Larson Family Reunion this June.

Bobby
Graduate from the U of O Architecture Grad Program – This is basically done, graduating is just a technicality.

Both
Participate in Salem Grape Stomp – Bobby wasn’t too thrilled about this idea, so we haven’t done it. But if we are still in the area this upcoming September he will have no choice.
Hike at the Columbia River Gorge – After graduation I have a feeling this may occur as a farewell hike.. unless we move to another area in the Pacific Northwest then I guess its just a hike.
White Water Raft the Deschutes or the Rogue – Okay this one was a bit more hard to come by and I don’t know when it will ever happen. I can continue to wish for it right?
Cliff Jump into Opal Pool – Now we hiked up to the pool and back already but I still want to jump in. However it might be a stupid thought because I don’t know exactly how I would get out of it, unless we brought our climbing rope. Needless to say this would require a lot of planning.

 

A Challenge

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Earlier this year I felt I was in a slump. An occasion where I don’t feel like I have been productive, feel sorry for myself, which makes me even more unproductive: it’s a pathetic cycle.

One day I said to myself, “I am done with this. I need to write down a list.” So I did. I wrote down goals for myself and how to accomplish them or ideas that might prevent that cycle.

One of my ideas was to create something new each week. The only stipulation is that it cannot be work related or on the “honey-do” list. As a graphic designer I made sure to write down that it does not need to ALL be design related. It could be a craft (like making my sliding gloves for my longboard), photo essay, writing, painting, playing the piano or design! Basically, I just wanted to make sure that I remembered to not only limit myself to one note with my own challenge.

So far I have completed three weeks worth of my challenge and I am quite pleased with myself. Surprisingly not one has been design. Two have been writing related (a wannabe poem and a lecture) and a photo essay. I might share the writing someday but writing is not my strong suit so I am a bit nervous to put it out there. So far its safe in my notebook.

Does anybody want to join my challenge? Comment below and lets do this together!

Collection of Animal Creatures

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While at the Butchart Gardens Bobby started to find little moss creatures and was completely fascinated by them. The following is just a glimpse of what would happen when we would find a new creature.

“How do they make them? Do they start by manually bunching up the moss and form it that way? Or do they have a chunk of moss and do they shave it to take an animal form? Hey Kristen look! It’s bears!! Quick take a picture of me with them while I make a bear face.”

Seriously and this is why I think that if Bobby had a previous life he spent it as a wild bear.

Do you have a favorite? Bobby’s were the bears.

Butchart Gardens

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If you think this was a photo overload, you should see the rest of my memory card… This was just a snapshot of what I got.

The Butchart Gardens are absolutely stunning, and it was only spring where a lot of the flowers were just blossoming. I can only imagine what the gardens look like during the summer. We got to the gardens early in the morning and were some of the only people there for the first couple hours. It was utterly serene and beautiful.

Poppi’s Anatolia

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Bobby and I stumbled upon this restaurant when we first moved to Eugene. Poppi’s Anatolia remains my favorite restaurant in town.

Prior to Eugene life, I was spoiled in Illinois. I went to Uncle Pete’s nearly every week.. if my paycheck allowed it. When I left Moline and moved to Idaho I tried every gyro place I could find, not one measured up. I thought it was a futile quest to search for a good gyro only to come second best to the memories from Illinois. So I kind of gave up.

But after five years of searching my quest paid off. It happened.. a gyro comparable to Uncle Pete’s!

Needless to say it was a breath of fresh air this week when I had to go to the auto shop for unforeseen car maintenance and I had hours of time to kill and obviously working in the auto lounge was out of the question so I decided to kick back and relax at Poppi’s Anatolia. And it was worth it.

I Curl

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I mentioned in a previous post that when Bobby is working on architecture/school work that I just leave. In hindsight that seems a bit extreme taken out of context. A better way to say it is that I just work on other things outside of the apartment. To illustrate my point, out of the blue, I decided to start curling. I have gone to the junior curling championships as a spectator when I was younger and it just came back to me and I looked up where I could play and got started. A bit random yes. But is it amazing, you bet. It looks so much easier than it really is. The concept is easy, get as many stones as close to the center as possible. That is easier said than done my friends, easier said than done.

These pictures are from the last game of our league, we won! I am quite astonished how much of a difference I made. I give myself the “most improved” award, due to the amazing double take out shot I made that helped us win the game.

It felt nice to get back on a team again. I love the intensity and focus I am forced to have. Having a team is like having your extended family around, they become close friends and even though in normal circumstances you might have never met, you are thrown together and have a sportsman bond that does feel like family.

Progress Report

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Graduation is coming and I couldn’t be more ready for it. I don’t know if I have done good enough work to land myself a job yet, but I am definitely ready to be finished with school. When I was in High School I never thought that I would be in college until I was 28 years old, but it happened and it is finally coming to an end.

Architecture is a lot of fun. We get to feel like we can change the world by designing a beautiful building and the end result of our work is something permanent that can have real impacts on the lives of those who it is built for. I look forward to the day when my projects will exist in the real world and not just the digital world.

My three years at the University of Oregon have been wonderful. I have had a lot of great experiences and learned a lot about Architecture and also life in general. Kristen always gives me a hard time about how my colleagues and I talk so much about sustainability. It is the big buzzword in architecture right now, and at the U of O we know how to do it right. I have spent countless hours calculating the carbon footprint of the decision to use concrete as a structural material or researching native ecosystems to protect and incorporate into the functional landscaping around a building. In conjunction with my Master of Architecture degree, I will also be receiving the Ecological Design Certificate which has been the product have taking interdisciplinary courses in environmental science, planning public policy and management, geology, and historic preservation about protecting the environment, preserving the past, and designing public spaces in cities to facilitate sustainable lifestyles.

I have also had the great opportunity of working with the University of Oregon Campus Construction department for the last 2 years.  They have placed their trust in me to help out with many aspects of their work including project management and facilities energy monitoring.  All of which add to my list of qualifications so hopefully that means that I can get a job now that I am done.  That is going to be the next big step so if there are any architects out their reading this lets set up a time to meet together so I can tell you about all of the work I have done.

Bobby’s Portfolio: http://issuu.com/bobbyglarson/docs/larsonportfolio

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Kristen’s design for my graduation announcement.

Quick Trip to Rockaway Beach

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About a month ago, I met up with my brother Justin at Rockaway Beach, Oregon. We went to the Tillamook Factory, and really we just spent time together for a chill weekend.

When Bobby and I moved to Oregon nearly three years ago I was excited for the adventure. That excited faded quickly when I realized that not only did I know NOBODY I had no idea where I was and my best friend was doing school work non-stop, I really started to value friendships and family relationships more than I previously had.

I am so grateful that I now have my brother and nephew so close even though they are a few hours away, it a better commute than the next closest sibling which is 15 hours away (via driving).

Lately

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A couple weeks ago something strange happened as I walked into work. As usual I was the first one there and I unlocked the building, however this morning there was a woman waiting for me.

She said, “Oh good, do you work here?”

K: Yeah, I do.

Lady: I just was waiting here because I wanted to notify you of a baby fox in the bushes.

K: Whoa, really. Where?

Anyways she took me to where the fox was, and I just decided to pick it up. It was a puppy. A cute orange puppy. She was so scared and cold and snuggled me and then didn’t want to leave my side for the rest of the day. I named her CeeCee.

Reluctantly we gave her to animal control, but I hear she was adopted by a wonderful family.

The Grand Teton Adventures

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Before I left on my mission I decided that I wanted to go on one more adventure. I had always heard about people that had climbed the Grand Teton, and people that had died climbing the Grand Teton and I thought to myself, what better time is there to make a life threatening ascent than when the Lord is highly invested in me to be able to survive a few more months so that I can serve a mission. My dad gave me a little help by talking to some guys in our ward (a local church congregation) and we made plans to make the ascent with the two Snells and my sister Charlotte.

We had decided to climb the “great boob” all in one go so that we would not have to climb with a bunch of extra gear on our backs for spending the night with (french fir trappers gave the mountain its name which translated literally means the great big boob). We made the big push from 2:00 am until 10:00 pm and made it to the top and back without too much trouble other than exhaustion.

The exhibition went so well when I got home from Brazil I decided that I would try it again, but this time I would take my entire family and a few friends. Instead of four people we had a group of ten that made the ascent. The extra numbers made it a little extra complicated on the trip, but we made it to the top again. This time we slept over night in the lower saddle before making the accent to the top. Camping out was fun, but if I was given the choice again, I think that I would have rather climbed it all in one shot as we had done before, because we really did not end up sleeping very much in the saddle.

The Grand is an incredible climb with some very interesting technical stretches. At one point you have to walk along a two foot ledge with a two thousand foot shear drop just to your left. There is another part that they call the belly roll where you have to army crawl through a cleft in the rock with another shear waiting for you if you slip off.

I don’t know if I will ever have the opportunity to make the climb again, but if I do it will be well worth it.

More of Bobby’s Climbing Adventures:
Mt. Hood
Plain of Six Glaciers
The South Sister

One More Term

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Bobby started his last term today. We have 10 more weeks of grad school then he will be a Master of Architecture.

He works hard, he is a dedicated guy, always thinking about how to be a better architect. This last term was a ‘part one’ of sorts to his thesis/terminal studio. The next term will be even more refining and editing and I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Bobby and I have been in this boat together for nearly three years, nearly as long as we have been married. Things have gotten easier, mid-terms and finals are still a whirlwind I tend to want to forget, but other than that I think we finally got used to it or school has gotten easier (that’s a question for Bobby) or it might seem that way because I just started to exit stage right when I knew Bobby was mentally checked out and focusing on his work.  Perhaps what is really happening is familiarity. Change happened it was scary and new. Now, three years later its just the same ole’ thing, we know how to cope with our daily challenges.

The future is unknown and daunting but thrilling at the same time. I am excited to start a new chapter in our book of life. Perhaps add a new city to live in, new jobs, new apartment, make new friends, new ward (church), maybe we will even add a dog to our family. What I am trying to say is, things are changing. I am excited about it, yet nervous. Change brings uncertainty and I will be back in the boat I was in three years ago, which is ironically a familiar place for me to be.

San Francisco Part 4

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Kristen and I both went to San Francisco, but our trips were very different from one another.  Kristen spent her time visiting the touristy spots and going on trolley and boat rides while I spent my time going to see great buildings with my classmates. We visited some pretty great places I included some of my favorites.

The Ferry Building was an incredible example of adaptive reuse of a historic structure.  The building is a reused structure from the turn of the century. They gutted the interior to create a three story atrium space with ground floor retail and offices above.  If you go there they will let you up into the mezzanine structure so that you can admire the beautiful structure that is highlighted by the giant skylights.

The Grand Hyatt had an amazing 17 story atrium that was decorated for the holidays with hundreds of strings of lights that dangled the full height of the open space. The building has a very unique shape.  On the street edge it is normal in order to maintain the urban fabric, but on the north edge, the building steps down, ziggurat style in order to allow for daylight to come down in to the surrounding public space. This angled stepping form is expressed in the atrium as well which creates a very dynamic space.

The San Francisco Federal Office Building was my favorite.  It is an awesome high performance building that was a good example for my terminal studio project. The building looks really crazy form the outside, but the very articulated sun screen which gives the building its dynamic appearance, is only a covering over a very simple linear plan with a narrow footprint. Some of the key sustainable features include natural ventilation incorporated into the double facade which also filters sunlight to provide a great working environment for it occupants.

I had some great company for the trip with my professor and classmates. Eventually we all met back with Kristen and had Ice Cream together at Ghirardelli Square.

The next day we all went to the California Academy of Sciences.  The academy building was another adaptive reuse project designed by Renzo Piano. Its key identifying feature are its spherical exhibit spaces. The rainforest sphere takes its occupants up through the varied levels of the tree canopy where you have the chance to interact with some of the forest creatures, including some of the crazy spiders that they let live free and accessible to the visitors.

The trip was super fun and educational at the same time. San Francisco has a lot to offer for anyone who comes to visit.

Lets Recap

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San Francisco – We ran across the Golden Gate Bridge before we headed to In and Out and then proceeded to drive back to Oregon. While on the bridge I looked over the east side towards the city and spit into the bay. Of course I was as surprised as anybody else would have been once they realized that they spit into the wind and it was coming back up at you with a vengeance.

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Portland Winterhawks – My love for hockey was reignited when we drove up to Portland to see the Winterhawks play. Seriously I could care less about football, but hockey, thats a different story. I wish I lived in Portland now, I could get used to regularly going to hockey games and cheering on my team.

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Snowshoeing at Odell Lake – Each year without fail (while living in Eugene, 2012, 2013) I have gone to the REI Winterfest at Gold Lake Sno Park. This year we got hit by a crazy snow storm and nobody wanted to brave the roads, so I decided to wait for another couple weeks and hope for sunny skies and a beautiful view, and it was a success! Although since it wasn’t during the festival the trails became hidden and we had to rely on the trail markers and pave our way through snow that was nearly thigh high in some areas. It was very rewarding once Crystal E. and I got to the overlook and saw Diamond Peak.