A Belated Easter Message

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This Easter I was with some of my family in New Orleans. We were about to part ways when we decided to go to the Saint Louis No. 2 Cemetery. We didn’t even think about the symbolism behind visiting grave sites on Easter until we got there. I was momentarily overcome by how perfect and still things seemed.

Seeing a mausoleum for the first time really put into perspective the miracle of the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I felt I was able to understand a portion of the feelings Mary had when she came and found the empty tomb. I also felt gratitude. Gratitude for the love my heavenly Father has for me and all of His children.

Reevaluating

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I am now about 300 friends lighter on Facebook. It feels great. I now have fewer friends than my grandmother does on her account. This was quite a feat to accomplish.

I was getting tired of just seeing what Facebook thought I wanted to see from people I hardly keep in contact with. In reality a lot of the people I was “friends” with I knew them but I wasn’t comfortable sharing with them.

It was time for a rehaul. I was either going to cut the cord on my account or be brutal and unfriend people. I choose to be brutally honest with myself on who was really my friend. I am sure some people won’t even realize that I am gone. I still have more “friends” to reevaluate but I wasn’t ready to break that connection (really it’s because I don’t want to start any drama) so for now they stay.

My method for “unfriending” is as follows:
1. Christmas card list. If I had unlimited funds would I send them a Christmas card?
2. Facebook Abuse. Does said person annoy me with what they share or say. Do they post a million times a day?
3. Do I look up to them? Some people I will admit that we are not close. However they remain because I admire them. They share great content and I would love to have them be my neighbor.
4. Family. Shockingly if you are a part of my extended family that does not mean you get a free pass to stay. Immediate family stays. Extended family is determined on if I can place you with the correct Aunt/Uncle, if we actually have ever talked, and/or if I think we are only “friends” because we are family. I know some cousins that I have tried to connect with however I get ignored, so yes I cut the online tie.

This isn’t to say that just because I “unfriended” somebody that I won’t talk to them in person. My account is used for close friends and family only. Not acquaintances. Once that bridge is crossed I will welcome them with open online arms.

Friendships are built on trust, mutual respect and shared interests. When I have a conversation with my friends we can talk for hours and hours. We talk about our highs and lows and all the stuff in between. There is no filter.

I read an article about online relationships, written by Steve Almond, and the concluding paragraph said, “That’s what I think we were mainly put on earth to do: tell our stories… But the version of ourselves we present via Facebook feels oddly airbrushed, a form of marketing more than true accounting of our lives. … But these apps are all about constructing a self, not revealing one.”

So here is my first step to trying to reveal myself, the good and the bad. Obviously some things will be left unsaid. But I can now share more with the people I know who are going to be there for me rather than those that might only be there to “like” me.

I Can’t Escape

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Over spring break Bobby and I went to Seattle and Victoria. I told Bobby upfront that we weren’t going to tour any buildings unless it looked like a castle. So of course while we were at The Butchart Gardens Bobby found the carousel building and he had to wander around it. He was obsessed with the concrete that was manipulated into possessing a wooden texture to give it more of an organic feel (at least that is my conclusion).

My spring break mission had failed.

At least it was a carousel, which are always enchanting, unless they collapse.

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