Career/Professional, Family, Friendship, Oregon

Catching Up in 2016…

So it has officially been a month since I last blogged.

Oops. I’ve been doing so well over the past year, but I was bound to have a dry spell again, and it definitely won’t be the last time. To be fair, 2016 has already been a whirlwind, and when I wasn’t busy, I really wasn’t motivated. So today will really just be about catching up a bit and sharing what I have been up to so far this year.

Extra points for those who aren’t related to me and didn’t just close the web browser.

Homeward Bound Again

In the almost 8 years since having left Oregon, I usually always go a few months in between my trips home. This time though, work sent me back just two short weeks after I had been home for Christmas.

This is also where I should note that over those past 8 years of a LOT of air travel, I have a pretty good track record. Only once have I had to spend the night in an airport. I have had to run to make a connection maybe 2 or 3 times and again there has only been one time that I had to get a hotel because of a missed connection due to delays. But my flight to Portland on this trip? I missed completely because I slept in. Let me tell you, the feeling of dread when you wake up and see daylight through the window when you should have been at the airport before sunrise, is not something I want to feel again. I was able to catch another direct flight later in the afternoon, but I am still pretty embarrassed.

My trip to Portland was to participate in a PNW Wheat Marketing Tour with the Idaho Wheat Commission, to experience the wheat supply chain from start to finish. I really value anytime that I get to spend quality time with our farmers and I especially enjoyed seeing a city that I grew up near through a new set of lenses. I won’t go into to much detail, but I did write a short article about my experience, “Pacific Northwest Grain Industry Tour Reveals Source of Quality, Reliability” that you can read here.  My favorite part was hands down, was the opportunity to ride on a tugboat that was pushing a barge up the river.  I didn’t know it was possible to nerd out that much over a tugboat, but friends, IT WAS SO COOL. Even though I grew up watching tugboats and barges on the nearby Columbia River, transportation in agriculture is one of the sectors that I know the least about. Life on the tugboat is a unique line of work and I now have a much better appreciation for that part of the supply chain.

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The Wheat Marketing Center is one of a kind. This is a great place for tours and learning about wheat foods. They are doing a lot of really could research!
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Out on the tugboat! It was SO cold!

I was in Portland Sunday through Wednesday, when my sister drove in to pick me up and take me back home to Eastern Oregon. As always I packed as much as I possibly could into my time at home. On Thursday I went to my old high school to speak with two groups of students. My audience ranged from freshmen to seniors so instead of just focusing on same old college and career prep that they are going to endlessly hear from someone else, I chatted with them on the importance of your “own personal brand” and the role it plays — whether you have an online presence or not — in both college and the start of your career. I shared with them about some of my personal experiences, how I’ve handled both success and failure and a few real life tips. The one student that I personally knew assured me that it was a really good presentation, and I definitely wasn’t lame. .. to be honest, I was just really pumped that I was able to tie in both a Harry Potter and Doctor Who meme into my key messages. #adulting.

I spent some time with my family, watching the high school boys basketball game that my Grampy coaches, and on Saturday my whole family went to our local annual variety show, which was complete with a cast iron-cooked dinner. This is the first year that I have been able to go, and it certainly reminded me why I love my small hometown. The highlight of my weekend though, was being able to attend my best friend’s baby shower. Richole and Dustin are due mid-March, and when they heard that I would be back home again, Richole’s mother-in-law agreed to move the shower date just so I could be there. I have a few friends with babies now, but Richole is the first of my best gals, and that meant the world to me that I could be there to help celebrate.

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Love this girl so much, and I am so excited to see her become a mama.

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Winter Storm Jonas

A few days after I got back from Oregon, the East Coast was hit by Winter Storm Jonas. Now I’ve grown up with snow in the mountains and there were blizzards in Kansas, but this storm and experience was UNREAL. My college friend Jancey had been in town that week for a conference and was planning on staying through the weekend for a fun tourist weekend with me. Instead, she ending up snowed in with me and couldn’t get a flight out for another 2 days. The snowfall lasted for about 36 hours straight and accumulated an average 17 to 26 inches throughout the area. My office was closed for two full days and there were many more half days and delayed starts. When I first moved hear people tried to explain that the city pretty much shuts completely down. Of course, until I experienced it first hand I couldn’t quite grasp what that meant. Grocery stores were empty, and I had a carton of eggs stolen out of my cart the day before storm! A reporter I know back in Kansas even referenced it in a article she wrote #thingsyoucantmakeup. Jancey and I watched A LOT of movies, ventured out a few times when visibility finally cleared up and participated in an epic snowball fight outside of the Clarendon Metro Station. Oh and I had a leak in my kitchen ceiling. I might have some good stories, but its definitely an experience I am not looking forward to having again anytime soon. I really wish WordPress would get its act together and make it easier to attach videos without first putting them on YouTube, because there are a few on my Instagram and Facebook that capture quick looks at our long, crazy weekend.

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Josh Abbott Band

In college I built my budget around being able to go to concerts of all sizes and genres.  But Aggieville, the bar district in Manhattan, KS, is where I fell in love with red dirt/Texas country music. Since moving to DC I hadn’t sought any of the music scenes yet, so when a friend told me she heard JAB would be in the area, there was no way that I was going to miss it. The venue, 9:30 Club, was great, and apparently one of the more popular small venues in the area. A K-State friend who is a student at Georgetown Law tagged along, and while it was great to hear some of their new music, I was really excited to hear most of my old favorites that made me fall in love with the genre and really, Kansas, in the first place.

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Josh Abbott Band at 9:30 Club

Board Meetings

A lot of my busy schedule recently was due to the winter board meeting at work. While our summer and fall meetings are always at other locations, the winter one is here in DC. Between the holidays, travel and the winter storm, by the time I reached the week of the board meeting, it felt like I hadn’t had a “normal” since about mid-December. But even though this meeting had a different pace because the staff doesn’t travel, I really enjoy board meetings. I love the collaboration and hearing about what the different parts of our organization are working on and accomplishment. And of course I really value the opportunity to interact with our farmers and state staff. Outside of the DC office there are so many quality people who contribute to our mission, and getting to know those people personally adds so much more purpose to my career. I was especially excited though, because we recently brought on one of my good friends as a freelancer for the communications team and she was able to make it up to DC for the meetings. Nicole and I both call Northeast Oregon home and vaguely knew each other through FFA, and then ended up becoming friends as ag comm majors at K-State. It’s always nice when the world feels a bit smaller and I am so excited that our paths have continued to cross back and forth.

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Nicole and I were able to make a little bit of time for some tourist fun.

Thanks for catching up with me. Next week I will be back to a regular blogging schedule. I am pretty excited that end of winter is in sight! So far my spring calendar includes National Ag Day events, a girls weekend NYC trip with my best friend Megan, a quick work trip to Kansas, searching for a new apartment to move into at the end of May and HOPEFULLY a quick trip to Georgia to watch my sister play in the NAIA Women’s Golf Championship!

Always something to look forward to.!

Cheers.

Family, Oregon

A Christmas Rewind.

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Over the holidays I decided to step away from sharing on my blog and enjoy the vacation time I had at home in Oregon with my family. But before we got to far into the New Year I wanted to make sure that I documented and shared a bit about my trip home. This post will probably be pretty dull if you don’t know me or really care, just FYI 🙂

This year, I learned that cross country flights during the holidays need to be bought REALLY EARLY. Fortunately, my family was able to make it work for me to fly into Portland instead of Pasco, which helped cut down the costs. I flew into Portland the Friday before Christmas and was picked up by my Grammy. My Grampy is the interim head basketball coach at Hermiston High and they just happened to have a tournament in Portland that weekend. So my Grammy and I spent the afternoon together, getting lunch downtown with my Uncle Jay and walking around Powell’s book store. Powell’s has multiple floors, covering an entire city block and is an iconic part of  Portland. My Grammy is a big reader like me — we are always sharing suggestions back and forth — so it was really fun to spend that time with her discussing books, authors and exploring Powell’s. That evening we went to the basketball game, where I freaked out just a little when I realized I had babysat a few of the players — it’s guess its easy to forget that little kids can grow up quite a bit in 6 to 7 years. After the game we made the late night 2.5 hour trip home to Hermiston.

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As always my time at home was really busy and packed full of my favorite people. My Dad had his knee replaced at the beginning of December and was still limited in what he could and how much he could be out and about, so I spent a lot of time at home with him, taking him to PT and on a few outings, which always was a bit entertaining. It also meant that his truck was all mine for the week 🙂 I hung out at the flower shop and tried to stay out of the way (mostly), spent a few evenings catching up with my girlfriends and spent an afternoon shopping and catching up just with my sister. Josh and Sonia, my uncle and his fiance, just built a house and were just given the keys at the beginning of the week, so the rest of my week was spent helping them get everything moved in (or visiting while they worked) so that we could celebrate Christmas in their place. We did take a break though to watch the new Star Wars movie. Growing up, Josh babysat my sister and I in the summers and to say that we watched a lot of Star Wars is putting it lightly. I had texted Josh weeks before telling him that he better wait for me to go it, and I think we all but embarrassed Sonia by how excited we were.

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This is also where I should probably add the only really bad part about my vacation. To go into details about HOW, its easier to describe using my hands, but the story is that I burned the outside of my right hand pretty bad with the curling iron wand. The area is about the size of a half dollar coin and well friends, IT REALLY FREAKING HURT. The first day it took me about 5 hours before I could stand to take it off the ice pack and I cried again the first time we put Neosporin on it, which is a bit out of character for me. It’s healing pretty well now, (evident by the insane itch) and going to leave me with a pretty good scar, which just aren’t nearly as cool as they were when I was a kid.

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Christmas was laid back and wonderful. It was fun to celebrate in a new place, and their home is really beautiful! We ate my Dad, Grammy and sister’s delicious food, played a few hysterical rounds of the game HeadBanz and watched the movie Inside Out. The next day I traveled back to Portland with my Uncle Jay and Aunt Michelle, so that I could catch a red eye out of Portland Saturday night. It worked out perfectly though because the Trailblazers were playing the Cavs and my Uncle and I were able sit in my Grampy’s seats and watch the game before I had to go to the airport. I don’t really like Lebron James, but I still wanted to see him play in person. The Blazers had a HUGE game though, and James underwhelmed.

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This was the first red eye that I ever took, and if you asked me how it was just based on the first flight I would have said it was great! I got a row to myself and was actually able to sleep the whole time. My connection in Minneapolis went fine and I thought from there it would be smooth sailing and I would be home and crawling into my bed for a long nap before noon eastern time. Long story short, that didn’t happen. Morning fog in D.C. didn’t allow us to land and after an extra hour in the air they diverted us to Baltimore and after MANY setbacks I was finally on a shuttle bus to D.C. and home before 5 pm.

My Christmas vacation was filled with fun and love, and I am always so thankful that I continue to get to be home with my family and that we can spend it all together.

Cheers!