Happy birthday, Zina!

Posted on 4/22/2012

It was my Aunt Zina's 48th birthday this weekend and we decided to meet in Hood River (between her house and my parents house) for the weekend to celebrate. It was a great idea since about 15 minutes outside Portland it became beautiful and sunny instead of the cloudy rainy weather that has been been happening all week.
We got the most adorable and delicious cupcakes from Bella Cupcakes to celebrate how cute are they?? Also... sooo good :)
We decided to go on a hike that was rated "fairly easy" in my Mom's hiking book, Curious Gorge, but the author's definition of easy is definitely different then ours... because it ended up being 3 miles straight up and we all thought we were going to die of heat exhaustion. We also only brought one water bottle. It was still really fun though. And the view at the top was gorgeous!
Photobucket The way down was a little easier...but we still went straight to get slurppes after finishing!
Hood River is a really cute town too. I have never really visited it before, only driven through or maybe stopped for lunch. We found a ton of thrift stores and I couldn't help myself. I LOVE old children's books. They are SO cool I could not resist buying a big stack- they were all only a quarter. I bought like 20.... I just have to hide them from any guys I date or they will think I am a total baby crazy freak-I'm not really, I just love books!
Sunday morning we went on a little hike before breakfast and found this rock staircase with these gravestones. It was really strange but very cool.
After breakfast we went on another hike/walk (that's #3, if you're counting...) along the river.
It was such a fun weekend! I do love my family.

4.14&15, weekend

Posted on 4/15/2012

Zina came to visit :)
beautiful weather all weekend!
Mom convinced us to help her paint her bedroom...
Long Sunday morning walk
Lunch in Ridgefield, Washington.

Back in the USA :)

Posted on 4/14/2012

I've been back in the amazing, cold and wet Portland for about a week now. Some people have asked me if I am going to stop blogging now that I am not in Europe, and I probably wont. It's such a convenient way to record my life so, sorry I am here to stay :) 
I actually still have a few Europe blog posts to go (Poland and my last weekend with my brother) but I am pretty burned out on Europe blog posts so that may be awhile. :) 
Here is a little bit of what I have been up to since I have been back. But before I begin, can I just say my parents re-did the kitchen while I was gone and it looks amazing?!
Yeah, I was in shock! It looks so great but so different!!! 
Anyway- I am EXTREMELY lucky that I was able to hop right back into work (since I am a certified teacher I can substitute and tutor in schools, both of which I started up again right when I got back). But it's not like an all day, everyday thing. And fill my days I always end up baking A LOT. Homemade pita's and hummus?  So good.
One of the best parts of leaving is coming home, because it means catching up with everyone and lots of lunch/dinner dates. Here I am with my friend Keri's daughter, Taryn, who is almost 2 (which seems crazy it seems like she was JUST born).
And my Mom with Bodin, our friend Erin's son. He is so stinking cute! My Mom could hardly give him back, she loves babies and has been encouraging me for years to settle down and have kids- poor Mom that's still probably 5+ years off, good thing she can cuddle with all our friends babies :)
Hanging out with my Dad-
He's so awesome. I have the best Dad ever!
Oh and because I am crazy, I decided that a 24 credit certification to be a reading teacher would be a great use of my time, so I started taking classes at PSU again. Lucky I love reading so I'm loving the stacks of books I get to read in the name of literacy education :)
And yeah other then that, not much is going on. Zina is in town this weekend to visit too, so that has been fun.
Yup, pretty uneventful life. It was nice to come back and get right back in the swing of things. xo

Oh and PS - to those who asked. YES all my pottery made it back with not even a chip! Here is one piece my Mom is using. The oranges make it look so small. But how gorgeous is it? I love it.

The Vatican: Sistine Chapel

Posted on 4/04/2012

The Vatican Museum ends at the Sistine Chapel, and of course every tourist heads right for this famous scene, God giving life to man-
But for real the entire room is ridiculously impressive. And HUGE. There are over 5,000 square feet of painted frescos, all painted by Michelangelo. Many painters just design paintings, and then have their workers paint them, while they take credit. But except for unimportant places (like a landscape behind a person or something)  Michelangelo actually pained the entire Sistine Chapel. He also fired his assistants on a regular basis so none of them could take any real credit for his chapel. He was also said to have been more then a little angry that he was manipulated into painting (when he considered himself a sculptor) and was apparently a little temperamental during the four year project- so many his assistant were happy to be fired! :)
The celling and blue wall were also commissioned to be pained at different times. Again, Michelangelo was not thrilled to be painting, but the threat of having some other artist paint the wall was to much for his ego to bear and he agreed to paint it. The celling is 9 scenes from the book of Genesis, the wall is a scene from the the last judgement. 
Because mass was still conduced in the chapel while Michelangelo was working on the project, the scaffolding was only taken down when he was half way done-he finished this half first-
 and when he saw it he thought he had been painting things too small to see from the floor. So that half of the chapel has noticeably more "full" scenes then the other half...but it works. 
The room is amazing, everywhere you look is totally gorgeous. These pictures don't even almost do it justice.

The Vatican: Museum

Posted on 4/03/2012

The Vatican Museum is ridiculously large, stuffed full of stuff and you have to go thru the entire thing to get what everyone really wants to see (the Sistine Chapel). 
This is the Vatican Courtyard... it's called the acorn courtyard because there is a ginat bronze acorn... but the famous acorn was being cleaned so it was all covered up-

Here are some of the smaller museums within the "Vatican Museum"-
It sort of seems like they have so much stuff they don't know what to do with it all, it's all just crammed in with no consideration to time period- basically some Pope's liked to collect stuff, and those Popes would build halls to house it in. No rhyme, no reason to where or why things are in any one place.
Here are some other random pictures.
Gorgeous, right? And all roads at the Vatican lead to the Sistine Chapel.

The Vatican: Saint Peters Basilica

Posted on

Saint Peters Basilica is the Catholic Church. And with good reason-
Not only is it totally amazing, it's also the burial of Saint Peter. He is thought to be buried under this bronze canopy (some of the bronze was taken from the Pantheons formerly bronze ceiling)-
Everywhere you look is amazing. There is probably not only inch that isn't gilted, painted or frescoed. 
The church was designed by Michelangelo. The letters at the top (in gold, naturally) are 7 feet tall and the statues are designed to look like they are all the same size, so it actually feels smaller then it is (which is crazy but true). 
It is also home to is this famous Michelangelo statue. It's behind glass now because in the 1970's some psycho attacked it with a hammer.
 Lucky me, this was time two for me to go to Saint Peters Basilica. 
This picture makes me laugh, I'm not sure if we are hugging each other or strangling each other. I'm pretty sure it's a hug... even though we spent so much time together, and I don't think we fought that much (even though she got my birthday cake twice) we even invented our own form of sign language and told everyone we were non-identical twins! I tired to get her to come with me to Europe this time too, but she's still in school. Some people are so responsible.