Things You Never Think Will Happen

Well, I’ve had another long blogging dry spell and I wish it had been for a more trivial reason.  I’m about to get real serious here, so I’m warning you now that if you don’t want to be incredibly frustrated with humanity today then you might want to skip this post.

Spring Break for the University of Oregon was in the middle of March this year, so Scott and I planned a nice camping trip on the coast for a combination of hiking and relaxation.  Unfortunately for us we got  pretty much the exact opposite.  Monday morning we were just starting off on a hike, traipsing through the wet foliage glittering in sunlight, stopping to take a picture of a salamander with a flame colored belly, when my phone started ringing.  The number was listed as “Unavailable” but I was curious, so I answered anyways.  An officer was on the other end, and she told us that she was at our house.  We had been robbed.

I’ve had a lot of different emotions over the past month.  Shock, anger, sadness, confusion, frustration, anger again.  It’s been a long month.  Our house was completely trashed in the robbery; the officer actually said it was the worst she’d ever seen.  So we’ve been spending most of our time cleaning up the mess and taking stock of what we’re missing.

The biggest loss was our pictures.  Besides all of our computers being taken, the robbers also stole all our flashdrives which was where I had my pictures backed up.  I’m still baffled by why they wanted to take something that can be bought for $10 at any box store because it just seems kind of pointless.  After that the hardest things to lose were our vintage game systems.  I had my original Gameboy color along with all my games (all working!) stolen.  That teal Gameboy was what made me fall in love with video games.  I don’t think I could even begin to count the hours I spent on that thing playing Pokemon as a child!  Along with that I had a Gameboy Advanced, a Gameboy DS, a Super Nintendo, a Gamecube, and a Playstation 2.  All of which were in perfect working order.  Any old school video game enthusiasts can probably sympathize with what a huge loss this was.  It’s pretty dang expensive to find those systems in good condition these days.  Scott also lost an original Nintendo, an original Xbox, a Playstation 3, and a brand new Playstation 4.  Can you tell we’re pretty big video game nerds?  They inexplicably left our Nintendo 64 and all of its games, which I’m certainly not complaining about.  One of my favorite games of all time is on that system!  Any other Banjo Kazooie fans out there?

There were some other sentimental things that got taken such as several posters that were awaiting frames, a giant brass bullet on a stand that I found in my grandma’s basement (I think it must have been my grandpa’s from the WWII era), and probably the most frustrating loss of all, a box of vintage knitting and crochet patterns also from my grandma.  That one irks me the most because they’re not even worth anything to anyone but me, and there’s no way I could ever replace the collection.  It’s just hard losing that piece of her.  At least they left all my knitting needles and crochet hooks.

Along with everything that made us want to punch a wall, there were a few… interesting things we noticed about the break in.  First, they ate our ice cream, along with everything in our meat and cheese drawer.  Even funnier, they apparently tried one of the dried dates I had in the pantry and weren’t impressed, because we found one half chewed on the floor of our laundry room.  Also, they took really weird articles of clothing.  Scott had a bunch of old jeans that no longer fit, in a pile to go to GoodWill.  They took all of those.  I also had a whole bunch of belts, some of them that were getting pretty old and ratty.  They took all the nearly broken ones and left my three favorites.  I was very grateful for that, though unfortunately they are all waist-sized belts so I’ve been dealing with a lot of saggy pants lately.  There were also some incongruities such as our lounge chair being thrown over onto the couch, apparently in an effort to grab the power strip that was behind it, yet a set of decorative jars I had on the mantle had been opened and the tops set carefully down next to them.  Some paperwork from school such as class schedules and graduation planners were taken, but my checkbooks were left untouched.  We’re 90% sure that whoever was through here was high or something.  An even freakier thought was that one group broke in and took the big ticket items, and then some bums came through to pick through the mess and eat our food.  It just makes my skin crawl thinking of strangers walking through our house, touching all our belongings, looking through our life.

Fortunately, our kitchen was relatively untouched.  We did lose the contents of our liquor cabinet along with Scott’s beer growlers, but it was nice that we were still able to cook, giving us one way to make life feel normal again.

 

Our little snuggle bugs

Our little snuggle bugs

One more amazing thing is that both of our cats made it through the ordeal unharmed.  I don’t know what we would have done if something had happened to them!  And even though the whole experience has really sucked, there were some good parts of that week.  More on that to come later.

As far as the investigation goes, the Eugene police have been completely useless.  We’ve called the officer in charge of our case multiple times looking for updates and never got calls back.  Nobody has checked in with us about anything.  Word on the street is that last year somebody high up in the chain of command made a public announcement that the police would no longer be investigating burglaries, which is pretty much the stupidest thing they could do.  Why don’t they just ask criminals to kindly come rob the citizens of Eugene?  Theft has got to be the most frequent crime here, and I get that it’s not the highest priority for a city like Chicago or New York, but let’s be real, those places have way bigger fish to fry.  But Eugene barely has any violent crime so I’m curious as to what the police are doing with their time if they’re not investigating robberies.  The whole experience has really made us lose respect for the force, and has overall been really disheartening.  At this point we’ve pretty much given up hope of getting anything back.

Who knows, maybe something will turn up from the fingerprints or DNA samples, whenever the police get around to analyzing them (my guess is never).  I’m personally hoping karma catches up to these jerks soon.  I think one of Scott’s friends said it best: “I hope they get dick cancer.”

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What I’m Knitting: Cabled Pillows

I love curling up on the couch in the winter, watching some Netflix (ok, a lot of Netflix) and doing a bit of knitting.  I haven’t had a lot of time for it this winter, but a knitting blog binge over the holiday break got me back in the mood.  I’ve recently been coveting a pair of knitted pillows for our couch because I love the cozy look they give to a livingroom. Just look at how good they look in these spaces!

I love the colors of the pillows on this couch.  Plus, how cute is that penguin pillow!?

I like the idea of a knit body pillow.  It sounds extra cuddly!  This picture also makes me want to make a pallet couch.

After seeing this I want to make some extra large pillows, along with some flat poofs.

Our couch does have a pair of pillows already, though I have some issues with them.  Scott’s lovely mother made them out of some of his old Wisconsin t-shirts, and as much as I love a good clothing recycle, my Gopher pride makes them a bit tough to look at every day.  I’m planning on recovering them with a cable knit, maybe with a zipper or a button on them so I can take the cover off again if we ever want to.  These are my inspiration patterns:

Since I don’t have any extra thick yarn in my stash I decided to get the chunky vibe with cables. I love cable knitting because it is so gratifying to see the pattern take shape after a couple rows.  But I forgot how much more time and concentration these patterns require!  So maybe I’ll have these pillows done by July?

What have you been knitting lately?

– Steph

Hello 2015!

My favorite picture from the lab camping trip.  Can I say baby mushrooms are a symbol of the new year?

My favorite picture from the lab camping trip. Can I say baby mushrooms are a symbol of the new year?

Happy New Year everyone!

I bet you can guess where this post is going.  New Year’s Resolutions!  I’m sure everyone in the world is dying to know what kind of changes a 24 year old grad student plans on making for the new year.  Oh, you’re not?  Well, I’m going to share anyway, because at least now I can pretend the internet is holding me accountable or something….

  1. Workout Three Times a Week: Aside from my 10 minute bike rides to campus, I haven’t exercised in oh, maybe 6 months.  I want to do a solid 45-60 minute workout at least three times a week.  Some friends and I are planning on going to a Spin class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and doing yoga and/or rock climbing on Saturdays.  I’m so excited!  After the stress of last term I definitely need to get more endorphins pumping on the regular.
  2. Meal Plan: This is something I wanted to start doing as soon as we moved to Oregon. But first we had to get our kitchen organized, then we had to work on organizing the rest of the house, then school got busy, and we just never started.  So I want to plan my next week’s meals on Thursday or Friday, get groceries on Saturday, since that’s farmer’s market day, and cook a big batch of something on Sunday to eat for lunch over the next week.  I think this will help me stick to a better food budget and eat healthier too.
  3. Post Twice a Month: Maybe people noticed that I had a three month gap between blog posts?  Maybe not because nobody besides a couple friends actually follows me?  Either way, if I’m going to really get into blogging I need to make it just a bit more of a priority.
  4. One Hour TV Limit: Scott has a Netflix account and we have a Roku, so it is far too easy for me to get sucked into hours of TV binges.  So I am giving myself one hour of TV time a day to relax while I eat dinner, and no more until I’ve finished homework, grading, and studying.  I still need to get my office in the guest bedroom set up so hopefully that will also help with motivation.

Speaking of the guest bedroom….

The problem is much more than bad lighting

This is what it looks like right now…. Sooooooo embarrassing!  When we moved here I totally thought I would get everything all organized and pretty within a week so I could share pictures of what a cute little home we had made here.  HA. HAHAHAHAHA. We have now been here FOUR MONTHS and this room still looks like this. Shame. So much shame.  And I’m not even going to begin to talk about what state the “workout corner” in the living room is in….

Anyways, we obviously have some work to do and plan to actually make good progress on it before Scott has to travel for work again.  Maybe that’s another resolution?  But I have noticed that I just don’t feel completely settled yet and it’s starting to seriously affect my productivity.  I would love to have a beautifully decorated home so that I can actually start a home decorating feature here on the blog. Also, I have big dreams of entering Apartment Therapy‘s Small Cool Contest this year, so I definitely need to get this place in order before that time comes.  I actually thought about entering their January Cure as I get this place cleaned up, but this month is just far too busy with the start of a new term. Plus, I’ve already signed up for Blogging 101 through WordPress to help improve this blog.  I can only work on so many things at a time!

By the way, Fox in the Ivy is now one year old!  Makes this an even better time for making blog related resolutions.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Post them in the comments and we can hold each other accountable :)

– Steph

The Wreck of the Peter Iredale

I completed my first term of grad school in mid-December, and man, was that a relief.  It turned out to be a long and stressful term for the guys in my lab group as well, so we planned a camping trip to relax.  By “we planned” I really mean “they planned” and I just tagged along :P

Some of my awesome lab mates

Some of my awesome lab mates

We drove up to Fort Stevens State Park west of Portland and rented a pair of yurts which were both cheap and cozy. The weekend was spent fishing, hanging out around the campfire and playing board games.  We even got lucky with a sunny day (rare for Oregon winters) so we took a short walk out to the beach to see the Peter Iredale Shipwreck.

The Peter Iredale was a British ship travelling from Mexico to Portland when on October 25th, 1906 strong winds and currents ran it aground at Clatsop Beach.  Luckily, none of the crew was injured and everyone was able to reach the shore safely, including two stowaways!  Captain Lawrence was reported to toast the ship with a bottle of whiskey, because, you know, why not?  Since then the wreck has been a tourist attraction, and today the steel bones of the ship still rest in the sand.

In love with the color on these shells

In love with the color on these shells

I feel like shipwrecks aren’t often seen from dry land, so this was a pretty cool experience!  And if you’re curious, some more pictures of the ship and the wreck’s history can be found on Offbeat Oregon.

– Steph

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Oh hey, there.  I guess it’s been a while.  Let’s just say I severely underestimated the amount of time and energy my first term in grad school was going to require.  Between classes, teaching, and research I haven’t even had time to unpack everything from the move.  The room that’s meant to be the guest bedroom/my office is basically a jumbled dumping ground for all the random items we haven’t had time to organize yet.  It’s chaos, and I hate it, but I need like 5 more hours in the day…

But enough excuses, let’s go back in time to October when my parents came to visit and we took a little trip to the coast.  We visited the town of Florence where we walked around the little tourist shops, but the main event for the day was Heceta Head Lighthouse.  The view of a little white lighthouse out on the point just seemed to be the quintessential “Oregon Coast” image and it was really fun taking my family there.

Running along the beach

Running along the beach

Beautiful iridescent shell

Beautiful iridescent shell

Goof shot

Goof shot

My handsome photographer

My handsome photographer

shirt : delia's / jeans : gap / boots: rampage / scarf : francesca's / purse : fossil

shirt : delia’s / jeans : gap / vest : material girl / boots: rampage / scarf : francesca’s / purse : fossil

The weather couldn’t have been better and we all enjoyed walking around on the beach where we saw one lone seal surfing the waves.  We also walked the short hike up the hill to see the lighthouse and the view, along with one of the houses where the lighthouse keepers used to live.  It would have been a pretty crazy job living out there on the coast, growing food in the yard and waiting for a team of horses to bring any other supplies.

I spy, with my little eye...

I spy, with my little eye…

The lighthouse is part of a state park with several hiking trails.  I’d love to take a weekend and hike some of them! Preferably in late summer when it’s blackberry season.  Oregon is famous for wild blackberries and we were able to snag a couple late season berries from the bushes along the path.

Wish I had a book to read

Wish I had a book to read

Sticky blackberry fingers

Sticky blackberry fingers

Almost looks like a heart

Almost looks like a heart

While many lighthouses are no longer in use, the one on Heceta Head is still working despite being built in 1894!  I think lighthouses are incredibly charming.  Something about a single light shining out over a dark and stormy sea gives me a warm and cozy feeling.

– Steph