Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Pacific Northwest & Goodbye Bawdy Caste!

Hey everyone! I've been a little bit MIA lately with my posting, but we've had a lot going on. So much so that I can't even remember what we've done when I try to think about it. What I can remember is that we went to Disneyland a couple of weekends ago (which wasn't significant enough to post about since we go so often), we've been packing and prepping for our move, and we retired from the Bawdy Caste.

After five years of Patrick being on cast and almost two years of me being on cast, Patrick and I finished our last show as regular cast members on July 4th. We love our cast family so much and we appreciate their support in our decision. Our plan is to continue to "guest perform" (aka show up and help with tech) whenever we are in the area and are able to attend a show, but we will definitely be too far away to do regular shows once we move. We will miss doing shows (honestly, when we go too long without going to show we will start singing Rocky Horror songs when we're in the grocery store...) and we will miss our Rocky family dearly when we don't see them as regularly as we do right now. Thankfully we are leaving on good terms and everyone understands that it's simply time for us to focus on our lives and our relationship if we're going to accomplish any of our goals.

We left a bit early from the show that night and began driving north to our intended destination, Vancouver, WA. Our plan was to visit Portland. I've never been and Patrick loves going, and Vancouver was just a ten minute car ride across a bridge. It was a fantastic trip to say the least.

To say that I miss seeing green things is an understatement. In Michigan, you're never too far away from a forest full of green and a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, you'd be hard pressed to find that in California. My plan was just to soak up as much of the nature as I could and enjoy it before we had to go back to the hot, dry hell-desert that is California.

The trip up went pretty smoothly. For the first time ever in our relationship, Patrick let me drive, which turned out to be a really good thing because I'm so much better in traffic than he is, so he napped while I parked the car on the freeway for a good chunk of time because we got stuck in stand-still traffic waiting for an accident to clear up.

I believe this was Mt. Shasta, which is still in California.

The freeway was a parking lot for almost 45 minutes. 

The sights on the way up were awesome. Of course we had to stop in Weed, California for some photos and I spent a lot of time in awe of the mountains, rivers, and winding roads as we drove.

At some point we hit the Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon, so we took a break to have a drive through and look around. It was so cool! You actually stay in your vehicle and drive (slowly) through the huge park where you can see tons of animals (giraffes included!) and even feed some of them. 

This guy came right up to the car and wanted very much to get in. He even left a nose print on the window. 

I don't have any closer up photos of this one because if I did, I wouldn't have been able to close the window in time so that it didn't try to eat my face. There was a lot of yelling.

 Look at this big kitty! He was having a bath :D


When we finally arrived at the Hilton Vancouver, our room was amazing! I would honestly say that it was the absolute best room that we have ever stayed in. It was extremely spacious, it overlooked the river, and it was super quiet and isolated because it was a corner room and there was a stairwell on the one side of the room that could have potentially had a neighbor. It was quieter than living in our apartment (although that's not really saying much since our apartments are so loud).

The view from our room was pretty awesome! We loved watching the train go by at night.

Just a block or two away from our hotel was this amazing wall art.

On Sunday when we arrived we unpacked, went to dinner at Joe's Crab Shack (I was craving seafood pasta), and then I passed out around 10pm after running off of two hours of sleep.

On Monday, I got the pleasure of meeting one of Patrick's very best friends, Dennis. I've heard so many stories about Dennis that I was just thrilled to finally get the chance to meet him and his girlfriend, Gina. We had a fantastic dinner at a place called Southpark Seafood in Portland, which was surprisingly good being that it was a more upscale menu and I was really skeptical about the "weirdness" of the food. All four of us found something great to eat and really enjoyed ourselves. Afterwards, we checked out the area that all of the food trucks are in to see all of the different types of food they have over there and we popped into Powell's Books really quickly, more or less so that Patrick and I would know where these two places were so that we could make a return trip to the city.

On Tuesday we planned to go to Seattle for Patrick's birthday, but it ended up being a little bit of a bust. After a lot of annoying traffic and confusing construction, we finally made it to the EMP, which I wasn't super excited about to begin with. We were actually both really disappointed with the museum and found it to be much less interesting than we thought it was going to be. We made it through the museum in about two hours and then decided it was time to go. And no, I didn't go up in the Space Needle. I'm not even the least bit interested in going up in something that high up that spins. I mean, I got dizzy on the second floor balcony of the Star Wars exhibit at the EMP!

And now, please prepare yourselves for a lot of photos taken at the EMP. 

The following are Star Wars Exhibit Pictures:

I have tons of photos of this wedding dress from all angles because the detail is so incredible. But I still don't know who this character is/who they married. #StarWarsVirgin

The following are Fantasy World Pictures:

I really geeked out over Sirius Black's coat.

Cloak of Invisibility

Inigo Montoya, Buttercup, and Wesley's outfits from The Princess Bride

Tyrion Lannister's outfit! 


Cersei Lannister's outfit!


A Dalek, which I only include for the geeks out there, since I hate Doctor Who.

The rules concerning Wile E. Coyote


You, too, can wear your granddad's clothes at this Macklemore selfie exhibit.

Having been there before, Patrick was expecting that there would be more "new" stuff and was disappointed that most of the things there were things he had seen before. Though he enjoyed the Science Fiction exhibit and the Horror exhibit, he was actually really disappointed in the Star Wars exhibit, which we paid extra to see, because they featured more stuff from the new movies and not much from the old movies, which is not what he was expecting. 

Personally, since I'm not a musically-inclined person and I have a very random taste in music (instead of liking entire bands, I tend to just like certain songs), I thought the music portion of the museum was boring and the only thing I truly got into was the Fantasy exhibit. The one single thing I wanted to do was use the Scream Booth in the Horror exhibit, but of course that was broken. We left tired, hungry, and bored.

After we left Seattle we hit a whole ton of traffic while we were trying to get to our destination-- Patrick's sister's house. Being that this was the first time I would be meeting Patrick's sister, brother-in-law, and two nieces, I was actually a little bit nervous (but I was more excited than anything else). I ended up having a great time and I was reluctant to leave at the end of the night.

I went all the way to Washington to meet my sister in law and her family and all I got was a few pictures of their cats. Priorities, man. 

On Wednesday Patrick and I decided to have a re-do birthday for him because he was so disappointed about his birthday in Seattle. I went off to get a 90 minute massage (I've been having a lot of back problems and terrible shoulder problems lately) and I sent Patrick on his way to get the manicure and pedicure I've been begging him to get for months. Now, thankfully, I don't scream in terror when his feet touch me! We finished the day with a really yummy dinner at a place called Who-Song and Larry's, which serves Mexican food.

On Thursday we dedicated our time to Portland-- specifically, Powell's Books. It is the largest new and used bookstore in the world. Here are a few facts about Powell's, straight from their website.

A few store facts: 

• 68,000 square feet packed with books. 
• We buy 3,000 used books over the counter every day. 
• Approximately 3,000 people walk in and buy something every day. 
• Another 3,000 people just browse and drink coffee. 
• We stock 122 major subject areas and more than 3,500 subsections. 
• You'll find more than 1,000,000 volumes on our shelves. 
• Approximately 80,000 book lovers browse the City's shelves every day in Portland and via the Internet. 

An "interesting" (or more likely "irritating" and "weird") fact about me is that lots of choices and big things give my anxiety, which means that you would think this store would render me catatonic the entire time we were in there-- but it didn't. Powell's is so amazing at making each of their nine color-coded rooms feel like a different area that the store isn't overwhelming. In fact, it's just the opposite. When I walk into a Barnes & Noble, I freak out and usually leave with nothing because there are too many choices looming at me and all of the books stare at me at once. The way Powell's is set up is so ingenious that nothing feels overwhelming or like there is too much to look at. When we first walked in on Monday, I had no idea that the store was as big as it is because we only went into one room. They even break up the space well with tables instead of having book case after book case and row after row like a library would. We left with seven books and a tote bag to carry them in and spent more on books in one trip than I have probably in the last year. I'm so excited to start reading.

After our bookstore adventure, we each found a food truck we wanted get food from (grilled cheese for me and a Monte Cristo on a waffle for Patrick) and we enjoyed walking through the city with our food. That night, Patrick took me to Jimmy John's for dinner, because apparently there are ample Jimmy John's locations in the Portland area and there is just one that I know of in California. If you know me, you know how much I love me some JJ's and how much I miss it since I don't live in the Mitten anymore.

The menu at the waffle place Patrick ordered from.

The Monte Cristo waffle and a strawberry lemonade with a coconut twist.

I sent this photo of my Jimmy John's sub to my best friend Zach, with the caption "When I eat the butt I'll be thinking of you", because the butt of the sandwich is my favorite and when I'm in Michigan and Zach has Jimmy John's, he always lets me eat that part of his sandwich. Because that's what best friends are for. 

The greatest thing I've found about that area has definitely got to be the friendly people. Everything is so relaxed in the Portland area-- even heavy traffic doesn't make people drive like maniacs, and the ones that do are from-- you guessed it-- California. I never once felt unsafe or like I couldn't go someplace by myself and every person we interacted with was just fabulous. I loved the state of mind up there. I loved the weather, too, even though we apparently picked the two hottest weeks of the year to go (not a single drop of rain, which made me sad). Even the two hottest weeks of the year were cooler than it is where we live.

On Friday morning we got up at the crack of dawn and drove home to our kitties and away from our wonderful vacation, which Patrick and I agree was the best trip we've probably ever taken together. I was really upset to leave-- I feel homesick about it! I can't wait to get back up to Oregon again!