Saturday, November 29, 2014

Project Finally Completed!

It's been busy around here; word is getting out about Subietech, and that's a good thing! I'm learning a lot about running a business, and Mike's being his usual charming self with the local Subaru owners. 

Mike hard at work!

We have already had repeat customers, which is awesome, and Subietech paid for itself this month - hooray! But don't worry, we still had plenty of time to just play around town. 

We made it to Member's Night at the High Desert Museum, and met a blue tongued skink. 

Mike made friends with the snapping turtle, too.

We found time to play in the snow:

snow angels!

me and my thousands of layers!

And, the most exciting thing: we "finished" Morty, our Vanagon! I say "finished" because as anyone with an old car knows, you're never really finished (we still want to get curtains, some new gauges, storage, move the heater, etc). 

the new carpet and upholstery - we added some protective mats and
eventually need to figure out what we'll put under the seat.

the front seats and new carpet!
Morty is now sporting new upholstery, picked out and designed by yours truly. I am particularly proud of the black piping and strips down the side of the seats. Looks nice, huh? A big thanks to Blue Pine Designs for doing such a great job!

Morty also has a new carpet kit and a super nice thick foam mat - in matching upholstery, of course - in the back, so we can sleep cozily and comfortably on our future road trips. We can't wait to test it out!

The only thing left to fix is the windshield wipers, and front visors. I can't believe how far this crappy van has come - you can see the original pics on the Vanagon tab. Morty's come from a dusty, un-driveable dream project, to a ruggedly handsome powerhouse. And it only took 2.5 years and thousands of dollars - HA.

the back seat folds down and makes one HUGE bed.

Mount Bachelor opened their terrain parks over Thanksgiving, so I'll be falling on my butt a lot this upcoming week. Hopefully I'll remember to take some pics!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Winter Wonderland

It'd be really easy to just hate the snow - shoveling the walkway, wiping out walking through icy parking lots, and sitting in a freezing cold car, waiting for it to warm up - but it's so beautiful and quiet up here. We're making a real effort to get outside and just enjoy the scenery, despite the freezing cold temps.  

A new drink I've discovered here helps me appreciate the outdoors more: The Dirty Hippie. It's a chai tea, with whole milk and a shot of espresso. It's got everything I like about chai - creamy, sweet, and spicy, with a boost of energy to make me wide-eyed and bushy tailed. YUM.

With this drink clutched in my hand, I'm ready for whatever winter wants to throw at me!

I'm wearing a hat, hoodie, and the hood from my jacket on my head here!

We live really close to Mirror Pond, one of Bend's main tourist attractions. Most of the geese and ducks have migrated for the winter, but for whatever reason, these few are sticking around. They were definitely fluffed up, trying to stay warm, but otherwise were cruising, feeding, and honking at each other like they usually do. 

Mirror Pond, partially frozen over.

We felt bad for the ducks and geese, but they must be used to it!

On another morning, we headed west to Shevlin Park, a pretty huge park on the edge of town. On our way there, we passed lots of cross country skiers and snowshoers...on the sidewalks! Since they don't plow the sidewalks or smaller streets in town (or salt - anywhere), people can easily get around on skis. It's pretty awesome to step outside your house into a ski track.

Mike clutching our hot drinks on our walk through Shevlin Park.

The steep hill we hiked up. Not a soul in sight.

There was so much untouched snow to go tromping through. It's very satisfying to hear the crunch-crunch-crunch while you walk through the trees. Although you can't see the trails or paths that well in the deep snow, you can see the tracks you've made, which makes it pretty easy to get back. 

The view from the top. Trees as far as you can see.

At the rate the snow is falling, Mt Bachelor is going to open right on time!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rejoining the Race, at Our Own Pace - One Year Looking Back

It's been exactly one year since Mike and I made the decision to sell our loft in LA and bail on the whole rat race. Since then, we've traveled, moved to Oregon, spent time on our hobbies, and explored. It's been amazing, fun, relaxing, and eye opening. I spent quite a few days in my PJs, and I think I've read more books this year than any other year of my life.

we also take a lot of naps with the kitties!

Over the last few months in particular, we've realized how much we value our free time. It's worth more than anything in the world, to be able to decide what you want to do with each and every day. Even though we dearly miss our friends and family in Los Angeles, Chicago, and around the world, we wouldn't be able to have this life if we moved back to a big city. The beautiful scenery in Bend, and the cost of living in Oregon in general, is what allows us to live this super free, super fun, super easy lifestyle. Only here can we afford to work less and live more - travel, have a home with space for a garden, chickens, etc, and spend more than half our week on hiking, camping, snowboarding, cooking, and relaxing with each other and the pets. 

For the foreseeable future, Bend is our base of operations.

a shot from one of our walks around town, along the Deschutes River.

So to that end, we decided to nest a bit here, and get a little more entrenched in our new hometown. I recently got a part time job, working two days a week, doing office work. The day I got the job, I actually cried, because I thought it meant I was going back to the grind, the daily commute, the mornings standing in my closet trying to figure out office appropriate attire, and the dreaded customer service. But reality happily reminded me that I live in Bend...I can go in whenever I want, wear whatever I want, the commute is only 5 minutes, and the boss fully expects me to not show on powder days. Can I say I love this town? I love this town!

Just like our camping and traveling makes us appreciate our home, going to work makes me appreciate my free time even more. I'm a little more careful of my time, and I plan my days a little better, and I'm a little more serious about my hobbies and projects. I think this mini-job was just what I needed, to add a little motivation and structure to my days. There really is such a thing as too much time on your hands.

It's time to get back to the grind, when even relaxing gets boring.

Mike is still running Subietech, his Subaru repair shop and conversion business. As we meet more people in town, word is slowly getting out, and we're having customers trickle in. Since Subietech is literally right around the corner from my new job, we can carpool easily, and our flexible schedules make mornings easy.

We never could have imagined, one year ago, that life could be this way for us. I'm so glad we had the courage to make the change, to ignore other people's doubts, and to do what we thought would be right for us. Everyone has their own vision of what their life could be like, and I think that sometimes we let other people's perceptions, ideas, or concerns cloud our own judgement. But you know what's right for you, so stay your course!