#213 No Ordinary Day

01 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

Deanna and I spent her first weekend off of work running errands, exploring shopping centers, and looking for fun things for the house.

It was a seemingly ordinary day, but then again, those really don’t exist. We had a lot of fun together.

#214 Steak Au Poivre

02 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

First recipe I’ve ever made out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. One of our goals is to make fifty recipes out of this book, and this meal actually counted for two!

Steak Au Poivre (pepper steak) was pretty good. Already something I enjoy, and something I’d have a handle on how to make intuitively. Actually, trying to follow Julia’s recipe made it a little bit more difficult, just because constantly referring to the book led to the steak being a bit overcooked. The braised peas dish, on the other hand, couldn’t have gone any better. Two recipes down, forty eight to go!

#215 Zhen’s Birthday

03 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

Happy birthday to Zhen, our world traveling friend! Celebrating this night with you was pretty fun!

Thankful for a fun community of friends burgeoning up in Eugene. Zhen’s leadership has definitely helped that grow and take off.

#216 Thank You Cards

04 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

A good life is one where you feel like you’re saying “thank you” a lot and it still doesn’t feel like it’s enough.

Our wedding was such a wonderful day because of the help and presence and wishes of so many awesome people in our lives. A bunch of people stepped up to play a part in our wedding as vendor, sponsor, or member of the bridal party. A lot of people gave us really thoughtful gifts we’re still putting to use. A lot of people told us really sweet things and gave us advice that seems so far, so good! So, we’ll be spending the back end of our summer writing a stack of these. We have a lot to be thankful for.

#217 Deanna & Meg

05 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

Had some company over last night to share peanut butter cups, Ticket to Ride, and hours of fun conversation with.

Hooray for Meaghan and for future Oregonians!

#218 Lunch With An Author

06 August 2015 // Springfield, Oregon

A part-time peach farmer. A marathoner embarking on a new relationship for the second act of life. An 88 year old giraffe loving Korean War veteran. A bookseller about to embark for ten weeks in Chennai. A former Baptist campus minister. Second chances are for everyone.

I started doing book signings for the simple reason that I was missing the regular way I was able to meet and befriend and chat with strangers the way I did when I was on tour. Yesterday’s signing introduced me to some fun new people and the lunch was terrific.

I had so much fun I accidentally forgot to pay for my French dip before walking out, so I now have an open tab at an antique store. Like I said, second chances, baby!

#219 Car Camping in Tacoma

07 August 2015 // Tacoma, Washington

The gameplan was to go camping at Dash Point State Park. Unfortunately traffic and slower-than-expected movement got us there a little too late so by the time we made it to the park, it was closed.

So, what did we do? Car camp. And not at the park. We found a neighborhood where we planned to just pull over and sleep. But when we looked out the window, it turned out we were in a super ritzy Tacoma neighborhood, with million dollar homes and a stunning view of Puget Sound. Thanks for letting be hobos in your really expensive driveways, people. The walk we took around in the evening was gorgeous.

#220 Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers

08 August 2015 // Seattle, Washington

Prior to this weekend, Deanna had never been to a Major League Baseball game. Clearly this was one husbandly duty I had to fulfill.

So, we booked tickets to see the Mariners take on Texas and drove up to Seattle for the weekend. Such. A. Blast. We got a couple extra innings for our money, though the Mariners lost big time in the end.

Gamedays are always fun, and Deanna loved it, which is good cause that means there’ll be plenty more of these to come. And who knows, the Mariners just might win one of them.

#231 Edith Macefield’s House

09 August 2015 // Seattle, Washington

Edith Macefield was an old lady who lived by herself in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Developers had made offers on the houses on her street to turn it into an urban shopping center. Her house was worth about $8000, and she was offered a million. She turned it down for sentimental reasons, and continued to do so no matter how much they sweetened the deal. With no other options, the construction firm went ahead and built a towering LA Fitness and Trader Joe’s on the other sides of her house, but she stood her ground until her death in 2008.

Her house remains standing, enveloped by the shopping complexes. Deanna and I went to go visit before leaving Seattle since its future is uncertain. It didn’t remind us at all of a Pixar movie and we probably didn’t keep playing its soundtrack driving to and from the house.

#232 Pizza with Rob & Marie

10 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

Hanging out with Rob and Marie means cooking up a storm and hours of great conversation. This night was no exception and we got to break in our newly purchased dining room table.

Hooray for homemade pizza, married friends, and sharing wisdom and experience.

#233 Townshend’s

11 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

Spent the middle part of my day meandering around downtown and getting a cup of tea with Rob before he leaves for a month to the Bay Area.

Thankful for friends who offer experience, wisdom, and honesty that I can learn from. It’s not something I’ve always had so I for sure appreciate its presence.

#234 Mazzi’s

12 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

Had a fantastic dinner with the other newlywed couple in town, Brianna and Anthony! (Cause we’re the only two newlywed couples in Eugene, of course.) Also, we finally got to try the Italian restaurant by our house that I drive by pretty much every single day.

Enjoyed spending time with them a whole lot. Again, it helps a ton to have people in pretty much your exact same season of life, able to relate to the fun and the challenges and the day to day life.

#235 Woods Life

13 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

Spent a good chunk of time catching up with Bryce. We must’ve spent a good hour or so on the phone, and he had quite a few intense stories to tell.

I decided to go on a walk while we were chatting and found the perfect setting for his stories.

#236 This Morning Coffee

14 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

Mornings are my favorite time of day, hence Chris and I recording a full podcast episode about them. I love being the first one up, stepping outside quickly while it’s still early, and making coffee for the two of us.

I’ve been enjoying getting settled into the married life, especially now that we’ve hit this slow and steady rhythm, developing habits of rest and play and work. It’s been a real fun new life to grow into.

#237 Ground Cherries

15 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

This weekend’s adventure with Deanna was probably the most simple one we’ve shared since getting married, but it was fun all the same. We went to the Farmers Market for the first time in a while. We are fully stocked now.

I also got to try these guys. Ground cherries. Technically, they’re related to the tomato, and after hearing that, I could definitely pick out the cherry-tomato-like texture. But they’re sweet, like cherries. And they taste like them too.

#228 How To Make A Buck

16 August 2015 // Springfield, Oregon

One of my quests with Deanna is to turn in enough bottles and cans to our recycling station in order to treat ourselves out to a nice dinner. We turned in a garbage can’s worth.

The result? A voucher for one dollar. Looks like we’ll have to make a couple dozen more trips over, but in due time, we’ll get that dinner.

#229 A Year After Engagement

17 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

Deanna and I noted that today it was the exact one year anniversary from our proposal on the Santa Barbara pier.

I decided to surprise her after work. In addition to stewed okra and tomato that I made for dinner, I also picked up some chocolates from one of our favorite places in town and a food magazine. It was a fantastic night.

#230 The Bulldog Jar

18 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

One of our favorite wedding presents… the french bulldog cookie jar. Thank you Shannon!

Actually, this shelf hosts a lot of our favorite wedding presents, especially the mini-cookbook library that has kept us pretty well fed this summer.

#231 Egg Sausage Linguine

19 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

I know social media is a bit overloaded with food pics, but I will shamelessly contribute to the masses as I try to refine my cooking chops. My extra time off this summer has come in quite handy… lots of extra time to experiment with new recipes! And with a stack of new cookbooks from the wedding, I’ve been having a lot of fun.

This was one of our simpler recipes. I made Deanna and I a sausage and egg sauce linguine. The egg sauce was the only part of this that was truly new territory, but I’m happy with how it turned out.

#232 Hammock at Home

20 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

Today I got just a little tired of working on my thesis. So much so that I was ready to take a time-out in style.

Busted out the camping hammock and read for an hour, maybe two. Fell asleep for a bit too. Love that our apartment complex has so many trees. This hour was well worth the curious look from our neighbors.

#233 Foodspotting Bibimbap

21 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

Definitely not a new experience for me, but glad bibimbap was in the Foodspotting guide to check off. It gave me an excuse to introduce Deanna to the Noodle Bowl! Theirs was much more filling than I remember it.

Tossing in a bit of extra oil at the very beginning is my favorite, letting it sink to the bottom to crisp up the rice while the stone bowl is still hot.

Hooray for this foodie quest. Gotta eat em all.

#234 Fields of Fall Creek

22 August 2015 // Fall Creek, Oregon

This is one of the things I love most about Oregon. Sometimes you just run into gorgeous places without even trying. Deanna found this intensely golden field while exploring the base of a dried up lake.

Somebody should come film a movie here. This place looked other worldly.

#235 Fall Creek Lake

23 August 2015 // Fall Creek, Oregon

This weekend was made for the discovery of nearby swimming holes and very, very, very, very tiny islands. This one was gorgeous, especially over the hazy weekend in town that made the lake look a little bit more mystical than usual. The water was actually pretty unpleasant at first. A slippery, muddy bottom, then a line of rocks to get through. But if you keep going for about 10-20 more yards, everything gets calm, the bottom gets smooth, and the fresh water rises and falls gently and constantly.

I loved spending the day at the lake. If only it had a better name. Seriously, Fall Creek Lake? Is it fed by the Ocean Lagoon River or the Sea Pond Stream? Glad I wasn’t looking for a spot based on its name.

#236 The Outside Woods

24 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

Spent the morning in our apartment complex’s workout room, getting a fun view of the back woods that run, not behind, but through the complex.

Love living out in this remote of a place. Definitely love the encounters we’ve gotten with deer and turkeys on a pretty much daily basis.

#237 Summer of Instax

25 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

The Instax camera that we got for our wedding has pretty much been the toy of the summer for Deanna and myself. Unfortunately, we couldn’t bring it on the honeymoon, but it’s joined in for fun on some of our camping trips and our weekend in Seattle.

Not to mention- it makes a pretty nice piece of coffee table decor, just asking to be played with. And believe us, playing with it is encouraged behavior.

#238 Coburg RV Park

26 August 2015 // Coburg, Oregon

Deanna and I dropped by an RV park in Coburg- some of our friends from Bakersfield were passing through Oregon and had parked their home-on-the-go just outside of town.

It made for a fun morning. Who knew RV’s could be good for hosting company? We had some great talks about social work, rehabilitating domestic abusers, and anger management curriculums. All makes for good RV talk.

#239 Eugene Emeralds’ Portlandia Night

27 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

Do I love minor league baseball? Heck yes I do. Especially on the nights with the wacky, wacky promo nights. Case in point– our Eugene Emeralds and their take on Portlandia night.

Pretty fun (and hopefully fair-trade) game that was won with a homer in the eighth, and I’m impressed with the Emeralds for pulling off a win in their faux-skinny jeans baseball pants and plaid flannel inspired jerseys.

#240 Found a Diamond

28 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

Deanna and I found our first geocache as a married couple. Friday night, pretty much in the mood to do little other than relax, I managed to convince her to walk (and geocache hunt) in the park.

Had to crawl deep into the thicket for this one, and I got stickers all over my jeans and shoes, but it wasn’t for naught. The geocache we found was a big fat diamond. Treasure is everywhere.

#241 Cheesesteaks & Longball Ale

29 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

Pretty pleased with myself for allowing my Philly heritage to remain alive, even though it’s been for-freaking-ever since I’ve been there. I can make a pretty decent homemade cheesesteak in twenty minutes. Wit wiz.

And since it’s the back end of summer, why not pair it off with a Long Ball Ale… official beer of the Hillsboro Hops, the closest thing to Portland’s minor league baseball team. Hoppy, but not excessively bitter. And with an aftertaste of how badly Portland needs an actual baseball team within its city limits.

#242 The Bijou Metro

30 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

You know those really cool movies you sometimes read about in really cool magazines that you know are going to be terrific but can never see because they release only in cool indie theatres? The Bijou Metro is one of those theaters and it’s smack in the middle of downtown Eugene. Amy, the Amy Winehouse documentary, isn’t as obscure as those cool movies, but it was showing at the Bijou and it was a mesmerizing film.

You see this distinct point in the film, years before her death, where it still seems we’ve lost the Amy we saw in the first half. And it’s crazy because I remember when Rehab was on the air and when jokes about it were in vogue. Deanna and I came to the conclusion that fame doesn’t really do anybody good. Some people manage to handle it better than others, but it’s hard to think of an example where somebody’s character was improved as a result of fame. Despite our lack of positive examples, it’s still something we crave like crazy sometimes. Not that I’d ever want to be Amy Winehouse level famous, but I often think of how much nicer life could be if my writing or podcasting had such a following that I could live off of it, using it to open doors. I’m sure it’d be pretty nice, but I’m also aware that it would include a cost that would need to be counted. It’s also valid to be thankful for the things you don’t have.

#243 Name Change

31 August 2015 // Eugene, Oregon

Deanna’s new name was deemed official yesterday, after waiting for weeks and weeks for this letter to come in the mail. Hurray for Deanna Lazaro.

We spent the evening celebrating with Netflix, Ticket to Ride, and her practicing a new signature. I’m totally in favor of her just signing all her legal documents “Aunt Dee.”

Philippe Lazaro365