Hi there. Long-time-no-see.

My last post was two months ago and I am ashamed. I have failed you, my audience, and if you want to break up, I understand.

But really, I’ve had an insanely evenful eight weeks since last we talked. I started a new job in a cushy office. It’s a lot of fun, because I get to sit in the Air Conditioning, do my work, listen to music/podcasts/audiobooks, and not have to interact with retail customers (shudders) all while making a living wage! It’s pretty amazing and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.

I’m off work at 4pm every evening, and because of my regular 6am alarm, I’ve started going to bed usually by 10pm. So, for that meager 6 hours, I get to live my life. Unfortunately, my free time has been bogged down by school work. I had my first round of combat with online classes. I’m pretty sure I passed with decent grades, and I had a pretty good work flow for getting this stuff done.

For reference, at WVU I took a Political Science class online and did exactly 0% of the required assignments because I forgot I was enrolled in the class. By comparison, I’d say this summer was a success.

In mid-June, my wife and I ran away for an extended weekend of camping on the Oregon Coast. I was awestruck by the temperate rainforest of the Pacific Northwest that rolled over massive mountains all the way to the sea – where the forest only gave-way to the sand dunes and roaring sea. The stereotypical never-ending rain of the PNW greeted us as we sat up our tent just 100 yards from the shore. The rain and waves lulled us to sleep in our tent that night, and it was dry for the remainder of our stay.

I wish I could tell you all about the trip. Unfortunately, the scenery is so magnificent that words will fail to capture what we experienced. Dense forests reminded me of driving through the more remote parts of West Virginia. Winding two-lane roads carve through the mountains until you’re suddenly looking at the ocean… 200 feet below you, down a cliff. The terrain is so extreme that our campsite was surrounded on two sides by impassible hills and the ocean on a third.

This is only one of my many lovely experiences in this part of the country. You know it’s almost been a year? We left West Virginia on July 19th last year. The time has flown, and I don’t feel like I’ve seen one year’s worth of the Pacific Northwest. I’ve seen the beauty of the Oregon coast and the rolling mountain passes of the Northern Rockies, and I’ve seen some of the best sunsets imaginable and seen stars climbing into the sky over endless rolling hills.

I’d like to say I’m reminiscent, but that wouldn’t exactly be true. I’m just really happy about right now. Part of this comes from a desire to be more content. Constant eagerness for the future makes it hard to enjoy the present. This is not to say I’m not incredibly excited for what’s next. I’m working busy shifts at an unexciting job for now. I’m in Spokane in a small apartment for now.

That reminds me – I’m coming home! Well, not “home” home, that’s here now (contentment, remember?) We’ll be flying home to West Virginia mid-August for a wedding and time with family. My last time in the Mountain State was in winter, which is not exactly the time of year the Mountain Mama is known for. This time, it will summer. I might have to break-out my american flag speedo and spend some time on a pontoon boat at the lake.

That’s the long-and-short of the past two months, I suppose. Work. School. Oregon. I turned in my last summer assignment a mere hour ago, though. My summer has officially started! I am now free on weekends and weekdays after 4 to do whatever I want! With my new job, I can actually afford to use that free time on something other than browsing the internet and writing. Currently, I plan to spend some time curating my Spotify playlists and dipping my toes into carpentry. There’s a hobbyist woodworking store near my house where I plan to buy all the necessary components to make a chess board – which I’m told is a great beginner’s woodworking project.

Also, my skateboard was stolen from my car and I need a new one of those, So I’ll probably build one of those soon too, if my friend ever gets me the skateboard deck designs I asked for. Good thing is, she reads this blog. I know you’re reading this, friend.

Summer is great, y’all. Hobbies and Heat. And soon, probably also Smoke.

This week’s featured photo is from our trip to Oregon. It was taken at Cape Meares, where a 30-foot lighthouse sits at the edge of a cliff 150 feet above the water, surrounded by steep cliffs on every side. You’ll notice the trees atop the cliff. This is what the whole shore looks like. It’s astounding. The seagulls in the center-left frame will give you a sense of the scale.

I have not abandoned this blog. In fact, with all the academic papers I’ve written in the past two months, I’ve missed the blog. I have a ridiculous backlog of pictures that I hope to publish. There’s more of our trip to Oregon and some beginner astrophotography that I’m really proud of. I usually post this stuff on my Instagram first, so follow me there if you want to see this stuff before it makes the blog! Links below.

I’ll see you all when I see you. I won’t promise to write every week now that I have the free time, but I will promise to write again. So, until then, au revoir.