Exploring Oregon

We’ve lived in Oregon for almost ten months now and we really haven’t taken advantage of the amazing outdoor experiences and destinations that we never really had in Minnesota. Mountains, valleys, oceans, and no snow1!

But in these 10 months, I’ve driven to the ocean twice – once in the pouring rain showing our friend the sights and going to wine country – and once to see a bunch of smelly, belligerent drunks on another drizzly day.

We’ve done a little urban exploring and a walk through Tualatin Hills Nature Park (which is smack in the middle of the city and a short MAX ride away) as well, but for the most part, we haven’t done any exploring of this beautiful state.

This past Sunday, I finally had enough. Why did we move here if we weren’t going to enjoy all the things we love – being outdoors, seeing nature in its glory, disconnecting from technology – so I decided we were going to go somewhere. I found a lighthouse that was only a hour and a half drive away (and would take us past the Tillamook cheese factory…mmm). Do a bit of exploring, see the ocean, and have a good time in the outdoors.

Since I’m an adventurer at heart, I got the general idea of where we were going and relied upon road signs to get us to our final destination. It’s a pretty straightforward drive from our house to Tillamook and the lighthouse was only 10 miles further west.

Instead of taking the main road, we followed the signs which took us on some beautiful back roads that went past dairy farms and had smooth, winding roads that had little to no traffic.

We got to a point where the road forked off to the right, but we ended up staying left and ended up at Cape Lookout state park instead. I had read there were some great hiking in that area and since we were prepared for some hiking, we decided on the spur of the moment to change our plan.

We were glad we did!

We ended up hiking Cape Lookout’s south hike, which wound it’s way through the forest and down 850 feet over 1.8 miles to get to the ocean. Here are some photos from the hike and from when we finally got to the ocean. There are also photos of slugs because my crazy husband is fascinated with them. They’re animated boogers as far as I’m concerned.

Next time we go back, I want to take the north hike – which is nearly a 10 mile round trip, so we’d have to leave the house earlier in the morning. But the views afforded on that hike also look amazing. I can’t wait! 😀

We ended our adventure by eating some ice cream at the Tillamook factory and getting a bunch of cheese to take home with us. Mmm…cheese.

Where’s your next adventure going to take you? Ours will be right outside our door.

1 Yes, yes, I know it will snow in Oregon on occasion, even in the area that we live. But it’s not never ending, 5.5 foot snow drifts that linger from November to May. Plus, it doesn’t get below zero.

Inside Hiring at Automattic

My awesome co-worker Dave Martin posted an article on his blog today titled “Inside Automattic’s Remote Hiring Process” and it’s a fantastic read.

One of my favorite quotes:

We try to reply to everyone, whether they look like a good fit yet or not. There are good reasons for this. Not only is it the right thing to do, we’ve actually had quite a few Automatticians get hired after reapplying a second or third time.

I think this is HUGE.

How many times have you applied for something only to sit around waiting for a response?



You apply for a job you’re really excited about, then weeks and months go by and you don’t hear anything back. What an awful feeling!

In this day and age where we have computers, auto-responders, text expander programs and the like – it literally takes a moment to respond to those people who did not meet the expectations or requirements of the position being filled. It’s just common courtesy to let people know.

That’s why I love working for Automattic – from the very first point of contact, we’re respectful of all applicants and their time. Whether that means “thanks, but no thanks” or “hey, let’s talk more” – we try to respond to everyone. That’s pretty cool.

What are you waiting for? Go read Dave’s article and take a peek at our hiring page. Who knows, we may want to talk to you more too!

Press Publish!

If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you may have missed this retweet:

Wait, that’s my name in that photo! Whaaaaat?

Don’t fear, I knew I was going to be a part of this event! Press Publish is a new event from Automattic – from the event website:

Press Publish is a one-day conference featuring inspiring WordPress bloggers and the people behind WordPress.com

Currently, there are two events scheduled: one in Portland and one in Phoenix. No, I’m pretty sure they didn’t pick those cities because they started with the letter P. 😀

I’m going to be at the Portland event talking about Jetpack: the features that are beneficial to bloggers and tools that can help you manage multiple WordPress sites. I’ll also be doing a Podcasting 101 and will cover the basics on how to get started podcasting with WordPress and how it’s not as scary as it seems!

The Portland event is on March 28th – and clearly is the better of the two events because that’s the one where I’m going to be speaking. 😉

Hope to see you there!

Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything

This is one of my rare, navel-gazing posts. Bear with me and you’ll be back to my infrequent postings about WordPress and code in no time.

One of my favorite book series is Douglas Adams “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy” – I will re-read it every few years and I’m itching to read it again.

If the book wasn’t so freaking big (I have the hardcover of all 5 books – it’s a good 2+ inches thick1) I’d haul it to read on the plane before my team’s meetup in Hawaii in March.

Now if you’ve never read the books, I’m going to spoil the ending for you so just go close that tab if you want to be blissfully ignorant.

Image credit CainaG on
Image credit CainaG on DeviantArt

Now then.

Faithful readers of this series knows about the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything” that runs through the entire series. From Wikipedia:

The number 42 is, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, “The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”, calculated by an enormous supercomputer over a period of 7.5 million years. Unfortunately no one knows what the question is. Thus, to calculate the Ultimate Question, a special computer the size of a small planet was built from organic components and named “Earth”.

As today is my 42nd birthday, it occurred to me that I should have answers to some of the questions in this program called “life.” Looking back, all I have are more questions than answers.

What is happiness?

What is health?

What is normal?

All things swirling around my head nowadays.

It’s not well known outside my close friends and family, but my husband suffers from clinical depression and anxiety and at times it’s quite severe. During those times, my life is put on hold while his disease takes control of my every waking moment (and sometimes when asleep when I have nightmares about the worst things that could happen). Does that make me love him less, care about him less, make me less happy?

No. That would be like saying that I’m going to divorce my husband because he has cancer. Depression is a disease. It’s diagnosable. It’s treatable. But it doesn’t go away.

One of the things that bothers me about people’s perspective of depression is that it’s something that you can just shake yourself out of…that one just isn’t trying hard enough to “get over it.” That if you just “stop being a whiner” it’ll go away. That’s not depression.

Depression isn’t being angry that Sephora stopped carrying your favorite lipstick.

Depression is not being grief stricken that your grandma passed away.

Depression isn’t being upset that Starbucks stopped making Pumpkin Spice Lattes for the season.

Feeling depressed or sad is not the same as being clinically depressed.

True clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for weeks or more. Reason doesn’t work. Logic doesn’t work. Tears don’t work. Ultimatums don’t work. All the love in the world doesn’t work.

All you can do is be there and be supportive. Make sure they’re taking care of themselves. Make them talk and not sit alone with their depression. Make them follow their treatment plan. It sucks. You have to put your feelings on hold and try to make it through those dark times, but it’s exhausting.

It doesn’t make it easier over time. In fact, the knowledge of what’s to come almost makes it harder. That doesn’t change things though. He’s my husband and I love him. Through sickness and health.

That’s one of the things swirling around in my head.

Another is about my birthday. While I never really made a big deal about my birthday, I still ended up doing something special. Going out for cocktails with our good friends, maybe a special dinner with the husband, cards/gifts/flowers, etc. This year, I was hoping to do something special, but the immediacy of other life issues means that “special” isn’t in the cards this time. I don’t always miss my MN friends, but there are definitely times when I wish they were around. Today’s one of those days. :(

Moving to a new state has had its ups and downs. I love where we live, I love the weather, and I love the memories and opportunities we’re creating. The downs of being away from our MN friends and family, getting used to new routines, meeting new friends, etc. While “meeting friends” seems to be an odd choice for a downer, it’s because of the void left by our really, close friends is so huge.

It’s funny really. Seeing our MN friends doing so many fun things and hanging out together, I get hit with little pangs of sadness and jealousy. Y U NO MISS US? :(


Ironic that my birthday is on a Thursday this year.

Tonight, I think we’re going to go out for ramen at our favorite Japanese restaurant, then I’m going to enjoy some wine while I watch TV. Nothing special, I know.

Maybe I should add cheesecake to the mix? Cheesecake makes everything better, right?

1 That’s what she said!