East Coast fun & back to Portland

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving week and weekend! We sure did. If you read my last post, you know that Karen and I spent the week of Thanksgiving in New Jersey with her family, and the week started with Karen’s bridal shower. It’s only about five weeks from now that we fly down to Hawaii to get married! Some of our time in NJ was spent arranging the final details of the ceremony and the trip in general.

Outside of Thanksgiving, we ended up having something else pretty major to celebrate this week. Karen’s sister, Laura, and her boyfriend, Rich, got engaged too! Karen and I were there when a very nervous Rich came to ask their dad for permission, and we were very anxious to hear from them after he popped the question. After all, Karen set the two of them up a while back, and we couldn’t be more excited for them!

The newly engaged Laura and Rich.

Karen’s dad with his two future son-in-laws! It was a night of heavy celebration, as you can see by the wine glasses.

It was very nice to have a traditional Thanksgiving with Karen’s [ever growing] family. They’re a really fun bunch, and they’re all very close. I know a lot of married guys talk negatively about the “in-laws” but to be honest, I’ve struck gold in that department. The family has an annual Thanksgiving tradition, and that’s to go around the dinner table and, one by one, say what you’re thankful for. I told them I couldn’t have dreamed up a better family to be entering into.

We took this photo right before dinner. From left is David, Joann and Tom (Karen’s parents), Karen, me, Laura and Rich.

After Thanksgiving dinner, we ended up playing a Wii game called “Just Dance” and it was insanely amusing. You’re supposed to follow along with the dancers on the screen, but that’s often very difficult so you end up looking a bit, um, stupid… to the delight of everyone around you! In the pic above, Karen’s parents try to keep up with a Blues Brothers song.

On Friday, Karen and I flew back to the bus, which is still parked in the Portland, OR area. We were glad to be in the air while the rest of the country was in the Black Friday shopping frenzy. The next night, we went to a movie at a historic, art deco-style theater called Kiggins. It’s actually in Vancouver, Washington, a short drive from Portland. What’s funny is that the movie we saw was “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure!” Karen had never seen it and it had been years since I’d seen it. It was definitely an interesting way to spend the night!

For the next week, we’ll probably still be hanging around in the Portland area. More to come…

Portland to Jersey

This past week was pretty much divided between Portland, Oregon and South Jersey. The bus is still parked in the Portland area, as it has been for the past several weeks now. I spent the first part of the week working a lot and exploring a bit downtown. I’m looking into changing the general style of my wardrobe and wanted to check out some specific clothing stores. Portland is great for that. There are so many unique stores for every kind of style you can imagine. I didn’t buy anything though. I’m just starting to form ideas of what I like.

On Tuesday night, I surprised Karen by taking her out at midnight. At first, she was confused as to why we would go out so late on a Tuesday night, but eventually realized that midnight marked the start of our third anniversary! We went out to a fun little bar called Bye & Bye. Karen was especially thrilled because it was vegan (she’s vegetarian). Instead of your normal bar food, we got a bowl of brown rice, collard greens and black-eyed peas. We will most likely be making a return visit to this place!

The above photo was taken at the bar “Bye & Bye,” in Portland. The following is the caption I posted on Facebook: Today is Karen and my third anniversary. At 11:55pm the day before, I asked Karen if she was “ready to go in 15 minutes”. She said “yes”, but was confused about going out at midnight on a Tuesday. It was only after we got in the car that she realized that our anniversary started seconds earlier. Karen my dear, you are the best thing to have ever happened in my lifetime. Thank you for putting up with me and being so easy to get along with. I can’t wait for you to officially be my wife on January 4th. Life without you would be like life without air to breathe.

Mid week, we flew to New Jersey, where Karen’s parents live. The trip was planned around both Thanksgiving and Karen’s bridal shower. It’s been nice spending time with the family and catching up with friends. We payed a visit to the Heritage Vineyards tasting room to see our friend Carl, aka the wine wizard, and he was pouring some very tasty wines (as he usually does). It seems like just recently that we attended his amazing “cellar wine dinner,” which is an event to remember for wine lovers.

An iPhone shot of me and the fam out to dinner. Karen’s parents are at left and on the right is me, Karen and her sister, Laura.

Me and Karen with our friend Carl at the Heritage tasting room.

This weekend, Karen’s sister, Laura, and her friend Amanda threw her a bridal shower at a local restaurant. It was all ladies (as most bridal showers are) but me and the guys were invited to show up later. There was actually a lot of Karen’s family I hadn’t met yet, and they wanted to make introductions. I was just glad there was no name quiz at the end! The party was done so nicely, with a travel theme that matches our lifestyle. Each table had a different theme, which was based on a place that Karen and I have been together.

I’ll be spending most of the rest of the week in Jersey and will be celebrating Thanksgiving with Karen’s family for the first time. I hope you all have a great Turkey Day! More to come…

Be and Karen at her bridal shower (How many guys get to go to a bridal shower? 😉 )

Laura and Amanda set gave the party a complete travel theme to match our lifestyle.

A NJ Visit and Photoshop World Preparations

Hey gang! In my last post, I was wrapping up a week full of training with creativeLIVE in Seattle. (If you missed those training sessions, you can read about them here.) After Seattle, my next stop was the Philly/South Jersey area, where Karen’s family lives. Karen flew out nearly a month ago to be with her family through some rough times, so it had been a while since I’d seen her. We’re used to spending most of our time within 10 feet of each other, so it’s always strange to be apart for a long time.

While I was in NJ, I spent a lot of time prepping for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo coming up this week in Las Vegas. I can’t even keep track of how many Photoshop Worlds I’ve taught at, but every single one has always been a blast, and this one will be no exception. If you’ve never been to a Photoshop World, you can kind of think of it as a Photoshop/digital photography love fest. You’ll learn a ton, but will have loads of fun too.

If you plan on joining us in Vegas, I’ll be teaching the following classes:

Tues. Sept. 4, 6:30-10:30 pm – Creative Design: Creating Photographic Art, with Judy Host

Wed. Sept. 5, 6:15 – 7:15 pm – Photoshop CS6: Hidden and Hard to Find Tweaks

Fri. Sept. 7, 8:15 – 9:15 am – Camera RAW 7: Completely Redesigned!

Fri. Sept. 7, 11:00 am – 12:00pm – Getting Started with Actions

Outside of planning for my PSW sessions, I spent a lot of time just hanging out with Karen and her family. We went out to some nice dinners, enjoyed a happy hour at the winery and had a crazy fun game night at Karen’s sister’s new house. It was there that we discovered that Karen and I are not only great life partners, but great “Cranium” partners as well!

Karen and I at the Heritage Vineyard happy hour

A fun game of Cranium at Laura and Rich’s house

The past week has also been spent making plans for the vintage bus project. If you’ve been following this saga, you know that my vintage bus has been re-powered and is now in Chattanooga awaiting transport to Eugene, OR where it will get its interior installed. At first, I planned on having the bus shipped to Oregon on a flatbed truck, but that would be extremely expensive. Plus, I’ve had some offers from folks willing to drive the bus there for me. A third option would be for me to fly out to Chattanooga and drive the bus myself. I’m still weighing the options, and will give an update as soon as I’ve got a plan. Whatever happens, the shop in Oregon will be ready for the bus before the end of the month.

Well, as I wrap up this post, I’m getting ready to fly from NJ over to Vegas for Photoshop World! More to come…