Roommate Reunion 2015, cont’d

Y’all gave me more gray hairs today… – Cora

Sometimes the best of friends are responsible for difficult conversations.  As the Oregon roommate reunion continued, a 2-hour drive to the coast was apparently the perfect time to have such a conversation. Which resulted in both more gray hairs and a headache on my part. Thankfully, Jessi and Shannon came to the rescue.

Excuse me, you wouldn’t happen to have any Tylenol, would you? – Jessi and Shannon

We spent Sunday afternoon exploring the small, coastal town of Florence.

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At literally every.single.store., Jessi and Shannon felt compelled to ask every.single.person we met for Tylenol. It was, after all, their fault that I had the headache in the first place. Unfortunately, the embarrassment I felt about the entire process sort of cancelled out any appreciation I felt. Really, what else are friends for than to stress you out and then embarrass you? Thankfully, we got to enjoy some Oregon coastal scenery, which seemed to make everything better.

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Guys! We need a selfie stick! – Jessi

Speaking of the coast, apparently we looked either completely desperate or completely pathetic in our attempts to take a group picture. A complete stranger walked over to us from another part of the beach to ask if we wanted to borrow her selfie stick. It temporarily felt like a new low. But then it was awesome.

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This picture brought to you by the magic of the pity offer selfie stick.
This picture brought to you by the magic of the pity offer selfie stick.

Cora, when are you going to Antartica? – Jessi

I don’t think I actually understand what it is that you do. – Shannon

Proof that even the best of friends don’t always understand each other. I’m going to Iceland, not Antartica. And don’t worry, Shan, I’m pretty sure that almost no one understands what I do, including most of my coworkers! Despite differences and brief misunderstandings and disagreements, best friends talk it out, help each other feel better, and have a great day at the coast in spite of it.

Can we take a picture for you? Oh, would you happen to mind taking a picture of us? Maybe just one more?(after looking at the pics and deciding they were not up to her rather high picture standards) – Jessi

After a beautiful day at the coast, I shared more of Oregon’s breathtaking and unbelievable beauty with Jessi and Shannon by taking them hiking at Crater Lake.

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We hiked Garfield Peak, which is not a particularly long hike, but it is rather uphill.

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Our strategy was generally to stop and take a picture whenever we saw something beautiful. Which was always. It was the perfect strategy for never admitting how out of breath we were.

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Take a pretty picture. Hike a few feet uphill and notice you’re winded. Suggest stopping for another picture (or ten), but certainly not because you’re out of breath.

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Hike. Run across someone else on the trail. Solicit about twenty pictures from them.

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Hike 10 feet. See a chipmunk which demands to be captured in a photograph.

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Stop and individually pose for the same picture x 3.

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Hike. An ultimately effective, but perhaps not efficient method of hiking. The view from the top, however, was more than worth it!

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The harder the better – Name redacted to protect the innocent

For the last day of the reunion, we decided we earned some relaxation. In addition to drinking lots of coffee, another roommate reunion tradition is getting pedicures. This time, we went all out and booked pedicures at the River Rock Spa at the nearby Seven Feathers Casino. Not only did we get to enjoy relaxing and much-needed pedis, we also spent time enjoying the lovely spa amenities. It was the perfect way to spend our last day together. Oh, and the quote? It was said to the man adjusting the jets on the hot tub. Obviously.

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I am so thankful for my friendship with Jessi and Shannon. We laugh, we cry, we reminisce, and sometimes we get on each others’ nerves. Jessi uses me as a human clothes rack. We love each other and the all too brief times we get to spend together.

I wish I could capture in words how well this picture illustrates the dynamics of our friendship!
I wish I could capture in words how well this picture illustrates the dynamics of our friendship!

Shannon and Jessi are the best kind of people and the best kind of friends. I look forward to each opportunity we have to be together. As long as we have been friends, it is not nearly long enough. Here’s to more memories, more gray hairs, and many, many more roommate reunions!

Roommate Reunion 2015

At some point during the past 10 years since I graduated college (side note: how is that possible????), I began trying to get together at least once a year with my college roommates Jessi and Shannon. Of course life sometimes intervenes (i.e., people have babies and by people I mean Jessi) and we can’t always get together, but for the past 7 or 8 years we have managed to make a yearly reunion happen more often than not. But this year, my year to host the reunion, I was no longer living in Texas, a place conceivably within driving distance of Arkansas and Tennessee where Jessi and Shannon reside. I was in faraway Oregon. So it was a bit of a surprise when one day in July I woke up with no notion of an upcoming reunion and went to bed knowing that two of my best friends had plane tickets booked for September. Some things are just meant to be.

September arrived and so did Jessi and Shannon. Although of course it was not quite that straightforward as I will get to in a moment. We enjoyed a long weekend of good times, lots of laughs, relived memories, and very little sleep with copious amounts of coffee to compensate.

I’m trying to pretend that I’m okay with being wake right now -Cora

If a quote could sum up an entire weekend, it would be this one. The trip started off with an unexpected twist when Jessi called to share that her flight had been cancelled. I had picked Shannon up from the airport in Eugene and we were killing time at, where else, Target, before returning to the airport to pick up Jessi later in the evening. Or so we thought. Following a somewhat panicked phone call from Jessi, we quickly worked to get Jessi rebooked on another flight. That got into Portland. At midnight. So we did what any reasonable people would do, we decided to buy matching coffee mugs, supplies to make a welcome sign, and party hats. Because what airport greeting would be complete without party hats?

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How could she say no to this awesomeness?
I quickly downed three cups of coffee at 9 pm before making the drive from Eugene to Portland.
I quickly downed three cups of coffee at 9 pm before making the drive from Eugene to Portland. Desperate times…

Shannon and I spent the 2 hour drive mostly talking about my new boyfriend. After she agreed that she didn’t mind hearing everything twice when Jessi inevitably would want to have the same conversation.

By 11:30, we were feeling a bit less enthusiastic.
By 11:30, we were feeling a bit less enthusiastic.
I had failed to consider that Jessi would not be the only person to see Shannon and I holding the sign. It was like an exposure exercise designed to elicit embarrassment.
I had failed to consider that Jessi would not be the only person to see us holding the sign. It was like an exposure exercise designed to elicit embarrassment.

I loved the sign! It was like a painful joy. -Jessi

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We managed to make it back to Roseburg around 4 am. To Shannon and Jessi, that felt like 6 am and the two of them had both been awake for over 24 hours. What a way to begin. And if one should begin as one plans to continue, we did just that – going to bed too late and waking up too early. That just meant we had a constant excuse to drink coffee.

We even got to meet my other best friend, Kacy, for coffee. My worlds collided and it was pretty much the best.thing.ever!!
We even got to meet my other best friend, Kacy, for coffee. My worlds collided and it was pretty much the best.thing.ever!!
Introducing them to Dutch Bros.
Introducing them to Dutch Bros.
Pre-hiking bagels and coffee
Pre-hiking bagels and coffee

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And, imagine that, we are at another coffee shop!
And, imagine that, we are at another coffee shop!

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Not pictured: At least 5 other instances when we drank coffee. And yes, I realize they were here for like 4 days and we drank enough coffee to last a normal person at least a month.

Because a sleep-deprived, coffee fueled weekend was not quite enough exhaustion for one week, we woke up at 3 am on Wednesday so I could drive them to the airport for their early morning flights… before going to work at 8 am.

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How do I get in on that? -Jessi

One of the benefits of having best friends around is exploiting them for their talents. Like back rubs and fixing hair and fashion advice.

For a 4-day stretch in September, I had good hair thanks to Shannon. IMG_0036

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Cora, you need an Oregon makeover!! -Jessi and Shannon

Shannon, are you really going to wear Chacos with that… – Jessi

In addition to great hair, friends can also provide fashion advice, solicited and otherwise. Which could explain how I ended up with a shopping bag big enough for me to fit into full of new clothes.

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That (insert meal here) was so good/yummy/delicious -improvised by Cora to transition to a discussion of food

Okay, so that quote generally reflects the fact that we ate a lot of really great food while Shannon and Jessi were here. Roseburg is not exactly known for being a foodie destination, but happens to have exactly the number of good restaurants you need to get through a long weekend without actually cooking. Stay any longer than that and you’re out of options and stuck with fast food, but at least you can eat well for a weekend.

This was not in Roseburg, but Shan and I enjoyed a fantastic meal at Cafe 440 in Eugene.
This was not in Roseburg, but Shan and I enjoyed a fantastic meal at Cafe 440 in Eugene.
Fried green tomatoes done right and served with chipotle aioli.
Fried green tomatoes done right and served with chipotle aioli
Salmon over risotto. Can I just eat this everyday, please?
Salmon over risotto. Can I just eat this everyday, please?
And chocolate bread pudding because we were literally not going to bed that night. And I needed something to go with my coffee, right?
And chocolate bread pudding because we were literally not going to bed that night. And I needed something to go with my coffee, right?

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The Lighthouse is a vegetarian bakery that even carnivores love.
The Lighthouse is a vegetarian bakery that even carnivores love.

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The guacamole “burger” is amazing!

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Alexander's Greek Cuisine
Alexander’s Greek Cuisine

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Seafood within driving distance (in this case Florence) is a definite perk of living in Roseburg
Seafood within driving distance (in this case Florence) is a definite perk of living in Roseburg

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Dakota Street Pizza
Dakota Street Pizza
Brix, one of my favorite spots
Brix, one of my favorite spots

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Bagel Tree. For bagels. We needed the calories for hiking obviously.
Bagel Tree. For bagels. We needed the calories for hiking obviously.
We enjoyed a nice dinner at Dino's on our last night together to celebrate over 13 years of friendship in the best way possible - with delicious food and laughter-filled conversation.
We enjoyed a nice dinner at Dino’s on our last night together to celebrate over 13 years of friendship in the best way possible – with delicious food and laughter-filled conversation.

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There is more to share, but a weekend with two of my favorite people cannot possibly be summed up in one post. Stay tuned for more about gray hairs, misunderstandings about trips to Antartica, and probably more coffee.