Friday, October 30, 2009

Shopping for a Halloween Costume

I hate to go out and buy off the rack (or out of a bag) Halloween costumes because I feel like its a waste of money if I'm never going to use it again. So, I ended up at the Salem Center Mall looking for something that would make me look like a 1920's mobster. I've already got the pin-striped suit look, I really just needed the accessories.

And I found just what I was looking for at JC Penney.

That place constantly amazes me with the deals I find. I always think of that store as an "old lady's" store, but it's got some pretty cool stuff. I found the perfect fedora for my costume and another member of the Salem Halloween Mafia (a.k.a. the friends I lured into my costume idea) found a pinstripe suit on clearance. My fedora may have been $20, but it is WAY cooler than the $10 fedoras at the costume store that I would never wear again. So, in cost-per-wear, I got a steal.

You can check out my costume at the Pub Crawl downtown this very night in Salem, Oregon! :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Salem's Best Weekend Ever!

Okay, maybe that's a little overstated, but seriously, I think there is something for everyone this weekend. I know that I have a full weekend of totally awesome things going on. And something strange is starting to happen...

My friends from Portland are starting to ask if they can come down and hang out with me in Salem! What?! This is definitely a new development. I know of at least two people who are coming in from Portland this weekend for the Pub Crawl, one for a Halloween party and lots more Salemites who have turned down invitations from Portland parties and events to hang out and be a part of the events happening in Salem this weekend.

Now that's what I'm talking about! Salem's getting cool.

Here are a few options of things to do this weekend:
  • Salem Creative Network Pub Crawl (starts Friday at 6 at Grand Vines)
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show at High Street Cinema (7 and 10 pm showings)
  • Trick-or-Treating all over town
  • Halloween Costume party at Venti's (and I'm sure at most other bars downtown)
  • Multiple pumpkin patches with activities -like EZ Orchards and Fordyce Farms
  • A pumpkin-smashing event at Fordyce Farms on Sunday
  • Plus all the other cool things Salem has to offer on a regular basis!

So get out and enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

So Much Happening in Salem

There is so much happening in Salem these days that I don't even have time to blog! That's how happening this place is becoming. So, let's go over my agenda items for the next couple of weeks:

A Pampered Chef party

A wedding reception

Two birthday celebrations

Master's classes and homework

Training for work

Biggest Loser

Pub Crawl (which is drawing people from Portland now!)

Halloween get-together where we will watch Young Frankenstein (I've never seen it!)

Day of the Dead celebration at the Capitol Mall

Meetings about Minto Brown Park replantings

Meeting with Neighborhood Association board

Meeting with Salem Creative Network

Oh, and I have to work my full-time job somewhere in there. Aaaaaahhhhh. So much to do, so little time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sick in Salem

Well, folks! Looks like it's that time of year again. Time for sickness all around. I seem to get one bad cold about this time of year and then (hopefully) I stay well for most of the rest of winter. We'll see how it goes this year since they're promising a bad bout of the flu this season.

I got my yearly cold on Sunday. It came on strong Sunday night and had me down for a couple days. I decided, out of regard for my coworkers, to take off two days of work so I didn't infect them. Wasn't that nice of me?? :)

I went out Sunday afternoon as I felt the bug coming on and picked up some food from Vietnam Restaurant on Center Street. I got some chicken Pho, since I hear chicken soup is good for a cold, and I picked up my favorite dish, #14 Grilled Pork and Shrimp Bun salad just for good measure. I didn't really have much food at home and I knew I needed some good, comforting food. And it was good. And it was comforting.

The other thing I did while sick was run over to the Grocery Outlet for some avocados (surprisingly delicious!) and chips because of my current obsession with guacamole. It's like I have some kind of avocado deficiency which is causing a serious craving! While I was there, I picked up some frozen beef, marinated in tequila and lime and made a delicious crockpot meal with veggies and beef. Normally, I'm not that hungry when I'm sick, and even though I wasn't that hungry during this one, I really felt like cooking and eating comfort food.

It's a good thing I have so many good food options close by. There's nothing like some good comfort food when you're feeling low.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lauren Sheehan Concert at The Grand Theater

So, I don't know about you all, but I don't howl like a werewolf often enough, but I got a good start on my howling practice Friday night at The Grand Theater. The Grand is on High St. in downtown Salem. It is a really great old building across from the county courthouse with a beautiful, old theater on the street level.

The theater has great acoustics as Lauren pointed out more than once during the performance. Partly because of it's great acoustics which allowed her to hear the audience, and partly because of her laid-back style, the concert felt more like hanging out at a friend's house - a particularly musically talented friend that is. She interacted with the audience throughout the night, telling stories, asking us to sing along, whistle, and yes, even howl like werewolves (okay, so she sang a song about a werewolf, because I know you are all wondering exactly what kind of music includes howling).

Lauren and her musical partner, Greg Clark, made the stringed instruments they played just come alive. The music was a combination of blues, bluegrass, folk, country and maybe a little bit of gospel thrown in just to round it out. I think "American Roots" music covers it very well. It sounds like the kind of music that people used to play and sing-along to all across this country before radio and TV and MP3's took over. There is something really amazing about feeling like you've been taken back to another era - back to a toe-tapping, banjo-playing, dancing-in-the-kitchen kind of era.

Although this music seems to defy explanation, the one thing I can say is that it's the kind of music that just makes you smile. And sometimes...that's just what a body needs. :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

The School Calendar

So, guess what happens when there's an inservice day at Salem-Keizer Public Schools? Teachers go out to lunch. Pretty much all of them. Inservice and grading days are the only days of the school year when there is enough time to get out of the building and enjoy lunch with colleagues. It feels almost like playing hooky.

So, guess what happens when about about 3000 school employees descend on the restaurants of Salem for lunch on an inservice day? Yeah...a lot of busy restauraunts. Which is good for the restaurants except that they often aren't ready for an influx of extra customers and don't have the staffing for it.

The smart restaurants, and the ones located near schools, usually get a hold of the school calendar and plan extra staffing for the lunch rush. You can tell which restaurants haven't figured it out yet by their harried and bewildered looks. :)

A word to Salem restaurants out there: get a school calendar. This year's is available here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

What's Happening On North Broadway

So as I drove down North Broadway a couple days ago, I noticed a few things I thought I should share. Apparently, I haven't been down there in awhile. Lots of stuff was happening and it looked like quite the lively neighborhood. Here's the overview:
  • Christo's is now open on Mondays
  • Subway has their sign up, but I couldn't see if they were open.
  • The original Willamette Noodle was working on something. There was stuff all over the sidewalks and it looked like someone was cleaning inside. I don't know what the plan is for that spot, but something was starting to happen, that's for sure.
  • The Little Gypsy is all ready for Halloween, with their costumes hanging up outside for all to admire. Even the Can of Spam costume! Awesome!
  • Maynard's Bakery (who plans to have video poker! What???) looked like it had lots of furnishings and was ready to open. Have they opened? What are they waiting for?

So, that's what's happening on North Broadway (AKA NoBro) as far as I can tell. I obviously don't have lots of info about the ins and outs over there, so if anyone else has the scoop, please comment and let me know. Thanks!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Monmouth - Salem's Odd Little Neighbor

Okay, so I don't want to offend any Monmouthonians (Monmouthites? Monmouthers?), but it is an odd town. And I don't mean that in a bad way. It's just quirky. Every town has it's little quirks and Monmouth is full of them.

I started my Master's program over at Western Oregon University this summer and started up again this week for fall term. I did my undergrad there as well, so it's really fun to be back and I really do love being in Monmouth. Like I said, it's odd. Well, I happen to like odd.

You've got this town that has been dry for forever and a day and only just recently started allowing beer and wine to be sold within the town limits. It's got a University in the town, but a very small one. It's got a few restaurants most of which are some type of asian cuisine or fast food. A good half of the town is made up of the campus and a large portion of the rest of it is rental homes for students. It's just a funny little place that you can't help but love. Main street is straight out of a movie. I drove through last night and even noticed that there was a farmer's market still going strong at 7:00 pm! We don't even have that in Salem!

The other thing I discovered was Miyoma Sushi restaurant. I was astounded! Not because I didn't expect Monmouth to have good sushi, after all, they have the best teriyaki in the valley. I was astounded because there were very few other people in the place! Where were they? This place has excellent sushi and some pretty decent prices. They even made me some seared salmon sashimi with the brand new blow-torch they had just gotten even though it wasn't on the menu.

I don't know why the place wasn't packed. Possibly because there are only a few people in this town and they can't all eat sushi every night. Well, Salem, take advantage of this and head out to Monmouth for a sushi dinner some night. I don't think you'll be disappointed.