Day 3

I had a late start to my day. I woke up at 6am (again) and watched “Brothers Grimm” (again) on Hulu. I knew I still had to get items from the grocery store but I was a little leery of having a repeat of Friday where I was loaded down with stuff. So, I decided to spend a little more money and shop at the closer New Seasons organic market to get heavier items checked off my list. Later on, I made the 0.8mile walk to the main grocery store. This time, I was very aware of every item I put into my grocery cart. I ended up with my backpack weighing close to 30 lbs and two grocery bags which is infinitely preferable to Friday’s hike with 5 grocery bags. 🙂 At this point, I have my basic needs met. For pots/pans, Matt ordered a Texsport Stainless Steel Backpackers Cook Set for me. I will be sleeping on an airbed and I don’t believe I’ll be purchasing any solid furniture (I think I’ll use plastic bins for my clothes, etc). For spoons/plates, I will be making use of cheap plastic items and I’m waiting on a shipment of a set of Coleman Speckled Enamelware Dining Kit (Red)Enamelware from Amazon. For cleaning supplies, just the standard aerosol/all-purpose cleaners, paper towels, tissue paper, etc. Once I got done with sorting my stuff, I decided to make my way down to Portland again to check out the Portland Saturday Market.

The Portland Saturday Market can be best described as an explosion of people selling a lot of artsy type stuff. I saw a lot of T shirts, jewelry, etc. However, what stood out to me was a guy who was selling scorched wood as art! Believe me when I tell you the stuff was quite good! He was essentially using fire to make pretty patterns on wood. I will be back next week and hopefully will get to walk the length & breadth of the market. It was almost too much to take in for me especially as there were 100s of other tourists around & I was in a fog of sorts. 🙂 Brief directions to get this: Hop on the MAX Blue Line to Gresham/Hillsboro and get off at Skidmore Fountain. From there, I made my way to the Portland Willamette River Walk which is pretty much like it sounds. I didn’t do the whole thing but I will be sure to complete the entire route before I leave. Then, I got a little lost in downtown Portland but instead of freaking out, I simply  … walked. I probably walked ~ 3 miles today and I’m seriously considering the purchase of a little pedometer or a FitBit to keep track of my activity. As I tweeted earlier, I think I could end up being in the best shape of my life if I kept up with my current walking/exercise regimen!

Speaking of exercise, I think I have pretty toned appendages (towards the end of the Spring semester, I did a lot of arm/leg work). My current exercise favorite is power walking on the treadmill. However, I do have a tendency to focus on exercises that I’m pretty familiar with i.e. exercises working my arms/legs/back. So, one of my fitness goals for this summer is a stronger core. I’ve settled on Russian Twists as one of the ways to do this and I would appreciate any recommendations regarding exercises to do. That’s all for now! Thanks for reading and I look forward to reading any tips about places to visit or things to do while in Oregon!

PS: I’m uploading some cellphone pics I snapped today. There’s not artfully composed or anything. Just enjoy, dammit. 🙂

Badassery and other matters

Ever have one of those “do or die” moments? I just had one of those #slightexaggeration. You see, I moved to a new place (temporarily) for the summer and I am wholly dependent on public transportation. Expectedly, getting around will take some smart maneuvering on my part. Well, I had several important errands to run today: visit the bank, procure several perishable and non-perishable items & I absolutely had to have them today. So, I decided to fire up Google Maps, find out where the places I needed to go where and start walking. Thankfully, the places were ~ mile from where I lived but I got a bit … carried away.

Long story short, I ended up with a backpack full of items plus 5 plastic bags worth of stuff. All told, yours truly was toting over 40 lbs (my really conservative estimate) of stuff after being done with shopping. The sad thing is people saw me struggling with the items but no one stopped. In a weird way, it was a good thing no one stopped because I don’t think I would have taken a ride from a stranger. Matt & I watched Cold Case Files before he drove me to the airport and let’s just say it brought out the hypervigilant & semi-paranoid side of me out. lol. So, it was up to me to haul my stuff home and boy, I made myself proud. I slogged through it and I learned that mental strength (& physical!) is incredibly important.

I pride myself on my ‘fierce’ independence and that side of me came out in full force because I knew I had no one else to depend on but me to get me & my stuff home. Basically, when it was down to the wire, I delivered and I feel like I could conquer the world right now. 🙂 When I reached my apartment, a young couple in their car saw me and asked if I needed help. After a 2 second pause on my part, the girl hopped out of her car and insisted on helping me which has redeemed this place in my eyes. 🙂 She helped me up the flight of stairs and I collected myself enough to ask her name. I believe I’ve made a new friend!

Moral lesson of the day: I am a strong, independent and capable young woman. I hope to take advantage of my time here to perform some self introspection, grow personally & professionally and heal some wounds. That’s all for now! I’m off to spend some of my giftcard-cash at Starbucks! Tonight, I guess I can skip the cardio and will focus on core strengthening by doing the Russian Twists. With that, I bid you, my darling reader, adieu. 🙂

Summa time! :)

So, classes are done for the Spring! I had a rough time with one course in particular (Mom, don’t worry!!) but I think I’ll at least pass the course. I’m not in Georgia for the summer because I snagged an awesome internship halfway across the country (Oregon)! Matt’s incredibly jealous because Oregon is very scenic and has trails/mountains/parks to die for. 🙂

Life is good. Matt and I celebrated our 5th year of marriage and boy, have we grown together. He seriously completes me and makes me stop to smell the roses (this actually happened in the non-metaphorical sense). 🙂 I’m enjoying my current course of study and I am about to embark on a 3-month long internship where I’ll be doing nothing but coding. I’m understandably nervous. I mean, the other students in this internship program have some serious pedigrees (IVY league, well regarded CS & Engineering schools, etc) but I’m trying not to be too intimidated. In fact, I think I’ll be better off taking advantage of the smarts of this group and learn from them! Maybe their smarts will rub off, who knows?

Not all is hunky dory in paradise. There are ups and downs but I work through them and take things step by step. I still have trouble being extroverted although people who talk to me in public fall for my acts of extroversion. 🙂 I do have a neat story to share (about that).

At the PDX airport, an older white lady caught up to me after watching me from a distance and asked where I was from. I told her I was Nigerian and turns out she lived in Nigeria (in the 80s) as the child of missionaries! We got to talking and I learned quite a bit from her. She even gave me a hug as we parted ways! I love meeting people although the first step (stepping out and saying ‘hello’) is usually the hardest. In this case, she took the leap of faith and reached out to me & both our lives were enriched from the information exchange that ensued! Anyway, I’m hoping to use this blog more to keep my family posted about my shenanigans in Oregon. I’ve reunited with an old college acquaintance and I’m super excited about my yet-to-be-had adventures! 😀

The end of May

Well, what’s this? Another blog post! 😛 May was one of the worst months in terms of allergies for me. In fact, this year is the worst I’ve ever reacted to allergens. So far, we’re still unsure what is causing my reactions, but I haven’t let it get me too down. I’ve been taking more pictures and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m still not taking as many photos as I’d like, but I can see a noticeable improvement in the quality of my photographs. As so many people will tell you, getting better is really about taking lots of photos and experimenting & mentally filing away what works or not for you! My photography class is over, but I signed up for the next step towards the certificate which is learning about Photoshop. I’ve been pretty decent with my photo editing work in my biased opinion, but I know I have lot to learn. That said, here are some photos of my latest work.

This weekend, we went camping at Lake Russell Campground and as always, I had my camera, Sigma 10-20mm & Nikon 18-200mm with me. As always, you can check out my website, Jane Ullah Photography or visit my companion Tumblog for photos. Cheers!

Thanksgiving 2009 and Howard’s Cave in Trenton, GA

So, I’m very late to the recapping game, but it’s safe to say that I have the best. ever. thanksgiving break thus far. Matt & I, the 3 musketeers (J, J and B), Matt’s dad and his friend rented two log cabins up in Northeast Georgia and we went spelunking! This activity is relatively safe, but is physically tasking as I found out the next day after spending 2 hrs in Howard’s Cave! I was urged to take my precious Nikon D90 into the cave and I was understandably nervous about possibly dropping & breaking that expensive toy! Nevertheless, some things in life can NOT be quantified such as the experience of being in the cave. In addition, I knew that I’d be able to get some kickass pictures from the event and attain eternal fame & glory. 🙂 Not really, but going caving is definitely one of those things that was on my bucket list and I don’t plan to stop doing it anytime soon. Without further ado, here are the pictures from the event below. For more photos of Howard’s Cave, please visit my online gallery of picture at Jane Ullah Photography (and the album is titled “Howard’s Cave” under the “Nature” category.).

cave cave1 cave2


2009 so far

Where do I begin? This year started on a so-and-so note. Personal reasons mostly and unrelated to marriage (so you can stop worrying, Mom. lol), but I was both hopeful and yet down. However, several things have happened to turn that frown upside down. In not particular order, here’s what’s happened:

  1. The biggest change that happened this year was that Matt and I have become more spiritual. By no means am I a bible thumper nor can I recite bible verses longer than 2 lines, BUT I’ve found a church that appeals to my core and I can’t wait to become a full member of this church. I’m SO looking forward to nourishing my soul with the Word of the Lord tomorrow (God willing).
  2. nailI got an award at work for being so helpful during the use of the facilities at work by a government agency. Hopefully, little things like this will translate to a pay raise although this recession pretty much guarantees that I’ll be at my current pay grade for a year or two. It’s not too big of a deal, but it was nice to be recognized for my hard work.
  3. Sometime in June, I quit biting my nails. I backslid twice, but never back to ground zero (i.e. as bad as it used to be) so I was always able to bounce back and I recently posted pictures of my hard-fought battle on Facebook which is what you see in this post. That picture signifies the personal, figurative and literal growth that is my life. I wish you the same.
  4. Back in June, I submitted my application to the USCIS to remove restrictions placed on my permanent residency because Matt & I were married for less than two years. I can appreciate the reasons this limit was instituted, but for couples together for genuine reasons, it can be a nerve-wracking time. We filed the application without the aid of a lawyer because they charged over $1,000 for their use. In an amazing turn of events, our application got approved in less than 4 months and as I write, I am in possession of my 10-year permanent resident card, more commonly called the green card! This is awesome news and what this means for me in practical terms is that Matt & I will have the freedom to plot our travels. 🙂 Continue reading 2009 so far

Photography and blogging, oh my!

That’s a very valid question seeing as I’ve been a neglectful blog owner. For starters, I’ve been dedicating more time to posting technical (using that word loosely) content on my companion website at Jane Talks Tech! ( about things that relate to computers. Furthermore, I’ve been  occupied with creating my portfolio and you can feast your eyes on my work at Jane Ullah Photography ( I’ve *also* been busy creating the listings for my website and trying to get the word out. For instance, I’ve created entries on the following websites:

  1. Eventective: Jane Ullah Photography on Eventective
  2. GatheringGuide: Jane Ullah Photography on GatheringGuide
  3. Yahoo! Locals (pending verification)
  4. Jane Ullah Photography on Google Locals

It’s hard especially in an economic downturn, but I’m ‘consoling’ myself by reminding myself that I’m currently building my portfolio as a showcase. I’m not in debt and I have a day job so I’m not panicking yet. 🙂 In the past months, I’ve shot two (2) weddings and 1 high school senior’s portraits. The leads on these were courtesy of Blane Marable, Owner of Blane Marable Photography who has been kind enough to let me tag along on his photoshoots.

Feel free to check out my work and leave comments critiquing my work. Cheers!