Sunday, December 30, 2007

Best Laid Plans

I always start the week off so great. I make a meal plan, I go grocery shopping for the non-perishables we need for the week, as well as the perishable items for the first 3-4 meals of the week. And then...and then...

Then things like last minute dinner invitations or Ricky or I (or both) not feeling well occur and throw my whole plan into a tizzy. I really should start planning only 5 or 6 meals a week rather than 7. On the off nights we can have "Fend for Yourself" night or go out. It would make more sense.

Anyway, I've revised the meal plan for the week. Chili is simmering on the stove and we'll have the crockpot enchiladas on Tuesday. Don't ask me about the rest of the week yet, I have no idea how that will play out.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Am I the only one who does this?

I don't know what it is, perhaps impatience, perhaps not wanting to cook for one, but for some reason I have this habit of going to the grocery store and then getting take out on the way home.

Like tonight for instance. We had very little food in the house. Well, we had a bunch, but when I started cleaning out the fridge I realized most of it was unrecognizable, so then we didn't have very much. So I went to the grocery store. I filled up a cart. I brought several bags of food home. And on the way home I thought to myself, "Self, I need some dinner."

Now, I had just bought many things which would have made a fine meal. And if I didn't feel like cooking for real, there were even Lean Cuisines and other fast and easy Meals For One in the various bags that littered my truck. But instead, Self said to me, "Laura, let's stop at Super Burrito!"

Of course, if you don't live in the Portland area you don't know the joy that is Super Burrito Express (and even if you do live here, you may not know it, though it has won CitySearch awards for the past few years). It used to be a major dive, but it had the best Mexican food. They've since torn down the dilapidated building and Super Burrito now resides in a nice, new, clean and shiny building, but it still serves the best Mexican food around. And I mean, real Mexican food, not Taco Bell-esque fake Mex. The only white guy who works there is the owner!

Since Super Burrito is so amazing, once Self introduced the idea I really couldn't fight it. So off to Super Burrito I went for a wet burrito plate. And boy was it ever satisfying.

But I still can't believe that my body and brain couldn't be satisfied with one of the many things that I later unloaded into the cupboards and refrigerator.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Meal Plan, 12/30-1/5

  • Sun: Crockpot Enchiladas
  • Mon: DIY
  • Tues: Meatloaf
  • Wed: Moroccan Chicken (crockpot)
  • Thurs: Lasagna
  • Fri: Out to eat - Todai - for my birthday!
  • Sat: WW Mac and Cheese

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Product Rec: Slippers

I got the most fantastic slippers for Christmas

The "Foot Duvet" from Restoration Hardware is practically perfect. It's filled with down (and feathers, according to the tag!) and then lined with a poly plush that is so soft I can't even begin to describe it. Now, one would think that a down filled slipper would make one's feet really hot, but they actually just keep my feet the right temperature - not too hot, not too cold. I love them.
The only down side is the soles aren't real cushy so they don't protect my feet and legs from the tile floor induced aches, and you definitely don't want to wear them outside. But as far as keeping my feet warm, they are perfect.

Recipe Rec: Shrimp Lousiane

This recipe came from my mom's friend, Marguerite. I had a pound of thawed shrimp that I needed to use up, so I gave this recipe a shot tonight. It's definitely a keeper! Very fast, easy, and good.

1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
2 cups milk
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tsp parley, minced
1 pound shrimp

saute the onion and garlic in butter until tender. Blend in flour, salt, and chili powder, then add milk. Stir until boiling. Add ketchip, parsley and shrimp; stir until shrimp is cooked through. Serve with rice or noodles.

  • You can use about as much onion as you like, but I don't recommend skipping it. And you know that if I, the queen of leaving onions out, tell you to use the onion, you better use it.
  • You can use as much garlic as you want but again, I wouldn't leave it out. We like garlic a lot, so I used about 4 cloves. I'll probably even add a little more next time.
  • Get everything ready before you start. This recipe goes fast. Honestly, it took me longer to prep it than it did to cook it. I'd say cooking time, start to finish, was about 15 minutes. So make sure everything is chopped, peeled and measured before you start. Also, once you put the milk in you have to stir constantly, so measure the ketchup and parsley ahead of time and have the shrimp ready to go and close by.
  • I used dried parsley flakes; maybe it would be better with fresh, I don't know. I'm not sure the parsley adds much other than a green color. Does parsley really have a taste?
  • The recipe I have says to serve over rice but we didn't have any* so I used a Trader Joe's garden rotini noodle and I have to say, we enjoyed it. So much so that I'll probably always serve it over noodles rather than rice.

So there you have it. An easy, yummy, fast meal for those nights when you have no clue what to cook.

*It's hard to believe that we didn't have rice in the house. We practically lived on the stuff for the first 6-12 months of our marriage! So much so, that Ricky brought 10 pounds of it home from work one day.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Busy Week

Jan 2 - Massages at Dosha, our Christmas gift to each other
Jan 4 - my birthday, dinner at Todai's and the sequal to National Treasure
Jan 5 - Grease sing-a-long, one of our Christmas gifts (I'm completely stoked and Ricky's probably trying to figure out how to get out of it!)
Jan 7 - first day back to school

Busy week!

Santa doesn't know me very well, does he?

Obviously he thought I was good this year, 'cause I made out like a bandit!!

We always start our Christmas celebration with Ricky's family on Christmas eve. Ricky, his parents, his two sisters (Tawnya and Janelle), Janelle's boyfriend/fiance/soon to be husband (not totally sure of the status on that one, we just call him Joe), our 3 month old nephew (Jeremy) and I gathered for a dinner of oyster stew and pizza around 7 on Monday. Oyster stew is really more like oyster soup, and it may sound odd but it's their tradition, which has become my tradition, and we like it.

After dinner we got down to packages, and Janelle played Santa, as usual. Ricky and I got some really great things - a new bread knife and a gift card to New Seasons from his parents, shirts for Ricky from Janelle and Joe, a starbucks gift card, mug and barnes and noble gift card for me from J&J, and milk chocolate bing cherries from Tawnya and Jeremy.

The best gifts, though, were the looks on Tawnya and Cheryl's faces when they opened their gifts. T has been wanting to take Jeremy in to get his portrait done professionally, so we all went in and got her a large gift certificate to Kiddie Kandids to do that. Additionally, I made a frame that matches the nursery theme (jungle).

Cheryl's look was probably even more priceless. The kids all went together to get her these square chargers she wanted for her new formal dining room. We included with it a large Pottery Barn gift card. She was stunned, and we all know she's going to go crazy with it after the holidays. She loves Pottery Barn, and with two new rooms to decorate she'll have a field day.

After opening, we all sat around chatting until about 11. It was a really great night.

Christmas morning Ricky and I got up and headed over to my mom and dad's to finish out our Christmas. We cleaned up there as well - a gift card for two nights at a bed and breakfast in Seaside, Oregon; tool sets for our vehicles (in case we ever break down - or in the case of our stupid car, when we break down); tickets to a Grease sing-a-long; and other fun things like clothes and books.

As if that weren't enough, there were gifts from grandparents! By days end we had several gift cards to various places, pajamas and shirts, Christmas ornaments, and of course the knowledge that we are both very loved (and very spoiled by everyone who loves us).

After our breakfast of sourdough pancakes (yum!!) we all headed out to "the farm," where my great aunt and her granddaughter live with the grandson-in-law and the two great-granddaughters. We visited with my exteneded family and played a new game (Faces, if anyone is interested - it's pretty fun). Then we left there for Ricky's aunt's house, where we visited with all of his extended family and joined them for dinner.

All in all we had a wonderful Christmas. I won't lie, the gifts are great, but more than that we enjoy the time we get to spend with our families, visiting, catching up, and just enjoying each other's company.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Concert Church

Thiswill probably get long, and it will offend some people. I don't mean to be offensive, but after thought, discussion and prayer, Ricky and I came to this conclusion a couple of years ago, and since it is my blog, I get to share my opinion.

Last night we went to a church service for "Christmas Eve." We went with Ricky's family, and it was a good time - dinner at Shari's first, and then the service, and after the service we all sat around and talked for a while before we left. I got to play with and hold my nephew, and he cuddled with me and was just a love. It was nice.

But I hate it when I go to a church service expecting to worship and I get a concert. Seriously, there were several times that the ensemble on stage was singing and worshipping, and the words weren't even on the screen - it was obvious we weren't meant to sing along.

And don't get me started on the over $100,000 worth of lighting instruments that were hanging on the ceiling. I counted at least 50, and at $2000 a pop...well, that could feed and clothe a lot of homeless people.

I hear that this church does a lot of good nationally and globally, but all I could think about was how much more good they could be doing if they got rid of the unnecessary things, like concert lighting, and focused more on serving the world.

But it's not just this church. Ricky and I left our former church because we felt like there was a lot of mismanagement of funds, being fiscally irresponsible. Buying things that were unnecessary, spending millions and millions of dollars on new buildings and whatnot. Trying to be cool. Having a good reputation, being popular. Paul tells us we're to be in, not of, the world, and yet I feel like a lot of these churches are of the world. They're doing the things that the world deems to be cool and popular. They've got their priorities out of whack.

It made us realize that, really, home church is the way it should be. Home church - where there is no overhead because the group meets in someone's home, the way the early church did. Where all of the money that one gives to the church goes to the work of the church, rather than light bills and a mortgage and the heating bill. And certainly not toward buying Elation Professional robotic lighting.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Meal Plan: 12/23-12/26

Sunday, 23rd: Super Burrito Express

Monday, 24th: Oyster Stew and Pizza with the In Laws

Tuesday, 25th: I don't even know if I can list it all! Traditional Christmas dinner should suffice.

Wednesday, 26th: Shrimp Lousiane

Thursday, 27th: Fried chicken, sourdough biscuits and gravy at Mom and Dad's

Friday, 28th: DIY

Saturday, 29th: Turkey Chili

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Key Productions: As Is

As Is was produced by my friend Troy and his theatre company, Key Productions. After 10 years of marriage and 2 children, Troy came out as a gay man. It was something he'd fought for years and tried to change, but found he couldn't, and he's been much happier since changing the direction of his life. When he came out, he decided to start Key Productions, focusing on gay rights and the tolerance of gay people in society.

This was the second show his company did, and it was beautiful. It's about a man who learns he is HIV+, and how the people in his life (including him) handle that. There were some wonderfully touching moments, some incredibly witty moments, and some moments that just broke my heart. I, of all people, actually cried - and those who know me know that I only cry at sports movies and sporting events!

The script is incredibly well written, the cast was perfect, and the direction was great. All in all, it was a wonderful show and I'm so glad my husband and I got the chance to enjoy it.


I haven't felt well all week. I've done a lot of sleeping and popping various drugs this weekend, and I think I may be getting better. My throat has been killing me for going on 2 weeks now, and it just zaps all my strength. It feels like there's a piece of glass stuck in around my left tonsil. WebMD diagnosed me with tonsilitis, strep, walking pneumonia, or cancer. It seems to be clearing up today, though, so I'm guessing it's not cancer. I have a dr appt on Tuesday - just my routine once a year checkup - so I'll get it checked out then, just in case.

Friday the 14th was Ricky's and my 5th anniversary. In some ways it's hard to believe it's been 5 years already. In other ways, it seems like much longer than that. Up until this year we've always spent the whole day together, going wine tasting, doing some sort of fun activity (usually a movie or live show), having dinner, and then watching "our movie" (our wedding video) while sharing a bottle of wine and various yummy cheeses. This year, however, our plans got kind of jumbled due to a death in the family. Uncle Jim, my grandpa's brother, passed away on the 8th and they delayed the service until the 15th to let some out of town family make it. I had to work on the 14th so Ricky and I had planned to make the 15th our anniversary day. With the service, we ended up kind of splitting it between the evening of the 14th and the evening of the 16th, and we still haven't done our wine tasting.

On the 14th, my uncle flew in from Arizona to be here for the service. That would be Geoff, my dad's brother. Ricky and I spent the evening at dinner (Rock Bottom Brewery, it was amazing) and then we went to see a show, As Is, produced by my friend Troy Lakey and his company, Key Productions. More on that later. Then on the 15th we went to the service, which was very nice, and spent the evening visiting with mom, dad and Uncle Geoff. We hadn't seen Geoff in about 3 years, so it was really nice to spend some time with him.

Today I went to breakfast with mom, dad and Uncle Geoff while Ricky was at work. Then I hung out with them, watching football, until it was time to take Geoff to the airport. When Ricky got home from work we had wine, cheese, bread and cold cuts for dinner while watching our movie.

So it was a really good anniversary, mostly. And thankfully I'm feeling better. I'll probably head to bed early tonight as I have a long day tomorrow.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Resolutions, part 3

I managed to get two loads of laundry folded and put away last night, along with another load that's in the dryer waiting to be dried and folded when i get home and a load in the wash. The kitchen is picked up and wiped down, and the bathroom isn't looking too bad either. The living is another story, but I'll get to it...eventually.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Grandma's Birthday

My grandma turned 80 this year, so the family put together a bit of a party. Grandma knew about the party - dinner with the family that would be there at a local Italian restaurant. What she didn't know is that there were some surprise guests.

Ricky and I left late on Oct 18 (yes, I'm a bit late in blogging about this) for South Bend. We flew from PDX to OHare and then onto SBN. We ran into some troubles along the way, but managed to make it in time. We arrived the morning on Oct 19.

Aunt Robin and Lindsey picked us up at the airport and then we all went to meet Grandma and Mom (who'd flown in the day before) at Panera for breakfast. Grandma, however, had no idea we were coming.

We sat and waited, and when they walked in Grandma did a double take. Now, mind you, this isn't the first time I've flown in and surprised her, but everyone had made such a big deal about the fact that I have a real job now and couldn't take the time off that she really didn't expect it. When she realized what was going on, the tears started.

We had a nice breakfast, and then went back to Grandma's and visited. Well, first Ricky and I took a nap, then we visited!

Saturday there were more surprised. Cousin Nancy and her husband Tom came up from Indianapolis, as did Cousin Karen, her husband Jim, and their daughter Rhonda. All in all I think there were about 30 of us for dinner that night.

Sunday morning we all went to church (we took up two rows!) and then had brunch at Aunt Robin's. Tom and Nancy left that afternoon, and the rest of us prepared to go home. Uncle Rich and Aunt Belinda flew out early Monday morning, and Ricky and I had to head out Monday afternoon. Our flight home is a story in and of itself. I'm not going to post about it though as it still makes me angry (and I've never heard a peep back from United).

It was a wonderful weekend and I think Grandma had a really good birthday. I know I had a good time surprising her!

Oh - and one more surprise - we gave Patrick his graduation present; he's coming to see us this summer!

Meal Plan 12/9-12/15

So last week's meal plan really fizzled out. With the plays I ended up eating more Taco Bell and Super Burrito than anything else. I might have cooked one day last week, maybe. This week will be different!...right?

Sunday - chicken soup at Mom and Dad's
Monday - chicken helper
Tuesday - shrimp lousiane
Wednesday - homemade pizza
Thursday - chicken (or turkey) enchiladas
Friday - ??? Any ideas?
Saturday - I think we're eating out, in celebration of our anniversary

Thursday, December 6, 2007

fizzling out

All that momentum I had from the cleaning spree this weekend - gone.

Because of the plays (7 in two days!) I've been exhausted and running around like a mad woman. I'll definitely do it again, but the kids aren't the only ones who've learned from this experience. There are a lot of things I can do to make my life easier when we get to plays and I plan on employing those tactics next tri (which starts Monday).

So since I've been spending my spare time sewing, painting and buying wigs, I haven't done much in the way of picking up or cooking. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who's very understanding and has picked up the slack. Well, he doesn't cook, but at least we live near lots of take out places!

Tomorrow is a work day at school, where I'll be cleaning the room and getting all the props and costumes put away in preparation for a new group of students on Monday. Afterward I have a Christmas party to go to for the softball team, so no time to pick up tomorrow. I might do some tonight (after I nap) but I'll definitely be getting to it on Saturday. I'll start cooking again Sat too - Ricky's closing tonight and it seems like too much effort to cook just for me. I'll have a bowl of cereal or something.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

So far so good

Resolution update: 1 day down. House is still picked up, clothes are picked out through the end of the week, clothes from laundry were put away last night. It's a holiday miracle!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Meal Plan for 12/2-12/8

Sunday - Santa Fe Chipotle soup made by Bear Creek
Monday - Gnocchi with fresh marinara, salad
Tuesday - Pad Thai with chicken
Wednesday - some sort of shrimp dish, I'll get back to you on that one
Thursday - breakfast
Friday - DIY
Saturday - Turkey roast with veggies


I know, it's only the beginning of December. But I've already set my resolutions, and I figure as long as I've set them I might as well get started, right? There's no rule that i have to wait for January.

So my resolution is to be m0re organized. And that looks like this:

1) picking out clothes the night before
2) washing, drying, folding AND putting away the laundry
3) take the 15 minutes or so each night to declutter before going to bed
4) meal plan
5) exercise more and eat less

Ok, so that last one isn't necessarily about organization, but it will make me happier, and a happier person has more energy, and energy is what it takes to stay organized, right?

So I started yesterday - so far so good. Dishes were in the dishwasher, shoes picked up, table cleared before I went to bed. I cooked soup for dinner - something I decided to do at 2 pm, rather than the 5-oclock-mad-dash-to-the-store-because-I'm-starving dinner. Picked out my clothes last night (though I changed my mind this morning) and put away about 4 loads of laundry.

Product Rec: The Body Shop Oil Burner

After Mom came over yesterday and helped clean out our pig sty of a house, I realized our house has no smell. It doesn't smell bad (I don't doesn't, does it?) but it never really has any kind of a good smell to it, either. I always love it when you walk into someone's home and there's a scent - cookies, warm from the oven; bread baking; pine sol; something simmering on the stove.

So I went out yesterday in a hunt for something that would be subtle, that we could change on a whim, that wouldn't break the bank and that would fill the house with a yummy scent. I ended up with The Body Shop's oil burner and Home Fragrance Oil in Orange Clove.
Within 5 minutes the scent was filling the kitchen. Within 15 minutes, I could smell it in the back bedroom, with the door closed even! It wasn't overpowering or headache-inducing, but it was nice and cozy. Ricky and I really like it. I think I'll get another scent or two. The wonderful thing is that most of their scents are fruity or spicy rather than floral, so we have a lot to choose from. I can't stand floral scents!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I'm starting a new blog

Kasmira has inspired me. She is the author of the blog "What I Wore Today." I love to see the fun outfits she puts together. So, in addition to my ramblings here, I'm going to start doing a photo blog of what I wear. This is for a few reasons. 1) I can always use feedback. Ricky's never up when I get dressed, so he can't tell me if it looks ok or not. 2) Maybe by doing this I'll be forced to keep up on laundry and whatnot. 3) I've gotten lazy about putting together cute outfits. Knowing that the world is watching might help. 4) I need to start picking out things to wear the night before. Maybe this will help.

I'll start Monday. Look for it!

Down with Shutterfly

A friend of mine is very involved with an online Moms with Small Businesses community. One of the ladies in her community owns this business,, a sort of boutique for "alternative" kids' clothing. In the past couple of days, she received this message from, the online photo center:

It has come to our attention that you have registered the following domain name(s):skutterfly.comShutterfly name and designs are well known in the online photo service community. Shutterfly has expended considerable resources and time in developing consumer and industry recognition and goodwill in its SHUTTERFLY brand and design trademark, for online photographic services. It is clear that you are trying to capitalize on our very strong trademark rights in the Shutterfly Mark by using a confusingly similar domain name to divert traffic to your site. Your registration and use of this domain name infringes our client's trademark rights because it creates the likelihood of confusion, mistake or deception in that the public will be confused as to the source or sponsorship of the goods and/or services provided by you or affiliation with Shutterfly. This type of misrepresentation is specifically banned by existing federal statutes covered in the AntiCyberSquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), which also provides for statutory damages specifically directed toward domain names which infringe or dilute existing trademarks of up to $100,000.00 per infringing domain.

We hereby demand that you immediately discontinue use of this domain name and that you assign the domain name registration to Shutterfly, December 12, 2007.

Now, how ridiculous is that? Skutterfly could not be anymore different from Shutterfly. They sell kids' clothing, for goodness sakes, not photos. If anyone mistyped and got to Skutterfly on accident, they certainly wouldn't be tricked into buying from the wrong website, nor is there anyway that Skutterfly would be stealing business - if you're looking for photos, I doubt a onesie will satisfy your need.

I feel awful for this poor woman. She's worked so hard to build her business, and now Shutterfly wants to take it from her. And really, steal it from her - they aren't willing to compensate her for the money she's paid for the domain name or hosting. She is expected to just hand it over to them.

So I'm done with Shutterfly. I never used them much anyway, but this just seals the deal. I invite you to join me in my ban on their services.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

News that hits too close to home

Devastating Crash Strikes George Fox Students
Two people were killed and three others injured in a head-on highway collision.
One of those killed, and all three of the injured, were students at George Fox University.
you can read the rest of the story here.

A student from my alma mater was killed about 1 am Sunday, Nov 18, as she and 3 friends returned from a jazz concert. They were headed south in a southbound lane on 99W when a car headed north in a southbound lane on 99W hit them head on, killing the driving of the wrong way car as well as one of the students in the GFU car.

I did not know this student. At this point, I don't many people at GFU anymore. But it hits close to home. I remember what it was like when 3 of my friends were in a car accident, late at night. They were all fine - a little sore, and a little stiff, but fine. And I remember driving that same stretch of 99 and seeing a car headed north bound in a southbound lane, directly toward us. Thankfully the car changed lanes and we honked like crazy. I'll never know if we helped that person realize that he or she was going the wrong way.

For some reason it's not uncommon for people to head the wrong way in that area. Anyone who drives it frequently knows that there's a grass median and that the road is 2 lanes in each direction. There are signs warning people "Do Not Enter" and "One Way," but obviously it's not enough. A 22 year old senior is dead now, because people can't read and can't use common sense.

I have no doubt that she is being mourned on campus. It's a small campus, and everyone would have known of her and have had some interaction with her, even if they didn't know her well. I hope that her friends and family can take comfort in the fact that she was surely well loved, and loved deeply, during her time at Fox.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful

Hate me because I have 9 - no that's not a typo! - yes, 9 days off. Woohoo!

Ok, so it's not actually 9 days off. Of course I have today and tomorrow (Sat/Sun) and then Monday is a workday so I have to be at school from 8-4, then we have conferences from 5-8. Tuesday is conferences from 7:30am-8pm, with an hour for lunch and an hour for dinner (which the PTA is providing).

But then Wed-Sun we are off, off, off!

I hear that none of the parents really come to see the elective teachers, so I figure I'll take a book or 5 and some work to do and maybe that will pass the day. Unfortunately, we have to be in the cafeteria rather than in our own rooms, so that part of it sucks. Oh well!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dear Friends and Family,

when you have something that you have done or are going to do, and you don't want certain people to know - DON'T TELL ANYONE.

And if you do tell people, make sure you specify that they should not mention it.

Found out something today that I'm not sure I was supposed to know. It's no biggie, but it will be a HUGE deal if someone else finds out.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Mystery at the Middle School

This is the name of a play I wrote for one of my classes, but now it seems we have a real mystery.

At 3:30 today I closed all the windows of my computer and shut it down. I remember seeing the computer say "Windows is now shutting down." Then I left school and started my bus ride home. At a few minutes after 5 I got off the bus and started walking the half mile or so to our house.

Tonight, I checked my gmail account. I mostly use it for junk and things I don't want Ricky to know about, like Jim Gaffigan tickets. Anyway, there is an email that says it's from "me." Apparently, someone sent me an email from my gmail account to my gmail account. At 5:04 pm, the time when I was on the bus, the time when my computer at school was shut down.

The email read "don't leave yourself logged on or an evil student might be, well...evil. Thanks, T. G."

I have no idea who T.G. is, and no idea how he or she sent me an email at 5:04 pm from an email account that was not open on any computer whatsoever. In fact, the only computer it had been open on was shut down nearly 2 hours prior.

I thought maybe the time stamp was off but I tested that theory by sending myself an email in the same manner TG did. Nope, came through immediately, and time stamp read the same time that I sent it.

It is a mystery for sure. I'm confuzzled (but it is a good reminder to always lock my computer, even if I'm not going far).

Monday, November 5, 2007

On maturing

My students are growing up in front of my very eyes. As I expect them to be more responsible and get things done, they are now becoming more responsible and getting more things done. Today I was stunned when a group of kids who were working on making crowns for the royalty in Cinderella came to me and said "we need to measure their heads" - and then made sure they got it done.

The actors were all in their places. They wrote down their blocking. They got on each other when they moved to the wrong place or at the wrong time. They're starting to get it.

These are kids who, 3 weeks ago, couldn't remember to turn in their homework. They didn't remember to bring pencils to class. And now they are bugging me about doing X, Y or Z so that they can complete the project I asked them to do.

They are taking pride in their work. They are using their time wisely. They are beginning to act like - gasp! - high school students.

I've always said that if you set the expectations high, they will rise to the challenge. I was beginning to wonder when it was going to happen. Today, I have my answer.

I could not be more pleased with the learning that is going on in this theatre department right now.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Presenting Jim Gaffigan!

Ricky and I both love Jim Gaffigan, so when I was on my way to work one day back in September and heard them advertise that Jim was coming to town, I jumped on the opportunity to get tickets for Ricky's birthday. The first show sold out so quickly that they added a second, 10 o'clock pm show, which is what we attended.

He is so funny, and we were so glad to hear some of his new material. The 90 minutes passed so quickly, I think we were both shocked when he left the stage and the lights came on!

All in all, a very fun night. We had a great dinner, laughed a lot, and had a nice time out together.

Dinner at WCI

I took Ricky to bleu, the Western Culinary Institute restaurant. I'd been there a couple of times before, since my cousin went to school there and we went one time right before she started school and another time to harass her while she was working there, or maybe it was to celebrate her graduation. Anyway, I'd been there before but they've since moved the restaurant so it was a different experience, and Ricky'd never been.

The thing to remember is that it's a teaching restaurant. Everyone who works there is in training at WCI. So things might not be as tight and crisp as you'd get in other upscale restaurants, but it's good food, good service and great value. It's probably the only place we'll ever order a 5 course meal!

Ricky had the creamy mushroom with pork and apple, while I had the tomato bisque. I definitely got the better end of that deal. While Ricky's was good, it was cold, unfortunately - and not on purpose. Mine, however, was absolutely amazing. Bursting with flavor, the perfect amount of creaminess. Amazing.

This time Ricky had the better deal. I ordered the melted brie and sauteed mushrooms on some sort of flaky bread deal. It was good, but ordinary. Ricky's clams, on the other hand, were out of this world. Buttery, garlicky, incredibly yummy. I thought he was going to take the paint off the bowl trying to get all the broth out.

This was probably the only part of the meal that we were both "eh" about. I had a beet and endive salad that was good, but not incredible. Ricky had a Caesar salad. Again, good, but not out of the ordinary.

Ricky ordered beef rossini while I had a roasted game hen. I'll start with the game hen.

Incredible. So yummy, and yet totally unique and unexpected. It was roasted with shitake mushrooms, which were fantastic, and then set atop a bed of creamed corn and pesto. Such an odd combination - or so you'd think. But it was wonderful. All that savory with the little sweet crunch from the corn. It was so good!

The beef rossini was served with mashed sweet and russet potatoes. It was an interesting idea, and one that paid off. The russet offset the sweetness of the sweet potatoes so that it was just darn good. Ricky said the beef was great, and cooked to perfection - not overdone, and not underdone. He also said that the sauce that went over it was incredible.

There were two desserts on the menu so we ordered one of each, though I ended up wishing we'd ordered two of the chocolate souffles. It was served nice and hot from the oven with a yummy vanilla sauce to go with it. The other dessert, profiteroles, was served with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and strawberry coulis. Both were wonderful, don't get me wrong, but it didn't feel like a cold dessert night to me.

All in all a fantastic meal with great service and a value that can't be beat. The menu changes often, so we're looking forward to going back for another special occasion.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Directing 7 plays is tough. Very tough.

Blocking 7 plays is even tougher, when they're all done in the span of a couple of days. Ugh.

My brain is fried. My eyes won't stay open. Good thing I can type without looking at the keys. I just want to take a nap.

The good news is, we're having a blast doing the plays and since we're in rehearsals I don't have to do much lesson planning. The bad news is I spend all of my spare time (including lunch and my preps) recuperating from rehearsals.

It will all be worth it in the end though.

Friday, October 26, 2007


This is another blog - I just discovered it today, thanks to a friend, and I love it. Her style is so quirky and the colors she wears are the same as me. Anyway, I just thought I would share.

Stories with Holes

My students love these. Thanks to Nathan Levy for writing these great books!

"Don and Dan enter a tavern. They are served identical drinks. Don drinks his quickly and feels fine. Dan drinks his very slowly and dies."

The object is to ask yes or no questions to figure out why one was fine and the other died if they were served identical drinks. As I said, my students absolutely love these and spend hours trying to figure them out. They're great time killers when we finish the lesson just a couple of minutes early and we need to fill the time left in the period. They always beg me to tell them answers and I never do, and then they feel so proud of themselves when they finally figure it out. And, unbeknownst to them, they are working on their reasoning, analytical and creative skills at the same time as playing a game!

What's that? You want the answer? Oh, too bad, you'll have to ask some yes or no questions to figure it out! I will let my kids help you though. So far they know that the drinks were absolutely identical, that neither man was sick prior to coming to the tavern and that both men are human.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Movie Review: Perfect Stranger

What a great movie! Halle Barry is gorgeous and talented. She is so naturally pretty, I love it. And she's very, very good at what she does. I also love the male lead - he was the guy in The Other Sister, and also starred in Saving Private Ryan. Oh, and he was Phoebe's brother on Friends. And Bruce Willis is also great in this movie.

It's a murder mystery - Halle Barry's childhood friend is killed, and as a reporter she decides to try to figure out who killed her. It's a really great movie with lots of twists and turns, but not a lot of blood and guts. Highly recommended.

Movie Review: Knocked Up

First, a disclaimer: Patrick, Lindsey, Garrett and Austin, you are not to see this movie until you are at least 25 years old.

Ok, so this movie is hilarious. So, so funny - but also extremely crass and crude. There's a lot of drugs, and lots of f-bombs, and some sexual content (well, duh, it's about a girl who gets pregnant). Oh, and there's one awful part where they actually show what appears to be the baby crowning during delivery. Yup, definitely assured that I will never be giving birth! But overall it's an extremely funny movie.

Monday, October 1, 2007

30s are the new 20s

I've been planning Ricky's birthday and realizing that we are getting close to 30. Most people freak out about 30, but I'm actually really looking forward to it.

In our 20s we got married, bought a house and got a dog. But I spent the majority of my 20s in school and/or out of work. Ricky has spent his 20s working full time and going to school full time. It's been stressful, to say the least. We've done all kinds of home repairs and updates and trying to figure out what we want to be when we grow up.

I feel like, at almost 27, we finally both have figured out our place in this world, to some extent. We know more about the people we want to be. We know how we want our home, we have a plan for being able to buy a new house and keeping this one, we even have a major vacation scheduled and a savings account started for it.

So many people freak out about 30, but I feel like we're just getting started. I think our thirties are going to be a great time.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The welcome mat says it all

"Beware of unstable dog."

Yup, that about sums it up.

How is it already the end of September???

Wow. The month flew by. Unbelievable. And I haven't even run out of things to do with my students yet!

We're having a great time. Some days are better than others, but we're having a good time and we're all learning, myself included. I am getting to know my students and starting to figure some of them out, if that's possible with middle schoolers. Some of the kids who have tough exteriors are about to crumble on the inside, and some are working so hard to change their reputations. It's a volatile time in their lives, and most days I'm glad to be a part of it.

While I'm glad they share their lives with me, I wish they'd quit sharing their germs. I'm fighting off something nearly everyday. Right now it's a cold. I should buy stock in Airborne and Zicam. However, as much as the kids would like me to get sick, I haven't had to take a sick day yet.

We did have our first sub today. There is money set aside within the district for new teachers to be able to take off during the school day to go observe their mentors, so I took half a day today to do that. It was interesting to watch how they interact with their students and the things they do to make it work. It really hammered home something that I sort of knew anyway - you must be true to your personality or it won't work. If you're faking it or trying to be something you're not, the kids will see right through you and you'll fall hard. More so at the middle school level than high school I think. So what worked for K probably wouldn't work for me because I am so very different from him. M is much more like me, though, and I will definitely be stealing some of his ideas.

Anyway, it's going well and we're having a good time. I'm learning about myself, about this age group, and about how to stay on top of it all (hint: You can't).

Saturday, September 22, 2007

We're biting the bullet

In the 5 years we've been married we've never taken an exotic vacation. Even our honeymoon wasn't all that exotic - we drove to Seaside, 2 hours away at the beach, and stayed for 3 nights.

So now that I have a full time job we've decided to take a real live exotic vacation. We're going to Italy.

We're planning on going in June 2008for 8-10 days. We'd like to do a self guided bike tour through Tuscany for 3 days, plus wander around Tuscany and Rome a bit as well. The bike tour bit means 30-40 miles on a bike each day so we've started training now. Right now we're taking 2-3 10-15 mile rides a week. We'll be upping the mileage over the weeks and eventually up the number of days as well. From what we're reading it's all about time in the saddle and working on hills, so that's what we're doing.

Our goal is to be able to do Portland to Champoeg, about a 50 mile ride, by May. We figure if we can do that we're ready for Italy.

Maybe while we're there I can talk Ricky into some new bling. It is our 5th anniversary trip, after all.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I heart Red Box

Some people heart New York, Ricky and I heart Red Box.

Red Box is a movie rental vending machine, in essence. We've found them to be mostly at local McDonald's and Albertson's. (Grammar question - what is the plural of McDonald's? McDonald'ses?).

Anyway, it's $1 per night per movie. So as long as we return it before 7 pm the following day, it's only a dollar rental. Thus the reason we are able to rent so many movies - we use Red Box. The fun part is you can just run to the Red Box and see what's available, or you can search online ( to find a particular movie, reserve it, then drive (or bike!) to that Red Box to pick it up. Usually we go the "roulette" route of just going and see what's available, but we have searched online and found it quite easy to use.

So three cheers for Red Box - cheap movies right now!

Movie Review: Fracture

Wow! What a great legal/psychological thriller! It's not so much a thriller, really, as it is a mystery. Think murder mystery novel put into movie form.

Sir Anthony Hopkins is fantastic, as always. His character has an incredibly dry wit and is very smart, which makes the movie fun. Ryan Gosling plays opposite him as the ADA trying to prosecute him for shooting his wife.

It's a really great story, with lots of unpredictable twists and turns. Usually Ricky and I figure those kinds of movies out early on, but this time we only got it when Ryan Gosling did. There's also some incredible camerawork in the movie.

Anyway, we highly recommend it. It's a thinking movie though, so don't rent it if you're just looking for a mindless laugh.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

First full week of school

I made it through my first full week of school, and I'm still alive.

I have a few pills, a few kids who don't want to be there, and a few who give me the "that's not the way our old teacher did it" look on a daily basis, but they'll get over it or they'll leave. We're having fun, learning a lot, and getting ready to do monologues in characters of their own creation. That should be fun.

So all in all, a good week. I'm looking forward to the next few weeks as we get more into performance, and i know the kids are too.

Movie Review: Wild Hogs

We watched Wild Hogs last night. It was a good time. Very funny, though a little slow in spots. However, there was one scene that just about made me throw up. It's toward the very beginning, when Tim Allen's character decided he was done living the safe life and wanted to get off his low cholesterol diet. His family was eating meatloaf or something with mashed potatoes and gravy while he had a "weed salad." First of all, what famil does that to their loved one?! And secondly, he starts shoving meat and potatoes and gravy into his mouth...and then eats a stick of butter like a candy bar. Seriously. I thought I was going to lose my dinner. Blech.

But other than that it was a pretty funny movie and a nice time to just relax and laugh with Ricky and pup (who finally decided to go to bed because he couldn't handle the noise of the motorcycles).

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I've decided something

I much prefer to be Laura in the classroom. I really, really hated introducing myself as Ms S------- today. In fact, I had to stop and think about it when a kid came in and asked me my name!

I'll get used to it, right?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Note to self:

Clean carpets more than once every five years.

'Nuff said.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Your lesson for the day

I am so tired of mean drivers. I'm talking about the people who don't know the rules of the road and who get mad at bicyclists. Twice in the past week, Ricky and I've been cursed at by drivers who are mad that we are in their way, even though we are following the rules of the road and they are not.

According to the Oregon Driver's Manual:

•You must yield to bicyclists in a bicycle lane or on a sidewalk,
before you turn across the lane or sidewalk.

• You must yield to bicyclists at intersections, the same as you do for
other types of vehicles.

So then please explain to me why, when Ricky and I were crossing the street and this guy wanted to turn right, I was the one who was a dumba--. Or why, today, when we were crossing the street and another person wanted to turn right, Ricky was an m-f-er.

People need to learn the rules of the road. It's getting ridiculous out there, and it's frustrating for us because we do everything we can to make it easy on people. We stick to bike lanes, separate trails, or the sidewalk whenever possible. We pull over if it's a narrow street to let the cars go by. We signal, we have lights and reflectors, we wear helmets. We are always on the lookout and try our best to stay out of the way of cars. But still, we get called names simply for going straight when we have the right to do so.

So let this be a lesson to you all - when you see a bicyclist who is going straight and you want to turn, if there is a green light then they have the right of way. Don't yell at them, don't honk, and please don't call them names.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

So far, so good

There will probably be a LOT of posts about my job for a while, simply because that's what's new in my life and it's all very exciting and scary and overwhelming and anxiety ridden and exciting get the idea!

Anyway, Friday was a great day. Well, Friday afternoon was great. Friday morning was ok, it was just long and lots of sitting and listening - like, literally, about 3 hours of sitting and listening with periodic 5-10 minute breaks. So while the information was interesting, the people at the end certainly didn't get as much of my attention as I'd have liked just because I was so brain-friend.

However, once we grabbed our sack lunches - true story, and there were NO vegetarian options - we were sent off to meet up with our mentors who work in our own buildings.

Our mentors, K and M, are AWESOME!! They were so fantastic about answering our questions, helping us get the things we needed, checking in with us to make sure everything was going ok. The amount of help they willingly offered was astounding. M took me around to get my keys and then go see my room. When we got there I was walking through, mumbling to myself about things I needed to take care of. After I got done with that, M looked at me, rattled of the list of things I'd mentioned and said "I'll get right on that." What? Someone else is going to take care of my things for me, without even being asked? Are you kidding me?? This is a HUGE change from my school last year, where I had to do everything myself and sit on people to get their help, even in doing things that were their job.

I also met the other fine arts people - T, who teaches band, A, who is the choir director and V, the strings teacher. They are fantastic and very laid back. I really, really like them all and know that we'll have a great little family going on in our forgotten corner of the world. Which begs the question, why is it that fine arts are always off in some little corner, far far away from the rest of the school? It was like that at my high school, at both the schools in which I student taught, last year, and now this year at my new school. I know there has to be a reason, but it can't possibly be that they're trying to avoid us...right?!

Anyway, then S came by. She's the team leader for the electives team and she teaches math and leadership. I guess the leadership teacher is, by default, the leader :-P Anyway, she answered more of my questions and really made me feel at home (along with everyone else). She had also ordered a bunch of my office supplies so that I'd have some things to start the year with - what a great colleague! So I have a stapler, staples, a pencil sharpener, pens, pencils, notecards, paper, highlighters...all kinds of good things. Now, if only I had a desk in which to put the supplies.

That's right, I have nothing. No shelves, cabinets or even a desk or chair. Eh, we'll get it figured out.

I have a job, and that's the best feeling in the world.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What's a good substitute for candy?

Everyone knows teachers give candy as rewards. We use them as prizes for games, as bribes for getting things done early, whatever we need to do to make things happen and keep kids quiet.

Well, this year our school is a "healthy school," so there's a whole list of things that we can't use as rewards. Pretty much, anything with sugar is out.

So I'm trying to figure out what in the heck to use. It needs to be cheap, since candy isn't expensive thanks to the bulk foods section at Winco, and it can't have sugar, which lets out just about any food that kids would like.

We do have a school wide rewards system called Shields. The kids can earn Shields when they show respect, self management, and safety. They can then turn in the shields to the school for various items, or to individual teachers for different things. So I could always give out Shields for prizes, but would that be respect, management or safety?

And while you're brainstorming for me, think of great things they could use their shields to buy from me. And remember - no sugar!

One day down, 190 or so to go

I had my first day of in service yesterday. What a day. It was very long, headache inducing, and for what? Well, I got my email set up (they did it wrong, it uses the wrong name) and my esis password so I can take attendance and do grades, and I got a free Chinese lunch. Other than that, not a lot to share.

We got the obligatory spiel about reporting child abuse, were edumacated on sexual harassment (it's defined as sexual harassment if it bothers the victim, regardless of the harasser's intent) and got talked to about sub finder. Signed up for the union, wer admonished about turning in our benefits choices, and a whole lot of other stuff that shouldn't have taken nearly as long as it did. Oh well, that's life.

After lunch I went back to my building where I found out that someone has the theatre keys ("she" does, whoever she is) and the spare keys are in a cabinet that is broken so the doors can't be opened. So as of right now, I don't have keys to my classroom or my office. Then we had another meeting about a lot of stuff - safety, duties, the school wide positive behavior reward system, things of that nature. Then a tour...and I think that's it. We did leave a little early with the blessing of our assistant principal. Actually, what he said was "I'm alarming the builing in 15 minutes so you'd better get out!"

Apparently now there is some dispute over whether or not yesterday was a paid day for us. It's not a contract day, but I (and others) was told we'd be paid extra for it. However, a couple of other people were told it was an unpaid day. Well, whatever, we were expected to be there and we got breakfast and lunch out of the deal.

I had today off and have to go in again tomorrow. Then M-Th next week, and then the kids start back on the 4th. Scary!!! I have nothing set up in my room, and I still have things to scrounge up/buy/make before school starts. However, I'd prefer to scrounge first, and I haven't had a chance to do that since I haven't been out at the building. I'll start scrounging tomorrow afternoon and do a lot of it next week. Friday the 31st is a non contract day for us, meaning we don't get paid for it so we don't have to be at school, but I'll probably end up going in anyway just to get some things done. I have a lot to do and not a lot of time in which to do it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wish me luck!

I start my new job today. Wish me luck, and pray that I don't fall asleep anywhere along the line. 6 oclock came real early!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ricky has caught up with technology

For years Ricky has refused a cell phone. Didn't want to be accessible, he said. Didn't want people to be able to get ahold of him wherever he went.

Well, that's all well and good unless it's your wife who needs to reach you!

The straw that finally broke the camel's back happened on Tuesday. Ricky came home and was running late to make it to his class downtown, so he asked me to drive him and I agreed. I then thought we agreed that I'd pick him up on the corner of Jackson and Broadway when his class ended, at 8 pm.

Ricky, however, thought he was supposed to call me to come get him when class got out. His class ended up getting out 40 minutes late, and he couldn't find anyone with a cell phone nor did he have change for the pay phone (here's where I'm always right - had we agreed that he'd call me, I'd have given him my cell phone to use to call me, or made sure he had 50 cents for the pay phone).

Anyway, he decided to take the bus home, all while I was sitting at the corner of Jackson and Broadway waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Until at 10:30 - yes, 2.5 hours after his class was supposed to be out - he called me and said "where are you?" He was at home, having been delivered there by the bus, and I was still sitting on the street corner waiting for him, visions of thugs and ambulances (ambuli?) and hospital beds dancing in my head, fueled by the sirens I was hearing from down the street.

Of course I was livid, and he was apologetic. When I got home I told him I was going out to get him a cell phone. He thought I was joking at first. When he realized I was serious he said simply "just get me a flip phone." Wow. The man who was so against a cell phone had finally seen the light!

And yes, I did get him a phone. He is now the proud owner of a Samsung Sync in blue with a ridiculously easy-to-remember phone number.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Black Thumbs

Yes, that's right, I'm so bad that I have black thumbs. Plural. As in, both of them.

I cannot keep a plant alive to save my life. When we were first married I managed to kill 4 plants in 5 months. One that I was told was "impossible" to kill. Apparently only impossible for amatures.

The only thing I've managed to keep alive in the past almost 5 years is the Christmas cactus. Well, and Ricky, but he's fairly self sufficient - and it's a good thing. How Jacko is still alive I will never know.

I water. I fertilize. And yet, they still don't grow. I even sing "Grow for me..." (Bonus points if you know the show that's from) and yet still, nothing. Maybe my plants need to be fed blood (there's a hint).

4 plants in 5 months. Only one plant that's lasted in 5 years. And people wonder why we're not having kids.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Huh. Who knew?

I think we can all agree that, on a regular basis, I am a very busy person with a lot of things going on. Those who know me well know that I also happen to be one of those people who manage time better when I'm busy.

I've been sick all week. I mean, sick. As in don't stray too far from the bathroom sick. Yesterday I was feeling better, but I think I overdid with helping Ricky build the stone path in the backyard because today I'm back to feeling cruddy. Not as bad as Monday and Tuesday, but not great either. And certainly not well enough to play in our game tonight.

Except that I had the helmets. I couldn't find anyone to come get them from me, nor were the two girls on the team who live close to me able to meet me somewhere to pick them up. So I was stuck deciding between driving the 30+ minutes to the field to drop them off or leave the girls with no head protection. (as a side note, I've hit hitters in the head before and it's not pretty, even with a helmet. I never really considered keeping the helmets from them).

I was emailing with a friend before I had to leave to drop the helmets off and said something along the lines of, "Ugh, I don't feel like going out. Can't I just make them not use helmets tonight?" Totally joking (though it would have been nice!). On the other hand, I was hoping maybe she had a better suggestion than driving the helmets there myself.

Instead she said "here's some advice. You're always over scheduled and you're always asking me to help you justify not doing something. Step back and start cutting things from your life. Being so busy and over extended is not healthy."

Now, I agree - being too busy and overextended is not healthy. But I had to laugh - this was not a request for justifying not doing something. I'd already decided to not play and didn't need anyone's help making that decision. I don't feel well, and there's a ton to do around the house. The state of our house is contributing toward me not feeling well, I think.

Not to mention, my life is cake right now! You want to talk about overextended and busy, then let's talk about last April when I was teaching, subbing, directing a play and coaching softball all at the same time. Compared to that, I'm comatose right now. What do I have going on...?

NOTHING. No work, no plays, no school, no ball (other than my own "let's get together and play once a week and not bother to practice" league). No pitching lessons, and, judging by the state of my kitchen, no housework either.

So how in the world am I supposed to cut something when I'm currently doing nothing? I guess thoughts of working on the house will have to go. Aww, schucks.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

We're going to enter the 21st century on Tuesday

Sometime between noon and 2.

I called Comcast, they're coming out to set up our high speed internet. Woohoo!!

Now if I can just get Ricky to get a cell phone, we'll be set.

Ride, Ride Ride...

...Hitchin' a ride!

I saw something really odd today. I was on my way home from campus after a meeting with Head Coach and as I was getting on the freeway, there was one of those groups of inmates doing yard work on the side of the freeway. You know, picking up trash, pulling weeds, mowing, etc.

Well, one inmate was down by the road, weedwacker in hand, with his thumb out.

I wonder if he ever got a ride.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Movie Review: The Devil Wears Prada

The first thing you need to know is that the DVD we got evidently had a scratch because it didn't work real well. There were several places that we had to skip ahead because the DVD stuck. So I may very well have missed crucial or funny parts of the movie.

But I didn't like it. At all, really. It was ok, and it started off kind of fun and silly, but it turned really heavy and then we got into some good character development...and then it disappeared. I thought they were going to develop Meryl Streep's character more, but no. They definitely left her looking cruel and pathetic and worthy of only fear and loathing. And what is with Anne Hathaway only doing the Ugly Duckling type movies? I'm bored with it! Her character development was better, but at the end it was like they ran out of time and she instantly turned back to who she was (which was a good thing, but terribly unrealistic).

Anyway, it's a movie that if it's on tv on a lazy Sunday afternoon and you have nothing better to do, then sure, watch it. But otherwise, don't waste your time or money.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A Trip to the Ocean

[Note: I've been trying for several days to add pictures of our trip. Sadly, Blogger hates me and won't let me. When it decides to like me again I will post pics. Until then, enjoy the commentary.]

Friday was my cousin's very first trip to the ocean. First we went to the Tillamook cheese factory, which I will admit was much more exciting when I was younger. At least we got to sample all kinds of cheese!

Then we went to the Barview Jetty Dune - yeah, Linds and I were not real into it. Ricky liked it though!

After that we drove...and drove...and drove. Until we saw a sign that said HWY 53. But we want HWY 101. We were on HWY 101. We never turned off HWY 101, and yet this sign said we were on HWY 53.

So we turned around...apparently the Road Trip Gods assume that you know that you must turn in Nehalem to stay on HWY 101. There is no sign at all indicating this is the case, so it's evident that the Road Trip Gods only want those who are psychic or telepathic to make it from Tillamook to Seaside.

When we finally made it to Seaside, we had lunch on the beach and Lindsey napped. First on one side, and then on the other.

Ricky and Jacko and I played in the water. It took both Ricky and I because Jacko is afraid of the water and one person must hold the leash and get all excited and the other must race out into the surf ahead so that Jacko decides he must chase the first person. Ahhh, it was good times.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Movie Review: The Queen

Ok, so apparently I didn't pay any attention to the previews of this British film starring Helen Mirren, because I naively thought it would be about Queen Elizabeth I, - you know, the one who was Queen during Shakespeare's time, the woman after whom the "Elizabethan period" was named, then woman I adore?

Yeah, not so much. It was about Elizabeth II, the current Queen, and the way things went down after Diana's death.

It was interesting. I wouldn't say it was good, or a wonderful film, but it was an interesting look in British politics and the life of the royals. And it once again brought up the question: Why in the world does Britain still have a monarchy? They don't do anything, they have little to no power. The Prime Minister is elected by the people (apparently Tony Blair was elected at the same time Diana died), but the Queen has to ask him to accept or give him her blessing or something.

Anyway, I thought it was interesting, if a little slow, but I have no idea how accurate it was. Heck, I can hardly keep up on the current politics of my own country, let alone the past politics of someone else's!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

New computer, woohoo!

Well, it's good and bad. I really like the new computer, a lot. And things were going wrong with the old one - as in, the S didn't work anymore, "o we frequently wrote entence like thi." And when it did work, it went "a little somssething like thiss." It was awful. And the mouse was starting to give out too, and, well, it was four years old, which is ancient in computer years.

But the kicker was that it got broken. I mean, really broken. We got into a bad habit of leaving it in the living room. Usually I was good about shoving it under the couch, so it wouldn't get stepped on or whatever, but apparently one day I didn't because we opened it up and there were a bunch of little cracks. Over time, those turned into dark black specks, which grew into black holes.

And then one day Ricky left the thing on the couch, and it got covered with a blanket and I sat on it. So not my fault - he never should have left it on the couch where I couldn't see it!!

So we decided we needed to get a new computer. It's pretty wonderful, actually. A 19" wide screen flat panel display, a keyboard on which all of the buttons work, and it has a number pad which I missed. And Ricky is excited that it's a full size keyboard rather than a laptop one. His fingers are a bit too big for the laptop keys.

Now I just have to call Comcast to see about high speed internet and we'll be in business!

Movie Review: The History Boys

Only one thumb up for this one. Ricky hated it, I really liked it. Another artsy film. It actually started off as a stage production, which I kind of wish I hadn't known because I sat through the whole thing trying to figure out how they'd done it on stage. Stage and screen are so incredibly different.

Anyway, maybe the reason I liked it is because it's about the relationship between students and teachers, and how it can be hard to not cross the invisible line, and how as a teacher you get to caring about your student, and how as a student it can be hard to remember that teacher does not equal friend. I don't know, I really liked it, but I'd guess I'm in the minority.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Not much time to post details, but I'll be teaching full time - most of my classes at the middle school and one class at the high school - and every single class is drama! yeehaw!! I'm in a district that pays really well, and the administration seems to be really supportive of the arts. And my commute is cut in half from my last job (and current summer program). It only took me 20 minutes the other day, all freeway driving.

It's a tough area, lots of ESL and poverty, but I tend to thrive in those areas. I know there will be really hard times, but I also know how rewarding it can be. I'm excited and scared to death at the same time. Finally - my own classroom, my own program...a full time, permanent position. Woohoo!!

And Aunt Robin, I finally managed to beat out at a man for the job :-)

Saturday, July 14, 2007


1) I did not get the job in Central Oregon. Once again I lost out to a man. Once again, I was a "strong second" and they "really enjoyed your interview." So frustrating, but at least now we don't have to worry about moving there.

2) I am waiting to hear about two other positions. One is a .8 high school drama position and one is a 1.0 middle school/high school drama position. Although I heard today that someone else that works with the same theatre company as me is going to be (or already was) offered the .8 position. That's just a rumor though, nothing is confirmed.

3) Ricky is 100% for sure graduating on Aug 18. Woohoo!! We're so excited.

4) My exchange students came in really late the 9th or very early the 10th, depending on how you look at it. Their plane landed around midnight and it was about 1 by the time we got them delivered to their host families. So now my college roommate and I are in charge of 23 Chinese high school students and one Chinese teacher. We're having a blast, and I'll post some pictures of our activities tomorrow.

5) We started softball on Thursday. We were playing well - up 4-0 going into the top of the 5th - but then got rained out. Grrr. It actually started thundering and we saw lightening in the 3rd inning or so, but our umpire didn't call it until the top of the 5th. Anyway, it's just a fun league. A bunch of former college players, 4 teams in the league, everyone plays one game every Thursday for 6 weeks. Our team name is "It Hurts." :-P We have these fantastically tacky yellow shirts with a pink and black logo. We love them!

I think that's about it for right now. Just been doing a lot of working in the yard and trying to stay cool. It's finally starting to cool off, but has been somewhat humid. Hopefully we'll get back to our normal weather soon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ok, Ok

Geez people. It's only been a week since I last wrote. Give me a break!

Actually, I've been so silent because my exchange students came in this week. Yes, someone was crazy enough to put my college roommate and I in charge of a group of 23 Chinese high school students and their English teacher. They were supposed to be in late Monday night but they got in an hour late and this arrived very early Tuesday morning. The past week has been a whirlwind of getting ready for them and, now that they're here, spending time with them and checking in with their host families to make sure everything is going well.

I have a lot to tell - interview things, pictures to share of activities with my exchange students, and softball! However, it's late and I need to sleep. Friday night or sometime Saturday should be a good time for me to update. Definitely look for something by the end of the weekend.

Whew. Off to bed with me!

Ps - did I mention it's been ridiculously hot here? 102 officially yesterday. And our school has no air conditioning. It's awful, but we're managing somehow.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Good news!! We're not moving to Bend

Bad news - I didn't get the Bend job.

At this point, I honestly don't know why I'm surprised when I don't get hired, this being the 4th year I'm trying to get a job and all.

Well, hopefully Woodburn will come through for me. I had a great interview there and really like the educational philosophy. It's a large school that they've split into several small (like, 300 students small) schools and it seems to be working. It's a challenging demographic, with lots of ESL students (50%!!) but I think it'd be a good challenge. I should hear sometime next week.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Ay Carumba! Dinner at Oba

Mom and Dad gave us a gift card to Oba, a restaurant in the Pearl district of Portland, for Christmas. Ricky and I hadn't used it yet, so after we finished bark dusting yesterday we decided to shower and take ourselves out for a treat.

Boy, was it ever a treat! They recommend reservations, but since we went on a whim we didn't have any. We could have waited 20-30 minute for a table in the dining room, but instead we opted for immediate seating in the lounge. There wasn't quite as much atmosphere, and it was louder, but it also meant we got to eat right away, and we were both very hungry.

It was very difficult to make a decision on what the heck to eat. Everything on the menu looked so good. Originally Ricky was going to have the butternut squash enchiladas, then he started talking about the shrimp and scallop tamales. You can imagine my surprise, then, when our server appeared and he ordered the mesquite flank steak!

Ricky's steak was served with Spanish blue cheese, mashed potatoes, and grilled vegetables including corn and asparagus. It looked good, even to a non-meat eater like me! I had two tapas, or small plates, perfect for people who want to try more than one item. My meal consisted of 6 prawns in a coconut-orange batter with a jalapeno-citrus marmalade (simply divine!!) as well as a sampler platter of 3 ceviches (citrus marinaded seafood salad) - rock fish with avocado and tomato, bay scallops with tropical fruits (my favorite!), and prawn with coconut-ginger marinade.

For dessert we shared a "Baked Argentina," their version of a baked Alaska. It was a chocolate cake, topped with banana slices and caramel, then vanilla ice cream and, of course, the meringue. It was delicious!

We left the restaurant completely stuffed but very happy. The perfect end to a day of working in our yard.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

You got that vibe too, huh?

I got a call from the aforementioned school where I was asked what kind of a commitment I'd make to them.

They said, and I quote:

You are not one of our selected did a very nice job on your interview...unfortunately, it's just not the right fit...

Huh. Really? Who'da thunk that it was not the right fit?!

I think this is the first time I've ever been happy to NOT be hired for a job.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

So, how much of a commitment can we expect from you?

I had the most bizarre interview today.

I interviewed in a small town about 90 minutes from home. This would mean we'd have to move to, essentially, the boonie. But hey, you do what you have to do to further your career, right?

Anyway, I went and interviewed and from the beginning had a weird vibe. Whoever was being interviewed before me got a ton of laughs, but when I got in there...deadpan. Nothing I said was funny. I got a couple of pity laughs but not the roaring belly laughs I heard during the previous interview.

Well anyway, we're going along and I'm anwering their very wordy questions (who writes an entire paragraph for an interview question??) and then we get to the one that still has me puzzled:

Looking at your current goals and your long term future in education, what can we expect your commitment to be to this school for the next 3-5 years?

Huh? How can I possibly know that now? I have no idea if I'll like them, if they'll like me, if I'll get homesick for the big(ger) city, if Ricky will get transferred to Timbuktu. So I told them that I would like to say that I'd retire from their school, but that I can't do that because I don't know what the future holds. However, I continued, my intention is to make at least a 3 year commitment to them.

In retrospect, I wish I'd said that I would be on time every day during my employ with them. That'd I'd give them 110% every day that I worked there, and that I can guarantee no one else would care for their students the way I would.

Anyway, they also said that if they offer me the job they expect an acceptance right then and there. Huh. Interesting.

So for the first time in my life, I'm hoping I'm not offered the job.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Thoughts on Moving

I spent the weekend in central Oregon interviewing for a teaching position. I came, I saw, I looked at a million houses, and then went home.

Things I Learned While There:

1) It is dry and dusty, which is not good for a person who is allergic to dust.

2) It's small.

3) Housing isn't cheap, but it's more affordable than I expected. We could even buy a bigger house than we have now!

4) It's a small town.

5) No place is very far from anything else, but it's also not as easy to bike from the burbs to downtown.

6) Did I mention it's a small town??

I'm not completely thrilled with the idea of moving, but it would be an adventure and something new. And of course, it' not an irreversible decision. Now I just have to wait and see what they say - it's possible (and with my track record, probable) that I won't get the position anyway!

Two more interviews next week...with any luck I'll be gainfully employed in the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Procrastination Station

We're headed out of town for an interview this evening. Ricky's sister is house and dog sitting, so I'm finishing getting the house cleaned up so she doesn't have to live in our filth. The kitchen and bathroom are completely clean, and the living room is almost done. I don't have that much left - just straightening up our bedroom and vacuuming everything - but what am I doing instead?

That's right, finding as many ways as possible to procrastinate.

This is ridiculous. I'm a big girl now, I should know better, and yet here I sit...playing on the computer, reading books, doing anything but finishing up. It takes me back to when I was younger and cleaning my room at home. It would take hours, days even, to finish a 1 or 2 hour job because I had to look at every picture and read every book I came across.

The good new is I have gotten better since then. The bad news is that while I am better, I do still procrastinate.

Just 5 more minutes of procrastination, and then I'll get back to work...I promise!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Trash The Dress

I was playing around on the internet and happened upon the website I looked and looked at those beautiful pictures of brides having fun in their wedding dresses and thought, hmmm, what a fun thing to do with a wedding dress that's just taking up space. Too bad I can't take part.

And then I realized...I can take part! My wedding dress has never even been cleaned (yes, I am ashamed) and currently it's part rolled/part folded and sitting on a shelf in my closet. Hey, it's better than when we first got married - it sat exactly where I'd stepped out of it for about a month.

So here I am with a wonderful husband who thinks this is a fantastic idea, a dress that I (hopefully) can still get into, and the prospect of a photographer. All we have to do now is come up with a scenario for our trashing session. That's where you come in.

Please leave me comments and let me know what you think we should do. Ricky and I plan to do it together - our first professional pictures since our wedding nearly 5 years ago (can it really have been that long?!). We want it to reflect our personalities and the things we enjoy doing, and we definitely want it to be something unique.

And in case you need some inpiration, here are some photos from the website:

Father's Day: A Review

I had the honor of taking my dad out on Sunday for Father's Day. I love my dad, and I love spending time with him. It's even more fun when I get to treat him to something he really wants to do.

We parked on the MAX line and were lucky enough to be able to take a ride on one of Portland's replica trolleys. The trolleys only run on Sundays, and only between Lloyd Center and The Galleria (10th st). We enjoyed the ride on the trolley car and were thoroughly entertained by the conductor at the rear of the car who regaled us with stories and historical facts about various buildings and public places in Portland.

We exited the trolley at 3rd and Morrison and had a quick lunch at Rock Bottom Brewery. Dad managed to confuse the waitstaff with his order of a steak Caesar - something not on the menu but easy enough to make. However, our waitress couldn't seem to understand that he wanted a large, entree size chicken Caesar salad - but hold the chicken and add some steak. After a few minutes of slow, monosyllabic words and hand gestures, she finally figured it out. For once, I had the easy order of Chicken Enchiladas with sour cream. Yum!

The funny part of our day came as we were sitting there waiting for our food, and all of a sudden we realized that there were lots of, umm, interesting people piling into the tables around us. Then we remembered - the Gay Pride parade was in Portland that day and many parade goers chose to dine at Rock Bottom as well. We definitely saw some interesting outfits and hairdos.

After our lunch, we headed to OMSI to tour the USS Blueback, a decommissioned United States submarine. It's something Dad's been saying he's going to do for ages, but never had. We took about a 45 minute tour of the boat, learning all kind of interesting (and funny!) things, and had the pleasure of having a sub vet on our tour who shared some of his own experiences. It was really interesting, and gave me a new respect for what my Uncle Ron did back in the day. I can't imagine living in such close quarters with so many other people. And I thought our house was small! (if you want to learn more about the Blueback, visit the web page)

Afterward we went home and I pitched to Dad in my quest to be ready for summer league by our first game, July 12. How fitting that we spend part of Father's day doing what we did so many days for so many years. Do you realize I started pitching 18 years ago?! Then Mom, Dad and I sat down to a great meal of BBQ chicken, salad, and baked potato.

All in all, it was a really great day. I hope Dad had as much fun as I did.

Movie Review: Last King of Scotland

What a wonderful, creepy, disturbing, sad, terrible movie. We really enjoyed it, but it leaves you with a bit of a hollow feeling simply because of the subject matter.

Forrest Whitaker really did do a fantastic job. He wins you over with his charm, and then, BAM! The guy who played Nick (I think that's the character's name) was wonderful - and I love the Scottish accent.

I recommend it, but only if you're in the mood for something that will make you think.

Movie Review: Epic Movie

Two hours of my life I can never have back. I think that movie made me dumber.

Seriouly, don't bother.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ok, so maybe I'm not so sophisticated when it comes to food

I get done with a yummy Indian meal and what do I have for dessert?

A Rocky Road and Diet 7-Up float.

Best float ever.

I think I'm adopted

Ok, so not really. Anyone who knows me knows that I look exactly like my dad and grandma, and have the same personality as my dad in a lot of ways. So there's no way that I'm adopted. But when it comes to food, I have no idea where I came from.

This dawned on me tonight as I was sitting here dining on Shrimp Tikka Masala with Naan and rice. Yum. But I have no idea where my love of different foods came from, because I certainly didn't grow up with them.

My dad is a picky eater. He eats very few vegetables - green beans and corn are the only cooked veggies he'll eat, and he eats a few more raw, but you can probably count the number of veggies he'll eat without taking off your socks or shoes. He's very much a meat and potatoes kind of guy. And while he likes good food, he's not very adventurous. I think the most ethnic thing he's ever eaten is Sechuan Beef from Imperial Garden.

Mom, on the other hand, is a bit more adventurous, but she doesn't like spicy things too well and she definitely doesn't like curry.

I, on the other hand, love all things Indian and Moroccan. I adore sushi. In fact, it's rare in our house to eat something "normal" anymore. Ricky and I both love the non-traditional, and lately my heart has been in India. Curry, Garam Masala, cardamom...yum.

The question is, how in the world did I learn to love these things? I was never exposed to them growing up, but in the past few years I've come to replace my regular meals with things like chicken korma, paneer (yum!!!), chutney, samosas, Oregon rolls, pesto, gnocchi, and all kinds of other foods that are definitely not the norm.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

We're buying a new car!

Ok, so not really. But we are probably going to be purchasing our very first brand new vehicle in the next month or so.

So it's not a car, it's a scooter. It's a People 250 made by Kymco, and it's a pretty cool little bike. We're actually getting it in "wine," which is a metallic maroon. With gas at $3 a gallon or more, this thing will be like heaven - the manufacturer says it's rated at 70 mpg, but we hear it may get even 75 or 80!
We're pretty excited, just need to make sure everything is in place financially for it to happen. But then, look out! I'll be a motorcycle mama...well, not really - it's not a "real" motorcycle, and I'm not a mama. I guess I'll be a cute little scooter girl. Not quite as catchy huh?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ding! Ding! On Your Left

Today I was driving to the farmer's market. As I was going down the road, I got behind a group of 4 bikers. Yay for them! However, they were riding 4 abreast. Yes, that's right, 4 abreast, meaning they covered the entire lane. There was no way for me to get around them. None. Nada.

They knew I was there, but did they pull to the side? No!

Now, I am probably more patient with cyclists than a lot of drivers, simply because Ricky and I ride our bikes all over the place and I know that it can be intimidating to have cars driving right up your back wheel. But seriously, people, have some courtesy. Anytime Ricky and I notice that there is a car behind us, we immediately pull as far over to the right as we can and ride single file until the car passes us.

So the truck is practically stalling in first gear because I'm driving so slowly, and cars are piling up behind me, and these cyclists are still riding abreast.

If only I could have hollered "on your left!" like we do on the trail.

Oh well, I did finally get out from behind them and made it to the farmer's market where I purchased 2 gorgeous and huge flower baskets and several colorful plants to be potted in my yard. It's beginning to look a lot like summer around here!

Movie Review: Notes on a Scandal

Ricky and I rented Notes on a Scandal last night on a whim. We had absolutely no expectations going in and probably would have passed right over it if it weren't for my girl crush on Judi Dench. I've loved her since I first saw Shakespeare in Love (which is fantabulous, by the way).

We both enjoyed the Notes, though I think it probably was more my type of movie than Ricky's. It's a bit creepy, sad, and uncomfortable, but quite arty. The character development was superb, the relationships and commentary on society striking, and the girl who played Cate Blanchett's daughter was too cute for words.

The cinematography wasn't anything special, but it wasn't that kind of movie. No amazing special effects, no crazy stuntmen. Just a movie about human life and how twisted we can be.

Trail Gazing

This was in our local newspaper on Friday. It's an article about the Spring Water Corridor, which is just a couple of block from where we live. Ricky and I can be found on the trail just about every weekend, and often during the week. It's how we get to Sellwood and downtown Portland. Jacko goes too; he loves going to bike rides on the trail!

Trail gazing
The Springwater Corridor, our longest and most revealing park: an appreciation
Friday, June 08, 2007
GRANT BUTLER The Oregonian

The Springwater Corridor began life in 1903 as the Springwater Division Line, a commuter railway designed to take folks from downtown Portland to outlying communities such as Estacada and Eagle Creek, as well as to places including Cedarville and Cazadero, which have been relegated to the history books as they were incorporated into other towns.

At its peak in 1910, Portland's extensive system of commuter trains carried 16 million passengers a year on a web of more than 160 miles of rails. The line that became the corridor could take people out to Gresham in roughly the same time that it takes a MAX train today.

By the 1950s, the rail travel was petering out as roadways improved and the automobile became the preferred mode for getting around. By 1958, passenger service was dropped.

In 1990, plans for today's trail were hatched when the city of Portland acquired big portions of the corridor, with the rest being picked up by Metro in the years since. The first stretches of the Springwater Corridor opened in 1996, with the three-mile portion along the Willamette River opening in 2003. Last year the three bridges connecting the trail over McLoughlin closed the gap, making possible one continuous ride.

There are further hopes to pave the gravel portion of the trail -- which runs roughly two miles from Gresham to Boring -- and eventually to extend the trail to Estacada or even as far as Government Camp.

Love it, just not to death
Portland Bureau of Parks & Recreation and Metro, which jointly manage the Springwater Corridor, don't have firm numbers on how many people walk or ride it on any given day. Surveys like that require funding, senior planner Gregg Everhart points out, and that's money the agencies would rather spend on trail improvements and future acquisitions.

But when you spend several days on the trail, you notice plenty of anecdotal evidence of trends. On weekdays there are spikes in bicycle riders during peak commuting hours, when you can stand in one spot along the Willamette stretch and count 20 to 30 cyclists going by a minute. On weekends the action is steady all day long, though the highest usage areas are around Gresham's Main City Park and Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.

All of that usage holds a danger, restoration ecologist Mart Hughes says. The wildlife areas are delicate, and when people get off the trail they can cause tremendous damage. "People don't understand the impact that a single footprint can have."

Staying on the trail, he says, is the price for keeping the wetlands pristine and the wildlife thriving. Really, there's so much to see from the trail that there's no reason to go off-road anyway.

What are you waiting for?
At this point, we've gotta ask what you're still doing reading this article. Put on your walking shoes or saddle up on your cycle: The Springwater Corridor is out there waiting. Tackle a mile or two here and there or take a day and ride the whole thing. You'll exercise your body. You'll feed your mind.

And if you get out there early enough, you just might spy one of those white-tailed deer, out foraging for a bit of breakfast before the next cyclist comes along

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Somewhere, an old man is snoring

Because it's definitely raining and pouring here. I'm not sure what happened - a couple of weeks ago we were having 85-90 degree weather on a regular basis. Not that I'm a huge fan; I much prefer it to be 75 and breezy. But 90 degree weather in May?! That never happens around here!

And now it's June, and all of a sudden it's absolutely pouring. Not that I should be surprised - it is Rose Festival week, after all, and everyone knows it always rains during Rose Festival. I am so glad I wasn't out at the parade this morning - it looked miserable!

Instead, I came down to my favorite rainy day spot, Spring Creek Coffee House, for lunch. I am now enjoying a piece of vegetarian lasagna and a sugar free vanilla latte. And of course, free Wi-Fi. Ah, high speed internet is so enjoyable!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Well, I'm still unemployed

I found out last night that I was not hired at our local high school.

If I have to answer "do you know why?" one more time, I just might scream. So once and for all, here's why:

I was out politicked. I knew the right people, but not all the right people. The feedback I got was "we really enjoyed your interview, but..." and then "I really want you here, we're going to try to get you here." Which means nothing when you consider that they want me but didn't bother to hire me. Ok then.

So it's back to t he drawing board. There are several other positions for which I'm applying, but they're not as ideal. However, we're at the start of year 4 of a job search, so at this point I suppose ideal shouldn't really be in my vocabulary huh? I've even applied for a position that would require us to move, and possibly require Ricky and I to live apart for a while until our house sold. I don't want to move - especially not to that part of Oregon - but we will of we have to. We've got to get my career going somehow.

But then, after so long, I wonder if maybe I'm not pursuing the wrong career. I know that I'm good at what I do - but maybe I would be incredible in another field. I don't know. I know that I love high school kids, and I love theatre, and this seemed the ideal way to combine them, but maybe I missed a memo somewhere.

Anyway, to those that did not get a personal call or email about the job thing, I apologize. As you can probably imagine, I'm just worn out and I don't really feel like talking about it in depth anymore.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Starlight Parade

Every year Portland has the Rose Festival, and every year Rose Festival sort of kicks of with the Starlight Parade. It's not the official kick off, but it's what gets it all going in my mind.

Ricky and I started going a couple of years ago when his sister was carrying the banner for her high school's marching band. His parents, a family friend, Ricky and I all went and had a great time. That must have been her Junior or Senior year, so 3 or 4 years ago I guess. Anyway, then we went again last year, and decided to keep the tradition going.

We rode our bikes through Sellwood and stopped at our favorite pub. We were disappointed when we got there, as we had the dog with us and both outside tables were occupied. However, one gentleman noticed our dilemma and offered to move indoors. We were very grateful (and bought his beer to thank him). Jacko lay under the table while we ate and he was so good. We were actually a little surprised at how well behaved he was. And of course, everyone commented on how cute he was.

After a wonderful meal we continued our bicycle journey to downtown Portland, where we found a place to watch the parade. Again, Jacko surprised and impressed us with his good behavior. Many people came to pet him, and several commented on how well behaved he was. One person even asked how we trained him!

The parade is one of the highlight's of our summer. It's wacky and goofy, and not at all what you expect in a parade. It begins with a run. Technically I think it's a race, though I don't know that you get anything if you win - the satisfaction of a job well done and hopefully no blisters, I suppose. But it's turned into this weird Portland tradition where people dress up in silly costumes. We saw PacMan being chased by two of the monsters, several brides, people in togas, a pregnant lady in a grass skirt and coconut shells, a guy in a grass skirt and coconut shells, and various other random costumes.

The best one this year was someone in this getup that was a model of the tram. Portland has a new tram, and while it's very cool, it's also been very controversial. This guy had this whole get up with two trams on pulleys.

After the runners, the parade comes. There are lots of high school marching bands, the One More Time Around Again Marching band (a group of people out of high school who want to continue to be in a marching band) the Star Wars people (I have no idea who they are or what they do but they are always in the parade), and lots of other floats. There are dog rescues that have floats, floats from other festivals in the northwest, and local companies.

All in all it's a good time with lots of craziness and fun (and funny!) entries. While the Grand Floral Parade (which is next weekend) draws a larger crowd, Ricky and I definitely prefer the starlight parade. And of course, our tradition of riding our bikes down to the parade and home again makes it even more fun.