Sunday, August 31, 2008

pain and suffering

The book I'm currently reading is What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami. It is a book outside of my usual fare - which doesn't matter due to Murakami's skill. His writing is so clear and personal, it flows from the page. He doesn't preach that everyone should run (and even cautions against that); rather he writes that each person must find what they enjoy as far as physical activity and that we don't all need the same things.

I am about one-third of the way through the book and I recommend it. He weaves his life, his thoughts, his hopes and his stumbles throughout the book (so far, and I assume that will continue) in a way that is not self-deprecating nor ego-based. It is what he experienced and his thoughts along the way.

While running is not one of my aspirations, becoming more physically fit and more active is. I now stretch every day, and get a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio exercise four to five days a week and strength training (some with a trainer) two to three times a week. And my exercise partner and I have started doing some longer hikes. We started with the 5.6 miles Silver Falls park loop last week. This recent weekend we went to another park -- where we got lost due to poorly marked trails and being unable to distinguish some designtated trails and undesigneated trails. My guidebook had warned us. But my guidebook also had a couple of trails which we never saw and found one trail which is not in the book. We finally met up with a cyclist who was able to describe how to find a trail up to the meadow (which we'd passed twice) which would lead us back to the car.

So today I was reading this book - started it today, actually. And I ran across a quote he used from another runner (or maybe it was told to this other runner by another runner) ... it has been passed down, anyway! The quote relates really well to a conversation my workout partner and I were having about doing a big hike or the Mt Tabor stairs or something where we have to push ourselves to get through it -- and we do and it is sometimes hard and then, as our bodies say "look what we did!" and our breath returns to normal and muscles relax to normal we think: "that wasn't so bad."

And the quote sums it up beautifully: (advice from a top runner about running) "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."

This is what I am learning on a physical, visceral level. Intellectually I know. And I know that starting a new exercise regime, especially since I'm well past my 20s, will bring with it some aches and pains. The goal is to have shorter and shorter recovery times and less intensity to the pain. Pain is a part of life. But it's the attitude we can work on!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

taking off the gloves

It is that time in America when our two party political system slings mud and throws darts and the person on the street gets to vote and think that it all matters. Sarcasm, yes. Often it feels like the truth. Sadly.

But this time it feels like it really does matter. I have made my choice, yet cynicism still exists. It feels like each presidential candidate picked his running mate (or it was picked for him) solely based on making himself look good in response to accusations from the other side. (Note: "other side" now seems to be a very narrow fence and the players are standing a handshake away from each other.) The running mates picked to balance what has already been said about him and what is anticipated to be said about him and to try to grab some voters from the presumed other camp.

I don't know if it is me or if this election is even more transparent. It almost seems like a joke. Qualifications out the window, folks - we just need to look good and show that we know how to play ball, too. I know it is far more complicated; really, I do.

So, while I am dreading the next couple months because of the splits and hatred and name-calling this arouses every time it comes around, I am also paying attention. I think there is a clear choice: and it scares me that some otherwise thinking and caring people I know are even considering the other one - although I haven't heard from them since the newest running mate was chosen; I hope that has finally made them see what is truly at stake.

Today I received the following blogs posts and an email which I want to share.

The first is from writer Ariel Gore :

Weirdly enough, I dreamed that John McCain selected a gardener snake as his running mate, and he kept it in a little blue ceramic pot. The Republican machine and journalists on CNN were madly searching through the old rule books to find a statute that required the VP be human. By the time the baby woke me, they had found no such rule."

The second is from dramaturg Kim Crow, posted on Portland Dramaturgy Cabal :

With media outlets all abuzz with the major party conventions, I thought it might be an apt time to consider the two major presidential candidates' position on the Arts. Even if our minds are already made up, here is an overview of how each candidate might affect us as dramaturgs in the role of arts advocate.

The Obama camp provides a Fact Sheet on its official website and states, "The arts embody the American spirit of self-definition." The Fact Sheet briefly details Obama's platform which includes:
  • Reinvesting in Arts Education
  • Supporting Increased Funding for the NEA
  • Promoting Cultural Diplomacy
  • Attracting Foreign Talent
  • Providing Health Care for Artists
  • Ensuring Tax Fairness for Artists
I pored over the McCain campaign site, and I could not find any sort of description of his arts platform. Apparently, I am not the only one. Since I'm in a generous mood (and since I spent a lot of time on his website), here are some McCain policies that could loosely be applied to the arts.

Encourage investment in innovation
Reform intellectual property protection

Provide the resources needed to succeed

Who was it that said "the worst review is no review?" "

From, an email:

" Yesterday was John McCain's 72nd birthday. If elected, he'd be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for "inexperience," here's who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.


Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:

  • She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
  • Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
  • She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
  • Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
  • She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5
  • She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
  • How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7

This is information the American people need to see. Please take a moment to forward this email to your friends and family.

We also asked Alaska MoveOn members what the rest of us should know about their governor. The response was striking. ... [Click the link above to read the excerpts.] ...

So Governor Palin is a staunch anti-choice religious conservative. She's a global warming denier who shares John McCain's commitment to Big Oil. And she's dramatically inexperienced.

In picking Sarah Palin, John McCain has made the religious right very happy. And he's made a very dangerous decision for our country.

In the next few days, many Americans will be wondering what McCain's vice-presidential choice means. Please pass this information along to your friends and family.

Friday, August 29, 2008

looking for inspiration

I'm doing okay in the inspiration department - now. I wasn't a couple of days ago, but think I've bounced back. I was so far out of the inspiration track that all I wanted to do was come home from my assignments and crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head, and sleep.
Anyone who knows me knows that is not at all my style.

I didn't see the point to life. I felt I had no goals. Everything felt overwhelming. I've just agreed to do some part-time employee type of interpreting work that I was feeling ambivalent about (there are pros and cons to doing this work; I'm pretty sure it will be fine once I get the training out of the way and actually start doing it). My work schedule is in a time of transition and unknown at the moment as I hang in the limbo between waiting for orientation and training for the new p-t job and college classes are ending and early September tends to be my slowest time of the year and and and....

Then, after an insightful comment from my partner, I realized that what was truly happening was that I had no creative activity in my life. Nothing going out; nothing coming in .... work and future planning and more work.

Last night as I recounted part of my PICA T:BA:08 schedule to my partner, which includes a few workshops and some "chats", I became animated and excited.

Today during down time at my lengthy job I read more of the "No Plot? No Problem!" book, which was written by the founder of NaNoWriMo, Chris Baty. See, I signed up to do NaNoWriMo in November. So I bought the book. It has been helpful and confidence boosting and entertaining. And I have renewed my excitement about undertaking this journey and in my ability to actually write 50,000 words in 30 days. Thereby having the completed rough draft of a novel in same said 30 days. No, I don't have an outline or a plot or a mile-long queue of characters waiting to begin. But I am building up writing stamina and I have my excitement back. The rest will come.


- Childhood Depression (c) Richard Wilkinson from Yamashita Riki's blog
- Deborah Hay's Room performed by Linda Austin and Tahni Holt: PICA TBA06
- cover of "No Plot? No Problem?" (see link in post)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

random thoughts: questions

These were random ideas that popped into my head and won't go away. I typed up one of them previously into a longer post, edited it down, and then decided it could be mis-read and someone might get the wrong idea about some of my views. So I deleted it; the next day rewrote it; then deleted it again. But the thought remained, so I will include it with the new thoughts.

-question- What is the consequence or potential consequence of planning a baby on schedule? Are there any long-lasting or potential future issues because of a scheduled birth? This question came about - at first - because of overhearing a conversation about a woman who was two weeks past due, so the doctor was going to induce labor the following Monday if they baby was not yet born. Then I overheard another conversation where a woman was scheduling her delivery date like she was making a dental appointment; in the future; not overdue; months away. It made me wonder what the repercussions might be of a planned birth date. Are there physiological issues which might come up? Is there something of the natural birth process which is skipped and may crop up as something else later? (I'm thinking about premature babies who sometimes have problems later; or the children who learn to walk before crawling and then sometimes have to go back and learn to crawl again because they skipped that step...) I understand for medical reasons, overdue births ... What happens - if anything - when the natural process is interrupted or never begins?

-question- How do we know when we are on the right path? (I'm not talking the physical, walk in the woods, and over the hills kind of path.)

-question- How can you be sure you are good enough friends with someone for the "come to jesus" talk? Or do you just have to take the risk and accept that if the friend gets mad and cuts you off then you really weren't as close as you thought you were.

-question (from a friend)- D.O. asked for the name of "A politician or public figure who stayed faithful to his/her vision and, at long last, was vindicated. NOT WINSTON CHURCHILL. But who?? Neither Jimmy Carter nor Teddy Kennedy seems quite right...... The point is: be patient, know what you stand for, and just keep working whether in success or in defeat." *my question in response:* IS there such a person? At the national/international level? I'm curious to know, but not for the same reasons as David, who is nearing completion of his manuscript.

Like I said: random. Unrelated. Just thoughts. And like the comedian, Bill Engvall, I sometimes put a thought out there before it's thoroughly thought through when I should have said nogthing.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Errata: Comma Kameleon

Errata: Comma Kameleon

"Merrill Perlman* has a nice piece in the Columbia Journalism Review** about a supposed gaffe Joe Biden made earlier this year during the primaries, when he was quoted as saying "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."

That quote may be missing a comma. Perlman doesn't delve in the politics of it, or try to plumb Biden's intentions, and I won't either. But she goes into some detail about restrictive vs. nonrestrictive clauses, and how something as small as a single comma can significantly change meaning, and have broad-reaching repercussions. If you care about the power of language and punctuation**, it's worth reading."

posted by John McGrath on THE WORDIE BLOG
(click on the above link to see more)

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Silver Falls Park, near Silverton, Oregon.

We drove down to the park yesterday and did the medium-length hike: about 5.6 miles. It was gorgeous. Steep in a few places. Crowded around South Falls. Rocky. Slippery here and there -- partly due to accumulated water and sometimes, we discovered, due to our shoes. We each were wearing our walking shoes (technically, they are running shoes; but I use mine for walking - they offer the stability and support my feet need as I travel down this fitness journey). The shoes didn't have enough traction for a few places and it felt like I could use a little more stabilization and/or support on some rocky parts.

It was peaceful, even with the crowds and especially after the turn-off for the short hike (about 2.1 miles) where most of the families and large groups went to return to the south falls picnic and swimming areas.

The weather was perfect, the air clean and fresh (corny as that sounds, it's true and I can't come up with anything else at the moment), the creeks and falls rushing over rocks and fallen trees soothing.

By the time we returned to the parking lot, we knew we'd walked a good distance. And it felt good. We will do it again -- and have three or so books between us to help us choose. We also now have one excursion to use as a comparison guide when we make our plans. This hike was rated moderate and with an elevation change of somewhere around 980 feet. Right now, "moderate" is probably as much as we want to push it. Maybe next spring or summer we'll attempt one "difficult", depending on the reasons it carries the label (no whacking through brush or rock climbing ... not yet, anyway).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

land that t/// my brain forgot

So much has been going on and my brain apparently went into overload. Or something. I thought I was keeping track of things and accomplishing tasks, getting back to people, handling changes and work and life pretty well.

Then this morning I realized two things that I had completely spaced out on: one for over a week now and the other for nearly three days. I don't mean just put off and didn't get back to working on them, I mean a full out, gone from thought, as if it didn't exist -- fvooop! Nada. Then tonight, another forgotten item surfaced when I received an email from someone I fully intended to respond to but - oops, it was gone.

I'm not sure what to say about it except, oops. I still have to call one person back (that was the first disappearing "to do" from over a week ago). The second one was responded to (email from a friend). The third one was also completed (checking in online for a training which just ended today; luckily I was near a library when I had a break, so I was able to check in and be there on the last day).

If this wasn't a life-long pattern (which I thought I'd erased from my behavior pattern; guess not), I might be concerned. Overall, this seems short-term and the first and third forgotten items had/have elements of whether it was/is a good idea, do I want to, and so on. With the friend's email, it was a simple matter of timing and it getting lost in the myriad of things which all came in at once.

Wow. I'm glad I'm working on arranging my life and schedule a little better. I hate blocking out something I committed to do. And maybe what I hate worse is committing to do something I maybe don't want to do or have doubts about.

"Forgetting" by Sarah Harper

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

event: PICA's T:BA:08

PICA's Time-Based Art Festival 2008 is coming soon. September 4-15, to be exact. It showcases theater and performances from here at home and around the world. There is a wide range of performance events: some will inspire, some will challenge, some will wake you up or raise some emotions. It's a time to try something new -- step out of the comfort zone of what you know and like and take a little risk. It's only for an hour or two ... unless it is a major event like last year's Gatz (a theatrical production which included a reading of the entire book, "The Great Gatsby"), which was six or seven hours, with a dinner break. And so worth it. That was one example where I thought I'd skip the show, but then decided, what the heck, give it a shot, and don't go back after dinner if I hate it.

I went back after dinner and was there when they closed the book after the final word.

There are passes to be bought if so inclined, or individual tickets. There are some free events so anyone can go. There is a late night events hub, The Works, which has music, spoken word, sometimes film, performance ... and is filled with energy. One of my favorite local performance events will be there, Ten Tiny Dances. And others I haven't heard of.

Every year I find at least one new music artist/group which becomes one of my favorites. This year I have already planned out the events I want to see and, with a couple of exceptions, am scheduling work around the event.

There are also some free artist talks. Some low cost workshops. And fun. And new work. And art. And on-site events. Neighborhood events. It's a big cultural party of the arts and it's only here once a year for ten days.

And did I say, it has energy?!?

There is one major on site event on September 14th which is free and will be a not-to-be-missed event. It's the "The City Dance of Lawrence and Anna Halprin " with Third Angle New Music Ensemble and choreographers Linda K. Johnson, Cydney Wilkes, Linda Austin, and Tere Mathern and writer Randy Gragg. This event combines music, architecture, water, dance, performance and creativity for two performances only. Did I mention it's free?!?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

random: sagittarius horoscope for the week

From Free Will Astrology, for the week of 8/14/08:

"For over a decade, members of the worldwide Garden Gnome Liberation Front have been stealing garden gnomes from the yards of people's homes and relocating them into their natural home in the forests. While I admire their pranks, I can't in good conscience advise you to join their ranks. Your instinct for freedom is exceptionally high these days, true, but it would be a shame to waste it on helping inanimate objects. Instead, please devote your tremendous emancipatory energies to practical causes and living beings."

Friday, August 15, 2008

tonight: theatre/performance/dance

Sixth Annual Richard Foreman Mini-Festival
August 15 and 16, 8:30 pm

Tickets $15-$50 for one night; $25-$75 for both nights, sliding scale.
Reservations: 503-777-1907 or

Once again a scintillating array of Portland performing and media artists (see list below) rise to the challenge of creating a piece in ten days by cutting, pasting, mangling or otherwise adapting text selected from avant-garde writer/director Richard Foreman's online notebooks.

At 12:01 am on August 5, the performers are given the text plus a few simple restrictions; ten days later audiences will thrill to the amusing, shocking and enlightening results in two different programs over two nights of avant fun.

Lilly Chamberlain and Cyndy Chan are catering the event with savory, sweet, and refreshing summer treats. Beer, wine and soft drinks will be available.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

event: Write Around Portland anthology release party

Summer Anthology Release Party & Community Reading:
Wednesday, August 27
6:30-8:30 pm

Join us to celebrate the release of our new anthology, And We Flew. Writers from our summer workshops, including young adults with developmental disabilities, adults and youth in drug and alcohol treatment, transgender adults and many others.

The event is free, and everyone is welcome. Anthologies will be available for purchase. Donations of new writing journals and financial donations will be accepted and greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, August 27th, 6:30 - 8:30pm

First United Methodist Church in the Collins Hall

1838 SW Jefferson at the Goose Hollow TriMet Max stop

ADA-accessible. Limited parking available. Call 503.796.9224 for more information or if you need childcare.


A short film, thanks to the Crowcrastinator for bringing this one to my attention!


(If you would like to see a larger version or to read more about this film and its creator, click here).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

update: We Did It!

The Providence Bridge Stride ( as part of the Bridge Pedal event ) - all 5 miles of it. Including up and over the Fremont Bridge. Woo hoo for us!

found: poetry type: Ghazal (pronounced like "ghuzzle")

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

The Ghazal is a centuries-old, popular form of poem and song in Persia (Iran), Pakistan and India.[1] It can be an interesting challenge, but fun too.


  1. Decide what your radif is going to be. Every verse ends with the same word or group of words (radif). It makes sense to choose one that can be flexible in use and meaning, so you can use it in different ways in each verse.
  2. Consider what your qaafiya is going to be. The qaafiya is a rhyme that precedes the radif. Again, pick something with lots of possibility.
  3. Get writing! A ghazal consists of a series of couplets (two-line verses), with each line containing the same number of syllables. Each couplet is a separate, complete mini-poem, so there's no need for any narrative progression, or any real connection between the couplets. Both lines of the first verse end with the qaafiya and radif. See down the page for an example ghazal.


  • You're bound to make a few false starts, and you'll soon realise that your choice of radif is the single most important factor in determining how successful your ghazal is likely to be.
  • Traditional topics include love (where it's often deliberately ambiguous whether the poet is referring to divine or heterosexual - or even homosexual - love)
  • Another traditional topic is wine and drunkenness. When taken literally, this is quite something when you consider the time and place of origin of this poetic form! When taken metaphorically, wine represents the divine, or a connection or conduit to the divine. Drunkenness represents a meal of this food for the spirit.
  • Traditionally, the poet's pen-name was included in the last verse; this final couplet usually contains a 'turn', or change of tone, to something more personal or quirky.
  • Remember, each couplet constitutes a separate little poem, so don't have one verse rely on a previous one to make sense.

Example Ghazal

In this example, the radif is "I do not know", while the qaafiya (the rhyme preceding it) is -ate, as in slate, fate, depreciate, etc. In the example, each line contains 14 syllables, but any length is fine - it's up to you.

Stranger at the Gate

Who cares about the stranger at the gate? I do not know
The poor orphan, abandoned to his fate? I do not know

Where once I had the answers, now my mind is full of doubt
How do these certainties depreciate? I do not know

From noon till night our ardent looks would scandalise the town
Why is it that your eyes are filled with hate? I do not know

It used to be that man respected man for what he did
These days are we just numbers on the slate? I do not know

The wisdom of the years is something valued now by none
The butt of standing jokes, this balding pate? I do not know

The saqi1 turns his back; how many skins will be required,
oh my love, this unholy thirst to sate? I do not know

Once upon a time Amir was counted a believer
To every question now I simply state, I do not know

1 Saqi: a wine-server in a medieval Persian tavern
Released to Creative Commons by the author

Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Write a Ghazal. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

event: Richard Foreman Mini-Festival

Sixth Annual Richard Foreman Mini-Festival
August 15 and 16, 8:30 pm


Performance Works NorthWest
4625 SE 67th Ave, Portland, OR 97206

Rikki Rothenberg & Katie Arrants of Woolly Mammoth Comes to Dinner
photo: Fawn Williams 2007

"Once again a scintillating array of Portland performing and media artists [see list of performers on the website link above] rise to the challenge of creating a piece in ten days by cutting, pasting, mangling or otherwise adapting text selected from avant-garde writer/director Richard Foreman's online notebooks."

This is a creative extravaganza. The performance artists are given a selection of Richard Foreman's text 10 days before the first show. They are also given instructions, such as which phrases or words from Foreman's writing must be used (otherwise they can cut or include whatever they want from the original), and they are given a few other restrictions (sometimes or maybe always this involves props) and then they have ten days to write, rehearse, create a performance piece. The results are amazing in their variety, especially when you consider they all start with the exact same pages. Some are funny. Some are dance. Some involve costumes. Some are poignant. Some are include film. Some leave you breathless and some leave you wanting more. It is all entertaining and a good night of real and live theater for a good cause.

There are different performers on each night (one group does perform both nights), so it is worth going twice. It would be worth going twice even if they were the same. Once you've seen all of one set, it would be fun to start back at the beginning and pick up the pieces of performance you missed the first time through ... such as trying to guess the required text and how they are all related.

Good fun. Good people. And there are snacks, as well as wine, beer, and soft drinks for sale.

A couple years ago PWNW threatened to stop the festival. I'm glad it is still being produced, as it is one of the highlights of my summer.

Click to see a map of PWNW.

on the eve of our first walking event

Tomorrow is the Providence Bridge Pedal - in which my workout partner and are I participating by doing the Bridge Stride. We will meet up at her house at 7:30 am and then head into downtown, where the event begins.

This is the five mile walk which will take us across two of Portland's bridges, one of which is the tallest bridge in Portland (the Fremont bridge, which is a double-decker for I-405 traffic going from I-5 north on the east side of the Willamette river and through downtown and then connects back with I-5 south on the west side of the river). We each picked up our "vests" for the stride earlier this week. They look more like florescent yellow half-bibs (and maybe that's why they call them vests instead of bibs) and where the bottom of the front is on a large breasted woman is, well, interesting. At least the elastic is loose enough it's comfortable - but it looks kind of silly and I'm sure we will not be alone. This will be a sight, though. But it will be fun and it will feel like an accomplishment when we're through.

It's a big step in doing something different - literally and figuratively. This is another transition time and I'm not sure even what all of my choices are, let alone what I want. I do know I want to keep going down this path of more walking and exercise (which is why I met with a personal trainer last week to see if we are a fit (I think so!) and why I have the first appointment/assessment scheduled with her for Monday). And to do more writing on a regular basis. Now I just need to figure out how to put in one to two hours on most days for working out and another block of time on a regular basis for writing. And then there's the work.

And right now all I have to do is get to bed so I have enough sleep for tomorrow morning! The weather should be perfect (cool and slightly overcast) and the company will be great.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

returning home

People have said to me many times, "oh, you're from Oregon? It is so pretty there..." and I nod noncommittally and think, "yeah, yeah. It's green, it's gray, it rains." Sometimes I do know I'm lucky to live here with the options of mountains, desert, coast, or big city all within driving distance for a day trip. I don't disagree with the label of it being a pretty place to live, but I also don't generally recognize it as such nor see what is all around me.

That changed yesterday.

Shortly after the plane passed Mt. Hood it started its descent and we flew over Troutdale and Gresham and neared the airport. Looking out the window, I saw the green continuing into the cities. I saw roads with trees lining them so that some areas were hidden from view. I saw pockets of trees with various shades of green. There were hills like Mt. Tabor and Mt. Scott, bulging from the city and sprouting full heads of trees. Some areas of the city were obscured from view because of the trees. There were streams and rivers and lakes. I truly had a small pool of tears in my eyes because of seeing trees and water as far as my eye could see, and downtown Portland with the pink bank tower building reflecting the remaining pieces of sunlight (I don't remember the name of whose building it is now, but I still think of it as the pink bank building), the other buildings marking the downtown area against the backdrop of the west hills. In that plane I actually *saw* what people had been commenting about and I felt it.

Driving from the airport - rather, being a passenger being driven from the airport - I rolled down my window even though the air felt cool, and let it sink in. I could smell the water in the air, along with the trees and grasses, and it was refreshing. I smelled and felt the green and it smelled like home.

This morning I opened the bedroom curtain when I woke up and there it was: the tree. Right outside the window. And the neighbors' tree. And a cool edge in the air which will warm to just below 80 degrees, they say.

Ahhhh. Home.

And a piece of irony - although it is only supposed to be the next few days and then returning to more regular Oregon weather. The forecast, beginning today 8/3/08, for the next week (this time I downloaded the jpeg rather than linking to the KATU weather page I know will change):
I will enjoy the cool 81 (if it reaches it) degrees today and be patient until the temperatures take the predicted downturn later in the week. And I will still count my blessings that 94 degrees in the land of green trees and multiple water sources will feel better than 103 degrees in the city with a scattering of trees, miles of concrete, and surrounded by bovines in various states of aliveness with accompanying odors.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

colorado: day 25 (final: sat 8/2)

Today I go home. It is 9:30 am now; my shuttle to the airport will arrive somewhere between 10:30-11. My flight won't leave Denver until 5:55 - but the next shuttle time felt too close, given the potential time to get from Greeley to Denver, the additional 45 minutes time that is supposed to be allowed for luggage check-in at seven or eight airports (one of which is Denver) and the time to get through security. I saw the lines at the airport when I was waiting for the shuttle after I arrived - long!

I have a good book and will be quite content to find a place to have a soy latte and read. I figure I will have maybe two to three hours once I get through everything and that will be fine. I did find there is an earlier flight on the same airline and thought I might see - depending on security and baggage lines getting into the airport - if there was a vacancy. But the flight which leaves two and a half hours earlier arrives in Portland about a half hour later. So I will stick with my flight. I'd rather be in the airport with an iced latte and a book and a comfy chair than in an airplane for that additional time.

The picture above is, again, looking out my dorm window where we have seen much progress on the new buildings. The crew is out there working again today. The blue crane has become a familiar site; but I will not miss having it start up at 6 am outside my window six days a week.

Tomorrow morning the blue crane will be replaced by a Japanese maple tree. The 101 degrees will be replaced by near 80 (although I did see mid-week is predicted to hit 93 for one day, then to dip below 90, again). Instant coffee stirred into soy milk will be replaced by fresh-brewed drip real roasted coffee and some heated soy milk added. The smell of cows (dead and alive) will be replaced by encaustic, oil paint, trees and plants, coffee brewing, an old house....

Friday, August 1, 2008

colorado: day 24, part two (or part four if you count the temperature updates)

The completion ceremony tonight was a time of celebration and tears. These students have journeyed through a lot the last three years together and less than half of the number who started in 2005 made it to completion tonight. Many of them have made friendships which will probably last their lifetimes; and they have an even broader support network outside of those close friends. This has been an intense three weeks and they all made it through. Some tears. Some arguments. Some "why do we have to...." feelings of burn out. But they all hung in and completed this part of their professional journey.

It felt good to be a part of it. My thoughts will be with those who are taking the educational interpreter performance exam tomorrow and I wish them all well.

And tomorrow I return home to my partner, my car with a new passenger side rear-view mirror (something happened and the old one "just fell out" one day as my partner was driving - but she got it fixed and will clean out her stuff, as well), to my old cat which has apparently been exhibiting stress behavior recently probably partially in reaction to my absence and partially in reaction to the girly boy new cat (Lester), to my workout partner (we have a walking date for Monday morning, to be followed by sushi - something I have missed here in Colorado) ... to temperatures below 90! Tomorrow night I will sleep in my own bed with the window open. Here I don't open the window because (a) it still tends to be too hot for me so I sleep with the AC on low and (b) the potential of the Greeley smell and (c) last time I did, everything is so dry that (I assume) some dust and or pollen blew in and I ended up with a coughing fit for an hour. But at home I can sleep with the window open and the cool breeze coming in and be comfortable. My bed here isn't bad -- better than I expected; but home is more comfortable.

I also had the opportunity to work with some good people here (the other staff) and hope to keep in touch and to have the chance to work with them again.

still climbing

...time is 4:35 and it is now 105 degrees...
...can you tell I'm ready to be out of the heat?

afternoon update

I was going to just post a quick temperature update, which is, by the way,
  • 103 degrees at 3:20 pm
... and it usually reaches its peak somewhere between 5-7 pm. Sigh. (Home is showing a temperature of 73 degrees.)

Good news is that all teaching responsibilities are done. Had the final wrap-up meeting with students and took hundreds of pictures and I am not exaggerating. Final staff meeting and totaled students' scores. And I have 90% of my stuff packed up and ready to go (the other 10% I need to get through tonight).

I am taking a little break here from preparing to interpret the completion celebration tonight. The Dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences will be speaking briefly, a student presentation, a student speaker, and a nationally recognized researcher, interpreting instructor (and more) will be speaking, as well. So looking over what we have of their speeches, how to spell names, all the things we do to insure there is a smooth and accurate interpretation of the night's events.

So I popped online to check the temperature and post an update -- and noticed the picture of Portland was no longer showing the rain. I thought maybe the transfer process corrupted the file or there was a technical issue of some sort. I clicked on the picture to view the (larger) original and it looked different than it did this morning. I went back to my blog and, yes, indeed, the Loveland picture was also different than what I posted.

What's up? I thought.

Duh! I realized. I didn't download the picture and then paste it in. I put in a direct link to the webcam site, which updates the picture. Sometimes I amaze myself with the little things it I don't get right away. Just a funny little story I thought I'd share. So, who knows, maybe tomorrow my picture of rain in Portland will be sunny and warm and Loveland will be overcast and dark.

colorado: day 24 (fri 8/1)

Tomorrow I go home!

Right now home is 62 degrees and rainy (it could be seen in the KATU 2 webcam in downtown Portland, but I pulled the link because it is live and the picture no longer fits my post! 8/2/08). It is predicted the rain will be gone by the time I get home, but the temperature looks like it will be low 70s. (happy dance!)

Right now it is 92 degrees and sunny with smog or smoke (could be the smell coming in!) in Greeley. (Live link pulled for the same reason as the Portland webcam. 8/2/08)