Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Gnome is Going Down!

Buried... but breathing!

Oh.... just an eye left!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Photo blogging the "Arctic Blast" of 2008

Schools have been closed for three days. Everyone is driving like an idiot or terrified to go out in the streets. The local news is the reigning king of fear-mongering.

Check out the photos of this crippling snowstorm...

Good lord! Someone is driving in this? Be careful!!!!

Wheee - snow day - no school - let's build a snowman!

Treacherous roads! Especially on curves and hills!

Brrr... soooo cold!!!

What exactly is he shoveling?

Good things he has those chains for all that snow!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's the time of year...

...for snow! And the annual smug post about how pathetic Oregonians are when it comes to it. We've got a decent amount of snow for Portland - maybe 2 inches I'd say - and the wind is blowing good, so it's moving around a lot as well. And it's cold, so it is indeed sticking. However as we were out and about this morning, I was once again reminded why we can't go out when it snows.

  • Driving cautiously does not mean going 15mph in what's normally a 40mpg zone. All that does is cause traffic to block up behind you and everyone has to ride their brakes behind you, thus causing acidents.

  • If you decide you need chains (which you don't unless you're headed into the mountains) don't stop in the driving lane of a major road, or interstate, to put them on. Do it in a parking lot or driveway, or.... no no... it's too easy.... designated chain up area before you get to the mountain!

  • Don't brake when approaching a hill, you need momentum to get up when you have less traction.

If any other these things 'cause you to say, "but...." then you don't know how to drive in snow and should stay home. There's no shame in that - or at least not much. But we'll all be safer without you out there.

Thank you. That is all.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dream Analysis Difficulty Level - LOW

It was my birthday and we were going out with all the people I work with. We got to the place that we were going and I only had $2 in my wallet, so I couldn't use the vending machines to get a drink - I had to find an actual human bartender. But it was pretty early in the day and many of the bars in the complex weren't staffed yet. So I wandered down to the basement and the folks down there were watching a movie - so I sat down and joined them. We were watching and having drinks and I guess I didn't realize that so much time had passed, because then someone came downstairs - one of the really young ones - and asked if we were ever going to come up and party. I went upstairs and it was already dark - it had been the middle of the day when we went downstairs! So I looked around and all the people upstairs were hot and tired and many of them covered in random paint splotches and had been having a great time dancing and drinking and I missed it!

So then we were at home and had to get ready for the wedding, it was two of my blogger friends and I was manning the guest book. I had to pick up my grandparents and Noland's family and my parents, so we were supposed to get there early, but we ended up arriving just about the time that the other guests were arriving. As we walked in there was a big sign proclaiming that regardless of the laws of the state that they were getting married. I was in a hurry, so I heard one of the grandparents or parents - I'm not sure - call out asking why they needed that sign - and I call back to them as I walk in the door - "oh, didn't you know they're lesbians?" I take up my post at the table but someone already had it under control, so I just signed the poster - and after my name tagged "divebarwife" 'cause they might not know who I was by my real name - and went into the chapel. I ran into a few of my cousins whom I haven't seen since I was 12 or so - but they recognized me 'cause I was wearing the same dress I wore to my cousin Andrea's wedding back in like 1982. Although I felt a little overdressed - everyone else was much more casual and I didn't know that it was a more informal affair, so I rolled the sleeves up. But then they called out that they needed someone to perform the ceremony, the person they had couldn't do it and had anyone else ever performed a wedding before? I tried to call to Noland to see if he could get up front, but there were several other volunteers who got there first and one of them performed the ceremony.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Losin' my View

There's a building going up that is soon going to block my view. From my office window I can look to the east and see Mt. Hood (even after a decade in Oregon is seems weird that there are mountains to the east.) I can look to the northeast and on some clear days see Mt. St. Helens (can today!) the Willamette, parts of Waterfront Park, the buildings in the Convention Center/Lloyd District, the Hawthorne, Burnside and Broadway bridges... it's a beautiful view of Portland. But there's construction going on at 2nd and Morrison... right now the frame is about 12 stories high - but today they've started to add two more. It' now hitting the point where it's beginning to block off my view. I've already lost a part of the park and the Burnside bridge. If it goes another two higher all of the northeast side is hidden, and beyond that - it starts to block the mountains. I'm all for progress - but if they're going to build a building that blocks my pretty city/mountain view -there'd better be a job for my husband in it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Racist Trolls

I missed the original article over the weekend with my 72+ hours internet downtime this weekend, but there was a good article in the Oregonian about a family in my neighborhood and the lack of grocery options/transportation options for low income families, despite being a lower income neighborhood.

What I saw today though was the note talking about the comments, nearly 100, a majority of which were racists remarks because the family in the story is Hispanic and it said they used food stamps. Remarks that the mom or the daughter needed to get jobs. Remarks about them being lazy because they didn't walk to the store or dumb because they went to one farther from their home. Just ridiculous. The whole point of the article was that they had to travel farther because while they have stores closer, they're stores that are more expensive.

The Albertsons most of the comment trolls mentioned is the closest grocery store to us and we don't shop there on a regular basis because it's overpriced and we're not low income. The Safeway they mention is our regular store, but we definitely pay more than WinCo for the nicer store. The point is these people are in a tough situation and it's a problem for many low income neighborhoods that needs to be addressed. And all they can focus on is that she speaks Spanish.

Most of the time idiots on the internet don't bug me, but this time, they just really pissed me off.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I don't have words

My friend Cindy is... well... I don't have words. I've been in tears all day. She is on life-support and her family is with her. Please, prayers for she and her family.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

This is something that friends from my church have brought to my attention - but whether or not you you have any religious leanings or not, it's still a good cause and a good perspective.

The first year that Noland and I were married we spent Christmas in New Zealand as part of our honeymoon. It was funny, sitting in a cafe in Wellington a few days before Christmas hearing the locals talk about how ridiculously commercial the city had become. When the night before as we walked the streets of this city of just under a half million people, that we commented how little it 'looked like Christmas' compared to back home.

No matter how much we love Christmas, we know that it has in many ways become ridiculous. The amount of money spent. The stress. The pressure. And if you do believe in the Christmas story - it's supposed to be a day of simple celebration.

So that's what the Advent Conspiracy is - take back Christmas - regardless of your spiritual views - to be a day of simple celebration with your family. Make it a day where you demonstrate your love not with piles of expensive gifts, but with something heartfelt. Then do something to help others.

For example - Americans spend more than $450B on Christmas gifts, decorations, etc. each year. It would take about $10B to solve... not temporarily help but SOLVE... the world's water crises.

What we could do if we tried.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Tell Me What to Do... Please!

So I know I don't have a ton of people out there reading this blog, but I know there are some. I am calling you readers to action. Come out of the lurky shadows and help a girl out.

When I have down time I spend way to much of it in front of the TV or the computer. I should spend more of that time reading. Especially now as the wet winter sets in. I love to read, I read pretty fast and once I start a book I tend to plunge in and can't put it down. My biggest problem is finding books to read. I walk through libraries and bookstores and can't decide. It ALL looks good.

So I want you to tell me. What should I read?

I know... most of you will say, but we don't know what you like... whaa whaa whaa... Well really, I'd love any suggestions, but to give you an ideas:

  • I loved reading all the classics in high school and college English classes, but there are some I'm sure I've missed, or others I should revisit.
  • I love historical fiction - great human stories just add life to real situations
  • I love fantasy, strange monsters, werewolves, fairies, vampires. magical spells and the like
  • I love a good mystery - I was weaned on Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon as a child
  • I love a good biography - a fascinating person or glimpse of a lifestyle

Those are the things that come to mind first, but then again - that's where I go when I'm looking, I'd love to branch out and explore more.

So please - add a comment - give me your favorite books or authors. Light reading or heavy. Fiction or Non-fiction. Expand my horizons!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

aw crap!

Only Day 7 and I miss a day. Well - I will say that I was under the influence of NyQuil and that I remembered, but I was already to far into the sleep coma to do anything about it. But in my dream I had Noland guest post for me!

Oh well, I'm gonna keep going anyhow and try again next time.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Admitting defeat...

I was sick yesterday and stayed home from work. I easily cold have stayed home today as well, but honestly I don't think I've ever taken two sick days in a row in my life. I had perfect attendance most years in school. My mom didn't let us stay home unless we were throwing up. I've typically not used more than two sick days a year since beginning to work some 20 years ago. I hate being sick - but even more I hate missing work for being sick.

I know that if I'm sick, it's better not to go i and infect my co-workers. And I'm organized enough, that I can typically tell - like I did yesterday - that I didn't have anything super urgent on my plate and with just a few emails cold convey the info my co-workers needed to follow-up on the couple of time sensitive issues. But I just feel guilty calling in and saying I won't be there.

I think part of it stems from my childhood. As I said, we didn't stay home sick unless we were REALLY sick. I don't ever remember going to the doctor because I was sick. I went when I cracked my skull open and needed stitches. I went when I had chicken pox. But I didn't go because I ad a cold or the flu. We didn't get antibiotics or codeine. I remember hearing my parents speak negatively about parents who took their kids to the doctors, saying they were coddling them. I guess I learned that to be sick, is to be weak. And if there is one thing I am not - or at least don't like to admit - is weak.

I know now that's silly. But a part of it is still there. I don't want to be weak. I don't want to be sick. So enough already!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A family Thanksgiving

Halloween is over.
Barack Obama is the 44th President.
What now?

Well - I need to start making lists and plans for Thanksgiving festivities at our house. Right now we're looking at 8-10 people for dinner with another half dozen or more coming after family dinners for dessert and cocktails. And that number could easily go up before the day occurs.

Thanksgiving has never been an exciting holiday for me. My mom wasn't ever a big cook, so dinners were traditional with yummy turkey and stuffing, canned cranberries and green beans, Just usual fare. And since we didn't have any relatives nearby, we never had big family celebrations. Mostly it was just a day off of work or school. After my brothers got married and then started having kids, it was a little more interesting, because it was a chance to see them.

When I first moved to Portland and could no longer go back to Kansas easily for the holidays it became an even more boring holiday. When I had a part time job at the video store, which was open on holidays, I'd always volunteer to work so that people with family celebrations didn't have to. (And then I never had to work New Years Eve!) But for the first several years it was just another day.

After Noland and I got married that has all changed. We began 4 years ago, opening our home up to any of our friends who wanted a place to go. We cook a turkey and a bunch of other goodies and all our friend bring a dish. We have lots of drinks and food.. oh, and I guess there's football on for those that are into that sort of thing... and it's something that I've had others tell me they really look forward to.

Most of our other gatherings aren't "dinners" so to speak, so it's kinda fun to sit down at the table and eat together. It gives me a chance to break out my fancy china that I hauled around the country with me in boxes for almost a decade before ever using. Now I LOVE Thanksgiving.

My family is of course my family, and I love them. But days like this are what reinforce that my friends are my family. And I love them.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What else can we say...

Tonight... a historical night in so many ways. I wasn't feeling well... we had some rough news on a personal front and decided to ditch on on my plans for a big election night party... but my fabulous friend Julie came over and took me out, we met up with another friend at a local pub to watch election results... and we did it. We all did it.

I have always been, and will always be, proud to be an American citizen - but tonight - it made me cry.

Thank you.

Monday, November 03, 2008

I don't want to be a pessimist

It's the last day of campaigning, TV ads, phone calls and junk mail for the elections. As Cesar said, I'm cautiously optimistic.

I was two months to young to vote in 1988 - so helping to elect Bill Clinton in 1992 was my first foray into politics. I was a senior in college and not very educated in most things political. I knew enough to know that I leaned pretty left, but mostly it was surface issues. I voted for him again in 1996 and despite his stupidity with the whole Monica Lewinsky thing, I would have voted for him a third time if given the option. I liked Al Gore in 2000 mostly because of that fact. He would keep a good thing going. Even though he didn't get to take office - I was three for three in picking winning Presidential candidates. But I hadn't been super-invested or involved in any of the elections.

After the first 4 years of Bush - I began to see how important it was to elect the right candidate. I spent time researching candidates, leaning about policies, learning about processes. I wanted to know who I liked enough to really make my vote count in the primaries. Living in Oregon now instead of Iowa, my primary vote doesn't really count however, and my candidate of choice - Howard Dean - was really already out of the race by the time we voted. When Kerry was nominated I got behind him. I didn't have any issues with him - but he didn't strike me as someone who would really turn around the downhill slide we were on. He would be better than Bush for sure - but he wasn't my first choice.

This year however - I - like many Americans - am really excited about the idea of President Obama. I think he has the energy, the education, the poise, the grace, and the leadership skills to really make a difference. I don't think he's perfect or that he'll actually be able to accomplish close to everything he promises... but I do see him as hope at the end of a very dark tunnel. The idea of him not winning, scares the crap out of me. I am the optimist of the family. When someone is being an ass, Noland is the one who calls them an ass - I'm the one who says maybe they're just having a bad day. I'm the one who wants to see the good in people. But if the American people would elect McCain over Obama, I don't know that I could have that optimism anymore. I don't know that I could believe that people are inherently good anymore.

I don't want to be a pessimist. Let's do this thing America.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

An Oral History

I read yesterday that Studs Terkel died. He was 96-years-old, and honestly I didn't know he was still alive. But reading the article got me thinking back - I first heard about him in Mrs. Wilson's Honors Junior English class. (The one we were always late to because we didn't get off the field from marching band practice in enough time.) We read some of Terkel's work, and I believe listened to some interviews that had been recorded for it and published as well, then had to complete an oral history project on our own. Most people in the class talked to members of their family - grandparents or great aunts or the like. All of my relatives lived pretty far away, so I interviewed a couple older members of the church that m family went to.

Although I don't now remember his name, I remember specifically talking to one man who was close to my grandfathers age. He talked to me about living through the depression, about what families sacrificed to make ends meet. He was a young man at that time, really a boy, at an age where he should have been in school, but talked about going off to do day labor instead. Dropping out of school to work doing anything he could to make a few dollars to help his family eat and survive. He talked to me about the war that followed and how he ended up joining the army and going off into WWII. And that his story wasn't dissimilar to many of the young men his age.

Looking at that story from where we are today, it lends an interesting new perspective. And makes me wonder, will we in 40 years, tell similar stories? Will we come together as one country and get through this? Or will we will continue to divide ourselves economically, politically, socially... so that some tell stories or poverty and pain, while others tell stories of great wealth and the bounties of capitalism?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Stranger Danger!!!

We drive to Seattle last night right after work to catch The Sonics and Girl Trouble at the Paramount Theatre. (For a review of the show, check out Noland's blog.) We stopped about halfway up to gas up and grab a quick bite at a fast food joint. I'm not sure what town we were in - but we were right next to the crazy libertarian sign guy.

So I'm walking to the restroom before we go and pass a table with three kids in Halloween costumes and their redneck parents. The littlest one - probably about 5-years-old - holds out a Happy Meal toy towards me and tries to get my attention saying "hey hey hey" as I walk by. I look and smile and keep walking. As I do I hear the following between the three kids...

7-year-old boy: "That's a STRANGER!"
5-year-old boy: "No it's NOT!"
10-year-old girl: "Yes it is!"

When I walk back by to leave all three of them just stare at me in silence.

I'm not which amused me most. That the youngest one totally thought he knew me (or doesn't know what a stranger is), that the others were so freaked out that he talked to a stranger... or that they all called me "it."

Silly kids.

Friday, October 31, 2008

IT Dreams... or Nightmares!

So our office have never really done Halloween before, but this year more than half of the office donned masks... of our IT Director... going down to the conference room in the elevator together was rather creepy.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Have You Voted Yet?!

Shhhh..... it's a secret....

Or maybe not!

If you're in Oregon - it's too late to mail in your ballot... drop it off at a library, the elections office, the Obama campaign offices...

If you're not in Oregon - don't forget to go on Tuesday!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Love You

My desk at work is in a converted conference room, we're out growing our space so the big table was removed and 6 of us in the marketing/IT departments were moved in. Pretty much there are no secrets between any of us, there are no partitions or dividers whatsoever. It's a good collaborative working environment for the most part. It also means that when we do have a personal call...everyone else hears it.

When Noland and I talk on the phone, we always tell each other that we love the other. We tell each other 'I love you!' constantly. I can't imagine not proclaiming that I love him every chance I get.

All 6 of us in the room are married. I hear each of us on the phones with our spouses at some point at least every few weeks. Of the other 5... one talks to their spouse like they do their child; giving instructions, telling them what to do and why they need to do it. Three of my co-workers talk to their spouses like a friend; they make plans, they joke and laugh, say what needs to be said and say good-bye. Only one of my co-workers says 'I love you' to their spouse when they end their phone call.

I think they all have strong, healthy relationships... I'm not hinting that there's anything wrong... I just find it interesting.

UPDATE: Ok, just as I posted this I heard one of them on a call and replied with an "I love you." :D

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rated R: may include language inappropriate for children under 17

I had the beginning of an interesting conversation with my parents about curse words. We didn't get very far because they just assumed I was being argumentative and that we just shouldn't cuss. Period. But that's not the thought that was in my head.

It goes back to that 'random rule following' again. Why are certain words 'bad' and others that mean the same thing ok? Or at least to a degree. If a child calls another child a 'poopy-head' he's probably going to be told it's not nice to call names, made to apologize and sent back on his way. But if he calls the other child a 'shit-head' he's going to get spanked, or detention, or grounded. But it's the same thing. Albeit neither one is nice - but that was the point. The child was mad at the other child, so he called him a name. Why is one considered so much worse?

And many parents, including mine, encourage their children to use these substitute words. Don't say damn, say darn. Don't say shit, say shoot. Don't say fuck, say fudge. But if I'm just subbing a word, my intention is still the same. To make a derogatory statement about the other person or thing - or just yell out in anger, pain or excitement. So if you think it's wrong, than it all should be wrong. And then we're forced to bottle up raw emotion. The fact that even the most prudish person will probably curse when the old hammer on the thumb occurs shows that it's a natural and appropriate word for certain situations. Or if we understand that sometimes expletives are needed because we're mad or frustrated, then all are ok. Just like anything else, we just have to learn how to use them correctly and in moderation.

For the most part, I don't swear much, so it's not like I feel the need to shout swear words from the roof types, I just think we need to reevaluate what's "bad."

Now using words that actually ARE offensive.... a racial or ethnic slur, not acceptable. And most people will agree on that. Some folks do still use them just because they're bigots, others think they're using them 'ironically' or because 'that was ok when I was your age.' And those people are wrong.

Words that are used to make a negative association about a person by relating them to another group of people. Like calling someone or something retarded or gay - also not acceptable. But the kid on the playground probably will get the 'poopy-head' punishment not the 'shit-head' punishment for saying either one. But when you think about it, which is more offensive to society overall... calling someone who is a shithead, a shithead or calling someone who is a shithead, retarded?

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I had a variety of reasons for leaving Metroblogs receently, but a primary one was to spend more time on my blogging personaly. I just don't have the bandwidth to really do multiple things like that. One will always be neglected, and I really want to spend more time with my personal blog. Maybe actually learn how to set up a space of my own rather tan on Blogger. I hear rumor that the BlogHer conference emay be held in Portland this year - and I'd love to attend that. Really develop this as something that's very me.

At this point though, because I haven't had much time to write just for me, things are just coming spewing out. Not much direction, not much organization, not even a whole lot of editing. Rather journally. (of course that's a word.) So there may be some random spewing here for another few weeks. Get my rants and raves out of my system. Then I'll get some focus.
I promise.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Don't tell me to follow the rules. Convince me why they exist.

I'm not a big fan of the random rule following. Those designed to protect the safety of myself or others... like laws... for the most part I'll follow - that's what keeps us civilized. But believe me, even those aren't steadfast! But rules that seem to exist arbitrarily even from the get-go, I want to know why.

I've had more than one run-in with an HR person over silly dress codes. And usually because of my questioning the rule, not only did I not have to follow the silly rule, others didn't either. I started working at Blockbuster Video as a part-time second job after college. Employees were to wear khaki pants or skirts, a light-blue dress shirt and tie. I'm not a boy. I don't wear ties and I don't wear button down-shirts. Those are boy clothes. So I got a shirt and I got a tie. I wore them both - but I wore the shirt unbuttoned over a colored cami and I wore the tie like a scarf. I was told be several people that I had to wear the tie. I replied that I was. Soon others stopped sporting their ties. Unbuttoning their collars and untucking their shirts. We relaxed the dress code to be much more practical for the job we were doing.

I also worked part-time at Kohl's. There we had to wear the equivalent of office casual. One hot and humid Iowa summer day I wore a cute sun-dress of an appropriate length and nice sandals. I was called out by the floor manager for not having pantyhose on. I was told I needed to purchase hosiery and put them on. First of all, it's hot, second of all, at that time my legs looked great in a skirt and sandals and thirdly - I was wearing open-toes sandals. Open-toed sandals and hose at a huge fashion mistake. Being a bit of a smart ass, and totally unwilling to wear something evil like pantyhose, when I went on break I I went to the children's department, bought a pair of lacey ankle socks, and put those on. Then I went to the breakroom, found a copy of the employee handbook, found the dress code which only said "appropriate hosiery" not that pantyhose or covering your legs was required... made photocopies, highlighted them and posted them on the wall. And stuck a copy in my pocket for when I ran into that floor manager back upstairs again. Most of the 20-something female staff went barelegged for the rest of that summer.

Good comes from questioning rules. Mary Tyler Moore told the producers of The Dick van Dyke show that she wanted to wear pants. Maybe if Lucille Ball had done that, my mom wouldn't have had to wear dresses to school in northern Minnesota in January. Maybe if my mom had told the bank she worked at in the 1980s that she wasn't going to wear high heels and hose, then I wouldn't have had to more than a decade later in a department store.

And if you can't even question rules on simple things like modernizing fashion, how will you ever question rules that really matter?

Like those in many churches. Sure, some are pretty harmless, the one we went to for Amy's wedding had a "no flash photography' rule. Why? It doesn't hurt for me to ask that. Maybe there are exceptions, or no one ever bothered to change it after it no longer applied. But others, like the rules that don't allow women to participate in certain roles in many churches. Valid at one time? Maybe. Valid now? No. But they still exist in too many places. We must step forward and assert that the time for the rules is long gone. One reason I am drawn to the church I now attend, is that while they are very conservative in many respects, they are also not afraid (sometimes) to question 'rules' that were most likely made arbitrarily by some man hundreds of years ago.

All that blind following, because that's the way it's always been done... leads to nothing good. Rules like who's allowed to drink from what water fountain or take a seat on a bus. Rules about who is allowed to marry and who is not. Rules about people of all genders and races getting equal pay for equal work. Rules about whether a woman has the right to decide her own right time to have a child. Rules that say if people don't agree with our religion, they shouldn't exist.

If you want me to follow your rules, you'll have to convince me why they exist.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Going fully digital

Today I've started "the conversion." Nothing too scary, not crazy rituals or surgeries...I'm talking music. From my first CD player - a high school graduation present in 1989 - up until around 2001 I was an avid CD buyer. I joined and quit and joined and quit the bmg music club time and time again to take advantage of the introductory offer. I scoured used CD stores looking for bargains and albums from harder to find bands. For the five years I worked at The Des Moines Register I'd be the first one in line at the annual sale where they'd put out all of the discs sent in to be reviewed - on sale for $1 each (and all proceeds going to charity.) Often times I'd completely unknown artists because I liked the cover art, the band name or some other random reason. Sure - I ended up with some junk - but I also discovered a number of treasures. And the junk could always be taken back to the used CD store and resold.

Throughout that same decade, a young man I did not yet know living halfway across the country was doing the same thing. When we met, one of the first things that he did before heading out for a week long business trip, was hand me a handful of CDs and ask me to take a listen. I loved almost all of them. He already knew me, and knew my musical taste. And while we certainly diverge in some instances (he tolerates the Indigo Girls and looks pained when I play Madonna...I cringe at Slayer and just shake my head in bewilderment at Manowar) there is a lot of common ground.

There are still primarily His and Hers CD shelves...but after we bought our house we went through all the boxes of music and eliminated the dups - and then adding the sum total of that artists collection to either one of our shelves. And all told - we probably took more than 100 duplicate CDs to sell/trade once we were done.

In this last decade however, the music has gone digital. While we'll still occasionally cruise the used CD bins and find some gem that I must have - most of our musical purchases are now done online. Up until last year, we always still listened to CD in our cars - so even though our at home and at work music was mostly of the recently purchased digital variety, the old friends were with us when we drove. But then came the new car...with the MP3 jack for the iPod...and the discs that are in the car now - have probably been the same five for more than a year now. Random songs here nd there have been digitized for specific playlists for parties or events. But for the most part our CD collection has sat lonely for too long.

Noland just bought me an external hard drive and I'm beginning the process of converting everything over so that we can listen online, on our iPods, etc. While I've been typing this I've downloaded 10 discs. Only 840 more to go!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Return to Kansas - Part II

Although I spent most of my childhood there, I don't think I ever really belonged. After all the short-term places I lived as a small child we ended up in Topeka when I was eight. I lived there for 10 years. Then I lived for nine years in Des Moines. I've been here in Portland now for 10 and a half years. Longer than I lived anywhere else. This is home. And it fits me. I enjoyed my childhood in Topeka - but I couldn't live there as an adult.

I think my parents thought I was picking on them when I took this photo and kept talking about it, but really it's just my wonderment at how different life can be in places not so far away, and that used to be familiar. Now when I go back there the things I take for granted don't exist and even common things seem foreign.

See there - all in one container headed to the landfill - yard debris, cardboard, plastic bags and food waste. Here at home - that's at least three separate containers - if not four. Yard Debris. Recycling. Trash. Compost. Only one of those is going to go to the landfill. Now my folks do collect newspapers and aluminum cans in their garage and my dad takes them in a few times a year, so they do recycle what they can - but the city has NO curbside services whatsoever. Nearly everything is simply thrown away. Nearby in Kansas City, they do have curbside recycling - so hopefully it's something that will continue to spread across the country, it's such an easy thing for people to do.

I was happily surprised that I didn't see as many McCain signs as I thought I would. I did see more on my parents block than I have in all of Portland (three - I've only seen three in Portland - I love that!) But it wasn't nearly the overwhelming tide I assumed I'd see. Of course I didn't see a single Obama sign until we got to Kansas City, so my thought is that the people of Topeka aren't fully embracing either candidate. The staunch conservatives will still vote McCain - but they're not going to advertise for him. We get a (pleasantly) biased view of things like that here in Portland. You can safely assume that a majority of the people you talk to are going to be more liberal. If not a registered Democrat - they're an independent who leans that way.

And then there are the things like our NW coffee and beer addictions. My mom brought back some good coffee from their trip to Montana last month, but Sat morning after being wakened at 7:30 am but two little girls - and knowing that since that was the day of the wedding that I'd likely be up quite late - I wanted a big four-espresso shot latte. So I asked where I could go to get coffee. I got a recommendation for the Phillips66 station. And at the Renaissance Festival I went to with Steve and Tracy and the kids - with the exception of one Guinness stand I saw - everything else they served was made by Bud, Coors or Miller. Shudder!

At least, unlike Violet, I had internet access.

The Return to Kansas - Part I

We've contemplated trips back to the Midwest a few times over the past two years since our last trip, but prices have been high, then my folks were out to visit last year at this time and Noland's folks have been out 3 or 4 times in the past two years, so we keep putting it off. While I love my folks, if we're going to spend $900 and burn a week of valuable PTO - we want to do more than sit on the couches of our parents homes. We'd just been talking of making a trip pin January - after holiday prices dropped - but just going for a long weekend and each going to our respective parents homes once we landed in KCI, saving us 3 or 4 days of PTO by not having to divide time between the two. Then I got the invite for Amy's wedding and it fit into the plan perfectly. Since Noland's folks had just been out the month prior, he didn't go - but I took off to Kansas for a whirlwind weekend of family and wedding festivities.

Often when I've been back, both my brothers and their families come to my parents for a day or so when I'm in town. This time scheduling stretched things out a bit more - and I think it worked nicely that way. I had about a day with just mom and dad, then my brother showed up with his little girls and we had about a day together, then a brief stint at the wedding and over to my older brothers for an evening and the next day with his family. It was good - I got adult time with mom and dad - and even a brief visit to an old family friend (who was also an undecided voter...I don't think I actually know any of those, so I got a chance to make a good plug!) Then I had a chance to play with the little girls and give them my undivided attention. We had a scavenger hunt, did manicures, drew pictures and played restaurant...they're pretty adorable (and I think the 4-year-old is a bit of a mini-me - complete with proclaiming "dammit" when she was told no more Skittles before bed. Dad and grandma weren't too impressed, but big sister said "that's what mommy says" and I was trying so hard not to laugh! Good luck with that one James and Colleen...tee hee...) And then I had a chance to talk to my teenage niece and nephew without the little ones vying for all of our attention. Almost grown up those two - we talked about colleges (the smart ones!) debating, driving, drama...and that twisted sense of humor that us Newman kids all have...although I think it comes from the Grandpa Amble genes.

And I had one good high school friend at the wedding whom I got to sit and chat with at the reception for a brief time. I probably should have gone ahead and rented a car so that I didn't have to bolt out of the wedding immediately after dinner, but it was very nice of my folks to drive me around to it all. And I'm so glad that I was at least able to make it to the wedding.

The only problem with the family time being so spread out, is that I didn't really get any friend time. There aren't many people left in Kansas, and even fewer in Topeka - but it would have been nice to have been able to see some of them. So if your in Kansas and I didn't see you, or you didn't even know I was there - next time! Or you'll just have to come out to Portland!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I Get Bored Easily

I think I'm growing bored with "city blogging." I've been writing for Metblogs for more than two years now, and not that it's a huge span of time - but it is a good chunk of time. I just don't have huge inspirations for posts these days. I post things because I should. I post things because I don't want to let the MB folks down, especially after being the last man standing there for awhile after all the brouhaha. Because I'm a responsible person. But not because I really am excited to. I'm not even very excited to read what's posted. It's beginning to feel like a lot of the same old thing. Even over on OurPDX - which is cool and I read daily, but I'm just not as excited as I used to be...Tri-Met woes, cool bands, new restaurants, bike stuff, tech stuff, quirky things spotted downtown. I often find myself just skimming.

I know I can have a short attention span. I was a member of the OMTAAMB for 5 or 6 years - then I got bored and quit. I've sung in community choirs - then after couple seasons I got bored and quit. I took purely for fun classes - dance, guitar - then I get bored after a semester and quit. I don't want it to become a chore, and there is someone new now who can take the reins to build a new author group - something I had no interest (or talent) to do. So I think it may be time for me to call it quits on Metblogs. By taking a break, maybe I'll return again later more enthused. It's kind of sad 'cause it has been (mostly) fun - but in a way it will be good. I still read a lot of blogs - it's just my 'go to first' blogs have shifted. It's the more specific blogs I'm drawn to lately. Individual people with more personal stories or specific topics I'm interested in. So I'm not sure what that means exactly, but I think it means that I'll be writing here a heck of a lot more!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Thursday, September 04, 2008

To Be Totally Superficial...

Just by comparing the crowds at Obama and McCain's final convention speeches it's easy to see who is truly in touch with 'the people.'

One if full of people young and old, white and black and latino and asian, well-dressed, hipply dressed, sloppily dressed... awake. Tonight the poor camera man kept having to focus on the same two or three young people (and by young I mean under 50) to make the crowd look better balanced, all in stuffy suits, pretty darn white, and oh so many yawns...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My husband will love this

From the 'brilliant' minds of I Can Has Cheezburger come a new endeavor...

Monday, April 07, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

Dumb Portland Schools

I've lived in Portland now for 10 years. Longer than I 've ever lived anywhere in my life. But Portland 'snow days' still just kill me. Today - all the schools were delayed by 2 hours and a bunch were closed. Most of the city had no snow whatsoever, some places has a light dusting - and up in the west hills they got an inch or so.

When I first moved here I would have made fun of them doing any of that. And to a large degree I still do. But now I understand how woefully unprepared anyone who lives in Portland is for any sort of winter weather - and can accept the people in the higher elevation areas being concerned about their inch of those couple of schools in that neighborhood can close...or maybe the few parents whose house sits at that top of that big hill...don't come in until later. But seriously - there are thousands of kids home from school today without even a meager dusting of snow on their front lawns. Thousands more who were delayed for two hours causing their parents to have to go into work late or figure alternate arrangements. It's just plain dumb.

People complain about the quality of education here, they blame class sizes, and not having resources and all that crap...but with the exception of modern technological changes, thing now look pretty much the same as they did when I was in who knows, maybe this is an indicator of how little those in charge really care. If they're willing to give the kids a day like today off...maybe education just isn't a high priority for our educators.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Things People Say on the InterWebs Make Me Laugh

The Merc had an article last week about the trials and tribulations of finding a place to live...not finding and apartment or a house - but finding room - moving in with other people you don't know. To me that's kind of a bizarre situation - other than Kyle & Crane filling a spot at the Monkey Ranch I don't know anyone who's lived with people they didn't know. Their roommates were always at least some sort of friend. So I commented that wa - and this was one of the response:

divebarwife, one example might be women who don't identify themselves by what their husband does for a living. maybe such women wait to get married beyond the first guy with a bank account they manage to fuck. in the meantime, they need to split rent (ahem, pay their own rent at all), and their friends may already have places when they find themselves looking.

in summary, don't be such a cunt.

Heh heh - yes, 'cause that's me - ha ha!