Tag Archives: Oregon

The Road to Bend

8 Aug

Way back in the Spring, a friend and I signed up for a union sponsored, all-expenses paid, leadership conference to be held in Bend, Oregon. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

A few weeks before the conference she called me, thinking she didn’t really want to go anymore. I didn’t want to be assigned a random roommate, so we looked into cancelling. Apparently, others have felt this way in the past and cancelling would cost us each $150. So, we made plans for the trip.

The day before we made plans on where to meet. Thinking I was being helpful, I suggested the Starbucks 3 blocks from my house. My friend has a history of being late and I figured I could enjoy my coffee while I waited. I could also leave my car at home and buy her a coffee, since she would be the driver. While talking on the phone, I looked up the address and read it off to her.

The next morning, I was at Starbucks about 5 minutes early, as is my wont. The deal was that, if she wasn’t there by 7:15, I would call her. I placed my order and picked up my Venti soy latte when it was ready. Little did I know that my first sip of the mocha, would foreshadow other little mistakes.

By 7:10, I was getting anxious… and then my phone rang.

“Where are you?” my friend asked.

Well, it turned out I had not really been paying attention the night before because I;d given her the WRONG address. She was at a Starbucks on Burnside Street, but several miles away. Why hadn’t I noticed that last night? I gave directions to my location and she arrived within a few minutes.

Once she had her coffee, we sat to plan the route. East over Mount Hood, then South? Or South down I-5, then east? We opted for the Mount Hood route and tried to plug in the hotel address to her phone. It wasn’t taking it, so we just typed in Bend, and loaded the car.

After three hours of conversation, the phone began giving us directions. We followed them until she said, “Arrived at Bend”.

We burst out laughing, remembering we hadn’t put in the hotel address. My friend did so and we were off and driving again. Except it still didn’t seem right. Maps had the hotel in the north end of Bend and the phone was sending us South. We knew we were int rouble and started laughing. I was  laughing so hard at one point, I couldn’t speak. My friend pulled over because she was laughing and had to go to the bathroom badly. An accident was imminent. We pulled ourselves together and carried on, after finding a bathroom.

The phone sent us off the highway and through a round about then told us to turn left, but the barrier in the road made us turn right. We pulled off and put in the hotel’s name, instead of the address and, miracle of miracles, we had new directions. we arrived within a few minutes. We registered and made it to the opening lunch, which had just begun, and sat down, hopeful that our misadventures were over.

Just for fun, her are some pictures from the trails near our hotel and conference center.

Doing my civic duty

25 Oct

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I strode through the library doors, eyes peeled for the blue box. It usually sits on the counter top to the right of the doors. Sure enough, it was right where I expected it to be. I marched forth bearing the all important white envelope and dropped my ballot in the box.

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Oregon is a vote-by-mail state, but that requires a stamp. To ensure that the price of a stamp isn’t a hindrance, official ballot drop off boxes are available in all libraries. There are other official drop off locations, including some 24-hour drive-through drop off boxes.

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Ballots can be dropped off from the day they are received until 8:00 PM on Election Day.

It had felt especially satisfying filing out the ballot this year. I had worked on a ballot measure and felt as though I was a little more on top of Oregon politics than I’d been in some previous years. I always vote, but  I pay more attention in some years than others.

Civic duty #1 accomplished, it was on to the embarrassing civic duty.

With a little less sparkle in my step I walked up to the check out desk.

“I  have a fine and seem to have lost a book. I would like to pay for it,” I shamefully admitted to the librarian.

“Let’s take a look at your account,” she replied cheerfully. If she was judging me, she did not show it.

I gave her my card and, before I could say the title of the book, she asked, “It Ain’t So Awful Falafel?”

“How did you know?” I queried.

“It was the oldest book in your account. That comes to $16.99,” she replied.

“What about the overdue fine?” I asked. “I returned a book two days late, too.” This felt like confession!

“No overdue fine for children’s books,” she chirped cheerfully.

“Even for adults?”

“Even for adults.”

Fines paid, I went to the holds shelf to pick up the books awaiting me. I promised them, I’d take better care of them than I did with It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel. 

I had pulled up to my local public library ready to perform two civic duties: one exciting, the other, embarrassing.  I left feeling satisfied.

 

Canvassing

11 Oct

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I was nervous as I set out to canvass on behalf of a ballot measure. Talking to strangers is not something this introvert enjoys. And yet, there I was, on a beautiful Fall afternoon, walking around a suburban neighborhood, pamphlets in hand.

Things have gone hi-tech since I’d last done anything like this. There is a smart phone app. I don’t actually have a smart phone, but hey had extras for the luddites who come to help. The machinery they have in place is amazing. I was given a paper map, but all the addresses were up loaded into the app, as were the names and ages of the people whose privacy I was about to invade.

Because I went right after school, no one was home at many of the houses I approached. I was extremely nervous when the first door opened, but the nice older gentleman there told me he and his wife were voting in favor of the measure. Whew!I told him he was my first contact and thanked him for making it easy.

Some people were noncommittal.  An elderly woman spoke to me from behind a closed door. One man said he worked for a university, knew a lot about the measure, but was torn because he could see both sides. We didn’t get a chance to talk long because a visitor he’d been expecting arrived. I think he opened the door expecting me to be her.

The toughest, and longest, conversation was with an older gentleman who wanted me to explain how this wasn’t a sales tax. I had the talking points I’d been given and did the best I could. I think, at best, I moved him from a NO to a MAYBE.

The most disappointing moment was when I arrived at the home of Oregon’s Commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, who also happens to be running for Secretary of State. I really wanted him to be home, but no one was there. As I did with all the other homes I visited where no one answered the door, I left the literature I was distributing. I was tempted to write  “I’m voting for you!” on the pamphlet, but didn’t.

As with many things, I grumbled and worried before beginning. As I wrapped things up and headed back to my car, I felt proud that I’d overcome my anxieties about talking to stingers, and I hope, done my bit. I still have a little bit to do.

As much as I hate political calls this season, I will be manning phones on Monday, November 7th. Oregon is a vote by mail state. You can mail in your ballot as soon as you have filled it out or drop it off at a number of locations. I usually drop mine at my local library. The good thing about this event is that my job won’t be to advocate for anything, I simply have to call people and remind them to turn in their ballots. I think that should be easy enough to do.

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Real Oregonians don’t use umbrellas.

8 Dec

It is a truth universally acknowledged: real Oregonians don’t use umbrellas.

I have one, but I keep it in my closet.

Seriously.

I’m not really a closeted umbrella user. I keep it there because I have fond memories of my umbrella. It is a Christian Dior. Seriously.

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I keep it because my parents gave it to me one Christmas way back in the 80’s and I’ve managed to keep to through countless moves. I remember when we got them (my sister got one, too, only hers was red paisley) my twin sister and I felt like this was a grown up sort of gift to get.

I brought it with me when I moved to Oregon, but I’ve almost never used it here because real Oregonians don’t use umbrellas.  We mostly get by with a good hooded rain jacket. In fact, I don’t actually own a winter coat, I just wear a fleece or hoodie under my raincoat. Our winter rains are usually the misty kind and so this arrangement usually works perfectly fine.

But this week is different.

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Heavy rain and floods are forecast and I wouldn’t have even thought about my umbrella, except that I have bus dismissal duty after school this week. The area I have to monitor isn’t covered and, I didn’t think my simple water-resistant shell + hoodie would cut it. So, I pulled my umbrella out of the closet and brought it to school yesterday.

I was grateful for it when I walked into school yesterday in a torrential downpour

I was grateful for it at 3:45 yesterday as I waved cars forward to pick kids up in the pouring rain.

I will be grateful for it most of the week, I think.

Some days, real Oregonians, need umbrellas.

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The Slice of Life Story Challenge Begins Today!

1 Mar

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I almost missed the fact the SOLSC started today. I can’t believe that March 1st has arrived. It has felt like Spring for weeks now. It shouldn’t, but it has. It is a little worrisome.

As I drive home in the afternoon, I head due East. As I come out of the tunnel between Beaverton and Portland, I see Mount Hood. Mount Hood has snow on the peak all year. At this point in the year it should be completely snow-covered and the lower mountains of the Cascades should also be white, but only the  peak of Mount Hood is white and it’s base and the surrounding Cascades are black. While the East is being inundated with snowstorm after snowstorm, we are having a dry, sunny winter. It has been bad for the snow tourism industry, but great for those of us who walk our dogs daily.

As I come out of the tunnel, I also experience an optical illusion. Mount Hood appears huge. As I drive further along and begin crossing the Willamette River on the Marquam Bridge, Mount Hood gets smaller. I think it has to do with my elevation and the curvature of the earth, but I don’t really understand why this occurs.

In any case, I wonder if this will be the first year in my 21 years in Portland that Mount Hood will be snow free in summer. I sure hope not.

Ten

26 Jan

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Hervé Tullet is simply brilliant. So are his books and the colors he uses.In 10 Times 10, Tullet counts to 10 in 10 wildly eccentric ways. Entries include a single hand that ends up, progressively, with 10 fingers; a face with three noses, four eyes and five mouths. All in all, this is a fun way to explore numbers with young readers.

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Here’s another group of 10. 10 Little Monsters Visit Oregon, written by Rick Walton and illustrated by Jess Smart Smiley, explores some of the most unusual and interesting things about Oregon and what it has to offer.  Humorous poems  are paired with factual text about each Oregon location. Although the text is fun, the illustrations didn’t really work for me. This would be an additional purchase for a classroom studying Oregon. Better books on the topic would be Larry Gets Lost In Portland  by Michael Mullin and John Skewes (for younger readers)

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or  B is for Beaver  by Marie and Roland Smith, for older readers.

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The Cure for Dreaming

31 Oct

My father hasn’t been to the dentist for decades. I was a teenager when I asked my mom about this. She told me that he hadn’t been to the dentist since the time he went to one who didn’t use anesthetic because he hypnotized his patients. Apparently he wasn’t able to hypnotize my father and ended up turning Dad of dentists forever.

So imagine my delight when I found out that Cat Winters’ new book,  The Cure for Dreaming, involves dentistry and hypnosis!

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Last Saturday I went to her launch party at Powells’ Books in Beaverton, where she gave background to the story, read a bit, and gave us insight into her inspirations and future projects. Of course I got a copy of the book and had her sign it.

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The story takes place in Portland, Oregon. It is 1900 and Olivia Mead, the protagonist, is a suffragist, much to the chagrin of her father, a dentist. He has a mesmerist hypnotize the rebellion out of her. Rather than doing so she becomes able to see people’s true natures, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud.

You can watch this segment of Oregon Art Beat where Cat talks about her book and the research that went into it.

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