Tag Archives: Portland

Keeping Portland Weird

20 Mar

It was a sunny Thursday and, once more, Lucy was just standing on the sidewalk. There was a time that she ran, but nowadays, she simply likes to stand around, sniff, and watch the world.

This particular Thursday, we emerged from social distancing so she could have a potty break and I could get away from the sofa. The sun was warm and I didn’t mind just standing there with her. At this time of the year the sun feels wonderful, and given the circumstances, healing.

As Lucy and I soaked up the sun, I noticed a sound in the distance. Could that be bagpipes?  I asked myself. It couldn’t be Portland’s Unipiper, could it? I wondered as I turned my eyes in the direction of the music. Sure enough a yellow clad figure was at the end of my block. I knew Lucy couldn’t run fast enough for us to see him and I was content to enjoy from a distance.

But then he turned up my street.

Fortunately, a unicycle is not built for speed and I had enough time to dash into my house and grab my phone. On the way, I passed a neighbor.

“The Unipiper is coming!” I called happily.

“Is that a bad thing? You are running away!” he laughed to me as he descended to see the local celebrity.

“Just grabbing my camera,” I called back, just before dashing into the house. I was back in no time and managed to snap one good photo as The Unipiper pedaled past, playing Scotland the Brave.

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Rose City Yarn Crawl 2019

10 Mar

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The first shop, The Knotty Lamb, opened at nine. It was the furthest away, so I decided that I would start the 2019 Rose City Yarn Crawl (RCYC) in Forest Grove.  I was excited as I got into the car because, I was determined to finish the Yarn Crawl (something I have only done twice) and because this ear, I had a navigation system in the car to help me out.

Snow was falling as I drove the country roads to Forest Grove. Miraculously, it stopped once I arrived at the Knotty Lamb. A sign? Who knew but I was ready for a day of yarnamania.

Although it was early, the shop was packed. I thought I’d been so crafty, starting out early. I browsed and touched and squeezed skeins of all sorts before deciding on my purchases. A yarn crawl can be a dangerous thing, so I always set out with a finite amount of cash to help with my self-control. It means I have to make judicious choices because, at each shop where you make a purchase, you get a coupon code for a free pattern from the 2019 RCYC collection. Of course I wanted all the patterns as well as the pin each shop handed out.

From Forest Grove, I drove to Beaverton, into Portland, then to Vancouver, and back to Portland where I finished the Yarn Crawl at Twisted, my LYS (that’s Local Yarn Shop for the uninitiated) where I turned in my passport for the grand prize drawing.

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Entering each shop, the routine was the same. I got my passport stamped, signed in for their shop prize drawings, got my pin, then looked around before deciding what to buy. In addition to getting the free pattern, buying something at each shop is a way to support local small businesses and makers. Each shop had trunk shows of various dyers and yarn related crafts people – bag and button makers, soap and lotion makers. Some were at one shop one day and another the next. The yarn crawl is a four day event, after all. Crazy me, I did it on one.

I was exhausted when I got home, but I took the time to sort through my purchases and add them to my yarn stash. Now, I have to finish the projects I have before I can dip in to the new yarn.

 

 

Jane Kurtz’s Planet Jupiter Blog Tour

13 May

The sign on the Music Millennium store near my house says it all:

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Jane Kurtz’s new book, Planet Jupiter,  celebrates Portland’s weirdness while telling a beautiful middle grade story of family and belonging.

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Author’s Summary: Jupiter and her family have spent their lives on the road, moving from town to town in a trusty old van, making do, and earning their living busking for tourists. But when their van breaks down, Jupiter’s mother rents an actual house in Portland for the summer so that Jupiter’s annoying cousin Edom, recently adopted from Ethiopia, can stay with them. Luckily, Edom doesn’t want to be in Portland any more than Jupiter wants her there, and the two hatch a plan to send Edom back to her mother. In the process, Jupiter learns that community — and family — aren’t always what you expect them to be.

Clearly, Kurtz’s depiction of Portland is one of the things I love. She captures the farmer’s market culture and all of the quirkiness of this city I call home. But there are other things that make this an excellent middle grade read.

The fact that Jupiter and her brother, Orion, are named after celestial bodies might seem contrived, but it is very Portland – I have neighbors who named their children after various species of trees! But Kurtz uses the names effectively and weaves celestial metaphors throughout her writing. This is the sort of thing I love pointing out to my students!

Jupiter’s fear of change and her desire to help Edom leave are like a snapshot of how Americans feel about refugees and immigrants generally. Fear of the other, fear of change are overcome when we have the opportunity to get to know people.

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Jane Kurtz is celebrating the release of her new book, Planet Jupiter, with an event May 16, 2017, at 7pm at Annie Bloom’s Books in Portland. Honoring the theme of music and busking in the book, she will be joined by special musical guests Colette and Madelaine Parry.

I hope to see you there!

 

No Regrets

28 Jun

The portable toilets were the first to arrive and the last to leave.

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Of course, they were nice toilets, not the blue plastic ones that give everyone the creeps. These untippable beauties were parked on the corner by my house, awaiting the film crew.

We’d been contacted about a week ago asking if a film crew could use our courtyard to film a Toyota commercial. In the time it took the unit owners of our small condominium to make a decision, they’d chosen another building nearby. This is a neighborhood full of small complexes built in the 1940’s after all.

Although I’d ultimately said yes to the project, I was relieved we weren’t the chosen ones.  As we discussed the prospect, I surprised myself by asking questions about liability and contracts. Where did I get the wisdom to ask these sorts of questions?  The amount we’d have been paid wasn’t huge and we would have had to use back doors all day, since the front doors lead right into the area to be filmed.

And so the fancy toilets arrived Friday night. The film crew started arriving around 8 Saturday morning. People and trailers slowly filled the street that intersected mine. Lucy and I took several walks to see what was happening, though we never walked past the courtyard where the filming was being done – just too many people there.

My takeaway is this. There is a lot of standing around and waiting in the film industry. As a teacher, I know wait time is important, but it seems that is all these people did. I sometimes wonder what it is other people do at work all day. I look thorough bank and office windows and wonder, are they really busy, as they type on their computer or shuffle papers. And I think even my worst day at school is more exciting than this. I haven’t ever seriously regretted going into teaching  and the older I get, the more I feel it keeps my brain sharp and my heart young.

The toilets were finally taken away Monday morning and my whole summer vacation stretched before me. Definitely no regrets.

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Why don’t you turn on the dawnzer?

12 Apr

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Beverly Cleary turns 100 today.

It is hard to believe that this woman wrote books that I liked as a kid, and my students still enjoy.  I am not embarrassed to admit that I like to quote Ramona. So, for this Slice of Life post, I will share my favorite Ramona quotes, in no particular order

  1. “Why don’t you turn on the dawnzer?” – Ramona, thinking she was quite smart, thigh that dawnzer was a synonym for lamp. She learned it in the national anthem: “Oh say, can you see, by the dawnzer lee light.” Brilliant!
  2. “Sit here for the present.” Ramona’s teacher says this to her on the first day of school. Ramona follows her directions perfectly, expecting a present for doing so. I like to say this to kids and I snicker when I do. I think they think I am crazy.
  3. “Pieface!” Mrs Swink, an elderly neighbor, and Ramona call each other this in a good-natured way.
  4. “I am too  a Merry Sunshine.” Ramon says this when she is accused of not being one. You can imagine the tone f voice she used when saying this.

I am lucky to live in Portland, where the Ramona series is set. My local public library is right in Ramona’s neighborhood, and has a huge map on the wall of all the places Cleary mentions in her book. You can get a walking tour map from the librarians and take yourself on a tour of the neighborhood.

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There really is a Klickitat street.

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Grant Park, has a statue garden with Clearly characters.

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So, on this auspicious day, I hope you turn on a dawnzer, do something for the present, and shout “Pieface!” at someone you love.

Floods in the Portland area

9 Dec

Driving has been tough this week. Here are some clips of what’s happening on the metro Portland area.

Happy I Love Yarn Day!

17 Oct

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It is a rainy Saturday in Portland, a hot bed of knitting, so it is a perfect place to celebrate I Love Yarn Day. I have several yarns stashes around my house, but this is my display stash

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Literature’s most famous knitter is probably Madame Defarge   from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.

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There are other books where knitting plays an important role. The first that comes to mind is Knit Your Bit  by Portland’s own Deborah Hopkinson.

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I met Deborah at the 2013 Rose City Yarn Crawl and got my copy signed.

Publisher’s Summary: Mikey’s dad has left home to fight overseas during World War I, and Mikey wants to do something BIG to help. When his teacher suggests that the class participate in a knitting bee in Central Park to knit clothing for the troops, Mikey and his friends roll their eyes—knitting is for girls! But when the girls turn it into a competition, the boys just have to meet the challenge.
Based on a real “Knit-In” event at Central Park in 1918, Knit Your Bit shows readers that making a lasting contribution is as easy as trying something new!

Older readers will enjoy Boys Don’t Knit by T. E. Easton.

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Publisher’s Summary: After an incident regarding a crossing guard and a bottle of Martini & Rossi (and his friends), 17-year-old worrier Ben Fletcher must develop his sense of social alignment, take up a hobby, and do some community service to avoid any further probation.

He takes a knitting class (it was that or his father’s mechanic class) with the impression that it’s taught by the hot teacher all the boys like. Turns out, it’s not. Perfect.

Regardless, he sticks with it and comes to discover he’s a natural knitter, maybe even great. It also helps ease his anxiety and worrying. The only challenge now is to keep it hidden from his friends, his crush, and his soccer-obsessed father. What a tangled web Ben has weaved . . . or knitted.

Last Saturday, I started my Christmas knitting. I can’t post a picture in case the recipient sees this post. Just know, I will be celebration I Love Yarn Day in a very appropriate manner.

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