Tag Archives: Slice of Life Story

The Greening of Portland

28 Mar

We’ve had a lot of rain this Winter & Spring.

A local TV station posts daily rainfall updates and I like to see how much above “normal” we are. Today’s stats are as follows:

MARCH RAIN to Date: 7.01″ Departure from Normal: +3.75″

Rainfall since October 1st (water year): 41.25″ Departure from Normal: +15.33″

As I drive home over the Marquam Bridge, I look at one of the  Portland’s many other bridges, the Hawthorne Bridge. It has numbered markings on its tower foundations and I use these to help me monitor the height of the Willamette River. The markings are now under water.

One of the really funny aspects of the wet Pacific NW climate is how non-living things turn green with moss.

The asphalt in parking lots has taken on a greenish hue,

as have the back steps of my home.

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These rocks in my garden are positively fuzzy.

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But the best bit of out of place greenery is growing on my neighbor’s car.

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Seeing myself in 20 years

27 Mar

A few days ago, Maura (mlb1202)  wrote a post entitled “A Good Deed“.  It has stuck with me because, at 52, I am starting to see myself  in twenty years.

I am healthy, but my body is creaky and it has made me more sensitive to the elderly around me. Maybe I’m also more sensitive because my mother is an almost 86-year-old widow who still lives alone. I used to be impatient with old people, now I have patience for them: the old man trying to use his newly chipped ATM card for the first time, the woman counting coins out of her purse in the grocery line. You probably see them, too.

I think this is on my mind because, last week, on a day when there was little rain but a lot of wind and  puddles, I saw an elderly woman struggle. I was sitting at a stoplight and I saw her approach the crosswalk with her wire grocery cart. There was a big puddle where the sidewalk met the crosswalk. I saw her push the cart into the crosswalk as the white “walk” man turned into the flashing red “stop” hand. She’s not going to make it, I thought.

I watched her wrestle the cart as the hand continued to flash. There must have been a pothole because  was still struggling when the flashing stopped and the hand remained, commanding her to be still. And then she was walking, slowly across the road as my light turned from red to green. She looked at me for a moment and I nodded, letting her know I would wait. She was slow, but not so slow that I had to wait for another green light.

I drove off hoping that other drivers would be patient with her and others like her.

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Spring Break: Day 1

25 Mar

Although today is the first day of Spring Break, in my mind it began at 4 p.m. yesterday. It won’t really feel like Spring Break until Monday when I won’t have to do to school. An informal poll in my classes let me know that most students were enjoying a Staycation. That was a new word for most of them and they really liked it.

My plans for today are simple.

  • drink coffee and write this post.
  •  read/knit/drink tea
  • nap – maybe before lunch, maybe after
  • take a couple of walks with Lucy

I’ve only ever gone away for Spring Break once. Mostly, I like to stay home and regenerate, so I can finish the school year strong.

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How do you tire 6th graders?

24 Mar

The docent at the Tillamook Forest Center told me they’d had 10 days without rain since October. Fortunately, yesterday, our field trip day, was one of those ten.

Because the trip was a long distance, we rode in motor coaches rather than school buses. Never having been there, I didn’t know what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised when we turned of the narrow highway.

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Fearing sheds and cold bathrooms, I was greeted by a modern interpretive center!

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After orientation, kids were rotated through 5 stations and and al fresco lunch. I manned the Exhibit Hall and, after the first rotation, I could find everything the kids needed to discover on the scavenger hunt they had to do there.

So, you may be wondering, how do you tire 6th graders?

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Send them to the top of the Lookout!

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Why I love teaching middle school

22 Mar

I walked behind the two boys as they ambled down the hallway. Seventh graders?  I wondered. One, tall and husky, had a walking cast and the build of someone likely to be recruited for football when he got to high school. The other was short and wiry. Seeing them together got me thinking about the old Looney Tunes cartoon of Chester and Spike.

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“Spike” limped along while “Chester” jumped to hit every doorway. Yup, almost certainly 7th graders. They turned in to the boy’s bathroom and exited almost immediately. “Chester”, his shirt pulled over his nose, looked at me and said, “Somebody farted.”

I laughed and kept walking. Middle schoolers just make me laugh.

 

 

 

6:15 knock at the door

21 Mar

Although unusual, the knock on my front door at 6:15 a.m. didn’t concern me. I knew several neighbors were early risers.  Even so, I only cracked the door so I could see who it was. Imagine my surprise when I saw two police officers at my door. I opened the door wider.

“Good morning. We are trying to get a hold of your neighbor, but he doesn’t seem to be at home. We saw your light on and we were wondering if you had contact information for him, ” the tallest of the two female officers said.

“I think I do,” I replied, a little nervously, and invited them inside, warning them that, if she ever woke up, Lucy was very friendly. “I was the secretary for our HOA and should at least have an email address,” I added.  As they entered, I noticed the officer who did most of the talking held official looking papers.

I fumbled to look up my contacts,  while she chatted about how she figured it was okay to knock because the lights were on. I mumbled something about being a morning person and how my neighbor is not around much, preferring to stay at his girlfriend’s house.  She then told me he’d been involved in an accident and had fled the scene.That’s serious, I thought,.  Are they allowed to tell me that? Is it OK that I am giving the contact information I have. Are we both sharing confidential information? I carried on any way, pretty sure they could probably look this up somewhere else.

Of course the Internet was slow and I was fumbling, still a little nervous having two police officers in the house. I asked if they were just starting their shift or just ending it (they were ending) all the while hoping I could find what they needed.

And then, there it was. I wrote the email address on a sticky note. They thanked me  and then they were gone. It was big excitement for a Monday morning, and Lucy slept through the whole thing.

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Happy 100th birthday, Vera Lynn!

20 Mar

My dad loved jazz and classical music. He preferred female singers, his two favorites were Linda Ronstadt and Nina Simone. I loved when he let me go into the basement, open the closet he’d converted to house his extensive record collection, and choose the music for Sunday dinner.

I’m thinking about his musical tastes because today is Vera Lynn’s 100th birthday.

My dad was born int Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1931. Before his 8th birthday, Canada had entered World War II and remained at War until just before his 14th. His father left to join the army and was gone for most of that time. I remember Dad telling me that, as they grew up, he and his friends just expected that they would go to war too. It was that much a part of their formative years.

It was from my dad, and his wide-ranging musical tastes, that I first heard of Vera Lynn, The Forces Sweetheart. I loved her songs, so poignant and yet so full of hope. And so I leave you with one of my favorites.

 

 

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