Sunday, November 07, 2004

I Love Autumn

It’s such a nice season. The air is crisp, the trees are fabulous, the sunsets are amazing, and all is right with the world. It’s been sunny for several days now, so our roses have had a chance to come back for one last burst of color – I picked several today, so everybody has fresh roses in their rooms. It’s wonderful. Hugo has been taking pictures of the sunset every night, just because the colors are so gorgeous. We built a fire in the downstairs fireplace for the first time tonight, and it’s heating up the basement wonderfully. I do love fires; they make the house feel so cozy. For almost the last month I’ve smelled other people’s fires when I’ve been out walking – there’s something really special about walking along all bundled up in the cold, and smelling woodsmoke from your neighbors’ fires. And now we have a fire of our own! I was going to make hot-crossed buns this afternoon, but ran out of time – hopefully I’ll get a chance to do that soon, because that’s a cozy thing, too.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

A Lovely Portland Day

Today is a lovely day. Despite still being in a state of shock over the results of Tuesday’s elections (both national and local), it has still been a beautiful day. As my archaeology professor so aptly put it, Life goes on. All I have to say is that I can see myself getting a lot more politically-minded in the next few years – I can feel it coming on already….

It has been an absolutely gorgeous fall day – clear and crisp, with the bright sunlight falling beautifully on the amazingly red, yellow and orange autumn leaves. That’s one of the things I love about living in Oregon – the colors of autumn never cease to amaze me. It is nice to be able to participate in the changing of the seasons, to really be able to feel them, rather than just mark off the solstices and equinoxes on a calendar. I do love Oregon.

I met a friend today that I hadn’t seen in a very long time. He was one of my first class-friends at PSU, from my Environmental Sociology class my very first term. I’ve run into him every once in a while since then, but hadn’t for quite some time until today, so it was nice to chat with him for a few minutes, even if he did have to run off to class. I think if I spent any more time with him, I’d get political even faster! :)

After I ran into my friend, I headed to the library to sit and do some reading until it was time to catch my bus. I never got to my reading, however, as I discovered a very pleasant surprise waiting for me at the library – the quarterly book sale! So I rummaged around in their books for a little while, and finally had to tear myself away so I could catch my bus. I came away with a few gardening books and the ever-useful “How to Clean Practically Anything,” for a dollar each. I didn’t have nearly enough time to go through everything, though, so I’ll be heading back there tomorrow to browse the sale properly. :)

So it’s a good day in Lacey-Land. :) I’m off to morris practice shortly, and then there’s just one more day until the weekend. Hooray!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

We're here!

We're in Costa Rica! Hooray! It was a long day of flying and sitting in the airport yesterday, but we got here eventually and they let us through immigration and customs without hassle. The bus and taxi strikes had calmed down enough that we could get home in a car (Quena's tía picked us up, and her friend Alexis joined us for the ride). The family and all the other guests are lovely and nice, and Quena's room is cozy and Quena-ish. We're trying to plan adventures for the next few days, hopefully going to Tortuguero this weekend. It's a long trip, since you can only get there by boat, but it should be worth it. That's part of the fun, anyway. It's wonderful to see Quena again, and nifty to be in Costa Rica. It hasn't rained yet, but I'm sure we'll get plenty of that soon enough. We'll probably make it back to the internet cafe at some point to post more about our adventures, and possibly some pictures, but that's all for now. ¡Adios!

Monday, August 23, 2004

One more day!

The countdown has officially started. :) I had to wait until I'd finished classes to really get going on planning for our trip, so it's only now finally sinking in that we're really going to Costa Rica!! I went out to Value Village this afternoon and bought some light pants (so I don't have to wait for jeans to dry) and a hat, so all I have left to buy now is the chocolate. Mmmmm. :) I've been making small piles of things to pack for the last week or so, and it's about time to print out my packing list, gather all the piles together and start actually packing them, for real. I like packing for trips; it builds the anticipation level. As if I weren't excited enough already! :)

Friday, August 20, 2004

I'm Done!

I had my oral final in Spanish today, and now I'm all done for the summer! The Spanish classes were actually a lot of fun, and I'm almost sorry they're over. I'm planning on taking third-year, but not until the winter, so I'll miss it next quarter. But I can practice my Spanish with Graham and Quena in Costa Rica next week!!!!! I'm very excited. :)

In even more good news, I found my sleeping bag! It somehow ended up in the pub we ended up at on Sunday after the Ale. I had no idea it had gotten taken inside, so I didn't know to look for it when we left. Fortunately, a team member remembered seeing it, and I just called the pub and they have it. Hooray!

Hugo and I are going to see a play tonight, called The Scandalous Adventures of Sir Tolby Trollope. I have no idea what it's about, but it's supposed to be a comedy. The only description I could find of it on the web was "England 1784 Rather like Tom Jones meets Monty Python." I don't know who Tom Jones is, but it sounds good to me. :) Tomorrow we're dancing at the Estacada Renaissance Faire (a benefit for the Estacada children's library), and then we have a Revels party in the evening, so it'll be a busy day. And after that, can start packing in earnest!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

A Successful Ale

Well, our Ale was a success. Whew! Actually, it was really fun, and I think just about everybody enjoyed themselves most of the time (how's that for equivocal?) We had a couple of tense moments, like when Hugo couldn't get ahold of the bus company to make sure the buses were coming to get us, but everything turned out alright in the end. Our starting location in the banquet room of Bridgeport Brewing was absolutely perfect -- a great dancing space, tons and tons of food (somebody remarked that the pizzas that kept coming up the stairs reminded him of the broomsticks in the Sorceror's Apprentice), and lots of dancers and musicians who were just happy to be in Portland for the weekend. On Saturday we danced at PSU, and my friend Cate from my Spanish class brought her husband to watch. They even followed us to The Bite of Oregon, and food and wine festival benefiting the Special Olympics, and watched us dance there. So that was nice. We got into the festival for free because we were performing, but we passed the hat and collected about $100 which we donated to the Special Olympics, so I think they were glad we came.

Saturday afternoon after dancing at the Bite, we hopped on a couple of buses and made our way down to the Salem 4-H camp where we stayed last year. We were in a different location this year, and had really nice cabins, a dining hall and an amphitheater which was perfect for skits. Our Renegade Rose skit was a take-off on Mad-Libs, with a conversation between a morris dancer and an observer from Southern US. Ellie and I stood on stage and requested nouns, adjectives, etc. from the audience, and then Hugo and Jim Phillips acted out the scene. If the Vancouver Morris Men had had their way, every blank would have been filled with the word "turnip," but we only accepted it twice. :) Here's a bit of the dialogue, just so you can get an idea of it... [S = Southerner (Jim), M = Morris dancer (Hugo)]

S: Hey y'all, whad'ya call that sweaty dancing?
M: It's called Morris dancing.
S: Looks gross to me! Is it from Greece?
M: No. It's from England.
S: Is that near Sussex?
M: Um, yes, in a way....
S: I like that Welsh music!
M: Actually, that's English, too....
S: How old are these dances?
M: We believe them to be at least 7,823 years old, possibly older. We know they date back to at least the Pleistocene Era.
S: So, why are you turniping these greasy dances?
M: Well, my Canadian friend, we believe these dances were originally shagged as part of Republican rituals.

.... And it degenerated from there.

Anyway, it was a very fun weekend, including a champagne brunch at Eola Hills Winery on Sunday and some low-key (hmm, maybe that's not quite the right term) singing at Portland Brewing for the last folks to leave. I actually managed not to get totally burnt out this year, which was a really good thing. I did realize though, that although I managed to track down and recover three pillows that were left at our Friday night lodging and get them back to their owners, I somehow managed to come home without my own sleeping bag. Sigh. I'm hoping it ended up in somebody's car, rather than going back to Salem on the bus. (Which would be highly possible, seeing as we managed to take the luggage of somebody from a different group that was also staying at the 4-H camp -- we gave the bus driver an extra tip to take it back to them the next day.)

And now I get to think about Costa Rica! I had my final written exam in Spanish this morning, and I have my oral exam tomorrow, and then I'm done with classes for the summer! Hooray! And Graham and I are going to Costa Rica in less than a week! Yipeeeeee!!!!!! And then, when I get home from Costa Rica I get to start thinking about going down to California to visit everybody! Yay!!! And then, of course, I have to start classes again. :)

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Free Heat

Somebody posted an ad in the "free" section of craigslist the other day that said something along the lines of "it's a little warm around here for my tastes, so if anybody wants some free heat, please come take all you want. I live in the Hawthorne area." I thought that was a very cute ad, and just about sums up how probably everybody in the greater Portland Metro area has been feeling the last couple of days. They've stopped putting "clear and sunny" in the weather forcasts, and instead just write "HOT!" Our deck thermometer reached 107° yesterday afternoon. It was still 85° when we went to bed at 11:30 last night, and it reportedly got up to 111° in Hillsboro today. It's the kind of weather that makes you just want to take a cold shower and stand naked in front of the air conditioner to dry off. And what did we do today? We drove down to Salem in a black van to take five children to The Enchanted Forest for Ellie's birthday. It was actually quite fun, despite the heat -- it's basically a little theme park where they've built fairy-tale houses and have a few rides and things. So they had a crooked house for the crooked man who walked a crooked mile, Indian Caves for Pocahantes, a rabbit hole for Alice, and that sort of thing. Some of the things were really clever, and it actually was in the middle of the trees, so it was somewhat cooler than it could have been. Still, we were really glad when we got home that we had left the air conditioners on while we were out! I think this weather is supposed to continue for another day or so and then cool down somewhat. Man, I never thought Portland could get this hot!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


I've been thinking a lot about a lot of thinks recently. School, life, travel, money, that sort of thing. Mostly I've been trying to figure out what exactly it is I want out of (the remainder of) my college education, and weighing the advantages of "getting it over with" and "taking my time." I figured out that if I really pushed it, I could probably graduate next summer, but that would be really pushing it and I would just be scraping by with the bare minimum in terms of major requirements. Then there's the alternative of taking it really easy, exploring classes in other departments, and graduating in two years. I'm trying to settle for something in between, with the added twist of studying abroad for a semester (yes, PSU is on the quarter system, but everywhere "abroad" is on the semester system).

I've been getting really excited about going to visit Quena in Costa Rica next month (yipee!), and just thinking about it has reawakened the thoughts about studying abroad that have been lying dormant in my mind for a few years. I thought about Costa Rica, but it would be silly for me to go there after Quena is gone. :) I've actually found myself thinking more and more about Peru, and really wanting to go back there. Hugo doesn't see why I don't want to go to Spain, but Spain just isn't intriguing to me right now -- it's Peru that's grabbed me. Unfortunately, PSU doesn't sponsor any study abroad programs in Peru, so I've been researching them on my own. I found one today that looks absolutely perfect. It's called ProPeru , part of ProWorld. It's a fairly young program, but really well set-up and complete. It's a combination of academic work and community project work, and it's about the only program I've found that's not in Lima, but closer to Cusco (as in, near Machu Picchu!). The first four weeks of the semester you take an intensive Spanish class, at whatever level you test into. The rest of the time you take classes from faculty at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC). The best part is, they're anthropology classes, so I could potentially get credit for my major and not have to take as many electives at PSU! The classes are: Anthropology of South America, History, Art and Architecture of Peru, and Issues in Development (because the community projects are development projects -- duh). You get to choose what kind of project you want to work on -- health, environment, women's rights, technology, etc., and the projects are based on community need/desire. It all sounds fabulously wonderful. Oh, and, of course, there are trips and activities every weekend, and I think all of the classes also have built-in field trips to archaeological sites, museums, etc.

Anyway, I’ve figured out that if I push myself a bit for a couple of quarters next year (it wouldn’t be pushing if I didn’t take third year Spanish), I can do the ProPeru program in the fall semester of 2005, and then finish up in one quarter after I get back, putting my graduation date somewhere around March 2006. Man, that sounds like a long way off! On the other hand, it’s not as long as it could be, and it includes studying abroad for three and a half months! What do you think? :)

Random happy ending note: I’ve made a cycling buddy in my Spanish class, and I rode all the way home today! :P

Monday, July 19, 2004

She came, we shopped, we conquered

Mom came up to visit last weekend, and we had an absolutely wonderful time. The weather was hot and muggy, but by the time 8:30-9:00 rolled around it was quite pleasant to be sitting out on the deck eating dinner. Mom fell in love with the quesadillas made with Hugo's homemade spelt tortillas and Tillamook cheddar, so much so that she had one for breakfast the next morning! :) We had lots of good food, lots of cheap champagne, and lots of wonderful music. Oh, and the shopping.... We went to Value Village on Saturday. We're not going to confess how much time we spent there, but we emerged with lots of very nice stuff. We also spent a couple of hours at Powells, where I spent the entire time in the travel section but managed to restrain myself from actually purchasing anything, since I have a birthday gift certificate to that I need to spend. So I just wrote down a bunch of titles and authors so I can look them up on Amazon and get them there. Thanks, Dad and Betty Lue! :)

After Mom left on Sunday afternoon we drove downtown and met up with Paul, who's up in Portland for two weeks at a yoga conference. He's actually staying very close to our old apartment, so we took a walk and showed him the lovely park that's close by, and just chatted for a while. Then Hugo and I went to see "Glengarry Glen Ross" (a play) at Portland's smallest theater, which has 50 seats. It was a very intense play, with lots of shouting, and with a theater that small it really feels like you're part of the action. At the show we met the friends who had recommended it to us, back for a second time. Afterwards Hugo and I went to dinner at a place they recommended, and I had the most heavenly ravioli on the planet. It was sooooooo good.

And today it was back to school, everything back to normal. Except there's a girl in the class whose father has the chicken pox, and she informed us that she's contagious, so if we hadn't had chicken pox then we should probably stay away from her. The teacher kind of freaked out, and I could tell he didn't really know what to do, but he let her stay (she sat by the door and we left the door open so she could breathe out there). I didn't think she should have come to school at all, but I was just glad I didn't have to sit by her. Anyway, I have an exam tomorrow, so I should get back to studying. Just wanted to catch up, since I haven't blogged for a while.


Monday, July 05, 2004

Not just the best, but every show in town...

I have to say, we certainly did the fourth of July right this year. First of all, we went on a major shopping spree this weekend and bought a patio furniture set and a barbecue for our back deck. The deck is on the downhill-facing side of the house overlooking the entire valley toward the coast range. So yesterday afternoon we marinated some salmon and shish-kebabs, chilled some wine, and had a lovely barbecued dinner in the evening. And once it got dark, we didn't have to go anywhere to watch the fireworks -- we had the whole valley laid out in front of us, and we got to see probably a hundred different firework shows all at the same time. The sound delay was much more noticeable than it usually is if you go to watch a show, because most of the fireworks were pretty far away, so it took several seconds for the booms to reach our ears after we saw the display. It was really pretty cool, and the best part was that we were sitting right on our own deck eating dessert!

We've made some good progress on unpacking and organizing the house this weekend, too. We bought new nuts and bolts for the futon, because the movers didn't put the original ones in a logical place when they disassembled it, and we still can't find them. So Hugo is assembling that, finally. I've unpacked most of our pictures, paintings, and fragile stuff, so we have clean towels again (I very cleverly used all of our towels for packing the fragile things, neglecting the fact that they would probably be the last things to get unpacked on the other end). We're gradually emptying boxes and clearing floor space, and we're even working on the garage with the hope of eventually being able to fit a car in there -- now that would be something! :) But now I have to take a break from being domestically productive and start being academically productive for a while. I have a modest-length essay in Spanish due tomorrow that I need to start working on. It's a little hard to believe I'm almost done with my first "quarter" already! :)

Monday, June 28, 2004

Lacey and the Prisoner of Reveling Spaniards?

I finally saw Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban! Hugo and I went to see it on Saturday afternoon. My review of it is probably pretty much the same as most people's, so I won't bore you with it. I did think Buckbeak was cool, though. :)

I went to the library yesterday and today (two different branches) and checked out a couple of travel guides for Costa Rica to browse through in preparation for our visit with Quena. I was looking for Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofál, but it was checked out. I did, however, find La Caseta Mágica, which I thought was an interesting way to translate The Phantom Tollbooth (literally, "the magic stall/booth," but I suppose it's easier than saying "La ilusoria cabina donde se paga el peaje." :) So that should be fun to read while I'm waiting for Harry Potter to come in.

I'm meeting with Gray Eubank, the stage director of this year's Portland Revels, in half an hour to discuss my part in the Revels and his "vision" for it. Hmmm, could be interesting. :) It looks like I'm actually going to be on stage for most of the show, even though the reason it's me on stage rather than anybody else only takes about three minutes toward the end of the second act. Whatever. It'll be fun. Oh, and I don't think I've mentioned this yet -- Hugo is going to be in the Revels this year as well! He auditioned and got accepted into the chorus, so he'll be onstage for most of the show as well. Hooray!

Friday, June 25, 2004

Yipee, hooray, and Wheeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

Guess what I just bought ---- plane tickets to Costa Rica!!!!!! Graham and I are going to fly down at the end of August to see our fabulously wonderful amiga Quena! If you can't tell, I'm very excited about this. :) We'll be down there with Quena for just over a week, and I'll be staying a few days longer than Graham and doing some adventuring on my own, hopefully (see sidebar calendar). I figured that since there's nothing I absolutely have to be back for that early, I might as well take the opportunity and have as much fun as I possibly can. After all, who knows when I'll make it to Costa Rica again? And it will be a fine opportunity to practice my Spanish. :)

I was just thinking the other day how well things work out for me sometimes. In particular, I was thinking about the whole plan I had to be in France this summer that I gave up on because I just didn't quite want it enough. I had a feeling when I cancelled that trip that there was some other reason, and a few months afterward, the reason popped up -- the house sold and we had to find another one and move, right around the time I would have been leaving for France. And if I was in France for the summer, I wouldn't be able to go visit Quena in Costa Rica. So it all works out pretty darn well in the end, I think.

I'm a happy Lacey. Quena and Costa Rica, here I come! :)

Monday, June 21, 2004

Miscellaneous catching up

Well, well, where to start? So much has happened since I last blogged. I could spend an hour detailing the horrors and catastrophes of our move, but I don't think I need to rehash that experience quite yet. I'll just say that the "whole thing" (as in, just the getting out of the old house part) took two days rather than seven hours, and that we still can't find our phone (not that we have phone service with which to use a phone...) Things have settled down a bit, we're partially unpacked -- in fact, I think I can safely say that we're more unpacked than we are packed, but I'm not entirely sure -- and, despite the fact that we either can't close or can't open the majority of the windows upstairs and can't close the garage door when it's sunny, we love the new house.

What else? My Spanish class started today. I was really worried about jumping into second year Spanish, since it's been three years since I took first year, but to my surprise (and occasional cringing horror), I think I'm actually better off than a lot of the students in the class. Fortunately (or maybe not), the teacher doesn't really care that we get things right all the time, as long as we can all understand each other. :) He's not a native speaker, but he did both his BA and his MA in Spanish (at PSU) and studied in Spain, so he's pretty fluent. And I've never had a Spanish teacher with a Spanish accent (all my previous teachers have been Mexican), so it'll be interesting.

I discovered last night while perusing the bus schedules for my first day of class that the buses that run close to the house really aren't conducive to my class schedule. I could get to school alright, but would have to wait an hour to come home, which wouldn't really be pleasant. So I decided to ride my bike. I haven't ridden my bike at all for about a year, and we live in twisty, hilly country, so this is no easy feat. My route to school involves a fairly steep and long uphill at the start, and then several miles of exhilaratingly speedy downhill to bring me to downtown. The uphill was longer than I expected, but I survived, and the downhill made me forget all about it. My route home involves taking a bus partway home and then riding uphill for a mile or so to get to the house. I went the only way I knew today, but we just discovered an easier route that I'll try tomorrow, that's exactly a mile. So if I survive the first week of it, I should get into pretty good shape pretty fast!

Anyway, that's life for now, pretty much. Still unpacking, trying to figure out where to put everything, trying to find the phone (we're hoping it didn't get into one of the Goodwill boxes -- or worse, the boxes that got taken to the dump). And now I have studying and homework to add to it. It's going to be a full summer. But we have a lovely new house with a lovely view, and my office is in the basement where it stays (relatively) nice and cool. Hugo and I have been eating dinner out on the deck, and last night we went for a walk after dinner, a habit we're going to try to get ourselves into this summer. The weather has been extremely hot and dry, and the evenings are the best part of the day.

Now it's time to go enjoy some milk and freshly baked cookies before bed. Good night!

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Happy Congratulations!

Congratulations to all of my buddies who graduated from Stanford this morning! It's hard to believe that it was "my year" that walked today. Sorry I couldn't make it, but you know I love you anyway. Good luck in all future endeavors in the "real world," everybody, and take care!

And now, back to packing.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Finals are over, now the packing begins

Spring quarter is officially over -- I turned in my last papers and took my archaeology final this afternoon, so I'm done for the quarter! It's funny, it doesn't feel like I've been at PSU for two quarters already, and yet I feel so at home there it feels like I've been there for two years. Which is a good thing, because I still don't know how much longer I'm going to be there! :P

So now it's serious packing time! It's funny, right when we're about to move, we've started buying furniture! We bought a beautiful park bench for our back deck, and today I picked up a lovely headboard and footboard for our bed. All from craigslist, of course, the site I've been spending all my time on for the last week. :P But I figure, as long as we're having a moving van come haul all of our stuff, we might as well add a few more pieces. I love craigslist. :)

Time to get packing! Hooray for not having to worry about studying anymore! (Well, until my Spanish class starts on the 21st....)

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Happy Birthday, Graham!

I got so lucky when I got you for a brother. Well, I guess it was more like you getting me for a sister, since you came first, but I'm still lucky! Here's to -- dare I say it? -- a quarter-century of Graham! Just think, with our family's longevity, you've probably got at least another three to go! :) Happy Birthday to the best brother a girl could wish for.

Saturday, June 05, 2004


Hooray! I finally posted some of my Folklife pictures and pictures of our new house! The furniture in the pictures is not ours, of course, so it’ll look different once we get moved in, but I thought some of you might like to see some pictures anyway. The house is quite close to Council Crest Park, from the top of which you can see several mountains on one side, and a long way toward the coast on the other side. Very pretty. I’m getting excited about this new house. :)

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Cause for celebration

We have a house, and we can move in on the 15th. Hooray for things working out! There was a message on our answering machine when we got home this afternoon saying we'd been approved for the house I mentioned in my last post, and they've confirmed an early move-out for the current tenants that will let us in on the 15th. Whew! I am so glad to have that taken care of. Now all I have to think of is papers, finals, and packing! Of course, this means that I'm pretty much going to have to reschedule my visit to CA, since that'll be right when things get hectic. Darn! I'm sorry, everybody!

By the way, some of you might be tickled by the street name of my soon-to-be-new abode: Twombly Avenue. :)

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

What's that old saying?

It never rains but it pours. Yeah, I think that's the one. There's so much going on right now I'm having trouble remembering that I still have classes to go to (not to mention papers to write and finals to study for). At this point I'm having to seriously consider postponing my visit to California in order to deal with this whole moving thing. I was really looking forward to coming down, going to graduation, and seeing all of you wonderful family folks, but I think I may have to reschedule. Grrrr.... I don't have anything definite yet in terms of moving dates and whatnot, as negotiations are still happening on all sides, so things might still work out. But even if they do, I'm thinking it might just be better for me to stick around here so I can deal with things as they come, rather than having them pile up in my absence. :}

On a brighter note, I looked at another house this morning (Hugo was in a meeting so couldn't come) that's a strong possibility. It's in a lovely location close to Council Crest, and the back deck has an amazing view. Even though it doesn't seem like it, it's quite close to two bus lines, either of which would get me downtown to school faster than my current driving route, which would make me very happy. The place has some interesting little quirks, but it's got a lot of nice things, too, including a huge basement, a crafts room, a lovely sunny breakfast nook, and a hot tub. :) So I turned in our rental application for the place (first in, that's a good sign), Hugo will look at it tomorrow morning, and if all goes well we'll get approved soon after that. I'm crossing my fingers, because I don't want to have to look anymore!

Sorry for the "dumping"-ness of this particular blog. Sometimes I just need to get these things out. And besides, I figured that most of the people I'm planning on seeing in California will be checking my blog at some point in the next week or so, so this is as good a way to reach you all as any.

By the way, Folklife went really well. We got a lot of nice comments about Renegade Rose's dancing, and it certainly felt a lot better than last year, from both an organizational and an expertise standpoint. So that was good. I took a bunch of pictures, but I'm not even going to try to post them any time soon, so you'll just have to wait. :)

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Going, going, gone

Okay, everybody, get out your address books and white-out -- Lacey's moving again. Yup, the house just sold. And we have to be out by June 15. Yeah. We have no idea where we're going or how the heck we're going to manage it; the reality of the whole thing is still sinking in. Anyway, I thought I'd let you all know. I've not been posting about the whole house sale process because Hugo has been adamant about not counting on it until it's absolutely set in stone (the last buyer dropped out very late in the game), but now it is so I can post about it. But that's all I'm going to say for now. I'll let you know when we find out what we're doing. For now, it's time to go to practice -- our last practice before Folklife -- yikes. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Glorious Gloria

So, I think I've finally settled on a name for my not-so-new-anymore car: Gloria! It was Hugo's idea, and seems to fit pretty well. So now I can finally write her name on her file folder, and have something to call her when I'm encouraging her to chug up the hill. :)

On a completely unrelated note, happy actual birthday, Dad! :)

Monday, May 17, 2004

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Since I'm not sure if I'll be able to post tomorrow, I thought I'd say it a few hours early. So happy birthday, and thanks to Grandpa Marsh and Grandma Jackie for raising such a wonderful son to become such a wonderful father. I love you!

A Dancing Barmaid? Me?

Ever heard of the Christmas Revels? Well, the man who writes the scripts for the Portland Revels is trying to recruit me for a spot in the show. And not just any spot, either. You see, in every year's show there is an appearance by the Bridgetown Morris Men (the team Hugo dances with here in Portland, but he hasn't done the Revels with them), usually doing some sort of morris dance and a sword dance. Well, this year, Dick (also of Bridgetown, writer of the scripts) has written a part for a female morris dancer. Basically, the show is about Will Kemp, and the part of this female dancer (who is a barmaid) is basically to show him up in a dance competition, supported by Queen Elizabeth. So Dick said, "we need a really, really, really good morris dancer who can really get off the ground when she dances." And apparently, according to him, I'm the only woman around who fits the description. Jeez, talk about piling on the compliments! Anyway, contrary to how I like to think of myself, I'm actually a sucker for a performance (dance, that is -- put me on stage and ask me to talk and I'm lost), and it sounds quite fun. However, it's also a speaking part, so I'd have to produce some level of acting ability. And then there's the rehearsal schedule, which Dick said he'd send me, to see if I can fit it in. I asked when auditions were and Hugo said, "You don't understand. The part is yours if you want it. You don't have to audition." Eep. What do you think? Should I do it?

Friday, May 14, 2004

Playing Catch-up

Yikes. This whole new Blogger look is a little disorienting at first. Nice, though. Yay, Graham! (Because I'm sure you did it all yourself. :P)

Sorry for not blogging for a while. I've been kind of busy and kind of sick. Okay, more than kind of. Last week I was struggling to get a rough draft of a paper done for Friday (which I got back today with very little constructive criticism -- grrr), then Saturday I got sick and that's pretty much how the week went. Renegade Rose danced at the Portland Farmer's Market Garden Party on Saturday afternoon. We managed to get lots of the audience up for a dance, and drove the rain away, so it was a successful gig. And they paid us in "Market Bucks," which was even better! :) Hugo took me out to dinner on Saturday night for my birthday. We went to a restaurant downtown called Higgins, which buys only locally grown organic ingredients and makes fabulous desserts. Actually, everything we had was excellent. I had a (virgin) strawberry daiquiri made with the very first organic Oregon strawberries, which are like no other strawberries on this planet. (Honestly, it's worth coming to visit me this summer just to taste the strawberries.) Yum.

This week I've been alternating sleeping with tryng to catch up on the schoolwork I've missed while I was sleeping. I'm still pretty behind in several things, but I made it through my archaeology midterm this morning, which is all I was really worried about. And I'm feeling much better, so hopefully I'll catch up this weekend. We're going to the Farmer's Market tomorrow, then out to pick up a compost bin that's $25 special through a city program -- hooray for compost! :P And tomorrow night we're having a triple-birthday party at Anne's for me, Anne (whose birthday was yesterday) and Janet (whose birthday is Sunday). Should be oodles of fun. Sunday is a memorial service for Merritt Herring, a wonderful folk singer who passed away a few weeks ago. Hugo is making "Merritt badges" with a picture of Merrit to give to people who come. :)

On a slightly random ending note... Hugo and I went out to lunch today at a Thai restaurant. We got fortune cookies with our bill, and I still haven't quite figured mine out yet. It says "You will have an exciting addition to your life by being the warm to others." Any ideas? Have I been "the warm" to any of you out there? :P

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Well, whaddaya know?

I got a Congratulations! letter in the mail today, for making the Dean's List for PSU's College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Apparently "The Dean's list recognizes a select group of students within the college who have demonstrated superior academic achievement." Funny, I never got one of these letters from Stanford. :} I didn't even know PSU had a Dean's List, or that those things actually existed, so I was kind of puzzled at first. But it's kind of nice. :)

In less happy news, while doing some last packing at the apartment this afternoon, I received a $150 parking ticket for trying to squeeze into the only available tiny spot on the block close enough to carry boxes to the car from the apartment. I guess they really didn't know that I needed to be in that spot in order to load my car, and that I really tried to squeeze in and leave the sidewalk ramp clear (and practically all of it was clear), but I still thought it was very very rude of them to give me a ticket. Grrrrrrrr...... Hugo thought it was kind of interesting that he managed to get my truck towed while moving into the apartment, and I managed to get an expensive parking ticket while moving out of it. All in all, I think it's a good place to leave behind.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Pictures and license plates

I forgot to post the link to the OMSI pictures last night. If you want to see some dinosaurs, and a couple of pictures of Graham, go here

So, I received paltry few suggestions for car names when I put my poll out a few weeks ago. I've sort of been waiting until I got my license plates to really decide, hoping that the plates might give me a clue as to an appropriate name. I picked up the plates this afternoon, and unfortunately am still at a loss as to the car's name. The plate is: "ZZL 775". Any ideas? Graham and I were tossing a couple around, including Zelda (appropriate for the Z-ness of the license plate), Ingrid (which I'm voting against, since Kirsty has a friend named Ingrid and that would be kind of odd), Isis, and Sheba (both Graham's ideas). We came up with a lot more than that, but none that were really serious. Any opinions, anybody? I don't know why I'm having such a hard time naming this car! (If you want to take another look at the pictures, click here.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Maiasauras and Mjadra

Well, Graham has gone back home after a lovely and enjoyable (at least on my part) weekend visit. On Saturday we went to OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. I had never been before, and it was definitely a worthwhile trip. The main exhibit was T.Rex On Trial, a dinosaur exhibit. It was very exciting. They also had tons of "brain-teaser" stations with all sorts of puzzles with blocks and rings and strings and things, some of which had us very confused for a very long time. After attempting one for about five minutes, I read the note below the instructions that said: "This puzzle has never been solved. Can you do it?" I quit trying. :)

After spending a few hours at OMSI, we went to Nicholas Restaurant for lunch. It's a small, rather crowded Lebanese/Middle Eastern restaurant that serves amazingly good food. We ordered the vegan Mezza (basically an appetizer platter) because it has one of my favorite dishes on it -- Mjadra, a rice and lentil dish with caramelized onions on top. It also came with tabouleh, bread and hummus, falafels, and a garbanzo bean dish that didn't have a name or a description in the menu, but was absolutely amazing. Oh, and we also ordered fresh-squeezed peach juice. The waiter warned us, "oh, the peach juice isn't vegan," so we explained that we weren't actually vegan, we just liked the selection on the vegan Mezza. :) We were completely stuffed when we left, and still had enough food left for a very filling lunch this afternoon.

Saturday night we went to the contra dance in Portland, where Kevin Carr and Barbara Mendelsohnn were playing. They were quite surprised to see Graham there, so that was fun. It was good to see them again, and always a joy to hear them play. The contra was very fun, and reminded me that I should attend more often. There were a lot of familiar faces, but a lot of new ones as well, making me realize that I've sort of dropped out of the contra community for a while. Anyway, it was fun.

Today was a mellow day. I sewed some more of my Renegade Rose waistcoat that's supposed to be done for May Day. I don't know if that's going to happen, but I'm certainly going to try. It's the buttonholes I'm not looking forward to. :) I took Graham to the airport and have been doing homework ever since. Hugo and Ellie are flying home from the Los Angeles Ale tonight, fortunately getting a ride from somebody else, arriving somewhere around 1:00 a.m., I'd imagine. They're both going to be totally wiped out by a long weekend of dancing and revelry, but it will be nice to have them home again.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Family Friday

For those of you who haven't read my sidebar calendar recently (and I won't blame you if you haven't, seeing as I hardly ever update it), my big news of the weekend is going to be a visit from my wonderful brother! Yep, Graham is flying up on Friday evening to spend the weekend with me. I'm very excited. I'll certainly be ready for company by the time he arrives, because Hugo is in Texas on a business trip all this week, and he and Ellie are both in California for the LA Ale this coming weekend, so I've had the house to myself (not counting the real estate agents) for several days already. Not that I wouldn't normally be looking forward to a brudder-visit, but it'll be nice to have somebody else in the house. :)

But before Graham gets here, I'm driving down to Salem as soon as my classes finish at 12:35 on Friday to interview Siri Kirpal for my anthropology research paper. The paper is supposed to be about culture change, and I chose the sub-topic of religious culture. So I'm going to interview Siri Kirpal about Sikhism in the United States. Unfortunately, Jim will be at work Friday afternoon, so I won't get to see him. That will have to be another time. But it's going to be a busy Friday. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Planting Smiles and Summer Plans

A couple of weeks ago I went out and bought a bunch of different kinds of sunflower seeds and some potting soil, and I spent a bit of time yesterday afternoon planting them in seed trays and pots. Unfortunately, we'd only bought one seed-starting tray (a little mini-greenhouse, actually), but that was a gross underestimate for the number of seeds I'd bought. So I went back to the Garden Center after school today and bought three more, and a bunch more potting soil as well. It's been raining all day, so I haven't been able to plant the rest of the seeds, but hopefully it will be nice tomorrow, so all my seeds will be on roughly the same schedule. When they start to come up and are ready to transplant, we're going to plant them all up and down the path from the front door to the bottom of the driveway, and make a field of sunflowers in front of the house. I'm excited. :)

So, I know you've all been wondering after that cryptic hint in my last entry, what on earth I'm doing this summer. Well, to make a long story short, I've decided that French isn't the language for me, and that it will make things a heck of a lot easier for me and more efficient in terms of degree progress if I go back and resurrect my Spanish. Which means that the France trip is off. Which is completely okay, as I was having a hard time imagining a summer away from Portland in the first place. The current plan is to brush up on my Spanish, using my old textbooks, audiobooks, etc., and take an intensive second-year course at PSU this summer. If I can manage it, that means I'll be completely done with my language requirement, and won't have to worry about credit transfers or taking language during the school year. I imagine I'm going to struggle somewhat in the beginning, but I think it's doable. I may take an anthropology class at the same time, but I'm not sure yet. The only reason I'd do that would be so that I wouldn't have to take it from the normal teacher, who I don't really get along with. (I just dropped that class, since I was already overloaded and I didn't get on with her teaching style.) So it looks like I'll be pretty much a full-time student for the summer. Sigh. But it'll be good.

So that's what I'm up to. I've just gotten my big research paper assigned for one of my classes, and we're starting our group projects in another class tomorrow, so things are probably going to get even busier than they already are in the next couple of weeks. But I get to watch my sunflowers grow!

Sunday, April 11, 2004


I've finally finally posted pictures of my new (or not so new anymore) car! It still doesn't have a name, so please look at them and give me suggestions! (on my blog comments, not buzznet)

Sorry about the sporadic nature of my posts (or lack thereof) recently. Murgatroid (my computer) has been having a midlife crisis and has been giving me all sorts of trouble that I don't feel like going into at the moment. My internet access is rare and fleeting, so it's kind of hard to blog if I'm not sure if I'll be able to post it. And I've got more homework to do before bedtime tonight, so I'm not going to provide a full update at the moment, either, though lots of other things are going on. There, does that make you curious or what? :)

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Au revoir Sylvia

Yes, Sylvia has a new home now. I sold her this morning to a woman who has just bought a "fixer-upper" house, and needs a truck for her "project." Her mechanic was pretty impressed with the condition the truck was in, and I think she'll continue to take good care of it. She told me that she was fighting with herself last night saying "I don't want a truck!" but finally gave in to the practicality of it and admitted that she needed a truck. She was coming around pretty quickly, though. After she told me she definitely wanted it, she said "There are two ways this can go. Either I fall in love with the truck and keep it forever (which is very likely), or after a year, when I'm done with my project, I can try to resell it." She said the former was the more likely possibility. :) So I think Sylvia has gone to a good home, and I have my new little car, and everybody is happy. Hooray!

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Portland's weather motto in action...

It's interesting living on the top of a hill. You get all sorts of weather, all at the same time. It can be rainy out one window and sunny out the other. This morning we had a tremendous hailstorm that covered the house, cars, and ground in what looked like two inches of snow. Shortly after that, it was all blue skies and sunshine. It has continued to be alternately rainy and sunny for most of the day, definitely living up to the old optimistic Portland saying "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes!" :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

It's all downhill from here

Here being Hugo's house, which is on the top of a hill, and which is about to become my new home. Yep, I'm moving in with Hugo. Again. :} He's been living up here for the last few months and I've been keeping the apartment, since it's got good public transit access for getting to school, etc. But the apartment's drawbacks are beginning to outweigh its perks, mostly in the cigarette smoke department -- several of my neighbors smoke, and apparently not within the "non-smoking" rules of the apartment. What with the shared forced-air heating in the apartments, the smoke from their units gets drawn into the heating system and blasted out into everybody elses' apartments. The upshot being that everything in my apartment now smells like smoke, including my yoga mat, and every time I open the door I get hit by a blast of smoky air. It's not very pleasant. Anyway, what with one thing and another, I've found myself spending all the time I possibly can away from the apartment at Hugo's house, and have decided that it has become impractical to continue paying for an apartment I'm hardly living in. Which is why I bought my car, because I'll be driving to school next quarter and wanted something with a bit better mileage than poor gas-guzzling Sylvia. Anyway, to make a long story somewhat shorter, I'm "officially" moving some time within the next month or so (I still have to sort that out with my landlady), but am pretty much up at the house full-time now. I'll send out an email with my new contact details (after I get my computer up and running - see below), because I don't really feel like broadcasting that on the web. :}

I still haven't sold Sylvia, but I've got a couple of women interested in looking at her, so hopefully will show her once or twice tomorrow. I just want her to go to a good home (and I'd love it if another woman bought her!), so she doesn't feel neglected. And I promise, I will try to post those pictures of my new car soon. My computer is currently sitting in various piles of technology on the kitchen table at Hugo's house, and will hopefully be reassembled into a working unit some time in the next couple of days, and I'll post the pictures as soon as I can. :)

Friday, March 19, 2004


I just bought a car! Wow! It's a 2002 Hyundai Accent, dark grey, 2 doors, manual transmission, 20K miles, and gets about 40mpg on the highway. It's in great shape, it handles wonderfully, and it's soooo zippy! I didn't realize how much I enjoy driving a manual transmission. (Of course, this car is a far cry from the 1971 VW Superbeetle I started out in!) The dealership experience was rather excruciating, and I of course spent more than I had anticipated (and it wasn't even what I was looking for), but I got it for a fabulous price. It's still got 40,000 miles left on the factory warranty, and it's less than 2 years old, so it shouldn't have any problems for quite a while. I was a little down about the whole thing by the time the whole negotiation process was finished (I almost didn't buy the thing, but Hugo worked it out pretty well for me), but by the time I'd rounded the first bend up the hill to Hugo's house I was happy. Now I just have to sell Sylvia for a decent price so I can justify having a new car. :} This car is so fun! I'll take pictures tomorrow and post them, and take suggestions for suitable names. :)

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Vacation Time!

Finished my last final this morning, so I'm on Spring Break now -- hooray! It's hard to believe that my first quarter at PSU is over already. It's been a good quarter all in all, but it'll be nice to have a week off. I spent much of this afternoon cleaning up Sylvia (my lovely truck) in the hopes of selling her in the near future so I can buy a small car that gets better mileage. It's funny, when I spoke with a guy who was interested in coming over to look at it, I admitted to the cosmetic damage, saying something like "yeah, it's got a few dents and scrapes, and a bit of rust at the top of the cab." I honestly thought I was telling the truth, but I realized when I was washing her this afternoon that she's really pretty beat up all around. Lots more scratches and scrapes than I realized, and quite a bit more rust. And the jet washer I used unfortunately accelerated the peeling process around some of the rust spots. So she's not very pretty, but I still love her anyway. And I did advertise her as a "work truck" and warned that she's not cosmetically beautiful. :} So far I've only advertised her on Craigslist, because the Oregonian ads cost about $50 for the weekend, which is the best time, and she's not quite worth that at this point. I think somebody is coming around to look at her tomorrow morning, so we'll see how that goes.

Morris practice went really well tonight. We actually managed to run through quite a few dances with minimal review, which is great. Especially since we're dancing at the Pagan Faire on Saturday, and at the Rose Schnitzer Manor (an assisted living facility) next Thursday. Gigs are always good motivators for serious practice. :) And we had exactly 12 dancers for most of practice tonight, so we had a perfect two sets so everybody got to practice everything. I like it when practices happen like that. :) On a slightly related and random fun note, I've also been tagging along to Bridgetown practice for the last few weeks (except last night because I had to study). There's no way around it, I just like dancing with the men. (But haven't I always played with boys?) :)

Off to bed now. I need a good night's sleep to start off my vacation. :P

Monday, March 15, 2004

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Random chance and happenstance

Well, this story is kind of old, but I haven't blogged for a while, so I have to catch up. ... After dropping Ellie off at her piano lesson last weekend, Hugo and I stopped by the Safeway across the street from the piano school to do some grocery shopping. I've never actually been in this store before, and probably won't be going there very often in the future, which makes the following occurence even more coincidental than it might otherwise have been. While wandering the aisles looking for something or other, we passed a man pushing a stroller with a boy in it. The boy looked very much like his father, and the father looked very much like somebody I knew. I did a quick double-take, told myself it was impossible, then did a triple-take when I heard the man's voice. I still told myself it was impossible, and turned the other way down the aisle. However, curiosity got the best of me, and I accosted the man and his wife as they left the store, saying, "Excuse me, but you didn't, by any chance, used to teach at a high school in Santa Cruz, did you?" It turns out that I was right -- I had met Dennis McLain, my US Government teacher (for one semester) from Soquel High! Turns out he moved up to Beaverton about the same time I did, and has been enjoying it almost as much as I am. I was pretty surprised that he remembered me. I had to remind him of my name, of course, but he said he had done a double-take on me as well, and commented, "You had longer hair back then." So he actually did remember me as an individual, not just a random student from the past. Anyway, that was kind of cool. I like it when funny, completely unexpected things like that happen.

Happy Birthday to Robbie yesterday, and Happy Birthday to Hugo tomorrow!

Monday, March 01, 2004

And there was much rejoicing....

Guess what I had this weekend -- a Mom-visit! She flew up on Friday morning and we spent the weekend shopping and getting amazing deals on everything, going to Powells, walking around downtown, watching movies, knitting, and chatting about life, the universe and everything -- you know, typical girl stuff. :P It was a wonderful weekend, and I now own a pair of boots! (This is a big step for me, made much easier by the fact that they were heavily discounted because the store was going out of business so they only cost $10.) We went to Value Village, always a favorite. The big bargain this trip was a full-sized, perfect-condition down comforter.... for $7.99! We shopped for two days and brought an enormous amount of stuff home, but really didn't spend all that much money, and Mom still managed to get it all into her suitcase! Yes, it seems strange that I survived two straight days of shopping, but I only seem to do it when I'm with Mom. I realized that I hadn't spent any money on clothes since the last time she was here in September! So, all in all, it was a very enjoyable weekend, and I still managed to finish my 8-page paper and my 3-page paper that are due tomorrow -- before dinner tonight! Boy, am I good. :P

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The joys of libraries, and other simple pleasures

I think I'm finally beginning to realize the full wonderfulness of libraries. I used to feel like an underachiever of sorts when it came to libraries and bookstores, compared with some of my nearest and dearest book-loving relations (you know who you are). But now I have an entire shelf of my bookcase devoted to library books, one side from the PSU library, the other from the public library. I have a sticky note on my computer desktop listing all the due-dates of the various lots of books (I currently have 6 lots of books checked out). Granted, a bunch of them are for my research paper and a bunch of them are things like visual French dictionaries, but I've also started gathering an arsenal of "pleasure reading" books, including a couple Peter Mayle novels and "The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax." I'm finally getting comfortable just wandering around libraries and seeing what I find. It's pretty cool. Anyway, this is probably fairly boring to read about, but it's been sort of a revelation to me, so I thought I'd share my new appreciation. :)

It's been raining for most of the day, with a relatively sunny spell in the afternoon. I spent half an hour getting up every few minutes to check for a rainbow, because it was grey and rainy on one side of my apartment and clear and sunny on the other side. I finally found my rainbow in the grey skies, which was very nice.

Hugo and I have decided to have an adventure next month, and go to New York for Greg's birthday party. Hooray! I'm very excited. I've never been to New York, and never really felt the need to go "because it's New York" like some people do, but family and birthday parties are very good reasons to travel, so I'm going. And Hugo is coming with me, so he gets to meet more of my wonderful crazy boisterous happy family! (Can you tell I'm excited?) Now I just have to find plane tickets.

Monday, February 16, 2004

The Not-So GreatClips Experience

I got my hair cut this weekend! Twice, actually. I went to GreatClips to get it cut on Saturday, and the woman did such a horrible job that I had to go somewhere else and get it redone on Sunday. I was going for something intermediate -- short in the back, longish on top and in front, but the first woman cut it too short. I had brought in pictures of what I wanted and spent quite some time explaining exactly how I wanted it. She said, "Oh, you want a boy's haircut." I said NO, I did not want a boy's haircut. But she did it anyway, so I ended up with one of those bowlish cuts that looked absolutely awful. I think she at least realized that she'd cut it too short, because she kept asking me if it was okay. I said, "it'll grow back" and told her it was alright, even though it was far from alright, because I didn't want her to try to fix it. The next day Hugo took me to his favorite GreatClips to get it fixed up. So now it's back to how it was two summers ago when I first chopped it off -- about an inch long, shorter in the back, and kind of spiky. Pixie, she called it. It's sooooo much better. And she did it for free, even though I didn't have my receipt from the day before. She was pretty apalled at the job the other lady had done -- it was uneven in a number of places, and she spent quite a bit of time "fixing" it. She was very nice, and I'm getting used to the short hair again, even though I hadn't intended it to be this short. Oh, well. It'll grow. :)

Hugo and I went to the Vagina Monologues at PSU on Saturday. Nice Valentine's date, huh? :) It was fun. A couple of the monologues were marginal, but some of them were really good. I also bought a book called "That Takes Ovaries! : bold females and their brazen acts" which should be fun to read. :P

My only other exciting news of the weekend is that I rearranged my bedroom. Woohoo. :} Now I can get to both sides of the bed so I can make it properly. I'm sure you're thrilled. :P

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Make-My-Day Moments

You know those moments, the ones that come along at times you least expect them, that take you by surprise and totally make your day? I had one of those on my way to class this morning. I had just gotten off of the streetcar and was crossing the street toward a parking garage when I heard a trumpet start playing. It sounded like it was coming from the top of the parking structure, and I couldn't figure out why somebody would be playing the trumpet up there. But then I walked past the garage and glanced inside to the little booth where the parking attendant sits waiting for cars to exit and pay the parking fee. The parking attendant, who looked like a student, was sitting in the tiny little booth playing his trumpet at the cash register like it was the most natural thing in the world. That made me smile all the way to class. :)

Other happy moments of the day: getting my environmental sociology midterm back and finding out I'd gotten 100%, visiting my old "place of employment" and talking to everybody there, walking through the Park Blocks and sitting on a bench in the wonderful cool afternoon sunlight, and coming home to the wonderfully happy vase of yellow and pink daisies on my side table.

Sunday, February 08, 2004


Addendum to the French radio comment... Most of the songs they play that are in French are pretty good, but they play some of the corniest English songs imaginable!


Contradancing and French Radio

I went contradancing last night for the first time in a very very long time. It was fun to go back again, dance with some old friends, and meet some new ones. I think I spent most of the evening laughing hilariously at the confusion running rampant in the sets in most of the dances. An example of how the evening went: we got there a little late, maybe at the second or third dance, which was a circle dance. The caller walked us through it, and got very confused at the end when she found we were facing our partners instead of next to them. We went through the whole thing again to see if we could figure out what was wrong, and eventually she just changed one of the moves in order for us to progress with our partner. We went through it again like that, and right before we actually started dancing the caller said, "Oh, it gets even better than this -- this dance is a mixer! So you're supposed to lose your partner! It was right all along!" It was very silly. Later in the evening she was trying to explain a snakey under-the-arch move in another dance that nobody was getting. When we finally got through it she told us the name of the dance and that it was written by Erik Hoffman. I thought, "No wonder nobody got it!" I love Erik's dances, but I think they're a little advanced for this particular contra crowd. :} All in all, I did have fun, and maybe I'll go back sooner next time. :P

I've been listening to French radio all morning, in an attempt at being able to pick out a word here and there and just getting used to hearing the language spoken. I poked around the internet for a while looking for radio stations. I tried a couple that advertised themselves as "popular with French youth" but they were utter crap. I eventually found Radio France's "France Bleu" which is actually pretty good. It's mostly music, mostly in French, but with a few songs in English here and there (Sting, Bob Marley, Ani DiFranco.) For the most part, I've been enjoying the music, but not understanding much. The annoying thing is, they don't seem to play anything all the way through. Of course, I couldn't tell with most of the French songs, but then they started up Gypsy by Suzanne Vega. I got all excited, because I love that song, but they cut it off halfway through and went on to something else! It's very strange. But anyway, it's kind of neat to be listening to, even though most of it simply washes over me.

My plans for France this summer continue to evolve in new directions. The newest revision of the plan is to go for two months rather than one, possibly changing locations, but most likely doing a "combination" program of one month in each of two locations, Annecy and Nice. Hugo has pointed out (and I have learned from my own research) that Nice is more of a tourist beach town than anything else, so it would be great for a vacation but not necessarily the most realistic view I could get of France. He says Annecy, on the Eastern border by the Swiss Alps, is "real France." Since WorldLink Education specifically offers and encourages combination programs, I figured I might as well go that route, and spend time in a couple of different places. I'm still trying to iron out the details, which is hard; I'm so excited about it all that I want to do everything, so it's hard to pare the summer down to something I'll actually be able to manage. :P

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Flying Dream

Man, I had some incredible dreams last night. Including the longest and most intense flying dream I've ever had (which isn't saying much, since I haven't had that many, but it was all the more incredible for all that.) I actually wrote my dreams down when I woke up, so if you're in the mood for a story, read on...

Graham and I discovered a place to fly and devices that allowed us to fly – like little clip-on microphones with a battery pack that clipped to the belt. I'm not sure how or why these made it possible for us to fly, but they did. We were in an ice canyon; the walls were covered in sheets of ice, icicles, and ice-waterfalls, but it wasn’t cold except to the touch. We just flew and flew and explored. We knew we weren’t supposed to be there, but couldn’t help shouting out to each other about the beautiful things we saw. The flying was wonderful. Standing on the ground, I could just bend my legs and push off into the air, then be taken by an invisible force that buoyed me up. It was not wind, and I wasn’t blown or carried, but simply supported – I could fly anywhere I chose and know that I would not fall. If I paused at a canyon wall to investigate something I could anchor myself simply by touching the wall (and feeling that it really was ice), and begin flying again by turning around and gently pushing off.

The canyon was the perfect place for doing tricks. I dove towards the floor and pulled myself up with somersaults, flew on my back as if I were swimming under the surface of the ocean and looking up at the sun, twisted and turned and twirled and completely abandoned myself to the joy of flight. I don’t know for how long I flew, but I never tired.

And then I found the most beautiful place of all. I had made my way up to the canyon head, a shallower area, more like a shelf at the end of the canyon than anything else. I flew upwards to meet it and look over this new feature, and caught my breath. Before me was a garden. I can only call it that, though nobody had planted it and nobody ever tended it. Covering the shelf floor were many-colored plants that looked like coral, and many-colored coral that looked like plants. Everything was so still, it was impossible to tell the difference in the sea of greens and pinks and blues and reds and purples and oranges. They looked as though they’d been growing upwards for a very long way, because I could not see a hint of ground through the foliage. The back part of the garden was blanketed in snow, a deep, soft, fluffy snow that I knew would do no harm to the garden it covered. It was the boundary of this snow-patch, the place where the plants and coral began to peek their heads out of the melting snow and see sunlight again, that I found most breathtaking. Patches of snow alternated with patches of color, creating a brilliant mosaic of life. I called to Graham to come and share it with me.

The dream got fairly strange after that, as dreams are apt to do, but that part was so vivid that all the images and events were still in my mind when I woke up, surviving the dreams that followed and even the radio alarm clock. What a beautiful dream! I wonder where it came from...

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Today was a rather short day where classes were concerned. My last class of the day (Environmental Health) was canceled -- a note from the professor outside the classroom read: "Dear Class, Due to a civil/legal issue (you don't want to know), I have to cancel class this evening." And went on to ask us to read up on biogeochemical cycles, etc. This, of course, has us all wondering what on earth he's gotten himself into in terms of a civil/legal situation (and of course made all the more curious by his mysterious "you don't want to know"). But it did give me some free time this afternoon, which was nice. I just wish I'd known about the cancelation earlier, because I'd taken the streetcar over to Powells to get some French books (dictionary, etc.), and then taken it all the way back to campus, when I could have hopped on in the other direction and been home 45 minutes earlier. But oh well. I still got home almost 2 hours before usual. This allowed me time to take a leisurely walk down to Food Front, the local co-op organic food etc. store a few blocks away. It's a nice store, and I get a very good feeling from buying (and eating, of course) organic foods. I also went for a jog this evening, for the first time in yonks. It was a very short jog, but it was good. I'll probably need that yoga class tomorrow morning. :}

Monday, January 26, 2004

Guess what came through my mail slot this morning -- my passport! That was quick! Now I just need a plane ticket and I can travel wherever I want. :P But first I need to figure out where to put my passport so I don't forget where it is.

I also got two more packages over the weekend, one from Mom and one from Monee. What did I ever do to deserve all this wonderful mail? Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, but it seems like I've been getting an awful lot of wonderful packages recently.

I've been trying out a new (to me) yoga studio that's just a couple of blocks from my apartment. I went for the first time on Friday morning, and took Ellie with me, since she didn't have school and was interested in yoga (she'd done a bit mixed in with highschool PE, etc., but nothing serious). When we walked into the room, I thought we'd accidentally come to the "Hot Yoga" class -- the teacher had set the thermostat to 90°. She eventually turned it down, but not until we'd been sweating like pigs for 45 minutes. It was a rather tough class and Ellie nearly died, but she actually did pretty well. I went again today, and it was a different teacher, so the room was at a slightly more comfortable temperature, and I liked the workout better. One thing I like about this place is that all the classes are an hour and a half long, rather than just an hour, so there's time to do more postures without rushing through them. Right now I'm just doing their "intro special," one week of unlimited classes for $15, but after that I'll probably keep going. I like yoga. :)

Monday, January 19, 2004

Look what I found -- the website for the City of Nice! (This the English version; you can get to the French version if you really want to, but I'm not quite ready for that yet.) Looks like a nice place. :) They've actually got some pretty fun little pages of history, culture, ecology, and gastronomy (not kidding!). It seems the city has been undergoing some pretty heavy-duty clean-up and conservation-type restructuring, so things have gotten a lot, well, cleaner, I guess. Looks like the snorkelling should be good. I mean, the studying.... :P Anyway, check it out if you're curious -- I spent about an hour poking around this evening, but now I have to tear myself away to finish my reading for tomorrow.
I spent a couple of hours online yesterday looking for other French language programs in France for this summer, and actually found one that looks even better than the EF International Language School I mentioned in a previous post. The program is called WorldLink Education. They've got programs in various places in France (and other countries, too, of course), but the one I'm looking at is the one in Nice. (Hugo's got me hooked on this whole Nice thing.) The overall program is pretty much the same as the EF program and many others I've looked at; the main differences are that class sizes are very small (5-8, limited to 10), and just about everything is included in the program cost -- tuition, books, housing, insurance (which is extendable after the program for leisure travel), and all "excursions" and activities through the program are included. Most of the other programs I've looked at offer insurance and excursions "at a discounted program rate," but that means you still have to pay extra for them. The WorldLink Education (WLE) program is a bit more expensive than the EF program, but that's because the excursions, etc. are considered part of the course material. I figure that if I do the WLE program I'm much more likely to actually go on all the trips, since I won't have to consider each one from a financial standpoint and think I have to make the decision about whether or not I can afford to go. Because even if the trips are offered at "discounted" rates, I'm sure they still rack up pretty quickly.

So anyway, that's where I am with France at the moment. I'll most likely be staying with a host family, since it's cheaper than getting a studio (they charge extra for studios/apartments in the high season), and living with a French family is a really good way to get French ingrained into your system. I can choose the option to have my own room within a homestay or share a room with another student. I'll probably still go for the single room, just so I can have a bit of privacy. That's important to a Lacey.

Oh, and on an almost-but-not-quite random note -- I did a brief calculation and cost comparison of this language school and Stanford last night. I took one of my old Stanford bills (from Winter 2002, so I'm sure things have gone up considerably since then), added up the prices for tuition, housing and dining (leaving out health insurance, dorm fees, etc.), and divided by 3 to get the monthly cost -- it's over $1000 more than a month-long program through WLF. Yikes. I'm glad I'm going to PSU.

One last interesting note: I was talking with Graham yesterday, and he asked me what my angel card for the year was. Turns out it's very appropriate for everything that's going on for me this year -- Enthusiasm! Hooray! It's funny how angel cards work sometimes...

Friday, January 16, 2004

Wow! I had another package-ful day today! Gan mao ling from Graham, photos from Monee, and a card from Cass -- hooray! Thank you, everybody, I love you all!

So, as promised, here are further details of my future that have emerged from my plotting and scheming of the last week (and believe me, there's been a lot of that!) ....

So you know, if you read Tuesday's blog, that I changed my major, and dropped one of my ESR (Environmental Studies) classes and signed up for an anthro class in its place. Well, I dropped another ESR class (the uninspiring intro one with a terrible professor that encouraged us to be dumb). This brings me down to 12 units. I'm not going to sign up for another PSU class, but I'm certainly not going to waste that time. I'm designing my own French course, based on online tutorials, textbooks, audiotapes and tutors in the hopes of becoming at least marginally familiar with the French language before I go to France.

Now, onto the France bit. What I'm hoping... no, planning on doing is actually spending a good deal of the summer in France, starting with probably about a month of language school. I haven't quite figured out where I want to go yet; I still have a lot of research ahead of me. I picked up a bunch of catalogs and things from the International Studies department last week, and one of the programs that looks most intriguing is the EF International Language School in Nice (It's nice in Nice.) I would love to get some good language training there, and then stay in France for a while and travel and maybe do some sort of internship or volunteer work, but that's still a bit far away to think about concretely. The language school thing is definitely going to happen, though. I would really love to learn a language and have it actually stick with me. Also, if I do well enough, I'll be able to place out of some of the lower level French classes at PSU and come in at a higher level when I come back.

So, as you can see, I'm getting very excited about this whole thing. And I'm enjoying school and everything! (Did I mention I only have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays now?) It's all very exciting, and I'm thrilled! Okay, I'll stop now. :}

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I was the only person to show up to the 12:00 yoga class today, so I got an hour of private instruction! It was a teacher I hadn't had before, and I could tell she wasn't quite sure how to deal with a one-person class; she said, "You get to decide if you want to be the only person in the class," basically meaning she wouldn't complain if I decided to chuck it altogether. I was thinking, well, it may be a bit awkward, but why on earth would I turn down a private lesson? She wasn't the best teacher, and I don't think she ever really got comfortable with the one-on-oneness of the whole thing, but it was still good. I always like hearing how different people describe the same poses and try to help you deepen them, and she definitely had some good insights and ways of breaking down the poses. And, of course, she was pulling and pushing me and correcting me all over the place, which doesn't happen too often with an entire class full of people that need attention. So it was good, but my lower body is definitely going to be sore tomorrow -- she was definitely a legs and hips person rather than an upper-body person. But that's good, since my upper body got its workout with the snow shoveling last weekend. :)

I went to the library today and checked out a bunch of French language books, dictionaries, etc., including a "Visual Language Guide" with pictures of carrots and aeroplanes and teapots and things in it. It's cute. I'm frantically ruminating (are those words contradictory?) about a bunch of academic stuff at the moment, and have some more changes in the works for myself coming up pretty quick. It's fun! But I'll tell you about those when the time is right. I should get back to school work now.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Guess what -- I changed my major! Yes, after all that expounding and all those justifications for sticking with Environmental Studies, I've changed my mind. I'm an anthropology major now! Well, I haven't done anything official, but my mindset has shifted, which is the important bit. I did sign up for Anth 103: Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology, and I'm going to drop my Environmental Impact Assessment class. And fortunately, what with the storm closing campus Tuesday through Friday last week, and the anth class meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I hadn't missed any classes! I signed up last night, and literally got the very last spot in the class. The teacher is awesome -- the only downside is, she's a visiting professor and will only be here one more quarter. It's a one and a half hour class, but doesn't feel like it. The professor is very engaging, loves to talk, and has tons of cool stories about her field work and projects and things. The other interesting thing about the class is the location. It's held in -- and I'm not kidding -- one of the theaters of the 5th Avenue Cinema. Apparently the cinema has been transformed into classrooms, so we're getting a lecture in a movie theater! It's funny.

So I basically have to start from ground zero in anthropology, but even with that, I can still graduate in less time than I would with ESR -- the major has half as many required credits, and I don't have to do a minor (I was going to minor in anth anyway, so I figured why not major in it and cut out the chemistry?) I do have to have foreign language proficiency at the 2+ year level, which will take a while, but I'm actually looking forward to that bit as well -- I'm going to learn French! And I'm going to go to France! I got all my passport stuff taken care of and sent off today, so I should have my passport by March -- hooray!

Anyway, the basic point I'm trying to get across here is that, finally, after all this time, I'm actually really excited about school! Wow! I never thought that would happen. I think most of this stems from the fact that, somewhere in the last couple of months, I made the decision that I was going to make things work for myself -- that I would be proactive in finding and pursuing things that spark my interest, and to turn possibilities to opportunities for myself, and make some changes in my attitudes to allow and encourage good things to come my way. And, what do you know -- it's working! So thanks to everybody who's been with me through this process -- especially to Mom and Hugo for letting me bounce all sorts of ideas off of them and giving me encouraging insights. Where would I be without people that love me?

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Wow -- I feel special. I went away (up to Hugo's house) for three days, and I came home to find four packages waiting for me! One from each of Mom, Graham, and DeMara, and one from big bean music -- the Kris Delmhorst c.d.s I ordered last week. Thanks to everybody who sent me packagelets. Hooray for people that love me! :)

School ended up being cancelled for the entire rest of the week last week, so I went up to Hugo's house on Thursday night to spend the weekend, since I didn't have any homework to do. I ended up spending a few hours each day shoveling snow from the driveway in the hopes of making a passable route to get Roger (Hugo's dad) down to the van, which was stuck at the bottom of the driveway. Small tangent here to describe the geography of Hugo's house so my reader can understand what this means. It is a very long driveway that runs from the road uphill around to the back of the house where the back deck leads to the kitchen. (Key word here is uphill.) The front door does have steps down to a path that leads to the bottom of the driveway, but that route is even steeper, covered in even deeper snow, and extremely unconducive to wheelchair access. So we were trying to make it possible for the van to get up the driveway to the back of the house so we could get Roger into it (the van, not the house -- he'd been stuck there for four days.) Back to story. "The Big Thaw" was supposed to begin on Thursday, so we were hopeful that the ice would melt and allow the van up the drive. Unfortunately, it still hasn't happened, so we couldn't. Also as a direct result of this, they had to reschedule their flights again for Saturday, and we decided to skip the Portland airport altogether and just drive them up to Seattle instead. We spent Saturday breakfast brainstorming ways to get Roger down the driveway to the van, one of the most innovative (and the way we very nearly did it) being to sit him in an opened hard-case suitcase and pull him down with a strap. This was after discarding the stretcher idea and the carrying in a chair idea. We ended up being able to wheel him backwards all the way down (verrrrrry sloooooowwwly) in the wheelchair, but it was not a pleasant ride. Anyway, the upshot is, we got them to Seattle, their plane left, and we all got home safe and sound, if rather worn out and exhausted. I don't know why I felt the need to recount that entire story to you poor people reading this blog, but there you go. I think I was talking about shovelling.... In any case, I'm quite sore and I'm going to take a nice hot bath tonight. Mmmmmm......

That's about all I've got to say for now. I have to go to school tomorrow. It's almost like having to start all over again with the first day of school, since last week didn't really happen. Silly.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Oh, yeah. I forgot. I posted some pictures of the snow. Mostly of things up at Hugo's house before the storm, but a few of the last couple of days at my apartment. See them here.
Guess what I didn’t have today – you guessed it – school! It’s been another “inclement weather” day, though not nearly so actively inclement as yesterday was. I actually went outside today, and though I chose to jump over my front steps rather than try to find them beneath the snow, I did manage to make it to the post office and the grocery store, both of which were fortunately open. One woman I passed on the street remarked “It’s like walking on sand. This is our beach.” I would like to modify her statement somewhat to include the fact that, although it was like walking on sand, you had to crunch through a layer of ice on top, and even then it was very cold sand. All in all, it hasn’t been an unpleasant day out, but that’s probably because I wasn’t trying to do anything silly like drive in it.

Slightly further down the list of exciting things I’ve done today than my walk to the store include yoga this morning, hearing about the Portland storm on NPR, catching up on correspondence, making egg salad (but I forgot to buy tomatoes – bother), cleaning the toaster oven, and experimenting with baking tofu (I don’t want to hear a word, Graham). Not an earth-shatteringly exciting day, but a good day. Not much to blog about, though.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Okay, I'm not even going to apologise for not blogging for forever. I'll just go ahead and do it. But be warned -- it's going to be a long one!

Official News: I've transfered to PSU, so I'm finally a student again -- and after only one day of classes, I already have a snow day! We've had a massive snowstorm all last night and all day today, and just about every school in Portland is closed, along with most of the businesses, I believe. I've been a little house-mouse today, hiding in the apartment and only sticking my nose out occasionally to affirm that, yes, it's still snowing out there. Actually, it's turned to freezing rain now, so it's much louder, and much more unpleasant if you actually have to be out in it (which, fortunately, I don't -- yay!)

It's nice to stay home for a day, but it's kind of silly to have a day off right after 3 weeks of vacation -- couldn't it have waited until I had piles of homework and sleep to catch up on? Oh, well. I suppose storms come when they come. I've done a bit of reading today, and started knitting a hat -- it's coming together and looking pretty good, but it's also looking pretty small, so I am beginning to worry that I'm going to have to take it all out and start all over again.

Hugo's parents have been in Portland since before Christmas. It was a bit rough meeting them at first, but we got used to each other and things worked out pretty well. They were supposed to fly home today, but all flights out of Portland were cancelled because they couldn't de-ice the planes due to extreme wind chill. So they're still here.

Okay, enough about the snow. Just in case any of you are actually interested, here's my course schedule for this term:
- Applied Environmental Systems: Preparation for Problem Solving
- Environmental Health
- Environmental Sociology
- Environmental Impact Assessment
I'm going really heavy on the fine arts this quarter, as you can tell. :) I'm also taking yoga at a studio not far from campus -- they've got lots of classes, and exactly one of them fits into my schedule every day, so I'm very excited. It will be nice to have yoga in my life again. The two PSU classes I've had so far were less than impressive, so I'm hoping the other two (that I should have had today) will be more inspiring. The Env. Impact Assessment class is mostly grad students (trust me to pick that one out for my first term) and the Problem Solving class is being taught by a civil and environmental engineering professor because the regular prof is on sabbatical this quarter. Both have terrible handwriting. :)

I probably have at least three more years of college before me still, but that's okay. The Environmental Studies program is pretty different than Stanford's Earth Systems program, so a bunch of my classes don't transfer. I also have to take a whole lot more chemistry and biology than I would have at Stanford. Ugh. Oh, yeah, and I have to do a minor as well, so that's going to take even longer. :) Interestingly, I have actually fulfilled all of the requirements for a BS at PSU .... I just haven't fulfilled the requirements for any particular major. :P

I'm kind of in an interesting emotional place with school now. I think I decided to take time off of school mainly because the opportunity was there, and then later justified it with reasons. I didn't hate Stanford at the time I left, but I think that's why I was able to leave, and why I'm okay with not going back. If I had left after freshman year when I really wanted to “get out of here” I think I would always have questioned whether that was the right choice. But leaving at a high point as I did left me with a more realistic view of what Stanford held for me, so I was fully aware of what I was giving up when I made the choice to transfer to PSU. I still don’t have any specific academic goals, and will readily admit that I am only continuing with Environmental Studies because it is the easiest thing to do, and I haven’t found anything else that grabs me. I think that was what I was waiting for all along – when I took a year off after high school, for two years at Stanford, and in coming to Portland – something to grab me and tell me “this is what I want to do with my life!” (or at least my education.) It hasn’t come, but I’m not worried about it anymore. I’m at the point where I need to finish college so I can complete that stage of my life and move on. It doesn’t really matter if my degree doesn’t drive my life; I’ve realized that it doesn’t have to, that it’s very possible that education will not be the way I find what I love. But I do need to finish, and I think I’m finally in a place with myself and my life that I can just push through and do it. And then I can move on to the next adventure.

But first this storm has to stop so I can get to school. :)