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! :)