Monday, December 19, 2005

Toasty Warm Adventuring

Yesterday did not go as planned for a great many people in the Portland Metro area. Fortunately, my friends and I are of the type that would rather make an adventure of an unexpected circumstance than suffer through it. So, if you want a story, read on….

Cate and Victor were moving yesterday, and John and I offered to help, so Cate came by and picked us up in the morning. We completed one load with the U-Haul and then went to lunch, all the while remarking on how freezing cold! it was outside, and wondering what weather the day would bring. There was a winter storm warning that was supposed to go into effect at 6:00 p.m., so we figured we could get in a second load in the afternoon and get the U-Haul back safely, since they expressly forbade driving it in the snow. Well, it started snowing while we were at the restaurant. By the time we finished lunch the wind was blowing snow across the streets, creating the most amazing visual effects. We decided to get chains for the car before going back to their house and deciding what to do about moving.

A good while later we at last arrived at Fred Meyer, only to discover that they had sold out of chains within an hour of the start of the snow. And the Les Schwab just down the street was closed, of all days to be closed! Fortunately, two of Cate’s other friends were on their way to help with moving, and happened to have a spare set of chains, so we decided to wait for them at Fred Meyer rather than trying to drive anywhere without chains (Victor had never seen snow, much less driven in it, and though he was doing a fine job, we didn’t want to push it). So we hung out at Fred Meyer for twenty minutes or so waiting for them to show up. John and I finally decided that our best course of action would probably be to go out and catch a bus back downtown, because there was no other way we could guarantee getting home that night. So, out in the cold we went to wait for the bus.

We were very happy to see a bus approaching almost as soon as we got to the stop (walking backwards against the wind blowing snow in our faces). Unfortunately, the bus got stuck pulling out from the stop before ours, and just sat there, blocking the lanes diagonally. After about twenty minutes another bus came along behind, and just sat behind the first for some time. We decided to walk down and investigate, figuring we could at least be sitting on a warm bus while we waited for them to move. The driver of the second bus said that his bus wasn’t stuck, but that he couldn’t get by the first bus, so we were stuck either way. We sat on the bus warming up for a few minutes and then started reconsidering our plan of action. We were hearing estimates of up to seven hours for getting downtown by bus, which was not acceptable. John looked outside at all the traffic in the snow and said, “Well, we could walk.” I said I’d be up for it if I had some goggles, so we decided to make a day of it.

Fortunately, we were still at Fred Meyer, so we got out of the bus and crossed the street again, push-starting a few cars that were spinning their wheels in the snow (I forgot to mention – all of this is happening on a relatively steep incline, so lots of people were getting stuck). We bought motorcycle goggles, thermals and extra wool socks and gloves, and used the fitting rooms to bundle ourselves up. And then we walked.

Now, this Fred Meyer is in Tigard. We live in downtown Portland. It’s not a long trip by car (Yahoo maps estimates 8 minutes), but it’s different when you’re walking in the snow. We hopped around making funny footprint patterns in the snow, and sang Christmas carols, somehow managing to remember all the verses to “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and completely butchering several others. We were really quite nice and toasty warm with two or three pairs of socks and gloves each, warm thermals and hats and goggles, though I’m sure we looked a ridiculous pair. It was quite amusing. We got to Barbur Transit Center in about an hour, and not a single bus had passed us. We decided to keep walking, since the likelihood of a bus coming down that route anytime soon was not high. We decided to follow a different bus route that was more likely to be running. Right then, we looked and saw that very bus passing the stop closest to us, still a few blocks away. So close, but so far away. But it proved that that route was running, so we decided to follow it anyway and catch the next bus.

So we walked. We were now on back roads rather than the main drag, which was much more pleasant. I suggested making snow angels in people’s driveways, but we probably would have gone through the snow and scraped the pavement, so we didn’t. (There really wasn’t that much snow, but people here don’t know how to drive in it [and, yes, I include myself in this category], so it’s a big deal.) We walked and we walked and were still toasty warm. We arrived in Multnomah Village and thought about stopping by Cate and Victor’s new house, but decided against it on the grounds that they would be absolutely horrified that they had let us try to take the bus and that we were still not home and that we were walking home. We stopped at the main bus stop in the village and called TriMet’s transit tracker number to see if there would be a bus coming soon, and learned that that route was being diverted from that section of the route and was going Barbur instead – the street we’d been walking on originally! So we decided to book it back to Barbur, because there was a bus due in a few minutes.

Well, we were almost to Barbur and could see the overpass where it crossed the road we were on. And we saw the bus go by. So close. By that time we had pretty much used up all our lunch fuel, so we stopped at Safeway and bought some snacks to provision us for the rest of the trip. We thought about calling a cab, but there’s no way we could have gotten one that night. We went to the bus stop outside Safeway to see if there was a bus coming, and waited for ten minutes or so, talking to another guy waiting there. By this time it was about 7:30 or 8:00, and we were really feeling the need to be back home, especially since John had to be up early for work in the morning. So I called Anne and Bob, who live about half a mile from the Safeway, and pleaded for a ride home. She said, “Why don’t you come over and have some soup, and we’ll figure something out?” to which invitation I gladly responded, “Yes, please!” So we walked over there and had warm soup and bread and hung out with them and Janet for a while. After much discussion of possible ways to get us home (the first suggestion being that we stay overnight at Janet’s house), we settled on Bob driving us in Janet’s car, the most snow-worthy vehicle available, dropping Janet off at home on the way, and then Janet could walk over and pick up the car in the morning.

So we didn’t walk all the way home, but by that time we were very grateful for a ride. I think our total walking distance was probably about four miles, mostly uphill (no exaggeration – but that was actually better than downhill). We finally got home, safe and sound and still toasty warm, around 9:15, having begun our journey at Fred Meyer at 5:30. It’s a good thing we like adventures!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Welcome Yule!

I volunteered at the Revels this weekend, for the Saturday and Sunday evening shows and strike on Sunday night. I love strike -- we get to take things apart and haul heavy pieces of stage and scenery and props around in tank tops in the freezing cold, clear night. I got nicknamed "GI Jane" by one of the stagehands, and had way too much fun running all over the place and getting myself very sore for today. :P

The Revels show itself was good as well, though I had to miss the first few bits because of ushering duties. The female soloist had the most gorgeous voice you could imagine, and the chorus was strong on vocals as well. And the sword dance was..... Wow. Absolutely incredible. They used Papa Stour, a wonderful seven-person longsword dance that I can't quite find the right adjective for. It made me wish I was in the sword dance again this year. My favorite song is always the Sussex Mummers Carol, the song sung at the end of every Revels show in every city every year. That was the part that really brought me back to memories of being in the Revels last year, and remembering being on stage for that song. It was a good time.

I wanted to share the last bit of the show before the Sussex Mummers Carol, written by Dick Lewis (I believe - he wrote the rest of the script, so I'm assuming he wrote this bit as well). It was in last year's script, and I was so glad to hear they used it again this year. It really gets to the heart of Solstice and makes me love the wintertime even more. I know it's not quite Solstice yet, but it's on my mind, so here it is:

The Shortest Day

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them,
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land;
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends, and hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Well, that’s it. I just turned in the last final exam of my undergraduate career. Yep, you’ve got it – I’ve finally graduated. Isn’t it amazing? And you thought I’d never get around to getting that piece of paper. Well, I haven’t actually gotten the piece of paper yet (in fact, I’m not even sure how I’m supposed to get it….), but the important part is, I’m done with all the work! Hooray!

Now it’s on to finding a job, which should be an exciting challenge. No, I’m not going to be an anthropologist, despite the fact that that’s the degree I just completed (well, alright, it was a double major in anthropology and social sciences, but I don't think I'm going to be a social scientist either). But don’t ask me what I am going to be, because I won’t be able to tell you that until I become it. :P

And, in case you’re curious, yes, I am going to be a student forever. I applied for post-bac admission at PSU and signed up for classes next quarter, so I’m all set to keep learning forever and ever. Hooray! And this way I don’t have to move! Double Hooray! I worked out the math and figured it would cost just about the same amount to move off campus and not take classes as it would to pay for eight credits (the minimum to qualify for student housing) and stay on campus. No contest – if it’s going to cost the same to learn as to not learn, by golly, what do you think I’m going to choose? :)

That’s about it for now. I’m a happy Lacey, looking forward to enormous amounts of cooking, baking, knitting and reading in the coming month. Oh, yeah, and job hunting…

Happy Thursday!

Current Magnetic Poetry:

sail through the lingering window
of yesterday
meet the torrent of the present
and reach out to catch
the translucent boquet
of tomorrow

Friday, November 18, 2005


Things I'm thankful for tonight:


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Rack of Lamb

Last night was dinner party night (hooray!) with Jan, Althea, Mitch, one of Mitch's housemates, Tyler, and another friend of theirs, Kari. I made french bread and potato leek soup, which I transported in a large Ziplock bag, much to everybody's amusement. They had all been wondering how I was going to manage to bring a large quantity of soup all the way over there on the bus, and they were very impressed. :) My soup and bread were good, but completely overshadowed by Mitch's main course - rack of lamb with a fabulous red wine and mushroom sauce. How many 24-year-old men do you know that make rack of lamb for a dinner party of 24-year-olds? I decided not to mention the fact that I'm normally pretty much vegetarian. I mean, how many opportunities do I have to eat like that? It was good. Oh, yeah, and he had some really nice wine, too (from his 150-bottle wine cellar), and cheesecake for dessert (made with six - count them, six - blocks of cream cheese). :) We're aiming to make these dinner parties semi-regular events, which would be fabulous. They're fun people to hang out with, and it's nice to meet other people who like to cook, especially people my age!

Also out of last evening I may have found somebody to pass my apartment to when I have to move next quarter. Tyler is also a student at PSU (unlike everybody else at the dinner party, who graduated from Reed around the time I should have graduated from Stanford), and will be looking for a place to live in March, when Mitch leaves for a year of sailing around the world with his dad and they can no longer keep the house they're renting. Since I have a quarter to move out after I graduate, and since this apartment is such a good deal and so convenient that I'll probably stick around for as much of that quarter as I can, I will probably be moving out around the time Tyler will be looking to move in somewhere. So hopefully I can just pass my apartment on to him the way Paul passed it to me, and the way the previous resident passed it to Paul. I like the way we can work the system like that. :)

Current Magnetic Poetry:

two sparks fly
crazy to burn
to turn a flicker
into a blazing fire

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Awareness and Intention

Okay, it's time for me to slow down. I need to do things with a little bit more awareness and intention, and really pay attention to what's going on. Since the events of the past weekend obviously weren't enough to tip me off that something needed to change in my life, I locked my keys in my room on my way out to class this morning. I knew as soon as I shut the door that my keys were placidly lying right on the corner of my desk where I'd left them the night before, and decided right there that I needed to pay more attention. Not that locking myself out is a huge deal; all I had to do was go to the front desk of the Montgomery building and get an RA to come let me in. (Fortunately, the guy knew me and didn't request ID, since I do not currently own a valid piece of identification.) So I didn't panic or anything. I just acknowledged to the universe that I had not been living with as much awareness and awakeness as I should, and that I would attempt to do better. For a start, I'm going to open my mind to inspiration and see if I can easily finish (well, start, really) this paper outline that's due in an hour and a half.

Oh yeah, and my angel card this morning was "Surrender."

Monday, November 07, 2005


So, after that last glum and dreary post I get to tell you about the highlight of the weekend: my wallet was stolen from my backpack during the ball rehearsal. Yeah. Apparently (according to campus security) there's a guy who goes around campus stealing wallets, buying bus passes with the credit cards to sell downtown, and then trashing the wallets. So he came in and took my entire wallet just to buy one $66 bus pass and throw the whole thing away. Grrrrrr. And, of course, I didn't follow my instincts when I had an inkling something was wrong (my backpack was zipped differently than I normally zip it), so I didn't really start worrying about it until I was in bed trying to go to sleep after the Ball was over. So I got up and got on the phone, staying up till about 1:00 (which is far too late for me) calling my bank and my credit card company and sorting things out. I really was not entirely coherent, and had a very hard time remembering basic things like my social security number, but more because I was tired and already emotionally drained than because I was distraught about the wallet. I mean, I am distraught, but in a rather passive sort of way, if that's possible. I was just extremely glad that I had taken Paul's advice earlier this year and made a Word document with all of my card numbers, account numbers, and phone numbers to call for each if my wallet ever got stolen. He's a smart cookie.

I suppose that if this guy just disposes of wallets on campus or downtown somewhere, there's a chance it could be recovered, but I'm not holding out much hope. So it's on to replacing things like library cards, drivers license, and the very-nearly-full frequent buyer card for one of my favorite thrift stores. Unfortunately, there were a couple of photographs in the wallet which I am very sad to lose, but I have more. John was very sweet; he offered to take me down to Saturday Market yesterday (it's also open on Sundays) to look for a new wallet, but I didn't have time. I also don't know how I would go about selecting a new wallet. I mean, I've used Graham's old wallets for years now, and have had the last one for I don't know how long. (I was talking to Paul and likened that wallet to my desk - it's old and dilapidated and falling apart, but I've had it for so long that my life is organized in it, everything fits perfectly, I know exactly where everything is, and I can't imagine using any other.) Upon hearing my dilemma John said, "Well, it's settled then. I'm giving you my wallet." No amount of protest could change his mind, so it looks like I have a new wallet. Silly boy. But sweet.

In more uplifting news, two women from Iron Mountain Sword at the Ball independently asked me if I wanted to start rapper dancing with them. I can't do it for the rest of the quarter, because things are starting to get crazy, but I'm definitely thinking about it come January.... :)

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Tonight is the Porland English Country Ball, conveniently held in the Smith Memorial Student Union ballroom, which happens to be right across the Park Blocks from my apartment building. :) Jim is playing for the Ball, so he flew up yesterday and came to dinner (spicy pad thai, mmmmm....), then we went to the pre-ball English dance (not a rehearsal). There were a number of people there that I knew from either morris dancing or the Revels, and it was fun to see them again. It kind of made me sad in a way, though, to see how genuinely surprised everybody seemed to see me there. It was almost as if they had never expected to see me again, and possibly didn't really care if they didn't. Everybody seemed happy to see me, of course, but much more surprised - shocked, even - than I would have expected. I mean, it's not like I'm a regular English country dancer who hasn't shown up for a while - a lot of people just come for this once-a-year event. And I'm not in the Revels this year, so I don't naturally see those people (though they were less surprised than the morris folks to see me). It was like they thought I'd disappeared off the face of the earth and they never expected to see me again, so they'd given up on me. This despite the fact that I've been to see one of them several times at the library where she works, and sent two of them happy-birthday-how-are-you-let's-catch-up emails that were never returned. I don't know if there's some larger social phenomenon going on here (read: Hugo), or if they would have given me up for lost on their own.

This “reappearing act” was a strikingly different experience for me than what I normally encounter in the other dance situation in which I occasionally reappear from nowhere: namely, Stanford. In that case, I really did kind of disappear from the face of the earth (or at least, from the Stanford bubble) when I moved to Portland, and people didn’t expect to see me show up at dances. But when I do show up once or twice a year, people are genuinely thrilled to see me – they’re surprised, yes, but in a more pleased way. … Or something. I can’t quite put my finger on it. They don’t expect to see me because they know I live far away, so it’s a treat for me to show up (and no, I don’t think I’m massaging my ego here). Here, on the other hand, it’s feeling like everybody has moved away from me, even though I’ve been in Portland the whole time, and they don’t expect to see me because they’ve given up on our friendship. I’ve pretty much been shut out from a community I used to love, which is hard. I know that this is in large part my fault, because I pretty much did disappear from the whole morris social scene rather abruptly, though under circumstances in which I didn’t feel I had much choice. But it still feels weird. At the moment I feel like I’m trying to rebuild bridges, but that those on the other side of the river would rather stay there.

In any case this weekend is proving to be an interesting lesson in stepping back and letting things be the way they will be. In happy news, I’ve met several very nice people in the last two days at the dance and Ball workshop, and I am still determined to enjoy myself tonight. I don’t have to disappear forever just because people think I have.

Current Magnetic Poetry:

smile like a rose
prisoner of a beautiful morning
the scent
of a delicious sensual perfume
surrounding your heart
disappear into the sacred flower

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

An Unexpected Evening

When John knocked on my door around 6:00 this evening and asked if I was ready for some physical exercise, I thought he meant the run we'd planned for the evening. But instead he said, "Great. We're helping an old lady move." Apparently his friend Adam had called him up and asked if he could help out moving this woman in a desperate situation: the place she was living (he called it an old folks home, but it didn't really seem like it, and she wasn't really that old) was being torn down and turned into regular apartments. She was supposed to be out by October 30, but has been sick for the last week or so and was granted a few extra days, only to find out that the demolition crew is coming tomorrow to start tearing down the interior. So, Adam's parents asked if he would help her move (they live right around the corner from her), and he called, John, and John called me, and off we went.

It was quite an adventure. She really was not ready to move. Her living room was absolutely full of boxes, as were most of the rest of the rooms. Some things were going to storage, some to the new apartment. Hardly any of the boxes had tops, and if they did, they didn't close. The poor woman was really scattered and concerned about every last box, but I finally sort of took over upstairs and did some packing up of my own, running boxes down the stairs to the guys, who loaded them up. Of course, I ended up doing a lot of rearranging of their packing jobs in the cars and truck cab to make more efficient use of space. I think they were kind of impressed; I made room for three additional large boxes plus a whole bunch of clothes in the back of the truck after they said it was full. :P

As we were driving up to the new apartment, I said to Adam and John, "So, how much smaller do you think this space is going to be than her old place, and how much of this stuff do you think is not going to fit in it?" Adam took the first load up, and when I was passing him on the stairs he muttered, "You called it." Her entire apartment was already full! It was crazy. I don't know how she thinks she's going to get everything in there, because we left the old house pretty darn full as well. It's amazing how much more stuff you seem to have when you move. I know that one. :{ Anyway, we only made the one trip because she needed to spend a bunch more time packing before our time would really be useful, so Adam is going to go over and help her again in the morning. I hope she makes it!

After all that, we walked back over to Adam's house, where I met the rest of his family. John had assumed, and told me, that this woman was a friend of Adam's parents, but we found out afterwards that they didn't actually know her at all. She had just knocked on their door and said she had noticed that there were young men living in the house and asked if any of them would be willing to help her out. Wow. I'm so glad she asked for help. And I'm so glad we were able to be there; it really felt good to have a little community pull together to help her out. Though I must admit, the neighbor of a friend of a friend is probably the most random person I have ever helped to move. And I've helped a lot of people move. :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Not so Scary After All

I am officially done with midterms! Hooray! I spent basically the entire weekend studying for my human variability midterm and psyching myself up for how hard it was going to be. I only spent an hour or two yesterday afternoon on the material for my urban planning midterm, but that was alright. And the scary midterm turned out to be not so scary after all. Compared to how hard I thought it was going to be, I positively breezed through it! What really caught me by surprise, though, was that some of the questions (the multiple choice options) were actually funny! I guess I didn't know she had it in her not to be serious and hard-nosed. It was a pleasant surprise. My favorite question on the exam went something like this:

You meet a human-like being with short stature and large, furry feet with well-groomed nails. Reflecting on what you know of genetics and human variability, you conclude that:
a. This phenotype results from sexual selection for giving one's mate a good back scratch
b. This phenotype results from a breeding isolate
c. I must be in Middle Earth!
d. This phenotype results from selection for the ability to climb rough mountainous terrain in cold weather
e. Any of the above

She actually had to announce to the class that this question was a joke, and that we were supposed to answer (e). I think she was a little embarrassed. :P There were several other answer options for other questions on the test that made me chuckle, but that was the best one. And all in all, I think I did pretty well. I was amazed; I actually came out of that exam feeling energized rather than drained, because it was so much easier than I had expected. Yay!

There wasn't anything particularly interesting or exciting about my urban planning midterm, but I'm glad that one's over as well. And now, on to the next task at hand - a bibliography of at least 25 sources, 8 of which must be annotated, for my hunter-gatherer paper on curated technology. Fortunately, he's pushed the due date from Thursday to Tuesday, so I have a bit more time. Another yay! I like today. :)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Monsters And Such

In honor of Halloween, I have decided to post my Halloween poem. Some of you are probably quite tired of it by now, since I used to email it out every Halloween, but that's why I'm posting it here rather than inflicting it on your in-boxes. If you've read it before, bear with me; if you haven't, you can still bear with me. It might not actually be as good as I remember it. :) The story behind this is that I wrote it in response to an assignment over the Halloween weekend in my 11th grade English class. The assignment was to write a short scary story titled "Monsters and Such." I could not for the life of me write a scary story, but this poem came up from nowhere and sort of wrote itself, so I turned it in instead. I think I creeped everybody out pretty well, and ended up getting an A, even though I didn't actually address the assignment. :P Happy Halloween, eight years later!

Monsters and Such

I’ll tell you a story of which the dead boast,
of ghouls and demons, of witches and ghosts
who creep into closets in the black of the night,
and fill little children with horrible fright.

These ghosts, with their vengeful spirits afire,
with hearts full of malice, bloodlust, desire;
These are what’s under the bed of your youngest.
One waits for bedtime, and then out he lunges!

He carries the child in arms made of mist,
and whispers through lips that the Devil has kissed,
“Heaven be damned, you’re in my power now.
To Satan, the King of all Hell you shall bow.”

Through Hades the innocent youngster is borne.
He sees all the people whose lives have been torn
now cowering in misery, fear, constant fright,
with hellfire and brimstones as their only light.

Souls that have sinned, and those that are damned,
all serving the Devil in this barren land.
Their decaying bodies rotting down to the bone
cause a stench no one wants to admit as his own.

As the young boy feels his stomach grow weaker,
he locks eye to eye with the deadly Grim Reaper.
The long bloody scythe held high in his hand,
the child knows he will never escape from this land.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Officially Large

Paul brought over his bathroom scale this afternoon and weighed Alice. She clocks in at 16.6 pounds. I think that qualifies her as large. :} I've been thinking I need to get her a little harness and leash and take her out for walks, but now that it's getting cold and rainy and wet outside, I don't think she'd really go for it. Plus, I'd have to carry her up and down five flights of stairs, and I don't think I'd really go for that. :P

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I Prefer Solid-State Midterms

Well, I think I just finished the take-home midterm for my archaeology class. But you never can tell. That midterm was like a gas -- it just kept expanding to fill every last minute of time I had available, and I couldn't figure out how to keep it contained and put a time limit on it. I guess I'm really bad at budgeting time for papers, which is probably why I really don't like take-home midterms. I wrote this one in a very odd manner as well, jumping back and forth between the three questions every twenty minutes or so rather than answering them one at a time in a logical fashion. It was very strange, but that's apparently the way my brain has been working the last couple of days, so that's the way it went. I ended up about 200 words over the word limit (hey, I hit the grad student word limit - I think they actually have it easier!), and he says he's really strict about that, so I'll probably try to shave it a bit more tomorrow, but I don't see how I can take much more out and still have it mean anything; 1000 words for three hefty questions isn't much!

I'm going to have a nice break from all this schoolwork tomorrow afternoon; I'm taking my friend Diana to see the Corpse Bride for her birthday (which was last week), and then we'll go to dinner and catch up on all sorts of gossip. I'm supposed to go to a Halloween party on Saturday, but it's all the way out in far-away Southeast Portland, very hard to get to by bus, and I'd rather not trust anybody else to get me home, so I'm not sure how that's going to work. Plus, I don't have a costume! I did pick up some fabulous horns at the pumpkin patch on Monday - twisted pumpkin stems that had broken off and dried on the ground - but I don't have a costume to go with them. Any suggestions out there?

Other than that, I'll be hitting the books most of the weekend, preparing for my two midterms on Tuesday (fortunately both in-class, with definite time limits). But right now I have to give Alice a good brush and play with her for a while, since she's been neglected all day in favor of my midterm, and she's been yowling at me and tugging on her string toy for the last half-hour.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Is it just me, or does this really not make any sense?

I really don't approve of the textbook chosen for my human variation class. First of all, it has the dark mark on the cover, which is a very bad omen for the term. Second of all, it is extremely dense, with small print, and the figures are printed in tri-color - black and two shades of blue. Unfortunately, most of the time it's really hard to distinguish between the black and the darker blue, so it can be a real pain to decipher the figures (even if they were understandable to begin with, which most of them aren't). Thirdly, the level of this textbook is far far too advanced for this class and assumes that we know things about statistics and genetics and all sorts of things that are not prerequisites for the class, which makes it very difficult to understand. As an example, take these two sentences from the chapter I'm currently reading ("Processes Shaping Evolutionary Diversity"):

"The harmonic mean is the reciprocal of the mean of the reciprocals: {some long and complicated calculation} for t generations. In practice, this means that the effective population size is disproportionately affected by the smaller population sizes."

Does that make any sense to you?

The midterm for this class is November 1, at 8:00 in the morning (I think it's safe to say that I'm not going to be doing anything exciting for Halloween). This particular professor writes absolutely evil exams. And she told us last Tuesday that she's not going to be providing us a study guide for the exam -- she's going to allow us the privilege of making our own. Isn't that nice of her? Man, I was soooo looking forward to getting that study guide! She is going to allow us to bring a "cheat sheet" to the exam, which is nice, but I would have by far preferred a study guide and no cheat sheet. Sigh. I suppose I'll live. At least midterms mean the quarter is about halfway over (yikes!). :}

Saturday, October 15, 2005


This afternoon I went out to the garden for the work party I had marked on my calendar. Unfortunately, I was mistaken in the date, and it's actually tomorrow. But Paul was there as well (because I'd told him it was today), so we went ahead and worked on our plot for a few hours. We harvested everything that was harvestable, then pulled up and churned under all of the annuals to make way for winter crops. We ended up with 11.6 pounds of green tomatoes and a whole armful of sunflowers, which are now in various vases and jars all over my coffee table -- it's wonderful. :) We left the lettuces and spinach and chard and peas and onions, but other than that the plot is ready for winter crops. I was expecting to be sort of sad after we took everything out, to feel like the plot looked naked and bare after its beautiful summer glory, but it really wasn't that way at all. It felt more like it was just gorgeous rich, moist, dark earth, ready and waiting for the next adventure to be planted. It felt good, and it's nice to feel part of the cycle. Now I just have to figure out what to do with all these tomatoes.... :P

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Miracle Shoes Let Me Get Sore

Boy, am I sore today! I went running with John on Monday night, and I'm definitely feeling it! We ran on the Nike field on campus rather than on the streets, and it was actually much nicer than I expected. I mean, I knew the surface would be better than asphalt (it's made of recycled Nike shoes, so it's nice and cushy, and, as a special bonus, it doesn't get muddy when it's wet! :), but I always think it's boring to run around in circles in the same place. But I guess it helps to run with somebody so you can keep a conversation going - and it's nice for me to have somebody count laps, since I seem to be incapable of counting when I run. :P Another thing that was different about the run was the pace. First of all, John's legs are about twice as long as mine, but he generally does a good job of pacing with me. But what was different was that, when I street run, I usually just run at whatever pace is comfortable, maybe go up and down some hills (I like hills), but generally keep to a steady trot and don't really push myself too hard. Well, after we'd run about 4 or 5 or maybe 6 laps (not only can I not count laps, I can't remember how many I've done even if I know!), John said, "Okay, now let's step it up and run at 150% of our current pace." So we went a bit faster for the next lap. When that was over, he said, "Alright, now 150% of this pace" and I had to stretch my stride about as far as it would go to stay in stride with him. We only went one length of the field at that pace, but that was certainly enough! And it was only about 3/4 of his full stride length. Sigh. :P But it was really good to have somebody to push me like that, and get me out of my comfort zone a bit. After the run we did handstands and cartwheels on the field for a while, which is becoming a fun after-run cool-down tradition.

Anyway, back on to being sore. What is unusual about this particular soreness is the fact that it's not my shins that are sore. It's my glutes and quads. That is absolutely thrilling, and I am not exaggerating. I have no pain in my shins, whatsoever. I have been so used to running until my shins hurt, and letting that tell me when to stop, that it's a real shift to not having to worry about that. My shins are no longer the limiting factor in my running, at least for the fitness level I am at right now, and I can run to the point where other parts of my body get sore the next day. I think I'm going to write to Brooks and tell them they make miracle shoes. :)

On a completely different note, and because I can't seem to complete a post without somehow mentioning food, I had a marvelous dinner tonight. The first quintessentially autumn dinner of the year: leek and potato soup with freshly baked bread. I didn't exactly pick the best day for it (that would be a brisk, crisp, cold grey autumn day, and this was a gorgeously cool, sunny and bright autumn day), but boy! was it delicious! :)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Two of my Favorite Things

Those would be food and dancing. :) And they're made even more enjoyable when I get to share them with fun people. I had a wonderful little dinner party last night. John, Jan, Mitch and Althea came over and we made pizza and salad and garlic bread, and had two fabulously chocolatey desserts to top it off (Antonia's chocolate revel bars were a hit). During the course of dinner we discovered that two of Jan, Althea and Mitch's professors at Reed are people I know from morris dancing, and that Althea had been to the Christmas Revels last year and seen me there. Fun connections.

After a delicious and fun-filled dinner (and dessert!) Jan, Mitch and I went swing dancing. (Unfortunately, John had to work and Althea was feeling under the weather.) The band was the West Coast Rhythm Kings, and they were great. One of the singers was also a tap dancer, so there were a couple of tap dancing interludes during the night, which were a kick to watch (no, I don't think I'm going to take up tap dancing any time soon, sorry). The guy who throws me around (who shall henceforth be known by his name, Lee) said he would make me a copy of an instructional CD of Balboa moves so I can learn to follow more of the stuff he throws at me. I don't know why he's so set on me learning Balboa, since I've been absolutely abysmal at all of my attempts so far, but he seems to think I can do it. Plus, he just wants a follow who knows the really hard moves he's learned so he can actually do them. :} He also asked if I'd like to do an aerials workshop with him next Sunday -- yikes! I asked if he thought I was up to it, and he said sure! (And besides, you're light so it's easy to throw you around.) It's a little intimidating, but I suppose that since he knows all these moves already, and he's going to be throwing me around anyway, it's probably a good idea to actually go to a workshop to learn how to do my end of things properly. And he said he'd pay for it, since he's the one looking for a partner to take the class, so how can I say no? I'll let you know how it goes. :)

It will be a good thing when I graduate and get a job, so I can help support my increasing cooking and dancing habits... :P

Monday, October 03, 2005

I Knead a Beat

Since I'm relatively on top of my schoolwork so far, and since I managed to borrow a large bowl from John this morning, I designated today a baking day. Hooray! The large bowl was necessary for making bread, the second batch of which is on its second rise at the moment. (The first loaf was a cheater recipe; it didn't actually go through all the rises but sort of did it on its own in the oven. Clever Norwegians.) I put on my Big Bad Voodoo Daddies CD for kneading music for the second batch, and discovered that "Maddest Kind of Love" had the perfect beat for my kneading speed. And since it's a five minute song, it occupied a good portion of my kneading time. Now, if I were very clever (or had a metronome), I'd be able to figure out how many beats per minute I knead at, which would be wonderfully geeky. :)

In other culinary fun (there seems to be a theme in my recent posts....) I went over to my friend Lisa's apartment last night for a small dinner party with two of her other friends (who I had met in the garden previously, and given carrots, which we figured out about two hours into the evening). We made acorn squash soup and chanterelle pizza, which was just fabulous. The plan was to have dinner and then make fig jam, but we never quite got to the fig jam part of the evening because we were having so much fun yakking (mostly about food). But it was fun.

In less exciting, non-culinary news, my first week of classes went well, and I think I'll have a decent quarter. One horrible class (Human Variability), one hard-but-good class (Advanced Topics in Archaeology: Hunter-Gatherers), one medium class (Urban Planning: Environmental Issues) and one relaxing class with a community service component (Meditation for Global Healing). For this class I'll be volunteering at Our House of Portland, a residential facility for people living with advanced AIDS/HIV. I like the people in my group, and I think it should be a good experience. We have an orientation next week, where I'll hopefully figure out what we'll actually be doing.

Other than that, it's been wonderful and cool and rainy since classes started, and I love it! I've been out walking in the rain as much as possible, and people either look at me like I'm crazy or smile at the silly grin on my face, which is usually turned up to enjoy the rain. Mmm, I do love Portland. :)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Culinary Adventures with Antonia and Quena

Okay, I promised I'd try to remember and post a list of the delicious concoctions experienced by my kitchen (and my tummy) while Antonia and Quena were here, so here goes. In no particular order, here are some of the yummy (all-vegan) things we ate:

- Mixed veggies sauteed with fresh pesto
- Mushroom-tofu-leek pasties with potato onion dill bread
- Gingered green (and purple) beans and orange peppers
- Chocolate brownies topped with "Rockin' Raspberry Chipotle" Jam and melted chocolate
- Chocolate truffles (as a result of putting wine in the melted chocolate for the brownie topping - oops!)
- Mystery spice cake (with cumin, curry, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, cocoa, and cayenne)
- Banana five-spice cake with tofu "whipped cream" topping
- Mabon bread
- Spicy Pad Thai with tofu
- High-protein smoothies
- Ginger-apple pancakes with yogurt and maple syrup
- Lots of yummy salad with fresh garden ingredients and flowers
- Crackers spread with Better-Than-Cream Cheese, then "Rockin' Raspberry Chipotle" Jam, topped with mint leaf

If I've forgotten anything (and I'm sure I have), Quena and Antonia may feel free to post comments with additions. :) Thanks again for a fabulous visit, and for the incentive to start exercising more! :P

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Wonderful People

It is so lovely to have Antonia and Quena here with me in my little apartment in Portland. We have been having a wonderfully girly time, with lots and lots of cooking and baking, which my other friends are very happy about as well. :) We made Paul a birthday dinner on Monday, and tricked him quite well with the vegan cream cheese. Last night we made a delicious picnic and took the streetcar up to NW Portland to watch the Vaux Swifts fly into the chimney at Chapman school to roost for the night. It's a wonderful neighborhood event where people bring out their blankets and picnics and sit on the hill to watch the thousands of birds funneling into the chimney. John came along with us, and we met my friends Cate and Victor there, and also ran into a couple of other people we knew, so it was a jovial gathering. After the picnic we all (minus the couple of other people) came back to my apartment for dessert, which was also delicious. I had a very happy-making thought while we were all sitting there enjoying dessert and talking and laughing -- I was having my first party in my own space! It made me feel very good to be surrounded by good friends, wonderful people all, making my home a joyful place.

Today Antonia made us whole-meal smoothies for breakfast, which were yummy and nutritious. Then Quena and I went to Powells to copy the recipe for Mabon Bread from a book, then went shopping for the ingredients, while Antonia went camera and bike shoe shopping. Quena and I also biked up to NW to the running store, where we tried on lots of running shoes and ran around the block numerous times, confusing the people who were sitting outside the coffee shop on the corner. I ended up buying a pair of Brooks shoes. They (the shoes) convinced me they were worth it because they worked magic on my shins. The pair I tried on before the Brooks gave me shin pain, but when I put on the Brooks it went away. Just to test it out, I tried one shoe of each pair on each foot and ran around, then switched them and tried again. Both times, the shin with the non-Brooks shoe hurt, and the one with the Brooks shoe didn't. So maybe there's hope for my shins after all! We're hoping to all go out for a run with John this evening, but we'll see if that actually happens. The days are going by so quickly! Antonia has to leave early tomorrow morning, and it seems like she's only been here for a day. :( I'm copying down many of her recipes so I can try more vegan cooking experiments after she leaves. It has been so fun cooking with her! After this week is over, I'll post a list of all the wonderful things we cooked and baked (if I can remember them all!).

Time to make Mabon Bread now. Happy Equinox, everybody!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Home Sweet Home

Since I didn't have photo-uploading capability last time I posted, here are a couple pictures of the twins from my day at Dad's. Harper is on the left, Lila on the right (and that's Grandma Jackie in the middle). Aren't they adorable?
I have to say that my entire California trip was a huge success. It was great to see everybody, and I think I had almost the perfect amount of time everywhere. Santa Cruz was lovely; it was very good to go walking on the beach again, and to see Jim and Bast. I didn't end up connecting with Sarah, unfortunately, and when I walked down to the coffee shop where my friend Wyatt worked for the longest time I was told that he left them about a month ago, so I didn't get to see him either. Bummer. But Jim and I went to the County Fair, which is always fun. We missed the Alaskan Racing Pigs this year (they're not really all that exciting anyway), but did get to see the frisbee dogs, which were very impressive. We spent half an hour in the OMSI tent tangling ourselves in string puzzles, and worked on perfecting our sheep and goat calls in the livestock barn. All in all, a typical and highly enjoyable Fair. :)

And now I'm back in Portland. It drizzled and sprinkled my first day back, which was actually quite a nice change, and it's lovely and sunny out now. The garden is doing very well, though it got mildly weed-ridden in my absence. At least it's happy. I went to a swing dance last night and tested out my new dance sneakers. They're awesome! I had enough traction to maintain control, but enough slip to be able to slide. And no blisters! The guy who threw me around so much at the last swing dance was there, so he threw me around some more. He was impressed that I remembered some of the Charleston stuff he showed me last month, and that I picked up the Savoy kicks straight off (sort of). I failed miserably at Balboa, however, so I'm going to need to work on that one.

Antonia arrives tomorrow morning, and Quena arrives Tuesday evening. I can't wait!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Catching Up

Okay, I haven't posted for several days now, so I'm going to try to recap everything that's happened since my last post. Let's see....

Davis was fabulously fun. I love Quena's co-op, and her lovely co-op housemates, and her wonderfully playful (and not fat!) Lucia-cat. It was tremendously satisfying to be able to walk out the back door every morning and pick fresh figs for breakfast, and kumquats and grapes in the afternoon, and peppers and eggplants and tomatoes for dinner. That's the way I want to live! :) In other Davis adventures, we spent some time walking around campus, ate a scrumptious lunch at Sam's Mediterranean Restaurant, went to the Farmer's Market, and danced at the Merrie Pryanksters' practice on Thursday night. It was fun to do some energetic English dancing again.

Early Friday morning Quena walked me the three minutes to the train station, from whence I took a train to Richmond to meet Seth and spend the day with him. It was absolutely lovely to see him again, after something like four years. He took me rock climbing at a climbing gym, and I remembered how much I enjoy toproping in the gym. He started me on a really easy 5.3, but I graduated from that pretty fast, and I think I may have gotten all the way up to a 5.10a. I've been very sore for the last couple of days (forearms and shoulders especially), but it's a very good and satisfying kind of sore. I can't wait for the little climbing gym on campus (in an old racketball court) to open up again for fall quarter so I can go check it out.

Yesterday I went over to Dad and Betty Lue's house to see them and Grandma Jackie for lunch. I got a special bonus surprise for the day -- Hilarie and Eric brought their four-month-old twin daughters (my step-nieces) Lila and Harper over! It was very fun to meet them, and I got to feed and hold Lila and get her milky drool all over my shirt. :) They really are remarkably good babies, and it was fun to meet Eric and see Hilarie again as well. So that was a nice surprise. And it's always nice to see Dad and Betty Lue and Grandma Jackie.

Today I'm with Monee and Pa, having a lovely relaxing day. Monee and I went out to Michael's and JoAnn Fabrics this afternoon for some crafty shopping, and we're going to start her new beading project this afternoon. But for now they're engrossed in the tennis match, so I have time to catch up on my blog. And I think that's it for now! Tomorrow I go to Santa Cruz to see Jim, and hopefully my friend Sarah, and then I fly home again on Wednesday.

Oooh! One more fun piece of news! I get to have both Antonia and Quena come to visit me next week! Hooray!!! :)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I am having a lovely time visiting Quena in Davis at the moment. Yesterday we spent much of the day walking around in the beautiful but not-too-hot sunshine, picking up Quena's flat-tired bike from a friend's house. We then walked the bike over to campus, where we took it to the Bike Barn and fixed the flat, and also saw the Experimental College where Quena works. A fun work habitat if ever I saw one. :) After fixing the flat tire we were able to bike around Davis instead of walking, which was equally fun, though more butt-soring.

Last night was Quena's night to cook dinner, so I helped her and her cooking partner Corin make Thai food. We had salad, of course, and Corin made some excellent Thai vegetables while Quena and I made a killer spicy Pad Thai with tofu and eggplant. There were several extra people over for dinner, so it was a very cozy and jovial affair. And there were four Stanford people around the table! The Pad Thai was extremely spicy. We had a chorus of sniffs around the table, and people were all blowing their noses at once. Someone opened the dining room windows, which helped cool us down somewhat. Finally, Travis got out a jug of milk from the fridge, and proclaimed that it worked wonders for the spiciness. The jug got passed around the table, and the milk certainly helped. Travis called across the table, "Quena, I have been eating in this house for two years, and never has milk been passed around the table!" So I guess we set a record. It was good, though!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Starry Plough

Lst night I went to the Starry Plough for the first time, for some lovely Irish music and dancing. Quena was kind enough to take the beginner's lesson with me, even though she's something of a regular, so I got a nice 2-hour introduction before the 2-hour dance. I didn't dance any of the "for those who know" dances, of course, but they were sure fun to watch! And my new dance sneakers did a fine job, despite the hard concrete floor and fast waltzes.

It was really fun to go somewhere I'd never been, and yet know a whole bunch of people there. Shortly after we got there I came out of the bathroom, and who should I see standing in front of me but Richard Powers! Now that was a person I didn't expect to see there. Apparently his new wife, Tracy, is a regular at the Plough, and he's been a couple of times. So I didn't get to see him at FNW, but I did at the Plough. Funny the way the world works. He invited me down for their wedding reception/dance/party in November, which was very nice of him. In addition, there were a bunch of morris people I hadn't seen in a long time, and a couple of people I'd met once or twice before, several years ago, and recognized but didn't quite remember. It took Siannan to tell Forrest and me that we had met at Lark something like four or five years ago -- neither of us had a clue! Anyway, it was fun to dance, and fun to see some familiar faces. Hooray for the wonderful socialness of dance communities!

And now I'm in Davis, all set to start a wonderful few days with Quena and her lovely kitty cat Lucia. A beautiful dark grey cat, vocal on a par with Alice, but far quicker. :P It's wonderful being in Quena's lovely J Street co-op house, with all the happy colors and delicious-looking jars of home-canned pasta sauce and corn and salsa and honey. Truly inspiring. Hooray for happy houses and Quena time!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Ruby Slippers

Guess what I got today! Fabulous red dance sneakers! I've wanted red shoes for quite some time now, but never found ones I thought I would actually wear. But I will certainly wear these! They make me very happy, and will inspire me to dance more! And hopefully I won't get anymore giant blisters on my toes. :)

Markets and Murals

Yesterday morning Antonia came over and we all walked to the Palo Alto Farmer's Market. Hooray for Farmer's Markets! It was fun to experience a new market with some of the same goodies and some different goodies. They had a crepe stand that made fabulous crepes, which we bought for an early lunch. The Gravenstein apples were also fabulous, and I'm sure all of the other things we (read: Mom, who was very excited to be at her first Farmer's Market in Palo Alto) bought will be delicious as well. There was live music to sit by while we ate, and we ran into a Stanford dance person (who had not been at Friday Night Waltz the night before). All in all, it was a lovely leisurely morning.

One cool thing about downtown Palo Alto is the murals you find on many of the buildings. Not big huge landscape-type murals, but mostly just cool little paintings on the sides of buildings, sometimes where you least expect them. This one was on the back side of the Washington Mutual building, which is somewhat appropriate. Unfortunately, the shadows are all wrong, which is somewhat distracting.

This one really tripped me out. I suppose at one point in the day the shadows on the real window and the painted window could theoretically match, but most of the time it just looks wrong. Cool idea, though.

This one was just cute. It's on the side of the Bay Leaf restaurant, a very nice little vegan restaurant where we went for dinner last night. I had a "Toon Mai Toon" sandwich, with soy cream cheese, tomatoes, roasted red pepper walnut pesto, and other yumminess. I do like small, friendly, yummy restaurants. :)

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Yay for friends and dancing!

Graham and I went to Friday Night Waltz last night, and I had a lovely time seeing some of my old Stanford dancing friends. Some of them knew I was coming (and made a special trip just to see me - how sweet!), but some of them were very surprised. It was lovely to dance again, though I desperately need new dance sneakers. Graham and I may be going out dance sneaker shopping at some point this weekend, which would be nice. After the dance I went out to Pizza My Heart with several other people, which I'd never done after dances when I actually lived here, so it was fun to finally get that experience. All in all, it was very fun to see everybody and dance with some of my good friends again, and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Hooray for dancing and dancing friends! (By the way, at left with me are Neal and Dave. My feet are about a foot and a half off the ground.)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Flap, flap!

I'm off to California! There may be sporadic posts from time to time during my trip, or I might save it all up for when I get back. For now, I'm just excited to be coming down to see everybody! Here I come! :)

Current magnetic poetry:
fly naked

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I'm not a night owl! Really I'm not!

... But I've sure been acting like it. It's hard not to become a night person when you've got gorgeous 70° clear, starry evenings to go out and enjoy. The days have cooled down a bit, and I actually haven't even used my fan for a few days, but the nights are just lovely. John and I just went and sat on a bench in the Park blocks to chat for a while this evening because it was so nice out. It's gorgeous weather for walks, as well. Last week I went for a walk into the West Hills and found a stairway leading up to a wonderfully steep and windy road with glimpses of downtown and the rising moon. Unfortunately, there's pretty much no moon right now, but by the time I get back from California it will be almost full moon time, so I'm hoping the weather is still this perfect for nighttime moon-gazing walks.

On the other end of the spectrum, I may be getting up before the crack of dawn tomorrow to ride up to Council Crest and watch the sunrise. I haven't seen the sunrise in a long time, and from what I remember from my early mornings during field school, the wee hours are just as gorgeous as the nighttime. The sunrise ride sort of depends on whether or not John bangs on my door in the morning -- he had to start work at 10:30 tonight (tearing down after a concert), so I told him that if he was crazy enough to do that and then get up at oh-my-god-o'clock in the morning and bike up to Council Crest, I was up for it. I may not get an ideal amount of sleep, but at least I'll get more than he will! :P

Paul and I took a bunch of pictures of the garden this afternoon and I finally figured out how to print reasonable quality photos on my printer, so I have some pictures to bring down to CA for show-and-tell. Only one more day until I get to start my whirlwind visit tour! Hooray! I'm very excited to see everybody!

Current magnetic poetry:
wild young damsel
fresh as the universe
eternal as a flame
in anything but distress

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

New Friends and Old

Two days ago my neighbor on the corner of the hall knocked on my open door to introduce himself, which I thought was a very nice and neighborly thing to do. I usually keep my door open to let fresh air move through the apartment, and to let Alice roam the hall if she wants to (though she usually stays in and sleeps). I guess I also still have something of a dorm mentality, even though these are apartments, not dorm rooms. When I was at Stanford in the dorms I always had my door open, and even though sometimes I didn't feel like I had a whole lot of friends who would actually stop by to see me, it was nice to have the door open and have people passing by and sometimes poking their heads in to say hi. So I suppose there's some remnants of the dorm sociality in my open door habits. Anyway, it was nice that this guy came and introduced himself, though I don't know if he's the sort of guy I will actually become friends with -- some of his first questions were "Do you drink? Do you like to party?" and were followed closely by "Do you like to hang out and watch movies?" Now, I don't mind a good movie now and then, but I'm not really into the whole drinking and partying thing, so I don't know how often I'll be knocking on his door to hang out. But it is nice to know him, to know his name, and to start getting familiar with the people on my hall. Now I know two of them! I have become pretty good friends with John, who lives on the other side of the building, and hopefully I'll start getting to know some of my other neighbors as well.

In the last week, in addition to meeting new people, I've started reconnecting with some older friends. I met a previous coworker and friend, Diana, from my My Own Labels days. I took the bus to meet her at the new company building, which is huge and spacious and big and amazingly quiet and subdued (did I mention it felt big?) They have two firemans' poles. :) It was neat to see some people again, but I was suprised that there were only four people left that I actually knew. It seems that a lot of people have gone back to school recently, so there were a lot of new people, along with the end of the summer help. After I got the tour Diana came over and saw my apartment and garden, then we went and ate nachos and had a good chat. It was fun to see her again, and we exchanged jams -- my raspberry for her unsweetened plum. Yay for jam buddies! :)

In other "old friend" news, I've also gotten back in touch with Sarah, from way back in highschool. Hooray! We're hoping to get together for breakfast or something while I'm down in Santa Cruz in a couple of weeks, which would be very fun. We saw each other about two years ago (I think?), and it's about time for another catch-up session. Hooray for reconnecting with friends from all walks of life!

Current Magnetic Poetry:
explore the rhythm of peace
let laughter inspire you
to newborn trust
in a strange yet familiar world
love slowly but deeply
remember your wildness

Sunday, August 28, 2005


I went jogging tonight for the first time in months and months (at least three or four). It felt good, but of course the direction I chose to run was... you guessed it, uphill. Do I ever do things the easy way? :P It was a good run, though the uphill parts went rather slowly (especially the stairs). I did a somewhat circular route, rather than backtracking, so I went uphill (and up stairs) the steep way, and then came back down a more gradual slope to try to save my knee and shins. I think I did pretty well; my knee is only mildly complaining, though we'll see what it and my already tight hamstrings are saying tomorrow morning. I would love to start running more frequently and for longer distances, because when my body behaves it feels wonderful to run. It's just a matter of not killing my knee or getting shin splints. Maybe I should get some actual running shoes....

I think I need to get a new pair of dance sneakers, too. My feet seem to sort of spill over the edges of the ones I currently wear, because the tops are so stretchy and flexible and the sole is just a bit too narrow for my feet (hence the enormous pinky-toe blister from the previous post). Friday night's dance inspired me to explore all the swing dancing in Portland I possibly can, and I'm actually thinking about seeking out some classes, since I've gotten some recommendations and actually saw a few of the teachers dancing on Friday. I think I'd like to start with something I'm familiar with, like Lindy, to get back into the groove and get more comfortable with something I already know, and then start branching out into things I've always meant to learn, like West Coast swing and Charleston and salsa, and things I've only just begun to think I can do, like Balboa. Boy, I could just be a full-time dance student! :P One thing I thought was interesting, looking at some of the dance teacher bios on Portland-area websites, is that it seems like most of them have only been dancing for about five years, which seems like a very short time between learning a dance style and teaching it. But then again, I've seen some of them dance, and they're definitely qualified!

So those are my current fitness and entertainment aspirations. I think Alice must have set herself some similar goals as well - she's been much more active in the last week or so (don't laugh, Mom!). She wants to play with her string-on-a-stick much more frequently and for much longer periods of time, and she's getting much quicker and more agile in her chasing technique. And today she did two things I haven't seen her do before: she actually jumped up at the string, and another time she stood all the way up on her hind legs to reach waaaay up for it. In order for you to grasp the significance of these achievements, you must understand that normally Alice prefers to lay on her back or her side and sort of swat at the string as it goes by - so this is big news. I've started a fairly regular nighttime routine of making myself a cup of tea, then giving Alice a good brushing (she loves it!). That gets her all worked up and excited, then we play with her string while I drink my tea. When we're both tired out, we go to bed. Not a bad life, I think. :)

Current magnetic poetry:

perhaps the cat
had only one life

vast feline belly

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Dancing Makes Me Happy

Well, my whole body is exhausted, my lower back is starting to complain, and I have a gigantic blister threatening to take over my right pinky toe, but boy, did I have fun tonight! :) I ventured across the river to Paradise Ballroom for a live band "vintage swing" night, and it was well worth it. I was worried at first that it was going to be tiny and beginner-y, because when I showed up about five minutes before it started there were a total of six people there. But it picked up after a while, there was a great band, and there were some great dancers, dancers I could just sit and watch and try not to drool over. It was a small venue, but the floor size and crowd size was perfect; there were enough people to be sociable, but enough room to play around and take up space on the dance floor, which is a luxury I'm not used to, coming from dances like Jammix and overly crowded contradances.

One of the older guys there pretty much adopted me after the second dance, and I must have danced about half the dances with him. It was ridiculously fun. He was throwing me all over the place and leading all sorts of moves I'd maybe seen a few times but never attempted. I got a lot more comfortable with Charleston, which was nice, since I've always had a bit of a phobia around that. I also (sort of) learned Balboa, but didn't get enough of that to really sink in. And I got thrown a lot of salsa and blued and other moves. He was great about breaking down a move if I couldn't follow it after a couple tries, and I don't think he minded much, since he kept throwing new things at me. In return, he said that he'd gotten to do a lot of moves tonight that he hasn't done in a long time -- he found out I'm a folk dancer, so figured (correctly) that I could do things like pivots, which the "hot dogs" (as he called them) who only did swing dancing couldn't do and would look at him funny if he tried with them.

All in all, I had a highly enjoyable evening, I learned a ton, and got thoroughly exhausted. Now I'm eating peanut butter on toast, my traditional after-dance snack that I haven't eaten in how long?, and reflecting on the goodness of life and the happiness of dancing.

Current magnetic poetry:

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Baby Taylor & Lucky Bamboo

Well, I went to California last weekend to help Mom move, and ended up coming home with her guitar! Yup, it's the most beautiful Baby Taylor, a lovely small guitar that's the perfect size for small bodies and fingers. It's so cute! Now I just have to learn how to play it! Graham helped me put new strings on it and tune it for the first time, and taught me my first three chords, but now I need to find somebody up here in Portland who can teach me the rest. :)

Before I left for CA I put my old monitor and keyboard up for sale or trade on Craigslist. The deal? Either $10 or a nice houseplant. A very pleasant woman came to pick them up this afternoon, and I now have a lovely new lucky bamboo plant on my windowsill! She was great -- she didn't have a car and didn't want to bother with FlexCar, so she just brought a giant duffel bag and some bubble wrap and took it all home on the bus. :) My kind of person. :)

In less happy news, my jars of preserved mushrooms seem to have broken their seals and overflowed themselves with oil while I was gone. I guess maybe I filled them too full, but the recipe didn't say how much head room to leave -- just to get out all the air bubbles and fill the jars. But they're all leaking oil all over the place, so I must have filled them too full. I don't know if they're salvageable or not, since the seals have obviously been broken. Can anybody help me on this one? I was really looking forward to those!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Asleep at the Wheel

No, I didn't fall asleep while driving home this evening (I don't even have a car). I just got back from a concert at the zoo, with a band called Asleep at the Wheel. I'd never heard their music before, but Paul has a "plus" zoo membership that gets him two free tickets to the Wednesday evening concerts, so I invited him along to get us both in for free. And it was worth every penny! :) Paul's most descriptive comment was, "They're like a parody of a country band. I'm not quite sure whether or not to take them seriously!" Whatever they were, they were great, and it was a really fun concert. I don't think I'd like to listen to their music on CD, but they were certainly a kick to experience live. I liked the way all the instruments got at least one solo, sometimes with several sequential solos in one song, which was cool. And there were three main singers, which was also nice. The band leader, Ray Benson, had the most amazingly deep voice -- and, boy, did he play it up! And the fiddle player, Jason Roberts, was awesome. They both sang, as did the only female, Elizabeth McQueen, who had a great belting alto voice. It was a totally racous concert and immensely fun. And it was free! :)

In slightly less rowdy but still exciting news, I made raspberry jam this afternoon! Yes, I know I said I was done with jamming, but I realized there were more people on my "I want to give jam to..." list than I had jars of jam, so I had to make another batch. Oh, darn. :P But now I'm out of jars, so I'd better be done!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Blackberry Lambic

This afternoon I donated the use of my kitchen to Paul's lambic-making operation, in exchange for some of the product. He had picked the berries a couple days ago (some of which I used to make a yummy pie), and came over to make the beer (which I insist is not beer, because I do not like beer, but I like lambic) this afternoon. It was a very messy process, which I was prepared for, since I've witnessed beer-making in this kitchen before, but I think the product will turn out well. Of course, we'll have to wait about six months to find out, since that's how long it has to sit and ferment. Fortunately, Paul lugged the jug back to his apartment, so I don't have to house it for all that time. :)

While Paul was boiling beer and fiddling with his laptop I laid down on my futon for a cat nap. My front door was open for a cross-breeze, and my futon is along the wall next to the door. I was woken quite suddenly by a loud knock on the door. It was my new friend Jon from the other side of the hall (I met him a few weeks ago when he paused at my door to remark on Alice's immense size), who walked in and said, "Hi. Wanna go rappeling?" We'd been talking about climbing the night before, and I had mentioned that I'd love to get back into it, so I guess he was giving me the opportunity. I was still rather dazed from my sudden awakening and didn't really comprehend. I said, "What, right now?" "Yeah, right now!" Ummm.... I've got somebody in my kitchen making beer at the moment.... So I couldn't go, but that's probably just as well.

After the beer was done Paul and I went out to the garden and trimmed the mite-ridden leaves off the zucchini, pulled up the cabbage that bolted a week ago, and planted a bunch of new seeds for fall and winter crops. Unfortunately, Paul got a little overzealous with the hoe and churned up a couple of areas where I'd planted carrots and basil and wildflowers a couple of weeks ago. I had shown him where I'd planted the seeds so he would know where to water, and where not to plant anything else, but apparently he hadn't paid full attention. So I don't know if those things will come up or not, but we'll see. I have hopes. All in all, I'm pretty darn happy with the progress the garden has made and the delicious produce it has provided.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


My building has a wonderful laundry room. Now, it's nothing special in terms of the washers and dryers (though we do have nice front-loading washers), nor in the cushy chairs and TV/VCR setup to provide a mindless alternative to homework while watching laundry, nor in the all-too-few and very overcrowded bicycle racks. No, the wonderful thing about this laundry room is that people leave stuff there. It's like a Goodwill donation center without having to go to the Goodwill. Just leave your stuff and let other people take it. A lot of the stuff is junk, but I've gotten some pretty good stuff there. Some clothes, a hat, and some kitchen items. But yesterday I picked up the crowning glory of the laudry room. Yup, this chair. It's the perfect size for curling up and reading, or just sitting with one's feet up on the coffee table. The seat hits the right point on the legs, and the back is exactly the right height to rest my head. It's very comfortable, and in quite good shape. So, after a long day out with Mom (hooray for girlie days!), I finished the day by lugging this chair up five flights of stairs to my room. But it was worth it! And Alice likes it, too. :)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

At Last!

I am finally completely unpacked! And I only moved, what, almost two months ago? I guess I've been a little busy. Of course, there are still a ton of decorations in a couple of boxes, which I may or may not bother putting up, since I'll most likely have to move shortly after I graduate next quarter. Yeah, don't remind me about that. But for now, at least I have all of my stuff in the places I want it, and I can feel a bit more settled. And just in time for Mom to come visit this weekend! There's nothing like an impending (in a good way!) visit to motivate one to organize and tidy. :)

Monday, August 08, 2005

Blogover, again

Well, as you can see, I'm giving my blog another makeover. I've been thinking for a while that it was time for a change, so now I've finally done it. Hooray for change! The new headings are taken from some refrigerator magnet poetry I created a number of years ago; they seemed to go well together and express my current state of life. I think it's pretty much done, but I'm open to tweaking it a bit more if anybody has any suggestions. What do you think?

Mischief Managed

My jamming and jarring is complete! From left to right: rhubarb-strawberry, marionberry-blueberry, spiced peach, and oil-cured mushrooms (no, this is not a jam). The jams all taste great, though the marion-blue and peach are kind of thick. I won't know about the mushrooms for a while, since they have to sit for at least a month before eating. Hooray for culinary adventures!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The Worst Indignity

There's nothing quite like a cat that's just had a bath. Let's just say this has not been the happiest day for Alice. (For those of you who don't know, Alice is the (very large) cat currently residing with me. She belongs to my friend Paul, who lived in this apartment before me, but he can't have cats in his new apartment. So Alice is living with me until the end of the summer, at which time she will go to her new permanent home, once her new owners get back from Viet Nam.) But back to the story. Paul came over this afternoon to do some Alice-grooming. First, he shaved her belly. No, I am not kidding. It has been extremely hot here lately, and she gets overheated with all her fur, so she actually doesn't mind it. She just looks kind of funny for a few days. :) Then he shaved a couple of little random spots of matted hair that I haven't been able to get out with the brush. She was really not very happy about that, and that was before the bath. Yeah, he gave her a bath. I have never seen a cat being fully bathed by a human before, but she seemed to take it remarkably well. She yowled and growled and struggled a bit, but she didn't really try to escape, and she didn't claw or bite, which I found quite remarkable. But, boy, was she a pathetic and bedraggled sight when she emerged from the bathroom! Poor kitty. I refrained from taking a picture because that just seemed too cruel, so you'll just have to imagine it. She's almost dry now, after about five hours, and she'll probably be really nice and soft when she's fully dry and sociable again (yeah, she got a full shampoo job). But she's been an indignant cat for most of the afternoon, demanding extra attention because she obviously deserves special treatment after being put through such an ordeal.

In completely different news, Paul and I spent the rest of the afternoon after bathing the cat in building a lovely brick retaining wall for the garden. It's wonderful! And I found another very good use for my archaeology trowel. :) Brick laying is kind of fun -- frustrating at times when you're trying to make a curved wall and your mortar is oozing out the angled cracks, but still a fun challenge. And now the soil won't all wash away onto the path when I water -- hooray!

And a jam update: the peach jam was tasty, but very dense. No worries about runny jam here! I made rhubarb-strawberry jam this afternoon, which I think turned out better (though still a bit too sweet, even though I cut the sugar by 2 cups), and will do marionberry-blueberry tomorrow. And then I'm hoping my jam craze will be satisfied, because it's way too hot here to be making jam!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

In A Jam

A peach jam, to be precise. I bought some yummy peaches at the Farmer's Market yesterday, and after a good deal of waffling between canning and jamming, I settled on jamming because I realized I only had small jars. Of course, they're leftover jars from random jams and sauces and things, not the special standard-sized canning jars with the brand-new lids that you're supposed to use, but that's what I had. And then partway through the process I realized I hadn't gone out to buy the sugar to make the jam, so I ended up substituting the last cup or so with brown sugar, which you're not really supposed to do (and scanting the sugar, of course, since I don't like oversweet jams and the peaches are really sweet). I was very proud of myself for actually having a candy thermometer (thanks, Monee!) to get the jam to the right temperature, but after accidentally dropping it in the jam a few times the temperature seemed to be going down rather than up, so I had to chuck that method and try one of the "old-fashioned" (I swear, that's what they say in the book!) methods of testing for doneness. Of course, I had neglected to put a spoon or a saucer in the freezer for this purpose, thinking I would just be using the thermometer, so I ended up pretty much guessing at when it was done (as in, I was tired of stirring and getting burnt by jamsplatter, so I declared it done). So, all in all, an appropriately makeshift approach to my first attempt at jam. :) But it tasted wonderful going into the jars, so I'm hoping that the finished product will be tasty as well. If this batch is successful, I'm going to make a bigger batch next time -- that was an awful lot of work for four little jars of jam!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

A Day Well Spent

Can anybody guess what I did all day today? You've got it -- I read Harry Potter! For eleven hours. :) Hooray! Now all of you who have read it already can finally talk to me about it!

Backing up to yesterday, the party was actually quite enjoyable, and I discovered that croquet can be highly amusing when everybody but you is drinking copious amounts of beer. The dirt cake was a success -- two other people brought dirt cakes as well, but they were chocolate pudding instead of vanilla, and weren't nearly so good (if I do say so myself). Hats off to Monee for the best recipe!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

It's over!

I am officially done with field school! Hooray! It's been a very fun experience, but boy, what a time and energy commitment! I'm ready for a bit of a break, that's for sure. And there are so many wonderful things still to come this summer, it's about time I got on to them. Like finally reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I broke down and bought it on Tuesday because I was passing by a Borders, and brought it home and promptly hid it away in the deepest darkest drawer of my desk so I wouldn't be tempted to open it until after field school. And I've been such a good girl -- I haven't even peeked at the table of contents. I'm probably not going to start it until tomorrow -- the last-day-of-field-school party is starting shortly, so I'm getting a ride back to Vancouver for that (we had a half-day today, which was nice, so I actually got to come home and take a shower before the party). I'm not totally thrilled about partying at the moment -- I'd much rather stay home and read Harry Potter -- but it could be fun. And besides, I made dirt cake! Complete with flood silt (grated chocolate), gummy worms, river rocks (also chocolate), and a gold coin (yep, that's chocolate, too) for the grand prize. So I have to go. :) Anyway, after tonight I'm definitely done with field school. Now I just get to wait for the permadirt on my hands, knees and elbows to slowly wear away... :)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Picnics and Pesto

Today was a good day, a social day. Not, unfortunately, a homework day. :} Cate came over around lunchtime and we made sandwiches and the most delicious smoothies in the world, and took them out into the Park Blocks for a picnic on the grass. Yum! After she left I tried to do some homework, but somehow got sidetracked into making cookies. I wonder how that happened? :P It has become something of a tradition for me to bring cookies to field school on Tuesdays, so this week I made chocolate, oatmeal, walnut, chocolate and white chocolate chip cookies. Mmmmmm.....

I took a few cookies to Cristie and Martin in the anthropology lab this afternoon, and then headed over to the garden, where I mixed a bunch of compost and fertilizer and spread it all over my garden plot. There were so many good worms in there! I have high hopes for this improving the happiness of my plants. Things haven't been doing wonderfully because the soil is new and doesn't have any life in it, so the compost should really help. Several people have already fertilized with compost in the last week or so, and their plots are certainly doing better. Hooray for compost!

While I was in the garden, I did a "major" harvest -- the most goodies I've picked at once. Besides the peas I picked and ate in the garden (those never make it more than two feet from the plant), I brought home two baby zucchini, two strawberries, three cherry tomatoes, an onion, and a whole mess of basil, both purple and green. Yum! Cristie came over for dinner and we ate pesto and salad with fresh garden veggies. Everything that didn't come from my garden came from the Farmer's Market. Pretty soon my lettuces will be ready, and I'll be able to make a whole salad completely from my own garden! I even have a bunch of cucumbers coming in, including one semicircular one. :) Gardening makes me happy.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

And Now for Something Completely Different

... Shoveling gravel! :P Since I obviously don't get enough exercise during my normal Tuesday through Saturday week of biking across the river to Vancouver and doing archaeology all day, I volunteered to help lay the gravel foundation for the ADA-approved paths at the community garden this afternoon. They got a whole pile of gravel trucked in, and we were laying it down. Somebody from the landscaping department at PSU is going to come compact it this week, then next week we'll lay an inch of sand over it and then put the bricks on top. It's going to be nice. So anyway, I spent a good two hours shoveling gravel this afternoon. It was a perfect four-person job (which was good, since we had exactly four people) -- Paul and I shoveled gravel into one of two carts, Jeff ran and dumped one cart while we were filling the other, and Nara raked the gravel evenly to cover the pathway. We had the timing down so well that nobody was ever idle. It was very efficient, but also very tiring. :) It's going to look so good when it's done!

On a slightly less energetic note, I made granola this morning for the first time in forever. Hooray! And tomorrow I'm going to make pesto with fresh basil from the garden. Yum! I also checked out the fifth Harry Potter book from the library so I can skim it and review the latest events this week, in preparation for finally starting the latest next weekend. I'm not letting myself start it before then, because sleep is still an important commodity, at least for the last week of field school. Saturday is the last day, and there's a party afterward, so I probably won't start reading until Sunday (I'll want at least one good night's sleep and a good grocery shopping trip before I dive into it). And then people will finally be able to talk to me about it! :)

Bed time now. I woke up early this morning by accidentally kicking the cat off the bed, and didn't quite achieve the same sort of sleep after that. And, what with the shoveling this afternoon, I'm zonked. At least I have another weekend day. I'm going to fertilize the garden with compost tomorrow! I'm so excited! (Had to get that phrase in there somewhere. :)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Small Pleasures

Yesterday at the farmer's market I was looking for eggs (among many other delicious things). Unfortunately, I got there pretty much right at the end of the market, so I wasn't very hopeful when I approached the one stall that had an "Eggs" sign. I queried, "do you have any eggs left?" and the young man answered, "No, I don't, I'm sorry." But then the woman (his mother?) said, "Well, actually, I have one duck egg left." I laughed and asked, "What do you do with one duck egg?" and she promptly responded, "Make an omelette!" So I bought the one duck egg for 60 cents and carefully carried it home in my hand on the bus. This morning I had scrambled duck egg with tomato, basil and sharp cheddar cheese - delicious! It was a fun little treat, and now I know what duck eggs taste like. :)

On a completely different note, but still in keeping with the theme of the post, check out this cool website that Cristie and I discovered last week. We were looking for pictures of one of the fountains close to campus, and ran across the Blake Andrews Photo website, with pictures mostly from the Portland area. I especially like the "Chameleons" section.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

You have the hands of an... archaeologist

Cristie came over for dinner last night, and then we went out swing dancing. Hooray! I wasn't sure I was going to make it, after five long days of field school and not much sleep the night before, but I'm really glad I went. There was a one-hour east coast swing lesson before the dance, and we arrived in time for the second half of it. I got totally discombobulated because they were teaching it "rock-step, triple-step, triple-step" instead of "triple-step, triple-step, rock-step" the way I'm used to dancing. I guess it's a mark of how long it's been since I've been swing dancing (not counting Big Dance, I suppose) that, when faced with this style of teaching I felt like I didn't know how to dance. It was weird. But once the actual dance started it was really fun. There was a live band, which is always nice, despite the fact that the bassline was mic'd way too heavily and their seeming inability to maintain a single rhythm through a tune (they turned the one perfectly good waltz into a swing halfway through, and did funny things to a bunch of other tunes). I guess that doesn't exactly sound like a ringing endorsement, but it was nice to have live music. The people there were really friendly, and there was a good mix of dance abilities and ages -- from 14 to probably 65, and a decent college-age-appearing crowd (though we didn't actually interact with them much). Cristie and I were talking to one guy for a while, and told him we were archaeology students. The next time I danced with him, he commented, "Well, you have the hands of an archaeologist." I protested that I'd cleaned them as best I could (and did a pretty good job, I have to say) and tried to put lotion on to soften them up, but I guess that didn't help much. He said, "No, it's not a.. bad thing. They just feel... different." Hmmmmm. I have a feeling that wasn't exactly a compliment, but I took it as one. :P

Off to the Farmer's Market now. It's a gorgeous day!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I'm so excited!

I must have uttered that phrase (very excitedly, of course) about a thousand times last weekend, while shoveling massive amounts of dirt around to help create the campus community garden. I have a garden now! I'm so excited! The community garden is located on a fairly large lot recently vacated by the destruction of an old dorm building. Given the price of real estate in downtown Portland, this has got to be the most expensive garden in the country! I don't know how long it will last as a garden before the school decides it wants to build a new dorm, but it's a garden for this year at least. And I have a plot! Hooray! Paul and I are actually sharing a double plot, so we can spread things out a bit and share the produce. So far we've planted five different kinds of tomatoes (we like tomatoes), two kinds of bell peppers, a jalapeƱo, two strawberries, a cucumber, a black zucchini, a row of little onions, two kinds of basil, and Chinese cabbage. Yesterday I bought two different pea starts, and we have a bunch more seeds to plant more peas, carrots (two kinds, all mine!), radishes, lettuces, some herbs, and sunflowers. Hooray for gardens! I'm so excited! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Paul just told me that he met the guy who’s coordinator of the community gardens on campus, and found out that this Sunday is the day to go get a garden plot! I’m so excited! I can go to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and buy basil and tomato starts, and then get a garden plot on Sunday to plant them in! Wheeee!!!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


First of all, Happy Birthday, Dad!

Secondly, I don't have a car anymore! I'm so excited! :) I had a fabulous trip down to California, and everything seemed to work out just right. I got to stay with DeMara on Thursday, picked up Quena on Friday (with some confusion about directions - apparently there's a Corvallis, CA, from which directions to Davis are different than from Corvallis, OR), had a scrumdiddlyumptious dinner at Graham's courtesy of Antonia, and then danced and talked all night at Big Dance. It was kind of an odd feeling to be back on the Stanford campus, showing up at Big Dance like I'd never been away. It was neat, though. I got a lot of great multi-stage reactions from old friends who at first just recognized me and said a casual hi, then realized that they hadn't seen me for two years and gave me a great big, excited hug. Even Richard Powers remembered me and came over and hugged me and inquired as to how I've been. So it was fun. Graham and I won Big Dance tee-shirts in the cross-step waltz balloon race, and got eliminated early in the swing dance competition (a condition of our even entering it). And I actually managed to stay all night (with a slight break to drive Quena to Graham's at about 3:00), making it my fourth year (I missed last year entirely, and didn't stay all night the previous year). All in all, it was a highly enjoyable event.

Saturday afternoon (after sleeping for about four hours), Graham and I took a walk down Palm Drive to see Stone River, the Andy Goldsworthy sculpture/wall that was built a few years ago. That was really neat to see, and it was an absolutely gorgeous summery day for a walk. We came home and took a nap, and then Dad and Betty Lue came over and we walked to dinner at the Vegan Cafe near Graham's house. It was good to see them again, even if it was just a brief visit. Then on Sunday morning Mom came over and we went to brunch at the Creamery, where I had a delicious strawberry milkshake. Mmmmmm, milkshakes. :) I flew home on Sunday afternoon, and have been trying to catch up on sleep and studying ever since. I had an environmental ethics midterm yesterday, which I think I did pretty well on, despite the fact that I felt woefully unprepared going into it. We'll see how that turns out.

Anyway, life is back to normal, or at least as normal as it gets around here. :) The weather has been alternately absolutely gorgeous and threatening rain today, but so far the gorgeous has won out. You'd never know it was mid-May by all the rain around here. Then again, this is Portland, so maybe you would. I'm glad we've had enough rain to pretty much cancel the drought danger, but it would be nice to have some real sunshine for a while! Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Upcoming Adventures

Guess what -- I will very soon be the proud non-owner of a car! Hooray! I've been thinking for quite some time that it's really pretty silly for me to own a car, since I hardly ever drive it, and since I have to fork over money for insurance whether I drive it or not. So I decided to sell Gloria, and Graham decided to buy her, because fRed is getting rather old and tired. Isn't it nice how things work out sometimes? But it works out even better than just that. I'm going to drive down to Palo Alto to drop her off, and time my visit perfectly so that it coincides with Big Dance -- hooray! It will be fun to show up and surprise people, since there are probably still a few people still around that remember me and would be surprised to see me. I haven't been dancing for way too long, so I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a loooooong day and night, but it should still be wonderously fun. And then I won't have a car anymore! Hooray!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Making the Grade

Well, apparently the naturalist instructors liked my journals -- I got an A+! They sent comments out over email, and said, among other things, "Humor in your survival strategy was great and we think you would survive the apocalypse it in your back yard :)" (My first survival strategy for dealing with shelter, water, fire and food was to go back into the house.) Apparently my maps weren't quite as dismal as I thought they were, and it helped that I did some extra plant collection. All in all, I'm pretty happy with the grade, and I hope they like my reflection paper just as well. :) We have a tracking day at Oxbow Park this Sunday, which is optional for me (I'm taking the two-credit version rather than the four-credit version, so I'm technically done with the class at this point), but I'm going to go anyway, because I think it will be fun.

I actually feel like I'm in a strange mid-quarter lull at the moment; it's very strange. Last night I got home, went for a run, ate dinner studied for a little while and then went to bed early and read in bed before going to sleep. On a Wednesday night! It was kind of weird, but really nice at the same time. Tonight I'm going go home, eat dinner and call my brudder -- hooray!