Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nurse Logs are Awesome

Today I 'shadowed' two Audubon Society Sanctuary tours, as part of my volunteer training to become a tour guide myself. Every time I go out in the woods, things are different, and something different always fascinates me. Today it was nurse logs. I think all the pictures I took are of Western Red Cedar nurse logs (which retain a lot of water) with Hemlock trees (which like a lot of water) growing out of them. I thought the root structures were pretty amazing - you can just imagine what they're going to look like once the nurse log has completely rotted away...

Okay, that one's not a nurse log - it's me! Just to prove I was actually there. :)

Monday, February 25, 2008

My Avocado Tree is Dancing!

I think it's just so happy to have branches at last (albeit tiny ones) that it's just playing with them. :)

Eastbank Esplanade

On Saturday morning Trisha and I went for a walk along the Eastbank Esplanade with our cameras and her dog, Winston. It was a beautiful day, bright and sunny (though I was glad that I was not fooled into leaving my long johns at home!), and I got to play around more with John's camera. I still couldn't figure out what most of the buttons did, but I got a few good photos.

View of downtown, with the Hawthorne Bridge - my favorite bridge for cycling (notwithstanding the fact that it was coming onto this bridge that I had my bike accident)

View of downtown and the Hawthorne Bridge, from underneath the Marquam (I-5) Bridge.

The Sellwood Bridge. Are we beginning to see a pattern? There's a reason Portland is called "Bridgetown"... eleven reasons, actually. :)

Not a bridge! Reflections of OMSI.

A cool propeller thing outside OMSI. I don't actually know what it's from, as I was too busy trying to stay out of cyclists' ways as I took the picture to read the plaque.

I liked the way the kayak and paddle matched the color scheme of the Cirque du Soleil tents on the other side of the river.



Hmm, I just realized that this seems to be turning into more of a photo blog than a writing blog. Not sure how I feel about that yet.

Friday, February 22, 2008

28th & E. Burnside

I'm borrowing John's fantastic camera for a few days, just to play around with it. I went for a walk tonight to see if I could get some interesting nighttime photos. Most didn't turn out, since I have no idea what I'm doing with this camera (and he didn't give me an instruction manual), but I liked this one of the Laurelhurst Theater, a few blocks from my house. Definitely more photogenic at night than in the daytime, when it just sort of looks rundown.

I'm going on a photography walk down by the river with Trisha tomorrow morning, so hopefully I'll have a chance to figure out how to work the camera better and take some good photos. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Lovely Luna

I wonder how many bloggers are posting photos of the eclipse right now? :)

By the time I figured out how to focus my binoculars for my camera (that's after remembering to get the binoculars and the camera out), the full eclipse was over and the moon was on its way out again. I only got a couple of decent photos (from my kitchen window, kneeling in the same place from which I took the sunrise photos in my last post), but I'm sure that I will have half-moons dancing in my dreams tonight. What a lovely way to spend the evening!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This Morning's Sunrise

... was beautiful. The pictures don't do it justice, but here they are - as viewed from my kitchen window.

Monday, February 11, 2008

On Resumes and History Class

I was all motivated to update my resume this evening... until I started actually working on it. I've been struggling with it for 45 minutes, finding myself wishing that it would just write itself, darn it. After all, I already know all of the things that I've done - and, for the most part, they're far enough in the past that I don't relish the process of revisiting them in this context.

As I slogged away at it, trying to come up with captivating action verbs that convey my competence in every situation imaginable, while gagging at my own presumption all the while, a thought came to my head: I've never been good at history. It was always my least favorite subject in school, because the information seemed to travel in one ear and out the other - if, indeed, it ever made its way into the first ear to begin with.

I remember discussing this with Betty Lue one day several years ago, and she remarked that Dad is the same way, observing that the two of us are simply not focused on the past - it's over, it's done, there's nothing we can do to change it, so we don't dwell on it, but instead move on to what is coming next. That made me feel much better when confronted with the reality of my abysmal memory for history, even if it didn't help my academic performance.

Now I'm wondering if this isn't why updating my resume is always so hard. It always seems to come after the fact, and forces me to go back and re-live my past work experiences from somebody else's perspective of what's important. I think that's the kicker - I could probably write all kinds of stories about my work experiences if given the chance, but being forced to distill those experiences into pithy, genericized bullet points just sucks all the life out of them and makes me feel like I'm in history class again, struggling to regurgitate rote bits of information that don't appear to have any relevance to my life.

I vote for a new kind of resume - a narrative or artistic resume that lets an applicant express her qualifications in whatever way best suits her. After all, this in itself will give the person reviewing the resume a much better glimpse of the person behind it. ... But I guess that's technically what the interview is for, isn't it? Sigh....

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Fearsome Fish and Carunculated Caracaras - Reasons to Travel to Ecuador

I love maps. I love guidebooks, too. They tell you interesting things. Funny things, sometimes. Tonight I learned about the carunculated caracara - a hilarious name for a surprisingly beautiful (and fortunately not endangered) bird of prey found in Ecuador & Colombia. I hope I see one while I'm there, just so I can tell people I've seen a carunculated caracara. Go on, say it out loud - it will make you happy. :)

The fish paragraph in my Lonely Planet book was also quite amusing. After the general information about the vast number of species to be found, it goes on to say: "Some of them are fearsome. The electric eel can produce shocks of 600V; a school of piranhas can devour a large animal in minutes; stingrays can deliver a crippling zap; and the tiny candirĂº catfish can swim up the human urethra and become lodged there by erecting its sharp spines. Despite these horror stories, most Amazonian rivers are safe to swim in." Yup, that sure makes me want to go for a dip in the local stream!

The more I look at maps and guidebooks, the more places I want to see, and the more time I wish I had in Ecuador. And, of course, the more I want to explore other places as well. Anybody up for a backpacking tour of South America? Anybody have any good ideas for how one could get paid to travel instead of spending all of one's money on it? Please share! :)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Officially Unemployed

Many people might not think that unemployment is a positive thing, but I think it's grand, and I'm excited about all of the opportunities that it holds for me. And now, finally, after no fewer than four goodbye parties (not to mention several tea and lunch dates and extra visits), the day has finally come - I am officially unemployed! Now I can get busy with all of the exciting things that I'm truly interested in, and not have to worry about work getting in the way. :)

My last day was kind of hectic, but fortunately not too stressful. I got to see and say goodbye to most of the people I wanted to (even Dan the shuttle driver, who stopped the bus in the middle of the street and opened his door to lean out and give me a hug), had a lovely last day lunch with Jenn and Trisha, and even made it to Employee Health for a few of my immunizations for Ecuador - Hepatitis A in my right arm, B in my left, and tetanus/diphtheria in the rear. Pleasant. I go back to the Family Medicine Travel Clinic on Tuesday to get the rest of the shots - the really expensive ones that my insurance doesn't cover, of course.

I was thinking about going to shape note singing last night, but by the time I got back from a "happy hour" tea with Catherine and Trisha (none of us drink alcohol, so we went to The Tao of Tea for our happy hour instead of a bar), got home and ate some dinner, I realized that I was far too tired and brain-dead to go out. In fact, I told a friend, I was so fried that, if I'd had a movie and a way to watch it, I probably would have. :P I made do with a book instead.

Today has been mellow, and I've been trying to focus on remembering the fact that it's my first day of freedom. Somewhat ironically, I actually spent a good part of the day sorting through all the stuff I brought home from work with me, trying to figure out what I actually needed/wanted to keep, and where to put it. Lots of sentimental trinkets and things that were fine to keep in my cube at work, but that don't really belong in my apartment. Sigh. I'm really starting to be sensitive to all this "stuff" that I have, and am just about feeling in the mood for a major purge....

More excitingly, I did a bit of rearranging in my bedroom to create my very own "Thotful Spot" in the corner, where I can go to meditate, think, write, or just sit and be peaceful. I need to head to the thrift stores to look for cushions and maybe a little stool or table, but it's nice to see the space shaping up and know that I am building myself a wee sanctuary.

And now I am getting sleepy, so methinks it is time for bed. Ah, the joys of going to bed early. :)