28 June 2010

"DUSK" is NOT a Time

I've been picking up my camera fairly regularly lately. It is still too much of a mystery of how to operate it and get the results I want. The only remedy is experimentation and lots of use. So the Tigard Balloon Festival seemed like a great opportunity to try some different environments. In the evenings they have "night glow" when the balloon owners turn the burners on just enough to inflate the envelope but not lift off. Sounds like a great photo op, doesn't it? The night glow was scheduled to start at "dusk." Dusk. What time is dusk?

I waited until the sun was just about down, 8:30 pm this time of year, and headed over to the park. I asked the first parking attendant - "Are they still doing the night glow?" "I am sure they are, they like to wait until it's good and dark." he answered. I asked the next parking attendant who took my money, "Is the night glow still going on?" "I don't know, probably." I was feeling much less confident but paid the fee anyhow. At the admission gate I asked once again, "Is the night glow still going on?" "If you hurry, you may see the last few. But the ticket is good for all weekend, you could come back tomorrow for the launch." Argh! After paying to park and the ticket I turned down the street to head to the park and was met with a wall of people - leaving! I raced down the hill and made it to the entrance just in time to see the last balloon go down. I was so mad. Dusk! Dusk is NOT a time!! I was there, may as well make the best of it and take some long exposure shots of the carnival rides.

Once home I was still grumbling that I had forked over the money for "nothing." I decided I'd show them; stick it to the man! If I had to pay for a weekend ticket, I was going to take advantage of it. Despite the fact I wasn't going to bed until a little after midnight, by gum, I was going to get up at 5 am and go to the balloon launch! That'll show 'em! How silly, like anyone would care; I was only depriving myself of sleep. The balloons would wake me up at 6:30 when they started floating over my house, might as well wake up early and join them.

I still had a bad attitude in the morning. I was determined not to pay anymore money for this weekend adventure so I parked on a side street and hoofed it to the park. It may have been my bad attitude that motivated me to skip sleep and go early to the balloon launch, but it ended up being great. The balloon launch was really fun and interesting. I spent a couple hours taking shots, some actually are good. Since I was up, might as well get my workout in. I was already dressed in my gym clothes so I headed straight to Tualatin H.S. to use the track. To my delight, some of the balloons were landing. I grabbed my camera and ran to the other side of the campus, following a balloon as it came in for a landing. After it came down in the parking lot, the crew tethered it to a trailer and truck and started giving rides! Without the crowds around I was able to get up close for some shots, talk with the crew and learn a lot about hot air ballooning. Best of all, I got a ride! We only went up maybe thirty feet, but it was fun. It ended up being a great morning. Now how often does a bad attitude lead to a great day?

The Big Red Box

Sometimes, I scare myself. Today I had one of those moments. I was wandering through The Container Store checking out what was on sale. Down one aisle I spotted a box, a big 12x17x3 red leather lidded taffeta lined box, on sale. After hemming and hawing, trying to convince myself to get the paperboard version that was a little less than half the cost of the red one, I went with the leather one. I could justify it because I plan on having this box for a long time to come. There is a very specific purpose for this box: to hold all the ephemera that constitutes the memories of my life. My memory has more holes than a fine Swiss cheese. Keepsakes of good times are stuffed into various boxes, envelopes, etc. to jog my memory, fill in those holes. But there is too much. Thus the red box, I'm limiting myself to what can fit inside this box. Plenty of things can be scanned and stored away electronically. But for those things that I want to hold onto the original, they'll go in the red box- and only the red box. Why pare down to just this one box? Simplicity, less clutter, focus on the essentials... and if I happen to move, it will make it a little bit easier.
Okay, just imagine the bottom box in a deep red.

22 June 2010

Heading to Honduras Hoping for a HUG!

Click on the text to see this larger and more readable. If you would rather, I can email it to you as well.

17 June 2010


I really do not understand the appeal of Twilight but the vampire fever has swept through all generations of my friends. Fans come from former students who are now in high school to women my mother's age. Curiosity got the better of me and when the first film was on TV for free, I did watch it. I was creeped out. Not so much by the idea and notion of vampires but by the values and attitudes that were highlighted. Trying to explain it to my co-workers who are fans I was at a loss to articulate my opinions more than "It felt insidious." To which I was met with confused stares combined with a suspicion that I was a bit crazy. Yet I have good company. I found an article by a woman with a doctorate who was able to make the arguments I would, if I could find the words. I am by no means a women's libber, not by a long shot, but if any of my former student were to start dating some guy that was controlling and isolating her from her friends and family, subjugating her, I would throw a fit, as would you, so why is it okay for Edward and Bella? It may be just a 'harmless' fun story, but values and morals are taught through story, myth, and fairy tales. I am not saying I agree point for point with this woman, but overall I do. Find the article her:

Why This Middle-Aged Woman Loathes Twilight | Psychology Today

And this is from a secular point of view. There is an element of spiritual allusions and I think that is what creeps me out the most. How Edward refers to himself as the lion and Bella as the lamb. Ah, no... God is the lion, the Lion of Judah. Yet Edward does behave as a demi-god, a very controlling one at that. And when he steps into the sunlight and is all sparkly, my thought was, 'Yeah, and Lucifer was the most beautiful angel too.' Those are the two that stick out in my memory. Insidious. I tried to explain my point of view to a friend who is a Christian, who is a Twilight fan, her response was essentially 'It's only a story. Vampires aren't real, what is the big deal.' And the frog thought, 'It's only a pool of warm water.'

Okay, stepping off my soap box now.

16 June 2010

Going Retro in all the Wrong Ways

As a teenager I was spared that hideous right of passage that most all of my friends and classmates were forced to go through. Apparently my escape wasn't to be life-long. As my birthday approaches ever closer, that odd year where no longer can I say I am in my mid-30's, but not quite into the late 30's - not just yet, for the first time in my life I'm dealing with acne. I've had the occasional blemish, but nothing much or consistent. It has been a blessing. As a highly insecure teenager, I don't know that I could have handled dealing with constant break-outs.
I remember junior year, chemistry class, two friends were talking about their zits and one looked at me and made a disparaging comment about my clear skin. The other friend insisted I was just covering them up and promptly lifted my banana roll bangs (it was the 80's after all) to prove her point. She was somewhat dismayed when proven wrong. I don't know how I got so lucky, up until now that is.
Ever since my surgery I've been having a horrible time with acne. When I mentioned this to the spinal surgeon and his P.A., their response was, "huh." Gee! That's helpful, thanks. For whatever reason, my face has decided to revert back to my teen years and make up for lost time. It's awful. It's maddening. It's embarrassing. This has been going on for almost nine months, I hit my limit. This week I went to the dermatologist for my biannual mole check and while I was there, asked her for help with the blemishes. Being in my mid-late 30's I should be more capable to handle this issue, but no. It may be less traumatic than if I were in my teens, but it is still a challenge to my self-image. Hopefully the cream from the doctor will do the trick. But I have a theory of what is happening that the cream may not help. Here is my theory: surgery took a lot out of me energy wise, I'm still recovering and trying to regain my energy. I sleep, a lot,and even deeper than normal. I've woken up more than a few times drooling. I think I'm drooling more than I am aware of and that is causing the break-outs. It makes sense, right? Who knew that could be a side-effect of the surgery? Ugh.

13 June 2010

Sabbath & Me

I've been struggling with the question of Sabbath in our modern era. In Exodus there are very clear commands that we are to keep the Sabbath, a day of rest set apart for God. I'm all on board for having a day of rest, a day to put aside the distractions of the mundane everyday, slowing down so that we can reflect and focus on God; it's like hitting the reset button. On days where I do slow down and put aside the to-do list,the shoulds, oughts, wannas, and do what connects me with God, life is so much better. Yet as a modern day single lady it's hard to carve out a whole day of no work. With only 7 days in a week it's hard to take care of all the chores - laundry, dishes, cooking, bills, cleaning, etc. - and work a full-time job. Then add on top of that maintaining relationships, trying to get fit, be part of church and ministry, and all the other good stuff that fills my time. It's just all too much. How is one to keep the command of the Sabbath? Really, I am asking, how?

Today I tried to make a couple errands/to-do items more "Sabbath-y." I still needed to get some things accomplished but perhaps they could be done in a way that would promote rest, reflection, connection. One thing on the list was to go to the Eddie Bauer Outlet store in Woodburn to pick up another t-shirt and see what other deals might be had. Why not do that and then head out to Mt. Angel Abby to write the support letter that should have been done a week or so ago. It was a lovely day, the Abby was beautiful, as was the drive, had some interesting conversations with God, and I even got a first draft done of the letter.

But then the drive home happened. Just pass the Donald exit, the last exit for many miles, traffic came to a screeching halt. The trip took three times as long as normal. There is just something so wrong about putting a car into park while in the middle of the freeway. Since I didn't plan to be gone as long as I had, I didn't have any snacks and it was dinnertime. As we creeped slowly forward in short increments, my bladder likewise was filling. Not a good situation. Not very Sabbath restful. But what are you going to do? There is no where to go. Sit back, relax, laugh at the kid hanging his head out the window looking pitiful, pop in a Rich Mullins CD and go with the slow flow. Maybe it was God's way of slowing me down and giving me a Sabbath rest after all. Is it wrong that I am disappointed that after an hour of sitting on the freeway I wasn't even rewarded with seeing what caused the shut-down?

10 June 2010

A Reason to...

...Use Paper Towels on Door Handles.
This morning I had trouble waking up, nothing unusual. I hit the snooze, again, and again, and again. Finally lifting my face out of the pillow I tried to open my eyes, but had trouble. My right eye was all gunked up and wouldn't open. I managed to get it clear only to see an eye that was beyond bloodshot. It was a day for Visine. Drop, drop, drop, and let it do its work while in the shower. By the time I put my contacts in my eye looked normal. I was good to go. (This is building up to something, really.)

A couple hours later my eyes were feeling horrible. Time to switch to glasses. Grabbing the glasses I keep in my file cabinet for days like this I headed to the bathroom where a bottle of saline is kept. While I scrubbed my hands everyone's favorite mug stealing soup nipper came in. Despite everything she still surprises me. WARNING: You may not want to continue reading, think about it, the setting is in the bathroom and I'm writing about soup nipper - do you really want to know?
So, for those brave enough to keep reading, as I filled the contact case with saline and plucked the filmy contacts out of my eyes, soup nipper came in. She came in, went through to the stalls, made use of one and was back out in under a minute, maybe even under 30 seconds. What?! Women are not capable of such speedy use of the facilities, they're just not, especially older women! I'm certainly not and I'm half her age. It makes me wonder how she manages, or what she is doing. I don't want to think about it, but I couldn't help myself. I decided to leave it at one possibility - a colostomy bag, it would be quick to empty - I think, maybe, I don't know. I don't want to think about it.

But the story doesn't end there. In my world after using the toilet you always, always, always wash your hands. And to wash your hands properly you should wash them for 20 seconds, about the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" or "Jesus Loves Me." Apparently that is not true for soup nippers. In her world one quick millisecond swipe under the faucet is sufficient. My only response - (shuddering) EWW! If someone has a need of a toilet, they have a need to wash their hands after wards and that includes using soap. And that is the reason to start using paper towels to open the door when exiting the bathroom at work.

...Be Thankful For The NBA Playoffs.
Walking out of the locker room and into the main cardio area of the gym I was surprised at how empty it seemed. Granted, I had left work late and was getting a slow start, but it is rare that my favorite treadmill is available on a weeknight, even at 6ish. It wasn't until about the time I was leaving that I realized, with a big "OH!" that the NBA playoff game was on. Of course the guys would chose to watch the game in a more enjoyable place than the gym! C'mon Lakers and Celtics, take it to game 7! Just have those games on weeknights when I'm at the gym.

...Not Take Your Style Cues From Star Wars.
I was doing my floor work, finishing up at the gym, when a young guy joined me in the general area. I was laying on my side facing him while doing leg lifts. First I noticed that he was wearing Chaco sandals, so I put him in the outdoorsy yoga rock climbing group. But what really caught my attention was the bright red shade of his toes, especially his little toe. We are talking seriously red to the point I almost asked him what was wrong with his feet, if he had had frostbite at some point. I thought better of it and controlled my curiosity. Then I noticed he had one long small braid behind his right ear with the rest of his hair rather short. He looked like the teenage Anakin Skywalker from the 2nd (or is it the 5th) Star Wars movie. Some people need to choose who they model their personal style after a little more judiciously.