Friday, March 26, 2010

Day One Hundred and Ninety-Two

Hello, all - I am possessed by the Evil Demon of Congestion and haunted by the Dark Shade of the Sore Throat, plus I'm so tired I can hardly move. So today's blog entry will be an event earlier in the project that I was, ironically enough, too sick to write about after it happened.

Item #29, take a ride on a train, was inspired by the two previous train trips I'd taken. I told each of my children that I would take them on the train if they could go five nights with dry diapers. For my daughter (you know, I still need a blog nickname for this kid), that happened when she was around three-and-a-half. Potty-training was the final frontier of her toddler power struggle, but I eventually prevailed and we took the long-awaited train ride. Buddy didn't get to take his trip until he was five, which is not too unusual for children with autism, but it was fun that he was big enough to really enjoy it.

I wanted to take one completely non-toilet-related ride on a train. And, for reasons I still don't fully comprehend, I decided on a whim to take this trip on a day when I had what probably was swine flu. It was sunny, I was sort of feeling better, and I needed to get out of the house - it wasn't going to be THAT much walking anyway, right? Well, that wasn't entirely correct, but we did have a nice time, and here's the evidence:

Portland's historic Union Station, which I would have taken more pictures of on the way back if my camera battery hadn't died.

Buddy stops for a drink on the way to the Pearl District.

While we were walking through the Pearl District, I saw this lady reading in a patch of sun in a small public area between shops in a reclaimed warehouse. I have no idea who she was, but it was such a quintessentially Portland moment I couldn't help snapping a picture.

The little old-fashioned diner we wanted to visit was closed ...

... so we had breadsticks and pizza instead (organic ingredients, of course, this is Portland).

This very "green" restaurant recycled just about everything - even the straws were made of some biodegradable material (kudos to them!) and could be recycled. In case there was something that you just HAD to throw out, it went into this small bin with a wry little reminder about where your trash would end up.

Urban version of tree-hugging?

Powells, of course.

And just in case we're not maxed out enough, let's have ice cream!

Wobbly camera, lovely moon, lovely city, lovely day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day One Hundred and Eighty-Seven

Woohoo! Clean car! (Item #69) My arms and shoulders still hurt a bit (two days later), but it sure does look good. Now I have to figure out if I'm going to keep it and drive it until I'm so old they take away my license, or sell it to somebody who could restore it and make it really wonderful ...

Here we go ...

If I was going to clean it, I was going to clean it thoroughly. I don't think it's been this clean in decades!

Getting my girl trained to appreciate cool cars while she's young!

The sunny weather made this pleasant work.

Taking a well-deserved break!

I'm too short to see the top of the dashboard from the driver's seat, since it slopes down a bit - it was VERY dusty.

Will ya look at that?! (That's the real mileage.)

I suspect it has been a few years since anybody scrubbed the gas pedal on this car.

This part is more fun when it's 85 degrees out and you're not already tired.

I always kind of like cleaning the license plate.

Much better!

I couldn't figure out why I kept craving a hamburger while I was working on this project. I don't eat hamburgers very often (more likely to have chicken or a veggie burger), and I don't have that strong a connection between the idea of American muscle cars and burgers. I finally realized that it wasn't just any hamburger I wanted, it was a Rock-N-Roger's hamburger - a local restaurant with a fifties-style-diner flair and wonderful memorabilia from the 1940's to the 1960's. I figured I'd burned off enough calories to cover at least a quarter of one of those burgers, so I indulged and enjoyed it. I'd call that a good day's work!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day One Hundred and Eighty-Five

I took another run at Item #63 (spend 15 minutes outside every day for 100 consecutive days) by spending around four hours outside today in the fresh, mild, allergenic air. Ah well, two out of three is pretty good.

Buddy recently became a Cub Scout, signing up on exactly the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Boy Scout organization (February 8, 2010), thanks to a mommy who gets excited about things like that. Today we went to his first service project, and I'm not sure which of us was looking forward to it more! His pack went to the Oregon School for the Deaf to hang birdhouses which the other kids had made already. Their property borders a wetland area, and we learned quite a bit about the birds who nest in the trees near the swamp. There were enough trees there to hang up several birdhouses and still give each nesting pair enough space, and we spent a very enjoyable hour tramping around the school property with the rest of his pack.

Buddy's ready to go!

Getting some help from the wonderful gentleman who chose the trees and told us all kinds of interesting information from his years of working with birds and their habitats.

All done!

P.S. To the anonymous reader who asked how Item #70 is coming along, stay tuned 'til tomorrow!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day One Hundred and Seventy-Seven

I don't usually post about failed attempts at items on the list, but this one was a notable effort so I'll at least mention it.

It's harder than it sounds like to go outside for 15 minutes a day on 100 consecutive days! (Item #63) Rain, the flu, just plain crazy schedules - there are more than enough things to conspire against a goal like this, and a bad head cold did me in this time. I made it 32 days, and on day 34 I woke up and realized that I'd spent day 33 wrapped up in a blanket, watching Heroes on Netflix and eating chicken noodle soup and feeling generally wretched. I'll start this one over again soon, but for now, here is a short list of the ways I spent my outside time during the first real attempt on this item:

* fifteen late-night walks, three of which were in the rain

* one 3-mile jog, bright and early! (Early, anyway.)

* one long walk to and from the car for the Billy Joel & Elton John concert in Portland

* stroll around campus before and after the senior recital of one of my violinists at the college

* late-night walk with my daughter to look at a truly spectacular full moon

* walk to and from my daughter's school to see her stand on her head at her choir program

* rather stressful walk through downtown Portland on the way to a relaxing, wonderful Cappella Romana concert that touched my heart so profoundly that I sat through the first half with tears rolling down my face

* one Operation Worm Rescue

* one walk around the block with the kids on a perfectly clear night so we could look at the stars

* sitting on my mom's front porch reading a book after driving to Seattle to hear Cappella Romana do the same program again (what can I say, it was a good concert)

* hit-and-run raking at the neighbors' house

* afternoon walk to soak up sunlight after days and days of rain

* running like a madwoman around the college campus where Saturday's musical event was held, trying to get from Point A to Point B in negative numbers of minutes due to dreadful planning errors on the part of the organizers

* and my favorite, a 2.8-mile hike at Silver Falls (see below)

Ah well ... at least if I have to start over from the beginning, it's a fun project to do more than once!

South Falls, from the trail that goes behind the falls

Silver Creek, just past the pool at the bottom of the South Falls

one of my favorite shots of Silver Creek - this is at the lowest point of the hike I took, although it's possible to continue down the river to see eight more waterfalls before looping back up for a total of about 7 miles with a 700-ft. elevation gain - not quite ready for that yet!

Lower South Falls

South Falls

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day One Hundred and Sixty-Seven

Whew - there's one more down for Item #41 (write 50 essays). I just finished my final edit of the first paper for my Creative Non-Fiction Writing class, and didn't remember until just before hitting "print" that it was supposed to be 1,000 words.

1,414 is sort of like 1,000, isn't it?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day One Hundred and Sixty-Six

About Item #2, the camera ... it MUST have the capability to take a halfway decent picture of the moon. Sigh. My current camera is becoming increasingly insufficient.