Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day Eight Hundred and Forty-Three

So, how far east do you have to go for it to count as eastern Oregon?  I mean, if you go to the Wallowa Mountains or the John Day Fossil Beds or, y'know, Idaho, I guess you can say for sure you've been to eastern Oregon.  But for my purposes, I am defining "eastern Oregon" as "anything east of the Cascades."  I reserve the right to redefine this on my next 101 Things project if I decide I want to see the high desert (which is very likely).

As you may recall if you've been following this blog for a while (thanks, all six of you!), the kids and I have done annual summer road trips a couple of weeks after school gets out.  This is a great start to the summer, and it also helps with the "NOW how many days until Daddy gets back?" questions that inevitably start up on about the second day of their dad's annual two to three-week trip to Japan.

Our plan is simple:  We pick a compass direction.  Then we find somewhere we absolutely MUST go.  We pick another more general thing we want to do, often involving swimsuits and a body of water.  Then I open up Google Maps in one window and Wikipedia in the other.  I look at the most reasonable route to the MUST-SEE place, and zoom in until all the itty-bitty towns start showing up.  It's amazing what you can find once you get close enough to the map to discover that we do, in fact, have more cities than Salem, Portland and Eugene!  Then I look up those little towns on Wikipedia (or their town website if they have one) and find out something cool to do that in that city.

As a result, we have not seen the sights in Portland or Eugene.  We have not gone to the Newport Aquarium.  We have not gone to the outlet malls in Lincoln City.  However, we've walked across covered bridges, seen bits of the Oregon Trail, stood on windswept ridges in the snow (in June!), stood at one of the few places in the world where two rivers merge by running directly into each other in a straight line, and had some of the best hamburgers EVER in a restaurant in Oakland, OR (pop. 927).

In 2010, we went southwest - the Wildlife Safari, wandered out Highway 42 and took lots of pictures, and came back up the coast.  In 2011 (yes, I know I'm a little late blogging about this), we went southeast, to Central Oregon which we are calling Eastern Oregon because of that whole thing with the Cascades.

WOW that is a lot of sky.

It was fun watching the landscape change as we drove south.

We thoroughly enjoyed the historic main street in Oakland, Oregon.

Boo gets her feet wet in the Little River, just south of its very splashy confluence with the North Umpqua River.

  Hey, there's a hike to a waterfall! It's not that far! Wanna go?

Hey Mom!  I bet I can climb this!

I try to say "yes" a lot on these trips, and I reserve a little money so I can say "yes" when the pocketbook would normally say "no."  So when we saw a sign for horse rides into the woods in the foothills of the Cascades, I surprised the socks off of Boo by agreeing to do it.  It was a WONDERFUL ride through a beautiful and interesting forest, and I'm so glad we did!

Here, have a mountain!

Have another one!
(Those two shots were taken at the same park, and I pretty much just took one, turned around, and took the other.  AMAZING views.)

See how this is a little blurry?  That's because these woods, which have such interestingly different trees and undergrowth from what we're used to on the western side of the mountains, also have approximately five thousand mosquitoes per cubic meter of air, which we discovered as soon as we started taking pictures.

This prompted the immediate composition of our trip's anthem, "Welcome to Mosquito Land."  It is to be sung many times in succession in high tiny mosquito voices.  This may give you a sore throat if you do it for too many miles of highway.  Music shamelessly stolen from the "Music Machine" record of my childhood, and lyrics are as follows:

Welcome to Mosquito Land!
Welcome to Mosquito Land!
Welcome to Mosquito Land,
Where we will suck your blood!  YUM!

Our big destination - Crater Lake!  With SNOW!

Beautiful lake - such fun to photograph, and it would have been even MORE fun if my camera battery didn't die shortly after taking this!

We had our one really fancy meal here, at the lodge at Crater Lake.  Buddy asked about seventeen times if we could do the hike down to the mountain (elevation difference = about 900 feet, in the snow, so NO) and swim in Crater Lake (an even bigger NO).  After that, we took a leisurely drive up through Bend, enjoying the novel sensation of seeing all our familiar eastern horizon mountains from the other side, and at much closer range.  We stayed near Detroit Lake for the last night of the trip, and I managed to squeeze a couple more shots' worth of battery life out of my camera:

We spent the morning at Detroit Lake, and then drove home in the afternoon.  Long trip, fun trip, and next time I'll post about it a little less than a year after the fact!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Day Seven Hundred and Seventy-Eight

Well, guess what - I didn't learn French!  I did, however, go to a Shakespeare play, which takes care of Item #31.

Unfortunately, taking pictures (with or without flash) was strictly forbidden during the play.  They didn't actually come out and SAY that they would send one of Henry V's guards out into the audience to confiscate your camera and then pound it into smithereens with their heavy boots, but that was the general spirit of it, so I just took this one shot before it got too dark.

I saw Henry V, part of the 2012 Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon.  I had seen the Kenneth Branagh movie a couple of times, and that helped as far as having a general idea of the plot.  The costumes and sets were an interesting mix of World War I and period costuming, with a couple of amazing backdrops (black and white with an abstract feel) inspired by photographs of the Viet Nam war.

One of my favorite aspects of this performance was the casting of Howie Seago as the Duke of Exeter.  Mr. Seago is deaf, and he and the directors and cast did a fabulous job of making the unexpected (a deaf Shakespearean actor? how?) not only possible, but profoundly effective.  Seago's cues (the lines immediately preceding his) were signed to him by an ASL interpreter, who was in costume as a soldier and present on stage throughout the show.  When the other characters were speaking directly to Exeter, they signed to him as well as spoke.  Seago signed his own lines, which were voiced by his interpreter or picked up by other characters - this was surprisingly understandable, once you realized that he was indeed "speaking" even though the words were coming in another actor's voice.

One of Exeter's longest lines is an extended castigation of a traitor, and this was captured with an extremely funny twist on the system they had been using up to that point.  Exeter began his rant, and his interpreter began to speak.  He paused mid-line, gestured firmly for the interpreter not to speak, and then continued his line entirely in ASL with no interpretation.  The thing is, between his excellent use of body language, the terrified traitor's body language, and the rather dramatic gestures of the signs for threats of bodily harm (particularly the bit where he threatened the traitor with beheading), words were entirely unnecessary.

I hadn't been to Ashland to see a Shakespeare play since a class trip in college, and I'm sorry I waited so many years to do it again!  I'll definitely plan on doing this again soon.  There's just nothing quite like Shakespeare performed live!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day Seven Hundred and Thirty-Seven

I haven't updated Item #80 for a while (the Windows, Doors, and Sometimes Also Stairs project), although I've continued to take them. These are from almost exactly a year ago, when I went up to Washington State for my 20th high school reunion.  I went a day or two early and spent a delightful day wandering around the Tacoma waterfront with a childhood friend, who is thankfully possessed of the sort of artistic bent that made him completely fine with detours across bramble-infested fields to get pictures of broken walls.

Some of these aren't windows and doors as such, but I just liked how they turned out so I'm posting them here so you can enjoy them too.

Looking straight up at the windows set into the ceiling of the historic building where my friend was working at the time (piecing together a whale skeleton, as it happens)

Doorway of an abandoned building on the waterfront

Window of the same building - it makes me wonder what the view outside looked like when the window was clean and new!

 Ivy covering a wall of an abandoned warehouse on the docks - Tacoma, WA

close-up of ivy, same wall

stairs coming down from pedestrian walkway from the revitalized downtown area to the waterfront

 Windows of an apartment building on the waterfront - not many residents yet, but they're hopeful!

windows and shadows of awnings, Tacoma waterfront

East 21st St. Bridge, Tacoma, WA, as seen through an installation at the Glass Museum

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Day Seven Hundred and Thirty-Three

Item #39 is done!  I set up the kids' college funds a while back and just recently got them up to $1000 apiece.  With college tuition the way it is now, that might cover a class or two, but at least it's a start!

I know there are more sophisticated ways to block out private information, but stars are more fun.  I have no idea why it turned itself sideways, either - maybe the stars confused it?


Also, my red hair from last month faded after about a week, so I tried again.  We'll see how well it lasts this time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day Seven Hundred and Eighteen

Well, it's red!

Item #101, done!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day Seven Hundred and Eleven

This week marks the completion of a few items, but I'll write about them separately so you don't have to read a zillion-word essay on What I Did This Summer (So Far).

First:  Ta-daaa!  Item #2 is done!

I did indeed save up for a camera, and I researched them too.  The thing is, the more I researched the more I realized that I don't have a) the time or b) the sort of brain to actually USE all the features on one of those super-duper fancy-dancy cameras that look so neat in the customer reviews.  So I kind of gave up on the research, and put the money in my savings account.  And then I, uh, sort of lost my old camera.  (Insert very sad and embarrassed face here.)

And then my brother-in-law gave my sister one of those cameras (and she DOES have the kind of brain and photographer's eye that can really get some use out of a fancy camera), and she gave me her old one!  (Insert very surprised, grateful and happy face here!)  So now I have this lovely little Canon PowerShot A560 with a nice close-up feature, user-friendly zoom, user-friendly focus, video capability, easy-to-manage exposure tweaking (I'm sure there's a technical name for that), and - do you see a trend here?  "Easy" and "user-friendly" seem to be important features in any camera I use, and this one has those aplenty.

Also, it's just a little too big to fit into the back pocket of my jeans, which means it does not have the opportunity to fall OUT of (or possibly get stolen out of) the back pocket of my jeans.

So, thank you, best sister - I am grateful indeed for a camera that lets me take pictures like this ...

... and this ...

... and this.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day Six Hundred and Ninety-Two

Item #24 is done!  I took the kids to the Space Needle over spring break, and since I didn't have a camera with me, I just have the one we got taken in the little photo booth at the Space Needle.  (Thanks, Mom!)

If this was a real picture, we would be levitating about 550 feet over Seattle's Queen Anne District, but hey - we were there!  For real!

Buddy was fascinated with the interactive feature that showed a 24-hour minute-by-minute panoramic view from the Space Needle.  You could turn the little dial and see what the view was like at any time of the day - I think he'd have stayed there and turned it through all 24 hours if I hadn't moved him along so other people could play with it!  :)

Boo had a great time taking her own pictures from the top of the Space Needle, and had a long-held wish fulfilled while we were there.  She has flown on planes and been to airports, including the little local airport a few miles from our home, but somehow has never managed to see a plane actually LAND.  Much to her delight, we all got to watch a little yellow pontoon plane land right on Lake Union!

For me, the most exciting thing was having my parents show me the hospital where I was born, in easy view of the Space Needle.  I knew I'd been born in Seattle, but it was fun to see that it was so close to a universally recognized landmark!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day Six Hundred and Eighty-Six

Yes, I realize it has been more than one day since my last post on Day 685, and no, I have not spent the last 288 days in a stasis bubble outside of the space-time continuum.  (Although that would be a really awesome excuse for missing work.)  Instead, the blog has been on an accidental hiatus due to three things that were most decidedly NOT on my 101 Things list:

1.  Get divorced.  (November 2011)
2.  Lose camera.  (Sometime after Christmas 2011 and before spring break 2012)
3.  Get marvelous new temporary job as interim staff accompanist at local university, which devours all available time for most of the 2011/12 school year.

The divorce and the job have both upended many aspects of my life, my personal relationships, my expectations of myself, and (needless to say) my finances and schedule.  One thing I have learned over and over revolves around the concept of grace:  Grace towards others who don't behave in the way I would have hoped, grace from others toward me when I didn't behave as they hoped, and grace towards myself as a broken-but-healing human being.

And in that spirit of grace, I am giving myself an extension!  I decided to take those 288 skipped days and add them to the end of my project time frame.  The 1001 days originally ended on June 16, 2012.  With the extra 288 days added to the end, it is now scheduled to end on March 31, 2013.  (3/31/13 - that's kind of neat!)

I've done a few items on the list that I didn't have a camera to photograph, so I'll write about those in the next few days.  I also have a few items that I took pictures of and never posted, and I'll see about getting those up as well.  I have a possibility out there of a hand-me-down camera from someone who just got a new one, so hopefully I'll have this up and running soon.

You'd probably still better not hold your breath for me to learn French.