Tuesday, May 29, 2007

a transition day

So, after all the driving we did last week, when we went to Ashland, we just finished another busy few days.

Friday afternoon, Karen and I drove out to the Rock Creek campground east of Mt. Hood, where we set up camp. After eating, we went for a long walk with the dog, along the lakeshore. It was still and warm at sundown, as we settled in for a peaceful evening.

The folks in the space next to us, were just getting warmed up, however, and their rowdy antics lasted for hours, disrupting the sleep of everyone else. It was really the most inconsiderate yahoo behavior I've been around in years - quite remarkable.

They settled down somewhere long after midnight, and, fortunately, packed up and left early Saturday morning. After a while, we headed out for the annual Wamic rummage sale, a long-standing obsession. We got a bagful of assorted useful stuff for $1, including two stainless-steel saute pans (that match our daily pots and pans), an ink-jet refill kit, catnip toys, and more.

Then, we checked out a minor State Park that I'd heard about but had never visited. The White River flows south and east from a glacier on Mt. Hood, and its canyon, a few miles south of Wamic, is quite deep and impressive. It crosses a major lava flow near Shearer's Falls, the site of White River Falls State Park. The thundering sound from the parking area promises a spectacle, and the view from above is indeed impressive. However, following the 1/4 mile, steep, dusty trail, down into the canyon, is worth the effort.

Much more of the waterfalls and canyon is revealed, as hundreds of swallows swirl around and around. There are also the remains of a 1910 power-plant at the bottom - someone went to a lot of trouble. Here's the view:

By the time we got back to the campground, our friends were beginning to arrive. Over the next few hours, the gang showed up, we had our normal splendid dinner and campfire, and the wine was flowing, and the night was quiet, as it should be.

Sunday morning, it was bright and breezy, and the stiff wind continued all day. Karen went golfing with the golf-nuts (they call it the annual 'Wamic Open') while I stayed around camp, reading and organizing stuff, while I waited for Dylan and his friend Jordan to show up.

They got there around 11, which was a major relief, not only for their safety in making the drive and finding the campground, but because their arrival was the critical piece in the weekend's plan. I turned over all our gear and the dog to them, and, after Karen got back, the two of us headed off.

We drove north to The Dalles, then continued into central Washington, up to Yakima. This was the route I had taken (in the other direction) one day in 1976 - the first day I ever set foot in Oregon. Traffic was pretty light and the day was beautiful, although still windy. At Yakima we join I-82 to Ellensburg, thru a surprisingly remote and empty landscape. This was a road I had never taken, which is always a thrill. We hit I-90 and turned west, towards Snoqualmie Pass.

It's a dramatic drive thru the Cascades, with snow-topped mountains, sweeping alpine vistas, swirling clouds, and even a bit of rain. The temperature dropped 20 degrees as the rain increased. By early evening, we were on the long downhill ride into Seattle, as the views changed from mountains to suburbs to urban congestion. Six hours driving finally brought us to our hotel, where we got cleaned up, got a bite to eat in a neighborhood BBQ joint, connected with our friends, staying at the same place, and finally settled in, on a real bed in a quiet room.

Monday morning, after breakfast, we headed over to the nearby Seattle Center, where I checked in our group for the Folklife festival. Then, over at the theater, I had a chance to warm up and get a feel for the piano. I was satisfied. Ed, Ilene and I met and talked through the six or seven numbers we had prepared, and changed into our concert clothes (we had a genuine dressing room, which was a hoot).

We were performing in a beautiful theater, probably the most fancy venue I've ever played. We were the 3rd act in the 'Big Jewish Show', and, I must say, it was great fun. We were all relaxed, and, despite Ilene's guitar issues (one of the pegs holding her B string to the body popped out during her first number, hit Ed in the head, then continued into the audience), the playing and singing was well-received.

THE ENTIRE PERFORMANCE IS HERE (our act is called V'Chaverim).

Karen was in the audience, with the video camera and its manual. She never did figure out how to turn it on, so all we have are a couple of still photos. Here's one of Ed and me, on stage, getting ready to start:

After we decompressed from our performance, we changed clothes and headed out to wander thru the festival. Someone said there were 100,000 people there, and that seemed possible. An amazing scene - dozens of separate stages, plus innumerable street performers along the walkways. Food, too!

Too soon, though, it was time to head out. We connected with Ilene, walked back to the hotel, loaded up the car, and headed south. I-5 was an easy drive - traffic not bad and a superb day.

Home by 6. We spent hours cleaning the house and doing laundry. I emptied one duffle and immediately began packing my larger one, since I leave for Wisconsin Wednesday morning.

Today's my day to get a few things organized, mow the lawn, send out some invoices, and prepare for yet another trip. The people of the future may find it hard to believe that people lived like this.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Kucinich tells the truth about the Oil

Did anyone besides me watch Kuchinich on C-SPAN, passionately pleading that we abort the obscene Hydocarbon Law we are forcing on Iraq?

It began while Monica Goodling's appearance was happening, but I watched the last 30 minutes or so.

What a performance - I bet no media outlet takes notice. He is the voice of moral conscience, and nobody wants to hear that we are all complicit in this grand theft.

After all, it's a long-standing tradition that bullies take what they want. Recently, I heard the European invasion of North America described as 'armed robbery'. Indeed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I read the news today, oh boy

Let's see, should the big news for today be Al Gore's new book, or this?

Monday, May 21, 2007

back from a delightful interlude

but first, this

We drove to Ashland last Thursday, checked into our wonderful B&B, went for a short stroll in Lithia Park, grabbed some dinner, then headed off for our first play. It was superb - great writing, acting, etc. Our local theater company in Portland will be doing it next year.

Friday morning, we headed off for a wildflower hike, along Grizzly Peak. It was 5.4 miles of quiet forests, great views, and a zillion colorful flowers. We got back into town around 3, in time to rest a bit before a great dinner here (I had a wonderful vegetarian chili rellano), and then another play, a break-neck, silly farce, with wild puns and costumes. Pure fluff.

Saturday morning, we were picked up at 8:15 at the B&B, and driven to the put-in for a raft-trip down the Upper Klamath, organized by this company. The water was wild and white. I had done part of this run several years ago, but we did a much longer stretch. Karen had never done this river and was apprehensive, but the guide was amazingly cool and competent, and the thrills were many and the lunch was embarrasingly abundant. Due to the inaccessibility of this river, the shuttle driver had to drive over 200 miles from the put-in to the take-out.

We got back to Ashland around 5, just long enough to shower and get cleaned up, before the arrival of one of Karen's distant relatives, who is currently on contract with the Shakespeare Festival this year, as a 'dramaturg'. We went out to dinner at the classy Ashland Springs Hotel. The food was exquisite and astonishingly expensive - our splurge meal of the trip.

After dinner, we walked a bit thru Lithia Park, then, after some ice cream, said our good-byes and headed back to our room.

Sunday, we headed back to Portland, via Jacksonville, stopping in Albany to have lunch with Karen's cousin Rion, who lives in Corvallis. Arriving home at 4 pm, we found the house, Dylan, and the animals all in good shape. I was exhausted, but then a phone call came thru from another good Portland friend, who invited us to dinner at her new house, so it was off again.

By 9, I was ready to collapse, and did. How's that for 4 days?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

worth reading

from Common Dreams

now, the Not worth reading: an update on My Life

Karen and I leave later this morning for 4 days in Ashland. We are going to plays tonight and tomorrow night, and hope to do a little hike tomorrow and a white-water trip on Saturday. It's our postponed-for-two-weeks Anniversary getaway.

This being the 21st Century, the B&B where we're staying has WiFi. Gives new meaning to the phrase 'getaway'.

Actually, this is the beginning of a very busy month, with all kinds of events and travels between now and late June. Updates later. For now, it's time to finish packing and hope we can hit the road by 10 am.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

like father like son

this explains why Fox News is successful.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Dick, Dick, Dick...

"May 10, 2007 -- WMR has received a third well-placed confirmation that Vice President Dick Cheney, while CEO of Halliburton, was a client of the escort service of DC Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey. In addition, one of Cheney's closest military advisers and friends was also a client of the DC Madam's Pamela Martin & Associates escort service. Cheney used the escort service while he was a part time resident of the posh Ballantrae section of McLean, Virginia."

WMR is Wayne Madsen's blog. No wonder Shooter scooted off to Iraq this week! No wonder the media has been pressured to keep the lid on this matter.

Best comment on this story, from another blog: "He just went to see her for a heart massage."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


not much happening - work-load slow - weather nice - upcoming fun trips.

Last night, I made a casserole using greens entirely from our garden, with feta cheese, egg, lemon, etc. Karen, who is supposedly lactose-intolerant and off cheese, dug in and pronounced it very good.

The tomatoes and peas are looking good. The basil and peppers not so good, but hanging in there. Still waiting for the parsnips to germinate. The broccoli I planted last fall is still putting out tender stalks, and the leaves were part of the casserole.

No library books out at the moment - a rare occurrence - so I am reduced to finishing back issues of The New Yorker and the perennial stack of books at my bedside. Have been dipping into a book of Mark Twain's speeches (he often provided copies of his texts to reporters beforehand, and many of these survived), and, although occasionally quite clever, not on a par with his other brilliant stuff.

I still miss Kurt Vonnegut. The last library book I finished, yesterday, was 'Fates Worth than Death', a pastiche of autobiographical pieces he released back under George Bush I, which I had never read. It was like discovering a hidden treasure that had been in a time-warp. It was a little odd to have to make the mental adjustment, every time he referred to Republicans and their dirty little wars and corruption, to remind onesself that that was a different time. Yeah, right.

Waiting to hear from a client about some changes they want. If I don't get an email from them soon, I'm going outside to pull weeds.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Paris in the springtime

So, the media has its celeb-of-the-week story, with Paris Hilton off to the slammer. Seems like the Martha Stewart story, except we kinda like Martha, and we don't like stuck-up rich people.

I suppose this is enough to satisfy the public's need for incarceration-of-bad-guys for now, but I still yearn for some genuine come-uppance for Commander Guy and his Lost Planet Airmen.

Friday, May 04, 2007

22 years

It's our anniversary today, and we both actually remembered! Hasn't always been easy, but, if we make it thru the upcoming kitchen rennovation, we should be good for another few years.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

it's a bi-polar world

I was hit by overwhelming depression Saturday - a combination of things political and personal. I spent 5 hours in the middle of the day lying in bed, staring at the ceiling and wondering what it would take to make me leave it.

It broke around 7 pm.

Sunday was a beautiful day, again. I spent 4 or 5 hours digging out blackberries from an area I spent two days on, last year. Little by little, the battle against those intruders goes on. By 2 pm, I could report 'Mission Accomplished', and had the scratched and bleeding arms and legs to show it.

Got myself cleaned up, rested a bit, then reported for accompanist duty at a dry-run/performance of the Portland Jewish Choral festival program, which is actually happening next weekend. I am playing for three different choral groups, and Sunday's rehearsals and performances kept me occupied for over 3 hours. It went well - final rehearsal is Wednesday night.

What a contrast between those two days.

Forgot to mention that, on Sunday, I also made progress on my vegetable garden. The peas are coming along nicely, and I now have tomatoes, peppers, and basil growing, with the parsnips seeded. Also, the wintered-over brocolli and rhubarb is doing great and the fruit trees have passed the blossom-stage.

It's almost enough to make one believe in God. Almost (but not quite).

Reading Greg Palast's newly-released-and-enhanced 'Armed Madhouse' (I got an autographed copy for a $50 contribution to his investigative fund). It is depressing.

Also reading a collection of Mark Twain speeches/lectures. Some of it is dated, but, when he's good, he's very good.

I understand he was a bit bi-polar, too. I respect that.

Happy May Day.