Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Keane in Portland

Last night I attended my first major Portland concert. Keane played last night to a packed small theater in downtown Portland. I went with this guy "AB" and his wife and had a great time. AB and I have similar taste in music with the exception he likes some "old school" rock. I've never got into "Zepplin" or anything like that.
The opening act was pretty bad. I can't even remember the name, but they were pretty blusy with extended guitar solos that I didn't care for. A lot of other people in the audience liked them however.
Keane took the stage shortly after opening with "Put it Behind You". Tom Chaplin, the lead singer, was his usual gracious self and worked the excitement of the crowd well. Tom talked about how he enjoyed traveling up the gorge in Portland on the bands day off. He even broke out a guitar and played an acoustic version of "Open your eyes". The band played a rather long set playing nearly every song off both their albums. They ended their set with "Bedshaped" and thanked the crowd a thousand times.
Afterwards, I bought a reasonably priced T-shirt (only $30). Unfortunately I had to pay another $10 for parking, but after getting such a deal on the T-shirt, what was another $10? Anyway, AB and I will be seeing Snow Patrol later in Feb, so I better start saving for another shirt.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Art weekend at Imago

This weekend was art weekend at Imago. Our church put on a art show at the Urban Grind coffee house. On Friday, Michael Pritzel and Michael Roe did a acoustic show calling it "Roe vs. Pritzel." I almost missed this awesome performance but "A Forest " alerted me that it was in the area. Thank goodness he keeps up on Michael Pritzel better than I do.
I've seen Michael Pritzel perform many times (as the Violet Burning), but never acoustically, so this show was a real treat. This had to be the best performance I've seen. Michael Roe and Pritzel swapped songs off each other and it was great. I was impressed with Michael Roe even though I've never heard of him before. He was in a Christian rock band called the "77's". Both guys were hysterical and took jabs at each other all night. Michael did a great version of "Oceania" using a drum machine with hip-hop beats (I've never heard the song like that before). It was one of those shows that makes you fall in love with music again.
The next evening Imago Dei artist put on a show at the coffee house. I can't believe all the raw talent that Imago has. On the stage, there were musical acts , short films, and poetry readings. The walls were covered with paintings by local artist. They even had a kids play area so the kids didn't get bored. The evening was capped off by a brilliant dance performance of U2's "All I Want is You".
I would show pictures but I haven't figured out how to post pictures with my new camera yet.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Blue Like Jazz in Portland

When I first started going to Imago Dei, I told people I heard of the church through reading "Blue Like Jazz" by Don Miller. A lot of people rolled their eyes. A friend of mine said that "we had a nice little church until that book came out". Now the church is over a thousand people with more people coming every Sunday. All the new people I've talked to say they read the "Blue Like Jazz" and they wanted to see what Imago is all about.
Don't get me wrong, Imago welcomes the new people and is trying to raise money to build a bigger church, but no one is sure how big Imago will get. I'm just amazed how influential a book can get. Don Miller has led so many to Imago Dei.
I have since started rereading "Blue Like Jazz" again and notice that a lot of the locations that Don talks about are in my neighborhood. I first noticed "Stumptown coffee" which Don mentions he frequents often. I then recognized Lauralhurst Park from the book which is right down the street from where I work. It really is a nice big park in the middle of the city. Also I'm right down the street from Reed College where Don writes about being a radical but brilliant college full of liberal ideas. I'll have to check out their naked parade.
I want to drive up Mt.Tabor sometime in the evening to view the city which Don mentions as being beautiful. Mt. Tabor is only a few blocks from my house. Lastly, I briefly met Pastor Rick who Don writes a lot about in the book. He's a big guy. I wanted to tell him how impressed I was that he started Imago is his own living room, but I was too shy. It's pretty cool to read a book and see it all in front of you .

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Joy Electric weekend

My year of concerts has officially started. Ronnie Martin (the Joy Electric guy) was in town for a couple of concerts this weekend. Since I don't know anyone else that likes Joy Electric around here, I went to these shows by myself (which I really didn't mind that much). On Friday, Joy Electric was playing in Vancouver (which is right across the bridge) at a small little church coffee house called "the Portal". It was actually pretty crowded and there was no one there to take my money, so I got a free show.
Ronnie opened up with "Sheffield Youth" from his new EP. He joked around about how he still uses these 20 year old tapes for playing his samples when he plays live, when his brother uses his ipod. He was accompanied by a drummer and played a lot of his standard material. Good show.
The next day I took the kids to my gym to go swimming. I swear I have never been in a more chlorinated pool in my life. My swim suit actually changed color after I washed it out. My eyes stung so bad that I washed them out for two hours and they still hurt. I'm not exaggerating either, but I think the water was mostly bleach.
On Sunday, I went to a small church here in Portland to see Joy Electric do an afternoon acoustic show. Despite a low turn out, I really enjoyed that show. Ronnie opened up with "the North Sea" and played a few from his first album "Melody" all on an acoustic guitar. He also played a new one from his forth coming project "the Brothers Martin" and three songs from his next album due out.
After the show, I went up to see him and he said that I looked familiar. I told him that I was at his Vancouver show and that I seen him a dozens of times in KC. He said "welcome to the Pacific Northwest."
A couple more shows are on the horizon that I'll be going with this one guy from my home group. Keane at the end of the month and Snow Patrol next month.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Working with damaged kids

I don't mean to sound like a bleeding heart, but life just isn't fair for a lot of people. I have finally started to get into my job at Trillium more and actually have a larger case load. I've worked with troubled kids for a while and seen a lot of tough cases, but the kids that I work with here are the most difficult I've seen.
I work as a foster care consultant with Trillium. Basically Trillium is a agency that sets up therapeutic foster homes and places kids in them that are in DHS custody. My job is to go out to the foster home and work with the kids. These kids are from all ages and nearly everyone has Reactive Attachment Disorder ( RAD). On the list of mental health disorders, RAD is one of the worst.
A child develops RAD when they are unable to emotionally attach themselves to a parent. The child's basic biological need to be loved and have their basic needs met never happens. Which makes RAD such a tough disorder to treat is that no one really except the biological parent can fill this need. The bond between parent and child needs to be established early in life or it almost never happens and there is no way therapeutically to go back and form that bond.
The kids that I am working with are very damaged kids. All of them have been torn from their parents at some point, often because their parents are unfit. It's interesting that everyone of them wants to return to their parents despite the fact that in most cases, the parents have abandoned them. As their counselor, I have to find ways to explain to them that they are never going home again. These kids are mad, and for good reason.
The other day, I was talking to a girl who was out of control. She said that she didn't care anymore. She didn't care if she ever had friends because she has to move around so much. I could really understand and told her she was right.
I've got another child that is only 4 years old that has been shipped around a lot due to her behavior. My son is 4 and I couldn't image him being shipped around to foster homes.
I've got another girl who yelled at a mother and baby in the mall claiming "it isn't fair!" We of course had to hospitalize her. This afternoon I have to go tell a pair of twins that they have to move again because their current foster mom's health is failing.
I've worked with some tough kids in the past, but they at least had some sort of connection with their parents (even though it wasn't very healthy). I don't have the answers to make some of these issues other than to tell people "stop having kids if you don't want them"

Sunday, January 07, 2007

my weekend

This weekend we took the kids to the Portland Children's Home. I would show pictures, but I apparently left my camera there. First off, the kids really enjoyed the museum. They had lots of stuff for the kids to play with (but nothing I haven't seen before). Unfortunately, I got really bored, so bored that I felt like I was walking around in a daze, and apparently that's when I left my camera behind.
I don't know why I was so bored, but I've been really tired lately. I feel like I could sleep all day. I've drank so much coffee, that caffeine has sort of lost it's effect. My brother says that it is probably the weather. It has been raining pretty much nonstop for a week now. It has been a while since we've seen the sun here in Portland.
The Children's museum wasn't a complete bust for me though. When I was walking by the theater, I heard some really good music. It was a local band called "Rye Hollow" was playing before an audience of kids and their parents. The music reminded me of "Over the Rhine", sort of an Americana sound. Most of the kids weren't interested, but some of the parents were. I certainly didn't expect to hear a pretty good concert in the Children's museum.
I did search the museum for my camera, but never found it. It was a older digital camera, but I really liked it because it was easy to use. I guess I'll have to get another one.
After the Children's museum, we went out with my brother to a rather unique restaurant called "PB and Ellie's". Wow, it was like someone made a cafe with my family in mind. First they had big train table in the middle of the restaurant that the kids could play with. The kids could also draw in chalk on the walls. This place had lots of board games you could play while you waited for your food. A large part of the menu was geared towards kids and they even had a baby menu. All the food was organic, nothing fried. I got a hamburger (which was organic) and it was served with Baked Sweet Potato Fries which were really pretty tasty. Even the drinks were made all of natural flavors. I might add that it was the best burger I've had since coming to Portland.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Our first Holidays in Oregon

Our first holiday season in Oregon is over. I'd say that I enjoyed seeing the lights at the Grotto was the most memorable event but the season was enjoyable considering the circumstances of being so far away from family and friends.
As usual, I got sick right before X-mas but was over it soon. Unfortunately everyone else got sick too. We drove to Newport the weekend of Xmas to be with my folks. My uncle from Albany stopped by and we spent the day walking on the beach.
The ocean is much different in the winter than in the summer. It's much rougher and more windy, but awesome to watch.
On Sunday, Wah-Wah and I went to a restaurant on the beach and went for a walk on the harbor 15 mins before a storm came. We had just enough time to see the sea lions that live there eating hand outs from the restaurants. Unfortunately, Wah-Wah was getting sick at this time so we had to head back.
X-mas is always overwhelming on the kids. This year we let them open one gift every hour so they could at least play with their gift before they moved on to their next gift. We bought Woogy a Leapster game system this year. Out of the three games I bought him, he only likes one. Nibbles is into hand bags so we got her a couple of purses that she liked.
Since Wah-Wah and I have no time off yet, we had to head back to be at work on Tuesday. Over the weekend I taught Woogy of to bowl which he seemed to really enjoy. On New Year's Eve, we went to hear Don Miller speak at Imago Dei. Don is sort of a celebrity at Imago. Most of the people that attend are there because they read "Blue Like Jazz". Don hadn't spoken in a while, so he had a full house. He's a great speaker. Very entertaining and humble. Don spoke about playing the script that God has for you in your life. He insists that his life is very dull. Afterwards, we attended one of our home groups party. I had a good time and was introduced to a German card game about bean trading. It's hard to explain, but it was fun.
unfortunately, the kids couldn't last until midnight, so we had to leave a little early under the usual fussing and crying when the kids get tired.