Saturday, October 27, 2007

Blending in Portland

I've been in Portland for almost a year now so I sort of have an idea of what people are like around here. I've come up with a little guide to blending in around here.

1. Own a Columbia jacket
2. Take the bus or Max (train) where ever you go.
3. Use that money you save in gas for a $4.00 coffee
4. Ride a bicycle that doesn't have gears
5. don't shaved in days or have a beard.
6. Attended Imago Dei at least once.
7. If you are married, you drive a Suberu Outback.
8. Your Suberu has bike and kayak racks.
9. Listen to the Shins
10. Shop at Trader Joes (Grocery store that sells all organic and imported foods). Plastic bags are not a option there. Only recycled paper bags.
11. You know at least 3 lesbian couples.
12. You have hitch hiked a couple of times
13. Grow your own vegetables
14. Have a "Keep Portland Weird" bumper sticker

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fall in Oregon

One of Imago Dei's emphasis is on beauty and worship. Not in people's physical appearance obviously, but in art and nature. After living here for a while, I see why beauty and nature are so valued. As Fall takes hold of the north west, the land changes colors that would inspire Claude Monet. I can see a beautiful change take place. Fortunately, the rain wasn't been much of a problem on the weekends, so we have continued our hikes exploring the area. Here are a few highlights:

This is Little Crater Lake. It's around the base of Mt.Hood. We saw this with on a hike back to Timothy Lake several weeks ago. I can't begin to explain the geology of this lake other than it was a crater that expanded and filled with underground water. It's as clear and blue as Crater Lake in southern Oregon, but a fraction of the size. You can easily see down to the bottom which is over 18ft. I love all the colors along the edge, and the perfect reflection in the water.

This is Butte Creek falls that we went to last week. A rather long drive from Portland, but worth it. It is surrounded by trees, so very little sun light ever hits the water. With all the fall colors surrounding the trees, I remember thinking this is as close to perfect naturally beauty as it gets.
Here are the lower falls of Butte Creek Falls just down stream. Unless you are really adventurous, this is as close as you could get. I don't think I really needed to get any closer anyway.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fall festivals

This weekend I've been missing KC a lot since it's time for the annual fall festivals. One of my favorite past times was going to Carolyn's Country Cousins Pumpkin Patch, or Schaake Pumpkin Patch out in Lawrence, or even the Cider Fest down in Louisberg.
Carolyn's Pumpkin patch was always my favorite. They would always take you out to the middle of a pumpkin field so you can pick your own pumpkin. I seldom actually bought a pumpkin, but the ride was fun. They also had lots of things to do for the kids such as a train ride, tricycles, and playground equipment.
Cider Fest was always worth the trip just for the cider donuts. I also enjoyed the fall crafts out on display as well as the dancing.
This year we have tried to make do with a few pumpkin patches here in Oregon. I honestly can't remember the names of the two we visited last weekend. Last weekend was a pretty cool weekend so it really felt like fall, but I still missed KC. They had plenty for the kids such as corn mazes, petting zoos, and hay slides.
We also discovered this weekend that Nibbles loves horses. She insisted on going on one of those Horse-go-rounds, but then threw a fit when it was time to get down. I remember she kept running back to the horses every time we put her down. She can be very stubborn.
Sadly, I didn't get any cider donuts this year. One of the festivals had them, but the line was at least an hour long (I'm not kidding. The line didn't move an inch in 15mins). I guess it just isn't fall without my cider donuts.

Here's Nibbles riding her second horse (her first one she rode at her cousins house). I can just see her asking me for a pony every X-mas for the next 10 years. By the way, this is obviously the before picture. It got ugly after this.
Woogy on some hay. Thank goodness he didn't throw a fit like his sister when it was time to leave.
Nobody would believe me if I told them I carved this. Well I didn't, but I wish I did. I have never actually carved a pumpkin. Drawing a face is good enough for me.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

September's Music

Here's my music picks for September.

Youth Group Casino Twilight Dogs Made famous by a couple of songs on "the OC" including a cover of one of my favorite 80's songs "Forever Young" by Alphaville. This is sort of a "guilty pleasure" album because of it's ties to the "OC". Not being a fan of the show, I've heard that a lot of good bands get some air time on the show. I guess whatever gets your music out there. But I love this album. One of the best I've gotten in a long time. Youth Group songs shimmer and shine. This is one of those albums that songs build to a sparkling majesty. Catchy at it's finer moments too. Athlete Beyond the Neighbourhood Somewhere beyond Coldplay but not as far out as Radiohead is Athlete in the Britpop arena. A little more experimental than their last album Tourist, Athlete use a little more electronics on this one. The upbeat songs such as "Hurricane", drive and kind of give you a push, while the slower moments are interesting and thoughtful. Beyond the Neighbourhood is Athlete's bid to come along side Britpop bands like Coldplay, Snow Patrol and Keane.
Vigilantes of Love To the Roof of the Sky You can't discuss VOL without mentioning how unfair it is that VOL (Bill Mallonee) is still relatively unknown. Bill Mallonee is so talented and such a good song writer. How is he not as important as Bob Dylan is a real mystery. VOL is so obscure that Bill Mallonee actually paid for the making of the album on his credit card and sold it out of his kitchen. Bill Mallonee lyrics have depth and maturity and a almost stubborn faith. I picked up this album on itunes (since that's the only place where it is available). A supervisor at work thought a did a great job helping out one of her clients so she gave me a gift card for itunes. I thought that was pretty cool to be paid in itunes. I could get use to it. Doesn't help feed my family, but is still a great reward.
Mum Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy It is always difficult to describe a Mum album. I guess they get compared to Bjork a lot because they are both from Iceland. But Mum are far more experimental and "out there" than Bjork at her most creative moments. I have to admit that I have a love of Icelandic music because it is so "out there" . To a casual listener, it's a "hard listen". Anyway, besides the lovely artwork (that is typically in a Mum album), it is a improvement from their album "Summer Make Good." I didn't find it as minimalistic as their last album.