Monday, August 25, 2008

Camping and other updates

Like Dust, I've jumped off the bridge. As most of everyone knows by now, I'm on Facebook. Please bare with me while I try and figure out all that Facebook offers. I must say that I was pretty surprised to see nearly everyone I know on it. Friends in Iowa, Kansas, and Oregon are all on it. Everyone I know seems to have "jumped off the bridge."
I guess I like "user friendliness" of blogger, but Facebook offers a lot more. I particularly like the music section "social tunes." What a great way to talk to others about music and rate your albums.

In other news, I turned in my two weeks at Trillium today. It was a tough decision. I usually haven't been given much of a choice on leaving a job. Either I'm told to leave or I have to relocate. I really can't understand why some people job hop so much. So in two weeks, I'll start at Albetina Kerr as a Foster Care Case Manager----wow.

Last weekend was our big camping trip with our home group from church. I guess everyone knows by now, that I'm not a big camper. In fact, my camping trip with Dash, Dust, Dar, and A Forest was my first camping trip. This last camping trip had it's ups and downs however.
First off, the camp site was a 1/4 of a mile away from the cars. I arrived late when it was dark and wandered through the woods for a while until I found it. Anyway, being far from the car made dragging the gear a real pain.
My second problem was that the site had a no camp fire sign. How can you camp without a camp fire?
For Wah-Wah's early birthday present, I brought her a inflatable kayak. Unfortunately, we didn't have a pump that would work on it (one minor mistake). Luckily, Wah-Wah found a guy with the kind of pump we needed and we were able to inflate the kayak.
Here's some pictures of our camping weekend:

This was our camp site at Oxbow Park, just 15 minutes outside of Portland. The bigger tent on the right is ours. It was suppose to be a 4 person tent, but it was awfully tight. I guess it could hold 4 really small people or 4 regular people if they slept on top of each other.
Here is a picture of the Sandy River where we camped at. I think Wah-Wah took this picture since no one else was up this early. I spent Saturday afternoon just laying and relaxing in the river. Sure it was cold, but very refreshing.
Here are some of our fellow campers playing in the river.

Here's Wah-Wah bringing in her kayak after it's maiden voyage down the river. She took Nibbles down the river about a 1/4 of a mile. Apparently Nibbles hated it and screamed the whole time. I guess the kids will sit out on our next kayak adventure. We had to carry that kayak all the way back to the campsite so others could use it. Without a pump, we couldn't deflate it to carry it. I got to go down the river finally at the end of the day.

After getting back from camping, I went to go see Neil Halstead at the Doug Fir. Neil is a great singer song writer whose warm (yet often humorous lyrics) sounded nicely in the "log cabin" atmosphere of the Doug Fir. Neil's sound was pretty stripped down to just the basics. He even played a few tunes from his band- Mojave 3.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Big decisions

I'm not good at making decisions. I've never liked making big decisions and I never will. I'd like to think of myself as a "risk taker", but I'm fooling myself. Being indecisive is something that runs in my family as well. I remember growing up, we would argue for hours on where to eat that we always ended up at McDonald's. It took my brother years to decide to get into the medical field. It even took me a long time to decide to have another child and even longer to decide if I wanted to move to Oregon. Tonight, I'm agonizing over another fork in the road.
A few weeks ago at work, my old supervisor called me and suggested I interview for a case manager position at a agency known as Albertina Kerr (where she now works). After secretly going through the interview, I received an offer this morning. However, the offer wasn't for substantially more money. It was for a little better than what I'm doing now, but not enough to make it an easy choice.
I called Wah-Wah about the offer, and she said that if I'm really unhappy at my current job at Trillium, I should take it, otherwise it may not be worth the extra drive (it is approximately 7 miles away vs Trillium at a nice 3). I called back my supervisor and said that I would pass.
As the day went on, I began to question myself if I had made a mistake. I don't hate my job at Trillium but I know there are big changes coming down the pike (such as smaller office space). I then remember saying in the interview that I wanted to get back into case work and to have more control over a child's case. Currently, I'm in the dark about where my cases are going while others above me steer the direction of the case.
I called back my old supervisor and said that I was reconsidering and asked for a little more time to decide. She assured me that she wasn't in a hurry- but the sooner the better. I guess part of me is torn with where my loyalties are. Kerr has stolen a big portion of Trillium's business and many former staff. I also hate to have to tell the kids that I work with that I would be leaving. A lot of them, I've grown attached to and I don't want to just be another adult who says "good bye" to them.
I ask myself repeatedly if I would regret turning down a chance to get back to doing what I've always done, or would I leave a relatively stable situation for a bad situation?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

July's Music

I guess you could say it was slow month for music, with not as many good releases as in the last few months. I took the opportunity to get some stuff I put off for a while.

Elbow The Seldom Seen Kid This month I rediscovered the critically acclaimed band: Elbow. I say "rediscovered" because I bought their album Cast Of Thousands a few years ago and had a hard time taking it in. It was one of those "hard to listen" albums that isn't immediately accessible. The Seldom Seen Kid (their latest) is a little more "listener friendly" and pulled me right in. With strange musical textures and with some immediate pop song chorus, this is a pretty big sounding album and deserves a listen. Great art mope rock. I also reconnected with Cast Of Thousands and began to appreciate it more. I guess some music, you just can't give up on.

Neil Halstead Oh! Mighty Engine The only new release this month that I found was the second solo album from the lead singer of Mojave 3. Neil Halstead is a excellent song writer and the last Mojave 3 album Puzzles Like You, was a excellent (and surprisingly upbeat) album. Here, he works pretty much by himself and strips the sound down even farther. Even though he's not backed by much of a band, his songs still have the great hooks that makes Neil's music so great. He will be in Portland in a few weeks.

The Charlatans UK Wonderland I have always kind of liked the The Charlatans since I bought their first album back in 1990. The problem with these britpop survivors are their albums are pretty inconsistent. Sometimes they are OK, other times they stink. Wonderland was probably their best effort since the early days. They just released a new album and ended up giving it away on their website. I didn't find it worth my time.

Panda Riot She Dares All Things Another "indie shoegazer" band recommended to me from itunes. Sounds like a lot of the other shoegazer bands that sound like My Bloody Valentine. A fairly young band that uses the "fuzzed out" guitars with the breathy female and a drum machine. We'll see what the future holds for them.

The Daysleepers Drowned In a Sea Of Sound You guess it, another "indie shoegazer" band from itunes. I think at this point, I'll take a little break from the shoegazer sound-- perhaps a couple of weeks. Anyway, these guys have the endorsement of "shoegazer founder"- Robin Guthie (Cocteau Twins), as well as Neil Halstead (Slowdive) and that has got to count for something. This NY band knows their influences and have a pretty impressive debut.