Author Archives: Heather

Musical education


Brian took me to see Tom Jones last night – what a great night.

We headed downtown early, so we got a parking spot a block away. Walked down Broadway to Typhoon – the one in Hotel Lucia. Good meal, although we were both really exhausted from a little dog barking all night the night before, so the waiter’s attentiveness was slightly bothersome rather than nice (our attitudes that night, not the waiter’s fault).

Tom Jones is a great performer, it was so much fun. I really don’t get the women who throw their panties at him, and I noticed he was pretty deft avoiding being hit with them, and was careful not to step on them. He played everything I wanted him to play – It’s Not Unusual, What’s New Pussycat, Sexbomb and The Kiss. The only thing he didn’t play for Brian was Motherless Child, but even so, we were both very delighted by him. We were definitely at the youngest end of the age groups there.

Saturday’s hike

We went to Powell Butte for the hike.


I saw my first mountain finder since I moved back here – I’m looking forward to the one on the way to John Day next month. Mountain finders are pointers in the ground that point at each mountain you can see and give you its name. In this case, it also gave you the elevation of the mountain and distance from Powell Butte. Since a storm was moving in, we “only” saw the various buttes, Mt. St. Helen’s, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Hood. Mt Adams wasn’t visable. Poor us, hehe. Nice to be back by the mountains. That was on the “Mountain View” part of the hike.


I also saw evidence of “spit bugs” which I haven’t really even thought of since I was a kid. I remember learning about them at one point or another, but their real name obviously hasn’t stuck with me. I do remember that you could gently feel around in the spit and eventually find the bug that did it. Brian was slightly disturbed when I pointed that out.


The Mountain View Hike was definitely not long enough for me to count it as that day’s exercise, so we went on the Meadowview trail and branched of on the Old Holgate Road trail. The Old Holgate Road was amazing, going into something old and deeply green and there was no way you felt like you were really in a city anymore (Powell Butte is ten minutes from where we live). It really felt like we were walking on our way to a fairy tale.


The fairy tale feeling was a little more pronounced when we saw various pre-teens jumping off the trail (if you saw what a long drop it was to ground level, you’d understand why we were startled and concerned) and that was followed by a bizarre experience with two men sitting on a pipe on the side of the trail. They were wearing dress pants, button up shirts and smoking. They were also talking very rapidly in what I think was russian, but I could also be talked into some of the eastern europe languages. And listening to angry techno music on some sort device. Okaaaay. It’s a bit of a hike to get to this point, and muddy, so that’s odd, but to each their own. A nod and a smile at them (they mostly just glowered politely) and we continued on.

Annnnnnnnd on the way back,they were still there. Smoking, listening to angry techno, talking rapidly in russian. Fine, fine.

A little way up, we decided to stop, eat an apple and drink some water (we’d been hiking for two or three hours by that point). And here come our techno friends, marching up the hill smoking, talking somberly, and of course, listening to angry techno.

Very strange. Would love to have known why they were hiking in dress clothes and what they were talking about. It really did make me feel like I was in a strange story.


Just call me uber-healthy girl


Just got back from the farmers’ market where the strawberries are out in full force. If you’ve never had an Oregonian strawberry before, you are missing out, just like with the peaches.

When I was 10 or so, I got my first job picking Oregon strawberries at some ungodly hour in the morning. Mom would walk me to the school bus stop, where a bus would come pick me up. It was kinda scary at first, going to work without my mom. Who would tell me what to do?

Mostly no one, you had to talk to the people around you to find out how it worked. O sure, the farmer would give a nice speech, but the real information came from the older (like 13 or 14 year olds) people around you. You found out that this was a good farm because they paid out 7 cents a pound. The one across the way only paid 5 cents. You found out it was fine to eat the strawberries as you picked, but that they got really mad when the kids would do strawberry washes (grab a handful of strawberries and mash them wildly on someone else’s head. Getting a strawberry wash meant you were liked. Of course, it meant that you had flies around your head for the rest of the day, and everything was sticky, and holy hell was the farmer pissed, but you were liked).

I ate so many strawberries that summer that we found out that I have a fruit allergy. It’s mild enough that I have to eat a good amount of fruit to trigger it, but once it’s triggered, I can do enough damage to myself to scar my face. Or so the doctor told my mom. The fruit allergy went away thankfully when I hit my early teens, only to resurface after a particularly fun margarita party with the neighbors when I was 26. Sob. It’s gone again, and I have to say I don’t want it back. I love fresh organic fruit more than chocolate, cake and ice cream.

I picked enough strawberries that I was the richest kid I knew. And since I was a bookworm, that meant only one thing. I could buy any book I wanted. I bought first edition Oz books because they were all out of print by that point (except for Wizard of Oz and one or two others). I still have them too – pride and joy of my library, mostly earned from picking strawberries (my sister helped me supplement it eight years ago with a beautiful set found on the East coast).

We bought many veggies today at the PSU farmers’ market, and I am starting to get giddy with what is in season. We will be having a fennel and radish salad on the side of fennel steamed fish (what ever is fresh and good when I go pick it up). I’m really dangerously close to eating 3 pints of strawberries well before they make it into the pie I promised Brian (I don’t eat pie, and I dislike warm mushy fruit). I’m starting to learn who the farmers are, who I like and I am glad that I went with the CSA we did. We bought a mint plant from them last week (yes, you will hear a resurgence of “Gotta kill the mint”) and three basil plants this week. Our farmer told us how to water them (I’ve been doing it wrong for a long time) and how to pick the leaves so the plant still grows (that’s what I’ve also been doing wrong).

I’m trying to talk Brian into a hike today, and I think he wants to work so we probably won’t. I’ll have to start finding hikes I’m comfortable doing on my own – he’s been surprisingly reluctant due to being over-worked and generally too busy. I’ve got approximately 4000 hikes I want to do this summer, so I’m worse than a dog who hears the word “walk.”

YAY summer, YAY farmers’ markets, YAY OREGON the best place ever.

Random ramblings

Two nights ago we went and saw Prince Caspian at the St John’s Theater. I don’t know that I will need to see another Walt Disney Narnia movie again, I’ll just leave it at that. I don’t think they quite got what C.S. Lewis was saying. It was nice to wander around in St John’s – ever since we were there for Blue Moon, I’ve wanted to go back and take a look at the downtown area. Because it was a Wednesday night, it was pretty quiet, but we want to go back to check it out more later. If any of you have a suggestion of places to go there, send me an email! We had the theater mostly to ourselves – just one other couple in the place.

Yesterday, I tried fresh peas for the first time I remember (I am sure I’ve had them before from my mom or someone, but I probably didn’t know it). I shelled them, and steamed them. We tried one or two raw – they were quite good, and Gretchen will really like them that way too. I ate them with nothing on them once I steamed them, mmmm, very good. Quite a different thing than the canned stuff. If they are still in season when Maggie and Matt are here, we will sit on the back patio together and shell peas for dinner. Yeah, I’m going to be the weird aunt, no doubt about it.

I ad’Oregon

Not that this is a surprise to anyone, but I love living here. When I think of all the stuff we have to look forward to doing, and all the places in Oregon I haven’t been to for at least a decade, I get so excited. I still gasp, literally, each time I come around a corner and see a mountain. It gets Brian every time – he says, concerned, “What?” and I have to say “Sorry, I saw a mountain.”

I’m working pretty hard again to get fit, and Oregon is definitely my motivation. So many hikes I want to take, and I can’t do them if I’m too out of breath.

Just wanted to note that before I head out for the day, that’s all. I’m pretty lucky, and I love my life.

What I did today


We wandered downtown and parked by Powell’s. We got there around 10:30, thinking that might be early enough to get into the Barack Obama rally. We headed down to the waterfront, because I knew it was in Waterfront park. When we got to the Hawthorne bridge, a volunteer helpfully pointed kind of back the way we came and said head up that way, four block or so. Heh, probably closer to ten. The line snaked all around downtown, and we quickly realized that we were probably not going to get in.

Well, we were downtown anyhow, so we might as well grab a bite to eat. Brian is too clever by half, so he suggested the McCormick and Schmick’s on the waterfront. I think he was hoping we could at least hear something. We had a nice lunch of seafood, ice tea and beer, and as we finished it up, I hear Colin Meloy’s voice. I had heard that the Decemberists were going to play before Obama spoke, and sure enough they were. We paid our check and headed toward the crowds.

Brian suggested walking down the pier to the river, and we got this perfect spot. We sat on the edge of the dock, where we could see and hear everything. It was in the mid-eighties today, and it was great to be able to dangle my toes in the water while we listened to the Decemberists play. I took a short video of it, which I will post tomorrow or so.

You can see all the boats on the water waiting for Obama. The video shows this awesome woman who paddled her surfboard into the river, and who paddles by us during the song. She sat on the surfboard and listened when Obama came out to speak.

It was amazing to see, and they are estimating the crowds at 75,000. They allowed 50,000 through security, so I’m not sure we would have gotten in if we had waited in line (and besides, it was so perfect sitting on the river!). The folks on the boats used their horns to “clap” at appropriate parts. I got choked up more than once during his speech.

Finishing upgrades

I’ve been working on a server move, and also on upgrading to the current version of MovableType, which is what I use to write this.

Because of these upgrades, I’ve been manually creating entries, and I’m going to republish these on here. Apologies if you’ve read them before!

The Claw

Annnnddd…maybe a lack of access to my blogging software will actually make me write more.

Great thread on one of the websites I read about were you bullied or a bully. I don’t think I was really either, but there were one or two incidents where I came up against a bully. One of those times really stuck with me.

There was one point where a fifth grade bully and his friends would try to bully my friends and me. He was a big oversized guy, with his arm in a hard cast, and he was really rotten. He developed the nickname “The Claw” due to hitting other kids with his hard cast (nope, not joking either).

One day he trapped my friends and me on the monkey bars, and one of my friends fell off. He did something to her that made her cry, I have no idea what anymore.

And I, who had been bullied with the rest of my friends, was so angry that I jumped off the monkey bars and hit him as hard as I could right in the nose, just like I had seen on TV. Gave him a bloody nose, knocked him down (which makes no sense to me. I was a skinny thing then).

We both were hauled off to the principal’s. He was given a month of detention for bullying. I was given a week of helping the kindergardeners during my recess times. I HATED recesses, and that was much more fun. I think the principal realized The Claw was a bully and I was just fighting back.

I remember being completely terrified taking the note the principal wrote to my mom telling her that I had been caught fighting. I have no idea what he said, just that my mom kinda laughed softly under her breath and talked to me about not hitting people, but kinda gently, so that I knew I wasn’t in too much trouble.

After that, The Claw became Mike, and whenever other boys would try to tease me, he was always there first telling them to step off or they’d deal with him.

My sister and I laugh about that story a lot – it’s so funny to me that he became my friend because I popped him in the nose.

For your awe and entertainment

(aside) As I type out the HTML to create these, I feel so old-school. That’s how I used to update my webpages, by hand, before I developed a database for them. And once blogging software was released, I eventually moved over to that, conceding that while I could write my own, I might as well be writing words than code for something like this and just use what is already there.


One sunny afternoon in May, my mother gathered my sister and I and led us into our backyard. Our backyard, you see, had a beautiful view of Mt. St. Helen’s. I can remember where we stood in the yard, and even what I was wearing. She wanted us to be able to watch a volcano erupt with our own eyes. I remember standing there, watching it, and thinking that it just looked like a large dark cloud had gone near the mountain. And I remember how it looked, as it grew and grew.

I remember people being afraid that they were going to damage their lungs, and going around in surgical masks. I remember days where you weren’t supposed to go outside because the ash blow was too bad. I collected ash with my mom from our driveway and sidewalks to put in jars to remember this. And after things quieted down (months and months), we traveled to see the damage, which was surreal. All that timber, and that was a river once? I have a great picture somewhere of my sister and I standing in front of ash-banks that look like a huge bank of dirty snow, only it’s ash from the eruption. It’s much taller than we are in the picture.

Moving back here, I’m surrounded by beautiful mountains again, and Mt St Helens is one of them. I can see it each time I drive along the Gorge, or when I go to the airport to pick up new visitors. It’s lovely, and interesting.

It’s also rebuilding itself. This is timelapse photography over the course of three years, and it’s very clear the mountain is coming back. Wow.