Miss Joan Gunnuss

Miss Joan Gunnuss died today. I know her because her husband John is one of my former co-workers. She died of cancer, and like probably all cancer deaths, it’s a shame.

Joan was one of those good people that there should be more of.  She was kind and curious and was always glad to see me.  I’m guessing she was always glad to see hundreds of people.

My first encounter with her was an observation.  It was back-to-school time and everyone was getting into the swing of things.  For me and two other teachers, it was the first time we did the back-to-school thing at this particular school. It was hectic and tiring and there were so many new faces.

One of the new teachers, Ariel, was going out of the school, passing through the vestibule–a passageway I could see from my desk.  A woman was coming in and Ariel and the woman locked eyes.  There was some sort of recognition and exclamation and hugging before Ariel continued out the door and the woman came in.

The woman was Joan.  She had taught Ariel dance, or possibly yoga, when she was a girl.  Ariel was glad to see Joan and Joan was thrilled to run into a former student all grown up.  They had a connection, even after all the years had gone by.

I officially met Joan later that day and we had a connection too. Because Joan wasn’t the type of person to give you a cursory once-over and a “nice to meet you,” then slot you into a category and be done with the meeting.  She really looked at you. She was genuinely happy to meet you.  She remembered things about you.

Joan was a hippie in the best way. She taught yoga. She had long hair.  She was full of joy. She lived in a tiny old house on a blueberry farm that was surrounded by a huge suburban housing development.  She was long and lean and moved with grace and purpose.  She loved her dogs, her children, her husband and seemingly everyone else.

I remember at her and John’s wedding watching her walk to the alter.  She took time to look everyone attending in the eye. “It was like she was thinking, ‘I want to remember everyone who was here,'” my co-worker said later when I remarked on it.

Aside from movement, Joan loved music.  She was always up for a sing along, played guitar and loved to have at least a couple songs where the choruses were whistled.

She will be missed by many.  I’m glad to have known her.

One week with the Roomba

It’s been a week of Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! taking care of the floors and I can say that it has never been so clean under my bed.  Under the couch is probably looking good too.

Rudy takes a long time to do his job. He’s supposed to run for an hour and then return home, but most days he runs for an hour, I get a notification he’s done and then he runs for another 45-60 minutes.  I don’t love this.

I have to do about 5-10 minutes of prep work for Rudy.  Here you see the most extreme version.  He tends to get caught on the Ikea chair, though–report from the future–in about another week I will realize I can prop the back legs of the chair up on 1-cup mason jars and he will be fine.

Reading all the reviews on Amazon, I was worried he wouldn’t clean this carpet.  The sensor that keeps him from falling down stairs might have interpreted this as a void, but he is not deterred.

Antares mostly still hides while Rudy is doing his cleaning, but Sentinel will sometimes keep an eye on the vacuuming process.

And Rudy! Rudy! Rudy! still spends a goodly amount of time trying to figure out how to get out from under chairs.

While I am not completely in love with the robot vacuum cleaner itself, I do like the clean floors.  Perhaps my affection will grow.

Progress on the backyard project

In two hours, we got some good work done on our backyard. Here you can see Matt smoothing out dirt we’ve moved to bring the grade up. We put strings on our stakes and made things level. Also, this is the widest part of the yard we have to grade, so that means that the work from here on out will go even more quickly.

I couldn’t bear to kill off the asparagus that has performed so well for me for so many years. So my job was digging up the old crowns and putting them in the trench I dug to plant the new crowns.

The old crowns are huge, especially in comparison to the spindly new crowns.
Here you can see one of the new stalks poking its head above the ground.

Once again the rain part of the day started after we finished our work. Good job, weather.

Highlights from the Avenue of the Roses Parade

Friends Mark & Amanda live at the end of the Avenue of Roses Parade route and host a party. I love a good parade, especially a good small parade, so I went. Here are some highlights.

While 82nd Avenue does have problems with prostitution and I certainly support this group’s efforts, I kept imagining the questions posed along the parade route, “Mommy, why don’t real men buy sex?”

Who doesn’t love a good scary dragon?

I was intrigued by these characters, and unfortunately, missed capturing the group’s name.

Gotta love returned Peace Corps volunteers.

I also loved this cool holder for the saint carried by this Catholic church. It allowed for smooth carrying and left room for waving.

These puffy air-filled dinosaurs were delightful. I’d never seen puffy characters before.

Some cool parade goers make some noise and wave the flag.

It became apparent that the classic cars were turning right off of 82nd, and we were to the left, so we missed them, but we did get to see a lot of the parade. Thanks to Mark & Amanda for hosting.

Backyard Rehab Report: 4/22/18

We started by weeding the side yard.  No weeds are happening in the path we put in last fall, but a lot of weeds were happening between the path and the house, where things need to be planted.

Next we put up our stakes.  We have stakes about four feet apart and then rows about five feet apart.  This way, as we level we can slope the dirt 1/2″ every row. We learned that the sledgehammer is the fastest at getting those stakes in the ground.

We even had time to move some dirt from the mound to a shallow depression in the yard.  This meant moving the chunks of concrete into a yellow recycling bin. We will need to discard the concrete chunks. Perhaps by slowly adding them to the garbage.

Excavating the dirt mound also involved digging up the asparagus crowns that have grown in the raised bed since 2009 or so.  They were originally planted in Leo’s yard in 2008. It physically hurt to dig up one of those crowns and discard it.

Still, it’s good to get started on the mound going away.  I’m looking forward to having a nice backyard to hang out in.

Also!  The rhubarb has returned! Both plants.  The one on the right side of the yard, closer to the shorter fence, emerged about three weeks after the one on the left next to the taller fence.  Guess which side gets the most sun.

We try Thai Rolled Ice Cream

My first encounter with Thai Rolled Ice Cream was at the Minnesota State Fair. I did not stand in line to have some–the line was long–but I did get a good overview of the situation because they were stationed right below an escalator so I got a birds-eye view as I was headed down.

There’s a shop now in Portland, so I was excited to try this and avoid the line.  We failed at avoiding the line–it was a very sunny and warm spring day and the shop was full.  But we did get ample opportunity to watch our treat being made.

Liquid is ladled onto a very cold disk and things are added in.  I got the Oreo one, so mine had a crushed up Oreo. Then the mixture is spread into a square and carefully rolled into five rolls, which are placed in the cup.

You can then add three toppings, a sauce, and some whipped cream.

Matt opted to skip the whipped cream, and so you can see his banana and Nutella ice cream rolls much better.

While it was fun to watch the creation of this dessert, I didn’t love the flavor of the lactose-free “ice cream.”

Dishcloths: Arrow Point & Bachelor’s Puzzle

There are some good points on this Arrow Point dishcloth

I’ve just spent 15 minutes trying to figure out why the Bachelor’s Puzzle is called that, and have come to no conclusions, other than one quilter being amused that the Bachelor’s Puzzle makes a ring.

By making the ends four rows shorter on the top and bottom I can now easily get two dishcloths out of one skien of yarn.

OHS Civil Rights Exhibit

Matt and I had a date at the Oregon Historical Society to see Racing to Change: Oregon’s Civil Rights Years.

It was a good exhibit.  Both of us were left with the depressing feeling that not much has changed since the 1960s and 1970s.

An example: This is from the October 1966 Black Panther Party Platform and Program.  The Black Panthers were talking about police brutality 52 years ago.  How much has changed on that front?

Here’s a picture of houses and businesses in the thriving Black community in the Vancouver/Williams area. The 188 shaded houses and several businesses were claimed through eminent domain and torn down for the expansion of Legacy Emmanuel Hospital, an expansion that never came.  The Oregonian featured one woman’s story on July 6, 2017.  “City policy cost 98-year-old black woman her home. Here’s why she won’t get it back.”

We learned about the tense relationship between police and the black community including police officers taking part in racist harassment, being fired and the police taking part in a “Cops Have Rights Too” rally. The officers were reinstated.
An observation by Avel Gordly

Instructions for what to do when stopped by the police which are still the same instructions given today. Point #12 was interesting advice about how to sit in the police car more comfortably.

Also this great letter from the chairperson of the Black Justice Committee, who opens with an apology and acknowledgment that putting together the monthly mailing is “a big drag.”  This made me laugh.

The exhibit ends with ways to work for change.