The Grand McMenamins Passport Tour

We had a lot of places to visit so we started early.  Our first stop:


We arrived just as the restaurant was opening.  That purple ball had the cephalopod on it we needed to find to get our shirts.IMG_5354

On to Eugene.  Laurie and Matt pose outside our first location.IMG_5355

Visiting our second Eugene location (which was my favorite in this town)IMG_5357

Stopping at North Bank for two more stamps and our prize.IMG_5358

Our prize was a basket of fries or tots.  We also ordered lunch, which turned out to be a mistake.IMG_5359

You know you’re in Eugene when the McMenamins has bike parking.IMG_5366

Onto Corvallis.  Our first location had this amazing sink sculpture:IMG_5372

The second location had an English Pub feel.  Here we collected our prize of one free appetizer each.


Next came Salem and this amazing historic house-turned-restaurant.IMG_5390

Our last stop in Salem.  Time to claim our prize:  sandwich or wrap of our choice.IMG_5392

Wisely, we took them to go.  While we were waiting, we sang happy birthday to Phoenix, an eight year old who covered his ears while everyone on the patio serenaded him.IMG_5393

Two pages in one day!IMG_5394

Books read in April 2016

AWTY_COVER_FINAL_FRONT31Somewhat of a lighter month for reading, probably because things were so busy. (Also not a month in which I’m head-over-heels about much of what I’ve read.)


Picture Books:  Are We There Yet? (and not because it’s the only contender)
Young Adult: A Thousand Nights
Young Nonfiction: Wet Cement
picture books

Are We There Yet?
Dan Santant
Read for Librarian Book Group
Perhaps my favorite picture book so far this year, and so good I read it out loud to Matt.  We had fun scanning the QR codes and finding all the details.  Quite well done!

young adultA Thousand Nights
E.K. Johnston
Johnston applies knowledge gained during several summers spent in the desert in this retelling of One Thousand and One Nights. While the narrative skipped right along, Johnston also included a ton of detail about village and palace life.  At times it reminded me of my enjoyment while reading the Red Tent.

The Great American Whatever
Tim Federle
Great title.  And cover design.  Good coming of age story about a boy, Quinn, who is mourning the death of his sister (and partner in movie-making crime).

Essential Maps for the Lost
Deb Caletti
The voice of the omniscient narrator did not work at all for me.  What did work was the portrayal of depression as the subtle sneaky bastard that it is.  Very nicely done Ms. Caletti.  Also, thanks for a reminder that it’s been too many years since I read From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

Young nonficiton

When Green Becomes Tomatoes
Julie Fogliono
Read for Librarian Book Group
Quite good poems about the changes in the seasons, that also doesn’t go for the cliche parts of the season.

Wet Cement
Bob Raczka
Read for Librarian Book Group
If you are only going to buy one poetry book this year, this is the one!  Wonderfully inventive use of words.  Incredibly clever.

Guess Who Haiku
Read for Librarian Book Group
I did not find these haiku as amazing or creative as the author implied in the author note.  Illustrations were fine.

Fearless Flyer
Read for Librarian Book Group
“Oh! I hope there’s a picture of Ruth Law at the end!  I hope, I hope, I hope!”  And there was!  Gripping tale (in picture book form) of an early pilot trying to set a long distance record.  The illustrations were softer than I would have preferred for the subject matter, but still smutThe Shameless Hour
Sarina Bowen
Moving right along in the Ivy Series we step away from the hockey players, and instead follow Bella, the manager of the hockey team, and Rafe, a soccer player.  In this installment, we finally leave behind the F/inexperienced M/experienced trope for the slow-burn romance between the very experienced F and the very inexperienced M.  Uncomfortable stuff happens to Bella early on, which means there isn’t a lot of hot sex in this book.  There’s other good stuff, though.

Song of the Month: April 2016

This seems to have morphed into songS of the month.  Three new finds this month.  I bought them all.  I’ve become such a spendthrift.

Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right (Live)
Indigo Girls
Staring down the Brilliant Day.
The first Indigo Girls song I ever heard was Closer to Fine.  My local radio station played it, which was strange, as it didn’t fit the format.  I wonder if a DJ went off the playlist?  Anyway, I’ve always loved their harmonies and this live cover of one of Bob Dylan’s best passive-aggressive songs is fabulous. Someone told me there’s an even better version with Joan Baez.

Put Your Records On.
Corinne Bailey Rae
This popped up on Pandora in the last month and I really liked this artist’s voice. It seems to be a good song for summer.  I’m buying it after only hearing it once, but I liked it enough to make the $1.29 worth it.

2 Atoms in a Molecule.
Noah and the Whale
There’s so much going on and it seems like they are hurrying.  It’s a very fun two minutes.

The song that’s the already known quantity but has popped into my head for unknown reasons this month.  I love the descant part that happens near the end and have ambitions to eventually learn that.  But it remains an ambition.
Well you knew this would come
And you’ve left me all alone
And you’re lost and long gone, don’t take it so seriously
Go on and get going, I’m fine on my own
We got you this far, finally got it figured out

Three sentence movie reviews: I Will Follow


A day in the life of Maye, a woman grieving her recently departed Aunt Amanda, who was a studio musician drummer.  As she packs up the house, a variety of people stop by  to help or detract from the job.  As usual with DuVerney, watching for the subtle change in emotions is the thing to do.

Cost: free from Netflix
Where watched: at home

poster from:

Three sentence movie reviews: Testament of Youth


It was rather unfortunate that I was suddenly called away to the airport with ten minutes of this movie remaining.  Because those last 10 minutes really pack the punch and it took me some time (like a week) to get to watch them.  Overall, very good acting, very sad, but not so terribly sad I was unable to function.

Cost: free from Netflix
Where watched: at home

poster from:

On my way to squash. (If my hopes aren’t squashed.)


Needing something that takes up a lot of space in the garden, I settled on squash.  I planted my last five Oregon Sweet Meat seeds (the variety was selected and developed by Carol Deppe, my favorite gardening writer) and also started a few delicata seeds I’d saved from a few years ago. They sprouted!  I moved them to the back porch and have been covering them at night with Nancy’s Yogurt containers to keep them warm.  Fingers crossed!

McMenamins Crystal Ballroom Tour (Plus the Barley Mill Pub)

Time for more stamps.  Here we are waiting for our tour of the Crystal Ballroom.  And here is yet another stunning light fixture in Ringler’s Pub.IMG_5327

The brewery at the Crystal Ballroom.  This totally counted as a brewery tour.  Score!IMG_5328

Our guide leans against a pole in Lola’s Room, the smaller concert venue.  He apologized for being under the weather, but still managed to tell us many interesting facts.  IMG_5330

The Crystal Ballroom is not impressive to Matt at all.IMG_5333

These fabulous chandeliers, of which they are two, were in storage at a bank. McMenamins bought them and installed them.  That bank missed out, because that’s hand-blown Italian glass by some important dude.  Because not too many examples of his work exist these chandeliers are worth more than a million dollars.  (Note to self.  Make quick notes of tour facts so you can be more precise when writing the blog post.)IMG_5334

Self portrait with Matt on stage at the Crystal Ballroom.  This is where I saw .fun –or use this link if you want to actually see the pictures–and Matt and I saw Cake.


Girls pose on stage.IMG_5339

A view from the balcony.  IMG_5340

After getting our stamps for the Crystal Ballroom, Lola’s Room and the Brewery Tour we headed over to the Crystal Hotel. Here was the answer to the photo quiz.IMG_5342

Then we had to skulk about waiting for Al’s Den to open.  I loved reading about Club Portland which was the gay bathhouse that was the previous tenant of the Crystal Hotel.  It was still Club Portland when I moved here.IMG_5343

And I adore this clever advertising for the four club baths.  See how the picture changes for each location?IMG_5345

Crystal Ballroom and Hotel completed, we popped over to the Barley Mill Pub to get our last stamp on that page.  We stayed for dinner and our free fries or tots.  Here, Matt reads the “One Day” column from the Mercury to me.IMG_5346

There is a lot of Grateful Dead stuff at the Barley Mill Pub.IMG_5347

Including this great collage of Grateful Dead tickets.  I was pleased to find that the show I saw (Eugene ’94 with Cracker) was in the lower left corner.IMG_5348

We are getting closer and closer to completing our passports.

Spartan Race 2016. Get ready for mud!

It’s time for another Spartan Race. (You can also read about a prior race. I think there have been others, but I was not athletic supporting, so do not have photos.)  Matt has been training for this race with a trainer named Candice.  That’s her in the photo below.  Candice is great at making varied workouts that Matt really enjoys, plus, she is incredibly strong and fit. IMG_5219

At the start of the race.  Matt and Candice ended up racing with the heat of people who had been volunteering.   Here they are answering a question posed by the announcer. (I think it was something like “As a Spartan my job is to” and he instructed them to say “a-hoo, a-hoo, a-hoo”.  This answer makes no sense, but so much about this race makes no sense to me.)  The three shirtless boys on the left were fun to watch and also served as an anchor point later on.  It’s because of them I knew I hadn’t yet missed seeing Matt at one of the viewpoints. IMG_5231

After the start (my start line photo was not very good and is not included) I sat on a picnic table and ate my lunch.  I was delighted to find myself sitting behind this white guy with a black hoodie quoting Malcolm X about capitalism and racism.  This is not typical Spartan Race fare.  Other things I like about this photo: the two people looking for their racer while the little brother entertains himself with a tablet.  Watching out for your athlete is a big part of being an athletic supporter.IMG_5234

Sandwich eaten and port-a-potty visited, I settled in to wait for my athlete.  It was a very long wait.  Matt and Candice were in one of the last heats.  After the 2:00 group went, the race people started packing up the start line.IMG_5240

After more than two hours the athletes appeared. I passed the time by reading a few sentences/scanning the racers/reading a few sentences/scanning the racers.  Also by watching other athletic supporters.  Two people near me chatted for quite some time and then the woman said, “I wonder if we missed him?” which is a common thought among athletic supporters in these races.  After more than two hours, I was having that thought myself.

But I hadn’t missed them!  Here is Candice:IMG_5244

And here is Matt.  This is one of those obstacles where long legs make things more difficult.  But he did it!  As you can see by the mud, the two of them had already completed many obstacles by the time they got to me.IMG_5249

Climbing the rope.  The super saturated color is because I accidentally had my camera set to “poster” so the colors are very bright.IMG_5258

Matt doing 30 burpees because he did not successfully complete the obstacle. Candice entertains herself while she waits.  She very quickly climbed the rope. I barely had time to take a picture.IMG_5261 IMG_5262

Matt climbing up.IMG_5263

Candice coming down.  This is one of my favorite photos.


And so the two of them continued on their way.  I wandered around planning out my next series of photos and picking my vantage point.  On the way I caught these kids wallowing in the mud.  I was greatly amused by them.IMG_5272

At my vantage point I could see these athletic supporters.  The man was smoking a cigarette and the woman passed the time by dancing.  Their athlete turned out to be a teenager, possibly their son. IMG_5274

It was only another 45 minutes or an hour before Matt and Candice appeared again.  Here’s Matt sliding down a mud embankment.IMG_5277

Candice already made it under the wood wall.IMG_5278

Then it was up the incline and back down.IMG_5290

And under some barbed wire.  Matt crawled the entire way.  Again, not one of those obstacles where the long legs are an advantage.  I think women have an easier time with this anyway.  More power in the legs, lower center of gravity.  I saw quite a few men log roll through this.IMG_5296

Two more obstacles happened.  I did not get them on film.  But we’re nearing the end.  You can see the state of our participants by looking at the photo below.IMG_5300

The boulder carry involved picking up a big round “boulder”, walking it to the end, dropping it, doing five burpees, picking it back up and walking back.  For Matt, it also involved a shoe tying.  He swears he wasn’t tying it for the reason I retie my shoes (I need a rest).IMG_5306

Walking back with the boulder.  See his raw power!IMG_5313

Over the fire!IMG_5316

And done.IMG_5320

This photo sums up how the two participants completed the race.IMG_5321

Showing off the medals.IMG_5323

Post-race mud and curl in the middle of the forehead.IMG_5325 IMG_5326

Then it was back into the car for the drive back to Portland.