Letters written in April

Two things paid off this month. My LEX membership proved itself well worth the $15.00 joining fee. Without it, I would not have had eight letters in my mailbox. Also my friendship with Sara. Six items from her appeared in my mailbox including a very nice care package with some stationery, postcards and an eraser. An above-and-beyond level of support as far as I’m concerned. Thanks so much.

Also this month the resolution morped into “write a letter most days” as there were 8 days of 30 where I did not write for various reasons. I’m not really beating myself up about it too much as I had the resolution, the garden and the math class going on. And full time work.

Note that my SAPE letter came back as undeliverable. I’m okay with that as LEX has brought me great dividends, but in case any of you were pining for a pen friend from the former Soviet Union, you should know that SAPE didn’t work for me.

AND this month I finished off my first tablet of writing paper. It’s the 200 sheet lined- jobber that we always had around when I was growing up. I like the size, it is great to hold onto when writing on the train or bus, and the less-than-$3.00 price is right for me.

Without further ado:
1 April. Sara
2 April. Sara
**Care package arrives from Sara
3 April. Elizabeth Gilbert
**postcard from Sara
4 April. LEX “Please, sir. More lighthouses, more bridges.
**postcard from Sara
5 April. LEX “Arm chair traveler? Let’s trade p/c’s of our trips. -Bob.”
6 April. No one.
7 April. No one.
**letter back from Sara
**letter back from LEX Blogging (wrote on 3/13)
8 April. LEX “Ah, spring! When all thoughts and letters are fresh and new! As we throw off winter, let us LEX together in the warm sunshine!”
**letter back from Jenna
9 April. LEX “Will you make a good old person?”
**letter back from LEX “Topic letters”
10 April. LEX “Must one suffer before one can write?”
**letter back from LEX “ready to discuss serious subjects”
11 April. LEX Jan. Topic Letters.
11 April. Postcard to Trimet re: really cool bus driver.
**letter back from LEX “Favorite Food”
**letter back from LEX “Movies”
12 April. April, Sara, Shawn. (Winners in my comment contest.)
13 April. Jess, Kathy. (Winners in my comment contest.)
14 April. Sara
**letter back from Sara
15 April. LEX Diane. Movies.
16 April. Sara
**SAPE application returned.
**Also of note, finished first 200 sheet writing tablet.
17 April. Jordan. Birthday Card.
18 April. No one.
**letter back from Trimet.
19 April. No one.
20 April. Marilyn Sewell. Senior minister at my church re: sermon “Is Marriage Obsolete?”
21 April. No one. (my notes say “exhausted”)
**postcard Sara
**card from Kathy thanking me for the prize sent on 13 April
**letter back from LEX Jan
**letter back from LEX “Favorite cities, travels, rivers, campgrounds.”
22 April. Sara
23 April. Diane.
24 April. Sara.
**postcard Sara
25 April. No one.
26 April. No one.
27 April. Jenna.
28 April. Sara.
**letter back from LEX Diane.
29 April. No one.
30 April. Sara

Menucha. Why I love it so.

Every April, the Religious Educators at my church gather for a retreat at Menucha. Menucha is a retreat and conference center in Corbett, Oregon, right on the Columbia River Gorge. At one time Julius Meier (of Meier and Frank Department Stores) owned the land, but now the First Presbyterian Church of Portland owns the 100 acre property.

I love Menucha. It is beautiful and quiet and the food is fabulous. As in previous years, I was happy just being there.

A pictoral tour:

The main hall where all the food is served. At one time this was the Meier house.

There are all sorts of ways you can wander around Menucha. This path is opposite the main house.
View, including a tiny bit of the Columbia River Gorge.
There are many huge trees that are good for climbing.
This is Ballard Hall, where we stay.
Huge trees!
With low enough branches for climbing.
More meandering pathways.
The labyrinth. It is almost done. It has taken many years to get this far.
At a place where you can look out over the Columbia River Gorge, there is this stone fireplace and a swimming pool.
We are always there when the swimming pool is empty.
Looking over the Gorge. From here you can see Crown Point, though not in this picture.
Snow on the mountains.
This time there were poems hanging from the trees.
This tree looks to be a good place to read.
We meet in this big room.
The view while eating meals. The bread and the strawberry jam there are divine.
Meal time.
Sleeping quarters.

Three sentence movie reviews–American Graffiti

I watched this movie first when I was 13 and fell in love with it so I have seen it many times. Viewing it now, I am simultaneously seeing it at ages 13, 17, 19, 22, 27 and 33. I saw it at a retreat and there were more people watching it by the end of the movie then at the beginning; it’s a magic movie that way–it pulls people in.

End of building.

Though I love old buildings pretty much unequivocally, there is some part of me that feels a thrill when I see them being demolished. Demolition work is probably pretty satisfying–especially if you can’t hear the clarion call of history whispering to you as you wield your heavy machinery. You come to work in the morning, you pull down a roof or a wall and at the end of the day, there is less building. This continues until there is no building and you move on to the next soon-to-be-gone building.

Progress continues on the tearing down of the Dental Arts Building and block. I took a “before” picture and posted it here.

One of my favorite things in cities is to read the old, painted advertisements on the sides of buildings. On the east side of the Dental Arts building is a very large ad for Zell Brothers, the store that was on the other end of the block.

Amazing Internet discovery! Someone else in Portland loves building ads too. They have a whole blog devoted to it.

A view uninterrupted by trees.
It was a windy day and the strips of detritus hanging from the ceiling were blowing in the wind.
And the wind rustled through the blinds in this window.

That part of me that loves destruction thrills at the Mercantile awning crumpled on the sidewalk in this picture.

See wind invade the building:

And watch it blowing the blinds:

I and my camera are one.

I keep a five year diary which is helpful when I start to wonder, “how did I celebrate Memorial Day last year?” but also fun to see what went on in previous years on that very day. My friend was amazed earlier this year because I could tell her that three years and two days ago on that date we had her unbachlorette party. She broke up with her finance and we celebrated by painting pottery.

April 17 marked one year with my camera. Ideally I would post a one year post with a picture taken by my camera, but we will just have to have a text post. It’s one of those nights.

I love my camera. I’ve always liked photography, but felt self conscious lugging around a camera. My Canon Powershot fits in the palm of my hand and goes everywhere with me. I can take a picture at a moments notice. My pictures aren’t as composed as when I took film pictures, and I still really miss going to get the packet of pictures, but I wouldn’t trade my digital camera for anything.

On that note, my camera is full of pictures you won’t probably see for awhile. I’ve begun taking a class which means that blog time has been cut down. Things are still going on, I’m just having trouble finding time to write about them. Books are being read, movie has been seen, letters are being written (though not tonight). Squeak is even visiting and Matt is making somewhat hopeful sounding comments that begin “But when we get a cat…..” I’ll write about it someday, just not in the near future.

Unless someone wants to pay me to stay home from work and blog? Maybe?

The Abstinence Teacher. Tom Perrotta

Ruth is the high school health teacher forced to adapt an abstinence-based curriculum. Tim is a recovering alcohol and drug user trying to hold on to the sobriety he found when he started attending a local evangelical church. The book throws these two characters together at a point of adversity and then examines how their interactions affect their lives.

This book was readable enough, with the well developed characters I am used to from Tom Perrotta. However, I felt that the point at which the book ended was the ideal starting point for the story. All that came before it seemed like a very long set up without a payout.

A walk through Northwest Portland

On my way to my acupuncture appointment, I captured these images.

The lovely doors of St Mary’s.

I love finding signs with outdated language and/or customs. “You tradesmen, you enter over here. Not through the front door.”
This looks like a pretty typical multi-family residence in Northwest. But wait! What is that sign in the lower left? (I actually crossed the street to find out.)
Ah! My place for orthodox church on Sundays.
Who needs sleep when there is coffee? Who needs a recycle bin, when there is a truck bed?
I mean really, who?