Fours.*

I’m 44 today. It’s my fourth double number birthday and the second-to-last one that I can use my two hands to illustrate. (Age 66 will require an extra digit on both hands.)

Some age calculator at some time predicted I’d live to 89 years old. If that’s true, I’m halfway through my double number journey. But I could go at any time, This might be my last one, or I could have passed the halfway point at 33, or 22.

While some people might be put off by spending the day they entered this realm contemplating their exit, I feel a thrill of glee. The date and time of my death is probably the biggest surprise left in my life. There will be a lot of smaller surprises along the way, of course. And as long as my hands can keep working and my brain can keep working, I’m up for sticking around and seeing what develops.

Here’s to double number birthdays!

(Of note: this photo was really hard to take. I ended up setting the camera on the ledge that divides the kitchen from the living room and using the self-timer. Even so, it took six tries. Plus, I had to acknowledge that my hands don’t look like I’m 20 anymore. But why should they be any different than the rest of me?)

*An homage to Taylor Kitsch’s Tim Riggins in Friday Night Lights. “Fours” was how he referred to Luke Cafferty, who wore number 44. The inherent laziness of translating three syllables into one and then stretching out that one syllable to last as long as it would have taken to say all three syllables was one of the things that made Tim Riggins such a delightful character. 

Let’s try a Bullet Journal

I’ve been doing well with the Getting Things Done method of organization and using Google Keep, but I missed having paper to write on. So I bought myself a Leuchtturm 1917 dotted A5 journal (it’s so nice to be able to pop over to Powell’s and pick one up) and got started with this Bullet Journal thing that people have been doing.

I am SO GLAD I started with the Bullet Journal website. The reason? Certain people who post pictures on the internet spend a lot of time on their bullet journals. Which is great for people who want to make watercolor layouts and freehand drawing fancy fonts. But I think those people possibly have too much time on their hands.* I don’t, and need to get things done. This is where the Bullet Journal System comes in. At it’s briefest, it’s a really simple system that can be summed up in one, brief web page of instruction.

*If you are at all interested in the gorgeous things people do with their bullet journals, google “bullet journal inspiration” and marvel. But don’t let it stop you from actually doing a bullet journal, even if your handwriting is terrible and you can’t draw a straight line.

I followed that instruction and now I have an index page:

A future planning page:

And here’s the setup for my October monthly goals and calendar.

In this time of increased commercialism, I appreciate someone who created a simple method to get stuff done. I’m excited to have something to write in and I’ll report back at the beginning of next month as to how it’s been going.

The Emerson School: No longer at 105 NW Park Ave.

Here’s the building where I spent nine years of my working life.  And as of last week, it’s a building that no longer houses the school I used to work for.

That’s right!  After 15 years at this location, The Emerson School has found a new home in Northwest Portland.

In moving closer to get a picture of the “For Lease” sign I laughed at the site of the wagon wheel, which somehow managed to escape both the junk collectors and the movers. I guess the next tenant will get to decide what to do with it. (I don’t think there will be a next tenant. I’m guessing this building will be pulled down.)

A nice time capsule of the color the room used to be (fuscha and turquoise) before Bre repainted it a more soothing color.

I am so incredibly glad I did not have to do anything to facilitate this move (two days of the junk people and five days of the actual movers) and I’m very excited for The Emerson School’s new home.

Job Spotter, a report

Here now is a report on Job Spotter, which is an app I found out about from the Financial Panther website. Kevin, the man behind Financial Panther, reports on his side hustles and the amount of cash they bring in. It’s not an insignificant amount of cash for Kevin. I thought I would dip my toes in with Job Spotter.

To use Job Spotter you download the app and then whenever you see a hiring sign you take two pictures: one of the hiring sign and one of the storefront. The app guides you through the process. After you submit the sign/storefront photos, Job Spotter assigns a point value to them. You can then cash in the points for Amazon credit. Each point is worth one cent of Amazon credit.

I already walk around and take pictures of things, so Job Spotter is a perfect match for me. And while I didn’t make a ton–the $13.91 total you see below was for January and February, it’s more than I would make if I didn’t stop for 10 seconds and take a photo.

It feels a little bit like a treasure hunt. First you find a sign (so exciting!) and then waiting to see what the point value will be is also exciting. While most things aren’t worth a lot of points–that 106 value I got for the Living Room Theater is the exception, not the rule–the points do add up.

How I stack up


The paper made this fun graphic of the “typical Oregonian.” Let’s see how I stack up.

  • Gender: I am indeed a woman.
  • Race: I am indeed white.
  • Age:  I am 43, not 39.2.  Not far off, though.
  • Education:  I have finished high school, gone on to college, and graduated three times: AA, BA, M.Ed.  I find it interesting that only 33% have gone on to obtain a bachelor’s degree as most of my friends have four-year-or-beyond degrees.  But I know that’s because of how we clump with similar people.
  • Income: I make more than “a little more than $30,000 per year.”  I know this has to do with my many degrees, and that I’m white. My combined household income is also much higher than the state’s median income.  I find this interesting as I feel like we can’t afford to go to on trips to far away places, and it seems like everyone else does this, but perhaps I have different priorities.
  • Housing: I do own my house (with Matt) and it’s not worth anything close to $287,000.  This is fine by me as I love my house, its mortgage payment is quite affordable and if it was worth more, my property taxes would be higher.
  • Where I live.  I do not live 32 miles southeast of Salem, I’m one of the people helping to move that dot ever closer to Portland.
  • Commute.  My commute is about 24 minutes, either by bike or public transportation.  I haven’t driven alone to work since 1995.

What the fridge looks like at the end of the month


My every-two-weeks shopping trip, combined with the fact that a month isn’t four weeks, but instead four weeks and a few days, meant that I ate leftovers for this week.  Tomorrow, I go grocery shopping.  Today?  All that is left are things in the dairy family (cheese, buttermilk, milk), two servings of soup, some lentils and a drawer full of onions. Thank goodness February has only four weeks.

Recipe and phone number

I’ve got a three-ring binder of recipes. Sometimes it needs to be culled.
This recipe was hand copied from a cookbook my roommate had. It was back when I had to walk to the library, or use the copier in the grocery store, to reproduce something. Digital cameras were just getting started so most of the time it was easier to hand copy. I don’t think I’ve made Michael’s Peanut Butter Cookies since I left Massachusetts, so it’s time to let this recipe go.

I did want to capture some other things that used to happen. Jotting my roommate Jill’s work number on this piece of paper shows a few things. One was calling people at their place of employment used to be a thing you had to do if you wanted to talk to them during work. When I worked for Whole Foods in the late 90’s the woman who answered phones hated how many personal calls she had to transfer. Though some people had cell phones, not enough of us did that they could make a blanket “no personal phone calls” policy. There was strong encouragement to only have friends and family call in case of an emergency. But we had to make our plans for our life outside of work, so calling people at work happened. The other thing is writing phone numbers down. While I still do tend to copy phone numbers to paper in a pinch, the only reason to do that now is so I’m closer to my end goal of getting them into my contacts, an electric file stored in the GoogleLand and available on my phone.

Also back in the day, if you had a phone number and didn’t know what it was for, you could go to the library and use a reverse directory to find its owner. I never did that, but it got brought up a lot in the era when caller-ID was first rolling out. Now, you google. This phone number seems to belong to something called TC Systems. I’m pretty sure that’s not where Jill was working in 2000.

One more observation: incomplete doodle around the phone number. If I was talking with Jill, our call must have ended before I finished shading my wavy line.

2017 Photos of the Year

This mobile bartender, the most rock-and-roll guy at the concert.

One of our many crippling snows.

Container ship in fog over from the Steel Bridge

Blue sky and the White Dove of the Desert

Tourists at White Dove of the Desert

Pride 2017. Portland.

Portland Actors Ensemble

Total eclipse 2017. (No filter)

Seaside sunset

Minnesota State Fair

Paul at the Minnesota State Fair

SkyGlider, Minnesota State Fair

Spoonbridge and Cherry, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Changing of the photos

Each year when I order my Christmas cards (and, increasingly, Christmas presents) via Shutterfly, I also have some photos printed. When they arrive, there is a changing of the guard.

I first print a “fun” set of things that happened the previous year.  This goes in my photo mobile. It’s tricky to get an even number of portrait and landscape photos, but I persist until I find a good combination.

I also have a photo collage frame in my bedroom, where I feature 10 “good” photos I took the previous year.  You’ll see these photos again in a “best photos” post at the end of the year.

It’s tradition to have at least one concert photo per year featured in the photo collage.  This year, I’m proud to say the guy selling water is my concert photo.  I also apparently ordered 13 photos, not 10, so the three on the right didn’t make the cut.