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.

Stickers on my guitar case

Back when I got the Forty Dollar Guitar, I also got this case. I immediately set out to cover it in stickers, because that was the cool thing to do.  Here’s a retrospective.  (To simulate the full effect, I didn’t rotate any of the photos, so some of them are upside down.)

One of my favorite Edward Hopper paintings, also featured in the movie Singles as a title card. (Alas, blurry picture.) Internet research for said title card has turned up nothing. Instead, I found this really great Rolling Stone interview with Cameron Crowe which told me that Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament got a job in the art department for the movie, and it was his handwriting that was featured on the title cards.

College part II

I do not remember the origin of this sticker.

My roommate Erin Feldman made these in college.  I had one on my sewing machine, and when I took it in for repair, the scrubbed it off without asking.  Not cool.  This is the surviving sticker.

Gotta have V. Mars.

Boise band.  Also fond memories.  I still have the t-shirt.

From our first visit.

TriMet swag.

My first Public Radio Station

More TriMet swag.

This bumper sticker is often seen in the Boston area.  When I climbed Mt. Monadnock, I made sure to buy the sticker.

This cracked me up when I saw it on a car, so Matt bought me my own copy for my birthday.

My first without-parents vacation.

I’ve been several times.  This might be from my visit with Jan and Kelly.

He wasn’t my guy, but I admired him.  And I liked the alliteration.

Rebuilding Center.

One of the more recent, from my February visit to Arizona.

My mom brought me this from a Massachusetts trip.

More V. Mars.  These are from the movie kickstarter.

This came from College part I, I think.

If you live in Oregon, it’s good to have this sticker.

College part I

Also from College Part I, this was a song that we sang a lot my second year there.  I’ve never heard it in its original form, but we had our own tune.  (This was before you could find ALL THE SONGS on the internet.  If you had no recording and no sheet music, you were out of luck, or made up your own tune.)

From an “insider” tour.

My brief foray into thinking this computer manufacturer was for me.

I think this was another NOW sticker. Sorry feminist sticker, you didn’t hold fast.

Restaurant in Fort Collins?

When I was selling the guitar, one of the store employees laughed at this one.

College part I, back when the focus was on girls.

Overall views.

The Orange Door: Guitarless


In the spring or summer of 1989 my mother drove us to a music shop on Chinden Boulevard, where she paid $40.00 for an acoustic guitar.  (It may have been $60, but for years I’ve called that guitar the Forty Dollar Guitar.)

She bought me the guitar–and also lessons–so that I could be in ninth grade Jazz Band, playing jazz guitar. When it came time to pick who was going to be in Jazz Band, there was another guy who was very good at the guitar and would have made a great addition to the West Junior High Jazz Band. But he refused to take both Concert Band and Jazz Band. I said I would take both, and thus I became the jazz guitarist. This was a terrible idea, as I’m not the kind of person who can go from no knowledge of an instrument to jazz-level competence over a few months.  We placed last at the 1990 Lionel Hampton Chevron Jazz Festival, though I like to think I wasn’t the only cause.

After that failure, I picked up the guitar intermittently.  My musical talent includes learning new instruments quickly, progressing to a certain point of mediocrity, and then going no further.  I played a lot in 1995, when the transition between College Part I and II didn’t go as smoothly as I wanted.  And I made a full push to really learn this guitar, dammit, in 2006, even taking lessons and practicing regularly.  That’s when I bought the current guitar.  That push ended when we bought the house in 2007.

I have fond memories including guitars. There was my introduction to Rise Up Singing, that day at Cottey when Jennifer Comeau got out her guitar and we sang together in the parlor.  The year my boss turned 50, we had a summer plan to assemble a songbook for her 50th birthday party.  Daily, we got out our guitars and worked through songs, getting the song in the best key for singing and the chords in the right place for people to play along with. We used the forty dollar guitar for a couple of years when we sang every day at 10am.  She would play and we both would sing.

And that’s the problem.  I never really took to the guitar.  I think I’m a horizontal musician, not a vertical one.  When you learn chords on the piano, there is a straight line of keys laid out before you, and it’s easy to see how they are formed, and easy to move up or down an octave.  On the guitar, you first learn the pattern your fingers take, then maybe eventually the notes that make up the chord.

Also, with a guitar, when you want to play you have to remove your instrument from a box (or hook, or stand) and fiddle with it to make sure it’s in tune.  When you go to play piano, you just sit down.  For some reason, those extra steps were more of a barrier to practice.

I never got good enough at the guitar so I could play and sing at the same time.  And since I love singing more than guitar playing, it made sense to let the guitar go. Even knowing that, it was hard to do.  I still have the fantasy of an impromptu jam session breaking out in the living room. But it’s been 10 years, and that hasn’t happened yet, so it’s time to let the guitar go.

Here’s to admitting something isn’t going to become my thing.

New clothes drying rack!

Aside from the money that went to the Payoff! goal, I spent my birthday money on this fabulous clothes dryer.

I’ve re-committed to air drying my clothing since discovering Mr. Money Mustache. In the summer, this is low-key.  My outdoor rack is huge, and fits everything nicely. It very rarely rains in the summer, so I don’t have to plan around that.  But now we are not in the summer and are endlessly damp. It’s either raining, just finished raining, or is about to rain.

I already have indoor racks, but they aren’t quite enough for both sheets and clothing.  Enter this rack.  Underwear, socks, washcloths and small towels will go on this. Maybe some t-shirts too.  Then the longer things (pants, sheets, towels) can be hung on the wall-mounted racks.

I also love how compactly it folds.

We have someone in Japan to thank for this product.  Thanks random Japanese company.

Kelly’s present

Anyone who knows me in person, knows that I make a big deal out of my birthday.  I suspect some people think I make a big deal out of my birthday to extract presents out of people, but that’s not the purpose.  I just like it being my day.

That said, look at the very cool present my friend Kelly got me!  It’s a poster of 100 Essential Films, but it’s also a scratch off chart!
Look how shiny it is!

And here’s what’s cool. When the image is scratched off, it morphs into something else.  Take the tea cup that is a big part of the film Get Out.

When scratched, it reveals the fact of Daniel Kaluuya.  So fun!I have already seen 66 of 100 films.  My plan is to watch a film on the list I haven’t seen, and scratch that one, plus two I’ve already seen.  I look forward to working my way through this list.

Kelly also always writes a birthday haiku.  I found this one to be particularly sweet.
Thanks Kelly!

Birthday spoils

I had a good time celebrating my birthday with my family.  Aside from checks, I also received these lovely items.  Women’s World is a magazine my mother knows I love to hate.  When I worked in the library during college, my boss bought a copy weekly, which I would read during my Friday night shift.  Twenty years later, I continue to marvel that every single week they manage to have a cover with both a promise of rapid amounts of weight loss, and also a complex cake-like treat to make.

Most of my birthday money went to help meet my Payoff! goal, but stay tuned for the thing I did buy.

Keeping the vintage dress local

Early one Tuesday morning, I dropped books off at the library and continued on Denver Avenue.  But wait! I screeched to a stop. Is that my dress on display in the window of an antique shop?  I wheeled my bike over for another look.   It is!  That lovely grey and pink lace covered dress was my go-to fancy dress for years.  In fact, here’s a photo of me wearing it.

Riding the rest of the way to work, I tried to remember what happened to it. I’m pretty sure I donated it to the Goodwill.  But it’s made its way back to this vintage store.  We’re keeping it in the Kenton neighborhood.