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.

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.