Waiting for Dr. Sterner

While Sara was doing Defense Part II with the members of her committee, friends and family wandered over to the building on campus with the performing arts hall, and waited at a coffee shop.

The building was gorgeous, and lovingly renovated.

It was a long wait (I think there was also some paperwork processing in there) and I had time to catch up with Sara’s family members, which was nice as I hadn’t seen them in a very long time.

Behold! Dr. Sara Sterner (alas, not the best photo of her)

Also pictured: Shawn (to the left) and Sara’s brother-in-law, sister-in-law, mother-in-law and niece.

Three of Sara’s professors had traveled to Minneapolis to be present for the defense, so photos were taken.

After photos, some catching up, and Sara’s stepmom Barbie snuck around for a different angle.

The Defense

Sara booked the biggest room available for her defense and it was full! She had a lot of friends and family visit. When I sat down, I introduced myself to the woman sitting next to me. She turned out to be a fellow PhD candidate. Her observation: “I go to these things all the time and usually there’s like four people watching.”

Sara’s adviser introduced Sara and the defense. He had a special message from Hogwarts and also pointed out that a royal baby waited to be born until Sara was ready to defend.

Sara explained the work she had done on a post-intentional phenomenological exploration of reading whitely. There were handouts.

At the end we got to ask questions.

Once the public defense was done Sara stayed behind for another hour of questions. After that, her committee voted though we weren’t there for that part.

Minneapolis Day 1: Bike ride to Lake Nokomis

Sara K, whom you might know from her regular comments on this blog, is almost Dr. Sara K. She’s spent the last few years working toward a PhD, and I’m in Minneapolis to see her defense.

After navigating myself from the airport to my AirBnB, (thanks light rail!) I used the app on my phone to find a Nice Ride. Those would be the bike share bikes in the Twin Cities.

There was a bank of bikes not far from my place, and I rode about 25 minutes to Lake Nokomis, where I locked up my bike at another station. Easy as pie!

One thing I enjoyed about Lake Nokomis, was that they had seperate paths for walkers and bikes. The path in the foreground is for walkers; the one in the back is for bikes. Very smart, Minneapolis!

While it was full-on warm spring in Portland, it was still early spring in the North Star State. I would call what I experienced mid-to-late-March weather.

A variety of Sara’s relatives (and Sara herself, plus Shawn) arrived and we ate and chatted.

Shawn and Sara gave me a ride back to my place, which was also nice, as I was not wearing a mid-to-late March coat and I was a bit chilled when the sun was going down.

What a great start to my trip!

The Academy Awards

Kelly hosted the Oscar-viewing party and we had a good time (despite my disappointment with the Best Picture outcome.)

I prepared my Happiest Oscar Viewer game, and I was the second happiest Oscar viewer. Laurie beat me out, but also because she had two things listed for some categories.

Kelly prepared a BINGO sheet, but nothing shook down in a way that caused any of us to win. If only one person had told their kids to go to bed! Or, if only I had looked more closely at my BINGO sheet instead of taking the one on the top.

The night of the Academy Awards remains my favorite annual TV event. I learned that when there is no host, things clip along. And also it’s awkward at the very end when there isn’t an official person to see us off the air.

Parkinson’s walk 2018

Friend Laurie has a father who has Parkinson’s and she and her family walk every year. Matt and I have walked before, and I walked this year. Our previous walk was very rainy and at Willamette Park. This walk was sunny and warm and took place downtown, so I could easily take the Max. It was great!

There was a band playing while we were assembling, but when it was time to walk, the band took a break and music from a phone got us started.

Laurie makes great decorations and accessories. This year cute hats were added. Here we are, post walk, with Roger himself at the table.

Joan Gunnus’s memorial

We were a large group at Joan’s memorial service, and no wonder due to the remarkableness of Joan.  I love this picture. Though I rarely saw her looking this fancy, the picture captures her lovely essence.

Many people spoke about the different aspects of Joan’s life including her daughter and her neighbor who eventually introduced Joan to her husband John. My favorite speaker was her neighbor who recounted the story of house hunting and hearing that the woman who owned the blueberry field was magical.  Truer words have not been spoken. She also touched on Joan’s doubts and I learned that Joan was a writer of letters.
After the speakers had spoken we had a dance party and sent Joan off the best way we could. She will be missed.

A brief Cottey reunion

Teresa and I attended Cottey College together. In our “senior”* year she was head receptionist of Robertson Hall and I was a resident assistant there. We were good friends–good enough that I flew out to Lincoln, Nebraska for her wedding, even though I was unemployed at the time.

(*Cottey was a two-year college where all freshman were called “freshman” and all sophomores were called “seniors.”)

I hadn’t seen Teresa since 2001, but she and her family were visiting the Seattle area and so I took a day trip on the train to visit her.

We met up at the Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park in Renton. Teresa’s mother was visiting her sister, who lives in Renton and there was a family reunion of sorts. I enjoyed this park, situated right on Lake Washington.

After the park, we visited several thrift stores and Targets, so Teresa’s son Ethan could look for Hot Wheels. I also came home with a robe for our upcoming trip and a new skirt. In one parking lot, we also spotted a Lamborghini. Here Ethan takes a picture.

Standing next to the car that needed to take up four parking spots.

It was great catching up with Teresa, Brian and meeting Ethan for the first time.

I cold have used another few days, but we did what we could.

Miss Joan Gunnuss

Miss Joan Gunnuss died today. I know her because her husband John is one of my former co-workers. She died of cancer, and like probably all cancer deaths, it’s a shame.

Joan was one of those good people that there should be more of.  She was kind and curious and was always glad to see me.  I’m guessing she was always glad to see hundreds of people.

My first encounter with her was an observation.  It was back-to-school time and everyone was getting into the swing of things.  For me and two other teachers, it was the first time we did the back-to-school thing at this particular school. It was hectic and tiring and there were so many new faces.

One of the new teachers, Ariel, was going out of the school, passing through the vestibule–a passageway I could see from my desk.  A woman was coming in and Ariel and the woman locked eyes.  There was some sort of recognition and exclamation and hugging before Ariel continued out the door and the woman came in.

The woman was Joan.  She had taught Ariel dance, or possibly yoga, when she was a girl.  Ariel was glad to see Joan and Joan was thrilled to run into a former student all grown up.  They had a connection, even after all the years had gone by.

I officially met Joan later that day and we had a connection too. Because Joan wasn’t the type of person to give you a cursory once-over and a “nice to meet you,” then slot you into a category and be done with the meeting.  She really looked at you. She was genuinely happy to meet you.  She remembered things about you.

Joan was a hippie in the best way. She taught yoga. She had long hair.  She was full of joy. She lived in a tiny old house on a blueberry farm that was surrounded by a huge suburban housing development.  She was long and lean and moved with grace and purpose.  She loved her dogs, her children, her husband and seemingly everyone else.

I remember at her and John’s wedding watching her walk to the alter.  She took time to look everyone attending in the eye. “It was like she was thinking, ‘I want to remember everyone who was here,'” my co-worker said later when I remarked on it.

Aside from movement, Joan loved music.  She was always up for a sing along, played guitar and loved to have at least a couple songs where the choruses were whistled.

She will be missed by many.  I’m glad to have known her.

Highlights from the Avenue of the Roses Parade

Friends Mark & Amanda live at the end of the Avenue of Roses Parade route and host a party. I love a good parade, especially a good small parade, so I went. Here are some highlights.

While 82nd Avenue does have problems with prostitution and I certainly support this group’s efforts, I kept imagining the questions posed along the parade route, “Mommy, why don’t real men buy sex?”

Who doesn’t love a good scary dragon?

I was intrigued by these characters, and unfortunately, missed capturing the group’s name.

Gotta love returned Peace Corps volunteers.

I also loved this cool holder for the saint carried by this Catholic church. It allowed for smooth carrying and left room for waving.

These puffy air-filled dinosaurs were delightful. I’d never seen puffy characters before.

Some cool parade goers make some noise and wave the flag.

It became apparent that the classic cars were turning right off of 82nd, and we were to the left, so we missed them, but we did get to see a lot of the parade. Thanks to Mark & Amanda for hosting.