Robert Slack has had enough.

I found this sign on the door of an apartment building downtown. It made me laugh. I can relate to the huffy nature of this memo. Get it together, people!

It says:
Attention all residents
If you have lost your fob it is not Mary’s responsibility to let you in the building. I have told her not to let anyone in that doesn’t have a fob. You will need to contact one of your friends if you need to be let in or purchase a new fob for $10.00. Kevin will not be letting people in that doesn’t have a fob either. If you need to have your fob replaced please see me in the office and you must have the $10.00 at the time of purchase.

In case you were wondering, today IS my birthday.

I love my birthday. It’s not about the presents, or the cake, but about it being MY birthday. (And Henry’s, a first grader from school, and Meridith’s, from my youth group, and Hillary Clinton’s) I like people to wish me happy birthday on my birthday. I like their delight when they discover it is my birthday. When people find out it’s your birthday, even strangers you meet throughout the day, they gasp, straighten up, throw back their shoulders, a smile comes to their face and the cheerfully exclaim, “Happy Birthday!” I love that.

Worst birthday ever? The year I did inventory the night before at Bread & Circus and neglected to plan something for the day itself. I spent the entire day alone.

Best birthday ever? Last year. Why? Elementary school children get birthdays. Last year I had cards from two classes, several whole-class choruses of “Happy Birthday” and seemingly every single child wishing me happy birthday. I also put a huge sticker on that said “Today is my birthday” so all the parents could wish me happy birthday too. Which they did. And I got a crown which I wore all day and home on the bus. Best birthday ever!

In the afternoon, Kristen, the K/1 teacher informed me that Henry, the student in her class who I share a birthday with, had invited me to share his Wishing Ceremony. It was great. I got to sit in the rocking chair and we all covered our eyes and thought of a birthday wish for me. I was thinking about my Wishing Ceremony yesterday and realized that my birthday wish was to own a house. Which, of course, came true! I think all those K/1 birthday wishes helped. One of them that I remember is the wish that I would find “Pirate Treasure.” And I did in a way. I would count the Land Trust as Pirate Treasure.

Sadly, this year there is no school on my birthday. I protested heartily when it came up as a potential day off, but I lost out. Even more sadly, leap year next year propels my birthday right over Saturday to Sunday. Lame. So it will be awhile before I have such a great birthday again. The glow from last year will have to last until 2009.

8 Random Things

Over at Pike Schemes, Shawn and Sara have listed their 8 Random Things. Here are mine.

1. I was named after my mother’s sisters, Patricia & Carol. Around age 20, I realized that my brother could have been named after my father’s sisters, Frances & Merle. Alas, he was named Chris.
2. I am 1 year and 11/12’s older than my brother to the day. I am 3 1/3 years older than my boyfriend to the day. 26 is a good number in my life.
3. I have a phobia about plastic shower curtains
4. I consider myself a homemaker, though I don’t want children or a husband. I am happiest when I am cooking, canning, gardening and doing handyman projects.
5. I read varaciously, though mostly things that don’t tax my mind. When I finally finished Little Women, it was a bigger accomplishment than walking the Portland Marathon.
6. I’ve lived in all 4 continental time zones.
7. I don’t spell well, and suspect I have some sort of undiagnosed learning disorder, but have never been able to prove that.
8. My favorite two movies of all time are Singing in the Rain and Almost Famous.

Feel free to leave your 8 things in the comments section.

Did I mention I love comments? I do.

Back in August, I did the Portland (quarter) Century

Heidi, Kelly (my faithful biking companion) and I rode the 25 mile loop of the Portland Century. A century is a bike ride that is either 100 miles or 100 meters. This 100 mile ride is the only one that starts in the city of Portland proper. You can choose to ride 100 miles, 50 miles or, this year for the first time, 25 miles. For a 40 dollar entry fee you get a lovely ride, and a lot of food. Very yummy local food.

Here we are at the start. Just after taking this picture, one of the organizers gave Kelly a disposable camera to take pictures along the route with. We returned the camera at the end and they put the pictures on the website. There is a picture taken at the first rest stop that I hope never gets linked to my name.

The start!
This picture is taken at the (not so) new bridges over McLoughlin on the Springwater Corridor. It used to be a pain to get across that highway, but these new bridges make it a breeze. I was happy to ride over them.
Here we are at the strawberry shortcake rest stop. Look at all of the boxes of pound cake below the table.
Kelly and Heidi getting water.
We’re almost done here. We stopped to take a picture of the Freemont Bridge. I think my photo wasn’t that great, so you get a more South-bound view. That’s Big Pink off in the distance over those trees.
The official “we are done” photo.
Standing in the food line. The free beer line is the shorter one to the left. Not enough people were standing in line for beer, so a guy took to walking around and handing out cups to people. Thus, Kelly and I split one. Heidi, more of a beer fan than the two of us, had her own cup.
Their very cute logo, done in ice. The shirts were red with that logo on them. Very nice. I’m tired of commemorative race shirts that are white.
Our dinner. Salad, grilled salmon with a marionberry sauce, asparagus, roll and marionberry cobbler. Yummy!

Isn’t that what answering machines are for?

One of the messages on the answering machine today was the following:

“Hi this is Justina, I’m sorry I didn’t find you at home. I was just calling to share a comforting thought with you from the Bible. I can try another time. Thank you.”

Um, Justina. Why not just leave the comforting thought on the machine? Then you won’t have to call back. And are you just calling random people in the phone book? And why?

I was oddly charmed and confused by this message. It’s sort of the answering machine version of those prayers to St. Jude that are sometimes in the classified ads.

Where have I been?

Where have I been? I’ve been here, but not here in the blog world. School started. The two weeks leading up to the first day, I had a creeping sense of dread. I enjoy my work, but I didn’t really want school to start again. It turns out, the creeping sense of dread was a correct gut reaction. Since we’ve gone back to school my life has turned into a very “chop wood, carry water” sort of experience. And not it the blissful way Rick Fields imagines.

I go to work. I come home. I cook, clean up, set out clothes for tomorrow and repeat. It doesn’t help that the beginning of school, a time of increased activity, has coincided with a time in my life when I have little energy and am supposed to be resting and healing. So a lot of things have gone out the window. The blogs. Long bike rides. Watching movies. Taking fun classes. Having a clean and tidy house. Answering fun letters that come in the mail adorned with stickers. I just don’t have the energy right now. You should see (or rather not) my kitchen floor. Thank god for slippers.

I’m currently experimenting with a sabbath day. Not so much in the religious sense, but more in the rest sense. I keep thinking of Laura Ingalls Wilder and how Ma and Pa would work hard all week and then, out there on that house on the prairie, far away from any church, do nothing on Sundays. Just rest, while Laura and Mary played quietly with their dolls. I can’t help thinking, that for all their devout spirit, those pioneers on the prairie just needed some rest. And that is the real reason why we are supposed to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

So currently, after I finish going to church and YRUU (the high school youth group at church–I’m an advisor) I come home and sleep for a few hours. I read in bed and then spend the rest of the day doing something like that. Nothing I have to do.

This requires me to get all of my cooking for the week done on Saturday. And everything else too. This is only week two and there are a few kinks to work out, but so far, it’s nice to not have obligations on Sunday afternoon and evening. It seems like I have some space to breathe.

Picnic Project–North Portland, Overlook Park

The Picnic Project.
Established 2006.

Each year, Patricia chooses five parks in Portland—one from each section of Portland: N, NE, NW, SE & SW. She plans food and invites people for a picnic, then records the festivities. By 2027 she will have picnicked in every park in Portland.

Date: July 28
Park: Overlook Park
Present: Kelly, Heidi, Patricia, Jan & Nicole.
Food: Delights from Salad, Delights from Whole Foods, more salad and carrot cake.
Activities: Eating our yummy food. Croquet
Comments: I love Overlook park. It (not too surprisingly) overlooks the Willamette River and the North and NW industrial area. It is particularly beautiful at sunset, not too crowded and has a lovely running track. We had this picnic as a between-two-birthdays picnic. Jan’s comes first near the end of July and Kelly’s is in the first of August. We chatted, ate food, waited for the sun to come out (Worst. Summer. Ever.) and then played a smashing game of croquet.

Downtown Construction

Trimet has this bright idea to run a new Max line down the middle of the Bus Mall. AND open it to car traffic. I think this is colossally dumb, as does everyone I know who rides public transportation. I think that the converging of all three of those modes of transportation will be a disaster. But Trimet is undeterred, so our Bus Mall has been interrupted for 2 years. despite the annoyance of construction, it’s very interesting to walk around and see what is going on.

It looks like here they are installing bump-out sidewalks on this corner. Portland is in love with bump out sidewalks, because they allow pedestrians to see oncoming traffic without peering around cars (and huge SUVs).

This is one of my favorite things in the bus mass construction. They have moved all the cross walks back from the intersection 10-15 feet. And they still needed the street signs to tell us to walk/don’t walk. Solution? Cut those suckers off, drop them in a round of cement, spray paint some white lines on the street and Voila! New crossing.
New Max tracks going in. The sign in the background says what businesses are open on this block. Merchants are grumpy, because business is down.
Another favorite of the downtown construction process. And I mean that sincerely. As they lay the tracks down, they also put down these temporary bridges. When they were constructing near my school, I never knew where the crossing would be. I also feel like an urban Lewis & Clark crossing the makeshift bridge. It makes a pleasant metal “thunk” when you walk across it.
This weekend, they shut down all downtown Max service so that they could make the new line and the existing lines cross. The new line runs perpendicular to the existing lines. It was interesting to be downtown and see all the activity.