Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 02/27/08: Sweet Creek Revisted, Rehiked, Rephotographed

This afternoon Snug and I returned to Sweet Creek. We had a refreshing hike. I've tried to portray in a few photos how perfect the day was:

Rhody Spots

I don't know if the spots on these rhododendron leaves signify disease or other problems. Whatever the spots signify, I find them beautiful:

The Resurrection at Lane Community College

In the world of plant life, Easter is underway at Lane Community College as new life stirs in trees and plants all over campus.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 02/26/08: Moss, Branches, Rest

1. Lane Community College moss clumps.

2. Lane Community College tree branches beginning to show new life.

3. LCC student under the weight of the winter quarter's rigors.

Three Beautiful Things 02/25/08: Like This, Soul's Longing, Ecstasy

1. I can see in some of my Survey of World Lit. students that the poetry of Rumi is coming alive for them, especially as they listen to Coleman Barks talk about and read the poetry.

2. I hope my students are beginning to understand something about the soul's longing for completion and how sorrow is our means of knowing that which we long for that is more than we are.

3. I hope my students are beginning to get a taste of the reality Rumi sees, how the world exists in ecstasy. Ecstasy only exists in the world because the world exists in ecstasy.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 02/24/08: Cinemagic, Making Movies, Shaft

1. Cinemagic is the movie soundtrack channel of XM Satellite radio and I enjoyed listening to music soundtrack after soundtrack of movies that have won Oscars over the years.

2. It's funny listening to music from the movies: I hadn't seen several of the movies whose music came over Cinemagic, and yet I found myself imagining scenes from the movies, as if the music led me to creating a movie for myself.

3. Listening to movie soundtracks led me to go to YouTube and search for Isaac Hayes singing "The Theme from Shaft". I didn't find what I most wanted, Hayes' 1972 performance at the Oscars in his chainmail vest. I'm a bit embarrassed by how oddly and deeply moved I am by Hayes performing "Shaft".

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 02/23/08: Water, Trees, Moss

Snug and I hiked along Sweet Creek today in the Oregon Coast Range.

We enjoyed:

1. The water.

2. The trees.

3. The moss.

Photo Hunt: Wooden

Today Snug and I went for a hike in the Oregon Coast Range at Sweet Creek. We were grateful for the Forest Service having built these wooden structures to help us walk near this stunning waterway.

Here are a couple of pictures of the Sweet Creek area.

For more wooden pictures, go here.

If you'd like to see more of the photos I took today, go here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 02/21/08: Greekish, Rumi, Beaming

1. I fried up some Yukon gold potatoes, threw in some brown rice, grilled a feta and spinach sausage. I put fresh tomato, feta cheese, olive oil, oregano, and Greek spices over the potatoes and rice. I suddenly had a warm Greek potato salad of sorts and I relished it.

2. I played Bill Moyers interviewing Coleman Barks for my Survey of World Lit. students as a way of introducing them to the poetry of Rumi. I sat and hid behind the console at the front of the room where the sound and video controls are because I'm embarrassed that this videotape always pulls tears down my cheeks.

3. The Deke is working regularly as a substitute teacher and today she came home radiating her love of teaching. I don't know if she thinks it's the world's greatest feeling. I do.

Three Beautiful Things 02/21/08: Alex, Goldberg, Cold Pop/Warm Pizza

1. Alex alway has some time to burn after WR 122 before she has to catch the bus and she likes to hang around the classroom and get extra help with her writing or tell me about her current trials and triumphs in her life and I've come to look forward to sitting and listening to what she has to tell me.

2. Today was the second day of students reading essays growing out of the memories, thoughts, associations, or other experiences triggered by listening to Glenn Gould's 1982 recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations. I enjoy how concretely descriptive so many of the essays were and found myself near tears when A wrote about the death of her music teacher or when J wrote about the Glenn Gould playing in the background at her apartment as she and her (now ex-)boyfriend argued for the last time or when T recalled her honeymoon in Mexico with her second husband and the return to the the five kids of their new blended family when the honeymoon was over.

3. I hadn't had any pizza for quite a while and I bought a slice of Canadian bacon and pineapple and a slice of pepperoni. I like to then buy a bottle of Diet Pepsi from the cooler and buy a large cup packed with ice. When the soda is as cold as possible it tastes perfect with the pizza. I'm glad I don't do this often. I'd hate for this lunch treat to lose its edge through eating it too often.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sibling Assignment #55: A Good Chainsaw Makes Good Neighbors

InlandEmpireGirl gave the sibling assignment this week: Robert Frost said, "Good fences make good neighbors." Think back to all the neighbors we had growing up in Kellogg. Choose a memorable event that involved neighbors and share your memories.

InlandEmpireGirl visits childhood E. Portland Avenue neighbor Mary Pavelich here and Moliere is keeping Silver Valley Girl off her blog for now, but she'll come through later.

Mom and Dad bought their first and only house in 1962 and we moved into it early in the summer.

Jane and Woody Day bought and moved into the house next door just a little earlier.

Friends threw a joint housewarming party.

I was only eight years old when we moved into our new house, but I remember how it seemed like the whole town of Kellogg came to our house and Day's house to warm them up with platters of salami, bologna, chopped ham, cold chicken, American cheese, and roast beef, bowls of potato, macaroni, jello, and tossed green salad, coolers of Shasta soda and Lucky Lager and Olympia beer, and loaves of Wonder and Holsum bread.

Mom gave house tours. Dad congregated with Dick and Jerry and Ted and Tommy and Johnny and Bob and Walt and Woody and the other men and took long draws from iced beer and joined his friends in big stories and long laughs.

As the afternoon slid toward early evening, the party moved to the Warnekes' house who lived behind us. The Warnekes had a covered patio and it had been a cloudy day. I suspect rain threatened and no one wanted to hunker down in a house, so everyone retreated to the patio.

No one wanted, however, to walk half way around the block to get to the Warneke's.

Frank Warneke had a solution.

He walked half way around the block to his garage, fired up his chain saw, and cut a hole in the picket fence that divided our house from his.

Soon traffic flowed easily over to the Warnekes and back to our house as merrymakers moved food and drink to Frank and Ruth's and as knots of partiers formed in both yards.

But there was a problem.

Dominic Rinaldi couldn't get through the gap in the fence.

Dominic Rinaldi was a huge man who suffered a glandular disorder and weighed hundreds of pounds. I've never known how much Dominic Rinaldi weighed, but had you asked me in 1962 I would have said five hundred pounds. But maybe he weighed four hundred. Or maybe three hundred.

However much he weighed, he couldn't get from one yard to another.

Frank found out the fence hole was too narrow for Dominic.

I watched in wonder as Frank cranked up the chain saw again and cut a bigger hole in the picket fence.

Until he died about twenty-five years ago, Dominic enjoyed the paternal and maternal care of many men and women in Kellogg. Dominic couldn't drive and people always came forward to take him places. He loved to fish and he was always a part of fishing trips deep into the Coeur d'Alene River basin. He couldn't do much labor, but the Bunker Hill Company hired him and found work for him so that he could financially support himself.

When Frank returned to his garage and fired up his chainsaw again so that Dominic Rinaldi could get through the fence, my eight year old mind realized that I lived in a town where friends and neighbors looked out for each other, made accommodations, and wanted everyone to be involved in both the work and play that made Kellogg the town it was.

Dominic could be difficult, demanding, petulant, coarse, and needy. His poor health required him to go often to the doctor and he drank too much and wasn't always a good drunk.

But he was a Kellogg kid, born and raised, and his friends and neighbors always made sure he belonged.

Three Beautiful Things 02/20/08: Crocus Walk, Crocus Stroll, Crocus Saunter

1. I walked in our neighborhood today and photographed crocuses.

2. I strolled in our neighborhood today and photographed crocuses.

3. I sauntered in our neighborhood today and photographed crocuses.

Six Things Meme

The Rules:- Link to the person that tagged you.

I got this meme from IEG at Gathering Around the Table.

Post the rules on your blog.

Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.

Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.

Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

1. I do my best work writing, grading essays, reading, thinking, and working on my computer while lying in bed. I ask my students to submit their work electronically so I can respond to their work flat on my back. Dan and I talked about teaching online yesterday and I told him that the most appealing aspect of teaching on line is being able to offer a whole class from the comfort of my bed.

2. I am an introverted and inward person outside of my profession and away from my best friends and often have to sleep for an hour or so after being in social situations. I love being with people. It wears me out, though. In my profession as a classroom instructor I'm theatrical, extroverted, boisterous, passionate, a little bit wild, and sometimes off the wall. Therefore, most who know me around the college find it hard to believe I'm introverted.

3. I am equally at home studying, thinking about, and teaching the metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical dimensions of Buddhism as I am in the midst of the cigarette smoke, laughter, free coffee and soda, flashing lights, funny animations, solitude, and sirens and bells of an Indian casino.

4. I hate clothes. I do not enjoy shopping for clothes, conforming to social/professional dress codes, or dressing to look the part in any situation. I try as hard as I can in my work to disintegrate the idea that my professionalism and respectability in the classroom has anything to do with the clothes I wear. Likewise, I do not wear my devotion to God, respect for the dead, or any other inward attitudes in the way I dress.

5. I do not enjoy eating food in restaurants and cafes very much. Bars and diners that don't know they are diners are better. I'm unmoved by fine dining. I enjoy food and I enjoy reading restaurant reviews, but I almost never want to go to a restaurant, unless it's with my sisters or friends or if it's for nostalgic reasons. The less the eating at the restaurant seems like an event or a presentation or a theatrical moment, the more I like it.

6. I like taking pictures of moss.

I'm a lousy tagger and I'm not going to reform today.

Three Beautiful Things 02/19/08: Kansas, Hurdle, Loss

My students wrote essays growing out of listening to Glenn Gould's 1982 recording of J. S. Bach's Goldberg Variations. They are reading their essays aloud to the class. I deeply enjoyed the copious variety of their memories and associations and experiences.

1. J. remembered how as a girl in Kansas she never could quite get good as a piano player but felt the most alive when out with her horse and dog and entering into the dreams of her solitude.

2. C. remembered how she tripped over a hurdle in a track meet her junior year in high school and broke her arm and finished the race.

3. The Goldberg Variations pulled deep sobs out of S. as she gave herself over to Variation 15 and the memories of her mother, who died when S. was in kindergarten. It was a gorgeously cathartic paper.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 02/18/08: Perfect President's Day, Leafless, More Moss

1. Perfect President's Day holiday. At this point in the school quarter, it's really more important that I spend a day with my students' work instead of with my students in person. I spent all day with my students' work, from sunrise to the stars coming out and loved being able to read and enjoy their work without interruption and with some time to let my students' insights and eloquence sink in a bit. Perfect. My students got more for the tuition money today because I had the day off than if we had met in class. Perfect.

2. Late in the afternoon Snug and I took a walk along the river in Skinner's Butte Park. I took some pictures of my favorite sight on a mid-February day in Eugene: leafless trees:

3. More moss, Sissy!