Saturday, May 31, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/30/14: Toast Appears, LaPush Pictures, Payoff

1.  I ate an okay plate of huevos rancheros at the New Day Bakery and as I dived into my poached egg and salsa with a tear of tortilla, a guy from another table came to mine and told me he didn't want his toast and butter and jam, but that he didn't want it to go to waste and put the small playte on my table.  I finished my huevos rancheros and the toast and butter and jam went to waste.

2.  I sorted through the pictures I took during my weekend in LaPush.  Here's a small sampling.  I wish I could say these are the three best pictures I took or my three favorites, but I just don't know which were "best" or which I favor....

3.  After a nice couple of half pints at the Bier Stein, sitting in the cool afternoon shade out front, the Deke and I went to the credit union and paid off a loan.  It was a most welcome and satisfying transaction:  I enjoyed paying off the loan and I'm happy with what we borrowed the money for. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/29/14: Repairs, Reuben, Pub Club

1.  The repair work is done.  Is there anything else that needs to be done before closing the sale on our house?  I can't think of it.....

2.  I rode the bus to the the U of O, just for a change and then I walked to The Cannery.  The people who took over this spot after it was the Bier Stein for many years did a great job freshening it up with an excellent remodel.  I'd heard theirs was the best Reuben in town so I gave it a try and I thought it was solid, really solid, but I like the Pour House's corned beef and pastrami better.  I enjoyed sitting in The Cannery, listening to the music over the sound system, relaxing, and admiring Kelley's friendly and attentive, but not overbearing, service.  I always enjoy an imperial pint of Deschute's Fresh Squeezed IPA.  Today was no exception.

3.  I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the regular get together among several guys every Thursday afternoon at 16 Tons.  I'll consider myself very fortunate if I stumble upon another such pub club after we move.  Today, we had a great time talking about a wide range of stuff, getting some good laughs, and enjoying fine ciders and beers. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/28/14: Closer to Closing, 23%, Cider and Ale

1.  The couple buying our house wanted some things fixed that came up in the inspection and the work on those projects began today, so it was a day of pounding, workers coming in and out, and things getting done.  We are definitely moving toward an all but certain June 2nd closing.  In fact, we have a signing appointment for the 2nd.

2.  My last visit with my nephrologist, Dr. Zachem, was as positive as these visits can be.  My lab numbers are holding steady and my kidney function showed some improvement.  I'd been hovering around 20% function and today it was at 23%.  That's about the best news I can get:  things are not deteriorating.  I'll miss Dr. Zachem.  I've appreciated his attentive care over the last ten years.

3.  I met the Deke at 16 Tons and, as is often the case, a cider rep was giving out samples.  Tonight it was a guy from Red Tank Cider in Bend and after sampling the company's various ciders, I had a half pint of Happy Cider and a half pint of Sour Cherry.  It was very refreshing.  The ciders put me in the mood to try a Belgian ale I'd seen on the bottle shelf and that was now on tap:  Stumptown Tart, an easy Belgium ale made tart with different berries.  I guess it's official.  I like fruit beers.  I like sours. I like lagers.  I like IPAs.  I like -- well, you get the point:  I like beer in all its various styles.  It's fun!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/27/14: Go, Yak, Sleep

1.  All good things must end.  Bill, Diane, and I ended our get together in La Push with cups of steaming coffee and we squeezed in one last wonderful conversation.  I suppose we still have to learn to say goodbye.  Being such good friends is a comfort.  We tackled many hard questions.  But, alas, we had to go.

2.  The drive from La Push to Eugene was long for me and required me to nap at a rest area north of Longview.  I wondered if maybe the yak sausage and eggs and hash brown I ate in Aberdeen made me drowsy.

3.  The Deke was at Sixteen Tons when I arrived in Eugene and joined her and enjoyed learning what she'd done in my absence and then we went to Billy Mac's for dinner and I was so tired from driving all day and from the sweet exhaustion of having enjoyed myself so much that the best feeling of the evening came when my I rested my head on my pillow and fell into a deep sleep.

Three Beautiful Things 05/26/14: Log Naps, Room Naps, Evening Hugo and Shakespeare

1.  Before and after morning sausage and eggs and coffee with Bill and Diane, I wandered the length of the La Push beach that abuts the resort we stayed at.  I loved watching the surfers.  I enjoyed seeing hand holders.  Twice, I found logs to stretch out on and twice I napped on these different logs, the ocean air and the warmth of the sun putting me to sleep.  It was deep sleep, deep relaxed sleep, the deep relaxed sleep of being near ocean waves crashing and being in the company of good friends.

2.  I went back to my room and with the windows and sliding door open, ocean air filled the room and I took two more naps.  These were naps induced by ocean air, but naps that came after walking and walking and walking on the beach and up and down the streets of (lower) La Push.

3.  Dinner with Bill and Diane.   Oh my.  Beef with gravy and a crunchy fresh salad.  We were out of the Fish Tail Organic IPA so I bought us a six pack of the roasty, sweeter Fish Tail Organic Amber Ale.  We watched the sublime documentary Kicking the Loose Gravel Home, so that Richard Hugo could be with us in La Push and then we watched more segments of the John Barton/BBC dvds, Playing Shakespeare. Bill and I marveled at how deeply moved we've been over the last thirty/forty years by Richard Hugo and Bill, Diane, and I marveled at how beautifully the actors played their roles in Playing Shakespeare and at what a deep pleasure it is to listen to John Barton direct the actors and reflect upon passages from the plays.

Three Beautiful Things 05/25/14: La Push and My Camera, Bridgit and Dan Arrive!, Bill Sings and I Remember....

1.  I woke up at six a.m. and headed down to the beach and walked with my camera.  I tried to take pictures, but as is always the case when I'm new to a place, it was difficult to get my bearings.  I haven't looked at my pictures, yet.  I'm looking forward to seeing if I got any shots I like. 

2.  Just after Bill, Diane, and I finished our quiche and hot sausage brunch, Bridgit and Dan arrived.  What a great pleasure it was to see Bridgit, to find out the larger story of her new job, and to talk about any number of things!  Likewise, it was a great pleasure to meet Dan, Bridgit's roommate, a person she had told us was a great guy and he proved to be exactly that.  We talked about everything, it seemed, from God to what we see in the youth of our times to our Whitworth memories -- I even confessed that I had to have given Bridgit the wrong grade in The Family in American Drama -- I confessed to her that I cannot for the life of me figure out why I gave her a B in that course.  (I discovered I had done this a while back when I was going through old grade books.) We joked that I should contact the Registrar at Whitworth and see if it's too late to submit a change of grade form! It's so hard to believe that that Bridgit was in that course thirty years ago and that out of it and other conversations in the Basement of Westminster Hall, our friendship was born and has stayed alive and vital.  Likewise, Bill was my student in the first composition class I ever taught, in my whole life, in Fall of 1977 at Whitworth College and, we too, developed a deep and lasting friendship that started when I was 23 and he was 19.  We all wished our other Basement friends Colette, Val, and Susan-Lousie could have made it to La Push.  We missed them dearly.

3.  Bill gave us a short concert before Bridgit and Dan had to leave.  I don't know if I remember every song, but I know he played "How Long You Gonna Wait", "Comfort", "The Ravine", "Learning to Say Goodby" and "Life's a Long Song" in some order and the songs took me back to Bill playing all over Eugene, including in my house for one or two concerts, Sam Bond's, a coffee house under Smith Family Books, Buffalo Gals, out at Deadwood, and maybe more places as well.  His songs took me back to Whitworth and to Seattle and all of the places his songs took me were happy places, all stuffed with stories, all strong threads in the fabric of our friendship. 

Three Beautiful Things 05/24/14: Lawn Mowed, Drive to La Push, Open Arms and Pantry

1.  Since I couldn't secure the rental car until 9:00 a.m., I decided it would be prudent to mow the lawn before I left for La Push.  I got it done.

2.  The drive to La Push was long and I think I made it longer my driving on the east side of the Highway 101 loop, from Shelton to Port Angeles and around Lake Crescent.  No problem.  I wanted to see this bit of Washington State and taking more time was worth it.

3.  Bill and Diane welcomed with open arms and with an open pantry!  They had a wonderful dinner ready for me:  salad and chicken with Italian sauce.  In addition, Bill had bought Fish Tale Organic IPA and later in the evening, we enjoyed some eighteen year old single malt whiskey.  My! Oh, my!  Great friends.  Great conversation. Great food.  Good drinks.  What a perfect reward for the long drive to La Push. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/23/14: Eugene Stroll, Oakridge Trip, Bier Stein Surprise

1.  The Deke dropped me off at the 32nd and Hillyard PeaceHealth clinic so I could get a blood draw in advance of my kidney appointment this coming Wednesday and, after the blood draw, I walked home.  It's about a three mile walk.  I interrupted my walk with a fun biscuit and gravy breakfast at Cornucopia. 

2.  The Troxstar, Madame Troxstar, Shane, and I loaded ourselves into the TroxCar and wound our way up to the Brewer's Union pub in Oakridge and enjoyed some cask conditioned bitters together.  Madame Troxstar did us a big favor.  She was our designated driver, giving the rest of us free reign to enjoy a few pints.  We had a first-rate gabfest, enjoying our time in the rarefied air of Oakridge, OR.

3.  The Deke texted me that she would be at the Bier Stein and, to my surprise and delight, when I arrived, she was at a table with Walker and Ingrid -- and, later, Lisa joined us.  I learned a ton about Orkney and we had some good laughs and it was a good time. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/22/14: Pictures as Images, Back to Brails, Bottle of Lolita

1.  It was fun handing the pictures I took of my students to them.  I think many were pleased -- others, I don't know, but it's no big deal.  I got to talk with my students for a while about the tenuous relationship between pictures and the actual person or thing being photographed, and encouraged each student to think of pictures as a created image, not so much as a documentary reflection of what's actual.  I didn't go on too long about this and I think the students, by and large, enjoyed what I had to say.

2.  I hadn't been to Brails for a while and dropped in on my way to Bier Stein and Sixteen Tons for a burger and fries and some witty repartee with Ian.  It was fun.

3.  Yesterday, at 16 Tons, I bought a bottle of Goose Island's Lolita, a Belgian wild ale.  It's a sour ale, aged in French oak Cabernet Sauvignon barrels and each barrel receives 50+ pounds of fresh raspberries.  I love it and I bought the bottle so it would be chilled this afternoon and ready to share with the fellas I meet for beers on Thursday afternoon.  They were all pleased with Lolita and this made me very happy. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/21/14: Few Details, Perfect Walking Day, Perfect Walk Number Two

1.  A DocuSign, an email, signing my acceptance of the contractor's bid.  Just three small things.  That's all I had to do today as we do the stuff needed to sell this house.  I'm hoping that tomorrow might be a day free of house selling business, but it was a relief today to have so few things to do.  To the best of my knowledge, things are moving along smoothly toward closing [fingers crossed].

2.  It was a perfect day for walking up 7th Street, turning south on Van Buren, going east on 8th, and then a circuit through Monroe Park where people were supervising their children on playground equipment, youngsters were group lying on the grass, and a couple of middle aged men were sitting on a bench, taking a rest from walking around town, backpacks at their side, sipping on Super Big Gulps. We took a few minutes to share with each  other our pleasure that it was such a gorgeous day in May.  It made the three of us laugh.  The cool air and blue sky made us giddy.

3.  I enjoyed another walk later in the afternoon.  The Deke and I decided to meet up at Cornucopia where I enjoyed margaritas and made Justine laugh when I told her I'd be boarding the Greyhound to Costco.  The Deke and I went to Costco (by car, as it turned out!) so I could pick up the pictures I took of my students.  We picked up a container of mediocre pasta salad, it turned out, but we enjoyed where we ate it:  Sixteen Tons where I enjoyed a Blind Pig IPA and, for an after pasta salad drink, I relished the tongue-biting tartness of Two Rivers Pomegranate Cider.  Lousy food.  Oh well. Great conversation with the Deke.  Excellent IPA and cider.  Two outa three ain't bad.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/20/14: House Sale Details, Taking Portraits, Sixteen Tons Wind Down

1.  I spent some of today getting details finalized with the contractor for the work the buyers stated they wanted done on our house.  The work will get done next week and, as far as I can tell, we are still on track to close this deal at the beginning of June.  I'm sure glad I'm only teaching one section this quarter and that I have so much time to attend to these house sale details.

2.  If you've followed this blog at all over the last two school years, you know that each quarter I take pictures of all my students at the locations of their choice on campus.  Today, I took those pictures, meeting students all over the place, and I had tutoring sessions with two of these students to help them get caught up in class after they'd missed class because of medical problems.  I enjoyed taking the pictures, although I wish it had been a cloudy day so that I wasn't dealing with harsh light some of the time.  Most of all, I enjoyed some time just to shoot the breeze and have a few laughs with my students.  I enjoyed getting to know them a little better.

3.  The Deke had a demanding day at school today.  We went to Sixteen Tons to wind down and it took a little more Goose Island the Illinois Imperial IPA than usual for her to get the day out of her system and relax.  But she did.  I enjoyed some Portland Cider Company Sorta Sweet hard apple cider and then decided to close out our session with a half pint of the always awesome BFM Bon Chien sour ale.  It was fun gabbing with Jay and Sherie (sp?) at their table.  My doing so gave the Deke some time alone with her IPA, time to slowly get the day out of her system.  It turned out that our visit to 16 Tons was just what the doctor ordered!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05-19-14: Holding Hands Downtown, Jocks at the Park, Meeting Up with Dan

1.  I spent much of the morning walking around downtown and other places, seeing if any good picture taking moments unfolded.  Few did, but I liked this one:

2.  Later, after Ed, the contractor, came by to revise his bid on repairs we'll have done to the house, I took my first two sports related shots.  I don't think they'll land me work at Sports Illustrated, but I enjoyed snapping this basketball falling through the hoop and this frisbee dude about to snatch the disc between his legs.

3.  Dan Armstrong and I hadn't sat down and talked to each other for a few years and tonight we met at the High Street Brewery and Cafe and talked about a wide range of things and had a great time catching each other up on one another's lives.  Our conversation was deeply satisfying on its own, but, I must admit, the pleasure of the evening, for me, was augmented by a pint of McMenamin's cherry cider and then a pint of apple.  This was my first taste of hard cider made by McMenamin's and I enjoyed it a lot. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 04/18/14: Cranky Jesus, Throwback Sunday, Stirring Concert

1.  I swung by Chez Troxstar, picked up the 'star, and we went to the 11 o'clock service together at St. Mary's.  You might think my favorite part of the service was getting to be lector and reading the horrifying and moving account of Stephen being stoned to death, but it wasn't.  Father Ted read the gospel this morning from the Book of John and my favorite part of the whole service was hearing Jesus say, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me?"  I always get a kick out of it when Jesus is tired, cranky, moody, critical, and sharp-tongued -- even sarcastic.  So, I got a kick out of this moment this morning.

2.  It was Throwback Sunday with the Troxstar.  Our first visit to Sixteen Tons happened in about September, 2011 when we decided to have a pint after church, and, on our way to the High Street Brewery and Cafe, we took a chance and walked into Sixteen Tons.  It's become my favorite place in Eugene to quaff a pint or two.  So, this morning, after the Eucharist, the Troxstar and I wandered on down to Sixteen Tons and enjoyed a pint or two and it reminded me of those days two and half years ago when Jeff worked on Sunday afternoons and the Troxstar surveyed the bottles on the shelf and asked Jeff if the joint carried Bartles and Jaymes.  Made me laugh every time -- and last summer, in Nelson, B. C., I pulled the same stunt in a liquor store and without missing a beat, the guy at the counter told me I'd have to go to Alberta for that.  I got a big kick out of that line.

3.  Rita and I went to the First United Methodist Church in Eugene for a concert of various classical music.  Mostly, we went to hear Rita's daughter, Annalisa Morton, play oboe, first in Alexandre Guilmant's Cantilene Pastorale and then in John Rutter's stirring Requiem.  The whole program was beautiful.  I thoroughly enjoyed Annalisa's playing, which stirred in me delightful memories of when I used to listen to bassoon albums in the North Idaho College library.  It was my secret.  I thought my friends would think I was a weirdo if I told them.  These were wonderful memories and I wrote about them, here

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Secret Bassoon Life

This afternoon I went to the First United Methodist Church of Eugene and listened to their May performance of their "First Concert" series.

Rita and I went together.  She invited me because one of the pieces in the first half of the concert featured her daughter, Annalisa Morton as the oboe soloist, playing Alexandre Guilmant's Cantilène Pastorale for oboe and organ.  

As I listened to Annalisa play, I traveled back in time to a very small secret life I led in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho at North Idaho College.  

Back then, when the Spokane Symphony performed in the Fox Theater, North Idaho College students could get really inexpensive tickets to the symphony.  The ones I bought came through being a member of the North Idaho College choir.  I went to symphony concerts, not knowing much about the symphony, but I loved it whenever the bassoon was featured.  I already had fallen in love with the oboe because we had oboe players in the Kellogg High School band, but I was not so familiar with the bassoon.

My sophomore year at NIC, I became really serious about my studies and became a library rat.  Somehow, I discovered that the library had a record album collection and that I could check out records, be issued headphones, and go to a turntable, and listen to music while I read -- mostly assignments for Miss Tinsley's "Modern Writers and What They're Saying" course.

Today, listening to Annalisa play her oboe, I was reminded of how I used to look up recordings of certain instruments -- like the bassoon.  

None of my Kellogg friends knew I did this.  We spent time away from school listening to the Allman Brothers and Uriah Heep and Led Zeppelin and other popular rock and roll stuff and I just never felt like confessing that I regularly arrived at school early, went to the library, checked out classical music albums, often featuring the bassoon, and listened to them while I read.  

Listening to this music while reading invigorated me.  The literature I was reading enthralled me and the soaring bassoon solos excited me further, making my reading memorable and enjoyable.

When I became a graduate student at the University of Oregon, about five years after graduating from North Idaho College, I discovered the library's Douglas Listening Room and went back to my old North Idaho College habit.  When I had loads of John Ruskin or Mark Twain or Henry James or George Eliot to read, I often went to the listening room, found call numbers for record albums featuring a bassoon and made my way through my reading load inspired by the music and warmed by my secret life in the library at North Idaho College.

Three Beautiful Things 05/17/14: Chicken Udon Soup, Pioneer Cemetery, Downtown

1.  That Chicken Udon soup at Pure was really delicious and conversation with Russell about topics ranging from the NFL to Vivian Maier was also a lot of fun.

2.  I had a really good time at the University of Oregon Pioneer Cemetery taking pictures of flowers and headstones, experimenting with different camera settings, and finding spots where light and shadow interplayed that were a lot of fun.  Here's a small sample of pictures I took:

3.  The Troxstar had the evening to himself, so we took a walk downtown and went to the First National Taphouse.  For me, it was a Fresh Squeezed IPA and someone's Cherry Cider.  It was kind of fun to observe the oddball nightlife in downtown Eugene:  limos, fire truck, banjo player singing coarsely, a guy spontaneously dancing with a backpack on, groups of young people moving like a cloud from place to place, a guy with a plastic bucket drum kit.  I didn't feel a part of any of this.  It was fun to see what was happening, though. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05-16-14: Photo Amble, Trust and Learning, Remembering Poets

1.  The shoes I wear seem to be giving my heels and toes proper support (if that was the problem before....).  This means I can walk a lot more and today I walked all around our neighborhood, went into the Whiteaker neighborhood, and eventually made my way downtown and then to the Bier Stein.  I didn't take a ton of pictures -- maybe not even a pound -- but I took some and here are three of them:

What's Your Angle?;

We Deliver


Holding Hands

2.  The Deke and I met at the Bier Stein and talked some house business and then relaxed into some conversation the mysteries of students learning stuff and just what brings it about.  I'm not sure, but I think the most significant source of learning is trust.

3.  Our conversation carried over to Sixteen Tons.  Scott Shirk had texted me that the George Plimpton documentary was  on tonight and that made me think about The Paris Review which made me think about that journal's interviews with writers which made me think of reading Donald Hall's book Remembering Poets back in 1978 and the Deke and I talked about Hall's contempt for audiences who seemed enchanted with Dylan Thomas' drunkenness -- Hall accused them of cheering him to his death (by alcohol).  It was fun thinking back on that book and the impact it's had on me, especially in sorting out the writers' work from their often carefully manufactured public personae.  The book examines Frost's grandfatherly public persona in contrast to his dark poems and his more difficult private person and Hall's discussion opened up for me the existential depth of Frost's work in ways that are very much still with me, as in the closing lines of his "Desert Places".  

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars--on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/15/14: Walking, Helles Lager, Thursday PubGab Again

1.  I walked to the transit station and decided I didn't want to board a bus quite as early as I arrived there so I walked another ten blocks or so to Hiron's, where I submitted a medicine refill order and strolled back outside to catch the bus to LCC.  I'm enjoying my toes and heel not hurting so that I can walk a lot more, which helps me feel better and sleep better.

2.  After a relaxing session of WR 115 with some pretty good instruction and a bunch of relaxed interactions with individual students, punctuated (see what I just did!) by some good laughter, I rode the bus to Hiron's to pick up my medicine and then stopped in the Bier Stein for a half a Cuban, a cup of beer cheese soup, and a pint of New Belgium Helles Lager.  New Belgium just released it and it's really tasty, especially for a lager lover like me. 

3.  After lunch at the Bier Stein, I joined Cliff, Jeff, John, Don, Dick, Elliott, and Alex for wide-ranging conversation and some drinks at Sixteen Tons.  I've been distracted, mostly by house business, over the last three weeks and haven't been able to go to this every Thursday get together, so it was fun to gab for a couple of hours and enjoy a rare (and slightly spendy) treat:  a couple half pints of Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes Abbaye De Saint Bon Chien wild/sour ale from Switzerland.  Kegs of Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes Abbaye De Saint Bon Chien are expensive, so Sixteen Tons only carries it once or twice a year, so I'm very happy that I've been able to enjoy some of it before it disappears.  I learned a lot from today's table talk about I-Phone picture taking, Breaking Bad, and a bunch of other stuff.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/14/14: Business, The Art of Vivian Maier, Neighborly Gratitude

1.  While selling this house, I spend a certain amount of time each day perusing documents, filling out documents, signing documents, anticipating phone calls, going to the bank -- in short, taking care of business.  Today was no different.

2.  I went to the Bijou Metro this afternoon and my interest in the movie "Finding Vivian Maier" centered on Maier's pictures and so my favorite passages in the movie let me see her photographs, what she saw in the world, the variety in her style, the subject matter she pursued as a photographer, and her openness as a photographer to taking pictures of everything from landscapes in the French Alps to dignified street portraits to items in trash cans to pictures of social outcasts on the streets.  With a cassette machine, she tape recorded interviews with people at a Jewel supermarket.  She took home movies.  For example, she took one of the children under her charge as a nanny to a stockyard in Chicago where sheep were being marched to slaughter.  Her pictures and home movies are often touching, often startling, often macabre, and consistently fascinating.  The parts of the movie devoted to trying to figure out the biography and the psychology of this reclusive, eccentric nanny interested me less.  During these parts of the movie, a voice inside me kept urging the movie to get back to her work, the pictures, movies, and recordings she made. 

3. Over the twenty-one years I've lived in this house, I've had a peaceful, cooperative, congenial relationship with our neighbors over the fence.  We've had one or two things to work out together and we did it well.  Today, I had a wonderful conversation with Susan about our move and we exchanged words of appreciation for each other as good neighbors, even though we never became friends.  It was a good moment. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/13/14: Slow Learning, Repairs to Come, Post-Vestry Revisited

1.   Earlier this school year, during my office hour I read an article in an anthology of readings designed for composition classes that was entitled something like "what's wrong with high schools".  The article pointed out that students don't have time to reflect upon their studies because they are so geared toward going from class to class to class to class to class to class and so busy getting assignments done that their lives as students is taken up by being busy, not really reflecting.  I thought about courses I've taught over the last thirty-seven years, especially when I was younger, and how I equated heavy reading/writing loads with rigor.  Graduate school was that way, for sure.  So, as I end my teaching career, I'm ending it with a slow course, with giving my students plenty of time, in class, to ponder the ideas we are working with, plenty of time to write about them, plenty of time to reflect.  I don't know, and I don't need to know, how to assess the success of this approach, but I know I enjoy the classroom a lot more when things go slowly; I especially enjoy how much more relaxed my students are.  I thought about all of this today as my students wrote for the second time, in class, about Mike Rose's article "Blue-Collar Brilliance", a not very long piece that we are spending our second week on.  I've taught classes in the past when I would have scheduled half a class meeting for such an article and paired it with another piece to be dealt with in the second hour.  It might have worked out fine.  I don't know.  I just know that today, I like the slow approach.

2.  With the inspection report completed, the buyers of our house have listed repairs they want us to have done.  This was good to learn and we'll move forward with it.  My point?  Things are moving right along. 

3.  The Troxstar is no longer the Senior Warden at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, in case you missed  Wolf Blitzer's coverage of this story on CNN back in February.  But, this evening, the Troxstar and I met for a beer or two at 16 Tons with Fr. Bingham, after he was finished with tonight's vestry meeting.  It was like old times when I would meet the then Senior Warden and sometimes the Junior Warden and sometimes our priest for drinks after the vestry was done meeting.  We had a great time, talking about all kinds of stuff and I enjoyed my first taste ever of The Common Brewery's Fishing with Hallet, which was last year's third anniversary beer at 16 Tons.  It's aged really well after a year and gave me the tart pleasure I enjoy so much from sour ales. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/12/14: Walking, Stir Frying, Waiting

1.  With improved weather and with us in a short waiting period regarding the house's sale and with my toes and heel feeling good, I took a walk with my camera.  I didn't have much picture taking success, but being out, moving, walking felt really good. 

2.  I took a second walk in the afternoon, just to the Kiva, to pick up some tofu and ginger so that I had the right ingredients to cook up a stir fried dinner with Chinese noodles.  It was really good.

3.  The inspection report has been completed, I read over my copy, and now the realtors will talk it over and we'll see what's next.  I don't know what to expect.  The house is in good shape (it's dry, no pests), but, of course, not perfect....

Monday, May 12, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/11/14: Eugene Pictures, Patrick Pops In, The Old is New to Me

1.  One of the best things about having a bunch of my packing done for the move and with not having to show the house any more, is that I can get back to walking around with my camera.  I took a Sunday stroll today into the downtown area and then up Willamette to meet the Deke at the Bier Stein.  Here are a few of the pictures I took:

No Parking

Holding Hands

Mortgage Selfie
Waiting to Play

Sunday at the Bier Stein 

2.  The Deke and I were sitting at the Bier Stein and the Deke's phone rang and it was Patrick.  Turns out he was in town.  Turns out he wanted to see him mother on Mother's Day.  Turns out Patrick joined me and the Deke for our Mother's Day party at the Bier Stein, Growler Guys, and Sixteen Tons.

3.  It's funny.  Until a few days ago, I had never tried hard cider and now I'm really enjoying different kinds -- like today, I sampled 2 Towns' Ginja Ninja, a ginger cider and I loved it.  Earlier in the day, I had my first pint of Rogue's Dead Guy Ale.  I mean this beer has been around forever and I've spent a few hours in the Rogue Public House over the last few years and I see Dead Guy Ale in the grocery store cooler every single time I shop for beer.  It's very popular.  Now I know it's also very good!  I have really been asleep at the wheel regarding this beer:  it's a German Maibock, a splendid style, making it easy to drink.  It's balanced, not that hoppy, and very satisfying.  I guess I'll say it again:  this beer has been around for over twenty years, and I feel like I've discovered a brand new ale!  Wow.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/10/14: Pure Enjoyment, Masonic Cemetery, Growler Guys Party

1.  I've been so busy with house sale stuff that Russell and I have missed at least three Saturdays in a row having lunch and taking pictures.  Today we got back with it and I thoroughly enjoyed both conversation with Russell and my lunch of miso soup and oyako donburi. 

2.  I wondered if there might be some fun flower pictures awaiting us at the Eugene Masonic Cemetery, so I suggested we take pictures up there.  Russell said, "OK" and we had a fine time tromping among the gravestones and foliage, taking pictures.  As an added bonus, we got to visit the interior of the Hope Abbey Mausoleum, thanks to a friendly volunteer who spotted us outside and was eager to show us around the inside.  Here are some flower pictures and gravestone pictures I took.  (I wasn't that pleased with my inside the mausoleum shots....)

3.  The Deke and I decided to try out the growler fill station/tap room that is where Starbucks used to be -- the Starbucks Molly used to work at -- the building we call Molly's Starbucks.  Now it's called Growler Guys and we had a superb time.  For the Deke, they were pouring Rogue Double Chocolate Imperial Stout and she loved it.  For me, it was Ayinger day at Growler Guys, so I had a pint of Jahrhundert Bier (Lager) and a pint of Oktober Fest-Marzen (Strong Ale).  The beer was great and we continued the conversation that has been going on since our first "date" in August, 1997 when we went to an Ems game at Civic Stadium.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/09/14: Photo Walk, Pho Ga, Tieton Apple Cider

1.  As far as taking pictures, I've been out of it the last three weeks, mostly because of house sale stuff.  But, today, I had an appointment down at the OCCU building near campus and not only did I walk to it, I took some pictures.  Here's a sample:

2.  It was an off and on rainy photo walk and I thought a bowl of soup would be uplifting and warming.  I was right.  I stopped in at Bon Mi and enjoyed a huge bowl of Pho Ga.  I love the way Bon Mi seasons their Pho Ga with cloves. 

3.   After spending an hour or so talking money with a pro and after I signed a couple more house sale documents, the Deke and I had a light meal at Cornucopia and then went to the 16 Tons Cafe and I tried another cider.  Jacob told me they had taken the Sacrilege Sour Cherry off, but an apple cider was on, from Tieton, WA, near Yakima.  It's name?  Well, Tieton Apple Cider.  It was tart, a bit lemony, and totally delicious. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/08/14: Dry Basement, Reverend Nat's Sacrilege Sour Cherry Cider, Soup and Pinot Noir

1.  The buyers' house inspector was here for nearly five hours today.  When I talked to him at 2:00, when I arrived to take the dogs out of the house, he said things looked good.  I was especially happy that he reported that the basement was dry.  I knew it was after the work we had done over two years ago, but it was still good to hear. 

2.  Thomas was overseeing an Italian wine tasting at the 16 Tons Cafe and after the Deke and I got back in our house around 5:15 or so, we went to the cafe and sampled the three Italian wines.  They were awesome.  I wish I had written their names down.  As much as I enjoyed those wines, I decided to go a different route and, for the first time ever, I ordered cider. It was magnificent.  Oh my.  Reverend Nat's Sacrilege Sour Cherry gave me great pleasure.

3.  The Deke and I decided to enjoy some soup, so I strolled over to Market of Choice and bought two bowls of soup:  first, a Hungarian Cream of Mushroom and, second, Sweet Potato and Five Spice Bisque.  Heavenly.  I really enjoyed how it tasted with a glass of King Estate Acrobat Pinot Noir.  It was a very relaxing little party for me and the Deke.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/07/14: Offer Accepted, Our Dinner with Harold, Thanks to Campbell's Soup

1.  We met with our realtor and accepted a solid offer on our house. 

2.  On our way to the realtor, we received an invitation from Harold Lannom for dinner at Billy Mac's and we accepted and we had a great time, enjoying splendid food and talking about all kinds of things ranging from genealogy to the mysteries of the Divine.  Speaking of divine, I sure enjoyed my ahi appetizer and cup of chicken gumbo soup and the ginger bourbon was mighty tasty, too.

3.  Billy Mac's chicken gumbo soup made me think of all the varieties of Campbell's soup we used to have around the house in Kellogg:  chicken gumbo, minestrone, bean with bacon, tomato rice, chicken rice, chicken noodle, tomato, cream of mushroom, cream of celery, etc.  I enjoyed them all and I never thought soup could be any better.  But then, as I got older, I sometimes made my own soups or I was a guest at someone's house who served soup or I ordered soup in restaurants anrd I came to realize that Campbell's soups were not the best a soup could be.  This didn't disappoint me.  I marveled at how satisfying really good soup is -- and, at the same time, like tonight at Billy Mac's, I felt gratitude to Campbell's soups for revealing to me that there was such a thing as chicken gumbo soup or minestrone soup or cream of mushroom soup and giving me a start on my way to discovering and making really good soup. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/06/14: Out with the Corgis, Corgis Go to French Immersion, Wind Down

1.  Busy day with the dogs!  I had to have them out of the house during the five showings of our house today, so we drove around in the morning and then went to Hendricks Park for some walking and gazing.  I did the gazing.

2.  In the afternoon, we went to see the Deke at her school and her fifth graders mobbed Charly and Maggie with intense laughter, petting, hugging, and overwhelming joy at the surprise of having two corgis interrupt their scholarly pursuits.

3.  The backyard now has been transformed by the yard guys and the Deke and I soaked in its late afternoon vibe and learned that the showings today resulted in offers which we'll learn more about tomorrow.  Selling the house, keeping it in museum condition, has left us tired and so, once again, it was off to Billy Mac's where I had some hot shrimp and a small Caesar salad and we topped off our big day with a stop at Sixteen Tons.  Russian Consecration and BFM Bon Chien, plus Thomas urged us to try a taster of the fantastic Rose wine he was offering and a taster of a superb Zweigelt/Pinot Noir.  Great sours.  Great wine.  Great wind down to a very busy day.

Three Beautiful Things 05/05/14: Spiffin', Transformed, Ahhhh

1.  Today was the last day to get the house spiffed up for pictures by the realtor in the morning.  Drawer handles.  Light bulbs.  A lot of little things.  Post office.  Jim Rome bumpin' "Lowrider".  Epic. While I did stuff at home, the Deke got dropped off near Sixteen Tons and when I went to pick her up, I caused a minor stir when I did not have a beer, even though all those great sours are still on tap.  No, we still had work to do and I so the Deke and I returned to the house and worked for a couple more hours clearing out one of the bedrooms and putting the last bit of elbow grease into tidying up the basement.

2.  The yard guys arrived today and they transformed the front yard from on overgrown mess into a sharp looking landscape.  The curb appeal increased by about 900 per cent, I'd say.

3.  House is ready.  Yard looks good.  Five showings tomorrow.  Time for a relaxing reward and no better place to sit and let it all sink in than Billy Mac's for a couple of ginger bourbons, a plate of oysters, and a small Caesar salad.  Perfect end to a busy, productive day. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/04/14: Cassie's Mirror, Piano Gone, Back to the Sour/Wild Ales

1.  I forgot all about the heavy mirror that was delivered to our house about fifteen years ago that belonged to Cassie, the Deke's grandmother.  We had put it in the storage area above the garage door and while I was clearing that area out, I discovered it.  I have no idea, right now, what we'll do with it. 

2.  The movers arrived around 11 o'clock and hauled the piano away.  Ah!  That completes another huge part of our move. 

3.  The Deke and I ended our day of a dump run, hardware run, Goodwill run, sorting, clearing out space, garage cleaning, and piano moving with a relaxing few beers at Sixteen Tons.  Many sour/wild ales were on tap after Saturday's Wild Ale Fest, and I enjoyed three of them:  Block 15's tart and tasty Ferme de Démons, the sublime Russian River Consecration, and I ended with one of my very favorites, the slightly sweet, but tantalizingly tart Unibroue Éphémère Cherry.  The Deke enjoyed the beer brewed especially for 16 Tons' 4th Anniversary, A Saison in Hell.  We had fun talking with Thomas and Mike sat with us for a half pint and we left refreshed after a day of steady work and the fatigue that comes with uncertainty when preparing a house to sell. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/03/14: Wild Ales Round 1, Sour Beers with Phil, Wild Ales Round 2

1.  Once I knew today wasn't going to be a photo stroll day, I went to Sixteen Tons for Round 1 at the Wild Ale/4th Anniversary Fest and immediately ordered a taster of the beer brewed specially for this event:  Breakside, with some input from Sixteen Tons, brewed a special saison called, "Saison from Hell" and it was tasty, especially, for me, as it warmed up a bit.  Everything I tried was in tasters, not even filled up, about an ounce and a half of beer, and it was perfect to be able to try several beers and not load up on alcohol.  I loved Goose Island's Sofie and Juliet (Lolita was not part of the festival).  I enjoyed trying a really funky beer, Grassroots Arctic Soiree.  It was so different, so grassy, so earthy, so, well, funky, that I sort of laughed my way through the ounce and a half.  It was one of those "I've never tasted anything like this" laughs.  It was a perfect hour or so of drinking sour ales, wild ales, of drinking funky beers -- and I was glad I tucked a chunk of ciabatta bread in my pocket before I left the house.  It helped scrub my tongue of one beer before I tried another.

2.  There's a good guy named Phil who I see often at both Sixteen Tons locations and Mike introduced me to him today and he moved to Eugene a little over two years ago from Hawaii and we had a good session together, commenting on the beers we were tasting, talking about neighborhoods in Eugene, and telling each other about our future plans.  He's looking for a house to buy or a property to put a house on.  He's been taking his time, looking for just the right spot, and I enjoyed listening to what he hopes he'll find. 

3.  Phil took an intermission from the Wild Ale Fest and, a bit later, so did I.  We both knew we'd be returning after a rest from beer sampling.  I returned with the Deke and when we arrived at Sixteen Tons, Phil was leaving.  He reported that there were still plenty of great beers available.  I should say there were.  The tap/bottle list of beers to sample had seventy beers on it!  The Deke is not into the sour beer thing at all, so she enjoyed some Firestone Walker Winter Wookey and dove back into the sours and wild ales, a Logsdon here, an Upright there, another Goose Island Juliet, some Cascade, with a lot of focus on fruits, on blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, and cherry sours.  Loved every one of them.  The Deke took a tiny sip from each taster, grimaced, told me I was drinking vinegar, and wondered how I could stand that stuff, and moved back to her Winter Wookey.  All I could say was, "I love this stuff!" Round 2 was fantastic, just like Round 1 had been.  If I had someone here at home to share sour beer with, I would have bought a bottle or two, but, alas, the bottles just have too much volume for me to drink alone.  No problem. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/02/14: For Sale Sign, Ploughman's Lunch, Russian River Blow Out

1.  Simon, our realtor, and I had a few details to settle and did so in a relaxed manner.  We set picture day.  He pounded the For Sale sign in our yard.  Things continue to move forward.

2.  This month the Bier Stein is featuring food to pair with the English Pale Ale.  I didn't drink any English Pale Ale today.  Instead, I met with the Deke when she got off work and I poured two of my favorite IPAs from the cooler:  Deschutes' Fresh Squeezed and Hop Valley's Citrus Mistress.  BUT, I did order from the English Pale Ale food pairings menu.  It's been nearly thirty years since I've been to England.  When there, I enjoyed the Ploughman's Lunch and today, thanks to the Bier Stein, I returned to that pleasure:  Sliced ham & salami, Full Circle Cheddar, pickles, radishes, ale mustard, hard boiled egg, and Humble Bagel baguette. Perfect!

3.  I thought after a couple of beers, we were done, but the Deke informed me we were making a stop at 16 Tons.  Perfect!  After all, I knew that at noon two fantastic beers had been tapped:  Russian River's Pliny the Elder Imperial IPA and Russian River's exquisite sour/wild ale, Consecration.  I thoroughly enjoyed both.  I especially enjoy drinking a sour beer as my last beer of the evening (or the late afternoon) and  the half pint of Consecration worked for me like a glass of wine or brandy before bed time.  It doesn't taste like brandy.  To me, it does have some red wine qualities, especially the dry finish.   It's the perfect finishing beer and I savored every drop of the Consecration (spendy as it was [that's a warning!  if you decide to try Consecration, it's a tad bit expensive!]).  Tomorrow is the Wild Ale Fest at 16 Tons.  I hope I can get there while Sofie and Lolita from Goose Island are still around.  I checked out the 70 beers they'll have available and many of my very favorite sour/wild ales are going to be served. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 05/01/14: Movin' Out, The World Comes to the Classroom, Byrdman in Town

1.  I spent the morning before going to school doing more packing, moving of boxes to the basement.  I continued to clear out as much of the upstairs as I can.  The piano leaves this weekend.  Soon I hope someone will want my desk.  We're getting there. 

2.  I was able to send the students home who were doing just fine with the paper due next week and got to spend time in one to one conversations with students who needed more help.  It's my favorite way to teach.  This also enabled me to find out more about my student from Najaf, Saudi Arabia as well as another student of mine from Mexico City.  This has always been one of the best features of my work over the last thirty-seven years:  working with students from Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Venezuela, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, Bosnia, Greece, Singapore, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Israel, India, and many other countries.  Nothing breaks down preconceptions and received ideas about people of different countries like working, talking, and learning together.

3.  Jim Byrd (KHS '70), also known as the Byrdman and the Duke of Earl drove down to Eugene today from his son's place in West Linn for a visit with his sister and for a session of fine food and fine ales with me.  After we enjoyed a refreshing Total Domination IPA in the backyard, I got to introduce him to the Bier Stein where we enjoyed some Aecht Schlenkerla Helles smoky lager and some Old Speckled Hen.  Then we made our way to Billy Mac's for sandwiches and a beer and continued to dive into our mental archives and bring great ball players from North Idaho back to life again and remember how great they were.  Byrdman and I both got the job done in baseball and basketball, but neither of us was great.  These guys we remembered and talked about were great.  And memorable. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 04/30/14: Jolly Shipping, Primordial Beer, Nor'Wester '76

1.  I really like the woman who works at the shipping store. When I went in today she remembered what we're doing at our house, remembered that the Deke had documents sent to Maryland, and remembered that she coveted my new hand truck.  We got a good laugh out of that and her friendliness made sending two heavy parcels to NY all the more pleasant.

2.  One of the Deke's student's father made some pizza at home and sent one to school for the Deke to bring home and we enjoyed it tonight.  It was a great way to round out the night after our late afternoon session at 16 Tons where I sampled an Anchor IPA, an Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s IPA, and then ended the session with a half pint of The Monarchy Methusalem, a very interesting Sour Altbier.  The Monarchy Methusalem gave me an odd sensation.  It felt prehistoric to me, of the earth, as if I were drinking from the primordial soup.  I enjoyed that. 

3.  Bob's post on Facebook about rocking out to 70s influenced blues rock led to an unexpected trip down memory lane as we discussed the chaos of Nor'Wester 76, the rock festival at Stateline, Idaho, at the Northwest Speedway that turned into a riot after the festival was suddenly canceled.  Cranes, semis, a dairy truck, the stage were all burned and rioters raced in vehicles at dangerous speeds around the Speedway's track.  That was June of 1976 and I was surprised that that memory was still lodged in my mind just from having seentelevision coverage of the riot and reading about it in the papers.  As Bob and I swapped posts, I suddenly remembered that the collapse of the Teton Dam in Idaho happened about the same time and I looked it up and it the two events happened on the same weekend.