Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Field Trip 

It was a blustery and frigid yet beautiful day out on the coast.


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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Post Christmas slough 

Even tho the weekend has been long, it's whipped by entirely too quickly. Friday I worked from home for a couple of hours instead of using up time commuting. This was essential as I headed up to Mt Hood with some friends a little before noon to get in some turns. It was a beautiful day (not just because I wasn't working) and we spent some hours making turns on packed powder interspersed with the occasional ice patch. No matter. The weather was fine, the company was good and a rad time was had by all. A little after dark we stopped to have a drink while looking out 2-story picture windows at the mountain. Afterwards we headed back out for a few more runs of post-sunlit goodness. The night skiing that night was quite different than the last time I skied at night, which was in Wisconsin. I didn't feel as though my entire body were freezing into a block of ice and all the slopes were not iced over, tho many had large patches. The lights hitting the hills, the dark recesses left untouched by the light and the quiet mountain air combined for a pretty magical experience. It was great! There is some freestyle terrain that we hit up, airing it out a bit before bombing down the hill. Good times.

Saturday...I don't remember. Some Xmas set-up stuff (i.e.-buying presents).

Sunday was cool. Candace and I went out for some breakfast and lounged around a lot of the day. Watched a movie maybe. Then we bought out the grocery and the cooking began. I cooked up 3 pounds of potatoes which became gnocchi after a lot of kneading and mixing on the kitchen table. As that masterpiece took form between my fingers, C did up a big batch of pesto sauce to accompany it. Good times. This food wasn't just for us, oh no. A friend had a potluck over at his house and perhaps 10 people or so went over for feasting and frivolity. It was a great time and I ate way too much. I need to learn to eat more than just starches-gnocchi, a couple kinds of mashed taters, dinner rolls....all so good! No matter, I unbuttoned my pants and pulled thru.

Eventually, by a little after 2am, we straggled home and crashed out.

Christmas day was nice. Had some breakfast, opened presents and did a lot of lounging. We finished off the second season of The Office (so good, so painfully uncomfortable. I want more!) and went for a walk down Peacock Street. Sounds exciting, non? There is a 3 or 4 block section of Peacock Street along which every house has lights up, and past which mobs of people meander past daily. It's insane. Because of the riduculous traffic, the constant police traffic control, the horsedrawn carriage rides (for 4 blocks) and general chaosity of the area I expected huge displays and tons of lights. But this was not to be. All houses were very tastefully decorated! Which was good, just not up to the hype in my head.

The day ended with me winning a game of rummy 500 (a rarity)! Good times.

Today has started....yeah. It's started. We are cat sitting for the next 10 days or so and it's going to be obnoxious. The cat we are sitting is very cranky and unpleasant. Of course she is upended being away from her owner and in a new place with a strange cat. But it doesn't matter. She is cranky in her own home and now we have constant growling and hissing and all that jazz. And poor Marvin hasn't quite figured out what it all means and all he wants to do is play. She doesn't. Hell, she even growls at us if we walk too close. Argh. Right now she's shut up in the bedroom and friendly Marvin is reaching under the door and mewling for us to let him in. Not now, son. Let her calm down and get acclimated a bit and maybe later. Darn it.

The rest of the day? No idea. I'm not working, obviously. I might have to get some skiing in this week. 7" of new should not go untracked, and I'd like to help out. Later this week Jennifer and I are meeting with the office manager to discuss a new venture and that should be interesting.

Dumb and Dumber. Oh yes, it will come to pass....

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

New and exciting 

As I was walking to get yet another cup of tea early this afternoon I looked out towards Mount St Helens and noticed what looked like a plume of smoke rising upwards. There were no clouds nearby and I got excited. A search of the internet showed nothing too telling but it was agreed amongst my coworkers that gathered to look that it must be some sort of emittance. Cool! Not a bad view from right next to my cubicle.

Added to this fun was the earthquake drill we had to perform. This entailed getting under our desks for a minute. Calamity was narrowly avoided-I got so comfortable that I almost took a nap and stayed under there. No one would have seen! But alas, I crawled out. One of the girls here made a great observation as we all shook off our headrushes. Her faith in being protected from falling debris by desks supported against cubicle walls was/is less than complete. Which is to say nothing for the cube walls themselves (one of which she almost knocked to the ground when she hit it for dramatic emphasis). Good times, good times.

It's now 5pm. My desktop weather icon tells me that it's 34 degrees F and falling. The sun is gone, it's dark, and practice doesn't start for another hour and a half. It might be cold. Hopefully we don't hit any wandering ice bergs.

My hopes for a mid-week ski day have not died though due to recent developments at work they are being called into question. Bummer. A bunch of snow is supposed to fall before the weekend and I was/am hoping to get into some before the weekend crowds.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

First day up in 2 years 

Finally, after a hiatus of almost 3 years I strapped on my skis and hit the slopes! How do I feel today, the day after? Kinda like someone tore my arse off, jumped on it a few times and then stapled it back on. Meanwhile, the aforementioned person's friends were jumping up and down on my back and legs. Sore. That's how I feel. But good! After 2 years off I wasn't too bad. And riding my bike daily put me into better shape than I expected.

However, frolicking in the snow and having a great time is a bit odd when you are watching cargo planes and helicopters on a rescue mission scouring the peak right above you (that looks close enough to grab) for 3 people gone missing days ago. That sucked (especially since they just found one of the 3 climbers. He didn't make it).

Aside from that macabre sideshow it was a glorious day. My buddies picked me up a little after 7am and the four of us hit the highway up to Mt Hood Meadows Ski Resort. The day couldn't have started better: the sun was not yet above the horizon but a gorgeous sunrise was in place; the colors across the sky were amazing in their pinks and oranges splashed across the clear light blue sky. Centered in the windshield, Mt Hood stood out clear and large and beautiful. Breathtaking.

The back way to the mountain led us up through the Columbia River Gorge. Waterfalls cascaded down the cliffs alongside the highway on our right. The Columbia flowed large and grey to the left. I sipped my coffee as the bluegrass twanged and Kenny jittered around in the driver's seat, bragging at his energy level which required no coffee. Bastard. Cliffs and hills and mountains rose increasingly higher over and around us as we drove on, the higher reaches of which were snow covered and marvelous.

After leaving I-84 and heading up thru Hood River, we began to climb. Snowless land began to give way to pine tree limbs hanging heavy with snow. Rivers flowed opposite us looking cold and sludgy, unfrozen by its tumbling but verging on slushing over to ice. Clouds began to appear overhead and we slowed owing to the icy roads.

It's been a long time since I headed into the mountains in the winter time. I've missed it. It was beautiful. We made our way thru small canyons of compacted snow and turned into the resort just before the lifts opened. Donning of gear went quickly, as did the coffee evacuation prior to getting on the lift. A feeling of normalcy and a return to myself began to creep over me once my bindings clicked in. Off we went.

It's been almost 3 years since I last skied. An amazing amount of life has happened since then and in so many respects I am a more mature person (not saying much, I know) and wiser as well. But only in some arenas. Not skiing. Some people like a warm up run before starting their ski day. People gone from the sport for a significant amount of time might take a half day to get used to having planks of fun strapped to their feet. Not I. My intelligence goes only so far. The first run? Through tight groves of trees on a fairly steep slope in nearly knee deep mostly untracked powder. Keep in mind, this isn't the light Rocky Mountain powder I am used to skiing in. This stuff is heavy (and according to my friends it was light NW powder)!

So that's how it began. Jumping in with closed eyes without a second thought. Oy. It all worked out. I didn't hit a tree all day, I powered thru this new powder, and I had a great time! My turns were quite good at times, terrible at others. For having not skied in so long I was pretty happy with how I skied and came out not looking like an ass-clown. The weather was great-not snowing, not windy and not too cold. The light was pretty flat and sucky, but I'm told I will need to get used to that as well. The boys I was skiing with are a lot of fun and it was an awesome day on the slopes.

I cut out earlier than the others as a so-called tribute to my new-found intelligence. Really it was a knee taken in deference to the one or 2 good nights of sleep I've had in the last couple of weeks and the possibility of getting really sloppy and become mulch for a lucky pine.

After the boys wrapped up their day we piled back into the car and headed home. Music filled the car and a beautiful sunset over the Columbia marked our return to Portland.

As I mentioned before, I am sore as hell today and am walking around like an old man. No serious injuries tho. A knee is a little sore and a stiff pole plant has one of my wrists still hurting pretty good. Nothing a little Vitamin I can't fix. When will I get up next? This Wednesday is the plan.

For the record (and my friends in Colorado) I would like to point out snow conditions at Meadows vs. conditions at Vail:

Mid-mountain base at Vail: 22"

Base at Meadows: 72"; mid-snow depth: 84"


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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Oh what a tangled web we weave 

"Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car you are still paying for, in order to get to the job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car, and the house that you leave empty all day in order to live in it."

-Ellen Goodman

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006


But I'm alive. Spent last Friday evening until Monday afternoon in Denver. Whoa man. By the time I finally made it back to the apartment Monday night it was about 9pm and I was done both physically and mentally. Drained, that is.

Not only that, but I had: one pair of ripped and dirty jeans. A new pair of jeans that were recently dirtied, matching the dirty shirt and backpack. Scraped and bloodied hands and elbows, soon to be followed by sore knees, ankles and shoulders. One smashed wine goblet. An apartment full of hyper people and animals.

I crashed and ignored all the hyper critters around me, rude tho I was to some. It had to be done. There are some funny stories to be told but I am still too tired to get to them on here.

It was great seeing y'all who came out! If only the weekends didn't pass by so quickly.

Oh man, I want to tell and embellish some stories but my brain has been inoperable all day. I considered making some coffee, but aside from the fact that I am not supposed to drink much I had some earlier today and it made nary a dent in my lethargy. Tonight I'm even passing up an AmreiCorps graduation party that is only a 10-minute walk away! Lame, old or getting smarter I'm not sure which.

Back to the Nonexistent Knight

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Engineers without Borders 

Our social gathering was fairly successful. The tally for the night was 30 people or so, and all seemed to have a good time. My time there was longer than I'd anticipated; after 10 minutes I had said nary a word and was preparing to find a way to wriggle out. But then some energy kicked in, some great conversations started up (politics, travel) and I was hooked. Before I knew it 8:00pm had arrived and I bolted.

Today I went to a great lunch presentation at the City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development. First of all, awesome building ("EcoTrust" building). Secondly, a great presentation all about how to get people to commute by ways other than singly occupancy vehicles and how we as sustainability professionals (I'm still a hack) can help increase non-drivership. And they gave us some good food.

Post-work I met up with my friend Steph (love!) for drinks and great catch-up conversation. Then we headed over to City Hall for BikeCraft, a bike themed craftish fair, with most offerings made with recycled material, many of those recycled bike parts. Good times. I love that City Hall opens up for the biker types, and kudos to Commissioner Sam for not only opening up his office, but hanging out and chatting with the crowd. Good times.

Now it's not even 11pm and I feel like it's 2am. Bummer. And I am not even packed! I was not able to get enough done at work today (because I left early) so I have to go in for a couple of hours tomorrow before heading out to Denver. Ah well. I'll get some sleep on the plane. Maybe.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Wise words I should heed 

To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is itself to succumb to the violence of our times. Frenzy destroys our inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful

-Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

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Genius. Pure genius 

Both of my classes are now finished. And I am relieved because now I have all sorts of free time! Hell, today I didn't leave the house until almost 7am and I should be home somewhere between 8 and 9, I hope. Oof

Gave my presentation for my alternative transportation class and, surprisingly, it went pretty well. In fact, technique-wise, I think it was probably one of the better speeches I've given.

I presented last. After two and a half hours of waiting and 12 other presentations. It was a long wait and gave me plenty of time to go thru the following progression:
ready to present; nervous; tired and nervous; tired.
Tired was when I got up and gave my spiel. My talking rate was probably pretty close to normal, no voice quavering (that I noticed) and nary an 'um' or 'er' was to be found amongst my jabber. Amazing, and a first!

On the walk back to work after class Jennifer and I stopped and got our ski passes. Upon checking my email back at work I opened an email from a buddy letting me know that the Meadows is opening this weekend, a week ahead of schedule! Granted I won't be around to enjoy it as I'll be in Denver but it was an exciting progression all the same.

Post-work I tilled our boat around in the dark under a beautiful cloud swept moon (without hitting anything ) before paddling for the second half of practice.

Somehow, despite operating on under 3 hours of sleep, I was still up reading until almost 1am. The irony of that is that I was doing my reading for our weekly "Voluntary Simplicity" discussion group. Heh. Simplifying my arse.

Did some networking at breakfast this morning, and my pipe dreaming is telling my fatigued brain that there is a possibility that I picked up some work, some of the career re-focusing work I've been hoping to find. But probably nothing will come of it.

I wonder if I'll be rested at all before getting on the plane Friday? It's not looking good so far but you never know. Hopefully I won't have to come into work Friday before heading to the aiport. That would wreak havoc upon the slow and restful morning I have been envisioning. But duty might call...blast!

Time to head over to the EWB meeting. Hopefully I can achieve some level of sociability, seeing as how this is a social gathering and not an official meeting. Come on, little cup of lukewarm coffee!! Work some magic!

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

No fear or brains. The little guy was going after a hook em a bobber up in the corner of the ceiling that you can just make out. He didn't fall, but he looked and sounded pathetic until I grabbed him offa the butterfly.

He's a silly little bugger, but he's the best!

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A work of art 

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Almost there.... 

Today has been a bit of a long day, tho it's whipped by so fast that I've barely noticed it. Early rising, my butt hit my bike seat before the sun was up and I got to see a beautiful pink and orange sunrise across the Willamette as I made my way to work. That took a little of the sting out of getting up so early.

Work work work, all day long. After work I worked on my class project for a bit. I made it home in time enough to lay on the couch and almost fall asleep before heading off to my last Thai class. The recommendation made to me before I left was a good one and I should have heeded it. 45 minutes into the 2 hour lesson and my brain froze. Oh man I was a complete and drowning idiot for the rest of the time. I felt so bad for my tutor and myself. NEXT TIME I eat something first. Crash and burn buddy.

It's now almost 2am and I am as done as I'm going to be for my class tomorrow. I have 11 slides (they still need a little work) and my proposal is...pages long, I forget. By 3:40pm tomorrow I will be done with both of my classes! I can't wait! Oh. I still need to find something decent to wear for my presentation tomorrow. Maybe I'll have time to iron before I leave in the morning?
A challenge, blood firing and exciting. That is how I have to look at all this rampant activity. And it is all that, but it's also tiring. I'll be firing on all cylinders until I board a plane for Denver on Friday...and once there, I don't see too much quiet time (who wants any, anyway?).

Yup, Denver for a long weekend. Should be sloppy

Happy birthday to my little brother and my little sister! You guys are so old now! I'm having a glass of Tullamore's for ya.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006


Most of today has been spent working on writing up a grant proposal for my alternative transportation class. Which is all well and good except for the frustration involved. I've never written up a grant proposal, no guidance was given in class on doing such a thing (although ONE example has been provided to us). For this mythical project we are supposed to have all sorts of tangibles and other whatnot crap. It doesn't help that I waited until almost the last minute to start, it doesn't help that I am more detail oriented at this stage in life which doesn't help the mandatory feely-ness of the project (I just want to design the damn thing!), and my complete lack of motivation does also not help.

So I sit here, cursing my computer and anxiously awaiting 8pm so that I can take a break and watch the Simpsons

As tho this weren't all fun enough, my right wrist is still hurting pretty good from my bike crash on Friday.

Yup, that's right, I finally laid the ole Schwinn (Seymour) down. Or to be more exact, the old Schwinn laid me down all across the pavement. Not in the street mind you, but in the general vicinity of mounds of goose poop and in front of a strolling couple who were kind enough to look shocked and concerned until I finished glaring at the bike in consternation and remounted, saying "oops" as I passed them at which point they let loose their guffaws. Rightly kind folks. As tho the humiliation (yeah, right) wasn't enough, my last pair of jeans without holes are now holed up. Since this happened on the way back from my lunch break I was able to spend the rest of the day at work with a right leg covered in crap and my knee making overtures at bursting forth from the pants. Classy. That's me.

Back to the wrist. Both my calves felt as though they had been kicked, I had a couple of scratches but not much else. Until Saturday morning. I woke up with an ailing wrist that I'd failed to notice the night before (thank you Mr Guinness) which came in handy at practice, the first practice in at least a month at which I paddled the entire time (due to an abundance of tillers my services were not needed in the back of the boat)

The water was damn cold, in case you were wondering. At least the sun was out making for a pretty day

Stupid project. I have until Tuesday to finish her up. Let's not think until later about the Thai that I haven't looked at in almost a week (last class is tomorrow night). Wooha!

January is going to be full of so much free time for me!

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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com