Sunday, December 31, 2006

Dropping Pennies

Finding a penny is lucky. At least, that's what I've always believed. Many people think that finding a penny means a wish will be granted. Others think that found pennies are messages from loved ones who have died - that each found penny is a special visitation from beyond.

I pick up pennies and make wishes whenever possible. I was thinking that it might be good to spread some of that happiness around. I've started dropping pennies.

The other day I was sitting in the car, waiting, at the credit union. I was cleaning out my coat pocket and found a penny inside. I opened the car door and dropped it to the pavement, wondering if anyone would ever pick it up.

A few minutes later, a family parked next to me. Mom, Dad, and two kids got out. A boy about 7 or 8 years old yelled, "Hey Dad! Look! I found a penny!". He scooped it up and skipped down the sidewalk with it.

Even if it doesn't bring him good luck, it brought him a small bit of happiness. And gave me some too.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

White Elephant Gin

Hey Sparky - I got the BEST present at our staff Holiday Party!

We have a white elephant exchange where everyone brings an anonymous gift and puts them in a pile. Numbers are drawn and each person picks a wrapped gift to open - or you can steal a gift from someone else.

You know how you usually get a candle or an ornament or some similar useless item - well, this year I got a
big bottle of GIN!!!!

Sure, it's a cheap brand. It's in a big, half-gallon sized plastic bottle. But it's still a great gift!


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Just Four Days Ago We Were Swimming...

It's hard to believe that just a few days ago we were wearing swimsuits and shorts and drinking Mai Tai's! We spent seven days at the Hapuna Beach Prince Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii. On Thursday we drove over to Hilo to see the sights on the wet side of the island and visit the University of Hawaii campus.

On Friday we went south of Kailua-Kona to Kealakekua Bay for snorkeling. There was no beach, just mounds of old volcanic rock to walk on and hop off from. The photo of the Bay on the right is from

The reefs and fish were beautiful! I'm borrowing a couple of photos from the website: . You can see how bright the fish are and the water is so clear and blue, it actually looks just like this!

On the way back north we stopped at Holualoa, an artist village on the slopes above Kona. We especially wanted to visit Darrell Hill's Gallery to see his paintings. We love his Impressionistic style and gorgeous colors. The painting pictured here is titled "Kohala" and is very similar to a Darrell Hill painting we bought on Maui called "Mauna Lani Beach".

On Saturday we drove to Hawi, another artist village on the north tip of the island. Then we drove over the Kohala mountain range to Waimea. This is ranch country, with lots of horses and cattle. The green colors are really vivid. These photos are from


Two of our very favorite things about Hawaii are watching the hula dancers and the sunsets. We never get tired of either.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Hawaii Sun and Oregon Snow

We are back from the Big Island. The weather was grand. Water was clear. Fun was had. Now, we're back to windy, rainy, gray times in Oregon. Folks who live on the Big Island are still shaken from the recent earthquakes. And the Mauna Kea Resort has been closed indefinitely because of structural damage. They said that about 400 people are out of work because of the closure.

While we were gone, there have been more Oregon tragedies. At Thanksgiving, the Kim family traveled from California to Seattle. On their way back to California, they drove through Oregon, intending to cross over the coastal mountains in order to stay on the coast. Unfortunately, they chose a bad winter road over the pass, took a wrong turn onto a snowy mountain logging road, and got stuck in deep drifts. The husband took off on foot while the wife and two small children waited in the car. After nine days, the wife and kids were found alive. Unfortunately, the husband died of hypothermia out in the elements.

Now, there are three mountain climbers lost on Mt. Hood and rescuers can't get close because of blizzard conditions. They've been missing for a week. Another mountaineer was stuck in a snow cave on Mt. Hood for 13 days before being rescued, so there is still hope.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

You Are There....Almost

Hey Sparky! Well, in about a week I will not be here. I will be there. Where is there? "There" is the Hapuna Beach Prince Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii!!!

Entrance road off the lava fields

Palms in front of Resort
View of hotel from beach side
Hapuna Resort Pool
Photo of Hapuna Prince and beach

Hapuna Beach!
Another view of Hapuna Beach!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Doggie Acupuncture

Our dog Jack is having acupuncture treatments. Last spring he was running through a field out at Champoeg Park and stumbled. He came up limping, but we figured he'd be fine in a week or so. He's done it before and always recovered from a twist or sprain.

This time he didn't get better. We've taken him to three vets - one a surgical specialist. He's had x-rays and poking and prodding, all to no avail. He still limps, bows his front leg out, and walks on the side of his paw. The best they can say is that he most likely has a soft tissue injury in a tendon or ligament.

He's had three acupuncture treatments so far and seems to be feeling better. He's also getting an injection and taking three medications. He's been a good sport about the needles and electrodes, but it freaked him out at first. Shelties are hyper by nature and sitting still is not a strong point for them. He gets hooked up and has to lie quietly for 20 minutes. It takes alot of treats and happy talk, but I think he likes it. The vet says that the needles release endorphins and ease the pain in his back and leg. Jack is more lively and stands better. We are hoping for the best!


Mary Poppins Sing-A-Long

Another birthday outing was a Mary Poppins sing-a-long movie with my neighbor. The Cinema 21 Theater shows old musicals and makes a party of it! The words to songs are shown on screen. Costume prizes are awarded. The audience is encouraged to shout out remarks. It's a tame version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show dress up show.

We got participation bags with little drink umbrellas (to open when Mary floats down out of the sky), a flavored sugar stick (to eat with "A Spoonful of Sugar", foil-wrapped, chocolate coins (for "Tuppence a Bag"), a firecracker/popper (when the Admiral shoots off the cannon atop his house), kazoos (for something), and I can't remember the rest.

The costumes people wore were inventive. There were lots of nannies, chimney sweeps, kids, and suffregettes. The best prize went to a mother/daughter combo who were a box of sugar and a bottle of medicine. The mom wore a big square of white quilted material in the shape of a sugar box. The daughter wore a long, red, straight piece of fabric around her body,with shoulder straps and red sweater - a tall white cap. They carried a huge tin-foil wrapped spoon.

It was great fun!


November Birthday

This month I turned 52, not a particularly notable age. I did get two very nice presents from my husband for the occasion however:

Present #1 - an iPod Shuffle. This is a nifty little music player that clips on. It's like a piece of jewelry almost. It holds 250 songs and the sound is REALLY GOOD. I've been taking a circuit weight training class after work and I like to have my own music to listen to. I'd been using an old Sony Walkman all these years and still have alot of old disco and party-music tapes. After ruining a number of tape players by dropping them in the toilet and such, this is a welcome alternative. It's easy to add songs from my own CD's and the iTunes store has tons of songs for $.99 each.

Present #2 - tickets to an Anne Murray concert. We like to go to concerts for our birthdays and this year Anne Murray was in town. She still has a very beautiful voice and it was fun to hear all of her old hits. The crowd was full of grey-hairs though! After we had already purchased tickets, we found out that Lindsey Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac was also doing a concert in town. I would like to see him too. One of Rick's younger co-workers said that Anne Murray is the "female equivalent of Barry Manilow"! I guess she was calling us OLD. He was also in Portland recently and I've always liked him! I remember my college roommate gave me one of his albums and I played it all the time. Last year we saw The Moody Blues, who were GREAT. Ah nostalgia.....


Sunday, October 29, 2006

On Being a Good Starter

So, the other day I was feeling low about being a good starter, but not a particularly good finisher (at least in some areas of life). I read this short paragraph in the last pages of a novel I was finishing:

"You are your own beginning. Every day, every hour, every minute, you start again. There is no point wishing you were someone else, you are who you are - start there." the palm kisser offers.

"Music For Torching", A.M. Homes, 1999, p.324

This book reminds me a bit of John Updike's "Rabbit Run" (and Rabbit Redux, Rabbit is Rich, Rabbit at Rest) with the boozy, sleazy suburbanites trying to find meaning in their lives. Like Harry and Janet Angstrom, the characters in "Music For Torching" are looking for escape from their lives in a middle class neighborhood - mostly through sex with the neighbors.

Elaine and Paul decide that burning down their house will make them feel better - a little stress relief - but it just makes them realize how firmly they are tied to the place and all it represents. On the bus to work one day, Paul meets a man who gives him wise advice and kisses his palm.....the palm kisser.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Outgoing, not Incoming

Well Sparky, we're making progress. After going through some of my closets, I've rid myself of some crap. I had a big box of really nice, heavy duty, Fox River Paper Company "Confetti" paper in great fall colors. I took it to the Print Center at work. They said they have a collective PAPER FETISH, so I knew they'd appreciate it. They're decorating for an open house next week and I found them happily cutting paper leaves on Friday.

Then I gave the 20 year old wool yarn to a co-worker named Fran. When I delivered the paper, I mentioned the yarn. Dona said that Fran knits hats, scarves, and mittens for the homeless - so I asked Fran if she's interested. She was. She now has a big bag-o-guilt from me! She said she also wanted the fabric and old clothes, but I can identify a fellow hunter and gatherer.....for her own good I made other plans. (I mean, this is a woman who bought a violin in the campus mall and she had never played one in her life.) I figure the yarn will keep her busy for awhile.

Today we took 3 bags and 2 boxes of clothes and fabrics to Good Will. I am now done with Round 1.

I also said NO to an invitation to a Creative Memories Scrapbook party for tomorrow. I'd really like to go, but I can see a whole new project getting out of hand. At this point, it's all about OUTGOING not INCOMING.

Now, who can I give these extra pounds to???

The second bit of news Sparky is that I played my first, official round of golf. My city has a 3-par-hole municipal course, so it's not a difficult layout. I was a little nervous after taking lessons on the driving range. I think I scored a 53 on 9 holes, which is not particularly good ('s actually pretty bad considering that par for 9 holes is 27) but I did have a few good holes and some decent shots.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dog Blog

I found this cartoon on someone's blog.....I didn't make a note of where I got it or who created it. My apologies to the Creative Ones of the world:
My own dog Jack is the pointless, incessant barking type. He's a Sheltie, so it's really not his fault. His brain is wacked somewhere deep inside and he can't control himself. It's genetic - like ADHD. He can go from a dead sleep on the couch to a flying, full-tilt, barking mania in 2 seconds. It's really quite amazing.

We've tried everything to curtail this charming behavior. Here are a few of the things recommended and tried:
  • Treats for good behavior (it happens so rarely...).
  • Teaching him to "Bark" on command and then teaching him the "No Bark" command (yeah, like that's really going to work....he gets the BARK part, but can't grasp the NO BARK part. The theory is better than the practice).
  • Ignoring and turning your back on him (he couldn't care less).
  • Teaching the "Watch Me" command, so he pays attention to me and miraculously forgets about the squirrel/bird/cat/leaf/dog/plastic bag (hahahaha) .
  • The "Leave It" command (this works in some non-barking instances, such as "Get your head out of the litter box and leave the cat poop alone", but it's useless on a speeding dog)
  • The water squirt bottle (doesn't faze him).
At the dogpark the other day, I was chatting with the owners of two Shelties: Minnie and Maggie (the dogs' names, not the owners'). They said they had also tried every conceivable remedy for barking and none had worked. Shelties, as a breed, are notorious talkers. We commiserated over our failures and I felt better. My dog was aimlessly barking at everyone and I could observe him as a phenomenon. He just has alot to say I guess.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Downsizing Crap

Hey Sparky.....I'm working at downsizing some things in my life. The first thing to downsize is the old bod. That's a toughie these days because I'm gettin older and I don't care as much as I used to. In the early days I wanted to look good and I worked at it. I took aerobics. I ran. I did weights. I swam. I walked. If I gained a pound or two I lost it right away. I was never skinny, but I was in the realm of "NORMAL".

About the time I hit 40 I didn't care so much. I figured I could eat a candy bar if I felt like it. I'd earned it. I was a feminst 40-something and, dammit, I'd eat what I please!!! After 10 years of doing just that, we have a problem Spark. The torso is a bit LARGE.

I started doing Circuit Weight Training at work. The Circuit is a series of cardio and weight machines - you do one minute per machine and then move to the next. It's kind of fun and moves pretty fast. You have to spend 40 minutes in order to get a credit for the day. I've been going 3 times a week with some co-workers and it's been fun.

The other downsizing I'm doing is in my closets and drawers. I have crap from over 10 years and two states ago. Tonight I pulled out a bag of really nice yarn that I purchased in St. Paul, Minnesota. A blizzard was coming and I wanted a project to work on, so I started an afghan/throw. That was in 1985. I just haven't been able to part with that really nice yarn (100% Virgin Wool from the Brown Sheep Company in Mitchell, Nebraska - expensive, soft - still in it's original bag from a shop at Como Park). I pull it out and admire it every couple of years and then put it back in the closet. This week the yarn's going to Good Will for some other poor slob to fret over for the next few years.

I also have beautiful fabrics that I bought in Iowa City (circa 1990), fully intending to sew into beautiful skirts and jackets. I never made them, but I can envision them clearly in my mind....along with:
  • the baby quilt I never finished for a friend (the kid is now 9).
  • The sofa pillows I never stitched.
  • The upholstery seat covers I didn't get to.
  • The wool that is too pretty to cut.
  • The antique linens I never finished embroidering.
  • The piping I didn't pipe.
  • The would-be tablecloths and vests and shirts.
It's all going to Good Will.

Ok, so I'm noticing a pattern here Sparky. I'm not a very good finisher. That's kind of like being a quitter. Which is not too far from being a non-starter. That doesn't sound too good. HMMmmmmm......what's the old line about good intentions and that scary road?

I haven't even begun to look at my other craft stuff like ceramic paints and rubber stamps and all that other shit. I once had a little card business, so I have lots of left-over paper that I never use.

Like an alchoholic, I'm taking one day at a time. One battle at a time. The FIRST STEP is to confess and admit I need help (just like the Lutherans, eh Sparky? hahahaha).

The First Step.......hey......wait a minute......I can do that! Because I'm a great starter!!!


Monday, October 16, 2006

Playing Oregon Golf

I've been taking golf lessons over the past month. They are group lessons offered as a community education course through the college. We go to the local municipal course and have been using the driving range to learn how to swing and hit. The driving range is covered and sheltered from the weather.

On the days that we used the driving range, the weather was warm, sunny, beautiful. The last two classes were out on the course and, of course, we had RAIN both days.

Last week we practiced chipping and putting while getting drenched. Yesterday we played four holes in driving wind, pouring rain, gray skies, cold temperatures. The one good thing was that we were the only group on the course - and we were slow and terrible. Each hole is a par 3 and I'm sure we each hit at least 7 strokes per hole.

Everything was soaked: jacket, pants, shoes, clubs, bag, glove. I learned that there is a whole bunch of stuff that golfers can buy to play Oregon Golf, including waterproof pants and jackets, special gloves, shoes, etc. Maybe if I just had more things I'd be a better golfer?????

Friday, October 06, 2006

Oregon - Land of Strange Deaths & Laika

Oregon is a land of strange deaths. I noticed it right away when we moved to the state in 1992. We heard tales of tourists standing on the edge of seacliffs, straining to get a good view of the ocean. The rock beneath their feet would crumble and they would be gone.

There are some beautiful hikes in the Columbia Gorge - the trails follow cliffs high along the riverways. Warning signs alert hikers to the dangers of standing too near the edge - and advise that dogs be leashed so they don't chase birds over the precipice - yet folks still plummet down the ravines. One hiker fell down a steep embankment and had to be airlifted out, only to learn later that in addition to a broken leg - he also had a brain tumor (which caused the fall).

A grandfather, father, and young son go out in the woods to cut a Christmas tree. They get separated. The young son disappears, not to be found for several years.

Mountain climbers and skiiers go up to Mount Hood. The fall into deep crevasses or ski out of bounds and are lost. Sometimes the ski patrols and helicopters find them. Sometimes they walk out of the woods. Sometimes they are just gone.

Here's the latest strange and haunting incident that happened just yesterday. An elderly couple was driving along and a rock came through the windshield, killing the woman:
Freak accident - An Idaho woman dies on the Oregon Coast after a 10-pound rock comes out of nowhere
The Oregonian, Friday, October 06, 2006
Andy Dworkin

A football-sized rock crashed through the windshield of a pickup driving a busy, open stretch of U.S. 101 on Thursday, killing an Idaho woman sitting in the passenger seat.

Carol M. Martin, 75, of Coeur d'Alene died just after being hit by the 10-pound rock. The rock might have been tossed into the air after being lodged between the dual tires of a passing truck, said Oregon State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings. Authorities are investigating the cause and have not identified any truck.

Police have interviewed her husband, Gerald, who was driving, but hope to find witnesses who can add details of the fatal freak accident, which happened about 11:40 a.m. Thursday.

The Martins were visiting the coast .....when the big rock broke the windshield. ....The rock smashed Carol Martin's neck and shoulder.

"We've been married 39 years, and it's pretty hard when you lose a spouse out here coming home from a vacation when you have a great time," Martin said in the television interview.

How does one make sense of things like this? Is there any sense to be made? I don't know. People say that when your time comes, it comes.

This story reminds me of an old, favorite movie called "My Life As A Dog". A young boy suffers a variety of harships and he regularly compares his lot with that of others who have had worse situations. In particular, he thinks about the Russian dog Laika. She was the first living creature sent into space on board Sputnik 2 and there were no plans to bring her back to earth alive.

The boy looks at the starry sky and compares his life to hers. In that comparison he realizes that there are worse fates than what he suffers. He gains perspective. He finds a companion. He seeks to make sense, which is what we all do.

As the Moody Blues say, "Isn't Life Strange?"


Saturday, September 23, 2006


I wish I would have had my camera earlier today. Here's a re-creation of the get the picture.


Plus This :

Plus this:

Plus this:

Equals a Good Laugh in the parking lot outside Starbucks this morning!!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Chemistry of Love

I met with a cute student yesterday. He's an older guy who is completing pre-requisites for a business major. He's in some low-level math courses, working his way up to statistics. In addition to the business courses, he will also need to complete three lab science courses.

We were looking through the various science departments and came to chemistry. The chemistry courses require a college algebra prerequisite, so I said he should probably skip chemistry because he hasn't taken the math yet. He said, "That's OK. I'm not interested in chemistry anyway.....except for the Chemistry of Love."

It was so funny, we both started laughing. I'll probably always remember him when I talk about chemistry in the future.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Games and Goals

It's been a busy week at the ranch Sparky. Those academics sure do like to hear themselves talk. I had to attend two retreats and two staff meetings. This coming week we have two more days of in-service and more meetings. We are always trying to fix things, but somehow, things never seem to get fixed. Strange how that works, isn't it?

At one of the retreats we played some "getting to know you" games. One was "Two Truths and A Lie" where you write down two truths and one lie about yourself. The others have to guess which one is the lie. Seeing as how we didn't know anything about anyone, it was pretty hard to guess which was the truth and which was a lie.

The other game was actually kind of interesting Sparky. It was a communication game called Replication with "lookers", "runners" and "builders". We were divided into teams of about 5 or 6. Each table had these items: a paperback book, a clothespin, a green paper napkin, a blue latex glove, a medium size rock, and a ball point pen.

In another room the items were set up in a particular design. Only the lookers of each team could go see the display. The lookers could communicate information to the runners, who could ask any question. The runners came back to the tables and could only answer yes/no to the builders' questions. Using information from the runners, the builders had to create a display and try to match the original.

The exercise really did make us think about the problems with communication and middlemen and such. Which goes back to why things never seem to get fixed around here....

Anyway, after the truths and lies section, a woman at our table said she had met all of her life's goals and now doesn't know what to work towards. She's 27 years old Sparky! Can you believe this? She's either incredibly lucky and smart or incredibly naive. Again, seeing as I don't know her, I can't determine which it is. I'll need to investigate further.

When I was 27 I was pretty much still an unshaped wad of clay. I had finished college, moved to a new city, and was in graduate school. I had been married two years and we hadn't yet figured out how to "fight fair" or create a "win-win" situation. I had no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to do it. I was diagnosed with lupus and my health was a mess. My one and only goal was to get my shit together Sparky, and things didn't look promising.

Now at 51 I can say that I've met most of the goals I had set for myself. I've had a stable career. I make a good salary. My lupus is under control. I have a house. The husband and I get along pretty well. I understand those holes in my life. I'm a late bloomer.

When I first realized I'd made this progress, I felt worried Sparky....I mean, if I've figured everything out, what's left? I had reached the end. I guess the next logical step is to die. It made superstitious sense. But then I realized I CAN MAKE NEW GOALS FOR MYSELF!! What a concept!


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Where the Holes Are

The other day a colleague and I were talking about the losses in our lives. We both lost mothers when we were young girls and have had lasting "holes" in our lives. As children, we thought that other people didn't have the same kind of psychological holes that we had - and maybe didn't have holes at all! We were conscious of ours, tried to cover them up or fill them, and believed that no one else understood the concept.

As we've grown older, we've both come to realize that everyone seems to have some kind of hole in his or her life. Some big loss. Some major disappoinment. Some huge mistake. Something that they are trying to compensate for. Everyone struggles. Every family has a secret or two.

We thought it would be an interesting exercise to have people draw themselves with their holes. Maybe it's a hole in the heart, or one in the head, or the stomach, or the leg. Maybe there's more than one. It's not the kind of thing that could be shared lightly. But it would be enlightening to learn how people have coped.

Over time we find ways to soften the edges of a loss, fill it with other things or people, learn to live with it, or move beyond it. We usually return to visit it from time to time. It's part of our internal landscape and history.

Yesterday when I was at Starbucks I overheard a group of teenaged boys talking about their "real" dads and their "step" dads - and what the men could or couldn't do. They seemed to easily exchange stories in a matter-of-fact way. One said he wouldn't know his real dad if he saw him. I thought it was great that these kids could speak so openly about their lives and losses. When I was a kid I didn't know anyone with a step parent and felt different. Now it's just daily conversation, which is a really good thing.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Sexist Chatter

Yesterday I was reading Twisty Faster's blog called "I Blame the Patriarchy". She posted this lovely photo of a passed-out fellow.

Her post reminded me of an incident at a TJ Maxx store. I was quietly minding my own business when I heard a man talking really loud on his cellphone a couple of aisles over. He was telling some poor slob on the other end about his shopping observations. At the upscale grocery boutique shops downtown, he always sees beautiful, well-dressed, thin women. They wear nice clicky shoes and have shiny hair. At the local Fred Meyer stores (a local grocery/household/hardware chain) he sees fat, ugly, badly dressed women. He bemoaned the fact that they wear sweatpants and t-shirts. "Why don't pretty women shop at Fred Meyer?", he wanted to know.

Right away I felt offended because I shop at Fred Meyer and am not thin myself. I had to get a look at this guy. I mean, he had invaded my space with his sexist chatter! As I rounded the corner, there he was. Chubby. Bald. Homely. Wearing sweat pants. Bad Shoes. Pushing a cart. I thought, "How dare you judge women's appearance when you look so bad yourself - and you're shopping at a discount store???"

I felt like saying something to him, but I didn't. I figured it would be a waste of time. Sigh....why don't handsome, well-dressed men shop at discount stores? Why do they always go to Nordstroms?


Monday, August 28, 2006

The Worst Time of The Year

Today officially began the worst time of the year for student service providers at my institution. There are four weeks left until the start of Fall Term. That means that all of the late-comers are now waking up and coming to college. From the moment we walk into the door until the moment we walk out, we are talking to students (in person, on the phone, by email): how do I get admitted? how do I test? what do I take? how do I register? what's my ID number? I forgot my password! the classes I want are full! what do I do next?

Many parents accompany their children through this challenging process. Parents who assist their children and let their children take the lead are wonderful! But there is a whole new group of parents know as "hoverers" or "helicopters". Colleges and universities have dubbed them Helicopter Parents.

These parents want to micro-manage their children's lives. They talk about "we" all the time - "we" didn't test well, "we" want to take a certain class, "we" don't know how to register, "we" want special permission. The parent is the one who holds all of the paperwork, takes all the notes, and does all of the talking. The parent would go to school for the kid if possible. In their effort to be helpful, the message they give their child is "You can't take care of this for yourself, so I have to do it for you."

Many of these students are passive and quiet, but some are quietly seething. Most often I see the mother-son helicopter combo. It's so common that everyone in the advising/counseling office is familiar with this fun duo. Fathers tend to be a bit more laid-back with their children and female students often come into the office with their friends if they live in the area.

One parent wanted me to spy on his daughter to see if she was attending classes. When I told him I couldn't do that, and that it would be a violation of FERPA, he asked, "Then how am I supposed to know what she's doing????" So much for the laid-back Dad generalization.

Here are a few web articles I found on the topic.

Colleges Ward Off Overinvolved Parents
Helicopter Parents
No Escape from 'Helicopter Parents'
Are You a Helicopter Parent?
Do 'Helicopter Moms Do More Harm Than Good? (btw, the answer to this is YES)

I'm just gonna hunker down and try to make it through the next four weeks. The Testing Coordinator said we need to find a way to make this fun! Is that possible?


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Oregon State Fair

This weekend the Husband and I went to the Oregon State Fair. Mostly we go to see the animals. We walked through the cow, sheep, goat, and horse barns. We have a Shetland Sheepdog and like to visit the Shetland Sheep. They are smaller than normal sheep and have soft wool. Our dog would go nuts!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Are We Gonna Have a Good Year?

I was on the way out the door from work and Roger was leaving at the same time. Roger's a cool guy. We're both part of the original "49'er Club". A bunch of us were 49 years old at the same time, all 1973 high school graduates, contemplating turning 50. We decided there was strength in numbers and formed a group to celebrate the upcoming year of birthdays, one at a time. Now that we are 51, we decided that we are still the 49'er Club - kinda like Grandma who said she was never going to be older than 60. And she wasn't. She was 60 until she was 80-something.

Anyway, as we were leaving the office at 6 PM, Roger asked, "So, do you think we're going to have a good year?" Our academic year officially begins on September 25th with the onset of Fall term. We are in the endless loop of admitting, testing, orienting, advising, and registering new students. The other day, someone said it feels like the movie "Groundhog Day" and it does.... all day.... every day.... for weeks on end.

Roger and I both stopped to reflect. We've both been at the college long enough to see hopes dashed, programs and staff cut, administrators who are incompetent, faculty with inflated egos, and inter-office squabbling. And yet, we pods and drones of higher education still have that flash of Idealism. Optimism. Hope. Expectation. Like bugs to the lightbulb. We just can't help it.

We decided that we have to let some things go, not have high expectations, and drink more often. And then we'll have a pretty good year - we hope.

Emma Pod (notta drone)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Triumph and Hawaii Weather

Do you know Triumph, the Insult Dog?

Here he is giving the Hawaii Weather Report. It's a scream.