About Me

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Portland, OR, United States
I am finishing up my midwifery apprenticeship and plan to be a real midwife early in 2014!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Snow Trip!

In spite of myself, I enjoyed a trip to Mt. Hood to play in the snow on Saturday. All I could think of beforehand was of the cold, wet, miserableness of snowplay. However, I was able to find enough good clothes to keep me warm and dry. Our whole family went, with the church youth group and everyone had a good time. Only two relatively minor injuries were had: a sort-of sprained ankle, and broken nose. And it snowed while we were there! A lot! But it didn't stick to the road so no one needed to put on chains.

I took a few pictures with my cell phone camera: here's a cute one of Zac. My new profile pic was a self-portrait!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Into the Wild

From what I've seen of reviews, I'm about the only one who saw this movie without first reading the book. It's on hold at the library now, because I so much enjoyed the movie!

I had a big week last week, as I had a "little" gathering here on Friday to celebrate my birthday (by "little" read "the most people our house has ever held, by a lot, but I think everyone had fun") and I was cooking in preparation for it all week. So on Saturday, I felt like getting out! Zac and I went to see the movie, after looking up what's playing and we watched the trailer for it. It looked awesome, so we went--I didn't figure out until after I bought tickets that it was rated R! What kind of mother lets her 10 year old watch an R rated movie??? Well, there's always Lord of the Rings....in general, I think our rating system really fails us, as far as figuring out what is age-appropriate. If you throw in one little word, it's R, even if the rest is totally innocuous.

So, anyway, I asked what the R rating was for, and they said nudity. I knew Zac could handle that (gasp! we're all naked under our clothes! Did you know?) And it was just fine. (The worst is the previews--one was bad enough that I wanted to leave myself, not just hide it from my son!)

The movie is based on a true story of a young man who is just graduating from college. His affluent parents want him to attend law school. He has $24,000 in savings for college, and his parents are willing to supplement that with whatever it would take. They want to buy him a new car to replace his "junker". They want, in short, for him to "fit in" to their sanitized society.

And he rebels. He mails a check for $24,000 to Oxfam. He has the post office hold his mail for 3 months, then send it to his parents' house. And he takes off in his "junker" and goes in search of new experiences, which takes him to the North to work on a farm and learn how to hunt and eat animals, and to the desert of Arizona, where he camps out and meets an elderly vet who imparts wisdom, and in turn, is imparted wisdom to. And then, he finally is ready for his big adventure: the Alaskan wilderness.

The photography is beautiful, showing all kinds of topography that exists here in the USA. The grittiness of Los Angeles, the wildness of kayaking on the Colorado River, the amazing vistas in Alaska, the dry stark beauty of the desert. He meets lots of people who are very different from the types of people he grew up with, and learns lots from all of them. But in Alaska, he is alone, isolated, and he learns from the wilderness, from the books he brought along, and from himself.

I found it an amazing movie and enjoyed just pure joy from it (aside from his family's worry about his disappearance) up until one turning point in the movie. The end is, of course, tragic.

Zac and I highly enjoyed this movie!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Music, music, everywhere!

Last night and today, we attended the River City Bluegrass Festival, which we have decided is a misnomer. I heard precious little pure bluegrass, but lots of bluegrass-influenced music, all of it anywhere from okay to really, really good. I had never heard any of these musicians before except for one band that we'd heard on Prairie Home Companion (and, actually, that was the one that was "okay"--I enjoy listening to it while cleaning the kitchen or lounging around on a Saturday, but not to go and actually listen to them, you know?) but now I have some new favorites. One is Darol Anger and the Republic of Strings. They played a song called Andre and his New Shoes. It was Brazilian-style, and my comment to Paul while they were playing it was "who knew that instrumental music could be funny?" He explained beforehand that Andre's new shoes are the coolest shoes ever, and they make him look so fine, but they are the most uncomfortable shoes he's ever worn and he has to stop every few steps to scream with pain. "And the musical instrument the best suited for expressing pain is, of course, the violin!" And the violin was painfully, hilariously good.

And around here, we know of which we speak.

Because for an early birthday present (it wasn't meant to be early, but when you're shopping Craigslist, you have to take what you can get when you can get it) I got a violin! I played when I was a kid, for five years. Then, because I didn't really *choose* to play violin (I didn't not choose, either--it was expected that I pick an instrument in 4th grade and play it) I left it behind when I was attending a private high school that didn't offer orchestra and it was just too much trouble to be trucked over to the public high school several times a week for music. Several years ago, my mother gave me my old violin, but it sat for a long time and when a friend with limited resources told me her son really wanted to play, I gave it to them. May he use it in good health!

But in the last couple of years I have had the hankering to take it up again. For several reasons: I hate to let all those years of musical knowledge go; the rest of my family plays (or at least *has*) an instrument. Paul and Hibi play guitar and Zac has a banjo that he hasn't done much with....but he's got it out right now!; I was wanting an outlet for creativity and plus, I just love violin music.

So, I was thinking about having someone take my picture of me playing violin, but if I did, I'd have to say, "not pictured: the rest of the family with their hands over their ears." I never knew back in 4th grade how squeaky and awful the violin playing of a beginner is, but I do now! I'll be practicing in the basement a lot...so, I didn't just pick it up and take up where I left off when I went to high school, but it is coming back to me fairly well. I hope to be able to get at least not-squeaky fairly soon!

The Bluegrass Festival continues tomorrow, and tonight of course--there'll be square dancing at midnight, I think. We recommend it! We might even hop on over there for another hour or so tonight.