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!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


We're in New York City currently, until tomorrow evening when we fly home. We are staying at Maryhouse, which, while not the original Dorothy Day house, it is where she lived out her last days. We've been having a great time in the city--the Staten Island Ferry, site of the twin towers, the UN headquarters, a great farmer's market where we had a great lunch yesterday, and....the Broadway musical Spamalot! Which was absolutely hilarious in a way over-the-top kind of way.

Back to Maryhouse. We have been blessed by being part of the Catholic Worker community for coming up on two years now. And one thing I love about the community is it's particular brand of spirituality. The posters that adorn a Catholic Worker community embody the love of Christ carried out in a very practical way, by caring communities of people.

I was just reflecting, over breakfast, the commonly seen poster of a wildflower (weed, really) pushing up through concrete, with the word "Resist." In this view of the world we are really just called to be who we truly are. The concrete takes intentionally creating something unnatural, but the flower is just being a flower, growing, feeding, seeking light, as flowers do. It is this natural act that constitutes the act of resistance.

And so is our resistance, not really resistance per se, but just being who we were created to be. If we remember who we are and resist the call to be who we are not, we can accomplish great acts of love.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

One cool and unexpected thing about Washington DC


I hadn't seen fireflies since I was a little kid. My kids hadn't ever seen them before! I am loving seeing them every evening. Well, they weren't out the evening it was raining. They don't want to get shocked, after all. ;-)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Our Four Days in Boston

We've just completed the fourth full day in Boston, and we've had a great time!

Tuesday: first we went to Kupel's Bagel shop for breakfast, where we used to love to go when we lived here. I can't remember what day we'd usually go, because it seems that Saturday would have been a logical choice, but they are closed on Saturdays. Because it is a Real Jewish Bagel Shop. So, I don't know when we used to go, but when we'd go it'd be crowded in the shop and we'd buy our toasted bagels with flavored cream cheese and go sit on the steps on the funeral home across the street to eat them. Yes, it did seem somewhat disrespectful, but that's what we did. This time, it was 10:30 before we got there (it was only 7:30 at home...) and so we sat in the uncrowded shop. I was halfway through my bagel when I realized that the funeral home was now a ReMax. I guess it wouldn't be disrespectful now?

Off to our friends house--we'd gotten in too late to go there the night we got in, but we stayed with Matt and Laurie starting on Tuesday evening. They have a cute little flat in Somerville, where we have enjoyed their great hospitality and their beautiful little girls. Plus it's very public transit accessible, which has been very useful as we're trying to do as little as possible with rental cars this vacation! We'd planned to get a zipcar to go to the beach, as we knew of no good beaches within the city when we lived here, but I heard from two sources about Revere Beach, and it was truly a find. Especially in the hot, humid weather we had our first two days here. We went there on Wednesday. But first, the rest of Monday....we arrived at Matt and Laurie's house and had a delicious lunch with them. Later we left to take a Duck Boat tour, which was fun but not as fun as the risque NashTrash tour that we took in Nashville two years ago. ;-) Oh, also there was ice cream at Cafe Vanille that was so good and, more importantly, cold. I had the Triple Chocolate, which was thrice as good as regular chocolate (which is pretty darn good).

Best tee-shirt quote so far, spotted on Monday:
Jesus Saves.
Jews Invest Wisely.
After the duck tour we walked over to North End for some yummy Italian food at Famiglia Giorgio's. Huge portions of good food for not too much money (for North End standards, anyway)...what more can I say?

Tuesday: we went on a walking tour of the Freedom Trail, which included a trip back to North End for pastry. We opted to not go to the more famous Mike's Pastry but to follow the suggestion of Maria's when she said to go to Caffe Vittoria. Oh, she was right. Tiramisu, an eclair, and a pistachio canoli were had, along with Italian Vanilla Cream sodas and coffee. Just what I wanted.

I can't leave out one of Zac's favorite parts: running through the fountains at the entrance to North End. It was so hot and humid that I wouldn't have guessed getting wetter would feel so good, but it did.

The water at the beach was cold but not bone-numbing like the Pacific ocean is. It cooled us off very nicely.

And Thursday was much cooler! A very pleasant day, weather-wise and otherwise! We bummed around Harvard Square and Central Square in Cambridge. Looked through two different bookshops. Had hot chocolate and a croissant at Burdick's. I didn't mention yet that Hibi, our vegan, is not with us this week, did I? Yes, we are enjoying not having to ask the question: what do you have that's vegan? Come Monday I'll have to think of that again but we're living it up while we can. :-)

After lunch, Paul and Zac left me in Central Square and headed to the Charles River. Zac had been wanting some not-so-urban adventure, so Paul found a place where they could go kayaking! Woohoo! They had a great time. I got some time to myself, which I used just to walk, mostly.

On Thursday evening we went out to dinner with Matt and Laurie to a Meditteranean restaurant in their neighborhood that we'd noticed on our way in, and Matt said he'd wanted to try out. The food was quite good, and we all took turns carrying the baby outside, as babies are wont to begin fussing when their parents are eating, especially in a restaurant. :-) She was perfectly happy outside, though, so that made it easy for turn-taking and saved the mama from all the non-eating.

Today we finally visited the seminary campus, where we made our home for four years and where Zac was born--literally, as he was born at home. The place was kind of deserted, but we did find a professor of Paul's there, and enjoyed having a few minutes to chat with him. I don't think either of us had seen him since we left 9 years ago, though we've enjoyed befriending his sister, who is married to a priest in our diocese.

We looked all around our old apartment, though we didn't feel comfortable to knock on the door and ask to see inside. But we walked around to the back, where we found wild turkeys! Zac brought a feather home that one had dropped. That was the same spot where Hibi spotted some "puppies" once when she, at age 2, was looking over the balcony so intently that I asked what she was doing. "Looking at these puppies," she told me. When I looked, I saw a mother skunk and the cutest little brood of babies you've ever seen.

Went into the chapel, which was unlocked even though there was no one around, and into the admin building, where also there was no one around (except the professor in his office...I suppose there could have been people in other offices that just didn't make themselves known). We did a forbidden thing and went on top the roof. (Shh!) Someone took us up there when we first arrived, I don't remember who, but the view is just amazing. Of course they don't want anyone up there, which is why it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission. :-)

That was all we had time to do today, besides eat lunch at Orinoco on Harvard in Brookline (yum!) and do some food shopping for our train trip tomorrow. Because the seminary isn't exactly public transit-accessible. And we had a long walk. Two of them, there and back, which didn't leave much time or energy.

And now, everyone else is in bed, and here I sit finishing up this post! I need to get to bed too, and tomorrow we're headed to Washington DC! I love train rides, so I will enjoy tomorrow.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Yes, that is what we are doing today! Leaving on vacation. Woohoo! And what a trip we have planned! We've never done anything quite like this. We usually do car trips, camping a lot of the time. This time we are flying to Boston, then we'll be in Washington DC, then upstate New York, then passing through Pennsylvania to see our godson and his family, then New York City. Wow! The DC part isn't technically part of our vacation, as we'll be going to our church's national conference (maybe I'll see some of you there?). And we're fortunate to have a blogger friend who offered to put us up in Boston! Soon to be not just a blogger friend. :-)

We'll have a laptop with us so I'll still be able to get email and perhaps I'll even blog from afar.

Hope you're all having a good summer! And happy trails to those, like us, who are taking to the road (or the skies, as it may be)!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Junior Ambassadors

Hey, we just went to that place last night! Paul and I finally tried a little cart that sells, among other things, homemade ice cream in quirky flavors (chocolate cayenne was one of the choices last night). I guess neither of us were feeling adventurous and both of us had root beer floats, with plain but good vanilla ice cream.

And then this morning I found this article in the Oregonian about the place. I loved the eccentricity of the little cart, and it's quirky owner and his bicycle-riding girlfriend. And I love what he has to say in this article. (Sorry, Oregonian, I am cutting and pasting because if I link to you people won't be able to read the article after 14 days without paying. And honestly, who pays for an online newspaper?)

North Portland food cart is a place of mind
A creative chef reveals the culinary arts of the society of Mostlandia
Saturday, July 05, 2008
The Oregonian Staff
Rudy Speerschneider poured the batter onto the skillet with a sizzle, and the small food cart filled with the scent of cornmeal pancakes.

The bright orange cart parked in a rented space on North Albina Street has become the blossoming spot for Speerschneider's culinary imagination and an accessible example of the creativity bubbling in many Portland neighborhoods.

The Fourth of July marked one year for Speerschneider's business, called Junior Ambassador's. Among his celebratory menu items Friday: "little smokies," or mini-hotdogs in barbecue sauce on a cornmeal pancake, and his from-scratch ice cream, including bluegrass (blueberry and lemon grass) and gingersnap cookie with basil.

"I'm trying things most people haven't had and making sure they feel comfortable doing it," says Speerschneider, 36, whose bushy brown hair fans out around a straw visor he wears with the bill pointing skyward.

Speerschneider and Junior Ambassador's are the merchant face of Mostlandia, a society that he and three friends "discovered" in 2004. Mostlandia is both a shared state of mind about recapturing optimism, possibility and childlike wonder, and an orderly bureaucracy including everything from rules for citizenship (so far there are 222 citizens) to official forms for "deep commitment" to a partner.

"It is a simple idea," Speerschneider says, "but it's hard to explain simply."

The society started with performance art, detailed on its Web site. Members mounted the Mostlandian Misplaced Items Authority in 2005 at Reed College, for example, an interactive lost and found that handled cases including lost socks to lost love.

But with the addition of the Junior Ambassador's cart, Mostlandia also has come to embody the notion of food as art, community and gift, all cornerstones of Portland's foodie culture.

Speerschneider, who grew up in Michigan, trained as a painter and illustrator at the Ringling School of Art and Design (now Ringling College of Art and Design) in Sarasota, Fla. But as an artist in New York City, he realized how rarely he experienced people's reaction to his work.

Cooking and serving in restaurants after moving to Portland in 2001, he came to see food as a creative yet communal outlet. When he made something good for people, their delight was tangible.

As Speerschneider preps on this Fourth of July morning, his girlfriend, Emily Lieb, hops off her bike with a canvas bag filled with cabbage and cilantro for the slaw he's making. Lieb works for the city and helps Speerschneider on weekends.

"I love it," says Lieb, 29. "It's a lot of work, though. It's not 9 to 5. It's all day long."

Speerschneider issued a food preference survey to Mostlandian citizens through the Department of Well Being to help shape his menu. Mostlandians responded that ice cream is good for breakfast, lunch or dinner. So, at various times, he offers vanilla ice cream blended with maple and bacon; tomato and mozzarella on a bed of basil with a balsamic reduction sauce, and coconut curry, to name a few.

At noon, Lieb opened the gate and put out the Junior Ambassador's sign. David Frank and his sons Liam Bendicksen, 8, and Jacob Bendicksen, 10, arrived soon after, enticed by a magazine write-up.

"It sounded interesting," Frank said. "A little offbeat, but the food sounded good."

Speerschneider talked them through the menu, and the boys chose grilled cheese on cornmeal pancakes. Frank ordered the little smokies.

They dug in at Speerschneider's picnic table.

"That's good!" Liam proclaimed.

Jacob added, "Who would've thought of grilled cheese on pancakes?"

From his perch in the cart, Speerschneider watched, listened and smiled.

Erin Hoover Barnett: 503-294-5011; ehbarnett@news.oregonian.co

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


on a steep little gravelly path to
stunning views of roiling seawater
with steep edges on each side
I found
and she was good enough.