Friday, July 21, 2006


Nothing else screams "carpool" more than living in the same building as a girl who works just 3 blocks from my job. Angie and I started carpooling today. Although it may be only one or two days a week that it works out for us to carpool, I feel like I am starting to do my part to conserve.

It's not just gas prices that are motivating me to make this change. If you have not seen the film “End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion And the Collapse of the American Dream” go out and rent it (or buy it) today. It drastically changed the way I think about the way I live and how things are going to change in the future because of the lingering energy crisis. Our dependence on a resource that is finite is coming to an end. Suburbanites will be hit the hardest- they rely solely on their automobiles for transport and their cookie-cutter homes in the "burbs" will DEpreciate instead of Appreciate. What will we do when our public transport is overflowing because everyone has been forced to abandon their cars? I purchased a condominium 2 blocks from public transportation and conserving energy and resources was a huge part of my location choice. (I am also shopping for a VW Golf TDI- If you're selling yours, let me know!! They are rare here in Portland.)

Many restaurants here use only locally grown and made foods which reduces the need for transportation of these goods. I recently read the article in Portland Monthly titled, "How Green Are We?" (I highly recommend reading it) and I must say that I am very proud to be a Portlander. Even some of our buses use biodiesel! But although I believe that Portland is way ahead of the game, we are surely not prepared for this crisis.

Gas prices will continue to climb as oil supplies lessen. Future generations will see our current automobiles in museums and wonder what it was like to drive a gasoline-powered car. Enjoy it while it lasts, but please enjoy it less.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

One Year Later

WARNING: This may be a very uncomfortable post for some of you to read, but this is a huge day for me and I feel that I need to share it. Read at your own risk.

It has been one year since my dad has passed away. I keep replaying that day in my head and I wonder what his last moments were like. I keep replaying the phone call from my uncle. I never get phone calls from family during the day unless they are coming to Portland soon or unless something's wrong. I could hear it in his voice that something was wrong, but I cheerily asked him if he was in Portland. When he said no, I asked him where he was. He asked me if my boss was here at work with me. I said no. I asked why and he asked me if any of my coworkers were here. I replied yes and he told me to give the phone to someone. By the time I got up and walked 10 feet to my coworker's desk, tears were streaming down my face. I was sure that something had happened to my grandmother or grandfather.

I handed my cell phone to Kerry, my coworker. I told him that it was my uncle and that he needed to speak to him. He answered and then said "ok" a couple of times and then handed it back to me. I don't remember exactly what my uncle said to me, but I remember saying, "NO! NO! NO!" I don't remember much about the next while- I remember crying on the stairs and seeing my phone by the front door of our office. I can't imagine how hard it was for my uncle to tell his niece that her father has just died. And I can't imagine what it was like for him to tell his mother and father that their son has died- he answered the phone at my grandma's when the call came. That must have been one of the hardest things he has ever done.

I went to my pickup and called my mom. She was so happy to see on the caller id that it was me- she said "Hello!" so happily. I was sobbing and I just said, "Mom, dad died." She asked me, "What?!" and so I said it again.... and she just kept saying, "Oh my God Oh my God Oh my God! No! No! No!" as she became just as hysterical as I was. Her state was not helping me at all, so I had to hang up. I eventually drove home. I could barely see I was crying so hard.

Eventually, I went to the store across the street from my apartment- I had just moved in two weeks before. I bought a big bottle of Excedrin Tension Headache, a big bottle of Tylenol PM and a big box of Puffs Plus. Being in public in a state like that is absolutely horrible. I am so grateful that those "bug eye" sunglasses were the trend.

I couldn't think straight. I went through all my things (some boxes not even unpacked yet) trying to find photos, objects that he had given me and things that reminded me of him. I found some photos and other little things from trips we had taken. I relived each one of our trips. We always had so much fun. I loved sleeping in his semi truck and visiting St. Regis and the Silver Dollar Bar in Montana on our way to Oregon. He was always the one who took me places and made sure that I saw everywhere that I wanted to see.

I talked to everyone in my family. I took a bath. Some of my friends called but I just couldn't talk to them so I let them leave messages. I finally got up the nerve to call dad's cell phone so I could hear his voice. His girlfriend Dona answered. She told me everything. I know she wasn't thinking when she told me all the details. It was painful and I know I should have cut her off or something, but I wanted to know more even though it was so painful. I asked her to not answer the next call because I was going to call back and I wanted to hear his voice on the voice mail. I can't imagine what it was like to be there when it happened, to see someone that you love suffer and pass away right in front of you. I was relieved that my dad was not alone when he died.

I think about all that has happened in a year and I know that my dad would be proud of me and that he would have supported me in whatever decisions I made. He never questioned me, he just always trusted in me and my abilities. I have learned and grown so much and I believe that I have changed for the better. It took me so long to be able to BE and be able to SEE the positive things and to celebrate my dad. Although my dad's death was the most traumatic thing that has happened to me, I am a much stronger person for going through this all. I am proud of where and who I am because I know my dad would be proud and that he, directly or indirectly, has helped me get to where I am. I am so grateful to have had him in my life for as long as I did.

I miss him and his unforgettable laugh so much.

The Armed Robber Next Door

Last night was probably the most excitement I have had for a long time. An armed robber was hiding out in a van next to the house next to our office!

At about 4:30, 6 police cars were instantly at the intersection near our building. They did not have their sirens on, so I didn't even notice them until I looked out the window and saw what appeared to be and undercover agent of some sort pulling out his badge. My coworkers and I went outside to see what was going on and one of the cops was motioning (not talking or yelling) for us to go back inside. For about the next hour we were all glued to the windows. There was a sniper on the roof of the building behind ours and his gun was pointed at the van that was in the driveway next door. There was also a sniper with his gun propped up on a car across the street in front of our building. At this time, we still didn't know exactly where he was hiding out but we speculated that they were trying to flush him out of somewhere over there.

All this time, I am worried because I traded pickups with my friend for the day and his truck was in the street right in front of the house next door. I was sure his truck was going to be full of holes when this whole thing was over.

We heard a knock at the door and the cop who motioned for us to "go back inside" was there with another cop who had an AR-15 (a big friggin' gun)- they came to escort us to a "safer place." It was crazy- The cop with the big gun was walking backwards with his gun pointed at the house next door with us behind him. I don't think i've ever been that close to that big of a gun. They escorted us across the street to the paint store where we watched at a distance for a while until they made us go inside the paint store for safety. We hung out there for a while whre we couldn't see much except the cops stading by their cars chatting.

While we were in the paint store, 3 SWAT vans pulled up and took over as the Portland Police backed off. One of the SWAT vans had a bomb robot. Crazy. When the robber was finally arrested, we were let outside again. We watched the SWAT team drive away and we could finally leave. We talked to the super nice policeman who told us the story- that the guy had robbed a bank in Milwaukie (a suburb) yesterday and that there was a high speed chase that ended in our neighborhood. The guy fled on foot and jumped the fence behind our building and found the van next door.

Last night was our season opener for softball and I missed the first game. That made me angry at that bank robber. Grrrrr!

The roof of the building behind ours

Sniper across the street

My coworkers and I waiting at the paint store

SWAT team- My building is the one one the corner

Behind the SWAT truck is my friend's's burgundy with a topper....

Friday, July 07, 2006

Two Kinds of People?

I used to think that each person was either a "MAKE things happen" kind of person or a "LET things happen" kind of person. I have realized that one can be both. The trick is to recognize WHEN to be which one.....