Spring in Oregon, a vignette

There’s a small chance of rain (duh).  I wanted to run, but didn’t want to get soaked, so I decided to stay closed, run around the block, and remind my legs what it feels like to run hills.  Got all dressed, got my shoes on, opened the door – rain.  Closed the door, contemplated the gym.  Got my keys and ID, opened the door – the rain had stopped.  The sun was back.

Time to take my chances.   Three laps into the ten laps I wasn’t sure I was going to complete (hills are HARD), and guess what happened?

My name is Zannah, and I live in Oregon.

Brush with death

I was nearly brained by a falling branch during my run the other day.  I don’t know what made me jump out of the way – maybe I saw the movement? – but SOMEthing warned me, which was good because this branch was LARGE.  It could have done serious damage if it had landed on my head, which I’m pretty sure is what would have happened.  (It just scratched my calf.)  A couple of people saw it and came over to check on me, but I was totally fine, still on my feet, aside from being a little shaken.  I have NO idea what made it fall, at all or just then.  It wasn’t terribly windy, there weren’t any animals or evil henchmen cackling up in that tree, and really, what else could have caused it if not angry squirrels or evil henchmen?

Words are hard

Today, some pictures.

This first one is the only one actually taken today, in the few minutes of blue sky between rainstorms.

Don’t know what these flowers are, but they’re so little and cute!

These next few are painted on doors used as someone’s fence, all in a row.

And here are a few I took of the Willamette River on my run earlier in the week.  The water’s really high from all the rain.

I’m almost transparent

It was warm enough to run in shorts today, so I took the chance of blinding people as the sun reflected off my whiter-than-white legs.  I didn’t have to worry; the sun didn’t stay out for long.  There went my opportunity to get some color.  And then it started to rain.  I passed a woman walking her dog right when it started to rain in earnest.  I gave her a “who’da thunk?” shrug as I went by, and she said, “Oh, we knew this was coming.”  She’s right.  It’s spring in the Pacific Northwest.

“Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”

Since the band isn’t rehearsing tonight, I’ve decided to skip yoga (which is happening all too often), order Thai food, and hang out with John.

Ghosts begone!

Despite what I said yesterday, I think our house might be haunted.  Remember the mysterious cracked glass from last summer?

I still don’t know how it cracked in a nearly perfect horizontal circle like that while sitting in the cabinet.

Last night, I was drying dishes and putting them away, and I noticed that John’s favorite giant glass, the one he uses when he makes iced coffee, was standing up in the cabinet but had completely cracked in two, vertically.

What is happening?  Should I be worried?  Do we have tricksy creatures sneaking around at night?

I did stuff today, so I don’t have to do anything else tonight

Today’s accomplishments:

  • I ran 5.5 miles.
  • I updated the SWV NOW website so we can accept membership dues and donations within the site.
  • I linked the SWV NOW Google calendar to the website.  Technically, that was yesterday’s accomplishment, but I’m going to count it for today.  Because.

Rolling list of things to do:

No, I don’t want to make that list right now.  It has too many things on it.  Instead, I am going to get ready for bed early and read.  John is checking out the competition during week 2 of this Battle of the Bands thing (his band plays in week 5), so I am going to enjoy some quiet time.

Soggy

I suspect I failed my Real Oregonian test today.  It started out well.  I decided to go for a run instead of to the gym because it was only raining a little and it seemed likely to stop.  And it was 60 degrees out, so running in a little rain would be practically pleasant.  I could pretend I was a serious runner – a little rain won’t hold me back.  Less than a mile in, it started to come down a little steadier.  I ducked under a kiosk for a few minutes, but it didn’t get better.  Runners and walkers and other hardy folk went by me, and I decided to suck it up and keep going.  Then, of course, it turned into real rain.  Still not a driving rain (that’s pretty unusual), but steady and soaking.  I ducked under a bridge to wait it out – surely that wouldn’t last.  Packs of runners went by with disdainful looks at the tourist (that I may have been imagining).  Dog walkers gave me a wide berth – my prissiness might be contagious.

The message was clear: Real Oregonians don’t hide from the rain under bridges.

I was watching the rain hit the canal, and after a few minutes where it actually really did come down hard, I couldn’t see drops in the water anymore, so I hit the path.  Yeah, I was wrong.  It was still raining, but now it was a heavy mist.  Too light to see it hit the ground, but plenty wet enough to soak through my clothes and get in my eyes and make it hard to see.  Sneaky rain.

By the time I got home, dripping water, it was time to turn around and go to yoga, where the studio was so warm ACTUAL STEAM was rising from my damp clothes.

The hot shower I took tonight seemed almost unnecessary.  No.  It was necessary.

This is my way of helping others make a difference

I did a thing I haven’t told you about yet, but I can tell you about it now because it’s live.  It’s live and it’s out there and, like, real people can see it, and you know?  It’s pretty cool.

So.

At the first rally I went to at the courthouse, maybe five or six weeks ago, I met a woman who was taking email addresses for the local chapter of NOW.  They had just started up, didn’t even have their officers selected, and they were looking for members.  I went to the monthly meeting four weeks ago, and before I knew it, I had volunteered to be their tech person.

So.

In the last month, I have worked with the president of the chapter (the woman who was taking email addresses – more on her some other time) to create and manage the official website of the South Willamette Valley chapter of the National Organization for Women.

I really should just upload the official logo. Instead, this is a picture I took of a banner with the official logo. Please don’t let this affect your opinion of my technical skills.

I am the web master, I am a member of the PR team, and I am a member of the Budget and Finance committee (because, like Mom, I sometimes have a hard time saying no to things).

So.

The website is live as of today (www.swvnow.org), the March monthly meeting is tomorrow night (Monday), and the plan is to tell everyone about it then even though it still has a couple of placeholders.  Don’t tell me if you hate it, do tell me if something is wrong with it, and no, I’m not fishing for compliments.  In fact, let’s just stop talking about it.

Two surprises

Something happened to me that has never happened to me before in Eugene, and has only rarely happened to me in other places we’ve lived.

I saw someone I know out in the wild.

And on top of that, she came over to me first!  My facial person was just leaving the dog park, and she saw me stretching, so she came over to say hi.  And I met her dog.  I’ve said this before, but I almost NEVER run into people I know when I’m just out, and in a year, I’ve never seen anyone I know in Eugene.  I suppose that could be because I hardly know anyone in Eugene, so the odds are against it.  But it was nice!  And only mildly awkward!

So that was surprise #1.  Surprise #2 was this gadget I saw on my way home, one whose inventor was BRILLIANT and should win prizes.

Look, Ma, no training wheels!  The dad was riding slowly ahead on his bike, the little kid was teetering along on his, and the mom was walking behind the kid, ready to grab the handle (which she did a couple of times).

I never liked training wheels.  Too unsteady.  And this is way handier than grabbing the back of the seat, right?  So yeah, I am overcome by the brilliance of this simple idea.

I haven’t met any singing mice. Yet.

The wildlife in Oregon is straight out of a cartoon.  John and I both get distracted by squirrels peering in our office windows during the day, that damn turkey keeps showing up on our front porch like it wants to come in, and today I saw a gray squirrel and fat red robin having a conversation on top of a tree stump in the park.  I wasn’t fast enough to get a picture.  I saw them, they looked at me, I swear I heard “Cheese it, it’s the fuzz!”, and then the squirrel scampered off.  The robin stuck around and gave me the evil eye as I ran past.  Maybe slightly more Adult Swim than Disney Channel.

Protest

Right about noon today, I glanced out the window and saw two women walk by with cardboard signs.  One said something about diversity (I don’t remember exactly what).  I couldn’t see the other one.

“Hey, John, did you hear anything about a protest today?”  “No.”  I had already checked to see if the Eugene airport is international (it’s not).  Google to the rescue!

The rally was at the federal courthouse (same place the Women’s March started), and we were already planning to head that way on our walk to lunch, so we checked it out.

LOTS of people.  Maybe 1000?  Maybe more.  Signs, chanting, someone with a bullhorn in the front, immigrants telling stories, and a guy with a competing bullhorn in the back leading more chanting.  It was heartening.

(My favorite sign this time just said “This is bullshit.”)

Maybe rallies and protests will be a regular thing now.  I want the momentum to keep up.  I wish it didn’t have to.

It’s a little weird to talk about books in a grocery store

I told you about reading that book club book in a handful of hours so I could be ready to talk about it with a room full of strangers I only found out existed the day before, but then I didn’t actually tell you about that room full of strangers who possibly only began to exist when I walked in the door.  (Who’s to say?)

They meet in a meeting room on the upper floor of a fancy grocery store, and when I walked in there were about a dozen women of various ages (mostly old-ish) sitting around a big table in the middle of the room.  There were a couple other people at other tables, but I figured I’d found my group.  Plus there were a bunch of books on the table.  So, being my father’s daughter, I walked over and said, “Judging by the pile of books, am I right in assuming this is the book club?”  They didn’t kick me out.  Can’t trust their judgment.

This is a group of Very Serious Readers.  Most enjoyed the book, thought it was a nice book to read over the holidays, but they also almost unanimously dismissed it in some way as a pile of fluff.  They read Literary Fiction for Very Serious Readers, or so it seems.  Or maybe it’s mostly Depressing Fiction for Very Serious Readers.  (I think it’s fair to say that those two categories overlap.)

Maybe I’m wrong (I’m probably wrong).  Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions (I’m definitely jumping to conclusions).  They were all very nice, certainly.  Maybe three of them were younger than me, but over 30.  And in great contrast to my last book club, they’re not one big group of friends.  There are probably a couple of pairs of friends, but the rest appear to be strangers who found each other online with the express purpose of starting a book club.  They (we) met in a public place, talked about the book, decided on the next month’s book, and got out, all in about an hour.  (It was great.)  No stress about house-cleaning, or buying enough wine for 15, or planning food because they’re all coming to your house to judge YOUR BOOK which most of them DIDN’T READ, no, I’m not still defensive about the one time I hosted book club, why do you ask?

Women’s March

Over 7,000 people marched in Eugene today, me and John and Christina included, in solidarity with people all over the country and the world. There was chanting (“This is what democracy looks like” and “My body, my choice, her body, her choice” and others), a drumline, lots of signs, and a ton of rain.  Supposedly there were speakers, too, but we didn’t see or hear any of them.  Just a lot of friendly people walking together, bumping into each other and apologizing constantly.  No violence, no threats, no crime. (Okay, the newspaper said there was one graffiti incident.)

I don’t have anything profound to say here, not least because it would be in violation of my mission statement.  I’m just glad we went.

Read like the wind

I saw a flyer today for a book club called Eugene Book Talk that meets once a month.  The flyer was old (the books were for October and November), but I’ve read one of them (The Snow Child) and liked it, so that’s a good sign.  On impulse, I emailed them right then and there, and the person running the account (no name except for the name of the book club) responded right away. S/He said they’re still active, and since they couldn’t meet in December, they’re meeting this Tuesday to discuss The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.

I looked it up, downloaded the sample, enjoyed the first couple of pages, and now I have a mission.  I put aside the book I’m in the middle of (again – I put it aside for Temeraire book 8 when the library e-book became available), and now I have 49.5 hours (from right now) to read the whole thing.

It’s a good thing I don’t have to work tomorrow.  If it’s interesting enough, I think I’ll make it.  THEN we’ll see how I feel about joining a book club again.

Not even going to try full wheel

I think I wrote before about trying the yoga class my gym offers and not being all that crazy about it.  I decided this week (after that stressful interlude with a coworker that didn’t last more than an hour but STILL – it was stressful) that I need to find a yoga class I like.  Luckily for me, we live three and a half blocks from a yoga studio with reasonably priced classes.

The assumption for last night’s class was that I had some yoga experience, which I do, even if it’s several years in the past.  I figured I’d just do what I could and rest when I needed to.  I was mostly able to keep up, but HOO BOY am I sore now.  I am hyper-aware of every muscle in my back, but I liked it, I felt comfortable there, and I will go back.

We arranged our mats in a circle, facing in, which was different for me.  The other major difference was the total lack of mirrors.  Want to check your position in the mirror?  No, sorry.  See if stretching all the way out in Warrior II makes you look thinner?  Assume it does and move on, please.  Surreptitiously stare at the amazingly flexible lady across the room?  NOPE. You have to actually stare at her because she’s across the circle staring at YOU, probably judging you for not being able to hold Half Moon for more than two seconds without falling over.  Good thing she doesn’t know you can’t even touch your toes…

Acclimating

Things I don’t think of as weird anymore:

  • Hitchhikers.  I rarely saw hitchhikers on the east coast, but since we came out here, I see them everywhere (including one today).
  • I nodded hello to the turkey when I got out of the car after my riding lesson and then threatened to smack him with the broom if he poops on our porch again (today).  Mixed messages, I know.
  • Train whistles at all hours of the day and night (including as I was typing this just now).
  • The smell of pot that appears EVERYWHERE and at random times (like on my walk back from a yoga class today).

I probably wouldn’t have thought to even mention any of that, except I had a conversation today with a coworker about where we live now and wow, that must be different, and hey, is everybody high all the time?  Differences were on my mind.

All you need is a book return

I learned a super exciting thing about our library today: it has a drive-thru book return in the alley!

Seriously, it made my day.  My books were due today, I was trying to get to an appointment on time, there was no parking in front of the library, and it was raining.  A drive-thru book return was exactly what I needed.

Day saved.

Still strange

It occurred to me today that I haven’t posted a “something weird happened in Eugene” post lately, and that occurred to me today because I saw something weird in Eugene.  Funny how that works.

We got about 3 inches of snow yesterday, it tried to melt for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon, clearing the streets and sidewalks part of the way and turning the slow into slush, but then the temperature dropped below freezing overnight and stayed below freezing all day today, so the snow and slush turned into ice and is still around.  I was driving along 5th Ave this afternoon, slowly, carefully, with the 4-wheel drive on, when I saw a guy with ski poles making his way to the corner.  Turned to John: “Is that guy skiing?”

Yes, he was.