Insert your own eclipse pun here

Okay, guys, the eclipse was pretty cool.  At totality (we weren’t in the direct path, but we were near enough as to make very little difference), it got a LOT darker and a LOT cooler, and it was SO WEIRD.

John used the binoculars and a cereal box to make a projector, and we watched the moon eat the sun and then vomit it back up, all on cardboard.

The eclipse: a photo essay

Also, it’s dirty

I saw a snake today on the trail during my run.  I managed not to freak out (out loud), but I did give it a wide berth as it slithered off into the weeds.  It was…little, I guess, but snakes are snakes, and I don’t like them.  This is the problem I have with the outdoors.  I like being outside right up until I’m reminded of all the things that live outside.  Which reminds me: one afternoon a few weeks ago, right after work, I took my book and a bottle of water, and I hiked up to the top of Spencer Butte to read.

I sat there pretty comfortably for nearly two hours, reading my book, ignoring the chatter of the other people on the summit (it was a busy day for hikers), shifting occasionally because sitting on rocks is not that comfortable, and then out of nowhere I heard the a loud buzzing sound.  Like, LOTS of buzzing.  Like the sound of a beehive buzzing, a sound I’ve only heard in the movies and in cartoons.  I glanced to my left and there were a whole bunch of bees flying in a clump, hovering by a rock not one foot away from me.  I suppose that’s what swarming looks like.  I hope I never know for sure.  I got away (duh), and frankly, I’m a little amazed at how quickly and smoothly I moved.  I grabbed my stuff and was 20 feet away, looking over my shoulder the whole time.  I’m super glad they didn’t chase me because there were no lakes in sight.  Seriously, everything I know about swarms of bees comes from cartoons.  And My Girl.

Anyway, that was the end of my pleasant afternoon on a mountain top.  I hiked back down, and before I got in the car, I checked out the map on the information board.  The information board helpfully informed me that the indigenous rattlesnake population was rebounding and they can be found on and under the rocks, so hikers should be careful and definitely not reach under rocks.  Also, mountain lions hang out on the butte.  Well, hell.  I just spent two hours sitting on and among the rocks.  It’s amazing I survived the day.

So yeah – outside is pretty and all, but things that want to kill me live out there, and that’s not even counting spiders and UGH mosquitoes, so maybe I should just stay inside.

My perception may be skewed

We went to the Oregon Country Fair on Saturday, and we had a great time, but this was one of those events that had been over-hyped to us.

You HAVE to go.

You’ve never see ANYthing like it.

It’s where all the weird in Oregon goes to let their freak flags fly.

It’s SO WEIRD.

You have to see it to understand.

Yeah, not so much.  I mean, it’s a little weird, but it’s barely weirder than a renaissance festival, and that’s basically what it is, minus the renaissance trappings.  More hippie than history.  It’s a giant arts/music/crafts festival out in a permanent location in the woods.  I mean GIANT – this place was enormous and easy to get lost in.  There’s a ton of handmade stuff, lots of fair food, music everywhere, and people dressed as anything you can imagine: themselves (like us), fairy-type stuff (lots of headbands with horns, flower crowns, masks, face-painting), people on stilts (we saw a group dressed up as characters from the Wizard of Oz all on stilts), a couple of hippie marching bands (tie-dye shirts and flowers), and a few topless women and men wearing barely anything, which I suppose is what people were trying to tell us when they kept saying how weird it is.

It wasn’t that weird, and it’s an alcohol- and drug-free zone, so it wasn’t likely to get crazy, either.

I liked it very much – I don’t mean to sound like it wasn’t a really good time or that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy all the people watching, but it makes me wonder about everyone else’s definition of weird.  Or maybe it’s my own definition I should worry about.

Ups and downs

Tuesday night (4th of July) we were up past eleven, watching fireworks from a footbridge over the Willamette River a couple of blocks from our house.  Sounds great, right?  Like one of those experiences we’re all supposed to savor.  Eh.  The fireworks were totally not worth it – uninspired, no music, blocked by trees, washed out by the lights on the bridge and in the park.  Sorry, Eugene, but your fireworks game is weak.

Tonight, two days later, I’m ready to climb into bed at 10 after 8.  The sun hasn’t set yet, and it’s a beautiful night, but I’m so. crazy. tired.  I bet Margaret and Erik will be able to hear me snoring all the way in California.

Life with me is a real roller coaster ride, people.  Better hang on.

Holiday randomosity

On my bike ride today, I passed a guy going the other direction.  He was on roller blades.  He was wearing tiny speedo-like shorts with an American flag pattern, no shirt, suspenders, and a bow tie.  And a helmet because safety is important.

Happy 4th of July from Eugene!

Also, have some roses from our garden, just because.

Distraction

Rainbows, shmainbows.  Turkeys!  Baby turkeys!

So, before you ask, no, I don’t think that’s the turkey who spent the winter sleeping (and pooping) on our front porch.  I mean, what do I know from turkeys, but I know we had more than one adult turkey hanging around, and I don’t think this is the one who chose us.

They seem to spend most of their time in the neighbor’s yard behind us.  As we were walking by the other day, two of the neighbors were out trying to herd one of the baby turkeys back towards the house.  The mama turkey and the rest of the babies were on the roof of their house, and the last baby was cheeping and scurrying around their yard because it couldn’t fly quite high enough.

It was cute.  Baby turkeys are cute.

Where else in the country would you find this?

I was just going through my pictures, and I can’t believe I haven’t shared this one with you yet.

In case you don’t believe your eyes, yes, that is a bus with a boat on top of it, parked at the corner of 7th and Oak (I think) in downtown Eugene, not far from where we live.  Maybe the boat is just sitting on top of the bus, but I like to think it’s been incorporated into the structure of the bus, that from inside the bus, you can climb up into the boat, and hang out as you trundle along the road.  Like the top deck of a double-decker tour bus.

I might not lack the imagination to come up with the idea of mounting a boat on top of a bus (given the right circumstances), but I sure as hell lack the…guts? chutzpah? weird-ass ambition?…to actually do it.

The date on the picture is April 1st – could this have been an elaborate April Fool’s joke?  I  haven’t seen the bus since then, but who goes to that much trouble?

People are strange, but I salute you, person whose dream it was to attach a boat to the roof of a bus!  Sail on!

Authors, authors, everywhere

I met ANOTHER actual published author today.  I met her months ago, actually, but I found out she’s an author today.  She works (or maybe volunteers for riding time?) at the farm, so I see her once or twice a week.  We exchange hellos, we know each other’s name, but we haven’t said more than a few words to each other before today.  She seems shy.  Today, she was walking with me as I took Tigger to the indoor arena, and she mentioned going somewhere for book research.  Book research?  I pounced.  A little.  Nicely.

Turns out she wrote three historical romance novels for Harlequin in the early 2000s, at least one of which did pretty darn well.  She said she’s had writer’s block for a decade (writing stopped being fun and became stressful instead), and she wants to branch out of romance.

Anyway, I’m super curious, and I will be reading the first of her books soon.  By Tuesday, I expect to have a signed copy of Beauchamp Besieged by Elaine Knighton.  Exciting!

Cream cheese is the BEST

I went to a potluck Sunday afternoon, but up until Saturday, I was a complete loss as to what to bring.  I would normally aim for dessert, or cheese and crackers, or chips and salsa, but people had already claimed those (and LOTS of people were bringing dessert).  I wanted to bring real food and somehow still avoid any real cooking.  Guess what’s helpful when you find yourself in this kind of predicament?  GOOGLE.  Who knew?

So I googled “potluck ideas” and I landed on this Appetizer Tortilla Pinwheels thing.  Guys, these are SO GOOD.  Cream cheese, sour cream, cheese, green chiles, scallions, a little garlic, all wrapped in a tortilla and sliced into bite-size pieces – HEAVEN.  I left out the olives (because gross) and doubled the cheese (because duh), and I want to eat them all day, every day.

But aside from this delicious discovery, I don’t like potlucks.  Too much pressure.  Like, if you end up having to take your food back home, you failed.  Plus you end up tasting other people’s mystery dishes (because nothing is EVER labeled) and what if you got something awful you can’t finish and it turns out you’re sitting next to the person who made it?  Better choke it all down – you never know who you might offend.  And I live in Eugene, which means that fully a third of the dishes were vegan.  Non-dairy cheese is NOT CHEESE, PEOPLE.

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.