Monday, October 26, 2009

Another pre-Halloween update

Recently, Stefan made chili. Yummy (both Stefan AND the chili). And the ingredients looked so purdy in our ceramics from Stefan's home town.

We really love our house, and we're so excited to host Anne at Christmas and Stefan's parents in May. Others? We soooooooo want visitors! Come try out Stefan's homemade cornhole game in our backyard!

We really enjoyed the six-part documentary Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer's Cut) on IFC recently. It brought back so many wonderful memories for me. I grew up with Monty Python as much as I grew up with Star Wars. And I've become such a huge fan of all of the remaining Pythons' post-Python work (Palin's travels, Terry Jones' historical documentaries, Terry Gilliam's movies, and anything Cleese or Idle do). We loved the behind-the-scenes stories, some of which I knew already having watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Life of Brian (not just my favorite Python movie, but one of my favorite films of all time) with the commentaries on (more than once).

I've thrown a lot away, gotten rid of two boxes of stuff at our recent garage sale, and gotten rid of even more stuff in a mass donation to Goodwill. But I'm still not unpacked. It's my office that's the problem. One of the problems with being a communications professional is that you have to save so much paper, either your own portfolio or examples of publications you need for reference. I made the mistake of throwing away reference material from a management class years ago, and I have so regretted it so many times; it's made me squeamish about getting rid of certain stuff. I've loved reading through postcards and letters people have sent me over the years. That's been like therapy. It even lead to my getting in touch with some people from oh-so-long ago. I've thrown away from of them, but some I just can't part with (because who knows when I'll need something like therapy again).

I've been using our scanner a bit, first to scan and then upload some old family photos, and then to upload some old photos of me. The comments about my second-grade school photo were awesome -- they made me cry. Ya'll not only know but, but seem to like me as well:
Little would we know from looking at this deceptively docile child what a hellraiser she would turn out to be!

I wonder, even at that young age, were you beginning to become the fighter for justice that you are today? Did you break up the fights over dodge ... Read Moreball and hopscotch cheaters? Did you stand up to your teachers for teaching opinions rather than fact? No matter, you are all of that now and loved deeply for it.

You have always been and still are both beautiful and indignant over injustice. :)

The grrr heard round the world and may you never lose it...go Jayne!
My next project will be scanning the photos from my grandfather's WWII scrapbook.

By now, you probably all know about my new toy. As noted on the photo, I won't be doing anything particularly ambitious on it this year; I'm spending every dry, not-freezing day between now and March just driving around the neighborhood and getting to know it as much as possible. We bought the bike from a guy in Washington state. Stefan had to drive it down through some horrid rain, which scared me to death. And, unfortunately, he'll have to ride through horrid conditions again later this week in our ongoing quest for a title for his own Honda. I'll be a nervous wreck while he's on the road to Colorado and back...

BTW, we had to take our written tests again to get our licenses transferred from Kentucky to Oregon and I flunked the motorcycle test the first time. I almost cried. I did so well on the written test in Kentucky, but Oregon's questions are much harder (and often irrelevant, quite frankly -- Stefan thought so too). Also, I wasn't wearing my lucky WKU t-shirt. That night, I cooked my first pot roast, and the next day, I took the test again, this time wearing my lucky WKU t-shirt, and barely passed. So, was it the t-shirt or the pot roast?

Still no jobs for either of us. And still no volunteer firefighting. And still no word if the state volunteer firefighters association is going to take me up on my offer to do a free training. But Stefan is still trying -- he contacted the state's public safety and training office about his dilemma, and they were gobsmacked that the Oregon firefighters were claiming his German training is nada. So now he's going down to the state capital on Tuesday for a meeting of his own. We loathe the phrase, "Well, I guess that's just how things are." Jayne and Stefan are rockin' Oregon!

We had a lovely time presenting about our trip last year through Eastern Europe at the Portland Hawthorne Hostel. About 12 people were there, all guests at the hostel, including a German guy on his motorcycle doing a tour of North and South America. Stefan did really well in particular; Mr. Shy spoke right up several times. We're looking forward to doing it again tomorrow night at the Northwest Portland Hostel.

It's such a shame that there are so few hostels in the USA; in Europe, you can often hike from one hostel to another (and many people do!). And it's a double shame that the oh-so-low-profile USA hosteling organization doesn't engage in any activities to encourage more hostels to be built in the USA, and limits its talk about hostels only to serving "young people." The idea behind hostels in Europe (Germany, to be specific), was to provide friendly, inexpensive overnight accommodations for young travelers, but all over Europe, most hostels cater to travelers of all ages. Hostels in Europe provide both dormitory-style rooms with separate quarters for men and women, and private family and couples rooms. Most allow people to camp in the front or back lawn (sadly, HI-USA discourages this). A lot of people choose to stay in hostels because of how easy it is to meet fellow travelers and how hostels have more information posted about local things to do than a luxury hotel's concierge could ever know about.

Albi's fine, oblivious to her fame on YouTube. She's really needy, following us from room to room, although she does sometimes get up in the night and sleep in Stefan's office. She's still not convinced we're staying in this house for a while. I don't think she likes how big it is -- she really liked us all being in the car, or the tent, or a hotel room. Lately, she's been laying with her body on the carpet but her head on the faux wooden floor of the entryway. What's up with that?

Okay, off to watch Big Bang Theory. Drop me a line -- I still love email.

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