27 Nov 2009, 9:28pm
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blah, blah, blah (i mean that in the best possible way)

for thanksgiving this year i went to two dinners and was invited to two more. that’s the biggest thing i am thankful for, i think: that so many people i love live here in portland where i live. and, i guess, that i love so many people who live here in portland.*

last week my mom and i went out for hot chocolate (i had some made with coconut milk, which, let me tell you, is genius) and as we sat in pix patisserie i thought of: eating fancy pastries with our fingers with my friend julia in the streets behind the patisserie the night before july 4th while neighbors set off firecrackers; carefully touching my thigh to the knee of a crush next to whom i sat amidst a rowdy group of friends; sipping an outrageous raspberry lambic float (also genius) and gossiping with judith. the memories that little shop has accumulated for me. i love the way portland has clarified itself to me, the way the gaps in my mental map have colored themselves in. i also love the blurry, disconnected patches that remain, relics of the time when portland was a mystery to me. the shop where i got my tattoo a month before my 19th birthday. a steep path through the canyon on reed’s campus–even though i have since wandered every inch of the canyon, i have never quite found that path again, which exists only in a hazy, beautiful memory from my very first week living in portland… these real and differently-real portlands that stack unevenly to make this the first home i have chosen.
 
 
* i am doing a pretty terrible job at nurturing a lot of these relationships lately, though. hey friends, i miss you and i’m sorry. let’s get together soon.

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way back when i used to have a car, in december 2006, i took a road trip from outside of seattle, where i was visiting my family, to los angeles, where my boyfriend at the time was visiting part of his. i took these pictures on a roll of holga film that languished in my camera until this past spring–

i don’t remember the circumstances or locations behind any of these photos, really. i do remember:

* a rainstorm so thick and wet that even with my wipers going full blast i couldn’t see anything. i pulled off of the highway and tried, in the dark, to find a place to stay the night. i ended up at a motel in a tiny town in southern oregon that appeared, in the morning, to consist only of a gas station and a strip club. actually, i think that maybe the photo above was taken from the motel’s parking lot. the sleazy proprietor offered me a beer. i turned him down.

* listening to conservative talk radio to stay awake and hearing some dudes mock a new york times article they’d discovered that revealed that the cattle industry actually contributes more to greenhouse gases than all of transportation. their argument was something like “see, animals cause global warming, not people!” i thought, hmm, maybe i should stop eating meat. (and, eventually, i did. thanks, conservative talk radio dudes!)

* thinking a lot about “self-hacking” and how to be happy. i guess since then i have been figuring out a lot of the inputs this particular system (me) needs. i don’t so much think in terms of that metaphor anymore, but it is the same thing. good food, good health, good love, good learnin’.

* the morning after the rainstorm–the mountain pass just south of ashland was covered in beautiful snow. the sky was blue. i pulled over to put chains on my tires, only to discover that they were missing from my trunk. i never did find them. anyway, before i had time to work myself up about it, the guy just ahead of me who was running a little chain installation business announced that they’d lifted the chain requirement. i got back in my car and california opened up ahead of me.

* butternut squash soup at a friend’s parents’ house in sacramento, where i spent a night. intricately decorated colorful round handmade ornaments hanging everywhere.

on the way home, with my boyfriend in the passenger seat, i remember: driving along curvy route 1 through big sur in the dark, long after the sun set; a motel room so tiny there was really no room for anything but the bed; sharing a pomegranate; pastries and cacti at a hippie “spirit garden”; a cheesy roadside attraction full of optical illusions.

i am pretty thankful for all of that, too. for the combination of choices and coincidences that brought me to wherever the hell it is that i am. blah, blah, blah.

i used to walk past this almost every night during my senior year of college:

now–sunnyside piazza and this witch hazel tree:

(the pictures are from january, when i stumbled across it on a circuitous route home to a different house… didn’t imagine that i would walk or bike past it almost every day now when i took these photos, of course. this tree is a reason to look forward to january.)

26 Nov 2009, 9:19pm
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remembering the light

some old photos from august and september–

20 Nov 2009, 11:30pm
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things to think about in winter

portland is beautiful tonight as i walk home from the theatre. i zigzag through my neighborhood–i try to take a different route every time. it has not been a beautiful week for me, but now, at the end of it, well. i turn off of belmont and turn around again, when i hear happy shouts, to see a small parade of bikes pass by. porch lights illuminate the last yellow leaves of trees so they look like translucent ornaments. there’s a small fig tree i walk past sometimes, with as-yet firm green fruit. i pick one off of the ground and hold it in my palm; it feels nice to carry. i peek inside round rooms in huge old craftsman mansions at bookshelves and string lights.

i finished the spell of the sensuous about a week ago–here’s one last quotation from near the end:

In North America this spontaneous and quietly growing movement goes by many names. In truth, it is less a movement than a common sensibility shared by persons who have, in Robinson Jeffer’s phrase, “fallen in love outward” with the world around them. As their compassion for the land deepens, they choose to resist the contemporary tendency to move always elsewhere for a better job or more affluent lifestyle, and resolve instead to dedicate themselves to the terrain that has claimed them, to meet the generosity of the land with a kind of wild faithfulness.

i have been thinking a lot about that as i try to understand the possibilities my future holds. about the land that has claimed me. or lands? my future has changed in the past few weeks. in may, “i thought, if it does eventually end, what then? and i thought, oh my goodness, it will have been so worthwhile.” and it has been. but perspective comes and goes, of course.

now i am simultaneously reading two books, farm city: the education of an urban farmer, by novella carpenter, and the botany of desire, by michael pollan. a year ago in hawaii, a friend and i got a ride into town from someone who was listening to what i assumed was a radio program, about the history of the apple in america, and sweetness. it has stuck with me since then, but it was only after i bought the botany of desire and was flipping through it that i realized that it was exactly that book that our ride was listening to on tape or cd. when i say everything is telling me to go there, to go back, this is what i mean. i guess i mean i am so eager to interpret everything as a sign that i should go back, and that eagerness is enough sign for me, really. the other land that claimed a part of me.

i finished the chapter on apples and sweetness today. it is also about america, this whole big land that has always claimed me. and wildness (which we ought to cultivate). i recommend it.

another thing i have read lately, while i’m at it: 1491, an old atlantic monthly article (the author has since written a book by the same name; it’s on my reading list) about the environmental impact on north and south america by 13,000 years of human occupation before european settlement, and about the political implications of such academic research. it’s fascinating, and ends (i’m not giving anything away, really) with “they will have to find it within themselves to create the world’s largest garden.” yes.

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i am running sound for hand2mouth’s newest production, everyone who looks like you. there’s two performances left, tomorrow and sunday at 8pm. it’s about family, and it is funny, weird, and at times moving and beautiful. i have also never worked on a show that has changed so much after opening. which is kind of cool, ’cause obviously theatre is not a static artform and that’s why it rocks. i don’t really want to or intend to offer a review here, though i will say: if you come, start laughing early. the best performances have audiences who aren’t afraid to laugh at the kind of stuff you would only laugh at if you were laughing at family… you know? a little cruelly, but lovingly.

anyway, there is some live projection in the show, and we have a little monitor in the booth for the camera that’s hung up on stage, always pointing in the same direction. in low light cues, the camera tries over and over to focus and fails, so the tiny image is clear and then blurry and then clear. sometimes, the accidental compositions that no one but me will notice or see are beautiful. once during warm-ups the actors were rotating their arms through the air above their heads and one solitary hand at a time would sail into the frame and then sail out again.

here’s a tiny bit from a song in the show:

when we’re older and full of cancer
it doesn’t matter now, come on get happy, ’cause
nothing lasts forever
and i will always love you

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color:
* i crashed my bike on a leafpile yesterday and landed pretty squarely on my left kneecap; today, the bruise is bluish purple.
* two orange pumpkins from my mom’s garden are turning into an elementary school science experiment in my pantry, growing white and green mold.

7 Nov 2009, 12:58pm
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soapbox

dear oregon drivers, THIS IS THE LAW:

Under Oregon law, a crosswalk exists at any public street intersection, whether marked with paint or unmarked. Crosswalks also exist between intersections (mid-block) where indicated with white paint.

At a traffic signal, drivers must:

* Stop and remain stopped for pedestrians until they have cleared the lane in which the driver is traveling and the adjacent lane.
* Stop and remain stopped for pedestrians until they have cleared the lane into which the driver’s vehicle is turning and at least 6 feet of the adjacent lane.

At any other crosswalk – those without a signal – drivers must:

* Stop and remain stopped for pedestrians until they have cleared the lane in which the driver is traveling and the adjacent lane.
* Stop and remain stopped for pedestrians until they have cleared the lane into which the driver’s vehicle is turning and the adjacent lane.
* Stop and remain stopped for students crossing (or about to cross) a street under the direction of a crossing guard.
* Stop and remain stopped for a blind or blind and deaf pedestrian using a cane or a guide dog, until the pedestrian is completely across the roadway.

“A stopped car may be a clue that a pedestrian is crossing,” [Julie] Yip[, Safe Routes to School coordinator for the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Safety Division,] said. “Don’t pass until you know what is going on. In fact, it is not only unsafe but also illegal in Oregon to pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk for a pedestrian.”

from the Oregon DOT, emphasis mine.

OKAY, MOTHERFUCKERS!?

fuck our car culture that privileges the convenience of drivers over the safety of much more vulnerable road users. FUCK. IT.

two reedie women were hit last week in a marked crosswalk by a dude who isn’t even being charged with anything. one of them is dead and the other will probably never wake up from her coma. i just now got honked and swore at (by the driver of a car passing a car that was stopped for me) while coming home from the grocery store, which is nothing, but GODDAMNIT I AM SO PISSED OFF. actually it is not nothing–it is small-scale terrorism. fuck that; i will not be afraid.

7 Nov 2009, 11:20am
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beauty holds us together

in which science tells our brains what our souls already know.

also in which particle physics is seriously beautiful and looks a lot like a mandala (or many mandalas).

(you all know about ted.com, right?)

he quotes galileo as evidence that “this idea, that nature is described by mathematics, is not at all new”: “nature’s grand book, which stands continually open to our gaze, is written in the language of mathematics…” but, of course, right? and mathematics is also described by nature. there is nothing in us that hasn’t come from the earth. we are all connected:

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some more stuff about space-time, from the spell of the sensuous

“…Euclid implied by his various definitions and postulates that space itself could be conceived of as an entirely homogeneous and limitless three-dimensional continuum. The homogeneous character of Euclidean space was indicated, in particular, by his assertion that parallel straight lines, no matter how far they extended in either direction, will never meet. While this postulate holds true for a perfectly flat and featureless ideal space, the experienced world that we bodily inhabit is not so regular. Indeed, we now know that the sphericality of the earth itself–the very surface on which we dwell–confounds Euclid’s parallel postulate: two straightest-possible lines that start out parallel to each other on the curved surface of a sphere will eventually converge and cross, like meridians at the North Pole. That we still commonly envision the curved surface of the earth, with all of its local irregularities (its mountains and river valleys), to be embedded within a three-dimensional space quite lacking any curvature of its own, is exquisite testimony to the lasting influence of Euclidean conceptions. Euclid’s assumptions provided the classical basis for Western, scientific notions of space, from the Renaissance until the work of Albert Einstein, and even today the supposedly ‘commonsense’ experience remains profoundly under the influence of such assumptions.”

“Heidegger uses the term ‘horizon’ as a structural metaphor, a way of expressing the ecstatic nature of time. Just as the power of time seems to ensure that the perceivable moment is always open, always already unfolding beyond itself, so the distant horizon seems to hold open the perceivable landscape, binding it always to that which lies beyond it.
    ”The visible horizon, that is, [is] a kind of gateway or threshold, joining the presence of the surrounding terrain to that which exceeds this open presence, to that which is hidden beyond the horizon. This horizon carries the promise of something more, something other. Here we have made our first discovery: the way that other places–places not explicitly present within the perceived landscape–are nevertheless joined to the present landscape by the visible horizon. And so let us ask: it is possible that the realms we are looking for, the place of the past and that of the future, are precisely beyond the horizon?”

“That which has been and that which is to come are not elsewhere–they are not autonomous dimensions independent of the encompassing present in which we dwell. They are, rather, the very depths of this living place–the hidden depth of its distances and the concealed depth on which we stand.”

“It is evident, however, that when our awareness of time is joined with our awareness of space, space itself is transformed. Space is no longer experienced as a homogeneous void, but reveals itself as this vast and richly textured field in which we are corporeally immersed, this vibrant expanse structured by both a ground and a horizon. It is precisely the ground and the horizon that transform abstract space into space-time. And these characteristics–the ground and the horizon–are granted to us only by the earth. Thus, when we let time and space blend into a unified space-time, we rediscover the enveloping earth.”

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(i am not a scientist–yet–just an artist looking for ways to understand.)

6 Nov 2009, 3:23pm
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interactive strategies

i typed this up for my permaculture design group* ’cause we’re going to use consensus decision-making. it’s a handout (plus some notes) from the directing class at the cornerstone institute this summer that i thought would be useful and interesting to consider. it applies pretty widely i think, to all kinds of interpersonal and group interactions, so i thought i’d share it here.

*to earn our design certificates we are required to do a group project, usually a site design, over the course of the course. it may or may not be implemented–the design is the point, not the implementation–but we are designing for a real site, with a real client and all of that. my group is doing a design for kailash ecovillage.

summary of interactive strategies

collaboration (consensus):
equal emphasis is placed on the task or goals and the relationship between members of a conflict situation–the two sets of task goals are not seen as mutually exclusive–in fact, the approach taken is that the only acceptable problem solution is one that completely accomplishes both sets of goals because the relationship is important to both parties–a problem-solving orientation is used to confront differences.

appropriate uses:
–to gain commitment from others
–to learn more about others’ point of view
–to obtain input into best solution
–when neither set of goals can be compromised
–to work through bad feelings which have been interfering in a relationship
–in conception stages, when nothing is set
–when there is passion on both sides
–as a problem-solving technique
–when different elements are being integrated

compromise:
again, equal emphasis is placed on the task or goals and the relationships of the members of a conflict situation–now, however, rather than both sets of goals being completely achieved, each party will win and little and lose a little.

appropriate uses:
–to gain commitment from others
–to achieve temporary settlements to complex issues
–to achieve quick solutions under time pressure
–when resources are limited
–when damage/wounding has been done

accommodation:
greater emphasis is placed on the relationship than the task goals–the accommodation style involves giving in and submitting oneself to the goals of another in order to protect the relationship at the cost of personal objectives.

appropriate uses:
–when the issue is much more important to the other person than yourself
–to build up credits for later issues which are important to you
–when you realize you’re wrong, to allow a better position to be heard
–to show that you’re reasonable
–when continued competition would damage your cause when you’re losing
–when preserving harmony is equally important
–to develop team members by allowing them to experiment and learn from mistakes
–when you want to empower people and invite ownership of the process/project/product

domination:
greater emphasis is placed on the task or goal than relationships–winning at all costs becomes the most important consideration.

appropriate uses:
–when quick decisive action is vital (such as emergencies)
–on important issues where unpopular courses of action are needed
–on issues vital to company welfare when you know you’re right
–when you’re working with people who need leadership
–when personal safety is a concern
–when important values are at stake
–when you’re relied upon for vision

resignation:
emphasis is placed neither on the task nor the relationship–using this style, one gives up both in return for non-involvement.

appropriate uses:
–when the issue is trivial or when other issues are more pressing
–to let people cool down, to regain perspective and composure
–when there is absolutely no chance of satisfying your concerns and the potential damage of confronting a conflict outweighs the benefits of its resolution
–when safety and emotional well-being are a concern
–when compromise doesn’t work

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speaking of cornerstone–the other day i found, in the back of my planner, a folded-up sheet of paper–from a class in which we wrote words of wisdom, things we live by, etc, anonymously on a piece of paper, folded it up, tossed it into a pile in the center of the room, and picked up a different one–with the following words (along with some others) written on it:

“we lose things, and then we choose things. the choice may have been mistaken; the choosing was not.”

1 Nov 2009, 6:05pm
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happy halloween

for halloween:

i also taped a 25¢ plastic lobster to my cell phone à la the lobster telephone.

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a collaboration: