Recently my family and I drove to Mount Rainier for a long weekend of camping, and a long weekend of camping grime and dirty fingernails – it goes with the territory. The weather smiled upon us and the mountain proved itself as spectacular as ever. We encountered a lot of snow low on the mountain near Paradise which made for slippery, short-lived hikes with a seven-year-old and his ill-prepared parents, but it was nevertheless beautiful. Other trails at lower elevations were a delight to explore.
We stayed at a campground where wood smoke filtered through tall evergreen trees in the evening and the smell of camp food occasionally wafted through our area. All of this stirred my memories of hitting various campgrounds, mostly around Oregon, as a child with my family. And while there is nothing quite like snuggling up with your parents or siblings in a tent when you are a kid, there is also something magical about going to summer camp without the parental units around. Continue reading
Many Portlandians worry more about invasive plants than they do about undocumented immigrants. My yard is overrun with invasive plants. Since I never plant anything, this state of affairs is not entirely my fault. Somehow the invasives just got here. I have no doubt that their ancestors have lived here since before I was born.
But it certainly has gotten worse since I purchased the 1926 cottage in 1999.
My yard is not politically correct. With Oregon’s climate working against me–months of replenishing rain followed by a temperate summer season—the fallow winter yields to a spring onslaught of every non-indigenous chlorophyllian spawn that can cross a lot or be carried on the wind.
I’ve had estimates of three-to-five thousand dollars to remedy the situation. To whack everything down, uproot the roots, chemicals as needed, and start from square one. Some other expenditure always rises in priority. See, I like my politically incorrect yard, a mutant green and occasionally flowering jungle that looks the way something looks when nature, good and bad, takes over. Continue reading
Dale Robertson, the actor who made his name in television Westerns in the 1950s and ’60s, was born on July 14, 1923, in Harrah, Oklahoma, to Melvin and Varval Robertson. At the age of 17 while attending Oklahoma Military College he boxed in professional prize fights to earn money. In his junior year he was declared “ineligible” to play sports because of two professional boxing matches he had previously fought. As a result, he decided to enroll in the Oklahoma Military Academy in the city of Claremore where he was permitted to participate in sports. Dale went on to be nominated “All-Around Athlete” while attending the Academy.
Harry Cohn approached him after a fight in Wichita, Kansas and asked him to come out to Hollywood to play the role of Joe Bonaparte in a boxing picture called “Golden Boy.” Robertson declined, saying he was in the middle of training 17 polo ponies, and could not leave his family at his age. (William Holden eventually was cast in the Golden Boy (1939) role.) Continue reading
How long has it been since you have had fruit fresh off the tree? Tired of eating fruit from your local grocery that has no taste? Then you need to come to the Draper Girls Country Farm. Not only do they have a plethora of fresh fruits like, cherries, peaches, nectarines, and apricots, but also early summer vegetables. The best part is you can pick them yourself, or you can purchase them already in a basket, ready to take home.
The farm is beautifully landscaped and maintained with Mt. Hood in the background. Continue reading
Last year I wrote about Letterboxing as an enthralling treasure-hunt style activity and public library summer reading programs as methods to fill time and keep the edge on those nine months of education that your child just completed. I also consistently mention how much our children simply want to spend time with their parents. They don’t necessarily need a trip to Disneyland, Great Wolf Lodge or a Caribbean resort to make a happy memory with you. Instead, consider conserving what is in your wallet and instead go for these simple methods of spending time together without spending money.
Help your child start a lemonade stand. Continue reading
The Hood River County Fair, presented by Griffith Motors, returns Wednesday through Saturday, July 27-30. It’s a fun and traditional family-oriented county fair, that’s been named the “best in the state.” The fair is known for outstanding entertainment, fun activities for kids and adults, displays and exhibits, and food to please every taste. The scenic fairgrounds are at 3020 Wy’east Road, south of Hood River, near the community of Odell. Continue reading
Portland school superintendent Carole Smith announced her resignation this week after nine years on the job.
The next steps are predictable: The school board will conduct a national search for a successor and eventually sign someone to an expensive contract. After a short honeymoon, the new leader will sink into the bureaucratic quagmire and leave after a short and forgettable tenure.
Management experts know that if system results are disappointing, you need to change the system, not the people. The single most important change Portland could make would be to redesign how the money flows.
Right now, tax dollars go to school bureaucracies, regardless of results. Students are assigned to schools like widgets in a factory, and few families have a “Plan B” if they are unhappy. Continue reading
There she was. The love of my life. Of course, we were only in the 2nd grade, but I knew she was the one. I ran up to her swing and kissed her. Oh, the heaven’s exploded. Sadly, it didn’t go anywhere. She picked one of the other boys who kissed her.
I decided I wanted a more mature woman anyway. So, when I was in the 5th grade, I set my eyes on Sandy, the beautiful 8th grader. She was taller than me, so a kiss wasn’t likely. But one morning as I passed my sister’s dresser, I saw her bracelet. Suddenly the entire plan came together. At recess I gave the bracelet to Lonnie, my fearless friend, with the instructions to tell Sandy it was from me. The rest of the day flew by, daydreaming at my desk of life with Sandy…until Continue reading
The other day, Pauli called me. She lives in Marysville, WA. Her husband Dave passed away a little over a year ago. It’s hard to think of them without each other. They were a perfect balancing act and our dearest friends.
We met showing dogs and decided it would be more fun to travel to the same shows in our motor homes. We did this for many years. Dave lived well into his 90’s and Pauli is now in her 80’s. Her last Pekingese dog died on Dave’s last birthday. To say we love them both is almost an understatement. Pauli can tell a joke like no other. And, Dave’s penchant for talking politics and riling up someone standing near was legendary. Continue reading
The first version of “Yankee Doodle” is generally attributed to a British army physician, Dr. Richard Schuckberg, during the French and Indian War. It was a satiric look at New England’s Yankees. According to one story, Shuckburgh wrote the song after seeing the appearance of Colonial troops under Colonel Thomas Fitch, V, the son of Connecticut Governor Thomas Fitch. It is believed that the tune comes from the nursery rhyme Lucy Locket.
“Brother Ephraim sold his cow
And bought him a commission
And then he went to Canada
To fight for the nation;
But when Ephraim,
he came home Continue reading