Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Novelty Has Worn Off

Day 358/366: Close-up of Demure Snow Lady

This is possibly the most elegant and serene snow person I've ever seen. All this snow* doesn't seem to bother her one little bit. I have to say that for me the novelty has officially worn off.

I am supposed to be flying to Chicago tomorrow. My flight leaves at about 11:30 AM, but I am going to have to leave the house at about 8:00 AM to make sure I get to the airport in time. Normally, the airport is a 10-minute drive from our house. However, I'm going to have to take public transportation there because our car is sealed into the garage by snow, we don't have a snow shovel, and even if we did I really don't think it's safe to drive. Normally I'd be fine with taking public transportation. There's a bus stop right around the corner that goes straight to a MAX station that goes straight to the airport. However, the bus I'd normally take isn't running and the train I'd normally take isn't running either, so I have to have to take a circuitous route on two unfamiliar bus routes and then get on the train way the hell out at a different transit center. And who knows if the buses will even show up?

Also, who knows if after all that slogging around from pillar to post in the unshoveled snow with a heavy bag slung over my shoulder my flight will be leaving at all? I could well get to the airport and find that in the interim between leaving my house and finally arriving at the airport my flight has been canceled. The weather is supposed to be shite tomorrow both here** and in Chicago.***

Grouse, grumble, gripe, whine, and whinge!

*Fourteen to sixteen inches in my neighborhood.
**Snow and freezing rain.
***Snow, freezing rain, sleet, and wind chill dipping to minus 10 Fahrenheit.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hunker Down!

Fire and Ice
Originally uploaded by Rozanne.
So much more snow has fallen since I took this photo around noon today. Plus, winds have kicked up and the temperature has dropped to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Much more of this weather is on the way: snow, freezing rain, ice pellets, sleet, the full range of wintry mix. Hunker, hunker, hunker, I say!!!!

And yet, I was out there walking around, as were many other hunched hooded figures and frolicking dogs. Some people were getting around on X-C skis. More people were out driving than should have been and only about 1 in 10 had chains on their tires. A few streets--the ones that go straight downhill--were closed off and people were attempting to slide down them on trash can lids. These were adults.

I hope the mailman I saw who was wearing shorts* isn't still out there.


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Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Love Clarity

I Love Clarity
Originally uploaded by Rozanne.
One inch of snow is enough to almost shut down Portland completely and to trigger 24/7 weather coverage on local TV stations.

But I, being of hearty Midwestern stock, bundled up and went out for a walk. After all, I've gone out for a walk every day for the past 348 days, so I'm not going to let subfreezing temps, snow, and gusty winds screw up my record.

The best thing I saw today was this car. I was all ready to take a photo of it when a guy who looked like Dennis Hopper (Apocalypse Now phase) stepped out of a nearby house and said something to me. I prefer not to be observed when taking photos (I don't know why), so I felt that I had to somehow explain myself and that I'd better get Dennis's "permission," even though I didn't know if it was even his car.

He told me to "go for it," so I did. Then I asked him if "Clarity" referred to a person named Clarity or the concept. He said it could be either, and then went to get a case of beer out of another car. He wasn't wearing a coat or a hat, but he did have a head band on.

Anyway, this snow scrawl is pretty good, but not nearly as hilariously juvenile as the one I saw the last time we had a big snow.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Lot on My Mind

Day 337/366: Snails on the Brain

My latest obsessions, in no particular order:

I cannot get enough Bach lately: Johann Sebastian, Carl Philipp Emanuael, Johann Christian--even the only modestly talented Wilhelm Friedemann. I'm really going for baroque. My absolute favorite thing that I've been listening to constantly for the past couple of weeks are J.S. Bach's Toccatas and Fugues for organ. They are so BIG and HUGE and GIGANTIC, although they need to be heard in a cathedral, if at all possible, for maximum effect. I am working on figuring out how I can do that, given that I live in Portland, Oregon. We don't have any real cathedrals in Portland, but I've gone so far as to put the newsletter for the First Presbyterian Church (the closest thing we've got to a cathedral in Portland; they seem to have the most impressive organ in town) on my Google Reader, so the moment they post any news of a concert featuring the king of instruments, I can pounce on tickets. Until then I have a 16-CD boxed set of Bach's complete organ (German: orgel) works from the library I can listen to nonstop. I am, in fact, listening to one of them right now (Toccata and Fugue in F major, if you must know). Organist: E. Power Biggs. How can you play any instrument other than organ if your name is E. Power Biggs? I ask you.

The U.S. Presidency
Now that we are finally going to have a decent human being as president, I've been wondering: Is George W. Bush really the worst president ever, as so many people are always saying? I think it may be safe to say he's the worst (depending on how you define "worst") in my lifetime, but I've been reading a bunch of books on the presidents, notably Hail to the Chiefs: Presidential Mischief, Morals, and Malarkey from George W. to George W. and Failures of the Presidents: from the Whiskey Rebellion and War of 1812 to the Bay of Pigs and War in Iraq, just so I feel like I can make an informed judgment about just how bad Bush is. I mean, I know almost nothing about Millard Fillmore or Chester A. Arthur or Rutherford B. Hayes. Who does?

Let me tell you, there have some real duds in charge of the United States and at least one "amiable dunce."* It's a wonder this country ever became a world power, given the quality of its early leadership. I'm not very far along (only up to Franklin Pierce, "the hero of many a well-fought bottle"), but I think the worst one I've encountered so far is, not surprisingly, Andrew "Trail of Tears" Jackson. I've always wondered why the heck that guy is on money.

Disembodied Heads
This obsession was foisted upon me by the fact that almost every day for the past week, I've encountered a disembodied head like this, this, or this while walking around Portland minding my own business. I wasn't even looking for them; I just happened to encounter them. There are more disembodied heads in Portland than one might think, especially in the Cully Neighborhood. No idea why.

Also, there are way more disembodied heads than disembodied hands. I've only seen one of these.

Day 333/366: Hello from Below!


*Ronald Reagan

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