Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Brad's been using his new toy to document this year's Garden Party. We planted three weeks ago, and things are already looking up. Check out our progress!

Week 1:
Week 2:
Week 3:
We'll keep updating :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Solstice Stupidity 2010!

Last year, someone (Tim!) got the bright idea that we should hike the entire 30.25-mile Wildwood Trail in one day on summer solstice. It was epic! Wanting to keep up the Solstice Stupidity tradition, we tried to plan something equally epic for June 2010.

Unfortunately, for various reasons, our numbers dwindled and the very late snowpack kept us from coming up with a great plan. So the few of us left over decided to go backpacking... an easy 5ish-mile hike into Serene Lake outside Estacada. Not very stupid, but pleasant. Boy, were we wrong... it ended up being very stupid!

I swear by William L. Sullivan guide books. The book we used for Serene Lake was not a Sullivan book... big mistake. First, directions to the trailhead seemed very clear in the description, but in reality, we had to stop several times on the Forest Service roads in to check maps and GPS. We guessed and luckily ended up where we needed to be.

It was cloudy, cold and drizzly, but Sarah, Tyler, Brad and I were finally ready to go:
We found the trailhead but were immediately thrown off course at a fork because both sides were covered with so much running water that we thought they were creeks instead of trails. We chose the wrong side and later ended up bushwhacking to cut over to the other trail. Because it was basically one giant mushy marsh with creeks running throughout, it was very difficult to know where to go. We'd catch sight of trail sections and know we were on the right track... at least on some track. We spotted a sign next to the "trail":
Once we gained a little elevation, the wet, marshy trail turned to snow. We might have been the first hikers of the season to tackle the not-yet-ready trail because we saw no other boot prints. We got lost a couple times, having to turn around and head different directions. We don't have photos of this snowy section because Brad's hands were busy with the map, compass and GPS! Since we were just guessing our way up the trail, we were thrilled each time we'd see a downed tree that was cut with a chainsaw or an old blaze on a tree ... sure signs that we'd stumbled across a piece of the real trail. But they were few and far between.

We did spot these really cool things (presumably a fungus of some sort) growing on dead branches and logs. I'd never seen them before. Some were tiny and others were as big around on the bottom as quarters. They were squishy but didn't just mush if touched. I called them gummies... like little fruit snacks. Don't worry... I didn't eat any. Do you know what they are??
We finally reached the lake, and Tyler decided to go for a dip. Keep in mind, it was about 40 degrees outside, we were at 4,300 feet, there was snow on the banks of the lake and we didn't have a campfire.
All the way in:
We had the whole lake to ourselves as we ate yummy dehydrated backpacking food and took in our surroundings.
It poured all night, and we woke Sunday to wet tents and more fog and rain. On the wet, snowy hike in, the waterproofing failed on our boots (aside from Tyler, who had warm, dry feet the whole weekend!). Mine were so soaked that they squished with each step. But we pressed on, putting our feet back in the cold, wet boots for the hike out. Yuck.
Hiking out was a bit less challenging but was still an adventure. We mostly followed our own bootpack through the snow and tried to follow the real trail through the marsh/creek area:
Toward the end, Sarah and I gave up on trying to walk around the trail, which in some spots had 4-6 inches of water running down it, little whitewater, standing waves and tiny waterfalls . Our boots were already soaked, so we just splashed down the trail. It was very freeing and fun!
Our "after" photo:
The wet weather provided some good waterfalls along the road:
We stopped at Carver Hangar for a well-earned dinner of burgers and fries/tots.
I LOVE this picture as we waited for our food:
Our little hike turned into another memorable Solstice Stupidity! I can't wait to see what next year brings :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Weekly Wednesday: Mariners vs Cubbies

Eryn and I are still working, but we used some comp time this week to kick off Weekly Wednesdays (actually, Thursday)!!! We drove to Seattle to see the Mariners vs Cubbies businessmen's special.
View of the city from our nose-bleed seats:
There were TONS of Cub fans in the park, including Mom, who learned to love Chicago while watching WGN when we first got cable TV back in the day.
My rally monkey really enjoyed the game:
The game went 13 innings before the Cubs finally won. Good for Mom, bummer for me. Eryn loves both teams and was going to be happy either way.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Adopt-a-highway project

During the last days of school, our CE2 students spent one morning on our adopt-a-highway project, picking up trash along 2 miles of Highway 99W in Tigard. While my other duties at THS prevented me from helping, Sue and Andy timed the field trip so I could drive out and visit... and snap some photos:

Thursday, June 17, 2010


The area outside CE2 and my computer lab is less than beautiful. There's a cage with a gas meter and another cage with some AC units. There's also this strange triangle of dirt. Students and staff coming from the main building get to walk by it every day - yuck.

Christian, our Cascade Education Corps crew leader extraordinaire, decided one day to beautify the space. He organized a CE2 volunteer work party to amend the soil, add native plants and bark the small plot.
Now, a couple months later, the space looks amazing! Maybe someday the plants will grow up and cover the big cage...
Thanks to Christian and crew for making our space so much more attractive!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Heading to prison...

My super-creeper former boss, "Jeff Alan", pleaded guilty Monday to three felony charges, including using an incorrect Social Security number, making false statements to a federally insured bank and wire fraud against the Oregon Employment Department for collecting unemployment benefits while working.

The plea deal proposes a 15-month prison term and five years of probation. "Alan" would also pay restitution of no more than $47,938, a fine of $10,000 and $300 in court costs.

Click HERE to read today's Oregonian update. The story is so bizarre that it would be unbelievable as a Hollywood film script. Click HERE for more juicy details.



It takes a village to plant a garden

We finally planted our community garden this weekend. The horribly wet weather has us about a month behind, along with most other gardeners around here. But we finally gathered Sunday evening for our first Garden Party of the season. We had good food, reconnected with old friends, met new people and got our starts and seeds in the ground.
What a lovely day to play in the dirt! Now grow, little seeds, grow!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Jamming with my gal pals

It's Oregon strawberry season... and that means it's time to make jam!! Sarah and Lindsey came over Saturday night to turn this:
into this:
Lindsey was our official photographer and captured the fun:
Mashing, mashing, mashing:
Tasting, tasting, tasting:
Lindsey's freezer is still full from last year, so she decided to make flan instead. It was very good!
Can't wait for the blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, marionberries, nectarines, cherries, etc, etc, etc to be in season!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Congrats class of 2010!

The THS Class of 2010 graduated Friday night from Tiger Stadium - YAY! Thankfully, the weather was a bit chilly but DRY! Faculty and staff are encouraged to robe up and walk with the students to show our support. I wouldn't miss it! Someone snapped this photo of us after the ceremony:
Mom was the speaker, chosen by the senior class. Her speech was wonderful -- loved by all! Eryn and I helped stand and seat each line of students as they went to the stage to receive their diploma covers. After the ceremony, staff members make a "tunnel" that all the graduates walk through on their way out. It gives an amazing opportunity for high-fives, hugs, handshakes and lots of smiles and congratulations.

What a great night :)