13 June 2007

Grizzly Man and Grisly Men

We went to OMSI to see Bodyworlds, the controversial exhibit of partially-dissected and "plastinated" bodies, the day after it opened. I thought it was beautifully done and emotionally affecting as well as educational. I hadn't known, for instance, that the left lung is considerably smaller than the right, with only two lobes. That's how they get the heart to fit in; duh.

There's nothing grisly, really, about these men (and a few women). But we'd seen Werner Herzog's bizarre and wonderful film Grizzly Man a couple of days before, and I couldn't resist the juxtaposition.

Now that Jer and I are both retired, several days can go by without any official obligations on the calendar. That makes the moderately "busy" times seem downright hectic by comparison. Here's some of what's been going on the last week and a half:

A Willamette River cruise on the sternwheeler Rose with Mike Houck, Bob Sallinger, a bunch of Portland Audubon members, plus some politicos and media people. Mike is co-author of Wild in the City and the go-to guy, locally, for urban ecology issues and the politics associated therewith. Bob is deeply involved in preserving the peregrine falcon population, especially the families that roost on and under the bridges of Portland. The focus of our trip was Ross Island, which may or may not become a city-managed park/wildlife preserve. We saw a bald eagle nesting, several ospreys, and two or three great blue heron nests, one with four young in it. It was a glorious day on the river, and a perfect way to celebrate Great Blue Heron Week (the heron is Portland's official city bird). Here's Mike doing, perhaps, his Great Blue Heron impression.

A Slow Food potluck in the wilds of North Portland. Once again, a location that looked remote and improbable on the map turned out to be a charming pocket o' Portland that we wouldn't have dreamed existed, less than 20 minutes away. About a dozen people attended, all smart, articulate, progressive, and passionate about food. One woman turned out to be an acquaintance from Sea Ranch whom -- this is going to sound so jet-setty -- we last ran into in Athens, at the Acropolis. (Coincidentally, our friends Rich and Dean, whom we were traveling with at the time, are visiting Portland now; we spent last evening with them.) We're going to try to do these potlucks monthly; everybody had such a good time. And of course all the food was delicious.

A walking tour of midcentury modern architecture, including buildings on the Reed campus and homes in the adjacent Reedwood neighborhood. The outing was one in a series of walks sponsored by the city transportation department; the idea is to get us out of our cars and onto our feet or bikes. It was semi-interesting, although many of the buildings struck me as undistinguished and occasionally even tacky. Gerrie and Steve, who live in their own mid-century modern, walked with us, and Gerrie did a great job with photos and descriptions of some of the better stuff.

The Northwest Quilters annual show downtown, near Portland State. I entered two older pieces, A Few New Sushi (Like, I Know Sushi) and Bamboo IV. I made Sushi for my California guild's challenge, "Something Fishy," several years ago. It also fit this year's challenge theme, "It's What's for Dinner," so I figured why not. Bamboo IV is the latest in a series inspired by the calligraphy of Toko Shinoda; I worked on it during a semester-long workshop with Jeannette Meyer, and it was juried into last year's OCAC student show.

The Columbia Stitchery Guild exhibit at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center. The show runs through next weekend. I'll refer you to Terry's and Gerrie's blogs for photos and more complete descriptions. Two of my pieces are on display. One, Occasional Sunbreaks, looks great. The other, Crop Circles, doesn't. It looked fine pinned to my design wall. But suspended from a hanging rod, the lovely hand-dyed wool sags where it's not heavily quilted, and the merciless overhead lighting emphasizes each bump and wrinkle. Oh well.

A house concert in NE featuring our friend Zoe Kaplan and three other talented young singer-songwriter-musicians. This is a monthly series that's been going on for several years. The ticket price ($25) includes an ample and well-prepared buffet dinner. We've been to several, but this was the first one that Libbi and David were able to attend; it was good to see them there, to hear Zoe perform again, and to meet some more nice people.

Dinner with our Sea Ranch friends Dean and Rich, and their Portland friends Juanita and Dale, who live just a few minutes from us. It turned into a small birthday celebration for Juanita; Dale's son Tony and his fiancee Amy showed up, as well as an old family friend. Everyone was delightful company, the food was terrific, and the conversation flowed like wine, which also flowed. We'd missed Rich and Dean a lot, and it was great to spend time with them and their old friends.

The next couple of weeks are also studded with events and obligations, including -- oh joy -- jury duty. Sometimes I worry about becoming one of those old ladies for whom postal delivery is the high point of the day: "Oh look, the mail's come!" But I don't think I'm at that point quite yet.

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