Monday, January 18, 2016

Envisioning a World That Has Never Existed

"In every age, no matter how cruel the oppression carried on by those in power, there have been those who struggled for a different world. I believe this is the genius of humankind, the thing that makes us half divine: the fact that some human beings can envision a world that has never existed." 
- Ann Braden, Activist

This weekend, we had the chance to work with volunteers and organizations who are brave enough, creative enough, and maybe crazy enough to envision a community center where a strip club previously stood. This location, once associated with prostitution, human trafficking, and money laundering, is on its way to being a force for good in the neighborhood. It's still a work in progress, but the team of nonprofits is determined that this building will be a source of economic development for its community. The first tenant, a locally-owned taqueria, just opened its doors. And on Saturday, we ripped out the last remnants of the Safari Room. Smashing stuff never felt so good.

Feeling humbled, daunted, and inspired as we work toward realizing the world envisioned by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
"No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

...and a Happy New Year!

My New Year's Eve celebrations over the last decade have ranged from greeting midnight surrounded by thousands of people singing at a conference to falling asleep at 11pm, waking up at 12:30 to mumble "Happy New Year," and promptly going back to bed (that was last year). On December 29th of this year, we decided to host a low-key fire pit + snacks + games NYE shindig, and ended up having a great time with a fabulous group of people. I was so busy laughing, sipping mulled cider-wine, and happily freezing around the midnight fire pit that I failed to take pictures of that lovely evening. 

The festivities continued to the next day, when we were joined by good friends for what was our second annual New Year's Day Forest Park Hike (this year, Ridge Trail). It was still chilly (see frozen waterfall below), but the sun was out, and we Oregonians - from California, Michigan, Kentucky, Spain, and yes, Oregon - couldn't have been happier after the deluge of the last month. 

Yes, that says "Vegan Gnomes" - I didn't spot any on the trail, but they are notoriously skittish.

About five seconds after this picture was taken, Chris put his foot through the ice while conducting a science experiment (the experiment being, what will happen if I put my foot on this ice?).

All of our favorite mountains were out in full view, right behind our favorite Portland Bridge. Couldn't ask for a better way to welcome 2016!

A Very Cool Christmas...

This Christmas was marked by an abundance of good food, good coffee, and good times with family and friends in what felt like a short-but-sweet trip home. We explored new trails, read old letters from high school boyfriends, and played lots of fetch. It was the most relaxing holiday season I can remember, and I'm so grateful for that time of rest and just getting to hang out with my family. 

Native fauna - some of whom are more cooperative models than others

We checked out the Cronan Ranch Trails Park, which is just down the highway. With time, age, and distance, I'm better able to appreciate the beauty of the foothills, and this park is a great way to do it.

And continuing that theme: what a surprise to find out that The River is now a state park: Auburn State Recreation Area!

And finally, a fire pit for a very cool night - with some extra magic thrown in. A perfect last evening!