A nice swim

Yesterday we took Barley for an early swim at Cathedral Park. He was delighted and could sense what was going to happen even before we got to the water. Thrilled, he lunged in over and over after his tennis ball toy. There was a brief threat from another dog, but Barley decided an aging, three-legged Weimaraner wasn’t going to take his ball, and he returned to frolicking in the river. The rest of us enjoyed the trip too, though the river is colder than we all expected, likely due to the high volume of water and source.

Playing under the St. John’s bridge was pretty fun too. It’s such a lovely fixture on the river.

Playing in the river at Cathedral Park

Radon Free… mostly

We got our radon test back over the weekend and our current radon level is less than 0.4 pC/L, well below the 4 pC/L that the EPA’s action level. That’s great news for us since we dropped a bit of money on radon mitigation, and it means we can breathe deeply downstairs now. Basement is almost done too. More pictures soon, I swear.

Sunday Parkway

One upside to Ella having croup and our camping trip getting cut short is that we were able to take part in the Sunday Parkway event in North Portland today. After some early morning errands, we got on bikes and rode over to Peninsula park to meet for a led “family ride.”

The park was chaos, in the good way. Bicyclists and pedestrians were everywhere, and despite the early morning drizzle, people were out and enjoying themselves. We followed the led ride for about 3/4 of a mile before realizing the slow pace and the volatile nature of a sick daughter meant we wouldn’t finish the ride before nap time. Michelle and I sped up and enjoyed the route with other random people, all of whom seemed rather happy.

Seeing so many people on bikes warms my heart. This was the biggest crowd I’d seen since STP, but without all the stupid outfits and misplaced competitiveness. We wound through NoPo on many of the same streets I’ve been riding with Ella the past few weeks, but she didn’t mind because she’d fallen asleep. We cut the route a bit short though and retired home for lunch and a proper nap.

I really enjoyed the event, but I’m not sure how it worked for other folks. One of the ideas was to get folks out on the street who were otherwise intimidated by traffic. I never get tired of cars having to wait for me while I cross major arterials, but I’ll be interested to see how other folks felt about the event.

Michelle on the Family Ride Cooped up with Croup Interstate Bridge crossing

Ella’s first camping trip

Back in April, we scrapped a camping trip with my parents because it was 50F and raining. We thought it would make for a miserable first camping trip for Ella to be stuck in the volkswagen for two days. So, after aligning all our schedules (Hilary’s too) we picked this weekend. My parents, Ella and Barley went over to Nehalem Bay State Park on Friday morning, and Michelle, Hilary and I met up with them after work.

3 minutes after we arrived, Ella vomited twice. She’d woken up with a cough that morning, but was fine until around 4pm, when she started to slow down. She perked up a little after some tylenol, so we stayed the night, and it went fairly well considering. She didn’t vomit again, but woke up 3 separate times with the saddest, most haunting vibrato crying I’ve ever heard. But after 3 interruptions, we all fell back to sleep for about 4-5 hours.

The day was quite nice, though overcast and cool. We had a great breakfast then rode our bikes in to Manzanita for coffee and more children’s tylenol. The town has changed quite a bit since our first visit in 2002, but it’s still a charming place. After returning to camp, we ate lunch and goofed around a bit while Ella got a much needed nap. We tried some kite flying, reading, and relaxing.

The campground is about 1.5 miles south of town and is really pretty swank. We happened to be there at the same time as a Winnebago View/Itasca Navion Rally, so there was this erie twilight zone feeling because all the campers there were the same. Nice folk though, and they were quiet, so there were really no complaints.

After Ella’s nap, her coughing had gotten worse, and our prospects for a rougher night convinced us to head home after dinner. I know sounds like all we did was eat, but that’s a pretty important part of camping, isn’t it?

Having a physician for a father has it’s benefits, so we knew that it was in fact croup that she was afflicted with and how to deal with it. She sounded pretty rough for most of the weekend, and it was clear that she was in pain when coughing at times. Luckily, the tylenol and ibuprofen allowed her to enjoy herself and she would go from being morose and in pain to her busy self in cycles throughout the day.

Despite the illness, camping again seems promising. She was kind of confused by the whole sleeping bag thing, but we’ll get it down. I didn’t take any pictures because my camera was in Michelle’s purse, and I kept forgetting to retrieve it. Luckily, my mom, dad, and sister all had their cameras.

When can I eat raw tomatoes again?

The CDC has a list of safe tomatoes available. Oregon is absent from the list. My garden isn’t producing tomatoes yet, and salads are kind of boring. Plus, today is the Interstate Farmer’s Market, and I’d like to make some caprese salad. When do we get the OK? Is it safe to get locally grown toms?

I’ve had salmonella before, and I’m quite wary of having it again. Last time my appendix was taken out because the pain I had was symptomatic of appendicitis. After it was removed and I wasn’t any better, it was discovered that I had salmonella. Imagine a moose standing on one hoof on your stomach. That’s what it felt like.

Eagle Creek

Yesterday Ella and I joined several friends (Joe, Lindsay, John, Jim & Rachel) for a hike up Eagle Creek. It’s a spectacular trail that’s really quite easy. It’s also very close to Portland and it was a nice day, so it was clear that it wasn’t an original idea. But the weather was so nice and no one really wanted to stop, so we hiked all the way up to Tunnel Falls before finally turning back. Round trip was about 14 miles and Ella did incredibly well in the backpack for such a long trip. I think the view along the trail, which is constantly interesting, was enough to maintain her enjoyment. (She didn’t get a sunburn either)

Here are some photos. My shoulders are sore.

No more shuttle

My employer’s free shuttle service ended yesterday for the summer. I’m not sure how much money I’ve saved this last year by taking the shuttle, but it’s been a treat to not have to think about traffic, car maintenance or filling up. All that reality is about to set in again if I don’t figure out some alternative mode of transport.

Return to Forever

The set of the show

As a sort-of-Father’s day present, my dad took me to see Return to Forever last night at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. I don’t expect that most people would like the show – fusion jazz is really not for everyone, and really, there’s lots and lots of bad music in the genre. However, Return to Forever is one of the three major groups from the genre that are truly amazing. I was raised on Chick Corea in one form or another, and I still listen to him with some frequency. He’s innovative, unique, sometimes overly complicated, but always interesting. Last night’s set was all of the above, but really, really amazing.

Normally when you see a live song that lasts 25 minutes, and you’re not stoned, you get a little bored. The way these four play prevents that from happening because unlike rock, there are somewhere between 10 and 30 timing changes and such complex interplay between musicians that your brain joyfully tries to keep up.

The musicians all seemed to be equally in love with the audience and we were with them and it made for a really fun show. They played for over 3 hours with a short break – and had both an electric and an acoustic set. I’m a big fan of the bass guitar, and Stanley Clark is amazing. While his playing was stellar, his solo on the upright base was moving. There were elements I’ve heard elsewhere, but his entire solo was unique and haunting. I hope I remember even 1/4 of it.

Seen: Cedar Waxwing

4 birds landed on the garage roof. They were dullish brown when I first looked from the computer screen to see them. When my eyes focused, I noticed bright yellow piping around their eyes. Cedar Waxwings! I don’t think I’ve seen any since living in Wyoming. I couldn’t get to a camera fast enough.

They are such classy birds, at least to look at. My neighbor says they have incredibly fast digestive systems and to never stand under them.