Monday, October 18, 2010

Journeys continue with Single Steps

The past week was filled with activity that ended with our metaphorically appropriate sun-blessed "Out of the Darkness" fundraising walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention which we walked in Dianna's memory.

About 800 people participated and took a 3 mile stroll along Waterfront Park past Saturday Market, across the railroad deck of the Steel Bridge, along the Eastback Esplanade and back across the Hawthorne Bridge all in less than 90 minutes. The local chapter of the AFSP raised over $50k and Team Dianna is on track to exceed $2k with donations still being accepted through year end. It was sobering to see such a long line of people of all ages who are walking a similar path with me. Judy & Sophia came up with the idea and I think I can speak for Judy, Sophia, Linda U, Rick, LeeLa, and Linda C in saying we're all glad we took part.

On Monday it was time for the first of our monthly "Boys Night Out for Burgers" in which an intrepid group of carnivores attempt to "weigh in" on Willamette Week's assessment of the best burgers in Portland. Our initial adeventure involved Ted, Rick, Frank, Owen, and me and after a failed effort at Tasty & Sons in NE we ended up at Metrovino, the #1 choice. We agreed "The King is Dead" as we weren't wowed by the $13 burger. I'm ready to write in the "Three Square Grill" offering.

Tuesday I went over to celebrate Brenda and Wayne's marriage with Merry & Eamonn, and Wayne's son Jake and got do see photo documentation of the Belknap festivities. They headed to Maui Thursday morning for 2 weeks of Maui Wowie...

Wednesday was "An Iliad" at PCS with Meg and we both though it was a powerful anti-war piece. It was a one man performance where he assumed the role of "The Poet" and reflected in detail on the Trojan War but refereced the hundred wars since.

Thursday I had lunch with Carrie, a former condo neighbor and fellow Stanford grad who teaches yoga and as part of the development of the "new" me, I wanted to explore the possibilities of some yoga classes. We had an enjoyable discussion and will continue it after I return form my upcoming Stanford adventures.

With colder weather approaching, I've been thinking of replacing the defective fireplace in the condo and saw some adds for some good deals. I talke to NW Natural on Friday and went out to NE 142nd on Saturday where Rick & I conviently had scheduled a round at Glendoveer. I liked what I saw and picked a modest model which should get installed in the next few weeks and I can start my version of "Fireside Chats". We had a beautiful day for golf and were a combined 1 under par through 6 holes before I started to falter. Rick ended up with a 37-40 and I had a 39-45 so I took my ad off Craiglist to sell my clubs...

Saturday was a fundraiser for the American Friends Society (Quakers) Peace & Justice Group courtesy of Rick Seifert at Artist's Rep for a performance of "The Hillsboro Story", a fascinating tale of a a small Ohio town's reaction tot the 1954 Brown V Board of Education decision ushering in begrudging desegregation as remembered by an 8 year old. It was told through the efforts of a cast of 4 actresses who played all the parts and the author was present as the main character. The had a talkback with the audience afterwards which was illuminating. It plays for a few more weeks and I highly recommend it.

Sunday for the 2nd week in a row, I took Dave & Mary to the SE Portland Self Realization Fellowship which is based on the teachings of Parmahansa Yogananda. thought that was a great way to prepare myself for the walk as I know Dianna had enjoyed her visits there. Judy picked up and we made it down in time for our 2:OO walk..

I'll leave Thursday for my Stanford Reunion and am really looking forward to reconnecting with a lot of folks. I'll return to Portland Sunday much like I did 35 years ago, unsure of what the future holds, but optomistic none the less. I'll at least retuen with a new Stanford hat...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Out of the Darkness"

On Sunday a group of us will be partipating in a fund-raising walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's "Out of the Darkness" event in downtown Portland. Judy & Sophia proposed outr involvement and we have been overwhelmed by the support and contributions "TEAM DIANNA" has received. There is no cost to join us on the walk from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM (walking is only about 3 miles from the Portland Marriott to the Steel Bridge, along the EastBank Esplanade, and back across the Hawthorne Bridge which should be about a 90 minute stroll)

Details are included in this link...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything

Fans of Douglas Adam's 1970's classic, "Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy" will remember the ultimate answer to the ultimate question was... 42, or for those binarially predisposed, 101010.

As I have been in the process of searching for meaning, this feels like a good theme, particularly today. The last dozen days have been an interesting exploration of the new landscape I'm encountering. Wednesday September 29th marked the start of Portland Center Stages new season and the first play was "Sunset Boulevard", an ironic title due to my regular travels uo SW Sunset Blvd to SW Sunset Drive. ( in an odd postsript to today, a small plane made a sucessful emergency landing on the Robert Gray Middle School field at 7:00 PM tonight, a 100 yards from my Susnet house..) I have a 10 play package of 2 seats for this season in our newly requested 2nd row ccenter, so I decided to initiate what I'm calling.. "Mystery Date with Mike", a program to encourafe me to get out and about on a regular basis. I plan on buying at least two tickets to all events and then cajole someone into attending with me. For Sunset Boulevard, I asked Jim T., who was Dianna's prom date in high school and the reason Dianna stopped me at our 20th reunion, as she thought I might have his number. As expected for a guy born 411, I'm the right guy to call for information, the more obscure the better. Jim lives in the Pearl so I grabbed pizza at Hot Lips and we dined on his balcony and then walked over to enjoy the classic play.

The weekend brought Ted's annual Tokatee golf classic so we headed up Friday morning for 3 days of golf, food, fun, freindship. We had perfect fall weather and after starting with a 42!, I slipped to a 46 and went into rapid decline the rest of the weekend. Rick drove up for the day and we partnered with Dave K. to win a scramble although my only contribution was with my putter. Some of us went to Belknap Hot Springs afterward on Saturday which was especially poignant for me due to Dianna's family's strong bond with the place and many fond memories. This time last year Dianna, Gail, and Merry were up celebrating Merry's birthday and visited us, and today Brenda & Wayne got married there with Merry & Eamonn in attendance. After soaking we returned to watch half of a good football game with the second half being complete domination of Stanford by the Ducks. Saturday morning I contributed "Dutch Babies " for breakfast and Ted BBQ's some brisket with corn, scalloped potatoes, and a chocolate torte rounding out the meal. Sunday saw me struggle to break 100 while Ted shot his best round ever, an 81, so moods of the participants ran the gamut. I drove my car back since one of Ted's friend needed a way down after a delayed plane connection, so I used the opportunity to visit Sean and switch cars so I could register the Honda in Portland. We had dinner and then I headed back home in the approaching rain to prepare for a new week.

Monday night I received the sad news that my Stanford girlfriend's son had passed away from an inoperable brain tumor after a courageous and inspired 10 month fight. His sister had blogged about the journey... ( ) and I had written how inspired I felt many who be who read the story of how the family dealt with this, and then in July wrote that I was drawing strength and encouragement for my own journey from their example, including the value of blogging about it.) Her husband is a classmate of mine and I hope a have a chance to briefly connect with them in 2 weeks when I go down to my reunion.

Saturday was Evan's 23rd birthday and Merry followed on Tuesday, but I didn't get a chance to connect until later in the week. Merry and I had dinner on Thusday at City Thai and Evan and I finally connected by phone on the weekend. Sean switched cars back Tuesday night and we ate quickly before he had to head back down to work a 9:00 show. He's been spending a lot of time in the studio, as a member of his Hawaiian friend's ukulele band and an album is forthcoming and maybe a trip to the NY Ukulele Festival.

Wednesday I had tickets to see the Cowboy Junkies at the Aladdin and invited Shannon, a family friend who knocked on the door 30 years ago as a 14 year old and asked to wheel Sean around the block in an old leather perambulator. She had just moved back to Portland with her 6 year old son after losing her husband nine months ago to overmedication following surgery. We had talked once before and compared notes but this was just a chance to enjoy some music and company in a safe environment. We ate at the Berlin Inn nearby which she enjoyed since her Swiss husband had enjoyed many Swiss/German recipes. The concert was enjoyable and it was a balmy fall night so it made for a nice evening. The weather continued to hold the next night so Rick & I hit the tennis court for the second week in a row for some polite tennis. Now that we're getting in the groove, the weather is turning, but we're hoping for one more good week.

Friday was another concert, this time with Anita at a new venue in NE Portland, the Alberta Rose, to see Tracy Grammer. I went over to fix Anita's computer and we ate over there at Applebees while traffic died down since doors didn't open until 7:30 for an 8:30 show. Lucy Kaplansky opened and then Tracy Grammer performed. She and Dave Carter were an amazing fold duo who met in the late 1990's and performed together until his sudden death after a jog while they were on tour in New England in mid 2002. She spent 20 minutes sharing what is was like to lose a soul mate and described her on-going process of recovery which I felt was spoken directly to me and than sanf "The Verdant Mile" which she wrote just after his death. I've always appreciated good song-writing and storytelling and she provided a great performance. Speaking of songwriters, Rick and I have tickets for Lightfoot in November..

Saturday was intended to be a gold day, but I awoke to rain and canceled the outing with Denny and Rick. I dealt with some of my domestic duties and then aught portions of the Pac 10 football games. Rick & Diane invited me over to join Diane's mom for dinner at 6:30 and then they toyed with me during a round of Scrabble. I briefly had a glimpse of 2nd place before being put in my place for not minding my P's & Q's.

Sunday was a drizzly Farmers Market set up and then I rushed back to talk Dave & Mary to the Self Realization Fellowship Center based on the teachings of Parmahansa Yogananda. Mary's mother was a devotee and Mary attend as a child so her expriences and illuminating and insightful. Yogananda's teaching encourages meditation and reflection to understand the true nature of God and honors all paths with particular commentary on Christ's teaching some common threads of belief. Dianna & I had attended a few times in the past and I'll continue to go periodically since Dave & Mary can no longer drive.

A new week ahead ending with a walk in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention next Sunday that Judy has organized. ( and search for Team Dianna in Portland Oregon) There no cost to join the walk which will start at 2:00 PM on Sunday Oct 17th.

The walk continues... Happy 101010...