Monday, March 29, 2010

Stub Stewart State Park

Transitioning into the City of Portland job, I haven't fully learned to take advantage of the kids time off from school. We need to do a better job of planning our time off, we repsond well to activities that take us out of our element, but not events like Spring Break. With a little foresight awhile back, I organized a cabin for us to salvage the last weekend of Spring Break and get out of the house.
I was inspired by friends that have cabins (we don't!) and in going to a cabin, having the ability to go somewhere new and quickly to leave behind some of the creature comforts we're accustomed to. A yurt isn't exactly roughing it, but in March it is a nice alternative. It also put as closer to nature for the weekend and gave us access to trails and the highlight of the day.... a Salamander pond.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

One of our favorite children's stories was made into a play by the Northwest Children's Theater. We bought the tickets for the play at the Portland to Clackamas MAX light rail line grand opening when the piegon was performing on a bus that they rolled into Pioneer Square for the celebration. The tickets were special deals, so it was a nice benefit of going to the celebration.

Abigail had gone to Go Dog Go at NWCT before with Grandma and Grandpa, but this was our first time. The venue is the Northwest Community Center on NW 18th & Everett. I was impressed how they were able to expand a 24-page childrens book with very little text to a 60-minute musical. We liked how they took each page and made it into a song, took liberties with the story to expand it to create new lines and stretch it to fit the format. They also had a really neat interactive portion that included drawing the piegon, which the kids really enjoyed.

The Pigeon was really well done and he was great interacting with the crowd at one point sitting in the audience and asking people if he could drive the bus, pleading with them to let him.
After the play, the cast and crew came out to sign the programs and meet the audience. Our kids really liked this and wanted to get signatures of the cast. Abby got caught by someone making a film on behalf of the NWCT, perhaps a youtube sensation in the making.
Abby was really interested in the elaborate costumes the supporting actresses wore. They had plastic easter eggs on their head dresses which were pretty cool.
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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wife breaks arm, Husband breaks wallet

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said: Republican Health Plan: Don't Get Sick! As Obama tries to get health care reform through the rigors of the political structure, we have our own first hand experience with the health care system. Susan broke her elbow and had to have surgery. if you think health care costs are too high, I have proof. We just got the bill from the hospital (this doesn't include the Dr. bill)... For a surgery that required six hours of time in the facility, we ended up with $17,348 in costs. She got four pins in her arm and will be recovering for the next 8 weeks. That doesn't include the Dr. invoice, which I am sure will be over $2,000. This also doesn't include the follow ups and the pre-surgery stuff.

So, imagine if you didn't have healthcare. I guess the Oregon Health Plan would help, but think about others...
Why does it cost so much?

In listening to the Geography of Bliss, one of the things the authors says makes Icelanders so happy is that they don't have a fear of failure because the social network is so strong. I wish we had a bit of that here in the U.S. This sort of bill makes me want to lock of my children and never let them have the remote chance of breaking a bone. Luckily we have good health care, but we're still going to pay a good chunk of change in our deductible.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Current Reading: Geography of Bliss

In this case, it is listening (as opposed to reading) becuase I got the audio book from the library, but I am enjoying the Geography of Bliss which is a book I started in November. I hadn't got through it when I had it back then, but on this second try I am listening to it. The author reviews countries/places as diverse as the Netherlands (happy because f , Switzerland, Qatar, Moldova, Bhutan, and others.

The chapter on Moldova is interesting. The country of Moldova is a post-Soviet era republic that suffers from a lack of trust. He highlights the issues of corruption and freedom (and how if you don't have any community, what would you do with freedom). He ends with a statement worth repeating: "Hope is the sheet anchor of every man. When Hope is destroyed, great grief follows, which is equal to death."

Chapter 7 is Thailand: Happiness is not thinking.

One of the problems with audio books is the inability to make notes, perhaps the blog is a way to do this.
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