Friday, August 22, 2014

Ferguson -

I don't remember which state exactly I was driving across when I saw through someone's Facebook post that Michael Brown had been shot to death. And I wondered how and why and why it was a national thing. And couldn't help but think about the man who was choked to death in NYC just a week, a few weeks before? And I did wonder how was it that this man had been in a place that ended in him being shot, to death. Because in my nice middle class white world, you don't get shot by police officers without reason. Right?

And in between driving 7 or 8 hours a day and tucking small people into beds in hotel rooms and then getting back up and driving some more so I could go on even more vacation, I would catch glimpses of reactions on social media. And amongst my friends, those glimpses of reactions were limited to pretty much only the black women I know on Facebook.

And I stayed out of it.

Because I haven't watched the news in a month and I have only read the news as it pertains to work and I don't know what is actually being reported about this.

But my heart is sick.

Because I know of several little boys but there is this one in particular. I've only just started to get to know his mother. And I've only had one conversation with his father. His dad is a big black man. Quiet spoken and very well educated. His mother is has only once said in a forum I am might be in something like "another black man in the news, I'm turning on the tv to see if I can catch a glimpse of our president tonight, please no Obama haters. I just need some hope for my son."
It was that plea that really caught me.

I cannot imagine not having hope for my son because of his color.

And then a woman I know, a former classmate and now an educator posted on Facebook an article about talking about what is happening in Ferguson in school:

5 Ways to Teach About Michael Brown and Ferguson in the New School Year

by Christopher Emdin published in the Huffington Post

And I was horrified. My kids are blissfully unaware that a man was shot to death and that there are protests, and the protests have led to some looting (I think) and I saw somewhere the National Guard was called in...

I said as much. My classmate called me out. White Mom privilege. As in, if you were the black mother of 3 sons you'd be having conversations with them about this. Would I? I don't know. I am not a black mother with 3 black sons. But I hear the implied, if you were you wouldn't have a choice. 

This morning she posted an article again published by the Huffington Post "White Mom Privilege" which articulates much of what I am thinking and feeling. But there was a different one that caught my eye Dear White Moms by Keesha Beckford. And in this post she brings up that small innocuous thing I mentioned before, few if any of my white friends and connections are discussing this. It is like the elephant in the room, nobody knows what to say so they are just ignoring it. And that hurts. And it doesn't do anything.

Apparently there was a shooting in 2001 in Cincinnati and Timothy Thomas was shot dead. (I don't remember it. 2001 was a blur of small children and traveling husband.) ran an article:  Could Ferguson happen here... again? 

what I see when I read the article is what Cincinnati did: "Cincinnati's riots gave birth to the Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement, widely viewed as one of the most innovative plans ever designed to improve police-community relations."

While I expect discussion and change is ongoing - this gives me some hope, and possibly some direction. And asks the question, what lessons can the rest of us learn from the Collaborative that will help us circumvent these tragedies? How do communities outside of Cincinnati learn more about the collaborative and what has come of it? 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Huckleberry Season

It is Huckleberry Season in Govy. The kids have been picking the berries almost since we've arrived but it seems like in the last week the bushes have really peaked and there are ripe Huckleberries everywhere you go. Berry picking has become one of our main activities.  And we've been baking with them. I made a blueberry/huckleberry pie, a huckleberry pie, banana huckleberry muffins, and yesterday plain huckleberry muffins.

Funny, the dogs like huckleberries. One of the kids put their little plastic container of berries down while picking and Thalia stuck her nose in and took a mouthful. Kahn Sol literally begs the entire time we are picking until he gets fed up with begging and tried to pull them off the bush himself. This is a lot of work for him, working only with his mouth, and is amusing to watch. I have discouraged the kids from giving the dogs too many berries, I am not up for any misadventures with canine digestion, but the berries they've had don't seem to bother the dogs one bit.

KahnSol picking berries 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Painting, with kids & dogs

I finally went out and bought some acrylic paint, some brushes and some paper.
I don't love acrylics, but they are the "fastest" and that makes them easiest to work with right now.
And so I've painted three different pieces, keeping the focus just on 'doing' it - and trying not to expect too much or to be too critical.
And it has been nice to paint again.
The other day I took the two littles and the dogs and we found a spot along the "crosstown trail" I think it is called. Just a mostly flat trail from one side of Govy to the other.
There was a pretty waterfall and I wanted to paint there. As it is close to town and easy there is a moderate amount of traffic.

I parked myself on the little bridge in front of this little bit of water, the kids were told to play where they could see me and the dogs milled about. That worked for a while, but there is traffic. With my focus on painting and the noise from the water I didn't hear approaching people or dogs in time and Thalia would bark and run with Khan Sol right in there with her.

So I pulled out leashes and had tied them up next to me and told them to down.

Thalia, my German Shepherd, played the role of the troll  from "The Billy Goats Gruff." And while it is a wide enough bridge she barked every time any one came near. Twice she sat on my painting. In the fuss I lost a paint brush (I just bought them!) over the bridge and down the little stream.  The bridges are build so that the middle part is solid and the sides are slated. We were on the slats. Kahn Sol would stand up to bark and his feet would slip through slats and he'd get all excited. I was sure I'd loose paint tube through a slat but didn't. Once Kahn Sol  got so wound up about these bridge intruders he fell off the bridge (on leash) and I had to haul him back up by his collar.  t feel clips of this expedition should have been on video.

started sketching in bits and pieces and the dog sat on it!

We will seek less populated spots for further paintings.

it is a lovely little spot

there it is:
with a story behind it!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hidden Lake

We have taken a few hikes in between ski camps.

I saw the trail head for "hidden lake" one day when we were headed to Little Zig Zag falls (not really a hike, a lovely little walk along a beautiful bit of small falls.) and so one day we headed over to try the hidden lake trail. You take 26, to the Kiwanis Camp turn off (road 39) and you'll see it on the right.

I don't know why I love these signs.
Mt. Hood Wilderness, Mt. Hood National Forest
I think this trail is rated as moderately strenuous. The beginning is not bad, zig zags up but shaded and pleasant. We crossed the water, found the hidden lake, and kept going. Then it got a bit steep.


It is an interesting trail because the vegetation changes so much. And because you really are quite high. Near the lake we are pretty sure we saw a bear track in the mud, which was a first for us!

found the lake!
the mossy ground in the area around the lake was spongy, like one of those special floors for gymnasts. I was a little worried about what was underneath it as it gave to the weight of ones footsteps.

the water crossing areas were a bit tough on the younger ones. Their legs aren't long enough to reach from one "safe" spot to the next. We got them across okay, but coming back I had picked up Little Hawk to pass him to my oldest on the other bank and I misstepped. I fell into the stream and so did he. He was surprised and shaken up a bit, the water is very cold, but he was alright. I split my shin which wasn't very comfortable but it was a minor thing. Something to think about if one is out on their own with smaller sized people.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pfriem Family Brewers, Hood River

For reasons I don't understand the MacBook Air and the Collins Lake WiFi aren't speaking to each other. My last few posts were managed via the husband's computer. Alas this morning I dropped him off at the Portland Airport to head back East- to work and to family obligations there. I miss him already and I miss access to his computer!
So- I'm trying to do this from my phone!

Last night we drove to Hood River. This confuses me because when we got there Tim said the river separating Oregon and Washington wasn't the Hood River it was the Columbia River. Ummm, so why is the town called Hood River? Don't know.

We tried to find a place called Turtle Island, said to have good vegan/vegetarian food. Wasn't where four square said it was. So we looked at some other places and decide to try Pfriem Family Brewers.
And now we are big fans:

We had the Moroccan Stew and the Veggie Burger. Both were awesome. The veggie burger tastes house made and is hands down the best I've ever had. The Morrocan Stew came in a ceramic dish, piping hot, with a very interesting taste and texture. Also very good. Prior to dinner we tried their pickle plate: pickled beans, maybe pickled fennel? and pickles. Thumbs up. We also had an order of olives, very nice! and house made french fries.

The vibe is casual, people come in off the river to eat, and family friendly, there is even a kids play corner for wiggle preschoolers.
And of course beer.

Tim and the girls

me and the boys

Tim has a friend who wants to open a brew pub in Williamsburg. So I took some extra shots of the inside of Pfriem Family Brewers because it does look and feel like a great pub.

they are just phone snap shots, nothing fancy, but you get the feeling. An interesting mix of industrial, with the pipes showing, the vats for the beer, but all the "reclaimed" looking wood keeps it feeling warm. Very well done interior.

so the bin needs to emptied, but that has to be the cutest little baby station I've ever seen

so family friendly!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The kids' thoughts on Volkl Slalom Demos

Yesterday I took the racers up to the glacier with Volkl Slalom Skis.

Their comments:
I asked 4 questions:
"rate how they turn"
"rate how you feel about the weight of the ski"
"do they feel fast"
"are they easy to control"
they could either answer or give me a number, 0= burn them; 10=I never want to try another ski

K is a U18 female about 5'5 maybe 100lbs, I am not sure on the weight.

regarding how they turn: K gave them a 7-8
weight "yeah, they are nice and light, 7-8"
feel fast? "well I was on slush today but I think they feel fast. I didn't feel pulled down the hill by them, they are light."
easy to control? Um, yeah.

K isn't into having me ask her for her comments and she isn't into demoing SL skis right now. She likes the ones she has, and she is focused on finding GS skis.

Tiger is a U14 male, like K he is a light weight. I think he tips the scale around 85 lbs.
He skied 145 Volkl Slalom skis
"rate how they turn" 9
"rate the weight" 10
"feel fast?" 10
"easy to control?" 10
me: Wow! You really like Volkl!
Tiger: I like THOSE skis. Last year I demoed SL skis and they didn't feel any different than what I already had. After trying these skis I never want to go back to my old skis. I really like these skis.

Dragon is a U14 male. Unlike his siblings he is a giant. He is about 5'7" and around 115lbs. The Volkl guys didn't have Jr skis in his size so he was on adult skis, he skied on 157s.
"rate how they turn" 8
"like the weight" ummm a 7
"feel fast" 7
"easy to control" 9
comments: overall I like these skis. I really like Volkl in general.

MLyons is a U10 female. I've no idea how big or small she is! She skied on 131s.
before I could ask she said "10!"
me: You love 'em?
Mlyons: Yup! Just like my Bombers (GS) these are perfect for my size, perfect for my weight, perfect for my speed, They go really fast if they are on good snow.

We ski in SARA, not as competitive a region as some of the other regions, the kids find the podium  regularly in our region.

P.S. Tiger got his Volkl skis.
Happy Kid, New Skis

Our Intro to Bomber Skis

Ever heard of Bomber ? Until recently I hadn't.

One of the things that happens up at Mount Hood in the summer is the opportunity to demo a variety of skis. (I am assuming snow boards are well represented as well.) Head is here, Volkl is here, Fischer, Atomic... to name a few. And Marker too.

Anyway, M has been gunning to demo Head skis. 4th of July got in the way, the Head reps closed up shop for the 4th and stayed closed over the weekend. Good for them. But not so good for M, so she tried Bomber's GS skis. Oh wow. HEAVY! M doesn't have GS skis. Until now she's only skied on Slalom Skis (which in our case are Volkls). When her dad took her up to run GS on July 4th and he didn't think she'd be able to turn the Bombers so her brought her SL skis up too. Just in case. Maybe it was her dad's lack of faith, but M absolutely loved the Bombers. At the end of the day she stuck a Bomber sticker on the back of our van. The next day I returned the demo skis while the gang were out river rafting. I spoke to the rep a little bit and mentioned that, M slapping the sticker onto the van. He asked what we were driving and I told him "a ridiculous big white sprinter." He asked if it had Romney/Ryan stickers on it. It does. He told me he saw it and had tried to get a photo for his boss. I told him I'd text him one. I sent him this one:

Bomber sticker on the van
A little bit about Bomber Skis from their web site:

All BOMBER skis are handcrafted in a small race lab in Italy. The skis are built by a master craftsman. He has over 32 years of ski building experience. BOMBER has created a skiing sensation unmatched in the industry.

BOMBER B-1 is a complete line of world cup quality race skis which include SL, GS, Super-G and DH designs. The B-1 race skis are best described as "the real deal." The B-1 provides super power, speed, responsiveness, and stability.

These are like 'couture' I mean, they are made by a master craftsman? How many things do you own made by a master craftsman? The sales rep says the guy, the one master craftsman creating these skis, makes 15 a day. I can't imagine. I want to go visit the workshop!

And get this:

so if you are in the Mount Hood vicinity and you've never tried Bomber; you might need to check them out. Want to know more? Hit up their FB page:

I've had 3 kids try them. M, the 9 year old above who very definitely loves them and very definitely wants a pair of Bomber GS skis. And K and Tiger. I'll be looking for them to give me their feedback as well. K and Tiger traditionally ski Volkl skis for Slalom & GS although I think right now K is on Head skis. K is a Head fan (there is a previous post of her with her Head boots not very excited about her dad's suggestion that she use her brother's boots. "these (Head boots) only pinch a little dad, it is a competition fit. They are fine."So I am interested to get an opinion from her about the Bombers.

and, our friend PurpleSage at SmugMug got some shots of K running GS on the Bombers:

@Purplesage Photography, used with permission
@Purplesage Photography, used with permission

In the meantime, here is M, in her own words pitching for Bomber. She really wants those skis.

Post by Cailin Yates.

last time I posted an embedded video from FB I couldn't tell in edit mode if it worked, and it did, so I'm going on faith that this shows up. If not, maybe you can follow the link: M loves Bomber Skis