Friday, November 13, 2009

Rainy Day Commute

This is what I've been waiting for....sort of. BTW thats not me in the picture...dont have any rain pictures yet.

For the second time this week I commuted to work (Sub Job) on my bike. As always, i absolutely loved it. Although today was a little different, it was raining. So I rode anyway, and passed lots of others who were doing the same thing.

I love using my bike as transportation. You've probably read prior entries that boast about its health benefits; both physical and mental, but its also an incredibly visceral experience. When riding, the wind (and rain) is in your face, you have to think about the cars and the lights around you, and your getting a workout. Now I have no problem with driving in a warm car once in awhile with good tunes playing on the radio, but riding does something for me that nothing else can.

There are a few problems though: I dont have all of the rain gear I need, my shorts and shoes are drying in the staff bathroom, My bike was made for racing, not commuting in the rain, so its forks are gettting clogged with leaves and dirt, and I dont have rain gutters to keep the rain from shooting in my face, which really just adds to the visceral expierience. I am realizing that all of these things are quite essential if I choose to continue this form of recreation.

To keep everyone posted on the job situation, I have accepted a part time aide job at a elementary/middle school and I will continue to substitute teach until something else comes up. Meghan just had three interviews this week for some great jobs and we're keeping our fingers crossed.

Listening to the Portland rain on the windowsill: that will probably be a pretty common sound through the winter.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New Trails.. and Re-newed shelves

Downtown P town after a little rain
From building shelves
I wanted to post some fun pictures I took this weekend, now that I think my camera is working correctly again. This last weekend was a lot of fun. We went out with Rick, Shannon, Vanessa, and Jackie. After a few beers we hit some food carts that sold Putine-- a French Canadian after-bar delicacy that I haven't had since being in Montreal. Its french fries, cheese curds and gravy--very healthy I'm sure. It was not quite as good as the authentic food, but it was damn good.

From building shelves
Meghan Rick and Shannon

From building shelves

Jackie Vannessa and Daren.

Saturday was the first real downpour that we've had to deal with here and it rained and rained hard. But I had to get outside. I grabbed the mountain bike and went out to get soaked. It was reassuring to know that I wasn't the only one. I think that people don't let rain get in the way of their plans here.
From building shelves

The other fun thing we did was build a set of shelves from old drawers. I found the idea in a magazine and we went to this warehouse on Mississippi ave that sells old building stuff to re-use. Jackie helped and we built some pretty nice shelves. If you want to know how exactly to make them email me. Here are some picture of the process.

From building shelves

From building shelves

From building shelves

From building shelves

From building shelves

It was a lot of fun and I think it turned out pretty good. Jackie also built a spice rack out of an old drawer:
From building shelves

From building shelves

Listening to remixed M. ward.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Amazing class--Strange Situation

I'm sitting in Mr. Franzen's class working on my substitute skills. If it were more consistent, it would be a great job: good pay, no papers to grade, no classes to plan, etc. unfortunately I haven't gotten as much work as I'd like; although my name is getting out there with the English teacher crowd.

I am dumbfounded by the current class I am in. Its a communications class that the teacher has turned into a music cooperative. They do everything from develop band logos, create websites, write and record music, and at the end of the year each band will perform at a local venue. Its all supported by the teacher and a local record producer (The guy who produced the Decemberist's latest). All I have to say is WOW! What an amazing idea. What a way to teach kids communication and marketing, while totally engaging them. After last weeks sub job at a middle school, this invigorates me. Their website is

Quick little story that encapsulates the outskirts of liberal Portland:
I was leaving a sub job of three days as a PE teacher at a middle school that was once a suburban, predominantly caucasion school and is now becoming more integrated and diverse due to the economy and the gentrification of Portland. I think that the teachers don't really know what to do.

So this woman says to me, "Before you go, tell me one thing."
I responded politely, "sure"
"Who are the worst kids to work with?"
"I'm not sure what you mean." I said truly not understanding.
"Which group, which race i mean."
"I'm sorry, I think all kids have their ups and downs and I'm not about to pick one out based on race."
she then interjected, "Its the black kids huh?"
I was stunned and did'nt quite know how to react. "I don't agree with you.."
"They're just disrespectful arent they? Don't make up excuses, you know its true."
I looked off and wanted to respond respectfully but didnt know what to say. I pretty much disagreed one more time and left. I don't tell this story to paint myself as this perfect politically correct teacher in a world of racism and disenfrachizement. I just want to put it out there to show that there are still people out there who really think that way.

I probably should have said more, but I was on my best behavior. What would you have said?

I am enjoying subbing but am interviewing for some other jobs, including an ESL job at an Elementery school. Wish me luck and I will keep this updated a little more regularly.

Listening to: the murmur of an English teacher on the other side of the wall.