My new blue merino wool cycling jersey came in the post yesterday from Vintage Velos. Mom and dad gave me the money for one of these jerseys for my birthday (January!). I hemmed and hawed over which one to get - the classic Eddy Merckx Moltini Arcore versus the Vittadello versus the Salvarani. After much flip flopping and changing of the mind, I decided on the Salvarani.
But... there were were no mediums available. However, I took a chance at a long shot and emailed the company inquiring whether they'd be making more of these. Alex returned my email right away and said they wouldn't be making more. So, I hung my head, about to cry, when, the next day, I find out (angels singing, harps playing mind you) that he had found two more medium jerseys in their European warehouse. I ordered one, and a week later, it arrived, full with complete instructions on proper care of merino wool (two pages!).
I wore it today to work for the first time - it's very comfortable. Just a twinge of itch the first minute, but after that, it's golden. I haven't washed it yet, so perhaps even that initial itch will go away.
I had to stop by the Bike Gallery (downtown Portland) on the way into work to get a new water bottle and replacement cleats for my Specialized Pro Carbon road shoes. Eric, the manager, remarked, "That's a really cool jersey. Where did you get that?" Makes you want to smile.
So, here's an unofficial sneak peek at two songs from the just-released worship CD from our church, Imago Dei. I had the distinct privilege of laying down the electric guitar on the first two tracks, Divine Embrace (title track) and Descend. I really love this CD (especially the tracks I didn't have anything to do with. Ha!) It's so good to hear Sabrina Fountain's voice again. Also, be sure to check out the song "You've Kept Me." The slower "You Alone" features beautiful string accompaniments and backup vocals by our own Laura Gibson. Josh Butler's creative genius shines throughout the CD, and, in my mind, is most evident on his song "Glory." Also, Josh came up with a fantastic guitar lick on Jeff Marsh's "Child." If I were a jealous man, I'd be jealous of this guitar lick for sure.
Google rocks. I am having some serious fun playing with it's photo suite, Picasa, which includes a web component. With one click, I created the following embedded slide show.
I'm so glad it's over. Can we (the country) please talk about something else now? *yawn*
Perhaps I should be a little more in touch with our pop culture. I just found out Saturday which teams were playing. Does that make me a bad person?
The only good thing about the superbowl is that it means we're one step closer, in the long march of spring sports, to Le Tour (and all it's doping scandals, to be 100% fair). Cool thing, the tour's first stage will start across the Channel, in London!
Speaking of cycling, Portland's annual "Worst Day of the Year Ride" is this coming Sunday (2007.02.11). I've signed up for the 40 mile "challenge" loop, which promises to be a decent ride out in the West Hills of Portland. I'll likely get plenty wet (supposed to start raining again this week - woohoo), but drinking Lucky Lab beer in the finishers circle will definitely be worth it.
Be sure to check out Portland's own Laura Gibson's new album and featured song, Hands in Pockets. She's on tour now, so don't miss her. I've seen her multiple times, and you must not miss her! She's already been VERY favorably reviewed by both NPR and NY Times.
Spent some time last night around midnight changing out to the old knobbies (Kevlar WTB Velociraptors - love these tires!). And for what? Turns out --- naught! Ack. The ambient North Portland temp was 34.5 this AM when I arose from the slumber. The roads were slushy (got sprayed with mud - was getting ready to pass a guy on Terwilliger when he rode through a big mud-slush puddle). Yuck.
Hopefully, things will continue to melt. Can't wait to reinstall the slicks to get that sweet low rolling resistance back again.
Portland was shut down by 3-4 inches of snow yesterday, for the second time in 3 years. When is this city going to invest in some snow plows and manpower? It was utter chaos. Videos of cars crashing abounded on YouTube.
Once again proving my stubborness, I decided to forego Holly's gracious gift to take me to work. I tested the snow with the bike - yes, it would be doable. The snow hadn't been packed in yet. Only one other bike track in the snow. As long as I could keep the bike in the fresh snow, I shouldn't have much problem. Turned out, that I was right and one of the few in my department to be on time. Ahem. It also turns out that biking in fresh snow is quite a workout. Snow affords a great deal of rolling resistance.
I ended up taking the tram down the mountain at the end of the workday, since I figured getting down the snowy and icy hill would be the most treacherous part of the commute. Good idea. Roads had become icy and hard-packed (few stretches of pavement with virgin snow in which to ride). The riding was rough-going due to the effect of snow chains. My bones and sinews got a good jostling.
I drove today. Too much ice, and I didn't want to change out my commuter slicks (Ritchey Tom Slicks) for the old knobbies, especially since the snow _should_ be gone soon. If things haven't melted by this evening, then I'll have to change out the tires.
Local Portland singer/songwriter folk legend guitarist M. Ward has released a new album, and you should listen to it immediately. Mr. Ward has been making timeless folk music with a quirky indie twist for 5 years since his landmark debut album End of Amnesia. The production is, as on previous albums, ethereal. His voice seems to float around the finger-picked guitar on the quieter songs and the electric surf-like guitar on the louder, up tempo tracks. For example, just absorb the beautiful strings and tympani on the opening track "Poison Cup." Amazing.
Holly and I saw him perform live with the Calexico/Iron and Wine show in 2005 and were very impressed.
He even dose a raucous cover of Daniel Johnston's "To Go Home."
:: peder horner ::
I laid down on our deck and snapped this picture. Nice Portland clouds.
Camera Model Name: Canon PowerShot A80
Shooting Date/Time: 07.09.2006 16:06:17
Tv (Shutter Speed): 1/500
Av (Aperture Value): 5.6
ISO Speed: Auto
Lens: 7.8 - 23.4 mm
Focal Length: 13.6 mm
:: peder horner ::
Another reason why I love Portland: "Breakfast on the Bridges"
I just figured out why, on the last Fridays of each month, I've noticed a rather large congregation of cyclists on the Broadway bridge during my morning commute to work. I had assumed that they were out on a group ride and just taking a break. They're there from 7-9 am.
However, last Friday, they started yelling at me to pull over and get "some free breakfast and coffee." Late to work already, I was perplexed and continued on my merry way to work. I kept thinking about those strangers and their kind offer of free food. Never being one to lightly dismiss free coffee or food, I Googled it and found out that the SHIFT organization sponsors these breakfasts on the Broadway and Hawthorne bridges, the two most commonly used bridges for bicycle commuting across the Willamette River.
Currently, they're doing it every Friday during Pedalpalooza.
Here's a short video that Bike TV guru Clarence Eckerson, Jr. made about Breakfast on the Bridges.
I'll definitely try to leave for work early for the next "Breakfast on the Bridge."
:: Peder ::
Wiped out Friday night. It was horrible. One minute, I was flying down SW 10th Street at about 25 MPH, then next moment, I found myself on the ground, left side down. Somehow, my front wheel had become sucked into one of the electric street car tracks, and down I had gone.
After finding out that I could walk, I immediately took inventory of my injuries: lacerated and bruised left shoulder, left hip, and left knee; and sprained left ankle. I'm feeling better now, gradually.
The big tear in the Patagonia jacket and the ruined Pearl Izumi fleece tights hurts just as much as the bodily injuries. Luckily, my bike was OK, just a little derailleur adjustment is all that is needed.
It's been over a year since I last wrecked, so perhaps I was due for a good one. Above-right is a picture of a sign next to the street car tracks that I've always thought of as funny. Now I don't.
So, it's been very dry and cold here in Portland for the last few weeks. There's been no rain, and it's been cold! In to the mid-20s at night, to be exact. So, all the pain of the cold dry weather finally paid off today here in Portland. First, it started precipitating cold hard sleet, then it turned into huge fluffy flakes of beautiful snow. I absolutely loved it. One thing is certain: Portlanders may know how to navigate the streets in rain but they have no clue how to drive in the snow.
The photo on the right I took from the car at Pioneer Courthouse Square at the corner of Yamhill and Broadway. Click here for more photos of beautiful snow-covered downtown PDX, including one of our house and one of the 100 ft Christmas tree in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
So, again, using the Google Maps technology and overlying it with TriMet and local bicycle route algorithms, Portlanders have created a Bicycle Route Finder that works really well. To the right is a picture of what it can do. In fact, it is my exact morning bike commute to work - 5.37 miles to be precise. The program displays, turn by turn, how to get somewhere by bike, by using the safest routes (prefers streets with bike lanes over streets without; prefers streets with slower speed limits to faster ones, etc).
I love this city!
:: peder ::
So, I found out yesterday that Google chose Portland as the charter city to launch its new Google Transit, an interactive public transportation schedule and itinerary tool. It's easy to use, and it dovetails beautifully with Google maps (street and satellite photo overlays). It nicely illustrates the high-tech nature of Portland's public services. Here's a quote from Google about the project.
"We chose to launch with the Portland metro area for a couple of reasons. Tri-Met, Portland's transit authority, is a technological leader in public transportation. The team at Tri-Met is a group of tremendously passionate people dedicated to serving their community. And Tri-Met has a wealth of data readily available that they were eager to share with us for this project. This combination of great people and great data made Tri-Met the ideal partner." --Google
An ongoing public discussion is happening at Portland Transport, a blog dedicated to investigating new ways of getting people in Portland from where they are to where they need to go.
:: peder ::
So, last night, the night before the big move, we realized that we needed to unpack and bring some boxes back to the condo from the new house in order that we would have enough for the move this morning. I'm sick and exhausted, so she decides to go...
She returns to the condo... at 4am! She had gotten the boxes and then decided to finish painting the kids' room and the 1st coat on the living room walls. She really is amazing. She's not even cranky this morning either.
Thanks sweetie. I love you.
:: Peder ::
So, I was up (again) until 130am painting at the new house last night. I'm exhausted. I have become convinced that the subcontractors who did the dry wall were lazy dogs. There are holes and bumps everywhere. As a result, I did some major spackling (is that a word??).
To a perfectionist like myself, that wonderous plastic paste of gypsum plaster and glue (spackle) is a real God-send. Using it provides the opportunity to correct blemishes and others' mistakes. It's a chance to significantly improve the subtle aesthetic of one's walls.
On a side note, I love proprietary eponyms- i.e, trampoline, spandex, yo-yo, etc. Apparently, Spackle, like Realtor and Band-Aid, is in grave danger of becoming a genericized trademark and part of our colloquial dictionary.
I'm going to find out who did this dry wall work and probably post it on this blog so that other people may be warned before using these people for contracting work.
Note, I was not referring to the relatively obscure band named Späckle (note the umlaut - nice touch, eh?). Find out more about this Californian band here.
From their website:
Späckle's abstract mix of punk, improvisational jazz, blues, and mountain jug porch howling has placed them at the top of the independent music charts worldwide. Their tours are instant sell-outs; their recordings are swept from the shelves by adoring teenyboppers and the cultural elite alike.
:: peder ::
So, things have been absolutely nuts here in Portland. Our offer for house #2 was accepted, and we closed on the property last Monday. The house is now officially ours!
We move in this Saturday (24 September) morning. We've rented a Uhaul truck (I know, I don't like them either, but they were the cheapest, by far) and will have help from some of our good Portland friends that morning for the move.
We bought a new set of appliances off of Craig's List (how frustrating and expensive life was before Craig's List!!).
We are trying to decide whether to put the washer/dryer upstairs or downstairs, since once we have the windows replaced downstairs, we may not be able to get the washer/dryer back out of the house (door to basement was built for VERY small people - leprechauns, perhaps?). We'll be talking to our window guy to see if we have a solution at hand.
So far, we've met the neighbors of three houses - Jenn to the north, Joy and Brian (a recently married couple) to the south, and Will across the street. Everybody has been very kind and generous to us. Brian even helped me move our refrigerator, stove, and microwave into the house the other day! (Big thanks to you and Matt for helping with the refrigerator.)
Travis Hallman of Novare Painting, and a fellow parishoner at our church, skillfully and beautifully painted our kitchen and upstairs bathroom. They look fantastic! In order to save money, Holly and I will be painting the living room, dining room, downstairs bath, and children's room this week. I think I've mastered the art of spackel.
New windows will be installed in the basement. New window coverings within a few weeks. Gas run up to the new gas range. Water line installed for the refrigerator's ice maker/water dispenser. Hole cut in the side of the house for over the range microwave hood vent. Deck built. French doors installed. The list goes on!
Back to work...
:: Peder ::
So, Holly and I wrote an offer on a beautiful North Portland house. The neighborhood is FANTASTIC - very racially and economically diverse. Now, the game of counter-offer, counter-counter offer, etc begins.
We bid low, since there is some work that would need to be done on the house to make it how we would like it (i.e., building a deck with French doors to it from the kitchen, refigerator, window coverings, new front door, etc.
Well, we're off to see more houses toay. We found one that we really like in close-in North Portland, near the rennovated Mississippi Street district. We're planning on writing an offer on it today. This whole process is a great time suck.
:: peder ::
Today was the 10th annual Portland Bridge Pedal. It's a crazy bicycling event, the 2nd largest in the country I have been told. A total of about 18.000 bicyclists converge downtown to ride all 10 PDX briges. The Oregon Department of Transportation closes nearly every lane on all bridges for the morning. Motorists hate it, but it's a blast on a bike. The bridges are all of entirely different architecture and engineering.
The most fun was at the top of the Marquam and Fremont bridges. There, they had a Starbucks, free Clif bars, free Vita water, and rock bands playing live! It rocked! It was a huge party with great views of the city.
The only problem with the day was that the organizers misrouted us early-starters (630-7am), and we missed two bridges as a result (the Hawthorne and the Ross Island bridges). So, when I reached the finish line, I realized that I was the type of person that had to complete the 10 bridges. So, I got back in a pack of later starters and rode over the last two bridges to complete the set. Turns out that I ended up riding next to a guy who was doing the same thing.
All in all, my ride time for the 36 miles was under 2 hours.
Next year, it will be more challenging - we plan to take the entire family!
:: peder ::
Holly and found out today that our bid on the house in north Portland (see picture to the right) was refused for a higher offer. We had even sent the sellers a short letter that included a picture of us and a few reasons why we wanted the house. We thought it was a nice touch. So dd they, sort of. Our realtor told us they wanted permission to keep it since it was "so sweet". They also said that they were "sad" that we didn't get the house.
It's hard not to be offended by such a trite, superficial comment that implies their insincerity over the issue at hand. Why say anything? Or, if they really felt they needed to comment, why not just be honest and say, "Sorry, but we simply wanted/needed as much money as we could get out of the sell, even though you bid 10,000 USD above our asking price."
To be truthful, Holly and I were quite disappointed that our offer wasn't accepted. However, you just never know what's just around the corner.
So, we've already lined up a handful of cute PDX bungalows and Cape Cods to scrutinize tomorrow. We'll keep you posted on this emotional roller coaster called home hunting.
:: peder ::
Holly and I have reached a point where we can afford to buy a different home, and it looks like we're going to go for it. In fact, we just submitted an offer for a beautiful, charming, close-in North PDX Cape Cod house.
We took a lot of time to discuss beforehand the pros and cons for searching for a new home, including evaluating our contentment. We are entirely content with our condo and would be if things didn't work out for the purchase of a new home. However, if given the opportunity to move to a house with a more "inner-city" neighborhood and more racially mixed demographic, then should we? Monthly payments wouldn't be that much more than they are currently.
Throughout this process, I've realized that Holly and really complete each other well. While she considers all angles to a question or problem, she's much more willing to act on a gut-instinct. I, on the other hand, am extremely analytical and more suspicious of my instincts, since it's inherently emotional. So, we've realized that she counts on me to research questions or opportunities ad nauseum, and I trust her emotional IQ to point us toward God's will for our lives.
Where will we land? I'm not sure. To be honest, our offer(s) may be refused, and we may stay in our condo for the next 3 years. I'm thankful that, whatever happens, we'll be happy and content.
Yesterday, I counted my lucky stars. I was invited to attend one of those yawn-inducing medical dinners last night. I hadn’t gone to one in a very long time (3 years in fact), but this was one offer I just couldn’t refuse. The place: El Gaucho, reportedly the best steak in Portland. And, boy was it. We were served the 12 oz Filet Mignon, accompanied by asparagus and their southwest scalloped potatoes. All finished off with a delightful chocolate ganace with 20 year tawny port. I felt like I was back in the midwest.
Well, I’ve finally gotten around to writing about our move to Portland. With all the hubbub of moving into a new city and starting Radiology residency, we have been extremely busy. What I can’t understand, is that it hasn’t rained once since we’ve arrived! It’s so paradoxical. I once caught myself saying, “I can’t wait for the rain!” and was quickly told by a “Native” to bite my tongue. “Cursed Midwestern transplant” they were probably thinking. Hehe.
Anyway, we’re absolutely loving our new city. This place is incredible - so much to do and see within an hour’s drive of our condo! We often have difficulty deciding which sight to see or activity to do.
One curiosity that I’ve noticed, is this whole “native” phenomenon. Colorado has it too - people who were born in a state somehow lay some kind of claim to being more legitimate than any other current resident. I suppose it’s a result of a reaction to the great inward flux of people from other states (such as CA) into these states that were, traditionally, less populated and more “untouched.” It’s a kind of xenophobia (whether justified or not) for sure, a “holier than thou” type attitude that is disturbing. However, the attitude it different toward immigrants from certain states. For example, people here seem to loathe the CA imports, while they kindly tolerate the Midwestern transplants. I’ve been told that it has something to do with the influx of wealthy Californians, who have inadvertently raised property values since they are more readily prepared to pay higher prices for homes than say, a “native” or a Midwestern transplant. Who knows, it’s just interesting living as a “resident alien” of sorts. Alas! I digress…
One thing I need to mention is all the help that we received from our friends and family during our move. Props to my brother Todd and mother Deb who drove out with us and helped us unload the Penske truck (1800 miles and 350 gallons of gas later!!!). Props to thos who helped us load the truck and clean the house: Mom, Dad (Jerry), Todd, Jason Cupp, Heather and Amos Copling (Jason had to work), Taylor Davis (blasted the tunes from the 540), Jennifer Miller, Mike and Angie Laurie, Steve Jernigan, Erica Lay, Rob Lam, the omnipresent man of the hour Greg Mitchell, and Jill Jensen. Cupp even, on a serious whim, drove with me on the first leg to Denver in the Penske. Thanks to all! You are all very dear and special to us, and we would have been seriously hurting without all your generous help and support. Now, come visit!!!
With a heavy heart, we’re packing the last few bits of our downsized belongings for the anticipated move to Portland (hereafter referred to by its airport code PDX). The past few weeks have, surprisingly, allowed us opportunities (and time) to spend these precious few moments with our friends and family in KC.
On the right is a picture of an autographed picture of Sophia Loren that was hanging on a wall of the condo. The previous owner, apparently, was a big fan. Unfortunately, she’s taking the photo. The photo was so vintage and cool that Holly and I seriously (for a wee moment) considered attempting to write the picture into our contract but decided against it.
Anyway, I’m writing this from my call room at the Topeka VA Medical Center. Thus far, my last Internal Medicine call of my intern year has been quiet. Outside of pronouncing a patient deceased and admitting one sick patient to the hospital, I’ve done nothing but study a bit and type away on this blog.
Speaking of work, pronouncing a patient dead is a heavy thing. There’s a tendency of medicine to dehumanize and mechanize this necessary fact of life and my work. However, this always caused me to reflect on the temporality of life and the goals of medicine in general. Did this patient die with dignity? Did they die without maleficence? With what life experiences, religion, ideals, relationships, successes, failures, hopes, careers, and loves did they approach their death? What did this life mean?
So, with these thoughts before I attempt to turn in for some more reading, studying, and some sleep, I approach our move day, now less than 36 hours away. Holly’s picking up the Penske truck tomorrow morning and should have it back at home by the time I get home from the hospital.