Tuesday, September 30, 2008

the match made in heaven

So we walked to Heavenlies tonight, but it was closed! Gasp! We were 5 minutes late. So we walked from there to Pinkberry, and figured, if you walk 3 miles for your dinner, you deserve to eat a big bowl of ice cream for dinner. So I did. And although we didn't eat at Heavenlies, I found a match made in Heaven. Next time you're at Pinkberry you should try it.

coconut, yogurt chips, raspberries, and granola on top of original flavor. YUM. all the perfect ingredients and tastes and textures you could imagine in one cup.

and now we say goodby to one more thing in Pasadena: Pinkberry.


Monday, September 29, 2008

our new stranger friends

Donovan and I did something crazy! We met strangers. And we talked to them. And we had dinner with them. And we liked them.

Last month I read about a couple on World Vision's site that was interested in Uganda and went to Fuller. So I Facebooked them, they emailed back, and we met for dinner. We talked all about Uganda, being a therapist, our Fuller experience, agencies in Uganda, our hopes, and our prayers.

It was so encouraging to me at this point in my career and my life. It really gave me some direction and helped me focus on how I can prepare myself over the next year or two to be a better therapist and gain skills to hopefully use overseas.

Our new stranger-friends have friends in Portland and might come visit us when we move up this winter. It's fun meeting new people! I was surprised how easy it was to talk to them and how much we were on the same page. They too have been unfairly given highly priced parking tickets in Pasadena, know what it's like to ride a bike in heels to work, and have had interesting experiences in practicum at Fuller. I had such a fun night!

How to Be a Responsible Voter (From Donovan's Perspective)

A friend asked mine recently asked where I go to find good or objective news sources. Although I was excited to hear someone interested in discussing politics and exploring new points of view, my response wasn't as automatic as I had expected. What I've come to conclude is that my best estimation of "objective" most often simply aligns with my own beliefs. What I really do to keep myself in check is to listen to what both sides have to say for themselves and then dialogue with others whose opinions differ from my own. Reading books and second- or third-party sources rarely does as much to develop my beliefs as it does to reinforce them unless I'm actively engaging with actual people. It keeps conversations more honest because I'm not going to call someone an idiot to his or her face like I would say to an author or presenter. Political views are more rooted in our experiences and feelings anyway... so the personal touch helps us get more to the point.

My take is that if I can't look someone in the eye and appreciate him or her for their person, then there's no point in discussing serious issues with them. Likewise, if someone approaches me as an opponent more than as a person, I try to cut off serious conversations before they begin. Opinions and arguments are not about the ideas themselves; they are about the people involved. Like Buechner has said, "Theology is biographical." Same goes for politics. An interesting thing I learned from studying mediation is that volatile topics lose much of their explosiveness if you begin sharing personal stories before any mention of opinions. Those stories and emotions are the real context of our deeply held beliefs - not our take on logic or fact. (Check out the Public Conversations Project for some practical resources in this area.)

Of course, we need to be informed and critical of ideas. I can't possibly become informed on even local civil and political issues without finding audio and printed news sources. I prefer to read books that display some measure of discipline and fair-handedness. Most political media provides neither of these traits. The problem with political media (especially talk radio) is that it has no interest in truth; rather, its goal is often to 'rally up the troops' - people who are in agreement enough with the author to overlook the many factual and logical errors in the arguments. Some proponents may have good intentions, sure, but it's not difficult for any of us to drift to unreasonable extremes when emotion and bias are allowed to take the reins. Keeping company with those who reinforce one particular way of thinking and acting compounds this risk. Extreme views and actions can be seductive, but keeping yourself from getting immersed in those circles/programs helps to balance us out with other perspectives and hopefully to keep our identities grounded in something other than our political or ideological affiliation.

Each of us must be careful to take notice of some fallacies commonly used in persuasive media. The first is the use of categorical statements that generalize and mischaracterize other views. Be careful when someone claims to speak for others' opinions and intentions, or when one person or statement are taken to represent a whole. Such misleading statements are also often accompanied by nicknames and name-calling that further demeans and dehumanizes one's opponents. When someone has reached the point of personal attacks or bitter name-calling, he or she is either not interested in truth or is too worked up to tell the difference. Another thing to be careful of is the abuse of pathos (appeal to emotions) in arguments. Oftentimes this takes the form of playing to others' fears or to their anger (which is often based in fear).

Being informed about the issues themselves has helped me more than reading other peoples' opinions about leaders. I prefer to watch candidates' speeches and interviews and decide for myself based on my understanding of the issues. It might take more investment to do things this way, but there's really no alternative if I want to be informed. People commenting on the candidates themselves are often campaign spokespersons or someone with little expertise in the topic of discussion.

Some of the independent sources tend to be more vigilant and less subject to the corporate games than the main news sources. I'll watch Democracy Now! to see what some of the left-minded people are concerned about. They catch issues like the Jena Six, the expansion and U.S. deployment of Blackwater and the mishandling of crowd control in St. Paul way before it catches others' attention. On the right side, I'll go to something like Newsmax. My personal taste is for diverse and slightly left-leaning programming like NPR. Podcasts like To The Point and (to a lesser degree) Left, Right and Center are also helpful because they provide a venue for qualified and differing opinions to interact directly in a moderated discussion. It's nice to hear people talk about their opinions when they're addressing one particular issue with which they have sincere interest and experience. Most everyone else is just manipulating what little they've found to bolster their views regarding a specific candidate or concern.

What I ask isn't that everyone become an expert or news junky, just for each of us to put in the effort to be informed, think critically and engage opposing viewpoints. If you think that something is objective or fair-minded, the truth is most likely that it simply lines up with your current beliefs. Listen to the people and ideas that make you uncomfortable! You don't need to be an "expert" to investigate first-hand sources yourself or to criticize someone's work. Being "right" isn't going to make our democracy work; the driving force of a working democracy is an informed, critically thinking and active populace. This means refusing to settle for the consumption of ideas, products or roles... no matter what side they represent.

an extended summer

Life here since we've been back from Portland seems like an unexpected extension of beautiful weather, hanging out with friends, and summer life.

Last weekend I rode with Ruby on her scooter to the market and got fresh fruits and veggies, walked to and around the Rose Bowl with the Santa Ana winds blowing, went swimming in our pool, toured wineries in the Santa Barbara area with friends, and went on a bike ride with Donovan to a newly discovered park for a picnic. It has been SUCH a fun week, and I am reminding myself every day to hold on to these experiences as they come and be grateful for them.

I think the process of preparing my heart to move and beginning to transition has made life more beautiful. Every little thing is something I may see for the last time, every person a unique part of my life that can't be recreated elsewhere. Of course, sometimes this is confusing and I wonder if we should go beg Fuller to let us stay in Beth Re'im for another year so that we can continue to live here.

Ah, but life must move on...

Here are some pictures from the weekend of fun.

Monday, September 22, 2008

other fun happenings in portland, the land of trees

Here's my sis Steph. We were so glad we got to come up from Pasadena to see her get married! How special. This is us at Noah's Bagel getting ready for her big day and starting it off in proper fashion, by eating! We got our nails done at Dosha nearby the day before and then went to the rehersal. And the rehersal dinner was an amazing Japanese place, I loved it! Japanese + northwest seafood = a really happy Emily. The next day we got our hair done at Dosha before the wedding. The ladies at Dosha are real classy, I like!

This is of my new brother in law Scotty and Steph just before they cut the cake. My favorite new friend is Jordane, what a funny speech, what a good friend to Scotty, and what a strange and entertaining dancer! I told Jordane that he should be paid to be an entertainer at weddings. The wedding was on a farm on Sauvie's Island, which is sandwiched between two major bodies of land with Portland to its south. It was breathtaking. I cried when Scotty repeated the vows to Steph, it was so beautiful!
So, of course when I was in Portland for a short visit I happened to be at a local fire and was interviewed by the news station and featured responding to what I expereinced on site. Those newscasters are just as silly in person as they are on tv. I obviously said something dumb and they showed the tape of me being interviewed. Phissssh.
When Donovan and I were scouting out some possible future apartments we stumbled upon Marakesh and this spot, which is where we went right after we got engaged and star gazed for a while. We were so in awe of what had just happened and we chatted for a while here.
On our visit we saw the beginning of a complete transformation of the WPC campus. The new building is incredible, too much for words, you just have to see it. This is so special because it has been a long time dream of those involved with the campus and it is really coming to life. This is a picture of one of the new classrooms. The new building has new practice rooms, a coffee shop, bookstore, cafeteria, etc, etc. I'm a proud alumna.
Here is a picture of Donovan and I after viewing one of several living spaces in the area. Belmont is pretty darn cool. I think we both underestimated it. But this cafe in Belmont sucks. So never go there.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.... well, I don't think you will EVER see me riding down the street on a unicycle playing the bagpipes, even though I do want to move to southeast. That is, unless I'm having problems with my lungs and need to get them back into shape real fast, because this guy was really breathing hard.
This is my dad's pumpkin in the front yard. I love it. Signs of fall are everywhere in Portland. It's still trying to decide if it's really done with summer, as some afternoons were still hot when we were there. The first few leaves are turning yellow right now on some of the green trees. We will likely miss the full burst of autumn over the next four weeks while we're in Pasadena. But that's okay, we have 80 degrees and sunshine :)
We visited two sites that WPC students were at for the Common Day of Service while we were in town. I was interviewed (again) by a WPC media guy regarding my involvement in the first annual CDS, which was fun. I'm really camera shy. Really. This whole interviewing thing is just strange that it happened twice (three times really, but I will not share that whole story) while I was in Portland.
Donovan fell in love with Jan's cat while we were in Seaside, and I fell in love with the cottage. We had a grand time talking with Jay, working on his computer, and eating some FABULOUS food. I think I'm glad that Jay can't cook, because we really liked the restaurant he took us to.

We flew into LAX today and realized quickly that life is faster paced, the land is far less green, and there are LOTS of people. It's funny how quickly I acclimated to seeing a city almost in a forest, rather than a huge developed city with very few trees.

Oh, our time in Portland was very fun and busy. Now we are sleepy!

Monday, September 15, 2008

childhood memories and more

I've been taking pictures of things that I think are really special since I've been up to Portland. An old Halloween candy bucket from our childhood was one special find, hidden in my sister's closet with other decorations. Another was the old wheelbarrow that I used when I spent many autumns attempting to help my dad in the yard. I think one remembers to capture the little things in life more when they are on vacation.

There's nothing quite like home. Not too much has changed. I still like taking pictures of Dimen, and even though she's a year older and much calmer it is hard to capture her. If food is involved it makes it a bit easier. Another thing that hasn't changed is the wonderful fruits and veggies that show up at my parent's house from various neighbors and family member's gardens. Of course the best stuff is always from Molly and Al's yard.

One thing has changed though, dad's shed is finished and furnished! It even has working electricity and lights!

Right now Hershey is roaming around the house in the morning, huffing and talking with his eyes. He just "asked" to be let out. He is 8.5 years old now and is definately showing his age. He acts like an old man. I love him so much. Last night when he had his five minutes of cuddly time I hugged him and whispered to him like he likes. Oh, Hersh dog.

When we first arrived in Portland we went to the hospital to visit my dad. He had a surgery that went well but he had a morphine crash later that day and they sent him home, so he was in excruciating pain. It took hours to process him through the ER on a Friday night, but he eventually got back in. He looked good when we saw him and he was getting his pain regulated much better. This is a picture he took of us from his hospital bed. I really like it, good job dad!

We were instantly surprised at how beautiful it is in Portland. The trees are green with a tinge of yellow, a hint that the fall is just around the corner. The days are warm, in the 80s, but the mornings are incredibly cool. There is no sound of traffic, no smog, and very polite people. Parking is free, lots of dogs roam ahead of their owners off leash, there is much less worry about theft in general. The hospital is brand new too and the view is amazing. On one side we could see Mt. Hood and if it were clearer that morning Mt. St. Helens too. And it wasn't smog-unclear, it was fog-unclear! :) The other side hovers over a cute neighborhood and in the distance is the river and downtown. What a breath taking place!

Let me not forget, the whole purpose of this very exciting trip is... MY SIS IS GETTING MARRIED! Here is one small token of photographic documentation of her bachelorette party.
In our short time here we have also hit up our favorite area: Hawthorne. We went to Oasis and then to bubble tea. Here's a picture of Donovan at our fav bubble tea spot.

Yesterday we also had a sibling date and all got together for games and chatting. Here's a picture of Donovan winning the game. He's so good at Russian Rummy! Look at his face... pure joy!
We also played games and hung out in the afternoon with my in laws and enjoyed the warm weather from the Galloway's party patio... torches, games, and full on martha stewart looking patio furniture included. I was so glad they could come up from Salem to hang out!

Now we are off for the day to look at some possible future residences in the SE area and later tonight to my mom and dad's for some grub. I love family time!

Friday, September 12, 2008


The game I love to hate.

I am the brown player. I did so much better than last time! But I'm still learning. And it is hard for me to be the one person who doesn't know any of the strategy. It's more about friends than it is about winning... right?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

old fashioned letters

It's taken me being unemployed and almost officially done with my graduate degree to learn to start to slow down. It takes a lot of hard work, especially in LA to just slow...down... and breeeeeeathe. Sometimes when you're not rushing around, people stare at you, like maybe you have a problem if you're not busy. It's so funny.
So in honor of slowing life down a bit, I wrote an old fashioned letter to my great aunt. Granted, I couldn't bring myself to write it by hand... I don't even have any lined paper to do so... but I did send it snail mail and it was extremely mundane, a theme that flows from the letters I receive from my other great aunt. I talked about childhood memories I have with her now deceased husband, the current happenings of our lives, and sent her a little prayer. I realized it was so hard to do because it is just not a part of our culture anymore. There was a part of me that was fighting it the whole way through... I considered not sending a letter or emailing it to her daughter, and when I realized that would not be a good idea I thought about how wrong it was that it cost a whole 43 cents and it would arrive at least two days slower than an email. So I can't totally get out of my culture, but I did try at least. And yesterday I sent a real birthday card by mail too, so I'm getting places!
I still want to learn to garden, pickle cucumbers, and sew like my great aunts. I'm hoping moving back to Portland will allow for more time with my aunt Molly for creative learning like that.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

wedding hair ideas from theknot

Which one do you like the most?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

good friends, good times

Tonight we went to dinner with Hee Jung and it was really fun. I'm going to miss Pasadena... the nice weather, the good friends, the good eats...

fruits of my labor

Here is a project I worked on today for 4 hours. It reminds me of all of the little projects it took to put my own wedding together and how happy I was once the day was happening and I no longer had to stress, plan and prepare. Being a bridesmaid (how do you say that when you're married?) is far less stressful than a bride-to-be, at least for me.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


I love the Hargraves. They are new professors at Fuller. I've bumped into them twice in the last week around Pasadena and Fuller. They are my parent's age and they are really nice.
We just got back from Ralphs and ran into them. Sharon, Dr. Hargrave's wife, said she misses bumping into people she knows at the grocery store, and so we have fulfilled a part of her dream by seeing her there.
I remember being new to Pasadena and feeling the same way. Shesh, I only knew about 5 people, and what were the chances of seeing them at the store? It was very sad because it represented more to me than just not seeing people at the grocery store, of course. It meant that I lived in this big, wide city with millions of strangers and the history that I have with those in Gladstone or Portland would never quite be recreated here.
Sharon and Terry are from Amarillo, TX and they're nice people. I haven't met many Oregonians since moving to Pasadena (maybe less than 5) but I have met lots of Texans and I really like them. They share a love of a slower pace of live, knowing others in your community, and hospitality. I couldn't believe it but the other day Sharon and I sat down and talked for 1.5 when we saw each other on campus. They are both clinicians and he's a professor and it's really easy to talk to them because there is so much to learn from them. We're both sad, the Hargraves and I, that I couldn't stay longer/they couldn't come earlier.
Now, I am leaving the city of Pasadena and thinking on the unique things that make this a lovely place to be. I'm sure the things I missed about Portland will still be very enjoyable when I move back (I can't wait to go to Francis' again and swim in lakes and rivers!!) but of course, I will miss so much about being here. It's strange talking with the Hargraves because it's kinda like coming full circle in my experience here. Now I'm the one telling people the most cost effective items to buy at the Farmer's Market and Trader Joes, and where the best theatres are.

Friday, September 5, 2008

living space

Today I've been looking for places to live in Portland. It's such a big task! We have never looked for homes together before, because for the last two years we have lived in Fuller housing. I'm learning about loans and how so many different things like type of homes, locations, amenities, etc influence price. How could one ever know what a good price for the value is? At least, as an amateur, I'm having a really hard time figuring it out. Of course, there is the percentage of value versus other comparable sales in the area, but what about home versus condo, condo versus apartment? One site says that it's best to rent right now because the cost of housing is still falling right now. But if it's falling, don't I want to buy it now instead of when it is soaring upward? Makes sense to me. I guess we will learn a lot when we go to Portland and view several of properties. Right now I'm feeling overwhelmed, but ready to move out of our stinky apartment.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

things we've discovered in pasadena

We are planning on moving within the next few weeks and it makes me feel sentimental about little things in Pasadena that we will miss. Here are a few special things that we want to make sure our friends know about so they can enjoy them while they are in Pasadena!

If you're looking for a good bottle of wine, visit the wine shop on California and Lake Ave. The people there are real nice and helpful and they have everything from something cheap to something expensive. Just tell them the color or type of wine you want and the price range you are looking for and they will treat you right. One of the funniest things is that it's right behind the Pie 'n Burger shop and it's owned by the same people. I also love their little American flag that they hang out on the alley entrance on California when they're open. It's a great hole-in-the wall for Pasadenians.

One of the most mesmerizing things in Pasadena are the Jacaranda blossoms on Del Mar in May. Take a stroll. It's so delightful.

Jones Coffee on Raymond. Great beans. Sustainable practices. Quaint atmosphere. Excellent staff. Free wifi. And the owners are big fans of Fuller students and would love to chat. I will say no more. If you're smart, you will follow this advice: go, and go often.

All of the free summer events are possibly Donovan's favorite part about Pasadena. You have to choose between concerts at Levitt Pavilion, dancing at Paseo, and movies in One Colorado. Good, free fun.

Lacy Park. Go on a weekday and you won't have to pay $4 a person to enter this sweet gated oasis. It's where I go when I miss Oregon. Sometimes we picnic, other times we play bocce.... and it looks like a killer place to walk a dog or go for a run although I haven't done either there.

Happy hours. We will miss this so much when we move. It is a tradition for us, and it is so nice to not have to cook sometimes and just get out and walk together. Our favorites are: McCormick and Schmick's cheeseburgers and fries and white wine, Gordon Bierch's southwestern egg roll and local brews, Manny's Hawaiian pizza, or YardHouse's spicy personal pizza. Yum!

You have to go to the Rose Parade at least once. It's an all night adventure.

LA is so close to San Diego and other fun places to adventure for the day or weekend. Don't limit yourself... there is so much to see. Try seeing different beaches, and even visit them during Christmas, it's gorgeous when it's all lit up and cold. Stay in a hostel, go to the mountains, visit the desert. It's so diverse even if you drive two hours away!

And I'll save the best (perhaps?) for the last... visit Julienne once for breakfast. You could do it for a birthday or anniversary. Their french inspired dishes are delishous and I think far better than Marston's for a similar price.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

when in Palm Springs...

Donovan and I took the plunge and once again went to Palm Springs. It's always an adventure. This time was typical: the hot car ride, visits with the fam, sunny weather, lots of friendly men, outlet shopping and windy desert weather.

I really love waking up to silence. This weekend was better than usual. We were set up in Val and Con's guest room and opened the windows in the morning to see the large green lawn and horse pastures, old green trees, and blue sky. It was unbelievable. Palm Springs represents an oasis to me, a place away from school and life and insanity and clients... a place that restores my soul. We eat well there, laugh, give each other hugs, play with the girls and the dogs, and swim.

Koffi is the highlight for me. It's a fabulous little spot where perfect coffee and dogs and friendly people and sunshine and mountains collide. Just writing about it right now makes me so happy. Since we're moving soon I said my goodbyes to Koffi and Palm Springs on our last trip, just in case it is our last time there (for a while at least).

I'm sure I couldn't be a full time resident, but it makes me happy to see my grandma really thriving in that environment. She swims, golfs, and plays tennis. She's a crazy good golfer and sometimes she swims 3 times a day! We spent most of the weekend with her watching movies and relaxing and eating good food. It was really fun. I want to be content with my city like she is, I think that's rare.

If you live in LA you have to visit Palm Springs. You can get great rates on hotels during the off season and it is only 2 hours away. I hope I don't sound silly, like an advertisement, but I really love going there and I think all Fuller families need to experience a little escape in their lives. I know it can be stressful.