Workin’ 9 to 5 (…and learning to see more clearly)

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When supermodels say they were nerds back in school I want to bash their heads in.

When supermodels say they were nerds back in school I want to bash their heads in. Try having glasses, braces, skipping a grade (while still being in classes with kids three or four years older), competing on the math team, shopping at Sears for this gorgeous ensemble (thanks to this top I always knew what year it was!), getting mocked and bullied regularly by both boys and girls in my grade, eating lunch by myself almost every day, and being so incredibly shy I could barely speak. Something sparked inside of me a year or so after this photo was taken to get me to come out of my shell, but I’ll never forget those who were unkind, intolerant, or otherwise indifferent.

I have had such a month observing, experiencing, learning, working and just living, that too many words have just bubbled to the surface needing an attempt at articulation…

Having also grown up as a “clumsy young nerd girl” in a primarily white suburb (quoting Leslie Hawthorn’s talk that I’ve included at the end of this post), I remember keenly the systemic problems in my community, and I see the existing divides (to put it lightly) in the local tech community that I work in every day, in everything from your standard EEO categories of gender, color, age, and sexuality, to differences in personality. As (one of my most favorite women in tech I know) Selena Deckelmann most recently said in her opinion piece in the Portland Business Journal, “I struggle with whether it is right to refer women to jobs where it seems inevitable they will be made to feel so terrible that they quit an entire industry.”

And I think about my father’s era where the terms “personality fit” and “emotional intelligence” would have been laughed at.  Back when computer programmers were primarily female and when you weren’t forced to evaluate your coworkers via 360 assessments or take canned personality tests to determine how to get along with your team. You just dealt with the fact that so-and-so was this way and so-and-so was that way and you got the job done and went home. You weren’t told that there was “no such thing as work/life balance” because you went home at the end of the day and you usually didn’t feel obligated to check messages while you were out.

Now duh, this isn’t a “good old days” kind of reference, it’s simply extracting the fact that there were some ways of doing business that I think have been forgotten in the touchy-feely emo world of work that we are now dogpaddling through each day.

So many memories and therefore so many reasons I often want to just ditch it to go live off the grid. Ahh, but Sheryl Sandberg says we should belly up to the executive table…because ooh what a tasty table it is! (Obviously, I have other thoughts about Ms Sandberg). In my small piece of history, for example:

  • I remember the company founder who walked up to me while I was talking to the President (my boss) and CEO (his ex-wife) and rubbed my belly, and another time when I was clocking in he kissed me on the cheek. (Did I mention I was the HR Manager?)
  • I remember having a manager who at one point had worked in a mental health clinic, and therefore thought he had the authority to talk to us about our own emotional health and about our “mirrors”.
  • I remember several more who would tell me that I was the best (insert job title here) but that I needed to “soften” my approach if I wanted to “get along” in their “collaborative culture” – while the men in the department could literally threaten, demean and talk out of turn with not just deaf ears around them, but admiration for their ambition/spunk/energy/etc.
  • I remember another employer where the manager was disliked so much that people regularly quit by scheduling resignation emails after they had packed up their desk left so they never had to deal with that manager’s crazy behavior.
  • I remember one married manager who was regularly hitting on a young female staff member trying to get her to sleep with him, and yet she was the one cast out.
  • I remember filing a whistleblower complaint about illegal hiring practices and a week later being handed my walking papers with the reasoning in writing being that I was “asking too many questions instead of reading the hiring practices manual” even though I’d received numerous awards for my performance and service. Ironically, the agency was in the news a few months later for many of the things I’d brought up and they tried firing another of my former colleagues, who decided to sue them – and won.
  • I remember a place I was recruited to work there because of my experience building processes, cleaning up messes, and my expertise, being told that I was “disruptive” when I spoke up after witnessing everything from employment discrimination, sexual harassment, massive pay inequity and – my personal favorite – being loudly cursed at in front of my manager at by a manager missed an interview on his calendar. This last event my boss witnessed, said nothing, and told me afterwards that I should have told him to “fuck off”, and then even later tried to turn it around on me, attempting to set up a meeting with myself and the offending manager so we could learn to “get along better”…this, a guy who had been known to speak about, among other things, sexually explicit topics around the office.

I could go on. So could most women I know who’ve been in the workplace for more than a few years. Both inside and outside of tech, it happens – and my experiences are tame in comparison to the stories I’ve heard.

These days, I’m a recruiter in Portland’s startup scene, having consulted with 16 startups in not just filling positions, but overhauling their recruiting processes, challenging their philosophies and ideas to improve hiring and therefore better serve the customers that are both candidates and employees, creating a culture around recruiting that understood that how you treat your applicants reflects on who you are as a company. I’ve also made the decision to not work with companies whose leadership or boards include individuals that have reputations for driving companies into the ground, abandoning employees during crucial times, and involved in any way in situations involving the degradation and/or violence towards women.

Many of my clients truly get it, making the adjustments to how they hire that have helped them secure the best and brightest, and ultimately grow to a point where they no longer needed my services (my ultimate goal as a consultant is empowering teams). But unfortunately, a few pretended at the onset to be interested in what I had to offer, yet ultimately chose to stay in the slow lane where it was okay to do things like give lowball offers, take weeks and weeks to make hiring decisions (and thereby lose valuable candidates), refuse to try new techniques to assist in finding good people a whole lot faster, ignore female candidates submitted, and even talk trash about applicants’ external features, to put it delicately. One even lied to my face about how they were hiring. But hey, karma is out there and thanks to the amazing people in my professional circles, and the good clients who I’ve been blessed to work with, the frustrating experiences have made me a stronger businesswoman and more confident in my approach as I kick off this, my third year in business.

Along with recruitment consulting, I’m also a career coach, working to help people contemplating a career change to put together a strategy to getting where they want to go. While I don’t profess or claim to be a counselor, listening is always a primary part of the work I do so I can partner with them and empower them to go after their professional goals more effectively – and with greater confidence. I’m always learning from these amazing people with their incredibly interesting stories and finding inspiration (and yes, your story IS worth telling!). And yes, I’ve heard from many of the women how they’ve been treated, at best and at worst, in their past jobs. Kick-ass women, every single one of them.

These two sides of my work, along with 13 years before going solo working in twelve diverse human resources and corporate & agency recruiting roles, have provided me a fairly unique perspective on the experiences of employees, managers, and candidates. I have gotten to participate on career panels, speak at events, and guest blog on a number of websites. And I have had the opportunity to hear so many stories from women, both bad and good, who have helped me understand the unique situations we all face in the workplace.

With that, I’ve also learned how to make some hard decisions and am still practicing the fine arts of learning, forgiving, questioning, and seeing and hearing more deeply in order to be my best self, both personally and professionally. From letting go of things that no longer serve me to remembering the lessons, and using it all to be more effective – and happy! – at what I do every day.

(and not just in my work)

I will never forget where I came from. I will never forget the girl in me who went from brave and carefree and confident and joyful to, upon moving into the next chapter of school, insecure and self-loathing because of the way people treated myself and others. And while I rebuilt, and protect the inner girl inside of me who I thought at one time was lost forever, I won’t forget how the world, whether it be in middle school or the workplace, can devastate the hearts and minds of its people when differences are devalued rather than honored.

Below is an incredibly worthwhile video of the awesome Leslie Hawthorn’s keynote speech, Checking Your Privilege: A How-To for Hard Things, at the Open Source Conference (OSCON) here in Portland last week. It is a reminder – but I wonder, will everyone listen? Because we can all do better.

I would love to hear your stories – small or big, whether you’ve healed or not – and I would love to hear what’s working in your community, workplace, home, school, whatever…it all touches one another. We all, like it or not, are interconnected, and choosing to do the hard work can reward us in so many ways.

Here’s Leslie Hawthorn’s talk on A How-To For Hard Things...

 

Tuesday Go Ponder: The Trouble With Summer

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Usually I don’t read The Mercury, as it’s full of self indulgent, cynical, hipster bullshit but for some reason I caught this article below, Summer is for Skinny People, out of the corner of my eye and by the end a sadness had come over me, understanding all too well what the writer was talking about. Just that day I had remembered consciously about how I am constantly adjusting myself and my clothing and just that day I had thought about all the pairs of shorts that I can’t fit into without feeling horrendously self conscious, and not long ago I was at a lake with my husband where he doesn’t see my flaws but I was in shorts and a tank top in the water, and most definitely not to be photographed below the shoulders.

We’re all works in progress. We’re all working to accept our own selves more but unless you’ve been outside of the society-preferred body type, it’s hard to truly understand what it feels like to be fifty, sixty, a hundred or more pounds overweight and dealing with a season that others find glorious. When you are swimsuit shopping and have to go to a special store or department because the size you wear is not worth most regular retailers’ time, because they don’t want your size walking around in what is all about sexy? Then maybe you’ll have a glimpse.  I don’t want to be fucking relegated, and am working on my mind to help my body, but I have been in a different physical state ever since the day I spotted my ex husband had written the words “I hate my fat wife” to a friend. I then went from a 12 to a 20 and while I’m hovering closer to a 16 right now (and no I don’t care to hear about how that’s the average size woman for a woman in America these days, as it is irrelevant to how the world looks upon us), I remember the old skinny me who didn’t get looked at, or overlooked, because of her size.  My new husband loves me, loves my body, and doesn’t know the skinny me from way back. But it doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten her.

Back then I was more self-conscious in a swimsuit about my boobs being too small or my skin being too pale. Back then I remember the disdain my mother showed for my father’s obesity and how I knew that to be fat was to be less deserving, less worthy. Renee Zellweger pointed out as getting “fat” for Bridget Jones Diary even though she was just eating enough to not be stick-thin anymore. Melissa McCarthy being touted “America’s plus size sweetheart” because god forbid they lump her in with the skinny actresses, god forbid they make her attractive to all men.

I could go on. And I will in another post in the future. In the meantime, read, and if you’ve never felt this way yourself, empathize and adjust your own thoughts and behaviors. Like the author said, it’s learned, not innate, to tolerate the way people are judged.

(PS – Like author Wally Lamb, this author being a man blew me away as well.)

Summer Is for Skinny People

This Time of Year Is About Frivolity and Fun and Being Alive and I Hate It

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IN THE POPULAR IMAGINATION, summer is the season of mindlessness. Summer films mean big, dumb blockbusters that allow, even require, you to suspend your critical faculties and revel in exploding superheroes. Likewise with summer reading, summer love, summer jams: The emphasis is always on escape and carefreedom, the joys of indulgence and insubstantiality. Songs about the season, by everyone from George Gershwin to Mungo Jerry, sell this same bill of goods: In summertime, the livin’ is easy; two bare feet on the dashboard/young love and an old Ford; everybody frontin’ and maxin’/chillin’ in the car they spent all day waxin'; we’re always happy; a regular free-for-all.

Well, not for all.

For some of us, summer is the season of dread, because for all its many charms, it’s also the season when taking off one’s clothes in public becomes customary, at times even compulsory. While I am spiritually and voyeuristically 100 percent on board with partial and total public nudity among those who choose to engage in it (a segment of the population I envy as deeply as some people envy millionaires), my own relationship to bodily exposure is a joint-freezing, breath-seizing nightmare. To couch it in terms of the ranking phobias in American life, I would rather address a large audience while sealed in a coffin aboard a free-falling airplane infested by poisonous spiders the size of Alaskan king crabs than take my shirt off at the beach.

“Are you ready for the summer?” asks the song from Meatballs. “It’s complicated,” comes the invariable answer.

If you’ve spent any time in your life being noticeably overweight, you’re likely to know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you’re equally likely to have no clue how anyone could be so foolish as to deny himself the birthright of feeling the sun’s rays on his bare skin. And of course, both yous are absolutely right. While comment-thread trolls (go right ahead, you worthless dicks; I won’t be reading) and identity bloggers might disagree, the issue at issue isn’t about cultural norms or beauty standards or privilege or tyranny. It’s simply about the hyperconsciousness, which permeates every waking second, of body shame running aground in the absence of such consciousness.

Since we just recently celebrated our nation’s independence, it seems as good a time as any to spill a few words considering its opposite: not dependence, but bondage. Not bondage to fitness or fatness or the beauty myth or any of the other tropes that attend the public conversation about the American obesity epidemic—which is, I’m only the tiniest bit relieved to acknowledge, not my subject here—but to the ineradicable certainty that one’s own form is an encyclopedic aberration. This thought infects and infests every interaction with everyone you meet. You believe it is what everyone is really thinking. You see it in everything. It makes you late because you’re compelled to change clothes 10 times before you settle on what to wear—and having settled, makes you wear the same outfit for days in a row, thinking you may have finally cracked the code of fooling the world into thinking you, too, are a human being.

You get stuck in mirrors, performing contortions to try to discern the angle from which someone might mistake you for a peer. You pick at your clothes incessantly, trying to make them hang just so, the way normal people’s garments hang. It makes young guys wear T-shirts in swimming pools (the suckerest bet of all time), turns gym locker rooms into high-speed gauntlets. Dinner parties become minefields. Preposterous fallacies—it’s impossible for thin people to have real problems; eating disorders are a blessing—become obvious truths.

Your appearance obsesses you, not because you are vain (though you might also be vain), but because you’re unshakably convinced that your body is not simply unappealing, not merely unacceptable, but legitimately offensive to behold. You cancel plans because you simply can’t allow yourself to be perceived. You feel like you’re covered by ants. You would rather be covered by ants. You dream of shitting out your insides to transform your appearance. You fantasize about falling into a coma and waking up wasted away. You know that every time you enter a room, everyone in it is shocked by your appearance, such that your absence would lubricate the social intercourse. You doubt people who claim to be attracted to you and maintain a running countdown to the moment they finally admit it. You think of your body as a misshapen prison and your mind as the true locus of the self.

You may even fetishize this misapprehension to the extent that it becomes the cornerstone of your personality, a bulwark against situations (beaches, dance floors) in which physical presence is preeminently valuable. It is the first thing you see in the morning and the last thought you have at night. Worst of all, even when you understand that all these things are objectively not true, you still know them as surely as the religious believe in their deities and gamblers in their chances. The processes are governed by a similar surrender to a malignant form of magical realism. It’s an unedifying irony that the word “dysmorphia” is kind of beautiful. Alas, it’s not as fun as it sounds.

Some people, regardless of the shape of their bodies, simply don’t give a fuck. These people are lucky, maybe even holy. Others, and here I include myself, spend the summer on constant alert for signs that someone in their circle will declare that it’s time to go swimming (or indeed skinnydipping, a whole ‘nother discussion), followed by a chorus of cheering affirmation, haunted by the conspicuous silence of the one person in the group who can’t, who simply cannot, bear the thought of baring his/her physique to the world.

Thus begins the countdown to the moment of—well, not truth, exactly… but the crucial moment, when the exposurephobe must make the excuse that allows him/her to remain dressed while everyone else cavorts, revels, and displays. Too much work to do, beach too crowded, too tired, too whatever it takes to not drop the last layer of armor between your body and the disdainful eyes of, frankly, almost everyone else. It’s bad enough to be excluded (by choice, by nature, by good old-fashioned prudishness) from one of the sweetest rituals available to humankind, but one thing is worse: being aggressively included.

This is the moment when the thing you’re most terrified of becomes the subject before the group, when a gaggle of nearly naked friends, enemies, peers, and rivals begins shouting at you to strip off the only protection you have in the world against the thing you dread worse than death—far worse; death would be welcome. A gang of laughing voices commanding you to disregard the elephant stampede of horrible feelings that assault you more intensely with each “Come on!” and jump in the disgusting murk of weedy, reedy (and always, always freezing fucking cold) lake water while they watch.

This has happened to me at least a dozen times in my life, during periods of both relative leanness and full-blown corpulence, with people I know well and love, and who know and love me, and each time was exactly the same as every other: the absolute worst. I have responded to it with explosive petulance, sheepish resignation, fake enthusiasm, sudden flight, and grim silence. In all cases, the people in the water—ironically, the best place to conceal an ignominious form—had no idea that their exhortations to be one of them only compounded the paralyzing shame of knowing that I wasn’t, and could never be, no matter how much weight I ever lose, or gain, or lose again.

One hears a lot about different kinds of shaming in the current discourse on privilege—body-, slut-, gender-, and otherwise. And while it’s probably a good idea for everyone to consider the way they treat other people, I’m not entirely sure the transitive form of the verb applies in this case. To be sure, I have been brutally mocked for my appearance, by friends, enemies, strangers, and family, more or less for my whole life. Still, most people never say a word about your appearance, because they don’t notice, don’t care.

Regardless, the idea that others are in any way responsible for the dread I feel at a crowded shoreline rings false to me. Once you’re out of school, it’s not the rudeness or deliberate ostracism you’re afraid of. My fear is about what people will think far more than what they might say, and no one can be blamed for what he/she thinks. Most of the time, you don’t get to know what anyone else thinks, but that hardly matters, because I know what I think, and I don’t think I think it because society has conditioned me via some fascistic beauty standard. (Women obviously experience this on a whole other level, but if you think men aren’t held to a magisterial appearance ideal by men and women alike, try taking 20 or 30 extra pounds with you into the palace of privilege sometime.)

It’s not about being or feeling attractive. It’s about belonging to the class of the objectively acceptable. Scorn-dread follows the fat and once-fat around like the dust cloud follows Pig-Pen in Peanuts. It originates within, derived from the obvious disparity between our own appearance and the appearance of almost everyone else. The contempt of normals is unmistakable, be it masked by warmth, tempered by sympathy, denied on ideological grounds, or not even conscious. Just as the Jewish character in Chariots of Fire notes about English anti-Semitism, “You catch it on the edge of a remark,” so too can revulsion for the endomorph be detected in the disappointed gaze of even the politest company. Bias against the overweight, particularly in situations where the whole point is bodily display, is involuntary, reflexive, evolutionary. It seems to exist on a species level. It’s the tolerance that seems learned.

This anxiety, like all anxieties, exists entirely in the psyche of the anxious, and has very little to do with other people. That doesn’t mean it’s imaginary, however. It’s not about self-esteem, or even self-involvement, but it is about the self in relation to the rest of the world. You need not think of your body as grotesque or freakish (two of many negative adjectives I used in the above paragraphs and deleted upon further consideration) to understand that other people are likely to. Here rests the sad corollary to the old Platonic adage about beauty being in the eye of the beholder. I’m sure I’m not the first to understand that the absence of beauty is in there, too, which is all the proof a non-beauty ever needs.

It was tempting to use this space as a critique of the summer industrial complex, comparing it to the mania for acquisition that gets pumped down our gullets every holiday season by the corporate forces that manipulate our collective mood, transforming natural season cycles into different colors of predetermined sentiment, the better to organize our shopping impulses and keep the economy chugging along. “Happiness is, after all, a consumption ethic,” wrote Joan Didion. But let’s be serious. I can aestheticize my phobias all the livelong day, and it can’t alter the fact that summer is great. It’s just better for people who are thin and attractive. Like everything in the goddamn world. 

Weekend in Pictures

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catching up on cider and completing more pages at the pub while the hubby volunteers there

Happy Sunday, sipping on a Cascadia Cider and writing more pages at the Oregon Public House while the hubby volunteered his time in the kitchen

I thought I was done collecting Tamara Adams' art as I have SO many pieces of hers, but her style as it continually evolves, brought me to this beautiful mermaid print that I could not help but add to the collection - especially with the walls in our big basement bedroom having been recently transformed to the green that you see in her scales...ooh ahh!

I thought I was done collecting Tamara Adams‘ art as I have SO many pieces of hers, but her style as it continually evolves, brought me to this beautiful mermaid print that I could not help but add to the collection – especially with the walls in our big basement bedroom having been recently transformed to the green that you see in her scales…ooh ahh!

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biking along the Columbia Slough Trail and the hubby spotting this gorgeous heron along the water’s edge…happy sigh…

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escaping to Forest Park after work for a hike just outside of NW Portland…we are so lucky to have so much here in my hometown!

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Stopping at the Stone House which has been unfortunately tagged by a lot of jerks over the years :(

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Dan is loving all the new places I’m introducing him to here in P-town!

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Friday night was a good ol’ fashioned date night, enjoying Moroccan food over at Marrakesh, then walking over to Comedy Sportz where my buddy Wade (far right) was performing while visiting from Raleigh, NC. For old time Portlanders, the gal in the middle is former Oregonian columnist and TV personality Margie Boule. We were in the front row and were laughing nonstop – seriously high energy improv!

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And it wouldn’t be a summer post without a picture of something from the garden! Yum yum YUM these sweet peppers (Melrose, Jimmy Nardello, and Gypsy) are so good and that meant making up a few pints of the best ever sweet relish. Oh happy day :)

 

EcoGrrl-icious

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xoxo Oregon

xoxo Oregon

It’s been an insane week. Half drafted blog posts lying around, garden exploding with cucumbers that seem to triple in size every hour and cherry tomatoes that need a serious haircut, a ton happening on the work front and lots of to-do’s springing up every which way….but life is darn good and I’m seriously optimistic for the future.

And how are y’all?

Here’s some things that I thought were pretty interesting, cool, helpful, et cetera this week…

* OMG yum – I made pulled pork for the hubby & I this past week using the slow cooker (SO easy and SO tender!!!), thanks to the Food Network’s awesome recipe (always my first place to look when I need to experiment with a new ingredient!). I’d never bought an entire pork shoulder (dang that’s a large piece o’ meat), but New Seasons Market has a great sustainable meat department so we were not disappointed. In fact, we wolfed it all down in just a few days. :)

* Woo hoo, the Fix It Fair schedule is out for this fall/winter! Every time I go I learn something new – and it is FREE! Great workshops on energy efficiency, gardening, cycling, nutrition, and much more. Portland folks, if you haven’t been yet, put it on your calendar!

* What’s the most eco-UNfriendly food in the American diet? You may have guessed it, but click HERE to find out.

* Just learned about the new local ReClaim It!, a retail space for discarded items you can use for art and DIY projects. The husband will definitely geek out here – especially as it’s a 5 minute bike ride from our house…

* Being a huge fan of The Portland Kitchen, I was psyched to learn that through AmazonSmile, I can ensure a portion of my purchases on Amazon benefit them. While I don’t like to order online if I can find something local, occasionally there’s a used book I can’t find at Powell’s, and it’s also a fantastic place to sell things when there’s no response to my Craigslist ads.

* We’re wanting to get our kitchen floor refinished – I mean, it’s been almost 2 years since I did the excruciating job of pulling off the awful stick-on tiles from the pine floors, so the procrastinating must end. Dealing with many contractors, over the years, I’m disappointed about 75% of the time in the crappy level of service during the proposal process, and so far it’s been nothing but frustrating – no shows, backing out, sketchy pricing, and claiming to be eco but refusing to tell us what products he uses. Who knows, maybe we’ll sand/stain them ourselves – using this eco-friendly guide to stains as our helper.

* Finally, for those contemplating, in the midst of pregnancy and/or parenting, or know someone who is, check out local tech goddess Selena Deckelmann’s Tumblr page, The Throw Test, reviewing books on pregnancy and whether or not she wanted to throw the book across the room. As Dan & I slowly contemplate our lives changing from two to three next year, this was a great jumping off point.

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.”
~Leonard Cohen

EcoGrrl-icious

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Driving home from Buck Lake on Tuesday, we had to stop to capture this quiet moment on the road after a deer had crossed in front of us.

Driving home from Buck Lake on our “vacation day” Tuesday, we had to stop to capture this quiet moment on the road home. A deer had just skipped across the road, the world was quiet, and it was purely an “I love Oregon” kind of moment. Happy sigh :)

Here’s to another gorgeous summer week! The heat wave has ended and we are back to our traditional low 80’s summer weather here in the Pacific Northwest, with work at a healthy clip, Dan’s green card interview awaiting confirmation, the pumpkin vines getting so long it feels like they’ll knock on the door soon, and a whole lotta optimism about life in general. So much I’ll share with readers over the coming months, but in the meantime, here are my weekly green and other cool things I hope you’ll be interested in…

* Super cool to have our wedding story featured in this month’s Green Bride Guide! Next week we’ll be married a whopping two months and yet it already seems so long ago since we were having this celebration. I’m digging marriage 2.0 for sure :)

* Amazing photos from Dorothea Lange on the internment camps during WWII. Why do so many choose to forget that while the Holocaust was occurring in Europe, that our own country was running its own concentration camps?

* Always trying new varieties of guacamole and this one claims to be the best guac recipe. I’m all over it!

* Bike tourism taking off in Portland? Coolness.

* I love this article! Eating organic is like two extra portions of fruits and vegetables per day with no added calories.

* And adding onto last week’s coffee awesomeness, learn more about Cafe Feminino and the work they do to support women coffee growers – and support the foundation!

It is often easier to become outraged by injustice half a world away than by oppression and discrimination half a block from home.
~Carl T. Rowan

Vacation Day: Buck Lake

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A real day off. No emails, no texts, no cell phone service to interrupt our day away. We’ve decided once a month to get a Zipcar and go somewhere new each time, exploring areas just outside the city. Tuesday I took him to a place in the Mt Hood National Forest I’d only been once before, six years ago with a girlfriend, so it was almost new (got lost on the way and everything!) :)  On a 95 degree day, escaping the city into the woods and slipping into a quiet alpine lake with very few people around? Perfection.

Ladies and gentlemen, Buck Lake.

(PS – no photoshopping done, this is actually how the lake looks!)

Heading up the trail. And I mean UP. It's not an easy place to find and there is no GPS or even very good road signs, and it's a bitch of a short climb from the trailhead - but man is it lovely when you arrive at the top!

Heading up the trail. And I mean UP. It’s not an easy place to find and there is no GPS or even very good road signs, and it’s a bitch of a short climb from the trailhead – but man is it lovely when you arrive at the top!

Greetings!

Greetings!

Ahh, happiness. Did I mention the lake is NOT ice cold??

Ahh, happiness. Did I mention the lake is NOT ice cold??

Chillin' out on a blanket watching the sun fall upon the trees...it's so quiet here, just listening to the wind is a gorgeous thing...

Chillin’ out on a blanket watching the sun fall upon the trees…it’s so quiet here, just listening to the wind rustling the leaves is a gorgeous thing…

Really shallow fairly far out so you can wade or swim quite a ways on foot in the water, not to mention it's so clear that you can see the turtles and fish and even a lizard or two!

Really shallow initially so you can wade or swim quite far out, not to mention it’s so clear that you can see the turtles and fish and even a lizard or two! Next time we’re bringing an air mattress :)

A little panorama shot for y'all...not bad for a Tuesday in July!

A little panorama shot for y’all…not bad for a Tuesday in July!

Emerging from the water!!!

Emerging from the water and feelin’ so serene…there are photos of us swimming but we’re gonna keep those to ourselves in the interest of modesty!! :)

Workin’ 9 to 5 (…and empowering others to be successful)

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Today I want to share a video featuring Albertina Kerr’s Port City / Project Grow program where my husband volunteers, working alongside the developmentally disabled as they learn how to make a living.

It is beautiful what this organization does, and I’m so proud to have a partner whose career has been dedicated to supporting the lives of those who deserve just as much of a shot as the rest of us.

Weekend in Pictures

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Noice! Lunch at the Oregon Public House where my husband just started volunteering! They are a 100% nonprofit pub - awesome food, great cause, and right in our neighborhood, yay!

Noice! Lunch at The Oregon Public House where my husband just started volunteering! They are a 100% nonprofit pub – awesome food, great cause, and right in our neighborhood, yay!

painted our dingy gray stairs black and white with the help of Rodda's zero-VOC Horizon paint.

painted our dingy gray stairs black and white with the help of Rodda’s zero-VOC Horizon paint. And hope we never have to paint these ever again – nothing like painting stairs and losing access to your basement for 24 hours to make you think carefully ! :)

sunflowers are happy happy happy!

sunflowers are happy happy happy!

PDX Skillshare was on Saturday, where one of the classes I took was in book mending - so cool learning easy cheap ways to fix old books. With my great-grandmother's Elsie Dinsmore books that are well over 100 years old, I've got a ton of projects to do this winter in this area!

PDX Skillshare was this Saturday, where one of the classes I took was in book mending – so cool learning easy cheap ways to fix old books. With my great-grandmother’s Elsie Dinsmore books that are well over 100 years old, I’ve got a ton of projects to do this winter in this area!

Gar

Woo hoo! Garlic harvested and we’re just beginning the curing process.

Gypep

These gypsy sweet peppers we’re growing this year for the first time are really taking off – we have 6 or 7 plants and they’re by far in the lead. Love that they go yellow to orange to red, bypassing the (IMHO) yucky green phase completely :)

Olive

To my husband’s delight, the arbequina olive tree is full of these li’l guys. I’m apathetic when it comes to olives but he’ll be eating them right off the tree, I’m sure.

Po

yay! finally enough fingerlings and red potatoes to make a delicious German potato salad that will include homemade parsley and locally produced bacon and eggs. (mouth is watering….)

Tomatillo

my second try at growing tomatillos, this time in a pot…they are again growing at a rapid pace…a few years ago I tried and while the little paper shell thingies were in abundance, absolutely no fruit was inside them! here’s hoping for normality because this gal wants to try her hand at making tomatillo salsa!! :)

 

EcoGrrl-icious

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my makeshift outdoor canning station!

my makeshift outdoor canning station in the back yard which has turned out to be incredibly awesome on those hot evenings when boiling water in the house is not fun!!

Gorgeous week, with the weather cooling a bit to give us a break before next week’s heat wave puts us in the mid 90’s (ugh!). Fortunately, my hubby and I have several basement projects to work on at home and as for the garden, we stopped by Goodwill and picked up a whole bunch of sheets to lay over our precious peppers and tomatoes so the lovely fruits that are emerging don’t get hammered by the evil hot rays.

With that, here are some eco-goodies to pass your way this week that I hope you enjoy…please tell me how you like these by the way, I love your comments!!

* Love this piece on growing huckleberries – we have three bushes that are a few years old and can’t wait for them to fruit (hopefully next year!).

* A bike sharing program for kids? Awesome! Check out how Paris is doing it and get inspired!

* Speaking of kids, one of my coaching clients told me about her company supporting Coffee Kids, an amazing nonprofit supporting the children of coffee farmers around the world.

* With Australia in the midst of having their own version of GW in office, the country is seeing the conservative (known as “liberal” there, the opposite of here in the US) leadership stripping away social and environmental programs that have been doing the country so much good. Here’s a good article about power bills and energy efficiency that clarifies a lot of the garbage being dispersed out there.

* And on the topic of electricity, check out what’s happening here in Portland with Trimet and the e-bus. Along with the carbon footprint effects, it’s sure sounding dreamy envisioning following a bike on my bus and not getting icky exhaust fumes in my lungs!

* Finally, some love for Braking Cycles, a nonprofit in Portland I just learned about who is using bicycle repair, job training, and repurposing bike parts to help break the cycle of poverty. One of the six community nonprofits supported by The Oregon Public House, every time you sip a local cider or tasty stout, or eat a veggie burger or their awesome sweet potato tots, or bring your kids in for a tasty meal and entertainment, you can select them for 100% of the net proceeds from your meal to support Braking Cycles. RAD.

For those wounded by civilization, yoga is the most healing salve.
~Terri Guillemets