Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shake It, Mama!

Tonight my friend Drew and I found a diamond in the rough. After watching the Baylor NIT Final Four game at the Skybox Pub (Sic 'em Bears!), we grabbed some dinner then met up with some friends at the Clinton Corner Cafe. As soon as we stepped out of our car we could hear the twang of the banjo and harmonica. Every Tuesday night, the regulars gather as the Pagan Jug Band livens up the scene with some good ol' folk music. Tonight was by far the best people watching ever! The locals (all age 50 and older) hit the dance floor and boogied the night away. A few people stood out in the crowd:

- "Corduroy Ken": wandered around the dance floor in a spinning motion and never opened his eyes
- "Tye-dye Tammy": was serious about her moves and only took a break to sip her drink
- "Bandana Bob": could occasionally be seen over the crowd as he bounced around and sometimes even took the party out on the street
- "Eyeglasses Ed": stayed near the wall with his arms kept close by his side as he spastically swayed back and forth
- "Mustache Mike": played it cool as he kept the beat and rocked the 'stache
- "Tank Top Ted": could swing his hips and groove his shoulders like nobody's business - I could only dream to have his moves!

I have never been so entertained in my life! I made friends with the harmonica player's mom (who the song Shake It, Mama was dedicated to) and she personally invited us to their next gig. We told her we plan to bring a whole group to the show next week! We may become regulars ourselves.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I'm Home!

So I finally moved into my new place this weekend! I am living in a cute, 2-story duplex with two other girls who are about my age. The girl who moved out is planning on moving to Uganda for a year - what are the odds! I have the master bedroom, a huge closet and my own bathroom. While I was singing in the shower today - I mean taking a shower today - I realized that this is the first time in my life that I've had my own bathroom. And I LOVE it! There is still plenty of work to do on the room, including painting over a bright teal wall which just doesn't go with my brown and gold bedding. I already really enjoy my roommates, Kathy and Tarah. It's wierd living with girls who aren't my best friends like my roommates in college were, but I know we will become more comfortable with one another over time. I feel so blessed to have found such a great living situation. Here are some pictures of my new home...

4220 Rhone Street, Portland, OR 97206
send me snail mail!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Seattle, Take II

Thursday morning, my friend Carrie and I hoped on the train to Seattle for a two-day adventure. I've never been on a train in the United States before and it was a beautiful ride. Since we didn't have a car with us, we had to take the bus all around Seattle which proved to be a tougher than we thought! We missed several buses and got lost a few times, but made friends with several Seattlites (?) who helped us out along the way. We walked around the downtown area, visited the 8-story Seattle public library, ate yummy sushi, went to the Locks were boats come into port, toured the Experience Music Project, and walked around the University of Washington campus. While we were there we stayed with her friend Julie who attends Seattle Pacific University. It was a fun trip and we got to see a lot of the city, but it was tiring and I'm glad to be back in Portland!
All aboard!
Thursday night Seattle

EMP music tower

Carrie in the UW library

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Yesterday I attended a meeting for district representatives and nonprofit members to discuss the challenges of the current economy and how they are affecting philanthropic businesses. I went as the representative for Murdock. They usually send me to all of the important community meetings (well actually no one else could attend so they told me to go and take notes). So I wore a name tag that said "Mary Carter, Murdock Trust" and you would have thought I was wearing a crown and sash. Several people came up to me to introduce themselves, give me their business card, and tell me that they have "something in the pipelines" at Murdock. I graciously shook their hand, thanked them for their kind words, and casually mentioned that I am in fact the new Executive Director and if they ever need anything I would be happy to fit them into my busy schedule.

As the meeting started, I took my seat towards the back of the room (so as not to be called on to ask a question or make a comment). I began taking notes, but got easily distracted by all that way going on around me. And a lot was going on!

It was 1:00 and apparently the elderly lady on the opposite side of the room hadn't eaten lunch yet. So she's sitting over there munching on a quesadilla and when she finishes makes quite a bit of noise closing the styrofoam box and stuffing it into the paper bag. Heads start to turn and eyes begin to glare. Then all of a sudden, I hear a banging - as if someone is playing an intense video game and is about to be destroyed by the archenemy. A few rows in front of me, there is a young man dressed in jeans and tennis shoes who seems to be playing the drums on his keyboard. But its not a regular keyboard. So I begin to wonder: is he blind and this is his way of taking notes? But that thought gets interupted when the lady next to me's cell phone starts ringing. It's a jazzy ringtone that makes me want to get up and dance, but I contain myself and try to turn my focus back to the speaker who is commenting on the problems with the healthcare system. "Well that's just the stupidest thing I've ever heard..." mumbles the lady sitting on the opposite side of me. She's sitting alone. I'm the closest person to her. Is she talking to me? These capricious comments continue throughout the meeting. I begin to tune her out - or did the heavyset man sitting behing me who was breathing hard tune her out? I lower my gaze, trying to clear my mind of all that is going on around me... only to realize that the lady next to me is wearing a full-on kilt! Plaid pattern, pleats, kilt pin, white stockings and all! Now that's just bizarre. All of the sudden I hear a "click click". Its coming from the far left side of the room. "click click". No wait, its coming from behind me. click click. A camera man is making his way around the room snapping pictures of something which probably isn't exciting enough to be picture-worthy. Then there is a squeek. The lady on the back row in the leather jacket just can't sit still. I focus my attention back on the speaker: one of the political leaders who isn't talking, but crying! The economic crisis has gotten him all choked up! The meeting ends on that note and I dodge the crowds in order to make a quick escape out the back door.

Apparently this is a series of Southwest Washington nonprofit discussions. Can't wait for the next one!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Doctor is Out

Daniel is a part-time intern who works at Murdock two days a week. By part-time I mean that he performs regular intern tasks part of the time and counsels me the other part of the time. He is currently a grad student at George Fox pursuing a masters in marriage and family therapy. So not only do I enjoy having him as a friend to talk to, I get free therapy and he gets to use me as his counseling guinea pig. We've discussed all sorts of topics: relationships, religion, the future, the past, big decisions, little issues. So I've learned a lot about myself (and Daniel has gotten more than an earful). However, my shrink is on Spring Break this week... so here I sit. in the office. on a monday. all by myself. it's cold and rainy outside.

This could be a long week!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Don't Forget Aunt Mary

So I called Taylor last night to wish him a "Happy Birthday" and have a nice conversation. That conversation turned sour, however, when he said that Carter no longer knows who his Aunt Mary is. What?! I've been gone for a month and a half and my favorite nephew forgets about me?! So I called to "talk" to Carter this morning, but he was taking a nap. So I told Sarah to show that little booger a picture of me as a reminder. She said they don't have a picture of me - thanks a lot! That is unacceptable. So I emailed my friend Eryn, Carter's babysitter who he probably thinks is his new aunt, and told her to show the little man a picture of me every time she babysits him.

I called Emily this morning to tell her the awful news... and she said that Hannah already forgot Aunt Mary and Alice Anne never even knew me! What is going on?! That awful fallacy was disaffirmed when I talked to Hannah (who I can always trust) and she told me that she missed me.

[sigh] I was starting to think you people had forgotten about me already. From now on, I require that Hannah, Alice Anne and Carter each look at these pictures of their favorite aunt who lives in Portland every day!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rating Portland

The ratings are in! Portland wins as... "Unhappiest city in the US"! Business Week came to this conclusion based on number of cloudy days (222 days per year), suicide and depression rates, crime and economic factors.

Portland has also been recognized as:

#1 Best city for senior citizens
2nd Most "fiscally fit" city
6th Most stressful of 100 large metropolitan areas
8th Most energetic
15th Best city for dating
16th Healthiest city
26th Best airport for making a connection/new friend
27th Best city for sleep
39th Most single city
47th Most manly city (out of 50)

I don't think I will leave Portland just because it is the unhappiest city in the US. Afterall, this city can help me sleep well so I can go for long runs and become really health (while relieving stress), meet a not-so-manly guy at the airport, go on a date (or maybe not because everyone seems to remain single), and save enough money so I can move back as a senior citizen when I retire.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rise and Shine

Over the past few days, I have found it more difficult than usual to roll out of bed. I blame this hardship on Daylight Savings Time. When my alarm goes off at 6:20am, there is not an inch of sunlight seeping through my window. Complete darkness and cold air. My warm bed and snugly pillow feel more wonderful than usual. But once I take that initial leap and splash some cold water on my face, I'm ready to take on the new day. For most people, work is not a good reason to get out of bed, but it's my motivation. The Murdock group is like a family. Each weekday feels like time spent at home with family during the holidays. So I usually pack up my yogurt and granola and head to the office where I pour myself a cup of coffee and chat with the other early work birds. What a great start to the day!

Homemade Power Granola

2 C regular oats
1/3 C ground flax seed
1/4 C chopped walnuts
1/4 C chopped slivered almonds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 C orange juice
1/3 C honey
1/4 C packed brown sugar
2 tsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cooking spray
1/3 C dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 300°.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl.

Combine orange juice, honey, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in oil and vanilla.

Pour honey mixture over oat mixture, stirring to coat. Spread mixture in a thin layer onto a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 300° for 10 minutes; stir well. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Spoon granola into a bowl; stir in dried cranberries. Cool completely.

Note: Store completely cooled granola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Portland Saturday Market

The Portland Saturday Market started up again this month. PSM (not to be confused with PMS) is the largest continually operating outdoor arts and crafts market in the nation. It is an interesting place. My friend Sarah and I walked around and shopped at the booths which included a variety of jewelry, clothing, paintings and photos, food and much more! We also encountered palm readers, face painters, and musicians. These were skilled musicians, too. I mean, how many of us can create a catchy tune out of buckets, plastic carts and empty vodka bottles - while smoking a cigarette?!

It was a cold, windy day down near the river front, so we didn't stay long. Apparently the market really grows in the summer when the weather is nice. The PSM captures the true image of Portland!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Piano Man

Last night I went to another concert at the Doug Fir Lounge (I'm becoming a regular). Carrie, two guys and I went to see Jon McLaughlin perform. If you have ever seen the movie Enchanted, he makes a cameo at the end of the movie as the singer at the ball. He was an incredible live performer!! He is an amazing pianist - his hands were banging on the keys, moving up and down the keyboard, and just happened to land on the right chords every time! He's not too bad to look at either.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Texas Independence Day

Monday was Texas Independence Day - the celebration of the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. We celebrated that holiday yesterday at the Trust. My relative Steve Moore, who is also the executive director of Murdock, is a native of Texas and invited (or forced) all of the staff to join in the celebration. So some of us donned our boots, some tied a bandanna around their neck, and one lady even wore denim clothing from head to toe. We gathered for a hearty meal of chicken corn chowder, corn bread, fruit salad and Texas sheet cake. All of this food was made using Steve's grandmother Meemo's recipes - it was just as delicious as I imagine she used to make it! I won the raffle prize which was a refrigerator magnet of the state of Texas. I told them I already had one and graciously gave it to another coworker. Then we learned the good 'ol country song "Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goal Post of Life", which I had never heard but convinced them that it was a common hymn sung regularly at Southern Baptist churches in Texas. Everyone told stories of relatives they used to visit who lived in the south and we had some good laughs.

It seems that no matter where we live, we remain proud Texans for life!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Just Relax

I've found several great ways to simply relax and enjoy life. Not that my life is stressful or anything - it's quite the opposite. But it's nice to take a moment to take a deep breath every once in a while.

I started going to yoga classes at my gym several times a week. I LOVE yoga! It's hard to pinpoint exactly what I love about it, but I always leave the class feeling strong and refreshed.

Some weekends I go to a coffee shop just to enjoy a latte, listen to music, write some emails, or visit with a friend. Portland has hundreds (maybe thousands!) of coffee shops. My goal is to visit as many of them as possible! Not in one day, of course - can you imagine the caffeine buzz?! So far I've been to Starbucks (duh), Stumptown Coffee, Urban Grind, Sip and Kranz and Castello Cafe.

Yesterday I walked to the grocery store instead of taking my car. Although it rained on me on the way home (typical), I enjoyed making an outing of my grocery trip instead of just a quick errand. And it's good exercise so I didn't feel so guilty when I got home and ate some of the food!

There are several easy ways to just relax if we will consciously make the decision to loosen up and enjoy ourselves for a moment - even a brief moment. For example, I'm sitting here by the fireplace writing this blog post right now. At first I turned the tv on, then I realized that the background noise was just a distraction and wasn't necessary. So I turned it off. Today at work I listened to my Frank Sinatra Pandora station while I performed my daily tasks. Being able to hum along as I worked made those tasks that much more enjoyable!

Try just sitting still for a minute, take in a long, deep breath (with a grin on your face!), and let all the air out until there is no more air left in your body. Don't you feel positive, refreshed and relaxed?

One Day at a Time...

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself.
- Matthew 6:34
Cast all your cares upon Him; for He cares for you.
- 1 Peter 5:7