Monday, October 16, 2006


My son is really into Dungeons & Dragons these days, and I was recently inspired to look back through some of my old notebooks from grade school and junior high in an attempt to find my old D&D notes, sketches, and dungeon diagrams to share with him. What I found instead was an old writing assignment from 5th grade, when I was about my son's age. It was entitled "Who I Am" and apparently I was to list all of the things I felt with myself in an "I am a...." format.

The list was long, and includes things that no longer apply (though I am still a guinea pig owner and lover and I do still like to cook pumpkin pie). The thing that struck me most, though, was the continuity of purpose and personality in looking 30 years back at this younger me. I identified myself as a cyclist, a gardener, a swimmer, an environmentalist, and a feminist. On my list was outdoorsperson, hiker, lover of animals, and many entries linking me to family, friends, and community. I listed myself as a Democrat and an American. I also found other telling evidence, copies of letters to then-president Jimmy Carter, urging him to adopt Oregon's bottle bill nationally. A poster I drew for a local contest, sponsored by the utility company, my entry was a drawing of a solar house.

Though I have come through much in the intervening years, it's comforting to see how many of my core values are still such a large part of my life today. The things that mattered to me then, matter now. Community, environment, conservation, family, outdoor activities, political activism. Continuity.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Bicycling Summit

Sometimes I just really love my city, and this is one of those days. They're holding a bicycling and pedestrian summit to focus on making our city even more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. They're also hoping to draw more bicycling tourists here, which I think would be a great idea. I have long thought that we've got some of the best hidden scenery in the world. Just on the other side of the hill I live on are miles and miles of rolling hills, forests, wineries, fields. It's just gorgeous out there. All it needs is some little Tuscany-esque cafes and guest houses scattered about and it would be just about perfect. Somehow, sipping a Gatorade in front of a country store while the trucks roll by just doesn't cut it.

In this summer's construction season, our city also redid a large section of one of our bike paths with all-new concrete instead of the cracking bicycle-eating asphalt. And they've put in dozens of new pedestrian crossings with median strips in the middle of the street. I'm excited that our city continues to commit resources to improve bikeability and walkability.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend the bicycling summit, because I have to, well, bicycle, LOL. I only have two long bike rides left before the Ironman, and Saturday will have to be one of them. So I'm hoping to give some input to one of my friends who will be going, and hear back from them on how it all shakes out.