Saturday, October 17, 2009

Where we live

On June 26, 2008, Bob Welch, columnist for The Eugene Register Guard newspaper, wrote the following article to visitors and athletes who came for the Olympic Trials.

IF YOU'RE VISITING for the Olympic Trials, welcome to Lane County. Take your (running) shoes off and stay awhile. Dip your feet in the Pacific Ocean. Not to worry; you should feel your toes again by Labor Day.

It's just one of those little things we offer around here as deterrents to becoming another L.A., which we fret about obsessively. We've backed off former Gov. Tom McCall's visit-but-don't-stay edict from 1971, but only slightly. Another such deterrent: rain. Most of us love it, knowing the secret truth: It only falls twice a year. All winter and all spring. But it keeps down the dust and population. . . .

Sorry about the pollen. Like the NBA playoffs, it sometimes goes on too long. Some perspective: Lane County is larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined but only Oregon's fifth-largest county. And stretches from sea level to ski level. If you really hustle, you can walk the beach at sunrise; stop at the back-to-the-'60s Glenwood restaurant in Eugene for granola, yogurt and fruit; catch the last of the morning rise with your fly rod on the McKenzie River; playa quick nine at Tokatee Golf Course and climb to the top of the South Sister - elevation 10,358 feet - by dark. Where else can you build a day like that in a single county?

Of course, it's also a place where you can get flashed by dozens of nude bicyclers who are protesting oil dependency. Or read a letter to the editor taking to task Olympic marathoner Kenny Moore because he favors athletic competition. ("Why, exactly, is it important to run faster than someone else?")

Around here, the only thing that people get more worked up about than politics is potholes, which are plentiful. I've lived here 19 years and it's the one cause that brings liberals and conservatives together . . . .

Yep, we tend to be a passionate lot who dare to go places others have not. Think Bill Bowerman. Think Ken Kesey. Think a hitchhiker on Interstate 105 with a cardboard sign that says "Mars." Remember, if a bit quirky -- we don't pump our own gas, for example -- we come from cantankerous stock that willingly put up with a few thousand miles in covered wagons to get here. (You think you've got pothole problems, try the Snake River Canyon by wagon.)

Paradoxically, Eugene is extremely laid back in its cantankerousness, the love child of lumberjacks and the free-thinking University of Oregon.

The '60s came to Eugene and, like a tattoo, never left, giving this place a character that's sometimes lovable and sometimes loatheable. (Excuse the made-up word, but, then, this is Eugene, where thinking outside the box is encouraged. Has any other Olympic Trials devoted five outside basketball courts to valet bicycle parking?)

Just east of Eugene, across Interstate 5, sits Springfield. Imagine two cousins who share genetic roots and two rivers, the Willamette and McKenzie, but little else. They're the Patty Duke and Cathy Lane of municipalities. Springfield, with can-do earnestness, is the up-and-coming city shedding its lumber-town image and Eugene the perpetual hipster forever trying to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. It wows you one minute with the likes of the annual Bach Festival and unnerves you the next with the likes of the city council talking to death all sorts of proposals, from pothole fixes to hospital sites.

For all the attention Eugene and Springfield get, they compose only a snippet of Lane County, which is 80 percent forestland. Beyond these cities, home to 60 percent of the county's population, you'll find dozens of communities, no two alike. Lane County is Florence, a coastal town recently chosen as the nation's top place to retire, and Vida, a McKenzie Valley burg to the east where rafters stop for breakfast. It's Cottage Grove, twice named an All-American City, and Coburg, which somehow balances antique hominess with motorhomes.

It's hippies and grass-seed-growing Mennonites and fishing guides and philosophy students and sailors on Fern Ridge Lake and hikers on Spencer Butte (the one to the south of Eugene) and everything in between and beyond. But if anything binds us, it's a passion for this place we all call home. And we're glad you've stopped to visit that home. Get comfortable. Explore. Run Pre's Trail. At Hayward Field, cheer like you're a kid again, which, when you think about it, is what it's all about. Eat fresh salmon and crab. Test our valley wines. Ask questions. Sure, even stick those toes in the Pacific Ocean. Just don’t try pumping your own gas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Holidays!

From Bob, Lottie & LJ to all our friends and family: We hope you enjoy a wonderful Christmas & a bountiful New Year!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Summer & Fall 2008 Highlights

Halloween - Bob’s Finance Department once again won first place for their Halloween costumes in the City of Springfield employee costume contest.
Each member of Bob’s staff played characters in “Springfieldopoly,” for which they wrote a script and had the costume judging panel play the game. In this take-off of the Monopoly board game, they satirized Springfield finances, with Bob playing Mr. MoneyPenny, and other staff members playing characters such as Urban Renewal, FireStation #16, Upscale Housing, Street Round-Abouts, and WasteWater Treatment. Below left, Bob as Mr. MoneyPenny and below right, with all of his staff. Bob is in the far back on the right.

Summer Vacation. In August we flew to North Carolina, where we spent time with my sister Jean and her husband Ralph, who live in a beautiful place on Kerr Lake. It was great to see them, and to visit Robin, Glenn, and Meredith, as well as Kellie and her new hubby (Bubba B.) in South Hill, VA.

Below right, Cap'n Ralph took us boating on Kerr Lake which we thoroughly enjoyed. Below left, LJ dives into the Lake.

Below, cooling off in Kerr Lake before Cap'n Ralph boats us back to their home on the other side of the Lake.
LJ stayed with Aunt Jean for a few days, while Bob and I spent time in Raleigh, mainly shopping for condo property. But we did manage to see five of my six cousins -- and truly enjoyed our visits with them.
I didn’t get photos of our visits with cousins Steve and Helen, but we certainly enjoyed seeing everyone. Pictured below right, seated: Doward, Lottie, Joyce, Idaleen; standing Bonnie. Everyone was so gracious to let us drop in on short notice and catch up a little with what was going on with them and their families. Much appreciated, and we hope to visit more in the future (and with more notice).

By mid-October we closed the deal on our condo purchase on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh. I got to fly back for the paperwork. Jean generously trucked sleeping gear, camp chairs and other necessities to Raleigh, so we could stay in the condo together from Oct. 16-19.

Memory Lane. My sister and I went exploring some of our old Raleigh neighborhoods. On Bickett Blvd, Lottie lived from birth to 3 1/2 years old, and Jean lived most of her school years. The current resident/owner's mother owned the house from the 1960s until 2005 when she died. He was kind enough to let us tour inside and outside. He has expanded it quite a bit, but still a small bungalow, fine for him and his wife. But when Jean and I recalled how many of us lived there--Mama Bessie, Mother, Daddy, we three kids, and at various times uncles and some distant Poe cousins--we were a bit amazed by how small it was.

Below, Bicket Kitchen

Below, Bicket Living Room

Current owner--pictured below--on the front porch of what was once our home on Bicket Blvd; he graciously let us view inside where he had remodeled quite a bit, as well as backyard, basement (where Jean stealthily looked for her arrowhead collection, hidden there long ago) and the back deck (which he had added).

Jean and I did lots more retrospective sightseeing, including driving by our former house on Glascock Street, and the houses that have replaced the Halifax Court Apartments, which were razed sometime in 2000.We also rode by Aunt Lottie’s former residence (not my namesake, as I was named after Mama Poe, that is Lottie Victoria Poe), Mama Bessie’s Swain Street House, Florence Street rental where Jean and Mama Bessie spent a lot of time together, Five Points near Bicket Blvd, and we even confirmed that I had spotted the Blue Tower Restaurant on Hillsborough Street, where Vira and Bill frequently took us back in the day. (We also lived on Edenton Street in Raleigh and briefly in the small town of Knightdale just outside of Raleigh; in all our family lived in five places from my birth to midway into first grade. Then Halifax Apts. from grades 1-6; next out to the Northwest.)

Below, view of condo kitchen and living room area, showing one of the floor beds and one of the camp chairs that I am most grateful to Jean for providing, and she brought wine glasses too.

It was great to have this time with Jean, plus I could never have negotiated the condo security access, parking, etc., without her. It was all very modern and geared for the 30 somethings and younger we decided. She was my motivation to get all the things done that I needed to do, such as shopping for and ordering window treatments, ordering and arranging delivery of refrigerator (washer and dryer come with the place, but owners must buy their fridges) -- not as easy as you would think. But thanks to my sis we got ‘er done. Also, we discovered The Cup Cake Shoppe a block south of the condo, on Glenwood Avenue; enjoyed lunch at a funky place a block north and had dinner at the 42nd Street Oyster Bar, directly east of the condo parking garage.
Below, Lottie and Jean after a fun lunch; photo taken by our waiter.

Our first condo tenant moved in on Nov. 1 and signed a one-year lease. Bob and I are very happy with our new investment, and hope it will be a retirement home for us one of these days.

above, north end of pool, viewed from our fourth-floor unit balcony

above, south end of pool, with fireplace and barbecue; Club Room opens into this area.

above, Club Room is shared by all tenants, but can be reserved for special occasions.

LJ is Staying Busy
LJ had a very social summer. He spent most days, evenings and weekends with his friends, either at their places in town or at our place 10 miles outside of Springfield. For getaways, he spent a week with a friend in Idaho, his first solo airplane ride, without an airline escort. (When he flew by himself to visit Aunt Jean in 2006, he was still under 15 and had to have an airline escort, which greatly pleased Mom and disappointed LJ.) Mid-summer, he went camping with a couple buddies, and no adults, at Fall Creek, Oregon. LJ took this trip for granted, but it was a big event for Bob and me to let him go.

School Year. It is and will continue to be a busy school year for LJ. He has set a goal of getting straight A's throughout the year, and so far is meeting that. He is taking some tough classes too. At the end of this year, he will have earned 6 college credits in Pre-Calculus, which are transferable to any college (It’s a special program through his high school, -- we don’t pay any tuition -- a great deal). He is also in advanced placement American Lit, but no college credits for that.
His homecoming dance this year involved the crowd you see below. They went out to eat at the Olive Garden, met at the girls' homes and went from there. We are waiting on more photos from his date.
Currently, he has swim practice every day after school, as well as rehearsal for the winter play every other day. He actually turned down a major part in the fall play because of time restrictions. Every Friday, LJ wakes up at 5:45 a.m. to practice for the Thurston's boy/girl cabaret dance routine that a senior girl asked him to participate in with her.
He is also going through the interview process this week for a lifeguard job with two local pools in the Springfield public parks system. They are very flexible with student schedules, and he should be able to work two days a week when school is in session and then more over holidays and vacations. We hope it works out so he can work there next summer.
On Halloween, LJ was Homer.

Below, LJ in his celebratory Obama T-shirt. He and his friends stayed up until 3:00 in the morning making these so they could wear them to school on Nov. 5, 2008.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

2008: January - May

The months have flown by in 2008.
In January 2008, we got six inches of snow, for western Oregon that is a lot, in fact, the most we’ve had in about 10 years (left neighbor's red barn peeks through snowy trees in our backyard).
Pictured right: LJ with Lily and Harry playing in the snow. Sadly Lily, the black lab who found us last fall, was hit by a car and killed in April 2008. We all miss her blythe spirit and loving nature.
In February Bob skied and Lottie snowboarded over at Mt. Bachelor in eastern Oregon. This is where we’re used to seeing the snow.
Above is LJ Undecided. For the spring formal at his high school, he couldn’t decided who to ask, so he took two of his friends.

On their recent visit to Oregon (from Iowa), Mat, Nancy and Phil Duey at Haceta Oregon beach.
(Below) Hangin’ with the guys: Mat (our nephew from Iowa), LJ and Sheik kitty enjoy some guy time.

Although Eugene’s Saturday Market began in the 1920s, it got stuck in a time warp somewhere around the late 1960s. Nancy & Phil posed in front of the Happy Hippie Hula Hoops booth on Market day: possible retirement business?
LJ and Mat Duey, after a visit to the Saturday Market in Eugene, which included a henna tattoo for Mat.
So, there you have it--highlights for the Oregon Dueys 2008. We're looking forward to our August trip to NC, and hope to have lots of photos to post throughout the summer.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

LJ & Lily in Family Room

Lily doesn't spend much time inside; when we do let her in, she is limited to the family room only.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to All in 2007

Left Bob shows our poodle Harry a present from his stocking, as a sleepy, quilt-wrapped LJ looks on, with his newly opened present of U/O Duck pajama bottoms. We weren’t up quite as early for presents this year, (LJ sleeps in a little later now).
We attended Christmas Eve candlelight church services and didn’t get home until 1 a.m. Christmas morning. It was a beautiful service at Resurrection Episcopal church in Eugene, where my dearest friend Lucy sings in the choir. The church’s Brombaugh organ was made locally and has a beautiful sound, and their choir, including Lucy’s perfect pitch, is well known locally.
On the way to church, we reminisced about LJ being baptized at Resurrection at age 7, by his choice. Bob and I were so proud of him then, and we still are, which I’m sure you’ve all noticed in our blogs here.
One of LJ’s friends, Ryan, whose family was out of town today, joined us for Christmas dinner, which Bob cooked, with my only contributions being mashed sweet potatoes, dessert, and clean up duty.
Bob baked a succulent ham, green bean casserole, scalloped potatoes, and served all this with French bread from a local bakery. We are grateful for our surfeit of blessings and had a truly wonderful Christmas 2007.
We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2008.
Much love to you all,

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Meet Lily, the newest addition to our family. She is a mixed breed, but mostly Labrador Retriever, approximately 2 years old, who found us about 10 weeks ago. After several weeks of posting “Found Dog” notices throughout our neighborhood and in town, having her scanned for a microchip ID, and calling the animal shelter and several veterinarian offices to see if such a dog had been reported missing, we decided to keep her.
We fell in love with her from the first day she showed up hungry in our driveway. Lily is very good natured, knows a few basic commands and minds fairly well. She is exuberantly enthusiastic, and especially loves to play fetch with her bell ball, running full speed across the pasture. We had her vaccinated last week and the Vet determined she is spayed. We feel bad that someone lost such a good dog. But we are glad Lily found us.
For now Lily is an outside dog, to give Harry time to adjust to this usurper in his kingdom. Harry still reigns solo inside, while he shares the outside with Lily, two cats, Rex the Rabbit, a horse and a pony.