The Hunter/Gather of Surburbia

Are we where we live?

May 19, 2012

Senior Days

Graduation is the 2nd of June and my Seniors are working their tails off, ok not all of them, but most of them. Right down to the wire and I still get the questions, "Do I have to do this?" The answer, "Yes you do." I am still amazed at how a student can come in after being gone for 8 or 9 days and ask me if they are going to graduate. If they had been working on their work during that time, it would be the easy answer of "maybe." But it usually the ones who don't work from home that are so amazed that they aren't going be done in time to walk at graduation. The students who are working really hard, but are so behind, that is always hard. But the ones who think that they can magically walk if they have half a year of credits to get done, not so much heartburn over them. It, of course, make me sad that they can't walk, but they made their bed by not coming to class but every 9 days or so, so they don't get dropped. But work from home, or come in every day and work, heaven's forbid.
On to other annoyances, yellow jackets. The darn things come in the apartment because I leave the sliding glass door open so the dogs can go sun themselves, and the damn things fly up to the skylight windows. I can't wack them with a newspaper when they are way up there. It is very annoying.
Let's see, another annoyance is people at the apartment complex who don't pick up after their dogs! The management has even put up poop stations to help out with the poop-picking-up and people still don't do it. I saw a cartoon a really long ago showing an alien landing at a dog park and watching the people walking following their dogs around and picking up the poop. The alien figuring it knows who the intelligent life is, addresses the dogs. Too funny.

May 15, 2012

So beautiful

Each day brings a new kind of beauty to my new home here in Hermiston. The weather has been a bit on the hot side, but the beauty is just sigh worthy. With the lengthening days I miss star gazing when I take the dogs out for their night walk. I assume, not being a student of the stars that one of the stars I still can see is the north star, mainly because it is the brightest star and it sits in the northern sky. It is these times that I wish I had an IPad with the astronomy app. It is also a really nice computer, that I can't afford. I do need a new computer, my trusty old lady is getting slow and I can't update anything.
My students are working hard to get their work done so they can graduate. Ok, a few of them. Of course, most are only realizing that their slacker attitudes the rest of the year has come to bite them in the ass now. I have one student working on his last half credit; a couple on their last two, and most on their last four or more. I so want them all to be done. They want me to "help" them out by skipping assignments or lower my standards. I just can't do that. I just can't. It is sort like how many of them wouldn't "snitch" on a friend. It is so a part of who I am.
It is important to me that my students get the knowledge that a grade in Communications 4 says they have. I don't get so off track with them that I don't get through the content. Just because they are in alt school doesn't mean that it is more important for them to get "soft" counseling instead of the course content they need for whatever class I am going to give them credit for. I mean really, every other student has to do the content.
But back to the beauty that surrounds me. As a rule I don't like poetry, but I see it everywhere around me. I remember this poem from a drive to Willamina during my last year there.
It peeks at me, as I drive
It follows me glancing around the trees
It hides behind the mountain
I drive having to follow the road
It jumps out from behind the mountain and smiles greyly at me
Behind me, the other glows orangely red
I can see it trying to make the other go away
It hides and the peeks slyly at me
Ah in full view it almost waves as it dips below the mountain range
It says goodbye, as the other waves hello

Lame huh? No rhyme scheme, no meter, just words. But that is poetry, not what you see, but what I see.

May 6, 2012

Hat Rock

Remember how I said I hate trash? I especially hate trash strewn along the paths and trails I walk with the dogs. Hat Rock is a fairly clean place, except for one pernicious problem, idiot fisherman who do not make sure all of their fishing line is picked up and put in the trash. This is what happens

One dead gosling and one live one. The dead one was attached by the fishing to this poor guy.
 After securing the dogs a safe distance away I was able to disentangle both goslings. The one still alive dashed off across the pond and eventually found a group of goslings with two attentive adults.

Most fishermen, I hope, clean up after themselves and make sure all of their lines are safely stowed in the trash or their tackle box. Luckily for the little guy these two adults seem to have kidnapped half the goslings on the pond and welcomed him in to their brood.

May 3, 2012

10 Best Lists

Are you as tired as I am of all of the 10 Best of ...? Smithsonian magazine has a new list out, "America's 10 Best Small Towns," now normally I don't get emotional about lists. But this one caught me at the end of my first of two days of sick leave and maybe I am just in a negative mood. When I saw the title on the cover of the magazine I thought, "cool," then I read the blurb on the title page, "Looking for richest cultural offerings in the most charming settings..." I wanted to barf. I have been to one of the towns, Gig Harbor, WA, and I would have to agree it is a nice town. It would have made my 10 best list a few years ago, but not now that I have changed my chi or whatever it is I have a different outlook. Some of the change has happened very recently and as I am reading Meeting Faith. I have already spoken about the book here, so I won't go over it again, too much. I have to admit that when I first started reading the memoir I was thinking, "oh ick, this have been part of some Phd thesis or something." I am happy to say, reluctantly, that some of the things Faith is writing about is actually making me think. One of the things she talks about is "contemplative thought," or something like that. So I have been doing a bit of that, without the meditation piece or the maechi assistance. But back to the article. It is, of course, targeting the upper echelon, not the homebody. That the 10 best in America must have, as tasked by the Smithsonian to the research company Esri, "high concentrations of museums, historic sites, botanic gardens, resident orchestras, art galleries and other cultural assets common to big cities." I nearly hurled my newly baked snickerdoodle. Why are those things so important? Not a one of them, except maybe the gardens, free to the average traveler. Why aren't things you can do outdoors just as important? Now that I think about it nearly all of the things listed as "cultural" are sedentary or nearly sedentary activities. Ok, watching a rodeo or a car race on a dirt oval is also sedentary for the watcher anyway. Ok, again, you walk around a museum and a garden and an art gallery, but really?
Hermiston may not be a cultural center of such activity, but here you can go to a rodeo in the morning and a car race in the afternoon and still have time to take the dogs on a walk to McNary Dam. Just a thought Smithsonian, why don't come you to northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington and take a look around? The landscape is breathtaking, in my humble opinion, and there are things to do here. Things that don't cost you an arm and a leg to take your family to and you can even camp at park where Lewis and Clark came by and even commented on, "... SW. 14 miles to a rock in a Lard. resembling a hat just below a rapid at the lower Point of an Island in the Midl: of the river ..." [Clark, October 19, 1805, first draft].  No really, they did comment on Hat Rock and even Ship Rock. They missed the basalt Cayuse Sisters, which have coyote to thank for their existence. The park, the sisters, the Dam all free. And all amazing.