Spotlight on a scandal

Spotlight_(film)_posterAnother Sunday matinee. Another feel-good experience at the movies.

Two weeks ago, it was “The Martian.”

This time it was “Spotlight,” a riveting film about a dogged team of journalists in Boston who start out investigating allegations that a single disgraced priest molested more than 80 boys and wind up exposing proof of a cover-up of widespread abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.

Oh, sure. You’d expect a journalist to like a movie about other journalists.

Well, I’d like to think that as a journalist, I bring a more nuanced view to a movie like this one. That being the case, I’m happy to say the director, screenwriters and actors all got it right.

“Spotlight” is a well-crafted, well-acted film that pulls back the curtain on The Boston Globe’s investigation of the Catholic Church — quite possibly the most powerful institution in a city whose Catholic population is matched only by New York and Pittsburgh at 36 percent.

The movie accurately depicts the methods and challenges of reporting a sensitive, complicated story over a period of months. Checking the morgue (the newspaper library) for previous stories to get started. Meeting with both cooperative and reluctant sources and winning their trust. Locating experts and mining their insights. Meticulously recording and tracking known facts. Gaining access to key documents that are sealed under court order. Connecting all the dots to see a bigger, more explosive story emerge.

The main characters — an editor and three reporters who make up The Globe’s investigative “Spotlight” team — are presented as caring, committed, conscientious and even courageous, while also portrayed as ordinary and imperfect. They’re not over-the-top superheroes, just dogged, resourceful professionals dedicated to telling ugly truths about a church that allowed dozens of priests to abuse vulnerable children and then sought to cover up their unconscionable, criminal behavior.

Michael Keaton — who was so, so good in “Birdman” — is again superb in his role as Spotlight editor Walter Robinson. Others in an outstanding cast include Marc Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams (as reporters Michael Rezendes and Sacha Pfeiffer), Liev Schrieber (as Globe Editor Marty Baron) and Stanley Tucci (as attorney Mitchell Garabedian).

spotlight (scene)

Clockwise from top right: Michael Keaton (Walter “Robby” Robinson) in a scene with reporters Brian d’Arcy James (Matt Carroll), Rachel McAdams (Sacha Pfeiffer) and Mark Ruffalo (Michael Rezendes).

Two things are worth keeping in mind as you watch this film — and,  by all means, you should go see it.

One: The Globe managed to keep its focus on this story in 2001 and 2002  even after the 9/11 terror attacks dominated the news for months on end. It didn’t rush a half-baked story into print. It showed patience and perspective in giving the “Spotlight” team the time it needed to discover and deliver the bigger, more impactful story. Deservedly, the Globe won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its work.

Two: Old school print journalism is on full display here. Reporters take notes by hand. They literally thumb through directories of Catholic churches and priests. They knock on doors to get interviews. They make photocopies of court documents. Blockbuster stories appear in the morning paper. Readers respond by calling the newsroom.

It’s a far cry from today’s run-and-gun digital age, where vast amounts of data can be downloaded, stored and manipulated on spreadsheets; where morgues have given way to Google; where court documents can be accessed online; where stories appear online and then in print.

That’s not to say that important, investigative journalism has fallen by the wayside. It hasn’t. I know this because I see the great work of my colleagues week in and week out, holding public officials and government agencies accountable, and shining a light — a spotlight, if you will — on issues like domestic abuse, race and diversity, housing and gentrification.

“The Martian” was a welcome escape from reality. “Spotlight” makes you ask, who needs a fictional narrative when the drama of a real life detective story is compelling enough in its own right?

Poster: Open Road Films

Photograph: Kerry Wells, Open Road Films

 

Zoolights

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A Portland tradition since 1987.

Like any other family in the Portland area, we’d make our way to the Oregon Zoo around this time of year to see the holiday lights from the comfort of a miniature train.

Choo-chooing our way around the zoo last night with Lori, Simone and Kyndall, it was a nice reminder of a wholesome outdoor activity to lift the spirits in a secular way.

I mean, what was there not to like?

  • An unhurried stroll on a Monday evening with a gentle mist to freshen the air.
  • An elaborate display of tiny holiday lights — 1.6 million of them — in the shape of different animals, characters and objects.
  • A cup of hot chocolate and a cookie to sip and nibble.
  • A visit to the elephants’ enclosure to see three adults and two babies munching on hay.
  • Families and couples delighting in each other’s company.

You’d have to be a Grinch not to appreciate all this.

Thanks to Simone’s job at Metro, we enjoyed free entrance — and a free train ride — on a preview night set aside for the agency’s employees and their family members.

Getting there and back was a cinch, too. Lori took the bus downtown and I met her after work. We boarded the light rail at Pioneer Courthouse Square and a few stops later, there we were at the zoo.

No driving or parking hassles. Just hopped on at the end of the evening with the girls and rode back to our respective neighborhoods.

The annual exhibit, now in its 28th year, opens Friday, Nov. 27, and runs through Jan. 3.

It had been several years since I’d attended. If it’s been the same for you, may I suggest you get off your keister and make it happen this year.

Ticket prices, hours and other details are here. And there’s an admission discount if you take the MAX and show proof of ridership.

The new guys

rip-city

Lucky shirt: Wore it in wins vs. the Grizzlies and Clippers.

Friday night brought my first opportunity to see the new Trail Blazers. Gotta say I liked what I saw.

Not just because the Blazers ended a seven-game losing streak by taking down the rugged Los Angeles Clippers. But more so because I can see the emerging talent and team chemistry on this much younger and far less seasoned version of the team.

We fans had gotten spoiled by the team’s recent success, when the Blazers finally won a playoff series two years ago and then seemed poised to make a deep run into the playoffs, only to come undone by late-season injuries.

During the off-season, three starters signed with new teams and a fourth was traded away, leaving just All-Star guard Damian Lillard to rally around.

lillard-paul

Portland’s Damian Lillard shoots the ball over Chris Paul of L.A.

Now the Blazers have one of the youngest teams in the NBA with an average age of 24 on their roster (12 of 15 players are 25 or younger) and only Lillard as a proven player.

Understandably, expectations aren’t very high.

After a quick start of 4 wins and 2 losses, the Blazers ran into a wall of futility, with blown leads, tough luck and the inability to finish off an opponent resulting in seven consecutive defeats.

Ed Davis

Ed Davis: One of many new faces on the team.

They were the underdog Friday night but they pulled out a win against the more talented Clippers, who are known for their megastars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and for lots of whining. It’s no mystery why they are called for lots of technical fouls.

Anyway, the Blazers played with heart. They scratched and clawed and outworked the Clippers in a nip-and-tuck game. Then, when the game’s outcome was up for grabs, Lillard came through with three big baskets — all three-point shots — to clinch the win, 102 to 91.

With the departure of my favorite Blazer, Wesley Matthews, Lillard has become No. 1 in my book. He’s a natural leader and a gifted athlete and presents himself as confident yet humble — a guy who’s easy to like.

I don’t expect a big breakthrough this season, but I do hope the Blazers will continue to play hard and set themselves up for more success in the coming years.

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George & Dorothy Ellen

George & Dorothy Ellen

Note #1: My date for Friday’s game was Dorothy Ellen, a 92-years-young retired education and longtime season ticket holder. Normally, she attends games with her friend and neighbor, Deborah, who is a friend and client of Lori.

With Deborah out of town, I gladly stepped in — just as I did earlier this year, when Dorothy Ellen and I saw the Blazers win their only playoff games against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Note #2: I hope I’m not jinxing the Blazers by coming out with this, but I am on quite a roll with them. Except for a single last-second loss to Boston, the Blazers have won every one of the last several games i have seen them play at the Moda Center against top competition — Chicago, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Houston, Dallas, Memphis and now the Clippers.

Next game I’m due to attend: the day after Christmas when LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers come to town. If the Blazers somehow win that one,well,  I just may be a human lucky charm.

Blazers photograph: Randy L. Rasmussen, The Oregonian/OregonLive

Courage

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Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner are widely recognized as transgender celebrities.

When actor Charlie Sheen announced this week that he is HIV-positive and planning to leave his bad-boy days behind him to try to erase the stigma and shame associated with the disease, some praised him for his courage.

“Today, he’s a hero of mine,”Peter Staley, a long-time AIDS activist who is HIV-positive, told The Associated Press. Watching Sheen’s interview on the “Today” show, he said, “I saw someone who has made a major leap forward and is on a new path that will hopefully end up helping a lot of people.”

Sheen, long known for excessive partying, said one reason for going public with his condition was to put a stop to shakedowns from prostitutes and others.

Sorry, but I’m thinking of other people who deserve our respect. People like these:

Jamison Green, 66.

Christina Kahri, 47.

Kylar Broadus, 52.

Marci Bowers, 57.

Renee Richards, 81.

Each one is a transgender man or woman who transitioned long ago and has lived openly for decades in America before doing so was remotely acceptable. Except for Richards, the former tennis player who successfully challenged the U.S. Tennis Association to compete professionally as a woman, I hadn’t heard of any of them.

Richards is an opthalmologist. The rest of them? A speaker, consultant and author. A writer and editor for ESPN.com. An  attorney and college professor. A gynecological surgeon.

Each is the subject of a vignette in the November issue of Esquire.

I thought of them this week not just because of the contrast with Sheen but also because of this month’s vote in Houston, where voters rejected a nondiscrimination ordinance that would have extended protections to transgender people.

Consider their words and imagine the courage it took to honor their sexual identity at a time when it was so much harder than today.

Jamison: “I started the medical transition in the fall of 1988. Nobody noticed me anymore. I was just a guy walking down the street, and the energy that I had always had to use thinking about how other people were responding to me, all of it got redirected in ways that were much more productive.”

Kahrl:Making sure that trans people get all the same benefits of citizenship in this country, that’s something that we will be working for lifetime after lifetime. Trans people, we don’t get a blow-up-the-Death-Star moment. We’re not going to get everything we need all at once. It’s going to be a long haul.”

Broadus:Until the Internet took off, [transgender] people felt they were alone, in their own little silo, and really most people thought they were mentally ill, because that’s what transgenderism was considered: a mental illness.”

Bowers:It’s exciting to see all sorts of people proudly standing out, but people often forget history. It wasn’t very long ago that Berlin, Germany, was the most liberal place on earth as far as LGBT issues—it’s where the modern transgender movement, the world’s first transgender surgery, all that happened in pre–World War II Berlin. And when Adolf Hitler came to power, the LGBT community was singled out even before the Jewish community, hence the Pink Triangle.”

Richards: “I don’t wish being a transgender individual on anybody. The transgender community gets battered on both ends. They get battered by society from people who are hostile to them, and they need the protection of the law against violence and assault, and they get battered on the end of their own families, a lot of whom don’t accept them and don’t understand them.”

Read their stories here: 5 Transgender Americans on the Hardships of Transitioning, Then and Now

Images: masetv.com

Muscadine: Among America’s best

muscadine-outside

This unassuming place is among America’s best new restaurants.

So, I mentioned having breakfast at a new-to-me restaurant the other day. Didn’t name it then because I wanted to give it its due in a separate post.

It’s Muscadine, a sweet little spot tucked into the same cluster of shops and restaurants in Prescott Village at the corner of Northeast Prescott and 14th Avenue. If you’re a Portlander, think of Pok Pok, Grain & Gristle and Extracto.

Muscadine was a wonderful discovery. High marks all around for a quiet ambience, friendly service, tasteful decor — and killer food.

muscadine-yelp

Little did I know I was walking into a place recently christened one of the Best New Restaurants in America. (More on that below.)

My server recommended the Country Captain, a chicken curry dish with melt-in-your-mouth grits, two over-easy eggs and house condiments (Meyer Lemon yogurt and apple-ginger chutney). This being a Southern restaurant, I had to order a biscuit too. It was perfectly done, a little crunchy on the outside, moist inside.

Other options include: Andouille omelette, salmon croquettes, fried catfish, beignets, red eye ham and fried chicken. (Check ’em all out here.)

It’s a single menu covering breakfast and lunch (they don’t do dinner) six days a week (closed Tuesday). There’s also a bar where you can settle in for a meal or a drink (mimosa or Bloody Mary, anyone?).

For me, it was a less intense version of Screen Door, the go-to brunch place that draws lines of Portlanders out the door every weekend.

So, how did I hear about this place, barely a mile from my home?

Esquire.

The magazine’s annual issue touting the best new restaurants in the U.S. included Muscadine on the honor roll of 14 places. This humble little neighborhood spot, open barely a year and a month, is right in there with four restaurants from New York, three from Chicago and others from New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston.

muscadine-inside

Friendly service, warm ambience, killer food.

“Chef Laura Rhoman, an eighth-generation native of Tupelo, Mississippi, has conjured more than a shrine to the South,” Esquire says in its review of Muscadine.

Describing a particular dish and his overall take, the reviewer says: “There’s … the Cochon, a puck of smoked pulled pork, breaded and slathered in tangy Carolina Gold barbecue sauce, capped with a poached egg, and laid on a nest of slaw and crispy potatoes.

“No, Laura Rhoman has not built a shrine to the South in the Pacific Northwest. But her menu’s standout dish, a mandala of swirling flavors and textures, is a portal between them.”

Go. Now.

Escape to Mars

A welcome escape from reality.

A welcome escape from reality.

If movies are an escape from the banality of ordinary life, then the timing could not have been better to see “The Martian.

As the weekend neared, Lori and I had already planned to see a Sunday matinee. After the carnage in Paris, we could not have made a better choice.

In contrast to the real-life hatred and religious zealotry responsible for the bloodshed in France — and let’s not forget Beirut, Lebanon, either — “The Martian” presents an enthralling glimpse of a world united in rooting for the safe return of an American astronaut left behind for dead on a mission to Mars.

Implausible? If we’re talking about the plot, yes. At least, in this point in time. The notion of a manned flight to the Red Planet remains the stuff of science fiction. And to think that a single astronaut could survive for more than a year there with limited supplies stretches the bounds of imagination.

But that’s the beauty of an engaging story that’s well told on the big screen. Director Ridley Scott and a great cast led by Matt Damon ask us to suspend our belief in service to an engaging narrative, one fraught with tension that builds with each scene.

There’s much to like about the movie, not least of which is that Damon, as astronaut Mark Watney, must solve one problem after another to stay alive and, later, to communicate with NASA and his crewmates. As a trained botanist, Watney figures out how to grow vegetables on Mars, but then also has to confront other challenges involving chemistry, biology, physics and astrophysics. It’s fascinating and inspiring.

Implausible? If we’re talking about international cooperation between the United States and China or about moral choices pitting the survival of an entire flight crew vs. the survival of a single crew member, no.

In real life, we’ve seen the world come together in support of Chilean miners trapped underground and other people victimized by catastrophic accidents and natural disasters. Would it happen under the circumstances presented in “The Martian.” I’d like to say yes.

I’d like to believe that despite the spilling of innocent blood late last week, people around the globe would recognize the humanity in a desperate situation and rally together.

For 2 1/2 hours, I was all too happy to leave behind the reality of wanton violence and escape into a captivating sci-fi flick. Thanks, Hollywood.

“The Martian film poster” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

Friday the 13th: A good day gone bad

french flagGiven the horrific events in France last night, I’m not so sure I should even be writing this — a summary of a positively upbeat day darkened by another crime against humanity.

Social media posts are filled with shock, fury and disgust at the terror attacks in Paris while news organizations strive to answer the questions of who these cowards are and why they continue to slay innocent people.

Unfortunately, we know the answers. These shootings and bombings are the bloody work of religious fanatics engaged in a cultural war against Western values that embrace diversity, democracy and personal freedoms.

I leave it to Facebook and Twitter to capture both the outrage and sadness so many of us feel at a time like this, even if we’ve never come close to setting foot in Paris.

That said — and with apologies to anyone who might find this post too trivial or too self-centered — here’s a quick look back at a day whose simple pleasures made me glad to be alive and at an uncanny coincidence as evening fell.

*
My editor surprised me recently when he told I still had four more paid time off days to use before the year ends. I took the first of those yesterday and was reminded again how much I enjoy a weekday off.

Mid-morning goodness in the Sabin neighborhood.

Mid-morning goodness in the Sabin neighborhood.

Started with breakfast at a new-to-me restaurant about a mile from home featuring Southern comfort food. A wonderful discovery and a great place to finish reading a magazine profile about a Texan who’s leading a push to take “open carry” laws to the next level — no restrictions anywhere at any time.

Portland's newest bridge over the Willamette River opened in September.

Portland’s newest bridge over the Willamette River opened in September.

Took a mid-day run over the Tilikum Crossing, my first time doing so on foot. I’d previously only ridden my bike over Portland’s newest span — a pedestrian and mass-transit only bridge that opened this fall. It was a nice change of scenery, running east to west, then along the South Waterfront District.

Molly Holsapple: Friend and fellow lover of books.

Molly Holsapple: Friend and fellow lover of books.

Met for coffee with my friend Molly, a fellow bibliophile. She and I and a friend of hers had attended a talk two nights earlier on the Black Lives Matter movement, but we didn’t have the chance to immediately discuss what we heard because I wanted to keep a dinner date with Lori. Molly and I started there, with a critique of the BLM program, but then moved on to books, with her telling me about her experiences at this year’s Wordstock and me sharing a couple of recommendations of books I’ve recently read.

Kyndall: Celebrating her Halloween birthday  two weeks late.

Kyndall: Celebrating her Halloween birthday two weeks late.

Had Simone and Kyndall over for dinner, featuring a delicious cioppino made by Lori. We hadn’t seen them for a while and it was a chance to belatedly celebrate Kyndall’s Oct. 31st birthday. It’s always fun to be around these two and I am grateful that we live in the same city.

vie en roseGot things cleaned up and the dishwasher going before we sat down to finish watching a movie we’d started the night before. Coincidentally, it was “La Vie en Rose,” a 2007 French film about the singer Edith Piaf.

Marion Cotillard won an Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal of Piaf, whose rise from poverty to international stardom was marred by personal tragedy, drug addiction, multiple affairs, severe arthritic and early death at age 47.

How eerie, how sad that we would be watching a film about a woman so revered by the French at the end of a day when so much innocent blood was spilled in her country.

“When one thinks of Edith Piaf, one thinks of love, sorrow and music. One did not breathe without the other two,” her IMDb bio says. “Piaf remains the epitome of the French singer in heart, soul, style and passion; for many Piaf IS France.”

May she rest in peace. And may the French find comfort and support from the worldwide community.

Bridge photograph: oregonlive.com

Rose, Rosy & Katrina

Landfall-CoverThe return of the Northwest rain puts me in the right frame of mind to write about “Landfall,” a novel set in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

I picked up the book last month after hearing the author, Ellen Urbani, describe her debut novel and the extraordinary research and writing process that went into producing it.

Long story short: Urbani attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and frequently visited New Orleans as an undergraduate. She drew on personal experiences as well as journalistic and literary resources in writing about two young women – one from Tuscaloosa, one from New Orleans — whose lives collide violently in the days after the killer hurricane.

That personal experiences would inform a novel is easy enough to grasp. It was the other part of the process that left me slack-jawed. As a divorcee with two young children, Urbani wrote religiously for two hours twice a week while they were at preschool. Not only that, she did prodigious Internet research literally from her bed in the early morning hours before the kids awoke.

Add in the reading of several books and dozens of government documents and she was able to write authoritatively about the historic storm that walloped New Orleans and surrounding areas a decade ago. In other words, Urbani wrote about Katrina without being on scene during or after the flood.

It took a year of research, two years of writing and another year of polishing before she completed the manuscript in 2009. Along came a new relationship, marriage and a move to the country, so she set the book aside until last year, when she sold it to a local publisher, Forest Avenue Press.

I had my doubts about Urbani’s methods, especially when she explained how she went about trying to make sure the dialogue she made up for African American characters rang true. She called a few girlfriends still in the South and asked to speak with their domestic help to get the patois of the language — another thing that made my raise my eyebrows.

She also hired an African American copy editor who didn’t change a word and told Urbani she’d gotten the colloquialisms just right. As further endorsement, everywhere she went on tour with the book, including New Orleans, black readers told her she had nailed it, Urbani said.

As a non-Southerner, I accept their collective judgment. As for the novel itself:

Ellen Urbani

Ellen Urbani

The plot: No spoiler alert necessary because the story begins with the tragic auto accident that kills one young woman named Rosy and the mother of the other young woman named Rose. Succeeding chapters are told mostly through flashbacks as we get to know both young women and the circumstances of their upbringing.

The characters: Both girls are 18, fatherless and living alone with their mothers, Rosy in New Orleans, Rose in Tuscaloosa. Rose, who is white, and her mother gather up coats and other supplies to donate to hurricane survivors and begin driving west to Louisiana. En route, they strike and kill Rosy, who is black and hitchhiking to Alabama in hopes of getting help for Cilla, her mentally ill mother, after they escape their flooded house in the Lower Ninth Ward.

Rose’s mother, Gertrude, also dies in the accident, leaving the teenager on her own and yet determined to find out who Rosy was and how she came to be traveling on the same road.

The writing: Urbani does a nice job of recreating a particular time and place, especially the hellish, lawless conditions inside the Superdome as desperate residents sought food and shelter. She effectively portrays a regional culture unfamiliar to me, something I always appreciate in a book, though I found the prose florid at times.

The story is told in chapters alternating between Rose and Rosy, who share common traits of intelligence, independence and resourcefulness even as they confront differing challenges, including the relationship each has with her mother.

The final chapter provides a surprise ending – the realization that the girls did have a connection in their young lives.

Overall: Urbani said she set out to write a novel about race, class and morals. Sure enough, all three themes are addressed. The overlapping stories are told from a female perspective, with the girls and their mothers at center stage. In that sense, it’s also a novel about the bond between mothers and daughters — and that was illuminating as anything else for this male reader.

All in all, “Landfall” was informative and entertaining, a solid first novel. It’s good but falls short of “great” in my estimation. Knowing the backstory of what it took to produce the book, though, I have nothing but admiration for the author. At the same time, I sense Urbani has room to grow. I’ll be interested to see what she comes up with next.

Final words: When I spoke to Urbani this week, she told me: “I’m almost glad I had to do it the way I did it, without getting my emotions in it too much. The physical and emotional distance from the city was almost a gift. It felt like too much would have sat upon me.”

Drawing on her past work counseling cancer patients, she added: “Often times, it takes someone not being involved in an experience to move through it.”

Photograph: www.ellenurbani.com

Batching it

Lunch with Jordan was the highlight of my bachelor weekend.

Lunch with Jordan was the highlight of my bachelor weekend.

From Friday morning to Sunday evening, it was just me and the animals. Some welcome down time for me, enjoying a three-day weekend here at home while Lori did the same in San Francisco.

It was a milestone high school reunion for her, a chance to reconnect with friends who’ve literally known her all her life as well as renew or make new acquaintances at the event itself. No husbands or partners invited because this was a gathering of alumnae of an all-girls Catholic school. Which was fine by me.

My own plans for a Saturday night poker game fizzled when I couldn’t raise a quorum. All that meant, though, was an extra block of time to chill. And so I did. Between a quick grocery shopping trip and miscellaneous errands, I found myriad ways to kick back.

Fresh air at Wilshire Park in Northeast Portland.

Fresh air at Wilshire Park in Northeast Portland.

Friday: Did a long run in Hoyt Arboretum, enjoying the cool morning weather before the afternoon rain arrived. Enjoyed breakfast at the old school Overlook Restaurant. Took Miss Charlotte to a neighborhood park for some exercise. Bought some CDs at Music Millennium, a community treasure still going strong since 1969.

Cooked a big ol’ pot of chili, knowing it would be dinner for two nights. Finished reading a novel I’d started last month.

Saturday: Slept in until 7, two hours later than my weekday routine. Did some laundry (hey, is this weekend bachelor life glamorous, or what?) and other household chores. Hit the gym in late morning. Baked some oatmeal raisin cookies.

Made the most of a two-hour visit with our youngest son, Jordan. He was part of a group of nine students from Saint Martin’s University selected to attend a regional science conference in Vancouver, Washington, on Friday and Saturday, so he was able to come by after it finished.

Easy 'n' tasty: oatmeal raisin cookies.

Easy ‘n’ tasty: oatmeal raisin cookies.

Students from eight Northwest colleges set up their exhibits in a conference room, just like a high school fair, and took questions about their research from anyone who stopped by. Jordan showed me the laminated poster explaining the research he did at Marquette University last summer with a faculty mentor, but for the life of me I cannot even grasp the terminology, let alone explain the basis of the research.

All I know is that he is excelling as a biology major and, with last summer’s experience in Milwaukee as a catalyst, is certain that he’s on a career path that interests and excites him. Much more lies ahead as he pursues his goal of research scientist, but I have no doubt he will be successful. Fills my heart with pride to see him make such a successful transition from Army infantryman to the classroom.

We covered all of this and more during another satisfying meal at TILT, our new go-to for burgers and fries. Caught him up on what his brother and sister are doing, plus Lori’s recent move to a new space for her personal training business. Sent him home with chili and cookies for him and his wife Jamie.

Does the biology governing aggregation and toxicity in Q/N rich and polyQ proteins apply to a-synuclein (a-syn), a non Q/N rich, non polyQ proetin? You'll have to ask Jordan.

Does the biology governing aggregation and toxicity in Q/N rich and polyQ proteins apply to a-synuclein (a-syn), a non Q/N rich, non polyQ protein? You’ll have to ask Jordan.

Sunday: More household tasks, sandwiched around the Steelers-Raiders game. A late afternoon run in the neighborhood in a light rain. Was feeling pretty good about braving the elements in a light windbreaker. Then a young woman appeared ahead of me in bare sleeves and put me in my place.

Picked up Lori and, over a bowl of leftover chili, began the download of each other’s weekend experiences.

Ready for the week, with batteries recharged.

On the move with Moving Parts

MP decal

The new space at Moving Parts features an inspirational message.

For a quarter-century, I have marveled as my wife has risen early to meet with clients or teach a group fitness class as part of her personal training business.

A decade before that, as a young mom in the ’80s, she was an aerobics instructor — a sight to behold in her striped leotard, leg warmers and headband. The following years saw her take up bodybuilding and distance bicycling and run a marathon — all while raising three kids and keeping her husband in line.

Lori Rede: Personal trainer and businesswoman.

Lori Rede: Personal trainer and businesswoman.

I watched with admiration as she set aside the security blanket of a steady paycheck working for a corporate gym and took on the risk of starting her own business, first with a like-minded partner and then entirely on her own. It’s one thing to have the expertise in kinesiology and nutrition — along with a dance background and a winning personality — but another entirely to have the vision and discipline to run an independent business.

There is no safety net.

But there are challenges and surprises that demand resourcefulness and decisiveness in resolving whatever issues may pop up.

So it was with pride that I watched my remarkable wife in action as October transitioned into November. Faced with an expiring lease at the location where she’s spent the last nine years, she found a new space just a couple miles away and set about to making the change happen.

Talk about multitasking. In less than a month, she had to gradually wind down operations at one place at the same time she was moving equipment, furniture and other items to the other place. It was a job that required planning, patience and coordination of various schedules to get everything moved safely and on time.

In the final days, our friends Renee and Ed were indispensable lending their time and talents. Our oldest son, Nathan, also pitched in, helping to take down the stereo system and multiple speakers at the old place. I pitched in where I could, primarily as a schlepper and morale booster.

(Click on photos to view captions.)

The end result? A seamless move. We did a final clean-out at the old location on Halloween night, then popped into the new place the following morning to literally apply the finishing touches to a large wall decal. (Thanks, Renee and Ed.)

On Monday, November 2, Moving Parts opened for business at its shiny new location in the Hollywood district of Northeast Portland. As the week progressed, one client after another got to lay eyes on the fruits of Lori’s labors. In the transition, not a single client bailed. That is powerful testament to a personal trainer who has always poured herself into her job, striving to always see and treat them as individuals.

Some clients, in fact, have been with her from the very beginning, following her to three (and now four) locations over the years.

Lori wrote a wonderful blog post about her experiences tor the 2014 Voices of August, which I share here:

“Confessions and reflections of a personal trainer”

In a perfect world, it would be Lori writing this piece — not me. But she’s worked doubly hard these past few weeks and I didn’t want to burden her with one more thing, Plus, as I write this she is in San Francisco for the weekend attending her high school reunion with lifelong friends. The get-together could not have come at a better time, giving her a chance to decompress.

I have no doubt she will come back re-energized for her clients, ready to begin a new chapter as owner and operator of Moving Parts.

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