Charlotte’s on the mend

A familiar face at the dining room table.

The resilience of animals is an amazing thing to behold.

Yesterday, just six days after she was attacked by a large dog at our neighborhood school, Charlotte had a drain tube removed from her abdomen, right on schedule. And because the bite wound she sustained was healing nicely, she also had the sutures removed, more than a week ahead of schedule.

So today, our little Border Terrier mix is well on the road to full recovery. She’s been taking the stairs up and down in our condo since the weekend, she’s going on progressively longer walks in the neighborhood, and she’s the one initiating a game of indoor fetch with her stuffed animals. She grabs these hapless furry things by the neck, gives ’em a good shake and a menacing growl.

Oh, and her appetite is just fine.

Lori and I have appreciated the outpouring of support for our dog. The attack last week was the second one on Charlotte requiring a trip to the vet, and both came as a result of unleashed animals on the school grounds.

No update yet on the owner of the pit bull that attacked Charlotte a week ago today. Over text messages, he denied responsibility and refused to pay the $500-plus vet bill, so we had no problem reporting him to the county animal services office.

We’ll see what kind of consequences he and his dog face.

For now, we’re happy to have Charlotte on the mend.

Wounded warrior: Our little Charlotte

Charlotte, on her 6th birthday last year, at our neighborhood school in NE Portland.

About a year and a half ago, two large dogs came charging across a high school field, intent on doing serious harm to our little Charlotte. I managed to snatch her up and hold her above my head while I screamed and kicked at the two beasts lunging at her and me.

I came away from that 30 seconds of terror with a bloody lip, bites around my right elbow, and torn sleeves on my windbreaker while Charlotte sustained a bite wound just above her tail.

Yesterday it happened again. This time at the neighborhood school where we take Charlotte nearly every afternoon. And this time with Lori.

I was at home putting the finishing touches on some fresh biscuits that we were planning to take to a social-distancing happy hour and dinner. Lori had gone to the school with a neighbor whose dog Ollie, also a terrier mix, is one of Charlotte’s best friends.

When Lori came in the door, she was glum and the right side of her light-colored top, just above her right hip, had a dark stain. Charlotte’s blood.

What happened?

Charlotte and Ollie were still harnessed on their leashes and situated in the middle of the grassy playfield with Lori and Chris, Ollie’s owner, when a young couple appeared on a dirt path on the perimeter of the field. They were walking a large dog, off leash.

Charlotte barked at the dog and it came charging. Lori yanked her up into her arms but not before the animal bit Charlotte in the belly.

As in the attack 17 months ago, the dog was a pit bull. I say this not to demonize that breed, but as a statement of fact. I know that pit bulls can be as sweet and docile as any other. (In fact, our son and daughter-in-law own one who is exactly like that.) But I also know these dogs, like German Shepherds, can also be pretty aggressive in the hands of the wrong owner.

Dinner plans were canceled, needless to say. Our regular vet clinic was booked but after calling around, we found a 24-hour animal hospital that would see Charlotte.

She had a puncture wound and bruising in the stomach area, but thankfully no apparent damage to her internal organs. She came home with antibiotic and pain medications and a drain tube in her belly.

Charlotte was groggy last night — understandably so, after being sedated — and no doubt traumatized again by another attack that could have been fatal.

This morning, she’s moving about gingerly and did manage to eat some breakfast. Doctor says she should avoid activity for 10 to 14 days while she recuperates.

We will treat her like the little queen she is. And we’ll keep an eye out at the school and in the neighborhood at large for the owners of the pit bull. Neither Lori nor her friend had their phones with them yesterday, so they weren’t able to get the owners’ name or contact information.

A guy who was there at the school volunteered to take phone numbers of both parties and send the information to each, but so far hasn’t followed through. If and when we run across the pit bull’s owners, we’ve got a sizable vet bill to lay on him. And we fully intend to report the incident to Multnomah County Animal Services.

New York Rede’s Roost

A shared love for animals prompted Jamie Lynn Rede to team up with husband Jordan and daughter Emalyn to begin raising chickens at their farmhouse in upstate New York.

By Jamie Lynn Rede

My upbringing shaped who I am today, and I’m very thankful for the skills, life lessons, and faith that my parents and late grandparents instilled within me.

As the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve found that I miss my family in Oregon more than usual, and I often reminisce of my grandma’s delicious pot roast and homemade sweets, my grandpa’s jaw-dropping garden, my dad’s ability to tackle any project, and my mother who encouraged and shares my love for animals.

Now that I have a family of my own, I hope that my husband and I can teach our daughter the value of hard work, responsibility, and a love for animals among many things as she grows into a young lady. Since moving into our New York farmhouse last spring, we’ve dreamed of all the possibilities this piece of property could attain and have started and finished some of those projects.

What better time than now to start raising our own chickens!

With excitement and joy we welcomed fifteen chicks to our home — six ISA Brown chicks, six Black Australorp chicks (sadly, we lost one), and three Bantam chicks. We (our 3-year-old daughter included!) transformed a shed that came with our five-acre property into a chicken coop, working hard to make it critter proof to prolong the life of our dear chicks.

Now, only nesting boxes are needed to finish this project. Once the chicks get their feathers and grow larger, we hope to let them free range the property, and at night they will be able to roost safely in their coop when most predators are on the prowl.

These chicks are quickly becoming family friendly, especially with our daughter providing loads of affection and holding them often. Emalyn loves her “babes” as she calls them.

Raising these chicks has in some small way made me feel connected and closer to my family all the way in Oregon. My parents raised many animals over the years, chickens being one of many farm animals which bring a piece of my childhood near and dear to my heart.

We look forward to the bounty of eggs to come and the laughter that comes along with raising these ladies.

Jamie grew up in the Pacific Northwest and now lives in New York with her husband and daughter. Jamie is a dedicated mother and wife, loves the outdoors, animals, gardening and cooking. George Rede is her father in law.

*****

Meet the Rede’s Roost ladies

Dora | Penelope | Dorothy
Gretta | Gertie | Pearl
Virginia | Myrtle | Beatrice
Prudence | Etna | Edith
Olga | Agatha | Helga (made 15)

A quick note about raising chicks! Newborn chicks need a heat source of 95 degrees, which can be lowered with each passing week until they develop feathers and they can stay warm by themselves. Also, chick starter (chick feed) and water supplemented with electrolytes and probiotics helps give them an extra boost to their immune system, an important factor considering how stressful moving to a new environment can be!

ISA Brown Chickens:

Origin: French

  • Sweet, friendly, quiet mannered
  • 300-350 brown eggs/year
  • 4.4 lbs-6.6 lbs
  • 4-6 months start laying

Black Australorp Chickens:

Origin: Australia

  • Friendly, gentle, hardy
  • 300-364 brown eggs/year
  • 6 months start laying
  • 5-8 lbs

Bantam Chickens:

Origin of the word ‘bantam’ is from Bantam, Indonesia

  • Calm and friendly
  • Miniature version of regular chickens, affectionately known as ‘’banties’’
  • Some have “fancy feathering” with beards and feathered legs
  • Eggs contain more yolk and less whites
  • 50-200 eggs/year; most are cream-tinted, but some bantam breeds produce pastel eggs.

Tomorrow: Andrea Cano | What is essential for now, and maybe tomorrow…

Lap dog

The Little Peanut: Charlotte

It’s 9:15 on a Saturday morning, utterly silent in the beach house where we’re staying. I’m sitting in a recliner with a hard-cover book and a mug of coffee.

To my left is a view of the ocean, with waves pulsing onto the shore. Straight ahead is a ceiling fan, its three blades soundlessly slicing the air. A black, furry creature has settled onto my outstretched legs, facing away from me and scrunched into a comfortable sleeping position.

It’s Charlotte, of course, and we’re enjoying the peace and quiet before everyone else in the house gets up to start their day.

I’m enjoying this book of spiritual, non-spiritual essays by Brian Doyle, the late Portland writer beloved by so many who embraced his one-of-a-kind approach toward syntax and punctuation, and appreciated his musings about love and grace and wonder and kindness.

I suppose it’s a combination of Doyle’s perspective and the luxury of sitting here alone with my thoughts that prompts me, ironically, to put down the book and let my mind wander.

If I were at home, I’d have opened this laptop and started in grading the latest batch of online homework submitted by my students. But, no, not this time.

This is what I thought of: my lap dog.

On a quiet walk above the water.

From her wet nose to her tucked-in tail, she measures about 18 inches. I can feel the rhythm of her breath as she inhales and exhales, inhales and exhales. My hand glides down her muscular back, from just below her collar to her haunches. I linger for a moment on her ears, soft as rose petals, gently rubbing them between thumb and two fingers.

She woke me up this morning, her chocolate eyes and fist-sized face about four inches from my own and her tail going like a windshield wiper.

We’ve owned five other dogs, but this one has captured my heart like no other. I think it’s because she is a perfectly imperfect dog.

Charlotte has an underbite that means her upper lip doesn’t quite come all the way down on the right side. She has a mouthful of teeth resembling two rows of craggy Chiclets, and a wispy beard that can make her look raggedy or regal, depending on your view. She’s also got a shrill bark that seems more likely to come from a dog ten times her size.

Lil’ Char is a rescue dog whose backstory we’ll never know. She’s a survivor of the streets, for sure, picked up by animal control when she was just a year old, with her puppy alongside her. They were separated at the pet adoption shelter. We got Charlotte, the assertive,  headstrong and surprisingly affectionate mother. Someone else took home her pup. Who knows what they got?

I really should get up and freshen my coffee, I think. I really should get started grading those online assignments. I really should pick up the book again.

But, no, not now. Let me gaze at the ceiling fan for another moment, Let me turn my head to the surf. Let me sit here, just sit, with my perfectly imperfect lap dog.

Resolved: Get outdoors!

Somehow I managed to go nearly an entire year without hauling my butt down to Tryon Creek State Park, one of the most scenic, soul-satisfying places in the metro area.

Until Monday of this week, I hadn’t paid a visit to this beautiful place, barely 10 minutes away from downtown Portland. It’s quite the urban refuge, with its second-growth forest, intersecting trails and meandering creek, fresh air and plenty of peace and quiet.

So after an invigorating half-hour run, I knew what my 2020 resolution would be: to spend more time outdoors.

Lately, I’ve been getting more of my exercise at the gym near our home, most often in the pool or on a bike in a cycling class. Running on those bark-lined trails at Tryon Creek reminded me how much I’ve always enjoyed doing so outdoors.

I followed up two days later with a New Years Day morning run, with a light rain that let up after a few minutes on another half-hour run in my urban neighborhood.

I’ve got plenty of resolutions to work on this year. Many are familiar ones: Drink more water. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Limit the sweets and second helpings. Others are new, private ones: No details here but they’re all aimed at improving my sense of personal conduct and consideration for others.

I hope to hold myself accountable on the “Get outdoors!” resolution in more than one way. Aside from running, there will be plenty of opportunity to hop on my bike, explore new hiking trails in the city and around the region, and take my little friend, Charlotte, with me on neighborhood walks.

Speaking of which…

The wild place next door

By Tim Akimoff

You wake up and hear the birds chirping. Your cat left another chewed up mouse on your doorstep. There’s a lump of something unidentifiable on the side of the freeway during your commute to work. The evening news shows a picture of a young bear that was killed because it became habituated to humans. 

Your interactions with the natural world are limited. 

But you watch slow-motion nature shows, richly voiced by celebrity conservationists. There are all those YouTube videos of ferrets chasing down snow rabbits, morons getting too close to a bison at Yellowstone National Park and that one guy who has a tame black panther that gives him hugs. So you’re savvy about nature.  

I walk for an hour in the Fairview Wetlands every day. They are directly across from my office in an industrial park. I have walked them every day for almost four years now. I have seen a lot in those four years, but the more I go, the less I understand the place. Or, rather, the more I have questions about the beautiful complexity of a seasonal life. 

January, and the ground is hard. Not frozen, but unyielding. The branches are bare, the wind just moves through as a whole. And there are not very many people out walking in the blustery weather. It’s bleak, and I’m mesmerized by the waterfowl that have taken up residence in the big pond. They are getting their mating colors. They’re loud, and they bring an energy to the place that belies the barren sullenness of that season. 

March, and the ground has softened, the ice has thawed, and there are little indicators of life on the wind, though it still blows through the place unbroken. There is water everywhere. A few brave people walk the trails now, though they do so with earphones in or with a phone extended in front of them. Of course, I’m no different, I’m looking at this place through a digital interface. I use a plant ID app to tell me if I’m seeing a native aquatic plant or something invasive. I use eBird to count the birds. I use iNaturalist to indicate whether I’ve seen a Pacific tree frog or a Bull frog. And I see everything through a Canon digital camera with a 400mm lens. 

May, and we’re at the height of the spring migration. There are a dozen varieties of warblers, small, often yellow or some combination thereof, bird that winters in Central America and flies through Oregon to the wide-open spaces up north, and the green-up is in full force, and the wind now moves through slowly, playing the leaves as chimes above my head.  

August, and the water is gone, tall, dry, brown grasses dominate the landscape, and the migrants have migrated. The local birds: The Scrub jays, the Black-capped Chickadees, the Downy woodpeckers, the American goldfinches and the Cooper’s hawk form a microcosm of a community, otherwise known as an ecosystem. It is not a friendly one, in that the Cooper’s hawk must eat, and the Cooper’s hawk eats birds. The other birds know this and try to keep the Cooper’s hawk from eating by harassing it constantly. The wind has a voice in the drying leaves and tall grasses that sounds like loud whispers. Other people say that the Cottonwoods like to gossip. 

November, and the rains trickle down the feeder creeks and the hillsides into the depression that is the wetlands. The ponds slowly fill, and the south-migrating shore birds find their way to the shallow waters to feed on invertebrates coming back to life in the thirst-quenching waters that always travel downhill. As the shorebirds depart, the ducks and geese move in, often overwintering on the big pond. A few will stay into the next spring and raise their young in the ponds, a race for survival against the weather clock. The leaves have mostly fallen, and the wind is drowned out by the sound of the rain falling on fallen leaves.  

The wetlands were designed by my brother when he worked as the wetlands manager for the City of Salem. That I get to enjoy them every day is a gift, one he left to me and to many others. And most importantly to the wildlife that live there and those that stop in for a bit on the shoulder seasons.  

Tim Akimoff: Appreciating and documenting the natural world

Tim Akimoff worked as a reporter for newspapers, television and radio in Oregon, Montana, Alaska and Chicago for a decade, before going to work for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as a writer and social media coordinator. He says, “I like Hemingway’s work ethic, Vonnegut’s morbid comedy, Fairey’s street art and canned fish.”

Editor’s note: I met Tim in 2005, when he was a University of Oregon student and I was The Oregonian’s recruiter. He joined the newsroom as a reporting intern that fall and I have seen him build his multimedia skills and polish his writing every year since. His wildlife photography is stunning.

Tomorrow: Lillian Mongeau Hughes | When you’re sitting on a plane: A reflection on a mother’s love

A trio of terriers and one red dog

terrier trio

It’s treat time at the dog park and these three are ready to snack. From left: Penny, Charlotte and Coco.

They are three lovable rascals named Coco, Penny and Charlotte. All three are a terrier mix of some kind. All three are female. All three are rescue dogs. And along with their buddy, a handsome male Shiba Inu named Yukai, they are the reason why Lori and I met up with their owners for a potluck in the park on Sunday evening.

More precisely, we were at the elementary school in our Northeast Portland neighborhood where our four dogs formed a canine friendship that has transferred over to us humans. We come from the South, the Midwest, the West Coast and Western Europe. We represent three generations. We are two married couples and two single people.

Yes, we are all dog people. But we wouldn’t have become friends so quickly — or maybe  even at all — were it not for our “girls” and Yukai.

***

There’s a small athletic field where the three terriers have been romping around on the emerald-green grass for the past six months or so, rolling and tumbling and chasing each other as if they had known each other all their lives. Yukai, meanwhile, stays on his long leash, acting as something of a sergeant-at-arms should any visiting dog get too rowdy.

Seeing them play never fails to bring a smile. No matter what kind of day we’ve had, we know we can take pleasure in seeing these creatures greet each other and tear across the field. Makes any personal stresses melt away.

What’s remarkable is how they’ve spurred a friendship among six people who could not be more different as individuals.

dog people

Dog people, from left: Arturo and Lindsey with Penny; George R., Laura, Lori with Charlotte, and George W.

There’s George W., owner of Coco. He’s a mid-40s public engagement specialist for a regional government agency, Raised in Arkansas and educated at Harvard, George is gregarious, well-traveled and an “11” on a friendliness scale of 1-to-10.

There’s Lindsey and Arturo, owners of Penny. They are a married couple in their early 30s. Lindsey is from Orange County, California, and works for a vacation rentals company, often taking Penny to work with her. Arturo works for Nike and comes from Barcelona, Spain, where he and Lindsey met when she was a study-abroad student. The two complement each other well with their warm personalities.

There’s Lori and I, owners of Charlotte. We grew up in San Francisco and its suburbs, respectively.

And there’s Laura, about the same age as Lori and me, who is the owner of 11-year-old Yukai. She’s originally from Minnesota and also works for Nike as a consultant. Laura is direct, assertive and witty. She walks the neighborhood streets with her red dog and two cats. It’s quite the sight, with the two felines trailing behind and occasionally taking cover behind a bush or plant.

George adopted Coco last November. Lindsey and Arturo adopted Penny in January. We’ve had Charlotte for four years and Laura has had Yukai for twice as long.

***

The reason for the potluck?

Lindsey and Arturo are leaving their apartment, located across the street from the school, and are moving to a house they bought in Southwest Portland. We’re all happy to see them buy their first home, but sad to know we won’t see them as often. They’ve promised to visit from time to time.

We wanted to send them off with a casual gathering and so we did it Sunday. The dogs were well behaved when they weren’t fully occupied with each other and Yukai kept a regal eye on things. The food was delicious. Laura brought enough banana bread that we could share a slice with a few others who came later — a couple whose Australian Shepherd is another regular at the park and an 8-year-old girl who’s won our hearts as someone who adores each of our pets.

She’s Katie. She lives near the school and she visits often, with her younger brother or her best friend, and frequently joins us in a seated circle on the lawn. She knows all of her our names, she throws balls for the dogs, and keeps up to date on school and her other activities.

Her brother Alex and mother, Jo, showed up last night, too. Jo has had a plot in the same school/community garden as Lori, so we’ve met her before.

As we enjoyed the perfect weather and tasty meal, we all agreed how serendipitous it was that just the right circumstances brought us together. All of us were looking for a place to exercise our dogs. We found it and much more: a community of dog owners who’ve transcended generational differences to find friendship.

There’s no doubt we owe it to Coco, Penny and Charlotte — and Yukai.

Previously on this blog: Charlotte’s playground

Charlotte’s playground

charlotte1

Charlotte romps at the schoolyard park with Coco, up close, and Penny in the distance.

Is there anything that quite defines “joy” as seeing a dog romping across a grassy field, ears back, eyes wide, running and tumbling with other canines?

Didn’t think so.

Lately, Lori and I have been treated to this sight over and over again at the neighborhood school two blocks from our home. For the past several weeks, Charlotte and a growing number of four-legged friends have been running with abandon in that sweet spot between dinner and dusk.

Our little black beauty is especially joyous chasing — or being chased by — Coco and Penny, two similar-sized dogs with similar temperaments. The three of them greet each other like best friends and quickly launch into play, darting in and around us, and invariably winding up in a whirling ball of fur.

charlotte-2

Charlotte gets a taste of her own medicine as Penny nips at her heels.

This wouldn’t normally strike anyone as remarkable — a few dogs running around a partially fenced-in athletic field. But if you knew Charlotte’s back story like we do, you’d appreciate how far she’s come in her socialization with other dogs and her trust of their humans.

Like Coco and Penny, little Charlotte is a terrier-mix and a rescue dog, with a past no one really knows. We adopted her in October 2014, as a scrawny 11-pound, 2-year-old mother who’d been picked up on the street with her puppy. She’s now five years old, tipping the scales at 16-plus pounds, and well adapted to our home. (Her puppy was adopted out to another home.)

charlotte-park

Charlotte catches her breath after another round of chase.

Two years ago, though, she and I were attacked by a couple of unleashed big dogs at a dog park in another part of town. Charlotte suffered a bite wound near her tail and I escaped with scratches, a bloody lip and a torn jacket. Even after she mended, we were wary of situations where she might get targeted again by larger dogs.

That’s why it’s been such a pleasure to see Charlotte run free in the company of other animals she knows and likes, and to also let other adults pet her between romps on the grass.

It wasn’t always like this. Charlotte’s always been one to bark at strangers rather than approach them.  But within this little circle of friends, she’s also becoming trusting of Penny’s owners, Arturo and Lindsey, and Coco’s human, also named George.

She also gets along very well with Yukai, a handsome Shiba Inu, and his owner, Laura, who carries around a small pouch of dog treats and jokingly refers to herself as “the doggie crack lady.”

On the most recent Sunday night, Charlotte was the first arrival at what I’ve come to think of as her own private playground. When Penny and Coco showed up, it was as if another party had begun. Another round of joy.

charlotte-mothers day

Charlotte strikes a pose on Mother’s Day 2018.

A quiet Christmas

It’s coming up on 10 o’clock the morning after Christmas and all is peaceful in the Rede abode and in our neighborhood.

Slept in, had a leisurely breakfast, and put Norah Jones and James Taylor on the CD player. (Some things don’t change.)

Outside, the distant rumble of a garbage truck making its rounds is the only sound disrupting the silence. Patches of white on the street and sidewalk bear witness to the light snowfall that we had on Christmas Eve. The mercury hasn’t moved much since then, although I’m looking at sunshine and blue skies.

For the past several weeks, the message to Buy! Buy! Buy! has been hard to escape as retailers, advertisers and marketers throw all their energy at us from every which way — print, TV, radio and especially online. We’ve gone from Black Friday to Cyber Monday to Last-Minute Bargains to End-of-Year Blowout Sales without missing a beat.

Whew. And, no thanks.

***

We had a quiet Christmas this year. Simple and meaningful and celebrated in two phases.

With our youngest son and his family in Missouri, we took the opportunity to visit them in early December, well ahead of the stress that comes along with Christmas travel. We enjoyed the company of Jordan, Jamie and Emalyn over the course of five days and four nights without the manufactured pressure of the holidays.

We did indulge in the spirit of the season, however, with a nighttime visit to the ranch where Anheuser-Busch raises its famous Clydesdale horses. Holiday lights, hot cocoa, handfuls of kettlecorn, and a close-up view of these magnificent animals made for a chilly but memorable evening.

Back in Portland, we celebrated the holiday on Christmas Eve with our other two children during a Five Dog Night.

Nathan and girlfriend Sara came over with Uni, their Yorkshire Terrier, and Hector, their rescue mutt. Simone came over with Quimby, my favorite Chihuahua, and Templeton, a Mini-Me version of an Irish Wolfhound. (Her wife, Kyndall, was unable to join us as she was committed to visiting family members in eastern Washington and Idaho.) Charlotte, as the rambunctious hostess, made it five four-legged creatures.

Dinner, drinks and dessert were a nice set-up for Punderdome, a card game for pun lovers. (Truth be told, the gathering also served as an early birthday celebration for yours truly.)

When it came time to leave, the streets were slick and icy enough that Simone spent the night, resulting in bonus time with our daughter on Christmas morning.

As dusk arrived, we kicked our plans into gear: Grab an early dinner at Frank’s Noodle House, a family-run joint featuring Chinese hand-pulled noodles, and then head on over to the Hollywood Theater to see “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

Frances McDormand delivers a powerful performance as a strong-willed mother taking extreme measures to prod local law enforcement into doing more to solve her daughter’s murder. Great movie with a cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes and Peter Dinklage.

(Interesting that the movie is set in Missouri. Not really, though. No such place as Ebbing. Plus, the film was shot in North Carolina.)

All in all, a very nice celebration. Even when it’s not possible to have all your loved ones in a single place, there’s a way to celebrate separately with meaning.

xmas-obama

A Christmas gift for the two of us. Miss him.

 

8 for the 8th

During the past month, I pushed everything to the side — gladly — to make room for Voices of August, the annual wordfest that features one guest blog post each day for 31 days.

With a new month already begun, I’m giving myself permission to look back at a few things of note. More precisely, eight things during the eighth month of the year. No surprise that they would touch on a few favorites: baseball, beer and the beach, live music, movies, education and exercise. In chronological order…

(Click on images to view captions.)

1. Liz Longley at DougFir Lounge.

Third time seeing this indie artist in Portland — and she gets better every time.

2. Escape to the Oregon Coast.

While Portland and the Willamette Valley endured triple-digit heat, Lori and I and Charlotte visited our friends Steve and Kelly Kern at their home in Manzanita.

3. School’s out. Taught two summer session classes, back-to-back, at Portland State.

4. Brewskis. Found my way to The Wayfinder, an awesome brewpub in inner Southeast Portland, with the help of a friend who works in the area.

george-david

Sampling one of more than a dozen beers on tap with David Quisenberry.

5. The Bodacious Bakers. More live music, featuring siblings we’ve known since their pre-K days.

clara-marshall baker

Clara Baker performs an original composition with brother Marshall during a show at the Alberta Street Pub on Aug. 10.

6. At the movies. Went to the Living Room Theater in downtown Portland to see “Detroit,” a film based on a police raid at a motel that occurred during the 1967 riots. Very well done and very hard to watch, given the white cops-on-black civilians violence that was fueled by blatant racism. Watch the trailer here.

7. At the ballpark. Caught a Thursday night ballgame between the Hillsboro Hops and the Boise Hawks. Well played game that included a late home run to seal a 7-1 win for the home team in this Northwest League contest.

8. Exercise! My morning routine pretty much fell apart at the beginning of the year, when I was scrambling to keep up with three college classes and a part-time job at a nonprofit. Things got so bad I logged fewer than 10 exercise days a month for five consecutive months. July brought 18. August 21!

 

george-knee

So then I ruined my momentum by falling off my bike on a neighborhood ride. Lesson learned? Never use your front brake only when riding with one hand.