Friday, March 30, 2007

From yesterday's Oregonian, an interesting article that describes Intel's performance review process ("Focal"). Having gone through my first Focal this week, I came through okay and got a reasonable raise. I'm told Focal isn't nearly as daunting as it used to be, however.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Someone has posted video from the Oregon Chorale St. Patrick's Day concert, check it out:

Finnan Haddie (you can see me in the middle behind/between the two soloists) (not the whole song, unfortunately)

Eliot Grasso playing Uuileann pipes.

Also, check out Eliot's performance report. He has some kind words for the Chorale.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Oookay... apparently Arizona's former Governor, J. Fife Symington, now says that UFOs really did fly over Phoenix in 1997.
Now, THAT's a nun! Check out John Allen's inspiring mini-biography of Sr. Maria Rosa Leggol of Honduras.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Prayer requests -- 1) for M, who is losing her hearing. Please pray that the doctors will be able to figure out and halt whatever's going on, and grace for her to face this... 2) for T, who hurt her knee in a skating fall, that she be able to make a good and complete recovery and be back on the ice soon.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

So... I handed over my Mazda 626 this morning to Allstate and got the check. *sigh* The VIN search they did indicated I bought the car 6/15/99, and today is 3/21/07, so... I had that car for 7 years and 9 months. *sigh*

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Oregon House has just passed a bill mandating private employers to cover birth control pills. It's not immediately clear how this will affect Catholic hospitals. There is apparently some kind of religious exemption for "religious employers who primarily hire and serve people of the same faith" -- but while that would presumably cover the Archdiocese, it probably doesn't apply to, say, Catholic Charities or other Catholic groups. Eeep!
Car update: The adjuster called me, and the final number for the mkt value of the Mazda was $2566. So, minus my deductible, I'll get $2066 when I bring them the car and title next Wednesday.

Currently I'm looking at a number of different options, from a Ford Focus to Hyundai Elantra and Kia Optima. I didn't want to spend too much money right now, just a basic car to commute in for the next 3-4 years.

This weekend is the Oregon Chorale St. Patrick's Day concert. I'm really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I just got back from the insurance adjuster a while ago, and my car is going to be totaled. The estimated repair cost is somewhere north of $3200, which is rather more than the car is worth. So... sometime in the next week or so they're going to give me a check and I'll give them the title and they'll tow it away. *sigh*

So... still trying to decide if I want to get a new car, or just a new-to-me car. I had originally hoped to keep this car another 3 years or so, then buy a nice new car. Oh well.

Monday, March 12, 2007

A really cool article about a Tucson original and the founding of Sacred Heart Church. I was confirmed at Sacred Heart when I was in 8th grade, by Bishop Green.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Car Accident

I had a fender-bender this morning. I'm okay, there were no injuries (thank God!) but I crumpled up my front end pretty good. I was going to McD's after skating this morning and managed to somehow rear-end the guy in front of me at the stop light. Dented his bumper a bit (he had an SUV), but his bumper slid over mine and crumpled up my front end. Fortunately the car is still driveable.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Year in Portland, Part 4


The skating situation in Portland is much improved over Tucson. Tucson’s rink has had 4 different management companies in the last 4 years, and appears to be on the brink of closing. Here, there are 4 different rinks in the area. However, none of the rinks here have more than one sheet of ice.

Leaving my rink buddies, and especially my coach Anna, was really, really hard, and it was tough on my skating. After not skating much at all for several months, I finally found a new coach (Lucy) at Valley Ice Arena; however, I was only with her for a couple of months before she left for the summer (she was skating in an ice show), so I decided to find a new coach and also to switch rinks. I’m now skating at Sherwood Ice Arena. This rink is rather farther from my home (12 miles vs. 3 or 4 for Valley), but it’s much nicer and the atmosphere and facility are a lot closer to what I was used to in Arizona.

Finding time to skate has been a bit of a problem. Even though there is a LOT more freestyle time here than in Tucson (and it’s much more consistent), the distance from work to the rink (19 miles from work to Sherwood!) means that during the week, I can only skate in the mornings before work. I’m skating less than I used to, and it’s costing me more. In Tucson I had a yearly pass that covered public sessions and coffee club, and I only skated one or 2 freestyle sessions a week. Here, I skate 3 FSs a week (or try) and Sunday public session when I can, and I’m paying $80 - $100 a month for ice. Coaching is more expensive, too – going rate is $60/hr vs. $50 in Tucson.

I found a new coach (Sonya), who I’ve been working with since the end of July. She’s terrific, and I’ve made good progress since then. I still really miss Anna, though – I had a really good connection with her and felt really enthusiastic and motivated to work hard. Here I am more self-motivated – this is not a reflection on Sonya, just that I relate to her differently; probably I just look at the coach-student relationship a little differently now. I suspect in some ways that’s probably better in the long run, but it was a hard adjustment.

I’ve made a few friends at Sherwood, but I have to admit that in many ways I still feel like a stranger there. For whatever reason – the environment, the town, or maybe my own demeanor – I found it a lot easier to make friends at the rink in Tucson. I still miss my friends there a lot; even though many of them have moved on themselves, we keep in touch. Skating friends are the best!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Wow! We're having unseasonably nice weather... 62 degrees and sunny!!

Friday, March 02, 2007

A Year In Portland, Part 3

The People

People here are… nice. Very nice. And chatty. Extremely chatty. Everywhere you go, people want to chat you up… on the MAX, in line at the store… They’re very friendly.

The area is overwhelmingly white, though that is changing. The Hispanic influence and numbers here are growing, although the area doesn’t seem to be adapting very gracefully. My parish has a Spanish Mass on Sundays, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of mingling. Having grown up in a very diverse place, Portland is a step back in many ways. On the other hand, work is a riot of people from all over – many Asian, but also African and European.

Besides being very white, the area is a mix of very liberal (esp. in Portland) and somewhat conservative (outlying areas). Not too surprising, actually; the state’s Congressional delegation is mostly Democrat and the Dems just took over the state legislature and re-elected the governor.

You tend to see a lot more overweight people than in Tucson, which I attribute to the weather. I could just be projecting, though, since I’ve gained 15 lbs. since I moved here (*sigh*). People do seem to be out and about in all kinds of weather, though, and they are very public-spirited and environmentally conscious. Also the mix of ages is not so slanted toward the young as it is in Arizona.