Saturday, May 31, 2008

if bubbles could roar

A few days ago I was having a conversation with Jim Stephens and he said something about the new bubble machine his daughter, Melissa, had gotten for her son, Jude. He said the bubbles come roaring out of the machine, "if bubbles can roar, I mean." Roaring bubbles. My imagination was captured. What would a bubble roar, if it was allowed to make an intelligible sound? Here's what I came up with. Thanks to Jim for coining the phrase in my presence.


If Bubbles Could Roar
by Joann Renee

Iridescent orb,
So buoyant and fragile—
Though short-lived,
You show up as we scrub
The floors, like Cinderella,
Momentarily harmonizing in our labor.
And during our storms
You are bold enough
To briefly grace our puddles.

We’ve packaged you
So you will surround our children
With your contagious optimism
In the face of staggering odds.
Please make our children strong,
We breathe into each soapy wand.

If bubbles could make a sound,
I think they would roar—
Telling us to go on
Though history has proven
We will fail and be forgotten.
Roar while you can.

Maybe that’s why so many of us
Find ourselves in tubs of defeat
At the death of another day—
Drawing courage
From your silent roar.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

in case i've never told you...

...I love the rain.

I came home from work with a cup o' hot chocolate and I forced my roommate Stephenie to take a walk with me in the rain. She wasn't happy.


She wore a parka. And flip-flops. But I think she fell a little in love with the rain too by the time we returned to the house. My love is contagious.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

cascade life commission 2007/08

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of going on a photographic outing with this year's CLC group. It was nice to be behind the camera instead of in front as I was the past two years. It's rare to get a good group shot with 19 young adults and 3 leaders where everyone is looking at the camera and smiling normally. I was not fortunate enough to achieve such a feat. However, there was only one unfortunate facial expression in the following picture, which I was able to photoshop in the person's head from a different shot to achieve the impossible. Can you guess whose face I spliced in? (you can't guess if I already told you, that's cheating)


The first year's reaction to the few weeks remaining of the "no dating" rule:


These following three are my favorite from the day:





No, he's not Frodo.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

hold on

I'm not attached to the title, but I really like the rest of it. Feel free to drop alternate title options into my comments as you are so inspired...

Hold On
by Joann Renee

Everything changes
If I lay just so
Stomach pressed to sod
Arms pillowed under head
Facing westward
Eyes gently, but firmly closed

I feel the earth
Spinning faster, faster
The sun on my arms and back
Feels cooler, darker
As the tree’s shadow creeps amazingly
Fast, faster

Squeezing my eyes more tightly closed
And willing my stomach to become
One with the dirt it came from
The wind breathes hard on my face
As if the air is still, constant
While the world and I bash into it
Fast, fast, faster

Now I lay on the beach
Sand gripped in fists
So close to the ocean
I can feel the moon beckoning
The tide
Close, closer

And I am vulnerable
Tiny in these cosmic power struggles
Faster, closer
The dark is light again
Close, fast, always whirling
Faster, close, fast, fa—

Eyes burst open
A Frisbee flies overhead—
Someone catches it

It’s okay—
I breathe deeper
Release clumps of grass and dirt
Lift my head from between my arms
He caught it

record breaking weekend


here are my legs enjoying the sunset (as they should)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

eliminating the middle man

Last weekend I was in Portland hanging out with an old college friend when a thought occured to me: our mouths make a mess of communicating our thoughts a lot of times. Our brains send too much information to our mouths and then when we speak, incompletely at best, we have to hope that the fragments we have strung together into words will be translated accurately into the mind of our listeners.

Then, unbidden, an alarmingly silly mental image popped into my head: two people sitting across a table, silent, pleasant and vacant - between them on the table sat their brains, communicating completely without the problem of miscommunication.

Here's how it turned out...

Eliminating the Middle Man
by Joann Renee

The dinner rush is over.
in the dim lighting
it’s hard to make out
just how many twenty-somethings are crowded
into the booth behind us. Above
their din I can hear the eager chatter and shy
whispers of couples strewn
across the room.
I wonder how many
of them really understand one another—
what number of misconceptions
frolic above our heads
unacknowledged?

Caught up in word choice,
no one notices the silent
booth in the middle of the room
where you and I,
like something Stepford,
savor caffeine and a shared
torte with pleasant smiles and vacant stares,
while pulsing and sparking
by our coffee cup hands,
our brains represent themselves—communicating
without the complications of vocabulary.

Friday, May 16, 2008

ramandu's daughter wanna-be

If you weren't planning on going to see Prince Caspian, change your mind.
It's more than a must see.

Warning: it'll make you wish you lived in CS Lewis's imagination (particularly of the Narnian variety).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

the snow is finally gone!

After a week and a half of no snow, I think it's finally safe to say: "Spring is here!" To celebrate the springness, I went down to Bellatazza last weekend...

...and ran into the beautiful Michelle Miller...


...then Mekenzie & Tara arrived just as a cup of coffee escaped on a skateboard...


...and finally the Robertson brothers & Jenn and Bella arrived on the scene.


God bless May.

Friday, May 09, 2008

the swell season

If you haven't seen Once (and don't mind Irish swearing), you must! You'll probably think it's boring, unless you're cool like me. It's kind of feels like a documentary, which it sort of is, but not really. Anyway, the two main actors in the film really are Irish & Czech musicians, and they won an Academy Award for Best Original Song ("Falling Slowly") which is in the brilliant low budget movie.

Anyway. They came to Eugene (of all places) a couple of weeks ago. The show sold out a month before the concert, but I purchased mine early. Lorelei was suppose to be my companion, but she had to move that weekend, so Ryan filled in.

Here's our pre-show excitement:


The opening duo were a couple of Irish guys. A piano/ tamborine/ penny whistle player who looked like a hot Yanni (if that's possible). And an older guy with missing teeth in a karate/ Mexican pueblo outfit (complete with a dragon stitched in black on one of the pant legs) who played some kind of crazy drum while standing on one foot.


Glen played his first song (which is also the first song in Once) by himself way in front of the mic, so he wasn't amplified at all, nor was his guitar - he doesn't really need amplification.


Had to throw an artsy one in:


Marketa is back on the piano...


But they switched spots a couple of times...


They kept looking adoringly at one another.
It was very sweet.
I wanted in on the sweetness.
So I looked lovingly at the sub that I was leaning against.
Sigh.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

sunny portland

The day after the Wiyos concert I enjoyed a sunny Saturday in Portland. It began with a glorious reunion with Powell's, then my first Chipotle (mmmm), then some time at Water Front.

I wasn't paying attention to my camera settings, so they ended up incredibly over exposed. But I kinda like em that way.





Yes, it's true. Butterfly wings, dreads, a lot of blue, the shortest corduroy shorts in history, striped knee socks and backwards belt. She's a pedi-cab driver.

Monday, May 05, 2008

the wiyos

A couple of weeks ago a band from New York started a mini-McMenamins tour in Bend on a cozy Wednesday night. They were so enjoyable, that I ended up driving over to McMinnville to catch their last show on the tour. Great antics. Great music. Great greatness.


Ryan (my traveling buddy) & I met up with my little bro & his wife at the show. Their food took so long to get there (a full hour after they ordered their burgers!) that we got everything we ordered for free! That included the greasiest tots I've ever witnessed.