Thursday, July 31, 2008

the shire

It is inconceivable to me that I spent the last 3+ years sharing Bend with a residential area modeled after JRR Tolkien's Shire, and was completely oblivious to this fact! I mean, I love all things hobbit. I love their huge furry feet. I love their rollicking, good-times nature. I love their curly hair and mischievousness. I love their love of pints and singing. I love their love of twelve meals a day.

Well, about a month ago I spent three consecutive nights watching the trilogy (my roommates trickled in and out). On the final night, Michelle, one of my roommates and former small group girl, said something about her frequent visits to the Shire when she was in high school. Now, I know she hasn't read the books and I didn't believe she'd been to New Zealand, so I inquired further. "There's a Shire in Bend?! And you never told me?!"

I was incredulous (and the question mark/ exclamation point combo infers). How could I find out about such a thing after I've decided to move away?

So last week Michelle took me to the Shire so I could experience the bliss for myself. It was bliss. I only wish I'd known earlier...many an afternoon would have been spend chewing straw by the pond while re-reading the Silmarillon.

Thank you, Michelle! (and Tolkien...and the developers of the area, though you went bankrupt and had to stop building...and hobbits...and Malorie (you know why)...)

farewell parties

The lovely Tony Hamman (She's grrrreat! -Sorry, Tony, that was bad, I know...) threw a church staff party for me last week at her house, complete with "south-of-the-border" beverages. Here's a smattering of fun:
And then on Sunday I had a party down at Drake Park. I made a few collages to prove that I really was there. (ps-these are arranged in order of arrival, not in order of favorite people...though order of arrival may say something about where I fall in their order...hmmm...intriguing...)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

what i'll miss...

  1. Being caught by surprise with a breath-taking view of the snow-capped Cascades in my rearview mirror.

  2. Sitting in the Bellatazza courtyard for entire weekends.

  3. (Related to the previous) My baristas at Bellatazza that I’ve grown to know and love over the past three years: Marcel, Julia, Norman Goodfellow, PJ (Penelope Jo), Kirsten, Campbell, etc.

  4. Round-a-bouts keeping my in town driving from ever becoming mundane.

  5. Old St. Francis McMenamins (soaking pool & theatre, etc.)

  6. The Crepe Place

  7. Snow

  8. Lazy summer days reading at Drake Park

  9. My beautiful book club

  10. And (of course) many, many, many friends…

But I’ve been thinking lately that, though I’ll miss all of these things, there are billions of niches in the world awaiting my discovery and adoration. There will be more breathtaking views—different than in Bend, but worth discovering. More downtown courtyards that will inspire my most creative and introspective moments. More baristas that will earn my love and gratitude (and, yes, sass). Perhaps even other transportational whimsicalities that will keep me smiling.

Moving on is sad—it’s true. There are always good things left behind. But there are so many more adventures and havens to be discovered! More places that need a Joann (though they don’t know it yet!). More places that Joann needs (though she’s not yet aware of it).

I’m so excited to turn discovery mode back on as I embark on another chapter of my life. After all, who knows what may lurk just around (the river) Bend?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

in case you're wondering...

...what I looked like as a six month old, my mom posted a new blog (thanks, Mama!). You have to scroll down a bit, but it's there.

I think I may begin to understand why my older sisters wanted to bite my arms (and sometimes still do) and had to stifle their urges by running to their room to bite pillows instead (I don't think they still do this, but I suppose it's possible).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

a smattering

Here are some recent-ish photos.

I went with Beth to Old Navy and decided that Katie needed to try one of their straw hats on...
Sunset from my back deck a few weeks ago...
My favorite Fourth of July picture. Annalisa loves fireworks.
I got to take photos at my church's annual baptisms at the park. Here's Jude & Melissa enjoying the water...
...and my favorite three shots from the evening...
Two of my favorite recent high schoolers, Brad & Andrea...

Andrea also plays the accordian & mandolin and has the best fashion sense ever, not to mention a gorgeous smile (Brad is one lucky dude)...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

pluto will always be a planet in my heart

When I was in second grade I had to write a creative story about "Planet X" -- in other words, the as yet to be discovered tenth planet in our solar system. I really got into it. My Planet X was really cool. Everyone walked on their hands and broke out into song and dance and the sky was purple. I was also married to Wesley Crusher (the Enterprise helped my explorer spaceship- that's how we met).

Anyway, all that to say, the whole concept of Planet X hinged on Planet IX (aka Pluto) being a planet.

I feel like my whole childhood was a lie. This is way worse than Santa Claus not being real. I refuse to believe it.

So I wrote the following poem in tribute to that little planetary oddball. I wrote the poem with nine stanzas, the first letter of each stanza represents the first letter of our nine planets (or eight and a toid, depending on your opionion), beginning with “M”, for Mercury, and ending with “P”, for Pluto.

Pluto Will Always Be A Planet In My Heart
by Joann Renee

Mercury. It always begins easily
lilting off the tongue in concentric circles
away from the sun.

Very rarely do children loathe these rocket-like lessons
that tear the tops off
of tree-house imagination.

Early on, we all begin to develop
at least one form of nerdiness, an unexplainable passion
for math or comic books or words or,

My personal favorite, science fiction—
which tumbles about the unexplored regions of outer space,
launching off of what we know to what we don’t.

Just a few years ago though, some scientists got together
to add an oid to Pluto’s classification,
putting an end to the final P of acronyms across the globe.

Shaken only begins to describe the horror
that gripped the hearts of children and space lovers
that stupid day.

Using examples of snowflakes,
we were taught
that everyone is intricately and beautifully unique,

Now we learn that our favorite universal underdog
is too unique to fit in with his planetary peers
and has been officially demoted.

Perhaps someday those scientoids will recant,
but it won’t matter, because
Pluto will always be a planet in my heart.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

if i were an amelie character...

I’ve been contemplating lately what random facts would be used to describe me if I were a character in a movie written by Guillaume Laurant, the French dialogue writer for Amelie and Un Long Dimanche de Fiancailles (A Very Long Engagement). He has a brilliant way of writing to include the most bizarre habits of his characters—the type of things they do that make them completely unique from the rest of the population.

Here are some of the quirky descriptors of a few of his characters: a man who loves to carry bubble wrap around with him to pop, a dog who farts in his sleep, a woman who (upon hearing the dog fart) smiles and says to herself (in French, of course) Doggy farts gladden my heart, a woman who plays the tuba because it sounds like a distress call, a man who collects discarded pictures at photo booths, a man obsessed with raking his gravel drive, and a man who talks to the vegetables in the stand he works at.

As I’ve been contemplating, here are some of the things he might say about me:

  • tip-toes down steep declines
  • names inanimate objects
  • purposefully makes a mess so she’ll have something to do later
  • takes funny phrases out of context in a conversation and pretends that they were used as a greeting to other people
  • accidentally combines words and puts the wrong vowels into words when she’s been up too late

What quirks would he describe you with?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

nephew number four

...and we're all hoping his photogenic talents come from his mother. (Sorry, know it's true).

Towards the end of Donny's birthday party (see post below), Heather, Timmy and I snuck outside to get a "prego photo shoot" (I know how much you love that term, Heather). It was fun, but due to Timmy being Timmy, it took at least a half an hour to get a non-goofy shot (but it was worth the time it took).

Which one's pregnant? You be the judge:

Not quite sure what was going on here, but it looks funny...

This was Timmy's idea. He wanted it to look like one body with two heads. Mission accomplished, plus the appearance of an absurdly long beard...

Finally! (note: Timmy's not looking at the camera)

And my favorite three:

donny's one!

here's proof:

Donny chillin' in his new ball pit...

Cousin Jack devouring a hot dog...

Cousin Katie with Great Grandma Kjosness...

Megan (my lovely cousin) thinks Timmy looks a bit like Tumnus...

The remains of Donny's first birthday monster cake as Jack prepares to dive into his own monster (he refused to eat the face, so we had to turn it around, I didn't tell him that it's really not much more humane (monstane?) to eat the back of the head)...