Wordless Wednesday: #Rustlord community on Instagram picks my pic

This picture of an old Ford truck in Pacific City, Oregon was picked as a featured photo .

This picture of an old Ford truck in Pacific City, Oregon was picked as a featured photo .

I love me some Instagram, and one of my favorite communities is #Rustlord, which is filled with all things rusty. There’s sub-communities, if you will, and one of those is Rustlord_carz. I took this shot, tagged it and surprise of all surprises, it was chosen as one of their featured photos. Are you on Instagram? If so, let’s connect!

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A parent’s nightmare: Kyron Horman missing after school science fair

 

It’s Science Fair season, where kids make volcanoes, tornadoes or baked-potato batteries and bring them to school. Students are excited to show off their hard work on their tri-folded poster boards.

It’s this time of year that I keep thinking of one kid in particular, Kyron Horman. He was a 7-year-old in Portland, Oregon who had a science project on the red-eyed tree frog. On a Friday morning he walked into his before-school science fair in with his stepmom and proudly had his on display.

The last time Kyron was seen was after his morning science fair in 2010.

The last time Kyron was seen was after his morning science fair in 2010.

He then reportedly headed to his first class and no one has seen him since. That was on June 4, 2010. No one has been charged in his disappearance and authorities are still investigating the case.

There’s been a lot of allegations and rumors about what happened to Kyron. Among them was a 2012 lawsuit filed by Kryon’s mother, Desiree Young, accusing the stepmother, Terri Horman, in Kyron’s disappearance. Young later dropped the case in July 2013, saying she didn’t want the civil action to jeapordize the ongoing police investigation.

Terri Horman has denied any involvement in Kyron’s disappearance, and authorities have not labeled her a suspect.

It was nearly five years ago when Kyron’s family noticed that he was missing when he failed to show up at his bus stop after school. The bus driver said the bespeckled second-grader never got on the bus. An urgent call to the school revealed that Kyron had been marked absent that day. Then came the frantic call to 911. Kyron was missing.

In the days and weeks that followed, authorities and volunteers searched and searched for Kyron. It was called Oregon’s largest search and rescue. His smiling face was on posters everywhere that were labeled MISSING.

It was that smiling face that first caught my attention last year while driving on a busy corridor in suburban Portland. There was a green space alongside the road that had a large poster of Kyron and it was surrounded by scores of stuffed animals, trinkets, signs and cards.

One day, I pulled over to get a closer look, curious as to what was the story behind this smiling boy. I thought maybe he had a disease and this was to raise awareness because many of the items on patch of land seemed new. Upon further inspection, I saw that many of the brightly colored signs had been laminated, the stuffed animals sat atop soggy, weather-worn ones. The chain linked fences were laced with cards and notes from classmates: Happy Easter 2012, “We miss you!” “Come home soon!”

It was sad. The longer I stood there, the sadder I grew. I thought of this boy’s parents who every day must face the soul-crushing question: Where’s my son?

After some Googling, I found out that I was at The Wall of Hope, which was first made at Kyron’s school when he went missing. It later moved to a fire station and then to the patch of land near Xtreme Edge Gym because that’s where Kyron’s father frequently works out.

Kryon, who has been described as sweet and timid, is among the 692,944 who entered into the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s database in 2010. (In 2014, that number was 466,949.)

Report any possible tips to 503-261-2847, or call 911 if the situation seems urgent. You can also email tips to the nonprofit Bring Kyron Home at tips@bringkyronhome.org or contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

Do whatever you can to help bring Kyron home.

 

 

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This is what friends are for…

Sometimes it takes a good friend to bring us back to ourselves.

I’ve been really quiet on my blog the past year or so and though life has got me quite busy, the silence is not because of my busyness. I haven’t been writing because I just have not been able to bring myself to do it.

For someone whose blog’s name is She’sWrite, who has loved writing all her life and considers writing as fundamental as breathing, that’s saying something. Not sure why I’m talking in the third person about myself. Sheesh, that’s annoying.

White Stag sign in Portland. Photo by Steve Morgan.

White Stag sign in Portland. Photo by Steve Morgan.

Anyway, I wasn’t writing because I was sinking. Many of you know from talking with me or comments I’ve made on Twitter and Instagram that Portland has not been a good experience. I was so excited to move here, but have been met with surprising racism, petty mommywars and other unsavory and mind-blowingly dumb drama. After awhile, it just takes a toll.

Not all of Portland’s been bad, the nature in the Pacific Northwest is unsurpassed. Also, when we got here, I was on a mission to meet as many people as I could, figuring that amid some of them, I would be able to find some soulmates. Ladies who loved to laugh, didn’t care what others thought, were bitingly and respectfully honest, fearlessly admitted flaws and just strived to do and be better.

Granted I did find some. There was a handful of new mommyfriends, who felt like they would fit seamlessly in with my beloved MILFs in Chicago. There also were the peeps in my storytelling crew and those artistic souls are beautiful and rare in any city, so they helped me out a ton.

Still with everyone’s busy schedules, it made it tough to connect, so I kept sinking. Finally I asked for help. I sent a long email to some of my nearest and dearest friends, telling them that I was miserable and needed them to come see me.

Wendi and I after our hike up to Pittock Manson.

Wendi and I after our hike up to Pittock Manson.

To this day, I think that’s one of the smartest things I’ve done. Telling people, hey, I’m having a hard time. Help. The love from across the miles came pouring into my inbox, those who couldn’t make the trip, sent me regular emails and notes of encouragement. One girl responded to my email with a proposed flight itinerary.

That girl is a crazy, hilarious no-holds-barred badass named Wendi. I interviewed her for a story a few years ago and we clicked like old besties. She came to Portland for a long weekend and fit perfectly into our family, which makes sense because she is family. We drank copious amounts of wine, checked out new restaurants, went hiking and had long walks around the neighborhood, gabbing and laughing all the way. There were also two late night dance parties that I’m sure pissed off my neighbors, because we were very loud and zero effs were given.

It’s always refreshing to be around someone who understands your core. It was good to see myself in her eyes. I had begun to question my judgment because I kept running into toxic people, Wendi smacked down that notion and all of the other negative notions that had been festering over the past year.

I was bummed when she left, so were my boys, but she helped connect me to me if that makes sense. So I’m going to try to do more writing, for Wendi, for you and most of all, for me.

My recycling bin after Wendi's visit. Granted it wasn't just us, Hubby helped fill the bucket too.

My recycling bin after Wendi’s visit. Granted it wasn’t only us, Hubby helped fill the bucket.

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For Holocaust Remembrance Day, meet survivor Ben Lesser

I want to introduce you guys to an extraordinary man. His name is Ben Lesser and I ran across him on Reddit, my latest obsession.

Lesser is a Holocaust survivor and he did an AMA, which stands for Ask Me Anything on Reddit. Shortly after it began, the questions began pouring in and Lesser’s answers were unforgettable.

Holocaust survivor Ben Lesser does an AMA.

Holocaust survivor Ben Lesser does an AMA.

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day and I thought this would be a perfect time to share parts of his AMA for those who missed it.

Lesser was born in Krakow, Poland in 1928 and moved to Hungary the year before the Germans occupied Hungary. The Nazis took him and his family by train to Auschwitz-Birkenau, a harrowing ride that he described in his AMA. There were 80 people crammed with their most-prized belongings in a train car with only two buckets. It was inhumane.

Then he arrived in Auschwitz.

“They said ‘Women and children to the right, and men to the left’ and I was holding onto my little brother Tully, my older sister Goldie, and we were just… pulled apart. Never to see each other again,” Lesser wrote. “And when I found out where they went… and what happened to them, that was one of the worst nightmares of my life. I couldn’t believe when I was told that they were actually those ashes that we see, those flames shooting out… those are our parents, our mothers, our fathers, our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters… ashes. This was a terrifying moment.”

He recounted some of the torture he endured, including the time where a commandant was trying to show off for his girlfriend by making a prisoner balance on a sawhorse and the prisoner had to count to 25, one for each skin-splitting lash. If their heels dropped or the prisoner lost count, he had to start over. The first three men who tried to do the task were killed. Lesser stunned everyone by completing the task. The commandant lost interest in the then-15-year-old Lesser because the leader went to hang three men.

Lesser was then deported to Durnhau Labor Camp and was also in The Death March for two weeks.

“The reason they called it (The Death March) that was because if you could not keep pace with them, they simply shot you,” Lesser wrote. ”All day you could hear pop, pop, pop shooting.”

He was later shuttled around in cattle cars for nearly a month before he arrived in Dachau, three days before liberation.

Not only was his story remarkable to read, but so was his passion and concern for future generations. He spoke of the current backlash against Jews that have echos of pre-World War II attitudes that led to a genocide. We all hear about learning from history or we’re bound to repeat it, he reiterates this message, but with a poignant point.

“What we learn is that there is a certain amount of hatred that’s lurking in each one of us. And that has to be contained. We have to be sure not to allow it to surface. That is what we learned. Because these are educated people that were no different originally than us. Yet they were able to commit such crimes. So they’re part of the human race. That is a black mark on mankind. So we all have to be aware of this. We all have to know that we are capable of such atrocities.”

And he’s right. As foreign as it sounds, that you too could be capable of unspeakable cruelties, it’s true. Remember the Stanford Prison Experiment?

Lesser also spoke of the great parts of his life, reuniting with his sister, his wife of 64 years, his two daughters, his life here in America. Since coming to the U.S. he has worked numerous jobs and he’s now founder of the nonprofit ZACHOR Foundation, which educates people about the Holocaust.

He’s lived a full life, many times over and is happy to offer words of wisdom.

“My advice to you is choose to live a life that matters,” he told the redditors. “Choose to succeed in life, so you can make others succeed in life.”

Though he’s written a book and has been speaking about his Holocaust experience, he’s recently been inspired to keep educating people about the horrible atrocity that killed 6 million Jews.

Lesser was watching the documentary called “Night Will Fall” and there was a death train from when the Americans freed Dauchau. That train had 3,000 emaciated bodies, only 17 people walked off the train alive. Lesser was among the 17 and he recently found out that he’s now the only one of the 17 still alive.

“When I heard that… I realized then that you have to do whatever you can, because survival trusts upon me a mission. To teach. To talk. To speak, to lecture. Whatever I can about the Holocaust. I feel I have this duty. Because I was fortunate enough to survive.”

So on this Holocaust Remembrance Day, I implore you to check out Ben Lesser and his AMA, read it, take the lessons to heart. And do your part to ensure that we can promise never again.

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Got a Netflix addiction?

I’ll be honest. My family has a Netflix addiction.

But who could blame us really? First I’m a lucky member of the Netflix Stream Team, and not to sound braggy, but they do spoil us. For New Year’s the crazy lemur King Julien, featured in a Netflix original cartoon, gave us a box that would make any NYE party complete. Noisemakers, hats, 2015 glasses. We had some friends over and put them to great use.

The kids (big and small) loved all the NYE fixings from Netflix.

The kids (big and small) loved all the NYE fixings from Netflix.

Happy New Year! (Anyone else floored that it's already March?)

Happy New Year! (Anyone else floored that it’s already March?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To also help kick off 2015 right, we received a Puss in Boots calendar. Puss in Boots is the Antonio-Banderos-sounding feline that we first met in Shrek. Frankly, when Puss in Boots was introduced to us in those movies, I found him utterly annoying, which is saying a lot because I can watch Spongebob and not get annoyed.

Anyway, I sat and watched Puss in Boots with my 7 year old and found myself chuckling at some of the lines. Clearly the writers are putting zingers in for us as well. Logan, who absolutely adores cats, loves the show. He’s already devoured all five episodes and is asking for when more will come out. (I asked the folks at Netflix, they didn’t have that information, but did give me a list of new shows coming this month. I’ll tell y’all more about that later.)

But all of that is healthy, good fun. The bad part of our Netflix addiction happens after the children go to bed, Hubby and I turn down the lights and our TV screen melts into that distinctive red. We are binge-watching old shows, and right now the show du jour is Sons of Anarchy. Oh. My. Lawdhabmercy.

Jaxson Teller. So scrumptious. I think I’m supposed to keep my Netflix posts PG, so I’ll stop there. But his chiseled… No I’ll stop. No 50 Shades of Jaxson here. Nevertheless, we love the show. It’s hard to avoid the spoilers online, but if I see a SOA-related headline on a post, I quickly click out of it. Anyway, our addiction is so bad, we’ve been staying up until 2 a.m. watching episodes, knowing full well that we have to get up in four hours.

Charlie Hunnam at Comicon. By Gage Skidmore.

Charlie Hunnam at Comicon. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

The problem is, and yep, I’m gonna blame my husband, The Enabler. We finish up an episode and he eagerly asks: “One more?” This happens about four times. Both of us are looking forward to finishing the series so that we can pretend that we have some sort of self control.  The only time this “one-more” tick doesn’t happen is if I experience a surge of will power and immediately turn off the TV when the episode we’re watching is over.

There are many shows we watch separately, for example he finished Black Mirror a week before I’d started. I’m on episode 5 now and wish I’d seen it earlier because it’s a really thought-provoking series. Also, he’s miles ahead of me when it comes to the Netflix original House of Cards. But with Sons of Anarchy, we have to see that together. The only exception was last week when he was traveling, he asked if it was OK if he saw an episode because he needed an escape from a tough day.

We watched the episode that night in separate cities. Kinda lame, but it’s our “thing.” Some couples run together, climb mountains, ride bikes, camp or hike, but not us. We’ve got our lovely Netflix addiction, which will never change, and we’re good with that.

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Wordless Wednesday: Rusted Links

Break this chain.

Broken chain.

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Wordless Wednesday: I can’t get enough of the #urbangrime

The backside of Hair of the Dog Brewery in Portland.

The backside of Hair of the Dog Brewery in Portland.

 

I’m going through this phase where I’m in love with the grit of a city. On Instagram there are amazing pictures of urban grime. My pictures aren’t near as great as many out there, but I’m still learning, still experimenting.

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A Valentine’s Tale: Do you know what today is?

Today is a special day. It’s the day that I decided to take a chance.

Many years ago, I met a Norwegian boy and he made it clear, he liked me. I had just ended a bad relationship, so was hesitant to get back in the saddle, so to speak. But after some time, the Norwegian asked me to give him a grain of a chance to try to make me happy. And on Feb. 10, 1998 I figured, why not? I mean, somebody has to be the rebound guy. Why not him?

Shortly after we started dating in 1998.

Shortly after we started dating in 1998.

Fast forward two years, through many laughs, road trips and new cities and I was working in Kansas City while the Norwegian was in grad school at Iowa State. We’d been doing the long distance relationship thing for almost two years and he was coming over to celebrate our February 10 anniversary.

He asked me to find a place where we could enjoy a nice view overlooking the city. Now I don’t know how many of you have been to Kansas City, but as you can imagine there’s no mountains, peaks or really a single respectable skyscraper. But I booked reservations at a restaurant atop a tall building and planned for us to talk at a park called Quality Hill. It was in a roughish neighborhood, but it was on a bluff, overlooking the Kansas and Missouri River. It was as good as I could get.

I was jumping through hoops to prepare this date because I was thinking this would be the perfect moment for him to propose. We’d talked before about the possibility of marriage, but no concrete plans had been set. I didn’t even know if he had a ring, but it just felt that this evening should be the one.

I did not say anything to him about this February 10 being the “Proposal Date.” That’s largely because I was never one of those girls who dreamed about growing up and being married. No way. My mom always said: Once you get married and have kids, your life is OVER! And lawd knows I didn’t want that. 

But I did want to be with this Norwegian. So we went to dinner, and I waited patiently, expecting the ring to come out between one of the courses, or at least on the dessert plate like I’d seen in the movies. Alas, the ring never came. We decided to go to the park and talk. I’m freezing my tail off because, duh, it’s February in Kansas City and I was in my 20s and trying to look cute, not warm. I was shivering uncontrollably in his arms when he prodded me to get back into the car to warm up.

I remember, through chattering teeth insisting I was fine. By now, I was really wanting that damn ring, “Propose to me already damnit!” my inside voice screamed.

Soon commonsense took over, and I walked back to the heated car. We got settled in our seats and he begins to tell me how his dad proposed to his mom in a car and that my father had done the same to my mother, so he wanted to propose to me in the car. He began a sweet speech that I won’t get into here, but clearly, I said “yes.”

Fast-forward 15 years, through many laughs, tears, arguments, kids, jobs, friends, and here we are. Me and that Norwegian. I’m glad I gave him that grain of a chance. We’re not always happy, but we’re always us and that’s more than good enough for me.

Jeg elsker deg, J.

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Wordless Wednesday: Another foggy day in Portland

I really enjoy my morning walks.

I really enjoy my morning walks.

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Storytelling in Portland: I’m At The Alberta Rose Theatre

My big day is coming up. It’s not a wedding, not a baby, but it’s essentially just as important. It’s my biggest storytelling show in Portland thus far.

A couple months ago I got an email from Jimmy Radosta, a storyteller, writer and former journalist. I met him briefly after a storytelling show, complimented his performance and I’m sure my name/face was washed away by all the other people he spoke with that evening.

So imagine my surprise when his name popped into my inbox. I hesitated to open it, and when I finally got the courage to do so, I was gobsmacked. (I’ve always wanted to use that word. It works well here, right?)

The crew for the 2015 "It's Not Me, It's You" show.

The crew for the 2015 “It’s Not Me, It’s You” show.

It turns out that Jimmy is also the communications and marketing director of a group called Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon. He wanted me to tell a story for a fundraiser at the Alberta Rose Theatre! Whaaa? I felt like I was Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles and Anthony Michael Hall just told me that Jake Ryan was asking about me at the dance.

Seriously. I had to read the email a few times to believe it. Naturally I said yes, but good lawd.

The fundraiser is called “It’s Not Me It’s You.” So we’re sharing our dating horror stories, and my “castmates” or whatever you call them (clearly I need to pick up some theater lingo) are ridiculously talented. Not sure why I made the list, but check them out:

It’s also hosted by variety show stars Bri Pruett of Late Night Action w/ Alex Falcone and Leo Daedalus from The Late Now.

Crazy town that I’m in that line-up! Click here for more info on tickets.

Anyway, Jimmy was telling me that this event began in 2010 to give folks a fun alternative to the kissy-kissy warm and fuzzy Valentine’s Day drivel. Plus the money goes to helping Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon.

“I feel it’s important because women’s health is under an unprecedented attack across the country, and I want to stop that trend from hurting Oregonians,” Jimmy wrote. “I’m proud to live in a state that trusts women to make their own personal medical decisions without the interference of politicians, and we need to remain a beacon of hope to states that are rolling back the clock on women’s rights.”

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon supports and educates people about legislation such as a comprehensive women’s health bill, protecting patient privacy and reproductive freedom as well as expanding access to men’s reproductive health care. It has a laundry list of other do-goodings, but also supports its coalition partners that includes the Fair Shot agenda. And those Fair Shot folks push for pesky things such as raising the minimum wage and requiring paid sick leave.

But enough about all of those important social issues. Let’s get back to talking about me.

Kidding.

Kinda.

If you’re in town, I hope you guys come, it’s going to be a hilarious night. Or if I flop it’ll be mortifying, but still funny for you, so really you should come.

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