Sunday, November 8, 2009

singing in the rain.

It rained today. No. It poured. It rained cats and dogs today.

This photo was taken during a flood in 07'.
Today was not quite this bad where I live, though some streets could compete. I wish I could have taken a picture today while waiting to pull onto Stark as cars unknowingly entered much larger "puddles" than they expected, some taking up the entire right hand lane. Today's storm made me think of past Portland weather I've faced in my time.
The earliest one I can remember was the flood of 1996. We lived in a perfect home in Troutdale. I was six, my brother was eleven and my sister was nine. After begging our mother to allow, the three of us put on our rain boots and trekked outside through our back gate to the park area where we would normally play Power Rangers. With a stick in hand we measured all the puddles, the largest being the ones where the water would go over the top of my boots and fill them up.
This flood also brought about one of the first tragic experiences in my life. Again, I was six, therefore "tragic" is now used lightly.

My dad had to go into the basement and fix a burst pipe that had flooded the entire underneath of our house. My job was to hold the flashlight while Daddy found the leak. Both siblings on either side of me - one would hope I would be safe as I leaned over the hole in the floor - no such luck. While trying to maneuver myself on the lid of the cut-out floor board the whole thing slipped down and I fell in a puddle face first. Drenched and so afraid, I have no doubt I thought I was going to die at that very moment. However, I did not die, with all the eyes watching my humiliating move I was more than safe moments later, wrapped in a blanked being held by my mom.
This story makes me laugh.

The next storm I can recall would be when we lived on Greenway Lane in Gresham. The Northcrafts lived just up the hill from us and came down to play in the snow. We crafted the largest snowman with our dads. One of the greatest memories of snow. I wish I remember what year that was, I'm thinking some time around 2000.

Next big one, again I don't know the year, about 2004 or so. School was closed for a week and I was willingly stranded at Sarah's house. Her mom made us mini hot dogs wrapped in Pillsbury crescent rolls and chocolate chip pancakes. The snow had began to melt and refroze again leaving a thick layer of ice over the top. We were outside for hours only coming inside for breaks to defrost our fingers and get a snack. Then back outside, this time with her dad to do cookies in the Jeep on nearby deserted roads.

Those were the good old days. Now I realize the seriousness of a storm and all the factors I never would have thought of years ago. Yes, I still love the thrill of a stormy day and the excitement when the power flashes, but there is a point when the roads cannot be closed and people do have to get to work. Not everyday can be a snow day. Maybe if all got paychecks for snow days... but thats a whole other story. One thing I appreciate now about the weather that I did not comprehend as a child was the beauty of rain and snow. At the time I only cared if it could be formed into a ball to throw or crafted into an angel from what used to be grass. Now I see this time of year and I cannot get enough of it. Even from the soaked window of my car. My windshield whippers busily doing their job smearing the droplets out of my view.... I love that sound. The rain hitting hard along with the swishing sound. So good. So fall. So Portland. I'm so soaking up this rain. Welcome to the season of wet jeans around our ankles and making mad dashes to our cars.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Salivating Dogs

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov won the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1904. This man, among other scientific findings, is responsible for discovering how the body reacts naturally through innate reflexes; for example, our pupils shrink when light hits our eyes. This is not a learned reaction but unlearned, programed reaction in everyone. These are called UR Unconditioned Responses. Pavlov took this phenomenon and experimented with it. He realized that reflexes can also be a learned habit. For instance, when a dog sees food he salivates. Pavlov rang a bell before feeding his dog a number of times, the dog associating the sound of the bell with food, causing the dog to salivate by just the sound of the bell.

I find this study so interesting. Sure we could assume dogs are dumb enough to be fooled by this mean owners trick. But the reality is we are just as fooled. We ourselves are salivating dogs, ready for dinner that is not prepared for us.

Nathan and I had a conversation this evening about true beauty. Not beauty on a magazine cover or on the television, but true honest to goodness beauty. What is that? Who actually knows what beautiful means? We are taught to believe that Hollywood bodies are beautiful, however, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. From a man's perspective, "From the day I was born I was taught that a tight butt and big boobs were what was attractive." And from a woman's perspective, "Who doesn't love the part in How to Loose a Guy in 10 Days when Matthew McConaughey changes his shirt?" But honestly, I find it horribly demeaning to the entire human race to classify, what is truly the minority, the definition of beauty. The reality is, there is a very small percentage of people in the world that have "beautiful" bodies under their clothes. And lets face it, even the "beautiful" people have had numerous cosmetic surgeries.

Salivating dogs.

Can we just cut the crap and love people? Thats my goal for the day. A judgement free day. I don't know about you, but I'm talking off my hollywood glasses and putting on my heart glasses. Why can't hollywood find beauty in the heart?

You're so vein, I bet you think this blog is about you.