Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Yesterday, as I walked through the U of O campus, I thought to myself "this kind of day is why people live in Oregon." Normally, that thought is reserved for the spring and summer, but a nice sunny fall day is amazing here. I like it when it's cool enough to need a sweater but still sunny. Most of the trees still have their leaves, and around here, the trees turn a variety of colors in the fall. It was a warm day (granted, the only reason it was 72 degrees in October in Oregon is because of global warming) with not a cloud in the sky. Even though last weekend was more the type of weather we experience in the winter (cold and pouring), it was still beautiful. The nice days in the Willamette Valley are beautiful enough to more than make up for the rainy ones.

A few weeks ago, I took Amtrak home to Klamath Falls and really enjoyed taking in the view on the ride back up. The train passes along the rim of Salt Creek Canyon, which is probably one of the most beautiful places on earth. I think there are hiking trails, but I'm not sure there is any view quite like the one from the train. The entire trip from Klamath Falls to Eugene is excellent for sight-seeing. You can see several mountains (including Mt. Mazama), lakes and rivers before you even get to the canyon. The conductor talked about the history of how the canyon became a national park. It's just breathtaking. That place is why I love Oregon. I think I have to live somewhere where I can take a short drive (or train trip) and see a place like that. While the state's certainly not perfect (the government doesn't seem to be able to manage money, taxpayers are unwilling to cough up the dough to help give schools and social services adequate funding, and it's lacking in diversity), I can't imagine finding a place more beautiful than this part of the Northwest. I know that soon, I may have to move away from the Northwest (I'm hoping to find a job in Washington state), so for now, I'm just really enjoying how lucky I am to be here.

I tried to find a photo of Salt Creek Canyon as it looks from the train, but there aren't any on Google and mine always glare off the train window. So, the ones above are of the waterfall of the name. Whenever I drive down Highway 58, I stop to see the waterfall. I love it. One of these days I'll have the energy to hike down to the bottom.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Well, it's been a while since I had anything to say, hasn't it? I've been somewhat busy, although not as busy as I should be given everything that I should be doing and am avoiding.

While there are plenty of stories in the news I'd normally attack, I haven't had the time or energy to do a lot of research. I'm in the process of starting to work on my terminal project for grad school. It's a series of articles about No Child Left Behind and the different "subgroups" of kids who are affected by it. I'm very interested in the affect of standardized testing (in English) of kids who are learning English as their second language. I also want to look at the logic behind forcing kids who are in special ed for math and reading to take the grade-level test. It's just ludicrous. They say that by 2014 all kids will be at grade level in those subjects, but it's completely unrealistic. There will always be kids who for whatever reason are able to remain in a regular classroom but are behind in math and reading. Not every brain works the same. Anyway, that'll be my life for the next few months, once I get started.

For now, I'm doing my best to enjoy every last minute of being a student because once I get this degree, that's it. I have to be an adult and work a real job with a real salary. I may even have health insurance and be able to buy a new car. It's exciting and scary. I feel like I'm ready for that now, though, and I certainly wasn't at age 23 when I got my BA. Even if I had finished my undergraduate work with enough experience to get hired in the field, I wouldn't have been ready to be a real grownup. And I'm OK with that. I mean, I never would have gotten that internship in Washington, D.C. if I'd been off working right away instead of coming back to school.