Portland Timbers

10 December 2015

When I came to Portland in 2013 to interview at Vernier, Jackie took me to a Timbers game. She gave me a scarf to wear, and the Timbers won that night, with Diego Valeri making the winning goal.

I was hooked.

Jackie has season tickets to the Portland Timbers, in the General Admission section of the North End of the stadium, where the Timbers Army makes its home. There is only one of Jackie, and she is generous enough to let me buy her other ticket most of the time. So I have made it to most home games (missing a couple due to travel) this year.

Jackie and me at a game in early 2014

Jackie and me at a game in early 2014

The year started out iffy for the Timbers. They struggled to be “above the red line” for most of the season. The red line refers to the line drawn between the top six teams in the Western division of Major League Soccer and the teams below, who will not play in the post-season.  But being a Timbers fan is not a fair weather proposition. The Timbers Army loves the team, rain or shine, goals or no. Of course, there are many complaints if the goals don’t come, but we stick by our team!

A massive photo shoot was held this year, the 5th year the Timbers played in MLS. Any fan who got into line early enough got their photo taken with axe or chainsaw.

A massive photo shoot was held this year, the 5th year the Timbers played in MLS. Any fan who got into line early enough got their photo taken with axe or chainsaw.

But the end of the season was a different story. Head coach Caleb Porter changed up the starting lineup and the team’s formation on the field, putting striker Fanendo Adi up front, backed by Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe. The back line was anchored by Nat Borchers and Liam Ridgewell, who stopped many shots before they even made it to goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey. The Timbers inched up the rankings, and made the playoffs!

Green smoke is released to celebrate a goal

Green smoke is released to celebrate a goal

At the end of October, the Timbers were playing Sporting Kansas City at home, in the first round of the playoffs. This game was either win or go home, and I had already arranged to take a short vacation in Sunriver, OR, South of Bend. Greg and I found the bar where the local Timbers fans gathered to watch, and it was a very exciting game. The game ended in a tie, resulting in two additional 15-minute game periods. These ended in a tie, and the tie was settled by penalty kicks. This is when the players take turns facing off against the other team’s goalie, to try to kick the ball into the goal from close range. You may have seen this video (The part at 11:20 is amazing):



The Timbers went on to beat the Vancouver Whitecaps and FC Dallas (FC stands for Football Club) and made it to the MLS Cup final game, against the Columbus Crew in Columbus, OH. While a couple thousand Timbers fans traveled to that game, most of us did not. Here are two photos from that day:

We are excited that the Timbers won the MLS Championship 2015!

We are excited that the Timbers won the MLS Championship 2015!


We each bought the official scarf to commemorate the event!

We each bought the official scarf to commemorate the event!



The Timbers won on Sunday, December 6th. On Monday, the team traveled back to Portland and were greeted at the airport by a mob of fans. On Tuesday, fans thronged Broadway in Portland to see the team and the cup! I was one of many who left work at lunchtime to be there for the team.

Lots of fans in downtown Portland!

Lots of fans in downtown Portland!


Head coach Caleb Porter expresses love for the Portland fans. Timbers players and fans are all getting photos of this occasion!

Head coach Caleb Porter expresses love for the Portland fans. Timbers players and fans are all getting photos of this occasion!


I remember when the Phillies won the World Series in 2008. A lot of students and teachers ditched school to attend the parade in Philadelphia. I went to work, and covered half-empty classes for missing teachers. I was a little resentful. I was pleased to join this celebration for the Timbers, though! It was a lot of fun, in steady rain!

Later that day, at about 6 PM, there was a rally in the stadium. Coffee, hot dogs, and cocoa were free, and the crowd chanted and sang. Timber Joey and his predecessor Timber Jim each cut a slice off the big log (which traveled by truck to Columbus and back) for the players who scored the goals in the final game: Diego Valeri (who scored within the first 30 seconds of the game) and Rodney Wallace. George Fochive taught the crowd a new chant, Liam Ridgewell dropped the F-bomb at least 6 times, and there were short speeches by the mayor of Portland Charlie Hales and the team owner Merritt Paulson. The team saluted the Timbers Army, and a good time was had by all in the wind and the rain!

Timber Joey cuts a slice off the log

Timber Joey cuts a slice off the log

Soccer is over until Spring, and team rosters are changing. There is no knowing what the future brings. We hope it brings another MLS Cup to Portland!

I love and hate bicycling to work

8 September 2015

The title says it all. But I can also give you details.

I love bicycling to and from work because I get to see things I would not see if driving a car. Today I saw a lot of birds, as usual, and I saw a snake (which I almost ran over, because from a distance I could not tell it was a snake), and Mount Hood. It is generally only possible to see Mount Hood on my commute while crossing Tualatin Valley Highway. If I cross that road while driving a car, I can’t also look at Mount Hood. On a bicycle, I can get in a glance.

I like being out in the open, not surrounded by plastic and metal, and most of my commute is on a trail so I am not even in traffic. I like getting exercise. It makes me feel good to move.

I hate bicycle commuting because of Mount Williams. It is not a mountain. It is a really big hill. And the last 130 vertical feet are the worst. I know that if I keep working at it, I will eventually be able to go up this hill with much less difficulty. But it is hard work.


This is the start of the steep part

Also, I hate Millikan Way between the Nature Park and Murray Blvd. There is no bike lane on that stretch, and people always drive faster than the posted speed limit. Plus, there are curves. So I ride slowly on the sidewalk and apologize to any pedestrians I come across.

Finally, I hate arriving at work sweaty and with my hair mushed flat against my head. While it is true that I can shower at work, that means I need a towel at work, and clean clothes to change into, and I have to get to work earlier to be able to add the shower to my day before I start my job. None of these things is an incentive.

I also have some reasons why the Bicycle Transportation Alliance should schedule the Bike to Work Challenge in June instead of September.

  1. In September, it is likely to be cold in the morning and hot in the afternoon. Today, for example, was 52°F in the morning and nearly 80°F in the afternoon. So I wore leggings and long sleeves and a jacket and my full-finger gloves this morning, and this afternoon I wore shorts and a t-shirt and my half-finger gloves and no jacket. Thank goodness I didn’t also need different, more formal clothes for work or I would have had two outfits in my saddlebag in addition to my office shoes.
  2. In September, there is a lot more traffic, because of school. More traffic means scarier bicycling.
  3. In September, the days are getting shorter quickly, and by the end of the month sunrise will occur after 7 am, which is my ideal time to leave for work. In June, sunrise is consistently before 5:30 am, ensuring safe visibility in the morning.
  4. In June, I might start a habit to continue all summer. In September, I probably won’t continue this new habit into the next month because of the cold, dark, and likelihood of rain.

OK, thanks for reading my opinions. I don’t know if this link will work for you if you are not on Runkeeper, but here is my route.

Walking again

26 January 2014

I’ve started walking seriously again. You may remember that a couple of years ago I walked in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. You may even have donated. I am training for a different event this time, and I am NOT doing any fundraising. This is purely for fun.

I’m going to walk the Portland Half Marathon with my mother-in-law, Keiko. So by Sunday, October 5th, I need to have the speed and stamina to keep up with her. This is going to be a challenge. For the 3-Day, we had a rest stop every five miles and lunch and snacks and there was no need for speed. I just had to keep walking. The half marathon is going to be 13.1 miles without substantial rests, and I will be trying to keep up with Keiko. Here she is walking in last year’s half marathon, which she walked at just under 14 minutes/mile:


I’ve started training using the long park that runs along the power lines near our house. It is very hilly, and there are plenty of other walkers. Last week I did a “fast” 3 miles at 17 minutes/mile, and today I did a relaxed 4.4 miles at 19 minutes/mile. It has been beautiful and sunny (we are in a drought) and the walking has been lovely. When the hours of daylight increase more, I should be able to walk in the evenings as well as on the weekends. I am looking forward to that. Obviously taking a walk once per weekend is not going to cut it in terms of training.

The weather has really been incredibly lovely here in Oregon. I know much of the country has been experiencing the polar vortex, and my former school district has been having show days. I see lots of talk about that on facebook. However, the polar vortex has not affected the West Coast. It has instead been unseasonably dry, and there have been unusual winter wildfires in some parts of Oregon. But the weather means that on today’s walk, I got a glimpse of Mt. Hood:


Of course, just because it isn’t in the single digits, doesn’t mean it’s not chilly. The weather channel told me that it was 36° F when I started my walk, and in some places the sun was just starting to melt the frost that had lingered in the shade:


I hope you are keeping warm and cozy, and I hope you get sunny weather soon if you don’t have it right now!

Throwback Thursday

23 January 2014

At my new job, I found out I am somewhat distantly related to one of my coworkers, who is descended from the Mohawk Brants who settled in Canada after the American Revolutionary War. What a surprise! So conversations with Joe (he even has a family name!) got me to thinking about my ancestors, and I dug through the photos my parents have given me to find some from that side of my family. So here are Joseph Brant Poodry Jr., Joseph Brant Poodry Sr., Joseph Brant Poodry III, and me, in 1972 or possibly 1973.


Note that my rebellious dad is the only one not wearing a hat. Kids in the 70’s, geez. Also, great-grandpa is wearing a tie (a bolo tie, but it counts), grandpa’s got the top button undone and has no tie, and my dad looks like he has TWO buttons undone. I obviously think this is hilarious.

This one is of great-grandpa Wyman Jemison, his daughter Lucille Poodry, Joseph Brant Poodry III, and me, in 1971. 2014_01_22_21_44_43

I actually sortof remember Grandpa Jemison, in that I recall being at a large meal that he presided over, and I remember being told that he was deaf. Plus, he lived to be 99 years old and died when I was in 5th or 6th grade. I have been told that he said the blessing in the Seneca language, but I don’t remember that. I don’t remember Joseph Brant Senior at all, though obviously I met him.

So a little more detail: My grandmother Lucille was turtle clan, and my grandfather Joseph Brant Poodry Jr. was snipe clan. I am directly descended from Mary Jemison, who was a Scots-Irish immigrant whose family settled too far west in Pennsylvania. She was kidnapped from her homestead near Carlisle (later the location of an infamous Indian School) and taken North where she was adopted by a family that had lost a child in war. Mary Jemison had at least three husbands and there is a statue of her near her log cabin in Letchworth State Park by the Genesee river gorge. I am also related to the family of Ely Parker, the subject of the book Warrior in Two Camps by William Armstrong. Parker was a lawyer and engineer, but is noted for his role as secretary to General Ulysses S. Grant. Parker wrote up the surrender papers that ended the US Civil War.

Family names indicate I am related to Joseph Brant, who was a Mohawk war chief during the American Revolution. He fought against the colonists (darned illegal immigrants!) and after his side lost he settled in Canada with many Iroquois. Which brings us back to my newly-discovered cousin Joe. Pretty cool.

Oh yeah. We are also supposedly related to Red Jacket. Red Jacket was on the opposite side from Joseph Brant. He stayed in the newly formed United States of America and negotiated land in this country. However, in his time he was renowned for giving really good speeches that were so awesome people stayed awake to hear them and didn’t fall asleep listening. Here is my dad and me at the Red Jacket statue in Forest Lawn cemetery in Buffalo, NY. The oval on his chest is a peace medal, depicting George Washington and Red Jacket shaking hands. Ely Parker is buried right by this statue.



Pajama Day!

31 December 2013



Pajama Day

When I quit teaching, I thought I would never have another reason to wear my polka-dot pajamas. I don’t wear them to sleep in, because I sweat in them and wake up all clammy. I bought them specifically for Pajama Day, traditionally the Monday of spirit week leading up to Homecoming. I thought I would never have another spirit week again. Well, that is probably true.

BUT, I have been delighted that at my new job, we have so far had Employee Appreciation Week (as a teacher we had a teacher appreciation luncheon on one day each year), Octoberfest (no beer, but free lunch with brats and potato salad and sauerkraut and other goodies), a Halloween Costume Contest (departments dress up according to themes, so it was a lot like being in the science department at East), a Pie Party, and today is Pajama Day! So here I am at work, ready to answer customer calls (even the CEO wears a phone headset most of the time), in my polka-dot pajamas!

Of course, there is a downside to wearing one’s comfiest clothing to work. I had to bring extra clothes to work so I could also run errands (which I had to do at school, too). Also, part of the joy of pajamas is not having to put on deodorant and a bra, but since I was coming to work I did that anyway. On the other hand, I also brought my slipper socks to change into once I got to work, which is awesome. And I get lots of compliments on my PJs, also.

Happy New Year!


Change is Good

13 December 2013

There have been big changes in my life. I now live in Oregon, having previously lived in Pennsylvania. I am no longer a teacher, by my own choice. I know I stopped blogging for a while, but I hope to start up again. I am happy.

New Dance Shoes

10 February 2013

After dancing at Hogmanay Ball, my feet were in a LOT of pain. Especially my toes, which felt like I’d been mashing them against something hard for hours. Which I had. My toes were mashed against the ends of my dancing shoes (ghillies) and then mashed against the floor.

That week, I saw a review in the travel section of the paper about nufoot shoes, $10 neoprene slippers. So I bought a pair. After all, they were only $10. Last night, I wore them dancing for the first time, at the Swarthmore English-Scottish Ball. Perfect. They are form-fitting, so I could show off my pointed toes while dancing Scottish. They have non-skid spots on the soles so I could stop easily instead of sliding across the floor, but with enough slip that turn-singles were smooth and put no stress on my knees.

I have no idea how long the shoes will last. But I like them, and I recommend them for dancing!



25 November 2012

Today I potted the amaryllis my mom gave me on the day after Thanksgiving.

We went to Winterthur where we enjoyed the Yuletide tour and ate a yummy lunch in their cafeteria, and the gift shop happened to have amaryllis bulbs. So my mom bought one for herself and one for me. I’ve never had one before, and we’ll have to make sure the cat doesn’t eat it (he doesn’t usually eat the plants on the dining room table, and we will keep him supplied with cat grass, which he loves) since they are poisonous to cats, but I am looking forward to the tall, red blossoms.

We had a very nice Thanksgiving, with my parents arriving on Wednesday afternoon after I got home from parent conferences and my workout class. Greg made sweet & sour tofu for dinner, and made the tart for Thursday’s dessert. I made rolls and cranberry sauce. We all drank wine. Thursday we spent relaxing and cooking, in preparation for our guests arriving 3-ish for a 4-ish meal. We invited one of my colleagues and his wife, and one of Greg’s colleagues and her husband. Interestingly, this resulted in two Chinese women at our meal, along with a part-Mexican, a Japanese man and a half-Japanese man (Greg), and my parents and me: a mix of white and Native American. We all ate turkey (except Greg), tofu-turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, green beans, roasted vegetables, Pennsylvania-style chow-chow (pickled vegetables that my colleague made), dinner rolls, and a fruit-and-nut salad. And then there was ginger-blueberry tart and apple pie for dessert. With decaf coffee or tea. I was sooooo full afterward, and it was all so good!

The next day involved not only Winterthur, but seeing Lincoln at the movie theater and dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant. All casual, no hurrying or rushing, and the only crowd was at the theater, where we had to sit more toward the front than we really wanted to, but it turned out OK. I really enjoyed the movie, and thought Daniel Day-Lewis did a really good job as Lincoln. I thought Tommy Lee Jones was also very good and I thought it was really nice that S. Epatha Merkerson read the 13th amendment. I was glad that a Native American actor (Asa-Luke Twocrow) played Ely Parker, one of my ancestors. There were some scenes I could not watch (the Civil War was a very bloody and terrible war) but not very many.

I’m wrapping up the holiday weekend with a little bit of schoolwork (lesson planning) and shopping online, and eating leftovers. I’m thankful that Greg and I both have good jobs and earn enough money that we don’t need to worry too much, and that we have loving families and good friends.

Awesome Evening of Science

13 October 2012

Yesterday when I got home from school, I caught the train into the city and met up with my husband. We had dinner at Sang Kee Noodle House and then took a taxi to The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, which was hosting the New Frontiers in Astronomy and Cosmology program, a celebration in honor of John Templeton (born in 1912) and marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Templeton Prize and the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the John Templeton Foundation.

I might have ignored this event, but the star attraction was the lecture by Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos, and The Hidden Reality. I’m a fan of the NOVA series based on the first two books, and I have showed them to my students. Greene has also been on a couple of awesome RadioLab podcasts, The (Multi) Universe(s) and DIY Universe. So I convinced Greg we should go, and wrote in for free tickets.

The e-mail I got back said that the lecture was over-subscribed (the conference organizers had no idea that Greene was so popular?) so we arrived early to stand in line and get a seat. It was worth it. Before hand we chatted with a colleague and his students, and found out that one of his students had worked with one of my students over the summer. That student of mine was there with his brother and parents, and then I saw two others of my students there also! In fact, I got a photo of one with Greene!

This particular student plans to be a physicist when he grows up, and dreams of discovering a previously unknown law of physics.

After the talk, Greene answered a few questions. I asked if it was possible to observationally determine if there were in fact other universes outside of our own. The short answer is yes, IF another bubble universe bumped up with ours we should be able to observe the resulting “ripples” in the cosmic microwave background radiation.

Then, there was a panel discussion featuring

  • Marcelo Gleiser of Dartmouth, who is interested in the origin of life on Earth and elsewhere in the universe
  • Geoffrey Marcy of UC Berkeley, who is a co-investigator on the Kepler extra-solar planet finding team
  • David M. Spergel of Princeton, who works with the data from the WMAP satellite, which distinguished fine fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background
  • Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts, who has developed the idea of the multiverse and works on inflation and cosmic strings.

Wow. What a collection of thinkers! They were given the questions

I. What was the earliest state of the universe?
II. Is our universe unique or is it part of a much larger multiverse?
III. What is the origin of the complexity in the universe?
IV. Are we alone in the universe? Or, are there other life and intelligence beyond the solar system?

and this is what the discussion centered on. Then they took questions. Partway through, Marcy commented that he was surprised that the audience seemed much more interested in the idea of the multiverse than with the idea of aliens from other planets.

Other interesting tidbits: we were seated right behind 97-year-old Nobel Laureate Charles Townes, who invented the precursor to the LASER (the MASER, which stands for Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) and who is also a Templeton Prize recipient. According to Wikipedia, Townes is the only figure other than Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama to win both a Templeton Prize and a Nobel Prize. The conference organizer was Donald York, one of the Principal Investigators on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a project for mapping all the galaxies in the visible universe. I have had my students use the data for projects through the Sky Server website. The data released is so comprehensive, a dedicated middle-schooler or high-schooler could ask a question and do research that could be eligible for journal publication. Finally, the panel moderator was George Ellis, also a Templeton Prize winner, who is a pre-eminent researcher in cosmology and general relativity, and who has co-authored a book with Stephen Hawking. The only way this evening could have been more exciting would be if Kip Thorne or Stephen Hawking had been there too. It was awe-inspiring to be in the same room with these people!



26 August 2012

Greg has been gardening again this summer, and the garden has provided sugar snap peas, garlic, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and melons.  Here is what Greg harvested today:

That melon is huge for a cantaloupe. It’s probably 10 pounds of cucumbers. I think we have already harvested 30 pounds of cucumbers. I will be taking some to school on Tuesday to put in the teacher mailroom to try to get rid of them. We already have a lot in our refrigerator.

With some of the cucumbers and tomatoes I will be making a jar of marinated vegetables. I don’t remember who “pinned” this to “pinterest” but it showed up in somebody’s facebook feed and I followed it to find this recipe. Sounds yummy, and I bet the vinegar will make the tomatoes taste good to me!

I don’t know what Greg has planned for the rest of the tomatoes, but I think we will be eating melon for breakfast and dessert for a while!

Last week I made this tomato pie:

I made a tomato pie last summer but I could not find the recipe. I searched all the cookbooks and the internet. So I had to make this up. It is pretty yummy.

Tomato Pie – serves 2-4 as main dish, more as a side dish

  • 1 pie crust, store-bought or homemade
  • a bunch of plum or Roma tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • a couple of scallions, sliced thinly
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • about 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Pre-heat oven to 425°F. Brush a pie pan lightly with olive oil. Lay the crust in the pie pan, and brush the inside of the crust lightly with olive oil. Combine the tomatoes, basil, scallions, and most of the feta cheese in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add pepper to taste, and mix gently. Add the tomato mixture to the pie pan, folding the edges of the crust over the filling. Sprinkle remaining feta cheese on top. Bake 25-30 minutes or until crust is golden, and feta cheese is browned on the tops. Let sit 10-15 minutes before slicing and eating. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

This pie makes excellent leftovers.



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