Walk with a spring in your step

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Well hello there, its been awhile.  Spring is here; the cherry blossoms are blooming all over Hillsboro and Portland and everywhere in between.  I am grateful for such everyday beauty in the midst of a lot of heartache in this world, especially in the light of the tragedies in Japan.

Christie and I went to a vigil for Japan and its people this past Friday called Vigil4JapanPDX, organized by four Japanese exchange students at PSU.  They organized this event in just one week; over 1,500 people were in attendance including Portland Mayor Sam Adams, the Consul General of Japan in Portland and the president of PSU.  The students gave testimonies of their experiences living so far away from their home and seeing images on TV that do not look to them like the home country that they know.  It was inspiring to hear their words and to stand with so many different people (in rain and hail, in true Portland style) in support of people so far away.  MercyCorps was present at the vigil; all donations throughout the evening go to support their crisis relief efforts in Japan.  (See some photos of the vigil here.)  It’s difficult to know how to support people so far from our reach in a time like this; prayers and good thoughts as well as financial support are so necessary.  We must remember that these people, like the people of Haiti, Sri Lanka, New Orleans, will be rebuilding from this devastation for years to come; we will not forget our brothers and sisters.  Check out how you can support artists and support the people of Japan at the same time; every little bit helps.

Elena and I spent the day in Portland yesterday at the spring opening of the Portland Farmer’s Market; yay for fresh fruit and veggie season!  We bought some delicious apples, Dave’s Killer Bread, carrots, and other great goodies.  A fantastic people-watching way to spend the afternoon and the sun was out!  We moseyed over to Portland Saturday Market, a large outdoor market (who knew?) that happens every Saturday from March to December; again, more great people watching.  Elena bought a ring made out of a fork; excellent.  We met up with Christie, Sean and some of his HomePlate friends to attend an interfaith peace service to bring awareness to the troops still abroad in war and conflict.  Song, reflection and poems made up the majority of the service with people from all faiths and backgrounds; very humbling.

How did it get to be mid-March, y’all?  Most schools are on spring break this week (I miss spring break!) so we’ll have a quiet week in the office at SOLV; lots to do for our community stewardship initiatives.  We are almost done with the planting season and our 27th annual Beach Cleanup is this weekend, hurrah for ridding the Oregon coast of little bits of plastic that threaten sea life!  We had a great tour of Reed College’s “canyon” last week with a restoration ecologist; so amazing to see a 28-acre watershed in the middle of a college campus!  Students can even work there as a work-study position; hello planting trees!  The space has been a 13 year project and is still going; native species are certainly coming back to the space and students upkeep and maintain the trails and monitor for invasive species and wildlife.  I might go back and chat with Zac, the canyon guru, about the importance of widespread campus sustainability; do I hear job offer?

And I haven’t yet blogged about Mardi Gras!  It was a success; JVC NW director Jeanne was over for dinner that evening and we had a fantastic time chatting and noshing before the fasting season of Lent.  I made vegetarian jambalya (super simple!) and a REAL king cake!  The king cake was a long process but so worth it.. I intend to make one every year as it was so delicious!  That week ended with SOLV’s Women in Science Day, which Miles and I coordinated; a great event.. read about it on the Green Team blog.

That’s all for now folks.  Embrace the blooming flowers, budding trees, walk with a spring in your step.  I’ll be toting my camera around more often; brace yourself for spring photos and more updates soon!

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