Monday, January 26, 2009

greetings from glasgow

My apologies if this seems a bit disjointed. I’ve had very little sleep (about an hour and a half) and am still reeling from a long day of travel and a full day of touring Glasgow, Scotland.

We experienced every sort of weather imaginable, from rain to snow to sun, all in the space of a few hours. I find myself having to re-think my ideas about “historic,” after visiting the University of Glasgow (pictured here in a close-up) and the Kelvingrove Museum.

I’m very drawn to Glasgow and to the people here. In a funny way, it’s not unlike the places I have lived before: industrial, a mighty river with remnants of a bygone era of water-based transportation and some very friendly, down-home people. Some characters too, but that’s for another day.

Glasgow is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, so it’s an especially exciting time to be here. What you and I call gentrification or rebirth, the people of Glasgow call a confidence; a brand-new set of inspirations and aspirations for a once-downtrodden city.

I am traveling with two other writers from outside of the states, the North American Scotland tourism bureau contact, the local Visit Scotland rep and our tour guide. They are a fun group and we’ve all had lots to talk about. I am staying at the Radisson SAS Glasgow for the first couple of nights, a fairly international hotel right in the heart of Glasgow. My room is divine and I am still getting used to the quirks of being responsible for my own energy use (lights and laptop turned on with my room key) and the lifts which go directly to my floor each time.

Tonight we are going to a fancy chips restaurant and tomorrow is my first visit to a Scottish castle, a trip to a golf clinic, and the thing I am looking forward to most, a Robert Burns poetry reading and workshop. In a couple of days we'll move on to an ancient estate for a night and then to a castle to stay outside of Edinburgh.

I will have lots more to write later. For now, I am falling over with exhaustion and a quick trip outside left me dizzy, watching cars whizzing by in the wrong direction, trying to catch a few familiar words from passers-by and generally just being overwhelmed with everything that’s happening. It is beautiful here, the people are also on the whole pretty good-looking, and I have a better concept of what it means to look Scottish already.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

the lesson

St. Mary's do-everything guard Patty Mills takes a minute during the San Jose State game to show my favorite ball boy (and nephew!) how to properly mop the floor.

Photo Robin Schoettler Fox

Monday, January 5, 2009

2008 weblog awards

The rose city journal is a finalist in the "Best Diarist" category of the 2008 weblog awards. You can vote for your favorite Diarist online.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

after the snow

As Portland comes back to life after the biggest snowstorm in decades, a few memories from the past couple of weeks stand out:

Walking around the downtown streets of Portland last Monday was eerie- and great fun. Everything was closed- everything, including the banks - save a couple of coffee shops (natch).

Seeing crazy sports enthusiasts four-wheeling through the middle of town.

Skiers skiing on the downtown streets and along the banks of the Willamette River is a sight I will never, ever forget.

Eating frozen pizza from the 7-11 beat the other option, waiting an hour for a bus that may or may not show up to go to a grocery store. When we walked (all over!) downtown, the one viable restaurant, found on the charming river walk was, inevitably, pizza schmizza.

Trying without any luck to dig my 4x4 out of the snow; when I parallel-parked and left a foot in front of me and behind me, I had no idea the other drivers would abandon their cars, the snow under my truck would turn to ice or that the only way out would involve a snow shovel.

My nice neighbors, who moved a car, lent me a shovel, offered to bring back fruits and vegetables from the grocery store and generally just made the week a lot easier. Comments from neighbors included “I gave up on my life a week ago” (that made me laugh) and “never, ever, ever, in the 25 years that I have owned this home, have I seen snow like this.”

Stores on the central coast, in Corvallis and in other towns are still waiting on basic supplies or received one shipment and need more because of the run on things like bread, milk and cigarettes.

For now, we’re back to normal- more or less. The heavy rains and melted snow mean an endless flood warning for some areas and even makes driving on main roads treacherous. I’m glad we had a beautiful white Christmas in Portland. Rather amazing, since everyone told me it never snows here. I've got some pics up on flickr.