Thursday, June 30, 2011
"Hurry Up and Wait"

We're at the airport! Three hours before the plane lifts off. We might not have needed to get here this early.

Friday, July 1, 2011
"Already So Rich"

I wake early, full of thoughts. Already my experiences in Portland have been so rich.

As the plane neared Portland, I was amazed at the greenness I saw. Above Yuma and Phoenix, it is only sharp angular points of tan barren mountains that surround the city areas. In Phoenix, the only green patches are from baseball diamonds and golf courses. I love all the clusters of green forests here!

I love, too, how easy and convenient the light rail is. For only $2.35 a piece, we arrived in close walking distance to the hotel. At first, I thought a car or shuttle bus would be faster. It wouldn't have. For I saw when the train paralleled the car highway, how much faster the light rail is. It was like that in Chicago, too.

As we walked the brief distance between the exit point for the rail and our hotel, we spied an interesting restaurant, Porto Terra, Tuscan style food with many vegetarian options, at fairly decent prices. We decided we'd head back there after we got settled.

The hotel lobby was a noisy jumble of people all gathering for the Mensa convention. We did pause long enough to register and get our materials.

Julia in the lobby during a quieter moment...

While we were in the quiet restaurant, we could examine all that was in the blue bags.

As we sat in the restaurant, we slowly began to feel more settled. At first I still felt a little 'up in the air', as though I hadn't really landed.

That befuddlement is probably what caused me to dump my iced tea not once, but twice. The first time, half the glasses contents were lost. The second time, all the glasses contents were lost! What a mess! I managed to get my bags out of the worst harm, while the waitress had the job of mopping up the floor. She handled it so graciously.

And the large, flat noodles were so good with the clam sauce and spinach. It was perfect. It wasn't heavy, as those sauces often are. It was light, with just a hint of sweetness. Also, the expresso creme brulee was the best dessert I've ever had. It had just the right amount of coffee flavor and just the right amount of sweetness. Perfect!

A program on plant-based diets was immediately followed by a program called "The Ride". The blurb spoke of enjoying each moment, because you never know what will happen. Both presentions were excellent.

Wendy Gabbe Day and Scott "Tex" Nance did great. At first we learned the facts of the gradual fattening of America, with a map of the states, from 1985 until 2005. The increasing percentage of those who were obese seemed to match my own increasing girth, healthy weight in 1985 to decidely obese.

We bought the lecturer's recipe book, featuring healthy desserts. That's mostly where I fall short. We do eat a lot of vegetables and whole grains. It's that desire for sweets that gets me. So maybe we can do better in the future.

The next speaker was a great contrast to the young thin woman. A middle aged man with a Texan drawl began speaking. (In transition, he allowed that having come from Texas, we could imagine what his diet mostly was.) It wasn't long before we were drawn into his moving presentation. He spoke of losing his mother and all the people who were helped by her organ donation.

And then the spoke of the sorrow of losing his sixteen year old daughter. Sometimes I cried for his loss and sometimes I cried for my loss. I am so glad Laura had discussed with me her wishes, should she be unrevokably near death. So I knew if brain death was imminent, she didn't want extraordinary measures, and that she certainly wanted her remains to go for whatever best use after her sould no longer had need of them.

I'm not sure what they were able to do with Laura's organs, for the heart disease and COPD had fairly ravaged them all. But perhaps scientists were able to learn things from studying them.

Mostly what was impressed upon me is how we can never know what will happen. We can never know what will be our last day.

This fact may give us insight to what really matters. Ego craves recognition, but Higher Self knows it is really what sort of influence we have in the world that determines what we leave behind. Have we, in whatever small ways, made the world a better place?

Moment to moment, this internal direction may give wisdom to our choices and attitudes.

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