Friday, March 25, 2016

Vague Update

Today was one of those days that I will hopefully remember for a while. It wasn't a huge day. NO major announcements. No good news or bad news. Just an undercurrent, a buzz, that went through the background of my brain for most of the day. I got a little nervous here and there but generally just pushed it aside. When I thought long and hard about the risks involved, I was able to give those nerves a solid shove.

In a good way.

As the title implies, I'm being vague about things. After taking one too many trips to Human Resources, I've seriously curtailed the content here and elsewhere. I'm now very close to the point of just not giving a rip. But that will come in due time.

Today's update is a step beyond vague because the feelings were, well, hard to latch on to. They were good feelings so that's at least semi-easy to clarify. Even as I drove to work this morning, I had these little epiphanies going off in my head like a really small fireworks display. Thoughts bursting here and there. I only managed to capture a few of them.

But like fireworks, even capturing them on film, or words in this case, doesn't do them justice. You can take thousands of photos in DC during the Fourth of July but you don't really capture the vibe of what it felt like to be there. You can take thousands of photos of the Grand Canyon, but until you go there, it's hard to capture the essence of how big it really is.

But like any photographer though, or writer, I'm going to try to capture today with a few images.

I sat through an orientation session and learned a lot. I was a little surprised that I didn't know some of what was there. President's nearly died. Planes landed where houses stand now. Computer programs were infected with "bugs" for the first time. As I sat at the desk, I gave all the wrong answers. And it felt great to be so open and honest and have the choice to say yes or no.

This is my mid-life crisis but I see it as a change and not a crisis.  A change for the better. Like a moth leaving the cocoon or a Phoenix rising from the ashes, I want to be better. Stronger. I want to do the right thing. I want to do what's best for me. Do what's best for my family. Do what's best for the world by making a contribution that's more meaningful. I want the freedom to create. I want the freedom to do what I want to do. As I near 40 years in this life, as I get closer to this mid-life crisis, I feel that I've earned the right to do what I want.

And this is what I want.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Dr. Joseph Laythe

My writing has been sparse lately because, well, life gets in the way sometimes. Sadly it's death that has spurred my fingers to move across the keyboard once again.

As I try to recall Dr. Laythe, there's not much there. And it's not anybody's fault, it's just how my brain works. I don't remember a specific moment in his class or a specific conversation with him, but I do remember his face. His wispy blonde hair that was rapidly thinning. His infectious smile that was very much like a cat-ate-the-canary grin. And his insane skill to memorize your name. After learning about his death this past weekend, I learned that the hair was gone, the smile was still there, and I learned a bit about his trick to memorizing your name.

I had planned on writing a decently long essay of sorts about Dr. Laythe but realized it simply wouldn't do him justice. Nor would it score a decent grade in his class. So instead, I'm giving you what little I do have from my own collection of ephemera.

My notes from October 8, 1997 for my American Urban Development class (HI377):
- at the Columbia and Willamette Rivers
- Oregon City was the headquarters of the Hudson Bay Company (HBC)
- just north of the Willamette Falls
- HBC was a large British trading company
- 1820s to 1840s - important city
- 1845
- Pettygrove set up a better trading site at current day Portland
- with in 2 years Oregon City has lost to Portland
- warehouses and wharves were built
- plank road was built into the Willamette Valley
- Portland expands rapidly after gold rush in CA
- 2/3 of the population went to CA while the remaining 1/3 remain and make money
- the elite in Portland are very conservative
- Portland’s population
--- 1880 - 17,000
--- 1890 - 46,000
--- 1910 - 200,000
- Seattle’s population
--- 1880 - 3,500
--- 1890 - 42,000
--- 1910 - 250,000
My list of classes for 1996 through 1998:

And finally, the best image I have of our History Club shirt. It says "Think Historically, Act Hysterically:"


Leigey, Macala. Longtime Professor Reflects on Career, in Midst of Cancer Battle. February 17, 2006. Retrieved March 16, 2016.