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Showing posts from 2018

Padding My Resume with Dubious Skills: Antique-Fire-Hydrant-Gnome-Painter-Oner

I have a creative friend with a whimsical nature who is in the process of designing and building a dog park. There are ever expanding trails and benches and points of interest featuring eclectic artwork. Because it is a dog park, she figured a natural addition should be a fire hydrant...and so she found one on the internet and bought it. She offered to let me restore it.

The first surprise was that the fire hydrant weighed about 300 pounds. To my brain, that seemed like an amount of weight that, while heavy, should have been manageable. But my 58-year-old knees had some input on that idea, and when they initiated a labor embargo, my back also came up with some heartfelt complaints.

The first step was to smooth out the previous paint job(s) which turned out to be something of an ordeal because of the thickness of the enamel paint and my uncertainty about whether or not the old thick paint was the kind that had lead in it. Even though I am past my formative years, I felt I didn't need…


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an instant appreciation

The East Portland Community Center is hosting a display of photography by Scott Dietz through the month of September.
The images depict quiet moments of beauty in what are often familiar locales often taken for granted.
Scott has a B.A. in Art and Art Education. This implies that he has a college education, however, his scientist friends are quick to point out, “Yeah, but it’s in Art.” While studying art, Scott’s concentration was in sculpture (in particular, bronze casting).
He began seriously exploring photography on his own in 1996, the same year he acquired a canoe and began documenting the lifestyles of the Smith & Bybee (what were then) Lake beavers. Since then, his interests in photography seem to be converging on the intersection between nature, science, and faith.

He has displayed his work in juried exhibitions and local art festivals and occasionally wins awards. One highlight was winning the Oregonian’s 2006 Travel Photography Contest with a shot of the Eagle Creek trail.


They say Native Americans carved petroglyphs at the base of Willamette Falls, an ancient fishing site. I’ve paddled up to the falls a couple of times to find the old markings, but always seem to miss them. The massive horseshoe-shaped falls are over a quarter mile wide and are blended in with concrete and steel industrial structures that make its natural configuration something of a puzzle.

I figured a fresh set of eyes would improve my chances of finding the petroglyphs, so I invited Karen, who had previously expressed an interest in learning to kayak. Karen and I are part of the same extended church family, but more like cousins who almost never visit each other. In the past, she has tried to kill me with a heavy piƱata stick and also a spring roll (the spring roll wasn't really her fault). Having Karen along makes even the most pedestrian outing more like a life and death adventure — at least for me.

Smoke, presumably from California’s wildfires, interfered with the dawn and colo…