Sunday, October 26, 2014

You're Invited

Here's the amazing poster the gallery people have made for the Nov. 7 opening:

Saturday, October 25, 2014


My photography and poetry show is coming up in less than two weeks now! Aaaarrrrrgggghh! 

I'm calling the show "Lightening." I'm just starting to put together another blog with some of the photos and poems. Please check it out and join it or become a follower or whatever it's called.

Also, Jason has put together  a page for me on our own Wynn family blog, with some of the poems and some thumbnails of the photos.

And Christopher Luna has posted information about the show on his Facebook Events page. 

Here's the blurb from the Second Story Gallery people:
"Lightening,” an exhibit of photography and original poetry created by Louise Wynn, is featured Nov. 7 through 29 at Second Story Gallery in Camas. The show opens with a reception for the photographer which will also feature readings by several area poets on First Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., part of the Downtown Camas Association monthly event. The poetry reading is part of monthly art reception that is free and open to the public, upstairs in the Camas Public Library.

In addition to offering her own photography and poetry, Louise Wynn has invited several other local poets to share the spotlight during her reception at Second Story Gallery Friday, Nov. 7. Taking the microphone first will be Christopher Luna, the poet laureate of Clark County and teacher of the Clark College class where the participating poets met. Joining Luna from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. will be Livia Montana, Roxanne Bash, Matt Eiford, Carol C. Hansen, and Steve Olson.

After the First Friday reception with extended hours until 8 p.m., the gallery maintains the same hours as the library, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The library is located at 625 NE 4th Ave., Camas. The gallery, upstairs in the Camas Public Library at 625 NE Fourth Ave., is open during regular library hours for the remainder of the month. 
Every picture may be worth a thousand words, but what if my thousand words are different than yours, wonders Louise Wynn, featured photographer at Second Story Gallery in November. Possibly, she thinks, her words may bring a different image to your mind than the one she’s seeing.

She has combined her photography with her original words in poem form to create an exhibit she calls “Lightening.” She says she chose the name because of how poetry and art “lighten and enlighten us, lifting the burdens of everyday life, illuminating truth and casting away shadows.”

Louise has put photos together with poems hoping viewers will see and hear--and feel--some of the same things. That name, “Lightening,” in addition to lifting burdens, is a wish to make clear the way forward.

It's going to be TONS of FUN!

My three awesome sisters will be there, plus lots of friends....

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ward Halloween Party

I mean, because what else are we gonna wear?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Kelly Slater's 720

(You can find other clips of this, with the funniest comment ever, "It was really inverted, which makes it, like sick."  But I chose this one because it doesn't have ads and other extra stuff. Just the amazing surfing feat.)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Still in Training

Someone asked me the other day, "Are you still in training, training for anything new?" I had to think for a moment. "I guess not," I finally said. "I was planning to do the Tour de Sewer later this month, but I can't do that after all. So..."

But I'm still in training, even though I'm being a little bit gentler and kinder to myself at this point. So when my gym started up its Saturday morning boot camp class again, I was all in for that.

Of COURSE I've already joined Team Sandra for the June 2015 Huntsman 140. And I'm accepting donations.   And anyone who wants to join the team, please do! We'd love to have you! And in fact we need you!

Anyway, all I want to say about this is even though I haven't signed up for any more events, other than that 140-mile bike ride next June 20, I'm still in training: trying to get in better shape and live a healthier life than I did before Neva got me started on this amazing fitness journey in January 2013.

So, thank you, Neva. And thank you, Jeff, for all your support in time, running and riding with me, going along with the new bikes, new gear, training sessions, travel, driving around for hundreds of miles while I rode my bike, soothing me when I wore myself out, and everything else you do for me. And thank you, all my wonderful sisters and brother and everyone else on Team Sandra, and all my friends and family who have given their love and support so freely.

I definitely remember all those people who ran alongside me and pushed me and drove in their cars with me and cheered for me over those last few miles last June. So I'm saying a big DOUBLE THANKS to all of you! Here, watch Laura's video to get inspired again. Because it's not too early to get inspired and get going, is it!

Laura couldn't mention all the names of all the people who helped that day. Two more names I have to mention now are my grandson Mason, whom you see in the still at the beginning of this video, helping write "SANDRA" on the memorial place along the route, and his dad, my son Jared, whom you see, along with Mason, throughout the video. They drove with Jeff through all those miles and cheered for me, played inspiring music for me, and handed me snacks and drinks whenever I needed them.

Also, whenever you see me in the video, you see the camouflage CamelBak my trainer and coach Derek gave me before my first long bike ride, in the spring of 2013. I've been carrying that with me on every long bike ride since, because not only is it the best way to get the water I need as I'm riding but also because it reminds me to stay strong and mentally tough, and to always do the right thing.

And one more shout-out, to Don and Cassie and their three adorable children, who drove alongside me all the way and cheered for me; especially Don who started the tradition last year and continued it this year of running alongside me and giving me occasional pushes, and Cassie who did most of the driving of that van while keeping the children happy and enthusiastic throughout that very long day. And they also arranged for the picnic and cake and ice cream when it was all over. And let us stay with them leading up to and after the ride. And...I can't even mention everything they did for Jeff and me and the whole crew.

Oh, yeah, one more thing: A bunch of volunteers stayed at the lunch place so that my crew and I could eat lunch there, even though we arrived way after they were supposed to close. And another bunch of volunteers stayed at the finish line so they could play "Eye of the Tiger" while I crossed the finish line. Amazing, wonderful people, all the volunteers.

Here's why they do it, and why we do it: As Laura says in the video, showing some of the names that memorial place, "There are way too many names here. Cancer sucks."

But also, as Laura reminds us, "No matter how much someone wants something, some days that's not enough. Some days you need help from other people...." And "No one should have to fight alone."

So, yeah, I'm still in training. I'll be writing much more about training through the rest of this year and into the next. The goal is a long ways away, and that's ... okay.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Next Three Days and Home Again

(Not three days)

Our next two days were nowhere near as intense. Lisa had been able to line up several interviews.

So Rigel and I accompanied her when we could and kept ourselves busy when she had to go alone to the interviews.

We went to see the whirling dervishes one evening. Amazing! I didn't get good photos of them, but here are a couple that give an idea of what they did.

On my last day in the country, we went to the Khan el-Khalili, the main souq in the old downtown area.

We went there with Lisa's friend and research assistant Leyla, who works in one of the shops there. She took us right away to a great little store, the Headache-Free Store, with fixed prices and no bargaining. What a relief from the usual hassling and haggling and then being called vulgar names for not buying overpriced junk.
The best part of this day was the tentmakers' souq, where I saw the most amazing quilted artwork and fabrics. I got some to take home, of course.

The next day, as Lisa and Rigel took me in a taxi to the airport, we saw more graffiti. We also saw some policemen and soldiers lining up outside a government building getting ready for some kind of ceremony. And the taxi driver gave us the party line about how well the new government is taking care of the people.

I had such an amazing time with Lisa and Rigel! But I was ready to get home. On the two long flights to London and then Vancouver, B.C., I got my missing day back but didn't get much sleep. For one thing, I had the most amazing and remarkable seat-mate on the flight from Cairo to London: an English entomologist who works at the World Health Organization's field office in Cairo and was going home for some R&R. She is the most knowledgeable and nice professional scientist I've ever met, and we found we have a lot in common. We've kept in contact and I'm hoping to see her within the next year, maybe in Cairo, maybe in London.

Finally, when I passed through the Canadian government's TSA-type agency in Vancouver and finished talking to the U.S. Customs official, I looked up and saw a sign: "Welcome to the United States!" I didn't even think of taking a photo of it---I'm sure it would have been illegal, as any photo-taking in any airport anywhere in the world is illegal---but I kept it in my memory. I passed through the doors under that sign and sat down and shed a few tears. Then I called my husband and shed a few more.

Day Three: Tahrir Square

Where do these fit in for modern Egypt?
After a relaxed morning, we took a taxi out to Tahrir Square, the site of the Jan. 25 Revolution of 2011.

The square has been blocked off by police vehicles and barriers and barbed wire, though life in the neighboring streets seems to go on as usual. In fact, the day we were there, a Friday, the barbed wire was all around, but access to the square was not completely blocked. We saw people going in and out of their huge and high-walled compounds, and the always-courteous Egyptians returned our greetings with smiles and welcomes.

But things are not back to normal and I don't know when they will be. For one thing, more than 150 youths died at the hands of the secret police. How will their families recover from that?

Anyway, we met a friend for brunch at a little cafe on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, the site of pitched battles between the police and protesters in Nov. 2012. Here more than 40 others were killed by the police, and thousands were injured.

Here are some of the graffiti from Mohamed Mahmoud Street.

No, it's not over, and things are not back to normal.
We were careful to avoid taking photos of anyone in a police uniform, and in fact we took some photos of a little boy running past some of the walls, so it would look like a harmless tourist photo. 

Still, we were stopped by four plain-clothes secret police, who asked very politely why we were taking photos.

"To show our families  back home," we said. Still politely, but menacingly, the cop asked me to show him my photos, which I did.

There was nothing offensive for him to see... except the evidence of the offenses done by his ilk to his own people.

And so the four guys walked away to begin harassing another tourist.

We figured that was a good time to leave, so we walked over to the other side of the square and got a taxi.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Second Day in Egypt: The Pyramids and Giggling Girls

Yes, these are what we saw the second day!
This morning we got up early and got a taxi out to see the Great Pyramids of Giza. Lisa asked the taxi driver not to take the Ring Road, which would have been the fastest route, because it's got even worse traffic than some of the other roads. The taxi driver was happy not to take that route because, he said, cars are often stopped and searched and their occupants harassed until they hand over some kind of bribe to the police or other people who do that.

When we were about halfway there, Lisa said we should have been able to see them from where we were, but couldn't because of the pollution and smog.
 When we got closer, we finally did see them, suddenly appearing from behind some distressed-looking buildings and garbage dumps---not the usual photos of the magnificent pyramids.

As we drove up to the entrance, several men tried to stop us and tell the taxi driver that we had to pay them to enter. Lisa told him not to stop, but some of the people made it impossible for him to keep going, until Lisa shouted at them, in Arabic, "I work here! Let us through!" --- certainly not what they were expecting from a very non-Egyptian passenger.

We got through the scrum of wannabe-guides, scam artists, and panhandlers, paid for our tickets, and found Lisa's friend who had agreed to take us out and around for the morning. Here he is with his son Moustafa.

And here we are on our faithful steeds...

After riding around and enjoying the plateau, we went inside the second pyramid. We weren't allowed to take pictures in there, but of course some people still took photos with cell phone cameras and small cameras that escaped the inspection by the guards.

 (I wasn't one of those people. Besides, all we saw were some long, very slanted, and very low-ceilinged corridors and then a big empty room.)

Then we rode over to see the Sphinx. Poor old girl is all surrounded by fencing and scaffolding, as they are trying to fix her nose.

At this point, bizarrely, we became the main attraction for some of the other tourists: some school-girls who were apparently there on a field trip. They gathered around us and giggled a lot and practiced their English, and then they took turns making selfies with their cell phones of themselves with us.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

First Day in Egypt: Zar (Posession)

(Yes, I realize these are not the Zar performers we say Wed. night.)
So, I left on Monday morning and got to Cairo late Tues. night. On Wed., my first actual day in Egypt, we did not go to the Pyramids.

Yeah, I know this is another picture of the Pyramids. I'm going to keep putting these in, even for days when we did not go look at them.

Rigel and I kept ourselves busy in the morning while Lisa talked to her research assistant, Leyla.

Rigel and I were, after all, there mostly to accompany Lisa, whose main purpose in going was to interview people for her research.

In the evening, we went to a Zar performance which was beautiful and enchanting. I'm playing a YouTube video with Zar music as I'm writing this, to get back in that mood. This video is very different from the performance we saw, though. I'll upload one of my own videos when I can figure out how to do it.

Meanwhile, here are some photos I took during the performance (which was held in the ground floor lobby / auditorium in the building where Lisa lived when she was in Cairo doing her original research).

It started out with these two guys playing the recorder and drum, while two women stood in the background and a bunch of other people sat playing drums behind them.

I guess it was a recorder. Maybe it was some kind of clarinet. I didn't see it up close. 

This lady eventually came forward and started singing. She has the most beautiful face I've ever seen. She looks serene, self-assured, and totally composed. 

She started moving around a little bit as the song progressed. She swayed back and forth a bit and eventually came closer to the audience. She teased and danced with some of the people sitting on the floor in the very front row. They loved it, and they loved her. 

She looked at times like she was giving a blessing to all of us who were there. Because of her clothing and the backdrop of the walls of that building, she, and all the performers, seemed like they were characters in a very old painting, a frieze, an ancient story. And I guess that's what they were, because it is an ancient story, isn't it.

And out in the lobby we saw photos of all the performers, the whole troupe, including some we hadn't seen that evening. Don't they look like they've been there forever?

She glanced up sometimes, not at those of us in the audience who were sitting in the balcony up from the ground floor where she was performing. She seemed, rather, to be glancing up, beyond the ceiling itself, for inspiration.

When she smiled, it was like the sun coming out from behind the clouds.

She and all the performers were on the same level as the people on the main floor of the auditorium, not on a stage. So she was close to everyone except the overflow crowd in the balcony. 

When it was time for intermission, she came to the edge of the crowd and announced the intermission and said, "I hope you'll enjoy the tea and biscuits, and when you come back, I hope you'll all have your cell phones turned off."

We didn't stay, as it was late at night and Rigel didn't find it to be as fascinating as the rest of us, all adults, did.
Aha! Here's the Mahazer group, the group we saw, performing, in the same location:

Egypt, Getting There: Powelll's at PDX

(Yes, I realize these are not the three former Powell's at PDX.)
The usual surreal travel experience, as you're sitting in a very narrow seat with very little space in front of you and unwilling to lean your seat back because that would reduce the space of the passenger behind you...

And although it's not true that it takes two days to get there, it is true that you are in transit for about 21 hours, so if you leave on a Monday morning, you get there late Tuesday night, skipping a whole day of your life. (You get it back on the way home, of course.)

And sleep? Since you're flying overnight? Are you kidding me? I mean, I did sleep a few times, which I know because I woke up a few times with a shock and a snort as the flight attendants came through jostling elbows to offer water...

So, anyway, I can deal with that. I mean, we all can, can't we? And we're so glad we can get there in that amount of time and with relatively small discomfort, compared to the travelers even just 50 years or so ago.

But here's what burned me: No more Powell's in the PDX airport! I had a hard time dealing with that. There used to be three, count 'em, 3, Powell's bookstores at that airport, and it made my day to walk around and visit them.

But this time, xalas! I found out when I got back home, by searching online, that the two Powell's stores in the concourses had been closed earlier this year. There's still one supposedly in the pre-security section of the airport, but of course I didn't find it because I was in a hurry to get through security and wouldn't have wanted to go through all that hassle to get back even if I'd been sure that that one was there.

This burns me up because the PDX Powell's stores are the only Powell's where the salespeople are actually nice and helpful:) And because those two stores were closed NOT because of fliers not wanting them there---because many people love those PDX Powell's stores as much as I do---but because “The Port of Portland is working on a new vision for retail at PDX..."

Just like when the B&N at Jantzen Beach closed, and all the Border's stores closed. I'm wondering what kind of "new vision" these people have.

I'm guessing they want fewer literate customers, because after all people who don't like to read are probably going to be more susceptible to stupid "free" deals and "super" discounts. I'm guessing they think there aren't enough skeazy lingerie stores in the airport. Not enough heavy fat- and sugar-filled disgusting food marts. Not enough stores selling two-dollar headphones for ONLY $39.99.

Hey! Maybe they'll open a PDX Walmart! Because there aren't enough of those being built in every formerly species-diverse wetland in the Portland-Vancouver area!

And, no, I'm not going to apologize to the illiterates whose feelings may be hurt by my prejudice against them. Wanna know why? Because they are never going to read this, are they.