Books on the table

I’m feeling rather tired and boring tonight, but nagged by NaBloPoMo commitment. So, like any good improvisor I’ll look for a little inspiration where I can find it. Tonight my coffee table will have to do.

I’ve got a stack of New Yorkers and these three books sitting on my coffee table:

Oregon Curiosities: Quirky characters, roadside oddities & other offbeat stuff by Harriet Baskas

Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco

Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann

coffee table books

Longing, a list inspired by my coffee table books

I long to have space for travel and to travel in space.I long to learn more about the place I live.
I long to show my daughter the joy in exploration, discovery, getting lost.
I long to be creative create.
I long to stop feeling like an imposter.
I long to be daring.
I long to know more about my family history, my cultural history, my country’s (real) history, my local history.
I long to read more.
I long to write more.
I long for an ‘instant tidy’ button.
I long see my parents.
I long to have time to luxuriate in making a meal.
I long to listen.
I long for stories, words to tell the story.
I long for the complexity of simplicity.
I long to long for less.

Hating on daylight savings

This morning all of us in the U.S just put our clocks back an hour. Daylight Savings Time.

Okay, I haven’t done any research on Daylight Savings Time except read articles like the two Atlantic ones I’m writing about in this post. But yet, experience has told me that DST pretty much stinks. Aside from the obvious complaints about losing an hour and the darkness (oh the terrible morning darkness!) here are a couple of annoyances I’ve experienced of late:

1) To PDT or PST, that is the question. For work when I’m creating events I hate having to figure out whether it’s Pacific Daylight Time or Pacific Standard Time. And even when it’s Pacific Daylight Time, I just kinda resent using PDT.

My alarm clock includes a 'smart' feature automatically adjusting for DST. It was purchased pre-2007, pre- George W. Bush era DST changes.

Dumb ‘smart’ clock automatically adjusts to pre-2007 DST.

2) I have an alarm clock I bought in the 1990s some time. At the time it was oh-so-smart because it automatically adjusted for DST. But when George W. changed the dates for Daylight Savings starting in 2007, my smart clock became a hazard to prompt arrivals. Now on random days in April and October, I wake up to the wrong time. I’m pretty sure this is the year Matt’s going to chuck that alarm clock.

3) This morning, my toddler was up at 5am, formerly known as 6am. We’ll be paying for that all day.

4) As I age, these things hit me harder: hangovers, jet lag and Daylight freaking Standard Time.

The Atlantic is hating on Daylight Savings with two, count ’em, two posts on the topic.

For The Atlantic Wire, Alexander Abad-Santos is so p.o.’d about Daylight Savings Time he’s calling it ‘America’s Greatest Shame.’ DST’s biggest benefit is supposed to be energy savings and he’s calling b.s.:

A large push for DST has always been the idea that this time warp saved money and helped conserve energy. In the 1970s the energy crisis helped further this notion along. This is all a myth — the energy saving are tiny. First off, did you notice any change in your energy bills between 2006-2008? I know that recalling electricity bills is asking a lot, but the reason I ask is that we actually extended DST by a month in 2007. The thought was that a month of DST would bring more savings.

That was wrong. The great energy-sucking state of California actually studied the impact of that extension and found it wanting. “Formally, weather- and lighting-corrected savings from DST were estimated at 0.18%,”reported the California Energy Commission.

He also says that it’s bad for our health and for the economy.

For Quartz, Allison Shrager strongly protests DST (for all the same reasons Abed-Santos does) and goes even further with a bold suggestion. Not only do away with DST, but do away with two of the four U.S. (mainland) timezones:

It sounds radical, but it really isn’t. The purpose of uniform time measures is coordination. How we measure time has always evolved with the needs of commerce. According to Time and Date, a Norwegian Newsletter dedicated to time zone information, America started using four time zones in 1883. Before that, each city had its own time standard based on its calculation of apparent solar time (when the sun is directly over-head at noon) using sundials. That led to more than 300 different American time zones. This made operations very difficult for the telegraph and burgeoning railroad industry. Railroads operated with 100 different time zones before America moved to four, which was consistent with Britain’s push for a global time standard. The following year, at the International Meridian Conference, it was decided that the entire world could coordinate time keeping based on the British Prime Meridian (except for France, which claimed the Prime Median ran through Paris until 1911). There are now 24 (or 25, depending on your existential view of the international date line) time zones, each taking about 15 degrees of longitude. Now the world has evolved further—we are even more integrated and mobile, suggesting we’d benefit from fewer, more stable time zones. Why stick with a system designed for commerce in 1883?

I admit, I kind of adore that idea as a West Coaster with family in the East. Shall we start a movement?

Gorging on the gorgeous Gorge

Matt and I took a much-needed day off today. It was time for a little nature adventure. Our first thought was to hit the famous Multnomah Falls. A friend advised we try some of the other, slightly less popular (and less crowded) hikes. So, we consulted our trusty Afoot & Afield Portland/Vancouver hiking guide. After considering a few, we decided to check out Horsetail Falls.

I can’t believe how close all this stuff is to Portland. The Columbia River Gorge is only about 30 or so miles east. I’m embarrassed and a bit regretful that we haven’t explored here sooner.

This is Horsetail Falls. So wonderful to sit underneath and just experience the falls crashing into the creek. It’s springtime so all the falls are going off.

As you can see from my curry chicken salad sandwich, we enjoyed a divine lunch in front of Three Falls.

The famous Multnomah Falls. Stunning.
You can see more of our photos from the trip at my flickr photostream.

And here’s my curry chicken salad recipe:

2-3 cups of chopped chicken (you can use canned, or I always used leftover rotisserie chicken)
2-3 tblsp curry powder
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 -3/4 cup peas
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2-3 tblsp mayo

Fold all that stuff together in a bowl until well-mixed. Serve with greens or in a sandwich.

Watery goodness

After a little cranky morning, I settled into a brief, but needed yoga session. The sun is actually shining today, but I found myself channeling the water that defines this season in the Pacific Northwest. Or maybe I’m still holding on to my turn as the dingy water in a Sea World dolphin show scene from my improv class last night. Or maybe I’m still dopey from my restless night of sleep. Whatever the inspiration, I moved slowly through my vinyasa, never really stopping the movement, like the steady drizzly rain we often see in Portland. Even in the stillness of downward dog or mountain pose, I enjoyed a subtle pulsing of the breath, of the muscles. And, rather than fight the restlessness I’ve been feeling, I’m sticking with that riding of the gentle waves for the rest of my day. So far, steadily accomplishing a variety of tasks, running a little behind on things, but feeling content with where I’m at.

Cross posted to Yogster.net

DST

I’m up early this morning, and I attribute it to my recent East Coast trip and Daylight Saving Time. I’ve been doing a little bit of research on the ole DST and here’s some nuggets I thought were interesting.

  • Ben Franklin first came up with the crazy idea to save candles. An early conservationist.
  • The official spelling is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight SavingS Time.
  • Arizona does NOT observe DST. I guess McCain is a maverick amongst mavericks. Hawaii doesn’t do it either.
  • DST makes train schedules screwy. This is from npr: “When the clocks fall back at 2 a.m. this Sunday, Amtrak trains running on time will have to wait in the station for one hour before resuming their journey. Springtime overnight travelers find their trains suddenly one hour late, but their engineers just keep going and try to make up the time.”
  • During the mid-20th century there was no national law mandating DST. “Localities could determine their own DST. Here’s a funny recounting from webexhibits.com: One year, 23 different pairs of DST start and end dates were used in Iowa alone. For exactly five weeks each year, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia were not on the same time as Washington D.C., Cleveland, or Baltimore–but Chicago was. And, on one Ohio to West Virginia bus route, passengers had to change their watches seven times in 35 miles! The situation led to millions of dollars in costs to several industries, especially those involving transportation and communications. Extra railroad timetables alone cost the today’s equivalent of over $12 million per year.”
  • Here’s an amazing story about twins born during the DST switch, essentially reversing their birth order.
  • Robertson Davies fictional character Samual Marchbanks wrote this little diatribe against DST: “I don’t really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves.”

I for one enjoy both the moonlight and the sunshine. DST is a slight inconvenience, but if it saves us some energy resources then I’m for it.

Resources: webexhibits, NPR, National Geographic, WRAL