Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Healing Gardens

My interest in pursuing landscape architecture coincides with my interest in addressing the needs of and caring for the baby boomer population as it ages. I have since begun looking into what role a garden can play in the well-being of a person - how it can both subtly and powerfully facilitate healing and wholeness in a person who is experiencing pain, loss, or uncertainty, particularly people suffering from chronic illness.

I came across a website that exists to pool information addressing those very concerns - featuring healing gardens that are found here in the US as well as internationally, resources for people working to create therapeutic gardens, and links to several other websites, publications, etc. that have to do with using landscape as a means of healing. The website is called the "Therapeutic Landscapes Database" and can be found here.

I am hoping to get in touch with some landscape architects in Portland who have some experience in this field, and maybe get their advice on grad schools/education/experience to help me along the journey.

P. S. I've begun work on the yard at our new house! So far I've spent about 8 hours - mostly just weeding. It is tiring work - but it feels really good to have a place to get my hands in the dirt. Hopefully if I get my act together I can still plant some veggie starts...and not freak out about all the dandelions taking over the lawn. :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

the good and the bad

The Good News is that I will be moving into a house in approximately 2 weeks with my current roommate, Beth. I will be the house gardener/landscape maintenance person. Granted, it will be much weeding, but, I think overall it will be a very positive experience. I'm looking forward to having my hands in the dirt...and seeing (however small) the fruits of my labor.

The other part of my good news is that we will have an extra bedroom for anyone to stay in! The upstairs will be used as office and/or art studio space, and as other miscellaneous things, including an extra bedroom should any friends decide to visit. It is a tremendous blessing, as Beth or I could never afford to live in this neighborhood, in this kind of a place, without the wonderful and kind people who are moving to Africa and letting us rent their place. I hope to steward the house well by providing hospitality to any sojourners passing through the land of Portland :) And by that I mean a comfy place to lay your head and some good home-cooked meals, as well as nourishing conversation. That is my hope and prayer for our house.

Ok, now the bad news: I am overwhelmed with what is next. Sure, I am a little bit emotionally and physically compromised right now...I've spent the last two days home from work sick with some sort of flu bug. For some reason my mind likes to give me emotional whip-lash and torment when I have too much free time on my hands. Grad school? More community college? Landscape Architecture? Urban Planning? With about a 9.5% chance of even getting accepted into graduate school for LA and the prospect of being $100K in debt after completion of said grad school, I am torn between feelings of possiblity and very real feelings of fear. My beloved boyfriend, Ben, kindly reminded me that decisions made out of fear are usually not very good ones. He also said things are going to be okay. They're going to suck, and they're going to be hard, but they're going to be okay.

What does Jesus say in this situation? He tells me not to worry. He says to seek first the Kingdom of God, and all of these little details will work themselves out.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and th body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? ... But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt. 6:25-27, 33

Lord Jesus, have mercy. I pray for your peace in my heart. Peace that allows me to seek Your Kingdom and not my own security. Lord, hear my prayer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Grad school apprehension...

As I contemplate graduate school, this website and this website has me reconsidering. For a graduate degree in landscape architecture, it will take 10 quarters, at roughly $25K/year, which will amount to approximately $97,000 for the duration of the degree, after adjusting for inflation. This means that I will need to make $821 monthly payments for 20 years to pay back the loan. Now, mind you, this is in addition to the loans I am already paying back for my undergraduate degree at Whitworth College, which has me paying about $150/month right now. So, that means that I will need to make $1000 extra each month, for 20 years, just to pay off freaking college loans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
how do people do it?
i need to win the lottery.

"Where I come from, the meal is the result of reflection and study."

-or so says Hugh Jackman's character in one of my favorite (i'm sorry for all of you who cringe at this movie, but i love it!) movies of all time Kate and Leopold.

For Dinner: The Farm Cafe - Awesome, locally sourced food, delicious, great ambiance, and versatile (i.e. you can bring your date or your parents here). Ben and I had a lovely New Year's Eve date at this locale :) Highly recommended.

For Breakfast: The Tin Shed - while waiting for a seat inside or out, pour yourself a cup of coffee and sit/stand outside for a nice view of the Alberta district and some of the funky people that walk by. ( i love them, i just hope they don't mind me staring at them and their vintage bicycles, scrapped-together clothing ensembles and quirky hair styles.) Not to mention there's a hair studio across the street called "Spank" with two silhouettes engaged in that very action. I love this town.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Where to go for recycled parts in Pdx

As I slowly make my way around Portland, getting to know my favorite spots, I'd like to put them in writing so I don't easily forget about them. In this great city there are at least three places that I know of that carry old parts for re-sale:

1. The ReBuilding Center is "...a popular destination for homeowners, do-it-yourselfers, contractors, artists, and enthusiasts interested in building with affordable, environmentally low-impact materials...It is the largest non-profit used building materials source in North America." They also carry classes in gardening, potting bench construction, plumbing and carpentry!
They are located at
3625 N. Mississippi Ave.

2. Habitat ReStore is
"...a recycled building materials re-sale center. We recycle overstock materials, seconds, and used or discontinued or salvaged building materials. The ReStore is a collaborative recycling and fund-raising effort of four area Habitat for Humanity affiliates. Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization dedicating to eliminating poverty housing worldwide, by partnering with families in need, and our local communities."
Habitat ReStore is located at
66 SE Morrison St.

3. Rejuvenation.
"Rejuvenation began in 1977 as an architectural salvage shop in a derelict North Portland saloon. Today, Rejuvenation is America's largest manufacturer and leading direct marketer of authentic reproduction lighting and house parts. Rejuvenation is committed to manufacturing high-quality, authentic products that help our customers enhance the beauty of older homes, buildings and neighborhoods." I especially appreciate Rejuvenation's commitment to environmental sustainability and community development.
Rejuvenation is located at
1100 SE Grand Avenue.

It has begun...

My very first blog entry. This is a venue for me to process out loud the things that consume my thoughts day in and day out. I imagine there will be much reflection, questioning, and wondering.

I would like to focus on the little things, and especially the things that demonstrate a restoration of things otherwise discarded, forgotten, or neglected. Whether those 'things' are people, objects, cities, convictions, or ideas, I want to brush the dust off of them and let their brilliance, beauty or provocation be clearly seen and appreciated. Of course I will probably stray from this unifying theme quite a bit, but this is the thread that I hope ties together this blog, as well as the theme that continually challenges and reinvigorates my spirit.