Sunday, December 30, 2012

January Jubilation

This is my monthly list of free and low-cost events around the greater Portland area for the month of January 2013. I look for events with some cultural or educational value. I compile this list for the homeschool group which we belong to that  includes kids 10 and under, but most events have much broader appeal.  This month,  I was assisted in proofreading by a thespian hedgehog!  Therefore, please doublecheck any event you'd like to attend in case of mistakes, typos, cancellations, etc.  

"First Day Hikes", Tuesday, January 1, at Oregon State Parks. They range from easy to moderate difficulty. Participating Portland-area parks include Tryon Creek, Silver Falls, Champoeg, Willamette Mission, and Stub Stewart. More details including meeting times and locations here:

Author Talk, "Richard Thompson and Don Nelson on Portland History", Wednesday, January 2, 7:30PM, Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside. "At the end of the 19th century, Portland led the nation in the development of interurban electric railways. The city became the hub of an electric rail network that spread throughout the Willamette Valley. Richard Thompson's 'Portland's Interurban Railway' is the story of the pioneering local railways that started it all as they built south along the Willamette River to Oregon City and east to Estacada and Bull Run in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Illustrated by scores of historic photos culled from collectors' accumulations and family archives, Don Nelson's 'Portland, Oregon: East of the Willamette River' includes a bit of insanity, humanity, and the transformation of the once-uninhabitable lowlands of Portland's East Side."

"Lego Free Play", Wednesday, January 2, 1PM, Terrace Plaza Community Room, 15220 NW Laidlaw Rd., Pdx. "A drop-in program for kids ages 5 and up who enjoy building with Legos!"

"Miniscule and Movable: An Exhibition of Pocket-Sized and Pop-Up Books", running now through February 3, Central Library, Collins Gallery. There will be a closing reception on Wednesday, January 23, 6PM, with light refreshments and some brief remarks by Jim Carmin, John Wilson Special Collections Librarian at Multnomah County Library. "In the world of book arts, there are two kinds that are among the most charming: small books and pop-ups. Both genres test the limit of bookmaking. Small books at times appear exactly like their oversize relatives having fine bindings and gilded-edged pages but with miniscule texts and images. Pop-ups appear as regular books until they are opened and their movable pieces reveal delightful three-dimensional surprises. Some smaller books were originally made for portability or to accommodate the small hands of children, while others were made small because their content was controversial and they needed to be easily concealed. Pop-ups bring images to life as three-dimensional models hidden inside the pages of a book but are also made simply to entertain."

"After School at Your Library: Science", Wednesday, January 2, 3-5PM, Vancouver Community Library. "Self-guided family science exploration for children ages 6-11 years; no younger children, please."

"InBeTweens Book Discussion for 8-12 years", Wednesday, January 2, 5PM, Cascade Park Library, Vancouver, WA. "Join this group of 8-12 year olds for a lively book discussion the 1st Wednesday of each month. Pick up your copy of this month's book at this library location."

"Lessons from Lincoln: Is Political Bipartisanship Possible?", Wednesday, January 2, 1PM, Tualatin Heritage Center, 8700 SW Sweek Dr., Tualatin. Free. "A conversation on how Abraham Lincoln achieved political bipartisanship will be led by Professor Richard Eutalain. This interactive program will engage participants in a dialogue on how these lessons might apply to our present climate at the national and local levels."

"Professor Banjo", Thursday, January 3, 6PM, Kennedy School Gymnasium, 5736 NW 33rd Ave., Pdx. Free. All ages. "Paul Silveria is an old-time banjo player who covers a variety of intriguing Americana: mountain ballads, country blues, jug band tunes, and originals, all with a ready wit and engaging delivery. Most notably he plays for kids and their banjo-loving parents as Professor Banjo in a show that features sing-a-longs, dancing games, and more!"

"Legos at the Library", Thursday, January 3, 4PM, Gresham Library. Suggested for ages 5-11. "Bring your mad Lego skills to the library and let your imagination flow. Each month we'll build a new structure to put on display. Bricks and supplies provided. Donations welcome."

"Wise Owls", Friday, January 4, 1PM, Powell's, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton. Presented by Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation. Suggested for ages 3-6. This program will teach students what makes an owl different from other birds and where to look for owls in the dark.

"Busy Beavers", Friday, January 4, 2PM, Powell's, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton. Presented by Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation. Suggested for ages 4-9. This program will lead students to discover how beavers get all of their chores done and how humans try to copy their creativity.

"Mask and Mirror Theatre Benefit Performance", Friday, January 4, and Saturday, January 5, 7:30PM, and Sunday, January 6, 2PM, Tualatin Heritage Center, 8700 SW Sweek Dr., Tualatin. Donations requested. For reservations contact 503.885.1926 or "Come and see Mask and Mirror Community Theatre of Tualatin and Tigard perform 3 benefit shows. Admission is by a free-will donation with all proceeds to benefit the Tualatin Heritage Center. Funded by a grant through the Cultural Coalition of Washington County and the Oregon Cultural Trust, the Traveling Thespians will present family friendly short plays, songs, and other acts to display their talent and entertain all ages."

"Gem Faire", Friday, January 4, 12PM-6PM, Saturday, January 5, 10AM-6PM, and Sunday, January 6, 10AM-5PM, Washington County Fairgrounds, Hillsboro, OR. $7 for a weekend pass, children under 12 free, two for one admission coupon on their website: This is primarily a bead and jewelry show, but there is much for the discerning rockhound, including fossils, crystals, and interesting rocks.

"Papagayo", Saturday, January 5, 3PM, Northwest Library; Saturday, January 12, 3PM, Midland Library Large Meeting Room; Saturday, January 19, 10:30AM, Capitol Hill Library (free tickets will be given out at 10AM); Saturday, January 19, 3PM, Rockwood Library; "Papagayo the parrot spends his days singing, playing games and disturbing the daytime slumber of the Animales De La Noche. But when the Ancient Moon Dog wakes up, and starts to eat the moon, the Night Animals are too afraid to do anything. Only Papagayo knows what to do. The Night Animals learn that Papagayo is a good friend to have, even if he is a little loud! Fun and interactive, this bilingual one person show brings the Guatemalan jungle to life with brightly colored puppets. Join us as we sing, hoot, croak , crow, and work together to scare away the Moon Dog in this interactive, bilingual performance."

"Twigging Out", Saturday, January 5, 1PM-4PM, Top of Firelane 1, Forest Park, Pdx. $10. Preregistration required; register online: "Winter in Forest Park unveils a new look. Absent of their leaves, trees and shrubs reveal a skeleton of branches and bark, which often appears unfamiliar. Familiarize yourself this winter with the small, distinguishing characteristics of twigs. Join us as we get our kicks playing pickup sticks."

"Portland Youth Spelling Bee", Saturday, January 5, sign-ups at 12:45PM, Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N. Mississippi Ave., Pdx. "Are you a W-H-I-Z at spelling? Kids ages 5-18 are welcome to come strut their spelling stuff on the Mississippi Pizza stage. Three difficulty levels give everyone a chance to play. Winners take home fun prizes, and every speller gets a treat."

"Let's Lego", Saturday, January 5, 1:30PM, Oak Lodge Library, Oak Grove, OR; and Saturday, January 19, 1:30PM, Sunnyside Library, Clackamas, OR. "We'll supply the LEGOs; you bring your creativity! Build with other LEGO fans and then tear down your constructions."

"Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count", Saturday, January 5, 7AM-5PM. You may participate by spending the day with a bird count team, or by counting birds at your own bird feeder. All the details here: "What's the oldest and grandest tradition in birding? Christmas Bird Counts, of course! Begun in 1900 as an alternative to the traditional wanton slaughter of anything that flew during Christmas Day "side hunts", hundreds of Christmas Bird Counts are now conducted throughout the Western Hemisphere and continue to contribute valuable scientific data to the longest existing record of bird population trends. Naturally, everyone likes the idea of contributing to science, but the real reason they've exploded in popularity? They're so much fun! All over the Americas, birders will be participating in one-day counts between Dec. 15, 2012 and Jan. 5, 2013. The Audubon Society of Portland conducted its first Christmas count in 1926. According to the official 111th Christmas Bird Count issue of "American Birds", Portland is the 3rd largest count (in number of participants) of all. Last year, 208 field observers and 112 feeder watchers found 127 species, a record for the Portland Count. This year our 87th count is on Saturday, Jan. 5. Will you help us try to break that record?"

"Lantern Tour of Ft. Vancouver", Saturday, January 5, and Saturday, January 19, 7PM-9PM, Ft. Vancouver. $10 per adult and $7 for ages 15 and under. Suggested for ages 10 and up. Preregistration required; call 360-816-6230. "Take a lantern-lit journey with a Park Ranger through a night at Fort Vancouver! Peak into the past through live theater with vignettes performed by costumed interpreters, and learn about your urban national park then and now. Walk from scene to scene through the fort buildings and enjoying hot cider with the performers."

"Lego My Library", Saturday, January 5, 2:30PM, Hillsboro Main Library. "Drop-in on the first Saturday of each month and use your creativity to build whatever your imagination dreams up! There are Duplo blocks for kids ages 3-5 and Legos for kids ages 6+."

"Library Lego Lovers", Saturday, January 5, 10AM-12PM, Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield, WA. "Join us each month for a new LEGO challenge - or just play."

"Eric John Kaiser Trio", Saturday, January 5, 2PM, Ledding Library of Milwaukie. "Modern pop-rock with influences from rock, hip-hop, and reggae all wrapped in both English and French lyrics."

"Grow Your Garden From Seed", Sunday, January 6, 2:30PM, Woodstock Library. "Yes it's winter, and it's time to start thinking about your vegetable garden. Melissa Richmond, aka the Garden Lady, offers valuable tips, tricks and techniques for planning next season's harvest. You'll learn proper timing, conditions and practices for success – indoor and out. Bring a list of the crops you want to grow."

"O-Shogatsu New Year's Festival", Sunday, January 6, 12PM-3PM, Portland Japanese Garden, 611 SW Kingston Ave., Pdx. Admission $9.50 adults, $7.75 seniors and college students wit ID, $6.57 youth 6-17, and free for children 5 and under. "O-Shogatsu, Japanese New Year, is the most important festival of the year in Japan. It is a time for family and friends to celebrate this auspicious day together and wish for good health and blessings in the new year. The Garden's celebration of O-Shogatsu features kakizome, the writing of the first calligraphy of the new year, presented this year by Yoshiyasu Fujii. The practice of kakizome is held throughout Japan on the second day of the New Year, and children are encouraged to write a celebratory character in their best hand to set the tone for success in their studies in the coming year. 12:30PM: Remarks by the Consul General Hirofumi Murabayshi and Steve Bloom, CEO, Portland Japanese Garden. 1:30PM: Calligraphy Demonstration by Yosiyasu Fujii. Join us to try your hand at writing with brush and ink and be sure to sample O-Matcha, the green tea of The Way of Tea."

Author Talk, "Ursula K. Le Guin", Sunday, January 6, 7:30PM, Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. "'The Unreal and the Real' is a major event not to be missed. In this two-volume selection of Ursula K. Le Guin's best short stories—as selected by the National Book Award winning author herself—the reader will be delighted, provoked, amused, and faced with the sharp, satirical voice of one of the best short story writers of the present day. 'Where on Earth' explores Le Guin's earthbound stories which range around the world from small town Oregon to middle Europe in the middle of revolution to summer camp. Companion volume 'Outer Space, Inner Lands' includes Le Guin's best known nonrealistic stories. Both volumes include new introductions by the author."

"Exploring Orion's Secrets and our Winter Sky", Monday, January 7, 7PM and 8:15PM, Mt. Hood Community College Planetarium, 26000 SE Stark St., Gresham. $2. "All shows are presented under a realistic representation of the night sky, featuring the latest galactic, stellar and planetary images."

"Nature vs. Nurture: A Story of Adoption, Reunion, Neuroscience and Shock Therapy", Monday, January 7, 7PM, Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Pdx. Free; $5 requested donation. All ages. "How do we become the people we are? Is it in the way we were raised, or in our genes? Or both? In this unique presentation, Dr. Larry Sherman weaves stories about his recently discovered biological family - including five siblings who all grew up in very different circumstances - with discussions about how our genes and environment influence our brains and, ultimately, who we are."

"Homeschool Archery", Monday, January 7, and Monday, January 21, 10:30AM, Archers Afield, 11945 SW Pacific Hwy Ste 121, Tigard. $6.75. All ages welcome. Archery lessons with equipment provided.

"Mz. Pearl's Variety Show", Tuesday, January 8, 7PM, Tigard Library Burgess Community Room. "Join us for a captivating, inventive show of comedy, juggling, magic and dance. Mz. Pearl's solo clown variety show will keep you on your toes and in stitches."

"An Evening with Abraham Lincoln", Tuesday, January 8, 7PM, Beaverton Historical Society, "What American wouldn’t love to have a conversation with Abraham Lincoln? Praised as 'the best Lincoln in America', portrayer Steve Holgate brings Lincoln alive. Steve has been portraying Abraham Lincoln onstage, in classroom and in other public venues for 13 years. He has performed before audiences on the West Coast as well as in Mexico, Bahrain and Sri Lanka.  'I think it’s important for Americans to have a real understanding of who Lincoln was and what he did,' Holgate says. 'He wasn’t a statue or a saint, but a man who struggled as any of us does to find meaning in his life and work. His ability to transcend his limitations, evolve a vision for the country and unite the nation behind that vision is what makes him perhaps our most inspiring figure.'"

"Lego Club", Tuesday, January 8, 6:30PM, West Linn Library. Suggested for ages 4-12. "Join us for LEGO Club! Kids can come to the library and build houses, castles, towers, or whatever they like. After each session we'll share the Lego creations online for everyone to see. Lego bricks will be provided so please do not bring your own." 

Author Talk, "Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America's Most Perilous Year", Tuesday, January 8, 7:30PM, Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. "As 1862 dawned, the American republic was at death's door. The federal government appeared overwhelmed, the U.S. Treasury was broke, and the Union's top general was gravely ill. The Confederacy—with its booming economy, expert military leadership, and commanding position on the battlefield—had a clear view to victory. To a remarkable extent, the survival of the country depended on the judgment, cunning, and resilience of the unschooled frontier lawyer who had recently been elected president. Twelve months later, the Civil War had become a cataclysm but the tide had turned. The Union generals who would win the war had at last emerged, and the Confederate Army had suffered the key losses that would lead to its doom. The blueprint of modern America—an expanding colossus of industrial and financial might—had been indelibly inked. And the man who brought the nation through its darkest hour, Abraham Lincoln, had been forged into a singular leader. In 'Rise to Greatness', acclaimed author David Von Drehle has created both a deeply human portrait of America's greatest president and a rich, dramatic narrative about our most fateful year." 

"Legos and More", Tuesdays in January beginning January 8, 2PM, Vancouver Community Library. "Drop in for creative construction with Legos, Clics, K'nex and other fun building toys. For children ages 6-11."

"Life in Portland's Gilded Age: The Birth of Mrs. Georgianna Pittock", Tuesday, January 8, 7PM, Forest Grove Library. Played by Mary Hutchens.

"Oregon's Glorious Trumpeter Swans", Tuesday, January 8, 7PM, Audubon Society of Portland, 5151 NW Cornell Rd., Pdx. (Secret parking tip: just east of the Audubon Society, on the north side of Cornell Rd., is the parking area for Upper MacLeahy Park. Follow a short path directly to the Audubon Society. Wear boots for the mud and bring a flashlight.) "Trumpeter Swans, one of Oregon's native waterfowl, were hunted to near-extinction as market hunting and trapping decimated the species in the 19th century. By the 1920s, less than 100 of the birds were found in the wild – and these individuals resided in Yellowstone National Park. In the 1930s, U.S. Fish and Wildlife began moving trumpeters to several western refuges, including Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, in an effort to rebuild healthy, breeding flocks. The ensuing decades have seen an increase in the Oregon flock, despite setbacks in the 1980s. Gary Ivey, biologist and president of the Trumpeter Swan Society, will speak about the valiant collaborative efforts of several organizations to save this amazing species. Sharing superb photographs and stories, Gary will report on the program and the current status of Oregon's breeding flock. Additionally, he will provide tips for identifying trumpeters and discuss good places to find them in summer and winter."

"Symphony Storytimes", Wednesdays in January beginning January 9, 11AM, Tualatin Library. Suggested for ages 3-6. "Each one-hour storytime features one of the four families of musical instruments: strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. Children and their parents experience a live musical collaboration between the library reader and an Oregon Symphony musician 4 times in a month at each location. Musicians play short selections, talk a little about their instrument and, after the stories are read aloud, audience members can try out each instrument!"

"Poet Matthew Dickman", Wednesday, January 9, 7PM, Ledding Library Pond House, 2215 SE Harrison, Milwaukie. "Enjoy an evening of beautiful poetry in the friendly confines of the Ledding Library Pond House."

"Lego Challenge", Wednesday, January 9, 2PM, Washougal Library, Washougal, WA. "Join us every month for a building bash featuring a different theme. Enjoy a snack while you share your creation with the group."

"Violinist George Shiolas", Wednesday, January 9, 1PM, Lake Oswego Library. "George Shiolas will perform a solo violin recital covering a wide range of music, including Classical, Broadway, Folk, and International. Shiolas will also provide a presentation about the history of the violin."

"Life After War: Photography and Oral Histories of Coming Home", Wednesday, January 9, 6PM, Kenton Library. "When does a war end? Does it ever? Many returning soldiers bring wars back with them, and these wars can reach beyond the battlefield or firefight, infiltrating the very thing that defines comfort and safety: home. The trials of homecoming are vast and complex, often resonating with tales of Odysseus' journey back to Ithaca from the Trojan War. Photographer James Lommasson has collected oral histories from returning soldiers and documenting their struggles at home. In this conversation, participants will consider the wars at home faced not only by returning veterans, but also by communities at large."  I decided to include this listing, because as the daughter of a war veteran, I know this issue affects kids too. And I know that war is often glamorized for boys in an unhealthy way. And this may be a good demonstration of the power of photographs and oral histories that anyone would appreciate. You will know if it's appropriate for your child.

"Brick Builders", Thursday, January 10, 4PM, Beaverton Library. Suggested for ages 3-8. "Come and play with Legos and Duplo blocks."

Author Talk, "Peaceful Places: Portland", Thursday, January 10, 7:30PM, Powell's, 3723 SE Hawthorne, Pdx. "Everybody knows about Portland's food scene, its outdoor recreation, its bike lanes, beer pubs, and coffee shops. Whether you call it Stumptown or Bridgetown — or even PDX — Portland has been mocked as the city where young people go to retire. But seemingly every weekend there's a festival, organized bike ride, political march, or something else clamoring for participation. In short, Portland is a happening town. Seeking out the places or times when the crowds will be elsewhere, Paul Gerald give travelers the essence of what each place is about — what makes it peaceful or inviting. But he does not stint on also giving readers all the detailed info they need to get there at the crowd-free time. The theme that carries throughout the book is a simple one: Portland is a great city, but it's still a city, and sometimes folks just need a break."

"Origami After School", Thursday, January 10, 3:30PM, Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield, WA. "Learn the art of origami folding from Sensei Lois during this fun afternoon program."

"Duct Tape Mania", Thursday, January 10, 4:30PM, Tualatin Library. Suggested for ages 6-11. "Come join the sticky fun as we explore various ways to create wonderful things out of duct tape!"

"Frida, Un Retablo", opening Thursday, January 10, through Saturday, January 19, Miracle Theatre, 425 SE 6th Ave., Pdx. Prices vary. "A bilingual Teatro Milagro touring production. In Tehuan­tepec dress with eyebrows taking flight like the wings of a raven, Frida Kahlo is legendary for an independence that inspired generations of feminists around the world. From the streetcar accident that left her crippled, to her torrid relationship with muralist Diego Rivera, life and art intertwine in this story of one of Mexico's most acclaimed visual artists."

"Belmont Builders", Thursday, January 10, 3:30PM, Belmont Library. "Drop in and explore your building prowess with LEGOs, K'NEX and more! We'll supply the building materials … you bring the creativity and imagination. All ages welcome."

Author Talk- "We Stopped Forgetting: Stories from Sami Americans", Friday, January 11, 7:30, Portland State University, Cramer Hall, Room 171. Free. Refreshments served in the Finnish Room afterwards. Presenter is author Ellen Marie Jensen. "During the immigration period of 1880-1940 an unknown number of Sámi people left Sápmi (Samiland; "Lapland") for North America alongside Nordic peoples. It has been estimated that there are at least 30,000 descendants of Sámi immigrants in North America and most of them are unaware of their Indigenous ancestry. The storytellers in this book give moving accounts of the history of their ancestors and tell their own life stories of cultural revitalization. They have consciously chosen to stop forgetting their lesser known and sometimes silenced Sámi ancestry by identifying with a cultural birthright. Further, their stories demonstrate a heartfelt commitment to both historical and contemporary Sápmi and the Indigenous world in their lives."

"Book Fan Friday", Friday, January 11, 4:30PM, Powell's, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton. Suggested for ages 10-18. "Book Fan Friday is a workshop for kids who love to write. This month, author Joy Preble (Anastasia Forever) will lead a discussion about folklore and fairy tales in young-adult books."

"Family Clay Nights", Fridays in January beginning January 11, 6PM- 8:30PM, Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Hwy., Pdx. $20 a session per adult and child pair. $10 a session for each additional family member. Pay at MAC office. Come as a family and play with clay! Includes glazes, firings and 5 lbs of clay. Not for solo participants. This is an adult and child activity. Use of the potter's wheel by instructor approval only."

"Guided Nature Walks", Saturdays in January (except January 5), 10AM-11:30AM, Tryon Creek State Park. "Join a park ranger for a free guided nature hike to explore the forest and stream ecosystems and natural history at Tryon Creek State Natural Area. Topics will vary from week to week but will be appropriate for all ages. Parents must accompany kids on all hikes." January 12- The Art of Owling; January 19- Secrets of the Black Tailed Deer; January 26- Lichen, the Odd Couple.

"Quizissippi Jr.- for kids!", Saturday, January 12, sign up starts at 12:45, Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N. Mississippi Ave., Pdx. "Why should grown-ups have all the fun? Portland's only kid-friendly trivia event invites your whole family to 'the best trivia on Saturday afternoons on Mississippi Avenue.' Questions for both adults and kids, multimedia clips, physical challenges, and plenty of great music mean a fun challenge and a good time for all. Teams of up to five players play FREE for fun prizes."

"Brick Builders", Saturday, January 12, 10:30AM, Beaverton Library. "A drop-in program where kids ages 3-5 can play with Duplo blocks and kids ages 6-11 can play with LEGOs."

"Lego Club!:, Saturday, January 12, 2PM, White Salmon Valley Community Library, White Salmon, WA. "Test your building skills with a fun new challenge each month!"

"Lone Fir Cemetery Guided Walking Tour", Saturday, January 12 10AM-12:30PM, Lone Fir Cemetery, entrance at SE 26th Street between Stark and Morrison Sts, Pdx. $10 suggested donation, which goes towards headstone restoration and educational programs. "Come for an informal history lesson while enjoying the beauty and tranquility of Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery in SE Portland. Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery conducts monthly tours, highlighting Portland's founders, pioneers, its famous and infamous alike, as well as interesting headstones and monuments. Come visit this hidden jewel! Explore 30 acres of mature trees, a very special rose garden and fascinating architecture in this unique place, the only cemetery in Portland listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Suitable for all ages. No advance registration required. Meet in the center of the cemetery, at the soldiers' monument." Lone Fir was the first public cemetery in Portland, and a tour is a must for anyone learning about local history.

"Celebrate Slavic New Year: Russian, Cossack and Gypsy Folk Songs", Saturday, January 12, 1PM, Troutdale Library Meeting Room (preregistration required; register online:; and Tuesday, January 15, 6:30PM, Holgate Library. "A community's history and culture are often expressed through folktales and songs, and Russians are no exception. Join singer and guitarist Natalia Hougen as she weaves some Eastern European magic in celebration of the New Year. Natalia sings in Russian, but provides stories and translations in English."

"Gearing Up for Space", Saturday, January 12, 10:30AM, Sherwood Library. "Come to the Library on Saturday, January 12 at 10:30am and you will learn about the environment of space and how a space suit functions like a miniature spacecraft to enable an astronaut to work outside of a spacecraft. An educator from the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum will have a replica space suit to display while talking to the group. It will show the intricate parts of the suit and you will learn hands-on why astronauts need an artificial atmosphere. This 45-minute presentation is crafted for grades K-12. The Museum's goal is to inspire a passion for higher education and foster an interest in careers in aviation, engineering, science, technology, and mathematics."

"Chinese New Year Crafts", Saturday, January 12, 2:30PM, Hillsboro Main Library. Suggested for grades K-5. "Make craft creations based on the upcoming Chinese New Year, the Year of the Snake. We'll have some great snake crafts for you to work on or use your own ideas."

Author Talk, "Michelle Knudsen", Saturday, January 12, 11AM, Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. Author Michelle Knudsen reads from her picture book, "Big Mean Mike". "Big Mean Mike is the biggest, toughest dog in the whole neighborhood. He has a big, mean car that he likes to drive around the big, mean streets. Everyone knows that Mike is big and mean, and that's just the way he likes it. But one day a tiny, fuzzy bunny shows up in his car. Mike can't believe it! Before anyone can see, he puts the bunny down on the sidewalk and drives away. When the tiny, fuzzy bunny shows up again — and this time brings a friend — Mike tells them both to get lost. Big mean dogs do not hang out with tiny, fuzzy bunnies! But gosh, those bunnies sure are cute. . . . From best-selling author Michelle Knudsen and illustrator Scott Magoon comes a comical lesson about how keeping up your image is not nearly as fun as being your own quirky self."

"Annual J.R.R. Tolkien Birthday Bash", Saturday, January 12, beginning at 11AM and running all day long, Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd Ave., Pdx. Free. All ages welcome. "Happy Birthday, J.R.R.! Elves, wizards, ents, orcs and all others are welcome to join us for this celebration of J.R.R. Tolkien, one of the 20th century's most influential authors. We'll have live music, the Lord of the Rings trilogy on screen, Hobbit-inspired food specials and more! Come in costume to compete for prizes." Details and complete schedule here:

"Young Adult Author Trio: Ruth Tenzer Feldman, Joy Preble, Emily Whitman", Saturday, January 12, 3PM, Annie Bloom's Books, 7834 SW Capitol Hwy., Pdx. "Annie Bloom's is excited to host all three of these great YA authors for one reading! Ruth Tenzer Feldman is the author of 'Blue Thread'. The women's suffrage movement is in full swing in 1912 Portland, Oregon—the last holdout state on the West Coast. Miriam desperately wants to work at her father's printing shop, but when he refuses she decides to dedicate herself to the suffrage movement, demanding rights for women and a different life for herself. Joy Preble is the author of 'Anastasia Forever'. This sequel to 'Dreaming Anastasia' weaves a masterful combination of folklore, suspense, and romance with an action-packed pace. Anne is bound by the witch Baba Yaga to undertake a journey into past, present, and future that will determine her destiny--and that of everyone she loves. Emily Whitman is the author of 'Wildwing'. From shipwrecks to castle dungeons, from betrothals to hidden conspiracies, Addy finds herself in a world where she's not the only one with a dangerous secret. When she discovers the truth, Addy must take matters into her own hands. The stakes? Her chance at true love . . . and the life she's meant to live."

"Wintry Animal Finger Puppets", Saturday, January 12, 10:15AM, Albina Library. "Learn how to make your very own winter animal finger puppets! After reading 'The Mitten: A Ukrainian Folktale' by Jan Brett, Sarah Frechette of Puppetkabob will show you how to create your very own animal character inspired by the story. Using recycled materials, as well as some fancy decorations, you can transform ordinary objects into extraordinary puppets!"

"Art ala Carte", Saturday, January 12, 10:30AM, Fairview-Columbia Library. "In this artistic free-for-all, there is no such thing as too much glue, and your finished work of art does not have to look like anything at all! Load up cafeteria trays with seemingly endless amounts of goodies, recycled materials and art supplies from Art ala Carte's art bar (formerly restaurant salad bars). Join us in creating your personal masterpiece!"

"Waterbird Watching 101", Saturday, January 12, 8AM-10AM, Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, Sherwood, OR. Free. Preregistration required; email or call 503-625-5944 x222. "Do you enjoy watching birds in wetlands, lakes, and streams, but are not sure what they are doing, where they came from, or even know their name? Do you want to learn more about bird behavior, migration, identification, or how to use binoculars? Join U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist, Michelle McDowell, to learn the basics of birdwatching and nature observation and open your eyes to the wonders that can be discovered at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. Fall and winter are the best time to experience migrating waterfowl that travel through the refuge by the thousands. All experience levels are welcome. We explore the refuge in rain or shine so dress for the weather. We will take a leisurely easy stroll on our wheelchair accessible nature trail. Bring your binoculars and field guides if you have them or borrow ours during the walk."

"Weaving for Kids", Saturday, January 12, 2PM, Woodstock Library. Preregistration required; register online: "Weaving is a fun and easy way to make your own cloths and textiles. Emily Purdin, of Hedgehog Hiker, will show you how to weave using a recycled cardboard loom and colorful yarn. Start your weaving project with us, and then take your loom home to keep the fun going all winter long."

"Slavic New Year Celebration", Sunday, January 13, 12:30PM, Gresham Library. "Join us for an afternoon of plays and music. Featuring internationally known Trio Voronezhrenowned for its conventional usage of Russian musical instruments and folk melodies." Check out their home page and watch out for that double-bass balalaika!

Author Talk, "Thomas Norman DeWolf and Sharon Leslie Morgan", Sunday, January 13, 7:30PM, Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. "We embarked on this journey because we believe America must overcome the racial barriers that divide us, the barriers that drive us to strike out at one another out of ignorance and fear. To do nothing is unacceptable." "Sharon Leslie Morgan, a black woman from Chicago's South Side avoids white people; they scare her. Despite her trepidation, Morgan, a descendent of slaves on both sides of her family, began a journey toward racial reconciliation with Thomas Norman DeWolf, a white man from rural Oregon who descends from the largest slave-trading dynasty in US history. Over a three-year period, the pair traveled thousands of miles, both overseas and through twenty-seven states, visiting ancestral towns, courthouses, cemeteries, plantations, antebellum mansions, and historic sites. They spent time with one another's families and friends and engaged in deep conversations about how the lingering trauma of slavery shaped their lives. 'Gather at the Table' is the chronicle of DeWolf and Morgan's journey. Arduous and at times uncomfortable, it lays bare the unhealed wounds of slavery. As DeWolf and Morgan demonstrate, before we can overcome racism we must first acknowledge and understand the damage inherited from the past—which invariably involves confronting painful truths. The result is a revelatory testament to the possibilities that open up when people commit to truth, justice, and reconciliation. DeWolf and Morgan offer readers an inspiring vision and a powerful model for healing individuals and communities."

"Portland Origami Paper Shapers", Sunday, January 13, 1:30PM, Belmont Library. "Enjoy origami-paper folding for fun, relaxation and stretching your brain. Learn a new origami project each month with various local origami instructors."

"Snow Globes", Sunday, January 13, 2PM, Troutdale Library (free tickets will be given out at 1:30PM); Saturday, January 19, 11AM, Sellwood-Moreland Library; Saturday, January 19, 2PM, Gresham Library; Saturday, January 26, 1PM, Hollywood Library; "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Homemade snow globes are fun to make and will last for many winters to come. Artist Addie Boswell will help you create your very own miniature scene using recycled jars, greenery, beads, figurines and confetti. Personalize your globe by bringing a favorite tiny toy or treasure to hide inside."

"Birding at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden", Sunday, January 13, 8AM-11AM, meeting at Backyard Bird Shop, 16949 SW 65th Ave., Lake Oswego, and carpooling to the garden. Free. Preregistration required; call 503-620-7454. "Amidst the thousands of rhododendrons on the seven-acre Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, a jewel of a lake hosts wintering waterfowl. Take a free expert-guided bird walk with naturalist, Elaine Murphy, to seek ducks, mergansers, herons, and kingfishers."

"Winter Walk", Monday, January 14, 3:30PM, Hillsboro Main Library. Suggested for grades 1-3. Preregistration required; register online. "Let's explore the winter landscape. We'll discover animals that are still active and learn about their behaviors and adaptations that allow them to live in colder weather and challenging conditions." Presented by Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve.

"Scott Anderson Magician", Monday, January 14, 12PM, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, Antionette Hatfield Hall Rotunda Lobby, 1111 SW Broadway, Pdx.

"Alter Wiener, Holocaust Survivor", Monday, January 14, 4PM, Cascade Park Community Library, Vancouver, WA. We have been to his presentation and it's amazing. Of course use your discretion when bringing children. There were many in the audience when we saw Mr. Wiener. "Alter Wiener is one of the very few Holocaust survivors still living in the Portland area. He has shared his life story in the State of Oregon and Washington with 750 audiences in universities, colleges, schools, churches, synagogues, prisons, companies and book clubs. He was interviewed by radio, TV stations and newspapers. Mr. Wiener received an Honorary Bachelor Degree from Warner pacific College and an Honorary Law Degree from Lewis and Clark Law School. Mr. Wiener's autobiography "From a Name to a Number" was published in April 2007. An autographed copy will be available to you, at the end of this program, for $20.00."

"Money Smarts for Kids", Tuesday, January 15, 4PM, Beaverton Library. Suggested for ages 5-10. Preregistration required; register online: "Families explore the value of making wise money choices using role play, savings idea crafts and games, and talking to people who know about money!"

"Exploring the Deep Ocean: Strange Animals, Submarine Volcanoes, and Life in Extreme Environments", Tuesday, January 15, 7PM, Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan St., Pdx. Free; $5 suggested donation. Minors permitted with an adult. "Critical to life on Earth yet, virtually unexplored, the planet's largest ecosystem – the ocean – holds many mysteries. Though currently subject to rapid change with unknown global-scale consequences, the ocean has been the source of a number of new discoveries of animal life, environments and even extremophiles. At this Science Pub, find out just how much of the planet's surface is still left to explore, and what kinds of curious creatures live there. Stephen R. Hammond, PhD., is the Chief Scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) Ocean Exploration and Research Program and Division Leader for the Ocean Environment Research Division of NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory." More on Dr. Hammond's work here:  My advice if you want to make it into this event is to get there very early, keeping in mind that parking is very difficult in this area.

"Tricky Tricky Trickster Tales", Tuesday, January 15, 4PM, Hillsdale Library Meeting Room. Suggested for ages 5 and up. "Chase away the winter blues with spirited trickster tales from Oregon's many cultural traditions. Tricky frogs, a guinea pig from Peru, wily coyotes and a hot-tempered mule romp through a lively program of world stories and songs by master storyteller Anne Rutherford."

"A Month in Japan", Tuesday, January 15, 6:30PM, Battle Ground Library, Battle Ground, WA. "Rachael Redjou was a Rotary Youth Exchange student in Japan from August 2011 to August 2012. She lived in Sapporo, Hokkaido, studying Japanese language and culture at the local high school and traveling to some amazing sites, including Tokyo and Kyoto with her host families. Rachael will share her impressions and adventures in a lively talk and slideshow."

"Tween Craftaround: Crafts for the New Year", Wednesday, January 16, 4PM, Beaverton Library, Meeting Room B. Suggested for grades 3-8. "Get ready to celebrate the Chinese New Year with crafts and fun!"

Concert, "Carley Baer", Wednesday, January 16, 6:30PM, West Linn Library. "Carley Baer, a Milwaukee native, has spent the last six years in Portland honing her musical craft. No matter where she travels, she brings a little of the Northwestern attitude with her: in her smiley demeanor, her dainty dreadlocks, and (most importantly) the effervescent delivery of her original material. Dubbed "original folk/pop with a ukulele twist" her music grabs your attention with both hands."

"Portland Old-Time Music Gathering", Wednesday, January 16, through Sunday, January 20, various Portland venues, with the biggest event Saturday, January 19, 12PM-5PM at the Scottish Rite Center, 1512 SW Morrison St., Pdx. Saturday's event includes "workshops, jamming, kid's programming, concerts, and family dance featuring Leela Grace, Kirk Sutphin and Bertram Levy, The Brainstormers w/ guest appearance Lauren Sheehan, Rich Kerby, the Canote Brothers, Kate O'Brian-Clark, Laurel Bliss, The Yups, Charmaine Slaven, Portland Sacred Harp, John Hatton, Gabe Strand, Paul Silveria, and the Onlies!" Check out their website for all the details: 

"Biodiversity Surveys", Wednesday, January 16, 7PM, Leach Botanical Garden, 6704 SE 122nd Ave., Pdx. Free. Preregistration required; email or call 971-222-6139. "Frog eggs, squirrel nests, and birds fly. Oh my! The City of Gresham uses dedicated groups of volunteers to collect data on the amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammal species that call the City home. Come hear Laura Guderyahn speak about how you can be a part of this effort and how the information collected is used to prioritize and garner support for restoration and habitat improvement projects across the region."

"Bats of the Northwest", Wednesday, January 16, 6:30PM, Billy Frank Jr. Conference Room, Ecotrust Building, 721 NW 9th Ave., Pdx. $5. Preregistration required; register online: "The only mammal capable of free flight, bats are important to us and our environment. Consuming insects, and in the SW United States and other parts of our world, pollinating plants and spreading seeds, bats play a critical role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. With that you'd think that bats would be celebrated for their contributions. Instead bats have, for centuries, been portrayed as evil and menacing creatures. Pat Ormsbee, Bat Specialist with the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management is joining us to dispel some commonly held beliefs about bats and help us gain in our understanding of them and how they benefit us and the world around us."

"Legos at the Library", Wednesday, January 16, 3PM, Northwest Library. Suggested for ages 5-11. "Bring your mad Lego skills to the library and let your imagination flow. Each month we'll build a new structure to put on display. Bricks and supplies provided. Donations welcome."

"Because I Said So", Thursday, January 17, 7:30PM, Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. "Don't cross your eyes or they'll stay like that!" "Feed a cold, starve a fever!" "Don't touch your Halloween candy until we get it checked out!" "Never run with scissors." "Don't look in the microwave while it's running!" "This will go down on your permanent record." "Is any of it true? If so, how true? In Because I Said So!: The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids, Ken Jennings wants to find out if mother and father always know best. Yes, all those years you were told not to sit too close to the television (you'll hurt your eyes!) or swallow your gum (it stays in your stomach for seven years!) or crack your knuckles (arthritis!) are called into question by America's leading trivia guru. Jennings separates myth from fact to debunk a wide variety of parental edicts: no swimming after meals, sit up straight, don't talk to strangers, and so on. Armed with medical case histories, scientific findings, and even the occasional experiment on himself (or his kids), Jennings exposes countless examples of parental wisdom run amok. Whether you're a parent who wants to know what you can stop worrying about or a kid (of any age) looking to say, 'I told you so,' this is the anti-helicopter parenting book you've been waiting for."

"Bird and Nature Walk", Wednesday, January 17, 9AM, Tualatin Heritage Center, 8700 SW Sweek Dr., Tualatin. Free. "Join us for bird walk at Hedges Creek Marsh. This 1 ½ hour walk around Sweek Pond is led by the Wetlands Conservancy."

"African Song and Dance", Thursday, January 17, 3:30PM, Belmont Library. "Join Habiba, a native of Ghana, in learning the richness of West African culture through song and dance. Habiba offers an interactive, multicultural performance with authentic West African costume, spiced with singing and movement. The whole audience gets involved in simple dance steps, call and response, greetings and phrases, and rhythm drumming."

Author Talk, "David Shapiro", Thursday, January 17, 7PM, Tualatin Heritage Center, 8700 SW Sweek Dr., Tualatin. Free; $3 requested donation. Book signing to follow. Mr. Shapiro is celebrating the release of his stunning new book, 'Terra Tempo: The Four Corners of Time", the second book in the Terra Tempo series. "Take a temporal trip back through time with Terra Tempo author and naturalist David Shapiro as he explores the natural history of the earth from the Big Bang to yesterday. President of Craigmore Creations, David and the team also authored the book: 'Terra Tempo: Ice Age Cataclysm!'"

Author Talk, "Neil Shubin", Friday, January 18, 7:30PM, Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. "From one of our finest and most popular science writers comes the answer to a scientific mystery as big as the world itself: How are the events that formed our solar system billions of years ago embedded inside each of us?
In 'Your Inner Fish', Neil Shubin delved into the amazing connections between human bodies—our hands, heads, and jaws—and the structures in fish and worms that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. In 'The Universe Within', with his trademark clarity and exuberance, Shubin takes an even more expansive approach to the question of why we look the way we do. Starting once again with fossils, he turns his gaze skyward, showing us how the entirety of the universe's fourteen-billion-year history can be seen in our bodies. As he moves from our very molecular composition (a result of stellar events at the origin of our solar system) through the workings of our eyes, Shubin makes clear how the evolution of the cosmos has profoundly marked our own bodies."

"Disney's The Little Mermaid Jr.", Friday, January 18- Sunday, January 27. Theatre in the Grove, 2028 Pacific Ave., Forest Grove. $14 adults, $12 seniors and youths. "Theatre in the Grove is proud to present 'Disney's The Little Mermaid Jr.'. Adapted from Disney's 2008 Broadway production, it is the stage version of Disney's immensely popular 1989 film, 'The Little Mermaid.' portrays a magical kingdom fathoms below, where the beautiful young mermaid Ariel longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. But first, she'll have to defy her father King Triton, make a deal with the evil sea witch Ursula, and convince Prince Eric that she's the girl with the enchanting voice. 'Disney's The Little Mermaid Jr.' features the hit songs: Part of Your World, She's in Love, Poor Unfortunate Souls, and the Oscar-winning Under the Sea."

Dragon Theater Presents, "Rapunzel Redeems Rumpelstiltzkin", Saturday, January 19, 11AM and 3PM, and Sunday, January 20, 4PM, Ping Pong's Pint Size Puppet Museum, 906 SE Umatilla St., Pdx. Tickets $6. "Both fairy tales collide as if they were happening at the same time! See what happens when Rapunzel meets Rumpelstiltskin. He may be crooked but he is the only person Rapunzel has to talk to while in her lonely tower. Eventually Rapunzel meets Prince Charming, but Rumpelstiltskin is the only one who can save them both from the wicked witch."

"Watersheds at Work", Saturday, January 19, 1PM-4PM, Top of Firelane 1, Forest Park, Pdx. $10. Preregistration required; register online: "Rain sleet or snow, the waterways of Forest Park flow. While the plant community of the forest lies dormant through the winter, the streams are in action shaping the forest ecosystem. Walking through the watershed, come to know the effects of good water quality and the threats that face it. "

"Tiny Treasures", Saturday, January 19, 1:30PM, Tigard Library Puett Room. All ages. "Design your own wee little room and create teeny-tiny furniture and trinkets to decorate it."

"ViVoce: Lonely Troubles, Days of Glory", Saturday, January 19, 7:30PM; and Sunday, January 20, 4:30PM, St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, 1704 NE 43rd Ave., Pdx. $15 adults, $10 students and seniors, free for children 6-12. Not recommended for kids 5 and under. Purchase tickets in advance: "Chase away the post-holiday blues (or make your Christmas Revels Show reveling last longer) with spirit-warming choral music and spunky storytelling in a pair of delightful ViVoce Concerts at the beautiful St Michael and All Angels Church in NE Portland. ViVoce concerts are a wonderful opportunity to hear ethereal music sung by incomparable voices. ViVoce audience members find the concerts joyful, light-hearted and uplifting. The choir presents 'exquisitely beautiful music' in counterpoint with well performed stories. Described as "technically superb," ViVoce evokes 'the fire of ancient music.'"

Author Talk, "Chris Kurtz", Saturday, January 19, 11AM, Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. "Flora the pig was born for adventure: 'If it's unexplored and needs to get dug up, call me. I'm your pig,' she says. The day Flora spots a team of sled dogs is the day she sets her heart on becoming a sled pig. Before she knows it, she's on board a ship to Antarctica for the most exhilarating—and dangerous—adventure of her life. This poignant novel of a purposeful pig is sure to become a favorite with any young readers who have ever dreamed of exploring the great beyond."

Mad Science Presents, "Winter Science", Saturday, January 19, 12PM, Midland Library. Suggested for ages 5-12. "Science fun straight from the North Pole! Watch how science helps Eggbert get down the "chimney." Defrost a chemical snowman and see simple powders burst into color. Analyze a mysterious substance that is said to have come straight from an iceberg! Be amazed at the science behind many of the traditions we see during the winter season."

"Discovering Native Plants through Plant Propogation", meets for four Saturdays, January 19, February 16, March 9, and March 23, 9AM-12PM, Tryon Creek State Park. $25, free for members. (Check out their memberships because this may be more cost-efficient.) May be of interest to homeschooling parents as well as mature kids. Preregistration required; register online: "Tryon is full of fascinating shrubs and small trees. Learn how indigenous peoples used these shrubs for food and medicine, discover the taxonomy of these plants, and find out how these interesting plants support our local ecosystems. Participants will explore these topics as they simultaneously learn plant propagation techniques and help propagate plants for the Friends and the Tryon Creek Watershed Council. Every Participant will get to keep each of the 13 different species we propagate."

"Homeschool Book Party", Tuesday, January 22, 1PM, Fairview-Columbia Library. "Calling all homeschoolers age 6-10! Make new friends, talk about great books, and make book-related crafts. Read Charlotte's Web by E.B. White." 

"Family Book Group- For the Younger Set", Tuesday, January 22, 3PM, Northwest Library. "Boys and girls in grades K-3 and their parents come together to share excellent books and learn about each other."

"Aaron Nigel Smith", Tuesday, January 22, 6:30PM, West Linn Library. "Portland musician, Aaron Nigel Smith puts on a fun, lively, and interactive show."

"Slough Tour: Water Flow", Wednesday, January 23, 4PM, Multnomah County Drainage Districts, 1880 NE Elrod Dr., Pdx. Free. Suggested for ages 10 and up. Preregistration required; register online: "Learn about the history of water control in the Portland area and get an up-close look at the people, machines, and structures that keep parts of NE Portland and Gresham from flooding. Co-hosted by the Columbia Slough Watershed Council and the Multnomah County Drainage Districts, this tour led by District Engineer Byron Woltersdorf highlights the water flow of the Columbia Slough waterway and the levees and pumps that maintain water levels. Please dress for the weather." 

Author Talk, "David Beller", Wednesday, January 23, 7:30PM, Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. "'The Portland Fruit Tree Guide' is designed to help gardeners of all levels select, plant, and care for fruit trees. This is a concise yet comprehensive guide from Grow Portland, filled with the crucial information needed for cultivating productive and healthy fruit trees in the Pacific Northwest. Grow Portland Founder and Director David Beller will be on hand to discuss the book." 

"Break It Down: Exploring Hip Hop's Musical and Cultural Odyssey", Wednesday, January 23, 6PM, North Portland Library. "Borne out of one of the poorest sections of New York City, hip hop is complex and contradictory, full of different styles, voices, ideas, and visions. This conversation, led by Portland State University adjunct professor Walidah Imarisha, involves an interactive multimedia exploration of the world's top-selling musical genre. Participants will explore perceptions of hip hop and take a look at the various political, economic, and social forces that have shaped the music genre in the last century."

"Fossils for Fun", Thursday, January 24, 3:30PM, Hillsboro Main Library. Suggested for grades 3-5. Preregistration required; register online .  "Do you find fossils fascinating? Find out all about fossils from the curator of the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals."

"Simon Benson", Thursday, January 24, 6PM, Sherwood Library. "Multnomah Falls...the Historic Columbia River Highway...Portland's iconic "bubbler" fountains...the Benson Hotel...Benson Polytechnic High School...these priceless public assets exemplify the dedication and generosity of Simon Benson. Join us on Thursday, January 24 at 6pm in the Community Meeting Room as author, filmmaker and historian Sig Unander tells how a humble woodsman overcame daunting challenges to become Oregon's Lumber King and then worked just as diligently giving back to his adopted state and country. A poor Norwegian immigrant, Benson's life was a cross-section of Oregon's development, a story of incredible achievement. He revolutionized Oregon's logging industry, pioneering steam power and inventing huge seagoing log rafts. He led the movement to build good roads and was first Chair of the Oregon State Highway Commission. Benson was honored as Oregon Citizen of the Year and at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco."

"Library Lego Lovers", Thursday, January 24, 4PM, Three Creeks Community Library, Vancouver, WA; and Thursday, January 24, 6PM, Battle Ground Library, Battle Ground, WA. Suggested for ages 5-11. "Join us each month for a new Lego challenge."

"Kid's Comic Club", Friday, January 25, 3:15PM, Northwest Library. "Do you love to draw? Do you love comics? Join the Comic Club! Each month make your own comic and then trade with friends. Lead by artist Kanani Miyamoto with help from library staff, kids will learn drawing techniques, research skills and have fun!"

"Owl Prowl", Friday, January 25, 6:30PM, Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, Sherwood, OR. Free. Preregistration required; please register by submitting you name, number of participants in your group, and your phone number to Maximum reservation size is 6. "Whooooo goes there? Join us at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge to find out about the owls who make the Refuge their home. During a night hike we will learn about the mysterious lives of our nocturnal neighbors, discover their habitat, and learn about their amazing adaptations for life at night.. Wear sturdy shoes, and dress for the weather."

"Classical Revolution Pdx", Friday, January 25, 7:15PM, Community Music Center, 3350 SE Francis St., Pdx. Free; suggested donation of $5 per person or $15 per family. "Classical Revolution PDX is a Portland-based nonprofit organization founded in 2007 dedicated to enriching and educating our community by making classical music accessible to the public. They have grown into a network of over two hundred musicians that love to play chamber music, and share a common desire to make classical music a part of people's daily lives."

"From the Trenches of Middle School", Friday, January 25, and Saturday, January 26, 7PM, Sellwood Playhouse, 901 SE Spokane St., Pdx. $5 tickets available at – or call 503/528-4188. "As told by the Lunatic Fringe at Lane Middle School". See and experience Portland 2013 through the eyes of a diverse group of S.E. middle school kids, as they sing, dance, and laugh at being "stuck in the absurd purgatory of 6th, 7th, and 8th grades". Reception follows the January 26 performance."

School of Rock Presents "Best of Portland 2", Friday, January 25, 8PM, Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside, Pdx. Tickets $13 in advance and $17 day of show. All ages. "School of Rock presents "Best! of Portland 2: a benefit for Music In The Schools." Join us again this year to see local teenagers play with members of: Red Fang, Portugal The Man, Lost Lander, Radiation City, Brainstorm, Blitzen Trapper, Mean Jeans, AU, Laura Gibson, Lovers, Sloths, Magic Mouth, Suns of Huns, Blouse and more TBA! We'll play 25 of your favorite songs from these and more local bands WITH members from the bands and you will rock and be rocked. Oh, and there's a dance party at the end, of course. Don't miss this amazing night of PDX music!"

"The Alphabeticians", Saturday, January 26, 1PM, Tualatin Library Community Room. "The Alphabeticians play clever, upbeat, family appropriate songs, including songs about numbers, size, dads, metaphors, extinct fish and multiple alphabet songs. What more could you ask for?"

"Koll Creekside Bird Walk", Saturday, January 26, 8AM- 11AM, meeting at Backyard Bird Shop, 11492 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy., Beaverton. Free. Preregistration required; call 503-626-0949. "Escape the winter doldrums with a Westside birding adventure to Koll Creekside Marsh! This marsh, situated along Fanno Creek, is an excellent place to watch Belted Kingfishers in action. Look for them perched on an exposed branch or cruising over the open water, sometimes hovering momentarily before hitting the surface with a splash. Successful dives usually result in a catch of a small minnow, which the bird carries to a nearby perch. Occasionally the prize is a large frog, nearly as big as the bird itself! The Great Blue Heron is a common resident and can often be seen feeding on fish or frogs or squabbling with a neighbor over a favorite fishing hole. The marsh abounds in other wetland birds. It's my favorite place for viewing the snipe, a secretive and well-camouflaged bird. Other birds to look for include Hooded and Common Mergansers, Cinnamon and Green-winged Teal, wigeon, shovelers, coots and – of course – mallards. Scan the trees for Red-tailed Hawks, kestrels, Band-tailed Pigeons, Mourning Doves and a variety of sparrows and finches. Listen for the calls of the Ring-necked Pheasants."

"NCNM Herb Walk", Saturday, January 26, 1PM-2PM, NW Forest Lane and Firelane 1, Forest Park, Pdx. Free. Preregistration required; register online: "Join a National College of Natural Medicine student for an hour-long herb walk in Forest Park! This educational romp will focus on the medicinal uses of plants that can be found in your own backyard." These usually fill up before I publish my event list, so if they interest you, I'd advise checking back to register ASAP when they are posted on the Forest Park Conservancy's website:

Author Talk, "Tom Agleberger", Saturday, January 26, 2PM, Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. The third in a series beginning with "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda" and continuing with "Darth Paper Strikes Back". "With Dwight attending Tippett Academy this semester, the kids of McQuarrie Middle School are on their own—no Origami Yoda to give advice and help them navigate the treacherous waters of middle school. Then Sara gets a gift she says is from Dwight—a paper fortune-teller in the form of Chewbacca. It's a Fortune Wookiee, and it seems to give advice that's just as good as Yoda's—even if, in the hands of the girls, it seems too preoccupied with romance. In the meantime, Dwight is fitting in a little too well at Tippett. Has the unimaginable happened? Has Dwight become normal? It's up to his old friends at McQuarrie to remind their kooky friend that it's in his weirdness that his greatness lies. With his proven knack for humorously exploring the intrigues, fads, and dramas of middle school, Tom Angleberger has crafted a worthy follow-up to his breakout bestsellers 'The Strange Case of Origami Yoda' and 'Darth Paper Strikes Back'."

"Kids Knit", Saturday, January 26, 11AM, North Portland Library. Preregistration required; register online: "Discover a fun new hobby by learning to knit or improving your current skills! Needles and yarn provided or bring your own supplies. For grade school-age children and up."

Dragon Theater Presents, "The Reluctant Dragon", Saturday, January 26, 11AM and 3PM, and Sunday, January 27, 4PM, Ping Pong's Pint Size Puppet Museum, 906 SE Umatilla St., Pdx. Tickets $6. "The story is about the cowardly knight Sir Cans-O-Lot, who must prove his knighthood and a dragon that must show the village that he's nice. With the help of a shepherd boy they have a fake fight to fool the village into thinking that the knight heroically tamed the dragon."

"Drumming Up a Story", Saturday, January 26, 12PM, Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield, WA. "Enjoy stories told to the rhythm of the drum by Nancy McQuillan, guest storyteller, at this special program. Rhythm instruments provided."

"Morning Bird Walks at Wapato Access Greenway", Saturday, January 26, 8AM-11AM, Sauvie Island. Free. Preregistration required; register online: "Join a Park Naturalist for Morning Guided Walks at Wapato Access Greenway on Sauvie Island. These informal walks will focus on the local natural and cultural history, a peek at the rare oak savannah habitat and beginner birding basics. They will occur the last Saturday of each month. Bring your binoculars, a water bottle, and expect to have a great time."

"Northwest Reptile Expo", Saturday, January 26, 10AM-4PM, Holiday Inn, 25425 SW 95th Ave., Wilsonville, OR. Admission $8 for adults, $4 for kids 6-12, and free for ages 5 and under. There is a $1 off admission coupon on their website: Captive-bred amphibians and reptiles of every size and shape! Very fun even just to see.

"Beaverton Modular Railroad Club", Saturday, January 26, 10AM-9PM, and Sunday, January 27, 1PM- 6PM, Lake Oswego Library. "Trains in the Library? You bet! Members of the Beaverton Modular Railroad Club are providing two sets of model trains and tracks for public enjoyment; one set will be on the main floor and the other in the children's room. People of all ages are invited to view the trains, ask questions, and "drive" the trains. Children can even bring their own trains to run on the tracks if they are HO. There will be train books available for check out to extend the learning and fun."

"Lego Construction Zone", Sunday, January 27,1:30PM, Tigard Library. Suggested for ages 5 and up. "Drop in to work on your creations with other LEGO® fans. We'll supply the building blocks; you bring your creativity."

"Seed Swap and Giveaway and Soupapalooza Too!", Sunday, January 27, 1PM, Old Venersborg Schoolhouse, 24309 NE. 209th St., Battle Ground, WA. "You don't need seeds to share, you just need seeds! More info to come on the Soupapalooza part (it's new so we're still working on it!) Annual seed swap and/or Soup potluck. Equal opportunity for herb/veggie or flower seeds. Bring any extra seeds you have left from last year or your extra saved seeds that you don't want. If you don't have seeds of your own come anyway - we're sharing ours! The soup potluck is new this can get free seeds, trade seeds, taste/judge soups or just visit. It will be very casual, open house style. Donations/seeds are welcome but certainly not required!"

"Mochitsuki Portland- Year of the Snake", Sunday, January 27, 11AM-4PM, Scottish Rite Center, 1512 SW Morrison St., Pdx. Advance tickets $10 adult, $7 seniors and students with ID, $4 children 4-12 and free for kids 3 and under. Advance tickets can be purchased online or through many local stores listed on their website: Or you can get them at the door for a slightly higher price. This is a Japanese New Year celebration! There will be a community fair with "free mochi samples, demonstrations and hands-on activities for all ages including: mochi pounding, ikebana, calligraphy, games and much more!" There will also be live stage performances beginning at 11:45AM.

"Portland Opera Preview: Tosca", Sunday, January 27, 2PM, Central Library, Collins Gallery. "Opera Previews are held a week prior to opening night. A member of our artistic staff and our Resident Artists will tantalize you with music and insightful information on the upcoming production. Lecture/concert covers historical background, composer information and musical selections from Puccini's Tosca. When her lover, Cavaradossi, faces execution for aiding a political prisoner, Tosca must make an unthinkable choice: submit to the loathsome Baron Scarpia, chief of police ... or send her true love to the firing squad. Her decision brings the opera to a breathtaking climax."

"Eye on the Wild: Conservation Photographer Suzi Eszterhas", Monday, January 28, 7PM, Venetian Theatre, 253 E. Main St., Hillsboro. Free; $5 suggested donation. "Award-winning wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhaus is one of the only women in her competitive, adventure-filled industry. Eszterhas specializes in documenting the family life of endangered species, and travels around the world photographing wild newborns including lions, cheetahs, tigers, gorillas, orangutans, penguins, bears, and sea otters. At this Science Pub, Eszterhas will share memorable anecdotes, technical expertise, and ridiculously cute images from her work photographing animal families in their wild habitats. Hear how she composes photos while riding an elephant in India, how she keeps herself safe while working with grizzly bears, how the animals respond to her and her camera, and how her photography can help raise awareness of the problems facing wildlife today." Ms. Eszterhas is also a children's book author.

"To Cut or Not To Cut: Censorship in Literature", Tuesday, January 29, 6:30PM, West Linn Library. "Recent efforts to remove the "n" word in literature—from the new edition of Mark Twain's Huck Finn in which the word is changed to "slave" to the attempt to halt a high school production of August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone because of what some considered offensive language—raise questions about censorship. Is censorship ever a good thing? Should accommodations be made considering the difference between a character's and author's point of view? Reed College professor Pancho Savery will facilitate a discussion that examines these questions, as well as how language is used in Twain's and Wilson's texts."

Author Talk, "Wenonah Hauter", Tuesday, January 29, 7:30PM, Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. "Wenonah Hauter owns an organic family farm that provides healthy vegetables to hundreds of families as part of the growing nationwide Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement. Yet, as one of the nation's leading healthy-food advocates, Hauter believes that the local food movement is not enough to solve America's food crisis and the public health debacle it has created. In Foodopoly, she takes aim at the real culprit: the control of food production by a handful of large corporations—backed by political clout—that prevents farmers from raising healthy crops and limits the choices that people can make in the grocery store. Blending history, reporting, and a deep understanding of American farming and food production, Foodopoly is the shocking and revealing account of the business behind the meat, vegetables, grains and milk that most Americans eat every day, including some of our favorite and most respected organic and health-conscious brands. Hauter also pulls the curtain back from the little-understood but vital realm of agricultural policy, showing how it has been hijacked by lobbyists, driving out independent farmers and food processors in favor of the likes of Cargill, Tyson, Kraft and ConAgra. Foodopoly demonstrates how the impacts ripple far and wide, from economic stagnation in rural communities at home to famines overseas. In the end, Hauter argues that solving this crisis will require a complete structural shift—a change that is about politics, not just personal choice." 

"Northwest Agriculture Show", Tuesday, January 29, 10AM-6PM, Wednesday, January 30, 10AM-9PM, and Thursday, January 31, 10AM-5PM, Portland Expo Center, 2060 N. Marine Dr., Pdx. $8 adults, $6 seniors, free for kids 12 and under. Wednesday $15 admits the whole family. Free parking for this event. This is a really huge ag show. Your family may have experience with gardening, and you may have spent time at small family farms. But this show reveals an entirely different side to agriculture- the latest and most advanced technology used for large-scale industrial farming, with over 200 exhibitors.

"Portland's Past in Pictures: Goose Hollow", Wednesday, January 30, 6PM, Northwest Library. "Dr. Tracy J. Prince will present a slide show of historical photos from her book 'Portland's Goose Hollow', showing the earliest days of the frontier city of Portland. Scenes include: the Great Plank Road (Jefferson/Canyon Road); rare photos of Tanner Creek running in its banks; Guild's Lake and Couch Lake; Chinese gardeners who terraced the steep slopes of Tanner Creek Gulch to grow vegetables; Native Americans who had encampments in the gulch; horse drawn streetcars; cable cars; Rose Festival performances on Multnomah Field; and many other photos that give a wonderful sense of life in Old Portland."

"Raptor Road Trip Rev-Up", Wednesday, January 30, 7PM, Leach Botanical Garden, 6704 SE 122nd Ave., Pdx. Free. Preregistration required; email or call 971-222-6139. "Join Portland's Adult Education Coordinator, Steve Engel, for an introduction to identifying birds of prey. This is a great way to prepare yourself for the Raptor Road Trip extravaganza sponsored by Portland Audubon, Metro and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife that takes place Saturday, Feb. 9 at Sauvie Island. We'll learn the key field marks for all the local wintering raptors, and make side-by-side comparisons of similar species." More about the Raptor Road Trip: 

"Dream Big! Career Exploration for Tweens", Thursday, January 31, 6PM, Beaverton Library, Meeting Rooms A and B. Suggested for grades 3-8. "Drop in and meet real people with a variety of careers! Get practical advice from our career experts about how they got to where they are today. Fun crafts and activities too!"

"Mt. Scott/ Scouter Mountain Trail Loop Open House", Thursday, January 31, 5:30PM, Happy Valley City Hall, 1600 SE Misty Dr., Happy Valley. "Presentation at 6:00 PM followed by an open house with lots of maps and information about the proposed trail. Help plan the future Mt Scott / Scouter Mt Trail Loop which will connect the Springwater Corridor Trail south to the Clackamas River. Major parks and natural areas along the proposed trail route include Zenger Farm, Powell Butte Nature Park, Buttes Natural Area, Scouter Mt Natural Area, Hood View Park, Mt Talbert Nature Park, Happy Valley Nature Park, and many schools. The trail will also be linked to the MAX Green Line and numerous TriMet bus lines. Also learn about the development of the Scouter Mt Nature Park."

Author Talk, "Jennie Grant", Thursday, January 31, 7:30PM, Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. "Jennie Grant is your average 40-something mother with a bungalow in Seattle's leafy Madrona neighborhood, a happy middle-school child, a tolerant husband, and a Pug named Eddie. She also happens to keep chickens and two goats, Snowflake and Eloise, and is regionally known as the passionate founder behind the Goat Justice League. Since Grant began keeping goats several years ago, she has learned firsthand the remarkable benefits and beauty of keeping goats, how much healthier and easier to maintain a yard with goats can be, the tolerance levels of neighbors, the health benefits of non-industrial foods, and how interacting with goats inspires a connection to nature. City Goats: The Goat Justice League's Guide to Urban Goat Keeping is her step-by-step guide on raising a pair of dairy goats in your urban or suburban backyard, from city zoning and selecting goats to setting up your yard, building a shed, feeding and caring, kidding, and milking."

 I have a question for my readers.  Do you think I should continue to compile library Lego free play events?  They have been multiplying rapidly, most likely because libraries are happy to find a fun, free event that requires little to host. Are Lego free play events now so commonplace that most people just seek them out at their own libraries if they are interested? I welcome your comments.