Wednesday, December 31, 2014

January 2015 Events

Happy New Year Everyone! This is my list of events happening around the Portland area in January 2015.  It's only about 1/5 the length of the lists I've been compiling lately and have been compiling for 60 months.  I will no longer be compiling long lists with the aim of finding all educational and cultural happenings.  I am very grateful to everyone who supported my efforts, especially those who bought my list last month.  As always, please doublecheck anything you plan to attend for mistakes and cancellations.

There are lots of service learning opportunities in January. Friends of Trees will be hosting lots of community tree planting programs and SOLVE  will have beach cleanups and tree plantings. Most will be family friendly, but you may need to pick up some gardening gloves in kids' sizes ahead of time. 

If you are looking for more service learning opportunities, Hands On Greater Portland is a wonderful place to look. They are an online resource connecting volunteers with hundreds of area nonprofits, and they make it simple to find suitable volunteer activities for kids. Under "Find Volunteer Opportunities" click on "Advanced Search", and under "Additional Filters" click on "Appropriate For" where you can select the right age group. Oregon Food Bank also offers lots of terrific volunteer opportunities, most beginning at age 6. 

First Day Hikes”, Thursday, January 1, many Oregon State Parks and Washington State Parks. Free. See their websites: and

All Ages Anime”, Friday, January 2, 2PM, Tigard Library. “Ring in the New Year with Japanese games, crafts, snacks and a screening of one of Studio Ghibli's classic films.”

Christmas Bird Count”, Saturday, January 3.

Portland Youth Spelling Bee”, Saturday, January 3, 1PM with signup at 12:45, Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N. Mississippi Ave., Pdx. “Just like the Scripps National Spelling Bee, only mellower, funnier, and friendlier. Kids ages 5-18 are welcome to take the stage and demonstrate their budding spelling skills. Whether you’re prepping for a school-level Bee or just looking for a chance to demonstrate your word power, you’ll have fun and learn new words at the Youth Spelling Bee. Three levels of difficulty mean everyone has a chance to shine. Free to play!”

Huichol Yarn Art”, Sunday, January 4, 1:30, Tigard Library. All ages. “Make your own eye-catching yarn painting just like Huichol (Wee-chol) people of Northwest Mexico.”

Mochi Tsuki Festival”, Sunday, January 4, Bainbridge Island, WA. “For over a millennium, making and eating the sweet rice treat mochi has been a celebrated New Year's tradition in Japan, with generations of families and communities coming together to wish good health and prosperity for the new year. Each year BIJAC brings this celebration to Bainbridge Island. We invite everyone, young and old, to bundle up against the crisp winter air, and enjoy the tradition of mochi tsuki (moe–chee sue–key), or mochi–making.”

All Ages Bhangra Dance Social”, Sunday, January 4, 5:30PM, Viscount Dance Studio, 720 SE Sandy Blvd., Pdx. $5. “DJ Anjali and The Incredible Kid welcome people of all ages to the Viscount Dance Studio for a bhangra dance gathering that starts with a dance lesson and turns into a fun-filled dance party.”

More Than a Score: The New Uprising against High-Stakes Testing”, Sunday, January 4, 7:30PM, Powell’s, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. “For too long, so-called education reformers, mostly billionaires, politicians, and others with little or no background in teaching, have gotten away with using standardized testing to punish our nation's youth and educators. Now, across the country, students are walking out, parents are opting their children out, and teachers are refusing to administer these detrimental exams. In fact, the reformers today find themselves facing the largest revolt in U.S. history against high-stakes, standardized testing. ‘More Than a Score’ is a collection of essays, poems, speeches, and interviews — accounts of personal courage and trenchant insights — from frontline fighters who are defying the corporate education reformers, often at great personal and professional risk, and fueling a national movement to reclaim and transform public education. Editor Jesse Hagopian will be joined for a panel discussion by Portland Association of Teachers President Gwen Sullivan, student leader and ‘More Than a Score’ contributor Alexia Garcia, Madison High School teacher and ‘Rethinking Schools’ editor Adam Sanchez, and parent activist Paul Anthony.”

Sunset and Moonrise Watch”, Sunday, January 4, 4:15PM, Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, 2600 SW Hillsboro Hwy., Hillsboro. Free. “Once a month make time in your day to relax and take in the eastern sky as the sun sets and the moon rises. This evening vivid colors paint the sky, the earth’s shadow rises, heralding the coming of night, and a full moon makes its dramatic entrance into the night sky. Daytime wildlife seeks shelter as nighttime creatures emerge. Join us thirty minutes before sunset, once a month, at select City of Hillsboro park sites. A Parks and Recreation naturalist will be on hand to help you tune in to the many wonderful events that attend the passing of day into night. Dress comfortably for the weather, you may wish to bring a blanket and a warm beverage. Some seating is provided but you may wish to bring something to sit upon, a pad or blanket for the ground or a portable chair.”

Cascadia Loud Band Presents “Music for Twelfth Night”, Sunday, January 4, 3PM, Community Music Center, 3350 SE Francis St., Pdx. $15 adults, $12 students and seniors. “Music for the New Year, Epiphany and selections from Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" will be played on a consort of shawms, recorders, as well as dulcians, violin, cittern, and bagpipes. Musicians are Laura Kuhlman, Brandon Labadie, Gayle Neuman, and Phil Neuman. The new quartbass dulcian will be premiered.”

History of Theatre in Oregon”, Tuesday, January 6, 7PM, Forest Grove Library. “Darrell Jabin presents a history of the dramatic arts in our state.”

Parasites: A Global Health Problem”, Tuesday, January 6, 7PM, Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St., Pdx. $8 advance tickets or $10 requested donation at the door. “Parasites constitute a global health problem of unimaginable magnitude. Two out of three people worldwide are afflicted with a parasitic disease, and most people who harbor parasites actually are afflicted with a multiplicity of diseases. The organisms that are considered traditional parasites are either protozoa, worms, or insects, although viruses, bacteria, and fungi also meet the classic definition of a parasite. At this Science on Tap, Dr. Buddy Ullman, parasitologist at OHSU, will take a somewhat irreverent tour of the major time-honored parasites and describe where they live, how they reproduce, and what effect they have on humans. Warning: this talk will be both gross and fascinating!”

Oregon Shadow Theatre Presents, “Puss In Boots”, Wednesday, January 7, 7PM, Forest Grove Library. Suggested for ages 4 and up. “As the house lights go down we see and hear a musician on stage playing accordion and percussion. After his greeting, the shadow screen lights up and we see storyteller Marie Laveau as a shadow puppet, setting the tale with the wave of her fan. In New Orleans the miller's dying wish is granted as his three sons follow his casket through the streets in a traditional jazz funeral, complete with marching band. Antoine, the youngest son, inherits Puss, a remarkable talking cat. The two set out on a journey to impress the great King Calypso and the Princess, Sweet Emma. Soon Antoine is wrestling an alligator and Puss has to match wits with the shape changing Swamp Ogre. Live voices and Cajun, Zydeco and Caribbean music give spicy flavor to this production, which reaches a rousing conclusion in a Mardi Gras festival replete with colorful and fantastic costumes. Deb Chase manipulates the delightful shadow puppets to the sounds of Mick Doherty's one man band of accordion, percussion, kazoo, whistles and sound effects.”

Author Talk, “Ellen Morris Bishop”, Thursday, January 8, 7:30PM, Powell’s, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx; and Saturday, January 10, 1PM, Hood River Library Reading Room. “Bishop will be discussing her new book, ‘Living With Thunder: Exploring the Geologic Past, Present, and Future of Pacific Northwest Landscapes’. The Pacific Northwest is a region defined by its geology as much as its rugged coastline, drippy westside forests, fertile farms, and canyoned eastside grasslands. These landscapes have been forged by volcanoes, crumpled by faults and sculpted by water and ice. But the Northwest’s geologic DNA is rooted in volcanic activity. From the ancient lavas of Washington’s Selkirks that freed the planet from a global ice age, to the world-class flood-basalts that dominate the Columbia Basin, to the restless peaks of the High Cascades, the thunder of volcanic eruptions echoes through the ages. In ‘Living with Thunder’, geologist and photographer Ellen Morris Bishop offers a fascinating and up-to-date geologic survey of the Northwest—Washington, Oregon, northern California, and western Idaho. New discoveries include Smith Rock as part of Oregon’s largest (and most extinct) volcano, portraits of Mount Hood’s 1793-1795 eruptions, and new ideas about the origin of the Columbia River basalts, and the course of the ancestral Columbia River. Intended as an introduction for the general reader and geological non-specialist, ‘Living with Thunder’ enlivens Northwest geological history by combining engaging science writing with the author’s stunning color photographs. In addition, color maps and time charts help guide the reader through time. The book presents evidence of changing ecosystems and ancient life, as well as the Northwest’s exceptional record of past climate changes and the implications for our future. The title harks to the Klamath Indian recounting of Mount Mazama’s cataclysmic eruption, and the book also examines the confluence between scientific findings and Native American documentation of several major geologic events. An important work by a gifted scientist and storyteller, Living with Thunder offers a key to understanding the Northwest’s unique, long-term volcanic heritage.”

Gem Faire”, Friday, January 9, Saturday, January 10 and Sunday, January 11, Washington County Fairgrounds.

Norse Myths - Crossing the Rainbow Bridge”, Friday, January 9, 7:30PM, Portland State University, Cramer Hall Room 171. Free and open to the public. Refreshments are served after the lecture in the Finnish Room in Cramer Hall. “Presenter is Barbara Fankhauser. Join us for an evening of stories from the rich pantheon of gods and goddesses that lie at the heart of the Norse myths - from Odin's quest to gain wisdom, to the antics of Loki and Thor. Barbara will lead us over Bifrost, the rainbow bridge that connects Asgard and the tribe of our ancient gods, to Midgard, the world of humans - a world we still occupy today. And perhaps in looking at the triumphs, failures and foibles of these ancient gods and goddesses, there are life lessons still to be learned... Barbara has been telling stories with the Portland Storytellers' Guild since 1989. She is currently the president of the Guild.”

Happy Birthday J.R.R. Tolkien!”, Saturday, January 10, Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd Ave., Pdx. All ages. Free with suggested 2 can donation to Oregon Food Bank. Screen the trilogy, participate in the costume party, and check out the Willamette Radio Workshop performing the “Hobbits Greatest Hits”. Details here:

History and Culture of the Uyghur of Xinjiang, China”, Saturday, January 10, 9:30AM, Portland State University.

League of Extraordinary Writers”, Saturday, January 10, 2PM, Powell’s, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton. Suggested for ages 8-18. “In ‘Through the Wardrobe: Writing Settings That Transport Your Reader,’ a writing workshop for young adults, author Heidi Schulz shows you how to make your settings come alive with details beyond the obvious. Hosted by Northwest author Roseanne Parry, The League of Extraordinary Writers is a monthly workshop where authors and illustrators share their writing knowledge with kids 8 to 18 years old who are interested in creating books. We welcome avid readers, enthusiastic artists, and aspiring young authors!”

Archaeology Day”, Saturday, January 10, 10AM-4PM, Burke Museum, Seattle. “Have you ever wondered what’s under Seattle? At this year’s Archaeology Day, explore clues found underground—and under water—that tell us how humans lived on the shores of Puget Sound over the past 500 years. See objects from the largest Coast Salish longhouse in Puget Sound. Become an archaeologist! Solve mysteries in our new game ‘Who Was That?’ and identify the uses of buried objects. Dress up in underwater gear for your own scuba selfie.”

Quizissippi Jr.”, Saturday, January 10, 1PM with signup at 12:45, Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N. Mississippi Ave., Pdx. “Quick, Mom! Which character was the title star of the first Pokémon movie? Dad–who was President when Oregon became a state? Combine your family’s collective brainpower and work together at Portland’s only family-friendly trivia event. It’s all the fun of Quizissippi geared for an all-ages audience. Test your knowledge of games, toys, history, science, books, movies, and more. Don’t miss the kid-friendly Multimedia Round! Free to play!”

Audubon Kids Day”, Saturday, January 10, 10AM-3PM, Audubon Society of Portland, 5151 NW Cornell Rd., Pdx. Free. Preregistration required for archery; register online: “Come join Audubon staff as we host a day just for kids. We’ll have free activities and projects based on many of our most popular Summer Camp programs, including animal tracking, archery and many nature-based art activities. Join the fun!”

Author Talk, “Frank Portman”, Saturday, January 10, 4PM, Powell’s, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton. Frank Portman presents his YA book, “King Dork Approximately”.

Lantern Tour of Ft. Vancouver”, Saturday, January 10, and Saturday, January 24, gates open at 6:30PM for 7PM tour, $10 for ages 16 and older, $7 for ages 10-15. Ages 10 and up. Preregistration required; call 360-812-6232. “Experience live theater and take a lantern-lit journey with a Park Ranger. Peek into the past with costumed interpreters performing historical vignettes of a night at Fort Vancouver. Learn about your urban national park then and now while walking through the Fort's buildings. Finish off your evening by sharing a cup of hot cider with the talented costume interpreters and park rangers!”

"Crystal Ballroom’s 101st Birthday Free-For-All", Sunday, January 11, doors open at 1PM, Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W, Burnside, Pdx. Free. All ages.

The Magic West on Film”, Monday, January 12, 6PM, Kenton Library. Presented by Professor Richard Etulain. “This slide-illustrated program provides an overview of the ever-popular Western film, from its beginnings in about 1903 to the present. Major heroes and heroines such as William S. Hart, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Jane Fonda will be discussed.”

Science and Gender: Women in the Scientific Enterprise”, Monday, January 12, 6PM, Old World Deli, 341 2nd St., Corvallis. All ages. Presented by Sarina Saturn, assistant professor, OSU School of Psychological Science.

Emerging Viruses Like Ebola, and the Effort to Make an HIV Vaccine”, Monday, January 12, 7PM, Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd., Pdx. $5 suggested donation. Presented by Andrew Sylwester, PhD, Immunologist, Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, OHSU.

The Reptile Man”, Tuesday, January 13, 6:30PM, Tigard Library.

2015 Sky Preview”, Tuesday, January 13, 6PM, 7:15PM, and 8:30PM, Mt. Hood Community College Planetarium, 2600 SE Stark St., Gresham. $2. Campus map on their website: “All shows are presented under a realistic representation of the night sky, 
featuring the latest galactic, stellar and planetary images.”

STEAM Punks Club”, Wednesday, January 14, 4PM, Battle Ground Library. “STEAM punks Club! An afterschool program for grades K-5 that provides exploration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math projects. Join us for some science activities that explore density and what it takes to make a catalyst!”

Opening Reception, “Anne Frank: A History for Today”, Wednesday, January 14, 5:30-7:30, with a reception for educators from 4PM-5:30PM, Oregon Jewish Museum, 1953 NW Kearney St., Pdx. “Between 1942 and 1944, Anne Frank [born 1929] hid with her family in an attic in Amsterdam, writing daily in her diary. She did not survive the war and died of typhus in a concentration camp. Anne Frank: A History for Today depicts Anne Frank’s brief life story, abundantly illustrated with family photos and passages from her diary. Her biographical narrative is enhanced by testimony from Holocaust survivors and helpers. Historical context supplements the story through documents and photographs detailing the rise of Nazi power in Germany and the tumultuous events of the Second World War and the Holocaust that followed. The exhibit goes beyond the Anne Frank story and encourages the viewer to consider fundamental social values – tolerance, mutual respect, human rights, and democracy – as a way to educate the viewer about our individual and collective responsibilities to understand and respect diversity in our contemporary society. A small exhibit of pastel drawings by the painter Henk Pander, called ‘In Hiding’, will also be on view. These rarely displayed works depict Pander's childhood in Haarlem, barely ten miles from Anne Frank's hiding place.”

Open Collage Night”, Wednesday, January 14, 6PM, Independent “Join us for our new monthly collage night, where all are welcome to come hang out, create, and share work with other enthusiasts of collage art. If you have always wanted to learn more about collage or perhaps used to collage and haven’t in a long time, here’s your chance to do so in a fun environment of people eager to create and explore this easy-to-learn and very DIY medium. The night will kick off with a short slide show of collage art from around the world designed to inspire you with ideas. And then the cutting and pasting will commence! This event was created by local collage artists A.M. O’Malley and Kevin Sampsell. Some materials (scissors, paper cutters, glue stick, old magazines and books) will be provided, but please bring some of your own materials as well.”

The Snowflake Man”, Thursday, January 15, 3PM, Belmont Library. Free tickets given out at 2:30PM. “Puppetkabob's ‘The Snowflake Man’ swings audiences into historic 1920 through creative storytelling, intricately designed Czech-style marionettes, and a striking pop-up book of water color scenery. Come chill this winter and learn about American inventor W.A. 'Snowflake' Bentley, pioneer of snowflake photography. This award-winning show combines art, science and a little known piece of American history to magical effect!”

Science Matters”, Thursday, January 15, 4PM, Hillsboro Shute Park Library. Suggested for grades 4 and 5. Preregistration required; register online.  “Love Science? Explore what scientist Ada Lovelace and computer programming had in common. Afterwards learn to write your own basic computer program!”

Portland Metro Reptile Expo”, Saturday, January 17, Portland Holiday Inn 8439 NE Columbia Blvd., Pdx. $9 adults, $4 kids 6-12 and free for ages 5 and under, $1 off coupon on their website: See amazing reptiles and amphibians up close- worthwhile even if you aren’t looking for a new pet. The Reptile Man will also be giving a show there.

2015 Winter Powwow”, Saturday, January 17, 12PM-9PM, Portland Community College Sylvania Campus. “Portland Community College and the Sylvania Multicultural Center are proud to present WACIPI - a celebration of Native American culture and tradition. Please join us for an extraordinary campus and community celebration. This cultural event features drum groups and dancers from across the region and attracts more than 1,000 participants each year. It supports the PCC Native American Scholarship Fund and Native American businesses by offering vendor space.” Details here:

Children’s Folk Songs from the Rural South”, Saturday, January 17, 2PM, Woodstock Library. Free tickets will be given out at 1:30PM. “Newel Briggs sings old slave songs accompanied by his guitar, mandolin and banjo. Raised by his grandparents, the first people in his family to be born free, Newel’s grandma sang songs such as Loop de Loo, Miss Mary Mac, Ham Bone and Shortnin’ Bread. Learn about the history behind the songs and find out which one is about taking a bath on Saturday night!”

4th Annual Yachats Agate Festival”, Saturday, January 17 and Sunday, January 18, 10AM-4PM, Yachats Commons, Hwy 101 and W. 4th St., Yachats. “The village gem invites you to the 4th annual Yachats Agate Festival and Gem-Mineral-Fossil Show. The festival weekend will feature spectacular displays as well as family friendly learning opportunities for all ages. There will be special guest speakers and the Oregon Coast Agate Club will also be joining in with demonstrations and club displays.”

"Commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr.", Sunday, January 18, 2PM, Lake Oswego  Library.  "Baha'is of Lake Oswego will present a program at Lake Oswego Public Library to honor Martin Luther King Jr. with quotes from Dr. King, music and refreshments.  Music will be performed by Lake Oswego Baha'i Children's Chorus, Laila Murphy, Cheryll Simmermann and Beth Yazhari."

"Oregon Truffle Marketplace", Sunday, January 18, 11AM-4PM, Chehalem Cultural Center, Newberg.  $15 general admission; $22 with wine tasting and commemorative wine glass.  "Truffle tastings, artisan foods, fresh truffles, a truffle dog demonstration, and truffle cooking demonstrations and tastings."  Truffle Marketplace Eugene January 25:

In A Foreign Land”, Tuesday, January 20, 6:30PM, Battle Ground Library. “Southeast Asia offers a blend of stunning temples, colonial architecture, street markets and beautiful flora. In February 2014, Sara Teas visited Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos. She will share the sights, sounds, and photos of her journey through 3 countries by all means of transport (except helicopter!)”

MLK Tribute: Bayard Rustin- A Lesser Known Figure”, Tuesday, January 20, 5PM, Portland State University, Smith Memorial Student Union, Room 228. “Bayard Rustin was an advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and played an essential role in the coordination of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. In 2013, Rustin was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama for his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. This event will highlight Rustin's life, his collected writings, and share his organizing strategies with attendees.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration”, Tuesday, January 20, 7PM, Lewis and Clark College, Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Pdx. Free. “Lewis and Clark College students, staff, and faculty will share readings of Dr. King’s writings and speeches, paired with jazz music from Devin Phillips, a jazz musician from New Orleans. Additionally, LC community members will share favorite and original works around this year’s theme: ‘We are the ones we have been waiting for.’”

Observing Our Changing Planet with Satellites”, Tuesday, January 20, 7PM, Empirical Theater at OMSI. $5 suggested donation. Presented by Kurt Thome, PhD, Terra Project Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “Did you know that NASA studies Earth? While NASA is dedicated to learning about our universe, no planet in our solar system is as important as the one we’re on. Dedicated to answering the question, ‘How is Earth changing and what are the consequences for life on Earth?’ Terra, the flagship mission of the Earth Observing System of satellites launched 15 years ago to help answer this question. Terra carries five instruments that observe Earth’s atmosphere, ocean, land, energy budget, snow and ice. Taken together, these observations provide unique insight into how the Earth system works and how Earth is changing. Terra observations reveal humanity’s impact on the planet and provide crucial data about natural hazards like fire and volcanoes. In this talk Dr. Kurt Thome will give a history of Terra including what it takes to keep a satellite operating well past its design life. The discussion will include how operating Terra as long as possible will better assist scientists with understanding our changing planet. He will highlight examples of observations of Earth that Terra has made possible and he will discuss some of Terra’s applications that directly impact all of us.”

The Lore of Tea”, Wednesday, January 21, 6PM, West Slope Library. “Local author and co-founder of Oregon Chai, Tedde McMillen, will lead a presentation about the lore of tea, complete with a tea tasting.”

"North American Truffle Dog Championship", Wednesday, January 21, 11AM, Oregon Horse Center, 90751 Prairie Rd., Eugene.  $15. "This 2 day inaugural event will begin in Eugene, Oregon on January 21st, 2015 with a series of qualifying events at the Oregon Horse Center’s indoor Silverado Arena where spectators can cheer-on the teams as they race to search for hidden truffle-scented targets. Ten finalists from Day 1 events will advance on January 22nd to the Joriad Field Trial." (Field event for competitors and judges only.)

Book Talk, “Phil and Kaja Foglio”, Wednesday, January 21, 7PM, Powell’s, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton. “In the third installment of the Girl Genius novels, ‘Agatha H. and the Voice of the Castle’ begins as Agatha Heterodyne returns to her ancestral home, the warped little town of Mechanicsburg. There she must claim her inheritance by convincing the artificial intelligence that animates her family’s castle that she is, in fact, the new Heterodyne. But this apparently simple task is made complicated in several ways: An imposter claiming to be the legitimate heir appears. The Empire is convinced that Agatha is the person responsible for the Long War (and to be fair, they are not entirely incorrect). And, worst of all, the Castle itself is insane.”

From Paper to 3D Printer: You Made It!”, Wednesday, January 21, 4PM, Fairview-Columbia Library. Preregistration required, 1 per family: “3D printing is the wave of the future! Come learn how 3D printers work, see what they can make, and watch one print a part that you designed. You’ll leave with a page of resources for continued learning as well as a print of the part that we’ll design.”

Author Talk, “Anya Kamenetz”, Wednesday, January 21, 7:30PM, Powell’s, 1005 W. Burnside, Pdx. Anya Kamenetz discusses her book, “The Test”. “The Test is about the failures of testing in American schools. Your child is more than a score. But in the era of No Child Left Behind and the Common Core, America’s schools are sacrificing learning in favor of testing. How do we preserve space for self-directed learning and development, especially when we still want all children to hit the mark? ‘The Test’ is written to directly address parents who are concerned and stressed about testing. I am one of those parents. My hope is that by understanding where these tests came from and how they are made, it will give families the tools they need to address them in the most constructive way. I give advice for families who want to opt out of some tests, as well as those who want to do better on tests. ‘The Test’ explores all sides of this problem—where these tests came from, their limitations and flaws, and ultimately what you as a parent, teacher, or concerned citizen can do. It recounts the shocking history and tempestuous politics of testing, and borrows strategies from fields as diverse as games, neuroscience, and ancient philosophy to help families cope. It presents the stories of families, teachers, and schools that are maneuvering within and beyond the existing educational system, playing and winning the testing game.”

Oregon Shadow Theatre Presents, “Anansi the Spider”, Thursday, January 22, 3:30PM, Northwest Library; and Saturday, January 24, 11AM, St. Johns Library. “The West African trickster Anansi the Spider is brought to life by the Oregon Shadow Theatre. As shadow puppeteer Deb Chase manipulates and gives voice to the puppets from behind the shadow screen, Mick Doherty works in view of the audience providing music, voices, and sound effects, and acting as a storyteller. Marimba, Ghanaian hand drum, and thumb piano are among the many instruments and sound effects devices used. The colorful shadow puppets are based on African designs. Anansi the spider is clever, witty, foolish and greedy. He loves to eat and he hates to work. Anansi plays tricks on everyone and gets into a lot of trouble. In this story Anansi meets a River Goblin, fights a Chimpanzee, and plays a trick on his whole village.”

Portland Comic Con”, Friday, January 23, 3PM-8PM; Saturday, January 24, 10AM-7PM, and Sunday, January 25, 10AM-5PM, Oregon Convention Center.

Public Apology (Karaoke)”, Friday, January 23, 7PM, Independent Publishing Resource Center, 1001 SE Division St., Pdx. Free. “Putting the Public back in Public Apology, a participatory, performative event, participants to enact their own renditions of famous public apologies. Kind of like karaoke. Attendees get a chance to take the podium and read their favorite public apology. Rush Limbaugh, Bill Clinton, Donald Sterling, Justin Beiber, Alec Baldwin, you pick! Lights, cameras, a stage set for the performances. Refreshments. A publication of compiled public apologies. Participants take home a free publication.”

Make a Folk Instrument”, Saturday, January 24, 3PM, Kenton Library. “Make a musical instrument from common household items with musician Newel Briggs. Learn the history of your instrument and its musical family members from around the world.”

Traveling Lantern Theatre Company Presents, “Greek Mythology”, Saturday, January 24, 10:30AM, Capitol Hill Library. “Stories of Gods and heroism from the ancient civilization by the sea. From their protected perch on Mount Olympus, the Gods of ancient Greece wrap their magic and subterfuge around the humans they choose to meddle with. Their manipulations influence the futures of the mortals who live far below them in a world bound by the realities of life and death. The important question of whether our choices can alter our fate is the eternal riddle of these fascinating and timeless myths.”

Chinese New Year Celebration”, Saturday, January 24, 2PM, Battle Ground Library. “Families come join us as we celebrate Chinese New Year!! There will be stories, crafts, and of course an appearance by the Chinese Lion dancers!”

Introduction to Lichens”, Saturday, January 24, 1PM, Scouters Mountain Nature Park, SE Boyscout Lodge Rd. and SE 147th Ave, Happy Valley. $6 per person or $11 per family. Suggested for ages 11 and up. Preregistration required; register online: “Lichens are all around, living on trees, rocks, houses and sidewalks. On this walk, learn the natural history of lichens and techniques to identify them. Common lichens and sensitive species of the area will be identified in this hands-on walk. Put on your rain gear, and let’s take a look at lichens!”

Public Night at the Haggart Observatory”, Saturday, January 24, 6PM- 8:30PM, Haggart Observatory on the grounds of the John Inskeep Environmental Learning Center, 19600 Molalla Ave., Oregon City. Free. Please call 503-594-6044 option 1 after 3PM on the day of the event to hear a recording that will tell you if it is too cloudy for this event to take place. You may climb the stairs to the observation deck and have a turn looking through the main telescope! No flashlights please. More info here: Visitors get in line very early for this event, so be prepared for a wait. It will be worth it!

Holocaust Survivor Alter Weiner”, Saturday, January 24, 2PM, Sherwood Library. All ages welcome- parents use your discretion. “Don't miss this rare opportunity to hear from an actual Holocaust Survivor. Alter Wiener, author of ‘64735 - From a Name to a Number’, is one of the very few Holocaust survivors still living in Oregon. A resident of Hillsboro, he has shared his life story with almost 800 audiences at universities, colleges, schools, churches, synagogues, prisons, companies and libraries around the Northwest. Hardcover copies of his memoir will be available for purchase after the event. Held in the Community Meeting Room.”

Author Talk, “Katherine Applegate”, Saturday, January 24, 4PM, Powell’s, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton; and Tuesday, January 27, 5PM, Barnes and Noble, 1200 SE 82nd Ave., Happy Valley. Katherine Applegate presents her book, “The One and Only Ivan”. “Winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal and a #1 New York Times bestseller, this stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendships. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point-of-view of Ivan himself. Having spent 27 years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.”

Tracking Club”, Sunday, January 25, 9AM- 12PM, Oxbow Regional Park, 3010 SE Oxbow Pkwy., Gresham. Free with $5 per vehicle day use fee. Meet at the Flood Plain parking area. “The Tracking Club is a non formal gathering of people interested in the art of Tracking and Nature Awareness. Open to all skill levels.” The Tracking Club meets at Oxbow on the last Sunday morning of each month. They are very welcoming to newcomers and Oxbow is a perfect place to learn the art of animal tracking.

Willamette Falls Symphony”, Sunday, January 25, 3PM, Oregon City.

Mochitsuki 2015: The Year of the Sheep”, Sunday, January 25, 11AM-4PM, Portland State University, Smith Memorial Student Union, 1825 SW Broadway, Pdx. Japanese New Year Celebration. Advance tickets $10 adult, $7 seniors and students, $4 kids 4-12, and free for ages 3 and under. “Enjoy free mochi samples, demonstrations and hands-on activities for all ages including: mochi pounding, ikebana, calligraphy, games and much more!”

Memories of a Future Disaster: The Next Tsunami”, Monday, January 26, 7PM, Venetian Theatre and Bistro, 253 E. Main St., Hillsboro. All ages. $5 suggested donation. Presented by author Bonnie Henderson. “A chance meeting with a geologist in Seaside six years ago started journalist Bonnie Henderson on a quest to understand not only Oregon’s seismic past and future but how scientists became better acquainted with the Cascadia Subduction Zone and its potential for mayhem. In this talk, held on the 315th anniversary of the last great quake and tsunami on the Oregon coast, Bonnie will walk through the geology behind the threat and will share passages from ‘The Next Tsunami: Living on a Restless Coast.’”

Raptor ID Class”, Tuesday, January 27, 6PM, Gresham City Hall, 1333 NW Eastman Pkwy. Free. All ages. “The word 'raptor' means to seize or grasp, and that’s one of the things raptors do best. They are great hunters, and have special adaptations that make them unique in the natural world. Come learn about the raptors that are the eye in the sky over Gresham with our birds of prey class. We will teach you how to properly identify native raptors as well as delve into their fascinating natural history and their amazing adaptations to catching prey. You can then employ the skills you learned at the 11th annual Raptor Road Trip on Sauvie Island on Saturday, February 7.”,-2015/

Why Newberg is Among Oregon’s Most Historic Cities”, Tuesday, January 27, 7PM, Chehalem Cultural Center, Newberg.

Crafting Paper Flowers”, Wednesday, January 28, 6PM, West Slope Library. Preregistration required; call 503-292-6416 to register. “Local crafter Laura Erickson will provide instruction and supplies for creating origami-style paper flowers.”

Susannah Heschel”, Thursday, January 29, 7:30PM, University of Oregon, White Stag Block, Auditorium, 70 NW Couch St., Pdx. Free and open to the public. “Susannah Heschel, the Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, will give a talk titled ‘Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: The Life and Legacy of Abraham Joshua Heschel’. Her scholarship focuses on Jewish-Christian relations in Germany during the 19th and 20th centuries, the history of biblical scholarship, and the history of anti-Semitism. She is the daughter of esteemed Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.”

Knights of Veritas Present, “Long Winter Knights”, Friday, January 30, 2PM, Sellwood-Moreland Library; and Saturday, January 31, 2PM, Gregory Heights Library. “What did the passage of seasons mean to people in the Middle Ages? How did they survive and what did they celebrate? Learn about these subjects and more with Knights of Veritas! Featuring many crowd favorites from Knights of Veritas' swordfighting programs, the supplemental information in this program fits the fall and winter seasons. Subjects include how warfare changed during the winter months, the traditions and festivals which marked the passage of time and what the change in seasons meant for the common people during long winter nights.”

Japanese Stab Bound Paperbacks”, Saturday, January 31, 2PM, Preregistration required; register online: For adults- I expect patient kids should be able to participate along with a parent. “Learn how to bind your books through Japanese stab binding. This non-adhesive binding makes gorgeous decorative patterns on the spine of the book. We’ll go over four different styles and techniques, and you’ll leave class with four little notebooks handmade by you!”

Geocaching 101: Learning the Basics”, Saturday, January 31, 1PM-4PM, Tualatin Library. “Want to find a cool hobby that gets your whole family outside and active? There will be a few "expert" geocachers from right here in Portland that will come and teach you the basics of geocaching. We will cover what geocaching is, what to use when geocaching, why we do it and more! Just bring a laptop, a great attitude and a smile!”

Renaissance Era Music”, Saturday, January 31, 11AM, Hillsboro Main Library (free); and Saturday, January 31, 2PM, Beaverton Library Auditorium ($16 for adults and free for ages 12 and under; tickets available online: “Get up close and personal with instruments of the Renaissance Fair and the time of Elizabeth I. Explore instrument making, the beginning of music publishing and 4 part singing at the barber shop. Led by Gayle and Phil Neumann, Music History Instructors at Marylhurst University.”

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Jasper's ornament.
I love glassblowing, and when the awesome Kim Railey put together a field trip for families to make glass ornaments, I was very excited to share this amazing art form with Jasper.  We headed over to Live Laugh Love Glass in Tigard, where Jasper got to choose from a huge array of colors.  Next, our group headed into the hot shop.  The studio is very well organized, with a seating area just outside the hot shop with big windows to watch.  Inside, they have two complete work areas so two pieces can be made simultaneously.  After the glass was gathered from the furnace, Jasper got to roll it on the metal table (called the "marver") to coat it with chunks of pigmented glass, and then got to heat it for a while in the glory hole.  While his instructor worked to shape his ornament, he got to watch up close and expand the bubble of glass by blowing into the blow pipe.  When the ornament was nearly finished, he got to help remove it from the blow pipe.  He was really excited to give this a try!  
In the Portland area there are several places to learn more about glassblowing. Live Laugh Love Glass is a studio that focuses on single-session glassblowing experiences where folks ages 5 and up will get to bring something beautiful home, but also offer private lessons.  Elements Glass in NW Portland also offers single session workshops, but their focus is on multiple session classes in which students do all the steps themselves. Firehouse Glass in Vancouver offers private lessons that can be split between up to 3 students, and they also invite the public to watch free demos in the evening of every First Friday.  Every October during Portland Open Studios, Heather and John Fields of Fields and Fields Glass have been opening their doors with demos all day. And of course a bit further afield is the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, with an amazing hot shop where visitors can watch teams of world class glass artists shape amazing creations.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Willamette Radio Workshop

The Willamette Radio Workshop is a Portland group that keeps the wonderful art of the radio drama alive.  They have an annual tradition of performing a radio adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" live at the Kiggins Theater in Vancouver, free with a food donation to the Clark County Food Bank.  It seems that even in 1843, people were struggling with finding the true meaning of Christmas in the midst of materialism.  I took Jasper to see their performance and he gave it two thumbs up!  They made it really fun to watch, with a spectacular choir adding songs to the story, fun slides of Victorian scenes, live foley artists at work, and even appropriate costumes.  I'm excited to learn that a recording of their performance will be broadcast on Christmas Eve on OPB radio 91.5 FM and streaming from  Check it out!

Friday, December 19, 2014

International Reptile Rescue

Piebald ball python, found on the loose. This is a rare and expensive color
morph, but laws punishing owners for escaped pets may have kept its owner
from seeking help in finding it.
Mary Esther Hart of International Reptile Rescue paid our homeschool group a visit.  She brought a huge array of amazing reptiles for our kids to see (and touch) up close, and told the kids all about them.  Her presentation has a different focus than others we've seen. Most reptile presenters like to discuss the different species and what adaptations make each kind of animal unique.  Mary Esther has been running a reptile rescue since the 1970s, and she wanted to tell families all about what kinds of reptiles make great pets and why others are surrendered, abandoned or even confiscated by law enforcement.  She is very dedicated to responsible pet ownership.  She explained that her rescue generally houses 50-75 animals at any time, some at their facility and some through foster homes. Many arrive in poor health, and reptiles can take a relatively long time to heal from injuries and malnutrition before they are given a clean bill of health and counted as adoptable. She expressed outrage that laws often punish pet owners instead of the pet trade that puts animals that are totally unsuitable as pets (and sometimes illegal) into the hands of people who are often ill informed about how to properly care for the animal, where to take it for good veterinary care, how large it will grow, how long it will live, how it will interact with other pets, and whether it can be legally taken to another state should the owners move.  Turtles, which are charming and fascinating as hatchlings the size of quarters, are a good example.  Some breed prolifically, and they can be purchased in pet stores for $30 or so.  But they grow into 300 pound critters with sharp claws that smash furniture, scratch floors, get their water dirty quickly, and are smart enough to plan ingenious escapes!  Alligators are another example.  She brought a young alligator with her, and it certainly charmed us all. The kids were really excited to pet it.  I can definitely see how anyone with a serious blind spot for foresight would be tempted to own one!
Bearded dragon.
Monitor lizard.
American alligator.
Jasper petting the alligator.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Discover Rock Creek Tree Planting

The Clackamas River just upstream from the Rock Creek confluence.
Tree planting is a perfect kind of volunteer activity to do with kids.  It's active, kids can see concretely what they've helped to accomplish, and there is the potential for them to return for years to come to see their trees grow.  SOLVE organizes many tree plantings, and their Discover Rock Creek event in Clackamas was special.  First, we learned about the extensive work that has been done there for salmon habitat restoration.  It has been noted that the land surrounding this watershed is rapidly being developed after decades of agricultural use, and haste is needed to protect the watershed. Studies revealed that at this point where Rock Creek flows into the Clackamas River, the river was relatively uniform in depth and speed, without much shade.  Salmon and their fry like cool, shady streams with a mixture of depths and flow rates.  They like logs, root balls and boulders in their habitat to provide places to rest and hide from predators.  Organizers pointed out to us that the landscape which to our eyes had looked perfectly natural, has actually been altered quite dramatically to make it salmon friendly with the installation of these natural features, all engineered to stay in place for as long as possible.  We heard from high school students who have done studies on the macroinvertebrate population and learned that the health of a stream is clearly indicated by their presence.  Some, which have short lifespans, can manage in more polluted and inhospitable watersheds.  Others that live for years in the streams really require a healthier environment.  Metro Naturalist and tracking expert Ashley Conley was also there, displaying animal pelts.  She showed us some amazing animal signs such as an osprey nest, kingfisher nest holes, and coyote scat that we had missed.  Then we got down to the business of planting 500 trees and shrubs, which will provide shade and erosion control.  Within less than an hour, volunteers had got the job done.  Wow!  
Male Chinook salmon and a female with eggs.
Some fascinating macroinvertebrates.
Logs carefully held together with rebar to create a lasting structure.
Fishing out macroinvertebrates.
Pelts, wings and branches chewed by beavers.
Kingfisher nest holes.
Jasper after planting his first Douglas fir.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Activities for Homeschoolers

Homeschoolers know that there are perhaps thousands of activities available for their kids.  Most are after school hours or on weekends.  But which ones take place during the school day and are specifically for homeschoolers?  Here's a list- see their websites to find what's currently available. Also be sure to check out local Facebook and Yahoo groups for homeschoolers where parents often coordinate activities.  If you find a class in what your children are most interested in learning, but it isn't offered as a homeschool class, it might be worthwhile to ask if the instructor can teach it if you help find other interested families to enroll.  I've also given this list its own page here for future reference.

Please comment if you know of others your kids have loved!

Homeschool Book Clubs at Fairview-Columbia and Sellwood-Moreland Libraries:
Ledding Library Homeschool Activities:
Mt. Scott Homeschool Skate:
Nerf War and Airsoft: (privately organized; see Hip List for announcements and RSVP info).
Oaks Park Homeschool Skate:
Skate Word Gresham Homeschool Skate:

East Portland Community Center:
Multnomah Arts Center:
Northwest Children's Theater:
Northwest Fencing:
Oregon Children's Theater:
Oregon Homeschool Science Club:
Peninsula Park Community Center:
Portland Child Art:
Revolution Parkour:
Saturday Academy:
SHARC Homeschool Swim Lessons
Vibe of Portland:
Village Free School:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Walking With Dinosaurs

Baby Tyrannosaurus and  mommy Tyrannosaurus.
Walking With Dinosaurs is on a North American tour again.  Hooray!  We've been waiting patiently for them to come back.  This was the third tour we've taken Jasper to see, beginning when he was only 2. We've always felt it was well worth the splurge. The intention is to create the illusion of really being in the arena with living and breathing dinosaurs.  The effect is both educational and really beautiful. Revisions are made every time to keep up with what scientists are learning about their appearances and behavior.  This tour included feathered dinosaurs.   

Plateosaurus hatchlings.
Liliensternus raids the nest.
Bracheosaurus and baby.
Torosauruses battle.
Baby Tyrannosaurus.
Baby Tyrannosaurus, Ankylosaurus. mommy Tyrannosaurus, and Torosaurus.
Baby Tyrannosaurus and  mommy Tyrannosaurus.
Baby Tyrannosaurus and  mommy Tyrannosaurus.
Baby Tyrannosaurus and  the Paleontologist take a bow.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Illumination #1

Part of a vibrant Chinatown.
Portland animator Rose Bond created a site-specific installation more than a decade ago for the Portland Seamen's Bethel Building on the northwest corner of NW 3rd Ave. and Davis St.  It's back again and we jumped at a chance to see it.  Jasper really loved it and wanted to watch it over and over.  Screens in the second floor windows on both sides of the building are used to project the animation in a 12 minute loop, so it looks as if you are seeing what is happening inside the building. Speakers bring viewers the sounds of the scenes they are watching.  Each scene depicts some aspect of 120 years of the history of this particular building, and with it the history of the city itself.  If you find yourself in Old Town between 6PM and 8PM tonight or December 19, 20, or 21, be sure to check it out!
A family reunion.
Fortune tellers.
The building was derelict.  Pigeons fly through the animation and roost inside.