Okay, I wanted to be poetic like Joe but the practical side of me
keeps coming forward….soooo these suggestions are not listed in
order of priority. In my opinion each one of them is important
although some may serve you better than others at any given time.

Don’t take no for an answer…
When you find yourself on the job hunt just because they tell you they
don’t need anyone right now doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. I
found many jobs because I kept going back and they started to
recognize me and my perseverance.
If it’s something you are really interested in, keep at it, don’t give
up prematurely.

Be open to the possibilities…
Sometimes a job you weren’t looking for might be offered and could,
either A) lead to the job you do want, or B) provide a job that in the
end does appeal to you,possibly even more than the one you sought in
the first place.
Leads open the pathway to new leads, don’t discount an opportunity
just because it doesn’t fit your initial criteria.

Widen the throw of your net…
If you aren’t sure what you want to do allow yourself to send a
“shotgun spread” of inquiries until things can be narrowed down.
Opportunities can present themselves in the most unlikely places.

Be willing to get your hands dirty…
When you’re starting out don’t be “too good” to tackle even the nastiest
of jobs. Hard work is always rewarded and recognized. Humbleness has
it’s benefits. People are less likely to try to take down someone who
is recognized to have been “in the trenches” than someone who has
stepped into a higher position without earning their chops.

Appreciate the good fortune of everyone around you…

Learn to speak to many different people on many different levels…

Be curious…
Take every opportunity to regularly discover something new about
yourself and/or the environment around you.

If you don’t know, ASK questions…
Don’t be hesitant to ask someone who might know the answer you’re
looking for. I have found that people generally like to work with
someone who is willing to ask questions and learn rather than have to
repair the damage from an unfortunate circumstance created from not

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or look dumb…
How else can you learn?

Know how to speak another language and use it whenever possible…
I wish I had paid more attention in high school when I studied French
and had worked at being more proficient in a second or even a third
language. There is nothing better than going to another country and
being able to communicate in the local language.

When travelling enjoy the similarities and the differences of another
Don’t assume that everyone wishes they could live in North America,
there are millions of people out there perfectly happy with their
lives in their own countries.
If it’s another country you’re in, understand that while the food,
dress, language, etc, might be different everyone has the same basic
desires. We all want to love and be loved, to be able to provide a
safe haven for our children and loved ones, to make ends meet and to
have a good

Be able to laugh…
A sense of humor will take you a long way.

Don’t take people for granted…
Including yourself.

Experience life…
Enjoy it to the max. Take risks. Tell the people closest to you that you
love them and mean it, often.

Keep an open heart and an open mind and the rest will follow…

Love Janie

I sent this submission to a Delta Sky Magazine Contest …

It was with some trepidation that I set out to enter this contest, because this is a story of the evolution of my greening. After all how Green can you be to be really green?

Portland Oregon is living breathing green. It is my adopted city. And I have come to love it. Never have I lived in a place where plants grow abundantly in the winter with actual flowers blooming. It was a sight I excitedly wrapped my head around.

I grew up in and around Toronto Canada and honestly still love the surrounding countryside of the rolling Ontario hills but brown slushy big city snow has sell-by-date limited appeal.
So in a leap of faith and a stroke of luck I moved here seven years ago for the greener pastures of love.

Once here it didn’t take long for me to appreciate other green aspects of my new home. Not counting the year-round vegetation or the 100 foot plus Douglas Firs in our back yard, Portland is well respected for its efforts at promoting conscientious sustainable living. Portland, I soon learned, was green before it was hip.

Our “territorial view” home, a treed lot in realtor speak, backs onto a network encompassing forty miles of trails mostly wooded that wends its way through the greater metropolitan area. A city with forty miles of trails! Unheard of, right?

I realized this afternoon as I walked my dog in the brilliant shimmering chartreuse woods overflowing with springtime foliage and trillium villages that I must live in one of the greenest cities in the United States.

This thought came of course in between the short hailstorm followed by the dappled sunshine and rounded out by an ominous grey cloud cover. It is spring in the Pacific Northwest and one quickly learns you must dress in layers here for three quarters of the year if you wish to be comfortable outside. I froze my first year here until I assimilated that valuable lesson.

The first time I saw one of the Tri Met buses outfitted with bicycle carriers on the front I thought, “How cool is that?” What a perfect solution for those particularly rainy winter days. Then I discovered Compost bins are given out for free to anyone who would like one. Hazardous waste drop off centers rove through the city during the summer months, making removal so easy it would be a crime not to do it.
Green living seminars are offered on a regular basis. In fact I just received my free Portland’s Smart Trips Resources and Rewards reusable bag put out by the City of Portland’s Office of Transportation.

It’s an incentive program to remind people “There is more than one way to get there.” It was delivered to our door by bike riding “greenies”. Inside the bag are trail maps for biking and hiking,a pedometer,a reflective strap to fit an arm or a leg, two separate indoor and outdoor water conservation kits, and an umbrella. The last item a most fortuitous addition since I literally threw out a broken one earlier today.

Recycling wasn’t unfamiliar to me having done my share of paper recycling back in Toronto. However the encouragement to recycle different types of plastics and cartons was indeed a novelty. I understand in the years I have been gone, Toronto has improved dramatically having implemented a program that now collects composting and food scraps. Portland, I have read is in the process of introducing a similar program in the next year.

Composting food scraps isn’t entirely new having grown up on a farm but I had avoided it in Toronto because of the problem of marauding raccoons in a high-density urban environment. But here in Portland I was eager to become one of the converted. We recently moved our full compost bin away from our back door. Digging up the remaining earth I was delighted to discover mixed in with the corn cobs, egg shells, and other vegetable detritus, hundreds, if not thousands of tiny earthworms wriggling their way away from my spade. It works! I was so excited to see them.

We are fortunate enough to live within walking distance of a year round farmers market. Each Sunday through the summer and every other through the winter my yellow Labrador Retriever, Jera, and I walk the two miles to the market to shop. My husband will drive over to meet us and ferry our booty back home again. We enjoy seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables,meats,cheeses and seafood sold by the actual producers that recognize me each week. Some of who I am lucky enough to be on a first name basis. My favorite vendors I made jam for at Christmas using the fruit I purchased at the market.
The chicken farmer actually keeps track of his carbon footprint required to bring his goods to the market. It’s less than 30 miles so when all is said and done they aren’t doing too badly considering the chicken factory farms of the Midwest or Southern USA.

Before moving here I thought I knew what fresh food was all about but little did I recognize the benefit of purchasing your food from someone who actually grew it. Or better yet paying attention to how far food had to travel to get to my home. I admit I still buy bananas from Ecuador and the occasional pineapple from Hawaii but more and more I find myself checking labels and turning away things that have come from a great distance. I see it as a necessity in my own small way of doing my part to decrease my carbon footprint.

I’ve even begun recycling words with my crossword puzzles and writing.

I feel like I might sound like a commercial for Portland but moving here has shaped my life a great deal for the better when it comes to the infamous reduce reuse recycle maxim so popular these days.

For me Oregon is a state of mind.

Not for lack of wanting to post, nor for lack of ideas but it is incredible to me just how much time can be absorbed off blog by emails…answering and sending…plus writing a book, short essays,finding words…..not to mention the fine art of living.

Including husbands, family and friends to love, dogs to walk, people to see,work to do, gardens to tend and grow,groceries to buy,crossword puzzles to complete, doctors to visit, reading of books, newspapers, magazines,online articles,youtube,facebook,phone calls, sleep…how do people actually keep on top of these things AND blog in a regular disciplined manner? I ask you? Is it possible? Obviously not for me.

I wonder too how much of me or my family do I want out there in the cyber ethernet? What topics are appropriate and which are taboo? To sort and sift through the daily events that go on in my life…hmmm?

I had my first published piece which I submitted in July and had published in September in a National magazine…American Whitewater…Yippee

My oldest stepson Chris got married last September Labour day Weekend in Hood River Oregon…A grand affair with to die for sunshine all weekend and a jam packed fun filled family laden extravaganza.
It took almost the whole year to plan between the happy couple in San Francisco, Aviva’s parents in Toronto,the three parents here in Portland and all the various vendors.
A long time to come to fruition but very worth the seeds planted along the way.

I went on a ten day rafting trip on the Grand Canyon at the end of October, early November. I agonized for three weeks whether I ought to go or not….which I suppose I could have shared on this blog but sometimes the journey of my decision making needs to be a private adventure of my very own agony.
Of course I wanted to go from the very first offer but it required a bit of figuring out on my part before I could make the commitment. I missed the full 17 days but I made it for 10 so I can’t complain.

I kayaked through Lava Falls,the biggest rapid, almost successfully…made it through the meatiest stuff but got knocked over at the bottom on an enormous wave….I should have tried rolling up a third time but pulled my spray skirt instead..possibly in camaraderie with one of the other kayaker’s who was sure we were all going to swim..his proclamation unfortunately was spot on… the three of us kayaking did indeed swim.

But hey I went through some big mothers between Phantom Ranch at mile 88 and the take out at mile 225 in a raft, in an inflatable kayak and in a hard shell.
It was a blast…I hope I get another chance to do the Canyon again all the way from the put in, sometime in the future!

I never knew this until I got there but the Colorado river in the Grand Canyon has it’s own class system…so something we would calculate as a 5 on most rivers is a 10 on the GC. Lava Falls and Crystal were my first class 10’s…hoowee.

Let’s see …oh yeah I got my green card in November after arguing with the INS for two years who said they sent me my first card in September 2005. Never mind that I was in Canada with my Dad who was dying, never mind that I never received it….too bad….pay up or shut up….Homeland Security said pay up a second time then they’d be happy to send another card.

Something that should have cost 200 dollars cost me an additional 375 because they had upped the rates in the mean time..mean time is right…AND they don’t bother to send the cards via registered mail…soooo you have no recourse or way to track the card once it leaves their office….what’s with the security in that?

I can’t prove they didn’t send it nor can I prove I didn’t receive it…there is something fundamentally wrong with their system of delivery…especially after all the hassle of ensuring that the correct forms are filled out and accompanied by the correct pieces of ID they require.

I have to say in their favour that despite the new Passport rule backlog of work, they managed to get the card out in a timely manner once all the steps were re-completed.

Home for the Holidays…A white Christmas in Canada..New Years with my good friends in TO..
No Sundance Film Festival this year. First one in 12 years I have missed…first time in Portland during the last two weeks of January..whodathunk a sunny cold snap…go figure. As for SFF there is more to it but I’ll save that for another installment.

As always it feels good to be back on the blog block

It’s been almost a month since I’ve written. Seems like some days I could fill pages and then days will go by with nothing to add. Before you know it many days have slipped past, and the resolution to write once a week skips to two, then three, then a month.

So here I am without much to say except I started a fiction writing for beginners course last week, through PCC. Our teacher is Myrna Oakley and although I haven’t yet read any of her writing I like her, and I think the course is going to be helpful.

I’ll have to miss a few classes because Joe and I are traveling for a couple of weeks and then I’ll be in Canada to attend to some things in Muskoka.

We’re going to Cannes, France for a couple of days while Joe presents at a conference for Middle Eastern/Persian Gulf families. Too bad the film festival is later in the month..ah well.

Afterward we are driving up the coast into Italy to stay at my friend Adam’s converted olive mill just above Imperia. We’re hoping he will actually show up but we may be on our own or sharing with his brother Bill. No matter, it’s all about the adventure, not to mention the R & R Joe deserves.

I’ve pulled out my Berlitz French and Italian language tapes to get back into the swing of things. Although after listening to the Italian one I realized I had only spent a month there back in 1978 so it’s not entirely surprising I can’t remember much.
My French though should be much better than it is…alors je suis tres timide je pense…

Joe’s never been to Italy or to the Alps so we’ll drive through them as well as we wend our way around the countryside. Should be fun.

That’s it for now.

Au revoir Arrivederci Ciao