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azett e G December 2007

Carnet de Voyage Portugal, India

Identity Crisis! A traveler's tale

James & Susan Thomas Sydney & Morgan 1316 SW Mitchell Lane Portland, OR 97239 - 2826 (503) 341-2555 anytime, anywhere (503) 892-2920 landline

Contents We are from Portugal....................... 3 Portugal........................................... 4 India................................................10 Anonymous.....................................15 Family time.....................................16 Work, school, school, work............... 17 Morgan's Year................................18 Centerfold - the family...................20 Sydney's New Look!......................22 Laryngology & the Internet.............24 ID..................................................26 Color & Light.................................31 Sharon Sienko Laidlaw...................32 I run for life....................................34 Ronde von Portlandia.....................36 Trinity Choristers...........................36 Remodeling 501............................. 37 Parting Shot..................................40 2

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Cover photo: Morgan & Sydney at Palacio da Pena, Sintra, Portugal. Below: Jim hits the road (Photo by Phil Norton). Back Cover: Sydney & Morgan stroll the Hood River Delta

Gazette is published intermittently, often before Christmas but sometimes after by fLy bY niGHt proDUCtions. Subscriptions are free, but we like a card. Total circulation: it's a guess Family stuff: Medical stuff: Creativity: Girls website:

We are from Portugal By Morgan and Sydney

We are from The sun cooking your skin Wearing layers of clothes at night Putting on loads of sunscreen Sweatshirts are our new best friend. We are from Walking down the street to a local bakery Smelling the fresh smell of pastries Every day having a sugar coated donut with custard, yum. We are from Eating at the busiest restaurant even if we have to wait an hour Eating chicken or pork almost every day Drinking the delicious Sumol at every meal Having refreshing ice-cream on those hot days. We are from Feeling the soft sand between your toes Watching the waves crash hard against the sand Learning a lesson to always wear sun screen. We are from Never finding a cab Having to wait 45 minutes in the boiling heat for a trolley Hearing people sing happy birthday when the wrong train comes Missing a train by two seconds and having to wait 1 hour and 54 minutes at 1:00 am. We are from Seeing crazy people run after a bull Wild people making the bull so mad it would not even run Seeing the bull get treated horribly. That is where we are from!


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Family travels - by Jim


he line was short enough, only about 4 people ahead of us and perhaps another 6 behind. Then again, ZĂŠ Manel dos Ossos in Coimbra only has five tables and, including the kitchen, is probably the size of our utility room at home. We were informed by the guidebook that it could be quite a wait, as patrons here are quite loyal. The owner suggested it might be a bit less than an hour. While Morgan and I held our place, Susan and Sydney scouted out other offerings in the neighborhood. I struck up a conversation with the gentleman behind me. I was only now, after 10 days, getting a few words and simple sentences in Portugese. He didn't speak any Portugese any way, so we shifted to Spanish. My knowledge of Spanish is mediocre, but when I substituted a French word for a Spanish one that I couldn't pull out of my brain quick enough, he said that was fine. He hailed from Spain, just south of the pyrenees and French was the second language at school. So, I spoke French, he replied in Spanish and the true bilingual conversation went smoothly as any. He dines at Ze Manel every time he visits Portugal. The girls returned, reporting that all the other restaurants had no


wait because they were all empty. Hmmm... one restaurant with an hour wait and the others empty - were we going to be impatient tourists?

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Below: Morgan & Sydney at Ze Manel dos Ossos Opposite clockwise from top: Mosteiro da Santa Maria da Vitoria, Batalha, Ceiling - Mosteiro de Jeronimos, Belem. Nave, Mosteiro da Santa Maria, Alcobaca. Front Igreja (Church) de Santa Cruz, Coimbra.


Our franco-iberian conversation continued for the remaining time until we were seated. We took suggestions from Mr. Manel, drank the house wine

Portugese kings win. We walked, through many, craning our necks, snapping photos, aroused by these creations. First a week of Lisbon's heat mellowed by the daily Atlantic breeze. On our peregrinations

and perused the wallpaper of previously decorated table paper - poetry and commentary. The hearty meal filled us with food and memories and what is a vacation about, if not memories. There are cathedrals in Portugal. The kings seemed to love building each one larger and taller than the one before. In the "immensity is beauty" category,


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Top: Bullfighter - Vila Franca da Xira

we sought nooks and crannies. Drinking coffee and sweet pastries was our daily ritual. Our friends seemed to accept my need to explore - balancing forts and "must see" attractions with the alleys and shops found by childhood friend - Julia. Julia's meandering. husband was born in Portugal and We travelled with Susan's we visited John Paulino's family outside of Lisbon in Villa Franca da Xira for the annua l

with Castelo Sao Jorge upper left, Baixa Lisboa to the right

Top: The fashion district in Lisbon Below: Jim, Susan, Sydney, Kirstyn, Morgan, Julia & John

running of the bulls. Kirstyn willing posed for photos with Morgan & Sydney in front of each viewpoint. After our week in Lisbon, we wandered backroads from Sagres at the southwestern tip of Europe north to Porto over a second


week. Sunny beaches in the south to the riptides and windy Atlantic Coast; the dry Alentejo with Queijo and wine; the university town of Coimbra and the working town of Porto. Moorish, Roman and Catholic architecture. That was our Portugal.

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Opposite page clockwise: Windbathing on The praia (beach) of Vila do Conde. Moorish Castle, Sintra. Gymnastics on praia do Salema. Massive waves at Sagres where Prince Henry the Navigator might have had a school. Floor tiles at the Roman Conimbriga archeology site near Coimbra.

Top: Susan in the Alfama, Lisbon (girls in her sunglasses) Below: Trolleys in the Alfama, Lisbon


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India by Jim

acophony. Really, only an audio recording would do justice to Bombay. I could be politically correct and call it Mumbai, and I tried, but everyone I encountered still called it Bombay and did not feel strongly about the political message that was sent by renaming everything. The discomfort of travel. After a spicy meal that your GI system isn’t used to, you take a long walk. As your gut speaks to you, at first you ignore it, but soon it is too late. Now you need a restroom. You do not realize how much you know about your own culture until you realize how difficult it can be to find a bathroom in another culture. I commiserate with anyone who has urgently hunted for a place of relief in another country. Carry-on luggage is limited to 8 kg on Lufthansa. I eventually persuaded Lufthansa to double


my allowance to 16 kg with a phone call. All my video equipment is heavy and the one time I checked it on United last year, it was stolen out of my bags. Now you know why the TSA wants to check your bags. At any rate, I had no room for extra clothing. Perhaps because of my extra carry-on weight, they couldn’t or didn’t load my checked bags and left them in San Francisco. I savored three days in Bombay before I had my first change of clothing. I would like to take you on a virtual trip to India. Close your eyes and imagine your favorite

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Top right: The Taj Mahal from the Red Fort Below: Mumbai/Bombay - the queen's necklace

two lane highway from the 1960’s, say Highway 1 along the US east coast. Now it is rush hour, so put five lanes into the two, the traffic is bumper to bumper and a bit slow. Dig up all the sidewalks along the side of the road so it is dusty and everything looks under construction. Leave some


boulders in the road at various locations, no blinking lights for drivers to see, they should be looking out for it on their own. There is the occasional Mercedes and quite a few Toyoto land cruisers, but mostly older cars, say fiats and ambassadors – you know what they are, don’t you? Put some

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motorcycles, say 1000 per mile of road. The cars, some have their lights on, but many do not, saving electricity. And rear view mirrors, optional. But even if you have a rear view mirror, go ahead and fold it against the car. You are not going to use it anyway. Most of the cars and motorcycles are underpowered (by US standards) and if you are female, sit sidesaddle on the back with your bright silk sari blowing in the wind. If you have kids, put them on your lap in front of you. No helmets, you would stand out. How about a few bicycles just to mix up the equation, perhaps about a thousand per mile also (no ten speeds), steel and rugged. Maybe you need

some cars along each side of the road, perhaps the owners are out washing them or selling food

to carry some rebar home, hire a cart and pull it – on the highway. Now add in a couple thousand Piaggio three wheelers from Italy, load them up with families, put some brightly colored, massive dump trucks in the mix also. Perhaps an elephant.Now park

let up for a few moments here and there. Everyone weaves if they can go a little faster than the car in front of them, you are welcome to use the other side of the road if needed, there is at least one motorcycle going backwards to get to his destination a bit sooner.


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Top left: Chandabaghri coconut seller in Orissa Below: The ice-man cometh each morning in Mumbai

from the back. Oh yes, you are on foot, with 5000 other people and to appreciate the experience you are walking with traffic, coming from behind you, no not off the road, on the road with everyone above. Instruct all the vehicles to use their horns, not continuously,

Top right: Mumbai street scene near Kemps Corner Middle: Another Mumbain street Below: All kinds of traffic fills the streets of Delhi. No stripes on the roads, so pass whenever & whereever you can

Send pedestrians across the street ever y few yards, and the cars do not stop, size determines the right of way, all the way up to the dump trucks at the top of the heap. Throw in a couple thousand years of art and architecture and that was my f irst impression of India.


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Top left: Mumbai truck. Middle left to right: Panwalla in Mumbai. Chadni Chowk in Delhi, The Sun Temple in Konark Bottom: Humayun's tomb in Delhi


Anonymous by Jim

Right: Agra train station

lue sari woman stuffs her right foot under my left leg. She lifts her 14 month old onto her elevated knee, snot running out of his nose. I had a reserved seat, but the only option for train travel today was second class. A headache, then a fever - all on the day I trek to the Taj Mahal.

Her other two children are between the facing passsengers and I, often standing between our legs, hands in our lap, unless we overtly define our space. Wiping his nose, the child on her knee reaches for my glasses. I arrive in Agra to find that the Taj is closed on Friday and instead, I get a tour of the fort and the taxi driver’s friend's businesses. When my headache can take no more, I request a return to the train station. “Can’t I show you one more shop?” he asks. No, thank you. “It is how I make money," he finally states the obvious. Still, even as a wealthy american, I cannot take any more today. “Ok, but I will be outside the


station if you change your mind.” he reminds me as he lets me off at the train station a few hours early. I am writing this while passing through Chicago O’Hare airport, where, it is possible that I know someone, but otherwise, I am

anonymous here. I was anonymous in a much different way in Agra. I had two hours to spend at the train station and I observed a thriving com-

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munity at the station. Beggars scooting on boards, rats running between peoples legs: they live there. The vividly turbaned family having tea on the far quai, the young entrepreneur refilling “bottled water� from a tap on the far platform, presumably for resale. I had earlier refused a bottle that had the security cap broken. Young boys hound me for money. Suddenly an american woman scurries up to me and asks if I will have a conversation with her. She is concerned about some young men following her around. She travels solo and films, this time recording a documentar y on India with her handheld camera. She saw a white male and sought refuge in my company. Who am I? Can I really offer

her protection? Why trust me more than any other person? The color of my skin? I had no understanding of the meaning of minority until 15 years ago when I was the only white skinned person alone in a city in China and now, one of two whites on a train platform in India I was getting a refresher. Two completely different anonymities O'Hare and Agra. One, I am alone in a sea of white disappearing in the crowd. The other, alone in a sea of brown, but standing out like a strobe light drawing attention to a pawn shop. Not even the woman throwing her blind trust at me knows my name.

Family time by Jim

Below: Charles Thomas, Lassie, Natasha & Pam Thomas on their ranch in September 2007 living the country life.

Above: Richard Sienko, Morgan, Donna Sienko, Susan. Our families spent the last week of summer wandering the beautiful neighborhoods of Vancouver, BC, doing what we like best, dining, reading, shopping and drinking coffee in various cafes.


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Work, school, school, work. by Susan


his year celebrates my 15th year at the Shriners hospital in Portland. To celebrate, my faithful co-worker Cathleen and I decided to check out higher education again. Our children are aging and we aren't growing younger.


ity amputations and children with hemiplegia while still completing our present grant - evaluating the function of boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Only time will tell whether I decide to actively pursue a PhD, but at this time I have enjoyed taking the classes and my statistics skills have improved significantly, p<.001!

Kirstyn's High School Graduation Quilt

In March we started testing the waters with our first in a series of three statistics classes. We figured even if we didn’t pursue anything past the class it would assist us greatly in our daily work. Invigoraed by our first class about ANOVA’s, we began using our new knowledge to analyse data that has been waiting for a while. It does seem that now data analysis takes much longer when you do things more thoroughly. After a summer off we signed up for statistics II - regression. We again applied our newly learned techniques to analyze data for our upcoming manuscripts. Although it was a lot of fun we were happy to be finishing our final exam in early December. We are both assessing whether a PhD is the right path to take or whether individual classes to advance our skills in our job is the better way to go. The next term is off regardless, as we prepare for our new grant using functional MRI’s in children with upper extrem-

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Morgan's Year by Morgan

Gymnastics! This year I am a level 7. I have a ton of new skills like a switch leap, front pike, and a layout on f loor; back handspring and back wa l kover on the beam and giants on bars. Vault - well, it is still the same. I practice 16 hours a week plus the meets. My best score is a 37.0 in my first season. Next year, I am planning on going level 7 again with higher level skills. This year we get to go cool places like California, Utah, Washigton and of course Oregon, my home state. I hope to continue doing gymnastics and do better this coming season.

some new classes like French, and Journalism. I still have the usual classes, reading, writing, social studies, math and science. Some of my favorite assignments have been the Eiffel Tower poster in French; "I am from" in Writing; reading "Great books" in reading, having articles published in the school newspaper in Journalism and the best - getting up at 6:30 AM to do homework,not. Splitting rooms ! At the beginning of 2007 my sister and I decided that we d id not wa nt to share a room any

7th grade! This year is 7th grade. New teachers, old teachers. new friends, old friends. Life is not much different at school other than


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more, like we had our whole life. We wanted to be separated so we split rooms. We had to get every thing out of the rooms. I hate doing that. It takes so long. I think I have never done something so long and boring! It took us about 3-4 days just to clean out two rooms. Sydney has the most “junk” in the family. We each have our own rooms and we love them. Mine is blue and brown a nd Sydneys is green a nd pink. They both have our own personalities and mine is always clean, wel l most of the time. I change my room a rou nd about every three months. Why not, it is my room, I hope I never have to share a room with her


again because she is so messy. I actually like having my own room, it can be my own personality not both of ours. Not dressing alike! September 5, 2007 was the 1st day of school and was also the 1st day Sydney and I did not dress alike. It was not me who did not want to dress alike; it was my sister, Sydney. When she said, “she would not dress like me any more.” I thought she was crazy. Why not dress alike. I see no point why not to dress alike but there are a million reasons to dress alike. One very obvious reason to dress alike is we are twins. Hello! Twins dress alike. That would be like telling Thing 1 and Thing 2 not to look or dress alike. I mean it is just common for twins to dress alike, so we should too, but it is too late now, Sydney will never dress like me again. Hey, we even have some different clothes so we can’t dress alike with different clothes because it would not be dressing alike with different clothes.

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Happy H Susan, Sydney,

Centerfold - the family


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Holidays from Morgan & Jim


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Sydney's New Look! by Sydney

I got a new hearing aid this year and my eye doctor said I needed glasses, so I found some pink ones. I began to dress differently than Morgan. I love reading. Glasses - On Saturday Octomber 6, 2007 I found out that I was going to need glasses. We spent severa l hours looking around that day. The one I liked best, I found at the first store. Waiting 10 days and now seeing things more clearly helps a lot. Now I blame my mom because I could have been blind since 2nd grade. But I also blame my dad for his genes. He wears glasses.

Gymnastics - Last year was my first level 7 season. I only did 3 meets but it was really fun. This year I am doing another season of level 7 and hoping to do better. I have some new skills including giants, a f r o nt h a n d s p r i n g front pike and a round off back handspring back layout. I am working on getting a back handspring on the beam.


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Hearing aid - I remember clearly on October 22, 2007 that we could not be late for French. My hearing aid appointment was at 8:00 AM but we did not start until 8:15. School started in one hour. We quickly checked my hearing and got a new mold. We hurried to school and made it there at 8:50 with enough time before the bell rang. I was so excited to get a new mold. I had been waiting for a year and a half when finally the day came. Now I have a 7th Grade - With some of pink and white one and I love it! the same teachers as last year and some new ones, I continue to study math, science, reading, writing, and social studies. My two electives are Journalism and French. Both of them I really like. I also read a lot this year. My favorite author is Meg Cabot. I hope this year continues as fun as it started.


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Laryngology & the Internet by Jim

contact with physicians and patients from around the world. With the tumble of the dollar, patients can fairly easily fly in from Europe for surgery. Dr. Phaniendra Kumar, who The internet and my laryngology practice have evolved hand in hand. I created www. at the first opportunity I had to create a website (back in the 90's). Because of the website, I have since made

Clockwise from top: Orissa arrival: - speech therapist, Santosh Prantinidhi, me, Kamikanta Samantaray Above: KEM Hospital - Sadhana Nayak, Jyoti Dabholkar, me, Ashesh Bhumkar Below right: Nupur Nerukar Below left: V Phaniendra Kumar, me Left: welcome in Orissa


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started the Association of Phonosurgeons of India, found me on the internet and invited me to his country, India, to speak. I also had previously met Sadhana Nayak of Bombay during my own fellowship studies. So in January I set off for India and lecturing. This spring four fellows contacted me. Redwan Kalash from Damascus, Syria. He is interested

in starting a laryngology practice in a country where no one yet subspecializes in voice. Sanjeev Badhwar heard about me through my lectures in India. He practices at a military hospital in Bombay, India. Manish Munjal has just finished his residency and is starting his practice in Delhi, India. His fellowship included a Los Angeles driving experience. Fe r m i n Z u b i a u r o f Mexico City, met my first fellow from several years

Above: Redwan Kalash of Damascus, Syria. Right: Fermin Zubiaur of Mexico City, Mexico Below: Manish Munjal from Delhi, India and Sanjiv Badhwar of Bombay, India

ago, Balthazar Servin and decided to study voice f u r t her as well. His fellowship extends th rou g h nex t spring. I f ind we live in a small, interconnected world.


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No photo - no existance - by Jim


rriving at the airport … That is how several adventures began this year. In October, I had planned to attend a voice conference in LA and take my bike. For some reason, I procrastinated on hotel reservations, and by the time I started looking on Monday before the Thursday conference, I was seemingly out of any reasonably nearby option. In the end, it was a bonus since I needed to stay farther away from the conference (6 miles - about a half hour in LA time), I decided to offer my fellow, Manish Munjal a trip to the conference and share a hotel. I looked online and found that I could get him airfare with a car rental for half the price of an airfare (try to figure that logic out). I bought it and booked the car in his name, a requirement of the offer. I figured that even if they didn’t accept his license from Delhi, India, since I had paid for the car, I could drive it. I had even planned to take the day off before the conference to finish my talk. I had actually taken off four days the week before, but in the end, most of those days ended up being filled with “urgent” surgeries. I had almost finished the talk at noon, drove out to buy a new portable hard disk (so I didn’t have to keep erasing the one I had before each new lecture - video files use up a lot of hard drive space). I came back from lunch with the drive,


plugged it in and it took down all of my video drives, frying the connection between all the drives. I took the drive back for a refund, and though the store was skeptical, they plugged it in to their computers and indeed it was fried. Fortunately with three connections to each video drive, the slow USB connection still worked and I spent 4 hours just transferring the files to a new portable drive. About 8 pm I headed home for my 4 am trip to the airport in the morning. “Sir, do you have another ID?” queried TSA guy. That guy in the uniform who is supposed to be looking for terrorists points out that my drivers license expired a month ago - and no! I cannot get on the plane. Perhaps terrorists are so busy they are likely to have

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forgotten to check their driver's licenses. Well, they are in good company. God only knows why I took my passport with me, but I found it in my backpack and well, they let me on the plane with a passport. So, if you are a terrorist, be sure to carry multiple ID’s. So how was I going to rent a car now? I arrived in LA, found Manish, who had traveled on another airline, and headed to Hertz with the plan for him to rent the car. He had not yet driven in the US, but here was his opportunity. My license apparently expires ever four years (I now know), but in India, once you get a license, it is good for over 30 years until you are 50 and need to get your eyes re-examined. Well, it was a little worn and hard to read. The rental guy quizzed us a lot. Manish offered that I could drive the car, but the online deal I had purchased said Manish had to be the driver. After a magnifying glass and a quiz, Manish got the car. He bought the upgraded insurance for more than the price of the rental and for that the guy offered to add my name to the drivers list. He apparently glossed over the expiration date on my license, since we had spent 20 minutes finding the one on Manish’s card. Since he was concerned about driving, I drove off the lot - or at least in that direction, when the guy at the exit asked for my license, he noted that bloody ex-


piration date and Manish moved behind the steering wheel. He couldn’t figure out how to move the seat, then finally found the “gear shift” and got us going if fits and spurts off the Hertz lot. I think fits and spurts would describe Manish putting his foot on the clutch several times in a car with an automatic transmission that only has a brake. For some reason Hertz prefers drivers with “valid expiration dates” 20 years off, rather than air-heads who don’t check their expiration date. Two blocks later, the illegal driver resumed the wheel for four days of law-breaking in LA. Not wanting to be captured on video as we returned to the Hertz lot (I know they don’t check the license on return), I offered the car back to Manish one stop light before the Hertz Car Return. He pulled slowly out into the right lane of the 4 lane road and 50 feet later at the light, Manish again put the clutch to the floor and shifted the gear shift into what he thought was neutral - however, the car was still an automatic transmission, or at least up to that point where the gearshift went into Park. I put it back in drive and kept my hand on the gear shift the rest of the way back. It turns out that Manish’s car in Delhi has manual brakes, so even the remaining quarter mile was “entertaining”. The next time you are looking at that used rental car for a great price, check out if it was driven

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in LA first. Perhaps there was a reason I was carrying that passport in my pack all the time. In January, I had travelled to India for two weeks, when I had an unexpected extension to my vacation. On my last day in Bombay, I had been scammed by several taxi drivers working together out of 500 rupees. Not exactly a fortune, but I was worried these unscrupulous taxi drivers were going to dump me somewhere I didn’t want to be. In the end, I got to my hotel and back to the airport later in the night for my departure home. I loved visiting India, though after the typical discomforts of travel culture shock, financial scams, intestinal shock, etc, I was happy to finally board the plane with all my luggage. I didn’t even care if Lufthansa got my luggage home (they certainly had a problem getting it to India). The flight left Bombay at 3 am; exhausted I fell fast asleep until arriving in Frankfurt. Unfortunately, I did not have a through flight and I had to change planes, because when I tried to get back on in the next terminal, I couldn’t


find my passport. I knew I had it in order to get on t h e f i r s t plane, and I couldn’t recall brushing into anyone that could have pick pocketed me (and I am hyper aware of a number of techniques that pick pockets have tried on me in other travels. Until this year, I had never lost any valuable. However, those German gate keepers would not let me on the plane despite the obvious fact that I must have had my passport to board the first half of my itinerary. However, german principles were not going to let me on a plane to the US and it departed without me. Now what do I do? Perhaps you have seen “The Terminal”, the Tom Hanks film about the guy stuck in the airport - it really is not far-fetched. It was Sunday. I found one has to get to the US Embassy and they are golfing on Sunday. Monday was Martin Luther King’s birthday and they celebrate that at the US Embassy in Frankfurt as well. It takes four hours after they open

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on Tuesday to get a new passport if all goes well and the flight to Portland leaves each morning at 8 am, so I was looking forward to a 4 day holiday in Frankfurt, in January, dressed for Bombay, India. No, they did not give me my luggage for the second time on this trip. Well, the gods must be smiling. The border patrol slacked off, let me into Europe without a passport (I don’t know, maybe terrorists never lose their passport; their drivers license’s are never out of date, and people like me are low risk in Europe). The weather was a wonderful 45 degrees each late afternoon, so I survived wearing all the clothing I had with me each day. On the second day, Lufthansa called my hotel letting me know, their cleaning people had found my passport under my seat (I had folded my jacket on my lap when I fell asleep) and I could come to the airport to pick it up. For some unknown reason, for the first time in my life, I had purchased a $200 surcharge on my airfare to allow me to change the date of my flight home (I was unsure of how many


problems I m ig ht have in Ind ia), but in s o m e t w isted log ic Lu f thansa felt that I was the one who had changed my flight home and wanted me to buy a new ticket, until I recalled the type of ticket I had and they allowed me to “change” my departure date for only an additional $200 “change fee”. And finally, Portland had it’s only snowstorm of the year on the day after MLK's birthday during my flight home, so all patients that I had to cancel because of my “European Vacation” could not have come to the office anyway since the whole of Portland was shut down. I missed no work, had four delightful days wandering the streets of Frankfurt, visiting churches and eating hearty German food, and didn’t have nearly as much jet lag because of the stop.

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Color & Light by Jim


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Sharon Sienko Laidlaw March 17, 1965-July 17, 2007 by Susan

This year a significant amount of my time has been spent with Sharon. In early Januar y we learned that there were no other cancer treatment options available to her and that experimental treatments were her only option with limited chance of success. Being the fighter and eternal optimist that Sharon was, she began the first of what was to be many drug trials. Sharon was feeling better and hoped to go back to work at the end of January or the beginning of February. With a small window of opportunity we thought it would be great if Sharon could come to Portland for a week and spend some time with us, and the girls. So at the end of January, Sharon, Stephanie and Kendall came to Portland for some sister, girl time.


We had a great week filled with travels to all of Sharonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favorite places, eating her favorite foods and just spending good times together, despite the fact that we only had one bathroom and a makeshift kitchen due to our recent water problem. Sharonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

health did not improve as experimental treatments continued and thus March took me home to celebrate our birthdays. Sharon wanted to go horseback riding so Stephanie and I went with her to the ranch for a crisp but beautiful horseback trip. Our birthday dinner was great but sad as I began to realize that this would be the last time that we

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celebrated out birthdays together. Sharon hoped to get out again in June with my mom but her health and Dr’s would not let her travel the distance. While June took us to Portugal, Sharons health was tenuous and there were calls home checking on her status. She had fallen the week before but there didn’t seem to be any major concerns. Upon arrival back in NY we had a message to call home, never a good sign. After frequent calls it was determined that I should come home as soon

as possible. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperating and I could not get a flight to Toronto from any airport in NY. So I flew back to Portland, unpacked, did laundry and made arrangements to get home. At this point Sharon had been moved to a hospice and I was only hoping that she would hold on until I got there. Stephen picked me up in Buffalo and we drove to the hospice where we spent many hours over the next five days. Sharon was cognizant when I arrived and thus I was able to spend many hours just talking to her and reminiscing about


times in the past. Sharon passed away peacefully on July 17th with family, friends and her minister at her side. Sharon left behind her husband Darren, her three stepchildren Sean, Stephen and Sarah and of course my parents, Stephanie, Stephen and I and her nieces Morgan, Sydney and Kendall. Sharon will be missed greatly by her family friends, colleagues and students, but I know her fighting spirit will live on in each of us as we remember her impact on our lives. Sharon’s dedication to her work with children with special needs will be remembered through a scholarship in her name. Each year children who exemplify Sharon’s fighting spirit and who need assistance to reach their full potential will receive a scholarship to help them access the technolog y they need to achieve their goals. The scholarship is overseen by the Brantford community foundation at www. brantfordcommunit y . As my parents come for Christmas, we will spend one last time with Sharon as we honour her final wishes and spread her ashes at Haystack rock in Cannon Beach. We will miss her greatly.

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I run for life his year, Melissa Ethridge's “Run for Life” song has been my inspiration for numersous reasons during my forced exercise sessions. This year’s commitment was to running, a long-time passion, but one that I haven’t pursued actively for many years. The first commitment of the year was the “Hippie chick half marathon”. Fortunately for me I found a couple other suckers that were willing to commit to running the 13.1 miles and thus training began in February. I trained

and 7 minutes, three minutes less than my anticipated time of 2 hours and 10 minutes (10 minute miles). At the end, Jeanette was waiting for me as I received my “bling” for finishing. We were treated with Mirmosa’s and food, which was a nice finish to the race. Although I didn’t come near to placing in my age group, the accomplishment of finishing was the goal. September brought the next forced exercise commitment and this time Jeanette and I were joined by my friends Valarie and

as faithfully as possible, juggling the usual work, kids, and school. My long runs increased each week and by May I was as ready as I could be. Jeanette, my final cohort in crime, and I headed down to the race. It was a mild day, not too hot and not raining. I started out at a fairly good pace, but as the miles increased so did my minutes per mile. I finished my first half marathon in 2 hours


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Top: left Pints to Pasta Girls - Valerie Edwards, Susan, Rachel Dresbeck, Jeanette Weston Below: Hippie Chicks


by Susan

Top: Pints to Pasta - Susan, Rachel, Valerie Below: Susan along the Willamette on the Pints to Pasta Run

Rachel. We chose the pints to pasta 10k. It was an absolutely beautiful day for a run that took us along the scenic Portland waterfront. I finished in less than 9 minute miles thanks to Rachel and determined my new goal for next years marathon. Although there was no big “bling” at the end but we did receive 2 glasses of beer, pasta, bread and salad at 9:00 am in the morning. The run inspired all of us to commit to the 2008 “Hippie Chick”. At this point I think there are 10 of us signed up to complete the run. Even my sister Stephanie and her friend Caroline were inspired and signed up. I really think they wa nted a g i rls trip to Portland but are using the run as an excuse. Regardless, I am looking forward to another year of running and pushing myself a little further than I think I can go.


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Ronde von Portlandia by Jim

Trinity Choristers by Jim


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Produced on my lap, on a Macintosh MacBook Pro Duo & 3GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon. Printed on a Tectronix Phaser 8400 duplex wax color printer. Fonts include Sand & Myriad (cover), Parisan (Titles), Park Avenue (Drop Caps), Hoefler text (text), Teckton Pro (byline & captions), Black (footers). Bound as usual at KinkoŠs, delivered by the faithful at the USPS. Digital photos shot on a Nikon Coolpix 8700.

Remodeling 501


by Jim

n a continuation of the previous year's work, we decided to open the walls in the living room (called the "Den" in 1950's parlance) and insulate the drafty place. We were ready to put the walls back up when the water main under our house ruptured and work turned toward boring pipes, opening kitchen and bathroom where all the walls had to come out, and finally re-plumb the house. Well, it seemed prudent to re-wire the house at the same time, so the vacumn clea ner in the living room would no longer trip the kitchen lighting and that is how we spent our year. Two years ago, Sus a n h a d d re a m drawings done for new kitchen cabinets. Now was the time. D u r i n g the tear-out, I learned that the i n it i a l ow ner/ architect built to nuclear blast s p e c i f i c a t i on s and any remodels were built to "cover it up" standards. I could barely remove the original tile. While we were at it, we regraded the back yard, restored the wood doors, finished two fireplaces, had Eco-Blast re-


move the paint from the exterior stone (who in their right mind paints stone?). I did the electrical (it passed inspection). A million deta i ls ta ke up more than 50% of a project and we learned about cabinet builders who promise a six week build ti me. Two reschedules, two no-shows and six

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Before plus months later... I thought they had gone out of business several times, found an attorney at one point and learned about the domino effect when one contractor does not show up. Ever y other contractor finds other work and days turn



Nea rl don y e into weeks a nd then months. T h e remodel i s ( i n t he

ly ar e e N on d

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Bath During

end) com ing out the way we would like it and we just began cooking in the unfinished kitchen in the beginning of December. What a year!


Disappearing paint


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Parting Shot

Growing fast


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Gazette 2007  

Thomas family newsletter for 2007