discovery box • belended families • calendar • earthtalk • family movie time • more!
by Kim Green-Spangler
ow much time do you spend unplugged from all electronic devices? Hint: The time spent sleeping does not count! How about time spent interacting one-on-one and face-to-face each day? Skype and FaceTime will not fit the bill, either. Is your answer: minimal? If so, unfortunately, you’re the majority. The Next Epidemic – Electronic Cocaine Te c h n o l o g y c a n b e f o u n d everywhere in today’s society. The lives of adults and children alike are impacted by television, computer games, cell phones and portable devices across the globe. However, these same useful devices are being called “electronic cocaine”, a term coined by psychologist Dr. Peter Whybrow, the head of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. Why has technology received such a bad rap? In Damian Thompson’s article in The Telegraph, Dr. Whybrow is quoted from a previous interview with Mary F i s c h e r o f Pa c i f i c Standard explaining how this new “drug”
claims unsuspecting users. “The computer is electronic cocaine for many people,” says Whybrow. “Our brains are wired for finding immediate reward. With technology, novelty is the reward. You essentially become addicted to novelty.” We can’t stop because the brain has no built-in braking system. With most natural constraints gone, all we’ve got left is our own intelligence and the internal regulatory system in the frontal cortex, the most recent evolutionary addition to the brain. This “executive brain” regulates impulse control and reasoning. But, Whybrow notes, “despite our superior intelligence, we remain driven by our ancient desires.” The most primitive part of our
brain – the medulla and cerebellum – developed millennia ago when dinner tended to run or fly away. It cradles the roots of the ancient dopamine reward pathways. When an action has a good result, like snatching food before it escapes, or finding something new, dopamine neurotransmitters release chemicals that make us feel pleasure. And the more we get, the more we want...” The Results of Electronic Dependency Given the gravity of the statements made by Dr. Whybrow, it’s clear the potential exists for a large segment of the world population to fall prey to the lure of technology, at some point. We are seeing the results of this each day. It’s this “need” that compels drivers to text while behind the wheel, or to interrupt family time with one more email, text, or level on Candy Crush Saga. What is happening to communication? How many restaurants have silent diners who are eating while texting with others instead of enjoying the company of their fellow diner? How many people are being turned into attention deficit victims because
we can search for a variety of topics in seconds, download and upload a boggling amount of data in nanoseconds, or simply click a remote to eliminate commercials, change a program or switch to something more appealing. Where does honor and integrity come into play? If adults can be swayed into improper behavior online, like viewing inappropriate content, f laming, or availing thems elves of b o otleg s ongs or movies, what chance do the children have of learning to respect electronics? Not to mention behaving in a responsible, mature and ethical manner. The reality is that children are more easily addicted due to the developmental stages of their brains, and they rely on the adults in the lives for protection until they can make their own choices and decisions. In a single day nearly any adult can encounter an instance in which a child under the age of 5 is being soothed or entertained by an electronic gadget. Most often with an iPad, Nook, or tablet. Young children are particularly adept at mastering technology usage, but are clueless about monitoring their own exposure for signs of overexposure. In England one of the youngest documented cases of computer addiction is a four year old. But with a little sleuthing, evidence can be
continued on page 3…
family friends Distributed through all Eugene/Springfield and Bethel public elementary and middle schools, most area private schools, and over 420 commercial locations in Linn and Lane counties.
Rescue Spotlight S
Pacific Parents Publishing Editor
Sandy Kauten CONTRIBUTING Writers
Rick Epstein Jen Galvin Bonnie Harris Kim Green-Spangler Graphic Design/Layout
Springer Design & Illustration
Sandy Kauten 541.683.7452 Oregon Family
P.O. Box 21732 Eugene, OR 97402 541.683.7452 FAX: 541.683.7925 email@example.com www.oregonfamily.com Opinions expressed by contributors or advertisers are not necessarily the opinions of this publication.
ho could abandon beautiful Mallory? But someone did. Fortunately for her, she came to West Coast Dog and Cat Rescue and is now a healthy, happy cat. Mallory is a tuxedo cat about 6-8 years old. She is very playful and inquisitive, and will follow you around. And what a lap warmer she is. Sit down and she’s in your lap. Brush her and she purrs. Give her canned food and she’s in heaven. She will do best in a home as an only cat or one where the other cats are passive. She’s up-to-date on all shots and has been spayed. Mallory comes with a free vet visit and because we want her to find a home quickly, her adoption fee is only $45 for a limited time.
© 2013 Pacific Parents Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced without prior expressed written permission from Pacific Parents Publishing.
See all of West Coast dog and Cat’s animals at www.westcoastdogandcat.org. Call 541-225-4955 for more information on Mallory or any WCDC adoptable cats.
cruffy is looking for a family of his own! He is a schipperke/ chihuahua mix and is 5 years old. He would love a family with school aged kids and loves to snuggle and play. He's about 9 lbs., but don't ask him to share his home with a cat. He doesn't think cats should be part of his family. He has a fun personality with just the right amount of attitude. Scruffy came up from CA and was rescued from a high kill shelter. Wiggly Tails always does a foster to adopt process, which means the potential family would foster him for a week or two to see how he fits in with the household. After that time, if everything has gone well, he would be officially adopted. Scruffy is neutered, and up to date on shots and microchipped. His adoption fee is $175, which covers rescue expenses and helps us continue to save more lives. If you would like to meet him, contact us through wigglytailsdogrescue@ yahoo.com. You can also see other adoptable dogs on our facebook page, http://facebook.com/wigglytailsdogrescue
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continued from front cover… found much closer, perhaps in one’s backyard – so to speak. Some Signs and Symptoms of Electronic Compulsion, Addiction or Dependency Below are just a few of the indicators that may be used to determine if excessive electronic usage tendencies exist, and should be treated by a professional, or in a clinical setting: • A gradual or dramatic increase in the amount of time spent using technological devices • Hiding the amount of time spent online • Wit hdrawing f rom s o cial situations • Experiencing depression, fear, or anxiety about the amount of time spent online • Lack of control to end electronic sessions • Electronic dependence is jeopardizing your family life, livelihood, or relationships • Feeling anxious and/or physically compelled until you check your email, texts, or turn on a game • Losing sleep to play another game or visit another website The Adult Solution What can adults do when they are expected to be instantaneously available to their bosses, children, spouses and friends? When finding a pay phone is a rarity and not having a cell phone, email address, or texting ability is met with disbelieving stares? As adults, it’s their role to model acceptable behavior to the younger generation, be it to their own kids, or someone else’s. Adults should complete necessary tasks before gaming, watching television, or texting. Set limits for electronic usage and be prepared to turn off or unplug, when at home or in the
company of others. Being able to hold a conversation, read facial expressions, compose a letter, and be comfortable in the physical company of others are important life-skills. What Steps can Parents take to help Safeguard their Children from Electronic Overload? Parents need to become familiar with the environment they want to safeguard their children from. While the knee-jerk reaction might be to ban electronics, it’s rather unrealistic
in this day and age. Being aware of where the dangers exist, and the types of pitfalls available, can help parents steer children away from them. 1. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no child under the age of 2 “should be allowed television and other entertainment media.” Their standing is that children learn best through human interaction. 2. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that children and teens limit their television and entertainment media to no more than two hours per day.
3. Discussing concerns with children can help them be aware of the potential dangers, parental fears and open dialogue about what is being done, viewed or shared through technology. 4. Parents can help children learn to strike a healthy balance between electronics and other interests. It will be different for every household/ family, but can be based on the age or interests of the child, and the amount of time the child is allowed to spend on electronics. 5. Making the time spent online obvious can help children become cognizant of their electronic habits. It’s easy to get lost in a game,
conversation, or when searching for an item online. Keeping a clock near where electronics are used, or moving a computer/gaming console to a heavily trafficked area within the home may help parents better track usage. 6. Have children make time for personal face-to-face interactions with a variety of people, not just family members. Children can disassociate feelings from people when communicating virtually. They need to remember that there’s a person attached to the other end of those thumbs, with feelings and emotions.
Concerts coming up at
November, 2013 11.1-3 Siri Vik: Fine And Mellow The Billie Holiday Songbook 11.08 Bill Frisell’s Big Sur Quintet 11.21 Carl Woideck Jazz Heritage Project: Miles Davis at the Black Hawk 1961 11.22 Brooks Robertson & John Standefer
The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts
Music School Private & group lessons on various instruments and in various styles (including dance & voice), classes and vacation camps for all ages, including preschool, school age, adults & seniors.
Registration for music classes and private lessons are now available! Call The Shedd Music School today!
Sign up now for classes or lessons! Register: 541-434-7015 Shedd Presenting Sponsor
The Shedd: 868 High Street (corner of Broadway & High) www.theshedd.org/MusicSchool
OFC-Shedd 1 Check us out2013-11.indd on-line at www.oregonfamily.com
December, 2013 12.5-22 MUSICAL: Camelot 12.12-18 Christmas at The Shedd 2013: Button Up Your Overcoat
7. If the addiction cannot be solved by familial intervention, parents should consider professional help. Psychologists or psychiatrists can use in or outpatient treatment to rectify the problem. In Japan, with more than 500,000 estimated cases of electronic addiction, “fasting camps” are currently in the development phase. These “camps” will be used to detox 12-18 year olds from Internet access. Educational counselors, along with teams of medical and mental health professionals, will lead children in outdoor activities, team sports and games. The Japanese are blaming internet addiction for sleep disorders, eating problems, depression and poor educational performance. The goal is to get children reinvested in spending time with others and interacting face-to-face. Turn Off and Tune Out Technology changes so rapidly that science, simply, cannot keep up. Thus, the true, long-term effects of electronic addiction cannot be documented and proven until masses of victims are caught in its web. Many addictions can be traced to personality and predisposition, but exposure, or in this case chronic exposure, can make a potential situation a sure thing. Adults and children can benefit from a little time off from electronic bombardment. Allow young minds to develop free from overstimulation and slightly older minds, the opportunity to unplug and recover from an environment that can be relentless and undiscerning. Like most things in life - moderation is the key. Kim Green-Spangler, B.S. Ed and M.S. Eng, is a freelance writer, wife and mother. Her niche is writing articles pertaining to family life, health, fitness, parenting and home based businesses. She may be contacted through www.justwrite4u.com.
Fine and Mellow The Billie Holiday Songbook
November 1-3 sponsored by
Joan Spratlen Mike & Nancy Oft Rose
January, 2014 1.17 Blues Harmonica Blowout 1.18 Carl Woideck Jazz Heritage Project: Stormy Weather 1.25 Moombah: Boxcars On The Brain Train February, 2014 2.7 Ken Peplowski 2.8 Boz Scaggs (Hult) 2.13-22 Jazz Kings: Give Me A Song The Magic of Jule Styne
Shedd Presenting Sponsor
Bill Frisell’s Big Sur Quintet Fri, November 8
10/22/2013 9:18:44 PagePM 3
Mo ieTime by Bonnie L. Harris
Mike’s first day on campus
You May Not Be Scary, But You Can Be Fearless Walt Disney/Pixar Studios, Rated G Released on Home Video: October 29, 2013
t’s been a long time coming, but the sequel to Monsters, Inc is definitely worth the wait. Hampered by delays at Pixar Animation and sidelined by corporate infighting at Disney Studios, Monsters University finally emerged as tale worthy of the beloved 2001 film that introduced those bumbling, warm-hearted monsters, Mike Wazowski, voiced by Billy Crystal, and James “Sully” Sullivan, voiced by John Goodman. In this new episode, we return to monster elementary school where Mike, the little one-eyed outcast, dreams of going to Monsters University. After years of hard work, Mike eventually arrives on campus and meets his roommate, Boggs,
and matches wits with Sully on his very first day of Scaring 101. While Boggs and Sully spend their time partying, Mike hits the library and the books. On the day of the final exam, however, an accident causes Mike and Sully to fail the test, which eliminates them from Scaring School. Determined to become a scarer, Mike enlists the help of Sully and the Oozma Kappa fraternity to compete in the annual Scare Games, which could redeem their reputations and lead back to Scaring School. Although the Oozma Kappas have a good chance of winning, events take an unexpected turn and both Mike and Sully must admit their failures and
confront their own fears before they can be real scarers. Freshman director, Dan Scanlon, keeps the action tight, the twists surprising, and the characters believeable as Mike, Sully, and the Oozma Kappas become true friends. There’s a happy ending, as you can imagine, but it would be a spoiler to give
away one of the best parts of the movie. A bonus feature is the adorable short film, The Blue Umbrella , which accompanies Monsters University, and demonstrates the charming power of animation to tug at our hearts and deliver a wonderful rainy-day smile.
FOR THE PARENTS
60% of students with learning problems have undetected vision problems
The RED 2 team ready for action
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Comprehensive Treatment for Learning-Related Vision Problems
“The words don’t bounce around anymore!”
Carol Marusich, OD, MS, FCOVD Robin Bautista, OD 541.342.3100 Monthly Workshops on How Vision Impacts Performance
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SToriES aND acTiviTiES for PrESchooLErS NEW Day aND TimE Second Friday of the month at 10:30 a.m. Learn and play! Join us for stories and hands-on fun, with a different theme and new activities each month. $5 per family · Free for museum members Learn more at natural-history.uoregon.edu 1680 E. 15th Ave., Eugene · 541-346-3024
MuseuM of Natural and Cultural H i s t o ry
DC Entertainment & Lionsgate, Rated: PG-13 Release on Home Video November 26, 2013 ecause I enjoyed every minute of the original 2010 movie, Retired Extremely Dangerous, aka RED, and that effort was a fresh & funny take on the action film, I was really looking forward to the sequel, RED 2, starring Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren. As happens so often, however, the writing and directing of the sequel doesn’t measure up to the original. The stars are there, along with new-comers, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins, but the ironic humor, the curmudgeonly friendships, and the “don’t take us too seriously” attitude was missing. Bruce Willis plays Frank Moses, retired spy extraordinare, who builds a quiet life with his new girlfriend, Sarah, played a little too sweetly this time by Mary-Louise Parker. After an assassination attempt, Frank must return to action and deactivate a nuclear bomb, which was planted in Moscow during the Cold War. John Malkovich, who plays Frank’s best friend, Marvin, tags along as demolition expert and romantic advisor. Sarah craves the life of a spy, but her naïve disregard for danger causes Frank to be overly preoccupied with her safety. Adding two assassins, a chase across three continents, a Russian femme fatale, and a bizarre explosive device results in a hodge-podge of a plot going nowhere fast. The original RED based the story on aging spies, who were just as dangerous and savvy as their younger counterparts. RED 2 relies heavily on weak charicatures, sexual innuendoes, gunplay, and way too many explosions. I do have to admit that the insane Dr. Bailey, played brilliantly by Anthony Hopkins, salvaged the second half of the film and gave it back a measure of wit. Too bad he’s foiled in the end; but wait, we don’t really see him die, which could make for a very interesting twist for RED, Part 3.
Check us out on-line at www.oregonfamily.com
by Laura Reagan-Porras, MS
and Two Parts
Doesn’t Have to Make a T
Nutty Holiday Fruit Cake
he holidays may present special challenges for blended families, especially for newly blended families. I divorced 13 years ago and remarried 7 years ago. Through trial and error I have learned a few things about what works and doesn’t work as the mom of a blended family. As a marriage and family sociologist, I also facilitate coparenting education groups for parents in blended families. Marriage and family sociologists estimate at least 1300 new blended families are formed every day! They believe over 64% of families are blended families at some point. That means, blended families are the new normal! Here are some tips for the holidays…
Let Go of Expectations My husband invited our daughters to his parents’ Christmas Eve dinner but did not push them to go. They were older and had their own traditions established with me as their biological parent prior to the new marriage. Our girls chose to go to dinner with his parents but did not want to say for the gift giving extravaganza since they really didn’t know all the extended family members. Tweens and teens may
need to take their time embracing an extended family. There is not a perfect holiday family activity that will make everyone suddenly feel closer. There is not a perfect holiday meal. There is no perfect gift that will heal divorce. There are only opportunities to connect and connection can be defined in a variety of ways. Children may choose to connect or they may not, depending on where they are in the process of accepting and feeling a part of the blended family. Wherever they are in the process is valid. Many experts believe it takes approximately five years to blend a step family states David L. Brasher, BCSW and family therapist. Be Open and Flexible “My mom doesn’t make the turkey that way.” A brave step parent might respond by saying something like this, “Tell me how your mom does it. I might want to try it like that sometime.” If the child says, “Daddy’s Christmas tree has the ornaments I made when I was little.” A wise step parent might say something like this, “That must be really special to have those special ornaments on
the tree. Will you help me make an ornament for our tree? Biological parents might support the blended family dynamics by sharing with the child, “Not everyone does things the same way and we can try a new way.” Learning to live with different people and different styles is a positive skill that may help kids of blended families for years to come in their interpersonal and professional lives.
Keep It Simple Keeping activities simple may help diffuse tension and help new family members get to know each other without pressure. The following list might be helpful in starting new family traditions. • Watch a holiday DVD and string popcorn for the tree. • Go to a holiday movie in a theatre together. • Go Christmas caroling around your neighborhood, laugh with each other, let kids be silly • Go to church, synagogue or mosque together. • Volunteer together at the charity or non-profit of your choice. • Bake holiday cookies together. • Make New Year cards for military service personnel. • Trim the Christmas tree together as a family Family is about being loved and accepted for who you are, no matter how family is defined. Laura Reagan-Porras, MS is a parenting journalist and sociologist. She facilitates co-parenting education classes with blended family members. Laura and her husband, Medardo have blended their family with two daughters.
541-343-4222 329 West 3rd Avenue www.bouncegymnastics.com
GYMNASTICS TUMBLING • TRAMPOLINE • AERIAL CIRCUS ARTS • BIRTHDAY PARTIES • PARENT’S NIGHT OUT • OPEN GYMS • CAMPS • •
All photography courtesy of Stephanie Urso Photography
Christian School Where children can discover God, develop academically, and demonstrate His love to the community.
Best of Eugene 2013 Willamette Christian School Preschools Enrolling students Preschool through the 8th grade www.willamettechristianschool.com • 2500 W 18th Ave. Eugene • 541-686-8655 Check us out on-line at www.oregonfamily.com
Story Times and Play Groups Baby Story time (to 12mos) Fridays 10:15 & 11:15am. Wonderful Ones Story time, 10:15 & 11am, Terrific Twos Story time, Tues 10:15 & 11:00, Preschool Story time (ages 3-6), Weds 10:15 & 11:00, Sensory Storytime Eugene library, call for days and locations, Ph 682-8316 Family Story Time, Fri 10:15am Sheldon Branch Library and Fridays at 10:15am at Sheldon Branch Library. Ph 682-8316 Preschool Story time (ages 3-6) Weds 10:00am, Lapsit Story time (ages 0-3) Weds 10am, Springfield Public Library, Ph 726-3766 Weekly Lap sit: Preschool (ages 3-6) and Lap sit (infants & toddlers) story time, Weds 10am, SF Library. Ph 726-3766
Barnes & Noble weekly story time, Whimsical Weds 6:30pm. Toddler-Time, Weds 10am. Ph 687-0356
Be sure to check out our listings for classes and workshops at www.oregonfamily.com
MOMS Club - An organization for at-home moms & children. Members based on zip code. http://eugenemomsclub.org/
Westside Indoor Playground – A parent run co-op playground. For at home moms/dads & their children ages 0-5 yrs. Located at 4445 Royal Ave Eugene, OR. www. westsideindoorplayground.webs.com, Ph 541-688-9085 Indoor Playground. Monday’s and Thursdays, Join your child for an active morning of indoor play in our gymnasium. We will provide the games and toys; you provide the fun. 2/3-4/28, 9-11am, $2, Ph 736-4544
e Nutcracker TONI
ART I S T I C
D I R E C T O R
SF Library New Readers’ Book Club, age 8 and under, third Tuesday of each month, 4-5pm. Pre-reg. Ph 726-3766 The Science Factory Children’s Museum & Planetarium. In the exhibit hall, “Roll, Drop, Bounce”. Open daily 10-4pm. In the Planetarium, shows vary, Mon-Fri 2pm, Sat/Sun times vary. Closed during Duck games.
Saturday Market/Farmers Market. The oldest, open-air market in the United States offers great food, local crafts and live entertainment. Every Saturday, Oak & 8th St. Rain or shine. 10am – 5pm, Ph 686-8885, FREE! Lane County Farmer Market. A vibrant gathering place for locally grown produce. Saturdays, 8th & Oak, Feb – March 8am-2pm, April – Nov 9am- 3pm / Tuesdays 10am-3pm / Thursdays 5th Street Mkt 10am-2pm, Ph 431-4923 Public Skate @ The Ice Center. Call for skate times. Ph 682-3615
Springfield Gateway Farmer’s & Artist’s Market. Plenty of parking and the freshest produce of the season grown by local farmers. New LTD covered walkway; Springfield. Tuesday’s 4-8pm, Ph 747-6294, FREE!
South Eugene Farmers’ Market. Local produce, free samples, free parking. This event occurs every week on Saturday. Southtowne Shoppes, 9am-3pm, Ph 895-3431, FREE!
OPENS NOVEMBER 22!!
Veneta’s Downtown Farmers’ Market. Local farmers showcase their goods directly to residents and visitors. Territorial Hwy & W. Broadway, Friday’s 2-6pm, Ph 4637565, FREE! FREE admission at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History every Wednesday. Also come enjoy a FREE 45 minute guided tour every Friday at 1:00 and 3:00. Ph 346-1671, FREE!
Ho! Ho! Ho! I’ll be at ACE for the holidays!
Veneta Saturday Mkt. A great place to find crafts, music, food and plants. Territorial Hwy & W. Broadway, Sat 105pm, Ph 935-2750, FREE! Creswell Farmer’s Market. Every Tuesday year round. Farm fare that ranges from local fruits and vegetables to home grown meats. 4pm - 6pm, 182 South 2nd St. Creswell (Heidi Tunnel’s Bakery) Ph. 541-895-2096
adition for the entire family!
Updated to syn Boys Choir perf
The Corner Market. Dedicated to providing customers with fresh, local produce, this market fills up your basket with seasonal colors. Corner of Thomason & River Rd, noon-6pm, Ph 513-4527, FREE!
Music by Jeanine Tesori Book and Lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire Directed by Joe Zingo
The newest family-friendly show to be released from Broadway!!
Hideaway Bakery’s Saturday Farmers Market. Featuring local organic produce. Fresh turkey, chicken, duck and goose eggs. Goat cheese, jerky and herbs, fresh pork, and organic coffee. Behind Mazzi’s & Hideaway Bakery. Saturday’s 9am-2pm, Ph 868-1982, FREE!
HOMETOWN HIGHLIGHTS Free admission weekend. GO DUCKS!... and then, GO to a UO museum. The Museum of Natural and Cultural History and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art offer free admission on home game weekends throughout the UO football season.
Live Music at all four performances by
FRI SAT SAT SUN
DEC DEC DEC DEC
20 21 21 22
7:30 PM 2:00 PM 7:30 PM 2:00 PM
Hult Center for the Performing Arts TICKETS 541-682-5000 Hult Center Box Office | eugeneballet.org
Friday & Saturday at 7:30 PM November 22, 23, 29 & 30 and December 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 & 21, 2013 Dinner, Desserts and Beverages Available Brunch Matinees, Decmber 8 & 15, 2013 at 2 PM Brunch, Desserts and Beverages Available w/ Special Kid’s Dinner & Brunch Price & Menu
Actors Cabaret, 996 Willamette Street For Tickets & Information
Fall for fresh
Free First Friday. Enjoy the museum’s new exhibits and old classics. Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and Museum of Natural History, 11am-5pm, FREE!
FAMILY Siri Vik - Fine and Mellow.OR The Shedd Institute is pleased to present Vik 11 &Siri12/2013 in an all-new project that pays tribute to jazz legend Billie Holiday. The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts, 7:30pm, $24-32, Ph 434-7000 Rich Glauber at Sheldon Branch Storytime. For children with caregivers. 10:15am, Ph 682-8316, FREE! First Friday concert, Join Anahid Bertrand, who is fluent in six languages and musical fun. Eugene Library, 10:15am, Ph 682-8316, FREE! First Friday Art Walk. A monthly art walk hosted and led by special community guests. Enjoy wandering the local galleries and venues and viewing a variety of art. Check website for tour starting location each month. 5:30pm, FREE!
2 Saturday Family Music Time. Sing and dance your way into the weekend. This week, elementary school teacher Bryan Reed really makes learning rock! Downtown Library, 10:15am, Ph 682-8316, FREE! Stories and craft with Pattibuff. “Raven and Coyote”. Springfield Library, 1pm, all ages, Ph 726-3766, FREE! Eugene Ballet Company Presents Dance Theatre of Harlem. America’s foremost African-American ballet company performances “wow” audiences with works of some of the country’s finest choreographers. Hult Center, 7:30pm, $33-63, Ph 682-5000 Siri Vik - Fine and Mellow. See the 1st Emmaus Holiday Bazaar. Holiday Bazaar with handmade quilts, crafts, gift baskets, activities and a cookie walk, holiday items and used adult and children’s books. Emmaus Lutheran Church, 9am-2pm, FREE! Ph 344-1150
3 Sunday Siri Vik - Fine and Mellow. 1:30pm, See the 1st
Every day our central kitchen makes sandwiches, salads, deviled eggs and more for you to enjoy. We use local, healthy ingredients. You’ve always counted on us for the freshest milk and ice cream. Now, you’ll also enjoy our fresh to go items.
Treat your family to freshness! Page 6
4 Monday Tween Scene. 9 to 13 year olds are invited to drop by, make a craft, play a game and have a snack. Springfield Library, 3:30-4:30pm, Ph 726-3766, FREE!
FIND US ONLINE: www.darimart.com www.facebook.com/darimart
Check us out on-line at www.oregonfamily.com
Vienna Boys Choir. The Choir repertoire has been updated to synch with the times, but the core program reflects their origins; hymns, motets, lieder, and the choir’s own arrangements of quintessentially Viennese music, waltzes, and polkas by Lehar, Lanner, and Strauss. Beall Concert Hall, 7:30pm, $varies, Ph 682-5000
150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address - A Town Hall Meeting with Abraham Lincoln. Oregon’s premier Lincoln actor, Steven Holgate delivers the Gettysburg Address. Doors open to Civil War period music provided by the Old Time Fiddlers Association. John G. Shedd Institute, 7:30pm, $10-12.50, Ph 434-7000
Birds of Prey Day. See and learn about some beloved raptors and get up close and personal to hawks, owls, and falcons visiting from the Cascade Raptor Center. The Science Factory, 11am-3pm, $10+, Ph 682-7888
On the second Thursday of each month, Oregon Track Club will host informal running/walking events. Courses will be marked, and timed results will be presented. Amazon
Campbell Center’s Holiday Bazaar. Features hand-made crafts and jewelry, baked goods, used books and media, and donated items from local businesses. Silent auction, live entertainment, and lunch served as well. Campbell Community Center, 9am-3pm, FREE! Ph 682-5318
Family Music Time. A different performer every week! Downtown Library, 10:15am, Ph 682-8316, FREE! Ducks Football. Come out and watch the Ducks take on Utah. Autzen Stadium, time TBD, www.goducks.com
Trees for Tilori 5K. Awards for the top overall male and female finishers, and top three in each age group. Alton Baker Park, $20-25, Ph 484-9883
Eugene Generals Hockey. See some of the best junior level hockey players take the ice as the Generals host West Sound. Lane Ice Center, 7:35pm, $6-10, Ph 359-4154
Michael Grimm’s Fairytale Tour. Telling the rollercoaster story of his life in song with his soulful voice and earthy, southern manner. Hult Center, 8pm, $22-32, Ph 682-5000
Holiday Gifts Book Sale. Find amazing deals on books in gift-giving condition, including bestsellers, classics, holiday-themed titles, coffee table books, and children’s books. Free parking, Downtown Library, 10am-4pm, FREE! Ph 682-5450
Holiday Food and Gift Festival. 10am-6pm, see the 8th
nch with the times, but true to their roots of quintessentially Viennese music, the Vienna forms at Beall Concert Hall, Monday, November 4th.
17 Sunday Sunday Family Fun - “A Feast of Colors” Imagine and create your own artwork of a delightful, tasty, and colorful feast at this free family art activity for all ages and skillsets. Eugene Library Downtown, 2:30pm, FREE! Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing Site Visit. Imagine yourself in a custom neighborhood by the river, with life between the buildings, parking on the perimeter, with shared meals, kids playing without making a phone call, and a short walk to River Road/El Camino del Rio dualimmersion school. Imagine more time living and less time planning. East end of Oakleigh Lane, 3-6pm, Ph 357-8303
Preschool Fun with Art and Science. Springfield Library, 10:30am-11:00am, ages 3-6, FREE!
Picc-A-Dilly Flea Market. The area’s largest flea market with 300 tables of vintage, collectibles, wares and services. Live music while you shop. Since 1970. Lane Events Center, $1.50, 8am-4pm, Ph 683-5589.
19 Tuesday Jammie storytime. Come in your jammies for an evening of stories. All ages welcome, Springfield Library, 7pm, Ph 726-3766, FREE!
Familly Fun. Flying Stories. Join storyteller Kelly Terwilliger for entertaining tales about flying birds, squirrels, people, carpets, bathtubs, carpets, and more. Downtown Library, 2:30 pm, Ph 682-8316, FREE! Holiday Food and Gift Festival. 10am-5pm, see the 8th
calendar continued on neXt page…
Eugene Generals Hockey. See some of the best junior level hockey players take the ice as the Generals host West Sound. Lane Ice Center, 7:35pm, $6-10, Ph 359-4154
Call us to find out more about it!
1 (877) 848-3891
Baby-Net Parent Education Program & Research Project
Are you the mother of a baby 0-5 months old? You could receive up to $155 for participating in an exciting Internet-based parent education program! You will learn about infant development and talk about videos you make of yourself interacting with your baby. Eligible moms can be loaned a laptop with Internet for 6 months. This research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and is brought to you by: Oregon Research Institute 1776 Millrace Drive Eugene, OR 97403 (541) 484-2123
Community Center, 6pm start, Free to OTC members/$5 otherwise, Ph 541-343-7247 A year of stories continues with the talented storyteller Alton Chung telling Hawaiian and Asian tales. Springfield Library, 2pm, all ages, Ph 726-3766
8 Friday Little Wonders: Stories and Activities for Pre-K. Join us for stories and hands-on fun including crafts, songs, games, and museum exploration. This month’s theme will be totems. Museum of Natural and Cultural History, 10:30am, FREE! Ph 541-346-3024 No School Day Fridays - Drop in Art Studio. School’s out, art’s in! Drop by the museum to create your own work of art. Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, 11am-3pm, FREE! Ph 346-3027 Holiday Food and Gift Festival. The largest holiday celebrations in the Northwest drawing some 10,000 attendees annually who happily complete their holiday shopping early. Lane Events Center, noon-7pm, FREE!, Ph 682-4292
9 Saturday Family Music Time. Sing and dance your way into the weekend. Sing and dance your way into the weekend with Rich Glauber - he delights all ages with interactive music play. Downtown Library, 10:15am, Ph 682-8316, FREE! 6th Annual Play in the Rain Day. Spend the day outdoors with your family, rain or shine! Enjoy hikes, hay rides, nature art, campfire cookery, archery, tree-climbing, and more! All activities, including campfire food, and are FREE! Mount Pisgah Arboretum, 10 am-3pm, free parking. Info: www.youthinnature.org
Oregon State University has spent 145 years building a reputation for excellence. Not only do we age well, but we also improve our methods every year to enhance our students’ lives. Oregon State Ecampus offers parents like you flexible learning opportunities online so you can raise a family while advancing your career. Winter term starts Jan. 6, so apply today.
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calendar cont’D… 20 Wednesday Homeschooling in Oregon. Just getting started? Looking for ideas and support? The experts of Oregon Home Education Network (OHEN), including experienced homeschoolers, will present information on local resources, legal requirements, learning styles, educational methods, and more. Bring your questions! Downtown Library, 6pm, FREE! Ph 682-8316
21 Thursday Carl Woideck Jazz Heritage Project: Live at the Black Hawk: Miles Davis, 1961. Carl Woideck’s Jazz Heritage Project will revisit the classic recordings made by this classic Davis quintet at an intimate night club. Songs include “Oleo”, “On Green Dolphin Street”, “So What”, and “Bye Bye Blackbird”. The Shedd, 7:30pm, $14-22, Ph 4347000
Eugene Symphony: Love & Fate--Porgy & Bess/Romeo & Juliet. The hope and agony of lost love echoes through countless plays, songs, and stories throughout history. Experience two of the most famous and powerful of them in one incredible night. Hult Center, 8pm, $30-70, Ph 682-5000 Saturday Market/Holiday Market. The oldest, open-air market in the United States offers great food, local crafts and live entertainment. Lane Events Center. 10am – 6pm, Ph 686-8885, FREE! Shrek The Musical. See the 22nd
Enjoy hikes, hay rides, nature art, campfire cookery, archery, treeclimbing, and more at the 6th Annual Play in the Rain Day. FREE, rain or shine! Saturday, November 9th at Mount Pisgah Arboretum.
22 Friday Shrek The Musical. The newest familyfriendly show to be released from Broadway, SHREK THE MUSICAL, based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks film that started it all, brings the hilarious story of everyone’s favorite ogre to dazzling new life on the stage. Actors Cabaret, 7:30pm, $16-41.95, Ph 683-4368 Holiday Boutique. Gifts, food, crafts, home décor, vintage, entertainment, door prizes and more. Irving Grange Hall, 10am – 8pm, FREE! Ph 913-0433
23 Saturday Picc-A-Dilly Flea Market. The area’s largest flea market with 300 tables of vintage, collectibles, wares and services. Live music while you shop. Since 1970. Lane Events Center, $1.50, 8am-4pm, Ph 683-5589. Holiday Boutique, 10am-4pm, see the 22nd Family Music Time. A different performer every week! Downtown Library, 10:15am, Ph 682-8316, FREE!
24 Sunday Picc-A-Dilly Flea Market. The area’s largest flea market with 300 tables of vintage, collectibles, wares and services. Live music while you shop. Since 1970. Lane Events Center, $1.50, 8am-4pm, Ph 683-5589. EWEB Run to Stay Warm. All events will start and finish at the EWEB Plaza, run along the bike paths of the Willamette River and are incredibly scenic. EWEB Plaza, 8:30am, $10-40, Ph 484-9883 Saturday Market/Holiday Market. The oldest, open-air market in the United States offers great food, local crafts and live entertainment. Lane Events Center. 10am – 6pm, Ph 686-8885, FREE!
26 Tuesday Meinheim Steamroller Christmas. The spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller in America’s favorite holiday celebration for over 25 years. Hult Center, 7:30pm, $35-75, Ph 682-5000
Eugene Ballet Company presents Dance Theatre of Harlem — America’s foremost African-American ballet company whose performances “wow” audiences with some of the country’s finest choreography. Saturday, November 2nd at the Hult Center.
28 Thursday 2013 Turkey Trot. A fun and unique four mile run, two mile walk around the Willamette river bike path and VRC. Awards, prizes, and special discounts for all who participate. Event has a chip start and finish, for both the run and walk. Kids 200 meter Gobbler Gallop for the little ones too! Valley River Center, 9am, $15-17, Ph 484-9883 Turkey Stuffer. A fun, flat course that loops through a beautiful and quiet residential neighborhood. Event open to all ages, so bring the entire family! After the race, enjoy the waterpark and await the awards ceremony. No dogs please. Splash! at Lively Park, 8:30am, $10-25, Ph 736-4244
29 Friday Ducks Football. Come out and watch the Ducks take on Oregon State. Autzen Stadium, 4pm, www.goducks.com Saturday Market/Holiday Market. The oldest, open-air market in the United States offers great food, local crafts and live entertainment. Lane Events Center. 10am – 6pm, Ph 686-8885, FREE! Shrek The Musical. See the 22nd
30 Saturday Family Music Time. A different performer every week! Downtown Library, 10:15am, Ph 682-8316, FREE! Saturday Market/Holiday Market. The oldest, open-air market in the United States offers great food, local crafts and live entertainment. Lane Events Center. 10am – 6pm, Ph 686-8885, FREE! Eugene Generals Hockey. See some of the best junior level hockey players take the ice as the Generals host Vancouver. Lane Ice Center, 7:35pm, $6-10, Ph 359-4154 Shrek The Musical. See the 22nd Be sure to check out our listings for Camps, Classes, and Workshops at www.oregonfamily.com
UO Youth Enrichment Classes for Eager Learners
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azine enta l Mag o m r i n e Env rs of E/Th o d E t i Fro m the neutral fuel source coming.
Dear EarthTalk: Might another possible source for ethanol be discarded pastries from bakeries? For that matter, wouldn’t fermenting unsold bananas, oranges and apples from grocery store produce departments be able to provide an ample supply of fuel? — Curious in Warren, PA
of the world’s quickly diversifying energy sector. Currently there are some 800 industrial-scale WTE plants in more than three dozen countries around
Credit: eXtension Farm Energy
ood waste is indeed an untapped resource with great potential for generating energy. Some one third of all food produced around the world gets discarded uneaten, and envi-
“Waste-to-energy doesn’t involve drilling, fracking, or mining, and it doesn’t rely on scarce and politicallycharged resources like oil,” reports RWL Water Group, an international company that installs water, wastewater and waste-to-energy systems. The waste from small slaughterhouses, breweries, dairy farms and coffee shops can power hundreds of typical homes each day if the infrastructure is in place to sort, collect and process the flow of organic material. Navigant Research, which produced the 2012 report “Waste-to-Energy Technology Markets, which analyzes the global market opportunity for WTE, expects waste-to-energy to grow from its current market size of $6.2 billion to $29.2 billion by 2022. “With many countries facing dramatic population growth, rapid urbanization, rising levels of affluence, and resource scarcity, waste-to-energy is re-establishing itself as an attractive technology option to promote low carbon growth in the crowded renewable energy landscape,” says Navigant’s Mackinnon Lawrence.
“China is already in the midst of scaling up capacity, and growth there is expected to shift the center of the WTE universe away from Europe to Asia Pacific.” The question is whether governments and individuals will make the effort to support diversion of waste into yet another separate stream. In areas where such systems are working, individuals are incentivized to separate out their organic and food waste because it saves them money on their trash pick-up bills. And bakeries, restaurants, farms, grocers and other big producers of organic or food waste provide an endless source of feedstock for WTE systems as well. “We’re barely scratching the surface of this potential—dumping over 70 percent of the world’s food waste into landfills, rather than harnessing it for fuel and electricity,” reports RWL. “Over the next 25 years, global energy demand will grow by 50 percent, while global oil supply dwindles at a rapid pace. Waste-to-energy is an obvious solution to meet the world’s burgeoning energy demand.” CONTACTS: RWL Water Group, www. rwlwater.com; Navigant Research, www. navigantresearch.com. EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.
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Diverting even just a portion of the world’s food waste to waste-to-energy (WTE) systems could free up large amounts of landfill space while powering our vehicles and heating our homes, and thus putting a significant dent in our collective carbon footprint. Pictured: Three Anaerobic Digestion WTE tanks in Fenville, MI. ronmentalists, energy analysts and entrepreneurs are beginning to take notice. Diverting even just a portion of this waste to so-called waste-toenergy (WTE) systems could free up large amounts of landfill space while powering our vehicles and heating our homes, and thus putting a significant dent in our collective carbon footprint. Perhaps that’s why WTE is one of the fastest growing segments
the world, and likely thousands of smaller systems at individual sites. Most employ anaerobic digesters, which make use of microorganisms to break down and convert organic waste into a fuel such as biogas, biodiesel or ethanol. With some 70 percent of food waste around the world still going into landfills, there is a lot of potential feedstock to keep this environmentally friendly carbon
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Take a Break from Technology and embrace family togetherness A
s access to technology increases, families may find they are spending more time on their devices and less time together. Some psychologists worry our growing attachment to technology may result in social isolation. “We’re getting used to a new way of being alone together,” said Sherry Turkle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, psychologist and author of “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.” “People want to be with each other, but also elsewhere, connected to all the different places they want to be.” In her book, “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other,” Turkle explores the idea that this constant need for virtual connection is leading to a gap in communication between families, and
a new generation of children is unable to actually communicate and relate to their peers or parents. Ready for a Tech Timeout? Foresters™, a life insurance provider committed to the well-being of families, recently launched the Tech Timeout™ challenge in response to a growing awareness that our attachment to digital devices may contribute to a sense of social isolation among families. Tech Timeout encourages families across North America to take a pledge to turn off their digital devices (including TVs, smartphones, video games and computers) for an hour each day for one week and connect with each other in a more meaningful way. The idea is not to eliminate technology, but to create awareness of the dependence on technology, and ultimately improve personal bonds within families.
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Easy Ways to Unplug Carving out space and time for each other can start the channels of communication flowing. Here are some activities families can do together: • Board Game Bonanza – Break out the cards, puzzles and board games for a night of old-fashioned fun. • Get Out and Play – Find a local trail and set out on a hike together. You will have a chance to interact with your surroundings and one another and be active too. • Volunteer – Volunteering can help strengthen community connections and avoid a sense of social isolation. Find a cause your family is passionate about and volunteer with a local organization. • Cook Together – Dig out your favorite recipes and try cooking as a family. Assign each person a role in meal preparation. You will not only have plenty of time to interact, your children can pick up some valuable life skills along the way.
• Take a Tech-free Holiday – Family vacations are a great time to recharge and bond with your kids, but connecting can be tough if you are each plugged into your electronic devices. Fun time together will create memories your children will cherish for years to come. • Rediscover Reading – Begin a family reading hour or book club. Starting a discussion about literature will open up communication. To take the Tech Timeout pledge, and for more tips on building stronger bonds within your family, visit www.TechTimeout.com and www.facebook.com/TechTimeout. Foresters™ is the trade name and a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9; its subsidiaries are licensed to use this mark. Tech Timeout and the Tech Timeout logo are trademarks of The Independent Order of Foresters. Photo courtesy of Getty Images
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Discovery Box 10 Ways By Margaret W. Carruthers
in Your Child
ll too soon, our children will be the engineers designing bridges, the plant managers overseeing production lines, and the surgeons replacing our worn-out body parts. They will be the legislators who (hopefully) make laws, the voters who elect them, and the teachers and journalists who educate and inform everyone. But, whatever their calling, they will rely on science every day. Our future depends on nurturing a younger generation of scientifically literate problem-solvers. So, the question is: what can we do to foster our children’s ability to think scientifically? Encourage children to ask questions. Every investigation begins with a question, and questioning lies at the core of scientific thinking. Encouraging questioning involves asking children directly what questions they have about a particular phenomenon or object. Questioning is not just a sign of interest in a topic; it can actually stimulate engagement in, and critical thinking about, that topic. Encouraging questioning, moreover, helps children understand that questions are a sign of thoughtfulness, not foolishness. And the questions they come up with can reveal interests and perceptions their parents might never have imagined they had. Ask them what they think. Before answering a question, ask your children what they think. First, this will help clarify for you what they are actually asking (not always clear with very young children). Second, it will give you a better idea of what they already know and where their misconceptions may lie. Finally, it will encourage them to begin synthesizing what they already know and thinking
critically about the possibilities, helping them become confident in drawing their own conclusions, rather than simply relying on those of others. Follow up any assertions they make by asking, “How do you know?” or “Why do you think that?” An important property of scientific claims (statements of scientific fact or knowledge) is that they are backed by evidence and reasoning. Asking, “How do you know?” not only encourages children to think about their own reasoning, it also serves as a model for evaluating others’ claims. Much to both my annoyance and pride, my children now routinely ask me this question after I tell them something, and they expect a rational response. Reveal your own ignorance. Our children often ask us questions we cannot immediately answer, and it is tempting for us to change the subject or just make up an answer. But it is more useful to actually admit we don’t know. For many children, finding out there are things that adults, even experts, don’t know is liberating and stimulating, helping them overcome the idea that a lack of knowledge is a sign of failure or lack of intelligence and is, therefore, something to hide. The fact is that science is all about looking for answers no one has found yet. Challenge children to figure out how to figure it out. An important aspect of scientific thinking is problem-solving. In the case of science, problem-solving generally involves working out how to answer a question—that is, designing an investigation. Too often, children are simply handed either the answer or an investigation in step-by-step form. Challenge your children by asking,
“How could we go about answering that question?” Looking in a book or on the Internet or asking an expert are valid methods, but when possible, challenge your children to come up with a hands-on investigation that could reveal the answer to them firsthand. Think out loud. When trying to answer a question, think out loud. Walking down a paved path beside a river, my son asks, “Why is this path so muddy?” I respond: “Let me think. It rained a lot last week. This path is right next to the river. When it rains a lot, rivers can flood. Maybe the river flooded and left a lot of sediment—this mud—on the path.” In teaching parlance,
this is referred to as “modeling.” Modeling helps children learn how to think logically and rationally, applying what they already know to answer a question. Let them experiment. Children— young children, in particular—love to experiment. My 4-year-old is especially fond of “unsperimenting,” as he calls it, with messy mixtures of things like water, liquid soap, toilet paper, and sand.
Needless to say, I am not a big fan of those specific types of experiments. However, we try to work around my aversion, and through his experimenting he has learned some important things (for example, that a mixture like the one just described will not turn into ice simply by letting it sit overnight). Let them be wrong. Being wrong can create a stronger, more lasting impression than being right or simply being told a right answer. It is very important to get children comfortable with being wrong about a hypothesis or preconception. It is natural to want to prove what we already think is true, but this tendency is dangerous when it comes to science. It is important to train our children, and ourselves, to be open to different possibilities. Watch TV. Yes, you read that right. We are fortunate to live in a time of extremely high-quality science programming for children. When you need some rest, and the kids are begging to watch something, I recommend turning on PBS. Programs like “Peep and the Big Wide World,” “Sid the Science Kid,” “The Magic School Bus,” and “Wild Kratts” are engaging, accurate, age-appropriate, and highly educational. A lt h ou g h t h e d e e p e s t , longest-lasting learning will, of course, come from hands-on experience, these programs help introduce, clarify, illustrate, and reiterate key science concepts. I have been amazed at what my children have come away with. Treat everyday activities like science field trips. Informal science education is not exclusive to trips to the zoo or science museum. It can be an everyday affair. On a car trip you can guide children to make observations and ask questions as you pass forests, farms, and cities. In the grocery store you can discuss where food comes from and how it gets there. At the swimming pool you can pose question like, “Why do some things float and some things sink?” You do not need to set aside special time to engage children in questioning, observation, experimentation, and critical thinking. Science can happen anytime, anywhere. Margaret W. Carruthers is a STEM education consultant, curriculum developer, and author. She lives in Baltimore with her husband and two children. Email her at email@example.com.
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Next Thanksgiving, Let’s Just Have Turkey
ein by Rick Epst
On Thanksgiving Day we’ll again host my brothers and their families for the annual orgy of turkey and pumpkin pie. I expect that all appetites will be more robust than they were last year when a dead rat lay decomposing under the floor. May I share? On Halloween night, my daughter Wendy, age 10, dumped her trick-ortreat loot onto the living-room floor and arranged it into a magic carpet of candy. The next morning, half of it was gone. Tearful accusations and indignant denials flew around our house like rabid bats as Wendy unsuccessfully prosecuted her sisters and parents. The following morning, we found a raw potato in the middle of the kitchen floor. The morning after that, there was a wisp of insulation sticking out from under the refrigerator. Then we found the missing candy. It was under the couch, half gnawed up in a revolting nest of papers, clothes and droppings. Nearly gagging, my wife said, “We have a RAT!” My wife and daughters are all feminists – but not when rodents are involved. They turned to me and said, “Do something!” I bought a rat trap and put it in the cellar. But the rat ignored it and his depredations continued.
When my wife and I set out to have a family, raising children among filthy disgusting rats was not part of the dream. It was just too creepy to contemplate. Something had to be done. So I told the children to pretend it was a beaver. We named it Earl (from the old Dixie Chicks song “Earl Had to Die”). But even in the Communications Age, pretence and denial go only just so far. So I bought poison. The bright blue pellets were contained in a little tray. My 13-year-old daughter Sally added some diced cheese. We called it Earl’s Party Mix and set it down near the cheesebaited trap, in a sort of all-you-can-eat Buffet of Doom. A couple of days later Earl seemed to have left. Yes, his party mix had been sampled. And on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the dining room and kitchen smelled powerfully of dead rat. Earl had departed this life, but not this house. The stench, so thick you could almost see it, emanated from the cellar. There’s no good time to have a rotting rat hidden in your house, but with a houseful of relatives about to arrive for Thanksgiving, the timing was especially bad. I would’ve liked to move the feast to my father’s house, but we had sold it a couple years ago and strangers live there
now. It just wouldn’t work. The day before Thanksgiving, my brother Steve arrived with his entourage, including his little black terrier. We took Lucky downstairs to find the rat, but after much joyous sniffing, the dog seemed to have no opinion whatever except that the air down there was like a thick, delightful liqueur. As a stop-gap measure, I propped a big attic fan in the cellar window to suck the foul effluvium away from the dining
room. That sufficed for the holiday. Over dessert, I asked my archaeologist sister-in-law how long it takes a dead rat to change into an unscented form. She guessed about six months to become bones, 2 million years to become a fossil. I decided to search for the carcass the
next day. None of my girls would help me. But then Sally’s 14-year-old boyfriend Alex showed up. “C’mon down the cellar; I need your nose,” I told him and explained the situation. At the foot of the cellar stairs, he said, “Wow! I can really smell him.” Alex’s natural enthusiasm made a nauseating chore into an adventurous game. He sniffed all parts of the cellar before he picked a spot and said, “It’s strongest right around here.” With a claw hammer, I ripped a hole the size of a dinner-plate in the old plaster-and-lath ceiling. Alex gave it a sniff. “Nope.” I broke another hole between the next pair of rafters. “Nope.” A third hole, and Alex said, “This could be it.” I enlarged the hole so Alex’s head and a flashlight could fit through. “Yep, he’s in there,” said Alex. Yes, Earl had been decomposing about 10 feet from the dining-room table all that time. Wearing rubber gloves and shuddering with disgust, I got a stick and poked the body out of the ceiling. It was about the size of three hamsters. We dug a hole in the back yard and put Earl into it. Wendy gave the eulogy: “Thanks for stealing my Halloween candy, you jerk!” and that was it. Alex, none the worse for his aromatherapy, received $20, provided that he tell no one about my girlish squeal when Earl fell out of the ceiling. Repulsive as it was, the Earl experience has its up-side for me. Alive and dead, the rat had provided me with a meaningful hobby. Also, any man with three daughters is always glad to find a new use for boyfriends.
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