Miner’s Jubilee

First of all, major delay in this post due to a vomit party that B.T., Ryan, and myself attended early last week. Then, because I couldn’t eat for over 24 hours, my milk situation got all messed up and I ended up with mastitis. Yes, I’m talking about the milk supplied by my ladies on the “upper floor”. TMI? Maybe. But since writing about the ladies is not strictly against any of my policies, I have published it for the entire www to digest. I’m just trying to treat the ladies right so they don’t give me mastitis again.

Okay, now for the real stuff. I was going to say, “now for the fun stuff”, but I’m going to tell you about Baker City’s biggest annual event, the Miner’s Jubilee, and I was worried that someone would read “fun” and think Disneyland or browsing the home aisles of Target. It’s not a stretch to call Miner’s Jubilee  fun, but it’s more like having a saltine cracker for lunch. Normally, you’d be all like – this lunch sucks. But if you were starving, a saltine cracker would be like the BEST LUNCH EVER. So that’s what Miner’s Jubilee is like. Technically it sucks, but mmmm does it taste good after all that nothing.

The entire point of the Miner’s Jubilee is  to celebrate this town’s Westward Ho-ish heritage. As in, “she’s looking a little Westward Ho-ish today.” Haha! Right? But what really happened is that it occurred to someone like fifty years ago that no one was celebrating the mining industry anymore. And, on top of that, not enough people were properly acknowledging the fact that Clint Eastwood’s Paint Your Wagon was filmed in this area. These two things were crying out for a celebration. Enter the Miner’s Jubilee!

The big event is set up in the park, which is about a 5 minute walk from my house. Here’s one view:

For a little context, there are usually a total of between zero and two people in that area when I take the boys to the park.  Here’s a few more pics to give you the general flavah:

You’ve got your basic food vendors, craft vendors, inflatable slides…you know, everything you’d need to ensure the mining industry and one of the most boring movies made get ever their due. So – instead of giving you every excruciating detail of the weekend, I’ll give you my personal highlights. I’ll even number them for you!

#1. B.T.’s first time in a bouncy house:

I know it looks like he’s alone in there, but I actually snapped the photo at a strange moment when no other kids were in view. B.T. loved this so much he kept reenacting it at home, thudding his little bottom on the living room carpet and squealing with delight, saying “I jump!”

#2. PIONEER MAN!!!

I first wrote about Pioneer Man here. Someone helpfully informed me he is not in fact one of the original pioneers, which is a little disappointing and not surprising in the least. He works at the Interpretive Center, which is the only place in Baker City that houses a ton of creepy mannequins meant to teach you about the Old West. So I was excited to see him in the flesh and let my eyes feast upon his Michael Bolton hair for a second or two. I also saw Pioneer Man’s counterpart, Pioneer Woman, speaking to a man with a confederate flag for a head covering. This counts as like half a highlight. So,

#2 1/2.

I think it’s also worth noting that this man is holding Gatorade. I believe he is trying to preserve his electrolytes while supporting the annex of the Southern United States. Perhaps the South would’ve won the war had Gatorade been invented. Whoa! Did I just say that? I probably remember reading somewhere that the war was lost partially due to rampant electrolyte shortages among the soldiers. Let your mind sponges soak that up, United States of America.

#3. B.T. has to answer a question about matches.

Kids had to answer a fire-related question, spin a wheel, then pick a corresponding prize. A very patient fire lady asked B.T. three or four times whether or not his mommy lets him play with matches. B.T. never sees matches so he was pretty confused.  He knows he’s not allowed to touch the b-b-q while the dragon breathes out of it, so if the question had been about b-b-qs and mythical creatures he probably would have been more on top of things. At any rate, she finally gave up and just let him spin the wheel and claim his rubber bracelet.

#4. The Tiny Carnival

This is not its official name, but there are some rickety rides set up and overpriced tickets and at least 30 minutes of fun for small children like my B.T. He experienced carnival rides for the first time, which was pretty fun to watch.

This is a child who loves motorcycles deeply and refers to them as “Arcie,” the motorcycle character from the cartoon Transformers Prime. He was so excited to ride Arcie it was totally worth the inappropriate amount of money we were charged for this privilege.

#5. The End of Health

After the tiny carnival, we wheeled the boys back home. Ryan was making Baby Ham laugh by tilting the stroller up and shouting, “Hammers!”

B.T. hated this game, but we thought he was just tired and being a pill. Ryan had to push the stroller because I was too busy gnawing on the enormous slab of fried bread covered in cinnamon and sugar we call the Elephant Ear. When we got home and distributed the Elephant Ear, B.T. wasn’t quite himself and refused to eat it. He eventually took a bite, which triggered the first in a series of vomiting episodes that lasted into the night, then passed on to Ryan and I to enjoy. On the upside(s), Baby Ham never got it (he has crawling fever, which is a much healthier illness) and I will now never eat mozzarella sticks again.

After all this celebrating, aren’t you hungry to see another lawn o’ crap? I know I am! Check back here in a few days for another Curb Appeal: Baker City!

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New Schoolventures

See what I did there? I fused the words “school” and “adventures” to create “schoolventures.” Toooootally worth all those school loans, right?

As many know, I am a student. In the school of hard knocks. Ha! ‘Cause I’m so hard core? No? But really, I am a college student, and have been since January of 2009, a mere three months before finding out I was pregnant with B.T. Which means that most of the time I’ve been in school I’ve been either knocked up, nursing, the mother of a toddler, or some combination of those things. I’m on the 8-10 year bachelor’s degree plan which means I’ll probably earn my degree by the time I’m 50. Fingers crossed.

I have been attending the prestigious Blue Mountain Community College (a.k.a BMCC). And since I’m all about  keepin’ it rizz-eal I will go ahead and let you know that the “prestigious” part of that last sentence is a filthy lie. Want to see a picture of the school? Of course you do!

This place is about the size of a small doctor’s office:  two classrooms that won’t fit more than 15 or 20 people, a testing room with four computers, and a couple of offices where some employees like to pretend they’re working while I’m waiting for help in the lobby when they’re really blabbing on the phone with Susan in HR or whoever. So, pretty typical small school.

Now, please note that the image above is my own mad photography skillz on display. I did try to find one floating around on Google images first, though, just to stay as lazy as possible. But I didn’t have much luck. Or maybe I did, you can decide, because when I typed in “blue mountain community college baker city,” this came up:

Which, if you really think about the essence of Baker City, actually makes a lot of sense. In fact, I bet anytime “Baker City” is typed into Google Images, Google is required by law to show this photo. Wait, I think I saw that guy in Safeway the other day! No, just kidding! He’s totally one of the original pioneers. He got here and was all like, “Hark! We have come to a beautiful place we shall call Baker City! And we shall build nothing but gas stations and terrible-quality Asian restaurants and our lawns shall be rich with plastic figurines!”

Pioneer Man up there totally distracted me from my first  point. Which is that I have had some excellent teachers at BMCC, but it’s not exactly Harvard. For example, I took a Spanish class one summer. When I asked my teacher how to say “prenatal” in Spanish, she summoned her most condescending tone and answered, “Oh, you don’t want to know.” Fifteen minutes later, she must have reconsidered my basic intelligence because she revealed the word to me….”prenatal.” Yes, EXACTLY THE SAME WORD. But, you know, pronounced like a Spanish word.

Now, I am not saying my teacher should have understood how incredibly smart I am, even though credit for intelligence greater than the average lamp would’ve been nice. The point more is that she assumed, as an average student of BMCC, I could not grasp a concept that many monkeys could probably understand, given the right conditions. But how often are monkeys given the right conditions? Almost never, I’d say.

one of the few times monkeys have been given a chance to shine.

After so many years of plugging away at my degree, I was a bit shocked a few months ago when I realized that I have a mere one term left before I’m ready to transfer to a university. Now I will express my feelings via  many exclamation points: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have long assumed that I would transfer to the only university within 50 miles of this town, Eastern Oregon University (EOU). If the mere name gets your curiosity going, here is a convenient link to the university’s homepage. I’m sorry Pioneer Man doesn’t appear on the website. I assume he didn’t achieve a college education. He was probably too busy fixing a wagon wheel or trying not to die of the flu to educate himself. Damn, I get so distracted thinking about Pioneer Man! My brain juices just find him so seductive.

Back on the (Oregon) trail: I aim to earn my bachelor’s in social work. EOU offers a social work degree, but there are a few probs. That’s how I say “problems” now. Probs. It’s one of my new policies. Here’s a quick list of the probs:

1. The school is 45 minutes away, and…

2. Ryan and I share a car. There’s a pretty big difference between the length of a class plus an extra 10-12 minutes (what we do here) vs. the length of one or two classes plus an extra 2 hours (what we’d have to do there). And since I can’t complete the degree online, I’d be driving to and from school at least three times a week. This would have to somehow be squished in between jobs and childcare. Maybe B.T. can babysit. Awesome! Three year olds are good babysitters, right? That’s what some heroin users think, anyway.

3. What if I procreate again? Nothing in the works or anything. Baby Ham is, after all, only 7 months old so I still haven’t forgotten how much sleep you do not get when you have a baby. Bearing offspring also tends to demand its own schedule, and it would be pretty tough to figure out how to get to and from classes while giving birth. And not just because both of my birth experiences have involved unintentionally getting high.

So since I am all about solving my probs, I did some research on the degrees EOU offers that I can complete entirely online. I didn’t find much that interested me, and then I had a revelation: what if I look at other Oregon state schools for their online degrees? That’s when I found it!…

That’s a little screenshot-e-doo-da (yes, I speak Computer) of a degree in Human Development and Family Sciences through Oregon State University, Corvallis. I can complete this degree entirely online, which means I have all but solved the above probs! I can also continue to attend classes like I do now, with my children screaming in the background. YAY MEEEEEEE! This is how my emotions feel about it:

Yeah, that’s right. I am totally going to have my bachelor’s degree nekked by the end of this song. Or, you know, by the end of 2021.

And not only can I earn the degree I want, I can even pursue a minor in writing. I’m not sure how I found something so perfect! (Except that one of the ways it that I know how to use the Google.)

I am working on my application so I will keep you posted whether I am accepted and can fulfill my wildest educational dreams, or rejected and have to apply to McDonald’s instead. I plan to transfer in January of 2013, so I will probably be drunk on erotic holiday spirit for my first day of classes. In my mind, there’s no better preparation for university than a little swig off the bottle of erotic holiday spirit. Can I get a witness?