Second Chances


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Wildfires in Bend


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Story copied from KTVZ Bend, OR news:

I took an abundance of photos of the fir from my mom’s condo today and decided that instead of trying to “reinvent the wheel,” I’d just relay the story from one of the local stations. Hope you enjoy the photography!

BEND, Ore. –

Two wildfires a short distance apart exploded across at least 300 acres a few miles west of Bend Saturday afternoon, sending up thick, black smoke plumes and prompting a massive firefighting effort, road closures and the evacuation of nearly 190 homes on the outskirts of town, with thousands more residents warned to be ready to leave if the fire draws closure.

The Two Bulls Fire, as it was dubbed, was still at zero percent containment Saturday night, with about 300 firefighters called up to battle it, according to the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center.

The Deschutes County Sheriff”s Office first issued a “Level 3” evacuation notice, advising all to leave immediately, on Saturday afternoon for 150 homes in the Saddleback subdivision on both sides of Johnson Road, and later for 90 homes near Skyliners Road west of Bend.

Saturday night, as the fire pushed south and southwest, the agency added a Level 2 pre-evacuation advisory for residents in the area located south of Shevlin Park Road, west of Mt. Washington Drive, and north of Century Drive.

That notice warns of “a good probability that hazards associated with the approaching fire will severely limit our ability to provide emergency service protection.”

“You must prepare to leave at a moment’s notice,” the advisory states, adding that first responders are working on information about when to leave and what routes to take.

Also issued was a Level 1 notice, for residents in the rest of Northwest Crossing (east of Mt. Washington Drive), and the area that includes residents north of Shevlin Park and west of Mt. Washington Drive.

In that area, residents were warned “that current or projected threats from hazards associated with the approaching fire are severe,” and that “this is the time for preparation and precautionary movement of persons with special needs, mobile property and (under certain circumstances) pets and livestock.

The Level III Evacuation Notice (advising residents to evacuate immediately) is still in place for the Saddleback Subdivision (both sides of Johnson Road), and Skyliners Road residents outside the City of Bend.  About 150 homes were given evacuation notices in the Saddleback Subdivision area and 40 homes in the Skyliners Road area.

That notice warns of “immediate threats to the life and safety of persons within this area.”

“If you choose to ignore this advisement, you must understand that emergency services may not be available,” the notice said. “Volunteers will not be allowed to enter the area to provide assistance.”

Roadblocks and 24-hour patrols were established in area, and residents can’t return until conditions are safe.

The Red Cross Emergency Shelter has been moved to the High Desert Middle School located at 61111 SE 27th Street in Bend (having earlier been placed at Cascade Middle School.)

For FIRE INFORMATION call 541-550-4850.

Along with numerous Forest Service road closures, the sheriff’s office said several roads on Bend’s Westside had been closed, including sections of Shevlin Park, Tumalo Reservoir, Sisemore, Tyler, Skyliners and Johnson roads.

Dispatch center officials said to expect smoke to settle into Bend and areas south overnight as temperatures cool. The smoke should lift again Sunday as temperatures rise again.

Meanwhile, the city of Bend said it was shutting off its surface-water supply from Bridge Creek, a tributary of Tumalo Creek, “until we know how the Bridge Creek watershed fares” from the nearby fire, the city said in a tweet Saturday night, urging people to “please conserve” water in the city. That means the city is using only groundwater pumped from wells.

That actually was a big reason city councilors chose a more costly membrane system for its new water filtration plant — to be able to filter out ash or other impacts from wildfires.

Firefighters and crews on bulldozers, helicopters, water tenders, engines, air tankers and others worked into the night to slow the fire’s spread.

Around 6:45 p.m. came word that the fire kept burning toward the south and southwest, and sheriff’s volunteers were evacuating residents on Skyliners Road, about seven miles west of Bend.

Search and Rescue crews went door to door, logging which residents were home, and who was agreeing to leave – and who was not.

Many people were busy rescuing or moving animals out of harm’s way; Chimps Inc., the Tumalo chimp sanctuary, reported rescuing 50 horses. Those with needs for  pet evacuation were urged to contact Jamie Kanski of the Pet Evacuation Team at (541) 610-6628.

A fire lookout on Black Butte called in the two blazes, called the Two Bulls Fire (managed as one blaze), west of Tumalo Reservoir around 12:48 p.m., said Lisa Clark of the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center in Prineville.

She estimated the fires had blackened about 100 acres by 3 p.m. and 300-400 acres an hour later, sending up plenty of thick, dark smoke on a blue-sky day. A mapping flight briefly reduced the fire’s estimated size to 250 acres, later boosted back to 300 acres before dark.

Tens of thousands of Central Oregon residents and visitors also saw (and took pictures) as the small smoke plumes grow larger and more ominous in minutes, then the first couple of hours, as authorities first tried to determine the location and access to battle the blazes.

The two fires were burning in open land and Ponderosa pines in the area where the Deschutes National Forest and private (Cascade Timberlands) state Department of Forestry-protected property meet, about s 10 miles southeast of Sisters and about seven miles west of the town of Tumalo, Clark said.

Initial reports of the distance between the two blazes varied from a half-mile to 3-4 miles, but Clark said by mid-afternoon, “they’ve almost grown together.”

The cause of the fires was under investigation, officials said.

The initial call-out included three Type 2 20-person hand crews, including the Prineville and Redmond Hotshots, as well as 13 engines, two helicopters, three air tankers, a bulldozer and a water tender.

U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry personnel also were called in to assist Deschutes County and Bend first responders who were closing roads and warning area residents.

Tumalo Falls was closed and visitors ordered out, as was the Tumalo Reservoir area. Several Forest Service roads were closed.

One fire was first reported to be due west of the end of Tumalo Reservoir Road, which turns into Bull Flat Road and dead-ends at the north-south Brooks-Scanlon Logging Road (also called Forest Service Road 4606).

Impacts already were spreading, as residents on the south side of Bend at Romaine Village reported a lot of ash falling as the smoke plumes blew south. Ash also was falling at Deschutes River Woods and Tetherow, southwest of Bend. Later, Bend’s Eastside also was reporting ashfall/

It was an early start to wildfire season in Central Oregon, just as experts have predicted. Fire officials had declared that next Monday would be the start of wildfire season on all public lands in the region, nearly a week earlier than last year due to drying conditions. Meanwhile, fire chiefs had said outdoor burning season would close June 15th (or sooner if needed).

“Fire behavior on these fires shows how dry conditions are on the forest and rangelands east of the Cascades,” COIDC said in an early evening update.

“Although it’s early June, the large logs and other downed woody debris are as dry as if it was July,” they wrote. “As school gets out and people begin heading out to recreate, fire officials want to remind everyone to be careful with fire. Find out before you head out if campfires are allowed, and make sure any campfire is completely put out if someone isn’t there to watch it.”

According to unconfirmed scanner reports, a resident on Sisemore Road (which authorities were closing) indicated he believed the northern fire started first and embers from it might have started the second blaze to the south. Helicopters were using Tumalo Reservoir and irrigation ponds in the a large irrigation pond in the area to dump water on the flames.

Clark said the first priority was to make sure those living in or recreating in the area were safe and not endangered by the fire.

“The main focus at this point is figuring out recreationists, campers” in the area who need to get out to be safe.

“Please stay out of the area,” she pleaded. “We’ve got a lot of firefighters responding, and we need for them to be able to get in and have their work unimpeded.”Stay tuned to KTVZ.COM and NewsChannel 21 for the very latest, and feel free to share 1-2 photos (please pick your best, not a dozen!) to for a later slide show (for now, focusing on latest info).”



The High Desert Museum


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Here are some photos from our amazing morning at the High Desert Museum in Bend along with the wildfire we saw coming home. I will post a more complete write up later this afternoon.

Hudson’s 3!


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It’s amazing to think of how much the world changes as time flies by us. With all the traveling I’ve been doing over the past few years I miss out on a lot of holidays and events. I do my best to get quality time in with everyone though while in the states, especially my sister’s 2 amazing kiddos, Ellie and Hudson. With every occasion I find myself amazed at how much they’ve grown and am forced to adapt to the new set of skills they’ve learned since my last visit. It is both extremely fulfilling and incredibly exhausting. I can’t think of a better way to spend my time though! Currently I am in bend for a 2 week stay – part of an almost 5 week road trip/adventure that I’ll be posting about shortly – beginning with Hudson’s 3rd birthday and ending with Ellie’s dance recital. If the past few days are any indication I’m going to need a serious nap when I get home.


“It’s my birthday!” Hudson proudly proclaimed as he greeted me yesterday morning – June 2nd – at my Mom’s house – my Mom is living in Bend for the summer and I’m staying at her condo throughout my stay. Ellie, it seemed, had trained him yell on the concept of birthday privileges and he was more than happy to take advantage of it. Hudson, Popo (Chinese for grandma) and I ran errands that morning which mostly entailed me chasing Hudson around the various stores we visited while he laughed loudly with joy. His coordination has skyrocketed since my last visit, just 4 months ago. He can run fast now! His laughter and expressions of pure joy made it more than worth the work it took to catch him though.

After lunch with Sami and Kelly, his parents, Hudson headed home for a nap and Popo and I back to her house to prepare for the party – yesterday was only a small party though with a much bigger event planned for later in my stay, or so I’m told at least.

Bend_20140602_12Hudson woke from his nap with a big smile spread across his face as usual, at least in my limited experiences. Calmly playing in his room he asked me for help fixing his train tracks than proceed to show me all his favorite toys while instructing me to take a photo. “Can I see?!” always followed along with, “Wow, very nice!” Art school finally paid off! Eventually we made our way downstairs, waiting for Ellie to return so we could open presents.

Bend_20140602_168Unlike any other person I’ve ever encountered Hudson had no desire to open his presents, instead preferring to play with his monster trucks. It was driving Ellie insane, almost to tears. She had to open the wrappings until he could glimpse what was contained inside before he’d finally ripe the paper off. Slowly Hudson managed to get all his gifts open, just in time for the arrival of his friend Roman.

The kids spent the remainder of the afternoon playing in the backyard while Popo prepared dinner. It was far mellower than I expected from a 3 year-old’s birthday, although I haven’t been to many. Hopefully the 2nd party remains the same.

Ice-melt Camera: Part 1


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Early last week I set up a pretty decent 8mp wildlife camera, not to photograph wildlife though, but rather to capture what it looks like as the ice melts. My timing couldn’t have been better as we received a pretty major snow storm 2 days later, resulting in some pretty interesting photos. I hope you enjoy them, I’ll keep posting them as I collect them.

Musical Passion


The life of a musician is one of great sacrifice. Like nearly all forms of artwork the expenses substantially outweigh the income. Music is a labor of love though, a passion who’s intrinsic value can’t be measured monetarily. It is true that many have prospered off the music industry, but for every “star” there are a thousand impassioned kids creating music each and every day. Music is an outlet, a voice that not only translates time, but culture as well. It is indicative of who we are, in our place in the world, superseding spoken language through the creation of something undeniably more complex. Music is language, emotion, generation, distress and love, admiration, passion, and of course entertainment. It is either the burden or folly of those who have taken it upon themselves to share with the world, or in many circumstance those unable too.

My life as a musician – I am a drummer – began at a young age. I am from a family of extremely talented musicians, and now the industry itself. It was only recently though that I came to the true understanding of what my life as a musician really means. Typically I play alone, learning from and attempting to mimic those I admire through my Stienhauser headphones. What I came to understand though is that while I may be the only person in the room, I am in no way alone.
Perched upon my throne – I’ve always found that term a bit gaudy and honestly prefer to call it a drum stool – I find myself surrounded, embraced in what is without a doubt a piece of art, something that deserves to be appreciated by anyone fortunate enough to play it. 6 pieces of beautifully crafted North American maple lacquered in hunter green finished off with a Paiste high-hat, ride, 16” and 18” crashes, this kit is the Holy Grail to me, the Mona Lisa. It is everything I always imagined a DW kit would be and more. It is my Les Paul, my Steinway.

Recently I played at a “jam session,” the first time I had played a kit other than the DW, and everything felt off, wrong. It wasn’t the same, it almost felt like I had “cheated.” Who was this set and why would did I do this to myself? That was the question, and in itself the answer.
As musicians we share a unique bond with what others consider inanimate. Irrelevant objects. Our instruments, our companions, are as much a part of the work we produce as the concepts we create in our minds. Without my drums I’d just be a fool tapping out rhythms on a table with my fingers, and as obscure as it might sound to “outsiders,” what kit I’m sitting behind affects the way that I play. Essentially, I am only half the equation. Without my drums I would be a painter with no paint, a photographer with no camera, a potter with no clay.

My kit is akin to a child, in my eyes, something that I alone am responsible for. Sadly we have had an exceptionally hard winter here, and my kit thusly suffered in my absence. Like the dilapidated structures of a ghost town, my crash cymbals seem to crumble with every strike, even decaying during times of rest. Too many times have I returned to find my companion is a lesser state then I had left it in.
It is in this connection, however, that I came to understand what being a musician means – in my own context. This kit, my drums, are an extension of my musical creativity, the tool that allows me to convey what’s concocted in my mind. More than that though, it is my companion on an artist journey to discover my place in the vast music universe.
It is something I would never expect everyone to understand, but I will always share a profound connection with the drum kits I had the pleasure of owning throughout my life – not to mention my amazing parents for supporting me and my siblings for not killing me! – And the roles that they played in my development not only as musician, but as a human being.

Olkine Lobenek & Olkiten’g Loobaa | Dec. 1-2, 2013


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The small band of men marched forward, switches in hand, filling the air with the guttural sounds of Maasai song. Soon they would be locked in battle. This however, would not be a battle of the likes that had made the Maasai ilmurran so famous, but rather a carefully coordinated performance.
Entering the enclosure first, the men proceeded to the center, driving a long oloirien  (wild olive) branch with a large piece of fat (ilmodat) into the ground. Soon their opposition, the women of the village, would follow suit and the battle would begin.
Facing each other with the ilmodat between them, representatives from both sides begin to beat each other. Only after the fat was snatched up by one of the women as she made her escape did the ceremony come to a close.


I arrived at the first of the two ceremonies, Olkine Lobenek, in the early afternoon hours on the first of December. The bulk of the excitement seemed centered around one of the larger houses in the village, people overflowing from its doorway. Inside, the elders were enjoying cups of Enaisho – a traditional Maasai brew made from honey, sugar and aloe vera root – while the four men who would be participating in the ceremony prepared themselves.
Adorned in red ochre and blue shukas the four men – two from the Irkishiru age-set and two from the Iseuri – emerged from the home, signaling that it was time to begin. Under the leadership of the two elders – the men from the Iseuri age-set – the village’s men proceeded to a specially selected location in the nearby forest where the ceremony would take place.


As the day proceeded the participating men took up the different roles – slaughtering and butchering the animal, building the fire, and roasting the meat – while the four “hosts” took up their place between a sandpaper and wild olive tree – these are two trees that have roles in nearly every Maasai ceremony and must be located next to each other in most involving the forest.
First to be removed from the animal – Olkine Lobenek involves a goat, Olkiten’g Loobaa a special cow known as enkiten’g arus (a black cow with a white chest), both animals must be without blemishes – is the blood, followed by a special cut of meat that is instrumental for these ceremonies, enkiyieu. Enkiyieu is the breast meat, and the ritual sharing of it by the two young men will cleanse their spirits. It is only through this “cleansing” that they will be able to perform a circumcision on their first child.