October 30, 2009 - 10:00 PM
The Clark Honors Introductory Program (CHIP) made its second annual trip to the Lone Pine Farms Corn Maze tonight. It's a unique opportunity to get outside of Eugene, even just 10 miles out of town, to get a taste of rural fall life.
It was fun to walk between hay bales and see fresh produce from the source. In addition to the fall feel, for some reason it's really fun to wander around a corn field in the dark for a couple hours. I am fairly cynical and somewhat level-headed (so I self-proclaim), so I was not scared or apprehensive of the "haunted maze." Rather, I found it extremely entertaining to watch people jump out from stalks clenching leaf blowers (giving the appearance of chain saws) to scare guests. I also thoroughly enjoyed kettle corn at the end; I seldom indulge on sweets, but having corn in your line of sight for long enough subliminally plants a kernel, so to speak, of hunger for some sugary deliciousness.
Nonetheless, it was a great opportunity to introduce freshmen to a great fall activity in the Eugene community. I'm privileged to lead the CHIP program because I get to put together trips like this to share with others the tremendous resources and opportunities at and around the University of Oregon.
October 25, 2009 - 9:44 AM
Amtrak is the way to travel. As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been in Seattle this weekend, but now it's time to get back to "The EUG." I rode the Amtrak up to Seattle on Thursday afternoon, and am currently sitting on the Amtrak headed back down. Coming from the Southwest, we don't have the luxury of a good Amtrak system or the lush scenery of the Pacific Northwest, and I'm incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to take it all in now.
Headed South, you pass through the southern tip of Seattle. Once you get outside the industrial area, you leave civilization, straddling Puget Sound for about an hour. The train overlooks the water with rich wildlife, islands dotting the Sound, and the snowcapped Olympics rising in the distance. It's truly an amazing sight.
As I currently write, we have moved south of Puget Sound, and pass farm land, creeks, and rivers; it's an incredibly beautiful, lazy Sunday morning. A fog sets the mood, blanketing emerald fields with cows kneeling in slumber. Complementing the dark green flora, fall color is in peak season. Oranges, yellows, and reds dot the landscape between evergreens, as we slowly wind our way south towards Portland.
Once we cross the Columbia River into Oregon, the beauty only continues through Portland's dramatic skyline giving way to the fertile Willamette Valley. The Pacific Northwest is the most amazing place I've been, and it's incredible to experience some of its most beautiful features in a seven hour train ride.
I often try not to think about graduating because my job is likely to take me away from the Northwest, and I don't want to think about the reality of that. The Northwest has become my home, and I hope to return here in the longterm. As it stands, my time here is fleeting, but I can't think of a better way to spend it than watching the Northwest roll by outside my window.
October 24, 2009 - 5:03 PM
I've ventured northbound to spend the weekend with my family in Seattle. My mom, dad, and sister flew up from Phoenix, and we spent the weekend with my Seattle family: Aunt Wendy, Aunt Susan, Uncle Mark, and cousins Maddie and Mitchell.
Not so coincidentally, the occasion marks the Ducks yearly installment of the heated border war against Washington. We've planned this weekend for several months, and I secured our tickets in the Oregon section months ago, eagerly awaiting this weekend to see my family and to beat the Huskies.
The whole game day experience was phenomenal. Mark and Susan surprised us with tickets for "The Husky Boat" to cruise to the game. Game time was 12:30pm, so we walked about a mile down the road from my cousins' house to the Fishermen's Terminal where we descended upon the tour boat donned in purple and gold balloons, streamers, and fans. While we were definitely in the minority there were fellow Duck fans on the boat, so that was refreshing and reassuring that we would not be pushed overboard (alone at least).
My Mom and I contemplating the victory-to-be aboard "The Husky Boat"
Aboard the boat, we stood on the deck admiring houseboats, yachts, and the Seattle skyline as we made our way towards the University of Washington to Union Bay. After about a 45 minute cruise, we docked at the doorstep of Husky Stadium and made our way past other tailgating boats to the entrance.
We flocked to our section with our fellow Ducks in the Oregon section, and nestled in for game time. The Ducks got off to a slow start in the first quarter falling behind 3-0. However, a blocked punt recovered in the end zone and an offensive touchdown in the second quarter gave the Ducks a 15-6 advantage at the half. Nonetheless, there was definitely a sense of apprehension among Oregon fans during halftime because the Ducks' explosive offense was stumbling against a less-than-stellar Huskies defense.
In the third quarter though, the Ducks offense finally let loose racking up a 36-6 lead. Jeremiah Masoli was back at the helm, and appeared to be in mid-season form running, throwing, and handing off, clearly quelling any lingering suspicions about his injured right knee. In addition, the return of T.J. Ward gave Oregon some extra depth in the secondary on defense, and Oregon's defense turned in another magnificent performance forcing three turnovers and pressuring gunslinging Jake Locker.
Likely Christmas Card photo for 2009 of the Ewbank clan with The Duck
(from left to right: Tina, The Duck, Scott, Molly, Peter).
The Ducks made easy work of the Huskies with a final score of 43-19 and should climb into the top 10 this week with the help of a Miami loss. Today's victory sets up next Saturday's matchup of Oregon vs. USC in Autzen Stadium. The two top-ten teams will likely battle for a trip to the Rose Bowl and the Pac-10 Title. Needless to say, it will be a Halloween for the ages.
While it is going to be difficult to leave my family, it's a pretty sweet feeling returning to Eugene a winner with the anticipation of possibly the biggest game the Ducks have played this decade. Seattle was great, but I'm happy to be a Duck in Eugene right now!
October 18, 2009 - 9:48 AM
I thought with this post I'd take a slightly different look into the life of Peter. I've typically covered fun events that happen on a weekly basis. However, as a senior looking towards the future, I thought I'd dedicate a few paragraphs to my undetermined future.
Tomorrow I have my Teach For America final interview. I'm slightly nervous, excited, and anxious for the day. Among other things, I have to teach a lesson plan, participate in a group activity, and have a one-on-one interview. I'm dedicating the majority of today to preparing for the interview and teaching my lesson plan. I plan on teaching (to the fellow applicants) a grammar lesson on when to use affect versus effect.
The interview aside, the application process has been fairly thrilling thus far. Last week I was able to rank my preferences for where I'd like to teach should I be accepted. Ideally, I would like to teach high school English in Denver. It is fairly unlikely I will get all of my top choices for location, grade, and subject area, but that's my dream. Even if I don't get my top choices, the concept of someone else determining where I will live and what I will do (specifically) for the next two years is wild. I am one that likes to plan ahead and be in control, but I am really intrigued by the powerlessness of my situation. Should I be accepted, I am really eager to live in a place I've most likely never even visited, make new friends, and experience a different regional culture.
However, I'm most excited to teach in a low income community. I know that I will face some large obstacles while teaching, probably on a daily basis, but I've heard the experience is tremendously rewarding. I want to get into educational policy of some kind in the long-term, so I believe that spending at least a couple years in a low socioeconomic classroom will give me hands on experience to learn the educational system and give me a better understanding of how I can be an advocate for further change.
I guess that's really the source of my excitement: I want to effect change in America's educational system. And, yes, that is proper usage of effect as a verb.
October 17, 2009 - 9:07 AM
I ventured over to Youth Farm today with Mortar Board to do a community service project. We met at Mac Court, and going in I had no idea what I'd be doing or where exactly I'd be going. However, it turned out to be a really rewarding experience.
The Youth Farm is located in Springfield and nestled in a neighborhood bordered on three sides by houses and the fourth by a park. We pulled up and were greeted by Ted, the head farmer. We were waiting around for instructions when I heard, "PETER!"
Shocked to hear my name called, I spotted my friend Alayna's beaming smile emerging from behind a shed. I was unaware Alayna worked on the Farm, and after exchanging pleasantries she took us on a tour of the facilities. Alayna went on to explain that the three-acre plot is owned by the Springfield School District, but Food For Lane County suggested the Youth Farm project and it exists as such today. The Youth Farm employs about 15 underprivileged high school students each season to work the farm. Students earn minimum wage while learning sustainable living, farming, nutrition, and job skills. On top of that, much of the food is donated to Food For Lane County to be used in their emergency food programs (one of their few fresh produce sources). The Farm is clearly incredibly beneficial for all involved.
After the tour we went to work. We grabbed work gloves, shovels, and wheelbarrows, and went on to plant a row of lettuce and cabbage. We built a raised bed, spread manure over it, and Ted tilled the row. Ted did some final preparations for us, and we proceeded to plant the row. In addition to preparing and planting, we harvested celery and weeded rows of cabbage. It was a rewarding experience for us Mortar Board members too because we are all mostly city kids with little farming experience. It was eye-opening for me to see the process of growing produce and being able to do pieces of the whole process during a three hour volunteer session.
All in all, it was great experience to volunteer, but more so to see that the Eugene-Springfield community has programs in place like Youth Farm that benefits so many people. I encourage everyone to check it out, volunteer, or at least buy their delicious organic produce at Saturday Market in Eugene!