Dec 17, 2014

Where I Live.

The town that I moved to four months ago has a sign on either end of it declaring it's population as 9,749 people. I have no idea how accurate these sorts of signs are. How often do they change that number? I would like to think there is a special person who has this little job but I have a feeling it is not that way. Regardless, there is no question that this is a town where everyone knows everyone else and most likely everyone is related in some way....so you should be picturing small and throw in some rural too.

 There are two lakes on either side of the town. Both are about 15 minutes out of town. These lakes keep the town of Cottage Grove from flooding. Before these dams were built the rumor is that the town of Cottage Grove flooded ALL the time. One of the lakes is Dorena Lake. And one is Cottage Grove Lake. My parents live right next to Cottage Grove Lake and I love this location. It is so beautiful. I love driving up and around the twisty road over the dam everyday on my way home from work and to work. Best. Views. Ever. One thing that causes me a little bit of consternation is that they have to drain both of these lakes every fall. They have to. So that all the rain that comes all winter has a place to collect and not flood the town. I hate seeing the bottom of the lake all empty and bare.....it is just too much information about the lake for me. I know it will fill back up again by summer but I am a little dramatic about it and may be doing a small amount of mourning for the nice, pretty, fully clothed lake. Yeah I know that probably tells you what a surface-y kind of girl I am, but seeing all the tree stumps and odd formations that are under all the water just creeps me out a little. Although if I ever happen to loose a swimsuit in the summer in the lake I will feel better knowing I could possibly retrieve it when the lake is drained in the Fall.....yeah, that will never happen....but it is comforting to know....just in case :)

This little town has railroad tracks right down the middle of it. And these railroad tracks are very used railroad tracks. There is a huge Weyerhauser mill in town and trains are constantly stopping to get loaded with 2 x 4 "s and other assorted wood items. I am very aware of these train tracks because I am constantly driving my school bus back and forth over them..... opening my doors and stopping to listen for trains as I cross. One time I even have had to sit in my school bus and wait for a train that was completely stopped at a crossing thus blocking it for 30 minutes.

I have not had a single person honk at me or flip me off or swear at me on the roads here. Every single minute of every single day there was some disgruntled East coast driver doing one of those three things at me or at someone else. I didn't really notice it when I lived there because it was part of every day life but now that I am away from it I really notice. Don't worry east coast I still really like you.  It is just the way it is.

this is the covered area for rain recess.
All the elementary schools here have a huge covered area on the playground and recess goes on rain or not. I really love that. And when I drive the bus into the school parking lot and see classrooms sitting out in the pouring rain under these covered structures doing something as a class it makes me smile.

Speaking of rural Natalie goes to a little country school about 6 miles from my parents house. It has 94 kids in it and it covers Kindergarten to 8th grade. The 6th-8th graders all have the same teacher. The school is nestled (yep, I said nestled) between two mountains and all around the school is all the land Territorial seed company uses to grow their seeds. The kids get to do all sorts of fun, extra things that bigger schools simply could not do. They have a dome shaped art and cooking building....yes, the kids have cooking class as part of their day. The gym that has old, very dark hardwood floors. A library with huge tall windows. It is old, it is quaint, and I love it. It has been the best thing for my Natalie and her confidence to be at this small school. There happens to be two other rural schools in this school district so that gives you some idea of what the area is like.

Everywhere I have lived people have always declared "if you don't like the weather here just wait a few minutes and it will change." They said it in Kansas, Indiana, and Massachusetts. But I have to tell you that in Oregon that saying is really honestly true and those of you who live in those other places where I have lived it turns out we really did not know what PMS weather really meant. It may just be where Cottage Grove is in relation to mountains and the ocean and the equator and the sun and the moon. I am not sure if weather is this way all over Oregon or not but literally one minute it is sunny...the next raining...the next windy....back and forth all day long. I have learned to be prepared and I have umbrella, boots, gloves, hats, scarves, and a change of clothes in my trunk....always. One day the weather was so silly I saw 6 rainbows in one day.

There is so much rain here that a lot of the trees have moss growing on their branches and trunks. Lots of moss. Once all the leaves fell off the trees we could really see it. I feel like the trees look a little unkempt and messy and basically they just need to shave :) I am trying to appreciate the moss but it is hard to get used to. I prefer less hairy trees. It is an odd sight to get used to.

This town is so small that when I went to the DMV and forgot my checkbook they let me take the test anyway and bring my check back later. That never happened in Massachusetts. It stunned me that the lady suggested it. But I did not complain.

I love different views. And knowing different things and each time I have moved I have seen a new view and learned new things. There are pros and cons to everywhere you live. My kids are going to miss having lots of snow. But I am glad they got to experience lots of snow. Getting to the beach is much easier here than it was in Massachusetts. I miss being close to NYC and Boston and history but I have been furiously googling and learning about equally cool stuff here.

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