Thursday, April 28, 2011

Northern Lights Theater Pub

I have to admit that I'm not much of a movie goer. Okay, I'm not much of a movie watcher at all. To me, movies are an event. So when I do have time to see a movie I like the whole movie theater experience. Generally, I enjoy movies at Salem Cinema which is near my home, but last night I decided to go to Northern Lights with a friend. We really wanted to see The King's Speech and it was playing at Northern Lights. And at exactly the right time for our schedule!

I haven't been to Northern Lights in some time. I forget how much I like it. Its a local theater with second run movies for $3. I love that you can order food to be delivered during the movie. I like the happy, helpful staff members. I like the fact that I can get a beer or a glass of wine to drink during the movie.

Maybe its because I'm just not a movie buff, but I can't imagine spending $10 on a movie at the Regal theaters here in town. At Northern Lights I could get a movie, popcorn, AND a soda for that same $10. And I'd be supporting a local business in the process. Sounds like a win/win situation to me.

Oh, also, if you haven't seen The King's Speech, you should go see it right away. Amazing. That is all.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tell the City of Salem How to Spend Money

Doesn't that sound fun?

I was at my neighborhood association meeting last night (yes, I do go to these meetings and you'd be surprised all the interesting info you can find out!) and one of our city's fine City Councilor's, Chuck Bennett, was in attendance. He mentioned that the Salem is planning its budget for the next year. Budget Committee meetings don't sound like the most exciting things to me, but I do care that our city is spending money on things I think are important.

So, when Chuck mentioned that citizens are allowed to come speak at the meetings, AND that you can give your opinion at the beginning of the meeting instead of waiting for lots of boring budget talking first, I was very excited. I have lots of random opinions important ideas!

One thing Chuck mentioned was that the Budget Committee is always very impressed when a citizen takes the time to come speak at the meetings because not very many people take this opportunity. Since it is unusual, they really take the citizens opinions seriously.

I think this is a great way to get involved in your local government - without even having to make any long term commitments!

Let's just admit it. Salem is awesome!


Wednesdays 6 PM
(for the next few weeks)
City Council chambers at City Hall

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

News Flash: Salem Has a University!

Okay, so it's not actually new information. Willamette University claims to be the oldest university west of the Mississippi or something. Its been around for....pretty much ever. Yet, it seems strangely detached from the city it lives in.

There is often consternation in people's voices when they talk about the lack of interaction between Willamette University students and downtown Salem. This detachment seems to be a mystery no one can figure out.

A couple of things happened recently which made me realize maybe there is a solution to this issue:

  1. I visited a military town
  2. I saw a conversation on Twitter about deals for college students
If you've ever been to a military town, and many college towns do the same, you'll notice that military/college deals are prominently advertised.

Why don't Salem businesses cater to the Willamette crowd with special nights, deals, percentages off, etc. 

What do you think? Would this actually entice Willamette students to come downtown? What about state workers? Would the same things work for them?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ethiopian Art at Willamette University

A little bit of interesting history from the talk I attended at Hallie Ford Museum last week.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Salem Saturday Market is Back!

Don't forget that the Salem Saturday Market is back up and running in its usual location. It is in the parking lot bordered by Union St, Winter St, Summer St, and Marion St. It runs from 9 AM until 3 PM.

Last Saturday I decided to check out the first market of the year. I realized it would be a little sparse and it was. One thing that would be nice is if they moved things closer together when there are less vendors, but I suppose that would probably take a lot more organization and work on the part of the market managers.

Nevertheless, I wandered the market in search of some goodies. There were lots of plants, lots of crafts, and quite a few food booths. I bought a torta at one of the Mexican stands and then wandered until I found Persophone Farms. They had lots of root vegetables and some cabbage and kale. I bought turnips, parsnips, rutabega, potatoes, both orange and red beets, and shallots.

I ended up making a baked root vegetable dish. I washed and cut up the veggies, coated them in olive oil, added sea salt, a little pepper, and some sumac and baked the whole thing for about 30-40 minutes. Yummmmmm! One of my friends, who hails from Australia, said they call that Bubble and Squeak. What a quaint little name.

I really love that I was able to make a healthy, delicious, LOCAL dish even on the first day of the Saturday Market.

Check it out this weekend and see what you can make.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Budget Woes

Well, folks, it's still happening. That "economic downturn" as they call it. What that means is that we still have to figure out how to tighten our belts a little. A little more.

Tonight, the Salem-Keizer School District will hold a budget meeting at McKay High School at 6 PM. There will be a chance for members of the community to give their input. You will need to sign up before the meeting if you plan to speak before the Budget Committee.

Do you have an opinion about how the Salem-Keizer School District spends its money? Here is your chance to share it with the people who can do something about it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The La Capitale Bar

Once in awhile you find a little spot that just makes you feel good about life. The bar at La Capitale is that way for me. It's one of those places where I walk in and, on any given night, I'm likely to run into a few people I know. The food is always good, the company is amusing, and the drinks are always scrump-diddly-umptious!

Twice, last week, I happened to be there. Okay, well, I planned to be there to meet friends, but it just so happened twice in one week, which is not my norm, but it was a nice treat. Both times I ran into multiple people I knew, not including the group I came with. People stopped by to say hello, chatted for a minute and then went on to their own meals and drinks.

Rob (@robdrinkenstein on Twitter) was behind the bar, mixing up his magic drinks. On one evening he even took time from his busy schedule to stop and give our little group of single ladies some advice on love. Love advice AND perfectly mixed martinis? If that's not the epitome of a good bartender, then I don't know what is.

Good drinks, good food, good friends and a place where everybody knows your name? Hmmm. Is this Cheers? If so, it is a little more upscale version with better decor, nicer people, and tastier food.

And you know what's even better? They have Happy Hour now from 4-6 PM! Yes! I love HH. See you at La Cap!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Annual Weather Post

Every year, about this time of year, I seem to post something about the weather. It's a tough time for most people in the Willamette Valley as far as weather goes. It's still pretty dark in the evenings and it seems to rain every day. The gray clouds cover the sky almost constantly, and it feels like spring and summer will never arrive.

Yes, this is the season of depression in the valley.

It is also the time I start planning a weekend getaway to somewhere warm and sunny. And I start fantasizing about a nice warm island with plenty of sun and sand and daily swims. In my fantasy there is a perfect little beach hut and a hammock and a never ending supply of fruity beverages and freshly grilled, delicious food.

I live on my little fantasy island quite a bit this time of year. It helps me get through.
Something like this

And it also helps me to remember the perfect Oregon summers, when I sit on the patio chatting with friends until late into the warm nights. Oh yeah, that's why I live here. Sometimes I forget.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Mural For the Community

A mural is taking shape in our community. For some time a group of mural activists have been looking for a spot to place a mural. They finally landed a spot on the side of the YMCA building on Cottage and Court Streets.

A few months ago Lynn Takata, an artist who works with community participatory art, started working to create a program that would eventually end in a mosaic mural on the side of the Y. There have already been lots of community workshops and there are more opportunities for everyone in the community to get involved.

Lynn was at our neighborhood meeting last night and showed us some of the rough drafts for the mural. It looks like its going to be very beautiful. So far it looks like it will include trees and a river with lots of detail worked into them so that it is interesting to look at close up as well as from the street.

Here is the website for the project if you would like to get involved.

They are also still looking for donations to help complete the project and will soon have a Paypal button on their site. Until then, you can make donations to the project through the YMCA. Just make sure your donation is designated for the peace mural.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Keizer on the Mind

Okay, so I know its not exactly Salem, but Keizer has been on my mind lately. I grew up there and my parents still live there, so I sort of get the scoop on Keizer periodically. Plus, I have great Twitter friends like @jugbo and @cljungling who keep me updated on life in the little city to our north.

So, here's my concern. Apparently, Keizer city council has approved a site near the I-5 exchange to be a "big box" store. Basically, a Wal-mart, although they won't admit to it. Residents have apparently checked with all the other big box stores who give an emphatic "No." Only Wal-mart gives a non-commital, "No comment."

The citizens apparently came out in force against this at the city council meeting and yet this proposal still passed the council. Not good.

I think the good citizens of Keizer need to rise up and make a loud noise about this. Egyptian style. Get mad. Write letters. Protest at city hall. Walk the streets with signs. Do whatever it takes.

You think this is a Keizer problem? Well, it is. But what happens in Keizer doesn't stay in Keizer. It spills over into Salem. And vice versa, of course. Which is why we need to look out for each other.

So, go Keizerites! Take back your city!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Football and Philosophy

I have a confession to make...I love watching football.

I know that doesn't sound all that crazy as a confession, especially on SuperBowl Sunday, but hey, I've been kind of in the closet about this for quite awhile. I don't come from a family of football lovers, my friends don't generally watch a lot of football, I don't get invited to big football parties, and I rarely go to games.

But, secretly, deep, deep down somewhere in my soul, watching football makes me happy.

I love the tension and the energy and the crowds and the excitement. I love it when a great team comes together and everything just seems to flow like magic. I love the sweat and the pain and the hot hotties wearing tight pants!

But most of all, I love the passion these men bring to the game. They throw themselves into the game so completely. Their bodies fly into a pileup, they jump to catch a pass, they wrestle their way into the end zone for a touchdown. It's like sometimes they forget they are mortal and push their bodies past what seems humanly possible.

I only wish I could throw myself into something as passionately as they play the game.

Okay, so that might sound a little bit deep for football. But there you go. It's Superblog Sunday in Salem, Oregon, and I thought it was the perfect time to come out of the closet as a football lover.

So, now you know. Don't tell anybody, though, okay?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Welcome to the Future, Salem!

I went to a meeting with some folks from the city last week and heard a presentation from a group University of Oregon communications students. The presentation focused on how to keep neighborhood associations active and relevent in this modern era of technology. I thought it was good information with some good ideas.

Although it would have been nice if the people making the presentation had actually been to a neighborhood meeting, like, ever.

Anyway, the interesting point was that most of the people in the room are in what we'll call the "older generation" and pretty resistant to the ideas in many ways. And yet, we ended up spending the entire 1 1/2 hour meeting talking almost exclusively about this subject and how to make it work, concerns they had, some successes, and creating a smaller group to plan and discuss it. The city even sounds like they will get involved in figuring out how to use social media to communicate with citizens better.

As a blogger, a citizen, and a social media junkie I am very excited about the prospects! What do you think? How could neighborhood associations or the City of Salem use social media to get your attention?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

City Politics

Yes, even small little cities like Salem have city politics.

Of course they do. Every group of people gathered together to form any kind of organization finds that there are dynamics between people and groups that create what we consider "politics". Who's in charge of what? Who holds power in this or that area? Who is in the "in" crowd? Who has the ear of the decision makers? Heck, even families have political dynamics.

Well, there's a new mayor in Salem. Anna Peterson was sworn in as the mayor earlier this month. So that means its time for people to vie for her attention. We also have new city councilors, the other decision makers people like to try to influence. It will be interesting to see how everything turns out.

All I really want out of this whole thing is some twinkle lights downtown. Now I wonder who the decision maker is on that?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Salem Neighborhoods

So, I had an interesting conversation with Nancy (one of the owners/managers?) at Super Pho in the new downtown location the other day. She mentioned that she has noticed what a close knit group the downtown people are.

Everyone seems to know each other, or at least know of each other, and people talk to each other a lot. The first time I went into the restaurant, for instance, I knew two of the other patrons. We talked about a third person who has an office down the street and had become a regular.

Personally, I love living downtown and it feels a lot like a small town in a lot of ways. I enjoy running into other people I know, chatting with people in downtown businesses, waving to acquaintances on the street. I'm sure its lack of anonymity isn't for everyone, but it makes it feel like home to me.

It's not something I think about a lot until someone mentions it, but it got me wondering. Are the other Salem neighborhoods like this? Is it unique to downtown? Do people from other Salem/Keizer neighborhoods feel the same about their little corner of the city? Tell me your thoughts on this.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Vote for Restaurant of the Year!

It's that time of year again. You, as a Salemite get to vote for the best restaurant of the year on If you aren't a regular reader of EatSalem and you didn't nominate a restaurant, remember to bookmark the site and nominate next year.

For this year, you'll just have to vote for the restaurants already nomited. Oh, and I'd love to see Salem's only tapas restaurant, Andaluz, win this year (hint, hint)! If you haven't already checked out their little morsels of deliciousness, go visit with a friend, and then vote for it!