The Starlight Parade Approaches!

The skies are overcast.  The precipitation is at record levels.  Hay Fever season is in high gear.  Why, it must be time to kick off THE ROSE FESTIVAL!  Portland’s favorite celebration kicks off this week with the zany Starlight Parade!

It’s a LONG tradition here in Portland.  The idea for the Rose Festival was presented to the public in a speech by Mayor Harry Lane at the end of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in 1905. The first festival followed in 1907, and what a history it has made.

It’s 2013, and we’re gearing up to celebrate 106 years of festivities.  The lineup for the parade is everything from traditional marching bands and flood-lit floats, to glow-in-the-dark umbrellas and hand-built entries. You’ll see the best of Portland’s diverse community groups from the surrounding Northwest region. And some exciting news? (At least for me!) I’m marching and dancing in the first quarter of the nearly 100 illuminated groups! 

If you’re headed to the parade this weekend, you won’t be disappointed–but there are a few things to keep in mind. Here’s my “ inside tips” for the Starlight Parade! The parade starts at 9:00 pm.  This is no parade for whimps!  You have to stay up late and tough out the elements on the cold, wet, and dark streets of downtown Portland.  We’re expecting 250,000 to line the 2.25 miles, so make sure you get your spot scoped out early.  Also: Bring layers!  And don’t forget your costume…there will be some serious costuming that you don’t want to miss out on. The starlight parade is where FUN HAPPENS.

Francene has over 30 years in the home mortgage business, and she loves being part of the Portland community. Connect with her on Facebook for Portland-centric updates and news or subscribe to her newsletter to receive monthly resources and tips just for locals. If you’re interested in homeownership or refinancing, contact her today to schedule a consultation and find out more about Portland mortgage options.

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Connecting in Community through Dance

Finding community.  The need to belong.  The common/shared interest. I love finding ways to connect here in Portland, and my recent association with dancing has given me yet another sense of community.  Not only amongst dancers, but to the community at large.  Last Saturday my previous association with the sponsor, White Bird, and their Le Grand Continental (a wonderful gift to our community) was brought back to life for an ever so brief repeat at Union Station for National Train Day

Our last rehearsal before National Train Day

Our last rehearsal before National Train Day

To prepare for that performance, rehearsals have filled my days. It was well worth the effort, looking back, but though that performance is complete the rehearsals haven’t finished. Many of us from Le Grand Continental are continuing to dance – dedicated to rehearsals 3 times a week – to prepare ourselves for the launch of the Portland Rose Festival with the Starlight Parade on June 1.  Known for being a ‘zanier” parade, we’re practicing our hearts out to make sure we’re ready. Of the 100 or so that committed to this, there are about 70 who have stayed the course.  Yet another community, and for many of us this will be our third performance together.  We shivered through another chilly and wet evening last night as we ran through the paces.  We may never look like these two professional dancers but we’re ready to bring fun and frivolity to the people of Portland 15 days from now. Will you be there?

Francene has over 30 years in the home mortgage business, and she loves being part of the Portland community. Connect with her on Facebook for Portland-centric updates and news or subscribe to her newsletter to receive monthly resources and tips just for locals. If you’re interested in homeownership or refinancing, contact her today to schedule a consultation and find out more about Portland mortgage options.

Still Dancing!

Le Grand Continental – Pioneer Courthouse Square on Sept 30, 2012

Hello Fall! And what a wonderful start of a beautiful season it is! During the last week of September, I celebrated the Equinox at my new home in the west hills together with friends at an Autumn Lantern Garden party, and a toast to my husband Tim for his birthday. Then, as one of of 160 dancers, we performed Le Grand Continental at Pioneer Square last Sunday.

That’s Me in The Red Top – tucked between the two dancers in turquoise

Like so many of others – I have never danced like this before. 30 minutes of choreographed steps to a variety of songs, performed by individuals aged 10 years old to 74 years old. Something magical happened to all of us in the process. A photo exhibit of our journey is on display at the Living Room Real Estate office on NE Alberta, along with the question……

Why Do We Dance?

I pondered that question for myself; and found this quote – something that really struck a chord:

“We dance because it’s the fastest, most direct route to the truth — not some big truth that belongs to everybody, but the get down and personal kind, the what’s-happening-in-me-right-now kind of truth. This is not always easy for us to access — we have to navigate some very deep past, as well as the probable futures we drum up to feed the fear that drives us round the same circles, day in and day out. We dance to hook up to the true genius lurking behind all that bullshit — to seek refuge in our originality and our power to reinvent ourselves; to shed the past, forget the future and fall into the moment feet first. You remember being fifteen, possessed by the beat, by the thrill of music pumping loud enough to drown out everything you’d ever known. Of course you do.

We dance to reclaim our brilliant ability to disappear in something bigger, something safe, a space without a critic or a judge or an analyst. The beat is a lover that never disappoints and, like all lovers, it demands 100% surrender. It has the power to seduce moves we couldn’t dream. It grabs us by the belly, turns us inside out and leaves us abruptly begging for more. The beat is bad, wicked, sick –whatever the word is now.

We dance to fall in love with the spirit in all things, to wipe out memory or transform it into moves that nobody else can make because they didn’t live it. It’s a sacred thing, the beat. We love beats that move faster than we can think, beats that drive us ever deeper inside, that rock our worlds, break down walls and make us sweat our prayers.

We dance to survive and the beat offers a yellow brick road to make it through the chaos that is the tempo of our times. Chaos is the way of the mind when it is free-styling , winging its way back to an instinctive, intuitive intelligence, the kind we need to survive — not only the real shit going down, but the massive amount of stuff we insist on making up to insure our suffering. God provides, and god don’t need no help. God is the dance and the dance is the way to freedom and freedom is our holy work.

So get down and find out what your hands, your shoulders, your elbows, knees and, most importantly, your hips and feet have to say about it. There is a dance only you can do, that exists only in you, here and now, always changing, always true. Are you willing to listen with fascination? If you are, it will deliver you unto the self you have always dreamed you could be. This is a promise.”
~ Gabrielle Roth

A Unique Place of Understanding

This week is yet another milestone for me. October 10, 1972, was the first day of new job. I’d already been laid off from my first job, in mortgage banking, when the office closed in response to tough economic times. So when I arrived at work on this particular morning, only to find the doors locked. Making this week an anniversary of that experience that I would come to love – and hate. Mortgage lending made “sense” to me; I was good at math, story problems, and selling myself”. And alas, the doors were closed because it was Columbus Day. They’d forgotten to tell me when I got hired.

I left the industry once, in 1975, when “Reg Z – Truth in Lending” kicked in. Spent one year with the City and County of Denver, where I met my husband-to-be in the Budget Office. In 1976, when his brother died in an auto accident, we both quit our jobs, moved to Oregon, got married, and I returned to mortgage banking.

Reg Z continues to rule my world, and for the last 3 years, as the federal government ratcheted up the regulations, we have seen the most significant changes to Reg Z. I’m in a unique place of understanding the years of compliance build up, which helps consumers as we work an extremely tough environment of tight-tight-tight underwriting and compliance review during the loan process.

Ready for My Next Dance?

I’ve started rehearsal for the Thrill the World dance performance of Thriller on the weekend just before Halloween, October 27 at OMSI.

Thrill The World is an annual worldwide attempt to break the Largest Simultaneous Dance with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Thousands of people in cities around the world will learn “Thriller,” dance and perform it together on the day that Thrill The World takes place.

The Portland Zombie Walk Will Occur After Our Performance

2007 marked the 25th anniversary of the release of the “Thriller” album. It is still a popular and well-known video that crosses boundaries of language, culture, and geography. We believe that this is largely due to the amazing choreography. Don’t think so? Do the “roar” move anywhere, at any point, and without fail someone will yell, “Thriller!” The movements are so iconic and easily recognizable.

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Stay Informed

To stay up-to-date on all the fun things to do in the Portland Metro Area, you can either follow me up and down the hills and dales of Southwest Portland, or you can check out my blog, Portland Currency. And remember to find me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Have a Wonderful Fall Season!