Monday, June 30, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 ... heat relief

I took these two photos Saturday afternoon, across the street from Keller Auditorium where I'd just seen "Avenue Q." Frequent visitors will remember my ABC Wednesday, V is for Voluptuous post that featured Lucy, a saucy puppet from the musical. It's amazing that I lucked out when a friend at work offered me her friend's ticket because the friend of my friend couldn't come into the city for the show. So, I got to go see the 2 p.m. matinee. I laughed a lot, enjoyed the singing very much, marveled continuously at the talent and creativity. The entire auditorium full of people joined right in with me, too. I have to say that I've never seen puppets so raucous, so filled with angst, so reflective of many of society's 20- and 30-somethings in search of their purpose. The biggest laugh came in the last song, "For Now," when they sing "And we'll accept the things we cannot avoid, for now..."(I've left out some of the lyrics here, but they're listing things that are only for now, and go to this next line) ... "Is only for now! (George Bush!)" ... That's when the crowd roared the loudest!


Later when I walked in the apartment door after my bus ride home, I heard the weather person on TV saying, "... and in Portland today, a new record of 100 degrees." No wonder all of those folks were at the fountain making memories--soaking wet, jumping, laughing, taking photos!


From the City of Portland's Web site:

Ira Keller's Civic Theatre Forecourt Fountain between SW 3rd and 4th, and Market and Clay

13,000 gallons of water per minute cascade through this fountain. The fountain holds 75,000 gallons of water. Its terraces and platforms suggest the Northwest's abundant waterfalls. Angela Danadjieva designed this fountain for Lawrence Halprin Associates. People have gathered here since its completion in 1971.

Please use caution while enjoying this fountain. Like all streams and waterfalls, slippery surfaces, rapidly moving water, pools of water, and high drop-offs require careful attention. Please stay back from edges due to falling hazard.

The Portland Water Bureau works to make sure that the fountain today is true to the spirit of Lawrence Halprin’s vision.
In the mid - 1990s a major restoration costing nearly ¾ of a million dollars addressed problems related to old age. The Portland Water Bureau:

o Restored loose rock on the surfaces of the block.
o The blocks had shifted and there were some very major leaks. The bureau project restored the blocks to their original configuration and grouted between them.
o Brought the electrical components up to code.
o Updated lighting fixtures.
o Upgraded the chlorination system so it was automated and could keep chlorine levels consistent with what is in swimming pools to protect public health.

In 2005, the Portland Water Bureau’s operating engineers worked on the pumps and motors while the fountain was off for the winter season. Their work reduced electricity needed to keep water moving by 17% last season. That’s good for the environment and city ratepayers.

Monday, June 30, 2008 ... Dining at Nostrana

Leland, my 29-year-old son, tosses pizza dough at Nostrana Saturday evening.


Our friend Danielle heads back to California tomorrow. We've certainly enjoyed having her with us as she completed her field work towards her occupational therapy degree. She herself enjoyed very much getting reacquainted with Portland and friends here. She'd lived here for several years before going to school in Oakland.

To say thanks to us for being her hostesses, she wanted to take us out to dinner last night. We decided to go to Nostrana over at SE 14th and Morrison--that's where Lindsay tends bar and Leland cooks, sometimes pizza, sometimes other stations in the kitchen. When we walked in and toward the bar where we wanted to sit, Leland saw us, smiling and waving. I thought to myself that he must be working the wood-burning oven so just maybe I could get a photo of him tossing the pizza dough--hooray! The three of us didn't opt for pizza, though, since we'd had one delivered from a nearby pizzeria earlier in the week.

After a delightful appetizer I shared with Mama about which I cannot remember the name or the ingredients other than paper-thin slices of a delicate mushroom and wild greens, my pasta dish arrived.
I found the details at Nostrana's Web site: House-made fettuccine with chive oil, true and snow morels and fava beans. Fantastic! As I ate my third or fourth bite, I remarked, "This tastes like summer time!" I happily devoured the entire dish.

Danielle started with the Summer Minestrone with Arborio rice and basil pesto, chilled, followed by the Warm carpaccio of Highland Oak Beef Tenderloin with cremini mushrooms, shaved Parmigiano and arugula. She kept saying, "This is so good!"

Mama got sand dabs, but I was too busy eating by the time that Lindsay got the backbone out of each fish. Like Danielle and me, Mama repeatedly said that it was delicious.

For our shared dessert, Lindsay thought we'd enjoy the Warm Chester blackberry jam crostada with mascarpone. We had a scoop of vanilla ice cream instead of the mascarpone. Yummy, yummy.

Mama and I are so blessed to be here with these two young men who love to cook, aren't we?

Finally, we wish Danielle and her mom a safe drive home--Pat is flying up Monday to make the return trip with her which I find comforting since the forest fires are so bad in California. Let's all remember the firefighters in our prayers, as well as those who live in the endangered areas.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008 ... Sunflower for a sunny day

This sunflower was among the many for sale at Pioneer Courthouse Square last week. I thought it fitting to show you such a pretty flower with a bit of sun shining on it since we're in the midst of some really beautiful, sunny days. In fact, we're forecast to have record-breaking heat in the Pacific Northwest this weekend.


I especially liked the care that was taken to showcase the sunflowers with the corn behind the rows of pots, along with whatever that is in front of them, shorter so that they don't detract. Do I see a cone-shaped bloom or some such among the green leaves?

I'm so very late posting because I decided to take a nap yesterday evening and never made it back to the computer then or this morning. I did manage to wake up last night and this morning to walk Duncan, our darlin' miniature dachshund and to go to work. I'm a good girl after all, raised right by a good mother. By the way, Mama and I and our nine windows and six fans are as ready for the heat as we can be.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008 ... Let's continue looking up

Last May, 2007, I started to notice these sort of muted, creamy, almost dogwood-shaped blossoms, practically at eye level as I walked down the slightly steep sidewalk from West Burnside to our apartment building. As time passed, I snapped these photos. I lucked up on finding out what the tree's name is, with the help of Google and Marsha at work--she's quite the gardener.

July, 2007

August, 2007.

Kousa Dogwood
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa or Benthamidia kousa), also known as the Japanese Flowering Dogwood (Yamaboushi (ヤマボウシ, Yamaboushi?)), is a small deciduous tree 8-12 m tall, native to eastern Asia. Like most dogwoods, it has opposite, simple leaves, which are 4-10 cm long.

The tree is extremely showy when in flower, but the "flowers" are actually showy white bracts below the cluster of inconspicuous yellow-green flowers. The flowering is in late spring, weeks after it leafs out. It has a relatively upright habit, unlike the closely related Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) of eastern North America, which has a sprawling habit. It also differs from that in flowering about a month later, and in having pointed (not rounded) flower bracts.

The fruit is a globose pink to red compound berry 2-3 cm diameter, though these berries tend to grow larger towards the end of the season and some berry clusters that do not fall from the tree surpass 4 cm. It is edible; though lacking any interesting flavour to humans, it is taken by birds.

There are two varieties:

* Cornus kousa var. kousa. Leaves 4-7 cm; flower bracts 3-5 cm. Japan.
* Cornus kousa var. chinensis. Leaves 5-10 cm; flower bracts 4-6 cm. China.

It is resistant to the dogwood anthracnose disease, caused by the fungus Discula destructiva, unlike Flowering Dogwood, which is very susceptible and commonly killed by it; for this reason, Kousa Dogwood is being widely planted as an ornamental tree in areas affected by the disease. A number of hybrids between Kousa Dogwood and Flowering Dogwood have also been selected for their disease resistance and good flower appearance.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 - ABC Wednesday - W is for Wonderful

This morning I walked east to a bus stop three blocks from our apartment, instead of waiting for the bus at the closer stop. About half a block from that corner, I stopped to take this photo, something I've been wanting to try, to see if I could get the camera to see what I see. What a wonderful canopy of leaves and its myriad shades of green!

Right now I could get up from my little iBook and look out any one of our nine double hung windows in our fourth floor apartment and see many, many wonderful trees. I thank those Portlanders who had the foresight to plant and care for so many, many wonderful trees. And I'm thankful that my camera saw so clearly what I saw this morning as I stood in the slight, cool breeze and looked up.

If you're of a mind to, please go to Mrs. Nesbitt's Place for loads of other ABC Wednesday blogs! Look at the list of links per Mr. Linky.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 ... Jamison Square, the Pearl District, Portland, Oregon

Saturday before last before I walked over the Burnside and Morrison bridges, I rode the streetcar to Jamison Square so that I could take photos of folks enjoying a sunny Portland afternoon along with a unique fountain.

The water's deep and the fountain's flowing while children play, their adults relaxing in the sun.
The water's less deep here. Have you got an idea what has happened to it?
The water's back in this photo that shows some of the Pearl's surrounding buildings.
Here's a close-up that gives you a clue as to the different depths.

Bits I found online about Jamison Square:

The Portland Streetcar stops just across the street from Jameson Square in the Pearl District, Portland's trendiest neighborhood. The square boasts four totem sculptures designed by Kenny Scharf, play structures, and a fountain. The square is a magnet for Pearl District residents and visitors, especially those with children. The park’s main feature is its kid-friendly fountain, whose water tumbles out of a stack of rocks in a series of mini-waterfalls. The water cascades into a large pond that – designed to mirror the ebb and flow of the ocean tide – periodically drains and then refills.

And here's a link to more complete information from the city of Portland's Web site.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008 ... Things are not what they seem, and that's the truth

I know you're wondering why this post says, "Monday, June 23, 2008" in the title and Sunday, June 22, 2008, in the date area that Blogger provides. And there's a good chance you're wondering what someone whose allergies have been kicking her in the boo-tay is doing taking photos of flowers afield. Here's the truth.

Ever since Blogger made a change of some magnitude in early May, I've tried to work with Blogger and the City Daily Photo portal to make my posts show up on the portal after I've published them, with the date that I want on them. It's just not happening for me on a regular basis. I wish they'd go back to the way it was, so that I could do what I used to do: I fixed up my post for tomorrow, tonight, so that I didn't have to stay awake until after midnight or try to post early in the morning because I value my sleep too much to want to get up any earlier. To make sure the date was correct, I'd go to Post Options and put in the next day's date and 12:01 AM. It would then publish with that information on it. Since May 2, if I do that, it doesn't actually publish until then, right after midnight, when I have told Blogger to schedule it for publishing. That's a great big ol' bunch of hooey, to me. At my age, I don't want to fuss with technology that won't do what I want it to do, so I'm going to post the night before most all of the time and type the date that I want the post to pertain to in my title for the post.


Now, for the flowers. I took these photos, and several more, at Portland's Living Room, Pioneer Courthouse Square, right downtown. My allergies let me along except for a few sneezes. In fact, the only real interruption came when I walked up to Broadway to see what the whooping and hollering was about and found myself watching a small, boisterous, happy portion of the Lesbian and Trans-sexual Parade, complete with motorcycle police who had them pause regularly so that the MAX trains could continue their scheduled runs, east and west beside the square. Ah, Portland.

Information from the Pioneer Courthouse Square Calendar of Events:
Festival of Flowers Presented by Hoffman Construction Company
On Display: June 6 – 18, Flower Sale: Begins June 19 at 8am

This June marks the return of one of Portland’s most renowned annual events, Festival of Flowers at Pioneer Courthouse Square. This year Pioneer Courthouse Square has partnered with The American Institute of Architects’ Committee on the Environment and Hoffman Construction to create a sustainable “urban meadow” in the heart of downtown. Over 15,000 plants of vibrant color will blend together on-site to create a stunning display for community members and visitors to enjoy. An estimated 350,000 people gather during this two-week celebration to enjoy the opening of the summer season with flowers and fun!

I only took photos of flowers in the urban meadow and will post more of them soon.

On Thursday and Friday afternoons, as I disembarked from my first bus at the corner of SW 2nd and Main, I saw several people with flat cardboard boxes filled with flowers they'd bought on their lunch hours, I imagine. Ah, Portland.

Pleasing familiar

Driving the Buick. Stopped behind a bus. Glimpsed the photographer. Grabbed my camera. Clicked a couple.


Several definitions of the noun familiar at Merriam-Webster please me--2: one that is familiar; especially an intimate associate, a companion. And--4 a: one who is well acquainted with something b: one who frequents a place. How about this for the adjective familiar? 5 a: frequently seen or experienced, easily recognized, a familiar theme b: of everyday occurrence, a familiar routine

Do you feel a familiarity with a scene such as this?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Elusive alien ice cube formations, captured again

For those of you who missed my first sighting of alien ice cube formations,
click here to see my post last November.

Since then, I had noticed the random nub now and then, at work and at home, but never enough to photograph.

Yesterday at lunch time, that changed.

I opened the freezer door, thinking about my sweet tea that needed some fresh ice. As I reached with my right hand to remove the ice tray, I gasped. Alien ice cube formations! Quickly I shut the freezer door and sped off to the cube where I work, to get my camera from my rolling black bag. Thankfully no one else had removed the tray from the freezer, as you can see in this photo.

Wanting to get a better shot and not thinking about how difficult it would be to focus on four widely spaced slivers of ice, I set the tray on the counter. Carefully, in order not to disturb the delicate formations, I placed my flowered plastic lunch bag and my NASCAR Talladega Aarons 499, April 2006, lemonade cup behind it, to frame the alien ice cube formations in an attractive and artistic manner. Click.
Like any self-respecting, detail-oriented explorer/document-er of the strange, weird, and seldom seen, I took another photo from a different angle.
Many more of these sightings, and I'll have to come up with a suitable scientific name for the alien ice cube formations. Any ideas, y'all?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sunday evening at Three Doors Down Cafe, SE 37th and Hawthorne

One of the many neat things about having a son for a sous chef (and, in the past, a second son in the same kitchen as a line/prep cook) is you never know what sort of goodie you just might get as a surprise when you go to the restaurant.

Sunday night when I watched our waiter bringing us a full-sized white dinner plate right after we'd ordered our appetizers and entrees, I wondered if Lamont had sent us a great big surprise--quenelles of wasabi, the bright green, extremely hot food he had me try years ago at Little Tokyo, a very popular Japanese restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi. I watched the plate come closer. I recognized a scallop beneath the quenelle. "Ah, scallops," I swooned, vividly remembering my first ever scallop, at Three Doors Down when we visited in the summer of 2005. Seconds later we knew what we had--from bottom to top--a slice of oven-roasted baby golden beet, a slice of oven-roasted cippolini onion, a pan-seared scallop, and a quenelle of green pea and truffle puree.
The four of us, Tony, Melissa, Danielle, and I, sat there, looking at the colorful, inviting dish for a moment. Then we each got one and took our first bites. Repeated "Ohs," and "Oohs," and "This is delicious," and "Wow," came from our mouths as we slowly devoured our first appetizer. Momentarily satiated, I completely forgot to photograph our second appetizer, dungeness crab cake, micro-greens salad and Mama Lil's Hungarian pepper tarter sauce. I don't eat crab, but the other three continued to repeat those same words as they made short work of it.

My turn to repeat those sounds and phrases came with our third shared appetizer, ricotta gnocchi with fava beans, shimeji mushrooms, paresan and black pepper. You can tell, though, that we all had a bite before I got the camera out for the photo. Three Doors Down is where I ate my first gnocchi.

Melissa's entree, from the risotto/pasta section of the menu, prawns, mussels, scallops in a traditional spicy fra diavolo sauce of plum tomatoes, chili flakes, kalamata olives, cherry peppers and fettuccine.

My entree, from the entree section of the menu, pan roasted sturgeon with smoked bacon, cippolini onions, fava beans, morel mushrooms and mashed potatoes.

Danielle and Tony's appetizer, from the risotta/pasta section of the menu, plum tomatoes, vodka, cream, chili flake and sweet Italian sausage with rigatoni. Three Doors Down's best-known dish.

All I can say is that every bite I ate was great and the three of them said the same about their food. I want you to understand, though, that I truly believe that even if my son, and at other times my two sons, didn't work there, I'd still have the same reaction to every bite I have ever enjoyed at Three Doors Down. Dave and Kathy, chef and owners, set high standards for food and drink and service and have held themselves and their staff to those standards since opening in 1994.

After a short wait to let our entrees settle a bit, we ordered dessert, four different ones. Tony grew up eating his mother's cannoli (description from the menu: a crisp pastry shell stuffed with creamy ricotta cheese, chocolate chips, citrus zest and crushed pistachios), so that's what he wanted. We three ladies shared a slice of banana cream pie (description from the menu: bananas layered with pastry cream in a graham cracker, brown sugar and banana crust topped with whipped cream, shaved chocolate and caramel sauce), a slice of bocca negra (description from the menu: chocolate bourbon torte with white chocolate bourbon cream), and a serving of creole bread pudding (description from the menu: white chocolate custard, cinnamon and raisins baked and served with a hard sauce). I confess, by the time the desserts arrived, my camera was the farthest thing from my mind.

Sunday evening at Three Doors Down Cafe, another wonderful memory made in Portland centered around family, friends and food.

UPDATED TO ADD: I remembered that I had a photo of the banana cream pie from 2004, taken with my Nikon CoolPix.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

ABC Wednesday - V is for Voluptuous

I'm musing aloud, "What was it that I had decided to use for ABC Wednesday V? I can't remember." Mama pipes up from her recliner, "How about voluptuous?" This from a cute little ol'lady who often wondered how the professional lady dancers stayed inside their costumes on "Dancing With the Stars." Good idea, really good idea, because I'd seen the perfect thing to photograph.


Merriam-Webster: voluptuous: suggesting sensual pleasure by fullness and beauty of form. Lucy fits pretty well, in my estimation.

If you're of a mind to, please go to Mrs. Nesbitt's Place for loads of other ABC Wednesday blogs! Look at the list of links per Mr. Linky.

Y'all, my allergies are kicking my boo-tay hard. I'm about to eat some oatmeal after I finish this and chill in front of the TV to watch the Celtics hopefully beat the whooeee out of the Lakers. I'll catch y'all on the flip side.

UPDATED: The Celtics beat the whooeee outta the Lakers, and then some!!!!!! Hooray!!!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's a charmed life ...

Our friends Tony and Melissa, reflected in one of Tiffany's windows, Sunday afternoon, downtown Portland.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Up and over and down and up and around and over.

Saturday afternoon I walked up onto and across the Burnside Bridge for the first time, from west to east, left to right in the photo. I paused every so often to take photos. From this one, you know that I made it all the way over the bridge and down to the east side of the river.

When I got to the east end of the bridge, I decided to walk down these steps. I held on tight enough to make my hand sort of dirty from running along the steel pipe handrail, but I made it to the sidewalk. I took this photo so you could see the stairs.
Here's some interesting info on the stairs that I found at the city of Portland's Web site: The historic nature of the Burnside Bridge prohibits any structure from adding any weight to the bridge: the connector that connects the Esplanade to the Burnside Bridge does not lean on the bridge, it merely 'kisses' the bridge. The connector is held in place by pilings sunk into a huge concrete base and the tower structure bears the weight of the stair truss.

When I got to the Eastbank Esplanade, I didn't take the floating sidewalk northward. Here's a photo of that part of it, though.

I walked from the Burnside Bridge to the pedestrian/bicycle ramp that connects to the Morrison Bridge.

Looking at the curved ramp, I decided I could make it up and around if I stayed on the inside of the curve. Here's a photo I took from the middle of the bridge, looking eastward toward the ramp.
I did feel short-lived moments of anxiety, but I'm actively working at overcoming my fear of bridges and heights, determined to increase my first-hand knowledge of these wonderful Willamette River bridges and the views from them.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Dinner Party

Back story. This week, our second anniversary of the move to Portland week, we also had company from the South. Here all week from Georgia, learning about his new job was Jeff, the husband of our dear friend of many years Christy. Here for a few days for a wedding of a beloved friend, Tony and Melissa, our dear friends from Jackson, Mississippi. When I talked with my son Leland about which restaurant to take them to last Thursday night (since we knew we were going to Three Doors Down Sunday evening), he said, "We'll be grilling, probably. The sun's supposed to be out. Why don't you bring them over here?" Thrilled, I replied, "Really? Find out what Lamont thinks and let us know!" Friday Lamont called and said, "You want to have a dinner party?" "Yes," I said, "if it works for y'all. I'd love for y'all to meet Jeff and Tony and Melissa." That's how we ended up at their house enjoying what I called a "Big Chill" time, minus the angst. Let me tell you, if Lamont and Leland's daddy were alive today, we would've celebrated Father's Day that evening, too, since the guys have to work today. He loved to have family and friends over for good food, a trait you can tell that his two sons inherited.

So this is my Happy Father's Day post to all of you. Enjoy!


Grilled fingerling potatoes, Walla Walla Sweet Onions, yellow squash, and globe zucchini.
The guys shopped for these vegetables at a local farmers' market that happens every Thursday, not too many blocks from their home in a church parking lot.

Flank steak marinated in tangelo juice, zest, and rind, olive oil, garlic, and shallots for a couple of hours, then put onto the grill.


Happy Father's Day, Tony! And Happy Late Mother's Day, Melissa!

Happy Father's Day, Jeff!



For dessert, the guys got local fresh strawberries and fresh, organic ricotta.
With bits of basil added, the dessert tasted great.
dp_my2 -sons