Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Twas the night after Christmas ...

Twas the night after Christmas, when all through the apartment
Not a creature was stirring, not even our little dog Duncan
The covers were pulled up to our chins with care,
In hopes that sweet dreams soon would be there;
Mama and Duncan were nestled all snug in their bed
While visions of past meals danced in Duncan’s head
And Mama, a book in hand, rested her head beside the lamp
Situated on the side table where she could turn it off with a snap,
When out on the street there arose such a racket
I jumped out of the bed, thinking “This just won’t hack it!”
From window to window, I looked in a flash,
I found the noise source and threw up the sash,
The corner streetlight illuminated the snow
Making it easy to see the car and two people below
I knew in an instant there’s a photo opportunity here
So I turned for my camera that is always so near
With a space heater behind me, I knew I’d have to be quick
To get photos of the car driving across the snow, still thick
More vehicles drove by, northward on NW 22nd they came
And the car’s driver tried to keep them moving, waving her hand;
Now pickup! Now sedan! Now, passengers, women and children!
On mini-vans! On SUVs! Mostly driven by manly men!
To the corner and onward! To their destination they hauled!
They dashed away! Dashed right on away, one and all!
As the car’s driver kicked at snow beneath the back wheels
The other person stood by, rocking back on her heels,
So imagine their surprise when no one they knew
Got out of a mini-van, a paper bag to them he threw
And then, in a twinkling, I heard him say, from up near the roof
“That’s kitty litter. It’ll work. There’s the proof!”
As he pointed at the mini-van, turning around,
And into the driver’s seat he landed after a bound.
On the sidewalk a man warmly dressed, from his head to his foot,
Walked up with a dog wearing a coat on a night dark as soot
A red light flashed on his collar at the top of his back
And he looked like a downed Rudolph leading the pack
The man’s desire to help led to discussions most leery
Until two other men agreed to help in a hurry!
The driver stationed one man on the side of the car, low
To keep the car from sliding sideways any more in the snow
Kitty litter spread front of both back wheels, and beneath,
Two men at the back of the car to push with all their worth,
Nearby the car’s other person patted the dog on its belly
I snapped photos, thinking “This is like a show on the telly!"
I’m chubby and plump, but jolly proud of myself
As I silently recorded the episode, in spite of myself;
By that I mean my fear of heights is not all in my head,
But living on the 4th and top floor no longer fills me with dread;
I spoke not a word as I went about my serendipitous work,
Didn’t want anyone to wonder who’s that with the camera, a jerk?
And laying her foot on the pedal, across the snow the car goes
With those three men pushing just right, out of the drift it arose;
She drove to the corner and stopped as the brakes whistled
And jumped out to shake hands, flying like the down of a thistle.
Both women got in the car, ere they drove out of sight,
I heard, “Thanks to everyone and to all a good-night!”

Before we get to the photos, I thank you for indulging me in my parody of the Christmas classic, "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

Here are the photos I took from just before midnight until a little while after midnight, the kitchen window up all the way, and the space heater heating my backside.

The two people and the car across from the kitchen window, the one I'd been using to measure the snow in previous posts.
The tail lights of mini-van whose driver donated the partially used kitty litter.
Waiting for a passing car to get out of the way, you see the driver by the car's open door, the car's other person with the man's dog wearing the blinking red light on its collar, the man positioned beside the car to try to keep it from sliding into the parked green car, and the two men at the back of the car. You can see the kitty litter bag on the snow piled up beside the sidewalk, between the two men waiting at the back of the car.
Pushing, pushing. Almost there. That strip of packed, icy snow in the center of the street proved to be an obstacle when the car's people had tried it alone.
But with the help of the kitty litter and the three men, success!
The car stopped beneath the streetlight.
Here's the shot where the driver's shaking hands with the men. Does flying like the down of a thistle describe this blurry photo?
Both of the car's people are inside now. Notice the snow toupee's shape, sort like a snow mohawk.
Before the car drove out of sight.
Here's a shot of the kitty litter, the car that narrowly missed being slid into, and the car that took over the parking spot.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Portland's Christmas Tree, my last two photos of it in 2008

Right after I took each photo, I caught a MAX train at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Thank goodness! I got closer to home that way which meant fewer blocks to walk on these two days.

Dec. 26, 2008
Dec. 22, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saga of the changing snow toupee on the red truck

We're going backwards in time here, starting with a bald red truck, on Saturday, Dec. 27, a week after the first photo below. The truck certainly looks clean, to have been buried beneath snow for a solid week!
Blurry, early morning shot from Dec. 26, as I left the building to head to work. I couldn't resist this much smaller version of the snow toupee.
Christmas Day reveals a bit of a receding hairline for the snow toupee on the red truck's passenger side.
This photo taken one week ago today shows how much snow rested in the pickup's bed as well as accentuating the toupee-look, from the back window up. It sort of reminds me of that haircut, I think it was called a fade. Anyone? Anyone?
About 12 hours later, look how much snow has stacked up on the truck!
Saturday, Dec. 20 and the first photo I took of the red truck with a light coating of snow. I think it ended up snowing four to six inches that day.

Thank you for your indulgence of all the snow photos. I'm saving some other snow shots for later in the week. The D50 will soon be off for it's check-up, cleaning, etc. I don't want to use up all of my photos too quickly. I do have the CoolPix L12 to use to take photos, but it's certainly far from the same process. I'll make it just fine, though, because I know how important it is for the D50 to be serviced.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Photos from Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2008

First, let me say with the weather making travel at best a pain in the butt, at worst potentially dangerous, Mama and I knew we'd be spending Christmas Day at home. We told the guys that if we got to see them, fine and dandy, but to please not take any chances coming over here. So, that morning when I took Duncan out, right after I took this picture of the red truck still wearing its snow toupee (so aptly named by AVCr8teur’s Own Little Universe and come back tomorrow for more on the red truck and various snow toupees), Leland called to say Merry Christmas and that they'd be over later on.
I suggested that they come in a couple of hours and we'd have a great big breakfast-style brunch. And that's what we did! The three of them rode the bus and/or walked over. I cooked sauteed sweet onions and potatoes, a slice of ham, some sausage patties, canned biscuits and scrambled eggs. While I was cooking, Leland and Kailey ate salsa and Fritos. I knew I shouldn't pass up the chance to take some food photos, so here they are. I took the lid off the potatoes and onions so that you could see them.
These eggs ended up in the empty skillet. Oops--sautee pan.
This is the first time I tried cooking two cans of Grands in two pans at the same time. As you can plainly see, there's not enough room in the oven!
Last food-oriented shot. I couldn't stop to take any after everything got done--who wants cold breakfast food that's not Raisin Bran?
Look what happened while I was cooking! It went on for about 40 minutes, quickly making the cleared off sidewalks and pavement white again.
And there's the car across from the kitchen window, still thoroughly snow-coated. More on the car tomorrow--be sure to come back for the adventure! Will they? Won't they? You'll see if you come back!
If memory serves, this is the last time the snow looked pretty. More on that tomorrow, too.
When everyone was nice and full, we watched "Mamma Mia." The guys endured the chick-flick pretty well. Mama dozed off and on, and at the end said, "I don't know who wrote that music, but I liked most of it." She's a hoot! The kids suited up for home after that extra-special laugh. Here they are on the sidewalk across from the kitchen window and the car I've been shooting as a way to measure the snow.
All in all, our Christmas Day was low-key, memorable, just right. Kailey, Leland and Lamont made it home safely, which certainly made everyone very happy.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

From our heart to yours, best wishes for the entire holiday season from Mama, Duncan, Lamont, Leland, Kailey and me.
Christmas smiles for you, from snowy Portland, Oregon, along one block on NW Everett.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I took all of these photos before sunrise on Dec. 23, 2008, some with the flash, some without it.
I wasn't sure whether to include this one or not, but it was on the last vehicle, so I just couldn't leave it out.
Nor could I leave out the snow angel's ghost, on the steps of a house where no one lives on NW Everett. Poignant.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Things are changing. It snowed all morning and rained all afternoon.

Here's a photo from yesterday that I wouldn't have seen if I hadn't had to walk all that way home! Walking west, as I approached and heard dripping water, I looked up and saw this unique sight.
Then I walked past it, avoiding the drips, and shot this from the other side. The white streak in the dark sky is a falling drop!

Now it's 32 degrees, so things might freeze back before too long. I'm still pretty doggone tired, but I had much, much better commuter luck today. It took not quite an hour to get to work and the same to get home, although I did have to walk the last six blocks up Burnside, after I stopped at Fred Meyer to get a few things--I shop often because I can't take much home at once, walking.

To tell the truth, I couldn't face the last, steepest block--I cut across the edge of the Walgreens lot, beside the Subway, so that I could walk on a more level surface now that some of the almost knee-deep snow had been packed down and/or melted into slippery slush. So, I don't have a Wednesday photo of the sidewalk, shot with Burnside at my back. Maybe I'll get out on Christmas Day and see what it looks like.

Here's photo emblematic of the attitude I made every effort to keep in the forefront, since it started snowing on Dec. 14--get a grip, Lynette! It's just snow! Exciting, tiring, beautiful at first, dirty at last, truly unreal amounts of snow!

Finally, here is the car parked across from the kitchen window, taken a couple of hours ago. Can you tell that the temperature got above freezing today, just looking at it?

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One photo--I'm bushed.

I took this photo on the Hawthorne Bridge, looking back at downtown Portland, about 7:20 a.m.

Here's why I'm tired.

Today at work I was at the front desk so I couldn't see outside, but both Mama and Lamont told me that it had snowed a little bit, off and on, all day. It was 25 when I left this morning at 6:15 a.m. to catch the first bus. I don't know what it was when I left the building with Lamont about 3 p.m., but it wasn't biting cold, nor was the wind blowing very much.

Lamont came to meet me so that he could go with me to REI to get another set of Yak Trax. One of mine came off somewhere this morning, either on one of the two buses or on the walk between them and the building. I just bet it was when I got off the last bus on the Hawthorne Bridge. The snow plows have pushed so much snow up against the sidewalks that when I stepped off the bus, my left foot went down to my knee in soft snow! Maybe that's where it came off. Who knows? But I called Lamont and asked him to call around about the Yak Trax--thank goodness he found them for me and had them held at the Customer Service desk at the REI in the Pearl. And he said he'd walk with me in case I needed to hold onto someone! I made it pretty good, but I was sure glad he was with me. I guess we walked about 6 or 7 blocks getting to the bus and then to the store. Then we walked about 11 blocks from the store to Burnside where I waited for a 20 bus. He started walking home after making sure I was OK, which I was. But a bus still hadn't come after 30 minutes, so I started walking the 23 blocks home.

At any time of the year 23 blocks would be quite a walk for a 61-year-old who's not in tip-top shape, but with the snow it was some kind of walk. And 4/5 of it was uphill, getting steeper by the block! And guess what? When I got to the Fred Meyer stop, two 20 buses came. The first one, the driver opened the door and hollered, "The 20 doesn't go beyond here." Then he turned left and headed up Morrison. He turned right where I saw that first stuck bus yesterday morning. But he didn't get stuck. I didn't stick around to see if the second one did--I just started walking again. At the corner of Burnside and NW 22nd, I stopped to take the photo of the sidewalk, which I'll post on Christmas Day.

I really never got cold on that long walk, just sweaty inside all of my outerwear! To tell you the truth, when I walked by Elephant's Deli, I almost went in, sat down at the bar and had a drink and a hamburger and fries! The only thing that stopped me was that outerwear, unzipping two raincoats and a fleece vest! Whew. And I might have gotten a chill when I went back out to walk the half block to our building, all zipped up in-damp-inside-outerwearof course. I've managed to stay well and I intend to stay well, but to do that I have to stay smart, right?

I came into the apartment, went straight into the dressing room attached to the bathroom, peeled off both coats, my hat and scarf, and my fleece vest before toddling into the living room and sitting down in my chair, asking Mama to please come take off my boots for me. I'd had them for 3 hours and 15 minutes by then. I was stiff, too, from the effort, not the cold. Sweet thing that she is, she got them off and gave me my shoes, then made me a grilled cheese sandwich. Now I've enjoyed it and we shared the last of our pecan pie.

We are open tomorrow, as far as I know right now--I have to call the inclement weather number in the early morning. It's supposed to snow again, maybe 3-8 inches on the valley floor, which is where we are, by tomorrow night. It might be snow, then freezing rain, the snow again. I just looked out the kitchen window! It's already snowing!

One final story, then I'll go take Duncan outside before we hit the hay. Y'all know how short his legs are and how deep this snow is. So yesterday morning before I left for work, when I went out to walk him, I had decided to take him into the middle of the street where the cars and plows had made the snow at least level. Poor guy. I don't know if it was the cold air or the fact that it was later than usual, but just as I started to put him down, I felt something on my hand. When I looked, you know what I saw, right? Little golden drops! Yep, he'd peed on me, on my coat and my pants leg. Let me tell you, I set that little dog down real fast, he finished, I picked him up again when a car approached, put him back down to finish his business which I picked up with the plastic bag. As quick as possible, I got us back into the apartment. "Mama!" I said, "I need help." I explained what had happened. She wet a cloth for me which we used to wipe/wash the water-repellent coat and my pants leg. Then I asked, "Could you please had me the Febreze?" Which she did. I saturated all of the wiped/washed fabric and left for the walk to work. Between Mama and the Febreze, I didn't attract any untoward attention, even in the packed MAX and/or buses. Yea!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Seasons Greetings and some more Monday photos of Portland's snow show

I walked about eight blocks from the apartment to the MAX stop across the street from PGE Park. On the way I stopped to get this shot of one of the big heads in front of the stadium, at SW 20th and SW Morrison. The red lights in his eyes are, on the left of the photo, the P, and on the right of the photo, the K, from PGE PARK. See the next photo for a visual explanation; it's the lower, smaller PGE PARK.
Here's a wide shot. When I looked at the photo just now, in the large size, I got really tickled by the way the handrail splits the mouth into two giant teeth and how the snow on the small overhand roof shows in the the two eyes, making it look like he's got his eyes barely open, slits even, like some people's eyes get when they're laughing.
And here's the other big head, on the corner of SW Morrison and SW 18th. The yellow in the eye on the right of the photo is a fire hydrant diagonally across the intersection.

Oh, good, a bus! I get closer. I see the driver get back on. He's standing there, drinking coffee. I walk to the door. He opens it. I ask, "Are you stuck?" "Yes," he replies. "Oh, crap!" I say. We wish each other Merry Christmas and I continue to walk. If I'd been able to get on the 20, which was trying to turn around at SW 20th Place and SW Morrison, a place that is never used for that purpose by a bus, I would have missed my photos of the big heads at PGE Park. See, there's a plan to all of this.
It looks like such a normal bus, doesn't it? Hey! I just looked at this photo in the large size and got a nice surprise. Can you see the seven pairs of shoes hanging from the wire above the bus? Why do people throw their shoes like that? I wonder.
Luckily, I caught a MAX right after I got to the stop. Then I got off at SW 4th and walked to SW 3rd, headed for a stop for the 4, my second bus. On the way, though, I figured if I saw a 10, I could catch it just as well and end up at work, too. So, when I first saw this bus at the 10 stop, I though, "Oh, good a bus." Then I saw the sign on the back, "Not in Service." Another stuck bus. I'd heard on the TV before I left about several being stuck in the snow, but I didn't expect that downtown since it's plowed pretty well. I kept walking.
How do those little-looking wires keep the chains on those heavy buses?

Here's another Portland icon that I adore, the Thompson Elk in between SW 3rd and SW 4th, on SW Main.

One more beloved icon, from Pioneer Courthouse Square, "Allow Me." Actually, he looks a bit possessed, doesn't he? With that snow rubbed into his eyes, nose and mouth?

Working folks were out and about. Like this man shoveling snow--I took this photo through the window of the MAX.
And this UPS man, helped by a woman on the street.
And this guy, plowing snow around a federal building on the corner of SW Salmon and SW 3rd.
And this man blowing snow on the corner of SW Main and SW 3rd, in front of the Justice Center which houses the Portland Police Bureau and the Multnomah County Detention Center, a jail.
The police person(s) in this Portland Police Bureau car.
The sheriff's officer person(s) in this Multnomah County Sheriff's Office truck.
The driver of this MAX that I took downtown, and the driver of the one I took back from downtown to PGE Park after work.
And this person plowing the MAX rails. The downtown rails are set into the streets, so the snow has to be scraped off them.
The woman driving this 4 bus over the Hawthorne Bridge. See the two skiers? They're on the sidewalk where I walked across the bridge when it snowed in January, 2007. I decided against walking over the bridge today because it was much colder.
And the young woman driving this snow plow on Burnside.

Quirky sights from today.

Here's an update for the sidewalk I've been photographing with my back to Burnside, the motorcycle from yesterday, the ice-art-dog's-head on the pickup hood, the scooters and the car across from the kitchen window.