Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Terry Schrunk Plaza, Downtown Portland, June 28, 2010

Took this one from a moving bus on my way back to the building where I work--I'd been over to eat lunch in the park just across the street to the north of this one. You can tell that it was a beautiful day, sun and shade, soft breeze, no humidity. Blissful. Shared with innumerable Portlanders.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Squint. Use your imagination. It's really Bourdain.

Somewhere early on Bourdain told us that he'd spent part of the day signing 1400 books, that Portland had put him on the best seller list! He did sell out both shows put on by Powells Books--a signed book came with the ticket.

Maybe here he's talking about how to keep his daughter out of the clutches of the Clown, the King and the Colonel. You'll have to read the book, "Medium Raw," for the whole story.

It seems to me that Bourdain couldn't talk without using his hands. I know Southerners do that--I'm one of them. Do New Jerseyans talk with their hands, too? They must. You can see the blurry evidence right here. What do they call people from New Jersey anyway? I found New Jersyans at Famous New Jerseyans Dot Com and at About New Jersey Dot Com.

Bourdain opened up the floor for questions, the floor and the balcony. I even managed to get to ask him a question, from the second row, stage left, thanks to Lamont's "Down front!" or something like that. Anyway, I asked, "You're such a good story teller. Do you come from a tradition of story telling?" Bourdain explained, in so many words, that indeed he did come from such a tradition, story tellers in the kitchen that is, those who stand around on break, or sit down together after the kitchen closes and tell about what went on when ... well, I can't remember exactly what he said, and even if I could I would not type it here. After all, he's Anthony Bourdain, and he's some kinda profane!

A blissful hour gone by--filled with Bourdain's tidbits from "Medium Raw" and his answers to questions from throughout the Bagdad, plus his swallowing of two shots of Maker's Mark that two different guys in the audience asked if they could buy for him--and he showered smiles as he blithely walked off, stage left.

All too short. I'm on page 227 of 281 in "Medium Raw." I recommend it to those of you who are Bourdain-o-philes. I am certain that those of you who know him not would be somewhat shocked. If you're interested in reading Bourdain for the first time, start with "Kitchen Confidential," then "A Cook's Tour," then, "The Nasty Bits," then "Medium Raw." I myself have somehow missed "No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach." I'll let you know about it one of these days. And be sure to catch his Travel Channel program, "No Reservations." Hearing him on the show lends his quirky, mellifluous voice to every single word that you read.

Monday, June 28, 2010

What an event!

Lamont, Leland, Sarah (from work), her friend whose name I cannot spell, and I experienced the 9 p.m. show! I took this as Lamont and I walked afterwards to his car--he gave me a ride home. The photos I took during Bourdain's talk and Q&A session are not very good--no flash photography allowed--but I will figure out which one(s) I like best and share them with you!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Conjecture bait.

So what if I'm a slow, 62-year-old woman who sees something very interesting across the busy street and instantly realizes I cannot get across the street in time to get the lowdown. I can get the camera on and up and snap this photo. I might not know what is on the flier he's handing out on SW Broadway, but I can conjecture, not only about the green hat guy wearing the red shoes but also about that huge inflatable monkey. Conjecture, as a verb? To arrive at or deduce by conjecture which means, as a noun, inference from defective or presumptive evidence or a conclusion deduced by surmise or guesswork. Ah.

Would you be willing to put your conjectures about the scene captured by the D50 and me in a comment? Gee, I hope so. I'll be back in the next few days to share mine.

Friday, June 18, 2010

In honor of blue skies, No. 5

Pontiac Firebird, seen at NW 11th and NW Everett, from the bus

Thursday, June 17, 2010

In honor of blue skies, No. 4

Customized Ford Thunderbird, seen just after is crossed SE Grand on SE Morrison, on the approach for the Morrison Bridge that spans the Willamette River

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

In honor of blue skies, No. 3

Two-tone 1956 Mercury Monarch Richelieu, seen on the corner of SE Morrison and SE Grand as I waited for the bus.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In honor of blue skies, No. 2

Two-tone 1956 Mercury Monarch Richelieu, seen on the corner of SE Morrison and SE Grand as I waited for the bus.

Monday, June 14, 2010

In honor of blue skies, No. 1

Two-tone Ford F100 Custom Cab, seen on the corner of SE Morrison and SE Grand, as I waited for the bus.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A gamblin' we go with a win in the end!

On June 4, 2010, I took a day of vacation so that I could take Mama to the Lucky Eagle Casino in Rochester, Washington. Since we no longer go out of town in the Buick, we'd been renting a car, remember? But through talking with George, a man whom I have talked with on the morning bus, off and on for several years, I got firsthand information about using a Zipcar. So we signed up and became Zipsters! Meet Subaru Impreza "Ingersol." I've parked it in front of our building after driving it the block from its home parking space. Golly, what a delicious thought! Its home parking space. Oh, boy! And right there on the driver-side visor was a gas card to use while we had the car, no using our funds. The day rate was in line with renting a car, so I figured we'd come out ahead in the end. Plus, that gigantic, glorious carrot--the home parking space--glowed in my vision of the future.

She's rarin' to go. Well, with as much energy as she could muster. This was two days after the last Imuran from the first prescription of it. Her walker is in the back cargo space, the oxygen bottle she's using now is between her feet on the floor, her extra oxygen bottle is on the back floor board--we're ready to go!

By the way, how do you like my red Kate Spade handbag that I got at Goodwill for $9.99? I adore it!

First we stopped by the Bijou Cafe for a hearty breakfast. Always there is a beautiful flower arrangement on the counter. Are those pink flowers peonies?

My hearty breakfast, a buttermilk pancake, an omelette with bacon, goat cheese and onion, and pan-roasted potatoes. Sometimes I get fresh-squeezed orange juice, but I only had a little water this time because we were in for a two-hour drive.

We only stopped once on the way to the casino, to buy some gasoline. I think we were in Toledo, Washington. As far as the Zipcar goes, "Ingersol" drove just fine, but I am too wide for the molded seat. I mean I had to get myself situated just right, or I felt uncomfortable on the outside of my left thigh. I successfully used the cruise control--I like to do that on the interstate in light traffic and dry roads.


After several hours of playing the penny machines here and there during which I had doubled my money, we decided to walk over to the other side of the building and eat at the buffet--yes, we were hungry again. Turned out the buffet wasn't open yet because they had to set up for dinner. Instead we ate at a small cafe, the Scatter Creek Grill. Mama ordered a French dip sandwich with fries; I ordered nachos. Surprise, surprise. The food was really good. Those multi-colored chips were the thinnest, crispiest I can remember ever eating, plus they tasted good, too. I had a really good time piling the various side-dish-ingredients onto them and chowing down. Mama managed to eat about half of her sandwich and fries--we brought the rest of it home for later. She got a piece of chocolate cream pie, I got a piece of New York style cheese cake, then we headed for home.

On the drive back, traffic had picked up some, plus about Kelso, Washington, it started to sprinkle becoming full-blown rain by the time we got back to Portland. Not hard rain, not big drops of rain all of the time but enough to use the windshield wipers on the highest speed a couple of times. Once had crossed the Columbia River, I decided to head into the city on Interstate Avenue. We stopped at Lombard to buy gasoline again, mainly, it turned out because I was completely confused about what Zipcar wanted me to do about having gasoline in the car. If I had the teeniest bit of a logical mind, I would have realized that what Zipcar wanted me to do was to fill up the car, not put the minimum of a quarter of a tank in it. You should have seen the man who came out to pump gas for us when I said, "Just put three dollars worth in, I'm only supposed to have a quarter of a tank in it." Then, creature of habit that I am and/or dingbat, I handed him my own credit card. Thank goodness I realized that error quickly and said, "Oh, I was supposed to use the gas card. Can you cancel that?" He did, then took the Zipcar gas card, my Zipcard which has my pin number on it, and checked the mileage on the odometer--he needed to enter the pin number and the mileage when he pumped the gas--I'd found that out in Toledo where I had to pump my own gas which I haven't done since we were on vacation last fall and before that it had been over three years. The man asked, "Do you still just want three dollars?" "Yes," I told him. He gave me a quizzical look and said, "OK."

Since we still had an hour left on our reservation, I stopped at Fred Meyer on the way home to pick up some milk and fruit. As I got into line at the register, I watched the man in front of me putting his items on the conveyor belt--it was George, the man from the bus who gave me the info about Zipcars! When I told him we were about at the end of our first reservation, he mentioned that best of all I now knew where I would park it. Literally, a sort of glow feeling came over me at this thought. We smiled at each other, and I asked, "Do you need a ride, George? We've got a back seat!" He laughed and said he'd walk, then we told each other goodbye.

As we pulled up in front of the building I asked Mama if she could wait in the entryway, that I'd go park and be right back to help her get upstairs. (I took this photo earlier, before she got into the car--just had to show you how cute she really is!) I tootled along, made several right turns, and lo and behold, found an Infinity parked in my Zipcar's home parking space! Talk about all of the air going out of your balloon! Luckily there was a space two cars in front of it in a 30-minute zone, so I pulled in, got out my cell phone and started what I had no idea would turn into a mini-marathon of sorts.

Once I got through to a customer service rep, Mark I think, I explained what had happened. He asked me if I could find somewhere to park it legally overnight so that it wouldn't be towed, that the next time it was reserved was 8 a.m. I explained to him that our neighborhood has a restricted parking between 1-11 p.m. on Sundays, that there would be no where that I could park it on the street. I told him that I thought I could park it in a nearby parking garage, that it would take some time because I had to get my 84-year-old mother up to the apartment, put away some groceries, take care of the 16-and-a half-year-old dog, and go to the bathroom first. He extended my reservation for an hour and a half, at no cost to me, gave me an hour and a half driving time credit, and asked me to call and let Zipcar know where I left the car.

I got off the phone--it's illegal to talk on your cell phone and drive in Oregon unless you have a hands' free device--and drove the block to our building. Lo and behold, the first space nearest the entryway was open! If only it didn't have restricted parking, I would have been home free. Anyway that gave me plenty of time to take care of Mama, who sharp lady that she has had already guessed that someone had parked in the spot since it had taken such a long time for me to get back to her, getting the groceries in and put away, taking care of Duncan's needs and mine.

Once I got back into the car, I called Zipcar again to get them to clarify the gasoline thing since that man at the gas station had looked at me like I was crazy, and to ask about the parking garage which I thought closed at night and what if it wasn't open early enough for the next reservation or what if you had to have the receipt to put into a machine to make the gate open--I don't know, I had never parked there. Lo and behold, I got Mark again so at least I didn't have to repeat everything. He assured me that a parking garage would be open early enough, that I should send in the receipt and I would be reimbursed for whatever it cost, and then he explained that it would be so thoughtful of me to fill up the car with gasoline.

So after I hung up the phone and put it down on the seat, I drove to a nearby station and did just that. Then I drove into the parking garage, bought an evening ticket and sat back down in the car to make the call to tell Zipcar its location. As I read the ticket, I couldn't believe what I saw: Expires at 11 p.m. What! I couldn't leave it there all night! So I drove out and went to a street level parking lot that I had notice one time when I was cruising for a place to park the Buick. As I pulled in I saw a woman getting into her car and asked if cars could be parked there all night. She didn't know, so I parked and got out, read the machine which had a choice for eight hours, bought the ticket, got back into the car, and as I waited on the phone for the customer service representative, I read, "Expires at 7 a.m." Good grief! I

This time I got a woman whose name I don't remember. She listened and said that she could tell I was trying hard to do the right thing, that I should submit both receipts for reimbursement. I told her that I was going to drive by Ingersol's home parking space, just in case it was empty, that I guessed I could do that until the extended time they had given me ran out, that I could then call and get more time, maybe until 11 p.m. and then I could park the car anywhere except a 30-minute zone! She thanked me for being such a cooperative Zipster.

I left there and drove by Ingersol's home parking space where I saw a different car, a Honda, parked in it, illegally! As I turned left onto the street, I slowed down and stared at the car. Then in my rearview mirror I noticed the headlights come on. Quickly I turned left into a parking lot of a medical building (where it is illegal to park in the evening unless you pay rent for a space), left again, and the left onto our street, pulling to a stop beside the car, and rolling down the passenger window. The driver window of the car went down. There sat two young men.

"This car belongs in that space," I said, "so could you back out?" The passenger leaned toward the driver and said, "Yes." The driver looked at me and said, "Is it marked?" "Yes, it is," I said, and proceeded to read the sign to him as I pointed toward it. (I took the photo above on the next Saturday morning, not that night.) "Now I'm going to go around the corner and come back and park here." Which I did as quickly as I possibly could, legally, so that no third unauthorized car could park in "Ingersol's" home parking space.

You know how thrilled I was when I turned the corner and saw this--"Ingersol's" empty home parking space. (I took this photo on that same Saturday.) I turned off the motor, picked up my cell phone, called Zipcar, told them that I had lucked into properly parking the Zipcar, and accepted the customer representative's praise for a job well done.

How's that for a win in the end?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Seen on the street, a neat new summer hairstyle



She graciously allowed me to take these two photos after I had told her how much I liked her hair Friday evening as we waited for the next bus. She was fine with the blog, too. Double neat.

I thought I'd found a double denim situation, too, but it turned out her jacket was more of a poplin, not denim like her jeans.

There's always next time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The dynamic duo, back in the day

Like many have mentioned, looking back on the good memories helps us. I took this fine photo on June 3, 2007, in front of our building. Mama had let Duncan have the leash, so much so that he must have pulled all of it out of the handle! I can guarantee that once she got down the steps, she reeled him in so that he was a safe distance from the curb and our busy, busy street.

Don't they both look grand?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Say good-bye to Duncan

Today I made one of the hardest decisions I have ever made in my life, to say good-bye to Duncan, the darlin' dachshund, who has been a part of our lives for 16 and one half years.

I want to share some photos of him with you in the next few days, as I become able to look at them and post them. Here he is on October 20, 2007, sitting on Mama's bed and wearing his "girly" hounds-tooth-checked coat--at least that's what the guys' thought of the coat. Mama and I adored seeing him in it.

Thank you to all of you for your prayers and expressions of concern for that sweet little dog and all of us, his humans.

He is already missed.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


LIfe is beautiful, but fragile. Much like this rose. I don't know about your life right now, but several beautiful aspects of mine feel fragile, so much so that I feel compelled to communicate, to write about them to help deal with them and their impact on now and the future.

Where to start? With the smallest, most personal--Duncan? With the closest, longest lasting--Mama? With the now 50-day-old sorrow that appears to have no end--the oil in my beloved Gulf of Mexico? With the most recent--the disappearance last Friday of a seven-year-old boy from an elementary school a dozen miles from where I sit, safe in my home?

Duncan has lived over 16 and one half years, half of my younger son Leland's life. He's been a small bundle of warmth and love, companionship and curiosity. For the past few months his age and the accompanying infirmities have become increasingly evident. His back legs are weak. He has cataracts which surely now are not what the vet called immature. He has developed a desire, for reasons we will never know, to stand in small, close spaces wherever he can find them. A couple of times we've had to search for him, finding him in unexpected nooks and crannies. Then today his back legs seemed to have lost their ability to support him for more than a few seconds; they slip beneath him and he sits down, or they slide outward and he sits down. I came up with a support system, placing his front legs in a very small white plastic crate and setting his dog food bowl on top of a lidded plastic container so that he can easily reach it. I suppose that I can take the crate on potty trips, too. We'll see. And we'll see what the vet has to say--it's time for Duncan's semi-annual visit. I have to call to make an appointment. Want to make a comment as a reminder? I need help. Please. Thank you.

It looks like Mama has a new medical issue, an autoimmune disease, Sjögren's syndrome. Her lung doctor sent her to a rheumatologist because of extremely high numbers in some blood work which mean inflammation somewhere in the body and inflammation in her chest CT scans. We went to see him for the first time Monday. Mama's got the main symptoms--dry eyes, dry mouth--caused when the body's white blood cells attack the moisture-producing glands. She's got some secondary symptoms--an all-encompassing debilitating fatigue, maybe even the peripheral neuropathy which she's been dealing with for over 30 years! The doctor wants her to take Imuran and be monitored for results and side effects. When we last saw the lung doctor she had prescribed a month-long regimen of Imuran; we noticed no side effects, but then we didn't have any blood tests done until today, one week after she had taken the last pill. What we did notice was a quickly worsening of Mama's extreme fatigue, as the week went on. Y'all add her to your prayer list. Please. Thank you.

About the Gulf of Mexico and the devastation rampant there, I am depressed, concerned, saddened. How much can that region endure? Will someone set a precedent and actually tell the truth? We humans must wise-up, change our life styles, respect what God has placed here for our environment, and teach our children to do oh so much better than we ever did. Not that we can't keep trying until no breath is left in our bodies--every effort helps, surely. Living here in Portland has shown me the every day aspect of recycling when the local governments and citizens get behind it. Where I work we have bins in our break room--one for compost (food and paper towels mostly), one for glass only, one for general recycling, and one for garbage (things that cannot be recycled). This is happening on all six floors, and we're just one of many, I imagine. Living here in Portland has shown me the ease of shrinking my particular carbon foot print by using mass transit for 98 percent of my Portland metropolitan area transportation needs--I ride the bus and/or MAX (light rail) to work and back every day. I do the same for dining at 3 Doors Down Cafe on Friday after work, for my volunteering at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, and for my lectures at the Architectural Heritage Center. And I even did the same for the concert I thoroughly enjoyed Saturday night--Sting and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. And now Mama and I are Zipsters, having signed up for the Zipcar program which means we will not drive the 1996 year old Buick on our gambling jaunts (which she really would like to be able to do again but is very, very afraid that she'll never get to go again) or our rides around Portland to see the sights. We'll be using newer, better mileage, lower emission vehicles that I can walk to get for our planned trip(s). Leland still uses the Buick, but not all that often, the same for Lamont and his old Volvo station wagon. Let's all pray for the Gulf of Mexico and our environment. Please. Thank you.

About the heartbreak of second grader Kyron Horman's disappearance Friday morning, I can't get his little face off my mind--in the last photo taken of him, he stands proudly, smiling, in front of his science fair project about the red-eyed tree frog. I've watched all three local stations to be sure that I didn't miss any possible good news about the search for him. The only good news so far has been that it didn't rain today after almost and inch and a half fell yesterday. Many people are working practically 24 hours a day to find him, walking in waist high grass, berry brambles, ravines, steep hillsides, woods. Capt. Jason Gates, one of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office persons who spoke at today's press conference, spoke from the heart about the strong desire they all have to find him and bring him home to his family. He almost broke down. Let's all pray for seven-year-old Kyron Horman, his family, and those seeking to find him. Please. Thank you.

And thank you for allowing me to communicate.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

As seen from the Hawthorne Bridge

When you live in Portland, you know you're going to go over one of the bridges, to get from east to west. You know that the Willamette River is busy. And you know that you will now and then have to wait for bridges to open and close.

We've lived here almost four years and I've only been stopped for the Hawthorne Bridge to be raised a couple of times, so I was very happy to get the chance to take these few photos on the way home from work on May 20, 2010--I was on the bus. The other times I was driving the car one time, one time it was dark, so no photos those two times.

I took this photo of the Morrison Bridge through the window of the bus. We had stopped on the Hawthorne Bridge--it was being raised to let a tugboat go south on the Willamette River. I'm guessing that the tug had just pushed whatever that is in the bottom middle of the photo through the open Morrison Bridge. The black bridge in the background is the Steel Bridge.

I'm looking out the windshield of the bus now. You can see the moveable part of the Hawthorne Bridge there in the middle of the photo--it's on its way back to the closed position. The pedestrians and bicyclists have stopped, the ones going west anyway.

There's the tugboat, as seen through the railing on the Hawthorne Bridge.

More people gather to wait. The tugboat has passed through the raised bridge, and the Hawthorne is returning to its closed position.