Thursday, January 29, 2009


My fabulous brother Howard and his sweet and beautiful wife Vanessa sent Mama a delicious pound cake and this lovely nosegay for her birthday. I didn't take a photo of the cake--we shared it and Mama finished it off last night, complete with our favorite lactose-free vanilla ice cream. The cake and nosegay come from Nonnie Waller’s Traditional Southern. I think this is the third cake they've sent to her, so when we saw the return address, we got excited! This was the second one with a nosegay--the other one arrived inside a gorgeous padded hatbox. I think it looks nice in that vase we already had, so I set it on the kitchen window sill and took these photos Sunday morning.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Mystery Photo

First let me say that I had sincere intentions of posting this photo on Monday so that you would quickly know that the photo is a close-up of what we call a camper shell down home in Mississippi and what we call a canopy up here in Oregon, our new beloved home.

Those intentions succumbed to my tired ol' butt 'cause I couldn't stay awake! Either I stayed up to late watching "Hallmark Hall of Fame" or Mama's scrumptious supper of chicken and dumplings put me to sleep sitting straight up in my chair with my computer Honk on the little table I use when I'm blogging, just like I am now. I woke up and announced that I had to take Duncan out early and hit the hay.

So, here's the photo that shows both the entire truck and its canopy as well as the other truck and its wheel well, wheel and tire.

By the way, it snowed again on Tuesday! I don't know how deep it got, though, because it started about 7:30 a.m. just as I got off the bus and walked into my building and had turned to rain by 11:30 a.m., which melted every bit of it where I live, work and commute. Now, that's some fine snow in my book!

Monday, January 26, 2009

It snowed again, just a little bit that thankfully didn't stay around very long.

Saturday night and Sunday morning, snowflakes fell. Conditions were not right for much of an accumulation. It was doggone cold on Sunday, so I didn't venture out except to walk Duncan. I took photos from the windows and one from the sidewalk.

What do you think this is? I bet you see them pretty often.

In this photo, you're looking northward at the tip top of the tree just outside our kitchen window.

I like how the snow enhanced the design elements of the truck's side and the tire.

A car drove down the street just as I took this one from the bathroom window, right at 10:02 p.m., Jan. 24.

I took this one at 11:17 a.m., Jan. 25. You can see melted snow on the Christmas ornament. Oh, by the way, on Saturday morning someone had put a poor, dried up Christmas tree out on the sidewalk; I noticed tinsel still on its branches, nothing else. Then on Sunday morning while walking Duncan, I spied this shiny red ball on the tiny branch, above where the tree had been placed.

Love my zoom lens because I can get pretty good shots without getting out in the cold!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mama!

Mama is 83 years old today, January 23, 2009. Isn't she lovely?

Last Sunday we ate brunch at the Crescent Cafe in McMinnville, Oregon. In trying to get a good photo of her while we waited for our breakfast, as she sat across the table from me, I missed what I thought was the best one. So I asked her to look up again, at the huge mirror hanging on the wall. I'm happy with this photo, very happy indeed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Visual Metaphor for Inauguration Day

The reality of today overwhelms.
Here in this photo that I took in the glorious Saturday sunshine I see much more than the delightful and creative work of the students at the Metropolitan Learning Center on NW Glisan. Yes, that is enough to see in its own right, but I see more. I see today's inauguration and subsequent celebration as one of the most momentous days in American history.
Therefore, I see in my photo, there in the bright blue, the myriad colors and shapes and stories of America's citizens.
I see them glistening, shining, looking upward. I see them doing what they were created for, the viewer's enjoyment. But beneath that I see them doing much for those who created them, giving them a true sense of accomplishment and pride in their efforts. Surely no one made a single negative remark about any of their efforts, any of their results.
I see a reality in that sign in the lower left corner, one that represents for me something beyond its mundane message. It means I must take responsibility for my actions. On its face it means that I must not park in a restricted area, that I must find a legal place to park. Therefore, I must be a good citizen.

I am not being one bit facetious when I say that I make the connection between those thoughts and what President Obama said today: "What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. This is the price and the promise of citizenship."

Please accept my heartfelt joy and exuberance and hope at being an American citizen on this night. And join me in praying for President Obama and our leaders and our country and the entire world as he begins to govern tomorrow, January 21, 2009, a date special to me for a more personal reason. My beloved husband LeRoy would have been 62 years old tomorrow.

I thank you for your indulgence as I draw these personal ties between my life and America's future.

Good night, everyone!

UPDATED TO ADD: I just heard on the news that, with all of those people in Washington, D.C. for the inauguration and all of that law enforcement, there was not a single arrest! Wow! In addition to yesterday's layers of chill bumps, I now have added another one! I'm excited about that peaceful beginning, let me tell you!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Kenny and Zuke's with Lamont, 1/15/2009

Thursday evening after work, Lamont and I met at Kenny and Zuke’s to eat dinner together before walking over to Powell’s Books.
Lamont had told me how delicious their pastrami is, as well as how huge the sandwiches are.

A week earlier when Marsha and I went to Powell's to attend a reading of ”Beauty of the City: A. E. Doyle, Portland's Architect" by Philip Niles,” we took Lamont's suggestion to heart. I'd tried a happy hour sandwich of said pastrami, on challah--Marsha's was on rye. The two of us shared a side of potato salad. After one bite of that good-sized sandwich, I seconded Lamont's opinion about that delicious meat; Marsha did, too. In fact, we decided that we would return soon, especially when Powell's scheduled another interesting book reading.

Back to last Thursday, Marsha decided since the weather was so much better, she'd take a walk along the ”Eastbank Esplanade beside the Willamette River.” She knew she wanted some good exercise, and she knew that Kenny and Zuke's would be there next time.

Here's a close-up of my sandwich and my potato salad; you can see a bit of Lamont's fries in the background. All in all, a delicious meal--he really enjoyed his Reuben Sliders, too, that you can see in the top photo.

Lamont and I attended Mark Bittman's reading in conjunction with the publication of his latest book, ”Food Matters.” I have to say, after listening to Bittman talk about his food philosophy and how he decided his own ideas worked best for him, I am giving some thought to my return visit to this wonderful deli in downtown Portland. By that I mean I need to eat more plants that entire day, then I can eat meat for supper. Simplistic interpretation, sure, but a starting point, too.

Anyway, I wanted to put my darling first-born son Lamont on the blog because I'm missing him. He's off camping on this cold winter's night, somewhere called Eagle Creek, out to the south of the Columbia River in the Gorge. He's sent me five Spot messages, the last one 6:49 p.m. I am comforted by that communication. I appreciate his understanding of my need for them. Right now I imagine that he is bundled up in his sleeping back, snug inside the tent a co-worker loaned him. He's going to call me tomorrow when he gets into cell-phone range, in addition to sending more Spots. Hooray!

Finally, gee, I wish I had taken a vacation day tomorrow so that I could watch the inauguration activities on TV all day. I'm going to have to settle for the specials tomorrow evening. I am so excited about our new president and hopeful for our country's future. Join me in prayer for President Obama, all politicians and all citizens as we work together to get America back on track. I believe Obama when he says, "Yes, we can."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Looking back at my birthday fun--a ride on the Holiday Express.

The SP 4449, as seen right after our 40-minute round trip train ride. Leland took this photo for me. I found this neat article about the engine and the hope for its future housing in Portland, along with more retired engines.
Mama and I had tickets for the 4 p.m., Dec. 12, 2008, train ride. Rain for days, as well as cold temperatures, convinced her to decide not to go, so we offered her ticket to Leland. He graciously agreed to go with me, and he decided to cook dinner for me afterwards! We found a parking space in a lot at Oaks Park, close to where the train waited on the track which was on a raised levy-type bed. We walked across the street in a light rain. Once we boarded, we made our way north towards what turned out to be a dining car. We took our seats at a table on the west side of the car, knowing we'd eventually be looking out over the Willamette River.
While we waited for the train to start moving, I took this photo. It's east of the track. Can you see the bird murals? I was so glad that it had quit raining. It didn't last for very long, though.
Leland, seated in the darkened rail car, across the table from me. The man in the darkness on the right of the photo told us interesting facts about the train car, for example, that we heat we felt came from the water heated in the engine, cycled throughout the train to provide warmth.
Looking from the area between two rail cars, south towards the train's engine, as we back northward along the Willamette River.
Santa entered our car, ho-ho-ho-ing and wringing his jingle bells. See the jingle bells tucked underneath his arm? He handed out candy canes to everyone and posed for photos with children.
On the way north, we went underneath the Ross Island Bridge.
When we neared that curve again on our return to Oaks Park, I stepped back to the area between the cars so that I could try again to get a good photo. I noticed a man and his two small children on the path and tried to get a shot of their joy. This is how that turned out. I think it's because the train was moving to the left and I was looking to the right, trying to get them in the photo before we moved too far. I like the result.
It was even harder to get a clear photo as we headed back to Oaks Park. Too much movement from the train. This one is the clearest of the lot.
My darling second-born son, Leland. They had turned on the lights as we pulled to a stop.
Here's a look at the dining car.
And here's another car, one with padded seats. Some of them faced each other, some lined up behind each other.
As we neared the exit, I noticed this plaque that contains information about our engine.
A close up of the engine
These two men in the engine said that I could take their picture for the blog. It's not tilting one bit; it's just so tall that when I had to look up to take their photo, the tilt-thing happened, like it does with buildings.
Leland beside the fence and the engine. It is 110'2.25" long, 10'0" wide, 16'4" tall. The wheels are 36" in diameter. It weights 475,000 pounds.
The front of the engine, just a part of it. Taken with the flash.
We quickly walked to the front of the train so that I could get some photos of the engine. It had started raining harder, so we had to be quick.
Leland took these next one for me, too. He's much taller and could get a much better perspective. I really like this one with the steam coming out both sides of the engine.
Leland drove us to his place where he cooked some mighty fine risotto with chicken, Brussels sprouts, onion, butternut squash, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Dinner is served! Don't they look cute? Leland and Kailey. The risotto was so doggone good, very memorable. Thanks, Leland, honey!
Look what they gave me for my birthday! I love it!
Mama and I played the new game on Saturday, Dec. 13. I stood on the kitchen step-stool to get this photo of it when we stopped to go to bed. The next day it started to snow.

A statement about this year's Holiday Express that I found at the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation Web site:

Holiday Express 2008
We thank everybody who came out to ride!

Event Canceled

On Sunday December 14th, the Holiday Express will NOT operate as scheduled.

While the train is still able to operate, we recognize that most of our riders are traveling from areas severely impacted by winter weather and don't want to encourage a risky drive to our event. The roads in SE Portland, especially the downhill one leading to Oaks Park have become icy and starting to see a fair share of cars out of control.

Tickets marked for Sunday the 14th are eligible for a full refund. Return your ticket to where you purchased them from, and request a full refund. Any tickets that are not returned for refunds will be considered as a donation to the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation. Thank you for supporting ORHF, and we hope you'll ride on our trains in the future!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Wendy Brandes Boleyn Necklace is an H

Here I am, all dressed up and already gone somewhere. Don't you just love my silver H necklace? I do! Mama and I got it for my Christmas present. It's a Wendy Brandes' Boleyn Necklace. At her Web page, Wendy describes it as “Inspired by the initial pendant worn by Anne Boleyn.” I forgot to take a photo before I left to catch the bus, but thank goodness I didn't forget once I was back in the apartment a few hours later. I just had to show you how lovely it is.
I couldn't get a better photo of the necklace, what with breathing, low light, movement when I pushed the button as the camera rested on my shoulder. I wanted to show you this closer view, though, so you could appreciate the exquisite simplicity of the statement the design makes. And I want to tell you that I am very happy to have an H for my maiden name and my married name, uniting both of my families. When I'm not wearing it, I'm keeping it beside my computer on the table where I can see it. It makes me happy, thinking about my families.

Photos inside the Schnitzer Concert Hall aren't allowed, drat it, but here's the marquee above the SW Park Avenue entrance. I first saw "Mark Twain Tonight," Hal Holbrook's glorious one-man stage show as Mark Twain, in Jackson, Mississippi. It was April, 1969. He was there as part of the Mississippi Arts Festival, held at the Mississippi Coliseum and its surrounding fairgrounds. Thanks to Petula Clark's Web site for confirming the year for me because I vacillated between 1968 and 1969! She was there, too, mesmerizing all us Southerners in the audience. In addition to two of them, I also saw an opera (I cannot remember which one) performed by Mississippi Opera, a performance by Mississippi Symphony, and art exhibitions.
Saturday evening was perfect. My seat was on the third row! Holbrook as Twain had us in his hand within moments after he started speaking.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Car Parts: The Grill, as in I've grilled myself and will now tell the truth.

First, I know I said come back today and see the entire car. But, look what I've discovered! A different photo of the grill that shows beyond all doubt that my memory resembles a sieve, a strainer. Holes through and through. That's because when I posted on Saturday, I told a big one! When I looked at the photo and saw the red circle with the Indian chief in it, and a piece of chrome crossing in front of it, I thought, "Oh, I remember. The Pontiac was parked close up behind another car, and that chrome is part of that other car." Not true. See below for the truth. As for the why, I don't know why that piece of chrome bisects the red circle like it does. To me it detracts from the grill, but to others I'm sure it means design integrity and strength.



Sorry, I can't stop thinking about Saturday's post. When you think about it, just how could I have taken that straight-on full-frontal photo of the red circle with the Indian chief in it? With two cars parked bumper to bumper, where did I stand? I mean, you can see me reflected there, and, upon a closer look, it's evident that I'm not standing on the bumper of the not-really-there-car.

As promised, here's the whole car, the sum of its parts.

If I owned some sort of photo-manipulation-software, could I have erased the road warning sign, the white posts, and the curb, and then cloned the missing sections of the car? I wonder.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Car Parts: The Trunk, the Insignia, and the Chrome


Please come back on Monday for the entire Pontiac.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Car Parts: The Grill and an Indian Chief Emblem

The grill, close
The grill, a bit less close

The Pontiac Silver Streak parked extremely close behind another car. I saw them at a lot near Bright's Auto Upholstery back on July 7, 2008. I couldn't get between the cars to take a better photo than these.

You can see me, reflected in the chrome, just like you could see me in Wednesday's post, reflected in the side of the car.