Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mid-September Roses at the Rose Garden in Washington Park

I've been remiss, out of it, gone, down in the dumps missin' my little Mama, even sort of feelin' sorry for myself, escaped into an addiction to British spy/WWII television programs through Netflix, lazy, and good for not much of anything off and on for months now. I've been up for air at times, thanks to my two swell sons Lamont and Leland and to my work and those special folks at the workplace. And to Portland itself.

It's past high time for me to straighten out and partake of life every single second available to me.

Tiny steps still get it done.

Yesterday I went to a lecture at the Architectural Heritage Center and to two museums I'd never visited through the Smithsonian Museum Day. I rode the brand new Portland Street Car Central Loop between them.

Today I'm going downtown to Pioneer Courthouse Square for White Bird's West Coast premiere of Le Grand Continental by Montréal-based choreographer Sylvian Émard at Pioneer Courthouse Square on September 30, 2012! This exciting performance brings together 150+ participants of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds - dancers and non-dancers alike - to perform a contemporary re-imaging of a traditional festive line dance! Age range 9 to 75.
Read The Oregonian piece about it here.

Here's the first blog since Tuesday before last.

roses_sept2012_PicMonkey Collage

I took these photos the evening of September 16 when our dear friends Nora and Upa Parikh (plus Nora's sweet sister Aida) were in Portland for a family wedding. I got a Zipcar, picked them up at their hotel, met Lamont and Leland for a fine dinner at 3 Doors Down Cafe, then took the three of them riding around Portland. Lucky us, we made it to Washington Park and the Rose Garden before the sun went down. We made good memories, taking in the beautiful blossoms, some of which smelled so good, some of which had no scent whatsoever. How does that happen?

  IMG_0827 Aida, Nora, Upa, taken with my iPhone at 3 Doors Down Cafe.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fed up? I am.

chain_letter_copyright I thought I'd be cute and creative and make a sign about a pet peeve, using a photo from our wedding. That's LeRoy and me on December 31, 1972. That was the chain-letter era, right?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Suicide doors, at the curb

Seen within a couple of hours in downtown Portland, two of the many vintage vehicles in daily use here in Portland.

Every day Continentals. The first one.


Every day Continentals. The second one.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Life's path, filled with ups, downs, and curves into the unknown


According to the Exif info about this photo at my Flickr account, I took it on July 30, 2012, at 3:32 p.m. PDT. Those are facts. Later on I realized it's a fact that the image is a fine metaphor for life. Life is not always a smooth direct path with its end always in sight. And along the way, one must stop and assimilate what has gone before, one must seek the best help and knowledge about how to continue, one must strive no matter the circumstances, and one must never, ever give up. And now and then, one must seek help from those in your life who love you because of who you are.

I stood here, took this photo, and thought about what I was doing on a the narrow path, paved, thankfully, but still situated on the steep side of Larch Mountain, very near the top of the 4,055 foot peak. I knew not where the bottom of those trees on the right actually touched Earth because, in my ever-present fear of heights, I could not get myself to look that direction except in a speedy straight-out glance, much less follow with my eyes a tree trunk downward, out of sight. To do so meant I just might lose control of myself for an all-important instant and go right on over the edge. The fear of heights is nothing if not irrational. My choices, turn around and walk the short distance back to the parking lot or continue down that slight slope and go around that gentle curve that went somewhere I couldn't yet see and continue on towards Sherrard Point at the top of Larch Mountain in the Columbia River Gorge. I took slow, deep breaths, softly talked to myself out loud--after all, I stood there alone so no one would overhear me dealing with my fear--and stepped forward. I didn't know what would happen next, but I had faith in myself to deal with it successfully. Faith based on my ability to face whatever life brought my way. I'd made it this far, hadn't I? Not without help over the years, of course. I could hear everyone who had ever loved me telling me, "You can do this." I kept walking.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Adventure interrupted.

Photos tell stories. Words embellish stories. Lots of reading here even in an interrupted adventure.
  Adventure_Interrupted_3_PicMonkey Collage

Here we are, tootling along in the Lamont's Volvo station wagon on our way to Bend, my two sons and I. Our plan, to spend Friday and Saturday nights there in a place called the Writer's Retreat, one of the vacation homes managed by Bend Dutch Rentals. The guys wanted to boulder some during the days, and I wanted to explore the parts of Bend within walking distance of the retreat plus maybe ride out to see where they bouldered. We'd spend the rest of the time together, laughing, talking, eating, enjoying each other's company. We're blessed because you can do all of those things no matter where you end up.

We'd made a pit stop at a grocery store a few miles before we came to these curves you see in the first two photos. And we'd already noticed lots of lots of participants in the 2012 Hood to Coast Relay that had started that morning at Timberline Lodge up on Mt. Hood--you can see a few running on the passenger side of that white car in the top left photo. That's not someone in the road directly behind the car's driver side. Balloons are attached to the antenna. Lots of the vehicles had all sorts of stuff attached so that relay participants could easily find them at assigned places along the relay.

Notice the wide shoulder in the third photo. Let me tell you, we three were proud to see it as quickly as we did because we'd just heard a strange clunky sound and felt a jerky movement as we rode up the ever-increasing slight incline. Lamont pulled off onto the shoulder as we approached that big tree close to the guard rail. The guys got out, looked under the front of the car, decided Lamont should pull over closer to the guard rail, then they opened the hood and found oil coming out from beneath the cap on the place where you pour oil into the engine.

First, Lamont called the auto shop where he takes the car--Atomic Auto which is within walking distance of my apartment back in Portland. No answer. I immediately said, "OK, now push the button on the SPOT." So, Lamont got it out of his bag and pushed the button for roadside assistance, one of the aspects of this little orange piece of equipment which I subscribe to yearly.

(I had bought the SPOT Locator for the guys' birthdays back in 2008 when they had decided to hike in the mountains--too many people became lost in the mountains during the first two years that Mama and I were in Portland, and I didn't want to think about their not coming home and/or getting in touch with me to let me know that they were back home within a reasonable amount of time of their expected arrival, so I said to them, "I told you that I wasn't going to come out here and live your lives for you, but I have to know where we can tell them to start looking for y'all." They graciously accepted like the good sons that they are.)

Back on the shoulder of Highway 26, in a couple of minutes, my cell phone rang. A gracious and helpful young woman on the other end verified all sorts of information, asked me for a mile marker which thankfully was right there--see the fifth photo, that's the back of it! It read 50.0. Better than that, even, was when I heard her tell me that my plan covered towing 50 miles from where I wanted to go. Oh, joy!

After making sure she knew that we needed a tow truck that would hold all three of us, she told me she'd text the name and phone number of the company to me shortly and that the truck should be there within 45 minutes, plus I would get a text right about the projected time of arrival to ask if indeed the tow truck had arrived. The first text came at 3:13 p.m. Purdy's Brightwood Towing was on the way. I called Bend Dutch Rentals and let them know what had happened and explained that I'd call again when we knew the outcome.

The guys got their bouldering crash pads out of the station wagon to rest their weary buns--they work hard at their jobs with Provvista Specialty Foods. I was on my third day of vacation that week, feeling good. But not good enough to take the guys up on their offer of a crash pad for me. I figured I needed to save all of my energy for getting into the tow truck which I figured would be high off the ground. So I kept my not-so-agile buns resting on the guard rail, watching passing sights like the tractor-double-trailer rig loaded with green bales of hay rumbling down the incline. Another thing we noticed--more Hood to Coast participants who ran by across the road were women. Leland mentioned it first, then I chimed in with, "Yes, and it was the year of the woman at the Olympics!" Ever the fount of trivia, that's me.

Purdy's arrived and by 4:08 p.m., I had already texted "1" for yes to the query, "Has roadside assistance vehicle arrived?" The attendant whose name escapes me checked for oil, found it too low but with enough there so that he could deftly drive the car right onto the flatbed of the tow truck. Next he attached it securely while Leland and Lamont checked the spot where oil had dripped out of the engine. By 4:13 p.m., he leveled the flatbed and was just about ready for us to climb into the cab, the guys through the back door, me through the front door after I had grabbed hold of the appropriate handles to help me make that huge first step. By the way, do you notice that tiny turquoise dot at the left corner of the flatbed in the next to last photo? That's a woman running in the relay.

I clicked my seatbelt and watched the passing scenery all the way to Atomic Auto; first we had to continue away from Portland until we came to a spot where the man knew he could make a looping turn and head us back in the direction we wanted to go. He didn't waste any time, let me tell you, driving those curves at a clip which gave me pause. However, I successful squelched my natural tendency to squeal when frightened in the passenger seat of a moving vehicle. If I remember right, he told us that his first tow call that morning had been at 6:15 a.m., way up on Mt. Hood.

By 5:52 p.m. he had the station wagon unloaded at Atomic Auto, eight minutes before closing time, and Lamont was on his way to talk with the guys there about getting her checked out. Lamont uses the female pronoun when referring to his station wagon. By the middle of that next week he had her back, good as new with some sort of new trap/filter something or other that had become clogged and allowed a build up of pressure which had to escape somewhere. Plus he had some brake work and front sway bar bushing work done--I think I remember that right.

We walked to my apartment and decided to not go to Bend, period. I myself felt like we'd come through the situation very much to the good. I didn't want to get into Leland's car and tempt fate--know what I mean? We'll reschedule before too long, just you wait and see.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Serendipity, of the cosmic sort


A few minutes ago I'm looking on my iMac at Tiny House Blog - Living Simply in Small Spaces. I decide to like it on Facebook. Then I see my ID photo from Facebook appear on the top left as part of ten thumbnails of others who have liked the Tiny House Blog on Facebook. I scan the names, and my mind is blown.

In what I consider to be nothing short cosmic, I read the name beneath the photo at the opposite end of that row--Lannette. You see, my first name is Olga and my middle name is Lynette. Out of 35,664 people who like Tiny House Blog, to have both of my given names on the ends of the top row of thumbnails hollers serendipity of the cosmic sort!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mt. Hood from Highway 26


Friday afternoon, August 24, looking at Mt. Hood from the southwest while riding in a tow truck on Highway 26. Come back over the next two days for more about this ride, including what and who we observed going in the opposite direction from the one we're going at this moment. In other words, towards Portland.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Jujuba at Music on Main, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, August 29, 2012

jujuba_PicMonkey Collage

What a fine and funky good time I had listening to and grooving with Jujuba at Music on Main!

From the PCPA Web site's information on Music on Main:

Jujuba delivers a funky, danceable style of Nigerian Afrobeat and Juju music. The strength of the eleven-piece revolves around its energetic cohesion between percussion, rhythm and horn sections. Renowned for their ability to engage a wide variety of audiences, the band draws a dance floor full of smiling faces at every event.

Jujuba features Nojeem Lasisi from Igbo Ora, Oyo State, in Nigeria. He ranks among the world’s elite talking drum players. Nojeem was given his first drum at age four by his father, also a master drummer, who handed down to Nojeem its powerful language. As a member of Nigerian superstar King Sunny Ade's group, the African Beats, Nojeem toured the world and appears on numerous recordings with King Sunny, including "Seven Degrees North" and "Odu."

Nojeem has settled in the Northwest and assembled Jujuba from local musicians who all share a true love for Nigerian music. Their diverse experiences in a wide range of styles propel the project into new directions based on Afrobeat, Juju and traditional Nigerian folk music. Nojeem Lasisi and Jujuba have created a unique blend of African and Western music they hope is enjoyable to all.

Since the fall of 2002, the band has elicited a strong flow of positive feedback from audiences, concert promoters, festival organizers and the press. As Marty Hughley of The Oregonian puts it, “the heat and flavor was all in the groove.” The joy Jujuba shares with its audiences encourages new material, a tighter connection and a growing energy from each show to the next.

About Music on Main Street Located in downtown Portland on Main Street, between Southwest Broadway & Park Ave., next to Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Wednesday evenings during July and August we take advantage of the lovely summer weather in Portland to present Music on Main Street, PCPA’s free outdoor concert series. The concerts boast popular local musicians with a diverse collection of music – from Afrobeat to Rockabilly – these bands will have you up on your feet and dancing on Main Street. The free concerts are open to the public and run from 5pm to 7pm – tickets are not required. The ArtBar & Bistro will be serving up seasonal fare and delicious libations starting at 4:30pm every week. Tables and chairs are available on a first come, first served basis, along with plenty of room to move around - dancing is highly encouraged.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Oregon Ballet Theatre at Director Park, downtown Portland


After work recently, I sat mesmerized for over an hour, watching the strength, grace and determination as these two rehearsed "Swan Lake." Once I had downloaded the photos, I knew I had to find out the names of these two dancers. Thank goodness for the Internet.

The lady: YUKA IINO / PRINCIPAL DANCER, joined OBT in 2003

A native of Japan, Yuka Iino joined OBT from Reiko Yamamoto Ballet Company where she became a principal dancer in 1996. She is a graduate of the Reiko Yamamoto Ballet School and a recipient of both the 1998 Varna International Ballet Competition Gold Medal (Junior Division) and the 1995 Asian Pacific Ballet Competition Bronze Medal. Ms. Iino has had ballets created on her at OBT by Christopher Stowell, Kent Stowell and Yuri Possokhov. In August 2008, she performed the pas de deux from George Balanchine's Rubies at the Chicago Dancing Festival.

The gentleman: BRIAN SIMCOE / SOLOIST, joined OBT in 2005

Brian Simcoe began his training in Southern Oregon under the direction of Sylvia Bolton, and also studied with the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet School and Long Beach Ballet Arts Center. At OBT, he has appeared in Christopher Stowell's Swan Lake, Lar Lubovitch's Concerto Six Twenty Two, as the Cavalier in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and Who Cares?, and the leading role in Jerome Robbins' Afternoon of a Faun. 

Also from the OBT Web site:


August 20th through the 24th, OBT will move their dance studios outdoors to Director Park in downtown Portland, offering visitors of all ages the opportunity to sneak a peek inside the choreographic process. Thanks to a collaboration with White Bird Dance, this year’s OBT Exposed will be a Choreographic Institute featuring international choreographer Pontus Lidberg. Dance lovers of all ages will have the opportunity to watch as Lidberg works with OBT dancers to develop a new contemporary work featuring music by Portland-born, Julliard-trained classical composer Ryan Francis that will premiere in April as part of OBT’s American Music Festival program (April 18-28, 2013). 

This project represents the first official collaboration between Oregon Ballet Theatre, Oregon’s leading resident ballet company, and White Bird, the sole dance-only presenter west of the Rockies. OBT Artistic Director Christopher Stowell and White Bird Co-Founders Walter Jaffe and Paul King agreed on the selection of Pontus Lidberg for the Choreographic Institute in light of his growing reputation as a gifted young choreographer who uses classical ballet as a springboard for inventive new work that he often combines with film.

Dancers will also be rehearsing selections from Swan Lake in preparation for their upcoming performance at the Oregon Symphony's Waterfront Concert August 30th.

Bring your lunch, relax with friends or treat your loved ones to the beauty and grace of OBT's dancers and a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it takes to stage a ballet. A unique and energizing way to spend a summer afternoon, not to mention it's absolutely FREE!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sorry, I can't get away from the beauty that is the Comparsa Orgullo Morelense Cemiac dancers


I find the expression on the face of this blue-eyed, blonde-haired headdress captivating. And I love the motion of the beads and fringe.

More captured motion--look at that fringe on the headdress on the right! That's Mr. Arenales, the man you learned about in yesterday's post.

Several more headdresses with fringe in full swing.


When you consider that the adult costumes weigh 80 pounds or more, I'll wager, it's easy to understand why the child's costume is not beaded, nor is there the huge headdress. I'll bet that child is still excited to be a part of the group.


Look at the needlework on this one. I'll bet it weighs more than 80 pounds. I love the fringe swaying, too.


Here's the back of it. Magnificent!

Groups of dancers close enough together that I could crop to show some details and some movement.



Sunday, September 2, 2012

More photos of the Comparsa Orgullo Morelense Cemiac

Made it to 200 followers! In fact, I see the number 201. Way cool. Thanks, y'all!
  cemiac_dancers_1_PicMonkey Collage

Continuing with one aspect of yesterday's Theme Day post, I decided to bring you another collage, this one just of photos I took on July 29 at the ¡Fiesta en la Calle! Sunday Street Fair in Southeast Portland and sponsored by the Miracle Theatre Group.

I was walking there, after getting off the bus, and could hear the music from several blocks away. All I could think was, "Please keep playing until I get there and for a while after I arrive. Please! I just know someone's dancing to that music!"

Thankfully, the Comparas Orgullo Morelense Cemiac dancers continued. It was hot, so I'm sure they must have been uncomfortable inside those beautiful costumes. And I'm not sure how they can see out of the headdresses, but I surely am glad they figured it out.

To see a superb video about the dancers where their leader and founder Alejandro Mendez Arenales explains the group and why it exists, click here . He also explains his costume and how it depicts aspects of Oregon, his new home. It's so worth viewing, all you have to do is get through a very short commercial.

Here's a great article about the group, published before they marched in the Grand Floral Parade this past June, their first time to participate in the long-time Portland custom. Also, see three cropped images from photos I took on that sunny Sunday.

Rose Festival 2012: Mexican group will bring history, heritage to Grand Floral Parade

By Kelly House, The Oregonian

Alejandro Mendez Arenales puts on the 80-pound costume he will wear while leading the Comparsa Orgullo Morelense Cemiac heritage group in the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade. Mendez paid nearly $3,000 for an artist to design and hand-bead the Oregon-themed costume in his home state of Morelos, Mexico.




Arenales says Oregon has been good to his people.

The 36-year-old immigrant from Atlatlahucan in Morelos, Mexico, was living in New York 15 years ago when a visit to a friend in Oregon became permanent.

Arenales fell in love with the people, the greenery, the ample space to roam, the water and the fresh air. He married here, had three children and moved into a Southeast Portland neighborhood full of families from his home state. Oregon, he says, welcomed him with open arms.

"I thought I'd stay maybe a few months," he says. "That was in 1997. I never left."

During the June 9 Grand Floral Parade, Arenales and his kinsmen will return the love.

Members of the Morelos heritage group Comparsa Orgullo Morelense Cemiac will march in the parade for their first time, and Arenales will lead the procession dressed in an elaborately beaded costume worth $3,000 that depicts Oregon's history and heritage.

Arenales and a team of helpers have spent more than a year preparing the special costume dedicated to their new home.

Chinelo dancers

The 80-pound gown, mask and headwear covered in beaded murals is a signature of the Chinelo dancers of Morelos, says Jose Ramirez, Arenales' cousin and a member of the group.

"But the U.S.-born children don't know much about the traditions," he says. "Through this group, the youngsters learn, and we can also show other people our traditional dance.

In the parade, 60 Chinelo dancers will wind through downtown Portland in costumes bearing images of Aztec warriors, Mexican flora and fauna, and historical scenes including Emiliano Zapata's assassination.

None will outshine Arenales' walking tribute to Oregon. Green, yellow and blue feathers flutter in the wind while hundreds of thousands of tiny colored beads form stunning images. Native Americans share a meal while bears catch salmon and a beaver wades in the Columbia River. Mount Hood and Multnomah Falls loom in the background. On the back, a pioneer family travels by covered wagon on the Oregon Trail.

"When I moved here, I saw the pine. I saw the beavers, the ducks, the salmon, the rivers, Mount Hood, the people living here," Arenales says. "I wanted to pull them all into the costume."

There are several versions of the lore of Chinelo dancers, but the most popular pegs their origins to the 1870s, when cruel Spanish overlords ruled the indigenous Mexicans. During the Lenten festival of Carnival, the Mexicans took to the streets donning masks and performing a strange dance to mock the Spanish upper class.

Today, the Chinelos are a defining tradition of Morelos, where every child grows up learning the dance.

Portland's Chinelos arose from Arenales' vow to keep the tradition alive in his social circle. When he moved to Oregon 15 years ago, friends often played Chinelo music and danced during gatherings, but he felt uneasy without a costume.

"I said I'll never dance again if I don't have my own costume here in the U.S.A." Arenales says.

Soon after Arenales bought his first costume, friends joined in the effort. Today, the group boasts members throughout the Northwest.

They perform at parades, cultural festivals and in schools but have never marched in the Grand Floral Parade. Arenales had applied twice but was denied a spot in the invitation-only parade both times. He applied early this year and waited eagerly for the April email confirmation that Comparsa Orgullo Morelense Cemiac would be in the lineup.

Highlighting diversity Rich Jarvis, a spokesman for the Rose Festival, says organizers strive to include cultural groups. Along with the Chinelo dancers, groups representing Hawaiian, Vietnamese, Native American and other international communities will march.

"Our focus has been being able to feature and highlight more people and diversity," Jarvis says. "Portland has such rich culture, and we'd like to see that represented more often."

When the invitation came, the Oregon costume still wasn't finished. In the ensuing weeks, a Mexican artist worked furiously to apply the final details.

Ramirez, a retired airline worker who lives in Los Angeles, flew with the costume on a red eye flight from Morelos to Portland, where Arenales retrieved it from the airport. Relieved that the valuable garment had arrived in time and intact, Arenales stayed up most of the night examining the beadwork.

At about $2,700, the Oregon costume is not the most expensive in Arenales' eight-piece collection. The most intricate beadwork can run as high as $12,000, he says. Still, this was no small expense for a working-class father of three. Arenales says it was worth every cent.

"Money can't buy how you feel inside," he says. "The people here, the green, the environment, the friendliness ... it's about love."

On June 9, as the music of his hometown plays and his Morelan comrades perform the sprightly dance of the Chinelos, Arenales will be out front, wearing Oregon on his body and waving its flag in the air.

"It's like Atlatlahucan, Morelos, and Portland, Oregon, sharing two hands," he says. "(The Chinelos) can bring people together. And now Oregon can celebrate it with us." -- Kelly House

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Theme Day, Watching People

people_watched_PicMonkey Collage

Watching people, a way to pass time enjoyed by most anyone. Here you see some I've watched.

Top photo, folks reading the newspaper and/or their phones on the TriMet bus 12 Friday after work.

Middle row, left to right: A little girl enjoys dancing around at Director Park while the Oregon Ballet Theatre rehearsed "Swan Lake" on the temporary stage set up for OBT Exposed. The Comparsa Orgullo Morelense Cemiac dancers with their fascinating bigger-than-life costumes whom I watched at the ¡Fiesta en la Calle! Sunday Street Fair, sponsored by the Miracle Theatre Group in Southeast Portland.

Bottom row, left to right: I believe that's Ballet Master Lisa Kipp being watched by Principal Dancer Yuka Iino and Soloist Brian Simcoe who were rehearsing "Swan Lake." Floating north, two participants in The Big Float followed their own inner-tube-muse and passed beneath the Hawthorne Bridge instead of landing at the finish line which was off to the lady's left and on the south side of the bridge.

To see theme day posts at other City Daily Photo blogs, click here. By the way, Portland Oregon Daily Photo is at 199 followers. Wow! Closer than ever to 200, or even more. Thanks, y'all!