Wednesday, September 30, 2015

UPDATE and a few more American Bonsai seen at The Artisans Cup, Sept. 26

UPDATE: Made it to the Oncology Center for the blood work just fine this morning. Janessa gave me a ride there and then to work--she's a sweetheart! I don't know the results of the blood counts, though, so I'm hoping that they are OK. Since I had the test done about 9:40 a.m., and it is now close to 6 p.m. with no phone call or e-mail telling me to report early, I'm hoping that means I won't all of a sudden have to go there at 7 a.m. to do the test again before the chemo appointment at 8:30 a.m. Anyway, here's what has been approved by the doctor for in between Round 4, tomorrow, and Round 5, probably on October 22--I will only work seven days once I feel well enough to go back to work, not ten like I did this time. Hopefully, by working two days, being off three days, working three days, being off three days, then working two days before I get ready for Chemo Round 5 I will be able to endure the fatigue better. I'm certainly ready to try it. Thank you so much for your continued prayers, love, and concern.


Mountain Hemlock, exhibited by Bob King. Species, Tsuga mertensiana. Estimated age, 150+ years old; time in training, 15 years. Origin, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.


California Juniper, exhibited by John King. Species, Juniperus californica. Estimated age, 100+ years old; time in training, 10 years. Origin, Mojave Desert.


Buttonwood, exhibited by Michael Fedducia. Species, Conocarpus erectus. Estimated age, 150-200 years old; time in training, three years. Origin, Florida.

This is the artist statement excerpt published in the booklet that went along with the exhibition: This tree was collected in south Florida in the early 80's by Joe Samuels, one of the early pioneers of bonsai in Florida. In my humble opinion, it is by far one of the best representations of the larger buttonwoods that reside on the rocky islands of the Florida Keys that I have seen, and is one of the oldest collected specimens that I have encountered. Some of the trees I find most inspiring stand alone on small coral rock islands off the coast in the Atlantic ocean. They show a true will to survive in the face of adversity, overcoming the lack of a constant fresh water supply. Only to be replenished when a rain shower passes through saturating the stone in which they live. Gripping the coral tightly over the centuries as hurricanes push through, threatening to rip them away from their rocky perch, and still they hold on. They are inundated with salt day after day, and have adapted to excrete the excess through specialized glands at the base of their leaves. Living on the ragged edge of life and death, they exude strength and beauty while sharing the story of their constant struggle through the scars that they have earned. It is my hope to capture this image, if only a glimpse, and to allow the viewer to see this species in all it's glory as I have kayaking the ocean waters.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

UPDATE and a few random photos to share with y'all

UPDATE: Made it OK today despite being somewhat exhausted. I have places where I am able to rest, thank goodness. Not that resting builds up stamina, it just allows me to get from A to B. I am grateful for that, let me tell you. I slept all night, another thing for which I am grateful.


The sky over the West Hills, seen from the rooftop garden at work, yesterday morning while I rested before my work began. Lovely.


Another Forest for the Trees 2015 mural, seen from the Portland Streetcar on the way home last Thursday. The building faces 524 SE Ash, but the mural faces SE Grand Avenue. Here's the hash tag for it, #524SEAsh. The artist is Jade Rivera.


Today after work when I rode by on the streetcar, I saw another mural right beside this one which is listed on the FFTT Web site as being on a building with the address of 525 SE Pine Street--Pine and Ash are a block apart. I hope to get a photo of the entire mural soon, but it may be difficult since there is a shorter building that abuts it that faces SE Grand, making it difficult to see unless you're making an effort to do so. In fact, in this wide shot of #524SEAsh that I took last Thursday, you can see the left-most section of the other mural. If I end up frustrated with my effort, Leland has said that we'll ride around in his car some time soon and take photos of FFTT from 2015 and 2014, maybe even 2013. Sweet! Depending upon where we stand to try to get a photo of this one, though, I may have to have Leland take mine for me--I'm currently just a bit taller than 5'2" while Leland's right at 6'which means he'll have a much better chance at a photo.


By the way, here's the streetcar I rode last Thursday. I enjoy it very much, mainly because the windows are huge, and it doesn't go too fast so you are able to look and look. Plus, one of these days I'll have the stamina to ride it all the way around Portland, from the Central Eastside over to Downtown then the South Waterfront and back! I just might get off here and there and take photos and then get on the next streetcar to continue making the loop. You should come to Portland and ride with me, sometime in 2016!

Monday, September 28, 2015

UPDATE and Portland's newest bridge over the Willamette

UPDATE: The appointment went fine with Dr. Da Graca. We talked about the fatigue side effect and how it is having more of an impact than it did between the other rounds of chemo. We've got a plan in effect which I will share later on this week; suffice it to say that I am pleased with what he decided. I got home, ate my leftovers and am headed to the recliner in a little bit. I hope that I am able to stay awake for all of Dancing With the Stars, but, if I don't, no skin off my nose. Thank you for your continued prayers, love, and concern.


I got to my work building early this morning so that I could rest a while before starting work. I sat outside on the rooftop garden for a few minutes and took a few photos of the Tilikum Crossing Bridge. I have yet to ride over it, but once I get back some stamina, I'll be riding over it on either the TriMet MAX Orange Line or the Portland Streetcar. I'm excited at the prospect!

Here's some info about the bridge that I'd like to share with you: Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People is a cable-stayed bridge across the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. It was designed by TriMet, the Portland metropolitan area's regional transit authority, for its MAX Orange Line light rail passenger trains. The bridge also serves city buses and the Portland Streetcar, as well as bicycles, pedestrians, and emergency vehicles. Private cars and trucks are not permitted on the bridge.

Construction was begun in 2011, and the bridge was officially opened on September 12, 2015. In homage to Native American civilizations, the bridge was named with the local Chinook word for people.

Tilikum Crossing has its western terminus in the city's South Waterfront area, and stretches across the river to the Central Eastside district. In the 21st century, these two industrial zones have been evolving into mixed residential and commercial neighborhoods, and new transit accommodations are required by the growing populations. Both districts, however, are limited by antiquated road infrastructure that was deemed incapable of handling the increased traffic that could be expected from a conventional automobile bridge. The primary rationale for the bridge was thus "first and foremost as a conduit for a light-rail line."

The bridge is south of, and approximately parallel to, the Marquam Bridge. The west "landing" is mid-way between the Marquam and Ross Island Bridges, and the east landing is just north of Southeast Caruthers Street, with the east approach viaduct reaching the surface at the west end of Sherman Street, which the tracks follow to a new Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) MAX station located near an existing Portland Streetcar station and the Oregon Rail Heritage Center.


I cropped one of the photos so that you could see this MAX light-rail train, the MAX Orange Line, as it heads east--look toward the bottom of the photo at the right edge. The yellow truck you see above the MAX is on the Ross Island Bridge which is south of the Tilikum Crossing Bridge. The blurry bar across the photo is the guard rail around the rooftop garden at my work building.

The crossing opened for general use on September 12, 2015, becoming the first new bridge built across the river in the Portland metropolitan area since 1973. The first public access to the bridge was given on August 9, 2015, in the morning for the 20th annual Providence Bridge Pedal and in the afternoon with a three-hour period in which the bridge was open to everyone.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

UPDATE and The Artisans Cup, some of the American Bonsai as seen at exhibit held in the Portland Art Museum

UPDATE: I don't know how it happened, but I didn't really get up today until 9:49 a.m. Best of my memory, I woke up at 6 a.m., but didn't get up other than to get in front of the TV because I really wanted to be awake at 7 a.m. to watch CBS Sunday Morning. I think I watched most of it, dozing now and then. Before it went off, I fell asleep all the way. I don't know what woke me up, but I was hungry, so ate leftover rice with kidney beans and smoked beef sausage slices with leftover Coca Cola from the Subway on Thursday afternoon that I didn't finish when I had my little picnic in the front yard. I feel pretty good. Tomorrow afternoon I have an appointment with the chemo doctor. Wednesday before work I go for the pre-chemo bloodwork. Thursday at 8:30 a.m. I have the chemo appointment for Round Four. I hope my blood counts are where they need to be. Thank you for your continued prayers, love, and concern!


It's easy to see why this tree had to be all by itself in the foyer to the exhibition room. It's huge compared to the 71 trees listed in the booklet handed to us when we entered the exhibit hall. Here's the info about this tree: Englemann Spruce, exhibited by Ryan Neil, Founder of The Artisans Cup. Species, Picea englemannii; origin, the Cascade Mountains. Estimated age is 350 years; years in training, three.


Coastal Redwood, exhibited by Bob Shimon. Species, Sequoia sempervirens; origin, Mendocino, California. Estimated age is 100 years; years in training, 18.


Japanese Maple, exhibited by Ram Lukas. Species, Acer palmatum 'Kashima;' origin, collected landscape tree. Estimated age, 50-60 years; years in training, 10. I cropped it like this because I didn't like all of the light on the leaves from the overhead fixture. I wanted you to be able to see the delicate leaves.

More American bonsai soon.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

UPDATE and Leland with the heritage tree from pioneer times in Portland's South Park Blocks

UPDATE: I made it through the night fine, slept until about 5:30 a.m. I stayed awake until maybe 6:45 a.m., then fell back asleep until 8 a.m. Thank goodness! Thank you so much for your continued prayers, love, and concern. Leland and I had a good time together today. He came up with a neat event for us to check out, The Artisans Cup, a bonsai tree display at the Portland Art Museum in downtown Portland in an area known as the South Park Blocks. After that, we ate a late lunch, then went to see Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation at the Laurelhurst Theater, a vintage neighborhood jewel that shows second run and classic movies with a realistic ticket price; when I'm well, I am able to walk the ten blocks there and back; today, thank goodness for Leland's car. After he brought me home, I managed to see almost then entire second half of the Mississippi State win over Auburn. Go, Dawgs!


My darling younger son Leland agreed to stand here for me to take a photo. He's pushed his sunglasses up onto his head, and his hair's going every which way on his left--I love it! When I noticed if he moved to his left a bit the sun would be on his face better, he graciously moved for me and smiled again. I love this photo--I cropped it so that you could get a good look at this young man who got me out and about today for a bonsai tree exhibit and a movie, with a very late lunch at Burgerville in between. I ended up too tired to make it to Fred Meyer to get groceries, so he's going there tomorrow to get mine for me. Sweetheart, y'all, he's a sweetheart.

In this photo, take a good look at the width of the trunk and the height of the root area at the base of the trunk--I guess that's what you call it.  Now, scroll down to the fourth photo and compare, please. I'm amazed at the way this tree has grown, in the midst of all that goes on in downtown Portland and in such encumbered space for its roots.


If you look closely at this wide shot, the first of the three that I took, you can tell that Leland's left foot looks much more comfortable in this position. In the cropped photo, the second of the three and taken after I asked him to move to his left, you can see that he's managing to stay on those roots with his left foot in an awkward position. Thank goodness he didn't have to stand like that but a few seconds! Thanks, Leland.


Here's a wide shot of the tree that I took on the way back to the car. Perfect weather today!


Here's photo taken from almost the same spot as the one I took today with Leland standing on the tree. I took this one on August 29, 2009. Be sure to compare it with the top photo in the post, please. Are you as amazed as I am by the amount that the tree has increased in girth in the past six years?


There's a sign on the tree--I took this photo on August 29, 2009. The sign is still there today.


I like this sign, too, at the base of the tree in the sidewalk--another photo from August 29, 2009.

This is information that I found and put on the blog, back on October 12, 2009, when I decided to post about the Heritage Tree: I just love the Internet. I've found a pdf of a brochure or booklet, "Oregon Geology," published by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, from November 1985. On pg. 7, I've read about the sidewalk plaque. "At the northwest corner of the intersection of Main and West Park there stands a magnificent london (sic) plane tree (Platanus acerifolia) (a) that was planted in 1800 by Sylvester Farrell. At the base of the tree, a gneiss marker indicates incorrectly that the tree is a sycamore (which is a close relative of the london (sic) plane tree). The marker also left out an "L" in the gentleman's last name. The tree has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the sole survivor from pioneer times in the immediate area." The gneiss marker is in the photo above, embedded in the sidewalk.


Last photo of the tree--I walked east and turned back to get this one on August 29, 2009. I didn't have the energy to do that today, well, I saved what energy I had for viewing and taking photos at the bonsai tree exhibit that Leland and I had decided to see, inside one of the Portland Art Museum's buildings. The Artisans Cup and its bonsai trees turned out to be grand. Photos soon!

Friday, September 25, 2015

UPDATE and modern day street parking procedures

UPDATE: I had a bit more energy parts of today for which I am grateful. It's great that it's Friday, believe me. And the FedEx man left a package inside the building at my front door--I've been hoping for this since he missed me by about 30 minutes on Wednesday and a whole lotta hours yesterday--now Leland and I don't have to go to their location tomorrow to get the package. Yea! If I feel right, we're going to the Laurelhurst Theater to see the latest Mission Impossible as a second run movie, therefore much more affordable. And if I feel right, we'll go to Fred Meyer afterwards, for my second time to go there since June. Everyone keeps telling me I should ride the scooter. I don't know about that 'cause I'm pretty much uncoordinated. I really shouldn't subject Leland to it or the other shoppers.


Does your town or city use this sort of parking meter? Is this even called a parking meter? Well, I just looked online and the City of Portland calls this a Pay Station when they give you a link to how to operate it. The other links about parking use the term parking meter, as in Parking Meter Rates and How to Report a Broken Parking Meter, etc. Does that make parking meter a term like Kleenex which lots of us use when we have any sort of tissue in hand. Know what I mean?


The lady has the piece of paper she needs and is on her way to her car to place it as instructed, I'll bet. When you click on the link about how to operate the Pay Station, you learn that the piece of paper is officially the receipt and that it is to be placed in the curbside window seal. You have to keep reading paste what looks like the end of the instructions on the Web to find out that you need to be certain that the date and time need to face out. Of course, all of this is on the receipt itself, in case you're new to the whole thing.

All of this is just one more reason that I'm glad that I don't own a car and that I hardly ever drive the Zipcar anywhere that I have to park on the street. Count your blessings where they are, I always say.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

UPDATE and my little picnic Wednesday after work in my front yard

UPDATE: The difference between my energy/stamina levels yesterday and today is shocking. Today both are at an even lower level than they were on Monday and Tuesday. I've had to lean on exterior building walls and/or handrails to rest before continuing to walk on the sidewalk to get where I'm going. I even had to rest a bit at work when going to check the fax machine, one of the things I do twice a day--I stopped and rested on the locked shred bin that is near the fax machine. After such a great day on Wednesday when not only my muscles felt more normal than I expected, but also my brain seemed filled with clarity, I'm working hard at not being down in the dumps about how I feel today. The thing to do is take these side effects one day at a time, maybe one hour at a time, deal with each one the best that I am able. And to not give up! Here's to Friday, y'all!


Wednesday after work the weather felt perfect. So much so that when I got off the bus around 3 p.m. and walked by the Subway, I thought to myself, "I'm gonna go in there, buy myself some food and drink, and see if I can get it in my front yard with my folding aluminum lawn chair and my wooden snack table. I'm having a picnic!" If I hadn't been having a good energy/stamina day, I would not have been able to get everything outside without dropping something or spilling something. Here you see my food, a six-inch tuna on wheat with an extra scoop of tuna, shredded lettuce and tomato. Plus Lay's original potato chips and a cup of Coca Cola with no ice. I know it's boring, but that's what I always get when I go to Subway. It's reliably the same which I find comforting.

To say that I enjoyed my little picnic would be an understatement. I loved it! Plus, I got to visit with my neighbor Matthew and his dog Birdie. Then, Lamont found me out there when he came over after work. Sweet! He told me later yesterday evening that it made him feel real good to see me enjoying myself outside.

Today, I was in the recliner by 4:30 p.m., about an hour after I got home. Like my little Mama used to say sometimes, "I just don't have it." That's today, Thursday. We'll see what Friday brings. Next round of chemo is one week from today, Thursday, October 1.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

UPDATE and what I saw from the bus window on the way home from work

UPDATE: All day Tuesday I was a tad less exhausted--hooray! I slept fine last night and look forward to Wednesday going as well as Tuesday. I'd like that a whole lot. Thanks for your continued prayers, love, and concern.


Yesterday afternoon I missed the connection to the streetcar, so I took a 4 bus downtown and connected quickly with a 19 for the rest of the ride home. I got the first seat on the left as you enter the bus, one of my favorite seats because I can easily look out several windows. I noticed this new mural on SW 6th across from the Big Pink and the MAX stop. Excited to get a photo through the bus windshield! I figured it would be enough to look for it online to find out if it's one of 2015's Forest for the Trees murals, painted in August. Lo and behold, it is! Here's it's hashtag and its artists: #221SW6th BY SPENCER KEETON CUNNINGHAM, JAQUE FRAGUA as found on FFTT's Web site.

Also, here's a bit about FFTT from their Web site: Established in 2013, Forest For The Trees is a non-profit project dedicated to the creation of contemporary public art in Portland. The festival brings together local and international artists in a collaborative setting and provides them with the freedom and resources to create artworks in environments that are freely accessible to the local community.


Next, while we waited at the traffic signal at West Burnside and SW 4th, I could see this through the window across the bus from where I sat. I managed to zoom in quickly before the light changed--hooray! This lion is one of two at the China Gate entrance to China Town in Northwest Portland.


One final shot through that window, a quick one, of a section toward the top of the China Gate. Here's a bit about the area that I found online: Portland's Chinatown is the old area of town north of Downtown proper and just west of Old Town/Skidmore, although the lines between Chinatown, Old Town, and Downtown blur in reality and are somewhat arbitrary as the areas are all essentially "downtown" in character and location. The most obvious distinction is Burnside, the great north-south divider of Portland, which clearly separates Chinatown from Downtown proper.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

UPDATE and you'll never guess what I saw at this intersection with Leland Saturday before last

UPDATE: I slept all night. Let's hope that keeps me in the plus side of energy as I get ready to go to work. Thank you for every single prayer--I feel them!


I took this photo September 14, 2007, mainly because I wanted a photo of that giant purple octopus. I never went inside the Greek Cusina although I was by there every weekday back then because  the 15 bus I rode home headed west on SW Washington. The restaurant always looked busy to me, if I happened to be downtown late enough to see diners sitting outside or prom-goers and their limos. Anyway, the place closed in January 2010. Nothing's been done to the building until recently--the only mention I could find of that renovation process involved a November, 2014, gas leak that Portland Fire and Rescue responded to--they evacuated it and another building, found a functioning gas line valve at the street and shut it off.


When Leland and I rode by in his car a couple of Saturdays ago on our way to Camera World, I pointed out to him the purple stain from the octopus' upper legs there on the second floor. Almost six years of daily downtown weather hadn't dimmed the purple stain--amazing, the longevity of that paint merely applied by proximity over time to the building's paint.