Thursday, June 30, 2016

For the best strawberry blonde I ever knew.

First, a few words from my heart, written on June 29, 2016, after reading her husband Richard's post, quoted below.

The best strawberry blonde I ever knew left us today. Over in Sheffield, England. Energetic, responsible, curious, lover of fun and people and life--a brilliant woman, long-legged and ready to step out at any given moment when she felt compelled to participate personally and intensely in life, about Isobel I could go on and on. But, the bottom line is this, Isobel is gone. We have our memories; we are blessed by these, and I'm going to share some of mine with you a bit farther into this post. What we must do now is hold her Richard and her Mary close like Isobel must have done many times over the years to ease whatever pain or heartache came into the lives of these two she held so dear. We'll stand in for Isobel while we share their loss. We'll do that for her because we love her, now and always. And we'll cry. But, like I wrote to Richard several days ago when he first told me about the sickening cancer taking her away from those who love her: Crying, it's OK for us to cry, I know that it is. To me it happens when the love we hold gets loose and wants to come out into the sunshine no matter what's going on out there because it just has to get outside; crying makes room for the rest of the love that grows inside with every moment that we know and love those we hold dear. I'm feeling philosophical having faced my own mortality so closely in this last 15 months. I profoundly wish that the doctors had been able to kill that cancer making Isobel face hers, but I am equally certain that Isobel understands much more about life than I do and about how to live what she has left--look how splendidly she's lived it all so far.

In no particular order, my memories and photos of Isobel Bowler whose husband Richard Taylor posted this on Facebook on June 29, 2016.

Isobel Bowler passed away this morning, comfortably and at home with her closest family.

Thank you to everyone who sent messages during her illness. She was so loved.


Your eyes to me are like precious stones On a face that's made of solid gold When I hold your hand I want to cry And your loving arms to protect me from the cold

I will follow you to the end of time I will be the blood running through your veins I will ride with you to the end of the line You will be my everything, my world.

I met Isobel on my first student trip to Europe when I went as a parent whose younger son took Latin from the teacher who organized the trip. My family was already friends with Richard because we'd taken care of him when he visited Jackson, Mississippi, on a trip to record church choir music in the year between, as I remember it and I hope I'm right, university and law school. Forgive me, Richard if I'm wrong and know that if I were British, I believe I'd have more of a chance at remembering correctly.

Anyway, one of our nights in London Richard had arranged to meet us at our hotel--me, my son Leland and his high school buddy Chad--and then we'd go for dinner in Chinatown. As we walked from restaurant to restaurant, Richard paused to look inside the windows adorned with defeathered ducks, hanging by their necks, waiting to be cooked. Somewhere along the line, I asked him, "What are you doing, Richard?" He replied, "Looking for lots of Chinese people eating--that's where we will eat." He smiled his delightfully charming smile as his eyes sparkled. Somewhere along the line, he mentioned that a friend would be joining us. Seems that we had found the right restaurant and had been seated before his friend arrived; since this was well before cell phones, I can only imagine that he had given her a complete set of instructions as to how to find us. I like to think of Isobel going from restaurant to restaurant, looking for us among the Chinese diners!

I remember thinking this is a dynamic young woman with outstanding long legs, an engaging smile and great conversation, plus the ability to make you feel like you were the most important person in the room. Pun intended, Isobel flat out bowled me over, that's all there is to it. I've never told this to anyone, but I thought that night that I now have my own private Sigourney Weaver here, complete with beautiful reddish wavy hair. I remember thinking that she and Richard just might be more than friends--he glowed, reflecting the bright light that came with Isobel into the room. It didn't surprise me to find out some years later that they would marry. It didn't surprise me to learn that their family would become three with the birth of a child, their darling daughter Mary. It didn't surprise me how pleased I was to be able to visit them in their London home when Mary was not quite two months old on what turned out to be my last student trip to Europe, this time as the teacher in charge.

Extremely proud of myself for finding my way all alone on the Tube to their home, I walked up to their door certain that I was about to make some good memories. I held Mary in my arms, smiled at her sweet baby face, took deep breaths of that divine baby smell. Later I dined with Isobel and Richard and at least one friend who had been Isobel's boss at one time--seems like a couple more were there, my memory isn't what it used to be, this was back in 2001. The former boss had recently received an honor from Queen Elizabeth for work in his field which, I hope I remember correctly, had to do with national health. He gave me a ride back to my hotel in a London Black Cab. The entire evening I'd felt like I'd been cast in a movie being shot in London and, although I cannot remember details, I do remember how Isobel treated me, like a good friend welcomed with love and caring into the home she'd created with Richard for their family. She made me feel special.

By inviting me to their home, Isobel also gave me the chance to publish in the Jackson Free Press, the alternative newsweekly in Jackson, Mississippi, where I wrote, proofread, edited, photographed as a part timer who adored every single moment I spent on it, but none more so that when I was able to tell editor Donna Ladd in a brainstorming session for our "Six Degrees of Separation" that my miniature dachshund Duncan was that very distance from the Queen of England. I rattled it off before she had time to close her mouth which had dropped wide open at my statement: Duncan, me, Richard, Isobel, her former boss, the Queen of England. Thank you, Isobel!

Over the years, we've kept in touch through e-mails and Facebook. I've delighted in those moments of contact because I knew that we'd always be friends. In fact, when I got the chance to go to the UK in October, 2014, they are the first couple I e-mailed about the details of the tour because I desperately hoped to be able to see the two of them and Mary.

That hope was never in doubt once Richard and Isobel found out when I'd be there, where I'd be closest to them. She got me a ticket on the train from York to Sheffield so that I could leave the tour and rejoin it a day later, riding to London all by myself on a train with another ticket from them. She made certain that I had the train schedules so that I could make good time getting to Sheffield. Isobel found me at the train station giving a uniform patch from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office where I work to a 6'6" transit policeman standing near the station entrance. Immediately I had the joy of experience Isobel as her usual self, energetic, vivacious, smiling and talking and making certain that all was well with me. We soon walked over to a nearby venue for Richard's book launch. Such serendipity to be there on that particular evening. There was a good-sized, attentive crowd at the event; we joined some of their friends for a nice meal afterwards. The next morning they drove us to visit Chatsworth House, a stately home in Derbyshire--I felt like I was cast in an episode of Downton Abbey of a more opulent sort as we walked through that magnificent place after lunch in the stables--reborn as a very nice restaurant. Before lunch Richard and I toured the massive gardens on a golf cart while Isobel walked their dog Freddie here and there, then putting him to bed in the car before joining us for a short walk once our tour was complete. After a blissfully wonderful time with my two friends, we headed back to Sheffield and my train. As my husband LeRoy used to say, we split the whistle getting to that train's platform and finding my reserved seat. Isobel never doubted we'd make it; she encouraged Richard to get me to the train on time, that she'd park the car, that she join us there as we reveled in our success. See the photos below for proof positive.


Isobel and her friends at Richard's book launch--Kim, I think; Vanessa; and Isobel. I hope I have the names correct for the friends. I do vividly remember how smart these three women were. Smart, articulate, powerful women. The entire time I sat there impressed to the hilt, honored to be in their presence.


See what I mean about the long legs, the wavy strawberry blonde hair. Isobel on the grounds of Chatsworth.


Isobel and Richard on the grounds. The fact that they're in the photo is another bit of serendipity. I was focusing on that huge urn and didn't even notice them until I uploaded the photo to Flickr.


Freddie and Isobel beside the Carriage House.

We did it! I got to my seat in time, thanks to my inspired, intrepid friends! I waved to the two of them when I realized that they'd come up to my window for our last loving smiles at each other. In my excitement, I couldn't get my camera to focus on their faces instead of what was around them--well, it sort of is in focus on a single photo--but I do so adore them as they are! We'd talked about my coming back some day, maybe doing a tour of their making in a rented car. Me, driving a car in the UK? What a wild thought that was. But that's what Isobel did! She led you to believe in all the wildness that the future could hold. The best kind of wildness there is--hope and excitement and self-belief in what you could accomplish. Here are all of these wonderful photos.





Here are a few more photos that I want to share.


Freddie and Isobel at home before we left for Chatsworth.


Richard and Isobel, at home before we left for Chatsworth. Mary left for school before I even thought about taking a photo, I was having such fun being there that I completely forgot! Trust me, she's a lovely young woman who does both parents proud.

As I've typed this post on Wednesday night here in Portland, Oregon, my heart has been full. Full of disbelief that cancer took this vibrant woman from her husband, her daughter, the family and friends who also love her. Full of anger that cancer takes so many who are as well-loved every single day, around the world. Full of prayer and hope for Richard and Mary to be able to find the strength to get through this experience that they are too young, truthfully too young, to be going through now. What has happened has gone against the natural order of things. Death should have been delayed many years from now.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Seen at the Grand Floral Parade, No. 2


I like a confident man. I like a burly, good-sized man. I like dimples. I like LEOs. (Law Enforcement Officers) This man, a Portland Police Bureau officer, wearing an inflated Alaska Airlines airplane hat, fills the bill on all three.


He's got great peripheral vision, too. Four seconds after the first photo, I took this one as he looked straight at me. Doggone cool.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Food noise, explained. Other posts to come, intermittently.


As I've been invested in recording my carbohydrates since May 6 so that I will have a better hemoglobin A-1C test result on July 28, I've come to notice something running in the back of my mind, now and then, no matter what I happen to be doing or where I might be.

Monday, June 27, my brain sent me what I will now use to identify this phenomenon. I felt surprised, then happy with the term. Food noise.

Here's my explanation of food noise. I sit at work involved with my daily tasks and performing them spot on. As the day progresses, I have counted my breakfast foods--calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein--on the iPhone app I use, MyPlate, and the water that I've had with breakfast. I've walked with my iPhone on my person or in my shoulder bag so that the health app that came with it counts my steps. Those steps are deducted from the calories I consume from my allowed calorie goal for the day--the app is tuned to calories but thankfully fits in with my goal of not becoming a diabetic, therefore the carb counting. Throughout the day, I enter foods eaten at lunch, dinner, snack (if any), and more water.

I do not for the most part feel unsatisfied at any particular meal or moment. I have found it exciting to watch those steps impact those calories. In this way, the app encourages me to continue my efforts. I have shed pounds. I have increased stamina.

Yet, unbidden at any given moment, in the back of my mind, food such as you see in this photo--duck confit, gnocchi, fava beans from 3 Doors Down Cafe in a photo that I took June 17, 2011--appears. I feel my teeth biting into the meaty duck, the satisfyingly dense gnocchi, the al dente fava beans. I don't taste any of these, I feel them. I keep right on working, undeterred by the food noise which so far has not manifested itself in the form of aggravating craving. I think the fact that I easily keep on with my regular activities made the term food noise pop into my mind because, for me, it is kin to white noise, as in this definition--a steady, unvarying, unobtrusive sound, as an electronically produced drone or the sound of rain, used to mask or obliterate unwanted sounds.

Not that my food noise is obliterating anything unwanted. I have, in fact, found food noise to be a comfort. By the way, it is not always prepared by professionals. Sometimes, it is something that I myself have cooked. More posts to come, if I have the appropriate photo on hand.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Morning, a light breeze, photographed.


Light makes me happy. A breeze makes me feel good.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Seen on TriMet, an inspiration.


May 29, 2016, a cool morning commute. Naturally I noticed this lovely lady sitting across from me. I silenced my iPhone and took several photos, trying to capture her at her best. I believe this last one that I shot does that because I managed to avoid a bright, off-putting glow around her hair. Isn't she magnificent? So together to get out and about, her necessities stashed in her cart. I'm very proud of this photo. I hope I'll be like her as I continue my time here in the known world. I believe that I try to do that every single day.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Captivating. Downtown Portland on one of my morning commute walks, in front of The Portland Plaza, a condo skyscraper.


I couldn't get enough of these beauties. And I hope that someone in charge of their care cut off the spent blossoms. Because I'd hate to think that a passerby with a sharp knife just decided to take the three that are obviously recently removed. To me, the flower on the right looks as if it could be made of paper, complete with the curled petals.


Do you like the mood of this shot, as I took it?


Or as it appears here after I clicked on Edit in Aviary, the Enhance, then Illuminate?


First, I didn't like a flower that was in the bottom left corner, so I cloned it out at BeFunky.


Then I wondered about the exposure, so at BeFunky, I worked on the highlight and the fill light. Hmmm.


This is the original photo. Do you agree with me that the flower in the lower left corner detracts from what I wanted in this photo? I'm curious. Thanks!


All I did with this one was crop off a spent blossom and some ugly concrete in the background--driveway, retaining wall. I really like the patina on the petals, the sheen.

Friday, June 24, 2016

What #THEY had to say. What I'm saying.


OK. These are some of the statements made #THEY about the Portland Trail Blazers' chances for this just completed NBA season, on front of a shirt and surrounding the #THEY. I have to post this today because I imagine some of #THEY said the same thing about our chances in the 2016 Draft last night.

A Washington Post headline, today, online: Maryland’s Jake Layman selected in second round of NBA draft, headed to the Portland Trail Blazers

Here's the article by Roman Stubbs, under the heading Terrapin Insider which I take it to mean Roman knows Jake 'cause Jake's a Terrapin:

On the perhaps the most significant day of his life, Jake Layman rose out of bed and decided to go golfing with three of his friends at a course outside of Boston. It was a built-in stress reliever from the countdown of the NBA draft, which has essentially been ticking since he was a boy. He tried not to think about the pressure and the thought of his name being called. His girlfriend and Maryland manager Ryan Lumpkin drove up from Maryland for the night, bringing Layman’s two dogs with them to help ease any anxiety that he was feeling.

It all went out the window in the middle of the second round late Thursday night. He received a call from his agent. “It’s a home run,” Layman was told. He replied by simply asking: “What do we got?”

He was then informed that the Portland Trail Blazers were trading up with the Orlando Magic to take Layman at No. 47 overall. Portland sent $1.2 million and a 2019 second round pick for the services of the four-year player from Maryland, who was only encouraged by the fact that the Blazers actively made a move to secure him. Layman didn’t work out for Portland, but he had heard of interest there.

“I’ve watched them play a lot. They shoot a lot of threes. Their offense will fit me well. I think it’s a great fit,”said Layman, who will report to Portland within the next five days. “It definitely gives me a lot of confidence. It shows that they really wanted me, to go through that much work to get me. I think it’s a great time.”

Layman became the second former Maryland player to be involved in a trade after coming off the board Thursday night. Center Diamond Stone went seven picks earlier to the New Orleans and was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Layman finished tied with former Maryland star Juan Dixon with 141 career games played over four years, equaling that school record this past season while helping Maryland win 27 games and reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in 13 years. Maryland had higher aspirations with a roster loaded with professional talent, one that was only bolstered after Layman held off on declaring for the 2015 draft following his junior season.

He vowed to return to College Park and further polish his draft stock while helping lead the Terrapins, and while he didn’t come close to cracking the first round Thursday night, he still recognized a lifelong goal of hearing his name called.

“I was confident that I was going to get picked, no matter what round it was,” Layman said.

Though Layman endured plenty of ups and downs and struggled with his confidence at times while at Maryland, he will also be remembered for his loyalty to Terrapins Coach Mark Turgeon. The Massachusetts native stuck with the program while Maryland lost five transfers in the spring of 2014. Layman averaged 11.6 points and 5.3 rebounds as a senior, finishing his career as one of only 12 players in school history with over 1,400 points and 600 rebounds.

Layman was projected as a second-round pick by a number of analysts throughout the spring, when he toured the country to conduct individual workouts with more than half of the league’s teams. Layman has enticed NBA scouts for the past two years with his athleticism and shooting ability — but his primary goal over the past eight weeks was to continue refining his body (he’s up to 210 pounds and hopes to play at 220 in the NBA) and show teams consistency with his confidence.

Layman didn’t speak with reporters until well after midnight, but he still was beaming over being selected. That his former teammate Stone didn’t get drafted until No. 40 overall didn’t add any anxiety, he said, because all he was focused on was being one of the 60 players to hear their name called. He also expressed no regret in returning to school for his senior season and delaying this kind of celebration by a year. He earned his degree and elevated his game he said, and the end result Thursday was well worth the wait.

“It was a great day,” Layman said. “Once I got picked , every one went crazy. It was a great scene.”

I've been on that campus; I've been in their field house. I feel doggone good about this pick. Welcome to Portland, Jake. So proud you finished your degree!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Someone commented on this top photo on my Flickr account.


Here's the comment - davidjoaquin said: Levi Blackwolf! great photo of him This is the first time this has happened for me with a photo that I uploaded to Flickr. Neat-o! Also I thoroughly enjoyed their attire and their horses and mules.

Here's what I found out about the group he's in, at least it's my best guess at getting it correct based on the PDF of the 2016 list of entries I found and finding the last group I photographed with a sign in front of it and the last photo I've posted below:

H-13a Happy Canyon Chiefs of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

H-13b Royal Court of the Happy Canyon Indian Pageant (2)

H-13c Happy Canyon Board of Directors (wagon)

Several more photos--let me know if you know if I'm right or wrong on the group ID, please. Thanks!








Based on the brand on the wagon, I believe I've got it right about these photos being of the Happy Canyon Chiefs of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.


This one appeared on the list right after the Happy Canyon groups as Park Bureau Scooper.