Friday, September 28, 2007
Ray's aunt Bessie was never a tree, but a slender and frail tiny twig of a woman with a hilarious crackly voice and the devil in her eyes. Ray says she was always the most fun to visit, as a child, because of her secret stash of candy bars and comic books and her willingness to conspire with the boys in playing practical jokes on the other adults in the family. We visited her in a nursing home last spring. She sat on her bed with her birdlike little legs folded in the lotus position and cracked jokes about her age and infirmities. When an attendant came in to give her pills she flirted outrageously and as he left she whispered loudly behind her hand, "He loooooves me!" followed by her signature cackle. I believe she was 96. You couldn't not love her.
My aunt Virginia was definitely a tree—something tough and graceful like a madrone. She was a horsewoman and cut a striking figure in boots, jeans, hat and chunky silver and turquoise bracelets stacked up both arms. She could fix a horse or a child with her clear blue penetrating eyes, put on an exaggerated scowl, and they were putty in her hands. She had the best laugh ever, deep and throaty and totally infectious and found a lot to laugh about in life. The New Mexico sun baked those laugh lines and crinkles at the corners of her eyes into permanence and she had a little twitch at the corner of her mouth that implied that she might burst into laughter at any second. I always thought she was quite beautiful, even at 90.
They never knew each other—different sides of the family, different parts of the country—but each has left us, within days of each other, with lovely memories and thankfulness that they were part of our lives.
I am climbing out of the black hole that has been this last week. Thanks for all the kind messages.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I will be concentrating my energy and attention on my family for a few days. I'll be back soon.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Sofia didn't really understand what it was all about, but she took the opportunity and had a nice nap through the entire walk. That's Emily below in the dark red sweater pushing the stroller.
Heading up toward Broadway at the beginning of the walk, it was hard to tell how many walkers there were. Those in pink hats and shirts are breast cancer survivors. Many people had pink sheets of paper pinned to their backs that said they were walking in memory of someone or in celebration of someone's survival. My Mom had breast cancer and survived for 13 years. It had a lasting effect on her health and probably contributed to her relatively early death. I didn't have a sign on my back with her name, but I certainly think about Mom whenever I participate in the RFTC. As we made our way up the incline toward the Broadway Bridge I looked back to see walkers as far as the eye could see. There were just as many ahead of us. I haven't heard a final count yet, but the number I heard this morning was 49,000 participants. Portland's is the second largest RFTC event in the US. (If you've been taking notes during my Portland tour blog entries, you will recognize "Big Pink," looking especially pink today, in the background)
It was a beautiful, crisp morning and very festive event, with cheerleaders all along the route, cheering us on, bands playing, people waving from rooftops and at the finish line a balloon arch and pink roses for all the breast cancer survivors finishing the walk.
The walk concluded at Waterfront Park where there were tents and tables set up with all kinds of freebies for the participants. The longest line was at the Macy's tent where they were giving away cute black and pink tote bags and pink underwear! We decided it wasn't worth the long wait in line, but scored granola bars, yogurt, bottled water, sun chips, cheese, bananas and cookies at other tents. Sofi woke up for the party and showed off her pink socks.
A good time was had by all, and a huge pile of money was raised for cancer research! It was a worthwhile Sunday.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Those are the names of the internment camps engraved on the standing stone and those are Japanese Cherry trees planted along the river behind the memorial. When Naito died in 1997 his funeral was held here and he was mourned by all of Portland. For a man who became so wealthy and powerful, he was universally loved by the city to whom he gave so much.
While on the train, our guide, Rich, told us about the ultimately successful political fight to make riding the MAX free in the heart of the city—what is known as "fareless square". Less than 18% of MAX's budget is covered by fares. Most of it is subsidized by business taxes.
That's the Pioneer Courthouse, which gives the square its name there at the end of the bricks and to the left is the historic Meier and Frank Department Store building. M&F, to my sorrow, was purchased recently by Macy's and the store is currently closed and being renovated. M&F started in Portland and has a long history. There is a sweet story about the beginnings of the store and a darning needle that is well-known in these parts. M&F used to run this story in their ads and offer a free darning needle to the first 100 customers in the door on the day of the ad.
Pioneer Courthouse Square is always busy and a beautiful place to pause in the heart of the city. Rich said he picked up his son downtown a few weeks ago and there was a band playing late in the square with lots of people watching and dancing, and as they drove by, enjoying the sights and sounds, a raccoon casually strolled across Broadway in front of Nordstrom's, stopping traffic in both directions.
We started our tour, on the cobblestones where Portland started, near the Willamette River. We're at the Skidmore Fountain, named for one of the founding fathers—the one who won the coin toss and got to name the city "Portland." (It would have been called "Boston" if he'd lost—seriously.)
Correction: It was near the Skidmore Fountain site that Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove tossed the coin to name the city. Pettygrove won and the city was named Portland. Got my facts tangled up! And, for Wanda, that happened in 1843.
Isn't that going to be fabulous? The colors make me very happy.
I was the only person on the tour with a camera and I took about 40 pictures. And I'm going to show you every, single, one! Just kidding, but I am just getting started. This was the beginning of the tour. Next we go uptown, but I'll save that for another day. Here's the view from Old Town, looking uptown. I like the juxtaposition of the old buildings and the view of the US Bank Tower, Portland's tallest building. It is affectionately called "big pink."
I love Portland. I was kind of sad, thinking that when we move we won't be able to say we're from Portland anymore, but Rich, our guide, put my mind at rest. He asked if we all lived in Portland. One of the group said she was from Tigard, a suburb of Portland. Rich said, "Hey, that's Portland! The suburbs—Tigard, Wilsonville, Beaverton—nobody ever heard of them. Anybody asks ya—you're from Portland, Oregon, Baby!"
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
My vintage sewing stuff sold on eBay today. Not for much. But I am moving things out of here. Less to move when the time comes. I spent yesterday going through my closet with ruthless resolve. Today I took 3 big black garbage bags of clothing, one big bag of shoes and a little bag of handbags to Goodwill. Then I celebrated by buying a pair of purple jeans.
The chit-chatty element on the QuiltArt list has been hashing over the very important topic of what kind of clothes an artist should wear, and asking "do your clothes look like your quilts?" Another inane discussion. In the longrun I get a lot of good stuff from the QA list, but many days I just delete in disgust. It did cross my mind today, however, that purple jeans would fit the bill for artist's attire, according some of the criteria I've been reading. They're really not outrageous enough, though. They are a nice sedate deep, dark purple.
Monday, September 17, 2007
It was a drizzly day, but the garden is really beautiful in any kind of weather. I took the picture of the leaves so Ray can try to identify the beautiful tree they came from. Looking at this picture I am thinking it is a marijuana tree!
When we got home we were a little chilled. The weather has definitely turned fall-ish here. I made a pot of soup for dinner—my Weight Watcher influenced take on minestrone. I think it was the best soup I've ever made. And I've made some pretty good soup in my day . . .
Sunday, September 16, 2007
This next one is taken from the same spot, turning 180 degrees and looking toward the road. That's Ray and our realtor.
Can you picture a little studio right there in that clearing? I can.
Here is one immediate challenge—the kitchen.
Tidy and functional enough, but the color scheme is turquoise and purple. Gulp. And yes, those are turquoise valances with big purple buttons on them. Purple pleated shades pull down from inside them. And, of course, matching blotchy purple wallpaper. (I am imagining my sister looking at this—she has a horror of all things purple! Hi Beck.)
What appears to be a stainless steel refrig is actually pale metallic blue. I have never seen a refrigerator like it. The table and chairs belong to the sellers, as do the bananas, so they will go. I'm not much of a "blue" person, especially combined with purple and especially in the kitchen. This has to go. I am thinking warm wood cabinets, terra cotta tile, new appliances, new countertops—something earthy and substantial. And, look—the unvented stove is in front of the greenhouse window. I think the sink belongs there, don't you?
Friday, September 14, 2007
There are so many nice things about this house, where we have spent the past 14 years, that I will miss, not least of which is the garden. We had a landscape designer, Mitzi Van Sant, help us redesign it several years ago, (if you look at "projects" on her web site you will see our garden listed as "Grant") and Ray has just taken her design and improved upon it day by day and month by month. There are a lot of personal touches in our yard.This is Ray's bell. He has wanted one of these for a long time and we finally bought this one at the Garden Show where we sold our garden art last spring. It is made from an oxygen tank and makes the most soulful sound—a low and resonant "mmmmmmuuuuuunnnnggggg". This will, of course, go to the new house.
This is one of the fish blocks I made for the patio. These will stay with the house and it pleases me a little that these blocks, which I worked pretty hard on, will remain as my contribution to this great old house. Of course the new owners may trash them, but I don't want to know about that. And I still have the mold, so if the new house has a place that cries out for fish blocks I will haul out the concrete and the mold.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I made this about 6 years ago for a challenge for our STASH group. It is called "Rockin' and Rollin'" and those metallic circles you see are all brass washers. I think those qualify as beads under Larkin's definition. I told her I'd send her a photo of it. I guess I am a "beader" after all.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Click on the photo to go to the auction.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
There is also the MAX light rail system that goes from Portland all the way to Hillsboro, with several stops in Beaverton. That is really the way to go.
As for me, I have heard that many people from Beaverton do actually travel to SE Portland—mostly to collect the rent. ( rimshot!) Even though I have no rent to collect I expect I will still be able to find my way. Yes, I will miss some of the amenities of "the city", but there is in fact FOOD in Beaverton. Beavers are actually very tasty. And while there are no museums, the library frequently hosts very high quality, musuem quality exhibits. In fact there is currently a fascinating exhibit of German harmonicas there, so there really is no lack of cultural stimulation.
I hope I have put your mind at rest and you have been reassured that I have not forsaken you in favor of the precious Sofia.
Your faithful friend, Terry