Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Roses and Bread in Portland

As I've mentioned, one thing that stops me in every walk I've taken here is the roses. They are everywhere, sometimes one or two, sometimes a yard full of them. They each have their own unique fragrance, spicy, sweet, pungent or barely there at all. Some are in the height of their glory, some are windblown, older, petals holding on waiting for a breeze to scatter them on the ground and sidewalks. The air signals their presence even before they are seen.

 This photo is, of course, not roses, but a tree with these 
brilliant orange berries that reminded me of home

I confess, I haven't been a big lover of roses. I went to a boarding school in Georgia one year, in a town noted for its roses and the smell was overwhelming to the point of sickening. Plus, it wasn't up there with being one of the best years of my life; a beach girl in an inland southern town, with customs I had no idea existed. 'Dragging Main Street', liking boys for their cars, a coyness that dripped with the falseness of covering a town in roses that had had a lynching only the previous year. So this one on one re-discovery of the beauty of roses is a good thing, overlaying cloying memories with new experiences. Sometimes, it just takes one.

 When I was loading these from the camera to the computer, I swear I could smell them...
I am beginning to really enjoy baking bread, something I was always pretty afraid of doing in the past. Even starting this latest time a few months ago had me worrying; checking, rechecking and then grading myself much more harshly than necessary. But the more I bake, the more the pleasure factor rises with the dough. Sure, there will be bombs ahead, but that's okay now, when the successes are so tangibly good. For someone to taste bread I've baked and get this blissful expression is like the rising all over again - 'It worked, it worked!'

Playing with bread, these are about a hamburger bun size, imperfect but good!
“I would say to housewives, be not daunted by one failure, nor by twenty. Resolve that you will have good bread, and never cease striving after this result till you have effected it. If persons without brains can accomplish this, why cannot you?”
’Housekeeping In Old Virginia' Marion Cabell Tyree ed. (1878)

"[Breadbaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world's sweetest smells...there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread."
M. F. K. Fisher, ‘The Art of Eating’ (if you aren't familiar with the writing of M.F.K. Fisher, find something, anything, that she has written; you're in for a treat)

We have learned to see in bread an instrument of community between men—the flavour of bread shared has no equal.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French pilot and poet (1900-1940)
A boule of rosemary garlic bread from yesterday's baking
Have a tasty Tuesday! Do something tempting.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hawthorne Street Fair

On the way to Hawthorne Street
Yesterday, here in Portland, was the Hawthorne Street Fair. Nicely not far from my daughter's house, I walked over to check it out. Blocks and blocks and blocks of vendors, many from the shops that line the street, along with some set up booths in parking lots. Bands played, clowns smiled, it was a happy crowd. Lots of food vendors, to the point that I really wasn't hungry for any of it; sort of inhaling the aromas and sights of gyros and burritos and fried dough, veggie concoctions alongside beers and wines. I still feel full just thinking about it, really. Through it all, at different intersections, there seemed to be bicycling events: dozens passing through with every kind of bike ever made and a few, like the fish bike, that I'm fairly sure was a one off. A good time had by all, it appeared, with only one whining child heard in two hours...

Here are too many photos, but that's how fairs go!

 I want to take this truck back to Culebra...full.

 He is gazing with longing at his master ('s plate) inside the cafe...

 I don't know the story, but I bet it's sad

 Of course I had to go inside this store!

 This is the Gold Door, where they kindly let me take pics...

 The business card says Ethnographic and Contemporary Jewelry and Decorative Arts
I guess there wasn't enough room to say Wildly Diverse Weird and Wonderful Treasures

 Every time I turned around there was just...more, and this wasn't nearly all of it

 When I saw this section, I thought of Zach, so this is for you, Zach!

 This one made me miss my girl friends at home...

 And this carved water buffalo skull is a visual gift to my bro. 
Sorry, it won't fit in my suitcase. Or my bank account.

 Good Dad!

 A boutique?

 Pier 1?

 No...the strangest and most $$$ Goodwill I've ever been in. Really.

 I'm not sure why, when I'm in cities, I see angel wing people every time. 
But I do.

 Sometimes California and Portland seem very close together...
(may we NEVER have a vegan style Happy Hour on Culebra - some things just ain't right)

 One band of many really good musicians

I'm not sure I really get what is going on at Bagdads, but I really like the sign

 I liked this guy's tee shirt as well...Knuckle Busters Garage, Sturgis, South Dakota
(which, I was sad to find out, is now just a bar - well maybe more than just a bar)

This was in the window of a very, very, very cool antique store - old dentist chairs complete with instruments - that lime green steel set up, remember?, a gypsy fortune teller machine, a cherry pitter I wanted so much, its unique oval rotating gear worth the price, but the woman overseeing it all was so forbidding looking I was scared to ask permission to take photos. Sorry! 
Oh, and the sign? Supposedly that is to warn people OFF of marijuana, 
but I'm not sure the message really works that way.

A few seconds of the above band...

Thus ended the afternoon portion of my day. Unfortunately my daughter had to work so I solo'd it. Two hours and I missed quite a few more blocks but I was close to od'd on activity. At home, I made rosemary garlic bread; this one turned out perfectly, maybe too perfectly as it's almost gone, too fast to get a photo and the edge just isn't that interesting. I might try to make the remaining dough into rolls later today...

In the meantime, have a melodious Monday! Do something more.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In the Hood

Since we aren't concerned with hurricanes here, there are other things to do on a weekend. But yesterday's plans to get to the farmer's market fell through for various and sundry reasons  A Saturday in downtown Portland last year looked like this. This year, we'll try again, but for now, my yesterday was closer to home, and looked like this instead.

 How rosemary grows in Portland
 (yes, Rosemary Garlic bread will be made today!)

 An old, old apple tree

 People really get into gardening here, flowers and veggies both - it's beautiful!

Blooming artichoke!

Once again I'm falling in love with the architecture here, though I haven't gotten shots of anything yet. The home pictured (not my photo) is one we passed by the other evening, lights on, peeking possible. Leaded windows, lovely porches; one style of so many...

A couple of days ago I walked about 50 blocks to find a place that might be able to help me get a 'new' power adapter for my ibook. I could have taken the bus but the walk was worth it, neighborhoods topsy turvy with homes split into apartments, the occasional grand home sitting in the center of a block sized yard, bars and tattoo shops next to doctors' offices, even a field called an Urban Farm, now empty of the goats a ragged sign described, leaving it to the crows. Or some big black bird that weren't close enough to identify, if I even knew it anyway.

Finally, downtown Portland was hoving into my sweaty view and an industrial area full of warehouses that had, variously, lumber, machinery that did I have no idea what but emitted a hot, oily smell, one labeled, in brass, Oregon Brass works, with metal tubs stacked up and full of much clanking and banging, came the sign I was looking for, Free Geek, a non-profit set up with a system in place to get computers rehabbed and back into public circulation. While the first guy told me they didn't have what I needed, another guy told me he thought they did, and voila! out he came with exactly the adapter, at a fourth of the price I'd have to pay otherwise. 

I took the bus home, too hot to do what I'd thought on the way there, check out some of the little shops along the way, especially including a Zupan's Market, one of those food shopping mecca's for those of us on Culebra who love to cook and by necessity become experts at substituting what is available rather than what is a recipe or inspiration calls for. Next time!

For all in Irene's diminishing wake, thoughts are with you. If she was less than expected, be glad. If she met the hoopla or more, speedy recovery!

Have a sensate Sunday! Do something smoothly.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Before and After (getting to Portland)

One of the prettiest rest areas I've seen
Joseph and Rowan kindly let me ride along with them on the journey from California to Portland, Oregon. It's a long drive and a beautiful one. We took a couple of detours on scenic routes; redwoods, rivers and mighty rocks, oh my. Fields and farms and backdrops of mountains. Meadows  and vineyards, wine among the corn. It's a beautiful country, the US...most of these shots were through the window at speed on the road. Just so you know.

But before we left, I spent a last day with Carol and Elijah. She showed us part of her collection of arrowheads she's found, most of them just walking to her work at the lumberyard and construction place she's done the books for over the last 28 years. I was fascinated, first because I really like finding history on and in the ground and also after reading some of the history of the area the last few weeks. Sometimes it pays to look down.

 The only bar we went to in town. The only time, too, a last day outing. 
This woman knows how to build a Bloody Mary, and do an island pour! 
 (This has nothing to do with history or much of anything except that it's always fun 
to find a good bar with a good bartender, and it was part of the day)

 The beads for the necklaces were gathered over the years. 
Check out the serrated arrowhead to the far left. Wow.
The very large arrowhead outside of the box, the one broken in two? Fantastic story of Carol finding the bottom, larger part and then TWO YEARS LATER, she found the top, which perfectly fits and is without doubt the upper portion of the first part. I love stories like this!

 This is a...soil turning tool. Really. That's what she said.

 An outrageous lily on the porch (that overlooked the creek)

 One of Carol's cool collection of mermaids. This is for Jonny, since I couldn't steal it.

 I missed the 'front' bears on the other end of the bridge. 
California irony, the golden bear - which is actually the grizzly bear - is one of their big symbols. Unfortunately, they are extinct in California...
 Farming scene in southern Oregon

 I liked these haystacks...

 Old barn (obviously)

 Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood in the background of the Clackamas River falls in Oregon City,
also the site of the end of the Oregon Trail

So the adventure continues. But adventure is everywhere, sometimes not wanted, such as Irene, bearing down on the Bahamas. Please keep these people and their islands in your positive thinking arena, they need all the good vibes they can get!

Have a toned down Thursday! Do something thankfully.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Beside having a couple of hundred photos to go through, having fun with Vrai (a friend's 8 year old awesome son who has been with us this week) and the connection at times being v e r y slow, I was distracted yesterday with a girl named Irene. Happy to report that aside from power outages, downed limbs and a report that three boats broke loose (I don't know details) and the ferry schedule being skewed up, Culebra is on her feet and clean up is underway. Thank you, Universe! From 4000 miles away, it made for a lot of satellite/radar/checking in with friends sort of day and night. Thanks, you who kept me in the loop! And major kudos to Suzanne from the Finca, who kept (and is keeping) reports coming steadily. Good job, chica! If you are interested in being on her weather update mailing list, all you need to do is email her and ask!

Ok, back to camping!! Where was I...right, Bear Harbor, part of the National State Park system here and one of the sweetest parks I've ever been in. Very out there, yet with great camp sites. Big iron pots (like sugar boiling pots) for fires, a picnic table and what else is needed? We got the primo site, the one where you walk on a wide plank to cross one of the streams to get to the site. That's after crossing a bridge, a rough, wonderful little bridge. Flowers and blackberry bushes everywhere, with elk trails wandering through it all. And then, in front of all of that, Bear Harbor! A beach strewn with gigantic driftwood, more like drift trees, huge huge.

When the tide went out, the tidal pools became visible. And the places around the huge rocks that were water surrounded became walkable, so of course, we checked out the tidal pools and I saw my first chitons, clamped tight to the rocks. But then we found a dead one of the most exquisite teal color...Vrai is the tide pool champ!

At one point, we were all on the beach, just sitting when, without being all hoodoo voodoo, I had this intense feeling that if I took a walk, I'd see an elk herd. I left the camera with Elijah, even though I knew I'd want it, but maybe that would jinx it so I left it. About halfway up the path, it turns a corner, rising up a few feet, right before a small bridge. I came around the corner and there they were. About 20 elk, mostly older females, a few babies and one magnificent bull with antlers at least 4 feet tall (for once, I'm not exaggerating). He looked straight at me and I backed up a few steps. For a minute or two, everything was quiet but he decided to gently move his herd along, while staying in place himself. Two of the babies acted like little kids, running up the path and down,

One day later, still trying to get this done. But emails and Irene and company and getting ready to go to Portland tomorrow morning are bogging my posting down...so without waiting any longer, as this day is well past time to get moving, here is a starter!

 View on the way into the park...later, blue skies
 due to cloud buster thinking!

 First elk seen, literally a minute into the park

 First glimpse of our camping spot

 Looking down the cliff

Hope to finish this tonight before heading to Portland in the a.m. Please keep all your positive thoughts flowing to the Turks and Caicos and Bahama chain...

Have a together Tuesday! Do something tough.