Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Last two pix of Casey's visit to PDX

Duncan took to Casey right well, doncha think? He's so cute!

Mama, Casey, Leland, his girlfriend Cristina, and I went to the Bijou Cafe over on SW 3rd. Mama and I first went there in 2004, when we stayed at the Benson Hotel (built by the same Benson mentioned in the Multnomah Falls info, back in 1913). We walked the five or so blocks every day of our visit but one and dined on super pancakes, pan-browned potatoes, applewood bacon, all yummy. One day we noticed their pet bulletin board on the wall near the restrooms, where customers and employees had posted photos of their beloved pets. We got the go ahead to post one of Duncan, and he's been there since 2004, in the same spot. When we visited the guys in 2005 and 2006, before we moved, we went to eat and to see Duncan and the nice waitstaff.

While we were waiting for our orders, I noticed the juxtaposition of two entirely different heads on the two cooks, polar opposites if you will. I really wanted to get a picture of the backs of both of their heads, but, alas, the one with hair turned when I took the chance to get the shot. I didn't want to look like too much of a dummy, so I didn't try again, settling for this one which gives you the idea.

On Tues., Aug. 15, the guys grilled veggies and chicken for fabulous fajitas. We ate and drank and talked and laughed--it was a grand time, and I completely forgot to take any pictures. Just got all caught up in the fun and forgot. If it were possible for one to kick oneself in the boo-tay, mine would be bruised big time.

To The Gorge, to see the falls

Doggone it! I cannot keep it straight in my mind how to put these pictures in the proper sequence. You'll have to rewind in your mind because the top picture is actually the last picture I took on Sun., Aug. 13, as we drove back into Portland after a short trip to The Gorge, as in the Columbia River Gorge.

Since Casey had already seen the Pacific Ocean, which is a longer drive, and she'd been up late the night before at her second-night-in-a-row Sleater Kinney concert, we opted for the shorter drive. Our first stop was Wahkeena Falls, a 242-ft. waterfall we lucked up on because I was trying to drive the scenic highway. By the time we stopped, I had to put on my motion sickness bracelets before I could manage to walk and take photos. I'm going to have a time learning to drive with these heights, curves, drop-offs, and truth be told, the ones we were in were just weenie ones.

So, we've Mama and Casey on the bridge, looking good, and beautiful, foamy, white water from Wahkeenah Falls.

Next stop, Multnomah Falls. To fully appreciate it, you need this Wikipedia info: Multnomah Falls is a waterfall on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, located east of Troutdale, between Corbett and Dodson, along the Columbia River Highway. The falls drops in two major steps, split into an upper falls of 542 feet and a lower falls of 69 feet, with a gradual 9 foot drop in elevation between the two, so the total height of the waterfall is conventionally given as 620 feet.

A foot trail leads to Benson Footbridge, a 45-foot-long footbridge that allows visitors to cross 105 feet above the lower cascade. The trail continues to a platform at the top of the upper falls, the Larch Mountain Lookout, where visitors get a bird's-eye view of the Columbia Gorge and also of "Little Multnomah", a small cascade slightly upstream from the "upper" falls, which is not visible from ground level. The footbridge is named after Simon Benson, who had the bridge built in 1914.

In contrast to other falls along the Gorge, the Multnomah area is also reachable via a stretch of I-84 east of Troutdale, Oregon. The rest area and tunnel under the road (as well as the Union Pacific Railroad tracks) allow Interstate travelers from either direction to stop and visit the falls.

So, we stopped along with a whole bunch of other folks, to take a look at this amazing sight. I'm sure you guessed already that we didn't hike to the top or even to the footbridge. There's no way I could do it, even with my motion sickness bracelets.

Behind Mama and me, you can see the upper falls behind us, only because Casey laid back on the sidewalk to take the picture. It's just too steep to get it all in otherwise. The next shot is actually the second one I took of Casey standing in the same place. When I checked the first one, we got tickled when we saw the illusion of the water pouring right onto her head, so she set this one up for the effect. Turned out great, didn't it? She won't have to wash her hair again in 2006, if water volume is any gauge. Once we walked up onto the observation platform at the pool where the lower falls land, Casey took one of me, with the lower falls in the background, and I took one of her. I'm glad I got a shot of the Benson Footbridge behind her, aren't you?

Just in case I haven't given you way too much information already, here's some more. Some day, I'll ride more of those 80 miles into The Gorge and get some shots of canyon walls. When Leland and I drove through it in the UHaul, I really couldn't believe what I was seeing or where we were in relation to it.

From Wikipedia: The Columbia River Gorge is a spectacular canyon of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Up to 4,000 feet (1300 m) deep, the canyon stretches for over 80 miles (130 km) as the river winds westward through the Cascade Range forming the boundary between the State of Washington to the north and Oregon to the south. The Columbia Gorge American Viticultural Area is located in both states. Extending roughly from the confluence of the Columbia with the Deschutes River down to eastern reaches of the Portland metropolitan area, the gorge furnishes the only navigable route through the Cascades. In 1805, the route was used by the Lewis and Clark expedition to reach the Pacific Ocean. The gorge today holds federally protected status as a National Scenic Area (United States) and is a popular recreational destination.

The Big Head: Scroll down and look at the pictures first, then read this, OK?

Yep. We found a big head, right there in front of PGE Park.

Wikipedia about PGE Park:" PGE Park (formerly Civic Stadium, a name still used by locals; originally Multnomah Stadium) is a stadium located in Portland, Oregon. It opened in 1926, and underwent a major renovation in 2001. PGE Park is an outdoor, multipurpose stadium which can be configured for baseball, soccer and American football." And it was the very day of this event, as noted on Wikipedia (I just love typing that word, and saying it is even better!): "On August 12, 2006, the Beavers will commemorate the event with a Rodney McCray Bobblehead Night, passing out bobbleheads of McCray to fans; and right-center field will be named 'McCray Alley'."

Y'all have seen him on sports' blooper highlights; here's what Wikipedia says about the incident: "On May 27, 1991, the stadium got some national attention when Vancouver Canadians outfielder Rodney McCray, while attempting to catch a fly ball, literally crashed through a wooden advertising behind the warning track. While McCray failed to make the out, he only suffered scrapes and bruises in the incident, and remained in the game. Highlight reels of that play ran for weeks on cable channels such as CNN and ESPN."

I just loved it when some sportscaster interviewed him on Friday; asked what if he'd been in that stadium in Chicago with the brick wall, McCray replied something along the lines of "It wouldn't have happened. I know the difference between plywood and and a brickwall."

I digress. Sorry.

We were circling around on the numerous one-way streets, looking for The Oregonian building (Portland's daily newspaper) when we came across the big head. In a few minutes, Casey was asking me if we could go take pictures by the big head at just the same time that I was thinking we needed to park and go see that big head, up close and personal.

The two of us took turns, posing and with the camera. I like them all, but I especially like the one where the big head has blue eyes and something green in its mouth--it's a tree in the background. That whole thing made me remember back in college, in Magruder at Mississippi State, studying for exams at some point in the mid-'60s. The best I remember it, my roomie Nancie--a highly creative and inventive woman from the getgo--had some sort of big-head-scenario she brought out now and then. And the big head always had a smile on its face, with a piece of spinach caught in its teeth. We were up late, getting goofy tired, when Nancie said we needed to make a really big head to put on the dorm wall, right where the stairs went up and down. She wanted to have the big head wish everyone good luck with exams. We did it, unsigned of course. I remember very well seeing it on the wall, but I cannot for the life of me remember anyone's specific reaction to it, other than our delight at having done it.

Look what we found!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Stay tuned for more of Casey's visit, followed by the return to our apartment.

Y'all are great to take a look at these photos. Thanks to those who've e-mailed me and to the two who've commented. That's such fun. I like this technology when I can get it to work. In the next few days, I'll add more photos and the rest of the tale of Casey's visit to Portland. Then I'll start in the apartment again. Bye for now.

We interrupt the info about Casey in PDX for a movie trailer of sorts

Thursday at work we got an e-mail telling us that Morgan Freeman and Greg Kinnear would be a few blocks up Hawthorne filming a movie, at the Lucky Labrador Pub. The reason we got the e-mail was that some of the production trucks would be using the top floor of the parking garage. Anyway, I thought I'd just mosey up Hawthorne at my breaks and at lunch so I could check it all out.

Friday morning I saw someone with the look at a production assistant and headset attached to her head standing on the corner across from my bus stop. It looked to me like she was gathering extras, so as I made my way around the block (I walk about 20 minutes every morning before I go into the building) I asked the woman if they'd be on the street all day. She assured me, darn it, that they'd be inside the whole time! I still looked, to no avail. I even walked six blocks down and back at lunch--to Burgerville because I left my peanut butter sandwich on the kitchen counter!--so that I could walk right by the pub, just in case Morgan Freeman happened to step out the door. He's the one I really wanted to see. To no avail.

The crew sign is on a pole across the street from the Burger King at Grand and Sixth. Lots of mornings I walk over there to get myself a senior Coca Cola, for $.50. The other photo, taken from inside the Harold, the #10 bus, is of one of the equipment trucks out in front of the pub. That's all I saw. Not much, huh?

Just to keep you in an appreciative mode, I've included a photo of a bunch of dahlias one of my co-worker brought to work. She's a big fan of these colorful and sturdy blossoms. Aren't the lovely?

We interrupt our tour of the apartment for a visit from Casey Parks!

Last Wednesday Casey flew in just after 9 p.m., Portland time. Her plans included staying with us a week and going to the final-ever concert of one of her favorite bands, Sleater Kinney, here in Portland's Crystal Ballroom. Thank goodness she landed before the terroist arrests, etc. in London; no telling how long we'd have had to wait just to get her if that had happened while she was in the air.

Thursday evening we went to Happy Hour at the Riverplace Hotel, the one where Lamont used to be sous chef and where he met his girlfriend Lindsay. We had a cocktail, some food from the bar menu, and watched people. It was fun for all three of us, Casey, Mama and me. We sat outside, beside the Willamette River. Loads of people went by, running or walking for exercise, or just strolling. Still more came walking along carrying wooden boat paddles, wearing life jackets. They were on their way to dragon boat practice. In fact, a whole crew stretched in a small circle right across the sidewalk from us. John Healey, one of Lamont and Lindsay's friends who also bartends at the Riverplace Hotel with Lindsay, said that the dragonboat people keep the riverfront going all through the winter. The photo I've included is one I found at, the site for one of Portland's dragon boat clubs.

Yes, we do have on a jacket that zips (Casey), a big sweater (Mama) and a denim jacket (me) because it was so cool outside last Thursday evening. The high that day was 77! On Sunday it was 88. The next few days it'll be between 84 and 74, I think. This is so great!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Here's our perfect bookcase and the wall behind it, plus the dining area

You know how much I like to read, so it should come as no surprise to you that this almost 90-inch-long bookcase hollered "Lynette" when I saw it at The House. I decided to leave it unfinished and protect the top shelf with light beige placemats. Family photos, a few what-nots and the pewter platter our RV park buddies gave us as a going away gift adorn that top shelf, while the rest is stuffed with books and some other treasures, like the small square oak boxes my brother Howard made for each of us, complete with our initials engraved on a brass plate he attached to the top.

You can see Mama's little bitty feet, resting there on her recliner, and Duncan curled up in his teensy basket, in one of the photos.

Mama looks good, sitting there and waving at y'all, doesn't she? We both got our hair permed and trimmed just a few days before I took this picture. We went to Salon in Vogue over on Hawthorne. I'm telling you, that street's important in our lives, isn't it? Even the restaurant where the guys cook, 3 Doors Down Cafe, is three doors off Hawthorne on 37th.

I've also discovered that if I needed to, I could go to the beauty shop (Hey, I'm Southern and find saying salon just not my style.) after work on the bus and get there about 5:20 p.m. Of course, I'd have to get on the bus again and either ride back up to where I work and wait for the Division bus, or ride it to 39th and Hawthorne and transfer to the 75 for the ride over to Division, then get onto the Division bus and ride it to the stop closest to our apartment. Or i could just ride the Hawthorne bus back towards the Willamette River and get off at 20th, then walk the eight or ten blocks home. Depending upon the weather, that's what I ought to do.

Confused? You wouldn't be if you were here, riding these buses. They're logical and timely. I've already down the Hawthorne, 75, Division thing and been to Walgreens twice and Fred Meyer once. Gas ranges from $2.73 to $3.29 a gallon here, in the last 48 hours. I imagine with the BP screw up on their pipeline, it'll continue to rise, and I'll continue to use the bus as much as possible.

Underneath Mama's chair, you can see our hardwood floors. To clean them, we've used a dry Swiffer, a wet Swiffer, or rags soaked in half white vinegar, half warm water, the wrung out and stuck onto the Swiffer handle. Please don't think that we do all of them one right after the other, though. Before we got here, we kept wondering how we'd get the chairs to slide in and out from underneath the table without scratching the floors. What a pleasant surprise we had in store for us--nothing scratches the floor! At least nothing we've yet done.

In the close-up of the wall's decorations, you can see my black and white David Rae Morris photograph of his daddy Willie Morris and Miss Welty. I love that photo and decided to hang my photos of the Lemuria sign and their neon one that says BOOKS right above the photo of those beloved Mississippi writers so well-represented at Lemuria over the years, in person and in print.

To the left of the photo, you'll notice a colorful framed piece with Bye, Bye Love in its lower right corner. That's the far-freakin'-out going away gift that the Jackson Free Press staff gave me. Jakob Clark made a mock JFP cover, complete with a date, volume number and issue number. He turned a wallet-size-senior-portrait of yours truly into groovy, multi-colored art for the mock cover. All in all, it's special for so many reasons, not the least of which are the memories I have of three years spent with those creative and determined people.

The small yellow and green work of art beneath the authors' photo is my Ellen Langford, Hop, that I found over at The Attic Gallery in Vicksburg. I'm tellin' you, you gotta go to that gallery. It'll blow your mind. See that photo in the top right corner of the close-up on the wall? Lesley Silver, co-owner of the gallery, took that photo; I'm pleased to say that I got it at a silent auction, fund-raiser. The colorful flowers in the vase is another piece of MSH patient art; the black and white trees I drew with a charcoal pencil in 1966, up in Starkville at a friend's family's land, off campus where I used to go run and walk. Oh, for those younger days!

That's our oak dining table with six of our eight chairs we bought at Lounge Lizard. Can you believe they're comfortable to sit in for extended periods of time? My booty and back testify that they are. That's a bowl of glass fruit and vegetables on the table, a real steal when each piece went on sale a couple of years ago. And finally you get to see our swag lamp, the one we were checking out when we accidentally found that floor lamp that's in the corner of the living room. When I saw the swag, I knew it was just the right size, shape and color--Mama thought so, too. Leland rewired it for us and put it up on the ceiling.

Now I know you're wondering why the wall behind the table is e-m-p-t-y. Right? Why, it's for future photos and art acquisitions.

Monday, August 07, 2006

We like our front wall and window

This is to your right after you walk into the apartment. Right here is where we started hanging things on our walls. We knew we needed to start small to see if we'd make good decisions about what to put where. Mama says that she's getting used to see more than one big piece right in the middle of the wall; I think that's so great of her. It's been years since I've had walls to hang stuff on, so this is a real treat for me. It's the first time I've ever had my photos up all over the place, too. All I've been able to do previously was look at them in albums and sell them at Fondren Corner, a fact that I still find difficult to believe. Knowing that people like my photographs and want to have them in their homes makes me feel good.

The beautiful pewter cross, from my librarian buddy/mentor Eve, and Mama's plastic-canvas-perpetual-calendar went up first in the little space between the door facing and the big window, followed by a couple of the smaller things. Next came the Dr. Bob "Be Nice or Leave," a going away gift from my four librarian buddies, Anne, Cheryl, Sherry and Nancey--together we went through, survived, endured and completed the National Board certification process for librarian media specialists, so we're what you call tight.

My Daddy whittled the other cross, beneath the pewter one. Actually, it's not the usual sort of whittlin' that Daddy did to make flowers. He peeled back strip after strip from little limbs, making them curl into petals, eventually creating wooden flowers. For the cross, he used red food coloring to stain it where the nails pierced Jesus.

Below the Dr. Bob is one of my Jimmy Pitts' pieces from The Attic Gallery in Vicksburg. I absolutely love that guy's way with words, his ironic sense of humor or view of the world or whatever it is that causes him to create the plethora of art that I looked through before settling on several I could not pass up. I also like that not only does he create on the sheets of watercolor paper in the tablet, but he also uses the back cover! A man after my own heart!

The green chair goes with the striped couch (thanks to Cheryl), and its mate sits across the rug from this one(my friend Jean gave us three terrific rugs that serve us well on our hardwood floors). Behind this chair is a great table that fit the space just right, the space between the TV on the old-time-brass-record-player-rolling table and the doorway. Leland and I found that perfect-fit at Home Ec, over on Hawthorne, another one of those great stores that I need to stay out of now that we're pretty well situated furniture- and accessory-wise. I used to have the glass display cabinet in my booth at the Antique Mall in Ridgeland. I've even got some MSH patient art in there, two glazed pottery busts of mustached and bearded men, one white, one black--more objects of my hover-until-you-when silent auction technique.

I took this phot on one of our July triple-digit days, hence the fan on the footstool, pointed at Mama who is off-camera. That's my good lookin' husband in the uniform picture you can barely see, wearing his Air Force dress uniform. And you can see our fabulous floor lamp we found at The House. We'd gone over there looking for a swag lamp to go over our dining table (you'll see it later), so this one came as a completely lovely surprise. Every part of the lamp is in great shape, from the finish to the springs inside the rod that makes it fit tightly on the floor and the ceiling. From either inside or outside, the lamps lends stylish and warm light to our living room.

Hey, gotta go get my beauty sleep now that I'm a workin' gal again! Almost two weeks on the job already.

Stay-tuned, OK?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

That's all for now ...

I'll finish your tour of the living room in the next day or so. I've got some other things to do, and if I don't make myself stop playing around with these photos and this little ole iBook, I'll never get them done.

Here's the last piece on the living room interior wall

This nice shelf/cabinet storage unit we found over on Hawthorne at The House, one of several used furniture stores we visited while we still had the UHaul to haul furniture in. Although we arrived with something to sit on, eat at, and sleep on, we had nothing to store stuff in in any room in our 700-square-foot apartment.

There's a close up that shows my "Get the Juice, Get the Blues" better--those eyes are painted on cardboard egg cartons I cut and glued to the frame. The purple cat and brown dog are more MSH patient art from Serendipity. I hovered over those two also, bound and determined to take the little cuties home with me. Behind them is a wooden, hand-made map of the United States that I found at a junk store in Jackson years ago. The lamp we got on Hawthorne at Lounge Lizard, a place chuck-ful of neat stuff, lots of it mid-century, most of it affordable. (Truth be told, I need to stay out of those stores because the stuff is just altogether too tempting.)

That black and white photo of my husband LeRoy was taken back in 1973. He worked the sound for a friend who performed folk music. Her husband took this great photo that shows his beautiful long hair. I'm so glad that I still have this photo of him. I wish you could see him better.

And I've got his pony tail, too. LeRoy had decided to get his hair cut off because it was so hot on him in his construction job in Kansas City, Mo. Lots of the time, he worked with a jackhammer, breaking up concrete bridges; the resulting concrete dust coated his clothes, his hair, his mustache (he grew a full beard later on). That summer of '73 he'd had it with long hair. Some other union, not his laborers' union, called a wild cat strike and put up a picket line. Not being one to cross a picket line, he called me and asked if I'd check with Fred about cutting it for him. I called, set up the appointment, called LeRoy back to tell him the info, then promptly called Fred again and asked him to keep the pony tail for me.

My brother Howard says we've got way too much on the walls!

Here you've got two shots of the great couch my friend Cheryl gave us, along with two chairs, and end table, a coffee table, and a parsons table. The only two we couldn't fit in the apartment were the end and coffee tables. They are quite comfortable and fit in with our eclectic decor very well. And like Cheryl pointed out, the price was right!

You can see just how the couch fits with the folding bookcase. Above the left end of the couch, there's a framed original of the man wearing a pork-pie sort of hat, holding a cigar and resting his elbow beside a bottle of liquor. It's called "Caught Red-handed." At the Serendipity this year, the patient art silent auction at the Mississippi State Hospital, I bid on this one and hovered to assure that I'd get it. Can you tell that the guy's hand is a rusty red? The photos around it and our wonderful Mark Millett are more of my Jackson landmarks, places I like the looks of, and neon sign. The three bottom ones, though, are of Memphis: a small shot of Beale Street's neon signs, one of a man playing his trumpet in front of a restaurant, and one of the photographer for the Tri-State Defender. Wikipedia has this about the newspaper: The Memphis Tri-State Defender is an African American newspaper published in Memphis, Tennessee. The Tri-State Defender is one of the longest continuously-published African American papers in the Southern United States and as such is quite prestigious for a publication of its type. It was very active in the Civil Rights Movement. As its name implies, it is aimed at the African American market not only in Memphis proper, but also in nearby areas of Arkansas and Mississippi.

The Mark Millett is "Remember When," no. 203 of 750. Imagine my utter surprise when I saw it leaning up against the front counter at The Butter Churn in Clinton on June 3. I was so excited about having found a screen to set-off my brand new twin bed for our Portland apartment that I almost missed it. I knew it was huge and Mama would croak because I brought home something else to load into the UHaul less than a week later, but I was not about to pass up this print that I'd been admiring for ages, especially already matted and framed. Later on I looked at Millett's Web site and discovered that the series is sold out. Wasn't I the lucky dog? I wrapped it up in single-bed-egg-crate-foam, attached with packing tape and bungee cords. Leland carefully packed it into the Buick where it made the trip splendidly, as you can see.

The yellow and green art at the top right is one of my folk-art efforts, "Get the Juice, You'll Get the Blues." The blues (plastic beads) is pouring out of the bottle into the seated guitar player. The white-framed colored-pencil drawing of three men is another of my MSH patient pieces. I got it at New Stage when loads of patient are was on display in the Hewes Room, accompanying one of New Stage's plays.

Let the tour begin ...

You've stepped inside the front door and shut it behind you. You're looking to your left. We packed the folding bookcase into the UHaul and brought it almost 3000 miles, from Byram to Portland. That tall green glass bottle used to sit in Mama and Daddy's living room on Beatrice Drive in south Jackson; it's right at 40 years old. Our friends Cindy and Eddie gave us the angel standing beside it, as a going-away gift. Over the years, Mama or I either collected or got as gifts the rest of the items on the bookcase. Seven of my Jackson photos surround two original pieces on the wall above the bookcase. Tony DiFatta's Walkers' sign hangs in the center, with an original of the Fondren Corner Building below it. I absolutely love buying original art at a fund-raiser or silent auction. I end up with something I love and I help out a good cause. That's how I got both of these originals.

There's an interesting story about the bell on the bottom shelf. A few weeks ago, by accident we discovered an estate sale a couple of blocks north of us. Not being one to resist such an event, I just had to go in, look, buy a bit, and take in the myriad styles of bells--they were all over the place. I got a tiny one engraved with HELLO. When I was walking on Sunday, I found the estate sale open again, so I went in to check out a few bells I'd noticed the day before. I had completely missed the rather large bell, but I bent over to pick it up and read the yellowed paper taped to it: "Historical Information (supposedly from) BAY QUEEN (circa 1915) Mobile -Fairhope," then inside there's a tiny piece of paper with "558" on it.

When I read the first piece a paper, chill bumps ran all over me. Sonny Brewer, editor of all of the Blue Moon Cafe books and author of "The Poet of Tolstoy Park" as well as his new one, "A Sound LIke Thunder," is from Fairhope. That's where his Over the Transom bookstore is, too. Both of his books have quite a bit to do with Mobile Bay, boats and even the ferries that plied the waters. I really wanted to own that bell, and when I discovered that everything was half price, that sealed the deal. I looked on the Internet and found an old photograph of the Bay Queen; a bell is visible, but I cannot tell if it's this bell or one like it. One of these days, I'm going to discuss it with Sonny himself.

If I were still in Jackson, I'd discuss it with him on Aug. 18 or 19 because he'll be a Lemuria for the latest Blue Moon Cafe book, and on Aug. 18, he'll be there with his new novel. If you're so inclined, grab a copy of the Jackson Free Press on Aug. 16 or 17 so you can catch my reviews of both.

There's another Alabama connection to the JFP that comes out on Aug. 9, 10, too. More book reviews from little ole me. Jennifer Paddock and her husband Sidney Thompson have new books. They're friends of Sonny's, have work that's appeared in previous Blue Moon Cafe books, and live in Point Clear, Ala., a ways south of Fairhope.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

You've made--here's the front door.

You can see our covered stoop, the few steps up to the front door, a couple more wind chimes, our front door and the rather large front window we are blessed to have. Our mailman drops our mail through that little black rectangle beneath the smaller white one, just to the right of the door. I cannot believe it that we're living in an apartment with a mail slot! It feels like we're in a movie.

No part of this big window opens, but we can raise the blinds all the way to the top for a great view of our big tree out front and the street. Sometimes we catch a glimpse of people walking on the sidewalks and cars coming and going, parking along the sidewalk. We keep the front door open all of the time that we're up and about, so we hear snippets of conversation, too.

This apartment complex, built in 1941, has no parking lot. Only once since we moved in on June 13 have I had to circle the block three or four times to find a decent parking place; usually it only takes a pass or two. Finding a decent parking space can be a problem, but the parking space gods have been with us. People park their cars going any which way they want on each side of the street without getting parking tickets because their cars are parked against the traffic flow. I do that now myself. You know, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. It beats the hell out of circling and missing the parking place.

One of the popular places on Division is La Nuestra Cocina, a delicious Mexican restaurant that we cannot afford to visit too often, darn it. Across the street from it is the Red & Black Cafe; we've not been there yet. It's not the least bit surprising, in fact it's more like expected, to find two (or more) eateries in such close proximity here in the Southeast of Portland. Mama and I marvel over that fact on a regular basis.

Here's our front window

Here's our exterior wall that runs perpendicular to our street. We got that Weber grill at Fred Meyer--it is chained to the three when we're not grilling on it; the guys have cooked on it twice already, the last time on the 4th of July. That's the little roof over our side door, looking like a piece of plywood suspended from who knows what between the tree trunk and the wall. We have a little concrete stoop there and a few steps. Opening the side door makes for a great cross breeze in our living room.

We brought all of our wind chimes from Byram. You can see some of them here, on the railing, hanging from magnetic cuphooks--pretty nifty. You can just make out the rusty fish, above the railing and holding a large white flower, and the rusty dachshund with a heart and wings. They're stuck in our little bit of earth. If there weren't so much shade, I'd have some tomato plants growing there, either in a pot or in the ground. Right now we've got a couple of gangly, tall orange cosmos in two small pots. They are blooming brightly now, but weren't when I took this photo a few weeks ago.

The lowest limb on that tree grows parallel with the exterior wall and is too high up to show in this photo. You can, however, see the curvy brass wind chime hanging from it. You shoulda seen me throwing a ball of twine, trying to get it to go over the limb so that I could tie the wind chime to it! On the third try, I finally got it. Then I discovered that even with our kitchen folding stool, I was way to short to tie off the wind chime at a height that wouldn't connect with everyone's heads. Leland had to do it for me. He just hopped up onto that little brick wall and did it. Oh to be young, strong and limber.

Looking the other way

I took this picture standing in the same spot as the other one; I just turned around and took it so that you could get an idea just how close we are to Division. It's just exactly what I wanted, to be so close to a bus line that runs frequently!

Those two trees are about the same height as the two we have near our apartment. Believe me, the enjoyable shade came in some kind of handy when we had those two triple-digit events, one over three days in June, then again in July. We have no air conditioning--don't really need it--we just pointed several of our six fans at ourselves and tried not to do much at all. We survived much better than regular Portlanders because of our Mississippi connection.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Looking at a nearby intersection

Divison is one of the many west-east streets in Portland. The New Seasons Market in the background is a superb grocery store that focuses on organic, natural, green products, produce, meats and cheeses.

Now that I've got a job, I can catch the No. 4 Division bus within easy walking distance.

The store has so many cheeses and meats, as well as salad items or wok items in the deli. You can get your selections cooked quickly in a wok with your choice of sauce, pay for it, and then go sit at one of the comfortable tables in the front far corner of the building and eat it while its hot! The produce and meats are fantastic, as is the wine and beer selection. I need to remember to check to see if New Seasons has butter beans--I've looked at Fred Meyer (the Pacific Northwest's version of Kroger) to no avail.

Finally! I shall post photos of our apartment for y'all to see.

The Internet gods hopefully are smiling on me as I sit here at the oak table my husband LeRoy and I bought over 20 years ago in Houston, Tex. It was at a place called Nude Furniture; he sanded and stained it, making it our own dining spot where the four of us had many fun times and made memories to share.

I hope that this Mama & Me from PDX spot on the World Wide Web will become just such a place of fun times and memories shared.