Saturday, October 21, 2006

Look at this. Can you believe it?

The top picture is out the living room windows that look north. Barely visible behind that power pole is what's left of Mt. St. Helen's, over in Washington. It's the same height at the pole, in the picture, and just a bit darker than the glorious blue sky.

The next picture is the same view, pulled back to show the cross street, too. Can you believe that tree? We think it's a sweet gum.

Here's the crane and a bit of those apartments or condos from the other picture, the one I took out my office window. It's up the street directly west of our apartment. I took this picture by opening the living room window, putting my camera strap on my wrist, bending down a bit, and sticking my upper body out the window. Four flights up! I've gone bananas in my old age.

That's our car, behind the blue one. You can see the tag on the front; Oregon requires tags on both ends of the car. When I found that parking space, I had been lucky three days in a row, finding ones right next to the building or just across the street. I took this photo out the bathroom window, but I didn't hang out of it.

Last is another shot of the trees across the street, through the living room windows. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Looking from my work window towards our new neighborhood

Just outside my cubicle, windows line the entire floor, looking southwest, west and northwest. Our new neighborhood is in the Northwest, just before the Northwest Hills begin to rise quickly a few blocks away. I decided to take a photo focused on the Northwest. Later on I realized I was able to see a landmark of sorts, just up the street a couple of blocks.

If you're standing in the bedroom or living room and decide to open a window and stick your head out a bit, up the hill to the left you can see a tall yellow construction crane and up on the steep hillside, tan apartmens or condos with dark brown roofs, stacked almost on top of one another. I think there are eight of them.

In the center of the photo, you'll notice a dark reddish-colored building, with two white satellite dishes on top of it. Dimly in the background above it, right between the two large white round dishes and just a smidge to the right of a trapezoid-shaped, rusty-brown roof, you can barely see the yellow construction crane and the buildings, looking a little bit like eight teensy beehives.

I find it totally cool that I can sort of see where I live from where I work.

I'm eatin' my oatmeal four stories up!

Good morning from PDX.

We made it. We're exhausted. We've got boxes all over the place. We've been sleeping fine. We haven't missed an episode of "Dancing with the Stars." All is right with the world!

The rain held off. In fact, the sun shined some of the time. The guys and their girlfriends worked and worked and worked. They stayed pleasant, even laughing now and then. Mama and I were good girls, too. I didn't stop to take any photos of all of their hard work, mainly because it took all of my brain power to contribute to the moving process.

I've made it to the office and back just fine, taking the 15 in the mornings and going the other way in the afternoons which means one transfer from the 4 or the 14 to the 15--not too much of a walk. This morning I believe I'll transfer on the way to work, though, because it's raining out. My shiny black rubber boots are not made for walking blocks and blocks, so I want to depart the bus across the street from my building. I'll take the 15 to the bus mall, then catch either the 4 or the 14, whichever comes first.

Finished my oatmeal, so gotta go get ready now. Bye.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Something Ken Patterson told me about my blog AND an update on our move

I was on the phone with Ken one day, thanking him for the umpteenth time for helping me select my Nikon Coolpix camera and discussing his blog vs my blog. Curious, I asked how did he get his photos to have text in between them? He explained that he uses Wordpress instead of Google. He then pointed out that viewers could click on my photos and enlarge them which you cannot do with Wordpress. I didn't know that about the photos, but I like it. So, in order to put yourself at the beach, in our apartment, on the streets of Portland, or where-ev-er, click on the photos.

Leland and I, mostly Leland, moved a great many boxes yesterday (that my sweet little Mama had packed while I was at work every day).

First, I filled up our car, for the trip to sign the papers, get the keys and have Duncan's photo taken. Round Hill Pacific (our owner and property management company) keeps a photo of renters' pets on file with all of the paperwork. He posed splendidly at the end of his leash. Leland met us there and held the leash while I talked sweet to Duncan, getting him to look up at the me. What I couldn't believe is that he stopped when I told him to, like a trained model. I held my hand up, palm facing him. I felt like Rudd Weatherwax with Lassie! Now that I think of it, though, Duncan is good about stopping when I say, "Wait, Duncan," when we're out walking, like wait at the corner with us while we watch for traffic or wait while we put your deposit into this little blue bag.

We drove over to the apartment from the leasing office, emptied the car and left Mama and Duncan in No. 414. Then Leland and I drove back over the river, on the Steel Bridge, a new one for me; there are 11 bridges over the Willamette River and two over the Columbia River, right here in Portland.

We filled up both of our cars. That was the easy part, comparatively speaking. We staggered our arrival times at the new apartment so that he could pull into the No Parking Zone right in front of the entrance, unload all of his car into the foyer, then move his car to a proper parking place, and find another parking place for me. He called and told me where he was standing in the parking place and I arrived and parallel parked, something I've been doing so much here that I'm getting better at it, not perfect, just better.

Anyway, then he would unload my car, putting all of the boxes in the foyer. My job was to load the elevator, propping the heavy metal door open with a box, catching the folding metal door with a small chain attached to it, and stacking away until Leland got finished unloading the car. He then quickly finished loading the elevator (ah, the joys of youth and strength) so that we could ride to our apartment on the top floor. Mama's been coyly telling people that we're in the penthouse! She's a hoot.

Leland then proceeded to unload the elevator into the hallway so that we could release it for other tenants. I carried as many boxes as he would allow me to carry into the apartment.

We did all of that twice. Whew.

Mama was emptying kitchen boxes as she felt like it, then resting at the card table, looking out the windows or into the apartment, visualizing how it will eventually look. By the time we left yesterday, just as it was getting dark, we had the path clear for furniture on Monday, so we felt pretty good about our efforts.

Speaking of Monday, the weather forecast is for showers. I certainly hope those bigger drops decide to fall somewhere else instead of on our furniture. I get's Your Weather & Travel Forecast every morning (doncha just love the Internet?), complete with tiny illustrations of the sun, clouds and rain. Today it's raining (I can hear it now and then actually, so I know it's more than wet air), and the illustration for Light Rain shows a puffy cloud with five elongated rain drops, with empty space between them. Later on today, when the temperature should get to 56, the illustration for Rain shows that same innocent looking cloud with eight of those elongated drops, jammed right up against one another. Monday's illustration is back to the five drops, so maybe we'll luck out and make it in between the drops; it's supposed to be 58 then, which won't be too bad.

Lamont moved in September to Lindsay's house, which I forgot to tell you in the other entry. One of her other roomies left, so it's just the three of them, Lindsay, Lamont and Brody. They all used to work together at the River Place Hotel. Lindsay's still bartending there, although she's added another restaurant three days a week and hopes to someday work her way out of the hotel. While Lamont and Brody were there, they discovered, just by accident during a conversation, that they had the same birthday, a couple of years apart. While that happens now and then, this doesn't. They were both born in Bethany Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas! And ended up working together in Portland, Oregon. Wild coincidence.

Howard and Vanessa visited Lamont and Leland August of 2005, while Lamont was still at the hotel. They had toured extensively in their rental car once her convention was finished (it was up in Seattle). One of the places they loved was the Oregon coast. In fact, they drove right where we had driven and stopped in Depoe Bay, too. Vanessa said there was so much fog they couldn't see anything, so she was happy we'd had good visibility and could see the whales. She got a warm jacket in the whale watching center, one with a whale on it naturally, because it was so cold. You could see from Mama in her shawl that it was cold this September, too.

The last of our neighbors in this building is moving out today. You should hear the sounds of furniture going down the stairs and the empty two-wheeler going back up. Makes me appreciate even more our elevator at the new place!

Gotta go get busy. More later, plus photos of other neat stuff (at least I think it's neat).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dressing room with built-in closet, drawers, and the entrance from bedroom window

Bedroom, trees across the street, and Bathroom

Kitchen and Storage Closet

Big change in where we're moving, and when.

This apartment building is in the Northwest, across the river from where we are now. I'll need to change the bus just once when the weather is bad, but otherwise I'll walk about 7 blocks after the bus crosses the river which won't be bad at all on the glorious weather days that happen around here.

Our apartment is the 4th floor one, on the corner. Mama's bedroom windows are on the right, in the sort of stucco part. The living room windows are in the brick part, and the one kitchen area window is in the stucco to the left of the brick part. There is an elevator, or we wouldn't have even been looking at this great apartment. Mama and Duncan are in the living room.

I'll still be sleeping in the corner of the living room, behind my screen, but who cares? Not I. Look at the built-in closet in the dressing room; that's my closet. Look at the humongous closet that runs right beside the entrance hall. Look at all the wonderfully empty walls. Yes, the kitchen is narrow, but that won't be a big problem.

Mama and I are thrilled with the hardwood floors--no allergy problems for yours truly. We're thrilled with the fact that there are no odd height steps or stairs, that the front steps have a handrail in the center. We're thrilled that the laundry room is on the first floor.

Here's a bit about our new neighborhood: Nob Hill/Northwest

Nestled into the base of Portland’s west hills, Nob Hill/Northwest is “the sophisticate” of Portland’s neighborhoods. Sharing more than a passing similarity to its San Francisco namesake, “Northwest,” as locals call it, enjoyed a renaissance in the 1990s. Turn-of-the-century Victorians line the narrow streets, offering visitors a glimpse into the city’s rich architectural past. Storefronts were restored to their original splendor, transforming Northwest 23rd Avenue (“Trendy-third”) into a shopper’s heaven. Scores of whimsical, independent and sophisticated boutiques offer everything from tiaras to topiaries. Restaurants, pubs and cafes, many of which open to the street in warmer months, offer perfect vantage points for some of the city’s best people-watching. Rounding out the atmosphere of Northwest are the many trees lining the streets – an unusual site in most urban landscapes, but par for the course in Portland.

Northwest’s City Market and Zupan’s are urban neighborhood markets with a Pacific Northwest twist. Local farmers and seafood purveyors supply the markets – as well as Portland’s best restaurants – with Oregon hazelnuts, Marionberries, pears, salmon, oysters, cheeses and mushrooms. The majority of these items are grown, caught or made within an hour’s drive of Portland.

For a taste of Nob Hill/Northwest: Try the tempting Thai at Typhoon! and delightful desserts at Papa Haydn, both of which are found along Northwest 23rd Avenue. Nearby 21st Avenue (“Restaurant Row”) is a mecca for gourmands seeking to sample the local cuisine at some of Portland’s finest eateries, including Paley’s Place, Lucy’s Table and Wildwood.

More whale-watchin'-weekend pix!

Whales and waves,
That's what Mama and I saw
Wows and raves,
That's what had us in awe.

Last weekend in September and whale watching in Depoe Bay, Oregon

The sun came out again in September, after several days of gray skies and rain, not rain like we know in Mississippi most of the time, though, just misty, drizzly moisture in the air. Mama and I realized that we might not get another sunny weekend, so we got Leland and Cristina to spend the night with Duncan and drove off to the Pacific Coast Saturday, all set to explore and then spend the night at Spirit Mountain Casino which is about an hour and a half, at the most, from our apartment.

I read online somewhere that Depoe Bay is is the place to be for whale watching at certain times of the year, so we opted to head for it in case I had guessed right that September was the right time. Being without a computer to check things out ahead of time was not much fun, but we went ahead and winged it.

That little building on the shore/cliff is the whale watching center. I let Mama off there, drove over the bridge and parked, then walked back towards Mama. Cold, stiff breezes met my every step. You can tell that Mama was very happy that I brought her shawl to her. (Later own the shawl would not have been enough if she had stepped out of the car--it turned cold!)

You can see the spray from the whale's blowhole in some of the shots, plus the whale's back just a little bit. We were amazed to see how close it really came to the shore. People and cars were lined up everywhere along both sides of Highway 101. After we watched and no more whales appeared, we drove on south towards Newport.

There's a famous chowder house there, Mo's, two of them in fact, but we couldn't find either one of them. However, on the way back up the coast, we managed to find Mo's West, out on a promontory where the wind whipped the car door out of Mama's hand when she opened. Cold! Wind! Mama ate the chowder; I only had a bite since it's mostly milk which I cannot tolerate. I ate a shrimp salad instead--pretty good, too.

It was about 8 p.m. when we got to the hotel, so we settled in and went to play the penny machines. We had lots of fun but didn't win big. Still and all, it was a great weekend.

In Leland's new Honda, on the road to Boring, OR

Lots has changed for all six of us, way up here in Portland. Leland and Cristina have moved in with her mom and step-dad, out on 367th, in Boring, Oregon. They're adding onto the house, sort of a glorified mother-in-law area. That great big hole in the ground that you can see through the window is where most of it will be. If it had not been a cloudy day, I could have taken some great shots of Mt. Hood, which is due left of the macrame thing hanging on the patio. Those pictures will come with time, I assure you.

In order to get back and forth from 367th (where he now lives) and 37th (where he works), Leland needed a car. Thanks to his wheeler-dealer girlfriend and her mom, he now has the deal of the century as far as I can see. They talked the dealership into an insert that protects the trunk, the license plate that won't run out until 2010, and lifetime oil changes for free, AND the new cute little Honda Civic cost no more than some used ones they'd been shopping.

When we rode out to Boring with Leland to see the blueprints and the big hole in the ground, Mama and Duncan enjoyed their ride in the back seat! Leland asked me to take those shots of that barn because he thinks it looks neat. How about you?

It's catch-up time! Sheriff's Picnic, Sept. 9, at Oaks Park

Now that my computer operates as Apple intended, I shall blog until my shoulders ache from trying to sit properly while typing.

At the picnic, there was the usual food, plenty of it--all tasty. Here's a bit about Oaks Park, a really fun place for a picnic.

"Surrounded by the same stately trees for which it was named, The Oaks, in Portland, Oregon in 2005 will celebrate its 100th consecutive year of operation, making it one of the oldest continuously operating amusement parks in America. Built by the Oregon Water Power and Navigation Company, the park opened its gates on May 30, 1905 to Portlanders who arrived by foot and on horseback, in automobiles and by boat from the Willamette River. In keeping with the design of other "Trolley Parks" across the country, most of its visitors disembarked from trolley cars which ran along the Portland-to-Oregon City tracks forming the eastern boundary of the park.

In the spring of 1925, Edward H. Bollinger purchased the operating company then purchased the park comprising of 44.01 acres in 1943 from the Portland Electric Power Company. Ownership passed to Robert E. Bollinger, son of Edward, in 1949 and he continued to operate the park until January 1, 1985, at which time he donated The Oaks to a nonprofit corporation he had formed to perpetuate the park. We operate weekends only in the spring and early fall and daily throughout the summer. The skating rink operates year round.

The Oaks skating rink floor is made of wood construction and is over 100' x 200' in size. It is maintained meticulously and is in excellent condition. Best of all we have live organ music to skate the day away."

You can see Cristina (dark hair), Leland's girlfriend, Leland, and Lindsay (Lamont's girlfriend), Mama and me in silly photos; Lindsay, Leland and Cristina after the gals had ridden the carousel; me in that skating rink where I managed to make it around one time only to canned '80s dance music, not organ music! and the little yet wild roller coaster which thankfully we were not riding. Maybe next year when we return as an agency for another picnic.