Saturday, February 24, 2007

Duncan, his toy fire truck, and his two favorite females!

I got this fire truck at a garage sale when we lived in the other apartment. I made the decision to put it on the floor to see if it made any sounds when rolled, and Duncan took over as its owner. He pushed, yipped, grabbed, chased and loved every second of it. Sometimes he even grabbed ahold of the ladder and tossed the truck! Trouble was, he got so loud that people could hear him clear out on the sidewalk! And he'd get so excited that he just about choked himself. So, these days we pick and choose when to take the fire truck down from atop the fridge. Naturally, we had to show Bob and Pat how much fun the little guy has with it. I took the first two shots, Bob the third one.

I can't remember what made us laugh so, but Bob captured it very well, don't you think?

Here's another bridge and two pix from Bob and Pat, adding to the fun of our day in the sun

That's the Fremont Bridge soaring high above these buildings and streets in the Pearl District. Here's what Wikipedia says about the Pearl:

The Pearl District is a former warehouse and light industrial area just north of downtown Portland, Oregon now noted for its art galleries and upscale businesses and residences. Its boundaries are West Burnside Street on the south, NW Broadway on the east, the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks to the north, and the Interstate 405 Freeway on the west. The area has undergone significant development since the late 1990s and is now full of high-rise condominiums and warehouse-to-loft conversions.

In the late 1980s, an elevated highway ramp that ran along NW Lovejoy St. from the Lovejoy bridge past NW 10th Ave. was demolished, opening dozens of surrounding blocks (including some brownfield sites) for development, which peaked in the 2000s. The increasing density has attracted a mix of restaurants, brewpubs, shops, and art galleries, though in some cases pioneering tenants have been priced out of the area.

According to the Pearl District Business Association, Thomas Augustine, a local gallery owner, coined the name Pearl District more than 10 years ago to suggest that its industrial buildings were like crusty oysters, and that the galleries and artists' lofts within were like pearls. "There were very few visible changes in the area," says Al Solhiem, a developer who has been involved in many projects in the district. "People would drive by and not have a clue as to what was inside." As local business people were looking to label the growing area—the "warehouse district" or the "brewery district" were two suggestions—a writer for Alaska Airlines borrowed Augustine's phrase, according to Solheim. The name stuck.

The area is home to several Portland icons, including Powell's City of Books. The former Weinhard Brewery, which operated continuously from 1864 to September 1999, was shut down by Stroh's upon the purchase of the Weinhard's brand by Miller Brewing and sold for redevelopment as the Brewery Blocks. Art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants abound, and there are also a number of small clubs and bars. The United States Post Office main processing facility for all of Oregon and SW Washington was built in the Pearl in 1964, next to Union Station. This location was chosen in order for the post office to be able to better serve towns outside the Portland metro area.

New buildings include the Elizabeth Lofts at 9th and Everett. Two of the rescued Lovejoy Columns, which were painted by Tom Stefopoulos, were recently installed in the plaza adjoining Elizabeth Lofts.

The Pearl District is home to a number of local artists and art institutions. Area art galleries sponsor simultaneous artists' receptions on the first Thursday of every month.

The district includes most of the historic North Park Blocks (1869), as well as two recently developed, highly innovative public plazas: Jamison Square (2000) is built around a fountain which simulates a tidal pool (very popular with toddlers) that is periodically filled by artificial waterfalls and then drained into a grating. Tanner Springs Park (2003) is a recreated natural area featuring wetlands, walking trail, and creek.

The Portland Streetcar, which opened in 2001, runs through the district. Free wireless internet (provided by Personal Telco) is available throughout the Pearl District. The movie Drugstore Cowboy (1989), by Gus Van Sant, has several scenes shot in the old industrial neighborhood, which was then known as the "Northwest Industrial Triangle."

I haven't seen all of Portland's bridges yet, but the Fremont is the most beautiful one I've seen. It's also so high up in the air that just looking at it makes my chest tighten. However, I can truthfully testify that I've driven back and forth over it, twice. Yes, I get into the middlemost lane that I possibly can; thank goodness the outside width of the bridge is 81 feet, according to my copy of "The Portland Bridge Book." Yes, I do continue to breathe. Yes, I am certain that I can do anything that normally scares me about heights and motion since I've driven 175 feet up in the air on the lower deck and even higher on the upper deck. And I know that I'll get some magnificent photos of the Fremont Bridge to share with you. In the meantime, if you're becoming consumed with curiousity about Portland's bridges, why not get your own copy of Sharon Wood Wortman and Ed Wortman's book. You couldn't do any better because she loves these bridges so very much, and Ed is a bridge engineer who worked on the Fremont.

Here we are at the end of our walk with the Musburgers. That's Pioneer Courthouse in the background. It's the oldest Federal building in the Pacific Northwest and the second oldest west of the Mississippi.

There we are, Bob, me and Mama, with the marina and the Marquam in the background.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Up, up and away in a sleek silver gondola!

December 31, 1972, might have been one cold day, but it was also a day filled with the warmth of love, a love that lasted throughout just over 10 years that I got to share with my beloved husband LeRoy. We were married at 2:30 p.m. in Bob Musburger's home, beautifully decorated for the holiday season. The Musburgers and LeRoy had been friends for a number of years. Fast forward to April, 1983 and Houston, Texas. LeRoy died there at the VA Hospital on April 14, just a few days before Bob came to interview for a professor position at the University of Houston where he stayed for 20 years, I think. Fast forward one more time, to the Pacific Northwest. Bob and Pat have retired to Seattle, to be uncle and aunt and great-uncle and great-aunt to beloved family members. Mama and I moved to Portland to be near mine and LeRoy's swell sons, Lamont and Leland. Stop on Feb. 16 when Pat had an iyengar yoga meeting in Portland, the two of them rode the train down from Seattle, and we all ate dinner at 3 Doors Down Cafe where those sons of mine (along with the rest of the crew) regularly create magic known to one and all as delicious food. Saturday was supposed to be beautiful, so Mama and I agreed to meet the Musburgers near their hotel and take a trolley ride to Portland's brand spankin' new aerial tram. It turned out to be a jewel of a day.

You must be wondering why in the world I would even contemplate riding in something that looks like this, so high up in the air. Well, I decided that I'd been up in the London Eye twice, on the same day no less, and thoroughly enjoyed myself, so surely I could do this. Mama was so excited, too. Just after we got off the trolley and crossed the street to get in line for our free ride, I took this shot of one of the cars coming to roost at the lower station. During February the public can ride for free Friday evenings and all day Saturday. That column there, known as an intermediate tower, causes the car to sway going or coming. Here's a bit of what Wikipedia has to say about the tram:

The Portland Aerial Tram is an aerial tramway in Portland, Oregon. It connects the city's South Waterfront district with Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and the Marquam Hill neighborhood surrounding the university, and introduces another mode of transportation in Portland. The tram opened to OHSU employees on December 1, 2006, and to the public on January 27, 2007.

The tram travels a horizontal distance of 3300 feet in a ride that lasts thee minutes. Its upper terminal is adjacent to OHSU, 140 feet above grade, and connected to the ninth floor of a new patient care facility on the university's campus. Its lower terminal in the South Waterfront is the focal point for a mass transit center (the Portland Streetcar extends from downtown to the South Waterfront) and development in the surrounding area by OHSU and others. A single intermediate tower supports the tram's cables between the two terminals, allowing the tram to rise 500 feet over Interstate 5.

The tram cars carry a maximum of 78 passengers per trip, with cars leaving every 5 minutes. Transportation officials estimate the tram will carry over 1,500 people a day initially, with up to 5,500 by 2030. On October 29, 2006, the tram's two cars arrived from Switzerland after a week-long delay.

The tram cabins are shaped and painted to look like "bubbles floating through the sky"; the surface of the cabins reflect and refract light, minimizing their visual impact to the neighborhood underneath.

Here's Bob and Pat, seated in our apartment in front of my glass display case, topped with Ruby Pearl, the Yes Dear Girl.

Looking north and east from the observation deck at OHSU, you get the idea just how flat or level part of Portland is.

There's Mount St. Helen's in all its glory. I wish all of it was still there; old photos show just how beautifully symmetrical it was before the eruption. It seems to be hovering, like a spacecraft on the horizon, doesn't it?

That's my building, that red brick one I've zoomed in on, just beyond the decks of the Marquam.

Here's the shot before I zoomed in. Those lanes of the Marquam must be the ones "The Portland Bridge Book" mentions on pg. 69. It seems the Portland Art Commission didn't like the "spaghetti" ramps. They must not have been able to see them from this angle. To me the design is dynamic, full of motion. From my windows at work, I've seen traffic backed up on both decks, so sometimes motion stands still.

This is the car going into the lower station, down by the river.

Outside of the 9th floor at the Kohler Pavilion up at OHSU, there stands a sculpture that took my breath away, conveying such heart-felt compassion. I found out that it's "Standing Lady Hare with Dog" by Sophie Ryder. That's all I know right now, but I plan to learn more before my next trip up there to see it again.

Can you see those tiny people in line on the sidewalk? That's where we'd been earlier. The first weekend it was open to the public an estimated 10,000 people took a ride. Wow.

You can see both cars easily here, as they cross paths between the intermediate tower and the upper station. The lady operator onboard told me that the cars are traveling 22 mph. I didn't notice much about that, and thanks to my motion sickness bracelets, I managed to deal with the swaying very well, going up and coming down.

This yellow construction crane is near the upper station.

Mt. Hood peaked out of the clouds, shortly after we had made it out onto the viewing deck.

Here's a teensy rainbow on the steps between the two levels of the viewing deck. I was so taken with it that I didn't even look to see what was acting as a prism to cause it. I'm slipping, y'all.

Tell me what you think of "Standing Lady Hare with Dog," please.

Along the Willamette River and into downtown Portland on a sunny Saturday

We rode the trolley away from the lower aerial tram station, then got off and walked down to the river. After a light lunch at the Little River Cafe, we walked all the way along the river about half way to the Morrison Bridge. Then we crossed into downtown and walked some more. Mama did extremely well for an 81-year-old lady, let me tell you. We ended up meeting Leland and going inside the Pioneer Place Mall to the Food Court for coffee, pastries, ice cream--whatever struck our fancy--before saying goodbye. Bob and Pat had to catch an evening train back to Seattle.

I don't know if I can truly express my feelings about these bridges in Portland. I fancy them. I'm in awe of them. I'm curious about them. I love them.

I've yet to be near the Hawthorne Bridge and its 165-foot tall lift towers when the bridge has been raised. Those red counterweights, made of reinforced concrete, weigh 880,000 pounds each! One of these days, I'll get a stupendous photo to share with you. Afterall, it's raised every eight hours to keep its bearings greased, so I should get the perfect chance.

Isn't that green grass lovely from afar? Up close, I imagine the geese deposits make it less so. Click on the photo and you can see the flock dining away. Later on a long-haired dachshund, on a leash thank goodness, delighted in running hither and yon as goose after goose took flight. The dachshund's person soon was picking up his/her feet, checking the bottom of his/her shoes. (I cannot remember if it was a man or a woman!)

You can tell just how bright the sun shone from the shadow cast by Mama's visor. She, Pat and Bob kindly posed for me. As we walked along, I kept thinking of the day it snowed and of my walk across the bridge. What a great memory.

This marina is beside the Riverplace Hotel, where Lamont used to be the sous chef. You can see the Marquam (pronounced Mark-em) in the background. Opened in 1966, this bridge made it possible to traverse I-5 from Mexico to Canada. Another negative comment about the Marquam from The Portland Art Commission likened it to the Erector Set toy of days gone by. Personally, I find it impressive and usefully majestic in demeanor. I've even managed to head south over it, driving along on the bottom level, 130-feet above the river.

Thanks to my zoom lens, you can see Mt. Hood peaking through beneath the decks of the Marquam as it soars over the east side of the river.

What do you think of the old building reflected in a puddle on the street? See the leaf floating at the top of the building, since it's upside down?

I think this interesting sign sums up one of the many rewarding and enriching aspects of Portland, not just that there are people who would care enough to post it, but also that those same people have faith that those who read it will heed it. Many will, I'm sure.

The Morrison Bridge sports brand new energy efficient LED lighting on those massive bascule piers. A group of community volunteers known as the Willamette Light Brigade works toward their goal of providing architectural lighting for all of the Portland bridges that cross the Willamette. Here's a link to how the lighting looked before the LED change:
For Christmas, the lights were red and green. This particular bridge opens up like two drawbridges facing each other in a duel.

That's my building to the right of Mt. Hood. Remember, Mt. Hood is at least 60 miles away.

One of loads of tiles with phrases or quotes on them, on SW Yamhill. For a moment, I thought about breaking out into the "Hokey Pokey."

I couldn't resist having Mama and Pat stand beside this wonderful, wonderful plaque. Click on the image so that you can read it, please. I believe it was on the wall of Tiffany's, as were the two sculptures. They're what's known as bas relief, arent' they? Someone out there knows. Please share with me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hi! I Monster! Me Mama and me Grandma and me best bud Duncan said I should go online and wish y'all lots-a-love today. So, here I am! All three of them send you loads of hugs and smiles today.

Lamont, Lindsay, Leland and Cristina send you luv today--it's luv instead of love 'cause they're young and groovy, just like you!

Me Mom also said I should tell y'all to look for as many people that you love and give them a great big hug so they know you love them. Sorry I won't be there to help you look 'cause I can really see a lot with my big eye. Don't forget to smile at them, too.

You cannot see it, but I have a great big heart inside my little round kiwi-green-self, so I send you my love, too. I prefer to think of it has Happy V-Day myself. Think I should start a movement to change it? No. You're right. Why get Cupid's dander up?

Before I go, let me get in a plug for me Mama--I'm an art car that she made herself! Wasn't she sweet to give me this van decorated with so many googly eyes as my perch in life? I one happy monster, I tell you!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Lamont's new bike ...

I took these photos in the lobby. As you can tell, I just barely got far enough away to get all of Lamont and the Masi. I like how this turned out though, with the sconces on each side of his head, how straight up he's standing, helmet and messenger bag slung over his shoulder.

This photo is taken from the other part of the lobby, one step up from the floor where Lamont stood.

Lindsay's bike was locked up outside; they ride all over the place together.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Yippee! The Colts are World Champs!

Could you believe that rain? How about the pre-game and half-time shows? All that color and motion from Cirque du Soleil and Prince and those marching bands with the glow-in-the-dark stuff!

Which commercial(s) did you like the best? I liked the Taco Bell lions, the Bud Light gorillas, the Budweiser crabs, Nationwide K-Fed (Go figure.), Coca-Cola Black History Month, General Motors' carwash dudes (It's gettin' hot in here!), the Doritos crash and the check-out girl (Hilarious.), the Budweiser fake dalmation on the beer truck, the Snickers' mechanics kissing and then pulling out plugs of chest hair (Yuck.), Emerald Nuts and Robert Goulet (What was that all about anyway?), HP and Orange County Choppers (I love that mustache.), that guy teaching the English-as-a-second-language students about how to say Bud Light, and Jay-Z and Don Schula for Budweiser with that virtual football game.

Best of all, David Letterman and Oprah Winfrey, side-by-side on the couch, pullin' for their home teams! Plus the Blockbuster rabbit and gerbil with the mouse! The first was totally unexpected while the second was creative fun.

I didn't like the Tundra ones or the Career Builder ones. I'm neutral and/or unimpressed by the rest.

Gooooood Morning, A-mer-i-ca!

The sun has risen on PDX on Super Bowl Sunday! For your viewing enjoyment, two shots from our kitchen window, one of the many gorgeous sunrises I've seen since we moved up here.

Y'all pull hard for whichever team you love, or for whichever team you want to win because they beat your favorite team in the playoffs. As for me, I'm a Colts' fan, even if they did high-tail it to Indianapolis all of a sudden. I still remember the days of Johnny Unitas in Baltimore. My advice, if you don't have a clue who he is, take a look at these few paragraphs maintained on a Web site by Johnny, Jr. That'll fill you in, stat-wise. So will this career summary at

Truth be told, I do wish so much that the Saints were playing the Colts today. That would have been so fine. Didn't come about, though. Made me sad, too, when the Bears won that game because I wanted all of those Mississippi ties to be flaunted across the world in the gargantuan sporting event. Maybe next year, right? Until then, there's still that Manning Mississippi thing going on.

Anyway, it ought to be a great few hours later on today, what with the commercials, the football players and their coaches giving it their all.

And I cannot wait for Prince at halftime. Whoopee! When Lamont and Leland were young, Prince scared the hell outta me when we first saw him together on MTV. Not me, the music-lover-woman, me the mother-of-two-susceptible-little-boys. Thank goodness, we all grew out of that!

If you're havin' a Super Bowl Party, or goin' to one, take some pictures! I'd love to see 'em! At least e-mail me the menu!