Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Dinner, Nov. 22, 2007


Just as we left the building to go over to the young folks for Thanksgiving dinner--deviled eggs in hand, well in our plastic deviled-egg-carrier--we met some of our building buddies on the front steps. Left to right, that's Aster with Duke, and Hilary with Tucker. We exchanged Happy Thanksgiving wishes right after I snapped the photo.


Our first view of turkey no. 1 as Lamont bastes it with melted real butter.


There's turkey no. 2, in the oven, and the dressing. Lamont had to carefully shift things around so that he could get that second turkey out for its basting. They both went back into the oven to finishing baking.


Leland's getting the cornbread for dinner ready to go into that busy oven. Most of the cornbread made before we got there went into the dressing which also included pancetta and onions. According to Chow dot com, "Pancetta is cured pork belly, the Italian equivalent of bacon. Unlike American bacon, however, pancetta is cured with a variety of herbs, spices, and garlic, and is left unsmoked. Pancetta is usually rolled and tied in a cylindrical shape, then hung to dry. Some versions, such as the variety made in Florence, are left flat." I don't know which shape the guys started with--it's the flavor that counts.



All five burners were in business, too!


Cornbread's done--looks good and smells good, too.


Turkey's done--looks good and smells good, too.


Side dishes are done--look good and smell good, too. Left front is the dressing, then fresh cranberry sauce (dried cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest), with gravy last. On the right is the big red pot of lima beans (okra, pancetta, onions), then mustard and collard greens with hamhock, and our cornbread--the plate sitting on top of it with the stick of real butter is keeping it warm!


Lamont carves the turkey.


Lindsay's centerpiece looks very pretty, don't you think?

Now for a photo of everyone and their plates!




Lamont and Lindsay




My plate. You can tell by looking that we were hungry. I can tell you that we got full, enjoying every bite.


Friends Alaina and Philip live two doors up the street from the young folks. They invited us to their apartment for dessert, her homemade pumpkin pie and fruit cobblers. My photos of the cobblers turned out blurry--I believe it was dessert-anticipatory-excitement that caused my hands to shake! I should point out that we ate dessert well over two hours after we'd finished dinner.

Now for the rest of the Thanksgiving dinner story.


Flat Stanley meets Scooner, the great big cat who likes to spend time on top of the warm cable box.


Zach, Lindsay's original cat, enjoys a nap in his new favorite spot, on top of the laudry waiting to be done.


Leslie stopped by for a bite after she dropped off Chris--poor guy had to work! (They're fellow Mississippians turned Portlanders.) Their baby is Brixx, a 10-month old rottweiler. She's a great big, energetic doll!


Lindsay loves on Nari, the smaller of their two black cats.


Scooner mental telepathy: You didn't really mean it when you tried to change the channel, did you?


How fashionable! A black fur collar, brought to you by Scooner.


Scooner's finished being Lindsay's fur collar. Bye-bye, big kitty.

Thanks to all of you for sharing our blessings of the day. There's no way to number them--or the blessings of our lives--when you get right down to it, is there?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pioneer Courthouse Square: Christmas Tree Lighting on Nov. 23


After work I made my way by bus across the Willamette, getting off at SW 2nd and Taylor, like always. But this evening was different, clear and cold and filled with people walking as far as I could see. I joined them, and we walked toward Pioneer Courthouse Square, situtated between SW Broadway on the west, SW 6th Avenue on the east, SW Yamhill on the south, and SW Morrison on the north. The MAX runs to the east on Yamhill and to the west on Morrison. Lots of people ride the MAX or a TriMet bus to the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, always held on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving. The 75-foot Douglas fir, donated ty Stimson Lumber in Gaston, Oregon, waited patiently as the crowd gathered.

Once I found a place to stand, almost at the southeast corner of the square, I got Flat Stanley out of my rolling bag and tucked him into the front of my coat. Standing at the top of a short flight of steps, beside a brick wall which meant at least one side of me would be protected from the jostling of the crowd, I was also excited at the view I had of the tree just past the ride side of a woman sitting on the wall. Not five minutes later a man scooted up onto the waist-high brick wall and sat right beside her, blocking my view of the tree by at least 85 percent. Oh, well, I knew that I could count on having a clear view at some point before I walked off to catch a #15 home, over at the corner of SW Washington and Broadway.



You can see by the difference in these two photos that the crowd soon overflowed the square, filling SW 6th Avenue in front of the Pioneer Courthouse, the oldest federal building in the Pacific Northwest and the second oldest west of the Mississippi River. I got to my spot about 5:15 p.m., so I imagine that I took the first photo by 5:25 p.m. The street is SW Yamhill, looking southeast. About 20 minutes later the same corner looked like the second photo. Multiply that scene on all four corners plus the entire block which the square occupies--lots and lots of people, just like last year. Marvelous.

While we waited the Portland Jazz Orchestra, resident ensemble of the Portland Jazz Festival, and vocalist Valerie Day entertained with Christmas music. It was obvious that the crowd liked best their New Orleans-style version of one song--I swore I'd remember which one and now I can't, doggone it--maybe it was "I'll Be Home for Christmas." Anyway, it got a roaring response as the last note wafted away above our heads. Before long, we started to sing Christmas carols with Day and the musicians. I lucked out this year and managed to get a copy of the "Winter at the Square," an event guide and songbook. Neat!


KGW Channel 8, the NBC affiliate, covered the event live by helicopter, so the flipping of the switch had to happen precisely at 6:11 p.m. We joined the 5-4-3-2-1 countdown and I clicked this photo just as the lights blazed.


A few minutes later the man moved out of the way, the man whose side you can see in the photo of the lit tree, and I set Flat Stanley on the waist-high brick wall for this shot. Look how happy he is to be there! I felt the same way, despite the cold.


Once I thought I could get close enough for a photo of the bandstand for you, I walked down the steps and inched my way through the crowd diagonally across the square. Another flight of steps afforded me the chance to get this photo. Every step of the way, I sang along. It was wonderful because no one could hear me since there were so many voices raised in song. I let got and had fun!


Parallel with the north side of the square, folks boarded the westbound MAX.



I hope you like this photo of the MAX heading west on the street decorated with lights. I do.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving to One and All


I took the little guy to Zupan's after work today. My goal--cheesecake. See the third shelf down from the top? The small round disc with the cherries on top? From the front of the case to the back, those are all small cheesecakes. I got a plain one this time--if it's as good as it looks, I'll go back at some point for a marionberry one.

Flat Stanley agreed to pose for you in front of the case filled with delicacies. The bakery sales associate said it would be OK for me to take his photo there. I think he looks pretty good there, don't you?

What's your favorite holiday dessert?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Flat Stanley visits the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, Oct. 14

Miss Edna, Flat Stanley and I headed for McMinnville because I figured that the little guy would love visiting the airplanes and helicopters. I know I've been wanting to see that huge wooden airplane, the Spruce Goose, the one that Howard Hughes designed and had built. McMinnville is only an hour from Portland by Buick.


Flat Stanley had heard Miss Edna and me talking about the Dairy Queen in Newberg where we've enjoyed a milkshake or two. As we neared it he asked, "Could we stop for an ice cream cone, please?" I like a young man with good manners! All he wanted was that ice cream cone--it's big enough to satisfy a crowd of people! Mama and I got the four chicken stips meal to share.



"Look! Look!" Flat Stanley hollered, excited at what he could see from the highway as we approached the turn off for the the museum. Colorful hot air balloons! As we got closer, I realized they were teathered and that a small crowd had gathered no doubt waiting for their turn in the basket.

We were thrilled to see this kind of aircraft, so to speak, which made us even more excited about touring the museum. Unfortunately, the museum was closed for a private party, preventing our entering it. We did have fun outside, though.


First we spent a moment of silence at this memorial, right out front of the museum. I was happy that Flat Stanley wanted his photo beside it so that everyone could read what it says.


Flat Stanley decided this was close enough to get to the camo-jet on display outside the museum building that houses the Spruce Goose.


On the opposite side of the entrance to the museum, Flat Stanley poses in front of a plane that sports a pin-up girl on its nose. When we visited the museum's Web site later on, we found out that soldiers sometimes called planes like this one Gooney Birds or Goonies. "That's funny!" Flat Stanley said. I asked him if he'd seen that movie "Goonies," and he told me that he liked it a lot. (Maybe we'll get to go over to the Cannon Beach so we can show him that great big rock that's in the movie. Folks affectionately call it the Gooney Rock; it's official name is Haystack Rock. We'll see how it goes with time and the weather--sometimes the roads can be bad between here and the coast in the winter. The possibility of a visit is a secret, so don't tell the little guy if you see him, OK?)


We found this sign in the ground beside plane.


Out in front on the plane, there's a small sitting area with this sign in it. Flat Stanley wondered about having the benches and the picnic table there in the little garden. I explained that many of the visitors to the museum would be veterans of different wars, some of them getting on up their in years. Those folks would appreciate having a bench to sit on while thinking back to their days in uniform. "I bet families with kids would like that picnic table," he told me, "because they could sit down and eat something before they go inside the museum." He's a smart kid, isn't he?



Around to the side of the parking lot between this building and a new one being built, there's a fenced area. Flat Stanley decided to stay in the car to take a look at this Navy helicopter. Miss Edna made sure he didn't fall out onto the pavement.


At the back of the main museum building, Flat Stanley spied this plane. We didn't know what it was, but he wanted his photo beside it anyway.


Then we walked to the front of the plane for a photo and found out that the plane is a MIG. Can you see it in the orange circle? "I like the paint on this plane," Flat Stanley said. "I bet it's blue on the bottom and camo of the top to make it hard to see from anywhere at all. What do you think?" he asked me. I had to agree with him. "I'm proud of you for noticing that," I told him as we drove away from the museum. "We'll come back for another visit soon," I promised.

You can see that Oct. 28 visit at Portland (OR) Daily Photo. You won't want to miss it because the little guy had a blast--got to meet some "movie star" types even!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fall Fun, Flat Stanley Style! Part Three at Sweet Oregon Berry Company


For over a year, I've wondered and wondered about this school bus in a field, at the intersection of Hwy 99W South and Hwy 18W, about 40 minutes west of Portland. Its unique appendages--a VW van and a VW Bug--visible from the highway, always attracted a glance. With the addition of a fall carnival at the Sweet Oregon Berry Company, Mama and I knew we had to take Flat Stanley there, so we visited it on Oct. 27. Here's Mama, "Miss Edna" to Flat Stanley, with the little guy standing outside the fence with the bus in the background. Those inflatables are not usually there--they appear to be a couple of tombstones and some sort of growling dog--Halloween horror/fun. The bus door, standing open, invited folks in for a short scary tour.


Above and below, you see three photos of Flat Stanley and a Ford backhoe. Heavy equipment and boys go together like hamburgers and French fries.




Lots of kids got their photos taken in front of these scary creatures. Flat Stanley stood very close; he's brave.


You can see just how brave in this close-up. Thank goodness the keyboard player seemed more interested in making music than in grabbing a guy on a Vespa!


Flat Stanley thought everyone in Mississippi (and elsewhere) ought to see this great big tomato!


I think that this is just about my favorite photo of Flat Stanley so far--he looks splendid among these Japanese lanterns.