Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!


Duncan, Cow-Dog, Purq and Flat Stanley might look like a quartet of wall flowers here in Duncan's chair. I assure you, they're actually a quartet of cool, party cats, even if Purq is the only real cat! They graciously agreed to pose for our warmest and best wishes for y'all to have a fun, safe New Year's Eve and a great 2008!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Snow No-Show


I'm not playing a silly trick,
Showing that moisture on the bricks.

No way, no how, no where, no snow.
That's how my wishes went from dawn to night
Sort of like this escalator appears to go
On 2nd Avenue--to nowhere, out of sight.

Snow did fall at a higher height
But just not where I stood Wednesday night.

About no snow, it's true, I'm sad.
About clear roads, for sure, I'm glad.
'Cause I made it home to size my photo at Flickr
And then to post it for y'all, friends/family extraordinare.

So, even with the snow a no-show
Tonight's post is still a go-go!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sparkly, sparkly night, NW 23rd at Glisan, a few blocks from home


This evening, I took this photo on the way home from the bank. I wanted to show you the lights on the trees. When I got home, it dawned on me that if our weather forecast comes true, I really should go back Thursday evening at the same time to take another photo for you.

As unreal as it sounds, here's what the local NBC affiliate predicts: "The National Weather Service issued a heavy snow warning which goes into effect from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday for the lower Columbia and greater Portland Metro area, with 3 to 6 inches expected in Portland by late afternoon. KGW Meteorologist Ron Pedersen said cooling temperatures and more precipitation Thursday would bring accumulating snow all the way down to the valley floor. Pedersen said drivers could see snow during the morning commute but that the main accumulation would happen later in the morning and into midday. He said that the lowest elevations in Portland could see several inches of sticking snow from this latest storm."

Rest assured, I'll be outside as much as work and weather allows, taking photos of any snow that I can find, and I'll make every effort to get to the corner of NW 23rd and Glisan once again.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Our Happy Holidays' Photo Shoot for Y'all

Flat Stanley and Duncan wish one and all a Merry Christmas, from the comfort of Duncan's pine green rocker.

Now, for the first time, meet two more of our loved ones. First on the left is Purq (pronounced Perk), our purple and turquoise cat. In the middle is Cow-Dog, whose creator repeated this question while fashioning him, "Am I making a cow or a dog?" And, of course, on the right is our well-loved, lucky boy, Flat Stanley himself. The guys are wishing you a Merry Christmas, from all of us here in Portland.

For a bit of levity, I thought I'd share this one with you, too. Duncan, our darling dachshund, couldn't stay still long enough to get a shot with all four of them. He sniffed at Purq and Cow-Dog, upsetting the precarious balance of Flat Stanley's Vespa, and decided it was now time to leave the pillow-filled armchair. I caught him before he could jump!

Let me say that I can't think of a better present for myself than the CDPB and all who post there. It's been an inspiration to me to visit as many cities as possible, to see the evidence of your love for where you live. I believe in what you're doing, for so many, many reasons. Thank you.

Finally, I must say, "Go Ducks! Go Beavers! Go Trail Blazers! And most of all, GO DAWGS! (as in Mississippi State Bulldogs)."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A bit about our mass transit trip to the eye doctor

Although I took this photo of the Portland Streetcar back in October, I wanted you to see this particular stop, at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital, so that you would know what the streetcar looks like and where Mama and I recently caught it.

On a good weather day, we could have walked the eight blocks. A couple of Mondays ago we knew it would be raining, maybe hard, but we still made the decision to go to her eye doctor appointment using only mass transit. People do it all the time in Portland--one of my bus buddies has not owned a car since 1976!

We boarded a 15 bus in front of the Goodwill Store on West Burnside, a block and a half south of us, but uphill all the way. The bus turned north on NW 23rd Avenue, and we rode downhill all the way to Lovejoy, where we got off and quick-stepped on a totally level sidewalk (thank goodness) to catch a waiting South Waterfront streetcar.


Naturally Flat Stanley accompanied us--he'd never been on a streetcar and was curious about how it compared to a TriMet bus. You can read all about the Portland Streetcar here. Flat Stanley himself was particularly pleased to read the section about bringing your bike onto the streetcar, just in case he ever decides to trade in his Vespa for a bicycle.

As you can tell, Mama got a kick out of Flat Stanley's sitting all by himself in the seat beside her. Since it was raining pretty hard, Mama had taken off her eyeglasses and put them into her pocket. She's holding tightly onto my somewhat water-resistant tote bag. I carry it in a downpour rather than my rolling bag because I can't figure out how to keep the rolling bag from getting drenched.


Did you notice those shiny spots on the floor? That's where rain dripped off people as they stood, waiting for their stop to come along. I'm surprised that the floor is that surface. It looks hazardous to me, but I don't particularly remember feeling unsafe.

We made it both directions without a hitch--riding the Portland Streetcar, braving the wind and rain--just like we'd lived up here all of our lives. We are Portlanders!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My most unique birthday, ever, on Dec. 12, 2007 ... and it's not because I turned 60!

Our new Portland friends, Fred and Lori, participate in the Christmas Ship Parade on the Columbia River, which is in between Oregon and Washington. They invited us to join the fun, and I was thrilled to pick the evening of my 60th birthday for our ride.

Here Fred is walking and/or helping Mama board the back of the Trader Vic, his family's boat. As you can see, other friends went, too. I counted five children--Fred's two and three of their friends--and 14 adults, including Mama and me--and one precious, well-dressed little Chihuahua named Lexi.

I'll go ahead and tell you that I managed to get on the Trader Vic in much the same manner, with lots of help.

Wikipedia: In the Hawaiian language, mele Kalikimaka is the translation of "Merry Christmas", and is used as such around Christmastime in Hawaii. The Hawaiian language does not have as many letters as the standard English Language (notably the letter R), and when Hawaiians heard the phrase "Merry Christmas", they tried to say it in their native tongue, thus was born "Mele Kalikimaka". The song "Mele Kalikimaka" (derived from the greeting) was penned by Robert Anderson. One of the earliest recordings of this song was by Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters in 1950 on Decca.

Fred's lights spell out the greeting for all to see and enjoy!

He made a palm tree for each side of the boat. They turned out very well as you can see.

While Fred didn't make this hula-skirted snowman--or is that a snow-wo-man?--it fits the theme perfectly and looks great at the front of the boat.

Here's a shot of Fred beside one of the palm trees, not too long before we moved out for the parade.

Flat Stanley couldn't help but notice Santa and a couple of reindeer in their convertible, sitting on the windowsill. The kids knew to push a button on the hood, then stand back for the fun. Turns out it's a lowrider, complete with the song, lights and up and down action. Here you can see that the car is up--check out the front wheel.

In this shot, you can see that less of the wheel is visible, proof indeed that this little car operates like a real, live lowrider. Personally, I love the thought of driving/operating and/or riding in a lowrider, music blasting, jumping up and down at red lights or in parades. I know, dream on, Lynette, you crazy nut!

You can see in this photo just how comfortable Mama's entire ride in the Christmas Ship Parade was--we were moving for at least two hours! We couldn't resist a photo of Flat Stanley and Lexi, both resting comfortably in Mama's arms.

Four of the kids stood with Flat Stanley, in the narrow area outside the cabin, at the back of the boat. Aren't they all cute as can be?

Flat Stanley picked this photo from several I took of him. He especially likes this one because the boat in the distance looks like a hat on the back of his head!

At one point I easily counted 20 different boats, and I couldn't see certain spots in the line due to maneuvers, etc. Naturally I took loads of photos, some of which turned out OK after trial and error on my part--the joys of digital photography!

We went east, we went west, we circled, we made figure eights, we went underneath the Interstate Bridge what carries Interstate 5 from Portland to Vancouver, Washington, we rode by restaurants and dwellings on the banks, we lined up facing the bank, and we spun around all in a row, several times. It was absolutely wonderful, every second of it.

Fred listened to a broadcast of which thing to do next and executed it all seamlessly. And thanks to my acu-pressure motion-sickness wristbands, I suffered not one second of queasiness or dizziness. I believe everyone had a blast, eating scrumptious finger foods like tiny Thai chicken pie, baguette pizza, spinach dip, rolls of salami and cream cheese, deviled eggs and loads of other goodies, all the while looking at the nearby brightly lit, beautiful parade of boats.

Here are some of the photos I took from the back of the Trader Vic.



See the Red Lion Hotel on the left of this photo? I think it's in Oregon, so you're looking more west than any other direction. Those tiny, straight-up-and-down pale whitish lights--sort of in a row about the height of the star on the Christmas tree-looking boat--I think they're on the Interstate Bridge.



You can tell that very often this brightly lit boat was closest to us. It was so beautiful that I couldn't resist taking numerous photos of it.

Here's two artistic photos of the bridge. If you believe that, I've got some beach front property to sell you, up in the Oregon high desert! You can tell that I was playing around with the settings on the camera.


Towards the end of the parade, we circled around several times in a cove or some such--I don't know all this nautical terminology, as you can tell by reading this post. Anyway, when this happened I got some pretty good close-up shots of quite a few of the boats. In the background you can see Christmas lights on all sorts of buildings, too. And you wouldn't believe the boats of all sizes docked all over the place. It was too dark to get photos of them, but they were something to see, too.








This boat with Dale Earnhardt's NASCAR number on it is special to me.













At the end of the evening, Fred and Lori pulled out this beautiful birthday cake, and the entire group sang "Happy Birthday" to me! Plus, everyone wished Fred an early "Happy Birthday;" his is Dec. 14.

Several of the kids enjoyed some of it before we all headed for home. A gal couldn't have asked for a more unique birthday celebration.