Saturday, May 19, 2007

Milton and Kay are here from Mississippi! Day One and the Evening Before ...

Our buddies, our adopted family members have driven up to see us, all the way from Mississippi! The left Byram, where they spent Mother's Day with their children's families, at 2 a.m. Mississippi time and were in Pueblo, Colorado, by 6 p.m. Colorado time! By noon Friday they were just about at our apartment. It's a great big thrill for all of us to be together again. When I get some more time, I'll fill in the details of our friendship that is seven years old.

As they used their wits, their GPS, their Chevy Silverado diesel, and their driving talents to make their way from Mississippi to Oregon, both of them took pictures, too. Kay and I have made one trip already to Walgreens to put the photos on our cards onto CDs. We're gonna see lots and lots more this week, so we have to be ready!

Friday afternoon Leland came by for a visit before he went to work. Later that evening, after dining on roast, potatoes and carrots that Mama had cooked in our cute apartment, the four of us took the #15, then the #14 over to Three Doors Down so we could surprise Lamont. I should point out thatn We just went for dessert--Mama got the bread pudding, Milton and Kay got the banana cream pie, and I got the bocca negra (I thing I spelled that correctly). Every morsel was divine.

Today we met Lamont, Lindsay and Leland at a restaurant at 23rd and E. Burnside, the Screen Door, for brunch at 11 a.m. today. (Christina had to work, doggone it. But she sent her love, sweet gal that she is!) We rode the #20 over and enjoyed looking at the flowers in a couple of front yards across and down the side street from the restaurant. Then we dined on some great breakfast foods; there's a good chance we'll go back there again. After riding the #20 back towards the west, we got off and walked down the stairs to the Saturday Market, an arts and crafts show. The kids came on their bicyles. Next we rode on home to get ready to watch the NASCAR All Star Challenge.

As we walked down the hill from Burnside, I took the last few pictures of those light green blossoms. They are on several different trees. Once again, I need your help. What is that tree, please? Thanks!

Milton took the first pictures is of the road out of Jackson Hole. The next two pictures show our Mt. Hood, as Kay drove them towards Portland on I-84.

We waited for the #20 Saturday morning right across the street from the Walgreens. Lo and behold, this is the exact same place I used to wait for the bus back to the Benson Hotel on our first visit to Portland in the summer of '04! I'd go into that store and put my photos on CDs, print some of them, and cross the street and get onto the #20 when it arrived.

You can see the building called The Big Pink; Lamont and Leland used to work on the 30th floor at the Portland City Grill.

Kay and I couldn't believe it when a lady on the porch where the iris bloomed told us to smell them, that they smelled just like grape KoolAid--it was astonishing!

Here're the bike riders! Leland, Lamont and Lindsay arrive! Seeing those helmets makes a Mama proud, let me tell you. We did miss Christina, though, because she had to work!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Here's the answer! And a serendipitous extra, informative, tidbit.

The very next morning after posting my plea, on my desk at work I found an open book, "The Garden Planner," with a slim sticky note attached to its fourth illustration. "It's a form of pieris. Marsha'" the note read. I knew someone up here in Portland would know the answer. Marsha lives and breathes gardening, so it came as no surprise to me that she had the book with the answer in her desk. Neat-o! Marsha also gave me the name of those beautifully delicate and odd chartreuse plant-thingeys I had posted back in March, part of the natural pink and green photographs that led up to the Sweet Potato Queens. According to Marsha and her book, those chartreuse parts on euphorbia are "big bright flower heads ... particularly striking in spring and early summer." How understatedly true.

That flagged entry mentioned that Pieris Forest Flame mimics the red shoot tips of Photinia Red Robin. Catherine, another avid gardener I work with every day, had e-mailed photinia as a possibility for my mystery plant. Using Google Images, I saw that while photinia fit somewhat because of the color, it was not this particular mystery plant. Serendipitously, it turned out to be the answer to the question I'd been asking myself almost every morning as I walked to the Burger King for my senior Coca Cola. "What is that shrub? The one with the brand new, bright, shiny red leaves, glowing in the early morning sun?"

Y'all in Mississippi know which one I'm talking about; I believe I saw them for sale at Home Depot, in smallish black plastic tubs, labeled Red Tips. Folks love 'em in this area, too. Just this morning I saw a man pruning the photinia border around a downtown parking lot between SW 1st and 2nd Avenues, at the western foot of the Hawthorne Bridge. Unfortunately, the slicing electric blades denuded the chest-high shrubs of the majority of their beautiful red leaves.

Man's intervention is unbounded; in fact, that entire little block is destined to become filled with a 15-story building. One can only imagine the construction/traffic havoc that will ensue. What will happen to the traffic flow once it's built? Busy intersections will define its corners. When you consider that 30,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily (from Sharon Wortman's "The Portland Bridge Book") and that the streets to the north and south of this building cross the bridge either going west or east, do you cringe? I do, and then I thank my lucky stars that I ride the bus!

Pat, a bud since the late 1970s--transplanted to Seattle from Kansas City, Missouri, by way of Tallahassee and Houston, Texas--also e-mailed me. "Those shrubs are Pieris--Lily of the Valley Shrub," she sent. I found some great photos of it on Google Images. Her husband of 30 years (Happy Anniversary!!!!) Bob Robert had e-mailed me that she'd be the one in their family who would know.

Last week as I waited for the #10 bus at the usual spot on SW 3rd, just north of Salmon, I noticed that the trimmed Lily of the Valley shrub had undergone a transformation, from the sort of salmon red of the April 30 post to what you see below. Wondrous.