Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A couple more things

Yes, dear readers, I've thought of a couple more things to update regarding my perambulations around the Rose City.  I know you are waiting impatiently for updates, I can tell by all of the eager comments you leave...  wait, what's that you say?  You've never left a comment?  Hmm.  You probably don't send your grandmother thank you cards either.  That's all I'm saying (at this point).

But, to get down to bidness...

That Damned Hill

If you worked on that damned Hill, or if you still work upon it, you must remember the two enormous water tanks at the bend in the road, just past the lonely apartment building in the dell.  Yes, I thought so.  Do you remember what they look like?  Ok, obviously large and round, thanks genius!  They were tan with water stains and black mold and frankly they looked shitty.  Now, however, they blend right in to the environment since they have been painted a lovely dark green color.  A color that always make me think "Norwegian Wood", you know, the Beatles song.  In the dark of night, when I am leaving the Hill, you can't see them at all.  The pumping station between them is still tan and stained looking, though.

Hawthorne Bridge/Grand Avenue

If you've crossed the Hawthorne Bridge lately you've noticed the construction in both the east- and west-bound directions.  At the east end of the bridge, the City, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to take out the rather convenient and efficient traffic moving turn lanes.  So, picture this: as you are traveling east-bound over the bridge, and over the elevated street section, you descend to Grand Avenue.  If you were to head north, you would get in the left lane and swoop down in your own turn lane to merge onto Grand.  Well, not anymore.  There's a curb there now and you'll have to queue up with the cars traveling up Hawthorne in order to make your left turn.  Same thing in trying to get on to the bridge in the west-bound direction.  There was a designated turn lane from Grand onto the bridge approach.  These are both being taken out.  I can only surmise that it is because of the east-side streetcar -- even though the streetcar tracks are on the other side of Grand.  I don't know about you, but I am not a fan of the streetcar.  I love public transportation but that damned streetcar bugs me.  They are super slow, for one thing.  The one that traverses the Pearl?  Yeah, you can walk faster than that.  I've tried it.  They might get up a little more speed on streets with fewer pedestrians, but by and large more buses would be a better investment.

Well, that's it for now.  There's probably more going on, but I haven't been keeping good track of things.  I'll do better, really I will.  And so will you.  I know you are reading this drivel; I do check my stats, you know.  Go ahead and leave me a comment!

Oh!  One more thing!  Just got my hair done...  what do you think???

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Back, I guess, and sorta ready...

Well, dear readers, what can I say?  I haven't been blogging (my great capacity for stating the obvious) but I have been noticing some things around my stomping grounds.

Here's the thing: my darling mumsey has cancer and is slowing fading away before our eyes.  It's beyond sad and I've cried a river over it.  I'm not going to add more about that, though, because this is not the venue for sad family stories.  Just know that I have been distracted and busy and not neglecting you intentionally.

BUT!  I do want to get a few little tidbits noted and then I'll try to fill things out later.  To that end, I'll have to resort to bullets.

  • Occupy Portland!  Wow!  Have you seen all of those tents downtown?  How hilarious is it that they chose the park between the cop shop and courthouse?  I love it!  And, in true Portland fashion, when it looked like they were going to be in the way for the Portland Marathon, they moved.  And came right back.  We're civilized like that.
  • In the same neighborhood, the Edith Green/Wendell Wyatt Federal Building is finally looking like more than a steel skeleton.  There is some steel superstructure going up on the front and the south side is getting some skin.  I'll try to get some pictures.
  • In my neighborhood, the Gulch, that derelict brick building on 21st that almost fell into the freeway is being rehabbed.  What?!  Who would put money into that?  I don't know, but they are shoring up the south facing foundation and building a new exterior wall.  Go figure.  Again, pictures would be helpful.
  • The Slammer Tavern.  Someone has moved into the apartment above the tavern.  It's been vacant for as long as I can remember and always looked like hell, but now someone is living there.  I drive by on my way home from work and I can't help but stare as I'm stopped at the light (7th and Stark).  Weird, huh?
  • South Waterfront and the New Bridge.  The south waterfront is a freaking nightmare.  I don't know why they can't do some of that work at night.  It is hellish down there!  But, watching the progress on the new bridge over the Willamette is interesting.  The new bridge will be just upstream from OMSI and cross over to the yet-to-be-built new complex of education high rises.  OHSU, PSU, and OSU are combining forces and funding and building a shared campus.  The bridge will be adjacent.  The bridge will be for light rail (a new Max line to SE -- yes, Milwaukie), bicycles, and pedestrians.  No cars!  The view from the Hill is pretty good and sometimes I'll pause on the 8th floor and watch the bridge stuff going on.
I feel like there were a couple more things I wanted to make note of, but I can't remember right now.  I'll try to get back here before too much time elapses and update you, but in the meantime, I NEED A CAMERA!  My phone takes the crappiest pictures and my little digital snappy broke so I'm in the market for something easy and cheap.

Oh, and if you were paying attention, I said that on my drive home... sad to say, I'm not riding my bike much right now.  For one thing, it's wet out.  Really wet.  But the bigger issue is that I am working a swing shift and I just don't feel good about riding home in the wet, cold, dark night.  I sure do miss Helen though.  Sigh. But, if we have a break in the weather, I'll be pedaling.

I guess that's all I've got for now.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I love the sideways slanting light of late afternoon, the way it illuminates and makes poignant all that it touches.  Here, on this hill, the light strikes the undersides of the branches of tall fir trees, making them shimmer with silver and gold and darkest green.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sour Cherries

Is that anything like sour grapes?  NO!  Pretty much the opposite, in fact.

Sour cherries are the fruit that delicious cherry pies are made from.  Also the fruit that sour cherry jam is made from.  And all sorts of wonderful baked treats.  If you like cherry pie I can guarantee that you will like any pastry made with sour cherries.

And here's the big news: I found a source for sour cherries!  I have been searching, every spring, for several years for a local grower of sour cherries.  I couldn't find one!  I even tried the grower's cooperative in Hood River, for crying out loud.  Any growers that I found only sold to wholesalers.  But, hallelujah and pass the pastry, I've found one in Yamhill county!

Fruithill, Inc sells 4 gallon pails of sour pie cherries - with or without sugar - to the public.  I contacted them yesterday and had my name added to the database of customers so that I will get an alert when the cherries are ready.  Then it's just a pleasant drive to the country with money in hand and I'll be returning home with some future baked deliciousness.

Of course, you know what this means.  I'll have to buy a freezer.  And, even more important, I'll have to start baking.  You might want to show up around my house when that happens.

So. Damned. Excited!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Just in case you're following along, it's summer in the Pacific Northwest.  What does that mean?

The high today is expected to be in the mid-60's.

I'm still wearing corduroy --  comfortably.  And a sweater.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Waterfront Park

Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park sure takes a beating during the summer.  At least, the lawn does.  And, if Pioneer Courthouse Square is Portland's living room, Waterfront Park is Portland's backyard.  We spend a lot of time there!

It starts with Cinco de Mayo in the spring and then gets a month reprieve.  Then we have the Rose Festival, followed immediately by Gay Pride.  These two events pulverize the grass.  I rode along the waterfront this morning on my way to work and the city crews have already been out aerating the lawns, just a day after the event.

There is some smaller event setting up right now, down at the Saturday Market area of the park.  It is some kind of bicycle event, but I can't remember what it is ~ I know, bicycles in pdx, go figure!

In a couple of weeks we will have the Waterfront Blues Festival at the opposite end of the park.  Boats are already being anchored just south of the Hawthorne Bridge for the Blues Fest.  It's quite the party!

Not too long after that is the Oregon Brewer's Fest.  Mmmm.... beeeeer!  The best craft beers that you can't even imagine are available for sample.

Not into the beer thing?  How about The Bite?  That goes down in August.  It usually draws a huge and hungry crowd.

The Oregon Symphony has an outdoor concert towards the end of summer.  It's free (because you can't charge people on the sidewalk for listening!) which is nice.  It typically ends with the 1812 Overture complete with fireworks and canons.  We can hear that across the river and in the neighborhood!

There's more, oh so much more.  Oddly enough, the Portland Parks and Recreation department doesn't have a comprehensive event calendar on line.  These are just the things I could remember off the top of my head.  At any rate, large and small events are happening at the waterfront all spring, summer and fall.  The people who maintain the grass have good job security.  We love it to death!

Monday, June 13, 2011


I drove past a car that was covered in bumper-stickers yesterday afternoon.  It was at Freddy's.  One of them caught my eye.  It said:

God Is Not Christian

Quite possibly one of the best bumper-stickers I've ever seen.  I parked and walked back to read the rest of the car.  Second favorite?  "Lesbian Mafia, Portland Oregon".  Now, that just makes me lol!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Things are Happening!

Too bad you don’t have a more assiduous blogger to report on them… sorry!

·         ROSE FESTIVAL!  How could I go so long without mentioning it?!?!?  The rides are whirling around on the Waterfront, the Starlight Parade was last weekend (good stuff: the weather was awesome and there was a huge turnout; Darcelle was the Grand Marshall!), the Junior Parade is today.  The Grand Floral Parade is this coming Saturday.  Also on Saturday, the Dragon Boat races begin.  Our niece is paddling in the Grant High School junior varsity boat – Go Generals!  The milk carton boat races might be today… if not, then they are sometime this week.  The fleet will be in next week, but it’s possible that not all the usual ships will be able to make it because of the high water level on the river.  Let’s see, what else… well, there’s lots and lots of stuff.  Go here if you want more info:

·         Safeway on Hawthorne – GONE!  The block between 27th and 28th is now filled with rubble and it looks like they are digging a giant hole.  Not sure if a grocery store is going back in there, or if we will see another version of the ubiquitous ‘ground level retail, condos above’ meme.  One thing I will say for this piece of property, it’s got to have tremendous views!  It’s at the crest of a hill and has a spectacular view of downtown, the river, AND Mt Tabor to the east.  Will the upper floors also have a view of Mt Hood? 

·         High water.  See above, Rose Festival.  We have had plenty of rain this fall, winter and spring, and more importantly plenty of snowfall in the mountains.  Now that the weather is finally starting to warm up, all of that snow (well, much of it) is melting and heading downhill.  The people who control water in these parts have been drawing down the reservoirs to make room for the expected influx.  The Columbia is over flood stage right now, but not really threatening any human construction.  The Willamette is near flood stage, which is considerably lower than the height of the sea wall.  It is most noticeable if you are at Waterfront Park, or riding your bike over the Steel Bridge.  Oh, also, the Eastbank Esplanade is closed until the river settles down.

·         GAY PRIDE!  Is coming our way!  It’s the weekend after Rose Festival, as you all surely know.  This year, instead of standing around watching the parade with beverages in hand, my lovely partner and I will be walking in the parade and handing out swag.  At least, I hope there is some swag!  I got roped into working on my employer’s pride committee this year and walking in the parade is de rigueur for the committee.  My big contribution to the event was the idea of printed grocery bags as a giveaway.  Our logo is too busy, but the bags will be useful.  I’m definitely scoring one for my household!  Leave me a comment and I’ll get you one too!  Two colors – royal blue and lime green!   

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Floral Report

Yes, it’s true!  It’s the long awaited, and oft asked for Floral Report, direct from the Rose City!

And, here’s the thing, this report is late.  Very, very late.  But, not too late!  No, there are still flowers everywhere.

Spring is the season of petal carpets, of petal storms, of sidewalks and gutters running with pink.  (Why, oh why is my camera broken?!)  The early blooming bulbs are long gone.  The crocus and snowdrops were a couple of months ago, the daffodils last month, the tulips are nearly finished.  The earliest of the cherry trees already bloomed, and the glorious parade of cherries in the Japanese American Historical Plaza was spectacular, as usual.  Right now, in my close-in Northeast neighborhood, the very pink double-blossomed, Kwanzan Cherry trees are in full regalia.  They are so LUSH!  I have to write it in capital letters because they are so ridiculously floral!!!

What else is blooming?  Plenty.  The lilacs are just getting started.  I was worried because I have two lilacs that grow in the fence line between my yard and my neighbor.  Three years ago these lilacs were cut way, way back.  It was necessary, as they had gotten to be around 20 feet tall and were bending over into a ‘U’ shape.  They were cut back to about 4 feet tall.  Now, I don’t know if you know this, but lilacs bloom on second year wood.  That means that there would be no flowers the following year.  I knew I could tough it out, but then the neighbor hired some idiot who was pretending to be a gardener to do some yard work and he butchered the lilacs yet again.  That means that my lilac blooms were still two years away… argh!  But, this year they are beginning to bloom.  There are two varieties, the standard and the very fragrant “French” lilac.  Both are lovely. 

Amelanchier alnifolia is blooming right now, also known as Western serviceberry.  The birds are supposed to love the berries, but they don’t seem to eat the ones on our shrub.  That’s ok, the flowers are pretty.  The ribes sanguineum (western red currant) that we planted in the backyard last summer had a glorious display of deep pink flowers. 

A biggie that is just getting started is the flowering dogwood.  Oh my goddess!  They are so beautiful!  The great thing about the dogwood is that those pretty pink and white petals are not petals but bracts.  That’s why they last so long.  Bracts are modified leaves that serve the purpose of petals in attracting pollinators.  Everyone knows a couple of plants that have bracts  instead of petals: such as that winter favorite Poinsettia, or if you are currently hanging out in the southlands, Bougainvillea.  But, around here, the best example is the dogwood.  Some genius in my neighborhood, actually on my street, planted a series of dogwoods, alternating pink and white in the front yards of about twenty houses.  When you realize the scope of that kind of urban landscaping, you appreciate that there are people who see farther than a yard full of grass and one rhododendron. 

Whoa, did I say rhododendron?  Yes, they are starting to flower as well.  The sturdy, plain, natives are not ready yet, but the fancy, fabulously colored ones are starting to show off. 

Related, in that they are flora but not floral, is the greening of the deciduous trees.  Right now the alders and the cottonwoods, the oaks and the maples, are all putting forth their tender green new leaves.  It’s that time of spring when the leaves are pale and chartreuse.  Later they will be darker green and sturdy looking, but right now they are bright and contrasting with the dark green conifers.  The alder and cottonwood catkins are hanging in clumps, and really they are flowers so I guess they count in the floral report!

It’s a beautiful time here in the Pacific Northwest.  A lovely time for walking and seeing and sniffing.  Especially sniffing, if you are an allergy sufferer.  We were sitting in the back yard a day or two ago and the cherry blossoms were drifting down to cover us in a white blanket.  The air was mild and soft, perfumed with fragrance, the dappled sunlight shining through the mock orange cast a pale green light around us.  And, for that moment, all was right with the world.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Behind the times

Alright.  I'm behind on blogging, I know that, you know that, I'd guess both of you who read this blog know that.  It's well known.  Be that as it may, I am putting fingers to keyboard in an attempt to catch the hell up.  I'll have to resort to bullets.

  • The Edith Green Wendell Wyatt Federal Building.  This 1970's era high rise is getting a green make-over. Actually, make-over isn't the right word.  This is a full re-do.  They have taken the skin off, taken the walls out, the plumbing out, the electrical out, in fact, they have taken this building down to studs - or steel girders.  It looks odd, that's for sure, when you realize that it used to be a fully functioning building a couple of months ago.  I'll try to keep up with the progress of this one...  Oh, and if you are having trouble placing it, it is right across from the cop shop on SW 3rd and Madison (approaching the Hawthorne Bridge from the west side.)

  • To spin your orientation around, next is a building going up on the long vacant lot in front of the Greyhound bus terminal.  It's right at the foot of the Broadway Bridge ramp, across Broadway from the main post office.  I don't know what it is slated to become, other than a high rise.  I'll check it out and keep you posted.

  • Remember that long defunct Burger King on the corner of Broadway and Burnside downtown?  It's finally been torn down and yep, you guessed it, a high rise is going in there, too.  Most likely ground floor retail and condos above, don't you think?  Because, for god's sake, we don't have enough vacant condos downtown right now.  Jeez!  But, again, I'll check it out and let you know.

  • The parking lot conversion to a plaza-style urban park went very well ~ I'm referring here to the lot on the South Park Blocks between Taylor and Yamhill.  It's called Director's Park and I don't know if that is because it is in front of the Fox Tower movie theater or if someone named Director footed the bill.  Zoe and Rob stayed in the Paramount Hotel on Taylor recently and I had the opportunity to enjoy the view from the 8th floor.  Very nice view, with one of my favorite buildings on the left, The Pythian.  

  • That bloody damn streetcar!  The streetcar has come to the close in east side and roads all over are torn up.  Detours abound, delays are inevitable.  The funny thing about this (to me) is that if you dig down under many streets on the east side, you'll find cobblestones and streetcar tracks.  I observed this on NE 28th, right by Freddy's when they were doing some sewer work a couple of years ago.  There are streetcar tracks all over, from back in the day when hardly anyone had a car.  An ironic thing is that buses are far more practical, cheaper, and more flexible in terms of changing routes and responding to growth, but buses don't have urban sex appeal.  Streetcars and light rail are hip, therefore they get the funding.

  • Interstate Bridge decision.  Naturally, the governors and mayors and federal transportation pooh-bahs have chosen the plainest, most boring, least attractive bridge option available.  We could have had something really beautiful spanning the Columbia between Portland and Vancouver, but instead it will look like a freeway.  I know, I know, it's the economy, stupid!  Still, opportunities to build something spectacular and special don't come along every day and it's a shame when the outcome is so... bland.
Well, that's all I have time for right now.  Plenty to follow up on, and report back on.  I will let you know what is happening on the streets of PDX!  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Soup Cycle!

We did it!  We signed up for Soup Cycle!

I love Portland!

Have you heard of this?  Do you subscribe?  How amazingly awesome is Soup Cycle?!

So, for those of you who don't know, Soup Cycle is an outfit that makes delicious organic (of course) soup and delivers it once a week by bicycle.  They will also deliver salad and bread.  You leave a cooler with ice on your porch and when you get home, voila!  Dinner is ready to be heated and slurped.

So far we have had:
Chicken minestrone
Chicken noodle
Barack-a-li Cheddar
and today we get:
Hot and Sour

Everything has been delicious so far and I am expecting that trend to continue.

If you are interested, and live within the bicycling perimeter, I heartily recommend a soupscription!  Check them out:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday Two-fer!

So, I’m on the bus, riding through downtown Portland, and I see something I want to check out further.  Or, maybe something I want to blog about.  I turn my head to get a look at the street sign so that I know which cross street is nearest.  Oops!  We’re sailing through the intersection and as we go by I get a glimpse of the back of the sign.  And, guess what?  I have no idea what street it is because Portland is too cheap to print the name of the street on both sides of the sign.  ARGH!!

The street sign orientation is designed for cars.  In a city that prides itself on being bike and public transportation friendly, it’s still an automotive world.  This is frustrating!  It’s even frustrating when you are in a car and you ask your passenger to check which street you just crossed and they can’t answer because the street signs are blank on the back.  Who thought of that unfriendly cost saving measure?  I’m not impressed at all.

And, here’s your second peeve today:  Road paint. 

Why, oh why Portland, do you skimp on road paint?  The lane lines, the crosswalk lines, the arrows, all of that important directional and safety information that is painted on the road is there for a reason.  But, in Portland, you can barely see it.  It should be bright and reflective but in most neighborhoods and on arterials it is very faint when you can find it at all.  In a little traveled area this wouldn’t be too big of a deal.  But, come on, on the Broadway/Weidler corridor?  On Barbur Boulevard?  On Powell and Foster?  On Lombard?  You have to guess where the lane is supposed to be.  If you drive that road often, you are mostly ok.  You know where the lanes are even if they are not marked.  You’d better be looking out for other drivers though, because it might be someone from another part of town who doesn’t drive there often and might wander into your lane.  And, at night?  That’s when it’s really tough.  It’s a safety concern.  On a dark, rainy night it’s anybody’s guess where the damn lane is.  Be careful out there.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Promise

When I retire (notice that I say ‘when’ not ‘if’1), I promise to be very considerate of working stiffs.  It’s hard, nay, grueling, to work full time and stop at the store on your way home to get either something for dinner or something for tomorrow’s lunch.  It’s even harder when you take public transportation and have to schlep your groceries home in your aching arms (because your backpack is full of your sweaty workout clothes) and you have to pray for a seat on the bus or train.

I promise to do my grocery shopping either mid-morning or mid-afternoon, or even late evening2, but never in the 4:30 to 6:30 after work time slot, or the precious and brief noon hour.  Even if it means that I am shopping with the stay-at-home parents and their loud and sticky children, and the elderly who use the shopping cart as a walker and need help reaching the products on the higher shelves (it won’t be long before that includes me, by the way, as I already need help reaching the top shelf).  I promise that I will never be that person at the deli counter who has to sample every fecking thing (which is better?  the honey ham or the brown sugar ham?  Gah!  They are the same with a different wrapper!)  before deciding that she just wants a quarter pound of the roast beef (same as last time!), while holding up a dozen hard working, tired wage slaves who just need to get a half pound of sliced turkey for their sandwiches for lunch.

I promise to ride public transportation an hour after the day shift has arrived at work3, even though it means I will be riding with the college students and the indigent.  I will not take a seat from someone who will be on her feet all day standing at a check stand or serving food.  Until I am unsteady on my pins I will surrender my seat to anyone who looks like they could use a break.

I will be the most considerate retiree ever.  I won’t go to the post office during those same hours either.  I won’t be walking my dog when the commuters are striding down the sidewalk4.  You won’t catch me in the bank during those hours.  I won’t be at the gym either.  I’ll be there mid-day when there is no fighting over the recumbent bike.  I’ll have lots of time to plan my outings, and I will take the working people into consideration when I do.  I promise.

1. I intend to retire from my current job in approximately three years.  I will not be old enough to collect social security, if any still exists, or my public employee retirement income (again, if any money is left in there), but I am still going to retire.  And then look for a job, because how will I be able to feed myself and pay for my health care?  The key is that I won’t be coming here anymore.  Twenty years is enough.

2. A great time to do your grocery shopping is on Friday evening.  People with social lives are out being social and the only real action at the grocery store is in the beer and wine section (or liquor section if you live in a state that allows that).  Ain’t nobody in the breakfast cereal or baking aisles at that hour.

3. I ride the bus that goes to the hospital.  Some years ago, in the very early hours of the morning, we pulled up to a stop downtown.  Waiting at the stop was an old lady of the crazy variety.  In her wheelchair.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe that everyone has the right to get on the bus – it is ‘public’ transportation after all – and that includes people who are less mobile than us fortunate ones with the full use of all of our limbs.  Further, I am delighted at the variety of mechanical advancements the bus manufacturers design.  Each one is better than the last!  I will say, though, that it takes longer for a wheelchair to get on the bus than it does for someone walking.  No big deal!  So it takes longer, so what?!  The only time it is an irritation is when you are trying to get to work, maybe running a little late, and you would just barely make it if it weren’t for that wheelchair rider.  Sigh.  Oh well.  So, we pull up to the stop and the crazy old lady in the wheelchair wants to ride to the hospital.  Of course she does.  Never mind that it’s  6:30 in the morning and none of the clinics are open because, Hello, the workers are on the bus; she wants to go to the hospital and she has the right to get on the bus.  So, the driver deploys the wheelchair device and she wheels onboard, takes a look at all of us in our scrubs and uniforms and work duds, she lets out a piercing cackle and cries aloud, “Taxpayers! Ha ha ha, taxpayers!”  Yeah.  Way to rub our noses in it.  I promise to never do that.

4. I always, always, always, pick up after my dog.  If you stepped in poop on the way to work, it wasn’t from us.  I promise!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Perplexed at the Plethora

What are they thinking?  Have they done any market research or looked at the site?  I don't think so.  Here's what I'm talking about:

The main drag through inner NE Portland is Broadway.  Broadway is one way, so it has a twin running the opposite direction, NE Weidler St.  There are more businesses on the Broadway side than on the Weidler side, but certain areas of Weidler are very busy.  One of the busy areas is just west of the Lloyd Center mall.  There is a two block stretch - between NE 7th and 9th that is full of food choices.  Or food-like choices, depending on your eating habits.

Actually, I should extend that just a bit and start from NE 6th, where we have McDonalds.  One block later, Burger King.  And here's where I am scratching my head.

On the corner of Weidler and 8th is Taco Bell.  TB used to be next door to Kentucky Fried Chicken and across the street from Skippers.  Well, KFC and Skippers closed up shop at this location ~ apparently because they weren't offering enough beans in their menu.  The KFC spot is now occupied by a local  Mexican food chain called Muchas Gracias.  The Skippers site is now occupied by Chipotle.  Yes, another quasi-Mexican food place!  But, wait!  There's more!  On the very next corner, where there used to be a pizza place is now... wait for it... A MEXICAN FOOD PLACE!  This one is called Qdoba.  There is another downtown, so I'd have to guess that it's a chain as well.  What gives?  Why the plethora of Mexican food choices all crammed into this one area?  I like Mexican food real well.  It's one of my favorites.  But, four similar menus in the space of two blocks?  I don't know.  It's overkill.

Besides, the smart diner is up on Alberta getting tamales at La Bonita.  Autentico!  Tan sabroso!

What do you think?  Nice to have choices or overkill?

PS: Gager ~ is this thing working?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

At least I make myself laugh...

I was on the bus early this morning and somewhere along 5th Avenue downtown I looked up and saw Mt Hood perfectly silhouetted between two of the 'president' apartment towers.  The sun was coming up behind the mountain and the sky was just starting to glow pink.

I got out my phone to take a quick picture to share with you:

Yeah, that's right.  Pointed the damn thing the wrong way and took a picture of myself and another random bus rider on the Number 8!

Go ahead and laugh!  It's funny!  I was laughing; still am.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Too Early!

Ok, it's too early but who cares?!

I saw a daffodil in my neighborhood this weekend!!!  And, the other day, when I was getting home from work, I was stopped in my tracks by the scent of a flower.  It's not the daphne yet, far too early for that, but a shrub who's name escapes me at the moment.  But, I was walking up the steps to the front door and caught a whiff of it on the breeze and stopped and breathed it in.  Heavenly.

We have tulips and daffodils starting to poke their leaves out, and the neighbor's camellia is loaded with buds, and even though it's still January, here come the spring flowers.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Top O' Downtown

Have you been on the #8 bus lately?  Or the Max Green line?  Something is going on at the top of downtown! 

My guess is that it is Portland State getting ever bigger.  There were a few buildings in the block bounded by 5th, 6th, Jackson and College.  I say ‘were’ because all that’s left now is the last remaining cute old house.  Everything else has been knocked down and there are large excavations being dug all around.

You know what this means, right?  Yes, the Portland Bartending Academy has been forced to move!  In fact, I believe that I spotted their new facility the other day, but didn’t realize the significance until just this morning.  Unless I’m mistaken, which could certainly happen, those studious future bartenders are no longer in the University district but are now across the freeway in a strip mall.  I think they are now on SW Caruthers, but I will check that out and get back to you with a definite yea or nay.

So, what is PSU building now?  I briefly checked their website and couldn’t find a page with Urban Domination as a header.  They’re up to something, but it might take me awhile to find out just what it is…  in the meantime, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for signs.

Friday, January 7, 2011

NFL Playoffs


Look for us near the end zone, cuz we are going to the game!!!

Woot Woot!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Seasonal Affective Disorder

This may seem a little off topic, but not really.  I mean, Portland in winter is DARK!  And, I know that some of you feel the effects as much as I do.  Besides, what's off topic in a blog like this anyway?!  Nothing!

It’s not just the winter blues, it’s the winter blues on steroids.  It’s the winter blues that have been working out and pumping iron and are coming after you.  It’s the winter blues that take no prisoners.

Yes, I suffer from this disorder.  It’s prevalent in the Pacific Northwest and in other places that are either very cloudy or very far north.  Lots of research has been done in places like Norway.  Go figure.

One of the therapies for SAD is the use of light.  There are two main directions you can go with light therapy.  One is the full spectrum light box that you sit in front of for a period of time every morning.  Many people use this while having their morning coffee and reading the paper (or checking their Faceboob page).  The other method is the dawn simulator lamp.  I use both.

My wonderful, sympathetic, loving partner got me both types of lights for Christmas.  What perfect gifts!  We had two Christmas’ this year; the first with my daughter early in the month and then again with T’s family on the actual date.  T gave me the light box on the first occasion and the dawn simulator lamp on the second.

I used the light box for a couple of weeks and while I couldn’t feel a dramatic difference I think it might have helped.  The odds were not in favor of success, though.  My kid had made a short visit and while it is always fantastic to spend time with her, the saying goodbye part leaves me down in the dumps for awhile.  I’m still using the light every morning because… why not?  Anything that will help seems like a good idea.

The dawn simulator lamp is the most wonderful, brilliant, inspired creation in the history of lamps!  In the history of getting up early!  I LOVE IT.  For reals.  I have been using it for two weeks and can give it a solid recommendation.  It has already had a noticeable and positive effect on my mood.  Brilliant!  Pun intended!

Here’s how it works: you set the alarm for the time you want to get up – in my case 4:45 am.  A half hour before that time the lamp turns on and starts gradually getting brighter and brighter.  When it gets to the alarm time, it is at full brightness and it also makes sound.  Mine is set to chirping birds!  You can choose a buzzer or the radio as well, but the birds are charming.  I begin to wake up about 10 or 15 minutes into the cycle but don’t feel pressured to jump out of bed.  By the time the lamp is at full brightness I feel ready to get up, although sometimes I’ll lie there for a few minutes listening to the chirpy birds (who, by the way, get louder and louder).

The only downside to the miraculous lamp is if you have a bedmate who gets up after you and can’t sleep through it.  Fortunately for me, T sleeps through most things and even if the light bothered her she wouldn’t want me to stop using it.  When I get up, I prop up a couple of pillows to shield her face from the light.  The first couple of times I turned the lamp off when I got up, but that just made the darkness feel more oppressive. Now I leave it on while I take my shower and only turn it off after I am dressed and ready to go downstairs.

I have definitely noticed an improvement in my depression and I feel confident in saying that it is a direct result of the dawn simulator lamp.  I should have bought one years ago, but I have one now.  If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, I highly recommend that you get one of these.  Best money spent on mental health ever!