Today, October 1, 2014, is Theme Day across the world-wide CityDaily PhotoBlog community (cdp). This month's subject is 'movement' and here we have it: the railroad station in Portland, Oregon with passengers moving toward trains. It's a two-for-one deal! My Dad took the train twice Portland to Portland to visit my sister Joanne and her husband. Both of his trips were different. The first one he stayed in the states going across country, and he slept in his coach seat all the way. Bad decision. Next trip, he went via the Canadian Rockies, and he played it smart. He got a sleeper and about $100 of silver dollars for tips. He was a hit on this trip. The conductors and the waitstaff loved him. Everywhere he ventured on board he was tossing silver pieces around. Each time he returned, he shared great stories about all his adventures. These tales and those lonesome whistles of the trains rushing through Morrills Corner at 2 AM each morning, making me roll about in bed, probably sealed my love of trains.
I'll take this train West someday.
I know I will.
"It Takes a Lot to Laugh It takes a Train to Cry"
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
On our way to Hood River we took a side trip to Smith Rock. One of my big regrets lately, and I have a few, is my inability to do some serious hiking that I so loved. I was envious of the hikers getting into their gear and heading up the many switchbacks on these rocks. And if I just closed my eyes, I felt like I was amid canyon walls in Utah. Another magnificent aspect of this natural stone outcropping is they pop out of almost nowhere in the land, stick jaggerly out of the earth and then are gone just as fast. The next thing you realize is that you are back on a highway with Ponderosa pines and Western Whites towering over the roadway that you can almost roll down the window and touch just about all the way to the Columbia River.
It was indeed some side trip.
I'm still in wonder.
Now, if I only had a cowboy hat!
Monday, September 29, 2014
Take it all in.
And I did.
Last week my sister took me to "The Grotto", the popular name for the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, just outside of Portland. For a couple of hours we walked some of the 62 acres of the botanical gardens and chapels. At one point, we took an elevator ride up 110 feet to the top of a cliff. Pictured here is the Meditation Chapel that overlooks the city. It has comfortable leather, over-stuffed chairs amid polished granite and a wide expanse of glass. It's a lovely spot with Mt. St. Helens off in the distance.
A fabulous building in a magnificent location.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Yes, it's true. My sister lives in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. She basically moved from that Portland to this Portland. Powell Books has been an institution since 1971 in this Northwest city. Powell's has about 1.6 acres of retail floor space and was rated by CNN, a while back, as one of the coolest bookstores in the world. Looking for a book? This place has something for everyone really, in its collection of out-of-print, rare, used and 'just off the press' books. This flagship store has quite a few floors and rooms within. I headed up to the third floor's Pearl Room for their music section. I had seen the Lennon book, in paperback, a couple of times in bookstores at home but wanted the hardcover. Eureka! Found it here.
If you are looking for a rare or out-of-print book, it's probably in one of these rooms on one of these floors or they know where to track it down.
Powell's is a city of books.
Visit this city.
It's the right thing to do!
Saturday, September 27, 2014
So where have I been the past week? I bought books. My sister took me to Powell Books where I purchased a couple of titles that I've had my eye on over the last month or so. I do enjoy all the Paul Theroux travel books. I'm halfway through The Last Train to Zona Verde and enjoying it immensely. I also picked up The John Lennon Letters. It's a thick, hardcover collection of notes, letters and postcards that gives more insight into the man. Got it for $15 bucks. What a deal!
So where did I venture?
Here's a BIG hint.
We live approximately 3,191 miles apart.
Friday, September 26, 2014
"You don't understand me, Sam.
I'm on the otherside of happy.
Put Mom on.
Landing 10:51 in Portland.
Don't care if she's cutting carrots.
Sam, I can't talk about that now.
You're an hour behind me. I'll wait.
Been waiting all my life.
Mom, Mom, Mom...
Please put Carl on.
Carl, she's crazy, you know.
Can't remember the last time I was happy.
You're lucky I'm coming.
We'll have a good time. I hope.
If not, welcome to my world.
Hey, they're asking for someone to give up their seat. Should I?
Taking the day off Monday.
Workshop, you know.
See you in 2 hours.
Ya, love you too."
That was my world.
How embarrassing for her.
I guess she thought I needed this.
What an idiot!
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Joanne's Helpful Hint #7
It's called 'transition', and it's all good. In the Pacific North West, you want to start preparing for fall come the first of October. Although the weather is still stunningly beautiful, it's time. Beat the rainy season. Get it done early. Clear the deck of chairs, table and the umbrella. When the umbrella is down, summer is over. Bring out the pumpkins! Take the screens off and fill the birdfeeders. Roll up the hoses and do a final 'blow' of the leaves off the back deck. Do these chores in any order, but get it done.
Oh, yes sad as it is, put away the gin and tonic glasses. G&T is summer all over!
Everybody has a plan to 'attack' the seasons' changes.
Bottom line: Keep It Positive.
Deal with it.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
That was an expression I always used when, after a water and energy break, we started back on our journey.
These days I consider myself an 'urban hiker'. I carry my leather backpack wherever my feet take me. We are pretty much inseparable. Camera, notebook, pens, novel etc. That's about it. I'm sort of like that song from my childhood "The Happy Wanderer" that I used to sing:
"I love to go a-wandering,
Along the mountain track,
And as I go, I love to sing
My knapsack on my back.
Joanne's Helpful Hint #6
As you can see by today image, Joanne's a hiker. Her motto: always Be Prepared! She should have been a Boy Scout. She carries a topographic map of the area hiking, a repair kit, a medical kit, compass, whistle, thermo-blanket, mirror, rope, fleece, hat, cell, hiking poles, food and more. Her hikes these days are on the average 8-14 miles. She knows what she's doing. She always hikes with a pal, and she could build a lean-to if she had to.
Remember: Go prepared!
You just never know.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Joanne's Helpful Hint #5
Start from the outside of the store and work your way to the center. Take mental notes of anything that catches your eye. Don't get scattered-brained and go off in any direction. Have an organized plan. Keep to the plan.
Oh, and make sure your credit card is at the ready.
Come to think of it.
Your 'plastic' can be your minotaur.
Monday, September 22, 2014
Joanne's Helpful Hint #4
Easy packing made easy. Belts and socks shoved in shoes. Buy a small bag for shoes. Tri-folding everything is the key. Travel with less. That's important. Oh, and one final packing tip: Bring a Credit Card! If you forget it, buy it!
If I can do this, I'll be a better man.
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Let me get this straight from the left: salad fork, dinner fork, plate, on right, dinner knife blade in towards plate, spoons to the right tea spoon or dessert spoon, outside would be the soup spoon, if you are so inclined.
So complicated! I say, "Keep it simple." Right handed? Place the fork to the right and "Let's get started." I like the uncomplicated. Went to dinner last night. Dined outside. Very nice. Silverware came to us in a rolled up in a white napkin.
The way life should be!
Joanne's Helpful Hint of the Day #3
Always remember; Left to right placement- Bread, Meal, Water.
Keep life simple.
*btw in photograph today is my homemade tomato soup.
See spoon to left, already breaking etiquette rules.
I love it!
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Joanne's Helpful Hint of the Day #2
The Perfect Gin and Tonic
Find the perfect glass, which is wide-mouthed of generous proportions, add fresh ice filled to brim, squeeze slice of lime over ice (critical), pour in a healthy dose of Tanqueray gin (2 shots), add tonic water ( Hansen's Natural Cane Soda or Whole Foods 365 in purple can), add cocktail straw and attach a whimsical cocktail napkin.
Watch the sun go down!
Friday, September 19, 2014
* a couple of notes-- For those of you rolling your eyes each morning when you see the length of my daily blog postings, you're in luck. Short postings over the next week or so. Details to follow.
Joanne's Helpful Hint of the Day-
For all you coffee buffs out there. Don't refrigerate your coffee. Hold it in an airtight coffee canister. Swooosh! No refrigerating needed. Removing the air and storing it in a kitchen cabinet is the way to go. I must admit her coffee today, Stumptown's 'Hairbender', was quite aromatic and delicious.
I'm off for another cup!
Thursday, September 18, 2014
This candy-apple red SUV was parked at a local doctor's office yesterday. It certainly has a good wax job compared to my Envoy. Mine didn't bead up at all. It just looked wet in the morning shower.
Love the Stones. Always have; always will. "As Tears Go By" is certainly one of my all time favorite songs. If you have the time, play this link and take a look at all their stills from the Sixties music scene. My parents were afraid of these guys in their matching suits? Good Grief! These guys were fashinistas before the word existed. I wanted to dress just like them. Wear those suits, wide-collared shirts, tight pants and the 'sharp' sweaters.
I liked sports, but my heroes didn't exist on playing fields.
I looked up to guys lugging guitar and wearing great clothes.
The British Invasion of the Sixties brought music and fashion to America.
I was there!
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Norwegian Dawn, Explorer of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Carnival Spendor and Eurodam of the Holland America line. Overall passenger visits are up 15% this year with 82,000 total tourists visiting the popular spots around the city and southern Maine hotspots. Yesterday, wasn't the best Maine tourism day. Thanks to light rain falling throughout the morning and gray skies filling the rest of the day, our guests were piling out of the Carnival Spendor early in their blue Splendor rain slickers. Now, here's the number that counts. Each passenger, who steps foot in the city, drops on the average $200 bucks.
It really is all about the Benjamins!
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Parking garages eliminate one problem: getting vehicles off the narrow, limited parking streets.
Now, if they could only lower the prices.
Yes, the city has changed a lot, but other things haven't.
I'm still living in a dream world, some days!
And I can get blue.
Monday, September 15, 2014
By the way, it 'tolls for thee".
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Things are certainly not always as they seem.
Case in point.
The magician's touch.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
My crop of sunflowers is small this year. I don't mean in number but in size. Each spring when we buy our seeds, I always get a packet or two of sunflowers. I make sure that one contains 'Monster' seeds. When they bloom they have flowers that measures about 14 inches in diameter. They are quite something to see waving in September breezes. Now that our bountiful daisies have passed, the bright yellow stage is reserved for our sunflowers. The marque reads this morning: "Now Playing- Sunflowers". However, I guess last springtime I must have just reached for the packets of regular size and the colorful orange and reds, because there are no gigantic 'faces' struting their stuff this fall. Oh well... For now the bees are reigning on the faces, and as soon as the October winds hit the birds will have their banquet. Making my way up the snowy path in January in the midst of a snowstorm, I'll hear the icy sound of the precipitation on the dead stalks, knee deep in snow. Come April, they'll be thrown on the burning pile of brush, as the garden readies for another cycle.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Do cats dream?
I wouldn't bet against it.
I've spent a good part of my life studying the life of cats. It all began for me with a kitty named Inky, a tiny black kitten with a few splotches of white. His life, as I recall, was not long but spending time with him began my lifelong interest in felines. When we moved to our homestead in '77, one of our first acts that first week was traveling to the Animal Refuge League and getting us a cat. Wiz served us well for well over twelve years. He was a special one. My study is leaning towards they have to dream. We've had two cats for a quite a few years now. Companionship is always a good thing. Heck, they sleep about 21 hours a day. The other 3 hours or so are filled with eating, hunting, playing, 'doing their busines' and providing comfort. Reading a good book or watching "Project Runway" or "Madmen" with a sleeping cat in your lap is just the best feeling.
Sleeping 21 hours a day.
You betcha they dream.
"Let's see... my to do list today will include: chasing moles, chipmunks, butterflies, birds, stretching, walking on the stonewall, eating whitefish, tuna pate, wrestling with my sister, and nuzzling Birdman.
Now, that's a full day."
"So I'm driving into Westbrook in my blue pickup, heading to play some golf with my friend Puff. Got a call on my cell from Pretty Girl..."
Thursday, September 11, 2014
I've known about this book arts class for awhile.
I've even thought about taking the class.
Book building has always intrigued me.
I must admit. The finished projects, held within these glass cases, were a bit intimidating.
Even for me.
I might try it though.
*The postcard announcing this exhibit shows a pair of pink women's shoes constructed from the pages of a discarded book.
Pretty cool design.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Might be a mighty fine hangout on cold winter days.
Have book; will travel!
Big sunny windows.
Now, if I can only find a coffee pot...
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Now, that's a happy snack or lunch!
*On a side note: Derek Jeter(19 years Yankees), Ann Compton(40 years White House correspondent) and Birdman (41 1/2 years at BEMS) all retiring in the same year?
Now that's a powerful trinity!
I can't help myself!
Monday, September 8, 2014
Technology is scary.
You never know who might be taking a peek at you.
Look at the birdie!
Sunday, September 7, 2014
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself on the Casco Bay Bridge headed towards Portland. I was travelling in 'my little world' and noticed that the cars in front of me were coming to a stop. Glancing off to the left, I discovered the reason. I sat there for about 3 minutes and nothing. No movement. People getting out of their vehicles and walking over the barrier to get a better look was not a good sign. I started wondering. What do they do when the bridge is in an upright position and mechanically frozen? With traffic snaking off in the distance behind me, a u-turn was out of the question. There was no access to the empty lanes across the stone wall. How does the Highway Department handle this dilemma? It happens at least a couple of times a year. They must have a plan, but what it is escapes me, unless the two lanes begins a long backup procedure. Well, this day my panic was soon calmed, when I saw the black stack and white nautical bridge making its way under the upright spans. You see the top of the tanker to the left just over the wall. Within 5 minutes, 'my world' was moving again.
Not all that exciting, but it happened.
Saturday, September 6, 2014
I'm all over the place this morning.
Anyone up on their bug knowledge today?
Or maybe something else?
Friday, September 5, 2014
I saw no decrease in their numbers
They covered the white flowers.
And yes, they make quite a racket with all that buzzin'.
There, that's my gift to science for September!
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Looking forward to Joanne and Bruce winging it from the West today.
As always, they have much planned.
Two weeks of Maine fall weather coming their way?
Tomorrow, their first day here, it'll be in the 90's, hot and humid.
How did that happen?
I'm not complaining.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
If you live in New England and have a big ol' barn, you really need a cupola to top off the building with a weathervane. They really give it a good look. Be careful though. A buddy of mine is a part time house painter. Once he was helping out a friend roofing and painting an old barn. At one point in his day, he was up at peak dabbing some paint to the wooden dome, when he upset a few thousand hornets peacefully, nesting in the cupola. Needless to say, he made a rapid retreat down the roof to his ladder, but not before the hornets had left their mark and messaged him that the pinnacle of this barn was their domain. He returned later in the fall and uneventfully finished throwing some paint on the cupola.
There's moral here somewhere.
Some seemingly easy jobs can leave a sting?