We three took a really long walk Saturday! And there were an unusual number of birds.
First, we visited a flock of plastic flamingos that started out on a front lawn last year and seems to be migrating. One has even adapted to living in a tree!
Then we stopped by to visit the Taylor Street chickens. We had remembered to bring quarters so we could buy some feed for them. Bridgett chatted to them and she was their new best friend.
It was so warm that we stopped for a minute in one of the little sidewalk arbors. This one even has tiny red lights strung up in the branches. We will have to come by some evening to see it all lit up.
We stopped at Zach’s for hot dogs, french fries, and some cold sodas to get re-energized.
After lunch we headed south for our next destination, but before we got there, we found more chickens!
This happy brood of three hens were out in their portable coop in their front yard on 47th Street. Their owners had posted signs with information about them , and it was just like Farm Day. They even listed foods we could bring to feed the ladies, which include soft fruits and veggies.
I have more time on my hands not that I am retired, and sometimes I wonder what to do with it.
I have always loved reading, and never had enough time for it. Not just ’get the news’ reading or history books, but a solid commitment to major chunks of literature. I have time for that now, and have been diving in.
My first book in this campaign was Charlotte Bronte’s JaneEyre. Written in England in 1868, it was considered revolutionary because of its portrayal of the personal and moral growth of a lower-class woman. Though full of injustices, the story has a positive-tending heroine and I enjoyed it very much.
My next foray into Big Lit was Isabel Allende’s TheHouseofSpirits. This was written in Chile in 1982 and was the author’s first novel. It was heralded as a great work and made Ms Allende famous. It tells of three generations of a family and of Chile’s political revolution.
It has some lovely descriptions and characters, but halfway through, I had to stop reading it. The main character of Esteban Trueba is so hateful that spending hours a day with him (through reading) was depressing me. Just as I avoid such folks in my real life, I needed to distance myself from his greed and bad temper.
So I broke up with IsabelAllende. What next?
I needed a complete change, but it was late at night and my options were limited. Scanning my bookshelves, I found an old, old friend, a 1955 copy of Kenneth Graham’s TheWindIntheWillows that had been rescued from the University Park Elementary School library. Hooray!
Elaine Marbach, bless her, always kept these treasures aside for me when they had to go out of circulation. It is a hard cover and has stamps showing that it belonged to the school where I spent 28 years of the happiest years of my life. It even has the original check-out cards, with initials and names of dearly departed colleagues and former fifth graders who are still in my life.
As I began the story of Mole and Ratty’s friendship, the sadness of House of Spirits fell away and I drifted into a happy place.
It has been too long since we’ve visited the Portland Art Museum. Covid restrictions made it difficult to get reservations and it was almost frightening to be in the enclosed space with folks for a while. But yesterday Auntie Bridgett and I masked up, took the Magic Number 15, and went!
The museum is currently setting up two new shows, one about Queen Nefritari of Ancient Egypt and another on the Nabis, a group of French artists. This means that a lot of the museum was closed, but there was still a lot to see. The visit was a combination of visiting old friends and meeting new ‘faces.’
This tall, narrow painting, called ”Le Petit Patissier”, was painted by Chaim Soutine in 1921 and is one of my favorites in the whole museum. The title means ”The Little Baker.” Isn’t he cute?
Another favorite is an Alexander Calder mobile called “The Gong is a Moon”, which hangs above a collection of neon words that encourage action and engagement. Auntie Bridgett couldn’t stop looking at them. Me, either!
A new piece (to me) is ”Trois Enfants en Blue” by van Rysselberghe, painted in 1901. It is a pointillist piece, in that demanding style of tiny brush strokes of different colors that was made popular by Serrault. It is a portrait of three bored little girls and seems to shimmer.
The last piece I’m going to tell you about is another new one. These ”Penny Loafers” (yes, loafers made out of pennies!!) were made by Sonya Clark in 2010.
It’s not very often you get to see puns in an art museum.
Grandpa Nelson and I took a walk down to Zach’s Hot Dog Shack on the last day of Summer. The day was bright and warm.
We enjoyed the Morrison Street Chickens on the way, and then had a tasty Chicago hot dog and soda. Zach’s summer assistant, Haley, put on the Elvis Pandora Channel, which also includes folks like (really) Englebert Humperdink. (His real name is Arnold Charles Dorsey).
Once we were full and rested, we wandered through the neighborhood. This wonderful, colorful hodgepodge of a front yard was created by the owner, who we got to visit with.
Some of the balls are glass, and some are old bowling balls. There is even a Virgin Mary, a Hotai, and a few random ceramic animals. It is amazing.
The late summer flowers are so pretty. These tall Dahlias, which are Auntie Bridgett’s favorite flowers, are going strong.
By the time we got home, we were happily worn out.
Maybe it’s because our summer has been so hot and dry, but Fall is falling hard here in Portland. Leaves are falling in piles earlier than usual. The change from heatwave to rainfall seems more abrupt.
In our lovely, funky Sunnyside neighborhood, the lush flowers of summer are dying back, waiting to be trimmed into their winter rest.
Plum, apple, and fig trees are all over the neighborhood, planted decades ago by resourceful homeowners. Some folks gather them up and share them, which is really nice. One house on Taylor Street even provides little boxes to take them home!
Other folks seem overwhelmed by the abundance and the fruit just falls and rots, smelling like a brewery. Not terrible, but a terrible waste.
Piles of leaves are everywhere. They make for a seasonal carpet and art materials, as well as pulling nutrients back in the soil. But I know once it rains, we will have ‘leaf slime’ in every gutter.
So it is when summer ends. There is a melancholy, especially when it feels like Covid has cheated us of another summer’s concerts, plays, and festivals. But I am ready for Fall. The inside time and contemplation, and the creativity that come with it, are okay by me.
I love learning new things! Last week, my friend and art teacher Ruth Inman showed me a way to put the beauty of Fall leaves on paper so I can keep them, send them to friends, or even scan them into my computer to use later.
First, of course, you have to collect the leaves. This gets you out of the house and noticing things, which is always good. If the leaves are wet, lay them between paper towels with something heavy on top for an hour or so.
Place dry leaves between the pages of a heavy book for a few days.
Once your leaves are flat and dry, they are ready. You will need acrylic paints, a brush, watercolor paper, and extra paper to paint and press on.
Paint your choice of colors on the back of the leaf, then carefully lay it, wet side UP, on a clean sheet of newspaper. Lay a piece of watercolor paper over it and rub to get lots of paint from the leaf to the paper. Then carefully peel the leaf off and set the paper aside to dry.
You will learn as you go how much is too little or too much. Be prepared to make a few that you don’t like until you get the hang of it.
Putting Fall colors on randomly, you can get good effects. Sometimes, a single dot of pure yellow or blue makes the whole thing pop.
Once your prints are dry, you can trim them and glue them onto cards. If you have a scanner, you can scan the prints into your computer and make dozens more.
I enjoyed leaf printing so much, I did a bunch more this morning!
This past evening, we got to go out to our favorite local place, The Hobnob. The evenings are getting cooler, but we sat at one of the new outside tables because of social distancing. We wore sweaters and jackets.
Auntie Bridgett and I went inside to see David, our favorite server, and order some drinks. Full of fun, stories and southern charm, David is one of those fellows who lights up the world.
As we enjoyed his conversation, I couldn’t help noticing his new ear art. When I mentioned them, he pulled them out and told us their story. A friend of his owns property in Camas, Washington, with large Carnelian deposits. David was able to chisel out a good sized piece and the use his lapidary skills to create these beautiful pieces.
See why we love him?
Besides hanging with David, we all enjoyed the sunset, passersby on 34th Avenue and glasses of wine.
When our evening out was over and we headed home, we realized that this was probably our last summer-ish evening out. Cold weather and even rain is predicted for this weekend, and Fall will start next week.
This past weekend Portland hosted, among many other things, The Rose City Comic Con. This is a convention for people who love comic books and the characters who` live in them. I’m sure thousands of people went. We didn’t, because we are concerned about indoor crowds in this age of Covid.
Auntie Katie, who runs a comic book and graphic novel book shop, Books with Pictures, would usually have a big table at the Comic Con. But she is concerned about Covid, too. So she took her books outside!
She posted on Facebook and Instagram to let people know that she and her books would be at the Food Truck Pod on SE 28th, just across the street from The SideStreet Arts Gallery. She and one of her staff, Kitty, showed up with boxes of books and shelves to put them on.
In the midst of the Saturday evening crowds, they set up shop. And as the Rose City Comic Con shut down across town, the crowds came to the food court to see Katie and buy her books!
It was quite a thing to see. We stuck around for long enough to buy a book and watch the crowds form, and then headed to the grocery store and the home. What a day!
This weekend was our closest-to-home street fair, the Belmont. It is literally one block away. The weather was warm and sunny and there were so many people out!
We saw that the food truck pod has expanded, including such interesting sounding (and smelling!) choices as Boy Howdy, Chubby Bunny, and Fresh and Funky. Portland’s food trucks are famous all over the country, and always delicious. But it was too early for lunch, and there were WAY too many people to hang about unmasked.
We continued on our way and found Steve from Oregon Raw Honey.Com. He gave us tastes of blackberry honey, which was delicious, and something called Meadowfoam honey. Meadowfoam is a cover crop with tiny white flowers that look like foam over the greenery, and the honey tastes (I kid you not) like marshmallow!! You know we got some of that! Auntie Bridgett will probably be writing to Steve so she can learn more about honey for her new comic, Auntie Beeswax.
We kept walking down the sunny, happy street, and we found Dawn Rasmussen, a local author. She lives just up the Columbia River at The Dalles, and has written a book about a wild fawn she and her family adopted. The story is called Mighty Little Thor and is written at the third grade level. It stresses respect for wild animals and making sure they stay wild, even as we care for them.
We had fun watching other people’s dogs and children, and just being out in our neighborhood. We heard some sweet music and stopped to listen to Faith and Majesty, a sister duet from Florida. They have sweet voices, close harmonies, and write their own songs. Later, I saw them out and about and told them how much we enjoyed their music, and got a proper picture.
We stopped by the Belmont Market, which has been on the corner of 34th and Belmont for generations. Its new owners were out giving things away and meeting the neighborhood! Genevieve, Nick, and their son Wolfgang seem to be enjoying their new digs. They even carry Ruffles potato chips, Grandpa Nelson’s favorite, so you know we’ll be stopping by.
Well, it still wasn’t lunchtime. I was getting tired but was NOT ready to head home yet. Auntie Bridgett and I stopped at Suzette for lemonade and coffee and watched dozens more folks walk by. We enjoyed our purchases and refreshed ourselves.
When we got home, we had leftover birthday pizza for lunch and watched the Giants beat the Cubs. We rested and then headed out on our next adventure.