Sunday, July 30, 2017

Back to Portland- day 2

My intentions are always that I should write the posts I think of soon after I plan them, and have regular updates or what have you and things never seem to work out that way. First it always takes me hours to write these posts...... hours.......  and then I do the photo editing.  And so I break it up with some other things- namely- I have been weirdly obsessed with getting this house purge done and I have been daily weeding my flower bed for 30-60 minutes and also weirdly, practicing piano for 20-30 min.....  I say weirdly because usually in the summer I have the attention span of a chihuahua, and don't stick with anything remotely regimented.  I am scared you guys.  Lol.  I also have not gotten to Bayfield since June and I am VERY sad about that too.  I have not been letting the wind blow me in the directions that I prefer, but I guess that is the way it goes.....  so there you have it.  Back to Portland.

Bridge of the Gods from a little island in Cascade Locks

We had informally scheduled Tuesday as museum and downtown day, so we had a wide open morning to plan.  Because we wanted to add Washington into our list of states we have been in, we decided to go over to the other side and travel up the gorge from the north.  Again spectacular views, and you could see some of the Oregon waterfalls from the highway.  That was pretty cool!  We drove east along the highway and made several stops to get out and walk around a little and of course I took pictures.  I found myself looking at the train tracks a lot, and saw several trains.  I said in the last post, I find the use of the trains so interesting since you just don't see them up here very often anymore.
A little misty morning shot from Washington state

We also came across this HUGE dam that I know I saw from the airplane.  I saw several of them- I tell ya- airplane travel pushes all my right buttons.  We stopped and looked at the dam from the Washington side, as close as we could really get. And walked on down near the river (by walked I of course mean,  climbed down on rocks and things which always mean praying for the safety of my camera) and saw people fishing from the shore.  Turns out, when I questioned a nice man later in the morning, that they are fishing for salmon and other fishes (maybe sturgeon??  I could be wrong) that are in the river.  Oh!! Salmon, duh.  It apparently had been raining plenty there and the water that was going through that dam was incredible. The power behind that flow was massive.  You think the lower dam here in town has a lot of water going through it this year.....  well it is a trickle compared.

You could get right to the water here.

If  you look hard you can see itty bitty people- I didn't want to go get my other lens at this point.  I was going for landscapes anyway.

I really liked the way this looked, nothing special, except everything is beautiful 
Anyway, after 4 or 5 stops we headed on over to the Bridge of the Gods and crossed into Oregon.  I am not positive why you have to pay to use that bridge but you do, and it is a nifty bridge indeed.  There is a back story to it you can read about here, but the science of it breaks down to this- there was a massive landslide wayyyyy back in the day and the native american folk could walk from one side to the other on a land bridge- I am totally paraphrasing , work with me here.  Anyway during another natural occurrence (I think an earthquake) in the 1600's  that bridge disappeared.   In the 1920's a man made structure was built and called Bridge of the Gods.....  a little late to the game it seems, but still.  So there is a lot of history behind it that involves treacherous rivers and steam engines and all sort of things, so read about it and the town of Cascade Locks if you want the whole story.....

I loved the mountain lion painting on this post, there were others, but I liked this one
This is a beautiful location and we had a little walk around there.  Mean while there is all the oooooooing and ahhhhhhhing that the mountains and the rivers ALWAYS make us say.  Beauty.  So, low and behold there is a visitors center at the Bonneville Dam!  Shut the front door!  Now if someone would have said, oh you have to stop at the dam and see the salmon ladders I would have scoffed and said to myself, oh no I don't and I never would have. But, since we had gotten so curious about this place from the other side- we needed to stop and see.  I didn't know there were salmon ladders here, it occurred to me at some point before I got to the state that there were abstractly these things somewhere, but I had no idea.
Look at that water

That was a really cool place- they had gardens and a visitor center where you could go underground and see the salmon and other fish swimming upstream.  Apparently they count them every day too.  They swim by a series of windows under the building- and some poor people have to count fish.  Bless their hearts.  It was so incredibly interesting though, to see them under water and then to look at them from above.  It was a great stop to make.....  
swim fishy swim!

A little section of the ladders
They swam under this gate- through an opening

So, where did we eat lunch?  Did we eat lunch?  OH WAIT, we had cherries for lunch and ate an early supper.  Lol.  Most days we did indeed not eat lunch at all, because we were busy!

These are the Rainier cherries I had
So the afternoon was devoted to the Portland Art Museum.  We traveled on into Portland from Bonneville Dam and headed downtown.  There surely are a lot of bridges in that city- which seems like a Captain Obvious statement, but there are.  It was another beautiful day, a little cooler than Monday which at 90 degrees and some change is hot by anybody's standards I should think. Well, I do know there could be a friend or two from the south who may think 90 is coolish, but they **might** have a skewed sense of reality.  Lol.  Or else I'm a heat sissy, which is the actual truth.

Another bridge- a really cool one

Told ya there are a lot of bridges
The Portland Art Museum was great- I was really excited to see the beautiful PNW Native American masks and such that I have taught my art kids about in the part.  There was a lot of good traditional art as well- and every year when I hit up a new museum I find something unexpected and compelling.  This year was no different.
A cooking vessel (I believe) - carved wood

The ultimate in transformation masks.  There is a mask when closed and an inner mask when open

The outside mask

This was a huge installation of a bunch of "things"  that spans along 3 floors. It is The Artifact Panel by William Morris.  Its really unique
Black Pottery by Maria Martinez

Here is the piece that I found the most fascinating during this particular visit.  It is a picture of a mushroom cloud, obviously, but look at the next pictures to see how it was done.  LOVE this.

Frank Stella

I don't know the artist here, but it really made me feel the loss of my Jacpot.
Love these little figures and the shadows on the walls as well

SO many ways you can think of hands and horses....  Love this 
Awesome photo from a series that is identified by the next photo.

When we finished there, we took a walk down by the river and did some people watching and deciding where to eat and what to do next and that sort of thing.  So we walked and shopped and then went to eat at a Lebanese restaurant called Habibi.  I had sort of a variety platter and I remember the baba ghanoush as being OUTSTANDINGLY yummy.  I need to learn to make that stuff!

There was more food than this, but look at that cool flat bread.  It was awesome, not so flat but it was yummy

This was a really good day, we did a lot of- which lane are we supposed to be in?  Which road is the one we need?  I think that we need to be in the other lane- oh shoot, well let's see where we can go from here....  Lol. Ah city driving.

Hey look, more bridges!

Beautiful day- 

Oh yeah this was a good day!  Full of art and rivers and cherries and dams and joy!

Almost the end of birthday month

You know, this has been a weird summer.  Just odd and strange and it is going too fast.  Sigh. I  am feeling more than slightly unsettled by the whole thing, and there just isn't much I can do about it.  More life things have come about this week, nothing that is shocking or life changing - but it is just another example of the universe telling you you are certainly not in charge of your life.

In less than a week it will be August, I will have a string of company coming, I will be traveling a little bit and then  (insert both silent and hysterical screaming) the school year will begin.  I am getting more and more resistant to the thought, so I know that within 5 years I will be teaching my last year.  Not sure of the timing on that, so don't go around and pass rumors people.  There is enough of that silliness around, just don't participate.

Once I get there I'll be fine, but as with positive anticipation, the negative is also very strong.  Gah.  Anyway, on a positive note, I think I have found a place to hang some photos for sale.  I really never intended to do that in my life, but (remember that universe thing from above) I have had a few sales that were totally unsolicited so maybe I will give it a try.  I just need to figure out what I should get printed, etc.  Gallery wrap, canvas wrap, etc.  If it doesn't work out I will have some photos to hang at my house or gifts or whatever.  :)

Then the framing issue, which I detest doing, but the gallery wrap thing might solve that whole problem.

Anyway, I am investigating that.  It is interesting when things appear before me and I am actually alert enough to understand that **this is a sign, Debi**.

I NEED to finish a few parts of my house this week so I can have company and not stress out over the  remnants of this cleaning binge I have had.  And there are some things upstairs that need to leave my house, so I have to get it all to thrift shops or the transfer station.  I hate to use every minute of my last week to myself cleaning the freaking house, but that seems to be what this summer has turned into.  This could be part of my discontent!

Anyway, one of my goals today is to get another Portland day recorded- this is always time consuming, and this time I have to use all phone pictures for the latter half of the day as I left my camera in the car for the museum.  sometimes you just have to do that.

I better get on with it here, my coffee cup needs a refresher.  Have a wonderful day and be sure to find time for some joy.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

And off to the west coast I went!

Columbia River Gorge

Dear Diary,
**disclaimer- I know, I know- diary form is so 25 years ago, but hey- its my blog.  hehe

Did I mention how much I love flying??
GUESS WHAT!!!  I got to go on an airplane again and it was so freaking awesome!  This time it was Sun Country- a Minnesota airline that flew right on over to Portland with not one single layover  I am down with all that.  After all, I don't want to sit and stare at the inside of an airport when I could be doing other fun things.

Interesting though, that crazy airline charges you at the outset $25 for each checked bag, which means almost no one checks their bag.  Which causes them to beg people before boarding to consider checking their bags for no charge.....  what in the ever living....... huh? Yeah, I did not check my bag.  Plenty of other people must know the drill- they went right up there.
Before we take off!  We had ourselves a little room!  YAY US

We were in the smaller of the two Minneapolis terminals and while the choice of restaurants and things to look at was limited,  wow did we get through check in and security like nobodies business.  We had not one moment of waiting

I have to say though, my sister came through for me again.  she was out of town - like Chicago out of town and let me stay at her house so I wouldn't have to drive from Park Falls on Monday morning.  This was amazing and awesome and I am so so grateful for her.  The Mad-English teacher also drove over and stayed in the vicinity and we had such a nice time relaxing on that amazing screen porch of hers.  And we had a little nifty Indian food as well, so that was a winner of an evening.

The beauty of the land in Portland
Anyway, so Diary dear, I had SUCH a nice time in the Portland area, we spent a lot of time driving up and down the Columbia River Gorge- that place.  Whoa.  So much beauty.  So many people.  Lol. And some really good foods!  Because you know the Mad-English teacher and I- we do like to scope out some yummy vegetarian friendly eateries.

The place we stayed in actual Portland- and I think for the first time ever we were right next door to each other- was a cute little motel that wasn't super far from the airport.  It was in a more "interesting" part of town, near a railroad track, said airport, a busy highway and oddly there was a berry farm only a few blocks away.  Like I said- interesting.  But the rooms were cute- like a little apartment and I tell you once I fell asleep I heard nothing.  But I keep the air on constant as background noise so I don't hear said trains or airplanes or cars.  We weren't there very long, so that was just fine.


Well diary, after arriving in town about 1:30, getting the car and finding the motel- the first item of business was to find a place to hike around.  There was a very cool park area we researched and unfortunately the path we wanted to take was  under construction, so we ended up winding around the streets- and it was all up hill.  yikes.  I was not in the walking condition that I wanted to be- I have many factors of blame there but I won't bother making excuses.  Every single time I think I am in charge of my life I am reminded that indeed that is not the case.

Stone building at the park

Anyway, the point of this park ( Macleay Park) was this really cool stone building that was at the top of said hill.  And it was indeed there!  Along with a homeless guy smoking pot.  Lol.  who I carefully framed OUT of my photographs.  It was HOT that day- like over 90- and there was a nice little child selling lemonade who I gratefully bought some from.  I noticed the plants that are in front of houses and in beds and I had some major Japanese maple envy there.  The lavender and the rosemary and other herb plants grew like bushes.  I know that the Mad-Science teacher would have enjoyed that!  And the houses were GORGEOUS.  At least in that particular part of town.
Mount Rainier and Mount St Helen from the air

OH- I forgot to say, we got to see Mount Rainier and Mount Saint Helen and maybe we saw Mount Hood as well- but that was AH-MAZE-ING.  From the air- that is- it was such a magnificent sight.  So this ties in, stay with me here Diary, with the fact that when we finished that first hike we decided to head over towards the general waterfall area- and our first destination was this little building that turns out to be an observatory called the Vista House at Crown Point. I later saw from the highway that it was precariously (I may be exaggerating there) perched on top of a massive cliff (so glad I didn't realize the extent of that as I took photos over the edge).  Anyway, there is nothing like driving along and suddenly this massive mountain is like right in front of you as you are doing 75 65 on this freeway.....  so cool.  We are such mountain nerds. And that will tie in later in the trip-  I realize that I will be doing more than one post about this.
iPhone pic of Mount Rainier while traveling!

Anyway, we stopped at Vista House and took lots of gorgeous photos and I had major heights moments, but I took lots of gorgeous pictures and tried to ignore it.  I don't know why I always end up taking vacations to places that make me get the creep crawls from the heights, but that does seem to happen.  As the hubs says- now what did she get herself into....  lol.  Because we make a point of planning very little - we decided, though it wasn't exactly in our rough outline, to see a few waterfalls on Monday.  And a good thing we did see them, the crowds were really minimal.  I wish we would have gone on to Multanomah then, but we didn't and we didn't stop on Wednesday because it was ridiculous.  BUT we did see Bridal Veil Falls and Latourelle Falls, and they were spectacular!  Holy smokes. They are so big out there along that gorge.  And the land is amazing- the trees are huge, the moss and the plants all were just breathtaking.  Such a great destination and so many things to do.

Vista House- the alleged cliff is behind me- click on the link in the text for a pic of it

I just had to check my Facebook page to see where the heck we even ate that night.  Italian!  We had supper at a cute little Italian place in Troutdale.  Ristorante di Pompello. The food was good, I am pretty sure I had white wine and all was good in our world.  We went back to the motel and I happen to know I passed out- not sure about my compadre - lol.

Columbia River Gorge from Crown Pointe
It really was a good first day- I have to mention that highway where all the water falls are.  What a harrowing horrifying road that was.  Monday it wasn't too bad, but the addition of a million more cars on those stretches by Wednesday proved a challenge to drive to say the least.  This website makes it seem like it is a gentle happy drive, but nuh-uh.  It seems like it needs some shoring up to say the least.  The scenic highway goes along the side of the gorge, and the freeway is down along river  along with a lot of trains.  It was a relief to be down there - let me tell you.  It was interesting to see how much trains are used there as well- not so much in Wisconsin anymore- at least in the north.

Latourelle Falls

Latourelle Falls

Bridal Veil

Well, dear Diary, I am getting sleepy, I have been at this post for 2.5 hours  and I have to get to bed.  I hope this touches on the first exciting day that I had, and hopefully it will let me remember even more stuff tomorrow......  It will be ART MUSEUM day!!  WOOOOT.

Find your joy everyone


Birthday month-notalot update

I need more of this, minus the mosquitos that you can't see.

Wow, so birthday month has been filled with not a whole lot of actual celebratory actions. In fact it has been more than a little bit of distraction and transition.  And a lot of the effects of this is the decision to pare down my "stuff".

I call it a whole house purge.

During a recent update of my kitchen counters and floors, I have had to divest myself of a lot of things- and each thing that went back into my cupboards had to earn its keep.  So I found myself putting things back sort of where they were, then opening that door back up and ditching it.  There were a lot of sentimental favorites that got put in the donation box.  And I am fine with that.

The next logical step (ha at least to me) was to continue around the house and do the exact same thing in every drawer, closet and shelf.  Everywhere.  So far the only thing I have deferred to a later date is an upper closet cabinet that has all the Christmas stuff in it.  I just can't face that yet.  oy

And so on the bottom floor I basically have my sewing/back room to do, and that will be last.  I have been doing a little clearing out as I go, but if I can't make a decision, it goes back there to be dealt with on a day I am pretty sure I should be just drinking margaritas and throw all thought and caution to the wind.   Hmmmm.  That is not a bad idea- I will offer tequila to anyone who wants to help on that day.  :D  any takers??

Anyway, I have my clothes closet to go through, which I keep on top of for the most part, so that won't be bad and then I tackle the upstairs.  The traditional place to keep crap you don't use.  Yeah, now that will be a challenge.  I have a feeling that there are a few trips to the local thrift shop in my future.  I already have gotten 6 boxes of things out of the house, and it is AMAZING how good it feels.  I have room in virtually all the shelves and closets that I have gone through.  I can't believe it.

And every day before starting the house, I spend 30 min weeding my flower gardens.  I have a real problem with my right hand getting carpal tunnel symptoms, so I stop at 30 min. usually.  This morning it is cool and cloudy so I went for an hour and I can feel it.

While birthday month hasn't been the joyous occasion that it usually is, I have had lunch with some of my sweet friends, and have cleared my physical and mental space in many ways, and I have a lot of company and visiting to look forward to in August.  And while I have been taking some photos, I think that will be stepped up again soon, too.  Because, photography and all.

I have neglected to do a post of my trip out west to Oregon and I find that quite distressing as I have forgotten the names of some of the falls that we visited.  And the dam.  Fortunately I am an obsessive Instagram person, and also Yelp besides Facebook and all that info is there.  And I also have the young and functioning mind of my travel partner- the Mad-English teacher- to help spark my memory.  Good thing, too.

So another post will be coming your way soon, I hope.  This one (probably 2) will be filled with photography.  YAY!!

AND I got to go to another awesome museum, which was fabulous.  They are really one of the things I look forward to the most every summer, a new museum to take in the art.  And every year I find something unexpected that I love.  This year was no exception, I need to find the photos.  I think I only took iPhone pix of that one.  OH, and I just may get back to another major museum next month- gosh I hope so- but that is in the planning stages.  Stay tuned!

This is birthday month girl signing off- and bound to find joy if it is possible.