Friday, April 30, 2010

Signs of a Mom

At first I was excited about the photo challenge: signs. I have taken pictures of odd (to me) signs on our trips, such as a turtle crossing sign in Hawaii, and a speed sign of 100 which we thought was so funny in Canada (“I’m trying to get up to it, but this car just won’t do it!”) (I know, it meant km, but it didn’t say km).

Alas, the week wore on and I had no new exotic signs to show. I guess it was a boring week. Then yesterday I had to run an errand at the mall and I passed a shop window with a cool message. So I took a picture of it to remember the wording in case a future occasion arose. Then, today I realized it was a SIGN! I did have a sign picture that was new and I took it for another reason!


It says:

No matter how

you engrave it








Ya Ya





It means unconditional


For more photos, check out this site:

Foto Friday Challenge

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Saturday with my Dad


In honor of my Dad’s birthday (85 yrs.) I took him to an exhibit of early Portland houses, '”At Home in Portland, 1909-1914.”  My dad has a phenomenal memory and has always been interested in history, so I figured this was a winner.

The exhibit took place at the Pittock Mansion, a residence and grounds now owned by the city of Portland Parks Department.  As sometimes happens, the unplanned became more interesting than the event itself.  A tour guide was just starting her walk through the mansion and we ended up tailing along, although our intention was the exhibit in the basement.  We followed the group lagging further and further behind because Dad likes to read all the signs and captions (and hearing at the back of a group is difficult).

Henry Pittock was a 19 year old Englishman who came to Oregon with his brother in 1853 via the Oregon Trail.  He started out as a typesetter for the bi-weekly newspaper and worked his way up through the staff until he was editor, then partner, then full owner of the paper, which he quickly turned into a daily paper.

He married at age 26 the 15 year old Georgiana who had just graduated from Portland Academy, a Methodist institution.  They had 9 (or 8) children, 7 (or 6) of whom survived to adulthood.  Together they helped Portland transition from a pioneer town to the enterprising city it is today.

Henry had interests in real estate, banking, railroads, steamboats, sheep ranching, silver mining, and the pulp and paper industry, besides running the daily paper.  Georgina founded several organizations for the support of women, needy children, and single working women.

Their family was nearly raised when they commissioned a young architect (the son of one of Pittock’s employees at the paper) to design this large estate for them.  They were in the heyday of public service and business at this point in their lives; extracurricular activities for Henry included horseback riding, bicycling, and mountain climbing (he was in the first group to scale Mt. Hood to the top).  Georgiana’s extensive gardens and shows led to the now annual Portland Rose Festival.

In 1909 the plans were drawn and the house was finished in 1914.  Henry was 80 and Georgiana was 68 when they moved into their new home overlooking the city they had helped to build up.  Two married children and a few grandchildren lived in the house as well.  One grandson was born in the house and lived there until the early 1960’s when it was put up for sale. 

After a severe windstorm damaged the property and it faced demolition, concerned citizens formed a rescue effort raising enough to enable the city of Portland to buy this beautiful home and 44 acre hilltop property for $225,000.


Above: the “proper” front door

Below: The porte-cochere where most people entered

Built in the French-Revival-Chateauesque School


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Georgiana’s sewing room, above.  The grandchildren’s bedroom, below, included Eastlake bed and puppet theater.


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Kitchen pantry:10-04-24-12-50-18H

Dining room, sorry, no flash allowed, so fuzzy:


Music room, rosewood piano from 1885, and harp:


The view from the marble baking counter:


Turkish smoking room:

10-04-24-12-45-55HThe silver cabinet in the dining room: 10-04-24-12-44-17H

More of the kitchen cupboard pantry:10-04-24-12-50-25H

This home was years ahead of its time in electrical, plumbing, telephone and intercom services.  My pictures don’t do justice to every thought given.  The Master dressing room closets are to die for!

By the time we got to the basement where our real intention was, we were so intrigued by the Pittocks’ activities we could hardly take in what other people were building in 1914.  But Dad did recognize and name many of the homes in the advertising flyers and newspaper ads of the day.  They were owned by the ‘Movers and Shakers’ on a slightly lesser scale.  Sadly, many of these homes are gone now, giving way to another generation of ideas and needs.

One of the values Henry Pittock held strongly was in using local labor and materials and using local people as craftsmen. He used and encouraged young workers. (His architect was fresh out of school.) He wanted to build up the local community and he put his money where his mouth was.

As we drove around town afterwards, Dad pointed out routes “that used to be the way to the beach until they built the new… in 1935”  and where the streetcar used to run up to Council Crest which was a popular Sunday destination, and so on.  I told him I needed to have a tape recorder while I am driving around with him, because no one knows this stuff anymore.  Besides his age, he remembers this history because even as a young person he was interested in roads and buildings and so he paid attention to it.  I wish I had in my head what he knows about the older days in Portland. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Red in my Kitchen

This week’s photo theme is red and I had no trouble finding it. My happiest sighting was at the grocery store when I saw that beautiful, red tomatoes are down to $.98/lb. What a relief after the damaged crops drove prices up for a while. 10-04-23-15-02-54H 10-04-23-15-03-39H

They smell as good as they look!

In my cupboard I have the beautiful saffron that my daughter brought from the market in Africa in this red-lidded jar.

10-04-23-15-07-48H10-04-23-15-07-06H Also, since I do love red and it is my “happy” color, I have over my kitchen sink little red treasures:



Below is the last piece of notepaper I have from some of my mother’s that I loved as a child. The back of the note card reads:
“One of the few extravagances of the thrifty Pennsylvania Dutch housewife was her treasured dishes and glassware. Seldom used, they were ‘just for pretty’ and many choice pieces had come down to her from her mother or grandmothers. Gaudy Dutch, Spatterware, Sgraffito, Lustre and glass in many patterns and colors were proudly displayed in her gaily decorated Dutch cupboard for all to admire.” Yorkraft, York, Pa. Set 36


When Popsy and I traveled in Nova Scotia we visited a flour mill that had the words below on brown paper tacked up beside their door. I was charmed by the saying (a meal garner is a pantry—but you knew that) and made tags for the gift bags of flour we’d brought home. [“May the mouse never leave your meal garner with a tear in its eye”]

I got this little apron at Target on Christmas. Intended to be a tree ornament, it made more sense on my kitchen wall.


And what kind of kitchen wouldn’t have a can of Tomato Soup in it? This picture reminds me of Andy Warhol with drama.


As a matter of fact, I am wearing a red sweater today as I type this. No surprise there. I have three, at least.

For more red sightings, go to Rebecca’s here:
Foto Friday Challenge

Have a great weekend, all of you!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Foto Friday: Yellow

I am playing with Rebecca at Renaissance  and this week we celebrated Yellow, the sun color.  I saw it everywhere at school:

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I saw it in the gardens at my house and a park:

I saw it in the rolls for Easter dinner my friend made:



And I saw it on my toast:


Follow this link to see more yellow:

Foto Friday Challenge

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