Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Walking in NW Portland

When my friend was here from Arizona, we walked in Northwest Portland.  It is a unique district with older homes and trendy shops.  Many of the enormous older homes have been subdivided into condos and apartments, but in the streets above the shopping district there are still stately single family mansions, former homes of the people who built up Portland.  A guidebook of the neighborhood reads like a who’s who in 1890.

In fact, we had lunch at Besaw’s on NW 23rd  which was opened in 1903 and became a popular watering hole during the 1905 World’s Fair in Portland.  After Prohibition, Besaw’s was the first place in Oregon to get a liquor license.  During Prohibition they had become an eatery in order to stay in business.  If this intriques you, see .  Sadly, I have no pictures of my delicious Reuben Sandwich or our outside seating.

Below the mansion district are the regular homes of the earlier day, now highly sought and not so “regular”(see below).  People know how to have fun in NW Portland!  It’s a little bit classy and a little bit wacky.

11-09-13-12-00-26H 11-09-13-12-00-10H  Parking is quite a problem in this area since cars were not invented when the homes were built, and no allowance was made for garages. 

A curbside treatment: 11-09-13-15-24-12H 11-09-13-15-24-40H

Outside this home’s (retrofitted) garage and entryway, natural colored stones were used in mosaics as focal interest:


In a flower shop entry I was caught by the last-of -season snapdragons and alstromeria and the first-of-season fall wreaths.  I noted the natural hand tied framework for future reference:

11-09-13-13-54-19H 11-09-13-13-53-43H 11-09-13-13-53-56H Sadly, I did not bring home anything but ideas.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Orange you glad it’s Fall?

I had fun on Friday pulling out some different things from my cupboards to get a fresh look.  I was really intending to be doing laundry and dishes but I kept getting distracted by fun.  So here are some pictures of the small scale autumnal decorating I’ve done.  I have plans for a Indian corn embellished wreath yet, and some other things, but I really do need to get the clothes out of the washer and into the dryer. 

11-09-24-16-15-34H I borrowed this idea of orange books from the header of Debra @Common Ground.  It was amusing to take books out of their categories and group them by spine color (okay, so I am easily amused).


The books are on an old school desk my son in law gave me. Okay, I admit: it usually looks like this:


11-09-25-13-20-23H   A good friend from Arizona recently visited bringing this vase on the right because when she saw it she “knew it was my colors”.  So right.  As a matter of fact, she gave me the square plate on the left a few years ago from the Portland Ceramics Showcase, where I also purchased the tall vase in the back.  Portland has a wealth of potters and the annual show is always a great treat and temptation, free to get into but costly to leave , in my experience.

In context:

11-09-25-13-20-35H 11-09-25-13-21-20H 11-09-25-13-22-40H The plate rail in the dining room has gone quite wild this season.  Not sure if I can stand the blue for long.  The dark bowl is actually red with black patterning—I brought it home from Tunisia in February.

Just to prove I’m not always garish, I have this oh-so-subtle vignette on the hutch.  The copper bowl is a new acquisition from an antique mall (where I was just going to have coffee, honestly) and it seemed to request the company of other filigree, scroll-y type things.

11-09-25-13-19-53H 11-09-25-13-20-13H I am having an almost irresistible pull toward English transferware these days.  Hold me, hold me back.

Just to finish and get this whole autumn thing out of my system I will show the tables from last Thursdays meeting (which I told you about in the previous blog but without pictures .)11-09-22-08-57-04H 11-09-22-08-56-17H 11-09-22-08-56-32H  11-09-22-08-56-56H The top tablecloth is from Provence, the gift of a French exchange student we had a few years ago.

The bottom cloth and topper is from Cameroon, the gift of my African ‘sister’ whose son married my daughter.

The other two tables are sporting runners which I made up at the 11th hour the night before.

Tomorrow I am starting an online course which I am very excited about.  Creative Courage.  I am hoping that great things will emerge from me as a result and that this blog will be enhanced beyond measure.  [At the moment it is embarrassingly white because in an attempt to update it I erased everything and  didn’t have enough time/energy/ to get it put back together again.]

So tomorrow begins my class and also the preparation in earnest for teaching on Thursday.  I want to pursue The Artist’s Way and do the prescribed Morning Pages. With the other reading I want to do it makes for a very jam-packed sabbatical.  But rich and satisfying.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Summer Mosaic: “What I Did This Summer”

Today was the first real day of autumn for me.  Bloggers have been talking about ‘that crisp feeling in the air’ for weeks, and tomorrow is the official first day, but today was like the first day of school as my women’s Bible study group started up again. Therefore, my responsibilities kicked in and I was nervous and eager and had a little jumpy tummy just like grade school days. I packed the decorations, the zucchini bread, the new lesson books and the handouts to the car.  Flowers.  Pumpkins.  Indian corn. Squash in all shapes colors and sizes.  Doesn’t that just scream Autumn?

But before I can speak of current things—all the things I should be doing before writing this blog—I want to fulfill that first back-to-school obligation: write a page about WHAT I DID THIS SUMMER.

I already told you about Girls’ Week at Eagle Fern Camp.  That was a big deal for me.  Afterwards, I had a few days’ recovery time to prepare for a camping trip with some of our kids and friends and their kids.  We went to a campground in Central Oregon for the second year in a row and although we had a good time, we want to go elsewhere next year.  Over to the coast.  Where it doesn’t get to 98* in the afternoon.   One day it was so uncomfortable that we actually drove into town to sit in an air-conditioned matinee!

11-08-02-16-22-26H 11-08-02-10-45-07HBut you can’t argue about blue skies and fresh air (with a strong scent of juniper.)      11-08-02-11-33-33H   I was reading April Cornell’s book on decorating with color and was intoxicated by the colors around me:  Fresh fruit,

11-08-03-10-25-34H  11-08-03-10-25-42H   the sage and juniper,



       the local farmlands,  trimmed13

the people,trimmed14

the water,

trimmed15 It was all good.


It was wonderful, in fact. 

Maybe the first camping trip we’ve had that I actually felt relaxed.  I think that’s because the kids have grown up and now they are helpers!  And they know how to make the fun happen.  Yay for grown-up kids!

(Author’s note: due to having way too many photos I consolidated by making collages of some of them.  Not all.  I hear your sigh of relief.)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Abide with Me


Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; 
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
I heard this hymn today on the Arts channel sung 
by British soloist Lesley Garrett with images of 
soldiers in trenches behind her on large screens.  
The photo I took last weekend as we were on
our way home from Klamath Falls at sunset. 
They seemed to go together.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011



Plaque reads:

 May 1942               Tule Lake                March 1946

Tule Lake was one of ten American concentration camps established during World War II to incarcerate 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, of whom the majority were American citizens, behind barbed wire and guard towers without charge, trial, or establishment of guilt.  These camps are reminders of how racism, economic and political exploitation, and expediency can undermine the constitutional guarantees of United States citizens and aliens alike.  May the injustices and humiliation suffered here never recur

California registered historical landmark No. 850-2 Plaque placed by the State Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the Northern California-Western Nevada District Council, Japanese-American Citizens League, May 27, 1979

During my college days I had a gifted friend who was Japanese-American. He taught me about the shame brought on US citizens of Japanese ancestry during WWII.  A government proclamation ordered them “for their own safety” to be sent to relocation camps in out-of-the-way, generally uninhabited, places.  Ten such camps were created in the US eventually housing 120,000 people (sources vary).  Tulelake was one of these internment camps, as they came to be called.

Two books I have since read on the subject of the Nisei, these Americans of Japanese descent, have increased my awareness and impacted me.  They are Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, and Silent Honor by Danielle Steel.  A more recent movie, “Come See the Paradise” (with Dennis Quaid), gave a vivid and unsettling portrayal of the camps.  Later, my friendship with a school secretary who was married to a Japanese man born just after his parents’ internment gave further insight into the racial discrimination they suffered while being loyal citizens of the US.  They lost their family business, a florist shop, gave up treasured household items to neighbors, and suffered many indignities.  Her husband was born in a hospital hallway because they would not give his Japanese mother a room.

However, this subject is still controversial.  From accusations of racial profiling to defensive protestations of protecting America’s west coast from possible attack by the Japanese after its Pearl Harbor attack, from deep shame at turning against our own citizens (declared unconstitutional on Dec. 17, 1944 by the US Supreme Court) to defense of the internment as a necessity of wartime due to continuing loyalties between the US Japanese and their homeland and relatives with whom we were at war: there is still a debate concerning whether or not the interment was justifiable. Particularly the West Coast military installations and factories were considered vulnerable.  But there is a deep shame about it, too, when the scab is uncovered, much like the issue of slavery can be spoken about in terms of both economic necessity and wrongful treatment of human beings.

Michelle Malkin has written In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in WWII and the War on Terror  (2004).  I have not read it but I plan to.  In Malkin’s book, internment was the result of national security concerns and not just racism or wartime hysteria, says the publisher.

 11-09-09-17-41-13H   11-09-09-17-42-06H 11-09-09-17-42-29H11-09-09-17-44-33H11-09-09-17-42-39HAfter seeing Tulelake I spent the next day online looking for more information.  I watched a couple of documentaries:

Children of the Camps

A Challenge to Democracy :

These propaganda films showed life in the camps in a positive light, the Japanese happy and content.  Although most of the locations of the relocation/internment camps were in desert lands never before farmed or previously occupied, the films indicated that the ‘industrious’ Japanese (many of whom had never farmed) were happy to clear the land, dig irrigation ditches, and cultivate crops.  They were given a 20x25 foot single room per family in a barracks that housed several hundred.  The ‘resourceful among them’ could build partitions to make rooms and compartments for bedrooms, and using their ‘ingenuity’ women could make curtains for their windows (here a happy Japanese homemaker is shown hanging her new curtains.) The food in the cafeteria was “nourishing but simple”.  The schoolrooms were manned by Caucasian and evacuee teachers who “trained the internees for better jobs outside”.  Elections were held “in a democratic manner.”  There were hundreds of baseball teams, and parades with floats, and Boy Scouts, and beauty queens.  Admittedly home life was disrupted, and the training of children abnormal, but the Japanese “responded cheerfully, happy to help the American war cause.” Their businesses were leased to others, their fishing fleets impounded, orchards lost, doctors and dentists lost their practices, but the young Japanese men who enlisted in the war effort saw themselves as “soldiers fighting for democracy and freedom of opportunity, regardless of race or creed or national origin.”

“The Tule Lake Unit is a reminder to all Americans that the Constitution is no more than a piece of paper unless we are willing to defend its principles.”  quote from plaque, above

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wildlife and lava beds and country fairs, oh my!

Our second full day we decided to go further afield-pun intended-and deeper into the hot spots of the country, the Lava Beds National Park.  Ho-hum, you might say, and I agree: basically rocks are not my thing, but I am married to a geologist-at-heart and I love him and owe him big-time.  The surprise was the beauty we saw on the way (there is a moral here).

On our way to the lava beds we crossed the state line into California and drove through the  Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge:


I found out later that the above ‘weed’ is called the tule plant, from which the Native Americans built their canoes, and the reason for the town’s name, Tulelake.  11-09-09-14-52-11H

11-09-09-14-52-22H11-09-09-14-52-58H 11-09-09-14-53-27H This lovely thing is a Great White Egret:11-09-09-14-57-04H 11-09-09-14-57-17H

Lava Beds National Monument:


Somewhere in this picture above is this man (below), which gives you a sense of the scale of these lava beds.  I believe he is 1/3 of the way from the left on the center line in the upper photo.11-09-09-16-05-43H

  There are many caves which one can explore but we declined as there is a bat disease going on currently.  And it’s very dark and very cold and wet in them.  Hard hats and hiking boots and jackets and long pants and lighted head gear advised. (I don’t owe him THAT much!)11-09-09-16-06-19H  

11-09-09-16-32-32H  Photo and sample of the tule plant 11-09-09-16-32-22H


Details of our anniversary date at the visitor’s center

11-09-09-16-58-29HLeaving the park, we took another back road out to the highway—we hoped… pavement became gravel…   11-09-09-16-58-18H Ponderosas scattered thin


We did eventually get to the highway which led us back to the town of Tulelake (which makes Klamath Falls look like a metropolis).  But Tulelake will have its own post tomorrow as it had a sad part in the history of America.  But for today, our outing took us into the annual Tulelake Fair:

11-09-09-18-13-49R  11-09-09-18-11-21H 11-09-09-18-12-42H 11-09-09-18-12-55R 11-09-09-18-21-58H  Old Time Fiddlers



And then on to a really great filet mignon dinner on our way back to the Running Y Ranch!

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