Tag Archives: Oregon

Portland’s Japanese Garden

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I don’t think yesterday could have been more beautiful…but that’s how autumn days are in Portland. Beautiful.  The temperature was a comfortable 72 degrees and the sun was shining like a beacon of love from the sky, its warmth caressing me as I strolled through the Japanese gardens.

We drove out to Washington park and took the shuttle up the mini-mountain to the Japanese garden. The roads were under construction, so we had to take a long hike up a straight hill.  There was bamboo art scattered along the path that was created by Jiro Tonezawa, Shigeo Kawashima, Charissa Brock and Anne Crumbacker.  All magnificent.

When we entered the front gate, John noticed a sign that advertised free tours.  I preferred to see the garden without a tour guide, so we agreed on a meeting place and time, and went our separate ways. My friend called while we were there, and I  described everything to him as I strolled through the gorgeous grounds.

The koi in this video are worth upward from $1000 each!  A few winters ago, when we had a deep freeze, most of the garden’s koi were killed from lack of oxygen when the top of their habitat froze.  Garden administrators investigated the problem and learned that by digging their habitat 3′ deeper, enough oxygen would exist to sustain future schools of fish, so now, I think they’re safe. Each one looked like its own little work of art.

I have a beautiful picture of my husband in Japan , meditating in front of one of the famous raked stone gardens there.  This one, he said, looked very much like that one.

This is a stone bench in a simple Japanese tea house.  John had my wide angle lens, so I couldn’t get a shot of the entire house.

The prevailing sound at the garden was the sound of falling water.

The roof ornament at the peak of the teahouse roof.

The garden is set deep inside a beautiful forest.  It is quiet there…serene.  Peaceful.

A Japanese Jizo – protector of travelers, animals and children. I once did an entire installation of jizo art.

Portland artist, Anne Crumpacker, whose work is shown in the next photo, interweaves scale and proportion to create living topographies. She has created a magical bamboo and wooden boat that references the 11th century classic, Ukefune, The Floating Boat.

If I’m not mistaken, this one is by Chrissa Brock, but it, too, might be one of Crumpacker’s pieces.  I will find out and make the correction at a later date.  The piece below was along the path through the forest and up the steep incline on the way to the garden.

The following (amazing) woven ball is by Shigeo KawaShima.

The following view was the only hint of civilization beyond the forest-sheltered garden.  Mt. Hood rose up to the sky behind our city center, and I felt grateful, when I saw it, to be alive.

I love living in Portland.

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Summer Breeze – Makes Me Feel Fine

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We hopped in the car yesterday for a spontaneous trip to the coast.  It was as close to perfection as a day can get. Ingrid just finished up French camp for the summer and is with us full time during the days for the next three weeks.  All of us needed some R&R, not that we really needed an excuse.

We went to Cannon Beach first.  Since it was such a sunny, beautiful day, we expected a lot more people than actually showed up there.  The beaches and the town were sparsely populated for this time of year.

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John wore the wrong shoes and wasn’t up for as much walking as Ingles and I were, so he sat in the shade and watched us as we played on the beach.  She was so happy to be there.  We buried her legs in the sand, chased one another, ran into the waves and out, and generally had fun.  In the following photo, she is running down a stretch of beach made famous by the film “The Goonies”. Remember that one?

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Soon the entire beach was inundated by tiny clear jellyfish, so we decided to leave a little sooner than expected.

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We left the beach and walked back to the village.  John and I stopped into a wine shop and bought some nice flatbread and cheese to go with the picnic we’d packed before we left home.  We sat in front of the Cannon Beach theater on their nice benches and had a good chat while we ate…and laughed…and generally enjoyed being where we were. John forgot his pocket knife and had to struggle with the cheese. 😉

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Ingrid was such a delightful girl…so polite and friendly.  John and I just can’t get enough of her.

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After our trip, we went to a local glass blowing studio.  Here are some of the delightful pieces we saw there.   (My sweet friend usually sends me glass hearts for my birthday, for Christmas and for other occasions, so my own heart went pitty pat when I saw this one.)

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And this one….

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This vase was my favorite.  Don’t you think this would look great in my house?  😉

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We left the studio and picked up our annual bag of the best salt water taffy ever.  This soft, gourmet variety is locally made, and comes in virtually every flavor imaginable.  I got so much that I had to put a lot of it in the freezer.  We don’t eat stuff like this often, but when we go to Cannon Beach, we make an exception.  I got some extra so I could send some to my friend.

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Next, we headed to Ecola Park.  This is a magical place….really beautiful. I had John let me off a few miles down the rode while he and Ingrid drove on ahead.  I met them there later, after my wonderful hike through the woods.

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When I got to the top of the cliff, I met up with John and Ingrid and the three of us walked to the lookout point.

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The view was impeccable.

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We met a couple who had their long haired chihuahua with them. They were nice and we hung with them for awhile.  We didn’t take the Beebs, because we felt she would be more comfy at home….but we missed her!   We spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out in this beautiful spot.  Ingrid recited spontaneous poetry and danced for us.  It was nothing but pleasantries, one right after the other.  We had such a good time!

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If you ever find yourself in Oregon, I highly recommend the coast.  It is one of the most gorgeous coasts you will ever see.

How Not to Die

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I am very excited to announce the long-awaited book by my nutrition guru, Dr. Michael Greger.  Folks, this is a revolutionary breakthrough in medical research that will blow your minds!  Pick up a copy by visiting NutritionFacts.org.   This is the book that will change your life forever.  Would make a great holiday gift as well!

IT’s OFFICIAL: Processed Red Meats Cause Cancer

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This article appeared on NPR this morning.   It is an empirical finding by the World Health Organization.

The World Health Organization has put bacon, hot dogs and sausages in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking.

The World Health Organization has put bacon, hot dogs and sausages in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking.

The World Health Organization has deemed that processed meats — such as bacon, sausages and hot dogs — cause cancer.

In addition, the WHO says red meats including beef, pork, veal and lamb are “probably carcinogenic” to people.

A group of 22 scientists reviewed the evidence linking red meat and processed meat consumption to cancer, and concluded that eating processed meats regularly increases the risk of colorectal cancer. Their evidence review is explained in an article published in The Lancet.

The conclusion puts processed meats in the same category of cancer risk as tobacco smoking and asbestos. This does not mean that they are equally dangerous, says the International Agency for Research on Cancer — the agency within the WHO that sets the classifications. And it’s important to note that even things such as aloe vera are on the list of possible carcinogens.

In a Q & A released by the IARC, the agency says that “eating meat has known health benefits,” but it also points out that the cancer risk increases with the amount of meat consumed. As we’ve reported, studies show that the heaviest meat eaters tend to have the highest risk.

The IARC says high-temperature cooking methods (such as cooking meat in direct contact with a flame) produce more carcinogenic compounds. However, the group says there were not enough data “to reach a conclusion about whether the way meat is cooked affects the risk of cancer.”

Susan Gapstur of the American Cancer Society says the society recommends “consuming a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant foods and limiting consumption of processed meat and red meat,” she told us in a written statement.

The recommendation, Gapstur tells The Salt, is based on research. For instance, a systematic literature review on colorectal cancer published in 2011 by the World Cancer Research Fund found a statistically significant, 16 percent increased risk of colorectal cancer associated with each 100 grams of red and processed meat consumed. As the ACS points out, this is an amount of meat roughly equivalent in size to a deck of cards.

The Lancet paper points out that red meat also contains “high biological-value proteins and important micronutrients such as B vitamins, iron and zinc.” And the North American Meat Institute says lots of research points to the benefits of red meat consumption.

“Scientific evidence shows cancer is a complex disease not caused by single foods and that a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices are essential to good health,” writes Barry Carpenter, president of the North American Meat Institute, in a statement on the new WHO classification.

Carpenter says it’s important to put this new classification in context. “IARC’s panel was given the basic task of looking at hazards that meat could pose at some level, under circumstance, but was not asked to consider any off-setting benefits, like the nutrition that meat delivers or the implications of drastically reducing or removing meat from the diet altogether,” the statement concludes.

Are you Depressed?

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In my opinion,  psychiatrists should first test their patients for nutritional deficiencies before writing prescriptions for Zoloftor for  antipsychotics, like Zyprexa.  Conscientious doctors send patients to get lab work done prior to prescribing drugs or increasing dosages.  There are times when people do need antidepressants.   However,  other times  spinach would go far to eliminate the symptoms of depression.   Think Popeye.

If you haven’t ever tested your nutrition levels, you might inquire with either your psychiatrist or primary-care physician. Supplements can be expensive, but you can make it back  by not having to see your psychiatrist as often. You should talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you’re on prescription drugs.

 

Vitamin D

According to my doctor, Vitamin D deficiency is a major epidemic that doctors and public health officials are just beginning to realize. This deficiency has been linked to depression, dementia, and autism. Most of our levels drop off during the fall and winter months, since sunlight is the richest source.   My doctor believes that we should be getting from 5,000 to 10,000 IU  a day.  However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends most healthy adults get only about 600 IUs daily.  Hence, the widespread deficiency and increases in depression.

Magnesium

I am forever extolling the virtues of Magnesium, because this, like Vitamin D, is deficient in most American adults, according to my doctor, and the symptoms are not pretty.  They can, in fact, set off a chain reaction of unpleasant symptoms. Our lifestyles decrease our levels of Magnesium.  Some of the things that contribute are excess alcohol, salt, coffee, sugar, phosphoric acid (in soda), chronic stress, antibiotics, and diuretics (water pills). Magnesium is sometimes referred to as the stress antidote, the “most powerful relaxation mineral that exists,” according to Hyman. It is found in seaweed, greens, and beans. The NIH recommends a daily intake of about 400 to 420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium for adult men and 310 to 320 mg for adult women.  Magnesium Citrate can also act as a laxative, so buy your Magnesium accordingly….and time it well.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

I was surprised when my results showed an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency because I eat plenty of salmon and take fish oil supplements every day. That shows you just how much fish — salmon, tuna, halibut — or flaxseeds and walnuts we need to consume to be at an optimal level. These essential minerals reduce inflammation and play a critical role in brain function, especially memory and mood. The body can’t make them, so you need to either eat them or take supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are just one of the supplements I take every day for depression

Vitamin B Complex

B vitamins like vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 can provide some incredible health benefits, including reduced stroke risk and healthy skin and nails. On the other hand, a vitamin B deficiency may impact your mental health. More than a quarter of severely depressed older women were deficient in B-12, according to one 2009 study.

The best sources of vitamin B-6 are poultry, seafood, bananas, and leafy green vegetables. For vitamin B-6, the NIH recommends a daily intake of 1.7 mg for adult men, and 1.5 mg for adult women. Vitamin B-12 is found in animal foods (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk) and shellfish, such as clams, mussels, and crab. Most adults should need to consume 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B-12 daily, according to the NIH.

Folate

People with a low folate level have only a 7 percent response to treatment with antidepressants. Those with high folate levels have a response of 44 percent, according to Hyman. That is why many psychiatrists are now prescribing a folate called Deplin to treat depression and improve the effectiveness of an antidepressant. I tried it and it didn’t seem to make that much of a difference; however, I have several friends who have had very positive responses to Deplin. You need not try the prescription form of Deplin. You could just start taking a folate supplement and see if you get any results. Your daily recommended folate intake depends on your gender, whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, and age. However, most adults need at least 400 mcg daily. You can also get your daily folate requirements by consuming foods high in folate, including dark leafy greens, beans and legumes, and citrus fruits and juices.

 Amino Acids

Amino acids — the building blocks of protein — help your brain properly function. A deficiency in amino acids may cause you to feel sluggish, foggy, unfocused, and depressed. Good sources of amino acids include beef, eggs, fish, beans, seeds, and nuts.

 Iron

Iron deficiency is pretty common in women. About 20 percent of women, and 50 percent of pregnant women, are in the club. Only three percent of men are iron deficient. The most common form of anemia — an insufficient number of red blood cells — is caused by iron deficiency. Its symptoms are similar to depression: fatigue, irritability, brain fog. Most adults should consume 8 to 18 mg of iron daily, depending on age, gender, and diet, according to the NIH. Good sources of iron include red meat, fish, and poultry. If you really want to get more red blood cells, eat liver. Yuck.

 Zinc

This one is SO important!  Zinc is used by more enzymes (and we have over 300) than any other mineral. It is crucial to many of our systems. It activates our digestive enzymes so that we can break down our food, and works to prevent food allergies (which, in turn, averts depression in some people, since some of our mood disruptions are triggered by food allergies). It also helps our DNA to repair and produce proteins. Finally, zinc helps control inflammation and boosts our immune system. The NIH recommends a daily intake of 11 mg of zinc for adult men and 8 mg for adult women.

 Selenium

Like iodine, selenium is important for good thyroid function. It assists the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone T4 to the active thyroid hormone, T3. It also helps one of our important antioxidants (glutathione peroxidase) keep polyunsaturated acids in our cell membranes from getting oxidized (rancid). Most adults need about 55 mcg of selenium daily. The best food source of selenium is Brazil nuts, which contains about 544 mcg of selenium per ounce.

Iodine

Iodine deficiency can be a big problem because iodine is critical for the thyroid to work as it should, and the thyroid affects more than you think: your energy, metabolism, body temperature, growth, immune function, and brain performance (concentration, memory, and more). When it’s not functioning properly, you can feel very depressed, among other things. You can get iodine by using an iodine-enriched salt, or by eating dried seaweed, shrimp, or cod. I take a kelp supplement every morning because I have hypothyroidism. The daily recommend amount of iodine for most adults is about 150 mcg.

Oatmeal, anyone? An Evening with Ottmar Liebert

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When my daughter was small, she would refer to Flamenco guitarist, Ottmar Liebert as “Oatmeal”.  “Listening to Oatmeal again, Mom?”  she would ask.

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Last night, we were treated to two hours of this graceful guitarist’s skilled execution of some of the most incredible music I have ever heard.  Liebert was joined by bassist, Jon Gagon and percussionist, Chris Steele.  They had definite chemistry, and put on an ideal show in an intimate Portland venue in the Alberta Arts District.

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© Stacy Alexander

Ottmar Liebert is what guitar playing is all about.  He is in tune with his craft to the point that it seemed, at times, that he and the guitar were one instrument.  He was graceful, and seemed comfortable in his own skin, playing, most of the time, barefoot, with his eyes closed, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings, riding the waves of his own creations.   I believe he was playing a small DeVoe guitar, but it didn’t have any markings on it that I could see, so I’m not certain that is what it was.

Since 1986 Liebert has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1992 he purchased an “alt-ranchette” just outside the city, with an adobe guesthouse he built as a recording studio.  In May 2006 Liebert was ordained as a Zen monk by Dennis Genpo Merzel at the Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He had a very strong presence….one of peace and goodness.  Both John and I sensed this immediately as we watched him.

(I couldn’t get the video of Luna Negra to embed.  This video (above) is an earlier performance.)

I have been unable to find a video of Jon Gagnon, his bassist, but will post one here, if i do later.  He  was simply put, rock solid in every way.  Jon had a huge presence and voice on a 4 string fretless which sang like an baritone opera singer…or, at times, a French horn.  I couldn’t figure out what one of his bass instruments was at all it.  The one shown here was huge, and had a EB-like headstock and a body shape of something like a JP and a morsh.   Its  tone was full of mwah, but soulful and crying. The  fretboard was  coated with something shiny. I’d not seen anything like it before.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.54.47 AMThe drummer, Chris Steele, was not to be believed.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.57.15 AMI did find a video of Chris playing, and I encourage you to watch it.  He is truly a unique player, and fantastically talented.

There is a video on YouTube that I couldn’t manage to embed here.  Please look it up.  It is called “Good Drums, Bad Turtleneck” by Chris Steele.  This is the video to watch to really see this man’s talent.  You can find it here:

The Alberta Rose Theater is a sweet little venue….very small and intimate, which was the perfect place to hear a trio such as this.  John and I ate the venue’s delicious  hand pies and sipped Perrier as we basked in the warmth and beauty that these musicians presented to us. We had such a nice evening.   These guys are  true professionals…plain and simple.  They were tight, knew exactly what they were doing, and provided the audience with an amazing show.  ’nuff said.  Well…no….NOT enough said, actually.

As I was sitting there watching these incredible musicians, I though about my dear friend, another musician, and felt so sad that his life has taken the path that it has.  It could have been him up there on that stage last night….but as they say…”When you lie with pigs….”  He has made some not-so-wise choices.   I’ll leave it at that.

As Close to Perfect As it Gets

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As Close to Perfect As it Gets

We spent the day in a rural area, yesterday, walking in the sunshine and fresh country air within sight of Mt. Hood, at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest near Woodburn.  It took about 45 minutes for us to get there with Ingrid and her cousin, Madeline, in tow.  We arrived to 40 acres of stunning beauty, expansive vineyard views, the aforementioned distant mountains and the occasional mud puddle.  The main feature….the GREAT thing about going, was the color.  The long strips of brilliant blooming tulips were breathtaking.

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I have never seen Ingrid have so much fun, ever.  She was wildly enthusiastic about the whole experience, which made John and I feel great.  We love to make our little sweetie happy!

There were giant wooden shoes!

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And pony rides!

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There were bouncy things….

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And a plethora of scenic photo opportunities…

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And more photo opportunities…

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There were painted faces….

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…and there were other fun things to do…

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And, of course….there were flowers.  Lots and lots of flowers!

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It was an incredible day!

This is the way life should be….and on most days, it is…at least for us it is.

To see more Tulip Fest Photos from our day, please click HERE.

The Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest is located at 33814 S. Meridian Road in Woodburn, Oregon.
Please call (503) 634-2243 for further details.

A Good Day for a Tea Party (the non-political kind)

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A Good Day for a Tea Party (the non-political kind)

Sunday was the perfect day for a tea party, an activity that our Ingrid enjoys immensely.   We took a little trip  to the Lan Su Chinese Garden  nestled into the middle of Portland’s Chinatown,  amidst a backdrop of downtown skyscrapers.  This little oasis has always been a favorite place for us to visit.

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The weather was not perfect, but we didn’t mind.  There are fewer visitors to the garden on rainy days.  There was a short wait at the tea room, but we were soon seated and enjoyed an afternoon of silver needle tea, music and food.

Everything about this place is peaceful, balanced and serene.

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We had tiny coconut tea cakes and thousand year old eggs.  We had slices of fresh mango and lychee fruit.  It was all good!

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thousand year eggs

Ingrid was fascinated by the calligrapher.  He made a beautiful painting of her name.

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Ingrid adores John.  They sat by the water and talked for a long time…about the time he visited China, about the koi, about tea and about the scavenger hunt that the children at the garden are given the opportunity to participate in.  Ingrid had such a good time finding everything that was printed out on her guide.

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Every tree, every plant, every stone, everything at this Chinese garden was actually imported here  from China.

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It is our own little Portland-Chinese oasis.

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The best part about these little day trips is the part where we get to build memories for Ingrid to carry with her long after the two of us are gone.  We work very hard to assure she has these treasures to build upon, times and knowledge that she will pass on to her children and they to their own.  This is what life is all about.  This is the true meaning of family.

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Rent a Goat

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I have extolled the virtues of Portland numerous times on this blog.  Today is no different.  This is about another of this city’s unique, quirky characteristics that you don’t see in a lot of other places….the “rent-a-goat” service.

Today,  we took Ingrid to visit the goats .  There is a herd of about a dozen of them living in an over-sized weeded field with a nice living quarters, plenty of vegetation and a lot of room in which they can move around.

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People, (particularly those that are interested in leaving a smaller carbon thumbprint on the planet), frequently rent these goats, one at a time, or the entire herd, to clear off unwanted vegetation.

A lot of folks go there to look at them, but the owners had to put up a sign telling people not to feed them.  They were getting fat; plus the owners had no idea what they were being fed, so they had to ask people to stop feeding them.

goat3I love goats…their playful dispositions, their beauty, chevre, the way they bleat.  I have always wanted to buy one for Ingrid, but her mom doesn’t think it is a good idea, so I haven’t……yet. 🙂

goat6John and I had such a good time watching Ingrid’s excitement as she raced around and talked to and about the animals.  She raced to catch up with John and told him everything she knew about goats.  It was very cute, and we had a good laugh.

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Thank you, John.  Thank you, Ingrid.  Was fun creating memories with you two today. xoxo

Portland Waterfront Blues Festival

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I have been to many, many blues festivals and concerts throughout the world in the years that I have been a music enthusiast.  Our annual Waterfront Blues Festival is one of the best, at least in America, and is just one more thing to love about living in Portland.  This festival is set in a park, right on the banks of the Williamette River in the middle of downtown.  One can hop on a bus or the trolly and be dropped off right at the gate.  The crowd is always mellow and the music is outstanding!  Even the food is exceptional!
This morning, John presented me with our tickets as a nice “good morning” gift, as he is prone to give me spontaneously.  (Both of us have a thing about gift giving and give to one another regularly.  Keeps things hoppin’! )  With company arriving within the next few weeks and travel plans on the horizon, I had not thought to buy tickets myself, so I’m really happy that he did.  We have a great lineup of artists this year and I look forward to going again.    The thing I look most forward to is dancing with the other happy attendees.  We do have a great time when we go!

2014 Featured Artists for the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival

  • Gregg Allman

    Gregg Allman

  • Los Lobos

    Los Lobos

  • Dumpstaphunk

    Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk

  • Boz Scaggs

    Boz Scaggs

  • Maceo Parker

    Maceo Parker

  • Lee Fields

    Lee Fields and The Expressions

  • Los Lonely Boys

    Los Lonely Boys

  • Charlie Musselwhite

    Charlie Musselwhite

  • John Nemeth & The Bokeys

    John Nemeth and The Bo-Keys

  • Joan Osborne

    Joan Osborne with The Holmes Brothers

  • Bombino

    Bombino

  • Blind Boy Paxton

    Blind Boy Paxton

  • Homemade Jamz

    Homemade Jamz

  • Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials

    Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials

  • Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas

    Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Chas

  • Otis Taylor with Mato Nanji

    Otis Taylor with special guest Mato Nanji

  • The Soul of John Black

    The Soul of John Black

  • Sugaray Rayford

    Sugaray Rayford Band

Additional Artists

  • Ellen Whyte

    Albert Reda & Ellen Whyte

  • Andy Stokes & Lisa Mann

    Andy Stokes, Lisa Mann & the Oxford Allstars

  • Big Monti

    Big Monti

  • Cooper

    Cooper

  • Paris Slim

    Frank “Paris Slim” Goldwasser

  • Good Foot Allstars

    Goodfoot Allstars Tribute to James Brown

  • Samba School

    G.R.E.S. Grianças de Zumbi (Children of Zumbi) Samba School

  • Jim Pugh

    Jim Pugh

  • Puppet Show

    Juste À Temps (Just In Time) Puppet Troupe

  • Libertine Bells

    Libertine Belles

  • Lloyd Jones

    Lloyd Jones Struggle

  • Rad Trads

    Rad Trads

  • Rose City Kings

    Rose City Kings

  • Smut City

    Smut City Jellyroll Society

  • Bonepickers

    The Bone Pickers

  • Tim Williams

    Tim Williams

  • Too Loose Porch Band

    Too Loose Cajun/Zydeco Band

  • Lisa Mann Really Good Band

    Lisa Mann & Her Really Good Band, featuring Diane Blue

  • Liz Vice

    Liz Vice

  • Margo Tufo

    Margo Tufo

  • Mary Flower

    Mary Flower & the BBQ Boys

  • Chris Baum Project

    The Chris Baum Project

  • The Strange Tones

    The Strange Tones & DK Stewart

  • Duffy Bishop

    Duffy Bishop

  • American Music Program

    American Music Program

  • Andy T and Nick Nixon Band

    Andy T & Nick Nixon Band

  • Anson Funderburgh

    Anson Funderburgh

  • Lauren Sheehan

    Lauren Sheehan

  • Ayron Jones

    Ayron Jones & The Way

  • Ben Rice

    Ben Rice Trio

  • Chris Bergson

    Chris Bergson Band

  • Chris O'Leary Band

    The Chris O’Leary Band

  • Commander Cody

    Commander Cody

  • Curley Taylor

    Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble

  • The Frank Bey & Anthony Paule Band

    The Frank Bey & Anthony Paule Band

  • Hillstomp

    Hillstomp

  • Jeffrey Broussard

    Jeffrey Broussard and The Creole Cowboys

  • Kara Grainger

    Kara Grainger

  • Karen Lovely

    Karen Lovely’s Prohibition Orchestra

  • Leif Totusek

    Leif Totusek’s Candela Blues

  • Leo

    Leo “Bud” Welch

  • Lilla

    Lilla

  • Linda Hornbuckle

    Linda Hornbuckle’s Old Time Gospel Hour

  • Miz Dee

    Miz Dee

  • Rae Gordon Band

    Rae Gordon Band

  • Simon Tucker

    Simon Tucker Band

  • Ural Thomas & The Pain

    Ural Thomas & The Pain

  • Yvette Landry

    Yvette Landry

  • Horace Trahan & Ossun Express

    Horace Trahan & Ossun Express

  • Trancendental Brass Band

    Transcendental Brass Band

 

What a Glorious Day!

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The temperature hovered around 77 degrees f all day today.  The sun was out, a soft breeze was blowing.  Couldn’t have been more perfect except for the fact that I spent most of the day working.  When I finished, however, John and I decided to walk to the local organic market for some veggies, and I grabbed my camera.  What follows are the pictures that I snapped today.  The battery on my camera was low, so some of them didn’t turn out as sharp as they could have.

This is the time of year when the roses and some of the other flowers are at the end of their lives.  Days like today seem to perk them up and they look beautiful even in their withering state.  The plant life in Portland is so vibrant and alive!  These are happy plants.  This is a city that is pretty happy overall.  I just love it here!

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Hope you have a wonderful week!

Ecola State Park – Cannon Beach, Oregon

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What better adventure is there on a beautiful Oregon afternoon in June, than to take off for places we’d never been?  This time, it was Ecola National Park near Cannon Beach on the incredible Oregon Coast.   We have been to Cannon Beach many times, but this was our first trip to Ecola Park.  William Clark, of the Lewis and Clark expedition wrote about this place, “…the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in front of a boundless Ocean…”

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We hiked through a couple of trails and stood at the apex of the cliff and watched the azure waves undulate slowly across the sand below.  It was breathtaking. I thought of a friend, far away, enduring the sweltering heat and mosquitoes inherent in an unsavory environment, so I shot a little video and sent it via text message so he could share this moment with me.

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John and I must have walked for miles. Each view seemed to be more spectacular than the next.  So hard to believe this is so close to our home.

ImageThe Pacific was in front of us and the forest behind us, and  beautiful Forsythia, a widely cultivated ornamental Eurasian shrub, was in bloom everywhere.  Ingrid and I talk about a magical white deer that feeds on Forsythia.  The story goes that if you see the deer, you will have five continuous days of good luck.  When we go on road trips, this is what we talk about, and four-year-old Ingrid keeps a watchful eye out for him at all times.

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There were many little streams running through the woods, so we could hear those gurgling with the roar of the ocean in the background.

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The water, beaches and forests of Cannon Beach abound with wildlife.  Whales pass by during their bi-annual migration.  The shoreline teems with birds, including many types of gulls, stellar jays, chickadees, nuthatches and hummingbirds that hang out locally.  Many other varieties stop by during migration.  Elk and deer can be seen in the forest and meadows.  Raccoons and squirrels are plentiful as well.  This place is a true wonderland!

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Even the forest afforded us magnificent views of the ocean!  Every time we turned a corner, there was another natural phenomenon to behold.  We were literally surrounded by beauty every minute that we were there!

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There were spectacular views everywhere…

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Others were out enjoying the day as well, but it wasn’t crowded at all.

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What a nice day trip this was!  We are both thankful to live so close to this kind of magnificence.  Never let it be said that we do not appreciate that which surrounds us.  It is awesome….in the old, pre-Bill and Ted’s Big Adventure sense.  Awesome.  Visit Oregon! You’ll be glad you did.

Mothers Day Weekend – Traveling the Historic Columbia River Highway

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As an early start to Mothers Day weekend, John, Ingrid and I decided to take a day trip across the historic Columbia River Highway on the Oregon side of the gorge.  It looks isolated, I know, but is actually only about a half hour away from our house.    The entire area is magically beautiful with its lush greenery and wispy cloud cover.  There are many, many waterfalls along the way, and I am always delighted to see them. The area has a plethora of places to hike and hang out for the day.

Our first stop was Multnomah Falls.  Ingrid was very happy to be there!  There was a moderate crowd…not bad….and it rained on and off, lightly,  with intermittent sunshine.  Could have been worse.  We, in fact, had a great time!

The falls is a 611-foot-tall, 2-tiered  roaring cascade of icy water that allows visitors to experience the power and beauty of nature up close and with ease. According to Native American folk lore, Multnomah Falls was created to win the heart of a young princess who wanted a hidden place to bathe. Although you can see the top portion of the falls from the highway, to view both tiers you have to walk to the viewing area located in a carved-out opening in the rock face , as shown in the photo below.

ings and stacy multnomah

Creating these memories together is the best part of these little trips.

My daughter had given us a gift certificate awhile back, so we decided to use it and eat lunch at the lodge.There was a big fire burning in the fireplace to take the damp chill out of the air, and  although this photo doesn’t show it, there was a stellar view from our table, of the falls crashing down the side of the mountain.

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After lunch, we took one more look at the falls, then got back into the car and headed further up the highway to the Bonneville Fish Hatchery which is located at the mouth of Tanner Creek . We took Ingrid to the basement of the visitors center to watch fish swim up the fish ladder.  They have windows located there with lit portions of the ladder.  After that, we drove across the dam to the hatchery itself.    We must have walked for miles along the grounds.  Flowers were blooming and the little ponds and forested areas were stunning.  One of my favorite sightings was this resting spot for ducks.  See them scattered across that log in the pond?

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The highlight for Ms. Ingrid was the opportunity to meet and greet Mr. Herman the sturgeon.  Herman is about 11 feet long, weighs in at around 500 pounds, and is right around 70 years old!

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Here is a little video of Ingrid offering up some sugar for the old guy.

The ponds were teaming with trout.  Their rainbow scales glistened as they jumped about.

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Ingles  had a great time feeding the ducks!

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After we explored awhile, we headed up the mountain to the Vista House with a slight detour to take a look at Horsetail Falls.

 

Horsetail Falls roars loudly and leaves quite a spray.

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I have written previously  about trips to the Vista House .  Ingrid fell in love with the marble and the stained glass windows and patina’d brass.

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We walked all the way to the top, down to the basement and back up again.

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This brief video can give you an idea about how glorious the view was yesterday, but even this doesn’t begin to capture the serenity and feeling of peacefulness  that this beautiful location imparts.  It is an absolutely stunning location!  The views seem different every time we go, because the big sky plays such a huge role in the overall appearance of the view.  The Columbia majestically twists and turns its way through the Cascades.  Lovely, in every respect, and so amazingly close to home!  We visit here often.

We headed back to Portland for a quiet family evening together. On our way back, a special someone called to wish me Happy Mothers Day, and to remind me that I am loved.  I appreciated that so very much at that particular moment. Love is the answer to just about everything, folks, and this friend reminds me of that each time that we speak.

Ingrid had a sleepover with us that night, and woke me this morning with a beautiful little music box playing Beethoven’s, “Fur Elise”

Perfection!

Places in the World a Woman Can Walk

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Today, it started to sprinkle a little bit….not really rain….but I was in the mood for a walk, so I grabbed John and told him that I had a surprise for him….and we set off for Powell Butte, one of the many urban forests in Portland.  It was such a beautiful experience for us both.  I had hiked on Powell Butte once before, but without John, and I didn’t even tell him where we were going until we got there.  He had never been, and was very happy when he saw our destination.

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So hard to believe this forest is only 15 minutes from home!  Powell Butte is the site of an  extinct cinder cone volcano that rises near the headwaters of Johnson Creek – an urban creek that runs near our daughter’s home.  It has a remnant populations of native salmon and steelhead that one can see occasionally from the shore. The park is comprised of 608 acres of meadowland and forest.  We went to the densest forest area that has trails running up the side of the volcano.

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Before the turn of the century, the large meadow area was cleared and an orchard planted, although there are no signs left of it today.   In 1925 the City of Portland bought  the property from George Wilson because they planned to build future water reservoirs there.  However, they continued to lease the northeast section of the property to Henry Anderegg, a farmer and owner of Meadowland Crest Dairy, until 1948 when he retired. . However, dairy cattle were permitted to graze on the acreage to preserve the pastures. In the mid-1970s the Water Bureau prepared a development plan for Powell Butte that called for the construction of four 50-million gallon underground reservoirs to be located at the north end of the butte. In 1981 the first, and only, reservoir was built and still serves as the hub of the Water Bureau’s distribution system. Also, the Powell Valley Water District has three reservoirs on the butte. In 1987 the City officially established Powell Butte as a nature park and the park was opened to the public in 1990.

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Today, miles of trails accommodate hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders.   In fact, we were almost run off the trail by a group of 10-yr. old mountain bikers that shattered our serenity with their war cries and shrieks as they sped down the hill.  After they had passed, however, the quiet was restored.

Abundant wildlife populates the park, including rabbits, ring-necked pheasants, ground squirrels, raccoons, gray foxes, skunks, bats, chipmunks, coyotes, and black-tailed mule deer. The park is home to many birds of prey with its open meadows, groves of wild hawthorn trees, forested slopes of Western red cedar, and wetlands near Johnson Creek.

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We didn’t see any wildlife today….not even birds, but the walk was splendid, regardless. The weather was cool and breezy, and we felt the occasional raindrop….just enough to keep us cool during our brisk walk.  We walked all the way to the top, too!

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I loved all the moss growing on the trees…and the ferns on the forest floor.

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I loved everything about this walk!  John and I had a great chat as we strolled up the path to the top of the ridge, and then back down again.  He called me,  “Sacagawea” because I have a real knack for finding my way around in a forest.  He claims to always get lost.  I told him I would rescue him.  No problem.  🙂

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This was a nice end of summer walk…and we both remarked about how it was beginning to feel like autumn a little bit.

A new season for new adventures….

The Perfect Beach Day

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Today was one of those perfect days….sunny, breezy….gently warm, but not hot.  The sky was a brilliant blue and perfectly lovely.

We decided to take a little day trip down to the coast, first to Cannon Beach and then to Manzanita.  Traffic was sparse and the entire trip was stunning.     The gently rolling hills and curvy roads formed a picturesque backdrop for our conversation as we made our way from Portland to the coast.

 

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We stopped in Cannon Beach and walked through a few galleries.  I fell in love with this little bird piece and others by this husband and wife team of artists. I will publish their names here as soon as I find where I put their card…Loved their work!  Loved it!

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I also enjoyed padding about on the cheetah carpeting at a little boutique where I tried on clothes for my husband who was kind enough to treat me to a pretty new dress.

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There were beautiful flowers all over the place in Cannon Beach! We took a nice walk to the vista that overlooked the beach, then finally dropped back around to the Volvo and drove to Manzanita.

As we approached the village, just about 15 miles down the road from Canon Beach, we pulled over and stood at the ledge of the cliff for a long time, overlooking the beach.  The water was the most gorgeous color.  We talked about how peaceful we both felt…how happy we were.  It was a nice moment for us both.

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When we pulled into Manzanita, John wanted to go immediately to El Mariachi Loco, a little greasy spoon Mexican place that reminded us both of a little place in Reno that a friend recommended we go to when we were there in March.  This place isn’t as good as the one in Reno, though, but we still enjoy it when we visit Manzanita.

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The food was ok.  I think I was just anxious to get outside and walk on the beach.  In fact, I only ate about half of what was on my plate and split, leaving John to stop by his favorite Manzanita ice cream shop for a strawberry sorbet.  I always have been a little hyper….)

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The walk on the beach was perfect, albeit a little windy.  I practically had the whole beach to myself!

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There were some windsurfers and a few people on horseback, but for the most part, the beach was isolated.

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The small dunes were particularly nice.

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After I walked about a mile, I turned around and headed back to where I entered the beach.  John met me at the gate, and we walked for another couple of miles.  Then the wind REALLY picked up!  I was wearing a wrap-around dress and hat.  First, my hat blew off my head and went tumbling down the beach.  Next, my dress began to flip and flap and I had a major wardrobe malfunction.  I was so glad that my husband was the only person that saw it….and he claimed to have rather liked it, actually, so all’s well that ends well, I suppose.  😉

He looked at me right after that and pointed to the little metal sculptures below and said, “Wanna duck?”    (He’s pretty corny sometimes…)

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And well….the rest is history….

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Click here to listen to Janis Joplin sing, “Summertime” the perfect song for today…

This is the Time of Year in Portland, Oregon……

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This is the time of year in Portland, Oregon when all of the English garden style flowers come spilling over onto the sidewalks.

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It is a time when the air is crisp and cool in the mornings, even though the sun is out, and when morning walks are their most glorious.

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The darkness and rain have given way to the new season, one that is easy to embrace and feel joyful about.  I love Portland.  I love the people who live here, the attitudes of those people, the outward and inward beauty of the spirit of this gentle city.  It is a great place to live.

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This is the time of year when the cherry blossoms have fallen and the fresh, new fruits have begun to appear everywhere….cherries…peaches…apples….

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It is a time for pie baking and jam making….but there are still flowers everywhere!  The whole city smells of flowers.

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It is a time for open windows and playing dress up and for making art…

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This is the time of year in Portland, Oregon  simply to feel happy and to enjoy life.    I adore this city.

Day # 8 – On Your Plate

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Photo a Day – APRIL

Day #8 – On Your Plate

© Stacy Alexander – 2013