Sunday, October 26, 2008

Oct 25, 2008 - Last Two Days

We stopped in Twin Falls to see the new temple there. It's beautiful. Then we drove to Fielding to see Mom's brother Donald and his wife Eleanor and Aunt Betty Jean. They prepared a delicious meal and we had a wonderful visit.

In the morning we drove to Brigham City to see Mom's sister Carol. While there Jane and her daughter stopped in. We visited for an hour or so. It was great.

We didn't take any pictures, though. I am so mad at myself.

We stopped in Layton to see Alyson and Katie who are roommates right now. Aly is

working at Staples and attending college. Katie is working at a day care center. We took them to lunch at Candleman's favorite burger place.We realized on the way to Layton that we missed the opportunity of pictures of Aunts and Uncle, so we were sure to take the camera into the girls' appartment and I took a picture of these few wacky and wonderful people.

From Layton we drove home, dropping Mom off at her house and sorting out our treasures. It was bittersweet to be home - we had such a wonderful time but it's always good to be home.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Oct 24, 2008 - Geiser Grand Hotel

We spent the night at the Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City. This hotel has seen better days, but it was still fun to stay there and now I won't be wondering what it would be like. They really need to fix it up and make it the showplace it should be; maybe there's just not enough business.

We stayed in rooms on the 2nd floor that overlooked the dining room below and looked up at the pretty skylight.

We enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the dining room in the morning - eggs benedict, eggs rockefeller and trout and eggs. Poor Candleman looks like he spent too long in the Saloon - what a ham!

I laughed at the sign printed on this hotel across the stree and a block away; the sign was were it could be seen from the Geiser Grand. I ask you, does that place look modern? It may have done in 1930 or 40 or whenever it was built compared to the 1889 Geiser Grand. Today it just

looks silly, but freshly painted. Hmmm, what's with that?

One last picture from Baker City. This house is across the side street from the hotel. So lovely, but I think the wood shutters in the top, front window are not attractive. Gee, I hope those people don't come to critique my house!

Oct 24, 2008 - Draper Girl's Farm

We stopped at the Draper Girl's Country Farm in Parkdale, just outside of Hood River on Hwy 35. We bought two companions for our travel gourd as well as lots of fresh apples and pears. The selection was amazing, but we couldn't remember what types we had the minute we were in the car. It would be great to live close to orchards and fruit stands.

I was impressed with this little write up: "Our grandfather Roman started the tradition of self-service after hours, and we continue to offer this to our guests. Just stop on by and help yourself and put the money in the bin. "

Draper Girls offers the best apple cider I've ever tasted. Oh, my! It may be the best drink ever. They have one of a few licensed non-pasteurized cider mills in the state, so we could stock up because it needed to be refrigerated. So we only bought 2 bottles. It is to die for.

Oct 24, 2008 - Timberline Lodge

This lodge was built during the Depression by the Work Progress Administration and was dedicated by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Today it is a year round ski lodge. As much as we love Mt. Hood (see last post) we decided it looks better from further away.

It was massive on the inside and was bit of a maze to find our way around. Part of that was because repairs were being made to the front door so we had to enter through a side door and then wander through halls to find the front desk.

We did enjoy sharing a bowl of cream of cauliflower soup that was delicious.

Oct 24, 2008 - Mt Hood Scenic Drive

Can you believe this picture?! I was so worried that we would be driving through a snow storm on the day we drove around Mt. Hood. Au contraire, the weather was perfect.

We stopped in the small community of Sandy, Oregon to take pictures of this glorious scene. Can you even imagine living where you could look out and see this, or go out for a stroll and just turn your head and WOW! The scene to the other side is nothing to sneeze at either. When we were driving along the coast, both Mom and Candleman picked numerous houses or places they would live if they could drop everything and live a dream. Both would enjoy living right on the ocean. I would like to live close but not right there. When we got to Sandy I said that this is the type of place I'd like to live. They conceded if they couldn't live on the ocean they'd like to live here.

Oct 24, 2008 - Columbia River Gorge & Crown Point

We drove on hwy 84 from Portland to Multnomah Falls but then we turn around and headed west again, this time on the old scenic highway. It's a beautiful drive as the road twists and turns as it makes its way up to Crown Point. We visited the recently remodeled Vista House. The picture of Vista House I borrowed from the internet. It was taken on the day of its reopening.

We were surprised that the gift shop and dioramas about the gorge and the old hiway and Vista House were downstairs in a circular hallway around the outside walls. The main floor is open to the ceiling and has lots of windows to see out to the beautiful views. There are also sidewalks on the backside of the structure so people can snap some good shots.. .

Oct 24, 2008 - Multnomah Falls

When we first started planning this trip we talked about not going to the ocean, but then we just couldn't pass that up so we planned 2 days for the ocean. So glad we did. We also weren't going to visit Multnomah Falls, but when push came to shove, we just couldn't leave it out. So we drove the extra miles to see the falls (it cost us maybe 25 miles), but it was worth it. The falls are quite magnificent and it was fun to see them in the autumn.

We stepped into the gift store for a quick look-see. They had some really nice winter coats that fit me. The price so low and the quality so high that we

decided to get a coat for Alyson, who we knew needed a new winter coat, and for Katie because she loves the falls. All three of our coats are identical in a beautiful shade of light blue. And they are reversible. There was a sale - buy 3 get 1 free. We tried calling Jenny and Krisit to see if they needed new coats, but didn't reach them, so Candleman got a new coat even though he didn't particularly need one.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oct 23, 2008 - Portland's Chinese Gardens

The Chinese Garden is one of my favorite spots. It's so tranquil and harmonious. Portland's sister city, Suzhou, built this garden. Chinese artisans constructed the walls, buildings, pavilions and walkways using materials and tools they brought from China.

The garden is mostly in the style of Ming dynasty gardens and it is considered a winter garden. There is a tree that blooms in November and fills the neighboring blocks with an intoxicating smell. There is a Magnolia tree with will keep its big swelling buds until spring when it will bloom. A Oriental Plum is one of the harbingers of

spring and will bloom in February. Even though it is a winter garden there were a few fall trees - very lacy and delicate like those in the Japanese Garden.

A classical Chinese garden consists generally of five elements: plants, stone, water, architecture and poetry. As we wandered around enjoying the beauty we enjoyed some pleasing Chinese music. I thought it was piped in over speakers and I also thought the instrument was a flute. As we came to the Tea House we decided to go in. That's when we discovered the music where the music was coming from.

This was a string instrument that we had never see before. The man playing allowed us to take some pictures and he talked with us about the instrument. He said it was very easy to learn - instead of notes the music is written with numbers. What a great concept. I thought I might come home and translate some piano music into this number form and I might be able to play the piano. Candleman, who loves to buy instruments and who even plays them, was most excited. Someday we hope to find one of these for him.

They served our different flavored herbal teas in individual little teapots. Mom liked Candleman's pot best, but I liked our little blue flowered pots better. We tried Hibiscus, Rose Hip and, oh, I can't remember. It was a delightful experience, absolutely delightful.

I love the picture I took from the upstairs window of the rooftops. Speaking of windows,

I love the windows in the buildings. And speaking of roofs - these are made in columns so that the rain runs down the columns and then it hits a little stone guard that causes the rain to fall in individual drops. We were hoping to see rain while in the garden so we will have to return. Oh, darn. Our weather was perfect - October cool but clear skies.

There were some beautiful bonsai plants throughout the garden - deciduous, evergreens, bushes. It's just amazing. I never thought of a big redwood being made into a bonsai, but isn't it wonderful?

Last time we visited we talked about bringing a book with us next time and staying for hours, sitting, reading, contemplating, walking, sipping tea, sitting, reading, soaking in the harmony, tranquility, and loveliness.

I carried the book I was reading, Cassandra & Jane by Jill Pikeanthley, in hopes I would get 15 minutes or so to sit, read and contemplate. I sat down next to Candleman on one of our favorite benches. I opened my book and Candleman nudged me and said, "If we want to get into the gift shop, we better get going before they close." Hard choices! I wish I would have chosen reading. Candleman did buy a recently published book that interprets the columns of poetry found throughout the garden, so that was good.

Oct 23, 2008 - Portland Sights

Portland is a city of statues, artwork in stores and in the neighborhoods, a city of fountains and parks and a city of culture and diversity and, of course the city of roses.

The elk statue has a drinking trough for horses around its base. It was given to the city in 1900 when there were still horses using the main streets. The elk is in commeration of the wild elk that use to (before 1900) roam the streets.

The 38-foot figure of Portlandia (located on the Portland Building) is made of hammered copper sheeting over a steel armature - the same method used in the Statue of Liberty. Her image was adapted from an old Portland city seal.

Across the street from the Portland Bldg is an insurance building that features this inviting plaza at street level. These two men are enjoying their lunch hour in this tranquil setting. These type of plazas and

terraces are very common, making the downtown area a nice place to work and to visit.

Portland has some notable buildings. The KOIN bldg is definitely easy to recognize in the city scape. It's the 2nd tallest bldg in Portland - the tallest is the Wells Fargo Building. Wanted to mention that for Shaneen. The scale of many architectural projects is relatively small, as a result of the relatively small size of downtown-Portland blocks (200 feet by 200 feet) and strict height restrictions enacted to protect views of nearby Mount Hood from Portland's West Hills.

Another fountain/sculpture that we passed in our short

morning in downtown Portland is titled Quest. That name for that fountain explains why the locals call this piece of artwork Three Orgasms in a Fountain. No further comments!

Portalnd has a large China town. On a previous visit Candleman and I ate at an authentic Chinese restaurant. Though it was an interesting experience and fun, I won't ever do it again. I'll take my Chinese food Americanized from now on.

All three of us had visited Powell's, the largest independently owned bookstore in the world, on previous visits and with other people. The main store - Mom is standing outside the main store - is a city block in size and 3, 4 or 5 stories high. Both times we felt overwhelmed. It's not the kind of store for a brief visit and I think it would help to have in mind a few books you're interested in before entering. We showed up at 4:15 in time for me to meet a book blogger friend in the coffee shop. We visited for 40 minutes. Candleman had been roaming the store and picked up a couple of items, but he wanted to buy all the Odd Thomas books by Dean Koontz in hard back - it wasn't good enough that we owned all the paperback editions! He said I could mooch those. Mom had found a couple of books, but spent most of her time visit with SuzieQ and I. That left 10 min. for me to choose something. I had seen a lady reading a David Baldacci book at one of the lighthouse we visited earlier on the trip and the section for him was right nearby, so I bought Hour Game. Then when looking for a book by Charles de Lint (I bought my first by him here) I saw a big, nice, illustrated book of Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. I loved reading that book earlier this year so I grabbed it and headed for the checkout. My Powell's experience was totally delightful, especially meeting SuziQ.

The last picture is of a building I especially like for its architecture and colors.

A picture we didn't get that I wish we had was of Paddy's Bar and Grill. Candleman and I have been looking forward to a 2nd visit. Once before in the middle of the day we were walking around the Tom McCall Waterfront Park and needed a cold drink. We walked up and down a few streets looking for someplace, anyplace that would suffice. Finally we stumbled on Paddy's. We shared a sandwich and a whole pitcher of ice cold lemonade. Oh, it was so good. We didn't keep track of the name, so looking for Paddy's took us a little time, but when we found it we knew it was 'the' place. Tonight it was rock n'rolling and loud, but fun. It was quite a dramatic change from our afternoon in the tranquil Chinese Garden. The lemonade was great. Candleman order Banger and Mash, Mom tried a Barbeque Pulled Pork Sandwich and I had - gee, I forget! We all were very happy with our choices.

Oct 23, 2008 - Pioneer Courthouse Square

I was looking forward to our touring of downtown Portland, but things didn't pan out as planned. I think we were all a bit tired; at least I was and I didn't feel very well. We arrived at Pioneer Courthouse Square to major construction and noise.
I was happy to visit the Square again and look specifically for things I missed when we hurried through here on a previous trip.

I love the top picture, because when I was posing with the 'Allow Me' statue I didn't realize that Mom was sitting behind me getting such a kick out of my antics. Notice he's wearing one of my scarves - Candeman's doing.

The second picture is of one of the famous Benson Bubbler drinking fountains.

The third picture is of the left side of the fountain. Portland is known for its fountains - it has many.

Picture number four shows the ample seating area/stairs, currently occupied by a class outing.

The fifth picture is the fingerpost sign. Very cool.

The last picture is of the chess board artwork.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oct 22, 2008 - Grant's Park in Portland

Author Beverly Cleary of Henry Huggins and Ramona Quimby fame is from Portland. In her honor a park that is close to her two childhood homes features a statue of these two characters and Henry's dog, Ribsy.

We used these statues to model some of my crocheted scarves and hats so I could post them on my shop.

Not one of the three of us had ever read any of Beverly Cleary's books so we listened to the delightful first chapter of her first book, Henry Huggins(pub 1951), while driving to Portland from Tillamook.

I really like this park. In addition to the statues there's a water fountain, a high school, and some distinguished trees. The last picture with Mom and I is with a huge plane tree.

Big Chocolate Disappointment

I didn't think I would ever use the words chocolate and disappointment in the same sentence, but that describes my feelings after visiting the renown Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe in Portland. I skipped dessert at Papa Hayden's, which boast 22 scrumptious looking desserts, in favor of a mint chocolate truffle from Moonstruck. Guess what, they didn't have one mint chocolate truffle - not in milk chocolate, white chocolate, or my preference, dark chocolate. I couldn't believe it. That is just wrong! They said it's not the season and that they would have some around Christmas. I settled on 2 pieces of chocolate that cost $2.50 each. Neither was anything to get excited about.

In all fairness, I did not try their famous root beer flavored milkshake made from white chocolate ice cream or their hot cocoa which is supposed to be delicious, so I can't say it they would have lived up to their promise or not. All I can say is that I won't be going back. Instead I will look for a Macy's and buy a box of their impossible-to-beat Frango mints.

Oct 22, 2008 - Pittock Mansion in Portland

The Pittock Mansion is located on top of a hill (mountain) in Washington Park overlooking Portland. It was built by a newspaper tycoon for his young bride. We opted to not take the tour because Candleman and I did that on a previous trip, but in hindsight I wish we had. Mom would have enjoyed it and I know I would have enjoyed it a second time, too. They closed the tours at 5:00, but when we poked our heads in to see the foyer there was a nice lady that insisted we come in and see some of the main floor. That was a treat and very nice of her.

The grounds are large, beautiful and provide a sweeping view of Portland and Mt Hood. Actually, Candleman was able to identify four volcanic peaks and they told us on a clear day they could see five.

There was a little bitty gift store where I know we bought a few items. I often wish after I get home that I could remember where I bought certain momentos - it would sure be a good idea to write that down in the little notebook I take along. Or even a quick snapshot when we're paying for items would be helpful.

Later we drove around the Alphabet District where we ate a light dinner (before 5 when their prices skyrocketed shamelessly) at Papa Haydens. We all agreed that the food was nothing to rave about. They offer 23 different deserts, but just looking at them was enough. We opted to save dessert for Moonlight Chocolates, just up the street.

Both nights in Portland we stayed at the LaQuinta near the convention center.