Where have I been?

Where have I been? I’ve been here, but not here in the blog world. School started. The two weeks leading up to the first day, I had a creeping sense of dread. I enjoy my work, but I didn’t really want school to start again. It turns out, the creeping sense of dread was a correct gut reaction. Since we’ve gone back to school my life has turned into a very “chop wood, carry water” sort of experience. And not it the blissful way Rick Fields imagines.

I go to work. I come home. I cook, clean up, set out clothes for tomorrow and repeat. It doesn’t help that the beginning of school, a time of increased activity, has coincided with a time in my life when I have little energy and am supposed to be resting and healing. So a lot of things have gone out the window. The blogs. Long bike rides. Watching movies. Taking fun classes. Having a clean and tidy house. Answering fun letters that come in the mail adorned with stickers. I just don’t have the energy right now. You should see (or rather not) my kitchen floor. Thank god for slippers.

I’m currently experimenting with a sabbath day. Not so much in the religious sense, but more in the rest sense. I keep thinking of Laura Ingalls Wilder and how Ma and Pa would work hard all week and then, out there on that house on the prairie, far away from any church, do nothing on Sundays. Just rest, while Laura and Mary played quietly with their dolls. I can’t help thinking, that for all their devout spirit, those pioneers on the prairie just needed some rest. And that is the real reason why we are supposed to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

So currently, after I finish going to church and YRUU (the high school youth group at church–I’m an advisor) I come home and sleep for a few hours. I read in bed and then spend the rest of the day doing something like that. Nothing I have to do.

This requires me to get all of my cooking for the week done on Saturday. And everything else too. This is only week two and there are a few kinks to work out, but so far, it’s nice to not have obligations on Sunday afternoon and evening. It seems like I have some space to breathe.

Picnic Project–North Portland, Overlook Park

The Picnic Project.
Established 2006.

Each year, Patricia chooses five parks in Portland—one from each section of Portland: N, NE, NW, SE & SW. She plans food and invites people for a picnic, then records the festivities. By 2027 she will have picnicked in every park in Portland.

Date: July 28
Park: Overlook Park
Present: Kelly, Heidi, Patricia, Jan & Nicole.
Food: Delights from Salad, Delights from Whole Foods, more salad and carrot cake.
Activities: Eating our yummy food. Croquet
Comments: I love Overlook park. It (not too surprisingly) overlooks the Willamette River and the North and NW industrial area. It is particularly beautiful at sunset, not too crowded and has a lovely running track. We had this picnic as a between-two-birthdays picnic. Jan’s comes first near the end of July and Kelly’s is in the first of August. We chatted, ate food, waited for the sun to come out (Worst. Summer. Ever.) and then played a smashing game of croquet.

Downtown Construction

Trimet has this bright idea to run a new Max line down the middle of the Bus Mall. AND open it to car traffic. I think this is colossally dumb, as does everyone I know who rides public transportation. I think that the converging of all three of those modes of transportation will be a disaster. But Trimet is undeterred, so our Bus Mall has been interrupted for 2 years. despite the annoyance of construction, it’s very interesting to walk around and see what is going on.

It looks like here they are installing bump-out sidewalks on this corner. Portland is in love with bump out sidewalks, because they allow pedestrians to see oncoming traffic without peering around cars (and huge SUVs).

This is one of my favorite things in the bus mass construction. They have moved all the cross walks back from the intersection 10-15 feet. And they still needed the street signs to tell us to walk/don’t walk. Solution? Cut those suckers off, drop them in a round of cement, spray paint some white lines on the street and Voila! New crossing.
New Max tracks going in. The sign in the background says what businesses are open on this block. Merchants are grumpy, because business is down.
Another favorite of the downtown construction process. And I mean that sincerely. As they lay the tracks down, they also put down these temporary bridges. When they were constructing near my school, I never knew where the crossing would be. I also feel like an urban Lewis & Clark crossing the makeshift bridge. It makes a pleasant metal “thunk” when you walk across it.
This weekend, they shut down all downtown Max service so that they could make the new line and the existing lines cross. The new line runs perpendicular to the existing lines. It was interesting to be downtown and see all the activity.

Morning Walk

I went on a short walk this morning. I like walking in the mornings as I can wander about and see what’s going on in the neighborhood. I usually walk very early, before most people are out and about, and I really enjoy that because I can indulge in my very nosy-parker behavior. Early in the morning you might find me with my nose pressed up against a fence so I can see what’s going on in someone’s back yard. Or leaning over a shorter fence trying to figure out what kinds of vegetables people are growing. Today I got started later than usual, so I couldn’t do that.

Today though, I checked out “my” garden lots. I have this idea that it would be fun to buy an empty lot and make the whole thing my garden. This is one of those delusional ideas that isn’t based in the real world because 1) I already have trouble keeping up with the tiny garden I have now and 2)The amount I would spend on the lot would buy me truckloads of fresh, organic produce. Still, a girl likes to dream.

This lot, I initially rejected, because there were two huge Douglas fir trees that made the yard totally shady. However, I noticed last week that the trees were GONE! I could totally have a garden here. This lot is actually for sale and someday I may call the number to find out how much it costs.
This is the other lot that I would love to make into a garden. I envision fruit espaliered along the edges with a lovely gate to go through and then many, many neatly tended garden beds.
This lot isn’t for sale, but I am watching.

And what do you do when you have to chop down your tree? Most people would dig out the stump, but these people made a nice picnic table.

Porch conundrum.

We have this great front porch that we have yet to embrace. One problem is that there is so much to do in every other region of the house, there hasn’t been time to find a way to embrace the porch area. But also, it’s so public. It’s really close to the sidewalk, which is a moderately traveled sidewalk. Kelly and I ate dinner out there, and one guy stopped to talk to us. Which is nice, but also kind of weird, if you don’t really want to chat. Plus, with it bare like it is right now, it isn’t really marked as ours either. The other night, Matt looked outside and people were sitting on our porch. When he stuck his head out the door, their excuse was, “Oh, sorry, we thought this was a business.” He asked them to sit somewhere else.

A few weeks ago, I had a vision of what would help. My idea is to install a 12-inch planter across the whole front of the porch on the inside where those potted plants sit now. Then, attach a fairly open, yet tall lattice to the back. Runner peas and beans could be planted in the planter box and grow up to form a bit of a shield between the public and the private.

When I was on a walk, I saw that someone had already created something like I wanted.

I’m thinking less box and more lattice, and longer, of course, but this is exactly what I have in mind. Perhaps a winter project this will be. 🙂

Midsummer Rain

It’s been raining a lot here this week. Wednesday I thought I could get away with riding my bike to work with just my rain poncho. Then it started to pour and I was soaking wet from the thigh down and the neck up. This was serious, February rain. Though much warmer. It was nice to get to work, towel down my hair, and be snugly inside when the rains came again mid-afternoon and I snapped this picture.

The Night Ride

Kelly and I rode The Night Ride. It started at 9:00 p.m. (much better than the midnight start it used to have.) We started at Union Station, and rode out to North Portland and back. At the end, there were donuts. Mmmmmm. Donuts. It was a 15 mile ride in all, and there were two rest stops, one that was a movie rest stop, with popcorn to eat, and one that was a disco party where they gave out candy. The ride was a fundraiser for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, but the best part was the glow-in-the-dark t-shirt.

Kelly and I at the start. The glow-things around our neck were what we wore in lieu of race numbers.

Mmmmmm. Maple Bars

Mmmmmm. I had two!

The War of the Bumper Stickers

I’ve been watching this war for a year or so now with much amusement. Someone who felt strongly about kids needing both parents decided to print up a bunch of stickers and plaster them all over downtown. Many, many newspaper boxes have these stickers on them. I’m assuming that this person means one father and one mother.

Someone else also feels strongly about the issue. Bit by bit, they cannibalized the original stickers to change the meaning of the originals.

July 6: The Bike Project Day 22

The Bike Project:

In which I attempt to ride all the yellow, green, blue & purple streets on the Bike There Bike Map while increasing strength, stamina, aerobic capacity and exploring Portland’s Nooks and Crannies.

Day 22

Weather: Sunny with a breeze. Wonderful summer.

Ride Average Speed: 11.8
Time: 1:21:14
Distance: 15.94
Best Pace: 2:56/mi
Best Speed: 20.4 mh
Calories: 678
Rest Time: 2:31
Rest Distance: 5.15 ft
Total: 1:23:45
Average Heart Rate: 130

The Ride:
N Lombard & N Denver
Head North on Denver
L to get to bike/ped path that goes by Raceway and golf course
R on N Portland Road
L on Peninsula Crossing Trail
Stay on bike path as it merges with Marine Drive
R at Kelly Point Park
Reverse to come back

Route comments:
This is a great ride if you aren’t in the mood for stoplights. Also, it is almost entirely separated from the general traffic, so it is a good one for families and people less into biking. Also, there is wading at Kelley Point Park.

How did I do?
I wasn’t in any hurry so I wasn’t riding quickly. More accurately, I couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm for any fast riding, despite the fact that I had all of the trails to myself. I am clearly in no-hurry vacation mode. It was about the amount of time I was looking for, though.

Glorious Bicycling Moments/Neat Things:
Portland International Raceway (which we thankfully can’t hear very often from our house) has got something going on as the usually empty parking lot was covered with cars and tents and trailers. The web site had this to report:

“Friday-Saturday-Sunday, July 6-8: 31st Annual Baxter Auto Parts Portland Historic Races The thunder of vintage Trans-Am cars returns to PIR as part of the weekend of more than 200 vintage sports car racing on the road course.”


The sewage treatment facility was a bit stinky today.

I hadn’t been on the bike/ped turnoff to Smith and Bybee Lakes before. It appears to be a road that has been blocked off. Also a parking lot for train cars that aren’t going anywhere at the moment.


Smith and Bybee Lakes are popular with paddlers and there is a new canoe launch. Also, due to a park bond measure passed a few years ago, there has been some signage and art work. Witness the lovely birdhouse trees and carved rocks


After riding through the lake areas the trail rejoins Marine Drive, though there is still a bike path next to the high traffic Marine Drive. Marine drive has acres of industrial areas. I saw manufacturing and distribution for Rodda Paint, Honda, Portland French Bakery and more.

It doesn’t look much like a cute little French Bakery, eh?

The turnoff for Kelley Point Park is suddenly just there and you make the turn. After a brief time pedaling, the sound of the cars on Marine Drive fade and there are tall trees all around.


The path takes you around the point. There are a lot of good access points to the water, but there are no lifeguards and you would be swimming in the river. There are many “No Lifeguards, swim at your own risk” signs.

There was cotton from the cottonwoods all over the path. It’s that time of year.

Coming back, I caught a glimpse of the St. John’s Bridge through the trees.