View from Floor 21, American Plaza Towers

Librarian Book Group tonight was held at the American Plaza Towers.  I was quite excited to get to see the inside of these condominium towers.  In general, I love seeing the inside of any structure, but I’ve wondered about these since I moved to Portland.

I liked that the elevator exited to the open air.  It gave a feeling of openness, plus the view was great.

The condo had a great interior. It was two levels with a living/dining area, plus a kitchen that had a cozy hang-out space.  There was also a den/bedroom on the main level.  Stairs led to the two bedrooms upstairs.

This was the view from their deck.

I’ve been frustrated with the yard situation at my house and very much longed to move to the American Plaza Towers.  Currently the lowest-price condominium is advertised for $435,000 which is nowhere near my budget.  So downtown condominium living will have to be a dream deferred.

Goodbye to Ankeny Street Studios

I’ve been square dancing with the Rosetown Ramblers at the Ankeny Street Studio since June.  There is much to love about this studio, beginning with the fact that it is located in this nondescript building.

There are a variety of instructors who use the space, including ballroom dance instructors and folk dancers.

The  room we use is the Grand Ballroom and it’s huge.  It has mirrors and a beautiful floor.  Also a disco ball.

Along the side are tables and chairs.  The decorations on the tables change with the seasons.  One of my favorite details is the carpet-covered bumpers along the wall, which keep chairs from hitting the wall.Sadly, this space will be eliminated.  The original owner of the building was a woman who was invested in the ballroom dance community.  The building has been sold and the new owners are not interested in supporting the dance community.  The Rosetown Ramblers will be dancing in Milwaukie in the future.  And Portland will lose this unique space.

Interesting things to note about two buildings

This is the Pendleton Woolen Mills Corporate Headquarters.  I was interested in the sign over the office door.  “No Alcohol Beyond this Point”  Is there drinking only in this office?

Look at this little house, which has managed to survive all sorts of transformations around it.  It’s currently the Julia West House.

Mission San Xavier

Look at the sky!  Blue!  Arizona in March is wonderful!

This is the church that Frank Lloyd Wright dubbed the White Dove of the Desert.  We toured!

Here’s the rocky thing next to the church with the cross on top.  I know it has a name, I just can’t get the internet to cough it up right now.

Details of the sculptures on the front.  

The mission was founded by Jesuit missionary Father Kino (who you might remember being mentioned in this post).  It was the northern-most mission he established.   Father Kino gets good press, so I thought I would include this link as an alternate perspective.

In 1767 the Jesuits were expelled from “New Spain” and the mission was abandoned.  The Franciscans came to fill the void and began construction of the church that we see today.

The four flags that have flown over the mission.  Spain, Mexico, the United States and the Tohono O’odham Nation.  The mission is a working parish for the Tohono O’odham people.

I loved this detail.

I also loved this photo, of tourists standing by the explanation of the Man in the Maze.

The Man in the Maze is part of Tohono O’odham culture.  The man is born, which is where he is at the top of the maze. He travels through the maze (life) encountering many turns and changes.  On the way he acquires knowledge, strength and understanding. Near the end he retreats to a small corner and then reaches the dark center of death and eternal life.

Work was happening on the tower.  The Patronato San Xavier is a group that has been working since 1978 to preserve the church.  They are also the group that gives the tours.

And here’s my own self with the Man in the Maze.

Detail of ceiling.

Detail on wall.

More front-of-church

Here’s a little mouse.  There is a cat located on the other side.  Legend says that if the cat catches the mouse, the tower will fall.

Not a detail of the church, but I was flummoxed by this “est. 1959” business.  Hawaii was around long before that.

Interior!  Nearly everything was painted, rather than tiled, due to lack of funds.

For symmetrical purposes this door was painted.  Also the repeating box motif would  have been tile in a more prosperous church.
The mission is a pilgrimage site.  People can pray to Saint Francis for intersession.

Painted mural.  Note the painted frame.

The last supper scene had a creepy little devil’s head in the corner

History of the mission that takes into account the differing cultures. 

A nice illustration of the Piman groups annual cycle.

A map of the Father Kino missions.

Milagros left with Saint Francis, as well as other items.

What’s left of the termite-eaten Jesus who used to be on the wooden cross in the church.

An illustration of the Man in the Maze creeping into standard Catholic items.

Courtyard.  It was a parking lot at one time.

This sign cracks me up.  I’m the person who would read it and ask, “Which way is East?”

Candles stacked and ready for selling.

Across the way was an area of shops.  I loved this advertisement.Overall, a really great tour.  I was surprised to learn it was our tour guide’s first tour.

Gallery in the Sun

Hey look!  I’m in Arizona!  Yesterday we went to the dog park and then out to dinner.  Then, Barb and I started on a puzzle.

Today, Dad and I are going to visit the Gallery in the Sun.  We’re taking the MGB, which is turning 50 years old this year.  You’ll see more pictures from the MGB in a later post.

Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia built the Gallery in the Sun so his paintings “would feel good inside.”  He built it out of adobe bricks, which were crafted on-site and used natural materials in the construction.  I really loved walking through this gallery, so I would categorize his efforts as a huge success.

The entrance, which he made like a cave, or a mine opening.

And decorated with metal flowers.

The Doors!  So amazing.



Close-up of the marbles in the doors.

Inside, he sometimes whitewashed the walls, and sometimes left them plain.

This is cactus, cut crosswise, laid down and varnished over.  He noted it was pleasing on the feet.  I was wearing slip-on shoes and so took an opportunity to test his theory.  It was quite pleasing to my feet.

The skylights were covered with that wavy plastic stuff used to cover porches.

Inset frieze.

I quite liked this one. Note the addition of wiring and a security camera.

Here’s a great appliquéd wall hanging of DeGrazia’s art.  It’s by Delia Figueroa.

A corner depicting his workshop space.

More great room transitions.
I loved this photo.

Here’s a favorite.  “One Slice” 

After visiting the gallery, we checked out the Mission in the Sun. Here’s a fountain we saw along the way.

The mission was built first, following a regional tradition of building a chapel or shrine before the building. It is built in honor of Father Keno.

Art around a side room.


The mission has an open-air roof

I loved this cross

A well-used alter

Colored glass

We then visited the artist studio next to the Mission in the Sun.  This is where DeGrazia did his work.  Visiting artists use the space today.  

Also, the gift shop had these very cool Sand Painting Kits.

I was very intrigued by this kit, but not enough to buy one.

The rest of the buildings on the block that will go away.

I realized that though I had featured the buildings on one side of the block, I hadn’t taken a proper picture of the other part of the block that will go away.

On the right we have the EUROCAR building.  It’s a nice looking one with some good windows.  It’s been empty for a very long time.On the left is the Jimmy Mak’s building with the sign saying “Jazz” still illuminated.  The marquee says, “Thanks for 20 years. We love you Jimmy.  Fuck Cancer”

How do you make a curved wall?

The office across the hall from mine was vacated, and a new company moved in.  As part of their move they installed a curved wall just inside the front door.  I watched the metal studs go up.  They were six inch or so inches apart and framed in an arc.  I wondered how they would make the flat drywall fit onto the curve.

I got my answer the next day.  It involves a heck of a lot of drywall screws.

Not the best thing to see out your window

When the gas leak that caused an explosion that leveled a building is fresh in your mind, it is little comfort to see that you are on the outside of the caution tape of an area that is being evacuated due to a gas leak.

I left early, as did everyone still in my office.

All was fine though.  No explosions.