January walk.

So lately this blog has been more “In & Inactive” than “Out & About.” This is due mainly two reasons:

  1. Lack of sleep has kept me from morning exercise so fewer pictures from there.
  2. It’s really dark all the time in the winter here.

This morning, though I walked to the Tin Shed Garden Cafe where I ate breakfast with Jan & Kelly. Here are some pictures I took along the way:

Along this stretch were some nice post-war cottages. Then this tiny little house with a huge front yard and no back yard.
This part of North/Northeast Portland is the only area I’ve found in the city with alleys. Most of them seem to be little used, and some are grown over completely with blackberry brambles.
This shared garage reminded me of houses in South Boston. One owner would update the paint job on their half of the house and the other owner wouldn’t. It was pretty common to see two-toned houses. I’ve rarely seen shared garages in this town, though.
Here’s a cute little post-war house that decided to embrace the swinging 60s with geometrical porch supports, a new door and windows. The sign at the corner of the house says “Suits Me Too”
Along one side street two woman were chatting outside a van. One asked me if I would like to buy tamales. I’d never eaten one, so I took the opportunity to ask the silly questions I’d always been too shy to ask in restaurants. Questions like, “Do you eat the wrapper?” “What’s inside them?” They were selling them six for $5.00 and so I bought some chicken ones. They were good too. I’ve got a card to call if I want more and they will deliver to me.
I like clever graffiti, but this just seems like it needs to be a little more clear. What was hot? It was hot and what?
After Jan & Kelly and I ate and solved the problems of the world we went for a stroll. It was a rare February nice day. Blue sky and warm temperatures. Days like this make winter bearable.
Of course there would be a skeleton in Warrior One on top of a ladder on top of store. Don’t you have one in your town?

November morning walk.

My week off afforded a morning walk when it was actually light out. I’m having a bit of trouble with the darkness and cold this winter. Highlights:

Long before I lived in North Portland I used to bike here a lot. I’ve always loved the small house/big lot combination that flourishes here. This is a nice example.
Oh my, what a pretty craftsman house. I love it!
Except from this direction where they have decided to add a carport-cum-drive-in. If the zoning changes, they can make a killing serving hamburgers and root beer floats. What were they thinking?
What would this hole be doing in this fence?
Ah, a hole left over from the days when the meter reader actually had to read the meter.
This fence surrounded this very box-like house. The very rectangular house takes up the whole lot and is surrounded by a tall fence. The roof is pretty flat. U-G-L-Y It don’t need no alibi… It was for sale and the flyer said, “Must see inside.” Judging from the outside, I think that was all they could say.

Tall Bikes

Portland is such a bike-y city that there are subsets of cyclists in town. One of the subsets is people who never refer to themselves as cyclists. Another is people with tall bikes.

Tall bikes are cool. They are cool because you pretty much have to make your own tall bike, or be friends with someone who does. They are cool because you get to ride far above cars. They are cool because small children gleefully point when they see them. I would love to ride one.

I had the chance. One of the parents of a first grader at my school has a tall bike. I was exclaiming over it, and he offered to let me ride. I automatically said, “Oh, no. I couldn’t,” and then kicked myself later. Next time he offers, I won’t be so quick to say no.

This tall bike was locked up outside school on Friday. It’s being a tall bike makes it cool, but most of them are better crafted than this. Still, can you imagine riding one?

Halloween Graveyard.

Today, I bring you the best Halloween decorations in the neighborhood. Why the fuss over a few fake gravestones and some pumpkins? Let’s look a little closer……
Ah, The Flat Earth. It had a good life. As did disco (which seems to have some sort of nostalgic zombie thing going on)
And we often morn those family values (especially every election). I personally morn the loss of the LP, though I’m not sure where the date comes from. Nuclear Power. Is it dead? France doesn’t think so.
I guarantee you a history major lives here.
Hee hee. Happy Halloween.

Random pictures from the last two months

I’ve been carrying my camera around, but haven’t been downloading pictures as much. Here are 7 random pictures from the last two months.

Caveman run this place. Today special? Sandwich. That all.
Actually, I walked by about two hours later and the message had been fleshed out to read: today special half sandwich and soup. More intelligible, but not as funny.

What’s the story behind this van, do you think? It was parked downtown.
When Matt and I went to visit my Dad and Barb in Arizona, we saw a lot of this in front yards. This, however, is an Oregon specimen, from my neighborhood. Impressive!
On the way to the Max stop is a very button-down security firm. It’s a nondescript office building with a parking lot. Boring, boring, boring. What fun to walk by one day and see these two ladies outside. I’m not sure what the protocol is when finding chickens. They don’t have collars, so it’s hard to figure out where they came from. I’m not sure how this story ended.
This is a bad picture of the beautiful moon in September. It was so beautiful that, while stopped at a light, the guy in the car next to me (I was on my bike) beeped his horn to get my attention so he could exclaim “Look at the moon!” while pointing out his sunroof. “I know!” I said. And stopped to take a picture.
Tis the season. We don’t really have fog here like I experienced living in South Boston, or even Boise. Our fog is more like very small particles of slow-falling rain. This day, a spider had spun a web on a real estate sign and the fog just made it pop.
Heh-heh. Ah, Halloween decorations. This made me chuckle. People don’t go all out in this neighborhood with the decorations, but they do decorate. I’ve got another house I need to walk by in the daylight because it is very funny.
So ends the random pictures.

Robert Slack has had enough.

I found this sign on the door of an apartment building downtown. It made me laugh. I can relate to the huffy nature of this memo. Get it together, people!

It says:
Attention all residents
If you have lost your fob it is not Mary’s responsibility to let you in the building. I have told her not to let anyone in that doesn’t have a fob. You will need to contact one of your friends if you need to be let in or purchase a new fob for $10.00. Kevin will not be letting people in that doesn’t have a fob either. If you need to have your fob replaced please see me in the office and you must have the $10.00 at the time of purchase.

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. 🙂