E Burnside and SE 28th

I’ve long loved this bank of buildings on Burnside.

On the corner is a two-story with (currently) an ice cream shop at street level and apartments above. Next comes a one-story space for two businesses. Then the expansive Burnside Collision auto shop followed by the Kuhnhausen’s Furniture building. This location is right across the street from the Laurelhurst Theater, and I’ve kept my eye on these buildings for years.

I enjoy the subtle Mediterranean flair of the Philo House Thrift Shop building (it’s been closed for years, and the other side is also boarded up) The art deco of the auto repair, and the family business for the furniture shop.

While the corner business and the auto repair shop are going strong, the furniture store closed recently, and I wonder how much longer this bit of street will continue to looking this way.

Backyard Excitement at The Orange Door: Cat Version

Antares was very interested in being on the catio, and after squinting a bit, I saw what was capturing his interest.

There was a black cat sitting on the fence.

And a calico cat sitting on the porch roof.

Sentinel also wanted to have a look, but from inside.

As with most cat encounters this one ended with the cats wandering off. But it was fun to have four cats in sight.

The ripple, the wave that carried me home

I was glad I caught Christina Anderson’s play about a hometown swimming pool and how it defined one family’s activism.

Lauren Steele was excellent as Janice, the daughter of two parents who grew up swimming in a segregated pool. I enjoyed the efforts of Young Ambitious Black Woman (Chavez Ravine), who was trying to get Janice back to town for the opening of a new pool named after her father.

The present day plot included Janice’s mother (Lauren Steele) and Aunt Gayle (Chavez Ravine again) and was interspersed with scenes from the past with Janice’s father Edwin (Don Kenneth Mason for my performance), mother, aunt and young Janice.

I enjoyed the complex feelings Janice had about swimming and seeing how pool access shaped different generations of her family. And I adored the set that transformed again and again making different kinds of rooms and pools, ultimately ending with this gorgeous looking set.

Should you find yourself with the option to see this play, I highly recommend it. If you are a swimmer, there’s even more motivation to go.

Random Song: Reflecting Light by Sam Phillips

Sam Phillips was the composer for Gilmore Girls (she’s the voice of the “la la” filler that runs throughout the series). But Phillips says that she wasn’t the one who chose her song for a pivotal point in the series, that was creator Amy Sherman-Palidno’s choice.

But it’s a perfect choice for the scene in question and it comes back a few other times in the series. I probably would have liked this song anyway, had I encountered it outside the series, but it will probably always elicit an “awwww” because of the way it was used in the series.

Hocus Pocus at Grand Lodge

Thanks to Laurie driving, Kelly and I journeyed out to Grand Lodge to see Hocus Pocus. You can see how very warm it was for early October.

For all of us, it was the first time we had seen this classic Halloween film. We concluded that we were just the wrong age when it was released (out of college, finishing college, starting college) and because we did not have small children in the 90s and early 2000s, we missed it being played ad nauseum when they were growing up.

While I thought the continued humor about the status of the main male lead’s virginity was odd, it was an amusing movie, made more so by a few children who were very excited to be frightened by the film, dramatically shrieking at the somewhat scary parts. Also, the moon was very pretty, though as usual looks nothing like it did in real life.

Afterward we wandered the halls of Grand Lodge while Kelly looked for the secret room and secret passage.

Dry Gardening Tomatoes: A Report

I purchased four tomato starts with the intention of trying out dry gardening. That means planting the tomatoes early and then giving them minimal water through the growing season. Reports I’ve read say that such tomatoes tend to have the best flavor.

I will say that this is a partial report on a not-fully-carried-out experiment. I didn’t get the tomatoes in the ground as early as I should have. They spent their first seven weeks in pots that I think doomed two of the plants to failure. It was a cold and wet spring and I just couldn’t motivate to get those plants in the ground. If they had spent five of their first seven weeks in the ground, I think they would have gotten off to a better start (two plants) or survived (two plants).

I only watered them once. I had blue 5-gallon buckets with holes in the bottom and intended to give them some water weekly, but that did not come to pass. Once it stopped being cold, it was a fairly warm summer—though we did not have days with 110+ degree heat like we did in 2021.

One thing I liked about the dry gardening the tomato plants didn’t put out any of the extraneous foliage they do when they are well watered. The plant sent out enough growth to support the making of tomatoes. It did not send out any more.

I got the most cherry tomatoes, but it was a fairly paltry number, cherry tomato-wise. Perhaps 20. And they were very staggered. I had two or three at a time, max. They did taste good though.

The Brandywines were the full-size tomatoes that survived. I tend to stay away from Brandywines as I think their growing season is too long for our summers. But we had a very long summer, so soon after I took this photo, I harvested the two tomatoes that grew. They were indeed delicious.

This little guy never got going. I think he was root bound. The other one died a few weeks after I planted it.

Overall, I think this might be a good method if you are growing your starts from seed and have a lot of land. Tomatoes that are dry gardened need to be spaced six feet apart. With a packet of cherry tomatoes and a packet of regular size tomatoes, you could easily end up with 10 starts of each for not very much of a cash investment. If you planted 20 tomato plants over a very large space, the yield would be much higher, and you wouldn’t have to pay for watering.

Also, when you don’t water, the weeding is much less complicated. That was a big plus.

If I’m up to gardening in the spring, I might repeat this experiment in 2023.

Books Read in September 2022

Picture Books

The Waiting Place: When Home is Lost and Not Yet Found
Dina Nayeri  and Anna Bosch Miralpeix
Read for Librarian Book Group

This is a photo-illustrated story of a few of the many children who live in refugee camps in Greece. I wasn’t on board with the camp itself being personified, but I really appreciated the photos. What a talented photographer!

Berry Song
Michaela Goade
Read for Librarian Book Group

Berry picking in Alaska with a Tlingit grandmother and her granddaughter.

Middle Grade

My Own Lightning
Lauren Wolk
Read for Librarian Book Group

This book picks up not long after the events of Wolf Hollow and some of the writing assumes that the details of the first book are fresh in readers’ minds. There are some glorious sentences and a solid redemption plot. It also seems a best-case scenario of being hit by lightning.

Attack of the Black Rectangles
Amy Sarig King
Read for Librarian Book Group

A very nuanced look at classroom censorship and busy-bodying in general. Excellent characters, a razor-sharp plot, great discussions about protecting boys while slighting girls, and a very A.S. King-type plot about Max’s dad.

The Language of Seabirds
Will Taylor
Read for Librarian Book Group

This book is drenched in emotions and we’re right along with Jeremy as he spends two weeks with his father at the beach (the Oregon Coast, expertly rendered without pointing to any specific beach town) while his mother moves out of the family home.

I loved the language of seabirds and Jeremy’s feelings about a boy he might like.

Young Adult

Saint Anything
Sarah Dessen

Sidney’s life changed because of her brother’s choices. As her mother puts all her energy into her brother’s prison sentence, Sidney attempts to make a new life. There was a lot of really good unfair parental choices on which to take umbrage on Sidney’s part for.

How You Grow Wings
Rimma Onoseta
Read for Librarian Book Group

Since the number of YA books set in Nigeria is slim, this provides a window into that world. This is more of a character-based study that follows two sisters for a time. As with most character-based novels I read, I found it to ramble and to be unsatisfying.

The Weight of Blood
Tiffany Jackson

A near-perfect homage to Stephen King’s Carrie, but this time set in a small southern town with separate proms: the white prom and the everyone else prom. This main character is half-Black and raised by her white father, who passes her off as white.

Transcripts from a podcast about the tragic event Maddy was involved in are interspersed with omniscient third-person viewpoint to dig in on the details.

I’m a big wimp who doesn’t read horror, but my love for Tiffany Jackson’s writing kept me going through this scary book. I did wonder if it would have been better to mention Carrie in the book? It seemed odd that no one in the town was familiar with that particular prom horror story.

The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
Read for Librarian Book Group

A great window into an Orthodox Jewish community. I found the overall plot arc to be rocky in a first-book sort of way. I look forward to the author’s next book.

Keeping the Moon
Sarah Dessen

This book was published in 2004 and with it comes the idea that being 45 pounds overweight makes you grotesque. The main character felt that way and nothing in the story ever called out that feeling. So that part hasn’t aged well. Other than that, this was a standard Sarah Dessen story: summer, outsider, learns something, finds cute boy to love.

The Truth Project
Dante Medema

A novel in verse (and text messages) about Cordelia’s senior project that exposes her to the fact that her father is not her biological father. Many interesting things happen as she wades through the fallout.

This is Why They Hate Us
Aaron Aceves

Books about bisexual teenage boys are in short supply and this is a welcome addition to the LGBTQIA+ canon. Enrique’s summer of exploration rambles, but is engaging throughout.

Grownup Fiction

Beach Read
Emily Henry

Two writers, two summer houses next to each other. The premise was great: romance writer finds out her parents amazing marriage wasn’t what she thought it was. That, combined with undergraduate co-lust-ees reunited, made for great reading.

Young Nonfiction

Honeybee Rescue: A Backyard Drama
Loree Griffin Burns, Ellen Harasimowicz
Read for Librarian Book Group

A photo-illustrated exploration of a beekeeper and the honeybee rescuer who moves a bee colony that has swarmed.

Grownup Nonfiction

How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing
K.C. Davis

Davis helps people who have problems completing care tasks (the term she uses for cleaning and chores). This is a kind and gentle approach to keeping house: renaming, stripping things down to the basics, realizing that cleaning is not moral and that not cleaning is not immoral. The author includes a five-point plan for cleaning every room that I quite liked. The book is designed to be read by people with ADHD. I found the more inclusive font to be hard for me to read. This is worth checking out if you go through periods of inability to get house and personal care tasks done.

The Curve of Time
M. Wylie Blanchet

Blanchet’s essays are about her time exploring the British Columbia coast in the 1920s and 1930s when she and her five children lived on a 25-foot boat. Her observations about the Indians (her term—the book was published in the early 1960s) are not great. At the time of publication, “killer” whales were not the orcas that we know today. Those things didn’t play well with my 2022 sensibilities. What does work are her lyrical and amusing descriptions, her small-space living before that became a thing, and the wonder of exploring with no firm plan and many children, some rather small.

Old Fashioned Mixed-Use

I’ve long enjoyed this corner at N. Lombard and N. Lancaster, but it’s not looking great, and that’s usually a sign of impending deconstruction, so I thought I’d better capture the image before it disappears.

PortlandMaps tells me this was built in 1956 and it has those nice midcentury lines I love. On the busy corner is a building that can be used as an office or store. You can see that it once upon a time was the Lombard Chiropractic Clinic.

Wrapping around the office building is a fourplex apartment building.

I like to imagine the original builder constructed one building, either the office or the apartments, and then used the proceeds from the rent to build the other. But it’s possible it was an investment property and all built at the same time.

The property doesn’t appear on Next Portland’s development map, so perhaps it has some life in it yet.