News from December 2005

The Oregon Garden

Occurred December 07, 2005 (Permalink)

Today, I ended up travelling southward with Ann to the Oregon Garden and Gordon House in Silverton. The Oregon Garden, started in 2002, is a combination of natural plant garden and wetlands; the garden derives its water from nearby Silverton. Attched to the site is the Gordon House, the only structure in the entire state that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

I started off in the pond section of the garden; there were a lot of dead plants (ac070006), a frog statue (ac070008) amidst wetlands (ac070007), and various Dr. Seuss trees (ac070011) in the conifer section. The evergreens (ac070014) provided a welcome contrast to the barren, cold and hibernating plants that were everywhere else (ac070015). In the rear part of the garden there's a Christmas tree farm (ac070016 - 22) with many varieties of firs, pines, and other short stubbly trees laid out in rows.

Continuing around the garden, there was a statue erected to honor Bobbie the Wonder Dog: In 1923, a Silverton family was visiting Indiana when their dog ran away! Three months later, two of the family's kids were walking around in downtown Silverton when they saw... their dog! She had travelled 2,500 miles all the way back to Oregon, and eighty years later a plaque (ac070025) was put in the garden. There was also a monkey tree (ac070027).

Returning to the non-twiggy plants, I got a close-up of the Dr. Seuss trees (ac070028), a yucca (ac070029), plants with all sorts of colors (ac070031), and my favorite tree this time of year, the blue spruce (ac070034)! There was also a rather odd-looking shrub with a very short trunk and many stubbly fingers reaching up into the actual needles (ac070044 - 46). By this time, the sun was beginning to set, and I captured some wonderful pictures of the sunset behind the clouds (ac070050 - 52). I was going to have to move quickly if I was to finish touring the gardens and the house before my hands got too cold to take pictures!

On my way out of the garden, I noticed a weeping blue atlas cedar (ac070059), a spruce sprouting from behind some sort of willow(?) (ac070060). I went back to the pond system (ac070063 - 66) and, ascending a bank above the pools, took some more pictures of the sunset (ac070067, 68). On the way back to my car (which was in the Gordon House's parking lot), I found a pond of lilypads (ac070069 - 71, 74) before ending up back at the Gordon House.

The Gordon House (ac070076 - 86), designed in the late 1950s by Frank Lloyd Wright in the Usonian style, once sat overlooking the Willamette river. It's no longer there, as new property owners wanted it torn down or moved. Hence, it was picked up and moved in bits and pieces over fifteen miles to the Garden (ac070076). The house features concrete slab and cinder block construction, large windows everywhere to let in light, and load bearing window grilles (ac070091). Wright also included many built-in accessories in the living room (ac070090) (the couch cushions pull away to reveal storage cabinets) and the bedrooms (ac070098) (heaters, pull-away windows and a laundry chute). The kitchen appliances were quite stylish, though they were quite conspicuously fifties (ac070092 - 94). Apparently Wright invented the ugliness called carports too (ac070100).

Afterwards, I drove home via 99E and passed through a good many towns (and scary curves) before ending up at Ann's favorite Lebanese restaurant at SE 80th and Washington. I had some lamb chops, and wow was the food there good. It really impresses me how there's just so much to explore in this state! I bet that I could spend twenty years surveying and still not see half of the greater Portland area.

The Heathman

Occurred December 16, 2005 (Permalink)

Went here tonight as a part of this month's Friday Night Supper Club. The chanterelle mushroom salad was heavenly, and the chocolate gourmandise was the richest confection that I've had in quite a long time. Ooh, and I got me some gloves and scarves. I also repaired a failing button and the long smashed buckle on my trenchcoat, and went to LiveWire on Wednesday.


Occurred December 18, 2005 (Permalink)

It snowed all afternoon in Portland. I went out at varying intervals to take pictures, play around, and throw snowballs at various objects (mostly my house). Out here on the other side of Mt. Tabor, we appear to have gotten at least an inch or two of snowfall by the evening; now, the rains are picking up, and the temperature is rising. Sadly, it'll all probably be gone by tomorrow. Unless it all freezes into ice.


Occurred December 19, 2005 (Permalink)

Following on the heels of yesterday's story, today I woke up to discover that everything was iced over. So I went out and photographed that, too.

Cafe Borrone

Occurred December 22, 2005 (Permalink)

Jason stopped in on his way up to Sacramento and we went to Cafe Borrone's in Menlo Park. For those who didn't know me in high school, Borrone's is about three blocks from my high school, and they serve a truly delectable hot pastrami sandwich! Every time I go home, I have to go see them just for that treat. Nothing like it in San Diego, nothing like it in Portland. I suppose there's probably some deli in New York that has better, but I'm not going to go 3,500 miles for a sandwich. Anyway, the pastrami they use is very tender, the baguette hard on the outside but soft inside, and they always seem to serve the cheese at just the right meltedness. As is my wintertime habit, I ordered a tall glass of apple cider to wash it down. Heavenly.

Christmas in the City

Occurred December 25, 2005 (Permalink)

As is our newfound family tradition, we travel to my aunt's in Santa Rosa for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Since Santa Rosa is north and west of where we pick up grandma (in Oakland), this usually means that I find myself travelling south on the Eastshore (I-80) through Emeryville on the way back, and gazing at the reflections of San Francisco across the water. Christmas Day this year was unusually dry, which meant that I could see straight across the water at the individual rows of lights in downtown, and the lights running up and down the sides of the waterfront buildings and Embarcaderos 1-5. It was so beautiful to see the lit outlines of the skyscrapers and the Bay Bridge running off to the left to Oakland, yet the element that really touched me was the glowing blue light atop the Transamerica Pyramid(?). It just sat there, perfectly centered above the tall yellow waffles of buildings, glowing and flickering quite brightly like a star. I sat staring, mesmerized by the sight, and was moved. Nothing like seeing your favorite city from afar, ablaze with lights.


Occurred December 29, 2005 (Permalink)

Do not try to eat two Ti Couz crepes for dinner in one sitting. Woodley, Steven and I went on Wednesday; I made the mistake of ordering two for dinner, filling my belly and forcing me to forego the chocolate dessert crepe until the following day when I went back with Robin. Yep, that's right, Robin (offsite) drove down to visit me for a few days, and we went crusing around downtown SF for the day. Fun times!


Occurred December 30, 2005 (Permalink)

I dragged Robin to the yearly party at Woodley's house. She danced, convinced me to join her, and one of Greg's dancing friends asked me to dance with her. In a first, I circulated around with Robin, who was naturally curious to mix with a few more of Woodley's parents' friends, and got to work my way around the house meeting people. Knuth was there as usual, as is the gigantic black cat poster, which was now imposed over the front entryway. Lots of fun this year, and I even branched out from the nerds. :)

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