Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Packing for the Snow

It's going to be 52 degrees in Hood River tomorrow.  There's a dusting of snow on the mountains, but otherwise, it feels like spring here in Oregon.  What happened to winter?  It blew right over into middle America and the east coast, that's what happened.   Leaving us high and dry.  So there's only one thing to do:  Head in that direction.
You see, we want snow.  Lots of snow.  My travel buddy and I gave each other cross country skis for Christmas and have yet to try them out.  Not only that, but my winter clothes just aren't getting worn and I love my winter clothes.  (Mimi does, too.)  So we are packing up and heading over to Idaho for a whole week of skiing and snowshoeing.  Surrounded by 10,000 foot peaks and lots of bars and restaurants in Ketchum, I'm pretty sure we will have a grand old time in the snow and apres snow.

An excellent way to start the New Year.  It is only January, right?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Frog Thinker

Art in Public Places
Hood River, Oregon

The sculptures along the Hood River Art Walk change periodically, so I make it a point to often walk the trail.  When I recently came across Ralph Trethewey's "Frog Thinker", it made me smile and . . . of course, pose.
 It also made me jump back into time when my travel buddy and I toured the Rodin Museum in Paris and . . . of course, posed in front of the real thing.  Though it is thirty years later and I am thirty pounds heavier (Yuck, but coming off this year, I swear!), I am happy to still be kicking. I am also proud to say I am still a thinker.  And this is precisely why Auguste Rodin's famous bronze sculpture is among the most beloved pieces of art in the whole world.  Who doesn't sit down with hands under chin and ponder the state of the world, so lost in thought that all outside noise is blocked out?  (Okay, maybe our current president.)

There are about 28 of these bronze castings around the world.  Many of them are in museums or in front of government buildings.  Rodin originally intended it to be a likeness of Dante, author of The Divine Comedy and to be positioned above center on the Gates of Hell, but it is the singular, more colossal one that has become so iconic.

If you're in Paris, I highly recommend an afternoon at this lovely museum.  There are over 300 of Rodin's works here and the gardens behind the mansion are beautiful and filled with his giant bronze sculptures.

Don't know when I'll get back to Paris, if ever, but I can revisit The Frog Thinker whenever I want.  I can sit down for a spell, think about the state of the world and then LAUGH.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Hat Rock

Along the Lewis and Clark Trail

"At the foot of this rapid is a rock, on the left shore, which is fourteen miles from our camp of last night, and resembles a hat in its shape."

                                          Meriwether Lewis
                                          October 19, 1805

                    While there is much more dramatic scenery along the Columbia River, this particular basalt top hat surrounded by a sagebrush brim is truly a monumental landmark when it comes to the history of that famous expedition.  The difficult overland trail through the mountains was behind them.  They were now heading due west to their ultimate goal--the Pacific Ocean.  There was light at the end of the tunnel.


Hat Rock State Park is located off U.S. Highway 730, nine miles east of Umatilla, Oregon, at Columbia River Mile 298.  It's a small park with a few camping spots, but be forewarned.  This is no longer an isolated spot in the wilderness.  There are housing developments all around so my imagination had to kick in when I tried to envision what it must have been like to canoe down the river two hundred years ago and be utterly enchanted by the raw and rugged landscape.

The islands they write about are gone.  The rapids are gone.  The Native American villages are gone. In their place are a series of dams, highways, train tracks and towns.  Still beautiful, yes, but chaotic and noisy, as well.

But, by George, the rock that resembles a hat is still here and as my travel buddy and I walked the short trail to its base I thought it would be fun to reread the Lewis and Clark journals, especially the Columbia River leg of their journey and follow in their footsteps.

  On that note, I am begging HBO to please finish the mini-series on the Lewis and Clark expedition.  If ever this country needs heroes, it is now.  It seems we have sunk to a new low where integrity and great vision have all but disappeared.

So join me as I follow the Lewis and Clark trail.  I need to be inspired again.  I need to be awed.  I need to find HOPE. 

 I need to fall in love with my country again.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Zoo Lights Merry Nights

Embracing Christmas at the Portland Zoo

Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous
holiday season!

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Other Nob Hill

Exploring Portland

My travel buddy and I lived in San Francisco's Nob Hill district for five years, from 1977 to 1982, so when I learned about the other Nob Hill in Portland, Oregon, I had to check it out.  To this day, San Francisco remains one of my favorite cities in the whole world.

"I could move here in a heart beat," I told him as we walked down Northwest 23rd Street between Burnside and Johnson.  The Painted Ladies.  The coffee shops.  Shoe stores.  Boutiques.  Restaurants.  Cinemas.  Bars.  One right after the other with gorgeous residential Victorians in between.

I felt at home.
I am happy to write that this time, even my travel buddy (mountain man that he is) was wowed by the extraordinary products that the shops offered.  We bought many unique gifts for ourselves and for our sons--now all wrapped with paper and bows to be opened Christmas morning.

Several people have told me that Nob Hill (also known as The Alphabet District) is their favorite neighborhood in Portland.  Now I know why.  I heartily agree and will be returning again and again.

I felt at home.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Walla Walla 99362

What a cool town!  The town so nice they named it twice is an often heard slogan.  Walla Walla, Washington whose population is 40,000, give or take, is located in the southeastern portion of the state.  The town is surrounded by the rolling hills of the Palouse and the snow capped Blue Mountains.  In the summer it has a hot Mediterranean climate so voila!, grapes grow well here and vineyards have exploded, which only add to its already romantic appeal.

My travel buddy and I spent a wonderful afternoon roaming the streets of downtown Walla Walla--even its name is cool.  As an added bonus is the cool public art transforming Main Street into an outdoor art gallery.  Cool.  Cool.  Cool.   (Okay--got that overused word out of my system, I promise.)
I'm afraid my travel buddy pooped out after a couple of hours so he waited for me in a wine tasting room while I popped into a few more stores.  I couldn't get enough of them.  I've been in a shopping drought of late and what the heck, Christmas gives me a reason to shop, right? 

I miss that camaraderie I had back in Santa Barbara with fellow fashionistas at the store I worked at, so when I found a woman who wanted to show me every single item in her new boutique, I happily agreed.  I took six outfits into the dressing room and she brought me six more.

  "I just want to see what they look like on," she said.  "No pressure."   

I ended up buying two sweaters.  Mimi models them below.

But my shopping didn't end there.  I walked into the Bontzu Cellars tasting room with six shopping bags (and came out with seven).  The stores here are exceptionally good and so is the wine.  I fell in love with Bontzu's Carmenere--a grape that is common in Chile, but not so much in the U.S.  

We then walked across the street to the Walla Walla Bread Company and had an excellent dinner.  My travel buddy had the cioppino and I had a meat and cheese plate--all accompanied by more wine, of course.  

Where there's good wine, the food will follow.  There are many restaurants in Walla Walla and I can't wait to return for a full two days of food and wine touring next summer when the vineyards are filled with grapes and the tasting rooms are all open.


Walla Walla.
Very Cool.