Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Portland Walks: Marquam Trail

We hiked up the Marquam Trail to Council Crest the weekend before last and guess what we saw!: 

Barred Owl

It's a Barred Owl. And not only that, moments after this picture was taken the owl swooped down to catch its dinner and flew away. The trail was also laden with moss, ferns, salmonberries, slugs, snails, and mushrooms:

Salmonberries Garden Slug & Moth Fairy Ring

I took my Audubon book, but I'm still such a novice at identification. After a week or so I am pretty confident that these are salmonberries, a garden slug and a fairy ring mushroom, but I'm not 100% confident. 

Anyway, the trail is lovely enough on its own, but the view from the top (Council Crest Park) is also very nice, with a view of Mt. St. Helens:

View from Council Crest

I was a bit taken with a sculpture called Westward, that also featured three drinking fountains. We ended up resting at Vista Spring Cafe before heading home. They served us Widmer Hefenwizen in the right glass while we pondered what it would take to get their unusual fans up and running again. It all made for the perfect Sunday!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Word of the Week: Acanthus

DCP_3656 Acanthus

From Wikipedia: 

Acanthus (ornament) - "In architecture, an ornament is carved into stone or wood to resemble leaves from the Mediterranean species of the Acanthus genus of plants, which have deeply cut leaves with some similarity to those of the thistle and poppy. Both Acanthus mollis and the still more deeply cut Acanthus spinosus have been claimed as the main model, and particular examples of the motif may be closer in form to one or the other species; the leaves of both are in any case rather variable in form. The motif is found in decoration in nearly every medium. These sculptures were made from 75 BCE through 15 BCE."


Acanthus (plant) - "Acanthus is a genus of about 30 species of flowering plants in the family Acanthaceae, native to tropical and warm temperate regions, with the highest species diversity in the Mediterranean Basin and Asia. Common names include Acanthus and Bear's breeches. The generic name is derived from the Greek word ακανθος (acanthos), meaning 'thorny.'"

File this under things I probably should have known something about with my background in architecture but  I don't recall seeing this plant much before living in the Northwest. What a weird looking thing. It looks like it a stalk full of little hungry mouths eating bugs or something. And yet it's commonly carved into column capitals. The plants I've been seeing around Portland are also called "Spiny Bear's Breeches," a cute name.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Word of the Week: Saison

(Gigantic Image via BeverStateBeer: http://beaverstatebeer.com/its-going-to-be-huge-gigantic-brewery-opens/) ; Upright Brewing via leapbeer: http://leapbeer.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/leapbeer-review-150-five-by-upright-brewing-company/ )

Lots of beer festivals going on, and it's acting like summer weather-wise. This means I'm learning new beer words lately. The latest is Saison, From Wikipedia

Saison (French, "season") is the name originally given to low-alcohol pale ales brewed seasonally in farmhouses in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium, for farm workers during harvest season[citation needed]. Modern-day saisons are also brewed in other countries, particularly the USA, and are generally bottle conditioned, with an average range of 5 to 8% abv,[1] though saisons at the more traditional 3.5% strength can still be found.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom Inspired Knitting

Over the weekend we went to see director Wes Anderson's new movie Moonrise Kingdom. It's really good, very pretty with many things I could obsess over. I've started with the Narrator's mitts. I haven't found any great pictures of them yet, but they were fingerless, black and white, and stranded color-work knitting. And I think they did have a floral motif, while still managing to look masculine. I loved that his costume gave him a back story; I imagined his wife at home knitting elaborate gifts for him while he explored the island. I was inspired to pull together a collection of Moonrise Kingdom knits today. Most of these are free patterns, with the exception of the amazing & adorable raccoon knits at the bottom. But they are so cute!:



Suzy Bishop:


Khaki Scouts:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Events: Portland Fruit Beer Fest

Last weekend we went to the Fruit Beer Festival at Burnside Brewing Company. Beer festivals in Portland are pretty spectacular. I'm still in awe that there can be that many people in a small cramped space, all drinking, and everyone is friendly, happy, awesome and not at all annoying. How is that even possible? Also at this even the glasses were actually glass and I didn't see any broken glass anywhere. Portlanders, you're amazing.

Fruit beers, as you might have guessed already, are brewed with fruit. My favorites from the day were the Whack & Unwrap from Oakshire Brewing (tasted exactly like a dark chocolate orange,) The Bad Apple from 2 towns Cider house (10.5% ABV, wow!), and the Extinction Ale from Deschutes. Chuck got those last two, and I had only a few sips but they were amazing. I seem to have a habit of picking out some of the weirdest flavors, like the Strawberry Mandarin Wit from Flat Tail Brewing. It was so sour, kind of amazing in its own way but wow. I made some funny faces while drinking that, I'm sure.


The event also featured live music and we thoroughly enjoyed the bluegrass band Left Coast Country. They sounded great while also looking very Left Coast. You can't see him well in the picture above, but the bearded bass player was wearing an "Obey" t-shirt. Perfect! It was my assessment that they were perfect for a beer festival and should play them all. Actually, looks like they are playing the Organic Brewer's festival at the end of the month too. Yay! 

Of course the original location of Sizzle Pie is right across the street from this festival, and after we drank all that beer we were starving, so we had plenty of yummy vegan pizza before heading home. Pictured above are the Spiral Tap (with such good caramelized onions) and the Bad Reputation (with Daiya vegan mozzarella, olives & mushrooms.) Always so good, and amazing post-beer festival.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Word of the Week: Peplum


pep·lum  (pplm)
n. pl. pep·lums
1. A short overskirt or ruffle attached at the waistline of a jacket, blouse, or dress.
2. See peplos.

[Latin, robe of state, from Greek peplon, neuter of peplospeplos.]
And a wikipedia article on the Greek peplos garment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peplos (with amusing and potentially nsfw diagrams.)

This week definitely has a word. I bought the jacket on the left at a used clothing store this week, and found out it was probably the Peplum Jacket from J. Crew. That had me wondering what that word was all about, and now I know. It occurred to me I'm often looking up this type of stuff, so maybe I ought to share it on my blog sometimes. Weekly, hopefully.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Yarn-bombed Statue


I had to share this great yarn bomb in the South Park Blocks. Yesterday morning on my walk to work was the first time I saw it, and I hope it's still there through the week at the very least. Preferably it will be around until it starts looking too dirty, since it really makes people smile. Adds a lot of color to the Theodore Roosevelt - Rough Rider Statue.  Apparently International Yarn Bomb Day was this past weekend (thanks for the heads up from Fia(PDX). I wish I'd know that sooner!) I also wondered if the yarn bomb had anything to do with the Portland Gay Men's Chorus since it is a rainbow & they were putting up signs for their upcoming show at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall nearby yesterday morning. Maybe not, but the idea of the Chorus putting up this yarn-bomb up does make me smile. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Portland Events: June 1st - 3rd

There's so much going on in Portland now, and these posts the last few weeks have helped me sort out my plans for the last few weekends. I thought I might as well share them since I'm making the list anyway. I know I won't manage to do all of this, but just a fraction would still be a packed weekend:

Pioneer Square Pioneer Square

Festival of Flowers at Pioneer Courthouse Square, on display now through June 12th. Check out the plan drawing here. (Last year's display is pictured above.)

Portland's Best Indie Bands Part 1, Fri., June 1st, Gates at 4pm, Rozone at CityFair, with Lost Lander, And And And, Black Prarie, & Y La Bamba, Free w/$5 admission to CityFair

Hugh Laurie & The Copper Bottom Band - Fri, June 1st, 7:30pm, Tickets start at $25

Ikebana Exhibit at the Japanese Garden - June 2nd & 3rd, 10am-6pm, Included with Admission

Rose Festival Starlight Parade - Downtown Portland, Sat. June 2nd, 8:30pm, Free

Firkin Fest - Sat., June 2nd, 11am-6pm,  Green Dragon, $10

Mississippi Studios Summer Sessions, Sun. June 3rd with Lewi Longmire Band & The Darlin' Blackbirds, Free, 3-7pm

The Robinsons (Kevin & Anita of Viva Voce) Residency at Al's Den, Free, 7pm, Sun, June 3rd - Sat, June 9th, List of guests here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Portland Walks: Rose Test Garden

Carding Mill Crown Princess Margareta The Shepardess

The roses are in bloom! I guess that's why the Rose Festival is happening right about now. We just became members at the Portland Art Museum & the Portland Japanese Garden recently, and we spend a chunk of our weekend enjoying that fact. We caught the very end of the Rothko & John Frame Exhibits, and I decided that this is now one of my favorite paintings. It's hard to find any good pictures of it online, but I really like the texture given to the railing. 

Anyway, The Japanese Garden is right next to the Rose garden and it's really easy to get distracted by roses on the way. I found on this trip that I was partial to the English roses. I don't know a lot about roses, but the ones pictured above are named (from left to right) Carding Mill, Crown Princess Margareta, & The Shepardess, and were all labeled English. I especially like the shape of the Shepardess, very round, but all the blooms seemed to be hiding beneath the leaves. 

Rose names are always fun. These are Scent-sation, Shockwave, & Easy Does It. While I was taking pictures, Chuck went off and bought me a peach flavored snowcone. It's been a long time since I've had a snowcone, and I'm not sure I've ever had peach. It was very good.

Scent-sation Shockwave Easy Does It

We have plans to head back to the Japanese Garden (which will surely mean a detour in the Rose Test Garden again) for at least the next two weekends. Next weekend there's a Ikebana Exhibit, and the following weekend a textile exhibit begins. If it's anything like the one we saw last year, you shouldn't miss it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Portland Events: May 25th - 28th

Ferris Wheel 

Luz Elena Mendoza of Y La Bamba will be at Al's Den for a residency, free & will be at 7pm every night through May 26th ( Sat.)

KINK at the Waterfront with Alabama Shakes, Vintage Trouble & Everest, Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Sunday, May 27th, 5:30pm, $20 in advance/$25 day of show, includes admission to the Rose Festival's City Fair.

Rose Festival CityFair, May 25th - June 7th, Friday May 25th is Free Admission day, with fireworks at 10pm, Regular Admission is $5 for everyone 7 yrs old+

Bill Plympton Day, Screening of Adventures in Plymptoons at the Bagdad Theater, 3pm & 7pm, Saturday May 26th, $9 adv., $11 day of show

Last weekend of the Rothko & John Frame Exhibits at the Portland Art Museum, Extended through the 28th, with John Frame in attendance from 1-2:30. Hours and admission information here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Events: NW Animation Festival


I got to play with Coraline! I also got Bill Plympton's autograph and quick sketch of a dog. I am so glad I happened to find out about the animation festival. We'd been meaning to go see something at the Hollywood Theater and I just happened to see this on their calendar a few weeks ago.  We bought the 2-day passes, which were cheap at only $20 in advance. Laika, the Portland-based studio that worked on Coraline, gave a presentation the first night that ended in a crowd of us on stage patiently waiting for our turn to look at the puppets, some of the replacement faces, and an armature. I think the number of puppets used in the film was 29, but the studio used rapid prototyping to generate tens of thousands of replacement faces, switched out for each frame of animation. 

We got to see almost 60 animated shorts. The selection was incredibly diverse, global, and interesting. There weren't any among the selections that I disliked, but I had some favorites. Of course I loved this one about a woman looking for her lost cat, Pushkin. We've been saying the name since we saw it, and I realized that I already called Lucy "puss-kin" from time to time. Now I'm thinking that's going to be an even more common nickname for her: 

Another favorite was Bottle by Kirsten Lepore, a stop-motion animation on a beach. It's also a love story. Impressive, cute, pretty, and clever:

A few other favorites included the Academy Award winning short, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. It's available for download from itunes for $1.99. It's set in New Orleans, with Oz-like references to Hurricane Katrina. The very first film, The Maker, impressed me, and the dark but very pretty Birdboy was another favorite. And that's just my short list of favorites. I'm already looking forward to next year!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

Rhododendron Garden 

The week before last I was reminded there is a rhododendron garden here by following PDX Pipeline on twitter (& more specifically on instagram.) As soon as I saw their pictures I realized that the rhododendrons would be in bloom and peaking soon. I had definitely noticed they were peaking around town. A little internet research proved that was correct, Mother's Day weekend is a big weekend for the rhododendron Garden. They have a plant sale, prize winning rhododendrons on display, and most of the park was in bloom. 

Rhododendron Garden Rhododendron Garden

They come in all colors and sizes. I certainly don't remember all the names, but a few, like the Blue Peter Rhododendron, Lem's Cameo, and Double Date stood out. The labels at the plant show helped a lot, but it might to take me a few more visits to put all the names with faces. We were amused that several of the rhodies were displayed in beer bottles

Wood Duck Mother and Babies Wood Duck

There's also a lot of water in the garden, attracting various kinds of water foul. I was really excited to see wood duck for the first time. We even got to see a whole family, although the mother was quick and busy, with her ducklings struggling to keep up. Informational signs also indicated the bufflehead is a regular. It's an interesting bird that I'd really like to see sometime. Of course there were geese all over. They didn't seem to be too bothered by people, although I did elicit a lazy hiss from one by just walking past its resting spot. Oh, and a couple of sleeping ducks who were very cute. They'd drift apart and then wake up just to paddle closer together, then go back to sleep until they drifted apart again. 

Dove Tree Rhododendron Garden

The park has a few other interesting plants other than Rhododendrons and I'm sure it would be a very nice place for a visit at almost any time of year. I was particularly taken by the dove tree. At first glance I thought it just had the occasional lightly colored leaf, which looked strange enough, but I quickly realized there were  strangely shaped white flowers. There were a few other flowers that I have yet to identify, but they were all very pretty. And there were ferns throughout the garden, including a few growing through a wall by the water. 

It's a very pretty garden, and there should still be plenty of blooms for the next few weeks. It's worth the visit regardless, and only costs $3/person. We also did a little bit of exploring on the Reed College campus nearby. Very pretty, but I didn't get to take any pictures because I'd filled my camera with Rhododendrons, and forgotten to bring a back up SD card. I guess that's just a reason to go back sometime soon.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hometown Visit: North Market

One of the best things in Columbus is the North Market. It's been around for a very long time, but the current location opened in 1995 in a renovated warehouse. There are permanent stalls inside, and on summer weekends farmers set up outside.  The new building has a great rooster sign:

North Market Jeni's North Market

Jeni's Ice Cream is still there of course, and doing very well. After our trip I found out it's being distributed nationwide, including to Zupan's Markets here in Portland. I might have to check out if they carry any of the sorbets next time I'm near one. Her flavors are amazing and creative. She now has a case full of very fancy ice cream treats, pictured above, like ice cream sandwiches with macaroons, and terrine. Plus she came out with a cookbook recently. Very cool to see her doing so well.

Coffee Pastaria

It was delightful to find it hasn't changed much since we moved away. Most of the vendors I remember are still there, including Pastaria, with all the same dishes. I used to get the Pasta Arribiata, which has anise seeds in the sauce. It's very good. The day we visited we stopped for good coffee from A Touch of Earth and treats from a new booth, Expressly..., with vegan baked goods. 

One unfortunate change we did notice is that one of our favorite vegan friendly soup places, Benevolence, is no longer operating. They ran a small booth (where Expressly... is now, at least there are still vegan baked goods in the same spot!) in the market and a separate shop around the corner. Their soup was amazing and I'm sad that they are no longer around. We ended up eating at our other old standby in the area, Barley's Brewing Company. They have a really nice space with tin ceilings, and the veggie burger & fries are very good. Okay, now I'm hungry.