Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Continuing on....

When we last spoke, I was telling you about how I cruise the bookshelves at Powell's City of Books and then head down the street to the Central Library to borrow stuff I like instead of purchasing it. It's a great system...saves me a ton of money obviously as well as the shelf space in my room.

I love the Central Library - Portland's got a terrific library system; it seems you can't walk through a neighborhood here in town without running into one of the sixteen libraries that make up the whole. Here's a fun fact for you: Multnomah County Library is the oldest library system west of the Mississippi, first established in 1864. The Central Library, located right downtown, was built in 1913 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. It underwent a thorough renovation about 60 years ago but still retains that historic, solid feel to it. They don't tell you how many books they have at this one building, but they will tell you there are nearly 900 TONS of them. You can spend some time here, and it's a lot less chaotic than Powells.

I get most of my books from the library, but I also use it to get pretty much all my DVD rentals. They keep their collection up to date, mostly getting new DVD's the same time the video store gets them. You may have to wait a few weeks in the queue for the more popular stuff (new series episodes of TV shows for example) - but they're free. I started borrowing DVD's from the library when I once rented a movie at my local video store and they told me, "Hey, you just rented your 100th movie! I did the math. I figure I save myself about $300-400 a year. It adds up!

So...after burning all kinds of calories at Powells and the library, I decided a Sunday treat was in order. That, for me, is sushi.

When I was in Europe, on top of missing cheeseburgers, I really missed sushi. Now that I'm not making the kind of scratch I was hauling in when I was working at Sisters, I don't get to have it very this was definitely a treat. I like to go to Sushiland ( I really like to go to Yoko's...but they are way out of my budget), where I can get treats off the sushi train for a dollar apiece. I get to spend $10 and no more - I could easily eat $20 worth, so it's good I set myself a little limit.

Fully fueled I started heading back home, back up through the Park Blocks...

The North and South Park blocks are eleven blocks of established green land (established back in the 1850's - even then we were a green city!). Each block features a statue or other artwork - I shoulda shown you the cool elephant down at Burnside and 8th...but that'll have to be another time. Here you see Lincoln, and if you kinda look aways behind him...that's Teddy Roosevelt.

Worked my way down through Pioneer Courthouse's one of the most photographed statues in Portland. Commonly known as "The Umbrella Man," the actual name of this piece is "Allow Me." You see people taking their pictures with it all the time...and it generally gets adorned with scarves and hats throughout the year.

And made my way back across the bridge and through the neighborhoods towards home.

When I got home, my housemate Joan was there and we decided to make a bunch of juice with all the fruit that Gwen left us.

Gwennie gifts us with lots of stuff from her job at New Seasons - mostly produce that they can't sell anymore. Joan has a juicer -so we made some killer pear/apple/ginger juice. And a carrot juice - my personal fave. Here's me....enjoying juice. Yum!

Kitten was sitting outside, wondering what all the commotion was about. But mostly, being a perfect cat...didn't really care all that much.

Kona...being a perfect dog, cared a great deal.

And that...was my Sunday in a nutshell. Thanks for coming along!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Strolling on a Sunday afternoon

Sorry it's been a little while since I've written - I haven't been feeling well the last week or so and it's been taxing my energy. I've pretty much just been going to work and coming home and crashing - last weekend I moved into the basement TV room and just stayed there. It was fun.

But now I'm back up and about and after a Saturday filled with chore-y things, I was able to take some time today and take a walk into downtown Portland and check out some of my favorite sights. And I thought of you all, I did, and I took some photos.

I know I've mentioned to you all before about how much I appreciate Portland neighborhoods - you never really know what you're going to come across at any given moment. It pays to be vigilant and not just stroll on by.

You could miss this little guy -- we mostly see horses tied up to these - toy horses of course. A few years ago, a local guy started using these old horse post rings to tie up little toy horses as sort of an, I don't know, fun artistic statement. They're all over Portland now and I love coming across them. Someone here decided to expand the genre and include safari animals to the repertoire. Good on them.

Not that we are shirking our duty to represent horses...

Whaddya wanna bet a bunch of young guys live here?

Here's a City Repair Project bench. Every year a group of volunteers, urban planners, designers and architects get together for a ten day symposium to talk about all methods of alternative building in urban settings. They also go out into the streets and do projects such as these:

This sheltered bench, made out of cob, is artsy, fun and place for neighborhood residents to gather. You will find most of these projects in SE Portland right now, but I know they do other projects all over the city. I love coming across these as much as I do those little toy animals!

Eventually, I made it to one of the seven bridges that will bring traffic, foot and otherwise, into Downtown Portland. This is the entrance to the Hawthorne Bridge - the oldest vertical lift bridge in the country. It'll celebrate it's 100th year in 2010. It's also one of our busiest bridges, especially for bicycle commuters. Portland is known for being a bicycle friendly city - but we're proud of the fact that we have more bike commuters than any other city of our size in the U.S. Most of that is due to things like improving and widening sidewalks on bridges to accommodate bikes. The Hawthorne Bridge sees about 5000 cycle commuters daily and another 11,000 or so make it to work using other routes. Pretty nifty factoid - yay us.

Here's that "vertical lift" thing in action. On my way home I just happened to catch it while they were doing a lift drill. The Steel Bridge, three bridges down, opens like this too.

The Morrison Bridge is high enough to accommodate the tall ships that pass through from time to time (particularly for Fleet Week when we get all those Navy Ships in town) - the Burnside Bridge has a pretty long section that will flip up - it's impressive to see - - if you like that sort of thing. Which I do.

Okay, moving on.

I love Powell's. Most book nerds love Powells. Tourists come to Powells. It's the City of Books. 68,000 square feet - four stories, a city block full of books. They have a coffeeshop in here, which is good - you could easily spend the day. I come here a lot to get ideas and then cruise just few blocks south and hit the library where I can usually borrow those books from the good folks there. Smart thinking, eh?

Okay, well I'll have to pick this up tomorrow - it's getting late and my day starts early.......I'll try to finish it up - not leave you hanging at the library - so much more to see........