Monday, October 30, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
This house has been home for 13 years. It is not large. It is not fancy. It is old and needs constant repair. But the minute I saw it 13 years ago, it felt like the house I was always meant to find.
I don't know very much of its history, but I do know it was built in 1914 when this part of Portland was an area of dairies and orchards. It isn't hard to imagine a Model T Ford parked out front or ladies in long skirts fanning themselves on the porch. Previous residents have left their marks. There are remnants of old wallpaper hiding inside cupboards and closets. Somewhere along the line someone "modernized" the living and dining rooms, by lowering the ceilings to 8 feet. Several years ago we had them restored to their original height and uncovered a strip of wallpaper with large white magnolias on a grey background. I've always wondered what possessed them to drop the ceilings, and what was the guy thinking that installed the aluminum sliding door? ButI am grateful to whomever it was that added the upstairs bathroom.
One day I was out in the yard and saw a woman drive slowly by, gazing intently up at the house. I asked if I could help and she said her aunt and uncle had lived in the house when she was a child. I invited her in and she stood in the doorway to the kitchen and got a little teary telling me about what a good cook and dear person her aunt had been.
Another time I was upstairs and heard voices outside, through the open window. An elderly man and two children were standing in the street looking up. The man was saying, "this is the house I lived in when I was a teenager. My Dad and I built this garage." I invited them inside and he seemed to be so happy to see that the house was still there and still in decent condition. He showed his grandchildren the room that had been his bedroom and he is the one who told me that the upstairs bathroom did not exist when he lived in the house.
More recent residents came by to pick up a package that was delivered here (it had been many years since they lived here, but apparently someone still had their old address) and I gave them the tour as well. Their teenage children barely remembered the house, but the man pointed out all the little handyman touches he had added during their tenure.
We have been comfortable in this house and have made our marks as well—new stairs, new oak floors, new kitchen tile, the aforementioned ceiling restoration, and yes, we got rid of the aluminum slider. In a few years we will move on to a house that we can grow old in. Too many stairs, too much yard, too much maintenance here. Someone new will move in and we will be part of the history of this old house. I don't believe in ghosts, and I've never seen one lurking around here, but I do believe that people leave something of themselves behind. This is a fortunate house. It seems to be filled with happy memories and good feelings.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
See ya back in Oregon.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
* Cruzan Rum, which is made in St. Croix is very cheap in the Virgin Islands--actually cheaper than Coca Cola. Ray used to bring a bottle or two home when he came down, but we don't know how the new airline regulations about carrying liquids in your carry on luggage will affect that. We have discovered that the Cruzan Vanilla Rum is delicious and especially good on ice cream. Tonight we had friends over for dinner and served Cookies and Cream Ice Cream with a splash of vanilla rum for dessert--highly recommended!
Monday, October 23, 2006
These whimsical silhouettes were painted on the back side of the hotel we were staying in. The top figure is a mermaid crawling up the stairs on her belly.
Thanks for the comments about my pictures. I'm glad people are enjoying them. I will have more St. Croix pics to post tomorrow. What you don't see in these pictures is how hot it is down here. By the time we got back today I felt like I had sweated every drop of liquid out of my body. It really makes Oregon cool and rain sound appealing.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
Way out in the distance you can see some other islands. Puerto Rico is out there about 40 miles away. The narrow strip of land jutting into the left side of the picture is the runway at the airport, so we see the planes coming in and out.
After lunch I stepped out on the balcony to take some pictures. After a number of rainy days, the sky was clear and blue and the hot, sun beating down. A beautiful Virgin Islands Day. A couple hours later this was the view.
By the way, do you know how the Virgin Islands got their name? They were named by Christopher Columbus, who discovered the islands on his second voyage in 1493. He named these beautiful islands Las Once Mil Vergenes, for the legendary 11,000 virgin followers of St. Ursula. After his discovery, Columbus determined there was nothing here of any value and it was another century before any Europeans returned to the islands.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Ray is here on business for the next two weeks so I came along this time. I plan to read and take photos and do some drawing and I have a little handwork to do. I am not great in a tropical beach setting. I don't do well with heat or a lot of sun. I am actually allergic to the sun and break out in hives with too much exposure. How lame is that? But I will relax and entertain myself.
We celebrated our arrival with a Voodoo at the Island Beachcomber this evening. It was the special. It's "Voodoo Thursday". Lots of local rum and fruit juice and a layer of grenadine to give a tropical sunset vibe. Very healthy.
I'm hoping to keep blogging from here. Tomorrow I may actually take my camera out of my backpack--or maybe not. Here in the islands we not inna hurry 'bout inna-thin, mon.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I wanted to make a small piece that would remind her of Oregon and the beautiful Northwest. She is a bicycler and hiker and skier, so I know that she will miss this country.
Tonight our group is going out to dinner to wish her a safe journey and extend our good wishes. I will give this piece to her tonight, so I think I can safely post it here today without spoiling the surprise.
The Douglas Fir is a magnificent tree, that also happens to be the state tree of Oregon. I added a suggestion of water and beach to represent both the mighty Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. One idea I had was to attach some small flat rocks I picked up at the beach, but they didn't really do a lot for me when I laid them on the unfinished piece. In fact the whole thing looked a little dull. I tweaked the color a bit and while my original idea had been to finish the piece with no binding, in the end I liked what the bit of checked binding did to liven it up. A piece of twig seemed like the finishing touch. I hope she likes it and I hope she will be happy in her new home.