Go west, Oregon, Portland

Portland, Oregon: July 13-14, 2022


Focus on Book Arts was canceled in May. I cried. It was probably the last time I would have gone, since I’m planning to retire within the next year. I suspect it was probably because they raised the prices of the classes so much, but my guess is that they raised prices because they had no choice. They weren’t trying to make a profit. Regardless of the reason, they canceled it for low enrollment.

Not only that, but I chose to attend Focus on Book Arts instead of Convergence in Knoxville, Tennessee, which my tapestry guild was heavily involved in and it was a driveable distance away. Not to mention the art retreat in Ireland that I had laid down a deposit for in 2020, but I would not have been able to do Portugal and Ireland in one year anyway. All scheduled at the same time this year.

The three of us, although we bought travel insurance, had non-refundable plane tickets. Travel insurance didn’t cover the cancellation of an event. One of us was able to get a travel credit to use in the next six months, which was good because she unexpectedly got a new job. The other two musketeers, Susan and I, went to Portland anyway. We had the refund from FOBA and we used it to rent an AirBNB in Portland and have a good time.

The plane trip went incredibly smoothly. I guess I used up all my bad luck on the Portugal plane trip. On the flight between Chicago and Portland, we got lucky and sat next to a woman whose job was to transport puppies from the seller to the owner. That’s how we got to cuddle with Miss Bonnie as we flew west. She was so soft and so gentle and quiet…and didn’t pee on us once!


^^^Miss Bonnie sleeping on Susan’s heart.

We rode the Metro and a bus most of the way to our AirBNB, which was between Mississippi Avenue and Williams Avenue in NE Portland, within a short walking distance of both streets with their restaurants and shops and the bus stop. Our place was in the basement of a Craftsman bungalow, cute but so, so cold. We closed the vents and made the best of it. We spent time in a sweet little garden on the side of the house, because the weather was absolutely gorgeous the entire time we were there.

Susan and I were both mobility challenged. She has a partial knee replacement coming up and I have my bone spur pressing against my Achilles tendon. We took a lot of breaks from walking but we did fairly well, considering. We ate out for every meal. On the first evening, we ate fish tacos at a bar called The Rambler, and drank local ciders and ales. They asked to see our vaccination cards before we could sit at the bar inside. Luckily I had taken a photo of mine and had it on my phone, because it wasn’t the only place in Portland that required proof of vaccination. Then we went “home” and crashed. We were still on East Coast time.


The next morning we went to Gravy for breakfast and I was surprised that it was not crowded and we were able to get a table right away. Susan got a fried egg sandwich and I got smoked salmon hash and eggs and hashbrowns, not knowing that I would be served about five pounds of food. The waitress brought us a takeout box so for some reason I thought it was a good idea to take the leftovers back. The leftover salmon hash in the fridge became a running joke until I tossed it in the compost bin (as instructed!) on the day we left.


^^^The infamous smoked salmon hash.

On our way back, we stopped at a very unusual light bulb and lighting store, Sunlan. I picked up a couple of very cool light bulbs for my antique floor lamp.


Then we walked to the bus stop and took the Metro to Washington Park, where we got on the park shuttle to visit the International Rose Test Garden and the Portland Japanese Gardens.


This was my third time at the Portland Japanese Gardens so I tried to focus on being in the moment instead of taking lots of photos. If you want to see past photos of the gardens, I blogged them here and here. I also looked up a lot this time at the reflections of light through leaves as well as the shadows on the ground. My favorite photo this time was of the shadows that the water bugs cast on the bottom of the pools as they walked on the surface.


We had tea and appetizers at the Umami Cafe. This fruit and nut cake was so delicious!


After a break at “home” we went to a Thai place on Mississippi Avenue, split a bottle of vinho verde, and ate more appetizers. A little bit of Portugal on the U.S. West Coast. We bought a few non-alcoholic drinks and a 12-pack of assorted ciders to have during our stay at “home.” That night we sat out in the side garden, told stories of our lives from way back when, and laughed a whole lot.

That’s the first two days of our trip!

Colorado, Go west

Heading south from Denver – Twin Lakes, Colorado

Sandy and I left on our latest big adventure on Saturday, May 11. My cousin Cherie picked us up at the airport in Denver and we went straight across the Front Range through the lingering snow showers to Leadville, then to Twin Lakes, Colorado where we stayed at the Twin Lakes Inn and Saloon, which has been in some business or another (stagecoach stop, brothel, saloon, hotel) since 1879. This was a worthwhile stop and I would love to stay here again. The owner was friendly, the history was fascinating, the rooms were comfortable, and the food was expensive but excellent. The view was worth the stay by itself.

Some of these photos were taken by Cherie.

In the morning, we woke up to more snow on the ground. It wasn’t a problem, though, and we headed on down the road toward New Mexico.

The next two photos were taken on Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado.

Next stop: Aztec National Monument, New Mexico.

Go west

Back to reality

Oh my, has it really been weeks since I last posted? I’ve been so busy. And tired. All this jet setting is great until you have to go back to work and get on a different sleep schedule. My husband can sleep at all times of the day and night. I have a very rigid circadian clock and it doesn’t care to be messed with so often.

Our new bathroom is functional and mostly painted, except for the trim. Our house is still a wreck and will continue to be for several months. Next on the schedule is replacing kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts with real wood (the current ones made from particle board are falling apart) and then we’ll gut and repair the foundation and floor under the original bathroom, then remodel it. However, next time we are going to paint the beadboard BEFORE it is put up. There was some frustrating finagling going on trying to get the paint in the grooves in that high corner above the shower. I love the way beadboard looks but man, I learned that it is hard to paint.

However, my attention now needs to turn to my mother’s house and cleaning it out. My sister has been carrying this load while I’ve been dashing off to my art retreats having fun. For the rest of the year, I’m going to try to spend about every other weekend in Marietta working on that. Hoo boy. It’s tough emotionally and physically.

I will work on blogging my trip as I can during breaks in the action before I forget the details, but the full load of photos has been uploaded to my Flickr site, accessible by clicking on one of the photos on the right sidebar.

Go west

Heading west again

The big event is almost here, and of course my heart is racing. Tonight I’ll go spend the night in Chapel Hill with family, and in the morning one of them will drop me off at the airport in Raleigh. I’ll fly to Portland, Oregon on Southwest Airlines, over 9 hours with 2 stops but no plane change. I paid for the way out there with credit card miles, so I sprang for the $12.50 early check-in charge in an attempt to get a decent seat. I arrive in Portland at 6:15 p.m., to be picked up by one of my favorite people in the entire world, fed a wonderful locally sourced dinner by her chef boyfriend, then stay in a little AirBnB room. The next morning I’ll bop around on Alberta St. with Cat until Pam Patrie picks me up to deliver me to her advanced tapestry retreat in a cabin overlooking the Pacific Ocean near Cannon Beach.

I have been living for this trip since June. The weather forecast is clear and in the high 60s/low 70s range. And to spend a week with accomplished tapestry weavers – well, that’s something I never thought I’d be able to do. These are people who I can learn a lot from. It seems too good to be true.

I won’t deny that after the cancellation of two vacations this year due to my mother’s health and death I am just a tad nervous and would appreciate good vibrations sent this way for my trip. I need it so badly. And, there will be another big trip west in mid-September that I planned long ago to look forward to after this one! I am sad when I think about not being able to share my excitement and my photos with my mother, but on the other hand, I know that she would be happy for me. She loved to travel too. I’m sure that there will be a huge hole in my life for a long time as I continue to adjust to life without her. Each day gets a little more tolerable, but I still find myself surprised at odd moments when I think of something that I’m going to tell her or show her and I abruptly realize that I won’t be able to do that. She was 90, and she lived a good full happy life, but I honestly expected to have more time with her.

Anyway, I will see you on the other side of this trip on August 28, when I should have some amazing photos and experiences to share!

Colorado, Go west

Go West, Middle-aged Couple!

We made the decision to take three days to drive across Colorado to Mesa Verde National Park and back to Broomfield. There was a little bit of concern about the high altitude, but both of us handled it fine except for a little bit of short-breathedness in Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the United States at 10,152 feet. I was especially interested in visiting Leadville since I just finished reading Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, an account of an Eastern woman’s life with a mining engineer in the late 19th century which was based on Mary Hallock Foote’s diaries and letters.

Early Leadville was a place that many characters from the Wild West visited. We were surprised to find a connection from Leadville to Skagway, Alaska, a town that we visited last year. It turns out that “Soapy” Smith, a con man who met his demise by gunfight by a fed-up townsman in Skagway, had fled there after being kicked out of Leadville.

There was still snow on the ground in the area around Leadville, and beautiful high mountain views. From there we drove south through the Arkansas River Valley.