Monday, June 27, 2016

The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant

I am really enjoying this book.  I borrowed an audio version from the library through Hoopla.  I think the narrator does a good job of enhancing the story.  Very fun.

Another house I love is for sale

This is a house we walk by sometimes.  What a beauty!  And it is for sale.

They just don't build em like they used to

Every now and then a place in The Belvedere on Belmont Street comes up for sale.  The kitchen I posted about recently is from one of those units and they had an open house yesterday.  I scurried on over.  There were actually two units with open houses so that was an unexpected bonus. It's a great old building in good shape.

Here is the entrance

Look at that great old builtin vanity.  And all that light in the bathroom.

Isn't it fun?  They just don't build 'em like they used to.

In contrast, most modern apartments are just tubes with one big window in the living room, none in the bedroom or bathroom or kitchen.    Boy this must be a dark place on any but the sunniest days.  And yet they want $100K more for this.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Old Kitchen with Ice Box

I am crazy about old kitchens from the early part of the 20th century.  Look at this old built in Ice Box.  So cool.

The ice went on the upper left.  Note the hole for it to melt down through.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Portland walking... ain't what it used to be

Yesterday we ran a few errands on foot, which is normal for us.  All the development gets ever closer and more intense.  I hate it.

Here is a temporary sidewalk around a building site.

You can't see over the plastic into the building site when you are walking.  It's a little nerve-racking to hear all that equipment so close and yet you can't see it.  If something happened, there you are, stuck in a tunnel with no exit.

It was very very noisy.  John said it was the heavy equipment.  I would hate to live within earshot of it and a lot of people do.

It used to be a food cart pod.

This is Movie Madness, where we returned a video.  Movie Madness rental prices are often quite a bit cheaper than streaming rentals from Amazon.  For example, the DVD rental from Movie Madness was $3.75 (it was a new release) and from Amazon streaming, it was $5.99.  It doesn't make sense to me that streaming costs  60%  more than renting the DVD.  Plus I get to keep the DVD longer (three days vs two days).

This is across the street from Movie Madness where they tore down three houses and all their trees.  You can see some of the trees stacked up at the left edge.

Then we walked on to Hawthorne which is also in heavy development.  It's so nasty out there that it makes me long for headphones and anything to take me away from reality.  So sad.

I guess I am not the only one complaining about the difficulty walking/biking in all the construction.  The city is considering doing something.  It LOOKS like they will, but we shall see.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What's Cooking

Still quilting and watching videos.  Here is one I really liked.  It's called What's Cooking.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Quilting Wanda's Quilt

I got another quilt from Wanda.  The quilting is coming along.  I am quilting it all with one color (unless I change my mind).

 I am using Valdani Perle Cotton size 8 in color JP7, faded marigold.

I love the soothing feel of hand quilting.  And I love spending all that time looking at the fabrics up close and personal.

Don't worry, the millennials will fix it.

I DID try to get in touch with several city officials (the mayor, the city council and a few others) regarding my unbridled growth concerns.  Some months ago I asked HOW we are going to pay for all this unbridled growth.  It takes a long time to pay for the new services that growth requires (schools, utilities, roads, etc.).  Portland already has a serious debt situation with PERS, which is the name of the Oregon pension plan.   I am concerned that this unbridled growth will overwhelm us with debt.   So I asked how we are going to pay for the phenomenal growth.

I got no answers to my emails to the council except one auto response.  I had to fill out a form to contact the mayor.  A woman who works in the mayor's office called to vet my request.  She works for the mayor as a policy adviser and identified herself as a millennial.  When I expressed my concerns, she was quite dismissive.  I never got to talk to the mayor and the woman who called me doesn't answer the phone so I guess I didn't pass the vetting.  But I hear it is difficult to get the city's attention these days unless you are a developer.

The mayor's policy adviser doesn't like other big cities however, she is sure that the millennials can grow Portland without those big city problems.  She said the millennial generation is so innovative that they will fix all the problems that earlier generations caused (said with pride and a sneer at the end).  When I asked her to name three innovative things  the millennials have done, she named Apple Computer.  I told her they didn't get that one.  She said well, they were doing the coding today.  She had no other innovative examples.

She said the people of Portland don't like change (said with a tone of dealing with difficult children).  She thinks it is fine if more homeless move here; we will just raise taxes so everyone gets a slice of the pie.   She doesn't believe we have a problem financially supporting PERS but she IS annoyed her parents got a better PERS retirement than she will.   It was clear that those of us who pay the bills do not matter.

I told her a little humility might get her further and if she wanted to know about innovative, she should study Tom McCall but she didn't even know who he is.  I haven't found anyone else in Portland who doesn't know who he is, especially if they grew up here (as she did).

I was depressed and did not sleep that night.   I am having trouble dealing with all this.  I love Portland.  I love the innovative people who really do live here, the ones who put making things first and money second.  The ones who can't afford to live here anymore and are becoming homeless or moving away.

And as for what I think about millennials.  I don't think they live in the real world, just on their phones.

It's not easy being green

People think of Portland as a green city.  We're big on recycling.  Plastic grocery bags are banned.  We  have a lot of alternative energy (both solar and wind).  Bicycling is big.  We have good public transit.  However, we have a toxic metal problem.  First it was the air and heavy metals like chromium and cadmium.


Now it is lead in the schools.  The drinking fountains in schools have been shut down and they are drinking bottled water.  The Buckman Swimming Pool is closed due to a lead problem.   There is lead paint in the schools.  They also found high levels of radon in the schools.

And apparently the school officials knew about some of these problems but did not go public.

I guess we are not so green.... I knew that.  But I bet YOU didn't.

Homeless in Seattle

This quote is from a piece by Peter Wieben who visits his homeless sister in Seattle.    I found it pretty interesting and thought provoking.
"The city was full of do-gooders. I walked around Seattle for a long time. Every so often, I was bothered by someone asking for money to help the bees, or to guarantee that people could get abortions. One girl in a bright red hat stopped me, and said she was working with Doctors Without Borders. She said she had worked with them in Rwanda. The fields were so green there, she said. The dirt was so red. She asked me what I knew about Doctors Without Borders. I told her. She asked what I was doing in Seattle, and I told her I was learning about homelessness.
“Yeah,” she said. “It’s a big problem. But still,” she said. “We have to keep in mind that we in America have it good. We don’t have the problems that a lot of other countries have.”
I stood there, listening. Mentally ill people wandered beneath skyscrapers next to people collecting money for bees. That was a particular bit of insanity you didn’t find even in the third world. She saw the look on my face.
“I guess it’s still hard, though,” she said. “Living on the street.”
A woman walked past then, just at that second, a crazy lady, with wild hair. She shouted at us, getting close. “YEAH!” she shouted. “IT FUCKING IS.”"

It's criminal

So, developers are building all these big apartment buildings and the city is giving them a free ride on real estate taxes.   This has been going on for a while.  For example, this big building was built around 2005 and still no real estate tax has been collected.

The building also has construction issues.  Notice that the "paneling"  is missing from the corner of the building.   Just another example of the utter crap they are building in Portland.

So not only is the Portland we love being destroyed, but we are the ones forced to pay for it while those who destroy it make big bucks and get off scot free.

Why it isn't funny anymore

I thought Portlandia was funny and cute until the rest of the country started taking it seriously.   Now I'd chase them out with a broom...

We are way better at making fun of ourselves anyway, even when it hurts...

How it is

How it really is.  Just an empty lot....

Developer's dream rendering (for a mere 1.1 milliion dollars, you can grab the dream).  One thing I am sure about.  The trees won't be there.  And neither will the birds.  They kind of like trees and greenery.

How it was just a year ago.  The developer bought it for $350,000.  This is the neighborhood and that is the former house in the middle.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Construction everywhere

Today we went to pick up some new foam cushions for our sofa.  It's only 2.5 miles to the upholstery place.  John tried to avoid all the construction and still we passed EIGHT major construction sites for large apartment buildings.

This is the section of Portland we were traveling through.

Portland Development

Recommended videos

Still quilting and watching videos.  I watched these on Amazon Prime.  You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find the good ones....

Oranges and Sunshine is based on a sad but true story and is very well done.

Learning to Drive

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Birth of a rinky dink project

The hot spell is over and I've taken the parasols down.  I pulled the rebar out in most cases.    In a few cases, where it was difficult to figure out the placement for best protection from the sun,  I left the rebar in place.

But I didn't like the bare rebar that I could see from the back door....

So I got some old light globes out of a box in the basement, stuffed them with bubble wrap and put them on top of the rebar.   That looks better.  However, I'd like to add some color.  Any ideas?  It has to be simple because I will be taking these off and putting the parasols back when the heat returns.


Can you spot the hummingbird?

The bee balm is really blooming now and the hummingbirds know it.  They visit all the time.   My camera mostly sees their wings as a blur.  There is a humming bird in every one of these photos.  Can you spot him?

Monday, June 13, 2016

The house next door sold...

In just one day.  I don't know who bought it.  I hope it is someone who likes it for what it is.  I think it is a lovely house, deserving of its place in the world.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Won't you be my neighbor

The house next door is for sale.  It got a lot of attention yesterday and so did my garden.  I took several people through my garden and house.  I found myself hoping for an older couple, maybe even a gardener...

Listing for house

Rapeseed Field

Some years ago I stumbled across a photographer who calls himself Old Man Travels. He lives here in the Northwest and often his travels are relatively nearby.  His photo essays include interesting narratives.  Check him out.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Refrigerator Art

Refrigerator art is like the kids art you stick on the refrigerator.  Not too serious.  Just fun.   This one is made from fabric bits placed on top of batting and backed with harem cloth.  I pinned it and then I began big stitch quilting it.  I rather like it...

It's especially nice in my native seeing mode (without my glasses).  Sometimes I prefer the world with my glasses off.