Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Memorial Day Weekend

For many, this weekend marks the end of school and the beginning of summer.  It's also the first official work holiday since New Year's.  For me, it's just been nice to be at home with absolutely no plans.   I've spent the past two days working in the yard, cleaning up flower beds, weeding, mulching, trimming, etc.  It's been nice to throw in some grilling and relax time too.   I wish I had some pictures of poppies to share with you for Memorial Day but instead, I'm sharing pictures from my recent visit to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm to enjoy the Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wish I Were Attending the 2011 Beirut Music & Art Festival!

I'll be posting pictures soon but we are so excited that my daughter Mimi was invited to perform at the Beirut Music & Arts Festival!   She arrived late last night our time, after nearly 24 hours of travel.  After getting a good night's rest, she started rehearsing this afternoon.  Two weeks of incredible music every night.  

P.S.  I'm not proud!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Story Corps Atlanta

Have you shared your story? Tonight I went to hear stories about immigration at the Auburn Avenue Research Library in Atlanta. WOW! I laughed, and cried. I nodded my head in agreement, and shook my head in disbelief. I heard stories of amazing people from more than a dozen countries some documented, and some not, but all who shared their stories of coming to America, and what it has meant to them.

Many thanks to WABE 90.1 fm, Atlanta's Public Radio and The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta for keeping Story Corps Atlanta going through the end of the year.  

If you have a story to tell, make an appointment.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Keep Portland Weird

If you've ever spent any time in Portland, you will understand why you see these bumper stickers - Keep Portland Weird, all around town.   In fact, if you haven't seen it, check out Portlandia on IFC.  Yes, there are incredible gardens - the Rose Garden, Japanese garden, Chinese Garden, Powell's Books, incredible coffee, more microbreweries than any other city in the U.S. (yes, drink more beer), and incredible cuisine (Portland is a foodie city), but there are some things I noticed as being very unique.  
A little yard art
People are friendly and for a big city, this seemed unique to me.  Drivers are polite.  Portlanders read an average of 28 books per year.  It is noticeably not diverse though the people seem to be incredibly open-minded.  You don't have to pump your own gas!!   I think NJ has the same law but honestly there is nothing worse than being dressed for work and having to stop to pump your own gas, only to experience a splash or spill that sends you back home to change.
On a clear night - the balcony view from a highrise
 I also learned about treasure boxes, something I was told was totally unique to Portland.   Everyone has a mailbox but in Portland some people have an extra box called the treasure box.  The idea is to take something or put something in the box.  They are often decorative and expressive.  Here is one I spotted on the first day.  

I was so lucky to be there during their "spring."   It was already 80 degrees in Atlanta in early May so it was great to be able to experience an explosion of blossoms everywhere we went.  
The day that I left I was standing curbside, waiting for the cab to come take me to the airport.  I was crying which is something I don't do very often but I was so sad to leave my daughter.   A car drove past but stopped a few yards beyond, backed up and rolled down his window to ask, "Are you okay?  Is there anything I can do to help?"   What a novel be kind and helpful to others.   I just can't imagine someone being so thoughtful in Atlanta.  Not that they wouldn't notice.  I just don't think your average person would have expressed concern.

I will be back to share photos from the tulip festival and a few other pictures.   Wishing you a happy week.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Train Ride - It Wasn't the Nancy Hanks

Have you ever taken the Seattle/Portland train?    In my early years we rode lots of trains and one of my favorite rides was taking the Nancy Hanks from Macon to Atlanta for shopping.  Those days are long gone but my recent trip to Portland did include an incredible round trip from Portland to Seattle.  Please let me share a bit about the ride.

The train ride was one of those times in life that I felt like I was playing a part in a movie.  The characters seemed to come to life before me and each was unique adding dialogue and character throughout the duration of the trip.

You can learn a lot about people by spending time with them on a train   It happened with me and my daughter as we traveled from Seattle to Portland.  After boarding we decided to get a bite to eat and rather than returning to our car, #8, we decided to eat in the diner where there were tables.  It was early evening and since we had a three hour ride ahead of us, I decided to have a glass of wine and my daughter was happy to have a beer.  We noticed two young men at the bar, one appearing to be in his thirties and the other, much younger.  In a matter of moments, two women, both appearing to be in their early thirties, sat at the table beside ours.  The two of them seemed to have just met and I overheard one of the women say that she was a dancer in an "exotic" club.   Out of the blue one of the men at the bar got up and ordered drinks for everyone in the car.  By this time a couple of others had come to the diner car.  My daughter immediately went back to car #8 to get her guitar and start the music.   By this time everyone in the diner began introducing themselves and the entertainment was underway.  Everyone was on their way home to see "mama."   Tom Jones was one of the most unique characters joining in the party.  Tom explained that he is a hermit who left civilization 15 years ago to build a log cabin in the woods with no running water or electricity.  He came out of the woods to go to Seattle to see his son who was graduating from college.   Judging by the length of his ponytail, he was telling the truth.  I'm not so sure that the story about having to use "tear gas" to get his ex-girlfriend out of the cabin was completely true, but nonetheless, he was a character.  The exotic dancer's family came from Kentucky so when my daughter began playing her bluegrass music, it was old home week.  The young man at the bar was sweet Travis.  He'd just turned 21 and at a height of 6'7", he was hard to miss.  He became my protector when Trevor, the older gentleman, got a bit out of line.  Travis was quick to share that he was a "mama's boy" and was ready to defend mama, no matter the consequences.   The last to enter the diner car was Herbie, a real "dapper Dan."  He was dressed in a double-breasted suit with alligator shoes.  He explained to us that he was dressed for the weekend and that his suit would serve him well for partying on Saturday night and again for Sunday services followed by a graveside ceremony for his mom.  No need for a suitcase - he was dressed for the weekend.
All during the train ride Mimi just kept playing.   Each of us had nothing in common but with the music. for just a short while, it seemed, we had everything in common.

It was interesting to read this news story after the ride.  We were asked to refrain from using our cell phones, or to go to areas to talk so as not to disturb other passengers.  I found this story to be very interesting.  Can't wait to share more from my trip!  I'm so behind on reading blogs and I'm looking forward to catching up.

P.S.  I love Portland.  Honestly, it is one amazing city.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Off to Portland!!!

I'm headed to Portland for a Mother's Day weekend with my daughter and will be taking the train to Seattle for a birthday celebration with my Goddaughter and friend.   Happy Mother's Day to you!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lark Rise to Candleford - Have you seen it yet?

I absolutely love it!