Monday, August 31, 2009

#7 Highlight of Trip to Portland

Finally understanding the positive implications of the phrase, "But it's a dry heat".

I in no way claim to be a wiz at mathematics, but I believed I was on solid ground in my belief that something as constant as a number, even the number 95, was equal in value whether referring to currency, cupcakes, or temperature. People in my neck of the country like to boast about our arid heat. I could never understand the allure. Give me a temperature in the nonagenarian range and I will be heading to the nearest planet endangering cooling system available.

Then I met Portland, Oregon in August. Imagine every surface of your body coated in a liquid layer of self-generated goo. While your ability to preform basic functions, such as wiping your delicately saturated brow, become slogged down to the the speed of a sloth on Prozac. There are many things to love, adore and relish about Portland, but a heatwave in August is not one of them. As the weather behaves in such a sensible way 95% of the year most of the general population of the city sees no need to have air conditioning, thus rendering it necessary to spend every evening at the movies.

As I walked about the city in my liquid coating, I was reminded of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle story about the girl who refused to bath for so long she started sprouting radishes. It seemed like delightful, if somewhat distasteful, fantasy at the time. I am here to confirm that if I had stopped bathing, and was sprinkled with the seeds of quick sprouting vegetation while swimming in my layer of sogginess, there is little doubt germination would occur.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

#8 Highlight of Trip to Portland

Stopping by the Maryhill Museum to get a gander at just a bit of my Brother-in-Law’s spectacular talent.

Matthew Cartwright is a sculptor of undisputed creative and functional art. He reroutes would-be rubbish from the landfills of Portland, and shapes it into clever, amusing and downright magical landmarks. As we speak, his work is part of the Maryhill 2009 Outdoor Sculpture Invitational.

This is his Malabar Bombax, his representation of the flower of the Red Silk Cotton Tree. It is impressive I know. There will be more evidence of his work before we reach the end of this countdown.

If you chance to wend your way along the Columbia River en route to Portland, may I say the Maryhill is worth a stop for an hour or two. It perches majestically on the Washington side overlooking the river.

The exhibits rang from slightly creepy french mannequin dolls adorned in 1040's fashions, to Ansel Adams prints, to a magnificent array of chess sets, to a Rodin collection, all resting on the initial collection of Eastern European encrusted artifacts donated by Queen Marie of Romania in 1926. This blue-blood managed to be related to both Queen Victoria and Czar Alexander II of Russia.

We didn't make it to the replica of Stonehenge where the Museum's founder, Sam Hill, ashes rest in peace. We will be saving that treat for another visit.

#9 Highlight of Trip to Portland

Playing witness as the odometer tripped over the 200,000 milestone in The Little White Van.

Way to go baby, here’s to another 200,000!


  • Location – 25 miles north of home up I-15.
  • Musical accompaniment – The Proclaimers’, I Would Walk 500 Miles (How I Met Your Mother reference)
  • Celebratory accoutrement – Fake Champaign in the form of sparkling cider. Cigars and real Champaign were out, as the event took place in Utah, and we are participants in the dominate religion. Alas we had no means of opening celebratory device and had to settle for merely waving the bottle about like drunken Super Bowl Champions.

Top 10 Highlights of Taking a Trip to Portland

Admittedly only peripherally related to kid lit, but we have the photographic evidence, and it is my blog, so allow a bit of self-indulgence, the link to kid lit will eventually be in evidence.

Lest you think I value my offspring to lightly, I will clarify that the order of the countdown has more to do with chronology than esteem.

#10 - Being accompanied by my vivacious and raucous 17-year-old daughter. Who, for the purposes of this blog, will be called Trixie. She has been known to break the sound barrier in her high school, and charm the dickens out of surly shop keepers and grizzled policeman. She is also the designated photographer of my goings on. All documentation in photographic form is courtesy of her more than burgeoning talent, with the following exception.

A Revelation

I was blinded by insight this morning. I’m still blinking the residual flash of inspiration from my formally deluded sight. Theoretically I began this blog at the beginning of the year with grandiose thoughts of connecting children to reading, and to discuss my take on the collection, new and old, that is at the disposal of young readers and those not-so-young readers that prefer reading at a 4th grade level. I had plans, big plans, and ideas, oh so many ideas, of all the wonderful content I would cover. At this very moment there are, no lie, about 10 unfinished posts in my Blogger queue. If I have so many great ideas and no shortage of material, why then do I have so few posts?

I figured it out this morning. ADD aside, I tend to write posts that that take hours to finish, resulting in the interruptions of dogs, cats, children, husbands, telemarketers and calls of nature. Not to mention the excruciating slow pace at which I tend to write anything. First off, it is necessary for me to misspell every other word. Don't ask me why, it is just the way it is -OK. I also find the need to revise every sentence. If you find my writing style a challenge to follow, believe me when I say, without these revisions you would truly be suffering.


I have been working on a countdown of a trip I made to Portland and it has taken me all week to formulate the first few items. Solution, I will post one a day, thus building in a deadline. Let’s face it, for those of us with lofty plans bigger than our discipline stomachs, deadlines are advantageous to any sort of progression. In an enterprise that is purely optional, say a blog, deadlines are essential if I am to accomplish anything in my life, beyond sleeping, eating and the other physical necessity.

Fingers crossed - insight is the mother of production.