Saturday, August 07, 2021

Should Have...

Would have. Could have. Should have. I wonder if the long pause since the last post is because the next day we ran into something truly disappointing, and I don't want to think about it. I would have rather we stayed in our lovely Airbnb, with the wisteria, crows, and cats. I wish we could have checked in at Old Portland Hardware. My point is, we never should have bothered staying at McMenamins Kennedy School, because it was a horrible experience. It was so bad, I joined Yelp to warn others, to give an honest, sincere condemnation of a place that treated us so poorly it was almost surreal. It bummed me out so terribly I still feel abused and frustrated about it. I'd heard of this place for years, and it was meant to be a big treat and splurge, something wonderful to complete our time in Portland. By the end of the week, I had already adjusted my sails, and understood, that it's been a hard time for this City, and I approached everything with more compassion, more patience. The neglect, rudeness, incompetance, and outright hostility we were met with at MKS was inexcusable, rampant, and maddening. I've since read other reviews, and talked to people who live there and know the place... and I am not the only one who thinks they are awful. And what a shame, because the location, the concept, the art and whole unique concept of a hotel in an old school is great. Indeed we have no complaints at all about chalkboards and art, about coat rooms and old wooden floors. The soaking pool? Lovely! But not a single person there has any idea about guest service, hospitality, basic manners, or job competancy. Argghh... there it is, again, the feeling of being ill-used, disrespected. It's no wonder I haven't wanted to think about this part of our journey.
Before we turned in our key, we took one last stroll through the neighborhood where we stayed in an Airbnb. This feels much better, actually. Just recalling how much I love the walks here, makes me breath easier, and feel awe and wonder. I love the gardens, the walls, and gates, the deep porches, and long driveways, the shade trees, and storybook home fronts. We saw a couple more cats, mostly watching us from window perches. I picked up a couple more sticks, maybe a feather.
I love what Francis says, about Love, and Diversity, Respect, and Welcome. I love fairy gardens... and I may have an even softer heart for the ones that have weathered a storm, and could use a little dusting off, and kind attention. I love the glimpses, hints of lives and stories behind doors, through windows, where cats watch us, where lights glow softly, and I imagine I hear a soft patter of activity in the kitchen, voices mingling. I love fine things lovingly made, that have a patina of time and good use, the places rust touches, where moss grows, where song birds perch, and neighbors amble by, stop and chat, smile.
We went back to some favorite places, including Alberta Arts. I could never get enough of Maggie Rudy's Green Bean Book display! And I am so glad we returned, because the display moves! And it's lit. I might have to make a Reel on Instagram with video I took. (I did it! I made a Reel of Maggie Rudy's art installation, and it's on Instagram.) We got to go in the shop, too. And the clerk working had a book recommendation for Maria. And I decided it's about time I read a Beverly Cleary book. Actually, I put two and two together, and learned that I had read one of her books, as a child, Runaway Ralph! Well, now I have the prequel, and some Ramona Quimby, as well. I don't think I will ever lose my taste for bookshops, especially independent and captivating ones, like Green Bean.

Every single time I have come to Portland, I have been mindful that it's special, that I am lucky and feel lucky to be there. And I always question, Will I be back? Will I be that lucky? I assume that I won't get to return, that this will be my last visit. That feeling was strong this visit, with the suspicion that I may be overstaying, the thought, too that perhaps I should keep my good memories, and let that be enough. I don't know, I suppose I should admit I can be superstitious, or that I have muddled ideas about luck and happiness being finite. Not that I want to believe that it can run out, but I find I am not so trusting, secure. Why do I find too much happiness makes me a little nervous?

Sometimes, like when I ignore superstitions, and push past nervous inclinations, I find tremendous happiness, and good fortune! Guess what! I have a happy ending to share.

The Doggo is home. All thanks to Puanani, who lives in Portland, though not particularly near the shop where I left my doggo behind. Thank you, Puanani! And thank you Bobbie L for offering to stop off and transport Doggo on your way back from taking your son up to his apartment. That would have been an incredible journey for you to share with a little needlepoint dog. I really appreciate your offer. And! Thank you, Dayle, for your very thoughtful message, for thinking of getting the Doggo for me. Knowing you would have done such a thing for a *stranger* gives me a bittersweet rememberance of lovely Teresa, and how much she loved and appreciated you. You two are an inspiration to so many of us.

Now I have this curious little creation, and it's even hanging up.... and I think it looks good there, too, I want to name her. So, I will be thinking about that. That, and the waning days of summer, how to make the most of the time left before Maria starts school, and it's suddenly September, then October. I don't want to get ahead of myself. In fact, I haven't. I am still in July, in the middle of a journey, with a long drive home ahead of me! Maybe something from the rest of the trip will inspire a name for the Doggo.

Sunday, August 01, 2021


On this epic Summer Adventure and Road Trip, we did everything!

We have been on a quest for a golden goblet, and fairy gardens!

We have experienced Nepenthe, tracked zebra, had a golden hour on California's Central Coast.

We crossed over the Golden Gate Strait to the Redwood Highway, and stood among giants!

We struck gold, again, in Eureka! Swimming, and exploring, resting, and singing as we traveled ever northward!

And golden was the hour when we met Mom and Dad, stayed in their woods, and dunes, on the Oregon coast.

They may be miles away, but they are close to our hearts.

We have seen new sights, and familiar faces. We have followed the call of crows, cats, poets, and dreams.

We have made new friends, and found happy endings.

We learned lessons on taxidermy, Lepidopterology, and glacies crepito. We have marveled, delighted, admired and exclaimed, and that was only one Tuesday in Portland!

Basically, we have been Enchanted.

And. We shopped. I often say that pictures are my favorite souvenirs, and my children know that rocks, sticks, moss, shells, sand, and feathers bring me no end of delight. But I am not immune to the siren's call of places where I can browse, stick my nose in a book, add to my sticker collection, find something novel, make another wish list, drag home something essential, and buy stuff! Page four of my very detailed travel plans was all about leads, and sure things, for shopping opportunities. And when we made it to Old Portland Hardware & Architectural, it was everything we could have wished for and more. We loved it. The End. Yeah, another stop that could have completed the entire trip.
Why, or what? What do we see here that makes us so happy? We like old things, stuff made by craftspersons, by artists and engineers, and artistic engineers. We like history, and the history of making, and the things that are tangible artifacts of creation.
We admire wood and woodworkers, carpenters, woodcarvers, joiners. We admire metal, forging, casting, welding. We love handlettering, glassblowing, book binding, gilding, words, dove tailing, bells, whistles, surfaces, repairs, tea cups, saucers, nuts, bolts, hammers, and maps.
Have I mentioned that our tastes are ecclectic? Ha! On reconsideration, our tastes were ecclectic before we had children, and now there are seven of us, living under the same rambling roof, and the one decorating-home style we might agree on is that we love many things, styles, gadgets and gizmos! A natural progression of our loves, pursuits, interests, and tastes, might be moving into a museum, if we haven't already created our own, or setting up our home in this store. Then again, I do daydream of a cozy home in the woods, with a tea cup, paint set, sewing basket, and wifi.

Behind the red lantern is a handmade sign, lyrics we know well, and attribute to our own workshop, especially when Geoff is in there, welding, or printing, or tuning his laser... What's he building in there? We know. We know it's something clever, new, different. Maybe metal. Maybe wood. Definitely wonderful.

What the hell is he building in there?

Now what's that sound from under the door?

I heard he was up on the roof last night

Signaling with a flashlight

And what's that tune he's always whistling

What's he building in there?

What's he building in there?

We have a right to know...