Monday, January 21, 2013

Inauguration Day 2013

This was one of my favorite moments of the Inauguration--when President Obama paused to savor the moment.  That, and the poem.

Lunch after the swearing in, with recipes linked in (wish I could have seen pictures!):

I think the red potato horseradish cake sounds interesting and delicious.

Now I'm watching and waiting to see what Mrs. Obama's ball gown will look like.  The first lady ball gowns are always one of my favorite exhibits at the American History Museum, right up there with Dorothy's ruby slippers and Julia Child's kitchen.

Here's last time:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Last Days in Oregon

Friday morning, Dave headed over to his conference, after meeting some graduate students in the hotel for breakfast.  His building was across the street from where we stayed, and I learned later that the hotel was the site of several Oregon State Beaver Booster meetings (gymnastics that afternoon, and basketball the next morning).

I was picked up by Beth, a longtime friend, as we had met many years ago at a scientific conference our husbands were both attending and have seen each other nearly annually since.  She offered to take me on a quilt fabric shop hop. After letting me up off the ground and untwisting my arm from her iron grip, I reluctantly agreed.  That's a joke.  I jumped in the car like an eager (Oregon State) Beaver. Here we are in Salem; that's her in the bright yellow raincoat.  She's an Oregon expert.


We entered and I felt like I'd entered a Magical Kingdom, quilt-wise.  So many ideas!  So little time! More on the quilty blog, if you're interested.

We drove through the beautiful Oregon countryside on the way to our next stop.  The sun had come out and the greens were glowing against the soft blue sky.  Every area of the country has their own version of these colors, and they are different from each other in specific and subtle ways.

This shop specialized in Civil War reproduction fabrics, as evidenced by the antique dress in the front window.  I wanted to take down the phone number and address, as I was trying to beat my son at Foursquare (a social media game which requires that I check in at each location, earning points so I can finally beat him for once), and the person minding the store didn't know the address, nor the phone number.  To get the address, she poked her head outside and looked at the number on the front door.  There weren't any cards at the register with the other information, so we both resorted to looking it up on our smart phones.  Kind of a high tech way to find out low tech information. But a cute shop, nonetheless.

We hit The Pink House for lunch, and it was just as you might imagine it inside, with tables tucked around in all different rooms of the house.

We went to another quilt shop in Philomath which was in a converted movie theater. This was the upper steps to the projectionist's booth.  When you entered, the main register and cutting counter were the former concessions counter, where they might have sold you Jujubes, drinks and popcorn for a movie.


More beautiful countryside.  This is where Beth's daughter and children come to pick berries--blueberries? I think.

Our last stop was in Corvallis, where this store had some fabric I'd been searching for.  I felt blessed, I picked up a few more fat quarters to say thank-you.  Such a sacrifice!

Here's Beth choosing some wares to take home.  We were partners in crime. We stopped by to let her dogs run around a bit, and so I could look at her latest projects.  Then after a quick hello at her daughter's house (and to meet Beth's cute grandchildren), she dropped me off at the hotel.  Dave came back soon after, and felt pretty good about his presentation, which I was happy to hear.

We liked where Beth and Bill had taken us the night before, so we went to dinner at the same place again.  This shot is looking down into the prep area, from the bridge on the second floor.

The next morning, we ate breakfast and prepared to drive back to Portland to catch our flight home.  I was intrigued by these hanging lamps and wondered what they would look like from below.

I found out.

Back outside there was a frosting of ice everywhere. We found good uses for the room cards we'd forgotten to turn in: scraping the windows.  I have to say that Dave was a professional at this, like he'd done it before.


The drive was beautiful, in a way different than anything I would see at home in our mild temperatures.  I was amazed at the beauty found in a gray and white palette.

We made it Portland, boarded a regular plane to San Francisco, where we changed into a baby jet, and flew north off the runway. The pilot took a lovely arcing turn around the Bay and I shot these pictures on my cell phone through thick plastic windows.  You have to imagine the loveliness of seeing the San Francisco Bay Area this way.  Dave and I both have great affection for this area: it's where we met, where we lived in our early marriage, and we have many memories of the city of San Francisco.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Capitol City--Salem, Oregon

Slow start this morning with our fabulous breakfast at the Benson, then we retrieved the car from valet parking and headed south to Corvallis.  It is lovely country, with lots of agriculture, trees, green fields and along the way a sign marking The 45th Parallel--halfway between the equator and the North Pole.  We've crossed the Continental Divide and now the 45th, by car. 

So this is the State Capitol, and we thought it looked remarkably like an LDS temple, complete with gold statue on top, but you didn't hear it here.  The original, classical domed capitol building burned down in 1933, I think, and this interesting cylindrical shape replaced it.

We wonder if we are allowed to go and in see what it looks like, thinking of the armed guards and metal detectors at our local city courthouse.  Nope.  We just walked right in. 

There is a grand entrance hall, with steps up to the right and to the left.  We walked up the steps behind Dave.

It was the House of Representatives chamber, with its very cool carpet of trees.

 Looking back across the hall to the Senate chamber. 

We walked over there--their carpet has leaping fish and wheat sheaves.

Looking up into the cupola.  The state motto is Alis Volat Propriis, which means "She flies with her own wings."  I asked the volunteer in the gift shop what that meant, and she looked blankly at me, until I suggested, "Perhaps Oregonians are independent and self-reliant?"  "Oh, yes," she said.  


We liked the murals around the hall.

And I liked what this said--that "in the souls of its citizens will be found the likeness of the state."  Lots of food for thought in this one.

The State Library is the first building on the left of their state mall.  I thought of my sister-in-law Annie, a librarian.

And some cool tree branches finished up our stop in Salem.  A quick bite to eat, then we drove to Corvallis, found our hotel and Dave practiced his talk for tomorrow, where he is the keynote speaker of the conference.  We had dinner with friends at one of those lovely places where everything is sourced locally and freshly made.  We finished up by sharing with a three-berry cobbler, a very good way to end our day, I think.

The Arts Beat

I thought I'd lead with the door to this cupboard from Pakistan, one of many that were in an Antiques Store that we wandered into on the second day.  While this one looks pinky, it's really more of a deep red, shown below in context.

Definitely wouldn't fit in my suitcase, or my house, but they were fascinating.


I assume this was some sort of a "stove-surround" that would go around a pot belly stove in Austria or such. Ignore the pots piled in.  There were things everywhere in this store.

Different camera, with a flash. There were "steps" on each side of this.  I can only imagine where it was from or what it was used for.

They had lots of pine furniture like the set we have in the guest room.  And even at 50% off (the guy was retiring to make custom furniture), it's nice to see that our belongings have risen in value.  While the folks in Texas (where I bought mine) said it was a container from Sweden, all of this was from Austria, and it was so similar to mine, I think the Texan guy was giving me a tall tale.


In the gallery next door, we saw this Rauschenburg fabric piece? quilt? wallhanging? that had been shown in the National Gallery of Art in 2008, and was for sale here at the bargain price of $49,000. It was interesting because the sections on the middle left with the red flowers/red dots actually consists of a floral voile overlay over two differing fabrics.  After seeing this, I feel much more encouraged toward the pieced backs of my quilts, although I dare say nothing I ever make out of cloth will ever reach any sum such as this.  Such is the nature of quilting--it's not really an "art" unless someone like Rauschenburg stitches it together.  An age-old battle that will never be won.


These artists examine the use of color in novels.  Yes, apparently they count up the number of times the name of the color is used in the novel and make a bar chart that correlates.  I loved these little renditions, inkjet prints.  The top one is called "Color in: Utopia" and the lower one is "Color in: The Pastoral Symphony."

 Sign in a tchotchke shop.

 Street moments.

I really like the sign outside of this place: Working Playing.  The Working words were lit up, as in "Hi, We're working now and come on in."  There's a close-up below.

This photo is called Sisyphus and it's a woman combined with her laundry pile, all held up by her husband.  I laughed out loud.  I told Dave I always called it Mt. Laundry, and there were other names that women had for this never-ending chore.  We stopped for a noodle-themed lunch, then headed to Powell's.  How can you not come here? 

I loved the pillar out front. Carpe Librum: Seize the Book.

One of Portland's interesting features are these four-way fountains.  There's a photo of one in our hotel room, with young women from the turn of the century leaning over, the feathers in their hats a nice counterpart to their button-up shoes and long skirts.

Back home at the Benson for a rest, as the day has worn us out.

But later, we headed over to Moonstruck Chocolate for another Portland requisite: a cup of hot chocolate.  I had the Mayan dark ("hints of cinnamon and almond" and I say a touch of spice) and Mayan regular for Dave.  Then a walk back home in the rain so Dave can work on his talk to be given on Friday at OSU.  We did go out for dinner, but the rain had stopped.  It was a cool crisp night in downtown Portland.