Saturday, December 10, 2011

the saturday market

When I was growing up in Eugene, our next door neighbor was Jim Brady. You might remember Jim. He had a booth at the Saturday Market, and later, the 5th Street Market, where he sold gorgeous handcrafted wood products for the home. He joined together different types of woods so the end effect looked like stripes. You see this kind of work everywhere now. I’ve even seen it in department stores. But in the late seventies, Jim was the pioneer, and his stunning craftsmanship was coveted by many.

Jim’s daughter was my best friend so inevitably, I was in and out of their home multiple times every day. If we stayed off the roof, and managed not to have an argument for more than a day or two (a nearly impossible task for two headstrong little girls), we got to accompany her dad to the Saturday Market.

Arriving early so Jim could set up his booth and set out his wares, we’d wander aimlessly around the grounds, watching the day unfold. The jester bounced his bells in our direction as he danced a sweet dance, surrounded by even sweeter-smelling smoke. Peanuts’ Lucy nodded and smiled as she set up her booth, ready to dispense her advice, for a price. And everywhere, the market was coming alive, as vendors unpacked and placed their goods on display, hoping for a bustling day at the Market.

In the gooey, garlicky pizza by the slice, in the sweet, sharp tang of lemons in the lemonade, and in bicycle grease and essential oils; as the day unfolded, the good smells of summer and Eugene were everywhere in the Saturday Market.

When my mother got a new Jenn-Air stove, a novelty in those days, she ruminated about the uncovered grill sitting in the middle of the kitchen countertop. Soon after, Jim showed up with a custom striped wood cover made just for my mom. It perched perfectly on top of the grill for all the years we lived in Eugene, whenever the grill wasn’t in use.

We lost touch with the Bradys when we moved to the Midwest when I was in high school. I finally reconnected with the family some years ago, when I was planning my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Sadly, we found, Jim had passed away in 2004. But his touch is everywhere in my parent’s kitchen, and in my kitchen, too. They have the wooden knife block and a cutting board and I have the Jenn Air grill cover. Yep, it’s mine now. I don’t have the built in stove-top grill, but it fits nicely on top of two of the burners.  And it’s still in excellent condition. It’s a beautiful piece handcrafted by a wonderful man- and a wonderful neighbor.

And that’s what the Saturday Market is. It’s your neighbors. Your friends. Members of your community creating something that’s meaningful to them, and selling it at the Saturday Market because they know it will be valuable to you, too. The Market remains unique because all of the artisans and artists have to handcraft their wares, and be approved by a board. Whether you want a handmade leather cuff, a piece of thrown pottery, or a painting, you can find it at the Market. The Saturday Market also has world-class people watching. Even if you just want to window-shop and have lunch, you can hardly go wrong with choices ranging from Lebanese to Guatemalan to Polish to Southern barbecue, and gorgeous dark chocolate caramels.

The artisans at the Portland Saturday Market welcome visitors throughout the year on Saturdays and Sundays and from December 19-23 you can visit from 11-5 each day for the Festival of the Last Minute. The Eugene Saturday Market has already shut down, taking its annual hiatus until April, but the Holiday Market is open every weekend from 10-6 daily through Christmas Eve, when they shut down at 4 pm.

Portland Saturday Market
108 West Burnside, Portland, OR 97209

Eugene Holiday Market
@ the Lane County Fairgrounds, 13th & Jefferson, in Eugene, Oregon

Monday, November 21, 2011

2011 Christmas Craft Shows, Art Fairs and Holiday Bazaars in Portland

Christmas craft shows, art fairs and bazaars offer Portland residents the chance to buy unique gifts for the holidays this year. The items you’ll find at these sales go beyond basic crafts- you’ll find everything from charming ornaments to elegant wreaths and hand-knitted scarves at Christmas craft shows in Portland. When you shop for gifts at a holiday bazaar you support local artisans and you find one-of-a-kind gifts that you won’t find in any mall. Christmas craft shows in Portland to visit this year include:

America's Largest Christmas Bazaar
November 25-27 and December 2-4
Fridays and Saturdays 10-6, Sundays 10-5
Expo Center, 2060 N Marine Drive, Portland
Child Price: $3.25 Ages 12-17
Adult Price: $7, Seniors 65 and over, $3 children under 12 free.
Parking at the Expo $8 or ride the MAX Yellow Line right to the parking lot.

Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) Student and Alumni Holiday Sale
Friday, November 25th 7-9; Saturday, November 26th 10-5; Sunday, November 27th 10-4
Oregon College of Art & Craft, Jean Vollum Drawing, Painting and Photography Building
8245 SW Barnes Road, Portland
$3 admission on Friday, free Saturday and Sunday

A Gift Bag and a Pear Tree
Sunday, November 27th 10:30-5:00
Mississippi Studios
3939 N Mississippi Ave, Portland

OHSU Heart Research and Holiday Bazaar 2011
November 28th - 29th 10-5:30
Center for Health and Healing Atrium
3303 SW Bond Ave, Portland (located at the bottom of the OHSU tram)

Portland Art Collective "Open Doors" Art Show and Sale
Friday, December 2nd - 3rd 10:00-5:00
Multnomah Arts Center- Gymnasium
7688 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland

Hip Happening Bazaar
Saturday, December 3rd 11-5
Sellwood Masonic Lodge
7126 SE Milwaukie Avenue, Portland

Crafty Wonderland
December 10th - 11th 11-6
Oregon Convention Center (Hall C)
777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland

Formal Holiday Artisans Fair 2011
Sunday, December 18th 11-5
The Acadian Ballroom
1829 Northeast Alberta Street

Kringle's Kraft Bazaar
December 18 - 19, 9-4 each day
Adventist Medical Center (Lower level, in Conference Rooms A & B)
10123 SE Market Street, Portland

*Admission to Portland holiday craft shows should be free unless noted otherwise. Feel free to post information about your organization's Christmas craft show or holiday art fair in the comments section.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

the end-beginning

“Hey, you.” I looked up, and there he was. My high school sweetheart. Hanging out, like he was always hanging out, not in any kind of rush. Just hangin’. It seems like a million years ago when he was the love of my life. 

And it was a sweet, sweet love. 

We chatted and smiled, standing outside the convenience store while my mind whirred through a thousand images at lightning speed:

We are holding hands and laughing, leaning up against my locker. 

He is picking me up and taking me to a movie, and I am in my teenaged bedroom, dithering about what to wear. 

I see him, standing with a group of friends and laughing; I see him the moment he sees me. 

I am reading the letter he wrote me during chemistry class for the hundredth time, because it just keeps getting better. 

He gently holds my head, and runs the brush along my hair, patiently, quietly, combing out the tangles. 

He is screaming at me about betrayal, and I am crying, hysterically.

I am in the back of the police car, convincing the officer not to drop me off in front of my house. 

He is putting his life back together and needs me, and suddenly I don’t see him in my future. 

The phone rings and I practically break my neck to answer it because I know it’s him and I’ll die if I miss his call, and-

“Hey,” I smiled, up at him. “It’s good to see you.”

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Bomber Restaurant- a Portland Tradition

The most surprising thing about the iconic Bomber Restaurant isn’t the World War II B-17G Bomber in the parking lot. It isn’t the display of shells, surrounded by crayon renderings of the Easter Bunny. No, the best thing about the Bomber Restaurant is the service- and the food.

Art Lacey originally purchased the Bomber in 1947 in an attempt to draw in visitors to his gas station, originally located beneath the plane. Lacey crashed the first B-17 he purchased after trying to learn how to fly the plane using a manual. He successfully brought home the second B-17 he purchased, landing in Troutdale. With no permit to transport the bomber, he dismantled the plane and brought it piece by piece to its current location in Milwaukie. The gas station closed in 1991, but the restaurant remains open and is still run by Lacey’s descendants today. 

The Bomber Restaurant has been a family-owned business since 1947. If you’re an aviation nerd (like me), or if you have kids, the diner is a no-brainer for breakfast, lunch or dinner. But even if you’ve never been to an aviation museum or flown a plane, the food is worth the trip. Standard fare like burgers is overflowing with fresh veggies. Fries are sparked up with sour cream and onion flavoring. The long-standing specials include Liver and Onions on Wednesdays, Surf and Turf Fridays and thick-cut prime rib on Saturday night. The service is attentive, polite and good-natured, with the servers casually chatting and swapping stories with customers.

The Interpretive Center, PX and Gift Shop shuts down at about 2pm each day, so make sure to arrive early if you want to do the tour.  Breakfast is served until 1:45pm. Visit the website and navigate to the Restaurant page to find a printable coupon, good for $2 off your meal after 4pm. The Birthday Club Coupon offers discounts off group orders (15% off 2-6 meals or 20% for 7 or more people) and a free birthday dessert.

The Bomber Restaurant and Catering
3515 Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard
Milwaukie, OR 97222
(503) 659-9306

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekend Trips from Portland- Waldport, Oregon

When my parents first moved to Waldport, Oregon, I wasn’t too impressed. I wanted the bright lights of Lincoln City, the art-y district in Newport, or the sand dunes in Florence. A tiny fishing village with a population of 2,000? Er, no. Over time, Waldport won me over. The tiny town bustles in the summer season, and is lovely and quiet during the long winters, after the tourists leave. And the people are what make Waldport really special. Sparkling in the light of the chandelier, with the rain whipping the windows, we’ve enjoyed many a bowl of Cioppino, crab bisque or clam chowder and local beers, surrounded by my parent’s unique group of friends- a builder, a commercial fisherman and a photographer, to name a few.

Where to Stay in Waldport, Oregon

I wanted to focus on weekend trips to Waldport because with a three-hour drive from Portland, it’s unlikely that you’ll turn around and go back to Portland on the same day. There are several options for places to stay in Waldport. Your best bet is to find a house to rent on Bayshore (the oceanfront peninsula that rests across the bay from town) or in town. Look online and on craigslist to find these deals. The hotel on Bayshore has gone through several iterations and owners over the last couple of decades and we hear it will next be turned into a conference center. But it was never terribly impressive and not something I’d recommend to anyone. There are a couple of other motels and cottages for rent in town that have positive reviews online. If you visit one, let me know about your experience there.

Which Route to Take to Waldport from Portland? Pros and Cons of Routes 20 and 34

The drive from Portland to Waldport, which rests on the central Oregon Coast, takes about three hours. I recommend taking I-5 to Corvallis, then cutting across Corvallis to jump on one of the highways to the coast. You have a choice outside Philomath- you can take Route 20 and end up in Newport, then cruise down 101 via Seal Rock to Waldport. Or, you can take Route 34 and you’ll wind up right in Waldport.

The two roads have a couple of pros and cons. Route 34 is full of switchbacks as you cross over the pass, and the beautiful road is exhilarating to drive. You pass through tiny Alsea on the way and the general store is a must-stop for the locally made goat cheese. However, you’ll likely be without cell phone service for most of the drive. In addition, it isn’t at all uncommon to be stopped- and turned around- midway through your route due to flooding or a downed tree on Route 34. That happened to me so often in the early years (“You mean I have to drive all the way back to Philomath?!”) that for a long time, I avoided the road altogether.

Route 20 ensures you’ll have cell phone service for most of your drive, has lots of passing lanes, and even features a rest area about 20 miles outside of Philomath. The Waldport road doesn’t have a rest area. There might be a couple of working outhouses along the way but they look sketchy. Also, Route 34 doesn’t provide much in the way of passing lanes. If you get stuck behind some slowpokes, you’ll likely amble behind them for most of your drive.

Route 20 through Newport takes a few minutes longer, but the difference is negligible and the amenities (cell phone service and a rest area) might make it preferable for older travelers and families. Route 34 is just wickedly fun and wildly beautiful, so it’s a tough choice. Ideally, you’ll take one road out there, and another road home- that way you can experience both drives.

2011- Waldport's 100th Anniversary

In 2011, Waldport, Oregon celebrates its centennial. As with any town on the Oregon Coast, summer is the time to go. The 4th of July fireworks on the peninsula in the Bayshore neighborhood actually take place on July 3rd and if you go out for the week, you’ll find other fireworks displays in the neighboring towns on the days leading up to and after the Waldport fireworks. Waldport will likely have a couple of tricks up its sleeves for the town’s birthday, but really, there’s plenty of fun to be had in this tiny town (crabbing, fishing, beachcombing the vast beach, building driftwood homes) without any special reason to go.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

the emergency key

I am hanging at the local when my lovely scarlet-haired neighbor pokes her head into the restaurant. Hailing from the Deep South, Lana has a tendency to sweep into rooms and descend on people rather than affecting the boring, slinking-in entrances that I always seem to do.  As usual, she’s sparkling.

Amid hello hugs and you-look-wonderfuls, I step back and take in her ensemble. “You look so cute,” I said, thinking: I have a blouse that’s similar to that.

“This is yours,” Lana said, noting my confusion. “I borrowed it from you.”

“Oh, ha,” I murmured, still puzzling: When did that transaction occur?

“You didn’t loan it to me,” she explained, checking out who was doing what in the tavern. “I used my key one day and went in and took it.”

Key, key, what key? The…You don’t mean…The emergency key?

“Lana, I gave you that key to use in case of a flood, or something,” I said, racking my brain for potential catastrophes. “A flood or a tornado or…something. An emergency.”

“It was an emergency,” she firmly explained. “I had a date and I didn’t have anything to wear.”

Emergency:  A sudden, unexpected catastrophe (sometimes involving peril) that demands urgent action.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

KMHD Portland Celebrates Count Basie

KMHD Portland is one of the few remaining independent jazz stations in the country. Listen to them online (or download their app), and you won't be disappointed. This week, Count Basie is in the spotlight. Since it's public broadcasting, you won't just hear the music- you'll hear stories like I heard today, about how Basie was discovered. 

My favorite show, hands down, is Lynn Darroch's Bright Moments on Friday afternoons. Lynn interviews jazz greats and plays his favorite picks and best of all, does his own spoken word, accompanied by visiting artists. Spoken word, you might scoff, I've heard that before and wasn't unduly impressed.

But Lynn Darroch's spoken word is different- it transports us back to another time and place, derived from Lynn's own memories about growing up in Portland. My only complaint? He isn't on the air enough and when he is on, he doesn't do enough of his own work.   

Learn more at the website: KMHD 89.1 FM Jazz Radio in Portland

Friday, January 28, 2011

An open letter to hotels about handicapped accessibility

Another night in a handicapped accessible room at the Hilton and I’m still disappointed- and frustrated- at how inaccessible these “accessible” rooms really are. To wit:

Unless someone is in a wheelchair because they have a sprained ankle, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll be able to get in and out of a bathtub. Imagine that- you’ve come into the city for a relaxing weekend and arrive in your room only to find you won’t be bathing for a few days. Demo the bathtubs, and install a roll-in shower instead. The shower shouldn’t have a lip at the bottom, but should have a chair, and the shower should have a handheld sprayer, with easy to reach off and on and hot and cold knobs. 

Sinks should be low enough for someone with a wheelchair to roll up and wash their hands. Toiletries and Kleenex should be at the front of the counter, within grabbing distance. 

In a room with double beds, the area between the two beds should be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair and a person standing next to the wheelchair. For all sleeping areas, easy to access bars should be alongside the bed on the wall. Even better? Install a pole from ceiling to floor about one-third of the way down from the headboard, with handgrips. This allows someone in a wheelchair to grab a handhold, lift themselves out of the chair, and pivot onto the bed. It doesn’t have to be fancy- PVC will work fine. Genius. 

Beds should be low enough for someone in a wheelchair to roll up and easily get on-and off- the bed. A rubber floormat with sturdy grips is ideal next to the bed. This allows someone in a wheelchair to get their not-always-stable footing in a way that they are unable to do on your slippery carpets.

A desk chair isn’t really necessary. A desk a wheelchair can easily roll under, and a phone placed at the front of the desk works fine.

A small end table on rollers somewhere in the room gives handicapped visitors a place to easily access their cell phone, the newspaper and the television remote.

For your lobby bathrooms, your handicapped stalls are great. The towel dispenser placed 5 feet off the ground? Not so great, and not easily accessible to anyone in a wheelchair.

Dear hotel owners and operators, I don’t know if you’ve made the error of assuming that everyone in a wheelchair has someone to help them. You’ve definitely made it a requirement. I’d like to think you’ve just never tried accessing one of your handicapped rooms while in a wheelchair. Try it once. You’ll likely be flummoxed. And, you’ll probably find a dozen more ways that handicapped accessibility could be elevated in your hotel.  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beekeeper Classes in Portland

If you've always wondered about beekeeping, and you'd like to learn more about the craft, LiveHoneyBees has come to the rescue. Throughout February and March, LiveHoneyBees will offer a series of classes designed for the urban and the suburban beekeeper. 

Beekeeper Classes in Portland 

The class will go on a swarm-catching adventure, and LiveHoneyBees will provide ongoing assistance as you learn how to become a beekeeper. You'll learn about hive types, site location, tools and equipment, year ‘round management, how to harvest honey—and much more.

Learn How to Become a Beekeeper

The beekeeper classes will be held in February and March in Portland. The classes consist of three Wednesdays, from 6-9 pm, catching a swarm, and 1 on 1 help for tending your bees.

  • 1st Session Feb 16 includes hive siting, equipment and good neighbor coaching
  • 2nd Session Mar 2  focuses on spring and summer bee tasks
  • 3rd Session Mar 16 prepares you for fall and winter bee tasks
  • 4th Session TBA covers swarm catching and start up support

Alternate dates also available. For more information, visit LiveHoneyBees, email Brian, master beekeeper or call 503.975.2391.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Oh…Canada. The longest kilometer part deux

The Patriot Race is one of many challenges you’ll face when dating a Canadian. A skillful battle of wits (thrust, parry, stab and duck), the  game is a true test of wills, with no boundaries or limitations. The rules of the Patriot Race are simple. No matter what aspect of the entertainment industry we’re discussing- music, art or film, suddenly, it turns out all of the superstars are from Canada:

Me: “Well, what about _________?”


“Well, I think…”


But don’t you think he…?

“Lived in Canada during his undergraduate years.”

“I’m quite sure that she…”

“Wants to be Canadian.”

Canada always thinks they’re in competition with the US. The US always forgets they’re up there.