Monday, August 30, 2010

Balanced Eating

Long time friend hiking buddy, Rich, left Estes Park, Colorado and arrived in Portland via Southwest mid last week. We have been long time hiking com-padres, but there has been no hiking since his arrival unless walking farmers markets and grocery stores can be construed as hiking.

Our attempt to "maintain balance" is eating three good meals everyday. With no thought for what effect this eating may have on the numbers on a bathroom scale, there has been no pause -- in eating and Starbucks -- since Rich's arrival.

After my exploring over the past several weeks, Rich joined me for some repeat visits. One of those repeats was to a very sunny day at Cannon Beach for a great lunch and a chat with Stella (friend from Benson, AZ) at Seaside.

Saturday it was downtown Portland. Headed to the Saturday Market to check out the latest in "nobody needs" stuff, there was plenty to choose from. How about taking bicycle parts from chains to spokes and make jewelry. Name of the booth was Bike Bling.

From there we walked the streets to Voodoo Doughnut to see a line from the front door about 50 yards long. Rich nor I have the patience to stand in line. Let alone for doughnuts. Walking away, I noted two gals ready to start eating their doughnut purchases, I asked for a view. Asking if it was worth the long wait, one of the two said "Yes". The other responded with an emphatic "No."

Less than ten short blocks away we were at Powell's Bookstore. Rich was duly impressed and overwhelmed by the selection available. Trying to remember that books are ballast and there are about 15 tree based books that await my reading attention, we exited without more books. Mentioning my fame on the store's marquee, Rich opted out on his opportunity.

Then it was the Beaverton Farmers Market to taste at every booth and have a snack lunch on foot. With purchases of oysters, cookies, bread and blueberries, we headed back to Wandrin Wagon where part of the dinner included oysters on the grill and vine ripened tomatoes. Scrumptious.

Since Rich's arrival, clouds have become a predominant part of the skies. Anticipating a clear day, we headed to Mt. Hood. Not to be. The peak was mostly in light clouds. Along with a wind, it was also a cold day to be standing outside admiring Timberline Lodge. Built with "stimulus" monies of the 1930s, 2010 stimulus money is used for structural maintenance. With stone work and wood carvings, it is another beautiful example of a structure by the CCC in the 1930s.

At mid day, it was a good time to dine in one of the many options at the Timberline Lodge. We chose indoors casual window dining on a bowl of chili.

On the way back to Wandrin Wagon, we stopped at the Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery. Along with salmon awaiting to spawn in hatchery tanks, a 400 pound Sturgeon occupies a small pond for visitor viewing.

These fish were for viewing. No eating here.

Never done with eating, today we had sushi for lunch. After our afternoon cocktails, there will be a smorgasbord for dinner after too many stops at high end grocery stores.

Yup. Enjoying life is a matter of balance.... Three balanced meals a day. At least.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

From the Driver's Seat

Perhaps I haven't been paying attention or there just haven't been as many vanity license plates. The few that were noticed:

DMBFANS -- which team were they rooting for?

KOZMIC -- not doubt 'cosmic' was taken

BDGR94 -- University of Wisconsin graduate?

Without comment: "WA HAPN"   "POSTIV"  "OH PLEZ"   "WOLVRN"   "PSYCH"

Business names:




In the window of a tanning salon: With the warnings about the dangers of tanning beds, the new approach is advertised in this line: "SUNLESS AIRBRUSH TANNING".

A clever pun for a sod farm: WE KEEP ROLLIN' A LAWN

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Windows of Adages

Walking in the Bridgeport shopping center (to the Apple store) is this collage of adages on the windows of a store undergoing remodeling. These collages were on every window facing the street.

Searching all corners of the sign for some indication of some "self help shaman", there was nothing. There were no copyrights or indication of creation. Were these from the previous tenant. Or is it a message from the future tenant.The female form is depicted twice, but no male. If not the previous or future tenant, what message is the shopping center management saying about the shopping center, the usual shopper, the creator -- or none of the above.

The positive is that there is nothing there about balance. Oops. Just when you thought you had heard the end of the subject, there it is again. :-)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Buildings To Admire

A favorite walk in the old down towns of cities is admiring the architectural beauty and uniqueness of buildings dating to 60 to 100 years ago. During a recent walk through downtown Portland, there were several examples of those older buildings which I find attractive and humane. Note the architectural details far above the street. Something to admire.

Roger Ebert said it better than I ever could. This is an excerpt from his piece about the subject in Chicago's Sun Times:

"I walk around Chicago, and look up at buildings of variety and charm. I walk into lobbies of untold beauty. I ascend in elevators fit for the gods. Then I walk outside again and see the street defaced by the cruel storefronts of bank branches and mall chains, scornful of beauty. Here I squat! they declare. I am Chase! I am Citibank! I am Payless Shoe Source! I don’t speak to my neighbors. I have no interest in pleasing those who walk by. I occupy square footage at the lowest possible cost. My fixtures can be moved out overnight. I am capital."

There were several examples around downtown Portland which were all about function at lowest cost and nothing else. This is one of those monstrosities:

This cynic concludes that bean counters made the decision to create an ugly building.

Monday, August 23, 2010

No More Balance -- Part Two

Achieving balance in life is a goal. Never attainable. It's like the seal balancing the ball. Got to keep moving to keep that ball in the air.

In the mid 1990s, I started using the tag line "Keep the Balance..." five years before retirement. Taking a leave of absence in 1998, it was eight weeks in Australia. The suspicion about the out of balance US work environment was confirmed. Aussies get four weeks vacation in the first year of employment.

For me, balance was about "work and play". When noted in the media and in resignation statements, it is usually "work and family". Another was hoping to achieve a "spiritual balance". No idea what that means.

The balance tag line should have been dropped when I retired and began to "play" full time.

With the assumption that I had achieved "balance", Boonie commented it was "time for a new challenge". Like "keeping the balance" was an unattainable goal, Wandrin Lloyd's new challenge will likewise be unattainable.

Daryl suggested "serenity". Might work. But the new tag line will have to imply action. And be unattainable. Certainly, serenity is unattainable.

And to Dee: Thanks for the offer to take the rock. I've had second thoughts about the purchase of the "Balance" rock. It was a good idea.

As I have mulled the new challenge, I have started to look at how "balance" may continue to fit within that future "challenge". Different words. More specific words. Lots of thoughts. With the many antonyms for balance and its usage, there will be a solution. And a new tag line. I hope. Is it possible to create a new tag line with "balance" or an antonym that doesn't sound like the old tag line.

Trying to maintain equilibrium...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Perils of Home Ownership

Two a.m. Bodily function calls. Slide out of bed. Cross six feet of floor to step down. What. Water on the floor. Lights on. Sure enough. It's water. Nearby towel soaks up water. Knees on slightly damp floor. Check plumbing for source of leak. Found it. Turn off commode water supply.

Head back to bed. Can't sleep. Water leaks nag for repair. A call to a landlord would resolve this problem. Owning Wandrin Wagon means I have to make the arrangements. Mobile RV repair would be great. Out of bed to find the RV park's handouts to check the ads. Call in the morning.

Back to bed. Can't sleep. Pick up the latest travel adventure book. Eyes are beginning to droop.

Hmmm. Never did take care of that bodily function...

Postscript: Swapping money for services, the leak was fixed. Additionally, all exploring plans were put on hold while waiting for repairs. Home ownership is over rated. A call to a landlord would have been easier and less stressful.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

No More Balance

When I adopted the tag line "keep the balance" over ten years ago, it seemed novel. It was the result of travel to Australia where I discovered that there are people who knew how to balance work and play. The Aussies weren't big on the "all work" American motto.

Later I modified that tag line to "Enjoying life is a matter of balance". Soon it appeared on the masthead of my blog and web site. It didn't take long for the concept to became part of my life as it found its way into my speech and editorializing. When others looked to me as the epitome of balance, I knew the concept was in trouble.

Over this past year I've seen the concept of "balance" appearing in resignation speeches, in a 50th birthday interview and a summary of labor negotiations. This morning it was in a book review of "Eat, Pray, Love" (a book I haven't read). Worse yet the word was in quotes.

That's it. Balance is out.

The heck with it. No more trying to achieve balance. The term actually meant something when I was working; attempt to balance work with play. Today, I am not so sure what I am trying to balance.

I'm going back to slavishly mono-minded pursuit of doing nothing. Which is what I do anyway.

Removing the words from my blog and web site is easy. A more serious issue is what to do with this beautifully carved rock.

Beginning today, the only balance in my life will be a positive amount in my checking account. At least I will try to maintain a positive amount by not spending too much.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Top Ten Lists

In the old days when I still had TV and watched the Travel Channel, there was the "Top Ten Beaches", "Top Ten Surfing Places", "Top Ten Casinos", etc. You get the idea.

Who decides this stuff. In the case of Travel Channel, no doubt some of those named "top tens" provided some accommodation of some type. Hey. What did you expect from a cynic.

Which gets me to the real point of this entry. RVings Top Ten was the subject of an entry at Nick's Gypsy Journal Blog. Supposedly you're not a real RVer until you've experienced the top ten on that list. I managed to get eight out of ten without even knowing there was a list.

Never been to an "RV Rally". Sounds like way too many people -- a crowd. The other item I didn't do with an RV was the Alaska Highway -- although it was done on a camping trip the last year I was employed. By my calculation, I've done nine out of ten. Close enough for me -- if I cared.

Looking at the list, it seems that RVing is not about getting away and exploring the natural and scenic world of North America, but going where all the other RVers are hanging out. That sounds like pack mentality.

Boondocking is on that list. To me, boondocking is out in the desert or some national forest without electricity or water and your nearest camping neighbor is at least a 100 yards away. Sorry. But parking on a Wal-Mart parking without electricity does not qualify as boondocking.

Regarding boondocking..... I've been asked if it is safe to boondock out in the desert or national forest. To me it is safer out there than on that Wal-Mart or casino parking lot with its traffic, parking lot lighting and the bad guys easy access to four lane roads.
There are no life lists, bucket lists, must sees, etc. in my travels. That makes for a less stressful journey of exploring. A lot easier to keep balance.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Providing Photo Captions

Here was a "twitter" moment, but there were few respondents to a request for a caption for this photo.

To review, my caption was: "It's embarrassing when you get lovey-dovey."

The three submitted captions:
  • "You're still the one that can scratch my itch!"
  • "Psst! Don't tell anyone I told you this, but..."
  • "AWwwwww. Looks like he says to her, if the road ahead gets too rough, Just Lean On Me......"
Probably lots of psychology in reading into photos to create a caption. This looks like one of those areas of study that the university psyche departments have overlooked. What would the responses tell about the person -- gender, personality, age, marital status, etc.

On second thought, let's not study it to provide labels for categories and become part of a faceless group. How about we remain individuals.

Not sure where this blog entry was going, but it is time to post and be gone.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Buy Experiences, Not Things

An impressive arch leads to Portland's China Town. My expectations were of the exotic and some photo ops as I walked the streets.

After that entry arch, it was empty store fronts with few businesses remaining. Some of the area was being claimed for condo towers.

The center of China Town is the Lan Su Chinese Garden. It has a very orderly attention to detail. Picturesque with water falls, water lilies, rock sculptures, and well tailored trees and bushes, there were several photo ops.

The gardens didn't seem very exotic when I noted all the garden employees (or volunteers) were Caucasian. I noted one Asian leading a tour. A second tour leader was Caucasian. At least some of the guests to the garden were Asian.

After the experience of wandering through the garden, I exited through the gift shop and found a rock.

Purchasing that rock was not one of those balanced moments. It was buyer's remorse as I walked down the street realizing I had just bought a "thing".

I seem to have forgotten my own rule: "Buy Experiences, Not Things".

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

On The Road; The Original Scroll by Jack Kerouac

Written on a continuous roll of paper, this is an autobiography -- and biography -- of the main characters of the beat generation. Previously, I had read On The Road which was based upon this scroll.

The scroll is written without paragraphs. That creates a sense of urgency and movement of long distance road travel. The book is about several road trips between 1945 and 1950 with some short interludes in New York, New Orleans, San Francisco and Denver. The parties, the sex, the booze and the drugs are all part of maintaining that high of being alive and the ever moving party across the US.

Neal Cassady is the focus of the scroll as Dean Moriarty is in the book. Kerouac holds admiration for that person (character) wishing he could be that person. But Kerouac can't be that person. Kerouac has a different personality and background.

Personally, I found the scroll more interesting than the book. The unedited life was much more interesting than that which would pass the censors and publishers of the 1950s. Fifty years later, it is a different world.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wandrin Lloyd on The Marquee

Wow. It certainly was a special day. Powell's Books obviously had heard of my addiction. As I approached the bookstore, I couldn't believe that they would actually have put "Wandrin Lloyd" on the marquee.

Powell's Books version of the welcome...

After that photo op moment I was wandering Powell's book laden aisles. Ended up in the travel section where I was able to restrict my purchases to a single book. The guilt of the many unread books still residing in Wandrin Wagon kept me from purchasing more.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Off To Cannon Beach

Picked up Bill (traveling through the area on the Lewis and Clark trail) in the Fred Meyer parking lot and off we drove to visit Stella in Cannon Beach. Stella winters in Benson Arizona which is where Bill and I know her. She summers in Cannon Beach. To find her, Stella provided an address in an email. Plugged into my GPS navigator the address doesn't exist. Oh well. We drove to Cannon Beach where we couldn't find any of the streets mentioned in Stella's email. Picked up my Palm Pre cell phone thinking about calling Stella. Instead, I just entered the street address in its mapping program and found it was in nearby Seaside. Perhaps future models of the Garmin Nuvi will be smart enough to look in nearby cities for the unknown address.

Regardless, we were back on the road and less than ten miles later we found Stella at the offices of her son's (Gary) business Pelican Productions. After the introductions to the staff and pets, we retired to Stella's suite for chatting and catching up.

Soon hunger set in and clam chowder was going to be the feast. Back to Cannon Beach. The clam chowder was not what I expected and it certainly wasn't what Stella was used to at the chosen restaurant. With profuse apologies from Stella for the clam chowder, we decided that we needed to top off the disappointment with ice cream -- right next door. That was an excellent choice.

Stella suggested we check out the artists of glass. With the kiln and the heat, that would take the chill off the air at Cannon Beach. Arrived just in time for the artists to take their lunch break. Timing was bad. So much for watching the artists. So we admired the beautiful glass art -- colors, shapes, function and sizes. Since Bill and I both live in RVs, glass art is really not suited for bouncing down the road.

The Sea Stacks of Cannon Beach appear in much of the photography and art of the Oregon Coast. Stella suggested a drive to Ecola State Park to get a view of the sea stacks and soak up some salt air. With the summer tourist season in full swing, the parking lot was near full.

As we walked along the trail to a look out point to take photos, I came across a ground vine plant. The leaves resembled squash. There was an oval green fruit hanging on the plant. Wondered what it tasted like. Needless to say, Stella and Bill were watching me cut it open and slice a very small piece. They allowed me to taste first. Yuch. Ptui. Couldn't get it out of my mouth fast enough. It was pretty bad. The terrible taste had destined its future to be ground cover. Later after consulting a book of Oregon coast flora, it was identified as wild cucumber.

This was the view looking south toward Cannon Beach and the sea stacks.

It was a great visit with Stella to chat and catch up. Our next in person chat will be in Benson next winter.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Need A Caption

There is a top photos collection on the computer used as a screen saver and wall paper. As some of these photos appear, they seem to beg for a caption. This is one of those -- a mule team.

It's embarrassing when you get lovey-dovey.

Any other suggestions for a caption.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Personality Set By First Grade

The title of a article at Yahoo from LiveSciences, "Personality Set For Life By 1st Grade". That got my attention.

Saw that article after recently going through some photos from my child hood (for my 70th birthday). There are three group photos from my grade school years. In first grade, I am sitting at my desk in the four grade classroom far in the background. The next group photo is from fourth grade. There I am on the far outside edge.

The next photo is from sixth grade where the entire eight grades were posed for the photo. There I am on the far outside once again.

Don't know if there were any more group photos from those early years, but -- no doubt -- frugal Mom would not spring to buy the photos every time one was available. However, for me, two out of three photos confirms the premise about personality set by first grade.

Always have been the outsider. Doing my own thing -- by myself. That tendency must have taken me right through high school. The caption (don't know who decides that stuff) under my photo in the yearbook for my senior year, "I'm a self made man. If I had a second chance, I'd call in someone else."

In the end, it really doesn't matter. I am who I am. It doesn't matter how I got here.

Actually, the article gave me a reason for this post and to share the photos and any embarrassment that may go with it. Heck. If I was embarrassed, I wouldn't share them.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Condition Known as FOMO

The condition was described by Mark Morford in a recent column. I adapted the condition FOMO ("Fraid Of Missing Out") to getting those sunset photos with the great clouds and colors. Wandrin Wagon is parked in the trees. The decision to head to the nearby wildlife preserve for sunset photos is based on clouds in the sky where I am parked. Just a few clouds is enough to lure me to the preserve because I was "Fraid Of Missing Out" on glorious sunset. Works sometimes.

Other times, it is a good sunset walk to watch the bird life: bald eagle, geese, great blue heron, green heron, egret, great horned owl, etc.

In the end, I didn't miss anything in spite of FOMO.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Grandpa Reinie Raised Kohlrabi

Farmers markets are the best place to get this member of the cabbage family. In addition to the usual berries at the markets, today I added three kohlrabi for a special treat.

Grandpa had a large garden in the farming village of Morrison. In that garden was the kohlrabi. Not sure if he raised kohlrabi every year. However, I do remember my first taste (as a pre-teen) and loved it. For me, sliced with a little salt is a great treat. Considering how infrequently they can be found, the treat is better than a chocolate chip cookie.

Overripe, they are woody -- and -- not having rodent teeth, they are inedible.

Friday, August 6, 2010

In The Air

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum (located near McMinnville, OR) contains the history of air travel from reproductions of the Wright's first plane to Hughes' Spruce Goose to war/spy planes to vehicles for travel in space. Three huge buildings including an iMax theater make up the museum complex.

The Stealth SR-71 takes up lots of floor space. A balcony around the perimeter of the building would allow for better photo ops. 

Just pull up to the nearest fuel station and fill up. With this gravity feed pump that could take a while.

Mars exploration is done with this robot.

The reason I came was to see the Spruce Goose. This was Howard Hughes H-4 Hercules transport plane that was made of wood. Not made of spruce, but mostly birch it is an impressive construction of wood. The plane was flown once -- for a mile. 

I asked a docent if this plane could carry its own weight let alone a payload. He replied that some aeronautical engineers have calculated that with the eight engines it would have been able to handle some payload, but not a full plane. The other issue is that the plane was not built for runways. It was built as a sea plane. Takeoff from water takes a lot more power.

What I found rather humorous about the plane was this puny little anchor and mooring line for the Spruce Goose.

Museums can be a bit boring to kids so how about creating water fun park with a 747 as part of the construction. (Open soon.)

A return visit for the water park? Don't think so.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hawk Harrassment

It was alarm calls from the robins that alerted me to danger in the area. Looked around the tree tops when this guy was found checking out the neighborhood. Possibly looking for an late day snack.

Or could this hawk be just aggravating the little birds. Kind of like the bully in the neighborhood. Just the presence strikes fear.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Book: The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes

Subtitled A New History Of The Great Depression

The title came from an essay (or here) by William Graham Sumner: “The type and formula of most schemes of philanthropy or humanitarianism is this: ‘A’ and ‘B’ put their heads together to decide what ‘C’ shall be made to do for ‘D.’ The radical vice of all these schemes, from a sociological point of view, is that ‘C’ is not allowed a voice in the matter, and his position, character, and interests, as well as the ultimate effects on society through ‘C’s’ interests, are entirely overlooked. I call ‘C’ The Forgotten Man.”

To Roosevelt, "D" was the forgotten man.

Not exactly sure what messages the author may have been trying to present in The Forgotten Man. However, what I took from the book is that the "experiments" of the New Dealers from 1932 to 1940 were never able to reduce the unemployment to any pre crash levels of 1929. It wasn't infrastructure building that pulled the country out of the Great Depression, it was war material manufacturing.

There was a passage in the book that the author talked about the infrastructure rebuilding. Shlaes identifies it as another word for pork. Unsaid was that pork is votes. That is what the experiments of the 1930s was about.

Is it possible to learn from past history.

Don't want to read the book. Check out this review and interview at Reason.Com

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vicarious Travel

I enjoy exploring and traveling, but it is limited to mostly predictable and safer ventures compared to the vicarious travel pleasure that I get through books and over the internet.

Walking The Amazon is one of the blogs that I have followed for close to two years. Considering that Ed Stafford and Cho, his South American companion, are slogging through jungle most times, there isn't too much to write about. Slashing through jungle meeting snakes, insects of all kinds, unfriendly native tribes is not the way I travel. Stafford's intent is to draw attention to the implications of rain forest destruction.

The duo are on the final leg of completing the journey after 850 days of walking from the head waters of the Amazon in Peru. After over two years of slogging through jungle, they will arrive in a large coastal city of Brazil and shortly after Stafford will be on a plane and less than a day later in London.

Leaving two lane roads and going onto four lane freeways is frustrating for me. I cannot imagine the impact of walking through a rain forest for years and arriving at an international airport and getting on a plane. Not sure how I would respond. If I could.

The eagle was soaring overhead at the Tualatin Preserve when I captured the photo with the Canon G10 -- not a camera suited to this kind of action.