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Our bedroom looks east, and when there is sunshine, either blessedly clear or like the photo, striving to burn a frothy layer of clouds, it fills our eyes upon waking. We are enjoying having a very pared down space, with precious little art (my favorite Goodwill find of the sea!), a few trinkets, and all new furniture from Room & Board. It’s called Calvin and was made in Oregon, of all places. The ties that bind. The wall color is a pale and icy blue, and while we are most definitely in need of a new layer of paint, the shade will remain the same.

The heavens had a riotous pillow fight and the feathers fell as snow. We bundled and braved below zero wind chill to walk to the library and market in the bright white of it, dropping off movies that were too terrible to mention, buying an onion, a jar of pickles, and a 9-volt battery. It is a bummer to be awakened by a chirping fire alarm. It really is.

The onion was for green chile (recipe here – it’s been a while, Paris in the sweet hereafter, me a Pittsburgher, and the Powell Food 4 Less long gone!). This was definitely one of the best batches EVER. I made pinto beans and margaritas, too. The hubster made guacamole. Everything was marvelous and gave our cheeks a rosy-pink glow.

Boy howdy, was it ever good to feel the sadness of December and January finally lift. So many tears, dear readers, so very many. We celebrated our surfeit of joy by making more, of course, with a stellar weekend of adventure and fun, starting at The Double Wide Friday night. They have TV Dinners! Compartmentalized food rocks! Grits! Portobello mushrooms! Brisket! Sweet potato fries! Shoestring fries! Cornbread! Coleslaw! Eeeek!

Surf Pittsburgh? Maybe I will.

This chest was made in 1760!

An afternoon at The Frick. A scrumptious lunch at the cafe, beautiful art, and positively heady conservatory air. Happiness!

Jason Walker

Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor

Finished the day in The Strip District, with stops at Wigle (pronounced like wiggle) for Sassafras Whiskey and aromatic bitters (organic and delicious), Italian provisions at Penn Mac, and marvelous art at Contemporary Craft. No chemicals were purchased in the making of this last photograph.

Sunset over the Heinz Lofts. Home we go…

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Columbia River

Multnomah Falls

Holla!

Bonneville Dam

Block + Tackle

Pepe le Moko

L O V E: Forever and All Ways.

M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I

A 1930′s Vintage Chevrolet. Beautiful!

Interurban – yumm…

Happy Tuesday, dear readers! I hope it is lovely where you are. We are in full autumn here in Stumptown, with cool mornings, rain, and golden sun from time to time. We are also in full “Oh my goodness, we are selling the house!” mode. Packing, planning, and getting G I A N T holes dug to repair the 83 year-old sewer in the time it took us to get a single large shrub in the ground. The wonder of backhoes!

Back when we decided to move, the hubster and I only fretted over telling one person, my Uncle Chris. He loves Portland dearly and has been our most frequent guest room occupant. He was disappointed, most definitely, but cool cat that he is, very understanding, too. New chapters are exciting! Then, much to our delight, he made arrangements to be our final visitor.

We could not have had a better time or better weather, either, warmth, sunshine, the best of good-byes.

The highlights:

We visited Bonneville Dam, which was truly fascinating. The giant grey object with rust drips is a turbine that had been in use for some 60 years, the wonders of engineering, and, quite likely, Pittsburgh Steel. Then there were the fish, heaps and tons doing their darndest, working their tails off (in some cases nearly literally) to make it through the rough waters of the ladder. Extraordinary! The previous day had a count of 30,000, and that is after running the gauntlet of fishing boats. Nature is bad ass!

A long walk to Block + Tackle, which, if you are a seafood and fish lover, get ye there! Everything pleases, fresh oysters, perfect calamari, a smoked mackerel sandwich, fish and chips, shrimp cocktail, oh my. The service was pretty spectacular, too. With nearly full bellies, we introduced him to the wonders of Salt & Straw (minus the line, what luck!), a  slow, sweet saunter down Division in the light of the setting sun.

A most marvelous time was had by all. Next stop Pittsburgh, mon oncle!

And so it begins…

Breakfast in Pendleton:

Home of the Round-Up

Cabbage Hill View Point

Wallowa

Kombucha break in Lostine

Gazing upon the Wallowas

Toward Hell’s Canyon

Zumwalt Prairie:

Some fourteen miles of winding gravel wound us in and around one of the largest intact bunch grass prairies in the world. Vast, my friends, with us and the animals the only life for miles upon miles. I watched the hawk, a red-tail, I think, swoop down to seize it’s prey and carry it to the utility pole, the snake writhing and coiling some thirty feet from the ground. My heart quickened at the wonder and privilege of it all.

Filthy prairie feet

Wallowa Lake:

Our wee cabin was called the Fawn, and we loved it!

The baby robin was terribly sweet and let us get quite close before her unsteady wings carried her off.

I bought two books and some deliciously scented soaps at this gem of a shop!

Enterprise:

A sweet town full of kindly and hospitable strangers.

Arrowhead Chocolates

They gave us spoons dipped in chocolate while we waited for our treats. The hubster was in heaven!

Joseph:

Named for Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce (that last sculpture is his likeness), Joseph is a prince of a town. With a world famous foundry, beautiful landscape, friendly people, and Stein’s top notch distillery, it’s easy to find a reason to stay.

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Hey there! Just in case you were wondering what happened to me, this is it! We redecorated the office and guest room, and it occupied much of our waking (and my sleeping) hours for the last month. We’d been meaning to do it for ages, but you know how it goes: time; money better spent on food, shoes, an evening out; no real desire to spend weekends attached to paint brushes and rollers. Yadda, yadda, yadda, a few years go by.

A fire was finally lit under our arses and here we are, pretty snazzy! I should also mention that we cleaned out the house, top to bottom, in the process. Furniture, books, knick-knacks, clothes, the random and sundry, all in neat piles in the basement waiting for a sale and trips to the thrift store and Powell’s.  My pocketbook is also happy to report that the only new items in the office are the desk lamps (from IKEA) and the curtains, which I made because no one had the color I wanted. I shopped the house for the rest. Hoot and holler!

And then there’s the color! We’d had a peachy-orange before and really liked it for a time. As soon as we started rolling this on, we decided it was kind of psycho and felt an enormous sense of relief and calm at the new color, winter wheat by Benjamin Moore, if that’s your thing. Cream fleece is the trim color, just a shade darker.

We spent a bit more in the guest room, and mostly at IKEA (that place!), chest, organizers, tray, picture frames (filled with my photos!), curtain, lamp, bedding. Though that toss pillow is from Target, and the bedside table was $1 at a yard sale eons ago. We couldn’t be more pleased with how it all turned out!

And now, a break for fine art: The big painting above my desk and the small square on top of the bookshelf are by our super talented friend Jamee Linton. The three mountain paintings in the assemblage are by Tim Deibler. The wide landscape and the center painting are by Ann Hutchinson. The cicada was purchased on vacation, somewhere in the south of France, artist unknown.

But wait, there’s more! Imma break it down…

Which I got from this fab song of my youth. Bub, are you reading? You know you are the reason for my love of Eazy-E!

The salad: farro, shaved fennel, green onion, dried tart cherries, toasted walnuts, feta cheese, orange & sherry vinaigrette.

The cocktail: Ransom’s Old Tom Gin and Galliano. Heavy on the gin…

The sound: Jack White. That voice, guitar, look, the man captivates me. Turn it up.

The love: two of my favorite people are getting married! Congratulations Matt & Kelly!

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