New York Mysteries in Portland, Oregon July 15- July 22

July 15 Vive la France, “Je souhaite à toutes les Françaises, à tous les Français, une fête nationale sereine et joyeuse. Vive la République et vive la France!”
— Emmanuel Macron, 14 juillet 2017.
A friend and I celebrated Bastille Day in Jamison Square. How best to honor French culture? By eating the lovely cuisine. Both savory and sweet crêpes were prepared by two hard-working French speaking women. In Portland, standing in line is an art. No whining, no pushing, just patience. There was the annual waiters race. On a tray, each waiter carried a glass bottle and a glass, both filled with water. Dropping one, disqualified the waiter. The race was held on a walkway that circled Jamison Square.

 

The Waiters Race

July 15 was a busy Portland Saturday. While waiters were racing, The Big Float celebrating the Willamette River was held. All you needed was a life jacket, an inner tube or kayak and a sense of fun.

The Cathedral Park Jazz Festival was held the next day at the base of St. Johns bridge in the Cathedral Park neighborhood of Portland. It was a balmy day, perfect for sitting outside on a blanket surrounded by lush greenery, friends and jazz.

Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumor. Condolences to Senator John McCain.He’s a public figure who’s a product of mid-twentieth century America. He does have worries but he does not have to worry about health care. The Mayo Clinic will treat him like royalty. The irony is that Mitch McConnell held up the final vote on the Republican Health Care bill. Now, that has gone south. Had McCain not been diagnosed with a serious illness he could have voted for a new health care bill that would have deprived millions of Americans of the stellar treatment he will receive.

From Alphabet City to Alphabet City: in NYC I live in Alphabet City and in Portland I stay in Alphabet City. How’s that for a coincidence?

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

 

 

 

 

New York City Blog June 22 — June 28

Shortly before leaving NYC for Portland, Or. I attended a farewell party on the top floor of the Central Park Arsenal for a wonderful gardener. The Prosecco and best wishes flowed.

The Arsenal Party

The Arsenal Party

Friday afternoon I got on the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago. The compartment was an updated version seen in North by Northwest  but where was Cary Grant? It was very cozy with big windows that give you a wonderful view of the Hudson. I had dinner at 5 pm.The food was: tired salad with packets of Paul Newman dressing on plastic plates followed by mediocre salmon with canned vegetables and potatoes out of a box. I had something called strawberry cheesecake which was pink, hard pablum. I had a half bottle of red wine for $16 bucks. Thanks God for booze.

Amish on the Empire Bilder

Amish on the Empire Bilder

In Chicago I switched to the Empire Builder. It’s a double decker train. At Spokane, WA. the front part of the train goes to Seattle and the rear part goes to Portland. Wonderful views of the Wisconsin Dells, the Mississippi, Glacier National Park in Montana and the Columbia River Gorge.

Out of New York City Monday, July 29 – Sunday, August 4

On Monday I arrived in Portland, went to the Warren; that’s what my landlady calls her charming basement apartment. It has three windows looking out onto the hedges and garden. I feel as if I’m in an Impressionist painting. Unlike Santa Fe, bikers wear helmets. I also noticed people reading books. Remember those? Dear friends took me to one of their favorite haunts, Jimmy Mak’s, to hear the Dan Balmer trio. While Balmer made hay with the guitar, I tucked into a divine chorizo and beef hamburger, carefully avoiding the n. g. designation. If Santa Fe represents opera for me, in Portland it’s jazz and folk. Next day we went to Jantzen Beach to visit a floating house. Unlike a houseboat, a floating house is moored to its site.

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That evening we went to a leafy Dawson Park picnic to hear the singers, Lorranda Steele and Linda Hornbuckle. Ever use a salt block? Me either, but after Powell’s City of Books hosted a cook talking about the magic of salt, I’m sorely tempted. The next day we had a wonderful party at my friends’ enchanting house which they bought when north-west Portland had not been developed.  On my daily walk to the Portman pool I saw a sweet and sad message that I photographed. “Whoever stole my skateboard you suck that was my bday present”.

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IMG_0257 Our latest adventure was to Mount Hood.

IMG_0255We went to Timberline, the WPA lodge built in 1937. It’s a timber framed structure that reminds you of the glories of native woods, stone and murals. As a kid I Ioved the Oz books. With its quirky charm and singular pleasure in its own identity,  Portland could be a town in Oz.