We first noticed them last winter at New Seasons Market on Division Street on our visit to Portland to find an apartment. They intrigued us with their boldness, bialy's twice as big as those we knew from New York City . Maybe, we wondered, it's about the West, the frontier, the big sky, etcetera.
Last night at New Seasons, we made our move and bought one--all nine-inches of it. [Once again I've taken an unauthorized photo and escaped being admonished by New Seasons' very pleasant monitors.]
We negotiated ingesting it this morning--before I had a chance to take its picture in our own environment. "Not sure how to divide this thing," Ron said. Yes, it took real skill to suppress memories of our old 4-inch NYC bialy. Those are the ones described in Mimi Sheraton's, The Bialy Eaters, A Story of a Bread and a Lost World** which includes a recipe (for the brave and hardy) to make an almost-authentic Kossar's bialy.
Sheraton believes that Kossar's is the only place to buy an authentic one. To order some by mail, you go HERE.
Taste? According to the bialy maven here (whose late mother came from Bialystok, Poland), "At best, I'd give it a D-minus. But what can you expect? It's made with cibatta dough, not sticky enough...needed NYC water." We're guessing this New Seasons' product is known as the "Montreal bialy." The store held cooking classes on making these last year, I heard.
**Thanks to our downstairs neighbor, Elisabeth, for the loan of Sheraton's
book (the hardback one with removable paper cover featuring two bialys lovingly held by a woman's
hands, inside pages are only black and white). This is what authentic ones look like, color and shape.
Let's start with how disappointed we are that the state of Oregon uses mail-in ballots. That little oval to fill in (blue or black pen suggested) led me to obsess about getting it right. Annoying.
Ron and I loved going to our polling place, meeting neighbors, seeing how the poll workers did their jobs (very efficiently). We've heard that mailed ballots increase participation. Really? My impression is this approach encourages proliferation of damned initiatives like 66 & 67, started by people who want to override decisions by the state legislature. Oregon and the state of Washington are the two that have mail-in ballots.
And the cost? I've been trying to track this one down without success. Must be enough paper consumed to pay all the teachers in my grandson's elementary school (where they could use a few more teachers and classrooms, thank you). And the photo does not include the hefty Voters' Pamphlet, all 91 pages of it! Trying to resist are the founders of the No Vote by Mail effort. Good luck to them!
Since I first voted for Adlai Stevenson in 1956, it's been exciting to get in line--New York City, Albuquerque, Oberlin, Baltimore--to pull the lever and feel the surge of participatory democracy. Not a feeling I get in my living room. But another change, after much resistance, is coming to the Big Apple, a holdout from the rest of New York state. Now, folks there will vote electronically, wait in vain for the old familiar "thump" of the lever, the sound that lets you know your vote has been recorded.
Continuing "yarn in the public interest," I knit my smallest YES patch and attempted to write the letters in single crochet. Whatever it takes. Judged readable by the very upbeat couple at the Happy Swallow, a coffee shop on Belmont Avenue that's brought kolaches to Portland from Austin, Texas. This is result of immigration (story here). Many surprises in our new digs, caffeine-land PDX. Creative people always thinking how to differentiate themselves from the gazillion other cafes.
Kolaches, clever little cafes--work better for us than mail-in ballots and/or electronic voting.
Our daughter Rachel truly has been knocking herself out this month. She's sprained an ankle, has the flu, but says it will be worth it when (not "if") YES wins the day. In this photo she's phone banking from home with ice on her foot. The hat is one I made in those halcyon days of big deal knitting--it matched a zip-front pullover. For figure skating when she was 13, few years ago. Another YES patch--blue yarn, scratchy wool/hemp from China that's found its best use.
Her young staff at her business, FULL LIFE, wanted to pitch in some way. Why not use their Coffee House space on a Saturday night for a low-cost event that would attract and raise consciousness of twenty and thirty-somethings.
Music, of course, is the way in Portland, Oregon. On yesterday's post here, the card created by clients at Full Life features "YES, PLEASE!" an evening of music in support of Measures 66 & 67. Speaking to Portlanders of all ages, last week's editorial in Williamette Week, came out for YES. Under the title,"Class Warfare," all the issues plus charts were carefully laid out. What rock are "undecideds" living under?
The latest development in the struggle over the lifeblood of schools and social services in Oregon, which is what this is all about, happened where Ron and I live. Every Saturday morning there's a Men's Breakfast with a speaker. Oh, I hear you, Hattie as you demand, what's with that? From my perspective, it's a good thing: older guys are so (how do I say this nicely?) less-able than women around socializing outside of work and sports. When we came to look over Terwilliger Plaza last winter, we were surprised how many of them lived here. (That would make an intriguing research project.)
Anyway, a few weeks ago, the Breakfast speaker was a Vote Yes proponent, a CEO named John Calhoun, who returned a couple of weeks later for an afternoon debate with Bob Wiggins, a venture capitalist from the other side. Meanwhile, in this very active retirement community, a Vote No proponent was invited as the solo speaker for this morning's Saturday breakfast. In the interest of niceness, I will not give his name because he did not show up! As they say, what's with that?
Both sides have been pouring many dollars into this struggle but I'm sure the Noes feel confident with the number of big corporations behind them--Nike (Phil Knight is the real-life bazillionaire), Columbia Sportswear (real loss to us because we've had to boycott their clothes which havve been favorites), Whole Foods (well, John Macky their CEO is opposed to universal health care, so that's no surprise;). Great sadness when THE paper in town, The Oregonian, came out for the No side. Many cancelled subscriptions--including Rachel Bloom's.
After many years visiting Cape Cod beaches in the 1980s-, we were ready for a less expensive venue. Much as we enjoyed Welfleet, Truro, Provincetown, it was time for a place with fewer airs and crowds. We also were tired of socializing with smart people who talked mostly about their great real estate ventures. That was the 1980s.
Judy Lombardi, our Baltimore friend told us about Holden Beach, a barrier island near Wilmington, North Carolina. It was very different from the Cape, quiet and reasonably priced. "Proud of what we do not have" is their motto. Going south was a change for us-- territory where we knew no one. We found a comfortable house right on the beach, "PostHazel," named after a 1954 hurricane, "one of the worst of the 20th century on the east coast."
Through another Baltimore friend, Debbie Bedwell, we were encouraged to visit a gallery run by her friends, Tom and Stephanna Tewey above their printing shop in nearby Southport. Debbie and other artists from Baltimore Clayworks had exhibited in their gallery, Blue Dolphin. The second year we were at Holden, I showed some of my own work, necklaces of shells, beads, hardware.
They have sold the business and moved into Wilmington where we visited their house in the woods one afternoon on this trip. Always active in politics and the environmental movement, we asked many questions about newspaper stories we'd read in the local paper--good news and bad.
January 1, 2010 marked the start of a smoking ban in restaurants and public places. Who would have thought a tobacco state would do that! The dark side was opposition by the county to permitting high school grads who were illegal immigrants to attend the local community college.
As a northerner who expects the worst from the conservatism of the south about social issues, I was surprised by this sign in a Wilmington gift shop (great selection of altered rubber duckies--as hippies, pirates). Talking with the owner of The Black Cat Shoppe, about her strong commitment to health care reform reminded me--once again-- that there are people of reason everywhere. She had made a trip to D.C. with her business organization, The Main Street Alliance, to talk with her congressmen. She joined the Alliance after becoming disgusted with the local Chamber of Commerce. Check out her website.
Wilmington, an old port on the Cape Fear River, was a place we enjoyed when we were vacationing at Holden Beach. Ron suprised me on my 60th birthday when he asked a women's trio (what were their names, my faulty memory wants to know) playing at a local bar to sing "Happy Birthday." They were a group from D.C. with an hilarious extended version that delighted me--and the bar crowd.
Here's the river at twilight...with a red kayak in the background.
This was the second winter that we thought we'd go some place warmer than where we lived. Last year it was traveling from NYC to Portland for December and January. We were treated to 19 inches of snow. But had a good time and found Terwilliger Plaza, the retirement community where we've relocated.
This December, Leanne, our daughter-in-law in New York, had an idea for us to meet up in her home state, North Carolina. Her uncle gave us the keys to a beautiful house he owns at Wrightsville Beach. Surely that would be milder than our new home in Portland. Not exactly. It was wonderfully sunny the week we were there but very cold and windy.
Roxie, our granddaughter was unfazed by the climate while I'm wrapped up in just about every piece of clothing in my suitcase.
We enjoyed connecting with Leanne's extended family who put together a great birthday party for Roxie's third. had some great oysters, celebrated Roxie's birthday #3--including a castle-cake baked by Leanne's sister.
Our presents for her were a sweater set from wool spun by Ron. He knitted the hat; the two of us made the cardigan.
Doing this was a test of our marriage since our knitting styles are very different. Ron surprised me by announcing when we were finished that we ought to do it again! That's a possibility--maybe a sweater for Elianna in Portland, our youngest grandchild.
We ate some great seafood, a broiled flounder was my favorite, along with the view from Oceana, a restaurant nearby at the end of Wrightsville Beach. (Roxie with her Princess cellphone appears to be deciding on her entree.) Our son Nick and Ron got lost in fresh oysters a couple of times.
Seeing Roxie again was a treat; she has grown since we saw her last summer before we left New York for Portland. Distance grandparenting will always be a challenge.