I will never play professional baseball again...or bike race in France. Today I took the plunge: a steroid shot in my right arm, the dominant side. The hope is that the pain in shoulder/arm will subside. It has been a very long time since picking up a small grandchild was either possible or painless. Knitting has been less frequent.
Steroids suddenly are moi. Last Saturday I visited "Immediate Care" (a walk-in facility connected with Providence Hospital) because my primary physician is Monday - Friday except for emergencies. Seems to be style here; classier than emergency rooms of NYC hospitals. Desperate after two weeks of dramatic coughing plus nose running (hoping it would disappear), and missing a baroque chamber concert.
Seen by a Nurse Practitioner, I left with prescriptions for a five-day regimen of steroid tablets and an antibiotic. Though less coughing when I laugh (have to rush to bathroom), reduced nose action, generally improved.
Sunday I went to OHSU (Oregon Health System University) just up the hill from us. Much attractive art in halls. MRI scheduled for shoulder, very efficient, back to D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy) in a local orthopedic practice. Yes, there's a tear in my rotator cuff. A quick steroid shot in the arm as defense (my word) against the dreaded arthroscopic surgery.
This Saturday, I began 8-sessions of physical therapy for "scapular stabilization." An aside, to note why "Feminism" is a category for this post. Checking out my history, the young therapist asked, "Is it alright for me to call you 'Naomi?'" Pleased, I agreed and answered, "First time a health care provider has asked in a long time." And shook his hand. When I posted here about "10 Questions to Ask Your Ob-Gyn," the 1977 Baltimore NOW effortI neglected to mention that one of the very non-radical requests we were making was not to be called by our first names unless the doctor was ready to do the same.
Has this changed in your life? Rhetorical question: Might physicians have moved more quickly toward single-payer if we'd demanded more interactions of equality in the past 40 years--for male patients too and with the help of men too.
Thinking over why food carts, the outdoor food art-form here that I admire but do not engage with often. It may be they require the stand-up-to-eat pose. I'm similarly disinclined toward buffet dinners, cocktail parties. Not much of a casual eater, I want a chair/bench and table!
We had found a place with great middle eastern food around 6th and Broadway (across from a Kettleman's bakery) but it disappeared. We'd buy the very ample dish in the afternoon and take it home for dinner.
Between our place (it may be known as the "West Hills") and our daughter's house in Hawthorne, there's a collection of carts known as Cartopia with benches protected by tents. I learned their proper name not from a sign (maybe there is one) but a massive fact-stuffed blog, Food Carts: Portland. Driving home around 11 p.m. after baby-sitting, we'd see all this action as we turned the corner from Hawthorne onto 12th. All lit up, many young people. What were we missing...we found out when we visited closer to our old-fashioned foodtime, 6 p.m.
El Bracero, a Mexican place, is the early bird opener, in fact hardly closed. We've stopped by for delicious vegetarian burritos--just one big enough to share. A little later the Belgian fries cart, Potato Champion with its Poutines via Canada, comes alive...excellent not-so-good-for-you food but you gotta do something risky once in a while. And choices of things to decorate the greasy things.
I favor the remoulade but you might prefer rosemary truffle ketsup.
Knowing our grandson Zach is a burrito fan who loves to eat out, we took him there one mild evening. Other families with kids are always part of the mix in the early hours. But the pizza cart got his attention first.
The fries worked for him too. He was very interested in the crepe-making (huge productions) at Perriera. Turned out he'd had one recently and mentioned that the milkshakes were very good too. What could we say? We took two very, very rich Girardelli chocolate ones home to his Mom and Dad (his sisters were in bed) and split them among the five of us.
You could call our particular adventure Portland Cart-lite. We have yet to try some of the other places at Cartopia. One very decorated one, Yarp with its long message of mission, comes to life after 8 p.m. Of course, this scene is not here for our crowd; we are the outsiders and they are very polite in an offhand way.
We thought the flowers would begin to fade, but Portland florals hang on to please us. Iris, wisteria though fading hangs on, and an very, very deep blue bush. Do you know what it is?
And the lilacs, everywhere. We heard we could have an especially
intense encounter with them a half hour away in Woodland, Washington. We arrived just in time for the last week the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens were open.
Beautiful as the many varieties of lilacs were I was fascinated by the tour of this 19th century farm. Hulda Klager (1864-1960) was the daughter of German immigrants. Farming, raising a family, in 1903 she was recovering from an illness and read a book by Luther Burbank. The result was her interest was piqued by the notion of plant propagation. First she produced a larger apple to make one that would be easier to peel. In an early magazine interview, she described using a crochet hook to do her hybridization.
In a couple of years she had created 14 new varieties of lilacs. I was reminded of a late 19th century woman photographer I'd reasearched, Mary F.C. Paschall of Doylestown, Pennsylvania. It was illness that gave her time to study how to develop her own film. Guess that's what it took for a woman to give herself time to think outside the dailyness of life.
The gardens are owned and maintained by the Hulda Klager Lilac Society. Members, all wearing purple, are docents; the woman with the scarf is a second generation Society member. A recent video that shows some of the 100 lilac varieties that populate the Garden.The docents did a fine job of telling how hard life was on the farm and Hulda's strength as a survivor of flood and personal loss. This side door was only used for bringing in and taking out caskets.
I would have liked to know more about how Hulda herself. Someone needs to write about her, other farm women of that period in the 1920s when she began to hold yearly open house for the public to visit her gardens. And buy plants. She was honored by many organizations including the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard but there was not as much about her online as I expected. She is in Lilacs: A Gardener's Encyclopedia.
Though not a purple flower, I found in the Garden a name to go with a plant I've admired--Viburnum. So much to learn, so little time. [A little more history on the lilac in Oregon HERE.]
A week ago Ron wondered if someone down the hall had a cooking mishap. Kept mentioning that his eyes were bothering him. Maybe all the pollen this year. Earlier in the day I went through another--the last--box of books we brought with us. Some I cannot let go yet. Others are on their way to Daedalus Books a kind of retro used book place on northwest 21st street, right next to Ken's Artisan Bakery. What could be better than the smell of baking bread while you surf book shelves.
Toward evening we learned the true source of the smell in the air-- the
fire in Lair Hill, an historic neighborhood close by. The flames destroyed an old church which had been bought by book seller, Phil Wikelund, to continue his former store, Great Northwest, as an online business. This link leads to a 2003 newspaper article that illuminates the vagaries of life in the book lane. I recall we had spent hours wandering around in his former store on Stark Street...many black and white images of early life in the Northwest along with the books.
Visiting the site a few days later, we met Marilly and Fred Morton who had lived in the neighborhood in the 1970s and were members of the now-gone non-denominational church. It was where they'd been married. They described the neighborhood as a typical hippy and scruffy place. Now gentrified but with traces of earlier times when it was home to Jewish and Italian immigrants in the early 20th century.
The church was part of the scene with potluck dinners, great music and dances, and a custom of inviting homeless people to dinner. They were patient with us as we asked many questions about how the church had supported itself, "Everyone pitched in the way most churches do," Marilly explained. Mysterious to us who had never considered the idea of a church without a large superstructure behind it--somewhere.
Ron who is deep in all kinds of history reading rescued "The Age of Transformation, 1789-1871" though he's not sure he will actually read it. Felt like homage to the loss. It's still in our car trunk drying.
One of the most satisfying aspects of blogging is making connections with people who support some of your more adventurous efforts and also live in places you might never visit. That's the case with my friend the south, Rachel Walden in Nashville, Tennessee. She posts both at her own site, Women's Health News and Our Bodies Ourselves.
Our virtual friendship must go back about three years, early in my bloglife. Recently I mentioned her in connection with our shared alma mater, Oberlin, and the Condom Amulet created to honor it--so to speak.
Rachel is a medical librarian in Nashville. I'm hoping that libraries there have mostly survived the recent flood. These institutions took a terrible hit in New Orleans as a result of Katrina. She has linked to this very thorough site for How To Help Nashville. Those who live nearby can find many ways to contribute time--and others of us can post blogs reminding our readers about needs in the city--and organizations that need contributions for the service they are providing.
Partial to clay in all its forms, we hurried over to the Portland Convention Center on Friday for the three-day exhibition of potters and ceramic artists. There are beautiful things to see at this site; it was a very large and impressive show.
Carol Lebreton came to Portland via Brooklyn. She pressed coral into the surface of this perfect little bowl to create its pattern. Ron's brought it home as his particular
favorite of the day.
Did we need another colander? Yes--and we
will contact Charles Piatt for another smaller one to hang next to it above our teeny, tiny 20-inch stove.
Porcelain earrings fired to look like copper, a couple of mugs, bowls, dragonfly on a small plate. Have to support American crafts people.
Huge poppies overhead as we came up the stairs toward the show --plastic possibly the info desk guessed, no not glass by the famous Dale Chiluly-- but the artist was not credited. From China? Reminded me of one I'd photographed yesterday across the street from our place. Flowers so large, intense here in the northwest. Never had seen such gigantic poppies on the east coast.