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January 24, 2022

Hal Brown blog January 1, 2022N


New readers, there are some dandy photo stories from December here, and from November (here) when I turned this blog into a personal diary about my adventures in and around Portland. Don't forget, you can click the images to enlarge them.

Jan. 23, 2022

Portland's Multnomah Village and lunch at Fat City Cafe.

Website:


Multnomah village

Quaint. Charming. A bit off-center and quintessentially Portland. Call it what you will, southwest Portland’s Multnomah Village is filled with character – as well as dozens of unique shops, galleries, restaurants, a wine bar and a brewpub, professional services, and the rambling Multnomah Arts Center.

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This may not look like much but it was one of the best burgers I have ever had in a restaurant. It was juicy and flavorful.























Walking around the village:



























Jan. 21, 2022

In the car picnic at Meldrum Bar Park in Gladstone. It was too cold to eat outside at one of the numerous picnic tables. So what could be better than a tuna and swiss cheese sandwich and potato chips sitting in the warmth of a car watching the fast moving current of the Willamette River and the fishermen trying to catch a steelhead? See steelhead fishing website.



Most of the visitors to the park were men fishing except for six young men running their remote control cars on the impressive dirt track constructed there. They could get their little cars to go airborne for 10 or 15 feet and land and keep going. Watch YouTube video below:

This is a large park run by the city of Gladstone (admissions by credit card machine is $3) with several areas where people can park and fish.

It is on the fast moving Willamette River. One of the fisherman said that this season they try to catch steelhead.





















Jan. 20, 2022

Muddy outside, you think? Mac and Duff were going stir crazy being house-bound with all the rain we've been having so I t0ok them for a walk. Mac likes to forage in the dirt as you can see here.  (Click to enlarge)


Both he and Duff came home with muddy paws:


I hosed the mud off them on my patio. They don't seem to mind the cold water all that much though Duff wasn't thrilled about my trying to get his muzzle clean.  

Neither of them like it when I aim the hose at their nether regions. They are hardy little critters.

 I got them pretty clean. Fortunately I left my gas fireplace on by mistake so it was 90 inside and they didn't get chilled and they dried off very quickly.


My what you see is what you get photography

I have one rule about taking photos of "things" and this is that I must not rearrange the various items. The photos must be "as seen" without my moving even one item a half inch to improve the composition.  You can see this down the page in my photos of the resident gardens. I can try to get the best angle and crop the photo but I won't move anything.

On another subject, to show my lack of having any indictions of obsessive compulsive disorder here are a few "candid" photos of my living environment. Here's an out-of-sight out of mind closet in my kitchen.

The tool drawers in my kitchen aren't exactly well organized but I can almost always find what I am looking for.

I keep all of my kitchen counters organized and neat with the exception of this one.


It's not that I am messy. It is just that I find it handy to have one counter where I can prepare meals for the dogs (one is so finicky I have to mix human food with his canned dogs food or he won't eat) and keep their medications handy. I also throw papers on this counter before I get around to organizing them every month or two, or three.

On occasions I will use my photo program to change the exposure to lighten up the shadows, for example this photo...

is changed to look like this:


However I try not to do this with photos of nature like these sunset pictures where enhancing the colors, contrast, and brightness might make them look better or more dramatic but wouldn't be what the eye sees.


Jan. 18, 2022



Nothing much going on the past few days except my having company over for filet mignon, stir fry, and baked potatoes. 



Start the russet potatoes an hour and a half in the oven before you start the stir fry and steaks, and then keep potatoes warm in a microwave. You can tell when they're done by touching them. They should be soft. 
Leave the steaks out until they reach room temperature. Lightly season to taste. Don't over-season, these are the best tasting and most flavorful steaks you can buy.

You can start the stir fry about 10 minutes before starting to cook the steaks, but be sure not to overcook them or they will be too mushy.
 
Heat a cast iron skillet fairly hot. Use tongs to place the steaks in the skillet and turn them. You don't want to pierce the steaks and let the juices out. 

 Sear in a cast iron skillet on each side. Coat with butter and bake the skillet in a 425 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes until done as desired.


Remember her? 

You can listen to her greatest hit songs here including "Til I Waltz Again With You", "A Sweet Old Fashioned Girl" and "Ricochet".


Jan. 15, 2022

Today's post is a departure since in order to take these photos I only had to walk 50 yards from my house to the resident gardens where I live. To quote Chance the Gardener (Peter Sellers) from "Being There".....

President "Bobby":
Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives?

Chance the Gardener:
As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.

President "Bobby":
In the garden.

Chance the Gardener:
Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.

President "Bobby":
Spring and summer.

Chance the Gardener:
Yes.

President "Bobby":
Then fall and winter.

Chance the Gardener:
Yes.

Benjamin Rand:
I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we're upset by the seasons of our economy.

Chance the Gardener:
Yes! There will be growth in the spring!

Benjamin Rand:
Hmm!

Chance the Gardener:
Hmm!

President "Bobby":
Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I've heard in a very, very long time.

The photos aren't the typical garden pictures you generally see of flowers in bloom. Instead it is has mosty dormant plants with a few exceptions of flowers hidden away with a large variety of statues, and some real boots, standing guard. The garden paraphernalia patiently waits, sometimes unceremoniously strewn here and there, for the owners to begin to till the rich soil and plant seeds and seedlings.
















































 Note the boot behind the rooster



Jan. 12, 2022

What Scottish Pub has an owner who goes to Scotland every year to buy "stuff" to decorate his restaurant which features over 1000 kinds of whiskey and haggis balls?

Website below:


This is the second Scottish pub I've visited. The first was in 2007 in Edinburgh. It is famous because of the story about Greyfriar's Bobby. I took these photos.
 



I've passed this nearby Oregon City pub too many times to count on the way into the countryside to find unique restaurants. Today was a beautiful day, in the sixties, and I hoped to eat on the patio which overlooks Willamette Falls where the viewing parking lot is just across the street. Unfortunately there was only one server so they couldn't open the patio. When she saw me taking photos she asked if I wanted to see the upstairs dining area which of course I did. Photos (click to enlarge) of both the downstairs and upstairs are below.

I had fish and chips made with Pacific rockfish for the first time. It was excellent. The batter was crisp and the fish was very tasty and with a melt-in-your mouth texture.


































Below: I am sure I'm not the first nor will I be the last to have my photo taken in this phone-less Scottish phone booth outside the pub.

 From 2007, is a photo I took in Edinburgh. 


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As you can see from the photos there is ample patio seating where you have an excellent view of Willamette Falls.















The pub is next to The Oregon History Museum and across the street from The Falls View Tavern.




Stats:



Jan. 10, 2022 

SOMETHING DIFFERENT

 I Saw it on McLoughlin Street 


I was driving down the busy main street that goes from where I live to downtown Portland in one direction and Oregon City in the other direction and was stopped at a traffic light when I saw this car:

I took the photo because I thought "how very Portland this is." What I didn't notice until I got home and looked at the picture was the decals in the windows of a Star Wars stormtrooper and a droid. Go figure. 


The car was advertising WeedMaps.

This photos are included so I can enable readers to "click to enlarge" and use them on my Daily Kos story about fear of needles:




Jan. 9, 2022

Destination: Newberg and the Newbergundian Bistro. Newberg is a city in Yamhill CountyOregon, United States. Located in the Portland metropolitan area, the city is home to George Fox University. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 22,110 making it the second most populous city in the county.


But first here are the photos I took along the way. With all the rain we've had for the past few weeks Willamette Falls was impressive. There even was a rainbow and a pop art trash can.





















Along the way I stopped several times to take these photos:



















Blink and you miss it, and in fact I did and ended up taking a tour of Newberg until I circled back and found the restaurant.

It is on a side road off the main street. It is next to the Thai Restaurant on the corner across the street from the Human Bean coffee place. 



I had trout hash. 






Below: Route to Newberg



Jan. 8, 2022

Today's not very big trip was to Fred Meyer to buy some baking potatoes.

I forgot to buy potatoes when I bought steak for a Sunday at home meal so I had to go out again today. I mean, what is a good steak dinner without a baked potato you might inquire.

While I was there I also bought some red bell peppers. These are fully ripened bells peppers and have the most nutritive of all the colored bell peppers. You don't have to take my word for it. Check out the Tufts University article.



I've been looking to buy some Braunschweiger (how's that for a spelling bee contest word?) which Fred Meyers usually stocks for about a month but they were always out. Even the high end grocery store New Seasons didn't have it. Today they did so I bought two. I checked online: you can freeze it. I also bought a Hebrew National salami for good measure.

This would have been an all food and nothing but food blog diary for today and would have ended here had I not looked out the window this evening and saw the pink sky:

I thought "that's nothing special" but then I looked down the path to our River Walk (overlooking the Willamette River) and saw a more impressive sunset so put on my slippers and a jacket and walked to the end of the path and I took these (unretouched) photos:












As of today I changed the header photo to reflect what this blog has become. This was the old header based on the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and the malevolent computer Hal-20oo.

Click to enlarge new masthead:

The Scream'n Chicken and The One Horse Tavern are in the small town of Gaston (pop.736) in beautiful Oregon wine country. The Wild Hare Tavern is just outside of Canby on the way to Aurora and Hubbard which are towns where I found good places to eat (The Old Colony in Aurora and The 
Burger Hut Cafe in Hubbard).

Jan. 6, 2022 

Mac in the background, Duff in the foreground
Mac in the foreground and Duff in the background, with their Christmas toys

My big outing today was to go in-person to the Willamette Valley Veterinary Hospital in Gladstone to discuss switching primary care vets from another clinic which I have been dissatisfied with since the vet I had for 10 years left and sold the practice to a management. corporation. 

I took Duff there last month when he had a lump on his side and they couldn't see him at the regular vet clinic for over two weeks. I got him in the same day at the new vet and was pleased with the treatment they gave him.


One of the dogs, Mac, badly needs his teeth cleaned. He's become so finicky about eating I have to tempt him by adding human food to his Hill's special diet canned food. The other day I made sure I made enough mahi mahi so there would be enough left to lure him to his dog bowl. Once he starts eating he cleans his plate like a good dog.

Jan. 5 Nothing to report unless you count making burgers at home for dinner.



Jan. 4, 2022 

Below: This is for readers of my Marjorie Taylor Greene Daily Kos diary:


Another Kos image:
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The Hive Social, Oregon City

Today, a rainy day with temperatures in the mid-forties, wasn't a day to travel far. Instead I went to nearby Oregon City to try out a restaurant someone told me about. It is called The Hive Social. It is open for breakfast, brunch, and lunch. Unlike most of the Oregon City restaurants which are on Main Street it is on 7th Street, a side street in a part of town I'd never been in.



It is next to the fire station. I can't say it has much of a view from the window as you can see from the photos.

The food is very good and the waitresses are friendly. Because there was a sign saying they be closed for renovations as of next week I asked what they were doing and was told that they are making a function room upstairs and a speakeasy in the basement. That will be open in the evening.

The more than 100 year old building once was home to a hardware store, hence the speakeasy will be called "The Hardware Store."

Here are some photos (click to enlarge):








Below, in a side room, people were putting together shelving.

In addition to the large dining room there is also a bar.





The coffee shop is connected inside the restaurant











There's a hospital up the street. Several ambulances went by when I was eating.




Above: Me. Below: One of the more unsual fire stations I've ever seen. The fire engine was gone but below you can see the foot wear the fire fighters left behind.













This is the stairway to the upstairs where the function room will be.


There are numerous churches in the neighborhood. The pink Universalist Unitarian Church stands out.




I have a growing concern about eating out and how contagious the Omicron Covid is even for those who have had their booster shots like I have. Consider:

With omicron in the US, is it safe to dine indoors now?

As the omicron variant spreads, Dr. Bruce Hirsch, an infectious disease specialist, offers advice on indoor dining.


Excerpt: If a person has been fully vaccinated and they are free of some of the risk factors for severe COVID and they're not immunosuppressed, I think indoor dining would be kind of a reasonable option."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not currently issued specific guidance about indoor dining and omicron, but continue to recommend that people "follow prevention strategies such as wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission." So far, there have been no restrictions put in place on indoor dining due to the omicron variant.

One option for comparatively safe dining out is the Happy Valley Station collection of numerous food carts. In my photos the side doors are open but now they are closed so it is warm inside. It is almost always easy for find a table far away from other diners.





The following were from a few days ago. You can see that the large garage type doors are closed.

The portions are generous.



If I do venture out for lunch today it will be in the rain with temperatures forecast to be in the forties. One thing for certain is that I won't be driving into the higher elevations. Even not far from home they have had eight inches of snow. Further away into the Cascades up to two feet of snow has fallen in the past couple of days. These photos are from the Oregon DOT:





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There's a video in this story:



The Daily Kos story I wrote about Marjorie Taylor Greene from yesterday is still on the Trending Story list having moved down from Number One to the end of the list and then for awhile this morning off the list which ends at No. 18. Then it appeared at Number 15 and has since moved up to Number Nine.

I said I'd keep this blog non-political so made the exception with this since my stories on Kos rarely get this kind of readership. Over 3,400 people took the poll so far. A poll is the only way I can determine the numbers of readers on a story I post there.

Jan. 3, 2022

I did some errands today but nothing worth documenting here. I did post something about the media hogging wingnut Marjorie Taylor Greene on Daily Kos which made it to number one on their Trending Stories list. It had more than 2900 readers and since it is still posted may hit 3000, possibly a near record for my stories there. It was recommended over 180 times and there were also over 180 comments. You can read it here. Hopefully tomorrow I'll take off somewhere and get back to posting photos and stories about my culinary adventures and trips around the  Portland, Oregon area. 

 Jan. 2,  2023... Ops, it's only 2022

A friend texted me a Happy 2022 message and I texted back that she must be confused because it's really 2023. Then I realized that I was the one who was confused.



Nothing to report on yet - stay tuned...

Jan. 1, 2022

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM MAC AND DUFF


Below: New Years Day dinner at home:

The Fred Meyer filet mignon pictured here cost a grand total of $42. It was enough to serves four. The recommended way to make it here. I sear the steaks on both sides in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop and then bake them in the skillet at 450 for about eight minutes. For those who live in the Portland, Oregon area, these steaks are as good or better than those sold in the upscale Zupans and are half the price.



Below: From Zupans, the beef is choice cut while
the beef from Fred Meyer is prime.


For the first time ever, and I mean ever in my entire life, I made baked potatoes in the oven. The veggies were stir fried zucchini, onions, and mushrooms.