Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving at Camp Westwind

One of the really great things about marrying into the Rondthaler family is Thanksgiving at Camp Westwind on the Oregon Coast.  It is a little north of Lincoln City and from the beach you get an iconic view of Cascade Head....shown in the photograph above.  I have always cherished the fact that, when you walk on the beach where I took this picture, you will know anyone you see.  At Thanksgiving, our group "owns" that beach.

Of course, Thanksgiving is all about the food....and the Black Mountain Thanksgiving does not disappoint--especially in the pie department.  There are a lot of people, because there are several families involved.  The annual celebration evolved from a group who went to Black Mountain College in North Carolina.  Gradually, as they moved to Oregon, they formed a group that decided that Thanksgiving was THE holiday to celebrate and they would celebrate together. That was about 1950---they have done it ever since, without missing a year.  Now, their children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren are there.

There were four turkeys,and almost 80 people for the Thanksgiving dinner.  I loved catching up on the news of Howard's daughters and their families.  Here's a picture of his beautiful and very loving daughters:
Mary Rondthaler, Elizabeth Rondthaler Jolley, and Catherine Rondthaler

This is how it looked right before Thanksgiving dinner:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Let there be Peace and Let it Begin with Me

 Like thousands around the world today, I went to a rally.  The one I went to had a particular focus---End American involvement in Afghanistan.  It was great.  There was a march after and the crowd estimates were 3000-4000.  There were also people on sidewalks and in buildings we passed cheering us on.  We marched through Portland downtown streets that had been closed for us to exercise our free speech rights.  We went through the Occupy Portland encampment, where I found everything peaceful, organized and clean.

There are a lot of different signs stating different objectives, and I think that might be because there are a lot of "issues."  When I marched in the 60s, it was simpler--we just wanted to get out of Vietnam.  Although I didn't agree with all of the signs, I was happy to be part of democracy in action.  For me, this was about taking the money that is going to war and putting it into schools, infrastructure, and social services for our own people.

One of my very favorite signs today was carried by a boy about 6 or 7.  He advocated "No Hitting."  RIGHT ON, my little friend!!!  Let's remember not to hit and strike out in violence.

I didn't carry a sign.  Along with my friends Nancy, Kate, Gary, and Jan, I carried a banner for First Unitarian Church.  We are "Standing on the Side of Love."  I loved the experience and still feel the glow.  Change is possible.  I am encouraged that tomorrow is the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr memorial in Washington DC.  I was also marching in his memory.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Marianne Aya Omac..and Joan Baez

Last week at this time I was with my friend Sheryl getting ready for a concert in Mill Valley.  It was really quite a treat.  I had never heard of Marianne Aya Omac, but expect to hear more from her.  She has an extraordinary voice and accompanies herself on the guitar.  I cannot do justice to her in this short blog.  Of course, having Joan Baez as a special guest was the main draw.  You know she is good if Joan Baez supports her!   I was especially impressed that Joan Baez didn't sing her own songs, but supported this younger singer. They sang some duets, but it was mostly Marianne.  The songs were primarily in French (Marianne's native tongue) and  also in Spanish.  It was so beautiful, and included flamenco guitar and Marianne's special trumpet have to hear that to believe it.  It was a special treat....thanks to Sheryl!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

High School Reunion--Go SPARTANS!

Last weekend, I went to my high school class reunion.  Our school, San Juan High School is in Citrus Heights, CA....near Sacramento.  The reunion was great.  I connected with some "old" friends and made some new ones.  Our class was pretty big--over 500, so even then I didn't know everyone.  Plus, I am realizing it was pretty "cliquish"--people pretty much stayed with their own groups.The whole school is now about 600, so they have had what they call "enrollment decline."  

Saturday morning was a tour of the high school, which was amazing.  The gym, the auditorium, cafeteria and the lockers are still the same---after 50 years!!!!!  It really brought me back.  The lockers must have been painted, but they are still the same color.   A new curriculum has been added, though, and it is "state of the art," and will train students so they can get good-paying jobs right out of high school. There are special classrooms for tv and theater, auto shop, wood shop and culinary.  The tv room, for example, is an actual tv studio with several cameras, including one on tracks, and a control room.  The auto shop is more modern than the place I take my car!  The culinary wing includes a restaurant, which actually serves lunch to the faculty and public.  These are not your old "drama," "shop" and "home economics" classrooms.  They were dazzling.  Plus, the teachers have actually worked in the businesses they are teaching.   I'd go back if they'd let me.  
That tour was the highlight for me.  The rest of the events were a "mixer," a banquet, and a picnic.  The cake shown above is one of several at the banquet.

This is how I looked at age 17--my picture from the yearbook!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Italian Dinner with Jen

I'm in the Sacramento area now and had a rare treat last night...dinner with Jen at her neighborhood Italian restaurant, Pasquales.  She updated me on her teaching and her friends.  She is doing well and looks very happy, especially with a feast of good food before her!

I'm here for my 50th high school reunion.  San Juan High School class of 1961.  We are real "Golden Oldies."  Go Spartans!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hiking at Timberline

Good Times on Saturday!   I hiked at timberline on Mt Hood.  Our hiking group gathered at Timberline Lodge.  If you look closely in the upper left-hand in the above picture of the Lodge, you can see the moon--a little white dot in this picture.  The Timberline Trail (part of the Pacific Crest Trail) leaves from Timberline Lodge and goes 2.2. miles to Zigzag Overlook, where there's an amazing view of Mt. Hood:

We could also see Mt. Jefferson in the distance:

The trees were not nearly that dark.  I had to make adjustments in my photo so that Mt. Jefferson would show up.  

It was beautiful and fun to be with friends from Good Times!  We were a little surprised to see snowdrifts covering the trail in several places.  The elevation is about 7000' and the hike is rated "easy."  It would have been easy-er without those snow patches!  The temperature was great.  We hiked back the same way we came in, for a total of 4.4 miles.   Lunch at Timberline Lodge was our reward before heading back to Portland.  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Start the Day at a Fly In Breakfast

This morning I went to Twin Oaks Airport in Hillsboro for a "fly in" breakfast.  It's called a "fly in" because a lot of the people fly in--as in getting there in an airplane!  You don't have to be a pilot or even a "pilot wannabe" to enjoy the breakfast, which is also a fund-raiser.  It was a great breakfast complete with grits.  Lots of interesting people, including the local weatherman, who was one of the cooks.  The breakfast is in an airport hanger.  You probably guessed that I didn't arrive in a plane---I flew the Infiniti and then met a friend there.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back in Oregon...

Day trips to the beach and the Columbia River Gorge!

Monday I took a painting to Gearhart for the annual show at Trails End Art Association (TEAA).   When I lived in Gearhart,  I was very active in TEAA and I still always see friends when I go there. 

I also stopped by the house that Howard's family still has there and uses as a beach house.   There are a lot of good memories for me.  It's very comfortable and you can walk to the beach!

 John and Catherine put a salmon on the chimney...that's fun!

I also took a quick watch on the beach, but forgot my camera, so no pix.  My friend Lisa Albinger has a show in Seaside, so I took a look at that.  She usually works at there (Shoalwater Gallery) but I missed her.  It was a nice show.

On the way back, I treated myself to Marionberry cobbler a la mode while I made my "sketch of the day" of a lamp on the table.

On Saturday, July 30, I went to Hood River with some friends to ride the Hood River Railroad.  We went to Odell and back.  It was a short trip, but very relaxing.

The conductor was a lot of fun, and really looked the part.

The scenery was gorgeous, with glimpses of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams, while we were traveling through fruit orchards and by the Hood River.

Back in Hood River (the town), we went out for a very nice dinner on a deck overlooking the Columbia River.  Good times, good friends, good food, good conversation.  Nice!!!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Getting Down to the Last Few Days in DC

Wednesday, July 2

The big news of the day is a new minivan for the Smiths.  They're going to South Carolina Saturday and it will be great for their trip.  It's parked here at the back of the house.  It's a Toyota Sienna.

One of the fun things to do here is to eat popsicles on the front porch.  It's a little afternoon snack brea k.for us.  I  love Griffin's tie die soccer socks and Sophia has on her very fancy "Candyland" shoes....but has them on the on the wrong feet.  That happens about 80% of the time!  Why isn't it 50/50?

Painting is a big activity for me and Sophia.  Here we are at the dining room table.  She is working on a big watercolor and so am I.  The little car in the foreground was my subject for "NaSkeDraMo"--a sketch every day during the month of July. 

Sophia's friend Erin came over for dinner and then some dress-up fun.    They dressed as princesses---Sophia is a butterfly princess.  It can't get much better than that!

Mimi is a family member who hasn't got much press.  Here she is enjoying a quiet moment away from the kids on the back porch. 

Thursday, July 21

It was a very hot day and Sophia and I hung out at home after Soccer Camp.  Griffin went to Griffith's house.  We got in some painting time, and Sophia packed for the trip to South Carolina.  She has a Tinkerbell suitcase and she did a great job...remembering underwear as well as playclothes and dresses. 

July 22, Friday

Last full day in DC and it was a hot one.  The "heat index" was 118 degrees.  I think the temperature was 102.  Louisa took me to the post office in the morning to mail some packages, including paintings in a mailing tube.  The other things were heavy, and I didn't want to have to lug them around.  As it is, I have two suitcases to check in and one carryon and a backpack as my personal items.  Hey, it has been a long trip!   I was a little sad, and so it was doubly good that Louisa could take me.

In the afternoon, Sophia and I worked on a new art project.  We had some fancy paint and it had glitter glue and some glue with all kinds of "sparklies" to paint was fun to try it.  In Sophia's sunflower above, you can see that it sparkles.  The painting was 100% her creation.

Tonight is my last night on this very memorable trip.  Peter took Griffin and Sophia to Cheverly Pool to meet with some friends and Louisa and I were able to have a nice dinner together at Pops in Alexandria.  Home tomorrow.  Many memories and I am glad I did this blog!   It's inspired me to keep it up with some of my more local adventures. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

more from DC

July 18
Griffin and Sophia are signed up for soccer in the mornings with the "legendary" Coach David.  Having met him, I have to admit that he really is something special.  I pick Sophia and Griffin up at 12.  On Monday and Tuesday of this week, the plan is to go home and Griffin's friend Griffith will join us at about 12:30.  Griffith is not in the soccer camp this week.

Everything went well with the pickup and Griffith arriving at the house.  We all had lunch together.

This picture shows Sophia walking home.  She was not really walking alone, of course.  Our house is the light-colored one.  When we got home, we had a good afternoon, which included building some Harry Potter-inspired buildings.  There was a lot of cooperation in the effort and it paid off in big feelings of accomplishment.

Here's another picture of the builders:

Go team hogwarth construction!

We went to La Plaza for dinner that night and had a great Mexican/Salvadoran meal, but I didn't take any pictures.

July 19

Essentially, the same routine as yesterday.  After the pickup at soccer camp, Sophia and I worked on some labyrinth drawings, but they became pretty complicated.  The boys are into a Wii game involving Harry Potter.  We did more work on the Harry Potter "scene," but I didn't take pictures.   There was a popsicle break on the front porch.  Sophia and Griffin were on the front porch and Griffith was on the back porch.  Griffith was so fast that I didn't get a picture of him.  Here;s Griffin and Sophia:
In this picture, Griffin has on some great tie-dye soccer socks...Sophia has the shoes on the wrong feet.  Louisa and I have been talking about this.  It should be 50/50 that she gets it right...but it is more like 20/80, meaning she mostly gets it on the wrong foot.  Why is that?

 It was Tuesday, so we went to Mr. Henrys for dinner.

Griffin watched the movies.  Sophia had a lot of fun with her friends, including hiding under the table.

This was my last visit (on this trip) to Mr. Henry's, so I wanted a picture of me and Sophia.

I'm headed back to Portland on Saturday, but this has been a lot of fun...memories to treasure...and we have this blog to document it.  How nice is that?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Family Fun and More..Continued

July 15, Friday
Friday Night we all went to The Yards for what we thought was a "Truckapalooza" with lots of food trucks.  They were some, but not as many as we thought there should be.  (We later learned they were on a different street.)    All was not lost.  We got food from the trucks that we did find and, as always, found some fun things to do.  Here's Griffin playing toss ball:

There's lots of background action in this....I just wanted to show the ambiance of the event.  It looks like Griffin is throwing the wrong direction, but they had some targets set up in the other direction as well  and he was challenging himself. 

July 16, Saturday

Louisa and I got an opportunity to go to Hillwood Estates and Gardens, which was the home of Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress of the Post fortune.  It was amazing.  She had SO much stuff!  Although it was kind of "over the top," it was fun to see her collections.  I had trouble limiting my pictures, but this is the dining room as it was set up for a family-related dinner to celebrate Dina Merrill's wedding.  Dina was Marjorie's third daughter and her legal name was Nadenia Hutton.  To give you an idea of the money involved, E.F. Hutton was her father. 

Marjorie Merriweather Post was married four times.  She had four glamourous weddings of her own and her mother and her daughters also had important weddings.  There was an exhibit of the wedding gowns and bridal party gowns in another building.  The exhibit covered the years 1874-1958 and gave a taste of the evolution of fashion.  I also enjoyed a sketch book of a troussou that was done by one of the designers.  It was in a hallway near the dressing room in the mansion.  Fashion seemed to be important to this family.

The gardens of the estate were fabulous and Louisa took this picture of me in the Japanese garden:
In this picture, I have a little green lapel pin proclaiming that I am "fabulous," which became our word of the day.  Of course, everyone there had one...they were the admission receipts!!!  Louisa and I loved being "fabulousized."  We also attended a talk about fan and handkerchief courtesies and the "contra" dances of 18th Century France.  We learned that "contra" referred to "country" dances.  We also had a nice lunch, with a chilled beet soup that was worth trying to make at home.

When we came home, it was a good time for me to get a demonstration from Griffin on his bicycling skills.  He's doing great!

Sunday, July 17

Before going to church on Sunday Griffin, his friend Griffith, Louisa and I went to a labyrinth in the DuPont Circle neighborhood.  It was very nice, but the boys aren't quite ready for contemplative walks.  After all, they are 7 and 8 years old.  Louisa and I both did it, though, and felt we would come back again  when there were less distractions.  The boys just ran around the courtyard area while we did it.   It is a permanent labyrinth in front of an Episcopalian Church.  The church has, unfortunately, been pretty much destroyed by arson....but they are going to rebuild.

After church, I went to the Phillips Collection by myself.  It was amazing, as always.  There was a special Kandinsky exhibit and also one on Frank Stella's sculptures inspired by Kandinsky.  I was also happy to see some "old friends" by Paul Klee, Henri Matisse, and the unforgettable "Luncheon of the Boating Party" by Renoir.  I was excited to see Matisse's "Interior With An Egyptian Curtain" because I am using a mug with that painting on it.

Dinner was at Franklin's with our friend Kat.  Another great day, and I am happy I decided to keep this blog....for me, as much as for any readers!

Friday, July 15, 2011

More from Washington DC

Thursday, July 14

After soccer camp, Sophia and I got some pizza ingredients, and later made pizza with fresh pesto...using basil picked in the garden!   Actually, Mommy (aka Louisa) did most of the work, and we just helped.  We had a lot of fun with it, and ended up with a doughnut pizza, because it had a hole in the middle. 

Before the pizza feast, we went to the pool to cool off and had a great time there.  I forgot to take a picture, though.

Friday, July 15:

With mornings "off," I'm keeping up with a Sketch a Day challenge for July through SketchCrawl DC.  I'm also getting a little more time to keep up with my blogs, and I'm working on a big "Labyrinth" painting.  I pick up Sophia at 12 every day from soccer camp.   Today, we went to Matchbox, hoping to make a sketch of a building across the street.  We weren't able to get a outside table in the front, or even a table in the front of the restaurant, but I took a picture of the restaurant.  On its alley side, there is a Coca-Cola sign that looks old, but isn't....the restaurant itself also looks like it's been there a long time, but it is new.  We haven't gone to it yet....something to think about.

We did some sketching anyway at Matchbox and I ate something I had never had before--watermelon gazpacho.  Very tasty Summertime treat.

When Sophia and I got back to the house, we worked on some interesting puzzles.  They were blank and you can paint or draw your own picture.  Sophia drew one a couple of weeks ago that was a challenge to put back together after we took it apart because we didn't have a picture.  Working together today, we did it!. 

Then, we made a new one together:
...and took a picture before taking it apart!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Washington DC with the Smiths continued

...At the Smithsonian.

Monday July was pretty quiet on the home front.  In the evening, I went to a presentation at the Smithsonian that was very remarkable.  It was billed as "Cooking/Traveling Solo" and was presented by Janice Waugh, who has a blog,, and  Joe Yonan, the Washington Post food and travel editor.  Janice and Joe believe that single is the way to go, and presented some strong arguments to support the cause.  I need to "percolate" that a bit, but understand their point.   On the cooking, I certainly always treat myself to good food and never question the fact that I am "only one." so I think I am on track with that.    On travel, I have been a bit reluctant to go by myself and always say that I want to travel with a guy, but I will keep up with Janice's blog and I think I could do it solo, based on her encouragement.  She has some tricks that make sense--including lots of good tips for women traveling by themselves.

On Tuesday, July 12, I walked with Sophia to Soccer Camp.  Griffin has been doing it for several weeks, but it was Sophia's first day.  Here's a picture of her with Coach David running one of their routines for warm-up.

After leaving her off, I got a chance to do some sketching and then go to museums.  My sketches will be on and the pictures of my museum tour, which turned into a love of sculptures, can be seen at my picasa albums.  Let me know if you want a link to that. But, as an appetizer, here is one of my favorites:

It is Roy Lichtenstein's "house."  A one-dimensional plane, that looks three-dimensional.   It was hard to choose from the many great sculptures I saw and so I recommend the Picasa album.   The other great thing is that I saw ALL of the current exhibits at the Hirshhorn--starting at the top and moving down!!!   And then went on to the Hirshhorn sculptures outside in the gardens.  I then crossed over and went to the National Gallery's Sculpture garden where I had lunch.   After all these outdoor sculptures, I went into the National Gallery West and connected with a talk about Thomas Cole that changed my whole impression of him  I had thought his paintings were very sentimental and learned how challenging they are.

I connected with the family that night at Mr. Henry's. Here's a sketch I did of Mr. Henry's table set-up:

Wednesday was a very quiet day.  We went to lunch at Matchbox, which is always a favorite for me, but I didn't take pictures.  Later, we had some music making at home:

We are having a great time.  It is something I will always remember.  Tomorrow brings new adventures.