Friday’s Passing Fancy: Historic Irvington Fall Mosey

Come along on a fall Halloween-y mosey in my neighborhood! I have fixed the glitch regarding the pictures from last week. I’m sorry there were issues with them, but. today I revamped the post. Enjoy a brief walk through Irvington –though my daily walk today was rainy, muted with an also lovely autumn grayness. This will not stop the Oregonian kiddos and others tonight as they make the rounds for tricks or treats!

DSCN0142DSCN0145DSCN0147DSCN0146

Fall walks 066

Fall walks 150Fall walks 141Fall walks 045Fall walks 179Fall walks 153Fall walks 048Fall walks 039Fall walks 075Fall walks 157Fall walks 059Fall walks 036Fall walks 008Fall walks 158Fall walks 038Fall walks 003Fall walks 060Fall walks 022Fall walks 062

 

Friday’s Photographs: Autumn Moon Festival and Lan Su Chinese Garden

Early fall walks 077
Photo of rooftop in Lan Su Chinese garden, Cynthia Guenther Richardson 2018

Autumn is harvest time and most cultures have festivals celebrating bounties reaped. Chinese Autumn Moon Festival goes back many centuries and remains one of four major festivals celebrated on the cultural calendar. Held near the harvest moon of mid-September, there are many foods offered as well as music and dance. At the edge of old Chinatown in city center, my family and I enjoyed performances and then the beauty and serenity of Portland’s impressive Lan Su Chinese Garden, a glimpse into another time and place.

This garden was built with traditional materials and methods. We wandered as the sun set, then nibbled flavorful moon cakes made of red bean or lotus seed paste and sipped several fragrant teas. I found myself alone often as I paused to absorb the spaces, water, vibrant lanterns, buildings juxtaposed against our city skyline. Please share a few of my happy experiences.

Early fall walks 009

Early fall walks 015

Early fall walks 072

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Friday’s Quick Passing Fancy/Photos: Late Summer Beauties

All photographs by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

Far-ranging wildfires’ smoke has begun to clear at last so I spent an hour power walking. There was even a dab of rain that left its sheen for a bit. What a pleasure to get out again; this is a neighborhood of bounties. Typically I photograph lush gardens which flourish alongside varied, often historically significant homes. There are always surprises to admire. Some blooms have begun to fade as summer transitions slowly into the next season but there was still plenty upon which to feast eyes and spirit.

Come along on my cheery walk!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Wednesday’s Words: San Diego’s Delight/Balboa Park

San Diego, Day 5, Balboa Park 077

Day five of our April trip to San Diego was defined by our visit to the enchanting Balboa Park. From the moment we entered, I felt almost as if in a dream, so lushly interesting was the landscape and so exotic much of the architecture. It was the Spanish influence that impacted me, a culture that draws me via literature, art, music and dance, design and architecture. This excellent park is named after explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa in 1915. It was the site of the Panama-California Exposition and is now a National Historic Landmark. The park is 12 acres in which you can visit 16 museums, many performance venues, numerous gardens (19)and walkways–as well as the acclaimed San Diego Zoo.

Even after spending most of the day, we saw only a fraction of that. It is very hard to limit photographs and experiences–but here is a small offering of our experiences. Just follow along with the older gal in an apple green shirt–your guide, me, trying to look so cool and collected as I sweat like mad in the dry Mediterranean heat of day. Thank goodness for a swift breeze, at times. (Hottest day of our visit…)

We first checked out the House of Pacific Relations’ International Cottages built in 1935 to promote good will while sharing cultural exhibits. We discovered the open house tours occur only on week-ends. It was charming nonetheless. I paused at the doors of Germany and Ireland, parts of my heritage. (Marc is checking out a lovely trumpet-shaped flower.) I imagined any stucco cottage would be delightful to move into, at least for a few days, where I’d hunker down in shadow-drifts and write away, an iced tea at hand…

(For the sake of economy of space, I have tended to post smaller pictures. You know, of course,  to click on each you may want to view both complete and larger. Thanks!)

Next we wandered about, gawking at ornate buildings and passageways.  I felt whisked away to a different culture and time. As the heat ramped up, sweet coolness of shady spots was enjoyed more than once.

I always try to visit gardens when we travel. One I sought out was the Alcazar Garden, designed to mimic the Alcazar Castle gardens in Seville, Spain.

The Botanical Building and Lily Pond was a favorite stop. Built for the 1915-1916 Exposition, it is one of the world’s largest lath structures. It houses more than 2000  plants. The orchids were exquisite.

San Diego, Day 5, Balboa Park 097

 

We left the interior to admire the captivating surroundings of Lily Pond with Mama Duck and ducklings, turtles, and namesake lilies.

And this gentleman who played Latin music with feeling and a timeless if worn elan. I felt for him, sitting there in the simmering heat of day as passersby strolled to and fro, so we stood and listened awhile.

San Diego, Day 5, Balboa Park 105

We checked out the Museum of Photographic Arts which showcases solo artists. There was a wonderful exhibit of insect photos –beetles! which I love–among others. And we had a fun experience of standing before a work made of innumerable pictures of individuals, presumably reflective as suddenly the viewer–in this case, yours truly–becomes part of the art. It demonstrated how we are a part of each other: we are all 99.9 percent the same, according to scientific discoveries. Something to ponder as we live, learn and share with other humans in this madcap world. (I regret I can’t find the name of the artist.)

We walked through the prickly and peculiar Cactus garden, established 1935,

and as the afternoon waned, visited the Spanish Village Art Center. Created in 1935, the buildings were taken over by the US Army during WWII and used as barracks–but was reclaimed by artists in 1947. There are demonstrations  of craft and may art works to peruse but most shops were closing by the time we arrived. I managed to sneak in one and purchased one sea-blue mug as a keepsake of the visit. Note I am sitting, waiting for a freezing cold drink, which I did not get….

Hunger was driving us to the end of explorations for the day. As we headed for the car, we passed an attractive restaurant called El Prado (we tried to get in but no luck!), where people attired in fancy reds and blacks lined up for a fine dinner, some special event. We moved on with regret. There was so much more to view and wonder over! We resolved to return to Balboa Park and avail ourselves of the charms of 15 other gardens, the acclaimed San Diego Zoo and so much more.

San Diego, Day 5, Balboa Park 182

Farewell, you fun, beautiful place– for now!

Friday’s Quick Pick: San Diego’s Old Town (on My Possibly Jinxed Birthday)

San Diego Day 6, Old Town 019

Way back on May 2nd when I started posting about a recent trip to San Diego (the 1st of three trip posts is here: Wednesday’s Word: An Odd and Beautiful Holiday Begins; the 2nd, here: Friday’s Quick Pick: Boat Cruise on San Diego’s Bay ; and the 3rd and most recent is here: Wednesday’s Words: Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala ) I noted that there were three unexpected occurrences that made the trip a bit odd. The first one was a happy surprise–a last minute upgrade (to put it mildly) of hotel rooms that made a great difference for Marc and me in comfort, view and mood.

A second unplanned but unappealing experience happened the night before my birthday. We’d had a pleasurable day at Balboa Park (those photos/narrative not yet posted) and returned to Liberty Market for a quick meal. The other meals had been excellent (Argentinian empanadas and a fresh pasta dish) but this time I chose just a simple deli turkey sandwich. I was unimpressed, even mildly unsure about it but was so hungry I ate most of it. The result, a few hours later: I got sick  and slept little that night. I groaned as brightness of dawn seeped into the room, thinking: What a way to spend another birthday. I have not had good fortune on birthdays a few years– my oldest sister’s funeral was even on one of them. Like a jinx, my own birthday, I thought in a daze.

But at 10 am after a little sleep I felt better and got ready for the day. I was not going to do nothing on my 68th. (As many who have read this blog, I was diagnosed with heart disease at 51 and have lived past the projected expiry date so I count every day–and year–as a gift.) Off we went to visit Old Town as we’d planned. I figured if I ate little to none, drank a lot of water and hoped for the best, it’d be a decent day–despite having to cancel our celebratory dinner plans (at a much finer restaurant).

I’m glad I charged ahead. This touristy but interesting settlement reflects the period of early to mid-1800s, both Mexican and early American. Historic buildings as well as a few replicas line narrow , pedestrian-only streets. Colorful items overflow booths and shops. There is a stable and a fine old hotel as well as other peeks into the past. It was good to think on it all, how it must have been to live those days.

I was satisfied by our visit. Although my appetite was still minimal, my mood became lighter  and it felt like another good day to be alive and (more or less) kicking. Enjoy the meander with me!

 

The attractive, simple house of the Estudillo family was fascinating with its preserved or restored rooms and central courtyard. Four generations lived and gradually thrived there from 1827-1887. I felt the imprints and ghosts of hard work, their unfolding dreams, the family engaged in everyday life as if it all lingered on.

We paused at a mineral and gem shop and then a stables.

The refurbished Cosmopolitan Hotel was rustic yet elegant.

We wandered another hour as that California sun beat down; we both got a bit pinker and tanner. I consumed a great deal of water and rested in the shade some so I wouldn’t keel over…and bought just one item at the market, a small slim, teal-colored leather purse. Marc bought me heavenly eucalyptus hand cream and soap–I recommend it, Eucalyptus by Thymes. I’ve used it almost daily as the scent evokes these good memories despite rougher beginnings on my San Diego birthday.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All in all, a good time was had. I absorbed the city view from our comfortable balcony; distant, sweet-salty ocean bay breezes wafted up to us as daylight began to gently fade.

San Diego Day 1, 2 019