Saturday, April 17, 2010

Waddling to the Grocery: Spring in Northeast Portland

Spring in Portland is truly a beautiful time of the year and yesterday was a nice spring day. The sun was out, then some clouds blew in, then the sun, then some more clouds and an April shower, then it warmed up and I decided to waddle on over to the grocery to pick up supplies for dinner. The pink dogwoods on our street are at their prime.

And speaking of pink, check out this stretch Hummer that disgorged a gaggle of people at Peninsula Park just as I waddled by. Go here and scroll down half a page to get the details! A wedding party was arriving to have pictures taken. If they'd waited a couple weeks the roses would have been blooming, but I'm sure the photographers these days can throw a few thousand blooms into the background with Photoshop...

It seems to me that the economy around Portland may be picking up a bit. I waddled by a bunch of construction, remodels, landscaping, and various other projects that seem to indicate that money is flowing again. I know we're helping out. New roof starts this coming week.
I waddled past this building that had recently been painted. Now, I've been known to paint around things, but this painter sprayed right over the ivy on the side of the garage. I suspect it will leave a nice pattern after the ivy dies...

To make a decent 4 mile + waddle, I headed to the Arbor Lodge New Seasons instead of our local one. I suppose I could have stretched out the route ahead of the store visit which would have saved carrying food on half the waddle, but I didn't. Next time I will. Waddling to Arbor Lodge requires crossing I-5, and bridges creep me out these days, particularly if they don't have any structure above my head. Vertigo! I don't like to be at the top of cliffs or mountains, but it's only in the past few years that bridges have bothered me. Molly must share that as I remember when she was a little girl she was scared out of her wits on the top of Whiteface Mountain.

Over by New Seasons, I spied this sign. In my opinion, this sign should be posted all over Portland. We have a very active biking community in Portland. For the most part, bikers consider themselves saviors of the earth. They have a great deal of disdain for car-drivers, and little regard for walkers. Bikers become incensed if, for some reason, you don't see them while driving and cut them off. However, do they stop for pedestrians as they are supposed to? 99.9% DO NOT. Sanctimonious cyclers...blergh! They are perfectly happy to run over walkers or zoom around you. Or ride on the sidewalk and fly past without so much as an "On your left..." My prediction? Pedestrian Rage directed at bikers!

Stumptown, like many other cities, is now taking storm water runoff seriously, particularly since the EPA started doing their job, fining the bejesus out of recalcitrant municipalities. These days, when impervious surfaces like parking lots are constructed, so are bioswales. Parking lots slope to these small areas that are filled with native plants. Rather than directing the water (and the stuff from the parking lot that's in it, like oil, coolant, spit, and so on) to storm sewers, and then into rivers, the water percolates into the soil and is used by plants. Yay bioswales!

Children were out all over Rip City (that's another moniker for Stumptown) playing in the outdoors! Yes, playing outside. Unplugged. I saw swinging on swings, hopscotching, rope jumping, tag playing, and bike riding. I saw one young girl steer her bike into an alley and stop as her older brother, making an old-time siren noise pulled up behind her, got off his bike, walked up to her and said, "License, please." She dug into her pocket and produced an imaginary card as he wrote an equally imaginary ticket.

Lots of other things were in bloom. I waddled past tulips, daffodils, azaleas, early rhododendrons, dogwoods, cherry trees, and all manner of other flowers. Grass is stunningly green and will stay so until irrigation season starts and some of us accept the brown that comes with living in the land of seasonal drought. But speaking of season(ing), the rosemary is in bloom all over town.

So, I waddled on home. I did my good deeds for the day. I picked up a nail off the pavement in the middle of 21st Street, saving someone from a flat tire. I helped out neighbor jump-start his 1972 Lincoln. That required pushing that hunk of Detroit Iron, no small feat! Then I pushed my Cleveland Flab around 4.1 miles.

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