Thursday, November 29, 2012

Closeup at the Oregon Zoo

I adore the Oregon Zoo.  I've been to zoos in several cities across the United States, including the San Francisco Zoo, the Nashville Zoo, the Toledo (Ohio) Zoo, Zoo Boise (Idaho), and Woodland Park Zoo (Seattle), and the Oregon Zoo is actually my favourite.  The only exception to this is perhaps the San Diego Zoo, but I can't be certain about that since the last time I was there I was about seven years old. 

On this particular day we saw an amazing collection of animals right up near the glass!  It was a phenomenal visit to the zoo.  Here is one example - the polar bear.  You can see how enormous he is there next to my 3-year-old daughter.  During this visit we also saw right up at the window a crocodile, python, porcupines, monkeys, monitor, and some things I know I'm forgetting.  It was incredible and we had a great time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Seasonal Confetti

The leaves are just about gone on the trees around our house, but a few trees across the city still cling to their autumn gowns.  One thing I absolutely LOVE about this area is the length of fall.  I adore the fall season and everything that comes with it, so I'm thrilled to live in a place that has an autumn that lasts longer than a week. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Street Art

Okay, so this isn't a picture, but I think you'll enjoy it anyway.  While out on a walk in downtown Portland with some girlfriends we came across this gentleman playing a digeridoo...and beatboxing at the same time.  I loved it.  One thing I love about the big city is the corner street performers and the variety of interesting people you discover.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


This is Thatcher's.  My favourite coffee shop in Vancouver (and Portland, so far).  I love the atmosphere, I love the coffee, I love the comfy chairs...and I love that it's so close to where I work so I can run there on a break or over lunch.

It's a locally owned business with a passion for sustainability and community.  They use coffee from a local roaster, and make their own goodies (above).  And, like many places in this part of the country, they provide a little corner for the little ones with toys and books, with comfy seating for the parents, too.

The big window in the far right corner of the image below opens like a garage door and in the warmer months, the shop is extended onto a cement patio with additional seating and simple landscaping.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Feeling Sluggish?

Okay, yes, I know this is not actually a slug.  But we get those, too.  And they're whoppers!  I've seen slugs six inches long on my back patio after a good rain.  This guy was exploring our patio door on a chilly, wet morning recently.  The northwest is a perfect breeding ground for slugs and snails alike, and while I'm not really a fan of them, at least they don't move quickly or unpredictably.  A word of advice, though: Never walk barefoot outside after dark around here.  Stepping on these guys with bare feet is NOT a pleasant experience.  I should know; I've done it twice.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I'm not usually a fan of graffiti, but sometimes, when it's creative and not vulgar, I get a good chuckle out of it.  Such was the case with this sign at the public restrooms in Willamette Park in Portland.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Chuck's 3

I loved this colourful selection of heirloom tomatoes at Chuck's Market.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Chuck's 2

Another shot of my favourite place to get produce in Vancouver: Chuck's Market.  I just learned last week that they are building a second market in northern Vancouver; this one is in the southeast part of the city.  The back of this truck is currently piled high with fresh mangoes.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sailing in the City

Another of my favourite shots from the sunset sailboat river cruise my husband and I enjoyed on Wednesday evening.  This is downtown Portland from the Willamette River.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Sunset Sailing

On Wednesday, my husband and I had a date night for the first time in four months.  With an infant and a toddler to find sitters for, getting away for a few hours isn't always easy.  My husband planned the evening and it was a complete surprise to me; he took me out to dinner and then on a sunset sailboat river cruise into downtown Portland.  It was a beautiful night on the Willamette River.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Grooved Pavement

They've been doing a lot of roadwork on the main drag near our house, and while I'm sure it will be great when it's finished, it's been frustrating on an occasion or two trying to get back to our house after 7 p.m. when they start their work...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Canvas Sky

This was the sky while I was on my walk last night at Pacific Community Park.  The park has a large fenced area with a half-mile walking loop around it for people to let their dogs run free, a brand new playground, a skate park, and a covered picnic area, as well as a large walking loop around a huge grassy area that isn't fenced.  We take our dog here regularly since we don't have a yard for her to run in, and we all love it; my daughter gets to play on the playground, I get to walk at least a mile, the dog gets social interactions, attention from strangers, and all the space she could want to run in, and we all get some fresh air.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Beacock Music

My husband and I love music.  I was a music minor in college and we were both involved with several ensembles while attending both high school and college.  Naturally, we want to pass this love on to our children.  When we discovered Beacock Music, a beautiful music store, within a mile of our home, we were thrilled.  Going to this store is like going to the zoo for some people.  You bring your kids, eagerly point out various things you want them to get excited about, spend several hours alternating wandering and standing, spend a few dollars on refreshments (there's a great little coffee shop in the store; it's the northwest - we love our coffee!), and finally drag the kids home hungry and ready for a nap.  (Both you and the kids, of course.)  Here's my oldest (she'll be three in a couple of weeks) trying out a mini steel drum in the store. This isn't her first experience with a steel pan; my husband and I both played in a steel drum band for over seven years, and she was able to play those a few times.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Latte Da

Last Sunday some friends of ours invited us out for afternoon coffee at this little shop they really love in west Vancouver called Latte Da.  When we arrived we discovered they had live music on the patio, so we got our drinks and lounged in the comfortable Pacific Northwest July weather and listened to some great banter from the musicians between fun songs.  I'd classify their style as "folk."  It was really fun to listen to, and it was a great way to relax on a Sunday afternoon.  They were raising money for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, and called themselves "Clark County Benign Band."  They enjoyed watching our kids dance and jump around to their music, and were even kind enough to edit one of their songs that used a curse word since there were young ears in the audience. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sweet Peas

These wild sweet peas grow everywhere here.  Alongside roads, in yards, next to fields...IN fields...  Another benefit to living in such a wet climate is that the wildflowers are plentiful.  A month ago I picked a few dozen wild daisies and they kept my dining table gorgeous for almost two weeks.  These sweet peas did not fare so well; I barely got a whole weekend out of them before they started turning purpley-blue and wilting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Sonja

My husband has a large family and there are several sets of cousins who live in the same area we do.  One such relative owns a sailing business and conducts regular dinner cruises and river tours on his four boats.  When my parents came into town a week and a half ago, we arranged for a two-hour river cruise on the Willamette in Portland.  This was my view for a lovely portion of the cruise.

Monday, July 16, 2012


I'll try to get a better picture of this next time I go, but this is one of my favourite parts of our local produce market, Chuck's.  My husband and I go to two different stores every time we go grocery shopping: This one to get quality, local produce for good prices, and another regular grocery store for everything else.  I just love the way they have part of their display in this awesome old truck.  Chuck's is a great store for everything local and organic, and on the other side of the store they have an old-fashioned soda fountain where you can order fresh made sandwiches, ice cream sodas, milkshakes, and more, including gelato.  They also have their own wine store, and a garden center, as well.  I love taking my nearly-3-year-old there because Chuck's carries all sorts of "foreign" fruit, such as dragonfruit, mangosteens, durian, horned melons, kiwi berries, rhambutans, sugar cane, and more.  I like to show her all the strange foods and let her feel them, smell them, etc.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Love the Wet

One thing I absolutely love about this part of the country is how GREEN it is.  And it's green because it rains.  A lot.  And it just doesn't get hot enough to kill all the green stuff like it does on the eastern side of the state.  This is another picture from the Japanese Gardens in Portland; I absolutely love all the moss - on the rocks, on the trees, on the's everywhere and it's so beautiful.  I found this flower sitting on a moss-covered rock all by itself.  Not sure who put it there, but it caught my eye.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Little Japan

Here's another shot from the Portland Japanese Gardens.  I love the lush feel of this whole place, and everything about my visit felt almost spiritual.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Trip to Japan

No, I haven't actually been to Japan. I have been relatively close (Philippines, back in 1999), but today I'm referring to the little piece of Asia that resides on a hillside above downtown Portland.  The Portland Japanese Gardens is a beautiful oasis above the hustle and noise of the city, and it is really quite a lovely place to take a break.  My husband commented that it would be a fabulous place to bring a book while it's raining and sit on a bench in one of the several shelters within the gardens, and simply enjoy the sound of the rain while you relax with your book in the quiet.  Over the next few posts I'm going to take you on a quick tour of the gardens so you can experience the peace of that place, too.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Impromptu Walk

On Saturday afternoon my family and I were hanging out with some friends of ours, lying around the living room and lamenting the pouring down rain that prevented us from taking the kids (and us!) outside.  About thirty minutes later, the sun came out and we immediately grabbed our shoes, the strollers, and our car keys and drove to a lovely park with several miles of walking trails, just two miles from my friends' house.  After walking a mile and a half alongside ponds, the Salmon Creek, fields, and small forests, we stopped for a break before turning around to head back.  I couldn't resist the wild daisies growing near our resting spot.  Little Miss and I picked a few dozen to take home; there were hundreds there on the hillside.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rainy Day...Every Day

One unalterable truth about the Portland/Vancouver area: It's wet here.  And, truth be told, I don't mind it.  The rain keeps everything green and the temperatures cool, which are both positive, and it lends itself to amazing spur-of-the-moment shots like this one, which I actually can't take credit for.  My husband took this photo with his phone; he and my older daughter, Little Miss, got caught in a downpour while walking the dog at our local dog park.  She loves her rain boots, and she loves splashing in puddles.  The light was perfect for this picture; I plan on printing and framing it if the resolution is high enough to enlarge it.

Monday, June 18, 2012


This is Multnomah Falls.  It's about a 20-minute drive from Vancouver along I-84 and is in one of the most beautiful areas of the Columbia River Gorge.  This is the largest of them, but there are several major waterfalls in this area, most of which are accessible via trails through the woods.  One is located within a smaller gorge and requires trekkers to hike in sometimes-waist-deep water and cling to sheer rock walls in order to reach it, but adventure is what it's all about in the pacific northwest!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Just the Beginning

Welcome to my new home!  At the end of October I moved across the state of Washington from Walla Walla to Vancouver to start a new job.  My family joined me on New Years weekend and since then we've enjoyed exploring our new residence, which is separated from Portland, Ore. by only the Columbia River. 

I maintained a city daily photo blog while living in Walla Walla, and wasn't sure if I'd start one after the move, but I've decided there is entirely too much to share with the world here to NOT have a photo blog.  I hope you enjoy exploring my new home with me; the above image was taken at Rocky Butte, a small park on the top of a hill overlooking the city of Portland and the Columbia River.  It also offers a fabulous view of Mt. Hood (pictured) and Mt. St. Helens (to the left in the above image; not pictured). 

Whether you bookmark/RSS this blog and enjoy the Pacific Northwest with me, or just stop by from time to time...welcome!  I look forward to exploring your home, too.