Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Goodbye to Summer 2010

Rarely do I like to procrastinate, so, actually I waived goodbye to summer one day early. This was for the practical reason that we needed to be in Portland today, wash our clothes, and repack our bags for the next trip beginning tomorrow, the first of the fall season. Also, I can justify cutting off a day of summer because my first post for 2010 was the day before summer started.

This summer will go down in my history as the summer of visitors. Last summer I travelled to Minneapolis, Chicago, and Southern California to visit people dear to me. This summer, loved ones came this way.

My leisure and nonwork goals have been interrupted, increasingly, by the demands of a law practice that is growing, almost against my will. I am facing a slew of fights beginning next week. As a hired gun, that's what I do. I will put my free-lance sheriff hat on when we return from the wedding Sunday.

On that last morning in Oxford, Maryland, the innkeeper left a basket of breakfast food and coffee at our door, which led to a totally relaxing morning on the balcony overlooking the gracious, tree-shaded lawn out to the water. Weather remained perfect. So, with the traditional Nixonian waive, we concluded Summer 2010, and is officially on hiatus.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Just in Time, A Vacation Day.

We managed to squeeze in a vacation day during our vacation.

Who knew that Oxford, Maryland even existed, much less that it has existed and has a ferry since 1683? Who knew it was the home of Robert Morris, the financier of the American Revolution. Unfortunately for the local economy, the Revolution was successful, and the bustling port went into a long slumber after defeating its biggest trading partner, the British. But Oxford arose again after the Civil War, when the railroad came to town. It was during those boom years, in 1875, when someone built the first part of what is now the Sandaway Bed and Breakfast.

We were able to snag a room with a screened-in porch overlooking the water, considered part of the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Thanks to another period of economic slumber after the 1970s, the town remains a collection of very quaint old houses, many of which are on the water. Better still, because several homes are now Inns, the small community supports an excellent restaurant at the old Pope Tavern.

Oxford was not on our itinerary, but it turned out to be the highlight of our trip. Our room provided a most serene, beautiful setting. I hope to keep the view in mind as I prepare to dive into the conflict of new lawsuits over the next couple of weeks.

Escape from the District.

We blew out of DC on Sunday and drove to Mt. Vernon, George Washington's home on land settled by his great grandfather in the 1650s. Later, we drove to Annapolis, MD, where Geo. resigned as the nation's general in what was then the Nation's capitol (1783-4). It's a quaint, touristy town.

Blessings of Liberty

Saturday in DC found us at the Smithsonian's American History Museum. That's the one that displays Julia Child's kitchen as well as First Lady Gowns. The curators are very good at taking an item and using it to illustrate larger things. For example, it has a 200 year old house. Then, through the stories of some of the families who lived in the house, it covers our history from 1700s through 1960s, when it acquired the house, piece by piece.

The subway provides us freedom to get out of the downtown. We made it to the Eastern Market area and then on to Alexandria. Both interesting and mildly fun excursions.

Article II, Executive Branch

The Executive Branch dominated friday in DC. We visited the memorials on the National Mall, including the Lincolon Memorial. The Department of Interior has hosted an indian trading post since about 1938, so we stopped by the store and enjoyed the crafty art. A good tip for those who visit DC is that the Dept of Interior has a cafeteria for its workers, which is open to the public once inside.

The highlight of Friday, and perhaps of all the time in DC, was walking around the Tidal Basin in the moonlight. We started at the FDR memorial, from which one can see the nearby Jefferson Memorial all lit up and reflecting in the water. Also, the Washington and Linclon memorials are beacons after dark.

It's somewhat comforting to see the memorials and be reminded of the difficulties we, as a country, have overcome over time. Too often, I worry about all of the garbage that spews forth from political commentators and others who have no responsibility for actually making things work. They tend to pick at the scabs and open wounds of the day, get their ratings or speaking fees, then move on to the next paycheck. Unfortunately, too many people in Congress who actually have responsibility do not exercise it with earnest goodwill, substituting spin for substance. When I see that and when I know that so many Americans are too dumb to discern falacies behind the rhetoric, I worry. Lincoln reminds us, however, that "you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Article I, Legislative Branch

I met Jeff Merkley when I was Chair of the Multnomah Democrats and he was working to become the leader of the Oregon House of Representatives. I like Jeff a lot. He worked very hard then and works very hard now. He is very smart and public-spirited. Now that he is our United States Senator, I was very pleased to see him in his office on Thursday Morning.

Then, Allyson and I visited the Capitol and Library of Congress along the the Botanical Guardens and other sights. Seeing Jeff was one of the reasons I wanted to visit DC. I wish all of our "leaders" actually tried to do what is right for people.

A Full Day in DC

Our first full day in DC was a full day indeed. We started at the beginning, at the national archives, to see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and other foundational documents. Later, it was on to the Museums of Natural History, The American Indian, Air and Space, and a quick cut through the art museum. The good thing about all of these museums is that they are FREE. So, even if you only spend 5 minutes in them, that's okay. You do not have to commit to see everything.

After cleaning up, we enjoyed small plates of middle eastern foods at Zaytina before going to the Kennedy Center for the play Shear Madness. .

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What were they thinking?

Just off the National Mall is a monument to the Boy Scouts of America. It's not on the maps, but we sat down near it yesterday evening, our first in DC. When we approached, it looked kinda like a big oval hot tub, with four jets going. Marching toward the water feature is a naked man, a woman, and a boy in a scout uniform.

The sad irony of a statue of a naked man offering guidance to a boy was not lost on this Portlander, in light of the verdict in Portland finding the Boy Scouts responsible for the sexual abuse of a boy to the tune of $1.4 million for damages plus another $18+ million to punish the organization.

Even without knowledge of pedophilia, what were the artist and organization thinking when they created this statute?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Post-Hip Nightlife

Friday, Ken & Ann treated me to dinner at Kincaid’s Restaurant, the new restaurant in a stately old location. Dinner was delicious, and it’s good to sit down for conversation across a table. The place was empty, and we wandered over to the rooftop bar / restaurant above Macy’s.

“Departures” is the name of that place. The ultra modern d├ęcor made it look like some kind of space ship. Outdoors on a clear night, the music was bumpin’, and the young folks strolled in to check each other out. A very hip place, which made me feel post-hip.

Saturday afternoon brought clear, blue skies and 70-some degrees. I drove out to the Newberg, Oregon wine country to pick up a case of Gamay Noir, which we reserved during Pat’s visit. In the evening, I joined some of the people from my coffee group for a breast cancer fundraiser at a downtown sports bar. It was a very unhip place where I fit right in.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Java Town

In the late 1970s, Minneapolis developed a reputation for good bands. Prince and Husker Du came out of that milieu. I recall $1.25 vodka tonics at First Avenue, which went down so easy that it did not take long to have a pyramid of empty glasses on the table. Today, I spent $3.00 on a about an ounce of coffee. Although, I’ll bet the coffee had more drug value than even 3 of those skimpy vodka tonics.

Portland is developing a reputation for competing against the giants with Lilliputians. Food carts and individual restaurants instead of the Olive Garden. 100 microbreweries blossomed in Portland to provide options to Coors or Budweiser. Today, I began exploring the microroasters.

Like the brew-pubs, some microroasters roast the beans on the premises where they sell coffee and roasted beans. I started at Water Avenue Coffee. It looked like a typical coffee house, except it had the roasting operation behind the wall behind the counter. The El Salvador coffee beans, roasted, brewed and poured was very good. I think it lit up a part of my brain that coffee typically misses. Or maybe I was imagining things.

An hour later, I tried Heart Coffee and Roasting, pictured above. The establishment definitely looked slicker and played hip music. The roaster is front and center, not in the back. I tried an espresso made from some African bean. It looked like drippings from Jiffy Lube and was about a viscous. It was very bitter, yet had some sweetness to it, also. Honestly, I would not have wanted more than that one shot.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hike in Mt. Adams Wilderness

To qualify as wilderness, an area must be at least 5,000 acres and roadless (among other things.) So, in the Gifford Pinchot Forest, Road 23 skirts along the edge of the Mt. Adams Wilderness Area, which comprises over 47,000 acres on the east side of the 12,326 foot high mountain. We drove around to Tahk Lahk Lake, then on to the trail head for the Divide Camp trail, which leads hikers into the wilderness. We worked our way up through forest and meadows full of lupine in bloom. Then, we hiked past fields of rocks where torrents of water at some time in the past had washed out the all of the dirt and vegetation. Some gray glacial water still flows in other areas.

Our goal was the intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail, pictured above. But then we went a little farther and found a glorious overlook with a 180 degree view that included Mt. Baker.

Gorgeous day. Temp in the 50s, but it felt warmer with sun and exertion. More photos on flikr:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Jump Start on the Labor Day Weekend

I broke out of Portland Thursday morning for the Labor Day weekend. That does not mean, of course, that I escaped from phone calls from current clients and wanna be clients. But, when Mary tells them I’m out for the weekend, then, if I answer or return a message, they are pleased.

It’s interesting what we notice when we slow down. I’ve ridden my bike around the valley dozens of times. Thursday, I noticed the above, nondescript barn as something that makes the ride what it is. There are many more dramatic views: Mt Adams, Mt Hood, the two rivers, the cows, and more picturesque barns. For some reason, the above barn got me to stop and snap a photo. One day, this valley will probably be carved up into lots and homes. The “planning commission” just rubber stamps whatever the landowner dares to ask for. (Change the comprehensive plan to rezone for you? Sure thing, friend.) What a different ride it would be if it were not a rickety barn here, a barn-full-of-cows there, massive irrigation systems, and outlaw (unpermitted) irrigation ditches there.

In the evening, I just sat by the marsh for about 45 minutes as the sun set. A solitary Spotted Sandpiper, teals, and grebes kept my attention, as well as the changing light. At times, there was the mountain, a dark space in between, and reflection in Trout Lake Creek. For a time, the light struck the trees in between.

Friday morning, I joined the other 3 dozen door-busters for was the big rummage sale to benefit the local scholarship fund. Who could pass up a bunny with big eyes and a smile asking for a new home? Friday evening, Allyson & I reunited.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Bolognese sounded good. But the recipe has 20 ingredients. Typically, when I see a recipe more than an inch long, then grilled fish sounds acceptable, if not good. But with encouragement, teamwork and perseverance, Allyson and I prevailed over the long list. We shopped. I chopped. She cooked. We cleaned.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Good Old Days

KLM Jr.-isms

At Thanksgiving, we give thanks that we are not turkeys.

Q: How's your wife? A. Still able to work, thank you.

These are the good old days you'll remember in the future.

Dad & Lorie (& Allyson) caught their flights yesterday. So, no more wonderful excuses to procrastinate on work, working out, or eating healthfully.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hanging Out With the Family

As the six of us took turns dipping our spoons into the 3 shared gelatos, Ken remarked, “This gelato makes my mouth sore sting.” Or maybe he said, “gonorrhea sore,” or some other silly phrase meant to make us smile and make the people at the next table wonder. Of course, as one can see, Ken’s not too particular about with whom he swaps spit.

Pleasant, relaxing day hanging out (1) with Lorie around the Pearl District, (2) with Dad, Lorie & Ken at Ken & Ann’s house, and (3) with everyone at Cafe Nell and the Alphabet District.

Boating in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

When Ken says to get a fishing license, I always comply, regardless of whether I think we'll catch fish. I'm just happy to be on the boat. There's something about sharing a confined space with people you enjoy. Ken tends to all needs: food, beverage, fishing expertise. . . . Of course, I also like getting out on the rivers. I love looking at the rivers, and it's even better to be on them.

Yesterday provided perfect weather for a boat ride. We launched near Beacon Rock, zoomed on smooth water to a 94-foot hole to try our luck. Then, back up river, in view of Multnomah Falls, where Lorie reeled in a sturgeon. A cruise up to Bonneville Dam rounded out the trip.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Visitors From Far Off Places

16 years ago, I moved into this house. It had some shrubs and trees, and I planted a few more. It has been interesting to see how some plants have thrived with a little pruning and a bit more sunlight, while others have barely hung on or died off. Some developed as expected and others just did not belong where I put them.

It’s Dad’s turn to visit after a cross-country drive with Ken from Naples, Florida. Lorie took the shorter route, an airplane from Chicago. The kids have been watching things develop for over 50 years, and Dad has been watching the world turn for 83. It’s a pleasure to get together with family. So far, eating has dominated our time together. Feasts are a good way to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company.

Our lives have taken many turns over the decades. Ken, Ann, Allyson & I found our way to the Pacific Northwest. Dad ended up in the opposite corner. Lorie stayed put. We’ll never know how things would have differed if we’d planted ourselves in different places or had a bit more of this or that in our lives. Overall, I think we’re all thankful for our blessings, although we all miss seeing each other more.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Week's End

Another week has flown by. How can it be the third week in August? Fortunately, more of a memorable summer is on the way. More family seeing the light and visiting Portland during the summer. August is the time to swelter, right? Not here, where it was about 70 today for the high.

The above view is sunset over Portland from the Noble Rot, a wine bar with pretty good food.

Perfect Day in Bird Creek Meadows

Beautiful day in Bird Creek Meadows. Dale sacrificed his vehicle on the rough road that gets people to the trailhead on the Yakama Reservation. He and his dog joined me for terrific hike through the woods, along the meadows, over several creeks, above huge lava flows, and looking out to 100-mile views.

I posted more photos on flickr.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I have no priest on my payroll, so I confess to the world through my blog.

1. There is no lake in Trout Lake. Decades ago, leaders decided that Trout Lake sounded better than Guler. I agree. But there is no lake. It kinda looks like a lake in February, but August puts the lie to the name.
2. We really should sell our house in Trout Lake. For the days we use it and the money we pay, we could have some incredible vacations elsewhere. Yet, neither of us seems too motivated to make a serious effort to sell. Maybe it is those glorious vistas on Monte Cristo or just a chance to relax.
3. Case in point, would I ever sit on the deck in Portland with a drink at 4:00p.m.?
4. I love technology. Sitting on the deck in Trout Lake, with the breezes cooling me, I can listen to good music in my iphone while I read the New York Times on the same device.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Neighborhood Forest

Tryon Creek State Park is only about 1.5 miles from our home. In past summers, I’d get up at 5:30 sunrise and jog the trails through the woods. In 2008, Allyson and I “Seg-walked” a few times on the paved part of the trails. That is, my bad hip relegated me to the Segway while Allyson used her own legs. So, last night’s after-dinner stroll represented the current middle ground: we walked together on the shady path.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Market Day.

Saturday in Portland means hunting and gathering at the Farmers Market. This time, Ann joined us. You see, it's not just farm fresh produce. There's craft cheese, lamb, hazlenuts, hard cider, baked bread, cookies, scones. . . .

There was one of those female fantasy books a few years ago about moving to Tuscany. In the book, she delighted the local market produce that burst with flavor into her mouth. Well, Portland has become more like other countries. Like old China, Portlanders ride bikes (while car ownership in China grows). Like the fabled Tuscan market, the local tomatoes burst in your mouth with flavor. Even more so than in Munich, local brews delight the palate. Like Northern Eurpopean countries, Portland & Oregon tax the Hell out of residents. (Strike that last setence.)

The morning market led to a fresh and delicious salad of crab, corn, tomato, basil, etc.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Morning Clouds Clear to Pleasant Evenings

We had some cool, marine mornings that clear, much like the days of intense work cleared by a couple of lazy evenings.

Ann and Hunter stopped by for a visit Wednesday. It was a perfect-weather evening on the deck. Nothing like family to put you at ease. No food in the house? No problem; we made do. Some friendly conversation and a glass of wine helped place into the context of work the troubles of people who call me for help:

“We were recruited to work as bartenders in Lakeview. She fired us, and told us to leave town by noon tomorrow. . . .” Or, the woman from Milton-Freewater who left work at noon because she could not handle another disciplinary write up for things others do without write ups, “ever since I was off work with my carpal tunnel surgery.” Or, the local man fired at age 50 as part of a “young-sizing” effort by the company. Or the man from Califonia whose 18-year-old daughter was killed in a car wreck. Or the Gresham woman whose knee is wired back into place after falling on pavement. Or the daughter whose dad suffered mistreatment by the medical community in a small town before he died. Or the Minnesota man who believes a legal malpractice claim might help recover money that should have been his. Or the guy still limping one year after the botched hip replacement.

Yes, a glass of wine and friendly conversation provides a good way to unwind after absorbing the worries, grief, and perceived injustices from around the nation.

Thursday, Allyson & I made it up to Kruger Farm for a get together with friends and their children. The band provided the excuse; the acreage give the boys room to roam; and the prepared food and wine made it easy for the adults.

Friday, it was just Allyson and me for happy hour on the deck before we noticed that a little bit of Trout Lake was coming to Portland. So we dashed out to hear Lincoln Crockett and his friends play folk music at an Alberta Street Public House. It really was a gathering of his friends and few others. I enjoyed the mostly folky music from the singer-songwriters. Also, I learned the latest fashion for men seems to be capri-like jeans. It’s those dirty-looking, yet (no doubt) expensive jeans that look rolled up to below the knee. How ironic: these men with the personas of not caring being so fashion conscious. Makes me wonder how much of all of this Portland-Local-Green-Bike-Folksy-Organic stuff is just all of us bowing to peer-enforced fashion.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Week's End

It’s a quiet & refreshing Sunday evening in Portland, Oregon.

Allyson started the week in Grant’s Pass to finish her trial. She drove hundreds of miles to Portland on Thursday, while I was driving 3 ½ hours to Sunriver from Portland. Friday, after morning seminars on the psychology of how people realize / make decisions (and how to persuade them), I met with some potential clients in Bend. Then, more hours in the car to Trout Lake. Friday night, Allyson and I finally met up for the first time all week.

The people of Trout Lake held the annual fair this weekend. We missed the community pot luck Friday night, but stumbled upon and enjoyed the parade Saturday morning. We purchased some locally-made cheese the Saturday Market, and then wandered on to the main fairgrounds at the former school. On display inside were the blue-ribbon and other winners of the various contests: best yeasted and non-yeasted breads, best flower, best flower arrangement, cakes, pies, etc. Other tables displayed other things of interest, and a silent auction raised money for the local scholarship fund. (We donated our tickets for that night’s Natalie Merchant concert ~100 miles away.) Outside, people mingled and enjoyed food, music, a zip-line, mini petting zoo, and other wholesome activities.

While Eugene, Oregon remains a vestige of 1960s hippiedom, Trout Lake, Washington remains a vestige of 1950s Norman Rockwell America. It’s good to feel like we are even a small part of it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Life is Good.

Life is good. Tonight, I sit in the Lara House Lodge near downtown Bend, Oregon. I drove over the beautiful Santiam Pass to the Oregon Trial Lawyers convention in Sunriver. There, I actually enjoyed the seminar on a new procedural tool for my attorney toolbox and the other seminar on how jurors / people think.

Following the legal seminars, the outdoor bar was open for attendees. It is always good to see people I’ve known for 25 years and some I’ve known for only five weeks. I’m a bit disappointed that I did not plan on coming sooner and for more time. The convention goes through Sunday, but I’m leaving at noon on Friday. I resolve to get more involved in OTLA.

When I made it back to the Mill District for more food, a band was playing at the amphitheater across the river. Many were enjoying the concert free on this side of the river, as the sun set on a 77 degree night.

When I finally dragged my bags into the Lara House, a band was playing in the park along the river in town, and many young people were milling around. I did a quick walk around a few blocks to soak in the air and atmosphere.

Life is good. I enjoyed and survived the visits from nieces and nephew with no long-term injury. I had three solid days of work. And today, I got emotionally reinvested in my identity as an attorney at law.

Now, if I could only stay in shape without working out, then life would be better than good.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Almost all work and almost no play.

Busy work days with the phone ringing off the hook. But in the spirit of CarpeSummer, it is much better to unwind with a concert in the park along the Willamette River than in front of The NewsHour. Beautiful summer evening and a pretty good band: Casey Neill and the Norway Rats.

Family, Chumps or Both

It’s good and right that the older generation try to impart knowledge and inculcate sound values to the younger generation. Some people are successful in this effort (e.g. Ken Griffey to Ken Griffey, Jr.). Some people are only partly successful (Geo. H.W. Bush to Geo. W. Bush).

While Kent was in town, Uncle Ken did his best to share his knowledge of winning poker strategies to young Kent. Uncle Ken has devoted countless hours and who knows how many dollars to learning the art of Texas Hold ‘em. Among the lessons taught was to look around the room and try to determine who you can beat and who will take your money. Play with the chumps or be the chump.

Uncle Ken took Kent to a tournament, and Kent got a couple hours of entertainment among the strangers in the stark confines of the place in a sketchy part of town. When Kent was offered another opportunity to practice his skills and earn money from strangers, he declined, noting that he’d rather spend the time with family.

One could argue that such a decision demonstrates that Kent has absorbed the sound values of love of family. However, when looking at the stack of chips, above, it might also indicate that he knew where to find the chumps.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

"A cloudy coast is better than no coast." - Kent, 2010

“A cloudy coast is better than no coast,” declared my wise nephew. Of course, he was right about that and about selecting the right poker comrades. (More about that later.)

For a couple of weeks, I had been checking the weather forecasts and the live cameras to find a clear day for a walk out to the end of Cape Lookout, south of Netarts, Oregon. For a couple of weeks, the forecast and the cameras showed some fog, clouds and drizzle. It looked the same yesterday, too. Yet, riding Kent’s encouragement, we made it through the Tillamook State Forest, to Alice’s restaurant, and onto Cape Lookout.

Yes, the parking lot and the trail started foggy. After our hike on the dry hill top near Mt. Adams, walking through this wet forest of ferns, firs, hemlock and other foliage was a good contrast, illustrating the climatic and plant diversity that is Oregon. It completed Kent’s reverse view of diverse Oregon: from “no trees” to a mix of pines and firs, to the wet forest nurtured by rain, clouds and the cool Pacific. On the way out, I described the view we could not see to the south, “Imagine a blue ocean and miles of coastline.” I was hopeful that we’d at least get a bit of a view to the north. Sure enough, after marching down and up the trail of dirt and mud, between the clouds, we spied Three Arch Rock National Wildlife Refuge miles away. (Teddy Roosevelt made it so in 1903, because seabirds should not be used as target practice.)

We hardly noticed the lightening skies as we schemed our way around and through muddy spots on the trail out. Finally, we reached the end of the continent, looking out toward the northern tip of Japan. Low clouds still obscured most of the view south as we walked and tip-toed our way back 2.4 miles (without water to drink). At last, at about mile 4 of the 5 mile hike, we got the big view (above) that distinguishes the Cape Lookout hike from a hike somewhere deep in another wet Oregon or Washington forest.

We each got about one gulp of water from an old bottle in the car before driving onto Oceanside, Oregon, for an up-close view of Three Arch Rocks and paragliders. We then hydrated during our late lunch at Roseanna’s.

In many other pursuits, people use Voltaire’s quote, “The better is the enemy of the good.” From now on, my version will be, “A cloudy coast is better than no coast.”

Friday, July 30, 2010

23 hours of Fishing

23 hours on the boat. Often, with men, there needs to be an excuse to get together. Fishing will work. It ended up being a fun night camping, eating & boating.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

High & Dry, Low & Wet

The question was how to enjoy a day around Mt. Adams. A ridgeline hike, with grand views that includes Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, Mt. Baker, and even a peak at Mt. St. Helens might be good. White water rafting down the White Salmon River is fun.

Well, if the goal is Maximum Adventure, then the answer is both: 8.2 miles in the hills and 7.5 miles down the river.

That rafting is awfully fun. That river packs a lot of thrills and beauty in a couple of hours, or so.

Great to have an excuse (nephew) to vacation nearby.

More photos here: