Our Trip to Portland, Oregon (Part 2)

Click here to read Part 1 of our trip to Portland, Oregon

Continuing where we left off in the previous entry about our business trip to Portland, Oregon...

Hubby and I took advantage of the unseasonably sunny January day to walk around downtown Portland around the Westin hotel where we were staying. Although it was sunny, it was quite frigid with the temp hovering around 31°F. It was that kind of nippy chill that numbs one's lips. The dewpoint was so low at about 14°F that condensation didn't ever form on our drinking glasses of ice water when we ate lunch at the Daily Grill restaurant. That's really low humidity for anywhere, but particularly for the Pacific Northwest! But because of the lovely sun, we made a concerted effort to walk on the sunny side of every street, literally. In the shadow of buildings (as in the photo at left) the chill would go right through us namby-pamby Bay Area Californians. But on the sunny side of the street it was quite lovely.

We enjoyed the architecture of Portland immensely. There are many historic buildings, lamp posts, sidewalk grates, and other historic elements of urban living that I was able to take photos of for my resource file for graphic design inspiration.

We found the people of Portland to be very friendly (as we find to be the case throughout the Pacific Northwest). We enjoyed walking past the Culinary Institute with delicious aromas emanating from within and then chatting with a student chef about what they made that day (bread). We also chatted with the women in the optical store that had a great selection of fun and funky glasses frames. Just outside that store we found this lovely pink bicycle with live begonias in the basket (photo at right). Doesn't the photo look like it was taken in the spring or early summer? Ha! Don't be fooled. It was below freezing in the shade!

Throughout the downtown area where we strolled, we came across large sidewalk planters with various plantings in them. The purple ornamental kale was quite happy despite the cold and simply gleamed in all its brilliance in the January sun. Some pansies in other planters we came upon were just as miserable as the kale was happy. Droopy, pathetic, and downright frost-bitten the normally cold-hearty pansies just couldn't take it. We were told repeatedly by locals that it was unusually cold as well as unusually sunny. I think if the pansies could have talked, they would have agreed.

What we found the most amusing about our trip was that we hadn't seen the sun for a week back home in the San Francisco Bay Area and that we had to fly to Portland in order to find the sun! I was soaking it up through the entire two days. I'm gonna get my sun (and the Vitamin D) wherever I can!



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Our Trip to Portland, Oregon (Part 1)

Last week Hubby and I went on a business trip to Portland, Oregon. We fly up from the San Francisco Bay Area on an early morning Alaska Airlines flight (can you say "4:15 a.m. alarms should be outlawed?").

Once we deplaned and got our rental car, we drove in to downtown Portland to the Westin where we would be staying (thanks to Hubby's company). As I waited for Hubby to get our accommodations settled and have the car parked by the valets, I got to sit in the opulent first floor lounge of the Westin. Of course I took photographs so I could share. The colors were rich and plush--navy, beige, rust, and deep red. The fire in the fireplace was a welcome sight after entering from the sunny but chilly 31°F morning outside. I just sat down on the plush settee and enjoyed the luxury. Ahhhhhh...




After snapping the above photos, I let myself sink back into the plush settee cushions, and I looked up. Oh my goodness! Imagine my sheer delight when I looked up to see this...


I immediately thought of all my talented blogging friends that could probably have painted this ceiling! After I snapped the above photo, I just sat back and stared.

Despite our quite early arrival, the Westin was able to accommodate us and get us right into our room. Thank goodness, because I was bushed, and Hubby needed to connect up his laptop to take a conference call.

Click here to read about where we dined for lunch after resting for a bit in our hotel room.


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A Patch of Sunshine Only on the Blog

It's been rainy and cold the past couple of days here at Rosehaven Cottage. So I decided to post some photos of the sunnier days in our winter garden to brighten up the otherwise chilly and damp day.

Above: A tiny and dainty chamomile blossom grows in the raised planters along with the winter lettuce. Growing herbs in with other tender plants helps to provide decoys for insects and other predators so they leave the delicate edibles alone. This chamomile is doing its job quite well.

Above left: A gorgeous broccoli leaf in all its winter glory. Here in the Bay Area broccoli is a winter vegetable since it prefers cooler temperatures and our late spring and summer temps are much too hot for its taste.
Above right: The brilliant yellow of the winter lemons are one of the few spots of color among leafless trees. Even the lemon tree that they are growing on is devoid of most of its leaves.


Above: Aloe will grow like a weed around here if planted in the ground. This transplant once was growing out of control in a large area of the garden when we came to Rosehaven Cottage. Since space is at a premium, I transplanted the aloe into two large terra cotta pots and they have thrived there ever since.

A final note... if you love gardens as much as we do, go check out Blotanical, a directory of more garden blogs than you could imagine! And if your garden blog isn't already there, it should be! Even if you've got a brown thumb, it's worth checking out just to see all the gorgeous gardens.

All photographs featured here can be made available as unframed or framed prints, high-quality posters,
bound journals, tile coasters, keepsake boxes, greeting cards or a variety of other products.
Please email Cindy at rosehaven_cottage@yahoo.com for customization information.
Don't hesitate to ask about a special request. There is no additional cost for customization, and it's free to ask.



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Views of Lucy

Hubby shot the following photos of Lucy as she lounged in one of her favorite napping places--the top cubby hole of the "casa grande" (a very large carpeted kitty condo) in my studio. The sun streams in the window in the afternoon and Lucy just loves catching the rays. Fortunately, none of the other kitties had claimed the top cubby yet (Tom Tom has the bottom cubby staked out while the Gus Gus, Suzette, and Lydia share the platform on top). Even though the photos look like Lucy is outside, she's really not. That's just the beautiful blue sky as seen through my studio window.




All photographs featured here can be made available as unframed or framed prints, high-quality posters,
bound journals, tile coasters, keepsake boxes, greeting cards or a variety of other products.
Please email Cindy at rosehaven_cottage@yahoo.com for customization information.
Don't hesitate to ask about a special request.

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Lucy News--Day 33

Every day Lucy looks different. We had this happen with Dexter too. It seems like kittens destined to be long, tall, and lanky go through what we call the "silly putty" phase more dramatically than other kittens.

Some days Lucy has a big case of "Bugs Bunny feet", as she did yesterday (see photo at left). Other days, Lucy has the proportions of a dachshund with a long body and the movements of a ferret. Then there are other days that her head is too big for her body or her back is swayed like an old nag.

The good news is that with all of this growing, her paws that were very "deformed" when she was found are now straightening out. She's walking on her tippy toes like a normal kitty should instead of all flat footed like she was with her little paw pads not doing their job. We suspect that the paw problem was due to improper nutrition living on the street.

Another trait that seems to be a holdover from her life on the street is Lucy's "scrapper" mentality. Our other kitties aren't very interested in people food or table scraps (not even turkey giblets on Thanksgiving, believe it or not!). So we've been spoiled with no begging for our food up until now. Lucy tries to stick her snout into any plate she can, and we are forced to use the word "NO" a lot accompanied with taps on the nose the way her mommy would discipline her.

Lucy has also succumbed to the dreaded "crazy kitten syndrome" that afflicts all kittens during their first year of life. We put a collar and bell on Lucy so the other kitties would know when she was coming because she was ambushing them too much for them to properly socialize and actually LIKE her. The bell has done the trick, and now the older kitties have adapted to Lucy quite nicely and even let her snuggle with them once in a while (as long as she doesn't start biting their paws which she is prone to do).

Now that Lucy's habitat cage is left open all the time, she gets visitors quite frequently--welcome or not. Lucy often has to go in and oust Thomasina out of her furry heated bed by pestering Thomasina incessantly. After much protesting, Thomasina eventually vacates the premises. Interestingly, Dee Dee has also taken to going into Lucy's habitat cage and smashing herself into the very small kitty condo. Dee Dee has ended up tipping it over a few times as well, probably as she's trying to extricate herself from the upper story. Goofy cat.

All photographs featured here can be made available as unframed or framed prints, high-quality posters,
bound journals, tile coasters, keepsake boxes, greeting cards or a variety of other products.
Please email Cindy at rosehaven_cottage@yahoo.com for customization information.
Don't hesitate to ask about a special request.


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The Most Recent Recipient of the Rose Medallion

The "Rose Medallion" is given by us at Rosehaven Cottage to blogs that we find to be of exceptional merit in design and content. The blogs given this honor are those that we have found particular enjoyment, inspiration, and/or insight(s) in reading--blogs that have exhibited a passion for living.

This week we are honoring Jodi DeLong at bloomingwriter. Jodi is a freelance writer that has brought her passion for gardening and sprinkled its seeds in blog form so anyone in the world can visit and be enriched by her wealth of garden knowledge, her passion for gardening and the written word, and her infectious personality that simply glows through her blog. We have subscribed to her blog so we don't miss one post! We recommend that you do the same.


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January's "illness"

It's happening like it always does.

January rolls in with its short days that still aren't long enough for my taste. The fog and marine layer of clouds hang like a grey blanket that doesn't leave for days on end. The air is heavy with humidity making the 50 degree high for the day just not warm enough at all and leaving a chill in my bones. The annual rains come to make our hills their lovely winter green that tempts and teases the sun-loving gardener's soul even though I know that more frosty nights are on the way.

And that's when it happens.

I get Hawaii Fever.

It's a sickness that one only gets if one has been to Hawaii. So those who haven't been "exposed" need not fear.

Symptoms of Hawaii Fever include but are not limited to:

  • Repeated Hawaiian music playing in one's head throughout the day.

  • Nightdreams or daydreams about being in Hawaii, laying in a hammock in the warm tropical sun, breathing in the heavenly scented mixture of plumeria and sunscreen, with the sound of waves crashing onto a coral-lined shore.


  • Sitting in front of a computer screen staring at photos from past visit(s) to Hawaii that "exposed" one to the sickness in the first place.


  • Frantic late-night searching of the internet for airfare deals to a major Hawaiian airport.


  • Repeated calculation of frequent flier miles against the airline reward chart.


  • Bargaining with one's spouse to try and justify the expense of a trip to Hawaii as "business".



  • Symptoms of advanced stages of Hawaii Fever include but are not limited to:

  • Giving up on bargaining and secretly plotting to pack one's bags and just head to the airport with credit card in hand.


  • Mentally rearranging one's calendar in order to accomodate spending the entire month of January in Hawaii.


  • Writing a blog post about having Hawaii Fever and directing others to look at one's photos from past visit(s) to Hawaii.





  • Yup, I've got Hawaii Fever--just like I do this time every year.

    Don't worry.

    It isn't fatal... even though it feels like it sometimes. ;)

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    We survived "The Monster Storm"

    My dear friend, Holly, of many years over at 2 Kids and Tired left a comment on my recent post mentioning "The Monster Storm" that hit the West Coast of North America last week wondering how we were doing. Then Jodi at bloomingwriter left a similar comment and so did Yolanda Elizabet at Bliss.

    In response to Holly's comment I wrote her an email back. Then I realized that I should post it here to give everyone an update. Can you say, "Duh!" ??? All the rain must have gotten into my brain.

    Anyway... here's the latest...

    There's been flooding all over the place here in the San Francisco Bay Area with some horrible damage from the hurricane-force winds (big trucks were tipped over on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge). Some people are still without power and have been for days. Luckily, we are not in that group. Also fortunately, over the last 7 years we've taken lots of preliminary measures to prevent flooding here at Rosehaven Cottage during major storms such as this was.

    Since we live in the low spot of our street with it going uphill in both directions, we and our next door neighbors get everyone's water. That's why years ago, long before we moved here, the county put in a three storm drains right along the property line between both houses--front, middle, and back. I have spent the last seven of winters figuring out how the water flows through our yard during heavy storms and then creating a drainage system of hidden drains, artificial aquifers, and arroyos as well as a pond. Each successive year as I refine and improve the whole system, we have less water flood in our crawl space (sometimes it was up to a foot of water!). With "The Monster Storm" as bad as it was, I am so happy that we had no standing water flooding our crawl space. I must be doing things right!

    Originally, the pond was born out of the flooding problem in our garden. The first January we lived here, I watched one area of the garden never drain properly so I got out there with a shovel and started digging. When I finally stopped digging I had a 1,200 gallon pond! In storms like this, the pond acts as a catch basin for flooding with some spillways on the backside to prevent overfilling. The spillways flow into an arroyo of river rock that leads to the back storm drain.

    I feel very blessed, because the I've always received promptings when I need to do something to prepare for a storm, along with inspiration for exactly what to do. In 2005, the kept feeling strongly that we needed to remove the patch of concrete right in front of our garage door and fill the area with pea gravel. We did. And a couple of months later, we had a huge New Year's storm that flooded a lot of our town and our neighbor's homes. Our garage would have been flooded ruining all the tools and building supplies we have stored in there. I feel very blessed to have this gift that helps us stay safe.

    The weekend of this New Year the weather forecast said we were in for three big storms in a row. I had the same prompting to prepare and how to prepare. I took advantage of the sunny days leading up to the storm and went out to sledgehammer more concrete off the old 20'x20' pad that was part of a defuncted lanai structure that I've been dismantling since August. I used the concrete blocks to shore up the arroyo that runs to the back storm drain. I was glad I put in the extra work a couple of days ago, because it really helped prevent flooding through the redirection of water. And the reenforcement with the concrete blocks was absolutely necessary to prevent flood erosion as the water poured through the steep banked arroyo.

    So although we are not "high and dry" as Jodi's well wishes hoped, we are "low and dry". And dry is a good thing.





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    Possibly a new tradition

    Head over to our Health, Wellness & Food section to read about our New Year's Day dining experience that may have become a new tradition for us. If you love Mexican food as much as we do, brace yourself.


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    Views of Winter at Rosehaven Cottage

    The New Year brought with it nature's fury. Right now the West Coast of the U.S. is getting pummeled with what the Weather Channel is calling "the monster storm".

    However, just a few days ago when it was lovely and sunny, I took some time out of my sledgehammering and flinging of concrete (getting ready for the storm) to photograph some of the little winter vignettes that are around the Rosehaven Cottage gardens. Just prepping the photos for this post, made the storm outside seem to go away and brought the sunshine back.




    All photographs featured here can be made available as unframed or framed prints, high-quality posters,
    bound journals, tile coasters, keepsake boxes, greeting cards or a variety of other products.
    Please email Cindy at rosehaven_cottage@yahoo.com for customization information.
    Don't hesitate to ask about a special request.


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    Our New Year's Day Activity


    In my last post, I mentioned that I got to spend New Year's Day with Hubby instead of taking down Christmas decorations. I thought I'd share a couple of the photos I took while we went for our a very low-key walk at the marina. We like to go for walks there along the water of the Carquinez Straits that lead from the inland delta of the Central Valley of California out to the San Francisco Bay. Fortunately, the marina and the water are just 2.3 miles (3.7 km) down the road from Rosehaven Cottage. It makes it easy to just go down there on a whim when the weather is perfect as it was on New Year's Day.

    There was a nip in the air but the sun was out as were many families with their children. There were many people at the estuary pond feeding bread crumbs to the ducks and geese that live there. I was able to shoot lots of photos as the birds begged for food. It was great! Look at the goose on the left. I caught it as it was "dancing" to get the food that was about to be thrown. I expected the geese to be more aggressive but these two were quite cordial and polite. They displayed very good "goosey etiquette" and didn't bite the little boy that was feeding them no matter how long he took between handfuls.

    There are lots of mallard ducks and "wild" geese at the estuary pond and then there are some that are hybrids. This one just cracked me up with its fancy bouffant hairdo! It was so cute just waddling around with its ducky friends completely unaware that its got a little somethin' going on in the back there. Remember the fifties hairstyle known as the "D.A.". That adds all new meaning to it, doesn't it? The other thing I like about this photo are all the cute orange ducky feet in the background. So bright and vibrant in the gorgeous January light I was fortunate to have for shooting the photos.


    All photographs featured here can be made available as unframed or framed prints, high-quality posters,
    bound journals, tile coasters, keepsake boxes, greeting cards or a variety of other products.
    Please email Cindy at rosehaven_cottage@yahoo.com for customization information.
    Don't hesitate to ask about a special request.

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    I have an excuse... it's tradition!

    A few years ago, I decided to research the Christmas traditions of the countries that both Hubby and my ancestors are from. Hubby's ancestry on his father's side is Norwegian and Swedish. So in hunting down some Swedish Christmas traditions I found one that I absolutely love! Why? Because it gives me an excuse to not take down the Christmas decorations on New Year's Day! Can I have a big "Hip hip hooray!" and a "Hallelujah!"?

    Here's the quote I found (sorry, I forgot to write down the reference back then):

    "[In Sweden,] the Christmas spirit and enjoyment linger until January 14--Knut's Day--the day appointed to discard the Christmas tree and devour all the edible decorations. This is quite an occasion, especially for the young who occasionally dress as 'Old Knut' and play practical jokes and chant as they fling the old tree into the snow, with a promise to reunite with their beloved pine in one year."
    Hubby has always had a hard time parting with the Christmas decorations on New Year's Day so now our new "old" tradition is to wait until January 14th for Knut's Day. We don't have snow or a real Christmas tree to fling into the snow, but we do have other decorations that I wait until January 14th to put away. Then as I'm putting away the Christmas decorations, I put up the Valentine's Day decorations so it eases the shock of having empty bareness where the Christmas stuff used to be. And then we have Valentine's Day decorations for a whole month (which I absolutely love because I LOVE red!).

    Because of this great adoption of a new "old" tradition, I don't feel guilty one bit just enjoying New Year's Day with Hubby instead of cleaning up the house. Our grandmothers did know best!

    All photographs featured here can be made available as unframed or framed prints, high-quality posters,
    bound journals, tile coasters, keepsake boxes, greeting cards or a variety of other products.

    Please email Cindy at rosehaven_cottage@yahoo.com for customization information.

    Don't hesitate to ask about a special request.





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