Posts Tagged: walk-commuting

Commute Not-Graffiti

Funny how many things almost count, or sort of count, for my commute graffiti collection.

sign in pickup bed reads THE KIDS ARE ATTEMPTING A CIVIL DISCOURSE ON CURRENT AFFAIRS

cardboard letters on sidewalk I P

signal

My morning walk commute sometimes takes me down Clinton Street, where at 19th Avenue there is a preschool and community garden before you get to the car-traffic diverters at 17th.

Twice a guerrilla crosswalk has been installed, pleasing the preschool families, and twice the City has removed it. So this was here on Monday:

painted mandala with bike and bee at SE 19th and Clinton in Portland OR

Seeing such a graceful solution– no liability for an unsanctioned crosswalk, yes painted reminder for drivers– made me feel hopeful all day.

Halloween

After work on Monday I walked the last three miles home, from about six to seven o’clock. At first the only trick-or-treaters I saw were babes in arms or in strollers. They gradually got older as I got closer to my house and it got darker; by the time I hit my street there were middle-schoolers.

The first time I passed a jack-o-lantern lit with a candle, I had an immediate and immersive memory of that smell, the mix of warmed and scorched pumpkin flesh plus candle-wax. I considered walking up to a jack-o-lantern to smell it, but they were all close to front doors and it was hard to tell what was candle and what was LED. There was no wind.

The Pixy Stix I bought at the dollar store were mad popular in our trick-or-treat bowl! Kids instinctively grabbed them, but didn’t know what they were. I’m proud to have shown the wonder of pixy stix to a new generation.

commute notes

hopscotch numbered from the top with tiny hopscotch beside it

I am pretty sure I’ve never seen a hopscotch grid numbered from the top. I kept trying to make sense of it after I had walked past, and ended up walking around the block to look again.

I have, however, seen a tiny hopscotch marked “for cats,” and I wonder if that’s what the smaller one is here. I can’t quite read the numbers.

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orange racks ready for Biketown bikes

Portland’s Biketown (because co-sponsored by Nike) bikes arrive tomorrow! The racks have been in place for a week or so– people happily started locking their regular bikes up at them, and then the city sent out some grumpy tweets and added the CAUTION tape.

This rack is just outside my office, so I’ll try a ride down by the river on my lunch break sometime soon. I admit, I don’t really understand the customer base for bikeshare. Commuters would want their own bikes, right? Some tourists will use them, in good weather, if they’re not afraid of sharing the road with cars downtown. Maybe close-in bar hopping after the bus stops running? I guess we’ll find out.

Walk Up Clinton

I missed my run to go to a meeting at work this morning, so when it was over I decided to walk over the Tilikum Bridge up to the Hawthorne branch of Powell’s, and home from there. Seven or so miles, same as my run would have been.

boats at the east end of the Tilikum Bridge
Sternwheeler on the left, then two yachty-cruisey boats, then DARPA’s prototype drone submarine-finder.

Futel phone
My first Futel phone. There was no dial tone, just a recorded menu that includes the Mayor’s office, the 211 social services and resource finder, a general repository for apologies, and other options. I chose the Willamette Valley Dream Survey and reported last night’s dream.

CYRK Building, "Circa 2012"
No one could look up when exactly it was built?

dogwood bough starting to bloom
The dogwoods are starting! Azaleas, lilacs, and Japanese maples also starred. It was actually a lovely walk; more diverters have gone in to force cars to turn off Clinton, so it’s quiet and bike-dominated now. A version of Portland that I thoroughly enjoy.

Tilikum Crossing

bike-themed mural on approach to Tilikum bridge

sidewalk view of Tilikum Crossing with streetcar

Walked over Tilikum Crossing for the first time this morning. (I had previously crossed it via light-rail and bus.) Love how quiet it is– no car traffic makes all the difference. Too bad the west-side leg to PSU is still long light cycles admist concrete spaghetti. It all felt safe, just cumbersome. In the future I’ll probably hop a train or streetcar at the Life Sciences building.

The Secret Life of Book Lists

My list of books read in 2015, with a line or three about each. And even more briefly, here are my ten best for the year, which I added to my LibraryThing archive:

    • Bright Morning, by Margery Williams Bianco. Her 1939 YA Other People’s Houses was also good.
    • Kiss the Girl, by Melissa Brayden. Also enjoyed Waiting in the Wings and Just Three Words, and successfully poked the library to acquire the next one.
    • Landing, by Emma Donoghue. Audiobook.
    • Earth Girl, Earth Star, and Earth Flight, by Janet Edwards.
    • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler. Audiobook.
    • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han. (Sadly, the sequel had only a fraction of its charm.)
    • Lulu and the Hedgehog in the Rain, by Hilary McKay. I’ve read them all (I think), but this one was special because of the community organizing!
    • Stuff Matters, by Mark Miodownik. Nonfiction (materials science).
    • The Turtle of Oman, by Naomi Shihab Nye.
    • The Martian, by Andy Weir.

I read an interview with Meryl Streep once– I think maybe it was a Bob Greene column?– in which she said all her movies were secretly home movies. She’d watch a scene from Kramer v. Kramer and remember what her kid was up to that week, or who she’d been hanging out with, and all the things that were going on when the scene was filmed.

My book lists are like that for me. I’ll look at So You Want to Be a Wizard and remember how excited KP was to hear I was reading it, and how she visited Portland later in the year and presented me with the sequels after one of her many trips to Powell’s Books. And how Sanguinity and I went up to Olympia to dogsit for Sara and crew, and they had a copy on their shelves, so I was reading it in the backyard while Sang designated the dogs Horrible Thing One…

Sanguinity pointing at Molly

and Horrible Thing Two…

Sanguinity pointing at Beezy

and gave them stern looks…

Sanguinity considering Molly

…that didn’t fool them one bit.

Sanguinity kissing a happy Molly's head

 

Or how I read Gone Crazy in Alabama in Wyoming, decompressing on a sunny morning at my friend Jenny’s house after she left for work.

Some books have webs of people associated with them– I decided to read The Martian because every single member of the Maki family liked it, and then my co-worker lent me a copy from the first meeting of her new book club, and then I gave a copy to my father-in-law that he binge-read even though he hardly ever reads fiction.

Then there are all the online discussions like the one about The Hired Girland audiobooks whose performances and the setting I heard them in are inextricable from the text. (Tiny Pretty Things while striding home in the dark amidst headlights and big trees and rain!)

It’s impossible to know all that’s coded into anyone’s book list but my own, but I still like reading other people’s. Here’s hoping for rich secret home movies for us all in 2016.

 

canyon report

salmonberry blossom against background of briars and evergreens

  • salmonberries are blooming and skunk cabbages are out! I’m sorry I missed that cute stage when just their snouts are emerging.
  • fresh beaver-work. You know, I think I saw the resident beaver in the water a few weeks ago, but I didn’t see tail or teeth so can’t be sure it wasn’t a nutria. I’ve only seen the beavers a few times; apparently when they’re around humans they shift to being nocturnal, to avoid the riffraff.
  • the bee tree was surprisingly active.
  • no beeps (of the duckling or gosling variety) yet, that I saw.
  • When sanguinity and I were students, everyone got a daffodil bulb in their campus mailbox in the springtime, to go plant wherever you thought best on campus. The canyon hardly had any trails then and wasn’t managed nearly as intensively. Pretty sure there’s no sanctioned planting of random non-native bulbs there now, so seeing the occasional daffodils gives me an Old Reed pleasure.

I’ve been really happy with my New Year’s protocol of everyday walking. I’m currently at two miles a day, which can be split into two unobtrusive walks but is also small enough to tack onto my evening commute without a fuss. It seems so modest, but my monthly Million Mile Ultra numbers are way up.

Walking home

soft sculpture of DuChamp's "Fountain"
Since the new year turned I have been getting off the bus after work at one of the parks a mile from my house, and walking home. It’s no longer quite dark at that hour, but it’s mostly dark. Parents are pushing their children on the swingset, in the mostly dark. Every night this week I’ve heard geese honking overhead and searched the sky for the V, finally able to see it but just barely.

On Tuesday night I crossed paths with another walker by the playground, and after he had passed I could smell his fresh chewing gum. I spent a moment idly trying to ID the flavor, but it wasn’t quite bubblegum, and it wasn’t Juicy Fruit or spearmint, the other flavors that are imprinted in my brain from my mom keeping them in her purse. Still, I walked on with a warm fellow-feeling for my fellow human animals.

The next night I got off the bus at the same stop, and took the same route through the park. There was no one by the playground, but…I smelled the fresh chewing gum scent! Ghostly possibilities ran through my mind until I saw the porta-potty stationed on the other side of the path.

It was clean-porta-potty smell that had given me that glow of benevolence toward all humanity. I laughed at myself…and took a different route for the rest of the week.

Friday I got off the bus at the Reed campus and walked home past the art building. The display at the front had soft sculptures of sculptures, with signage about the hours and materials costs involved in making them. My favorite was Hirst’s For the Love of God, which Tiphany Laney made in 17.75 hours for $24.50. Here it is next to the original.

soft sculpture of Damien Hirst's "For the Love of God"Damian Hirst sculpture For the Love of God (jeweled skull)

NotANaNo Update

I am on pace for mileage and words. Having two daily targets, each of which can be reached in under an hour, and in activities that complement each other, is working out well. The house is rather a pigsty, however. Maybe tomorrow I can address that.
Words: 2717 / 15,000
Miles: 15 / 90