Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Adieu, Portland!

It's been nearly two weeks since I arrived home from helping my daughter move back home, and I think the chaos has finally settled down somewhat.  There are still a few boxes that need to be unpacked, and there have been some adjustments in my routine, like having to share a bathroom once again and re-learning how to cook for three, not two--actually, I never was very good at cooking for just two anyway:)  Coconut, Daughter's Pomeranian, and Sophie have gotten re-acquainted, and Coconut enjoys sitting in the shade watching me garden just as Sophie does.  Even the newest member of the clan, Widget, Daughter's gray kitten, has finally decided Sophie is not as intimidating as she looks and has taken to exploring every corner of the house.

I've enjoyed my trips to Portland, Oregon the last two years to visit Daughter; it's such a beautiful and friendly city.  And despite the claims that the skies are usually gray in the Pacific Northwest, I've seen mostly sunny skies and enjoyed the moderate temperatures while visiting. But this trip was a working "vacation," and most of our time was spent sorting and packing and carrying endless heavy bags of unwanted belongings down a flight of stairs to the dumpster.  And then there was that long drive home . . .

Still, there was some time to have fun and enjoy some special moments with Youngest Daughter.

The main purpose of the trip, aside from helping to move, was to attend Daughter's graduation and to celebrate her receiving her Master's Degree.  The timing of this event meant I couldn't go to Seattle for this year's Fling. There will be other opportunities to meet other bloggers, however, but not so many opportunities to share milestones like this.

Daughter also made sure this was not an "all work and no play" trip. For my birthday earlier this summer she bought tickets for the two of us to see one of my favorite singers in concert--k.d. lang.  On a lovely summer evening, Daughter and I wound our way through the Oregon Zoo to an open arena where concerts are staged regularly and managed to find a few square feet in the packed lawn to lay down our blanket.  Regular lawn chairs were not allowed so as not to obstruct anyone's view, and I found myself shifting positions every few minutes to get comfortable until a kindly pair of ladies behind us, who preferred to stand, loaned us their beach chairs.  It was a great concert, however, and k.d. lang's velvety voice made the evening worth a little discomfort.

Portland also holds "Movies in the Park" throughout the summer, changing the locale each week, and we went to see "E.T.,"  a movie I was surprised to learn Daughter had never seen before.  It was shown in a small park in the heart of downtown that I soon discovered had a beautiful garden surrounding the open grassy area.  Coconut and I explored the gardens at one point, but by that time it was too dark to take any good photos.

I have no idea when or even if I'll ever get to visit Portland again, so I wanted to make sure to visit two of my favorite places in the city one more time before leaving.  The last time I visited the Portland International Rose Garden was early last May before many of the roses were in bloom, but this time the garden was resplendent and full of the heady fragrance of all kinds of roses.

Portland's Rose Garden is a test garden and contains all kinds of roses. I talked to a volunteer who was tending one of the hybrid tea cultivars, and she mentioned that the roses weren't as full of blooms this year as usual because they had had so many overcast days.  I don't know, they looked pretty magnificent to me.  Seeing this 'Artistry' above made me want to re-think my reluctance to plant some tea roses in my own garden..

Near the Rose Garden is my favorite place in all of  the city.  There is something about a Japanese garden that always draws me in, and the Portland Japanese Garden is the most mesmerizing of the few I've seen.  Surrounded by the majestic Douglas Firs of the the Pacific Northwest, this garden is truly a sanctuary where one can forget the rest of the world for a while.

One day I would love to have a little Zen area in my own garden, but to have a true Japanese garden requires years of patience as evidenced by this carefully pruned tree.

An authentic Japanese Garden contains several necessary elements, which you can read about in a previous   post here  if you wish.  The Zig-Zag bridge, surrounded by ferns and irises and taking you over a koi-filled pond, is one of the traditional details.

A Zen garden for meditation is another.

The element of water plays a primary role in a true Japanese garden. Statues of cranes, Japanese symbols of longevity and good fortune, grace one of the many ponds.

But you don't really need to know all the philosophy behind these gardens to enjoy the sense of serenity they invoke.  Walking down the hillside paths, you can find little surprises at every turn like this mossy tree trunk.

Or a small waterfall hidden among the shrubs.

The most dramatic use of water is Heavenly Falls, which cascades down the hillside into a large pond. 

I'm glad I got to visit the Portland Japanese Garden one last time; I left it feeling refreshed and calm, ready to begin that long journey home . . .

All too soon it was time to leave for our four-day drive home.  We weren't on a time schedule like the first time we drove out, but when you are driving with a cat and a dog in the car, there isn't time for dilly-dallying around. You can't leave them alone in a car while you stop to tour a museum or even for a sit-down dinner in a restaurant.  Besides, we wanted to get Coconut and Widget in their new home as soon as possible.

For this drive home we took I-90, the northerly route, and saw some beautiful scenery, albeit not always under optimal conditions.  I'm sure the Rockies were magnificent, but I could only see their silhouettes in the light of a full moon as we drove through them at night.  We drove past the northern edge of Yellowstone, and Daughter and I both regretted afterwards that we didn't take time to stop.

But we did take in one sightseeing stop which Daughter wanted to see and the reason for our longer route home.  Like so many well-known places,  Mount Rushmore is a monument whose size and magnificence can't really be appreciated until you actually see it.

  After a late start and some snags on the first day, including nearly getting stranded in Spokane, Washington until we had the car battery replaced, the rest of the trip was uneventful.   One evening, after passing through a rainstorm, Daughter and I both were excited to spot a double rainbow.  This photo taken through the car window is not that good, but this was the most amazing rainbow we'd ever seen.  Not only was it a double rainbow, but you could actually see both complete arcs. We took it as a good omen and spent the rest of our journey watching the wide open spaces of the West pass by until we reached the familiar scenes of farming country in southern Minnesota, then Iowa, and finally, Illinois.

After riding in a cramped car for four days and eating way too much fast food, it was sooo good to be home.  By that time we were all tired puppies:)


  1. Portland has to be the greenest, mossiest, lushest place. I clearly need to visit there someday.

    You had such a wonderful trip: daughter and Rocky Mountains and pets and memory-making --- and a rainbow in there too! Welcome back home.

  2. Rose,

    I almost felt like I was with you.
    Such a lovely post.
    You must be very proud of your daughter.

    The japenese garden is stunning.
    The feature that stood out to me was the old tree covered in moss.
    I would love a moss have got me thinking, I wonder if I could do something with the copse, hmmmmmn.
    A japanese garden would not fit in this English country garden.
    I do agree with you though there is something very special about them...

    What a journey Rose, I do so admire you.
    The scenery looks stunning....and a double rainbow ! I do not think I have ever seen one.

  3. Your trip was fabulous. So much packed into a few short days. Congrats to the Baby Girl. I know you are proud of her. Love just about everything in a Japanese garden. Those mossy rocks and trees wouldn't stand a chance here.

  4. Tired indeed but memories made to last forever. How very wonderful to see Mt. Rushmore. Just going out west would be a dream for me as I've never really been. Awesome on that Japanese garden and congrats to your daughter!

  5. Wow! I love your pictures of the gardens! SO inspiring and beautiful!....Sounds like a wonderful trip!

  6. Your pictures are amazing Rose, glad you had a great time. :)

  7. The Japanese garden took my breath away! Congrats to your daughter, and glad to hear you had a wonderful trip!

  8. Wow, what a great trip! I love visiting public rose gardens. I've seen lovely ones in Niagara Falls, Canada, and also in Schenectady, New York! I dream of starting a tea rose garden myself--every year, I say. "Next year's the year!"

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures with us!

  9. You and your daughter will talk about this trip forever. I know, because my daughter and I drove from Il. to Texas one year. We talk about all the funny things that happened along the way.
    Your pictures of all you saw are amazing. I love the serenity of that Japanese garden. Welcome home. Balisha

  10. Rose, you're an amazing blogger. You educate and entertain us.

    Tired puppies...that was adorable.

    Congratulations to Youngest Daughter on receiving her Master's Degree...I'm sure she's very deserving.

    I'm also a fan of k.d. lang and often think that if she had a concert within a hundred miles, I'd buy a ticket. Also a big fan of Lyle Lovett.

    The mossy tree trunk really caught my attention.

    Thank you for the kind words about my dad. Gone from this earth but forever in my heart.

    Don't labor too much on Labor Day:)


  11. Thank you for taking us to Portland and back. Especially enjoyed the Japanese garden pictures, and pic of Mt. Rushmore. I've never been, and it's neat to see a "home" picture of it rather than in movies, TV, etc.

  12. I've always really enjoyed your Portland posts...I'm a little sad that she's graduated and they're coming to an end! :) Road trips are always so interesting, from car issues to beautiful scenery. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Rose I very much enjoyed your wonderful account of your trip. Congratulations to your daughter on her master's degree! Portland Japanese Garden truly is a magnificent place, and your photos are gorgeous. Love the picture of the tired puppy Coconut!!

  14. Laurrie, Thanks; yes, Portland was a sharp contrast to the dry conditions here at home.

    Cheryl, I just love Japanese gardens! But I agree, I don't think one would quite fit in in my prairie countryside here, even if I had the time and patience to create one. I would love to make the drive to or from Portland again, but with twice the time so we could stop and sightsee.

    Lisa, Yes, we're very proud of "Baby Girl." No moss growing here--the hoses are running as I type just to keep the garden alive.

    Tina, My two drives--to and from Portland have been my only excursions out west, too. I'd love to see it all again at a more leisurely pace.

    Nicole, It was a tiring trip, but we did see so many beautiful places.

    Racquel, The Japanese Garden is a must-see for anyone visiting the Portland area.

    PlantPostings, We certainly had a lot of mother-daughter bonding time...complete with some highs and a few lows:)

    Kimberley, The roses in Portland are amazing. I don't think they have to worry about the Japanese beetles we do here, though.

    Balisha, Thanks for visiting! Yes, this is the kind of trip where you laugh about even the not-so-good experiences later.

    Donna, Glad to meet another k.d.lang fan! She was here in Champaign for a concert a few years ago, but I missed it. She sounds as good as ever. I know your Dad will live on in so many great memories you have.

    Humble, Thanks for visiting! Mt. Rushmore is magnificent--you begin to see it as you drive up the road, and then it gets larger and larger. How the sculptor created it is what fascinates me.

    Rose, I'm glad you enjoyed these posts. I'm going to miss Portland! I'm going to have to go back sometime for sure.

    Sweetbay, Thank you; Coconut was such a good little traveller. Better than me, I think:)

  15. Love the Japanese gardens........ especially those *cloud* shaped trees.

    Glad the little kitten has settled in. I'm sure Sophie will be fine with her.

    They are all great photos.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  16. I've been to that Japanese Garden and have a very similar picture as the wallpaper on my iPhone. Congrats to your daughter and what a fun road trip. I wish next year's blogger meet up would be in Portland. I love that city.

  17. I haven't been to Portland but it sure does look beautiful. Love your pictures and what is a vacation/visit without going to spectacular gardens? We traveled to Maine with out two dogs and you are right about fewer stops and little sightseeing. Glad you made it home safely. Congrats on the smart daughter!

  18. You did and saw a lot. And I am grateful you shared it...those photos are amazing.

  19. That Japanese garden looks wonderful. And the Rushmore monument must be amazing.

    Glad you're home and safe again.

    And congratulations to Youngest Daughter.

  20. What great trip you had! I enjoyed looking at your pictures of Portland, my favorite city. Japanese garden is awesome. And Rushnore.... we visited it many times ago. Unforgettable!

  21. Hi, after all this time!!! We had an opportunity to move to Eugene OR last December but decided it wasn't where God was leading us. We DID make it up to Rushmore this summer.... a long-held dream. And such a change from the chronic dryness & fires we'd been experiencing down in the southwest. (we have since been blessed w/rain!)

  22. Congrats to dear daughter for her accomplishment!! I would love to see KD lang and her wonderful voice!
    Love the gardens you show us!
    Summer here has been a bit different for me!

  23. Rose, I think I need a road trip! Congrats to your daughter~I know you're both happy she's back in Illinois. Don't you think that double rainbow was a good omen! xogail

  24. I have always wanted to see Oregon and now your photos really confirm that for me! I will bet your enjoyed all that uninterrupted time with your darling daughter. Her puppy is so cute!
    Congrats to her and to you for her accomplishment!

  25. What a fabulous post, and a fabulous summer. If I were in Portland I also would have to see those two beautiful gardens. Roses and serenity.

  26. Congratulations to your daughter on her graduation and Master's Degree Rose!

    Oh my gosh, that Japanese garden is breathtaking! Looks like a wonderful trip - thanks for sharing these beautiful photos!

  27. Where do I start? I was riveted throughout this post!

    Congratulations on your daughter's achievement. A Master's Degree!!

    The Japanese garden looks magnificent. I'd love to visit one day. The rose in your pic was beautiful too. I love roses, but so far have only been able to grow the tiny tea-roses.

    Lucky you to see a double rainbow and be able to capture it so well, even through the car window.

    Oh, and I admire you for driving at night. I think I'd pass on that, but how wonderful to see even the silhouette of mountains, outlined by the moon.
    Glad you're all home, safe and sound!

  28. Wow what a round trip you've had and you have documented Portland so well. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Dear Rose,
    I miss Portland.....I too love the Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden...I love everything about sales tax!
    My daughter moved there for the weather...and the vibe...
    Congrats to you and your daughter...A Master's degree is something to be proud of! Perhaps one of these days you will take three weeks and do a National Parks tour...Yellowstone is Awesome!
    Enjoy resting up and the delights of September....double rainbows are gifts....

  30. Maggie May, Sophie and the kitten are fine now. Widget now thinks Sophie is a big toy:)

    Kate, Next year's fling is in North Carolina, but Portland sounds like a great idea for the following year!

    Layanee, I don't know how Portland compares to Seattle, but I do love the Pacific Northwest!

    Sage, Thanks! I'm still struggling to keep up with blog reading.

    Liz, Looking back, we did have a lot of fun on this trip. Always good to share some time with one of my children.

    Tatyana, I love Portland, too, and hope to go back again very soon.

    Marie, So sorry to hear about all the fires in the Southwest. My other daughter lives near Phoenix, so I try to keep up with the news from that area.

    Anna, Thank you, and you'll be happy to know Widget the cat has settled in quite nicely. Summer here has been hot and dry.

    Gail, I do enjoy road trips, though just not quite so many hours at a time:) The rainbow was the most amazing I've ever seen.

    Sissy, The West is so very, very different from the Midwest. By the time we got to Minnesota I was actually happy to see cornfields:)

    Pat, The Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden are two must-sees if you ever visit Portland.

    Linda, I can't begin to describe the Japanese Garden--absolutely beautiful!

    Wendy, Daughter did all the night driving--no one trusts me to drive after dark on strange roads:)

    Patrick, Glad you enjoyed this and thanks for visiting!

    Sherry, I love this city...I want to go back, even if it's by myself. Yes, Yellowstone is definitely a place I want to see!

  31. I love love love k d lang!!!! She is a riot. I bet that concert was super!
    Loved seeing the gardens in Portland, what a beautiful place. One of these days perhaps we will get out there.
    Charlie and I had talked about doing Mt. Rushmore this summer, but our trip changed/evolved a bit ...and like you, we are glad to be home!
    Congrats to your daughter.

  32. It's good you were able to mix some play in with your work of getting your daughter moved back home. I enjoyed your photos of the beautiful places and rainbow you got to see.

  33. That first shot of the Japanese Garden is breathtaking. What a beautiful place! I do love the Pacific Northwest. I know you'll miss your visits there. Best of luck to your daughter!

  34. Wow! What beautiful garden pictures.
    Rainbow, waterfalls, Japanese gardens, mountains images. Thanks for taking time to post here.


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