Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Evening After A Day At Powell's Books and Other Places

For the first time ever, I spent as much time as I wanted to at Powell's City of Books, that book emporium that covers a full city block in downtown Portland. Always before, I was touring with and we'd walk into Powell's, look at one another and then look at our watches and say something like, "Shall we meet back here in 30 minutes?" Always too short. Better not to go in at all. Today was different. I had my fill for one day. Not that I couldn't have taken a break and then returned for the evening hours. It's that wonderful.
Queta drove me down into the Pearl neighborhood and I spent a little time in Anthropologie, simply because it is across the street from Powell's. They have such creative displays - this time a full window was filled with a montage of old color slides - a great mass of them.
Took a close up photo of a few of the slides and right in the middle is one from Round Top TX - a slides taken of an old photo of cattle crossing a highway. You just never know what you're going to find.
Went into Eden, a new off shoot of Flutter up on Mississippi Street. I was not excited by Eden, though I wanted to be excited. I liked their on-line 'look-book' and was eager to see the shop itself. Several years ago, when I first went into Flutter, I was beside myself, because it was so eccentric. Maybe I am jaded, but neither Eden or Flutter was as weird and wonderful as I wanted them to be. Went in next door to Porch Light, another small shop filled with carefully collected 'old things', often recycled into something smart and new. Small hanging lights, for instance, that reminded me of the lights I made with drilling pipe sections from Baker Hughes scrap metal for Second Seating.
Nice, nice shop with lots of things I could live with. Was also reminded of the old Stuart & Stevenson plant on Harrisburg that Martin Chavez and I walked through years ago, looking for things that would 'say S&S and East End history' for the Greater East End Management District offices. We did get some treasures, but I'll bet the rest of it all went to scrap metal. What a pity. Porch Light had a quiet serenity about it as well as elements of a curiosity cabinet.
But onward. Powell's Books was there waiting. And I wandered in this book store for over five hours. Never left to go to lunch or find the chocolate shop. No. After a couple of hours on the main floor, I simply took a flight of stairs and looked at more and more books, finally gathering a pile to ship back to Houston. I did hold on to several for the trip tomorrow. Suddenly it was 4:15 and I realized that Mary B would be through with her work day within minutes. We hooked up and went to a raw food place where we ate very healthy salads with kale and toasted sesame seeds.
Took the bus back to North Portland and once in the house, I ate some more smoked turkey. I am full now and sleepy.
By the way, I spent over an hour in the cook book section of Powell's, photographing recipes that I loved. Went through of The Barefoot Contessa cookbooks.
Sally's been cooking from one of them and every vegetable dish she prepares of late has been divine. So I took note of these books.
Photographed a recipe for roasted asparagus. It'll be on my menu when I return home.
Also found a recipe for monk fish or scallops covered with a mixture of Maldon salt and a crushed rose petal.
Also found a book on food fermentation and since fermented foods are supposed to be really healthy for me right now and I do love kombacha, kimchi and sauerkraut, how could I resist?From cook books I was on to fashion and fashion designers and then upstairs to find Deborah Turbeville's new book, of which there was one copy. I liked it. Lots of photography books that kept me occupied for over an hour.
And then there were shelves and shelves or scriptwriting how-to books and actual copies of screen plays. I found a second hand copy of three Horton Foote movie scripts including 'The Road to Bountiful.' I'll read those and then watch the movies again. And again. Also bought a book with advice about how to develop strong women characters.
Finally made my way down to the cashiers.
On the way to the bus, Mary and I passed one of Portland's many Benson Bubblers. In 1912, a Mr. Benson felt that loggers and laborers drank too much beer at lunch time. There were no public water fountains. Well, he saw to it that water fountains were placed all over downtown Portland.
Click on bubblers for a complete history of this Portland legacy. Benson Bubblers are a big deal and quite lovely to look at along the sidewalks. They really do still function.
Here's more info on the bubblers:

Bubbler Facts

  • Drinking water is fresh and NOT recycled, fountains are cleaned routinely
  • The Bubblers flow freely from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., daily.
  • The fountains run 365 days per year unless a cold snap or excessively windy weather forces the Water Bureau to temporarily shut them down.
  • The fountains serve up Bull Run drinking water!

Benson Bubbler Legacy

In 1912, Simon Benson, a local businessman and philanthropist, donated $10,000 to the City of Portland to purchase and install 20 bronze drinking fountains, now known as Benson Bubblers.

Local folklore tells us that Simon Benson donated the 20 bronze drinking fountains as an effort to keep loggers out of the saloons at lunchtime. Others say that Benson was inspired after seeing a little girl crying at a 4th of July parade because she couldn't find a drink of water. Either way, the Benson Bubblers have become a historical and enduring legacy here in Portland.

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