October 31, 2008
As I have been driving around Portland this week, I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful colors that the leaves are turning. On the East side of town, the leaves are mostly either still green or shades of gold. But on the West side the trees are the richest colors of autumn —burgundy and orange. So if you happen to be out and about this weekend, be sure to enjoy the trees that line Murray Blvd. This would be a great street to take Grandma out for a little ride — not too long, but really spectacular color. For a more rural setting close to home, try driving through the west hills or near the zoo or over Capital Highway. Enjoy!!!
October 28, 2008
With Halloween just a few days away, be sure to read my eariler post on how to temporarly dye your hair PURPLE (or any other color) with Kool Aid.
Just type “Purple Hair” in the search box to the right, click on the “go” button. When the next page comes up, click on the title of the blog you want to read. In this case it would be “Purple Hair”; this brings up the entire post for you to read.
OR you can click on “Beauty” under the “Categories” section to the right.
OR you can click on “September” under the “Archives” heading to the right. Then just scroll down to the correct entry.
To return to the main blog, just click on “Portland Firefly” at the top of whatever page you are on. Happy Costuming!!!
October 24, 2008
Now is the time for pumpkin carving, but what do you do with all those seeds?! Well, I have an easy recipe for toasting them. TIP: After recovering the seeds from your pumpkin (or squash), remove all the pulp by placing 1/2 C seeds at a time, between 2 towels and rub to remove strings and flesh from seeds. In a colander, rinse seeds well and drain. The only way to do this is by hand, so make sure your manicure is completely dry!
In a 2 quart pan, bring water (2 Cups) and salt (2 T) to boil over high heat. Stir in seeds. Remove from heat and let stand until cool. Cover and chill 12-24 hours. Use less salt if you just want a hint of salty taste. Pour off the salt water solution and pat them dry for the day or overnight. Seeds will toast or roast best if dry. Drying tip: put seeds on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper so they don’t stick to it.
Oven: Spread seeds on a foil-lined (important for easy clean-up!) cookie sheet and bake them in a slow oven (250 degrees) for about 1 hour. Be sure to watch them and stir every 10 minutes so they don’t burn and are “golden brown”. Be sure to cool before eating!
Skillet toasting: Toast seeds in a heavy, dry skillet on medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning, until they start to pop open.
Microwave: Toast on high in microwave for 6- 8 minutes, stirring once every minute to prevent burning. Watch carefully as it is easy to burn things in the microwave, too.
These may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a year, but my guess is that you will be lucky if you have some left over at Christmas!
You can also toast the seeds without soaking them in salt water. You can also spray them with oil (more calories) and sprinkle the seeds with various toppings (cinnamon/sugar, garlic salt, cayenne, onion powder, curry powder, etc) before or after baking.
Thanks to Susan List for the basic recipe, which Portland Firefly greatly embellished.
Portland Firefly tip: I couldn’t wait for my seeds to soak in the brine (salt) solution for 12 hours, so I just let them soak in the hot salt water for about 30 minutes. Then I let them dry and skillet toasted them. M-m-m-m-m Yummy! And just the right amount of salt for me!
Enjoy!!!! And let Portland Firefly know how they came out!
Well, I finally made it to Roloff Farms near Hillsboro. I have been a fan of “Little People, Big World” since the reality series first aired several years ago and when I moved here to Oregon (the most beautiful state in the union!) I knew that I would be visiting the featured farm at some point in time. And this last weekend was it!
Now is the pumpkin season and this is the only time of year that Roloff Farms are open to the public, so we packed up the baby and went!! We had a beautiful crisp, clear, sunny fall day for the outing. You can even take a wagon ride to see the entire farm. I was prepared for the crowds of people, but I was not prepared for how clean and homey it felt there. Even though the farm operation is large, the public part is quite contained and this makes for a very comfortable day. The signage is excellent, parking is convenient and free and it is easy to get around. I was please to see the row of new clean porta-potty’s were easily accessible. We had a little wagon to pull through the pumpkin patch which Baby loved sitting in; he looked so cute in it, surrounded by our pumpkin choices.
We thought that the pumpkins were getting a little thin in the patch and were happy that we chose today to stop by for our visit. But we needn’t had worried because while we were there, a truck pulling a low, large farm wagon heaped with pumpkins came up over the back hill (probably from the “back 40″) and workers started unloading the pumpkins. They had lots of help from the visitors, because when someone saw “just the right pumpkin”, they would go & get it out of the wagon.
Wagon Rides, pumpkins and simple food were available. When you combine that along with the clear, crisp, sunny October day everyone goes home happy and has just that special pumpkin for their very own. Definitely another fabulous memory making option here in the beautiful North West!
October 23, 2008
Hello readers! In this weblog, I’ll be sharing some thoughts on personal growth as well as some interesting tidbits. Welcome Aboard!!!
The way my blog is set up, with the exception of this post, the most recent entries are at the top . One way to access the older entries is to click on a particular month in the Archives section. There are some interesting stories in there, so be sure to take a look! You may click on a category in the box to your right and it will bring up all posts in that category — for example- 9/11, stories,skin care, recipes or swifts. Or… you may type a topic (Andrew De Leon) (9/11) in the search box and that will bring up any post related to that topic. For additional hints please read the page on “How to use this site” page at the top right column.
If you click the ‘follow’ button at the top left, you will receive a notice every time Portland Firefly publishes a post. You will not recieve any spam or ads.
To see the beautiful video trailer for my book, TIE ONE ON, A HEAD-SCARF TYING GUIDE FOR CHEMOTHERAPY PATIENTS go to the TIE ONE ON page (to your top right) or click on this link.
. TIE ONE ON may also be ordered by going to www.teal-books.com.
And so, readers, I welcome you to Portland Firefly and I look forward to your comments. If you do write a comment, be sure that you click on “submit” to send it to me. I must approve all comments before they appear on the blog, so it is possible for you to send me a personal note stating that you don’t wish it to be made public.
Now, “Buckle your seatbelts for takeoff!!!”
When I flew to Orange County for my class reunion, the flight was almost completely full. I hoped to be sitting next to some business person who just wanted to read the paper and sleep, because that is what I wanted to do. I really didn’t care to carry on a conversation with anyone on this flight as I was tired from my late night shopping expedition to find THE dress for my reunion and getting up early for the flight (o-dark-thirty as we would say in the airline business!) and a soggy 90 minute drive to the airport in early morning traffic. As I boarded the aircraft, I noticed that there was a little head bobbing around in the row I was to sit in. “Great.” I thought, “Kids. Oh well… Gosh, there are two of them. ” I could see no parent in the row with them, just a teenager on the aisle next to them. ”Are they alone?” I wondered as I schlepped down the aisle with my roller-board and favorite travel purse big enough to hold my lunch, book, and makeup. As I arrived at the row, I realized that the parents were on the other side of the teenager. The family of five had the entire row except for my seat, which was the far window seat. The kids were really cute, a boy and a girl, contained excitement pouring out of them. I didn’t really want to climb over them to my window seat, and I thought that they might like to have the window seat, so I asked the Mom and “Yes!” they wanted the window seat. So, I settled into my aisle seat, putting me in the middle of this sweet family. In some way, I felt a part of this family, a great feeling, even if it was make-believe.
I came to realize that the reason for the family’s seating arrangement was because this was the first flight for the entire family except the father. The wife understandably wanted to be near her husband and the children were extremely well behaved. They were so well behaved that I know that they had been well trained their entire lives, not just “ordered” to “be good” on the flight. Their internal behavior controls were so well set that even with the excitement of their first flight, they never had the least little thought of misbehaving. They were a delight to their tired seat-mate, who only closed her eyes for about 20 minutes, choosing to interact with them rather than sleep during most of the flight.
Before we could take off, there was the matter of fastening the seat belts. Seat belts on aircraft operate differently that those in vehicles. As adults, we just somehow know how to fasten each of them without any problems. It was different for these two novice fliers. Sabrina took just a slight minute to figure it out, but Matthew was still struggling. As a former FA, I know the safety importance of knowing not only how to fasten your seat belt, but also how to UN-fasten it as well. So I wanted to make sure that they both knew how to un-fasten their seat belts as well as fasten them. This took a few minutes and Sabrina was like a concerned mother hen making sure that her little brother was buckled in just right! So sweet to see after all the sibling squabbles that I’ve observed over the years on planes. She was really taking good care of him to make sure he was safe. They were polite, attentive, interested in what was happening inside the plane as well as outside (now that they could see out of the window), and quiet.
One example of their good manners was after the beverage service and Matthew was finished with his beverage cup and pretzel bag and wanted to throw them away. He carefully watched what the Flight Attendant was doing (as all passengers do –Flight Attendants are the In-Flight Entertainment as there is nothing else to watch!). He could see her making her way from the front of the plane toward our row picking up the finished service items. He was ready. And so were his manners! Well, every time she got even remotely close to us, he would hold up his empty cup toward her and say very politely, “Would you please take this for me?” Well, she never heard him and didn’t even see him and evidently her trash bag was full, so she just walked past us back to the galley. He watched her go by and put his cup back down on the tray. Another FA walked by (her arms full) and he perked up and held his cup up toward this one and again said, as if for the first time “Would you please take this for me?” She too, unintentionally ignored him. “Uhm,” I thought, “this is getting interesting.” Then she walked back by us, this time going the other direction and he did and said the exact same thing in his sweet child’s voice. Same reaction… nothing. This happened at least two more times and I don’t know if I was more appalled by the Flight Attendant ignoring him or by the amazing fact that he never wavered in his sweet polite request of “Would you please take this for me?”. By the way, even I couldn’t get their attention, and I was sitting on the aisle! Trust me, if a FA isn’t ready to pick up your trash yet, she won’t. Finally one of the Flight Attendants realized that we had items to be picked up at our row and came and took our trash. And, sure enough, as though he had never uttered those words, he said very politely, as though it were the first time he said it, “Would you please take this for me?” Which she did. and then he said, ”Thank you.” I was impressed… good job Mom & Dad!
The reason for this family’s first time flight was THE TRIP to DISNEYLAND!!! No wonder the kids were excited! If you have ever flown from the Northwest to Southern California you know that the beautiful Pacific Ocean reveals itself from the fog & clouds when it is ready to do so. On today’s flight this happened somewhere south of Monterrey. All of a sudden you could see the beautiful blue ocean interspersed with the slashes of brown mountains that are the California Channel Islands. Time for a geography lesson –so I told the children what I knew about Mendocino, Anacapa, Santa Barbara, and Santa Catalina islands. Then we were over Vandenberg AFB, then Oxnard and PT. Mago NAS, and this is where the gentlemen from the row in front of us joined in our scenic conversation. We were all enjoying pointing out areas of interest to these two little ones as they craned their necks to see out the window.
About this time, I finished up most of the water from my clear plastic water bottle. Time for a science lesson. I showed my seat mates how the water bottle looked now (normal and not collapsed) and I closed it up tight and put it into the seat pocket in front of me. I told them how after we landed, the bottle would look completely different without our doing anything to it. I explained that it had to do with “heavy air” and “light air” – phrases I have used to help children understand air pressure. I did a brief explanation and let it go at that. About 15 minutes later, Matthews ears really began to hurt. I explained that it had to do with the light air inside his ears trying to get out, but the heavy air in the cabin ( now that the cabin was again pressurized) was pushing hard to keep the light air inside his head and this difference is what causes the pain. Pulling out the now collapsed water bottle I had a visual for them to see what was happening inside their ears. l immediately showed them both the Vasalva maneuver which Sabrina could do right away. The only thing Matthew knew was that his ears hurt and he kept chewing his gum. Finally, after many instructions, he figured out how to do the Vasalva and guess what! His ears popped and he was fine!
When we pulled into the terminal area, Matthew saw the terminal building and knew that Disneyland was their final destination. He just figured that we were at Disneyland and kept asking me if that was Disneyland. I told him “No, that is the airport terminal.” several times, but he just wanted to believe that we were at Disneyland! He finally believed his Dad when he told Matthew that we were at the airport.
As happens on aircraft… most conversations are not private and my conversations with the children were no exception. The two gentlemen that were in the row in front of us heard everything and as we deplaned, one of them made a positive comment to me about the children. I said my goodbyes to the family and followed the gentlemen off the plane; that being the end of it, or so I thought.
Chapter 2 Fast forward two days later to Sunday evening after a busy, fun, weekend visiting and at my reunion. I had the same plans for the flight home that I had planned for the flight to Orange County — read a little then take a nap. It didn’t work out that way, again! As I was boarding my return flight home, I took my assigned seat and noticed that my seat mates looked vaguely familiar. No, it wasn’t the family that I was sitting between, it was the gentlemen who had been in the row in front of us on the flight down to OC! What are the odds of that?! They had participated in a special Golf Tournament over the weekend and were disappointed with their results so they were happy to be headed back home. We had a wonderful conversation and fun working the crossword puzzle on the flight home. It was a fun trip all around … the flight down to Orange County, the weekend reunion, and the flight back home. Just think how different my flights would have been if I had “just read my book and slept” as I had initally planned to do!!! It was much more fun to interact. I love the possibilites that travel presents if you open yourself up to them!
I went to the Beauty Shop today. Actually, they call it a “Salon” – a full service salon where you can get your nails done as well as many other professional beauty services which will remain unmentioned for the sake of the privacy of women everywhere. We want you guys to think that we are this beautiful effortlessly and even thought most of you know that we don’t wake up in the mornings looking this great, we like to keep the illusion that we are at least pretty close to that to begin with!
Anyway, I digress… So, the last time I was in to get my hair “done”, my wonderful hairdresser, Kathy mentioned that I could also get my nails done while I was there, if I wanted. Well, today, I wanted. So, I made both appointments and felt pretty pleased with the idea of having all my beauty treatments done at one time at one place. The last two times that I had my nails done was on my two trips to California and I decided to continue the splurge here in Portland today. Both of those times, at nail salons in two different California counties, my nail polish was completely dry within a matter of minutes, so that when I left the salon, there was no way to smudge or nick them. My nails looked absolutely beautiful and the polish stayed on and looked great for weeks.
I guess I thought I could expect the same high standard from this nail technician here in Portland. I was wrong. I will never have my nails done there again which is the reason for my not mentioning the name of the salon to begin with. I really wanted to mention it, too, because my beautician is very good and the salon in general is highly rated by customers. The nail girl worked very quick - a good thing. But she left rough edges, which I had to file down – a bad thing. She seemed annoyed when I pointed them out to her- another bad thing. I tried to keep a light conversation going and make some sort of a connection with her, but we never really clicked- not good, not bad. I specifically showed her the color I was wearing when I came in, so she could guide me toward something very similar - she works there, right?- she knows her products, right?–she said go pick out the polish – a bad thing. My delightful beautician came to the rescue and picked out the exact color I needed – a good thing. It is now 3 hours after my appointment and I have just SCRAPPED the polish off of one of my fingernails –it is not even remotely dry yet – three hours later!- a very bad thing. The polish only looks good on half of my nails – not even one complete hand looks good. I will have to redo everything myself- a really bad thing. I was so pleased with the great polish & top coat used by the salons in California that I just can’t figure out why a professional manicurist would even consider using an inferior product. Whatever polish & topcoat the nail girl here used should be given away as far as I am concerned. Her attitude was such that she would probably say “whatever”, in that famous “Valley Girl” way, if anyone said anything to her.
AND… just now , I found another rough edge on another nail – a bad thing. I definitely am NOT going to go back to her.
October 18, 2008
Ok, you have the eggs that you want to boil. Now get a small pan, not one that is too big for the amount of eggs you want to boil. Put enough water in the pan to just cover the room-temperature eggs completely. You can then put the lid on the pan and put it on the stove and bring to a boil. Just a SLOW boil for 10 minutes. Here is a picture of eggs in a slow boil. A full rolling boil is not what you want. A full rolling boil looks just like it sounds — lots of turbulence in the water and splashes.
After slow boiling the eggs ten minutes, turn off the heat and put a lid on the pan and let them sit ( or is it set) for 5 minutes. Then you remove the lid and pour the water off and run cold water over the eggs in the pan. Repeat the running of cold water over the eggs. This is to hasten the cooling down process. Then you can put them in a bowl in the fridge to cool longer until you are ready to shell them.
You can also slow boil the eggs for 5 minutes and then let them set ( or is it sit) in a covered pan for 10 minutes.
When you go to peel them, they will be perfect! My recipie for Curried Deviled Eggs will follow in a later post! Yum !!
October 16, 2008
If you want to see how fruit liquors are made and to learn how the distillers get a pear into the bottle, then Clear Creek Distillery on NW Wilson is your next stop! A small family business, they will give you a fun tour complete with tastings of their products. Yum! It is fun to learn first hand about local Portland products and these are tasty! For more information, go to www.clearcreekdistillery.com.
October 15, 2008
What I didn’t mention in my previous post about the ABFM event at PIR over the Labor Day weekend was that in addition to racing in the ABFM Grand Slalom, we (my Jaguar & I) also raced in the timed Jaguar Sanctioned Slalom. I found out just recently that we placed third in my car class in this race. Again, I was the top finishing female in my car class (pat on the back). So, here is a picture of my cool plaque.
October 14, 2008
Yes, you read that right…Velveteria … as in paintings on black velvet! How kitsch! There is actually a museum in SE Portland called The Velveteria and Portland Firefly has been there. With a $5.00 admission ticket you are transported back to the artful medium of painting on velvet that started in the 30′s and continued on through the 80′s reaching a peak sometime around the early 70′s. Yours truly actually has two velvet paintings, but they are on blue velvet and I painted them myself (which is why I still have them). They are of a regal couple from India; he has a draped turban and she is bejewled and exotic. They have been in a box for the last 20-some years and probably deserve to be on display somewhere, but they just don’t fit into my current homes decor.
Which brings us back to the museum. They have over 2,500 paintings which they rotate so that there are about 400 on display at any one time. Caren & Carl say that they never stop collecting and have taken numerous trips just to add to their growing collection. There are paintings of Elvis, beautiful South Sea Island girls, The Duke – John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, an entire wall dedicated to religious art, one that I thought that looked somewhat like Lauren Bacall, lots of unicorns, the infamous “Dogs playing poker”, and many others too numerous to mention. They even have a “black -light” room where those paintings are designed to be viewed under back-lights. Even the rug in there is a black light rug!
The only draw back is that I wished they had more paintings on display because they were really fun to look at. Check out the Velveteria at www.velveteria.com, and allow about 30-45 minutes for your visit. Make sure any children are not offended by nudes because there are a lot of them in this museum — the subject matter just sort of goes with velvet painings and I didn’t find any of them offensive.
October 12, 2008
At my flamenco lessons, my teacher uses the correct Spanish terms for our footwork drills. Remember, we are dancing in high heeled shoes with nails in the bottom of the shoes!
So, the heel is tacon. The ball of the foot is planta. The whole foot is golpe.
With just those three terms and two feet we drill different combinations for 30 minutes!
golpe, golpe. planta, tacon. tacon, tacon. golpe, planta, tacon. planta, tacon, tacon. and any other combination you can imagine.
First with the left foot, then with the right; then part with the left, part with the right; then alternating. THEN, we add the arms. Then we add the arms AND the hands. Don’t forget your feet. Like I said Flamenco is a discipline.
But with the guitar, you can really lose yourself in the music and the dance…and even the technique drills become beautiful. And that is one of the things that I love about dancing —you can totally immerse yourself in the experience. With that immersion comes relaxation from the stresses of daily life and then I can feel refreshed and open minded.
October 11, 2008
The Magic Castle …. that is a story in itself. An historic Los Angeles landmark, it sits up on top of a slight rise just above Hollywood Blvd with a commanding view of all who approach. The Castle was started as a place for magicians to come and practice their craft in front of other magicians and select members of the private club –if you could get in! Johnny Carson often performed there, even at the height of his Tonight Show career, as magic was an early love of his and I understand that he was quite good at it!
The Magic Castle has a hotel associated with it and that is where I stayed on my most recent trip to Hollywood. I far prefer staying at places with character rather than a large chain hotel. Don’t get me wrong, I like the large chains, too, but not this time. This hotel was a former apartment building and has a cozy elegant lobby and delightful patio surrounding the pool. The rooms are all considered “suites” since they are all former apartments. It actually resembled the first apartment I ever had and I felt very comfortable there. It was very spacious and had a balcony, so we ate breakfast outside on my balcony overlooking the pool and patio and the people who didn’t have balconies. There was a very slight mix-up on my reservation, so upon arrival I was greeted with a full-size bottle of my choice of wine! They certainly aim to please! The continental breakfast had a variety of juices, cereals, breakfast breads — I pigged out on the perfect scones –and flavored Wolfgang Puck Coffees. The trend in hotel beds these days is the big soft “feather-type” with the big white fluffy duvet covers and lots of great pillows. Yes! My suite had that, too. I was one happy camper!!! and not ready to leave the luscious California sunshine for the flight back to cold, rainy Portland.
October 10, 2008
The Neil Diamond Concert at Hollywood Bowl was part of my first pampering trip to LA. The first time we saw him was at the Kemper Arena in Kansas City and we wore matching Mother/Daughter pink boucle’ sweaters. Not this time; this time it was jeans… forever in blue jeans, babe! It felt right after our day of travel, shopping, manicures, pedicures, and delicious Brazilian dinner.
The last time I was at the Hollywood Bowl was a long time ago. Parking was memorable , because you drove in and parked just as though you were stopped at a stop light — only there were a hundred cars in each lane. LA refers to this as “Stacked Parking”. This worked great upon arrival, but after the event, you must wait for the cars in front or on either side of you to leave before you can leave. True to form … at the end of the concert, one entire line of cars filled with waiting people were waiting for one little blue car at the front of their line with no driver in sight!!!
This time we walked –from my hotel — The Magic Castle! Only a few blocks away, it was an easy walk and so much quicker to avoid the traffic jams and not having to wait for the driver of the blue car to appear! The Magic Castle …. that is a story in itself… and another blog post in itself!
The Hollywood Bowl is a naturally occurring venue, that has been enhanced by man. The acoustics are nearly perfect and there is not a bad seat in the house. Oh, there are stairs, to be sure, but you are outside and the day was hot (89 degrees), the evening perfect. One of the best things that I like about the Hollywood Bowl is that you are able, and encouraged to “picnic” there. We actually brought our champagne, baguettes, hummus, veggies, cheese, and cookies with us. Yes, the three bottles of champagne were heavy to carry on the walk from the hotel and up the stairs, but we all appreciated the effort . And, of course, the walk down was much lighter! For those who don’t plan as well as we did, you can purchase your picnic inside the gates of the Bowl. The general atmosphere is one of a festival or faire … it might have something to do with the LA laid-back mentality. Who cares, it was great!!
But, I digress, back to Neil Diamond. He was incredible! His beautiful bed-roomy, gravelly, sexy voice as sonorous and enthralling as ever. I was surprised – not that the Hollywood Bowl was filled but that there were people there of EVERY age. I knew that I loved Neil Diamond and my daughter likes him enough to get tickets and invite 6 other friends to go, but there were multi – generations there. Neil Diamond was the solo performer –straight through –no intermission — and we did get an encore -”America”. One song that he did not sing was “Heart Light”, the one he wrote immediately after seeing the movie ET. Part of our group was looking forward to that song and even made little ET’s to hold up. So here they are:
I was about to tell you the highlight of the evening for me …but there were several. One is when Neil performed “Sweet Caroline”. Now don’t tell me that when you are driving, you don’t sing along when that song comes on the radio because I won’t believe you. Well, just take that feeling you have when you hear “Sweet Caroline, (boom, boom, boom - in time with the drums) good times never felt so good (so good, so good, so good)” and sing it out and multiply it by tens of thousands of other voices on a beautiful Southern California evening in one of the worlds most acoustically perfect natural amphitheatres with Neil Diamond singing lead and you will have a brief sense of the magic of the evening. The fun part was what Neil said at the end of the song, “Well, that was pretty good, but you know what? There was a man down here near the front that didn’t sing. And you know what that means! That means you have to sing it again!!!” The audience went wild. We loved it and got to sing again!!! Thankfully, Neil Diamond is one artist who recognizes that the audience singing along with him is a huge compliment and embraced that fact.
Another highlight for me was when he sang some of his new songs. They are beautiful songs, reflective of his life. They make the artist come full circle in his songs on life.
One other brief highlight was when Neil Diamond acknowledged that Cher was there, “Thank you, my darling, for coming out tonight.” As we were leaving and walking along the boulevard to our hotel there were upwards of 20 limousines waiting for their passengers. Some people were upset because they couldn’t find the right white limo! I did spot James Caan and his friends just before he ducked into his big black stretch limo. What’s a trip to Hollywood if you don’t see at least one movie star?
October 6, 2008
I was able to attend one of the initial showings of the Portland documentary “On the Wing”. If you have been following my blog, you know that I have already written two posts about this movie that documents the phenomena of the migrating Vaux Swift birds here in Portland. Scroll down to read them both.
I didn’t know what to expect when I went to the theatre, but it was really cool. Cinema 21 is an older theatre in NW Portland and it reminded me of the theatres of my childhood. The strong irresistible smell of popcorn permeated everywhere. Just a regular size theatre with theatre seats, it had red velvet curtains all around the room. The screen was elevated on a little stage and had the same red velvet curtains on either side. After the previews, the once familiar sign flashed on the screen ” Now for our Feature Presentation”. Audience expectations heightened. But the screen went dark and the scrim screen came down and there was some murmuring in the audience. “What happened?” Then it became very clear to everyone as we saw a young man walk up to the front of the theatre that there was to be an introduction to the movie. How cool! Dan Viens is the producer, writer, director, editor, and everything else for this movie. It is his baby and he is very proud of it, but in a very modest and unassuming way. He gave his introduction and then the movie began.
The hour long movie is very entertaining, educational, funny, interesting, realistic, and GOOD!!!! The theatre was packed and there were people there of every age — the movie is totally suitable for children as well as entertaining for adults. Everyone that I spoke to enjoyed the movie. Several of us were trying to determine if we liked it so much because it is a part of Portland or is it just that good? The general consensus is that yes, the movie is “just that good”!
So…take your kids, go early as parking can be a challenge (try the hospital visitor garage on 22nd & Kearny), and see this movie. Personally I hope to see Dan and his beautiful wife on the stage accepting an Academy Award or maybe the Palm d’or at the Cannes Film Festival or the Sundance Award for best documentary next year! The movie theatre has added several additional showings in an extended run starting this week so you still have time to go & see this wonderful documentary. Expect to see Dan & his wife selling the whimsical posters just inside the theatre; be sure to say “Hi from Portland Firefly”! Oh, splurge on the popcorn this time and make this complete movie experience a memory!!!
On The WingHeld Over at Cinema 21 After Crowds Pack Premiere Weekend!
Thanks so much Portland! More than 1,000 people came out to see On The Wing in its first weekend of shows at Cinema 21 and as a result it’s going to play for an additional week.
If you came out and enjoyed the film, please tell your friends because now there are more shows to pack. And if you missed your chance to see the film last week, you’re in luck.
On The Wing’s extended run at Cinema 21 will start Friday Oct. 10, 2008. The film will show from Fri. Oct. 10 – Thurs. Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. with 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. matinees on Sat. Oct. 11 and Sun. Oct. 12.
Get advanced tickets at Cinema21.com
Screening information is also available at the On The Wing screenings page.
Thanks for your interest and support. If you haven’t seen the film or you’re coming again, I’ll see you at Cinema 21 next week.
Real Earl Productions
I started taking dance lessons when I was 4 years old and I have continued off and on all my life. I have taken tap, many years of ballet (3rd place in the HS talent show!), modern, jazz, square dancing, danced in NY, and danced with several groups. I love performing and I love costumes. My latest dance love is Flamenco! Yes, that artful discipline from Spain. The beautiful, lithe dancers with the mesmerizing hands and the incredible footwork. Two lessons a week if possible, learning a little Spanish to keep up with the teacher and trying to make my hands, arms, feet, and head all do the right thing at the right time!!!
Flamenco shoes do not have taps on the bottom of them, they actually have hundreds of tiny little nails (nailed in very close together-overlapping) on the bottom of them. The bottom of the heels are completely covered with nails. The front part of about one-third of the bottom of the toe of the shoe is also covered in overlapping nails. After dancing for a long while the nail-heads start to thin slightly and they start to look like one big tap, but they never quite get that far. I just use it as a word illustration for you, the reader. Sometimes a dancer will have nails fall out — they don’t have a very long shank because your foot is on the other side of a thin piece of leather. And to make the characteristic sounds that you hear in Flamenco, there is a lot of stomping. If too many nails fall out, then you have to get your shoes re-nailed, something easily done in Spain, but more difficult to find an artisan here to do it.
I now have three pairs of flamenco shoes. My black suede ones; the suede looks really elegant and the heels are lower which is good for classes. Then there are the red suede shoes that I ordered from Portland while I was living in Kansas. I just had to have a pair of red shoes! Those shoes are now dancing (on my feet) at the place where they started in the US! But, my best shoes are my Gallardos from Spain. They are beautiful black leather shoes with very high heels. Very characteristic in design, many dancers can tell immediately that they are Gallardos, even from a distance! When I put my flamenco shoes on my feet, my mind enters another world…the world of clapping rhythms, the world of passionate guitars, the world of footwork combinations that entrance -even the performer as well as the observer.
My beginning instructor taught that Flamenco is “all about attitude!”. Well, let me tell you, at that time I had no trouble creating an “attititude”! My Mother had just passed away and I was going through a devastating divorce that I did not want… so “attitude” was easy to come by then. Now, I have to dig deeper to come up with it, but that is helping me find my dance persona. I have been able to find my new flamenco attitude, and surprisingly for me, I like it much better than the grief/disappointment attitude of old. I feel that my new flamenco attitude is more pure — not just more pure for me, but more pure for the dance as well. Now, if it will only make me a better dancer!!!! Remember, I said that I “take lessons”; I didn’t say how good I am!!! If you are interested in more information on flamenco lessons here in Portland, please go to www.flamencodance.com. I highly recommend Mitsue as an excellent teacher of Flamenco at the Solo Flamenco School of Dance. These classes also have a live guitar player, which is really important in learning Flamenco. Mitsue not only teaches dance, but also sings while she dances in front of the class and for me, it is the highlight of each class — the class dancing, the guitar playing, Mitsue singing….
October 5, 2008
My Mother had passed away about a year earlier and I thought that I had “handled” my grief well and appropriately. We had a wonderful relationship based on love and respect and I lovingly cared for her at the end of her life. Life goes on and we continue to do the ordinary things that living involves —going to the grocery store being one of them.
And so, I was at my local grocery store one day. And as occasonally happens, I kept “meeting” the same woman as she would travel up one aisle, I would be going down it and then we would come around the corners and meet each other again, going the opposite way on the next aisle over. I noticed her immediately because she reminded me of my Mother… not in her looks, but in the way she carried herself and in her hair color and style. The first time I saw her, I just noticed the resemblance, but the second time I saw her, I couldn’t even get to the end of the aisle before I realized that I was sobbing, almost uncontrollably. I stopped there in the aisle, crying, my hands covering my face , just sobbing quietly for many minutes. Eventually, I was aware of a kind gentleman – standing a respectful distance away - asking me if I was alright and could he help me or do anything for me. I tried to smile and thanked him, told him no, and that I had just seen someone that reminded me of my mother who had passed. He nodded that he understood. I said that I’d be alright, but kept crying, because it just seemed what I needed to do.
Many minutes later, I was composed enough to dry my tears and try to continue my shopping. When I got to the end of the aisle, and turned the corner, there she was again coming right toward me! ” What do I do?” “Do I tell her?” “How would this total strange that I had never seen before react to a tearful daughter telling her of the resemblance?” I decided that she had given me a gift by just showing up at the store when I was there. It was so good to see a living person so resemble the vibrant life that had been my Mother that I decided to tell her. While I was telling her what had happened, I asked her a favor. I asked her if she would please give me a “Momma Hug”. She replied “Yes, I would be happy to give you a Momma Hug.” And so this beautiful spirit of a woman granted this grief stricken daughter one last loving Mother’s hug there in the middle of the aisle in the grocery store on a sunny summer day in Kansas.
I think that people that we see who remind us strongly of those we have loved that have passed are a gift to us. It always gives me such a feeling of peace when it happens, which isn’t often. I have made it a point to tell stranges who remind me of loved ones the gift they have given to me and I thank them for just being there.
October 2, 2008
The following is reprinted with permission from Dan Viens:
“The October 2, 2008 premiere of On The Wing, the Chapman Swifts documentary, is officially SOLD OUT!
Thank you so much to all my friends and swifts fans out there for buying tickets and supporting a great cause, The Audubon Society of Portland.
If you didn’t buy tickets or can’t make the Thursday show, don’t worry, Cinema 21 has added weekend matinee shows on Saturday Oct. 4 and Sunday Oct. 5 at 1 p.m. each day. Tickets are available online at Cinema 21′s Ticket Page and will also be available at the box office.