Story 4Sept2022

Working backward, my guests and I returned from Portland in the early evening and rested for a bit. I also made popcorn and turned on House of Dragons, episode 3, and we enjoyed the romp of the bloodthirsty and power-crazed medieval-like plot (without the dirt and disease). We also opened one of the bottles of wine from yesterday. After that, my guests rested, and I wrote some more SciFi for a Naval Institute story contest. If I understand the directions, three-thousand words of fiction based on technology in the future or that past. I thought I would try out for it. I have to 15Sept to submit the story, so it is a bit rushed.

To leave the Pearl, I parked Air Volvo in my usual parking garage in the Pearl near Powell’s Books and had to descend and get the car. We were stuck in a huge line of cars on the way out, breathing car fumes. Next time I may pick an above-ground parking option!

I then popped us over for a short visit to Guardian Games to check out some new stuff. There is no Spelljammer single book for sale for players–my role-play gaming group is considering using Spelljammer for Dungeons and Dragons 5E, which was just released. I could be a space hamster! Also, they did not have the solo version of Concordia, a fav board game, and thus I left empty-handed. My guests were surprised by the size and depth of the Guardian Games store. This is not some hole-in-the-wall store–it is impressive.

Before getting Air Volvo, I sat on many benches while my guests toured the Art in the Pearl show in the park off of, as you might guess, Park Street in Portland. My back is more brittle since the chemotherapy, and I can stand about an hour before I get uncomfortable, but sitting stops and resets the discomfort. At the show, I bought one print that fit my horror writing, and I just wanted to remember the artist’s name if it came up again: Tai, so I got a print. I have a print of “I’m Not Strange, I’m Just Not Normal.” The color one is nice, but I got a small (cheap) black and white print.

The Art in the Pearl covered two small blocks with folks with stop signs to halt traffic as needed. The artists had a tent and usually a chair with all their goods well displayed. The quality of the items was a surprise to me, and folks were buying from what I could tell. There was plenty of live music, and food was available. The crowd was older and looked like they could afford the art. The artists were often younger with the more craft-looking items. The glass, jewelry, and more expensive pieces were older artists who seemed to have a following and nicer tents and displays.

I had to sit a few times and did miss a bit of the show. Only the art of Tai spoke to me, but there were a few really nice glass and pottery items that were beautiful and expensive. I managed to resist.

We were at Von Ebert before our walk of four Portland-sized blocks (short blocks in New York City) downhill. This is the replacement for Fatheads that failed. The food is now less complex and less huge and strange midwestern-styled food (brisket sandwich with cheese and a fried egg called “heart attack” has vanished). The beer selection is still vast and much made there. I had an excellent ale and the smoked chicken wings and shared a rather industrial-looking hummus plate, but the hummus was fresh, covered in some olive oil, and the pita was baked in the pizza oven, making it crisp and less chewy. My guests had pizza and shared some of my hummus.

I did not share my two huge chicken wings. There was once a sign, I remember, that suggested, “Chickens stood in line to be part of the wings here–they are that good.” The wings are smoked, brushed with a sauce of your choice, and baked again. The best I have had, and the size of the wings are twice what you sometimes get at lessor establishments.

For those who have eaten at Fatheads with me, we have the Pacific Northwest remake of Fatheads impacted by the pandemic. No menu. You order on an app that knows your table number and opens a tab by supplying a credit card number. Next,  order beer and food on your phone. No waiters. You can get a sample of a beer from the bartender. Sort of disconcerting at first, but it works.

Before lodging the car at the Pearl and finding the best wings, we were at the other side of the river near OMSI. Cargo is a store that the now-defunct Pier One always tried to be. I was looking for a shirt for Susie; their stock changes often, but nothing worked today. There are trinkets, toys, kites, paper lamps, Japanese items of all sorts, and even food. Here you could, in the past, buy a saint candle dedicated to Ruth Ginsburg and Robert Muller. Tarot readings were available, and I passed.

We went to see Susie before heading to Portland. Without experiencing any events, we took Air Volvo across Beaverton, paying close attention to the speed limits that constantly rise and fall without much warning. It was a perfect September day–Oregon is best in September and October, with the rains graying us in November.

Susie was pleased to see my guests and to visit Metzger Park. Rachel, the nurse aide for Sunday mornings, got Susie ready and in her wheelchair. We then took her to her favorite bench, the cedars, and chatted for about an hour with a call to her mother, Leta, included in that time. Metzger Park was busy with dogs and kids with their families. Tiny butterflies were close to the ground, and dragon and damsel flies were buzzing higher up. Crows were calling out at the tree tops. We did not see any rabbits or hummingbirds today.

Susie was thrilled to see us but was sad that she could not head to Cargo and Portland with us. “I am trying,” she always says. Susie tried to hold more of a conversation today, but the words were garbled, and she could not find the words she wanted. It is hard for her to not be able to communicate her thoughts and to be able to leave the hummingbird house. We have more physical therapy for her on Tuesday afternoon. There is hope for more choices in the future.

Before we visited Susie, we stopped at the food trucks and got some waffle sandwiches for breakfast. The carts were starting to open, but the waffle place was going strong.

After getting started, we opened up the crate with the 3D-Printer. It seems intact. I will test it on Wednesday.

Before heading out in Air Volvo, I started the day at 6:45ish and made liberal coffee and a bagel. Then, I wrote the blog and got ready to face the day. I need to take food with my meds, so technically, I had two breakfasts.

Grammarly says I have been writing for 191 weeks straight (since before the pandemic) for those keeping scores. It also rates my grammar which has improved to be 55% better than most (improving from sad but not unexpected 35%). My other numbers are very high, but most are because I write much more than most folks. Pumping out usually a thousand words or more a day.

I use WordPress, the advanced but not business license, for my very basic website,, and it updates the blog when I push the Publish button. I use their legacy editor (the Java-based one fails too often for me) after working with WordPress tech support (they all but begged me to use the legacy one). I have the paid-for license for Grammarly, and it thus edits some style items. Usually, I let it push me, and I accept the Oxford comma (wincing often).

I am delighted (previously ‘happy’ but Grammarly thought ‘delighted better…hmmm) with my setup but wish the download and upload for WordPress was not another $200 a year for a business account. I manage with just the editor. I hear that there is better stuff out there to replace WordPress, but nothing so far works as well as Grammarly. It plugs into Word, too, and in the same license. It is strongly recommended, but only if you can take the ego-bruising updates.

Thanks for reading.

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