Shanghai Tunnels – and puppies too

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Tuesday September 28, 2004

This past weekend, we were fortunate. We were invited to join the Smiths in celebrating Karen and sister Joy’s birthdays in touring Portland’s Shanghai Tunnels. This subterranean trip brought to our awareness a bit of very very dark Portland past. Actually the same dark past was common along the West Coast for years ranging from the mid 1800s. Learning it continued into this century, 1940, was disturbing. The tours are more storytelling by the host than anything but you are taken underground in Old Town below a few of the old buildings where this activity took place. Young Men or anyone able bodied were always needed for freighters traveling in and out of Western Ports. In that there were never enough volunteers, a real piracy business existed. These men were encouraged to visit this seedy part of town, given huge amounts of liquor, opiates, or tricked into thinking they were visiting a brothel then trapped after passing out and while unconcious, taken to ships where they may spend the next several years in indentured work. The two hour tour was worth the time, and though we didn’t subscribe to the idea that many ghosts are still crying out and some visitors get tapped on the shoulders, etc., we still enjoyed it. Here are the Smiths, obviously scared out of their minds:

After the tour, weren’t WE honored to be included in a fantastic dinner at Wilfe’s for the birthdays. Wilfe’s is an old Portland restaurant located in the hundred year old train station. Huge highback chairs make you comfortable, and some of the food is prepared tableside. A classic old restaurant and almost everything is first rate. We had a grand time visiting and enjoying the company of this grand family.

Just Friday night we’d been to Joy’s new home in Hillsboro near Intel to enjoy a Hamlet potluck and we had a good time there as well. Joy’s only been in there a couple of weeks and looks as settled as we are in 9 years. She’s got a huge deck, private back yard, open living and kitchen areas so the house was a perfect place to be.

On BIRD NOTES: Mark witnessed a remarkable 4 second event. While at the compute he noticed out of the corner of his eye some kind of motion out near the big tray feeder. There on the ground was a Stellar’s Jay on his back flapping about….injured? Heart Attack? Well. Then came in the finish. A nice big hawk flew right in and scooped up the Jay and flew off into the forest for dinner. A THRILL for sure. I will never know if the hawk had attacked and dropped him or his landing on the ground at first was a medical problem but boy, nature was at its finest here.

On Puppy NOTES: Little Mac goes in for shots tomorrow morning and a weigh-in. Our guess is he’s well into the mid 30 pound range now. He’s filling out like a Chessie in this growth spurt and although may play hard with the neighbor Porter or Ellie, does seem to have some good mellow moments. He’s going to be great dog. ****NOTE: After Vet visit: Mac weighs 40.6 pounds ! ! ! !

We loaded he and Tucker up Saturday for a trip to the river for Macs first exposure to real water. We’d been surprised when he seemed skittish about water when he’d been hosed off after getting dirty once. However, once we arrived out at the North end of Sauvie Island where the Willamette joins the mighty Columbia (the water was low, clear and calm)…… Tucker, as crippled as he might be, strained at his leash to once again enjoy the ecstatic thrills he associates with fetching a stick while wet. He immediately walked right in and we threw the stick a little ways. Mac watched that, began to walk in, and within seconds became the Chesapeake Retriever born to water. Here he was after about 5 minutes from arrival:

And although Tucker began to stumble after about one hour, here he was shortly before we left:


A Dog saying, “Life is good!”

We have been lucky in the housetraining. In the last two weeks, Mac is about 99% clean and now walking to the door when duty calls. We’re just beginning training basics and he already understands “sit” and almost “stay” (depending on his play mood) so I “think” the worst of juvenile puppyhood may be over. Many hours this pup is very mellow, a trait Marj & Janice tried to pick out for us and looks like they did us right. Thanks Marj & Janice.

SUNDAY, September 26: Our cold rain has been followed by glorious early fall sun. The remains of the garden are being claimed. Now that we actually have Hot Habanero Peppers of our own and enough Tomatillos to mix with them, we made one VERY Hot batch of Tomatillo Salsa and put them in small half-pint Jam Jars ….we got 11 made and two are alreay gone. This stuff mixed with some mitigating Avacados and Tomatoes wll be excellent. THEN we decided to take what was a bunch of nearly ripe tomatoes and make Ketchup. There went 7 hours……………… steaming, spicing, stirring, simmering, spicing, waiting for the water to boil out. In the end we got 7 half pints of Ketchup for about 20 pounds of Tomatoes but it’s good stuff…………….better than the basic store product.

I have missed many little things but have to post when a pup naps.

Hughes and Wankers

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Tuesday September 28, 2004

Well. In this last two months, many things were overlooked when trying to quickly write a summary note of what we’d been up to. Garden work, bird health, Tucker Health, new puppy, Rodger preparing the PANWAT Conference in Bend, etc, and a few of those special things are coming back to me. One or two I must mention on our page since they were not only great places to visit, but a special day too.

Sometime in late July or first of August Nancy G. invited us along on a tour of a water garden nursery in West Linn. The “Hughes Water Garden” was a most interesting diversion. We drove to Nancy’s house and then she drove us through a beautiful country drive to the Nursery where some very beautiful and extensive display water gardens were in full summer bounty. Here’s one of the prettiest waterfalls I’ve seen that’s simply running on pumps behind the scenes:

If you’re ever in the West Linn area, you’ll enjoy a visit to this place. You can see more of the details at their web-site here http ://www.waterplant.com/…..just CLICK on the URL in our LINK section.

After the nursery visit, Nancy had us all return to her home for yet another grand lunch (Nancy always serves something very interesting and when we’re lucky enough to visit, we usually have to ask for the recipe to make again). We all enjoyed a grand time catching up there, seeing progress on Nancy’s extensive garden areas, and of course, exchanging bird news and views.

The best part? Hughes is located not far from a turn you make in the road at what location? “Wanker’s Corner” ……….yep, I didn’t make it up. For all you Californians, that’s not a sex term, Wanker’s is some old family here who run a little produce store, and now gift area too……. sorry to disappoint you. We shoulda took a picture.

a roofing day makes time for a POST

Bloged in Family,Scuff Boys,TRAVEL by mark Friday September 17, 2004

A Journal Post in late September, 2004, finally.

With some rain around, we have ended up with a roofing crew up above replacing our tje old worn roof on the old part of the house. We’d hoped it would last until no penalties could allow a 401k withdrawal, but in a very wet storm three weeks ago, leaks appeared in the kitchen. So this morning, oily felt cloth on the ground, noise above, and a nervous pup below, I’m letting him over-nap and catching up on my diary.

We made it to Chet’s birthday, and the party turned out great. The local dine-and-dance where they live holds a party every month for regulars who have birthdays that month. Chet and Mary were both turning 75 and the featured honorees at this club while we were there. What a great party. The potluck food was some of the best I’ve seen in years that included the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten (Mary herself made the chicken). That evening Rodger and I went back to Karen’s to prepare for the family party. Karen had outdone herself. Some of the house was newly painted, things were squeaky clean. Aunt Paula was with us, Bruce and Kevin were there from SF, and we all prepped food and chatted until late. We returned the next morning to BBQ ribs, make ice cream, etc., just before guests began arriving. The party was fabulous, everything turned out to be AAA plus thanks in large part to Karen’s great home and in small part to her own creation, the beautiful birthday cake:

That was ONE delicious cake! Everybody had a good time and Rodger felt good about the work to get things organized from Portland while his family did a lot of things to help make this happen. Including Aunt Paula allowing us to stay again! She had dozens of HUGE fresh tomatoes that Mark kept slicing all weekend….there is NO more THRILLING moments in life for Mark than, at the peak of summer, having just-picked garden tomatoes, and eating fresh corn. He has a weakness at this high garden time, has never sought help, and most likely believes himself to not have a problem.

One MORE thing about that party. Lori and Jeremy brought their Ice Cream Maker and Mark followed her recipe to make ice cream that day. IT was so good, he prompty came home and pulled out his Mom’s old White Mountain freezer and made some in Portland for a neighborhood get-together we had. We had completely forgotten how delicious this home-made stuff is (and no nagging about the fat content, hah!)

WHO the Heck thought getting a puppy was a good idea? I think raising a puppy requires youth and stamina in a small way related to raising a human (of course the time span is short enough for puppies that perhaps it’s tolerable). Sorry to report there are NO picture updates since our camera is on-loan to an associate of Rodgers from OHSU.

Doug and his wife are having their first baby so the camera went to aid in this great event. Adrianna had the baby early this week, so maybe we’ll get a photo or two of the pup and whatever else is happening by next weekend.

Both of us feel very insignificant in a repeating whirlwind of: 1) getting up to let the pup out without enough sleep and walking in the yard until he does a number 1 and 2, 2) trying to get him revved up for some retrieving and play, 3) feed him and Tucker….across the room from each other (Tucker’s mix takes mixing 3 meds, some wet and dry together), 4) getting the pup to play hard enough so he can 5) nap about an hour mid-morning, and then: 6) repeat steps 2-5 until bedtime that night. On the sleeping thing, we try to stay up late so the pup will sleep longer and as time is passing he actually IS sleeping just a few minutes longer each week.

We’re working on a few commands (he’s already a super retriever….probably should have gone to a hunting family) and he is not a bad trainee. He seems to understand sit, stay, come, potty although the orders aren’t always obeyed. Attention span is very short (remember your last pup?).

He has some friends in the neighborhood. Paul and Kristin, our newest neighbors just got a Chocolate Lab, “Porter”, that’s about two weeks younger than Mac so they offer a good romp for the two when they can. These two will growl and play until they pass out. The Smiths Bernese Mtn Dog, “Ellie” is older than both and of course, much milder natured, but she can keep up for a while. Mac plays completely different with Ellie as opposed to Porter, the male. This is great having these three puppies so close. These ROMPS can be a godsend when the pup has ME worn out.

Mark brought him up to OHSU to see Rodger’s cronies…walking across campus this dog got a LOT of great reviews! I thoroughly enjoyed that little trip.
Here’s his latest pic taken on Labor Day:

Old Man Tucker is adjusting better than we thought he would when Mac first arrived. He is actually in a little better health if for no more reason than trying to make sure the pup isn’t going to get some suspected scrap of food without him getting a share. He now allows puppy licks most of the time, and does pay attention to what’s happening. Yesterday when the pup was in the outside kennel (teaching him to find it’s okay to be alone)….he cried a little. Tucker did something I thought VERY interesting. He walked up the kennel, tail wagging, and seemed to want to console the young puppy. The pup also watches the old man. IF they go outside at the same time, Mac often watches the old guy and as soon as Tucker begins the toilet business, so will Mac. Sort of cute to see this role-model business going on.

This new MAC has one fine Doggy Personality. He remains pleasant always, and wants to please. Perhaps he’s a little stubborn, but all Chesepeakes seem to be, and the attention span shortage is just age related. He really DOES seem to watch a LOT and cock the head so I believe he’s a smart dog. He really IS trying to figure things out. Friends loaned us the small kennel in the yard and the first time we left him in it while going to a store, he had escaped when we returned. How? When I put him back in and watched him
from inside, he quickly remembered that he could run from one end to the other, jump, and if his paws can get ahold of the top, he could literally pull himself out of the cage. That he did again. I prompty have placed a tarp as a cover on the kennel and actually with this rain, it’s probably a good thing we have.

His REAL problem is getting carsick every time he rides in a car after about 4 miles. This motion sickness prompty disappears as soon as the car stops but he loses his food every time and I DO hope growing up will take care of that because THIS dog needs to go to water in a few weeks.

Back early in August we reported on our page about the Flying Squirrel letting us take pics. Well, it so happens, he HAS gotten used to us and sees no threat I guess…..well at least ONE of the little guys does. On Aug 19 a flying squirrel came into the feeder while we were outside and talking about 10:00 pm….. he stayed to eat with us 10 feet away. Rodger then approached within two feet of him….and he stayed. We talked to him, walked back and forth for about an hour. An extraordinary experience considering these guys are supposed to be completely shy…………… A large BUCK was out front at same time under the apple tree.

We DID get to go to BEND about this time and thoroughly enjoyed an evening OFF before we got the puppy and before we knew Jocko was ill. It was great. We enjoyed two relaxing nites – watching some of the Olympics, listening to the Deschutes River below the condo, and watching birds. We really enjoyed some great Hummingbird viewing – they were exhibiting behavior we rarely saw at home. They were going after insects!!!! Catching them mid-air. This put me a little more at ease about their southbound migration. I had known they eat insects later in the summer, but knowing many flowers have already spent their blossoms by this season, I wondered how they sustained themselves for that long flight. Well. Insects give them all that protein they can use for the energy needed. We ALSO had a fabulous meal at a recommended restaurant. Rodger went to “preview” it for some of the scientists that would be showing up late September for the conference. The place is called, “Café Rosemary” and is located about Newport and 12th just across from the Newport Market. Here’s a review I clipped from the web, and I must say, it’s accurate:

Cafe Rosemary / / / 222 NW Irving, Bend; 541/317-0276
Appreciative diners have been known to stand and applaud the food and chef Bob Brown at this simple bistro. The bright room has a fireplace and Oriental carpets to complement white-tablecloth fine dining. Lunches include savory thick-crusted pizzette, salads of field greens, and specials such as roasted-vegetable ravioli. Dinners are pure magic—especially when served prix fixe for, say, Valentine’s Day—and might feature caviar on heart-shaped blini; prawns on rosemary skewers; consommé with truffles; smoked duck breast with jalapeño polenta; salads with fresh pears, Gorgonzola, and sweet roasted nuts; peppered chateaubriand; and chocolate marquise to finish. Tuesday nights feature a changing prix-fixe worldly regional menu. All food can be prepared to go. $$; AE, MC, V; checks OK; lunch Mon-Fri, dinner Tues-Sun; beer and wine; reservations not necessary; call for directions.

IF YOU go to Bend, I hope you can enjoy a lovely time there. They had some great bread at the restaurant by the way, and by asking we found it made at a local bakery there: “Delusso Bakery”….fine artisan breads, so make sure you pick up a loaf to bring home when you go (we recommend the Italian Country Bread and Seeded Poppy Bread)

One more Bend item, breakfasts at the “Alpenglow Café” are made from scratch…….and delicious.

Our return trip brought us back U.S. 26 which brings you close to Mt. Hood. Here’s a beautiful spot at Trillium Lake with this view of Mt Hood:

We had never seen this Peak so very dry…… remember our dry summer has been memorable. (They “dry” part ended just a short time ago).
================================

September and October are usually beautiful months with perfect days and cool nights. Our DRY summer came to an end with a gusher of rain at the end of August (the GREAT part is that it put an end to fire danger and lawns all over this county brightened up) and since then, we’ve had showers off and on. That changed everything about the garden. In the past, I’ve been able to can and pick up to the middle or end of September. Not so this time. The corn did NOT make it (late planting gamble did not pay), and most of the garden is now failing except for herbs, rhubarb, lettuce. I’m STILL hoping somehow that dry weather will return so we can get the last of peppers and hundreds of tomatoes.

Oh well.

In other thoughts, this ad began in today’s Oregonian, and only one call on Friday, from “Nellie” in Woodburn who has one Molucca Cockatoo (beautiful huge pink/white birds —friend Sheila has one called “Peaches”) and two Amazon Parrots. She made an offer of $50 and I have told her I’ll meet her somewhere between Woodburn and here if I don’t get a better offer during the w/e:

“PARROT Pellets, Harrison’s 25 lb. course ground and bag walnut shell, new $75/obo 503.978.0961
Published in The Oregonian on 09/17 “

So it appears we’re getting used to the quiet in the house………….we’re hangin on to the cage though…Maybe in a year we may elect to adopt another Parrot?

I wanted to mention the aerobic swim nights at neighbor/friend Smiths once again. It truly has been a unique and great experience. The workout is a little over an hour, and doesn’t end there. These people always feed the 6-7 people a wonderful dinner sometimes simply making up some great stir-fry or a new salad or “something”………the summer meals have been wonderfully seasonal. These are great people.

On to some fine dining in the kitchen. Today’s menu to include a garden ripe tomato on a BLT with creamed corn (frozen from last year)………………..yummy.

Jocko – a little service

Bloged in General Home Life,Scuff Boys by mark Thursday September 9, 2004

Friends all:
It may seem a little weird to anyone who may not have met this little bird that we are carrying on about him. However, if you have met him sometime in the past, your notes have shown you understand our being a little taken aback about this little guy’s departure after noisily staying around 35 years.

We had the most silly weepy little private internment service Tuesday night. We wrapped the little guy up and buried him right next to his old bird cage which sits at the garage entrance. His feathers were still soft and warm even though he’d been in the cooler……………..it was a little hard to pet him one more time. His stone was a gift last year from Karen S. which read, “Flowers and Song”. We felt the bird cage is now overgrown with flowers and of course the song would have been Jocko for the last 35 years.

We’re doing well and did appreciate the thoughts, calls, and notes sent in his behalf.
We’re getting back ON track and laughter is back in this home thanks to you all. In fact it’s a “cooking” day…………..everything but funeral potatoes!
Mark & Rodger.

JOCKO – Obit and memoir

Bloged in Family,General Home Life,Scuff Boys by mark Tuesday September 7, 2004

JOCKO September 5, 2004
jocko

In Memoriam

Most of our friends and family have met our dear pet, Jocko, the African Grey, Congo Red Variety, Parrot that joined Mark in Salt Lake City about 1970 by being rescued from a pet store. We believe he’s lived quite happily with us since and in fact, when Rodger joined Mark in 1989, Jocko immediately took to him as his selected mate. With affection, Jocko attempted to regurgitate food for his mate Rodger many times to show his love and respect.

Unfortunately, Jocko fell ill about 2-3 weeks ago and at first we did not recognize what it was. He began making a new sound and we only thought he was imitating something we didn’t connect with. About the time the puppy arrived, we noticed he had congestion in his breathing. Within a few days, his appetite was being suppressed, and he coughed up some material that contained some blood. Realizing then that something was very wrong. he was taken to the vet the next day. Some $300 later we only knew that nothing showed up in the blood screens and we were to begin giving medicine to him 3 times daily.

Birds are amazing in their abilities to communicate both language and mood until they become ill. They’re likely to sit quietly and decline without being able to say, “I’m sick.” That was the case here, and though we began a mighty effort to restore him, we have come to believe he may well have had a cancer (African Greys are more prone than other birds to this disease) or some kind of pneumonia that the blood tests did not pick up.

Friday night he seemed better and at night actually walked off the cage and into the kitchen to join us and dogs (as he often did when in good moods). On Sunday we realized he still wasn’t eating enough but he was eating some. About 1:00 pm however, he went into some kind of cardiac arrest and while we were by him collapsed and passed away quickly.

Monday and this morning have seemed hauntingly quiet in this house, a home that has been the center of this birds daily wake up calls, whistles, “Hellos” and of course, always the “Bye”, or “Later” when Rodger left for work. After 35 years of that, you sharply feel and recognize how much joy and laughter those sounds have meant.
——————–

WE NOW HOPE TO WRITE A FEW MEMORIES ABOUT THIS BELOVED BIRD and HOPE any friends or family who have memories will post a comment about him as well. This little memory lane note may get added to as this week rolls along.

1970.
Mark and friend Drew met a very very old parrot owned by friends who’d inherited “Polly” when Don’s aunt died in her late eighties. Polly was a Mexican Double Yellow Head and that breed is well known for their singing abilities. Polly singing brought on gales of laughter because we’d be looking at a small old yellow headed Parrot that sounded exactly like a 90 year old wobbly voice trying to sing. We thought a parrot would be fun. After some research, we decided an African Grey would suit us well and we found one at a pet store there in Salt Lake and prompty paid our $50. to buy him from “Kelly” who’ll be mentioned later.

This young poor parrot was terrified of us having been captured in Africa and brought here simply for someone to make money. We were truly unaware of the destruction of nature that bird piracy caused and being in our young twenties, probably wouldn’t have regarded that. After a long life with this parrot, however, and learning how complex they are, I’m now horrified that animal piracy goes on at all. Hundreds die to get one live animal to the sale market. ANWAY. I digress. We got this bird home, set up the big cage and waited for him to speak and thank us for the nice place to live. Jocko screamed in terror every time we approached even if to feed and that behavior continued for six months. I felt both sadness for him and frustration about not making any progress. At the six month mark, friends were over one evening and our young heads were enjoying being the Non-Mormons in Salt Lake, sneaking out to clubs, feeling very hip. We began with a few cocktails prior to going out usually and such was the case this night. After about three drinks, somebody got the big idea to get the bird drunk and see if he’d relax. Hm. We fixed Jocko a nice Peach Brandy and what do you know. After screaming at us to just place the drink in the cage he began drinking. He drank so much I began to think he’d get alcohol poisoning so removed it……within 10 minutes, the alcohol went to his brain. He spit out a big “Hello” for the first time since we’d had him, and I believe repeated every hello he’d heard since moving in. He stopped growling, we were thrilled. The next morning, he was so hung over he was leaning forward on his perch and his beak was on the cage bars to hold himself up. He never screamed again like he’d been doing. Not in the 35 years he was with us. He never got alcohol much either.

Drew remained leery of that bird and never felt comfortable with him. He reminded me today of that early time with Jocko, being unable to get him back on his cage. Drew hooked up the vacuum hose, turned on the machine and edged Jocko back to the cage that way. Drew also remembered having a cup of coffee at the house on Foothill where the breakfast nook was right in front of a large window, the entry door with mail box by the side. That one morning, as he was quietly relaxing after a long night working at the hospital, the mail man was coming down the driveway. Jocko responded with a loud wolf-whistle and a “Hi, how are you?” . The mailman couldn’t see the bird….only Drew. He backed out of the driveway and didn’t deliver to us that day.

That began a lifetime of coming to understand an animal who is supremely intelligent, loving and very much believes you all are part of his flock.

One of the most unforgettable for both Jocko and I of course would be August 17, 1989 when Rodger came over at night. I went to the bathroom and when I came out, Jocko was on Rodger’s shoulder and cooing along with R. WHAT? I couldn’t believe it. It was love at first sight for this bird and has been ever since. Jocko would do anything for Rodger.

There were hundreds of evenings in these years spent with friends over where this bird brought about laughter and affection simply by calling out the dog, whistling, or laughing and mocking our own behavior. IF HE laughed, we would laugh and that made him laugh more, so the echoing sometimes continued for quite a while. One night I remember well was with Peter Houseknecht. Peter somehow said something that made Jocko laugh. That made Peter laugh. That made Jocko laugh, and so on for at least 10 minutes. We were all in tears before Jocko finally stopped then smugly just stared at us like we were all crazy.

There’s nothing like a pet who loves to simply be picked up off the cage, sit on your shoulder and walk around the yard with you. At these moments when he felt a little more vulnerable than normal looking at the tall trees, etc., he’d often coo and be extremely affectionate.

Several people have written sentiments to us about Jocko’s passing, and may include one or two …. Here’s one from my old friend Jim Tueller. I have known Jim since we were both young ex-Mormon Returned Missionaries living in Salt Lake with our partners. Jim met Jocko many times, and expressed his thoughts in this note……many have said they have told stories about Jocko for the last 20-30 years:

Mark & Rodger (Sept 7, 2004):
Oh guys, what sad, sad news. I’m so very sorry. I assumed, as I’m sure you did too, that Jocko would outlive us all. I’m grateful for the many good memories I have of him (it surprises me how often I end up repeating stories about him, and have for years). Truth be known, I’ve been a little intimidated by him since he took a bite of Ches many, many years ago. (Come to think of it, perhaps he knew something I didn’t….that was mean and I retract that.) I can only imagine how sad and lonely you must be to have him gone. Please know that my thoughts are with you. I’m sorry that John never got to meet him. He loves birds. Please know we’ll be thinking about you and that we are so very sorry.
Love, Jim & John
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I must stop for the moment and continue later.

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