Monday, May 30, 2011

Flamingoes at the Urban Cafe

One of my favorite destinations in Astoria is the Urban Cafe.  It's a great place for lunch, although we've been known to indulge in one their wonderful desserts as a late night treat.  Today though, I was drawn in by the flamingos.  There must have been 50 of them in the window.
 I had to check out the plants showcasing a small outside eating area too.  OK, it's been a long, wet spring, and we're starved for color.
They have a great selection of Quesadillas-Caribbean 'Jerk' Chicken, Curried Chicken, Apple and Walnut,
and Roasted garlic, to name just a few. 
Another popular menu item with my family is their Garlic Pesto Chicken Mac-a creamy, cheese, basil sauce with chicken and penne pasta.

I usually opt for one of their yummy Salads like their Urban Greek Spinach Salad, or T. Paul's Thai Salad, or their Cajun Fish Tacos. Whatever you go for, you must try the Blue Iced Tea shown below!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friends of the Library Pop Up Store

Earlier this month, the Friends of the Library Pop Up Store opened on NW 23, where the old Music Millennium store used to be.  The city is making it very attractive to non-profits to occupy vacant storefronts in the core downtown area.  It's a win win situation for both the city and the non-profit organizations. 
The store is supposed to only be open for two months, but there's the possibility of it staying open longer. 
In addition to over three thousand donated books, there's some amazing art work, cards, jewelry and gift items.
There's a great children's area which is totally user friendly for the kids to sit and look through books, and a chance for harried parents to get a chance to browse. The kids love being able to go through and read the books, and if Shelly's around, she's been known to drop everything to sit and read to them.
It's worth the trip downtown if you're looking for a good read, or a special gift or card.  Plus, the art is very reasonably priced too.  All the book sales go to the Multnomah Library for special programs, plus a  percentage of the art sales which are sold on consignment.  It's a great example of a win win situation for the Artists and the Library.
Above, some fun collage art, and below, some beautiful acrylic paintings that come framed and ready to hang in your home or office.  New art comes in daily, and new books come in every Wednesday.
There's a wonderful selection of cards....
Did I mention over 3,000 books?  I snapped up several barely used gardening books for under $5 each!
Stop by and check us out!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oprah's Last Show Girlfriend Get together -The End of An Era

The Moscow Mule and Kleenex, in case we do the 'Ugly Cry!'

The last Oprah show aired on May 25th, 2011. It was a much anticipated/dreaded event among my friends.  We are among Oprah's legions of Ultimate Fans, although we never set foot in her Chicago Studio, or made the cut for the Australia trip, or even dreamed of being in the audience when Oprah gave away all those Favorite Things.  No, we are the minions who faithfully tuned in each day. I guess you could say that we're the 'Silent Majority' of Oprah fans.  We've scheduled teacher conferences, Dr. Appointments, play dates, shopping trips, house cleaning etc, all around that all important 4 PM time slot.  No calls would be taken,
 no dinners made (except during the commercials), until the show was over.  Now we are facing a veritable desert of How to Live our Lives, how to determine what books to read, how to navigate the twists and turns of our life's journey without her inspiration and guidance. Oh the misery....

When in a quandary make a Moscow Mule.  They really are yummy!
OK, we didn't have the fancy tin cups.  I thought this was a drink that Oprah's staff made up to go along with the Yosemite trip, but not so much.  It's been around since the 50's? and there really are cute little tin cups that go with the drink.  My friend Barb's (my Gail) parents actually had them!!!  Who knew?

We figured after all the wistful conversation we needed something substantial to eat, so I made this Chopped  Italian Salad.  It was very good, but bear in mind that I'm one of those 'A little of this, and a little of that" cooks who loves to adapt recipes, so make sure the quantity of ingredients sounds right to you considering your families needs.
Italian Chopped Salad

1/3 c olive oil
1/2 c rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon each oregano, dill,
3 cloves garlic

1/3 c fresh basil chopped
1 head chopped romaine lettuce
1 red pepper finely diced
1 sm. red onion diced
3 oz. each Genoa salami cut into strips
3 oz. hard cheese diced
1 cup canned, drained, garbanzo beans
1/4 c Kalamata sliced olives
1/4 c chopped Italian Parsley
1/2 c. fresh Parmesan Cheese

OK, we had some Coconut Shrimp (from Costco), and some Pita Bread to go with the cheese and veggies.  The Coconut Shrimp was worth the calories!
In the end, Oprah spoke from her heart.  It was her Mission Statement, and it was perfect.  We'll miss you Oprah!  You're the BEST!  Thank you for a great 25 years!  Looking forward to OWN.

 I thought Mighty Girl did a great job 'Telling it like it is' what we have all learned from Oprah, so I'm linking you to her Blog: 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Painting at the Rhododendron Gardens

It's been such a rainy and busy Spring that the Art Buddies have had a hard time getting together and painting.  It seems that members of our group have been busy traveling, moving, working, or dealing with health issues, so our time together has been pretty hit and miss.  Sometimes impromptu works, so when it looked like we had a clear day, Joanie and I were able to grab our art supplies and head out to the Portland Rhododendron Gardens.
It was pretty crowded, but the flowers were beautiful, and we saw lots of lovely spots to paint from.
Due to the wet spring we've had, the Roddies were about a month behind, so the season will extend well past normal. There's so many things to paint, buildings, ducks, a bridge and foliage, that we know we have to come back in the fall.  The gardens were really lovely, and I tried to capture as many angles as I could for painting later.  I couldn't believe that in my haste to get on the road early in order to capture the early morning light, that I forgot my camera and had to use my cell phone.  
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