Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Bit of a Wander

Azalea and Lilac
Originally uploaded by Rozanne.
Someone in my neighborhood planted this bright, double-butterscotch azalea (or rhododendron?) right in front of an intensely lavender lilac. The blooms won’t last long on either, but while they do—whoa, pretty darn striking. I just got back from a bit of a wander through my neighborhood and down to the Hollywood District. I had some errands to do and work is a little thin right now (I’m attempting not to panic), and it was a gorgeous, breezy day, so I kept my pace down to a stroll.

I started by making yet another attempt to find what I’ve started referring to as the “mystery house.” This is a house I walked by a few weeks ago that has a landscaping scheme I’d like to borrow/adapt for my own front yard when, at some point in the distant future, I actually buckle down and get rid of the dumb and hateful lawn. At the time I first discovered the mystery house, it didn’t occur to me to notice which street I was on, and I’ve been intermittently trying to locate the house for several weeks now. Today, I got lucky and re-found it. I took pictures from all angles—something I probably wouldn’t have done if I’d thought anyone was home. With all the hysteria and paranoia about privacy these days, I’d half expect someone to dart out of the house and demand to know what the haybells I was doing. On the other hand, Portlanders seem pretty laidback about gawking. While my sister was visiting, we took a photo of this questionable piece of garden “art,” and the owner popped her head out of the front door and treated us to a 20-minute homily on dog poop, but in a friendly way if you can try to imagine that.

The wisteria is in full bloom now and pergolas with profusions of blossoms dripping off them are simply everywhere. I wonder why, though I had my camera, I failed to take even one photo of wisteria. Here’s one someone else had the foresight to photograph. Perhaps I didn’t take a photo because, much as I like the look of wisteria, I prefer to enjoy them at a distance. They've got the most fetid smell—reminiscent of a junior high locker room.

I topped off the jaunt with a stop at the neighborhood gelato place, which unbelievably, I hadn’t been to in months. (What is wrong with me?) As I used my little flat shovel to carve out petite mouthfuls of gelato (Belgian chocolate-brandy-caramel and lemon custard—if you must know—a weird combo, admittedly, but not as weird [assured the girl serving me] as what someone ordered last week—mango and Turkish coffee), I recalled that this was my week to focus on local dairy products and here I was in a local gelato shop.

I went back up to the counter and asked the girl what gelato was made of, since I realized I didn’t rightly know. Is it cream or milk or what? Turns out that it is a combination of mostly whole milk with some cream, but neither is local. The gelato is made in Michigan. Illusion shattered! I had assumed all their gelato was made right there on the premises, with dairy products from one of our famous Portland dairies or, if not that, at least from Oregon udders somewhere, say, Tillamook County out on the coast. Oops. This means that I will now have to go immediately to Staccato Gelato and get the lowdown on where they get their dairy products. I know for a fact they make their own gelato. Given that this is Portland and that their gelato is organic it probably means that they're onboard with the local thing as well. Fingers crossed.


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