Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Aloha: the 50 year old postcard found in the walls of our 1910 house

The last post about the items found in the walls during our renovation introduced us to the Erwin family. Information found at the Oregon Historical Society’s Research Library tells me beginning in the mid 1930s, our house was home to several members of the Erwin family, including Jos C whose occupation was listed as Millwrt PCorp, Anna, Irene, as well as Quentin and Valley T. whose occupations were listed as Millwkr PCorp. When I saw the name, I recognized it because of the following postcard found lost between the cabinets in the kitchen...
postcard from hawaii
Postcard back
Mar 29, 1957?
27-Kai-Nani Place
Lanikai, Hawaii TH
Dear Mrs. Erwin-
These are the girls I saw dancing Sunday. A wealthy Chinaman wife had a baby boy - 1 yr old- there were 1000 of us at the feast, 5 pigs roasted under ground, sweet potatoes roasted under ground, dish long rice and chicken, all the beer you could drink Coke. I never (saw) such a feed. (Having) a grand time. Love, Eta
I can’t read the year on the postcard, but if it is 1957, the Erwin family lived here for many years.

Other stories of items found in the walls during renovation can be found here, here, and here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

This here is called INSULATION

The breeze blowing through the kitchen and against the plastic doorway has stopped. And this is the reason why...
Sweet jesus, insulation is a very good thing. The new bathroom upstairs is also full of this stuff. And the sound is amazing. So. Very. Quiet. Oh, and the cold air barreling through the house has subsided.
Now don't be jealous of what you're going to see next. I know, I know. It's damn exciting. And this isn't the only one of these up right now. Take it in people...
Admiring my plastic sheet in the living room?
That's plastic. And it smells plasticky. It divides the living room, and the big room in the basement right now. Alas I shall not complain about it because it's there to prevent the drywall dust from covering everything. Did you hear that? Drywall people! We're getting drywall! Yes, yes, yes, as if the excitement of the insulation wasn't already enough, next comes drywall. Sigh. I'm going to miss living like this. I really should take a picture of our camp kitchen in the basement. Then you'd be wicked jealous. Instead, you get a picture of Wink in this renovation. The formerly white fluffy dog is doin' her frog leg pose for you, featuring her new renovation style shade of dirty gray. MMMMMmmmmmmmmm.
Renovation dawg

Monday, January 29, 2007

Flashback to the clubs, 1984

Ran across Grandmaster Flash today: realized I still know every word to this song, most likely from the clubs in SoCal 1984-1986 (mom, cover your ears). My quintessential dance routine was totally set to this song. Though unlike in the video, I did not incorporate The Worm into it.

Some trivia I found: "This was one of the first socially conscious rap songs. Groups like Public Enemy and KRS One emerged later in the '80s with rap songs that usually had a political message of some kind. Chuck D of Public Enemy even called rap "The black CNN" for its ability to reach a young black audience." Figures I'd like it.

Some of my favorite bits of lyrics include:
Rang dang diggedy dang di-dang
Rang dang diggedy dang di-dang
Rang dang diggedy dang di-dang
Diggedy dang di-dang diggedy dang di-dang
And then there's:
A street kid gets arrested, gonna do some time
He got out three years from now just to commit more crime
A businessman is caught with 24 kilos
He's out on bail and out of jail
And that's the way it goes

(Kane sugar kane sugar kane)

Athletes rejected, governors corrected
Gangsters, thugs and smugglers are thoroughly respected
The money gets divided
The women get excited
Now I'm broke and it's no joke
It's hard as hell to fight it, don't buy it

Excuse me while I go practice my routine...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Roller girls will kick your ass

roller derby fast
Ever since reading of Rozanne's experience at Roller Derby, I've been wanting to go. The season is just getting underway and let's say here and now, those girls rock. And the scene is so Portland and a great mix of all different kinds of people. And the place was packed! It's totally not about exploitation of women under the faux guise of sports: it's about women rockin' it. But I did notice the guy ref' wore short shorts...
roller derby short shorts
roller derby colors
And I had no idea Elvis would be there...
elvis loves roller derby
That's Saavy D kickin' it with Elvis: nice to see her on this side of the country, along with her lovely husband PhiDo. Heh heh heh. PhiDo. Oh, it's the little things that make me laugh.

I am ***so*** going to go to more Roller Derby matches. Those girls kick ass.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

My 100,000th Visitor

Congratulations to the 100,000 visitor to LeLo in NoPo. It seems all too fitting that it was my brother:

Here Ja'AmLo. This is for you. From you. For you.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Porn and Pancakes—can we add Plinko and Pork?

Why can't I stop laughing about this? So many things come to mind, from what exactly do you do with the maple syrup, to the House of Porncakes, oh it could go on forever. Yes, I'm 12 years old again today. Happy Friday.

Must credit Ja'AmLo for today's content and Purple Twinkie for today's graphics. Thanks boys!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Care for some brown water?

Brown water flows in our sink today. I kept rinsing out the coffee pitcher this morning, thinking it was brown because of yesterday's coffee. But it never turned clear. Turns out there's a broken water main within a mile of us here in North Portland, and while some folks completely don't have water, many of us have brown water. It's gross. And we shouldn't drink it. And how do I know this? Because the City of Portland's water bureau has a blog. And they even are posting photos. Love them! But I don't love the brown water. El grosso.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

So how's that little remodel goin'?

I'd say it's goin' pretty good. But the dirt and dust is going to put me over the edge. But hey! The skylight in the future-bathroom upstairs went in today:
And god said, let there be light
Last week the floors in the kitchen were yanked. Here you can see the kitchen island. It's sexy hot, isn't it? WALK AROUND THE ISLAND: AROUND! (just don't step in the hole in the floor: that could hurt)
That there is our kitchen island
Exciting news? Plumbing and electrical are all in. See? Check it out...
Electrical and plumbing is in
Let's do an introduction: 1910 wiring? Meet 2007 wiring. Can we all be friends?
Really exciting news? The former zippered plastic doorway has been upgraded! Our former exterior screen door has been covered in plastic and temporarily hinged so that we have a really nice barrier and pass through from construction zone to living area.
Floors are gone...
And it keeps all of the dirt and dust out (ahahhahhahahhahahahhahahhahahha! that's a funny joke!). Sigh. It's the little things that bring me joy these days.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The plot thickens

More about the items found in the walls during the remodel of our 1910 Portland house...Remember where we left off about the boxer Solly Burke and the mysterious envelope from a life insurance agency? There were more than just newspaper clippings. There were contracts, too. Real contracts, perfectly preserved from the 1920s. Some carbon copies, some mimeographs. Some originals. Take for example, this contract from a San Francisco fight...
Contract to fight in San Francisco
Note here that it's made out to both Henry Dengel and Solly Burke. I've been trying to understand the relationship between the two names. Was Henry Solly's manager? Was "Solly Burke" Henry's stage name? Nothing comes up in google for Henry Dengel. But both Solly and Sailor Burke come up as boxers. Oh, and in case you were wondering, let's answer this question right now...
Solly Burke wore purple tights
He wore purple tights. But also answered there is that he was his own manager. So I'm thinking Henry is the real name of Solly.
So here is a contract now for "Sailor Burke" to fight in Pennsylvania...
Boxing contract, Pennyslvania 1924
He was contracted to fight Danny Gordon. Hmm. I don't recognize that name. But I do recognize the name in this contract...
Did Burke fight Jack Dempsey?
So did Burke fight Happy Jack Dempsey?! This contract is from Galveston, Texas, for a fight in 1928. Can you smell the mimeo? I'd rather not, but it's awfully cool to look at.

So I ventured to the Oregon Historical Society Research Library last week when I had a spare hour. First of all, an hour is in no way going to do justice to the work I need to do there. It was like revisiting the library of my childhood: reference books and catalog card references to point you to microfiche. Yowza. It's been awhile. But of the late 20's and early 30's books listing all of Portland's residents, I found no listing for Solly Burke nor for Henry Dengel. Beginning in 1930, they published a reverse listing, meaning I could look up the address and see the names and occupations of those that lived in the house. In the late 1920s, a tile contractor lived in the house, but beginning in the early 1930s, the name of Erwin appeared, listing several names, all employed as milwrights at "PCorp". I recognized the name Erwin because that name appears on a postcard that also appeared from the walls of this incredibly fascinating house....
of course this is to be continued.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Snow dreadlocks

Snow dreadlocks
I wasn't going to blog about Portland's snowstorm. But now that my dog has snow dreadlocks, I really can't help myself. (At least I'm not bitching about the news, weather forecasters, Tri-Met service, school officals, take your pick.) Wink loves the snow. LOVES it. Running, romping, jumping, snorting, galavanting: it really is fun. But when she comes in, she's covered in these snow dreadlocks. Clumps of snow form and stick to her fur: in her paws, legs, underbelly, chest, ears and her face/beard. We've learned to put this little undershirt on her to cover her belly and front legs, and the stylish down vest from Old Navy keeps her warm (stop laughing). But the snow dreads are new. We didn't have much snow last year, but with this week's storm, she's out and about galavanting like crazy. Here are some more snow pics...
the garden gate in the snowGrasses con snowHouse in the snow

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Do you say pop, soda, or coke when it comes to your soft drink?

I grew up in soda land, but now living in Portland, Oregon, evidently most people call it pop. I always think that sounds weird. I order sodas, I buy sodas, and it's not sodapop. And to think of calling a 7-up soda a Coke? What's with that?!?! Check out this chart and see if it's accurate for you.

Monday, January 15, 2007

It's a cold self portrait

the light has been amazing lately
The morning light lately has been magical. Glowing pink in this incredible cold. Cold, cold, cold. I sit here this evening with my heating pad behind my back, the portable heater on high a few feet away, sipping a hot cuppa chai. Good lord, am I going to warm up? 19 degrees out this morning. Somewhere in the 30s today. The contractors have doors open, and holes in the floors, holes in the walls directly to the outside. It's cold.

Hawaii is sounding so lovely today. For a moment this afternoon I visited here
and I remembered...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

How the records of a boxer from the 1920s ended up in the walls of our 1910 Portland house

I don’t know the how, but I know that with the renovation of our kitchen, the mysterious envelope from a life insurance agency covered in dust and debris was given to me by our contractor. As you know, the demolition has uncovered some great stuff, including this sweet little book. But this? This is the mystery of them all.
Meet Solly Burke. Also known as Sailor Burke, and possibly originally named Henry Dengel.
Solly Burke
Here’s Henry’s professional membership card:
Henry Dengels Membership Card

A collection of newspaper clippings, documenting the boxing fights around the country in the late 1920s and early 1930s of Solly Burke were carefully clipped or torn out of the paper, and eventually placed in the envelope. Take for example...his training with Joe Lewis:
Joe Lewis trained with Solly Burke
And the miscellaneous clippings...
Miscellaneous clipping
Clipping dated May 21, 1925
Another miscellaneous clipping
Here’s an article about Solly Burke..
An article written about boxer Solly Burke

But what’s proving to be really interesting, are the contracts, complete with signatures, dates, fees paid, and who Solly Burke fought. I even know what color his shorts were...
To be continued
P.S. Some of the documents also use the name Sailor Burke. Googling both Sollie and Sailor Burke turns up boxers. Including lots of information about Sailor Burke, and this great photo.
P.P.S. Making this even a little more eerie, I'm related to the name Burke.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Things I love about my mother

Her humor and ability to laugh at just about anything
Keen eye
List making skills
Schedule making skills
Creativity and ability to see things in a certain creative light
Love of little children: it transforms her into a whole different person
Sarcasm: I know few people with her level of sarcasm. It blows off the sarcasm charts.
Love of friends
Love of art
Love of nature
Love of books and crosswords
Ability to figure things out
Task monger
Her moods and emotions

I realize so many of the things I identify in my mother are things I identify in myself. I think that’s a good thing.

Happy birthday mom. I wish I was there to give you a big birthday hug.
Your Middle Child and Second Daughter

P.S. I also really love that her name rhymes with Fartsy.

Hanger ons

This is the only part of this wall left. Only temporary as it holds a few important items, as you can tell from the photo. Notes on photo in Flickr if you're really interested....
Things hanging on during the kitchen remodel

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Hey there hi there ho there

The post about gentrification can be found here.
There's also another one here.

And for you regulars who are wondering what the hell I'm referring to, you can read The Oregonian article here.

But I'd really suggest you start with Steve's great posts first.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Before and during: photos from our remodel

Living through a remodel is delicious! Here are some photos to take in and enjoy. I'm getting used to it, actually, and all will be fine. But here's what the center of our house looks like. Keep in mind we go through here to get upstairs, to get downstairs, to get to the front of the house, etc. I'm keeping my mind focused on when I'll be able to post the "after" photos to add to these. Tomorrow the ceiling comes out, and this week the floor (all 4 layers of it) come out. So keep in mind we're still in demo mode. Oh, and this is just the kitchen area!
before: mudroom and nookbefore: built ins
during: no more mudroom and nook
before: door way to dining room
during: hahahhahha. nice plastic doorway, huh?
before: pick your door
during: door contest
Bonus During Shot: Can you see where the sink was?
bonus shot
Extra Bonus Shot:Home sweet home!
home sweet home