Whirlwind

Wow… I’m tired.  We arrived back home at 11:00 PM last night after spending much of the last five days back in Oregon.  What a time we had…

I’m sitting here looking back on it all and I’m overwhelmed with a feeling of love, laughter, and community.  We have a big life there.  So many people who love us and who we love.  Amazing.

We arrived Thursday at about 10:00 PM after a direct flight from Chicago Midway.  Kevin, my brother, picked us up and hauled us back to what used to be our house and is now Vicki and Kevin’s house.  We slept on the hide-a-bed after staying up way too late talking to Kev.  I love my brother.  He’s an awesome man!

Next morning we jumped into our Toyota pickup truck (the one we left in Oregon so my brother could use it if he had to do stuff for any of our rentals) and drove in to Gravy for a fantastic breakfast with Kev.   I love that place.  So good.  After we  all drove down to Mom and Don’s place in Salem.  Kev stayed over there as well, which was great, so we had a really nice time just hanging out at the farm with everyone.  Mom and Don’s place is fantastic.  A true Better Homes and Gardens kind of place.  Gorgeous plantings, landscaping, etc.  It was so nice getting the Mom hugs and just hanging out with her and Don.  I love my Momma.  She so rocks it out!

Saturday, after hanging out more at Mom and Don’s we jumped back in the trusty Toyota and headed back to Portland.  We hit Saturday Market for some wedding gift shopping and some lunch.  After we drove on out to Stacia and Eric’s place to drop our stuff and load Stan’s party playlist on his retirement present… new iPod and docking station.  Then it was off to the fairgrounds to hook up my laptop to the sound system and make sure all was well.  Then… party party party.  We were there from 5:00 to after 11:00.  I got to see so many great friends and people I hadn’t seen in a long long time.  People who I hadn’t seen since I abruptly left when I got sick last year.  It was wonderful getting to catch up, hug some people, and hang out with some fantastic peeps.  Plus, getting to be there to help send Stan into retirement… so wonderful.  I love that man…. he’s  a true sweetie.  A fantastic friend.  He’s family…. many of those people are like family to me.  So much love in that room.  For Stan and for each other.  It was lovely.  When we got back to Stacia and Eric’s that night we had a chance to hang and visit with Stacia a little bit… and then again in the morning for a brief time.  Not long enough… but it was great just getting the time we did.  I love you girl… my sister from another mother!

Sunday we got up and drove back over to our Oregon house to drop off the truck and get a ride from Vicki (thanks girl!) into Maggie’s for the wedding.  Wedding prep ensued.  It was a lovely lovely ceremony.  I love weddings…. after all, they are all about love.  What’s better?  I was so honored to be a part of it.  I love Kate and Terri and am so happy they took this step.  Plus, it was wonderful wonderful to hang out with the POD.  Ladies, you are a classy group of babes and we are so lucky to be a part of this little family we’ve made.  Love love love to all of you.  It was so nice sitting around the chiminea Sunday night chatting it up.

Sunday we got up and hung out with Maggie a bit.  She’d had to take Bernadette (so great to see you again B) to the airport early early that morning and then had come home before work.  So glad she did so we had some time to chat.  You’re house, and you yourself, are fantastic.  We love you!  Later Sandy and Angela came over, picked us up, took us to the airport, and then enjoyed some breakfast with us at a restaurant at the airport.  So so great to get to spend this time with them.  We were rushing so much that getting these little snippets of time with individual people was like getting little gifts each day.  Sandy… you are a gift to us.  We adore you.

It was wonderful… our time back home.  Lovely.  Fast.  Furious.  A whirlwind.  We saw so many people, ran around so much, stayed at a different house every night, but so so good.  So so wonderful.  Our life there is so big.  Our relationships so important to us.  We love each of you.  Know this.

Yes, it was also good to get back home.  Which is nice.  It was great seeing the pups again, great to see Mary and Sebastian this morning.  Great to see Lisa Lynn who was so fantastic to stay with and care for our babies while we were gone.  Girl… you rock and we love you.  Thank you so much!  And… we felt like we were coming home as we traveled back here.  Because, this is home now.  We are making new friends, loving being near Sebastian and his parents, and finding things to love here in Illinois.  We are starting to make a life here… what we hope, and what we can dream… is that our life here starts to resemble, even in a little way, what our life in Oregon has been and still is.  If we can do that, build even a part of that here, we will have done something amazing.  Because people… you are an amazing glorious group… a huge web of love we feel all the way over here in the Midwest.  Much love to you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you….

Fun Fridays

It’s Friday so you know what that means…  another Friday afternoon out exploring something or somewhere new.  This Friday we started by doing some errands.  Nothing much new about that.  Bully sticks for the pups, and a new low beam bulb for the Volvo.  Oh, I guess I should say coffee and chai first… then sticks and bulb.

After that however we called a couple of friends and got the name of a Thai place we’d been told about but had never been to. We are always looking for a new Thai place as it’s our favorite kind of food.  And, thanks to our friends, we were able to get the info we couldn’t either of us remember.  E-San.   Yum.  The reviews were correct… the place is good.  Yum yum.  We will be back.

Following the great late lunch/early dinner we walked around a bit in the Pearl… stopping at North Face and REI looking for winter jackets.  Yeah, we know it’s Spring soon turning to Summer, but then it will be Autumn turning to Winter and we will be then living in the Midwest where it is C-O-L-D.  We want to be prepared.  I guess we should start looking for down jackets for the pups as well… ya think?  Hmmm….

Finally, after some shopping (we didn’t buy anything yet), we ended up at Crush where a few of our friends were meeting (we found this out when we called around asking about the Thai place… nice little coincidence, we call and they happen to be meeting and we get invited… yay us!).  We had some tasty and refreshing beverages with them and some, as always, great conversation.

It was a very nice Fun Friday Adventure.  I love these little afternoons sneaking away.  Time for us to just do what we feel like doing, be together, and… well… have some fun.

One of My Favorite Local Portland Bands

I was just perusing some stuff and came across this great review of Sneakin’ Out, a local Portland band that happens to be one of my favorite local bands… I would probably put Pink Martini first and these guys second.  This clip is great because you get to hear some of their music, which is awesome.  These guys, three of them in all, play amazing music.  There’s Cheddar on base… this guy knows how to have fun, dancing around, making some great faces, always with a sense of humor, always making you chuckle.  Then there’s Dave on mandolin.  This guys fingers are so fast you need stop action to see them.  He does some really big things with a relatively small instrument.  Last… Don on percussion.  Oh, Don…  xylophone, bongos, maracas, so many other things… and… a typewriter.  Yes, there’s a first… a typewriter.  He has impeccable timing, great for a percussionist yes, and also a wonderful sense of humor.  These guys don’t only play, they entertain.  There’s a truly groovy thing that happens… a sense of whimsy… I don’t know what else to call it…. when they start into one of their covers.  Paint it Black to Beethoven… spectacular.  There is one thing you always know for sure when you go out to hear these guys play… Sneakin’ Out will give you a great time.  You will smile, you will laugh, you will be amazed at their naturally hypnotic musical talent, and you will want to know when their next show is going to be so you can get there early to get a good seat.

Check out this review… and get  a little sampling of the joy.

NPR Review of Sneakin Out

 

 

Friends, Movies, And Food

We had a great day yesterday.  Time spent hanging out with great friends, eating together, and going to see a couple of Academy Award winners we hadn’t seen.  I’m going to talk about that a little…

Black Swan…  Natalie Portman did do a fantastic job.  The whole film relies on her acting.  You have to be drawn in, wondering what is real, what isn’t, believing like she does that what’s happening is real.  Shocked to learn it isn’t, then still not sure, wondering.  It’s uncomfortable, disturbing, and at times horrific.  Three of us saw it together and were all covering up our eyes during certain scenes, peeking through our hands and fingers as grotesque and hard to watch things were happening on the screen.  I can’t decide if I liked this movie.  As I said, Natalie Portman’s performance was magnetic, compelling, and very very good.  I can see why she won.  It’s just that I don’t know if I liked the movie as a whole.  I’ve heard from others they thought it was depressing.  I didn’t get that.  Not depressing.  To me it was, I guess I’ll say it again, disturbing.  One of those films I’m glad I saw, but would never want to watch again.

Dragonfish…  A restaurant downtown we’d wanted to try for quite some time.  In between films we met up with the POD, as we call ourselves, to enjoy a nice late lunch.  The day’s plan was that whoever wanted to join for the first movie would join, we would then all go to lunch with whoever wanted to show up for lunch, and then whoever wanted to go to the second movie would go to that.  A sort of choose your participation day.  So, Dragonfish…  first, the service was terrible.  We couldn’t really figure out who our waiter was and whoever it was didn’t come over often.  S-L-O-W.  We weren’t too put out as we had tons of time, but still… it’s annoying.  Then the food… not terrible… just not great.  We had high expectations, had heard good things, but seriously… not stellar.  The company, fantastic as always, the food and the service… not so much.  We won’t be back.  None of us.

The King’s Speech…  Really really good.  It’s one of those films that’s both interesting and feel good.  Colin Firth was awesome in it, I don’t know how he got the stammer down the way he did, and the pain behind it.  Great acting.  And it was obvious to me why both the film and he won the Academy Awards.  It was also quite beautiful.  Loved the perspective in some of the scenes.  It was anything but slow and boring, as some people thought it might be.  Keeping our attention from beginning to end.  Just a fascinating film.  Who knew?

We said goodbye to the friends who’d seen the King’s Speech with us and then walked back up the couple blocks to the streetcar stop, just catching the train as we rounded the corner and ran up to it.  Nice timing.  It was a great day.  Any time you can spend several hours with people you love, respect, and enjoy it’s lovely.  Thanks guys for a wonderful day.

Friday Adventures Part Drei

Our third outing in the Friday Adventure series finds us first getting coffee, then going to the bank, then getting a parking ticket while in said bank (we tried to pay, but couldn’t). We saw the guy putting it on the windshield when we came out and Karen tried to chat with him about it, he was incredibly rude to her and explained that the machine didn’t take credit cards… We didn’t see the tiny print on the machine that said so. Either did the other guy who also got a ticket and said he tried to pay as well. A nice $40 surprise… LoL Oh well, c’est la vie. Karen is going to protest, but we are laughing about it now.

After the ticket we moved to another parking spot downtown ( and were able to pay… Yay… No ticket!) and then moseyed around near the Fox Tower 10 scouting restaurants for our POD movie outing tomorrow (going to see Black Swan then having lunch and then seeing The King’s Speech). During our meanderings we walked up to a bench (see below) and both started to jump off it, then, at the same time, decided to gingerly climb down. A sign of age? Yes. And funny as hell.

We ended up going into Pastini for lunch… Yum! Our adventure definitely continued there as Karen found a chicken bone in her pasta. We’ve been there many many times and nothing like this has ever happened before so we aren’t anti Pastini now or anything. Besides, they handled it really well and gave us her meal for free. Giving us back half the money from the parking ticket we’d gotten earlier. Circular baby! At least, that’s how we looked at it. Thanks Karen for putting your life in danger to get us the discount. Good thing you are such a slow eater honey!

Now we are headed to meet our friends Sandy and Vicki at Shigezo. Dessert for us, sushi for them. Let the adventure continue!

Another Episode of Friday Adventures

Here we are folks, another edition of the Kam (our celebrity combo name given to us by our good friend Sandy) Friday adventures.

Today finds our adventurers enjoying a tasty lunch of soup, lettuce wraps, and spare ribs at PF Changs. Yum. If you haven’t been to PF Changs or had their lettuce wraps you are missing out. SO good. We went outside the box today, in keeping with doing something new, by ordering soup. Karen had hot and sour and I had the traditional egg drop. Best egg drop I’ve ever had. Really deep flavor.

Next is a walk over to Sur La Table for a few kitchen items and then who knows what. We are downtown, it’s beautiful out, and we don’t have to be anywhere until 6:45 tonight. We can get into some good mischief between now and then.

Friday Adventures

Karen and I decided last week we would go out and about every Friday afternoon that she could manage it (she has to work on her blackberry while we are out) to explore a new place or restaurant or thing. Mostly that will be in Portland, but we aren’t limiting ourselves. Last week this new idea took us to the yummy waffles at Elevated Coffee on MLK.

Today our story finds our intrepid adventurers braving the beauty of Portland’s mass transit system, ultimately getting on the new green line that runs out to Clackamas Towne Center. Why? Definitely not because we love Clackamas Towne Center. We aren’t really mall types. No. We do this because we wanted to ride on the new line. For the fun of it. That’s it. Fun. This wouldn’t be fun for everyone, but it is for us.

We started by parking in NW, getting coffee, jumping on the Portland Streetcar, getting of that and walking to Pioneer Courthouse Square, and then getting on the green line North. And here we are. Riding MAX out to Clackamas.

Who knows where the next adventure will take us. At this point we don’t even know, but rest assured it will take us somewhere we haven’t been. Just for the adventure and the fun of it.

After A Walk

After A Walk, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Had to post this little number. Karen and I took a walk, with the pups, around the Belmont neighborhood last weekend. It was gorgeous out and gorgeous weather always calls for a walk. The dogs, of course, love it when we go on a walkabout. They were a bit thirsty, as you would expect, by the time we got back to the car. Riley is in the red collar, and Weston is behind her.

Walking Mississippi

Walking Mississippi

Originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl

So a couple of weeks ago we had the enormous pleasure of hanging out with and then having dinner with Grandpa, my Aunt Syd, Mom, Don, and Kev. It was a really nice evening. A very nice time. I love my family. Seriously, are there any better people out there? I know some of you might be saying yes, there are… as in your families, friends, or whatever, but still… I love these people. They are awesome. I always have a good time, without exception, when I’m with them, which I’m not often enough. And again I will say lucky. I am so lucky to be a part of this brood. Lucky.

Fork

Fork, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Another fork sighting. This time in a parking lot near the Loyd Center. What’s with the forks? Is someone trying to tell me something? Fork Off Tam! Fork off!! This one also taken with the phone camera. I had to. It’s kinda creepy this thing with me and forks.

Fork Art

Random, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Standing on that same street corner Karen noticed a fork randomly laying on a lamp post box (not sure if that’s the technical name for them… but there it is). I took another one as well where the fork was in focus, but I like this one… shows the background for this fork art. So corny, I know. This, again, taken with my phone.