Monday, June 30, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I thought I was going to have to get you a pole
(about my dancing)
You'd probably run a man off, talking the way you do
(after I made a comment about a co-worker's shirt)
Tell all your single friends, I'm not feeling the love.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Which I why I can't believe we missed the monkey.
Read about it here.
Tell all your single friends, monkey may NOT mock the Boom!
Friday, June 20, 2008
Completely sated, we walked a few blocks to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. I happened to land in Portland on the night of Micki's birthday present from Mallory -- Lily Tomlin in concert. Lily was very funny, moving through many different character sketches during the two hour show. Thoroughly enjoyable.
After the show, Mallory, Micki, and I set off to see the Saturday night sights. Lots of people on the streets -- fleet week! (insert Sex and The City joke here) -- so the atmosphere was very festive. Mallory suggested a visit to Huber's for their signature drink and we set off at a good clip as we were thirsty and the night was a bit nippy.
Huber's is the oldest restaurant in Portland, est. 1879. On this night, the dark, wood-paneled room was full of happy drinkers. The signature drink at Huber's is the Spanish Coffee. Sure, you've had Spanish Coffee before, but you've never had Spanish Coffee performance art! A special waiter came to our table and with twirls, windmilling arms, and a match, he created three very strong coffees with flames and whip cream in one hand. It was a spectacular sight, made all the more impressive by the fact he was sidestepping staggering patrons throughout. Bellies and brains warmed by the kahlua/151/triple sec/coffee/nutmeg combination, we headed to our next quintessential Portland stop.
You may have seen Voodoo Doughnut on the Food Network as I had, but the actual place is really much smaller and eclectic. Standing in line with all manner of late night folks, we tried in vain to select a doughnut before we got to the counter. I was prepared to go with the iconic Voodoo Doughnut -- a chocolate glazed man with a raspberry (blood) filling and a pretzel stick stabbing him in the heart. Alas, they were sold out. So I went with the first doughnut on the menu -- Triple Chocolate Penetration. Yes, I ate cocoa puffs on vacation. Mallory went with Butter Fingering and Micki had something mango that I would swear had Tang on top. They have a maple doughnut with bacon on top. They also have a doughnut called the Cock-n-Balls. I'll let you figure out what that one looks like. I was tempted to buy some Voodoo Doughnut underwear, but the urge to show them off would have been too great.
Wandering down the street eating our odd treats was the perfect ending to a great day.
In fact, I probably didn't need that adult movie on pay per view......
Tell all your single friends, it just says "movie" on your bill.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Caffeine now coursing through our bodies, Mallory and I set out for the farmer's market, conveniently located in the park area near her house. It felt well attended to me, but Mallory said the "rain" was keeping the crowds down. Oh, and the parade happening a few blocks away. Beautiful flowers, fresh vegetables, preserves, pizza, wine, bread, and many of them unique. Peonies were just coming into season and the masses of them were beautiful.
I had a lavender infused caramel truffle with sea salt on top. Yum. No picture because it didn't last long enough for auto-focus. We tasted Lavender-Raspberry-Chipotle jam (quite a lingering kick) and Mango-Pepper jelly over goat cheese. But all paled in comparison to what we found around the corner -- a cheese stand.
But not just any old cheese. A row of boxes lined the table and little signs proclaimed the wonders inside: Lavender Cheddar, Garlic Cheddar, ROGUE STOUT Cheddar. Yes, beer infused cheddar. Well we definitely had to have some of that. "Squeeze the tip." Um, excuse me? "Squeeze the tip," intoned the vendor as he pulled a toothpick out of a little canister and stuck it into the beer cheese morsels. Sure enough, this was a man who believed in recycling -- one toothpick can serve hundreds, if we were just smart enough to squeeze the tip of cheese. We were that smart and I tried both the lavender cheddar (you wouldn't think it would work, but it did) and the rogue stout cheddar (a meal! Cheddar appetizer with a lingering stout finish. Super yum). Now we were ready for breakfast -- a homemade giant biscuit with shiitake mushroom gravy. A few samples of apple wine and we were quite full.
Thus fortified, we returned to home base to review the many options for the afternoon. Craft markets, boat races on the Willamette, and heaven knows what else. We opted for a short drive to the outskirts of town for a visit to Edgefield Manor.
Edgefield Manor is another property in the McMenamin chain and well worth a visit. Originally, the site was the Multnomah County Poor Farm. It eventually became a nursing home, closing down for good in 1982. The McMenamins purchased the site in 1990 and have turned it into a hotel with many attractions, including a winery, golf course, distillery, glass blowing studio, gardens, and live music concerts. (Sadly, I was a few weeks too early for Billy Idol. Story of my life.)
Mallory and I toured the gardens before grabbing a bite and a brew in the pub. The flowers were luscious and the birdhouses were no vacancy:
Even more interesting are the paintings inside the hotel. Every door, wall, pipe, and fixture is decorated with a one of a kind painting. Historic figures, scenes from the work farm and the nursing home, and all manner of images entertain you from floor to floor. I was way too busy enjoying the paintings, so I only took a few pictures:
Go, have the beer sampler platter, say hello to Billy for me.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I took advantage of a "which way should we go now?" conversation (the first of many on this trip), to perform a sophisticated one-legged stork maneuver and unlace said slightly uncomfortable right boot. Still balancing ever so gracefully, if not steadily, I pulled the boot off and tipped it over to deposit in my hand A METAL DR. MARTENS TAG AND CHAIN.
Monday, June 16, 2008
3:30 a.m. is when the alarm went off. Truly, this is more of a go to bed time than a get up time. But adventures awaited so I struggled out of bed and into the shower.
In a complete departure from my usual travel persona, I am pre-packed and have only to add toiletries kit to my suitcase. I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself -- everything I need for 5 days in one carry-on bag. A Festivus miracle, if ever there was one. Of course, I have a minor tantrum downstairs as I realize that one pair of sunglasses has gone missing. Oh I may be going to Portland with only two pair of shoes (a tribute to Mallory), but I'll be damned if I go with only one pair of sunglasses. (I'll comment on the silliness of taking two pair of sunglasses to Portland later.) I give. It is 4:40 and the rules dictate that I am at the airport by 5 for my 6 a.m. flight. Oh, and Mum is now waiting in the car.
I arrive at the airport and navigate the self check-in with only minor difficulties. I marvel at all the people who appear to be awake. I stand in line at airport security. One of the weirdly awake people turns out to be a chatter. I'm startled by a sudden invasion of my personal space and a voice says from behind my right ear, "What perfume are you wearing? You smell GREAT." I turn, he straightens up with nary a hint of shame and smiles expectantly. "Metal," I say, "Sadly, it has been discontinued." We commiserate on how good things don't last forever as we shuffle forward barefoot, pushing our bins of possessions. And my carry-on.
I cruise through the metal detector and skip happily over to collect my belongings. This is where things go all pear-shaped as the English would say. A young, serious man is standing by my carry-on. "Is this yours, ma'am?" And I'm escorted to a side area. Where the young man says, "you have gels in here." To which I reply, "Yes. Is that a problem?" [Note: Yes, I do know about airport security issues in the past few years, but as stated, I'm not a carry on gal. I usually pack a pair of shoes (give or take) for every day of vacation. I plan to bring home books, rocks, and possibly cereal if I'm going to Canada, so the bag has to be big. In any case, I was not up on the 3-1-1 rule.]
Officious young man now says, "You can't carry those on. You can only have them in your checked baggage." To which I replied, "well then give me the bag and I'll go check it," and reached for my bag. To which smarmy evil man replied, "STEP AWAY FROM THE BAG, MA'AM. YOU MAY NOT TOUCH THE BAG ONCE I HAVE BEGUN MY INSPECTION." And the little prick waved me off and THEN opened my bag. I begged him to stop, he went slower. I tried to point out where offending items were so he would just stick them back in quickly and let me check the bag. Nope. He had begun to enjoy his small moment of power. By the time he had inspected everything and laid it all item by item on the table, it was too late to check the bag.
So, this is what I left at security in Richmond:
- 1/2 full bottle of Paco Rabanne Metal perfume. $70 original price
- 1/2 tube of Burt's Bees Blemish Stick --maybe .15 oz?? $7 original price
- 1/4 tube of Tom's of Maine apricot toothpaste $5 original price
- new travel size tube of Colgate 1 oz? $.99
- 1/2 bottle of OPI nail polish -- Blue My Mind -- $7 original price
- new APPROVED AIRPLANE SIZE Nexxus shampoo $3
- new APPROVED AIRPLANE SIZE Nexxus conditioner $3
- new APPROVED AIRPLANE SIZE Artec texturizing serum $3
- 1/2 bottle Neutrogena Sensitive Skin sun block. $8 original price
- new full size (my bad) Nexxus Headdress. $9
- new full size (bite me) Bada-Bing! Hair Gel. $5
- assorted sample La Roche-Posay Toleriane moisturizers. O.K. these were free, but they aren't available in the U.S.
- Total: Even with depreciation on the used items, at least $100
The kicker? My bag never even made it into the cabin! We were directed to leave bags on the gangway and they were loaded under plane. Let the fuming commence.
Then a miracle happened. I was in business class and a little bottle of water, a pillow, and a blanket were waiting for me in my single seat. Now this is the way it was supposed to be. A few deep breaths and some free coffee and o.j. and my mood improved. Then they couldn't uncouple the plane from the airport and the whole uncoupling thing made me think they should just turn a a big hose on the plane and that seemed funny at 6 a.m. But uncouple they did and we flew quickly and uneventfully to Atlanta.
I had a short layover in Atlanta -- time to charge the phone at a "traveler station" and determine the Starbucks line was too long -- and then I'm on the next plane and there is room for my now less than full luggage in the overhead and again, thanks to Mallory and her amazing rewards points, I am in business class. There was my bottle of water! Hello, old friend! There will be a 6 pack of you in my belly before we touch down! I settle in.
Business class is sweet. You hear the same announcements as the people in the back and then our personal flight attendant turns the knob and whispers seductively into our business class ears that we won't have to pay for anything -- movies, headphones, drinks, food. We even have our own bathroom. THIS is traveling.
So on my personal viewing screen, I watched Jumper (not Liman's best, but entertaining to watch on a plane. Seriously? That jumping shit would be AWESOME!), tried Cloverfield (sorry, J.J. Abrams, didn't hook me), listened to some cds (Arctic Monkeys, Madonna, new Prince, New Order), and watched a Chris Rock HBO special. Time flew by and soon the rain was on the window pane and we were descending.
Mount Hood was nowhere to be seen -- an unexpected twist for me. My seat mate finally made conversation, but too late, bud. I've read enough 'chick lit' to know that if you were going to be a globetrotting devilish financier who would annoy me but then sweep me off my feet after a few chapters, it would have happened as soon as we got on the plane. But HOORAY -- I was finally ON VACATION. And thanks to the time change, I still had nearly a whole day ahead of me.
Mamy was waiting for me past the security check point (a rather well appointed check point with quart bags and clear 3-1-1 instructions, but more on that later) with a fetching new short hairdo and a welcome present of fuzzy pink socks. I assume the giving of socks is traditional when picking up guests from Virginia who wear shorts to Oregon in June. In any case, they are lovely.
We hopped on the MAX and started wending our way into downtown Portland. As on any public transportation, we saw and heard many unusual things. Women should really think twice about eating bananas in public. I'm just saying. Of course they were probably trying to figure out why I was wearing shorts when they were wearing scarves. I kid you not. There went my mental image of hardy northerners.
We checked into my hotel -- the Portland City Center Marriott -- and agreed that my view would be very nice when the sun came out. I changed into jeans and we set out to accomplish our first mission: purchase my new Docs.
As fate would have it, my hotel was 2 short blocks from the only official Dr. Martens company store in North America. (Do your vacation pre-work on the internet -- and this is the pay off!) Again as fate would have it, there was one pair of made in England 8 eye navy blue boots in my size, and I wore them out of the store. In fact, I'm wearing them right now so they'll be all broken in and perfect by fall. Of course I have a picture, although it doesn't do them justice by half.
And did you know there is no sales tax in Portland? Perfect place to buy new boots and replace your toiletries and clearly-a-weapon toothpaste.
So freshly shod with a veritable bounce in my stride, Mamy and set off for home. Now Mallory and Mamy have moved on up, as the Jeffersons would say, to a de-luxe condo in the skies. No lie, there is always someone there to magically push a button and open the doors for you. You even need a code to get the elevator to move, so don't even think about trying to drop in on my mostest hostesses. We chatted, we hydrated, we watched the kitties play with their new toys. And then Mallory showed up fresh from her MAX ride home from the airport. Hooray, the gang was all there! So food and drinks were in order.
A nearby McMenamins outpost fit the bill. I was ready for some Oregon beer and fish and chips seemed a natural accompaniment. McMenamins is a Northwest chain with different types of hotels, pubs, and eateries serving the McMenamin beers and liquors. Mallory is a dark beer lover, so she opted for the Terminator Stout. Despite having read Pint-Sized Ireland: In Search of the Perfect Guinness by Evan McHugh on the plane, I opted for the Hammerhead Ale. Quite enjoyable. I thought the ladies had tired of me very quickly when their directions to the restroom began, "well go out the door and turn right," but that turned out to be the truth. The bathroom was VERY CSI. More on that later.
Refreshed, we took a stroll around the garden blocks of the Cultural district. Lovely tall trees and lush green grass -- a pleasant sight after the early scorching in Richmond. We caught up, we laughed, we wandered. There is nothing like new adventures with old friends. Eventually, we felt we should do something, so we decided upon a movie. Mamy opted out, so Mallory and I set off to locate the theater on our own. A few extra turns and several flights up and we were just in time for Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr. has always been one of my favorites and the movie was quite fun -- even for a gal who never read many comics that didn't involve Betty and Veronica. A few extra turns later, some helpful people showed us how to get out of the locked mall and we were on our way home.
I couldn't begin to tell you what time it was, but clearly, darkness and travel fatigue had set in. I toddled off to my luxurious king size bed and managed to sleep without the Boom.
Tell all your single friends, it just gets better.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
It was awesome.
Portland is rainy and cool as advertised.
Seattle is 2 for 2 in the hangover category.
So, so, SO much fun.
Yes, there are pictures.
Yes, I will share.
Once I've caught up on my sleep.
And sobered up.
Tell all your single friends, MALLORY* and MAMY* are the best hostesses in the Rose City.
*Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
My appointment was at 9 a.m. in order to fit into the day of errands. Tina was waiting and ready to go, blue water bubbling away in the basin. Before she dunked my unsightly soles, I had to show her the problem.
New Year's Eve Toe
[I do not know if this is an official syndrome, so please, if you know of any other cases, direct them to me. Maybe we can have a telethon.]
For those of you not in the metropolitan (tee hee) Richmond area, there was a big street celebration on New Year's Eve. Richmond's version of the legendary Times Square festivities, if you will. There were people, music, and a ball RISE, literally at the end of my street. So I went and enjoyed until the herds of people began to crush together at the central stage, ensuring they were perfectly positioned to not see the ball RISE.
Being a tough chick, I moved on with my life and forgot about the large metal box landing on my foot. When I took off my blue nail polish two weeks later, I very quickly remembered. My big toe nail was purple.
But Tina was up to the challenge. After a lengthy discussion and an admonition that I should have come to her immediately, she set to work with gusto and a Dremel drill. I'm not kidding. She laid into that nail with a callous disregard for the tiny strand of keratin holding the whole thing together. She dug under the flap and even worked a bit of cotton ball THROUGH my nail in order to dry it out. Then, she got her purple liquid and her bowl of acrylic powder and BUILT A WHOLE NEW NAIL. It was quite impressive, despite the horrendous fumes. The new nail got the Dremel treatment and then all 1o were painted a cheery blue.
So the good news is that I've been restored to my previous glory. The bad news is that I'm now part acrylic, but still not bionic.
Tell all your single friends, keep your toes in, your underwire protected, and mind the metal boxes!
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
However I've hit a bump in the list -- what book do I take with me?
Now I'd rather read than do most anything, so I'm not lacking for options. The stack next to the bed is at least 6 deep. And vacation reading is a family tradition. Many vacations found me, my sister, my mum and my dad at a resort, reading in companionable silence. (Possibly, we enjoyed the silence as much as the reading since the car ride to the resort had probably contained a few episodes of "this road isn't on the map," "we'll get there when we get there," and the old standby "she's on MY SIDE."
But selecting the right travel book involves a lot of factors:
- It should be long enough to last through both there and back flights. If you take a book that is too short or too good, you'll finish it and end up purchasing some crap novel at the airport or paying retail for a hardcover.
- It shouldn't be too big and bulky. I've traveled with a 500 page hardback novel because I'd made the mistake of starting it and couldn't leave it behind. My carry-on already weighs the equivalent of a well-nourished baby, so extra weight is a bad idea.
- It shouldn't be an untried author. Nothing worse than settling in for a 5 hour plane ride with a book that turns out to be dreadful. Although I have found that I can read dreadful if it wards off the spinster knitter on her way to see her niece sitting next to me. Or worse still, the drunken romeo. No, sir, I don't care if you have magic hands, I decline your offer of putting my head down on the seat back tray in front of me so you can give me a sample massage so I'll know what I'm missing. (That really happened to me on a flight to Florida. Fortunately, he nodded off into a drunken stupor 30 minutes into the flight, saving him from a mass clubbing administered by the flight attendants.)
- It shouldn't be the novel of the moment. I never did read the Da Vinci Code, but you couldn't have paid me to carry that conversation starter into close quarters. Ditto for anything by that Tollhouse cookie guy that Oprah keeps pushing down our throats.
Which leads me to the top contenders on my shelf:
- Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Sex and Science by Mary Roach. Oh my word, I love this woman. I borrowed Stiff: The Curious Life of Cadavers from my sister and loved it. I missed Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, but plan to rectify that oversight immediately. Pros: know I will love it; long chapters work well for airport sitting. Cons: Already started, so might not last whole trip; hardcover; white dust jacket will look horrible when I get home.
- Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk. Purchased on impulse to get free shipping on my order. Pros: interesting subject matter; should keep the old ladies from monopolizing my time (after I summarize my reading material for them). Cons: haven't read CP in years, might not enjoy it; could attract the porn element.
- Porno by Irvine Welsh. Before you start to sense a theme in my reading material, I bought this ages ago along with Trainspotting. Pros: enjoyed Trainspotting and this is partly a continuation; again, title should keep the old ladies at bay. Cons: dense Scottish dialect writing can be slow going at times; story of drug addicts doesn't scream Vacation Fun!
If only I hadn't just read Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks. Perfect travel book about a place I'd love to visit filled with real life. Hold on -- apparently Tony wrote a book about living in France -- A Piano in the Pyrenees! Off to the bookstore tomorrow!!
Tell all your single friends, book choice is key.