Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday, February 28th, Birthday in Portland


Except for losing one of the two fobs which open the doors to the condo we're staying at (Sorry, Michelle), my birthday went outstandingly. Portland treated us to a sunny, windless day, and we took the streetcar to Washington Park and Nob Hill. Unfortunately, the local bus route within the park was not running on Sunday, and we were unable to get to the Japanese Garden, International Rose Test Garden, or other areas up the mountain. On the other hand, we saw something we probably wouldn't have thought interesting (Does the World Forestry Discovery Center sound interesting to you?). It should, because it was. Not only did I get to learn everything I wanted to know about chocolate (source and historical impact), but I got to try my hand at mechanized timber-cutting using a training simulator (I failed). The Museum has a beautiful, multi-story wooden structure featuring dozens of exhibits describing and providing interactive experiences focused on the world's forests. From tropical forest high canopy research to asian boreal siberian tiger haunts, the Center brings the environment alive.

Later, we enjoyed a great brunch near Nob Hill, and spent the afternoon browsing the shops on 23rd Avenue. Having taped the U.S.- Canada Olympic Hockey Final, we came home to raise a glass of wine, and watch our team give it their all. Sure, they lost by one point. But the world won as more people watched (or taped) the event than ever.

I've included at the head of this post a shot of some bright, bold flowers we saw along 23rd Avenue. I think we're going to have a great spring flower show this year, and this is just the first sign of it.

We fly home tomorrow, and here's the link to our last look at Portland: Streetcars and Nob Hill Flowers

Gregory and Pat

Saturday, February 27, 2010

February 27th, Portland Waterfront


It has seemed like being a Senior Citizen has been just out of my reach. The practical side keeps eluding me as many services I use keep raising the age limit just as I approach it. Those offering Senior discounts are worried the Boomer generation is coming. What was 55 became 60, then 65. Pat alerted me long ago that we all look the same to anyone under 30. The white hair in my beard makes it easier too. But tomorrow is my 62nd birthday, and I'm going to start receiving Social Security benefits. I guess I've finally officially made it.

On the other hand, I'm living the life of an eight-year old. I go to school a few days a week for part of the day, take no tests, and don't do homework. I get to ride my bike, play games, watch television, and eat most anything I want to. Sure, there are some things that I can't do, but only because my body's reluctant. But that will change, I'm working on it.

I dream of the things that I'd like to do, of the person I want to become, and I can't see any reason why it won't happen. And you know the difference between now and when I was an eight-year old? Even though I did have an aunt around then, who was four years older, it's not the same as having a partner now whom I love with all my heart. Patricia and I get to weave our days and dreams together, and work together to share ourselves with the world. It's like the best friends we all found along the way as eight-year olds, only she and I aren't moving away anytime soon.

And talk about old friends.... now I can go about finding the ones I had along the way. It's time to see if they want to play again, without the worry of growing old. We finally made it.


ps. for some photos I took today, visit: Portland Waterfront

Friday, Feb 26th, Portland's Pearl


It rained all day today, and we spent all of it in Portland's excellent museums. If you want to see Northwest Native American Art, you have to come to Portland. And you have to tip your hat to Elizabeth Cole Butler. She has given the Portland Art Museum thousands of pieces of art she collected over 20 years in the 1960s and 1970's. It's a national treasure that has to be seen to be appreciated. Unfortunately, the museum doesn't allow cameras, so the best I can do is ask you to trust me, it's worth the visit.

We ate tonight at Andino, one of the best Peruvian restaurants in the region, and it didn't let us down. Another great example of what a remodeled warehouse can become, we downed whiskey sours, appetizers, entrees, deserts, and local and peruvian wines til we were very glad we only needed to take our full and happy bellies a few blocks home.

Hopefully, the weather will clear tomorrow, and we'll do some walking in Od Town, the waterfront, and in the area's parks.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thursday, Feb 25th, Portland


One of the advantages of being away from your home on travels is that someone else might be able to use your home. The Rabins of Portland asked if they could use ours when we visited France last year, and offered to let us use their condominium in the Pearl District in return. They wanted to attend a conference in Santa Rosa, which coincided with the last week of our trip to France.

We're very happy we said yes. The perfect opportunity for us to visit Portland arose when we wanted to have a short vacation on my birthday. For the next four days, we'll be hiking around the city (they did provide us with a nice car, but it really isn't necessary with the local transportation services), eating at some great restaurants, and generally enjoying a great city. Tonight's meal was at Oba!, a latin delight where a remodeled warehouse has become a spicy favorite.

Here's a few photographs of the condo: Luxury in the Pearl