Wednesday, January 10, 2007

sound advice

i just love my portland friends. they're so neat.

since in portland i have:
+enjoyed a night of music at the moon among friends
+eaten yummy cuban food
+spent hours surrounded by books
+assisted on a shopping trip to a "hip" portland grocery store
+partook in an evening of cooking and wine-drinking adventure
+sewn wool ?s onto neck ties
+played scrabble until i could barely keep my eyes open
+watched sleet fall over the chinese classical gardens while warming myself in a tea house
+happened upon (and into) two really amazing art exhibits at the portland art center: "the other portland: art & ecology in the 5th quadrant" & "Second Skin"
+gave a lucky marble to one of the coolest kids on the planet
+scored a ukrainian cookbook
+"networked" with really amazing arts professionals and was given some really great insight
+had 2 billion moments of yearning for bella (bella would LOVE this walk; look, bella and i could go there; i've eaten so much good food & i hate to waste what's left on my plate, i wish bella was here to help me; bella is SO much cooler than that dog...)

now it's off to the airport to pick up rich & julie. but first i must impart the wonderful advice a sage imparted upon me: with every important life decision, ask yourself the following:

what do i need & want: professionally, personally and creatively.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Oh the wind & the rain!

I'm nearing a week in the great Pacific Northwest. As soon as the jet landed in Portland last Wednesday, I picked up my rental car and sped northward to Seattle, specifically the old Victorian house on Capital Hill shared by Tiffany, Larry, Bella (the cat), Luna, Heinz and Mazzie. One of my select home away from homes, I always enjoy returning for long visits. On this trip, Tiffany and I managed to get out of the city and head out to Port Townsend and Fort Worden State Park. We got a late start and conquered many challenges to get there including a tumultuous ferry ride (Tiffany was recovering from a stomach bug), a hail storm and directions that never would have gotten us to where we wanted to go. Even so, we arrived as the clouds parted and the sun began to set. Absolutely breath taking! The park is an old army fort that the state has transformed into Centrum, an arts and creative learning center and host to the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. Centrum's Peter McCracken gave us a quick tour and took a picture of us in front of our dream castle by the sea. Tiffany and I took turns nearly getting blown over by the wind while attempting to take photos. I loved how the waves crashed against the coastline and the view of the Cascade Mountains across the water.

The rest of my time in Seattle was spent well within the city, and I got my fill of night life and "exotic" food (i.e. any food that isn't frozen and then deep fried in fat). We wanted to go see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Pacific Science Center, but it was SOLD OUT. Isn't that crazy? I didn't know that museum exhibits could sell out, but apparently they can... days in advance. This was a first for the Pacific Science Center, and we were all disappointed that we missed the exhibit. As an alternative, we paid a visit to the Seattle Aquarium, which features all Pacific Northwest wildlife. My favorite critters were the sea otters, seals and the octopus. There were also a handful of strange looking fish that also stole my heart. I had been wanting to eat fresh sea food while in the city, but couldn't bring myself to do so after the aquarium.

Yesterday I headed southbound to Portland, arriving in time to partake in what is becoming a Portland tradition: Sunday supper at Pambiche with Rebecca. What better way to warm up on a rainy winter night than over decadent Cuban food in an overly-warm, brightly decorated cafe? I also felt it was fitting to begin my visit by catching up with Rebecca one-on-one. It was a nice change of pace from my November visit. Also part of the tradition is the end the night at the Moon & Six Pence where the Foghorn boys drink beer and play tunes. As always, it was great to catch up with those rowdy musicians, and I'm pleased to hear that they just might make it back to Judy Branch within the next year! What's even better is that I've recruited Kevin to help with the cooking! There are many things I love about the Moon, but I guess my top three are: 1. It really has the feeling of a pub (not many American bars can pull off that subtle, cozy atmosphere) 2. It has the best bartender in the world, who makes the most wonderful Spanish coffees in the world 3. At least once a week I can find my five favorite guys sitting around some tables, playing tunes and telling tales.

Tomorrow I will explore, once more, Powell's City of Books in search of Polish-esque materials (language instruction, literature, travel guides, cookbooks).