Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Restaurant Bleu

We took another trip to Restaurant Bleu. This time, I found it okay but not fabulous. For example, my chocolate mousse was very delicious, but the cookie crust it was sitting in was hard and tasteless and kept shooting into my lap each time I tried to cut off a piece. Matt got the banana thing for dessert which he enjoyed.

Probably the most memorable thing about this trip was after dinner. I was waiting for Matt to use the bathroom and eavesdropping on a conversation a dinner patron was having with the waiter while she was waiting for her companion in the bathroom. They were chatting about their lives when she made an abrupt turn and asked if the waiter went to church, because she was a preacher and needed to do her job. He politely said he did when he was younger, but that there was no draw there. He then attempted to switch the subject by discussing his hometown of Dallas and the traffic when she interrupted him, put her hands on his head and said the following, "Dear Lord, please bless this man and his cooking endeavors and please lead him back to the one true church so he can find Jesus and his way, in the name of the Holy Spirit, Amen."

Her husband emerged from the restroom, they departed, and the waiter and I just stared at each other for a beat, then made non-religious conversation. Matt arrived and we went on a walk to Jameson Square, most of which was devoted to how incredibly inappropriate it is to pray over people who haven't really asked you to.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

That didn't take long.

August 1 of this year, Fred Meyer stopped using plastic shopping bags at all of its Portland-area grocery stores. I'm generally in favor of this, as I find plastic shopping bags to be a scourge on this world in a way that paper shopping bags are not. However, I have had to make adjustments. We use the shopping bags for trash can liners and now we are completely out, as evidenced by the empty Ikea bag holder on the left. Also, since the garden has been producing a lot of zucchini, I haven't been buying vegetables at the store which means we are out of the plastic produce bags, which usually live in the Ikea bag holder on the right. The plastic produce bags also work as trash can liners, but don't have those handy handles to tie together.

Even the plastic bags that the newspapers usually arrive in are lacking. Over the summer, they've begun to go "old school" and my newspapers arrive folded with a rubber band securing them. Only on damp days do they come in a bag. Here you also see my ingenious low-cost drying method: it's a dowel propped between my cookbooks. In the morning, I hang the wet newspaper bag on the dowel and in the evening it is dry and I shove it in the Ikea bag holder. These bags I take to school for the teachers to use to as "poo bags" as Julie calls them. During Morning Movement in the park blocks, the teachers generally have to clean up after other people's dogs before the children can do their morning movement activity, which is lovely, and just one of the many unsung parts of being a teacher.
So I've bought trash bags for the first time in decades. I erred in my purchase as these trash bags are scented and the smell makes me ill. The question is now, what will I put in my Ikea bag holders?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Warrior Dash

We have Facebook to thank for the Warrior Dash. Ads appeared on Matt's page and he clicked for more information and then he signed up.

Getting in took a very long time. We had time to take pictures of one of the things Matt would run over.

Matt in his warrior gear.

Eventually, time crept by and Matt just left me waiting to park and ran to get his packet. I parked and walked up to the start line. Before I got there, I saw the "showers" where warriors could wash the mud off.

And I started seeing a lot of people covered in mud.

Many people were wearing "warrior" costumes, which for many seemed to translate to "caveman." When I think warriors, I don't think caveman, but now I know that many people do.

A view of the fire that warriors lept over.

While I was scoping out where best to stand to take a photo, I ran into one of the parents from school. She is on the right. She had a great time.

It took four passes back and forth at the start line before I found Matt. I checked with him to see if he would want his picture taken leaping over fire or crawling through mud. He voted for fire.

After I bid him farewell, I wandered over to sit for a bit and captured these two warriors.

Nothing like catching up on some non-fiction while someone else is running three miles while leaping obstacles.

I was amused that the logs were Duraflame logs. Here is where I stood and took about 20 practice photos so I could take a good one when Matt lept over the fire. He appeared much sooner than I thought he would and I took a fabulous picture. I did so with his camera, so you have to go on Facebook to see it.

I ran to the final part of the race and got another fabulous picture of him crawling under barbed wire and also one of him sliding through the mud. Also look to Facebook to see those pictures. After he was done I took this picture of him.

It turns out that when your boyfriend is covered in mud, you can't walk as closely to him as you normally would or you get mud on you.

Matt lost his number on the way, and had to find out what it was so he could get the clothes he checked.

What does a warrior do after the dash? He gets out of the clothes before he goes home.

What does he wear home if he forgot to bring more clothes?

He wears his girlfriend's sweatshirt and nothing else.

While waiting to exit the parking lot (nearly as long a process as entering the parking lot) I waited for my mud to dry before flicking it all off.

We had a lot of time to discuss how awesome the warrior dash was.

What say you?

What does a warrior eat, post dash? A big burger and fries.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Matt finally sees the swifts.

Every autumn in Portland, a huge group of Vaux Swifts uses the chimney at Chapman Elementary School as a place to roost as they work their way south. Watching them gather and dive into the chimney has become a community event. Matt and I accompanied our friend Deborah, who is a bird watcher in her spare time. I had seen the swifts some years ago, but this was Matt's first time.

Our vantage point.

Deborah's coworker brought his very shy daughter (right) and his niece and nephew.

I attempt self portrait with Deborah, but have zoomed in too much.


Matt takes a picture of people working out on the other side of the field.

Another friend of Deborah's arrives and brings along a picture book. Deborah reads it aloud to us. (Savvy readers will have clued in that Deborah is my librarian friend who kindly invited us to Spindrift in May.)

Matt notices that one can slide down the hill on cardboard if one has cardboard. He procures some and convinces the children to slide along with him.

The swifts begin to gather.

This was a very fit couple.
They looked fit and they were wearing shirts advertising how very fit they were.

It can be a long wait for twilight.

The excitement happens when a hawk comes looking for his dinner. Here, one has perched on the edge of the chimney, waiting.
By happenstance, I captured what happened next and uploaded it to YouTube for your viewing pleasure.

More pictures of the swirling vortex.

Eventually, all the swifts make their way into the chimney and we Portlanders pack up our picnics and head home.

Sun and windowsills

Sometimes one is so enchanted with sleeping in the sun, one doesn't notice that part of one's body is hanging off the windowsill.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Comedy of Errors

Yet another excellent performance by the Portland Actors Ensemble. We attended this play at Reed College.

Self portrait. In that program in front of Matt's mouth you can read a short synopsis, which I will make even shorter. A family--husband, wife, twin sons, twin servants--were separated tragically 25 years ago in a shipwreck. Since that time, father, son and servant, Aegeon, Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus, have searched for the mother and twin brothers. Upon landing in Syracuse Aegeon is arrested, as no one from Syracuse is allowed in Ephesus. Will Aegeon be put to death? And why do people keep saying strange things to Antipholus and Dromio?

Aside from the excellent acting, I was enchanted with the Edwardian bathing costumes. Here, Lindsay Fischer (Luciana) and Margaret Darling (Adriana)--rock their pink and yellow costumes.
Sam Burns (Antipholus of Ephesus) and R. David Wyllie (Dromio of Syracuse) have a confused interaction. Wouldn't their costumes make great pajamas?

Victoria Blake is resplendent in her Courtezan costume.

Jon Lakey (Antipholus of Syracuse) and Gildevin Jagudajev (Dromio of Ephesus) talk past each other. At this point Antipholus is about to be taken away by the Doctor/Conjurer.

Just like in King Henry IV part I, one audience member wanted to see things from back stage.

The Abbess (Christine Shields) forgoes a bathing costume but does shelter one half of the embattled Anthpholus and Dromio.

Confusion reigns.

Things begin to seem clear.

Aegeon and the Abbess realize that they are husband and wife.

Which must mean that...

...these are the twin brothers! And these are the other twin brothers. The family is reunited.
We are already looking forward to the 2011 season of PAE. The Tempest and Much Ado about Nothing are on our list of things to read.

Now I just have to figure out where I can wear an Edwardian bathing costume. Then I have to make one.