Sunday, April 11, 2010


I love Portland, even though it embraces the whacky side of liberal. It has a gay mayor who admitted (finally) to seducing a minor youth and no one has bothered to kick him out. It proudly hosts an annual naked midnight bike ride. Its large homeless population seems to have more political pull than your average conservative. The bumper stickers that say "Keep Portland Weird" aren't kidding.
But it has an active art and music scene and seems to attract innovative do-gooders of all kinds. And that I like.
After our painfully expensive dinner, we arrived plenty early for the Mark Knopfler concert, so we took another stroll.
Me, I had my trusty camera at the ready.
I am trying to look at objects with a more innovative eye.
What do you think?

Our very own Portlandia, who sits atop the Portland Building, of course!

I liked the tile work and light fixtures in the entryway of this building.

Jeff is always treading close to the line of civil disobedience.

And finally, the concert for which we had been waiting for two years. Because you know, we forgot to go to the last concert, even though we had tickets.
Mark Knopfler.
Named 27th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone.
Driving force behind the group Dire Straits.
Score writer for The Princess Bride.
Owner of about 70 guitars.
Father to twin sons with his second wife and twin daughters with his third.
Plays his guitar right-handed even though he is left-handed.
Fingerpicks his electric guitar.

He and his band of seven gave a rocking, most awesome concert.
Here is one of my favourite Dire Straits songs.

Mark doesn't seem to enunciate as well as he did when he was younger. Jeff and I often looked at each other last night and asked, Do you know what he's singing about?
It might have been the sound system, because I can understand him well enough on the videos.
But the performance was stupendous anyway. He has such a tremendous energy and is definitely the Leader of the Band. His band members all play multiple instruments, including percussion, flute, banjo, piano accordian, violin, double bass, keyboards, synthesizer, mandolin, various guitars, ukelele, and probably some others that I missed. They played a lot of instrumental back-and-forth, which was fun to watch and to listen to.
Watch this closely and be awed by his guitar playing. He makes it look easy, but trust me, it's not!

He didn't make much of an effort to connect with the audience, although I'm not sure I would want to connect with women who were shouting "I want to have your baby" either. I'd rather have more music, less talking anyway. It was a tight show, no down time at all, and they played for two hours. Special effects were minimal.
It was all about the music, baby!

I talked a friend into listening to Leonard Cohen a couple of weeks ago. This friend said to me, you always did like those husky-voiced, studly guys.
Guess I do!

Crikey, look at the time. If I told you how many hours I spent on these two posts you would think I had an inflated view of my importance to the blogging world.

I almost forgot. The opening act, which started 15 minutes early and only went for 35 minutes (more time for Mark) was Pieta Brown, with Bo Ramsey on guitar. Now, here's a guy who can make his guitar sing! and Pieta's rather easy on the ears too. Give it a's short! Like me.

Amuse who?

Bethany and Chris gave us a gift certificate to the View Point Inn, which is on a cliff overlooking the beautiful Columbia Gorge. It is also famous for being in Twilight, when Edward and Bella have their romantic moment at the prom. Built in 1924, it has hosted such luminaries as Charlie Chaplin, Theda Barra, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
We arrived just before five o'clock, so we had time for a wee stroll around the grounds.

This is the main room, complete with roaring log fire and comfortable sofas.

Our table was in the sunroom. We were the only diners. This was the view from our table. So far, so good.

The waiter did everything with a flourish, including giving us our menus. That should have made me suspicious.
There were two menus.
The seven course meal, at $65 per person.
And the four course menu, at $45 per person.

I didn't think to ask about prices when I made the reservation. Even with the gift certificate, that was a hefty chunk of cash for our meal. But we forged on intrepidly, on the four course menu, naturally.
First up was the amuse bouche. This is designed to excite the taste buds, meaning, literally, mouth amuser. This particular amuse bouche was described as a "blue cheese mouse on a finger of endive." I chuckled and asked the waiter if there was anything we could substitute for the mouse, and if they by any chance meant "mousse"? He was suitably abashed at being corrected by such a mere mortal as me, and allowed as how they might be able to substitute the prawn with avocado from the 7-course menu.
"Thank you," I said demurely.
Unfortunately, it took me about ten seconds to retrieve my camera from my purse and by then Jeff had devoured the prawns.
Both of them.
"Careful," I said, "those cost about $10 each, you should have savoured them."

He pronounced them very tasty.
Next up was a small salad for Jeff...

...and a miniscule bowl of French Onion soup for me.
That is a teaspoon that you see, for an idea of scale. The cup was about two inches in diameter.

It was also very salty.
We were beginning to worry that we might not be filled up in two more courses. We joked (very quietly) about buying a hamburger on the way back to Portland.
As we waited for our main course, I played with the sunbeams that were shining through our water glasses.

Notice the lack of ice in the water. Although, I will say that the water tasted very good, no nasty chlorine.
Luckily, dinner arrived before we thought of any dastardly deeds involving starched linens and water glasses and candles.
Flank steak, sweet potatoes, and root vegetables for Jeff.
Roast pork with chicken sausage cassoulet for moi.
Bad blogger that I am, I forgot to document these masterpieces because I was ravenous.
But dessert, while not cherry and white chocolate as advertised on the menu, was a fairly delectable cinnamon-y and caramel bread pudding.

It lasted about 30 seconds. As you can see, I almost missed the photo op, yet again.

After dinner, which, surprisingly, filled up my tummy, we sat and looked at wedding albums in front of the fire. I cannot even imagine how much it would cost to celebrate a wedding at the View Point Inn.
Being too intimidated by our flourishy waiter to ask him to take a photo, I managed this one in the very nicely appointed unisex bathroom mirror.

And this one of His Nibs, on the regal sofa.

Another stroll around the grounds, as I had seen some pretty cool shots of the old fountain in the wedding albums and wanted to give them a try. The light was not good, but I kind of like these two.
We hit the road, I84 back to Portland, because the evening had barely begun.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

More Easter aftermath, added upon

So, as well as the half-price, very-dangerous Cadbury Mini Eggs, I also got these cute fishie eggs at Fred Meyer yesterday. With some split peas and Gorilla super glue, they became two dozen adorable egg shakers for use with my preschool groups. The total cost was around $5 and I also got the candy out of the eggs to put in the piano treat jar. Score all around!

Plus, I made a nice new bag in which to carry them.

Let's hope the super glue holds up. After it has dried for a day, it seems to be very strong. I can think of some scenarios in which they might get forcibly opened, but I don't think preschools is one of them. Egg shakers usually cost over $2 each, so if these hold up it will be a mighty coup.
If you want to make some egg shakers for your own little crew, choose eggs that are harder plastic. The flimsier, shiny-smooth ones will not hold the glue. And it is imperative to use really good super glue. I wanted to use the regular Gorilla glue, but Bethany forgot to send it with Josh today.
Just sayin'.

P.S. Two of the shakers broke open in the first preschool this morning, but the rest were still intact after four groups . So I would say, use the regular Gorilla glue, not the super glue, just in case. And the kiddos loved them.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The ONLY reason for the Easter Bunny.... this:
Cadbury's Mini Eggs.

Just in case you were wondering.

Not that I'm complaining...

...but I think we've had enough rain now.

If you ever wonder why Oregon is famous for being green (and I'm not talking environmentally savvy, although that too) it's because of this:
Grey and wet...

Bedraggled tulips...

Overflowing birdbath...


Weekend recap:
Don't you just love men in aprons? Our Bishop (who is Jewish by birth) did a Seder on Friday evening. Jeff had the day off, so he helped with the preparations. He chopped apples and rolled matzah balls and manhandled chicken thighs.
Bishop Bill, Jeff, and young Justin.

Daniel walked in the door on Sunday afternoon wearing his Easter basket on his head. He had been wearing it most of the day.
"I'm toad," he said.

I spent the day cooking up a feast and watching General Conference.
This apple cake is very delicious. I made two, one gluten-free. It is also dairy-free, if that is an issue.

Apple Cake

1 1/2 c sugar
4 c chopped apples
2 c flour
1/2 c oil
2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Mix sugar, oil, and eggs. Add apples and mix again. Add sifted dry ingredients. Bake in a greased and floured bundt pan for 1 hour or until it tests done. 350 degrees.

Easy peasy.
Your dependent goody-eaters will love you.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Just keeping track....

Here we were a year ago.
And here we are now.

Better camera, better piano, same darling girl.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Been there, done that

Friday 2nd:
For those of you who think I just sit at home and do facebook and blog all day, I have already driven to Lake Oswego this morning, conducted two preschool music groups, and provided one hour of excellent supervision for my Marylhurst student.
I have thought twice, thrice, four and five times about this post.
Because I don't want you to have vivid nasty mental pictures when you read it.
There, now I've done it. Your mental pictures will be in 3-D technicolour.

Technicolor is one of those proper nouns that has become a ubiquitous part of our language. And did you know that my dear Uncle Charlie used to work for Technicolor?

But I digress.

Then, I decided that indignities happen, and maybe you will enjoy a laugh at the expense of my indignity and won't hold the mental pictures against me.
So here goes!

Thursday 1st:
Today, I had the joyful occasion to visit Dr. Patrick Lee, at his Rectal and Colon Clinic. Could the name be any less subtle?
Aha! Is this an April Fool's joke?
No, I say.
I will not thrill you with details. Let me just say that after we were done with our little discussion and before things got more...interesting...he said, "Don't worry, I'll make this fun and entertaining."
When all was done, I said, "Wow, that was fun and entertaining."
He laughed. "Be careful, I charge double if you have too much fun."
When I re-entered the waiting room there were three other patients sitting there.
Our eyes met and we smiled sheepishly at each other.
We all knew.

On the way home, I treated myself to a stop at Tuesday Morning, where I bought some lovelies for the garden.
Just because I could.

Meet Harvey the Heron.
And the Toadstools.
Harvey and the Toadstools.
Sounds like the name of a band.
This would be a much better mental picture!
Did I mention that I love garden art?