Not all travel is the same. My trips to
And my trips to
There’s something to be said for free WiFi in the hotel room, “high-speed WiFi,” no less. I don’t know a lot about computers, beyond emailing and, oh, shopping, but it does seem that the point of WiFi is ease—and having low-speed WiFi defeats that point. “We have WiFi. You can sit with your wireless-enabled laptop anywhere within our hotel and, in about 45 minutes, download some email. But you don’t need a cord!” Anyway, knowing I was going to have the fast, free WiFi right in my room, I didn’t prepare quite as well as I might have for this trip—you know, finding where to shop, where to eat, where to shop at Anthropologie, where to get afternoon coffee, where to have gelato and shop, when Nordstrom opens, how to get to the Rose Garden on the truly handy-dandy light rail, and what to buy while there, but it all worked out perfectly.
I have to say, if I weren’t planning to move out to the islands where I can have horses and boats and plenty of space around me, I would seriously consider moving to Portland (Editor’s note: Ms. Taylor would like to add the caveat that the weather be sunny and warm for half the year and then sunny and cold or snowy and cold for the other half; in other words, fairly unlike typical Portland weather). I’ve retained a bit of familiarity with the city from my years in college, when I couldn’t drive downtown without accidentally going over the
It’s also been fun to be with Mom for our biennial trip. I think in the past we’ve maybe stayed three nights, and I think that maybe would be a better idea than two—I’m so fired up about tax-free shopping by the time we get there that I’m hard-pressed to do anything more cultural . . . and so another day, in which to feed my soul as well as my closet, might be good in the future.
Things specifically about this trip:
- My friend L, from Lewis and Clark, who is a professional woman in
these days, was a charming dinner companion. I should clarify—this is always the case, not just this trip. She also has a new car, a fancy 2005 Jetta sedan, which she bought last Saturday. Marsh’s sister, K, also from Portland , is likewise a charming dinner companion. And they both dealt very well with Mom saying, as soon as we’d received our wine at the extraordinarily tasty Caffe Mingo, “Okay, L—now you tell K what you do for work, and then K, you tell L what you do.” Both knew better than to argue with a retired teacher. After exchanging work stories, I said “Okay, now how would you two feel about dating?” It just sounded like that was where Mom was going. Portland
- Mom snores, like her mother. This is different from the past. Grams (Mom Sr.), used to shake the house with her nocturnal growling. Not sure if this is a transient phase for Mom, or a new leaf. She was certainly surprised to be told about it, and I am reminded that the snorer who sleeps alone (in her case, so she claims, because Marsh snores) may not be aware of their snoring. Certainly, I feel that I never snore, but Ian says I occasionally do. And how would I know; I’m asleep.
- Mom brought a zucchini. We were intending to have lunch with some friends we met on another trip the two of us took (on the train, mistakenly from Vancouver, BC, north to Prince George instead of up Vancouver Island . . . as did this couple), but they—in their 80s—had double-booked, and so were going off to pick peaches instead (and he uses a walker!). Instead, at dinner with L and K, I picked a number between one and ten and had K and L guess what it was—they didn’t know they were fighting for a zucchini or they probably wouldn’t have put so much effort into it—and K won but didn’t want the zucchini, but L did want it, and was quite forceful in her declarations of love for all things vegetable (well, some things anyway, including zucchini) and so took it herself, but felt weird carrying it around and it wouldn’t fit in her purse so she gave it back to me to put in my bag, which I did, leaving it there until we returned to our hotel room, but fortunately we were staying within walking distance of L’s work and so just dropped it off with the receptionist the next morning (this is not exactly true. The receptionist looked at us and the zucchini askance, then nodded knowingly when we explained we were there dropping off a zucchini for L. Apparently, this was not an unusual occurrence. Then she called L to come get the zucchini directly, clearly not wanting it to muddle up her desk). It was a nice reasonable-sized zucchini, not one of the gargantuan ones Mom has been known to grow.
- Two other friends, M from Lewis and Clark and her husband, O, are also charming dinner companions and Mint a fantastic place to eat with amazing cocktails—which it’s known for (Fresh, mentioned in the above-linked review, was perfect on a hot evening)—and amazing food, which it’s less known for, presumably because the cocktails are so good that people are quickly in no position to judge food. M and O have recently purchased a beautiful little Tudor in
Northeast Portland, which looks inside exactly how all of us wish our 80-year-old northwest houses looked.
- I have realized once and for all I have blood-sugar issues. Friends may have noticed this already—an impatience of attitude, say, when I need food. I recommend that they not bring it to my attention, however, even if I’m currently sated. I mean, why poke a sleeping bear. I am also embarrassed to say that my bad attitude manifested itself in childish selfishness and huffy words to my mother, who is generosity personified (and never ever, no never, has blood-sugar issues herself). The fact that I had spent a fruitless hour or more in the much-despised Nordstrom Rack prior to getting any food did not help matters. The thing about Nordstrom Rack is this—it’s full of clothes that people didn’t want. Often, people didn’t want them because they were weird sizes. I’m not a particularly weird size, so I find it depressing, then maddening to look for anything there. If a shopper has a specific purpose—say, a fancy cotton cardigan as a gift for a loved one, or a formal gown for a recital, it can be perfect—but I’ve learned my lesson. Get in, get it done, and get out. Then have a snack.
Even in the