Monthly Archives: December 2008

Christmas!!

The winter trip to Wisconsin was great! We snuck out of PDX just at the very beginning of the storm. Which ended up being one the biggest snow storms Portland has had in forever, so we were super lucky to avoid it entirely.

There were 10 inches expected in Madison too, but we blew into town before that storm hit too. We got to see most of our friends, and meet Max (Phil and Cat’s son) and Natalia (Marcio and Abby’s daughter) which I really looked forward to meeting. We ate dinner at the Weary Traveler (of course), drank some Lake Louie ABA, and got hot chips at Harmony Bar.

Harmony Bar
Hot chips at the Harmony Bar in Madison.

We headed to the Brass Ring for a few hours and left to a blanket of snow. Not many people on the road then, thankfully. The next morning we woke up to 15 inches of snow! So we hung out until the afternoon to give the snow plows some time to clear things out.

Carrie and I walked her huskies a block through it, and now that I don’t have to live in it for six months per year, it was fun to wander in the snow, especially with dogs.

Scotch
Scotch with a face full of snow!

Brian’s dad’s birthday was fun. He brought his Wii to B’s brother’s house, so there were many games of bowling. I also taught B’s niece how to knit, and it was crazy how quickly she picked it up!

Wisconsin winter
A barn somewhere on Hwy 60 in Wisconsin. And snow.

We drove to visit my cousins, and I have to say that they have a terribly cute and well-mannered family, which can’t be easy to achieve with four kids and puppy. It was so good to see them, and I’m always sorry I don’t get more time with them. My aunt was there too, and she identified all the people in the slides I’ve been scanning that I didn’t know, which makes me really really happy.

The next day we made cookies to frost for Santa, a corn-flake wreath for snacking and just generally hung out.

Oriental Theater in Chicago
Oriental Theater in Chicago.

After that, we went to Chicago! The roads were completely terrible for driving, I was very impressed with Gretchen’s driving skills. An hour and 20 min journey took over three, so good thing we had planned to walk up and down Michigan Avenue (we didn’t due to time constraints).

Macy\'s windows
Macy’s Christmas windows this year in Chicago.

We did get to look at Macy’s windows in the Marshall Field building and bleah, not impressed even a little. Not that I thought they’d get it right, but c’mon! I still want a Fuck Macy’s t-shirt. I miss Meier and Franks and Marshall Fields. It was fun walking through Chicago as it snowed, and felt super Christmas-y.

Chicago
Chicago.

Brian and I miss Chicago very, very much. As soon as I’m working again, we want to plan a Chicago-only visit because we definitely didn’t take enough advantage of how close we were.

We all walked down to the Palmer House, where my niece and nephew got cocoa and the grown-ups got coffee and beer, and then walked to the Italian Village for dinner. Italian Village has been around for 80 years, and it’s where my mom went on dates when she was in high school.

Gretchen and I have been there many times over the years, and the food is always great. We had a good bottle of Sangiovese with dinner (Saint Christina or something similar to that). I introduced my niece to tiramisu! I feel so proud.

After that we went to see Wicked. I am glad I got to see it before it closed. The set was spectacular, I was so impressed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a set as incredible as this one, and the lighting was inspired.

I am super impressed at how well my niece and nephew do in at a show – I’d be disappointed if they didn’t know how to behave (I see kids at shows all the time misbehaving) so I’m glad Gretchen takes them to lots of shows, just like we did when we were young.

After Wicked, we wanted to go to the Signature room, but it was already 10:30 and the roads were super bad so we decided to go next time (hopefully soon)?

Christmas itself was wonderful, it’s always so cozy and fun to watch kids open presents on Christmas morning. I think we all got things we liked, which made me happy, and B’s dad loved the blanket I made for him, yay!

Carrie and Todd are coming tonight, I can’t wait to get them at the airport. I haven’t quite decided where we are going to take them for dinner, but I know it’ll be good. It’s so good to be back in Portland – we were surprised this year by how much we missed. If Carrie and Todd weren’t coming here, I think we’d still be running around doing all of our favorite Portland things because we really missed being here as much as we liked seeing friends and family back in Wisconsin.

Uh oh

Alright, everyone think good thoughts and prevent Portland from getting six inches on Wednesday. Really. Please? Can’t it hold off until Thursday? Or even just Wednesday night.

I think I may have jinxed things with my last post, so aaaarrrrrrgh!

Alright. Thank you. Back to what you were doing.

Weather

Dear lord it is snowing in Portland. From what the news says, it’s also approaching the coldest it’s been in over a decade. The snow is notable enough for Portland that I am blogging it so that I remember it – there was no snow last year other than one Saturday when I noticed some flakes in the air (but nothing on the ground, it melted when it hit).

This, however, is sticking, and providing much consternation for drivers. They aren’t letting people on the highways without chains or traction tires (neither of which I own yet, but chains are in my future so we can take Carrie and Todd up Mt Hood potentially in a few weeks).

We’ve seen cars in front of our house (on NE Fremont St) doing accidental doughnuts, and Brian was very amused to see one poor guy in a gold BMW who clearly had no idea what to do. He kept spinning in circles, and then ending up in oncoming traffic pointing the wrong way. So then he’d tromp on the gas, spin in circles and slide into the other traffic, pointing the wrong way. He must have eventually figured something out because he’s not trapped in front of our house spinning in circles, so hopefully he had the sense to realize he can’t drive in snow (really, this guy couldn’t) and pulled over to have someone come and get him. Heh. And even though I know that’s probably not the case, it’s amusing me nonetheless.

Getting out

Neat. Feel like some urban foraging? Here’s a website for Portland where you can put in an address or intersection, and it gives you a google map with all the wild food you can find. Walnuts, pears, chestnuts, blackberries, all sorts of stuff.

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down were fabulous last night. I danced until the very end. I am definitely going to have to see them a bunch more. I also ran into someone I knew from Madison, which was pretty cool, she’s been out here for four years and seems to like it a lot.

Tonight, I am going to see the Nutcracker downtown with some friends. I’m really excited about it because we went to it every year when I lived in Oregon. And then we went to it nearly every year after that until we became stupid cranky teenagers. I saw it a few times after that, but the Madison Nutcracker was really bad. So I’m excited to see the Oregon ballet do it again, it’s definitely going to put me in a Christmas mood.

The Christmas ships are going to be in our part of the Willamette river tonight too, so we should see them as we cross the bridge. I’m still hoping to make a night of seeing them next week so if I do, expect too many pictures. The Christmas ships have been a tradition for 54 years, apparently.

Sexism and the housing market

One thing I’ve noticed from buying houses with a person I am not married to is that a number of companies are pretty sexist, or are at least giving me that impression.

B gets tons of stuff in the mail relating to our recent purchase of this house – coupons, ads, information. Very, very rarely, we get this stuff in both of our names. I have never received anything like this in just my name.

Now, I’m not a fan of spam to begin with, but this actively insults me as someone who came up with half of the deposit, and who pays half the mortgage each month.

For me, these places are letting me know which companies I should not do business with because they have no interest in dealing with me, and are making assumptions about how B and my relationship works. I feel like any company that has this sort of thinking is flawed and is showing me they make bad business decisions. Even if there’s some sort of wacked out statistic that shows this is a good idea for them, they’ve lost my business, and by extension B’s too.

Movie time

Bagdad Theater in Portland
Bagdad Theater in Portland (in no way related to this post)

I think I need a good movie to counteract the truly lousy ones we’ve watched recently. There doesn’t seem to be anything out that I’m interested in even slightly.

I talked B into getting No Country for Old Men. I think I may skip the next couple Coen Brothers films, I think they are mostly coasting on reputation at this point. To be fair, my dislike of the film is probably at least equally from my dislike of Cormac McCarthy. I’ve never liked anything he’s written, and I used to read him so that I could talk about him when I worked at the bookstore. In any event, I felt like this movie was trying to imply a meaning where there wasn’t one, and ended up saying nothing worth spending the time to watch the movie.

We followed that up by watching Spiderman 3 two nights ago because it was one the last nights we could “Watch Instantly” on Netflix, and I couldn’t see putting it in our regular queue. I had heard it was bad, but wow, it managed to exceed my expectations of how bad it was. Those were the loosest morals I’ve seen since, oh, I don’t even know! I felt really sick when the girl who came from an abusive father eventually got back together with the boy who hit her! That’s great! What an awesome message to send out there, guys, maybe he won’t do it again!

Blech. We’ve retreated to Buffy the Vampire Slayer to get the taste out of my mouth. I’m working on some Christmas presents like mad so I need some movie time to get them done this week and into the mail.