Saturday, March 27, 2010


The Watcher in the Window
Originally uploaded by Martina
My sweet little Cleo cat died today. I will miss her.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Me!

One of the many wonderful things about living in Portland is that two of my favorite places ever - the Columbia River Gorge and Maryhill Museum of Art - are within easy road tripping distance. Since nature saw fit to shine her light in all its glory on the first day of spring (which also happens to be my birthday), there was no other choice but to celebrate with a mini-road trip. So, I got together some of my favorite people and hit the road.

The day started with a lovely brunch with my adopted nephew and his family, who are slowly being absorbed into the auntosphere. It started with the boy. I keep his allegiance by buying him toys and feeding him copious amounts of sugar when he comes to visit, but the older daughter now makes occasional references to me as "Aunt Tina" too. The middle child is a tough teen nut to crack, but I am confident that I will win her over one day too, if I can get her to put down her cell phone and stop texting for long enough to notice there are other people in the room.

Aside from the company, the great thing about brunch was that it was the only meal I've had to cook in the past five days. Thursday lunch was Italian with coworkers and dinner came in the form of happy hour with my friends Goth Girl and The Tattooed Lady, who kindly treated me to pre-birthday porter and a roasted garlic burger. And the dining out has not stop with the weekend either! That's right Portland Area Restaurant Association members, my crew and I are keeping you afloat, so you better smile when you see me waddling up to your front door!

But, back to my story. Picture this. Portland, the first day of spring 2010. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and people's stomachs are full of maple sausage and apple breakfast casserole. The brunch shift clocks out and the road trip shift arrives. The sun is shining so hard I want to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. I am not. If it were a dream, I would be thinner and George Clooney would be accompanying me.

Even Clooney free, it turns out to be one of my favorite days ever, mostly because my mom and the friends I was travelling with really are a lot of fun. You know how some people can be good friends, but not good road friends, because their pace is too different from yours or because you like piddling around and they have to have a plan? Well, these people are perfect as friends AND road tripping buddies.
As the day progressed, we visited Starvation Creek State Park (I totally want to go back for a picnic one day!) and stopped for lunch at Big Jim's in The Dalles, where the lady at the counter surprised me with free birthday ice cream, which she brought to our table BEFORE lunch came. If there's one thing I've learned in my many moons, it's that you don't mess around with waiting for after lunch when you are full to start with dessert. Big rookie mistake. It's much more efficient to go for the good stuff right off. That way you can be too full when it comes time for the lima beans and not the hot fudge. It just makes good birthday sense and I am ever so happy that Big Jim and I are of one mind on this!

After Jim's it was off to Stonehenge and Maryhill, where we wandered around taking pictures of the peacocks, which really are sexy birds and not just fancy turkeys no matter what some members of my party would have you believe. Then, as the day drew to a close, we sat at a picnic table on the grounds while my people showered me with amazing gifts before heading back to the city for the evening. Looks like this is my lucky year!

Blue Steel: A Love Story

It has recently come to my attention that all peacocks are named Derek. Well, all but they white ones, which are named Hansel. Like Tyra Banks and their namesake, Derek Zoolander, they are consummate models, who have mastered many looks.

Behold, Magnum:

But while stunning, it is not quite enough,

And so he unveils

Blue Steel

She pretends not to notice,

but eventually succumbs, because

he really is really, really ridiculously good looking

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hello Spring!

Originally uploaded by Martina
The magnolia tree outside my bedroom window has just started to bud. The past few days have been so sunny and pink that I've been craving picnics and days at the beach even though there was frost on my windshield when I left for work this morning. Although it's my birthday this weekend and everyone knows you should get whatever you want on your birthday, I'm guessing that it's going to be hard get anyone on board with celebrating my naissance out in the cold, even if it is sunny cold or sunny cold with cake.

I've often considered moving my birthday to a month more amenable to picnics in wildflower filled meadows or maybe having a birthday and birthday, observed like some dead President from day gone by. Ultimately, this just seems like too much work. For one, I am horribly indecisive and it would be difficult to decide on a day, then once the day was chosen and then there'd be the bother of retraining everyone to shower me with gifts and well wishes at a different time of year. Who needs that kind of headache? Not only am I old(ish), but I'm lazy too. So, I'm sticking with the first day of spring, which has always seemed to me a very good day to start a new year.

There is something promising about pink buds and sunny days when you've already braced yourself for a few more rainy, gray weeks before summer returns. As luck has it, it's supposed to be in the upper 60's/low 70's on Saturday. While that's a little cool for sitting outside for long periods of time, it is perfect weather for a trip to visit the peacocks at Maryhill Museum of Art, which just happens to be celebrating its 70th season opening on my birthday this year. I like to think of it as my season opening too!