…and rain. Two straight weeks of chilly, gray, rainy days. This is when any report of higher suicide rates in the Northwest makes a little bit of sense. Okay, it’s not SO bad, but it makes it worse when the Midwest is enjoying freakish 85-degree days. But talk to me again in July when it’s heavenly here.
A couple Mondays ago Jeff, my co-worker Kristen, her roomie Nicole and I cheered the Portland Timbers in their second season home opener. Kristen and Nicole were sweet enough to invite us, which is quite a score since the Timbers are always the hot ticket in town. Even in a downpour, the 18,627-seat Jeld-Wen Field was bursting at the seams with poncho-clad fans (including us – thank heavens we still had a couple rain ponchos stowed away from the 2010 Kentucky Derby). After fireworks, a Timbers Army-delivered National Anthem, rain-soaked draft beers and a couple Timber Dogs, the home team prevailed over Philadelphia, 3-1.
The afternoon before that, we hit up the first-ever live taping of the Pedal Powered Talk Show at the Bagdad Theater. Such a funny concept: Portland local Boaz Frankel fashioned an interview desk on wheels and has been producing a mobile talk show for the past several months. Our neighbor Daniel is Pedal Powered’s official photographer (and a longtime friend of Boaz) so we happily attended as part of the live studio audience. The three episodes should be posted online soon, you might spot us in the crowd!
Last weekend brought us to Eugene, home of the University of Oregon and nicknamed “Track Town USA.” The launchpad of Nike and world-class distance runner Steve Prefontaine, Eugene is a quick two-hour trip from home, yet we’ve never visited in our 15 months in Oregon. So when Jeff got tapped by his NCAA/NIT contacts back in Indianapolis to work the Oregon/Iowa NIT game at U of O, we made a little trip of it. We spent our St. Patty’s Day bopping from Steelhead Brewing Company (I loved the Barracuda Blonde), the Oregon Electric Company (a historic old train depot turned award-winning restaurant) and the rowdy Sixth Street Grill. For brunch: the Original Pancake House, home of the sinfully-amazing, oven-baked Apple Pancake, slathered in Granny Smith apples and cinnamon-y goo. I felt a little guilty counting it as a meal. Jeff then ran to his game at the Matthew Knight arena (named after Nike chairman/co-founder Phil Knight’s deceased son) and I whiled away my time at Starbucks and McMenamins’ High Street Brewery & Cafe. Overall, Eugene was a decent little city – not much different from East Lansing – but nothing I’d keep coming back to.
And this week, we experienced TED! Short for technology, entertainment and design, TED is a global set of conferences highlighting “ideas worth spreading.” I’ve been a TED fan for who knows how long, watching TED Talk videos from “Eat Pray Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and others on the TED website. Am I a nerd? Maybe. But when I got wind of the local TEDxPortland, I jumped on the opportunity to hit its March 20 launch party. Of course, our partners in crime Lindsay and Daniel came along, as we hob-nobbed with locals such as Portland Mayor Sam Adams (Daniel boldly marched up to Sam as soon as we walked in), enjoyed drinks to DJ Gemo’s tunes and got a taste of the April 21 TEDxPortland big event. Kind of fancy-pantsy but cool. And yes, the four of us happily plunked down money for April event tickets. 🙂