It was an amazing weekend in Portland with Olivia. We seriously put a dent in my credit card, using the lack of sales tax as an excuse. It was such a rare treat spending a whole week alone with Olivia. We also did a couple of “cultural” things like going to both the Chinese and the Japanese Gardens. At the Chinese Garden we encountered a squirrel that really wasn’t quite right:
The Japanese garden in particular blew me away and now I am all inspired to bonzai my Vashon trees and create entire hillsides of nothing but moss. And of course a tiny trickling creek with little waterfalls and perfect little seating nooks and pagotas are a must! OK, gotta stop thinking about the garden.
We also had some pretty terrific food. Olivia is now at an age where she appreciates good food. Our most memorable dinner was in the Nob Hill area at a restaurant called 23 Hoyt. The surroundings were lively on a Saturday night and the prawn spaghetti was amazing. So much so, we actually took the leftovers back to the hotel and ate them the next night for a snack.
The next night we ate at the restaurant next to the Ace Hotel, a funky place called Clyde Common. And true to its name, it had huge tables where you were sat together with others. Olivia seemed rather horrified when we were seated, squished between a family with a baby and two girls talking dirty. I managed to get us moved to larger table and she relaxed. The food was good, but the portions quite tiny (which is why we were happy for the previous night’s leftovers).
Our final night was at Serrato also in Nob Hill (our favorite area, so we got quite adept at taking the streetcar there and back). It was good (I had a duck confit risotto), but paled next to Hoyt 23. Plus we were sort of terrorized by an alarmingly large bug in the window beside us.
We had brunch with fellow widow blogger Candace and her daughter Anna and got to know her a little better. Although we had met in San Diego, it perhaps wasn’t the most conducive to getting to know someone, what with all the Margaritas and all.
Next stop was Timberline Lodge where we were staying the night before picking Carter up from camp. We took a meandering drive along the Columbia Gorge where Olivia kept rolling her eyes at me every time I made her get out of the car to see yet another waterfall.
But god, it was so beautiful. Very Lord of the Rings. I actually wished I hiked! And then the car began climbing higher and higher and although we could see our destination in the distance, it didn’t seem possible that we would wind up being so close. Mt. Hood was beautiful in a stark, moon-like way. Being up so high above the treeline, the gravel was a purple-gray and sprinkled here and there with gorgeous purple wild flowers. The lodge itself was all gigantic timbers worn smooth by all the hands. Each banister was carved into a different animal, eagle, owl, otter, etc. Our room was cozy (read tiny, but very sweet and wood panelled). We headed for the pool, which at first was kind of chilly with the wind coming off the mountain. But eventually we donned our suits and found refuge in the heated pool.
As I was bobbing in there with Olivia, a big barreled-chested guy with a mustache introduced himself as Jeff. I had seen him checking us out, but only later did I learn that he was actually checking me out. We chatted in the hot tub before getting too hot and jumping back into the pool. He was loud in that American sort of way. I learned he was from MA, owned a ranch, did rodeos, and was along with a group of his daughter’s as a sometimes downhill race coach. He invited me to have a beer with him, and he confessed his attraction. It’s been a long time since that has happened!
When I got back to the pool after the beer, there was another dad there, and he was making some serious eye contact in the hot tub. I couldn’t believe it. In a matter of an hour, I had two guys flirting with me! After four years in Seattle, where I may as well be invisible. What is that about? This dad was seriously cute and I was secretly hoping he was single, despite being from Rhode Island.
Later that night, after Olivia and I had dinner, Jeff found me again and offered to buy me a drink. Although he wasn’t really my type, plus the fact that he was married, I couldn’t help but be flattered. In Seattle, a guy barely gives you a sideways glance, much less talks to you or admires. The cute dad was also at the bar, and he and Jeff talked about ski racing and I found out that cute dad was also married. Jeff and I chatted some more. I didn’t ask why a man married for 30 odd years was buying me wine. Well, actually I did ask about his marriage which he said was fine. But he was flirting. Big time. And for once I didn’t feel invisible. I miss east coast men.
And then it was time to pick up Carter from Camp. He looked happy and relaxed, nothing like the sobbing wreck that had called me 17 times a day, just a few short days before. He had made it, and perhaps it was just relief, but I think it was possible that he might have even had a good time.
He wasn’t the only one.