Winter has its effects, and being crazy-busy certainly compounds those. The last few days have been an amazing break from the norm, and are reminding me of so much: the perspective of things; the value of strong connections between friends (even if distance separates you most of the time); and the amazing amount of wonder that remains in the world!
Friday night we gathered at my house, friends from east and west, for dinner. Eschewing fancy productions, the point of the evening was a hot dog bacchanalia of sorts: different types of sausages, options for buns, and an array of fixin's including a freshly made New York Style onion sauce. It was a blast, both for the food and the wonderful company. A house filled with the smiles and laughter of those I care about is such a profound delight to me, and a joy I miss -- we used to do it so often back in Bloomington. Big dinner parties where a core group attended with the now-and-then drop in of others.
I also miss being hosted; the halcyon days of the weekly rotating dinner party are some of my fondest memories, and Matt and Angela my favorites host/hostess. (Sorry to play favorites, but it's true. So many good times.) The weeks seemed easy to bear when you knew the familiar routine of sinking into a comfortable couch (yours or someone else) with a drink in hand and hours of just chillin' lying before you...
These past few days have made me miss what my life was, appreciate what my life is, and informs what I want my life to be.
Today we introduced our friends Glenn and Kalpana to the sublime joys found in a cup at Dutch Brothers, and then played in Portland. We hit old favorites like the Columbia Outlet, and had uniquely Portland experiences such as lunching at the Grilled Cheese Grill on 28th (Glenn is my hero, he dared to get the Cheesus, but all our selections were awesome), poking around a make-your-own terrarium shop (SO earthy-hipster-trendy Portland), seeing the Portland Iditarod and running across a bagpiper and a gang of men in kilts leading a Scottish dog parade through downtown as we scoped out clog stores and spice shops.
After some rabid retail activity at the Columbia Outlet in Lake Oswego (shoes, pants, t shirt, running jacket and skirt all for only $120), we poked our heads into the Columbia Flagship store downtown (just happened to park nearby); I ventured in as far as I needed to spy a jacket I fell in love with, until I saw the $350 price tag (I can't even find it on their web site). We turned on our heels and headed down to Clogmasters where an old Swedish woman lectured us on foot physiology and the poor state of the footwear market as she fit K for some new shoes (purple leather, black sole--to be delivered). Meandering our way around, we stopped into John Helmer Haberdasher and tried on hats (so many hats). Enjoyed perusing at The Spice and Tea Exchange (but seriously... the prices? Gimme Penzeys.) So much fun.
I fell in swooning, heart-thumping love with Portland all over again, as usual. But it's a fickle attraction, for sure.
Leave it to the diabetic to get the Tex-Ass.
We headed out to Beaverton in search of good ethnic groceries (yes, all the best are out there, I've found so far--Paldo World [Korean] and Owijamaya [Japanese] being favorites). We found Bazaar International Market and it rocked my world! We picked up the spices we needed for our Indian cooking extravaganza planned for tomorrow, and had a blast poking through the wonderful and intriguing things. The big scores were an easy spicing mix for Butter Chicken, and a free falafel press with a three pack of falafel mix... oh and fresh made samosas!
IT'S FALAFEL TIME IN THE LEITH HOUSEHOLD!!!
We all agreed that while in intriguing, the Yogurt Soda need not be tried.
We came home and unpacked, carting our booty into the house. Before we got too comfortable we grabbed Winston and Marissa and took a walk. The little guy is really shaping up fast; while his first .58 mile just a week ago left him dragging before the end, he did .77 tonight and was still running in spurts as we approached home, and it was in about the same amount of time, maybe even a smidge faster!
You go, boy!