Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Rose City By Any Other Name

Hello again, friends!! Have you missed me?

When my dear friend Bo told me last year that he was thinking about moving from NYC to Portland, OR, I thought he was a bit full of it, since up until a few months before we'd never lived more than a few miles from each other. But daggum if he didn't do it.

So after a few months of planning, I flew out to Oregon, all alone (!) to visit with my sweet friend and see what all the hub-bub was about. So I have to admit: aaahhhhhhhh. Portland is incredible. Did y'all know this?

He took me all around town, to Saint Honore Boulangerie, which I'd first read about on Alicia's blog, and then of course to the Rose Garden, where those sweet little flowers had waited on me before deciding to give up for the season.

We rented a car (Which is an another blog entry in itself. Let's just say we drove something like 15 hrs without a CD player or a tape deck, and the only stations that ever came in completely clear were Contemporary Christian. Those stations must stream straight from God, because they never lost strength, even in the most rural of Oregon back-country. There's a metaphor in there somewhere.) and drove I-5 down to Grant's Pass and then up 17 of the most curvy-hairpin roads I've even been on. And I'm from WV. If you were on this road that day you may have seen us: We were the ones in the electric-blue compact, a cute guy at the wheel and his travel companion leaning her head out the side window, trying not to vomit.

What awaited for us was lovely and worth it, The Chateau at the Oregon Caves, or as Bo calls it, The Ewok Village. As good little tourists should, we hauled it through a tour through the caves and then on a little hike over the mountain.

Driving away, we repeated the same sad scene on the way down the mountain and then headed over toward the coast on a road that remains nameless. Not for confidentiality, just truly nameless. After winding our way through a one-lane path for about 15 miles, we came to this:

Lovely. We took it pretty well.

So up the coast via another route, to the coup de grace: The Oregon Dunes, undoubtedly the highlight of our journey. To get to the beach, you must hike first down the grand dunes and then through a bit of a dense trail. I told Bo I though we should reenact that heartbreaking scene from The English Patient where Ralph Fiennes carries Kristin Scott Thomas's limp body out of the cave and down the dunes. Surprisingly, he declined.

It's funny: ever since Bo moved clear across the country I have been desperate to have him back east. I hate the time difference and knowing that our visits are so infrequent after over 10 yrs of being joined at the proverbial hip. But seeing Oregon, I just fell in love with it too. It's like when your best friend tells you she's dating the most wonderful man and you will just love him and won't mind that he's moving her to some place like Provo and you are just sooo ready not to like him. But then you meet him, and of course you do just love him, and see how happy she is and instead of saying, "Nope - not worth it - just come back to me," you end up saying, "You are a lucky duck - have fun in Provo!!!".

That's how I feel.

On another note, thank you for all of your quilt suggestions. I didn't give much detail about the situation with this quilt in an earlier post because I didn't want my friend to see it, but since I am almost positive that she doesn't read this thing, I will give you a little more info. My friend is Beth and has been one of my best friends since I was about 9 yrs old. Her lovely mother died very suddenly of cancer when we were 14. At 25 yrs old, married for less than a year, she was faced with a heartbreaking decision: her brother had a daughter from a relationship years ago. The mother of her niece had subsequently had another daughter with another man. All parents involved became unable to care for the girls and they were going to be placed in foster care. So, overnight, she and her amazing husband decided to take the girls, then aged 8 and 5. They since have fought for, and won, permanent custody. Now, 5 yrs later, she and her husband are expecting another girl in December.

I can hardly write her story without sobbing, and I want the quilt to really honor all of the women in her life: the one who left her so early, and the three who she is now mothering. Really, she should probably get some sort of show in her honor from Oprah, but for now the quilt will have to do. It means alot to me that your kind and thoughtful suggestions are now part of the spirit of my gift to her.

I woke up this morning to the best 'welcome home' present ever - cool weather. Between that and my trip, my spirits are soaring. Grease the popover pan - fall's finally here.


Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

Hello! Looks like you had a wonderful trip. I discovered your blog a short time ago and did some exploring - I'm now a new fan! :) I have a suggestion about your friend and the quilt, how about a tree with leaves that are embroidered with the names of the important women - you could even go back to grandmothers, you could add in aunts, cousins, etc. If the baby is due soon (Fall) then the ladies who are no longer with her could be on the leaves which have turned colour and/or fallen to the ground. I look forward to seeing what you decide to do.

ahna said...

I am so jealous. I love Portland. glad that you had a great time, and thanks for the pix.

by Johanna Brandvik said...

What a dreamy fall vacation! I've spent a lot of time in and around Seattle, but not really Portland. Your post, as well as Puddle Wonderful's, are inspiring me to plan my next trip there.

Speaking of inspiration, your friend is an angel. And you are so dear to be making this quilt for her. Good luck and please do show us some pics when you're done.

Finally, I still have not tried your pop-overs, but hope to soon. It's raining here today for the first time in months, so the weather's just right for some warm pop-overs with butter and jam!

domesticgoddess said...

Beautiful post, Jill! Glad you had a lovely time in Oregon...how great you got to reconnect with an old friend.

On another note, thanks for helping me out this weekend...I'll be sure to bring you back some sand and salt air!!