Friday, April 23, 2010

Heather and Ann's (Excellent?) Adventure

On Thursdays Heather and I do things. Sometimes we take trips like the day we went to Ballard Locks. Sometimes we just have lunch. Yesterday we decided to go to Portland and surprise my stepdaughter Lisa. Lisa is active with the PSU Enviromental Club, and they were holding an Earth Day Festival.

In honor of the day, we decided to take the train to Portland. I've never made the trip, but have always heard good things about it. It was a lot of fun. The train left promptly at 8:15 a.m., the staff was friendly and helpful, and the ride was very comfortable. My friend Rick who lives on Puyallup Avenue was sweet enough to give us a proper send off, and stood guard on his balcony until we passed by.

We arrived at Union Station in Portland right on schedule, exited the station, and started to walk a few blocks until I realized I had no idea how to get to PSU. I have to say I've never met nicer, more helpful people than the ones we ran into that day. One young man even went online on his Ipod thingie to get us information, and soon we were on PSU's South Park Blocks which was filled with information tables, vendors selling recycled/reused goods and art, and there was live music.

It was fun surprising Lisa with our visit. She was so busy talking with people and sharing info that we could only have a quick chat before we started looking around. I was so busy looking at everything I didn't take many pictures (oops), but we walked away with info on Take Back the Tap and Ban the Bag. I bought this really cool knitted soap/sponge mitt from Jenifer Rank and she threw in a free knitted coffee cup cozy. If you're a bike rider check out Bike Cozy's etsy site -- she had lace keepers, cycling caps, toe cozies, and mini bike repair kits. Heather bought a mushroom starter kit! It's pretty ugly looking but I can't wait to see what happens!

After the fair Heather and I set off to find Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB). Chris at TRH recommended the place, and who were we to argue? We took the yellow line down to Pioneer Courthouse (main transportation hub) and discovered the green line would take us to SE Powell which is the street that HUB is on. 29th and SE Powell. So we settled in for a comfy 20 minute ride, and as promised the train dropped us off at SE Powell. Unfortunately it was 92nd and SE Powell. Luckily for us we had bought day passes (a mere $4.75 that gives us access to streetcars, trains, and buses -- ARE YOU HEARING THIS TACOMA? ) and we hopped the #9 and they dropped us right across the street from the HUB.

What an awesome place! The theme was bicycles (it is Portland after all) and beer. Outside were flowers planted in beer casks, the lights over the bar hung off of bike parts, and even the art work was bicycle and beer themed. There were 10 beers on tap to chose from, and a great menu. I had the black bean burger that was made from scratch (so much better than the Garden Burger that Crown Bar served me) with a salad, and Heather chose the portabello burger with nachofied fries. Add a couple beers, and we were two happy girls! Yes, you read that correctly. I had a beer. It was their Earth Day Ale, and in honor of Earth Day (and the fact that I was sitting in a brewery pub) I had a beer -- get over it.

We just had enough time to take the bus downtown, walk a few blocks and hop a streetcar to take us to the Pearl District. The streetcar was PACKED so we escaped after a few blocks and decided to make a quick stop at the Blitz on Pearl for a rest and a cocktail. Not impressed with the place. All I can say is at least they have Sweet Tea Vodka (my new favorite).

Having survived the drinks and the bathroom (yeah, for that story you have to talk to Heather) we walked back to 6th to hop the yellow line back to Union Station. After about a five minute wait we looked to our right and saw we were about three blocks from Union Station, and decided to hoof it, and arrived at Union Station just in time for Heather to get insulted by a street person (again -- Heather can tell the story), take a couple of pics, and get in line for the train home.

Long day, lots of fun, and I can guarantee next Thursday we'll be staying in Tacoma 'cause there's no place like home!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

What a beautiful day for a dri-...hey, is he throwing those chairs out?

Okay, probably longest title ever but seriously that's what happened. Paul has been working like a fiend on our sod containers, and we needed some advice on where to get the potting soil. Off we went to Garden Sphere where they kindly (and correctly) figured out we needed just under 3 cubic yards, and wrote an estimate for bagged soil (with a generous 15% discount) that landed us in the "I'm sorry what did you say?" range of over $300. As an alternative he whipped out a price sheet for H&B Topsoils where we can buy soil in bulk.

So as we're leaving I say to Paul -- hey, let's take another look-see at that house with the sod garden containers and away we drove. Now, I remembered the house was on 35th, but I couldn't remember the cross street, so a left we took and after traveling a couple blocks I say to Paul, what a beautiful day for a dri-..hey, is he throwing those chairs out? Paul quickly said no, hoping to stop me from doing exactly what I did which was make a quick U-turn to take another peek. There was this lovely man, Mike, placing two more chairs on the curb. He said he and the missus were downsizing, and they just wanted to get rid of some stuff. I asked how much for the chairs, and he said well they're free AND there's a dining table to go with it! I looked at Paul and asked, can we take them, and he (once again trying to stop me) said oh, I don't think they'll fit in our car but guess what? They did!

Of course one of the chairs is cracked and needs repair, a table leg was wobbly (stripped screw), and the laminate is coming up at the center seam. Lucky for me I have a very handy husband, and a tablecloth!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Gem Faire

When the girls were much younger Paul and I took them to the Gem Faire. Well actually I think we took them a few times, but regardless ever since I've received free passes to their yearly show at the Tacoma Dome. This year I decided to use the pass, and so Friday off I went to the show. It was pretty disappointing actually. Not as much variety as I remembered in years past. A lot of really cheap looking beads, and really expensive jewelry. There was an amazing display of amber (love, love, love amber) by a few dealers, but way out of my budget. I did find some interesting stuff though, and walked away with a strand of red "coral" (resin), two "ivory" (resin) Buddha head beads, a strand of hand made nickel plated beads and brass bugle beads from Ethiopia, and a set of medium and large "coins". I don't have any plans to use them right now so off they go into the "future projects" box.