Focus on Book Arts was canceled in May. I cried. It was probably the last time I would have gone, since I’m planning to retire within the next year. I suspect it was probably because they raised the prices of the classes so much, but my guess is that they raised prices because they had no choice. They weren’t trying to make a profit. Regardless of the reason, they canceled it for low enrollment.
Not only that, but I chose to attend Focus on Book Arts instead of Convergence in Knoxville, Tennessee, which my tapestry guild was heavily involved in and it was a driveable distance away. Not to mention the art retreat in Ireland that I had laid down a deposit for in 2020, but I would not have been able to do Portugal and Ireland in one year anyway. All scheduled at the same time this year.
The three of us, although we bought travel insurance, had non-refundable plane tickets. Travel insurance didn’t cover the cancellation of an event. One of us was able to get a travel credit to use in the next six months, which was good because she unexpectedly got a new job. The other two musketeers, Susan and I, went to Portland anyway. We had the refund from FOBA and we used it to rent an AirBNB in Portland and have a good time.
The plane trip went incredibly smoothly. I guess I used up all my bad luck on the Portugal plane trip. On the flight between Chicago and Portland, we got lucky and sat next to a woman whose job was to transport puppies from the seller to the owner. That’s how we got to cuddle with Miss Bonnie as we flew west. She was so soft and so gentle and quiet…and didn’t pee on us once!
^^^Miss Bonnie sleeping on Susan’s heart.
We rode the Metro and a bus most of the way to our AirBNB, which was between Mississippi Avenue and Williams Avenue in NE Portland, within a short walking distance of both streets with their restaurants and shops and the bus stop. Our place was in the basement of a Craftsman bungalow, cute but so, so cold. We closed the vents and made the best of it. We spent time in a sweet little garden on the side of the house, because the weather was absolutely gorgeous the entire time we were there.
Susan and I were both mobility challenged. She has a partial knee replacement coming up and I have my bone spur pressing against my Achilles tendon. We took a lot of breaks from walking but we did fairly well, considering. We ate out for every meal. On the first evening, we ate fish tacos at a bar called The Rambler, and drank local ciders and ales. They asked to see our vaccination cards before we could sit at the bar inside. Luckily I had taken a photo of mine and had it on my phone, because it wasn’t the only place in Portland that required proof of vaccination. Then we went “home” and crashed. We were still on East Coast time.
The next morning we went to Gravy for breakfast and I was surprised that it was not crowded and we were able to get a table right away. Susan got a fried egg sandwich and I got smoked salmon hash and eggs and hashbrowns, not knowing that I would be served about five pounds of food. The waitress brought us a takeout box so for some reason I thought it was a good idea to take the leftovers back. The leftover salmon hash in the fridge became a running joke until I tossed it in the compost bin (as instructed!) on the day we left.
^^^The infamous smoked salmon hash.
On our way back, we stopped at a very unusual light bulb and lighting store, Sunlan. I picked up a couple of very cool light bulbs for my antique floor lamp.
Then we walked to the bus stop and took the Metro to Washington Park, where we got on the park shuttle to visit the International Rose Test Garden and the Portland Japanese Gardens.
This was my third time at the Portland Japanese Gardens so I tried to focus on being in the moment instead of taking lots of photos. If you want to see past photos of the gardens, I blogged them here and here. I also looked up a lot this time at the reflections of light through leaves as well as the shadows on the ground. My favorite photo this time was of the shadows that the water bugs cast on the bottom of the pools as they walked on the surface.
We had tea and appetizers at the Umami Cafe. This fruit and nut cake was so delicious!
After a break at “home” we went to a Thai place on Mississippi Avenue, split a bottle of vinho verde, and ate more appetizers. A little bit of Portugal on the U.S. West Coast. We bought a few non-alcoholic drinks and a 12-pack of assorted ciders to have during our stay at “home.” That night we sat out in the side garden, told stories of our lives from way back when, and laughed a whole lot.
That’s the first two days of our trip!