Wednesday, June 23, 2010

where the pinots are big and the sales tax isn't

it's funny. we know quite a few sets of parents who routinely take vacations without their kids, and it's no big deal to them. i also know parents who have not had a night away from their kids since they were born, and bless their hearts, but that is hardcore. i think j and i fall somewhere in the middle: we spent one night without f in a local hotel for our 7th anniversary, but the only longer times we've been away from her have been the last two coachella festivals, and both times i was working for the entire weekend. so, you know, not so romantic. not to mention how much we both missed f the whole time. it's a conundrum; the routine, the work, the intensity of parenting and working and trying to "balance" (that word makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit) it all makes me long for a break, but as soon as i get one - even sometimes when i'm just out to dinner! - i miss her so much that i physically ache for her. wtf, you know?

anyhow. southwest notified me i'd earned a free round trip and we ran it by my mom and j's sister and picked a city and made a plan. 3 nights! just me and him! away! i could hardly wrap my head around it. we chose portland because i've heard so many great things about it (for a while there, the utne reader mentioned portland in a good light in almost every issue) and j had been there a few times to play shows when he was still in transfer and he'd loved it. j's cousin jameson lives there and we have good friends who live on a few acres about an hour south of portland, so that just sweetened the deal. the possibility of a visit to voodoo doughnuts was thrown in the mix and i was sold.

and we went for it! flew out on a thursday morning and were having cocktails on the 30th floor of the tallest building in portland by 5pm. the sun was out, which i was told was pretty lucky, and it was beautiful.

we met up with jameson, had great drinks and dinner at clyde common, caught the last 11 seconds of game 7 in the lakers/celtics playoffs (lakers!!!) and called it a night. friday we hit stumptown coffee on our way to voodoo doughnuts and i had a contender for best latte ever, which then washed down half a bacon maple doughnut and half a voodoo (raspberry jelly filled! so gory.) as we sat on the edge of the willamette river.

we got lost in powell's bookstore, shopped in the alberta arts district, had lunch and chocolate stout floats at rogue and bought bread at pearl bakery on our way out of town. and while i thought of f again and again, i was able this time to let go and really enjoy my time with j. we knew she was in good hands, and i knew that if i let myself feel guilty for being there without her or whatever, the getaway would just be counter-productive, you know? it took some doing, but i did it - just let go and had fun and stopped worrying. it rocked.

oregon is so flipping GREEN. like, every shade of gorgeous, lush, greentastic green - it's everywhere. combined with rolling hills, bright flowers, high clouds and red barns every so often, driving south to monmouth was the bee's knees. even the weeds are pretty, there in oregon. our friends derek and kathy just built a house on 3 acres of tall trees and hillside and that's where we spent the rest of our weekend: having early morning coffee in their jacuzzi, watching birds rip around in the sky outside our window, watching "hot tub time machine" as we nursed our hangovers. it was great!

derek played with a blues band fronted by the coolest six foot five african american woman one could ever hope to get a hug from on friday night, and on saturday we went to micminnville for lunch on the roof of mcmenamins and wine tasting at some local wineries. we had a bonfire saturday night and derek and kathy fed us some killer meals.

the whole thing was just right, it was just what we needed. by the time we left on sunday morning, we were both so ready to see f and to get home - it felt like we'd had a real break, the kind that makes you appreciate what you have that much more. oregon! thanks. i like you a lot.

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