Fortunately, The Force was with me, and nine hours after leaving my Humboldt homestead, I arrived at Keri's home carrying one red sandal that she left under my bed in August and a bag of green m & m's.
Bright and early the next morning, the adventures began. There is no way that I can do justice (let alone remember through the alcohol haze) to all the action that we packed into four short days. We drank, we laughed, we gossiped, we burnt our flesh with hot metal, we acted like fools in public, we sang along with ABBA in perfect harmony and much, much more. Here are just a few of the highlights.
On our first day together, Keri and I drove 35 miles for a doughnut. Not just any doughnut, mind you, a Voodoo Doughnut.
Keri chose an early-morning-appropriate Grape Ape - a glazed confection covered in grape powder and purple sprinkles. She said it was just like eating a mouthful of grape koolaid powder. Mmmmmm. I was feeling a bit more adventurous and chose a gigantic maple bar topped with big slices of bacon. Now that's what I'd call breakfast!
As if our early morning sugar rush wasn't enough, we also had to visit Saint Cupcake to really make sure we didn't go hypoglycemic. We were disappointed that the Fat Elvis cupcake wasn't on the menu that day, but we did enjoy the turtle, red velvet, hot fudge, chai, big top and coconut cream cupcakes. We even shared some with the family - really. After we'd licked them all of course.
Regrettable Missed Purchase #1: The Bee Gees bag
I loved this bag. I loved it so much that I carried it around the store for 20 minutes trying to decide whether it was worth the $14 price tag. Unfortunately, every time I looked down at the bag I started humming "How Deep is Your Love" and couldn't stop. The bag was returned to its rack. If it had been an ABBA bag, there might've been a cousin-on-cousin wrestling match to report.
Regrettable Missed Purchase #2: Pornogami
So tempting. But really, I don't need another excuse for not working while at work. And making naughty folded paper sculptures would be a good one. So, with great reluctance, I put this little gem back on the shelf at Powell's Books, the greatest book store ever.
Fabulous Purchase #1: Recycled Bag
It's hard to tell from the picture, but this bag is crocheted, and made completely from recycled plastic bags. It's huge, super strong and was $2.99 at Goodwill. It was such a score that an old woman at the checkout line tried to talk me out of it, but I just sneered at her and hung on tighter.
Fabulous Purchase #1: Crafty Necklace
Crafty Wonderland was Crafty Wonderlicious! Beautiful and hip crafts made by beautiful and hip women (and a couple of guys who weren't really all that hip but were kinda cute in that embarrassingly heart-wrenching emo kinda way.) This gorgeous necklace is made out of shrinky dink plastic.
Outsider Artist Douglas Jones
Jones created his art on pieces of freeway signs and trash underneath bridges while he was homeless. I love, love, love his work.
These are very cool mixed-media pieces created by students in the anatomy class at the Art From the Heart program for visionary artists.
Keri and I also took an art class together where, after about two hours of sleep and a ridiculous amount of caffeine, we were shakily molding metal heated to 700 degrees. Fortunately there are no pictures, but my left inner thigh still stings from the burn.
The Exhibitionist's Room
This was my room at the Ace Hotel, which had the best coffee, the funkiest honor bar and the cutest front desk boys in Portland. The walls were covered with a strange painting and a poem about "The Oregonian Gentleman," who apparently likes to watch. The crystal clear glass shower was located not in the bathroom, but right behind the bed in the middle of the room. Perfect for soaping up and showing off.
Another reason to love Portland: it has the most adult businesses per capita of any city in America.
Keri and my favorite: Spartacus Leathers.
You've gotta love a place with a sign at the entrance stating "Please refrain from spanking/whipping/flogging others while shopping at Spartacus Leathers. Violators will be asked to leave the store." Yes, we made some purchases. No, you can't see them.
Big Oregon Love
I've got a great family up in Oregon. Uncle Ken is planning a future yurt compound in Willa Crick. Aunt Cheryl has been known to tap-dance on the street for cash. Grandpa Joe is a bonafide dowser. Keri does a perfect impersonation of the Swedish Chef, especially after a couple of long island ice teas, and is much more like a sister than a cousin.
Plus, Oregon's got clean rest stops, no sales tax, legal Everclear, amazing waterfalls, an abundance of outdoorsy flannel-wearing boys, and you don't have to pump your own gas. What's not to love?
P.S. Confidential to a certain local newspaper employee who expressed some displeasure at our neighbors to the north: Maybe next time if you'd just be nice instead of acting like....well....um....a real jackass, you'd have a better experience. Just a thought.