Getting Lost at the Portland Art Museum

He writes in this font, she writes in this font. 

I swear time stands still in a museum. Hours feel like minutes and full days simultaneously. Last Saturday, from 2 in the afternoon until closing time, Megan and I got lost in the Portland Art Museum. Another fun date scratched off the winter list, and so much more.

It felt like the world stopped. Nothing outside existed. The opening room changed our universe in an instant with the towering presentation of the Fallen Fruit exhibition. Opulent wallpaper of turquoise, patterned with fruit set the backdrop for a diverse depiction of art related to the PNW. There were tribal pieces neighboring classic, richly colored landscapes and biblical paintings. Like a wheel hub, a cluster of vastly different statues turned people around the room in utter awe of abundant sensation. I have no idea whether we spent ten minutes or an hour staring up at the art, wallpaper, and the way descending light brought the room together — I only know I want to go back.

The current of Fallen Fruit guided us smoothly into a different sort of beauty: Seeing Nature. This room was crowded, people were trying to move through, against the tide of stagnant bodies, without pushing anyone. It was somewhat frantic, a little chaotic. While the room surged with life, the walls were calm, serene, gentle demonstrations of natural beauty. I’ll let Megan tell it from here because this room seemed to speak to her on a metaphysical level. Her eyes glowed the entire time.

Ever since I was little, I connected to art in a way that was indescribable. I wanted to be an artist, that was it. So, every time I am surrounded by the expressions of others, I want to rush home and create something. It's not uncommon for me to be the art museum visitor who is asked politely to keep my distance from the art by the kind, art museum folks (docents?). I simply get lost in the colors, the texture, and the brush strokes. I sort of fall into them. With the Fallen Fruit exhibit I did just that, it seemed as though each piece was selected in a way that felt like home. Having Guy there to experience that with me made it feel even more real because he truly is my home.  It was a collection of manifest destiny and the mysteries of the Pacific NW. I felt like I was finding old works of my great-grandfather’s common pieces that captured Alaska. It was beautiful. 

After Seeing Nature the museum seemed entirely empty. For an unknown time we strolled through the Native American art collection. Megan is tribal (if you didn’t know). Hearing her perspective on the art, its cultural importance, and how forgotten so many customs have become was beautiful. ‘Remarkable’ doesn’t do justice to the fading fact that dozens of tribes lived in harmony with the PNW habitat we all love for hundred and hundred of years.  Where I sit writing this post was undoubtedly unblemished forest only a few generations past. It makes you wonder what could have been here — maybe what should have been here.

We left the museum with an appetite. Figuratively, we were hungry to create something. Literally, our stomachs were grumbling and a stop at Trader Joe's was an absolute necessity. An hour after plundering TJs for a variety of appetizers and wine, Megan and I were planning our next project over potstickers, kale bites, and some two buck chuck.

Megan’s suggestion:  “Let’s make a book.”

Notice, she did not use the adjective ‘write’ that would typically fit square into that sentence. I don’t think Megan likes squares much actually, too rigid and determined. No, Megan wanted to make a book. So we decided to do just that.

Over the next year, Megan and I are collaborating to create a book about Portland from depictions of its people and their perspectives. There are over 600 thousand people living and loving in this city. Each person sees Portland uniquely. We aim to show a composite view of the city by capturing the sights, sounds, and thoughts of its people; from city official to street sleeper.

More to come… 

Ummmm... I Think That's Caviar

He writes in this font. She writes in this font.

I don’t like sushi… I’ll let that sink in for a second…

Now that you’ve recovered from the initial shock of reading the above blasphemy, I’ll try to explain and answer some of the obvious questions. YES, I have tried it, several times. YES, I like sea food generally. NO, I have never had a “bad experience” with sushi that made me dislike it. Importantly, it’s not that I dislike or think it is disgusting (there is no vehement sentiment against sushi). I simply do not like it.

Well, did not* like it. Megan succeeded in changing that position last Saturday night.

“Baby, let’s not cook tonight, I want sushi.” That’s how it started. Megan and I were on the basketball court, playing “H-O-R-S-E” when she dropped that suggestion, followed by swishing a three and telling me “all net, no backboard.” I missed the shot and my plans to deviate our new dinner plans to something like Thai or Spanish were also off target.

Gracefully, soothingly, Megan lulled me to accepting the inevitable: We were going for sushi. Here were her key points:

  • “Baby, I really want sushi”

  • “But you’ve never had Bamboo Sushi”

  • Staring at me with soft, pleading eyes (I think this one sunk him like my short-lived run of threes. I feel like such a baller when we play, especially with my Kobe's on. )

Clearly, these tactics were successful. I am usually better at cooperating on a place to eat, but sometimes when I can nearly taste the food I am craving, there really are no other options. I was going to Bamboo. I think I even told him that I would just go by myself, if necessary. Some may call that being a “brat,” but I just call it hungry.

With the first bite, Bamboo Sushi became a new favorite. There was a serious moment of anticipation for me as I watched him try a piece. I knew the Green Machine roll would get him!  Let’s back up though, before we even stepped into the NW location on 23rd Avenue, and even before we got ready to leave suburbia for the city.

After I acquiesced to Megan’s dinner request, she quickly went to work showing me why Bamboo Sushi was different than other restaurants, of any style. The first page she showed me was the interactive menu where they explain more about select items, including where they get ingredients and providing wikipedia links for more information. Their approach to an online menu made me more comfortable with understanding what I would want to order because I want to know what’s in my food — but do not like to ask the server a million questions. Nobody wants to be that that… person.

For reference: We ordered the Usuzukuri, Green Machine, and Northwest Philly Roll. All were fantastic. Can I just mention here how much I loved Guy’s reaction when the server brought out the Usuzukuri? That was one item we did not research before ordering. He looked at me and admittedly said, “I have no idea what I even ordered. This appears to be caviar.” This memory alone is enough to make me laugh instantly.

Icing on the cake (or avocado on the roll, in this case), I checked out Bamboo Sushi’s Core Values page. It was inspiring. How often do you read a restaurant’s “about us” page and feel inspired? I, for one, have never felt motivated to volunteer or, at a minimum, share a restaurant’s link — like a Ghandi quote — after reading it. Here’s why:

Look down the path ahead of you and see what is coming. It is always better to be proactive than reactive. Take the lead and look ahead. Figure out how to set a trend or create something first. For our guests, we must always anticipate their needs. As a company, we are looking ahead to stay ahead. We live in the now, but build and plan for the future, so that we are always prepared. Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail. Be focused, listen, learn, act.”

And here is a little tid-bit about their focus on sustainability:

“With 67% of seafood in the United States being consumed in restaurants, we believe it is imperative to create a restaurant where people can get the freshest and best fish possible, while simultaneously helping to save the oceans and marine life.”

Being a “Coastie” (kids from the Oregon Coast, I know you can relate), having a respect of marine life is important to me. Because of this, Bamboo has a special place in my heart. When we saw that big “B” for Benefit Company on the wall near the host station, I was reassured even more. I am happy to be able to find others who can relate and make me feel like I’m at home in Portland.

Now, I like sushi. Whether you do as well, or share my expired sentiment from last week — go try Bamboo Sushi. It’s not often you can justify an incredible meal by knowing that it is for a good cause.

 

 

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IN A RUSH

He tells the story in this font, and she adds to the story in this font. 

It's the day after her birthday. We are back in PDX and the sun is shining through her large open windows. To complete the ambiance, in case you were wondering, Sinatra’s singing is filling her studio with a feeling of upbeat elegance. In slight contrast to that smooth, slow grace, she is rummaging through my suitcase trying to find an appropriate outfit for me to wear for dinner tonight. Though she denies it, I feel like she has known what she would wear all week — now she just needs to make me semi-match. I will confess that I almost always have an outfit planned out in my head days in advance.

Tonight it is birthday celebration, part two.

Thrown all over her bed are a semi-organized, semi-chaotic mass of our clothing. In between mad darts from my suitcase to her closet, she stops, jumps on top of the bed, and takes pictures of potential outfits. I'm at a table just a few hops away writing this. I figured it would be best to stay out of the way and do something productive, she is going to have the final say on my outfit tonight anyway. It is her birthday, after all.

As I watched her bounce around the room, I thought it would be fun to post about our process for getting ready to go on dates, or anywhere really. Well, claiming there is a “process” may be a bit of a stretch. Really it’s more of a whirlwind. She goes back and forth between her closet, design podium (the bed), and the bathroom faster than I can keep track. All the while there are photo snaps and ponderous “hmmms…” intermittently.  I’m glad he just noticed the verbal cues of my photo-taking process. My dear friend Katrina pointed out my artist head tilt from right to left. Now, I can’t un-notice it.

Update: I think she found our outfits, she is balancing on a high chair and taking a lot of photos. That has to be a good sign. I hope it is a good sign because it is very nearly time to leave for dinner, reservations with dear friends await! 

Like always, we tried to jam too much excitement into one day and are now in a rush. There truly is never enough time! We drove back from the coast this morning after some nostalgic sight-seeing in her hometown of Newport, which took much longer than expected. To clarify, the driving back took long, not the sight-seeing — Newport is adorably tiny. It is strange to think that the place I have spent the majority of my life could be shared and described in about a 15 minute drive-by tour.

It was a beautiful afternoon in the Rose City and we needed some movement after that long car ride. With the sun shining and a perfect breeze, we went for a long run along the Waterfront to enjoy the day. To clarify, I actually ran. He kind of ran backwards, practically what looked to be in slow motion, to keep up with my 9-min mile pace. Running outside in the summer is a bit of a novelty for me — Iphones melt while running outside in Arizona this time of year, literally. Coming from a moderate degree coastal climate, I am certain I would die if I tried running outside in AZ.

Perhaps we enjoyed the weather a little too much, we got back to her place just in time to be very behind our schedule! Now, as I write this, we are in the process of getting ready (frantically fast) for her birthday dinner with dear friends and family. The venue: Departure. Coincidentally, that is the very same rooftop bar where we went on the third part of our first date. She is giving me the cue that she selected our outfits and it is time to finish getting ready.

Due to the rush, we didn’t get any photos actually wearing our outfits. Bummer, I know. Here is what they look like with the bed wearing them instead.

 We may not have been able to show you what we wore to dinner, but we can show you what we wore just before going out!