Eugene

I don’t really know how to even start writing about last week, because it sucked royally. Nothing against Eugene, but the events that happened while we were there have changed my experience on this tour forever. And that’s a damn shame, because up until now it was one of the best experiences of my life, and although I am so grateful and blessed to have seen all the places I have seen over the last two years and the opportunity I have been given in this job, now I am heartbroken. And I won’t ever forget that, or likely forgive. And I hate that that has clouded over all the good that there has been. Because there has been a lot of good.

The return to the lower 48 from Alaska was great. Ryan and I chose to stay the night in Seattle instead of journeying on to Eugene right away. We had a great afternoon and evening, revisiting some of the places that we had loved when we played Seattle a year and a half ago. We had lunch at Serious Pie, which has some of the best-tasting, most innovative pizzas I have ever eaten. We shared a yummy clam pizza with lemon-thyme sauce. So, so good. That afternoon we walked around the Pike Place Market and bought some pasta to take with us to Oregon. We drove over to the Apple Store so that I could get a new iPhone (my old one was crushed in Alaska). It was nice to have to drive to the Apple Store, because it meant driving past the University of Washington campus, which I had never seen before. What a gorgeous place to go to school! That night we revisited Six Arms, a McMenamins bar that we had spent a lot of time at during our previous three week stay in town. I’m happy to report that there is still a Killer Rabbit sticker in the kitchen at Six Arms!

In the morning we got up and drove to Belltown, our old ‘hood, to meet Bret for brunch at the Boat Street Cafe. We had a delicious meal there and it was so nice to see Bret again before heading out of town.

with Bret at the Boat Street Cafe

with Bret at the Boat Street Cafe

We began driving south on Sunday afternoon, stopping when we got to Portland. We drove immediately over to Powell’s Books, where we spent well over an hour browsing through the shelves and shelves of books. It is literally impossible to get in and out of Powell’s in under an hour, and also equally as impossible to walk out empty-handed. Ryan and I both made some purchases!

Powell's Books

Powell's Books

After Powell’s, we realized it was getting a bit late, so instead of doing any more walking around, we drove over to Sushiville on 23rd, our favorite sushi boat restaurant anywhere. We totally pigged out. Sushiville has the best variety of sushi and they have desserts! And the prices are so reasonable, you can really eat a good meal for under 20 bucks. After we were sufficiently stuffed, we got back in the car and continued the drive down to Eugene. I wish we could have stayed in Portland longer – I love that town so much. We arrived in Eugene pretty late, but just in time to run across the street from the hotel to North Bank, another McMenamins bar, to buy some beer and a bottle of wine to take back to our room. Score!

Tallulah amidst the luggage in the car

Tallulah amidst the luggage in the car

The hotel in Eugene, the Residence Inn, was super, super nice! We often stay at Residence Inns, but this one had just recently been renovated, and so the decor was very modern and colorful and chic. We had splurged on a two-bedroom to have more space, and it was basically a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment. Really, really nice. I like to write about the hotels here to have a record, in case I ever tour again. I’ll be able to look back and remember where the nice places were to stay!

On Monday, we had all day before Ryan had to be at work for load-in. We went to Trader Joe’s and stocked up on groceries for the week, and drove around downtown to get the lay of the land. Eugene is a college town, housing the University of Oregon, and is full of bars, restaurants and cute shops. College towns are the best. After Ryan went to work, I went for a long walk along the river, which was right across the street from the hotel. There is a trail that runs for miles and miles along the riverbank, and I had a great time taking photos and watching people fish in the river and walk the trail. I *might* even have taken a self-portrait to kick off my 2nd year of 365 days 🙂

dsc_0053

dsc_0068

Year 2, Day 1 of 365

Year 2, Day 1 of 365

Tuesday was when everything went wrong. Load-in was fine. The theater was a bit on the small side, but everything fit. The show that evening was fine. All status quo.

After the show, Ryan was told his contract with the show was being terminated.

Now I can’t talk about what happened, or what went down, or how messed up the whole situation is, because this is a public blog and anyone can read it. All I can say is that I am heartbroken, Ryan is blindsided and devastated, and that my experience out here will never be the same. Ryan is my best friend. We have both been working our asses off on this show for two and a half years. Its terribly disappointing and hurtful to have it end this way for him.

I want to write more, but I can’t. I thought about not writing about it at all, but how could I not? How could Ryan just disappear from this journey without anyone having questions? And this IS the story of my journey, and this happening is a big part of that story. I’m just so sad to be losing him. And I find the prospect of having to start using the pronoun “I” instead of “We” incredibly hard.

So needless to say, not much sleep was had on Tuesday, and Wednesday was all about trying to clean up the mess. We did get out finally for a walk along the river late in the day, and I’m glad we did. It was beautiful out and it was nice to clear out heads.

dsc_0025

On Thursday I had rehearsal all day, and then after the show we went out for drinks at the North Bank. It was nice spending time with some of our friends from the show. If nothing else, this experience has really made it crystal clear who our friends are out here, and who really are not friends at all.

On Friday Ryan and I drove over to Hendricks Park, a big green space just east of campus. We spent a couple of hours walking the trails there and wandering around the Rhododendron garden. Eugene is so, so green and lush. This was an amazing time of year to be there.

At Hendricks Park

At Hendricks Park

dsc_0026

dsc_0046

On Saturday morning we got up early enough to make it downtown for the Saturday Market, which is a farmer’s market/craft fair in downtown Eugene each weekend. It was dreary and rainy outside, which was a bit of a drag, but we still managed to make it through all the craft booths before work, despite having to take cover from the rain here and there. Ryan bought me a bracelet made out of spoon handles, and also a wind chime made out of old pieces of silverware – I love them both!

dsc_0004

Spoon Bracelet

Spoon Bracelet

We had two shows on Saturday and two on Sunday. After the show on Sunday, I drove over to Prince Puckler’s, an ice cream shop that my friend Fin had recommended to me (she went to school at U of O) – I had a scoop of the mandarin chocolate and a scoop of the banana brownie – delicious!!

And with that, load-out  began. I was on a bus all day the next day to Spokane, Washington, where Ryan will have his last week with the tour.

I have a feeling I may be a bit sad for a while, peeps. Sorry for being such a Debbie Downer. It’s weird to think about the months ahead without my best friend with me. I’m just thankful that the cities coming up – Denver, San Francisco, LA and San Diego are filled with so many family members and dear friends from my “real life” – –  I need to escape the bubble for a while.

dsc_0020

Goodbye Portland, We'll Miss You!

Boats on the Willamette River

Boats on the Willamette River

On Friday Ryan and I went to a place called Edgefield to hang out for the afternoon and celebrate his birthday. Edgefield is a large compound of pubs and restaurants owned by McMenamin’s that are all housed amidst some lovely gardens and vineyards. You can stay there in the lodge and they also show movies on the grounds and have concerts. We had lunch at the Black Rabbit Restaurant and then walked around and visited all the buildings. Ryan had been to see a concert there the week before and was excited to show me around.

There is a shop on the grounds where they make pottery – we visited there and left with two ceramic peace sign charms for necklaces. We also visited the shop of a glass blower. The best though, was the distillery, where McMenamin’s make their own whiskey, and also the winery, where we tasted a couple of wines and bought three bottles!

The vegetable garden at Edgefield

The vegetable garden at Edgefield

The winery

The winery

That night a bunch of the cast and crew got together to celebrate Ryan’s birthday at Ground Kontrol, a video arcade and bar. It was an awesome place – with all the old ’80’s video games, like Pacman, Frogger, Missile Command and Pole Position, and also an entire floor of pinball. Everyone had a blast re-living junior high school.

Mike and Nate

Mike and Nate

Karl playing pinball

Karl playing pinball

A view of the arcade

A view of the arcade

Ryan

Ryan

On Sunday I went to the Pearl (that’s a cool neighborhood in Portland, sort of like Soho, with lots of art galleries and shops) and walked around their annual Art and Craft Festival. There were some really beautiful things there – from paintings, to handmade clothes and jewelry, to ceramics. There were also a lot of artisans there actually doing their crafts – from a blacksmith, to a woodworker, to someone who makes kayaks. It was a very cool festival and I only wish I had had more money to spend, so that I could have bought a few things! I did go back on our dinner break with Ryan, so that he could buy a ceramic wine cask with skull and crossbones on it from a guy who has a company called “Pirate Pots”!

So that was the end of my stay in Portland – I will miss it so! It was definitely my favorite stop of the tour so far and somewhere I could see living in the future. I can’t speak more highly of it – if you have the chance, go and visit Portland!

Falling in Love with Portland

We arrived in Portland last Monday, and although anywhere probably would have seemed great after Kansas City, Portland far surpassed my expectations. Portland is another one of those cities, like Minneapolis, that I always suspected I would love, and I can confirm after almost two weeks of being here, that I LOVE Portland.

I had the luxury of a full day off on Tuesday as we were not opening until Wednesday – the trucks needed the extra time to get across the country from Missouri. The travel day was thankfully uneventful, and with the opening not until Wednesday, Ryan and the rest of the crew were able to have Monday night off. After checking into the Mark Spencer Hotel on 11th Avenue, Ryan and I headed to Thai Peacock for dinner – after being in the midwest for weeks I was seriously jonesing for some Thai food. Our meal was DELICIOUS! I actually went back the next day, I loved my food that much! We then went and checked out Powell’s Books – a ginormous new and used bookstore. We actually had to text each other to find each other’s location, it was so big.

Powell's Books

Powell's Books

The next day I walked all over the place and did some shopping. To my delight there is a yarn store, KnitPurl, one block from the hotel. The Mark Spencer, where I am staying, is an old apartment building, a little on the shabby side, but homey, and my room gets great light and has a nice view of the city – it’s very comfortable, and feels just right for Portland. It is also in a great location, just south of Burnside and the Pearl District, and surrounded with restaurants and shopping. I explored all of downtown on Tuesday, as well as walking around the Pearl District, and the 23rd Avenue shopping area.

Wednesday we loaded in all day and opened the show. It was delightfully smooth – the crew here is good, the theater is big, and the audience loved the show.

Thursday we had two shows, making up for not having a show on Tuesday. A large group of cast and crew went over to Veritable Quandary following the show for drinks and appetizers. We sat in their outdoor garden, which was lovely, and were pleasantly surprised by a round of champagne bought for us by a patron who had been to see the show.

The next day, Ryan and I rode our bikes back up to 23rd Ave and had lunch at Sushiville, a super cool sushi boat restaurant. We were there for almost two hours, picking dishes off the conveyer belt and trying different things – and we each spent less than $20! We then rode up to Washington Park and walked around the Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden, both of which were beautiful. We also spied Mount Hood for the first time.

At the Rose Garden

At the Rose Garden

At the Rose Garden

At the Rose Garden

The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden

Friday night we all went out for Jovon’s birthday, to a tiki bar in northeast Portland, called Thatch. It was a blast – we all had pupu platters and fruity drinks, and Jovon enjoyed more than one volcano cocktail.

My parents arrived Saturday. They took the train up from San Jose and I met them at their hotel after the show for some wine and dessert. They came to the show on Sunday night, where we had some seriously scary feedback after the Feet of God scene – it sounded like a massive foghorn going off. My parents loved the show though, and came to shot night afterwards, where they met a lot of the cast and crew. We then headed over to Veritable Quandary again for dinner with Ryan. 

On Monday my dad rented a car and we drove out to the Columbia River Gorge. The scenery was so beautiful – as much as I love New York, there is NOTHING like the west coast for natural beauty. The mountains and coast are just amazing. We stopped at Multnomah Falls and hiked to the top. We had lunch at the lodge there before driving on to the Bonneville Dam and then on to the town of Hood River, where we ate ice cream and shopped for cat and dog accessories at a cute pet shop. After that we drove on towards Mount Hood to get some pictures before heading back to Portland for dinner.

My mom and dad at Multnomah Falls

My mom and dad at Multnomah Falls

The Bonneville Dam

The Bonneville Dam

The Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge

Rock Formations

Rock Formations

Mount Hood

Mount Hood

Tuesday, Ryan and I met my parents for lunch at Jake’s Grill and then headed to the bike shop to buy a rear rack and baskets for my bike, while my parents went to the art museum. We met them again the next day for breakfast and then bid them goodbye – their return train to San Jose left in the early afternoon. It was great to get to hang out with my parents and see the city with them – I miss seeing them everyday! 

I almost forgot to write about the Portland Saturday Market! On the previous Saturday morning, Ryan and I went to check out the market underneath the Burnside Bridge. It was awesome! There were TONS of vendors selling jewelry and art and food, and there were lots of musicians playing in the street. I bought a couple of necklaces and a pair of earrings. We saw this guy playing guitar who only had one hand – it was amazing!

So – back to Wednesday. After breakfast with my parents and Ryan, I met up with Fran and we headed to Mount St. Helens! There is just no end to the amazing sights here – Mount St. Helens was so unbelievable – it really did not look real. We stopped along the way and took tons of pictures. At the Observatory we listened to a ranger talk about the current volcanic activity – did you know there was a small eruption in 2004? We also watched a very dramatic movie about the eruption in 1980, that ended with the movie screen rising to show us the actual Mt. St Helens through a giant panoramic window. 

Besides the grandeur of the mountain, what really struck me about the area, was all the gorgeous wildflowers that have grown up through all the ash. It’s really an amazing sight. And proof that life does go on.

Mount St. Helen's

Mount St. Helen's

Wildflowers growing out of the ash

Wildflowers growing out of the ash

Fran shooting pictures of Coldwater Lake

Fran shooting pictures of Coldwater Lake

We only have three days left here and I still have a whole list of things I want to do and places I want to see. I don’t know how I am going to fit everything in – I guess I’ll just have to come back!

The company has been so happy here – how could you not be? It’s such a great town. I love that Portland has all the amenities of a city like New York – great shopping, great restaurants, TONS of coffee shops – but it is surrounded by such natural beauty – and that both the ocean and the mountains are so close. You can be in the city center, get in your car, and an hour later you can be in the middle of nowhere. And it will be stunning. It also seems like there is always something going on in town – a festival at Pioneer Square, a free symphony performance down by the river, a fair under the Burnside Bridge. There are lots of very unique shops and restaurants and bars. Its not all Hooters and Home Depot! I love it. The town has such personality. I could definitely see living here in the future.

In Tallulah news, she went to see “The Cat Doctor” last week here in town (I love that Portland has a vet specifically for cats). She got her annual rabies shot and the vet implanted a microchip in her in case she ever gets lost. They were so nice to her and she was sooo well behaved. Of course everyone in the office fell in love with her. The results of her check-up were that she is healthy and FAT! A pound and a half overweight! The vet talked to me about putting her on an Atkins diet – cutting down her carbs. I can’t believe there is such a thing as putting a cat on the Atkins diet. I don’t want to deprive Tallulah of food, though, since she is being such a good sport about being dragged around the country. I think the key may be trying to get her to exercise more. I would love to try and train her to walk on a leash, to get her exercise in that way. We’ll see… at any rate, I have a healthy, happy cat – and that’s what really matters the most.

So this weekend is Ryan’s birthday. We have a couple of fun things planned, so more info to come in the next post about the festivities. And on Monday we head to Salt Lake City and for us, Park City, where we are renting a condo. I’m excited, but am also going to miss Portland terribly! Like I said before, I am just going to have to come back!

Lotus Blossom Tank

The Lotus Blossom Tank from Interweave Knits is finished. I used Rowan 4-ply soft – about 4 balls. I used size 4 needles for the lace, size 3 for the stockinette section and size 2 for the finishing. 

As for modifications, I added some length to the stockinette section, and also added one pattern repeat to the lace section.

The pattern was fairly easy to follow – the only trouble I had was with the finishing of the armholes – I couldn’t find the right equation of how many stitches to pick up in order to have the right tension on the edging. I ripped them out a couple of times because they were either too tight or too loose. The end result is that the sleeves look a bit “puffy”, but I think they look okay. Overall, I am very happy – I think the tank is very cute, comfortable and wearable.

As for Portland, I LOVE it here and could easily move here in a second. I’ve had a great first week here. My parents arrived last night and so the next few days will be spent with them. I will post more details and photos about this great town very soon!