Saturday, August 13, 2011

Summer reflections, part 1

As I have done several times before on this blog, I apologize for the extended silence. It's been about 2 weeks since I've posted and I have no good excuse. There have been several times that I've gotten on the computer with the express purpose of busting out a post, but Facebook and online shopping have won out instead.

A thousand apologies.

Here's what we've been up to since we left Nashville:

We went to South Carolina to visit my grandparents. And by "visit," I of course mean "get spoiled by." I only mentioned the Southern foods that I missed in passing over the phone a few months ago, but my grandmother took it as a personal mission to stuff me full of the BEST foods she could come up with. I think it was probably a thinly veiled ploy to bribe us into coming back to the States, and it almost worked.

What I loved the most was the amount of pork products that were part of our diet during those 3 days we were with my grandparents. Granny found a way to sneak the other white meat into as many meals as possible.

Case in point: not one, but 2 of the mornings, Granny made country ham, grits with red-eye gravy, scrabbled eggs (scrambled in the ham fat, no less!), and biscuits.

Hello heaven!!

Other than fattening up on Granny's fantastic cooking, the hubbins and I got to spend time with my aunt and uncle and their children, and just hang out with the old folks. I love getting my grandparents all to myself because I get the chance to talk one-on-one with them and hear their stories. Before we left the country last year, I quizzed them on their childhood and I quickly realized there was a LOT about my grandparents I didn't know. So many family members I never met or even heard of...and my Grandaddy has got some stories to tell on all of them! It was so nice to just sit in their living room and exchange stories and soak up their love.

We left South Carolina and went to Portland, Oregon to visit a friend of the Mister's from college and his girlfriend. We arrived with the sole purpose of just hanging out with friends and we left having done that AND discovered a super cool city we hadn't expected to find. While Portland doesn't have all that many major landmarks that immediately come to mind when the city is mentioned, the hubs and I, with the help of our hosts, found some fantastic restaurants and breweries.

The porkapalooza continued at the Bones and Brew festival in Portland. Barbecue and Beer...we belong in this city!

We also were introduced to one of the coolest establishments I have ever seen. If any of you plan to be in the Portland area any time soon, you have to go to the Kennedy School.

Yes, I realize how fantastically nerdy it sounds for a teacher to suggest an elementary school as a tourist destination, but hear me out.

The Kennedy School was built in 1905 and served its educational purposes until the 1980s. It was then shut down and fell into disrepair until the McMenamins corporation bought it and turned it into a hotel/bar/restaurant/movie theater. It is the coolest place we went in Portland, hands down.

The old classrooms are now hotel rooms, chalkboards and everything. The old boiler room is now a bar, with old radiators as a main feature of the decor. But the coolest part of the building is the movie theater. It's a "brew and view" concept, so you can order food and beer (and non-alcoholic beverages) and then you go into a theater with big comfy armchairs and watch a movie while you nosh. There are several other theaters that follow this concept around the country, but the Kennedy School really does it right with the armchairs and friendly service.

It's hard to tell from the picture but that's the old chalkboard serving as the marquis for the theater. They were all second run movies, none of the newest releases, but a ticket only cost $3 so it was totally worth it!

We've since moved on from Portland and I'll share details about our latest adventures in another post. I just thought I should let ya'll know that we're still alive.

Vicariously yours,

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