December is a difficult month for me as it is the anniversary of my husband’s passing 4 years ago in 2018. But I am getting better at finding ways to distract myself. Sort of spur of the moment, I decided to meet up with my friend Laurie in Portland, Oregon for a day when my partner John was headed to a 1 day business trip to Oklahoma City.
Laurie was with me on the 2nd worse day of my life, when I had to go to the funeral home and make arrangements the day after my husband died. She works with horses trained for therapy for children with special needs, and before she drove me to the funeral home, we stopped at a ranch with some of the therapy horses she works with. She had me spend a little time with the horses and I had an amazing and kind of spiritual experience with one of the therapy horses. It was a very compassionate thing for her to do before I had to face the unfaceable.
Laurie lives in Central Oregon where I used to live before I moved to Denver to try and find a new life in 2019. She would love for me to come visit her in Central Oregon but although it’s been 4 years I still cannot bring myself to visit Central Oregon. I had quite the beautiful life there and it was gone in an instant.
Portland is about a 3 hour drive for Laurie, she used to live there and she knows it well. So a compromise was to meet up in a different part of Oregon. I could handle Portland, even if my late husband and I used to go there all the time and I had many fond memories of many trips Portland (here is a random memory from a blog post from May 2017 – The Beauty of Moss and Fungi).
So we had a wonderful 24+ hours in Portland together – I flew into Portland on Thursday late morning and Laurie took me back to the airport on Friday late morning. We stayed on Thursday night at the oldest and historic hotel in Portland – The Benson Hotel.
The Benson Hotel was beautiful decorated for the holiday season:
The architecture inside the hotel built in the early 20th century was amazing and we spent some time checking out the ornate ceilings:
Laurie and I also did the “historic stairwell tour” at the Benson where each level’s stair landing of 12 flights of stairs had a collection of historic photos and photos of famous people who stayed at the Benson, including many 20th and 21st century U.S. Presidents, here’s a section of one of the stairway gallery walls:
The Benson Hotel is in downtown Portland in an area known as the Pearl District. We spent Thursday wandering around the Pearl District and spent a couple hours at my favorite bookstore – Powell’s Books.
According to a web search, Powell’s is the largest used and new bookstore in the world, occupying an entire city block and housing approximately one million books.
If you love books and independent bookstores I highly recommend a visit to Powell’s. You would easily spend an entire day there wandering the shelves.
And wander I did…and of course I found the craft book section…
It was fun to find one of the books that one of my art quilts are in:
We also had a wonderful lunch at the Portland location of Deschutes Brewery my beloved brewery that started in Bend, Oregon where I used to live. It was amazing to have one of their wonderful beers on tap again as well as one of their delicious burgers:
I didn’t stab my burger, ha, it came with a steak knife in the middle to cut it in half!
In addition to the bookstore and a delicious time at the brewery, we visited lots of fun shops in the Pearl. Then in the evening we went and visited the Columbia employee outlet store (Laurie has connections) and I got these wonderful slippers at quite the discount:
Then we went back to our hotel and watched movies and ate snacks! It was the perfect day with a friend!
The next day it was back to the airport for me but I had a nice time at PDX before my flight, stopping at the Tillamook Market in the airport for some yummy Tillamook cheese macaroni and cheese!
PDX has some amazing art on display and I was captivated by an exhibit “Open Entanglement” by the artist Jo Hamilton of her crochet art:
The trip was a wonderful distraction and I so appreciate that my friend Laurie could meet up with me in Portland!
To give you a little taste of the Powell’s Books experience, here is a clip I found on YouTube from CBS Saturday Morning: