Portland Day 4: Sunshine, Blue Skies and Happy Tears
I used to tease people who cried at weddings or movies - here's lookin' at you, Mom - and especially those who cried happy tears at things, but now I've become one of those people myself! Yesterday's forecast was more forgiving than any of the other days this week but still looked bleak, yet by the time Jen and John picked me up from my morning coffee to head over the Mt. Tabor, the sun was shining brilliantly. I've seen this happen many times, pouring rain during wedding day preparations only to miraculously turn into blue skies just in time, but the phenomenon never ceases to amaze me. That was the first ingredient of the recipe to make me cry.
We met two of Jen and John's friends - their witnesses - and their officiant, Steve Sharpe, of A Beautiful Ceremony NW and hiked up the stairs to the crest of the hill overlooking downtown. Ingredient two joined the mix as soon as we reached the top when I caught my first glimpse of the whimsical Douglas fir forrest with the warm sunshine pouring in on top of the gorgeous views. As before, I'm sure I'll talk in more depth about their absolutely beautiful ceremony - which included a few minutes of mindfulness, a flower ring, a poem read by their friends (ingredients 3, 4 and 5) and happy tears from every single one of us - but it really was one of the most intimate, personal and enjoyable ceremonies I've had the pleasure of being a part of; one of those ceremonies that truly makes me appreciate what I do on a daily basis.
We snapped a few portraits and signed the marriage license, then they headed off to a celebratory brunch while I caught the bus back to Beaverton so we could jet off to the coast. This time I had to wait almost 20 minutes for the bus, but earlier that morning I finally had the unique pleasure of having to sprint to catch a bus as I was trying to make a connection from the train. It was apparently quite the day for transit adventures, as every day seems to be, because I also had my first drawn out conversation with my seat mate that lasted at least 10 stops. He was an eccentric looking old man with glasses askew who seemed quite knowledgable about random historical trivia, perhaps from watching numerous Jeopardy episodes because he referenced it multiple times, and while I don't generally enjoy small talk, once he found out I wasn't a local he had plenty of interesting information to share about the area. Apparently I am starting to look like a local though because someone asked me directions while we were on the train. I sure hope she got where she was going with what I told her.
Though I was certainly enjoying the warm sunshine and blue skies, we quickly left them behind as we drove through the coastal ranges, exchanging them for rain through the still-snowy country. Our first stop was the Blue Heron Cheese Company which had all the accoutrement you would expect of a cheese shop. My favorite part was walking around sampling all of the mustards and jams, tempted to purchase quite a few of them. I elected to each lunch for sustenance instead of a giant jar of mustard and enjoyed quite a lovely turkey sandwich on a sweet Bavarian roll with marionberry jam. Because we're in a good part of the country for wine, I also did a wine tasting, a "5 for $5" supposedly but the wonderful bar tender said "oh, don't worry, I can't count well so don't worry about the 5 limit. Who's idea was it for me to have this job?" I did, in fact, try 7 different wines, including a sweet Honeywood blackberry mead that totally surprised me. I'm not usually one for sweet wines but that was dang good!
We each picked out a dessert and then walked around outside, first checking out the bird coupe and then walking over to some old and decrepit vehicles that may or may not have ever actually been in use. Afterwards, we got back on the road for the short drive from Tillamook to Netarts where we hopped out to see the ocean. Though obviously not warm enough yet to swim in, I instantly fell in love with this beach, or more likely the Pacific Northwest Coast in general. The quiet calm in the air paired with the wild rugged landscape, far off slapping waves and muted pastel colors provided not only a gorgeous backdrop for photos but a meditating peace in the moment.
Though we were all tired, we went straight to dinner downtown with Dad and Jake at Sinju. A lover of all things sushi, I thoroughly enjoyed this meal, particularly getting to try pieces of so many different rolls, but the "monkey brains" really stole the show. Dad had ordered some smoked salmon belly but was apparently beat to the punch by too many customers earlier in the week, so instead he told our waiter to surprise us. Our waiter apparently gauged us to a "t" because he brought out a dish that was no longer on the menu but that was the best sushi dish I have ever had. Tuna encased in an avocado salad surrounded by panko breadcrumbs was the perfect combination of flavors and textures, almost another recipe for happy tears. We finished the meal off with deep fried cheesecake and and incredible mango mousse cake before attempting to roll home. As the next day was race day (wine tasting, sushi and sitting in the car are all good pre race ideas, right?) I spent the rest of the evening lifting, stretching and rolling before passing out sound asleep after another full day.