Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Toro Bravo + Courtside Blazer Seats

I’m inching along in freeway traffic at 5:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, and I’m irked. I think back to my days in San Francisco, when I could hop on bus 19 after a long day at the office and ride home, my nose in a good book, my head in the clouds, without having to glance once at the road or agonize over congestion. It’s a different world here. And Jeff and I have been carpooling to and from work, which adds to the tension.

“Can you drop me off at Toro Bravo?” he asks from the passenger seat.

“I guess.”

He’s meeting his uncle for dinner and drinks before watching the Blazer game, courtside, from a seat with his uncle’s name engraved on the armrest. It’s the last home game of the season.

Naturally I’m jealous, irritated. Until his uncle calls and invites me to have dinner with them at a popular new restaurant I’ve been dying to try.

My mood lifts as we glug red wine and chatter about our favorite cafés and restaurants in the city. Between bites, I praise the fare. We try griddled shrimp with chilies, seared scallops, grilled flatbread with black truffle cheese and arugula, sautéed spinach with pine nuts and raisins, and smoked coppa steak with confit potatoes.

The kicker?

When the food and wine is gone, Jeff’s uncle says, “I think I’d rather go home and watch The Biggest Loser than go to the game.”

“Okay…” I reply timidly, my voice trailing. It’s nonsense!

“You two go to the game. Have a good time.” He flashes a wink and smiles wide while sliding the tickets across the table. Jeff and I look at each other and then smile back at him.

My Tuesday? Turns out to be all right.

Friday, April 8, 2011

iPhone Snaps of the Week

{1.} My favorite Cherry Blossom in Mom and Dad’s front yard
{2.} As I drive home from work, angry about the rain and the traffic, I spot this beautiful rainbow against the gloomy sky, and everything gets better.
{3.} My homemade Pad Thai made special for Jeff, served on Wednesday.
{4.} Freddie’s pooped after a long day of—sleeping.
{5.} Caitlin and I celebrate our birthdays (her twenty-first, my twenty-fifth) with our family.
{6.} Mississippi Pizza: Serving up some of the tastiest pie in the city. On Monday I met a friend here for happy hour, which lasted until about 10 p.m. and instigated a dreadful headache the next day.
{7.} Jeff, being Jeff
{8.} Confession: this one wasn’t taken this week, but I couldn’t resist. Celebrating Victor’s birthday at Deschutes Brewery in Portland.
{9.} The view from our apartment as the sun came up this morning.
{10.} While my sister was on spring break, she stored her fish, Aries, at Mom and Dad’s house. Because my parents have two ferocious cats that lick their chops at the sight and smell of seafood, she made this sign and taped it to her bedroom door, where Aries lived, as a reminder that fish are friends. The sign is still up because it’s so stinkin’ funny.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Birthday Party: Bowling!

I have a deep and abiding love of bowling. I'm not very good, but I love it anyway. I've even dreamed of joining a bowling league. And usually I hear crickets when I suggest a Friday night at Big Al's: a family fun center that boasts two bowling alleys, a restaurant, a full bar and a massive arcade.

(Hello? Bowling. Beer. Games. What's not to love?)

(Some people even call it "Disneyland for grown-ups.")

Anyway, I celebrated my birthday last Friday and made my friends come to Big Al's with me. It's out in the sticks (er, the suburbs), about 20 minutes from Portland (which is probably why we don't hang out there more often), but it's well worth the commute.

We had a blast! Lots of laughs, lots of beer—and lots of gutter balls.