Thursday, October 2, 2008

Welcome the Rain, Biscuits, Accordion

Last Friday night, we went back to Doug Fir to take in a show (that's what people our age are supposed to do, right?). We were there to see the second band of the night, A Weather, but we were very punctual and caught the first band--We're from Japan--as well. We're from Japan was good, but they didn't have any vocals, and I found my attention drifting a lot. Patrick thought they were too loud, but that wasn't a problem for me because I had brought my earplugs. Woo!

I had read about A Weather here and had hoped to catch them during MFNW, but no luck. So I was glad to get another chance to see them. Their music was really simple and stripped down. I liked it. I was inspired by their drummer + vocalist. She made it look so easy--I could do that! But in reality, I couldn't. I have enough trouble hitting the foot pedal at the right time when I'm playing Rock Band. No way could I sing too.

After A Weather finished up, we stuck around for a few songs from the headliner, The New Year, but I couldn't hear the vocals very well, and neither of us was that into them, so we biked on home. I'm glad we went. It's pretty cool that we can go see a live performance any night of the week!

Saturday was a good day out and about. We started by biking up to the Sunnyside Environmental School for the annual Welcome the Rain event. (Incidentally, the school had a great cob structure with an eco-roof out front, and there were a bunch of kids and parents working in the front garden when we showed up--it looks like a cool school) There were a bunch of talks we were interested in, so we split up and then shared our notes afterwards. We learned about rain gardens, rainwater harvesting, and building an eco-roof. I actually don't feel like I gained that much useful information, but I enjoyed going and getting some new ideas and being around people with similar interests as us (there was one girl there who was building a chicken coop with an eco-roof--that's brilliant! And she was volunteering for Friends of Trees. I wanted to go make friends with her, but she disappeared before I had a chance).

We took a lap around the exhibits around lunchtime, checked out a pretend eco-roof (we're not going to mess with our house roof, but we might try putting an eco-roof on our garage in 30 years when we're done with our more pressing house renovations!), and talked with people from Friends of Trees about volunteering. We're already signed up with them to have two trees planted in our parking strips in December, and I'm excited for the planting day! It sounds like it'll be a great chance to meet our neighbors and make our neighborhood a little greener. If it goes well, maybe we'll volunteer with them again. They seem like a group of good people, plus they have a tree mascot who we've been seeing all around town. Cute!

eco roof

Speaking of our future parking strip trees, we chose our trees just this week (we signed up back when we moved in, but the tree inspector had to check out our property before we could order our trees). Friends of Trees sells the trees at a deep discount, and they take care of all the permitting. All we have to do is pay $25 per tree and help on planting day. Sweet deal! After a lot of deliberation, we decided to get: (1) a Prairiefire crabapple (excellent for climbing and crabapple fights with siblings, according to the internet, plus it has pretty flowers in the spring, and I can make crabapple preserves if I get really ambitious) and (2) a Washington hawthorne (looks nice in all seasons, most notably in the winter, what with the red berries and grey skies, and I can make hawthorne berry jelly if I still have energy after making crabapple jelly. Definitely not good for climbing though, what with the long, sharp thorns. Plus the flowers may smell really bad (depends on who you ask), but they only last for a couple days).

There were more talks in the afternoon, but we really wanted to visit Pine State Biscuits, which was only a couple blocks away, so we gave up on learning more about rain gardens and got biscuits and gravy instead. A fair trade, in my opinion.

biscuit with fried chicken

When we got there, there was a line of hipsters out the door, and more hipsters preparing food behind the counter. I felt woefully underdressed. No matter though, we enjoyed our biscuits anyway. I had a big jar of sweet tea and a biscuit sandwich with fried chicken, pickles, honey, and grainy mustard (yummy!). Patrick had a chocolate milk and a Moneyball--a biscuit with sausage gravy and a fried egg on top. Good stuff. I'd most definitely go there again next time we're in the neighborhood.

Patrick and Moneyball

I was looking for a jean skirt for my Rock Band night outfit (what, did you think I was kidding?), so we stopped in at Buffalo Exchange, where I found a whole rack of jean skirts, including one that was affordable and not too short, so I bought it! Now I just need an appropriate T-shirt and a studded belt (why did I get rid of mine from college?!), and I'll be all set. Patrick bought some cool motorcycle boots for $24 (also for Rock Band night--we'd better go through with it and dress up sometime).

Like I mentioned earlier, I wanted to buy more Sock It to Me socks, which just happened to be carried at two nearby stores--Naked City and Red Light--so we stopped in there as well. I hit the jackpot at Naked City and bought two more pairs of SitM socks (it was very hard to narrow it down to only two pairs--I wanted to buy the whole rack!), and then I got a third pair at Red Light. I'm excited about my cozy new socks, especially these (with birds and hearts)!

While we were on Hawthorne, we walked down to Artichoke Music, Portland's best source for banjos and other awesome instruments, as far as we can tell. I'm not sure if I've mentioned it here, but Patrick harbors a secret dream of playing the banjo, and I would like to play the accordion (we're not sure if a banjo-accordion duo would work well; we might have to go solo). I don't know if we'll ever get around to buying or learning to play these instruments (learning to play accordion is at the bottom of my to-do list, right above learning the Apache dance from Fresh Prince (no, seriously, it's on my list--what if we have to participate in a talent show someday?)), but it's nice to dream. The guys at Artichoke were very nice, and they did in fact have one accordion for sale--a sweet little red pearl Hohner Erica, complete with instructional booklet (plus they have contact info for accordion teachers in Portland). It was tempting, but at $650, I couldn't justify the purchase. Apparently that's half the price of new accordions. I hadn't realized it was such a pricey instrument! Anyway, no accordion for now (I have plenty of other things to occupy my time around the house), but it's nice to know where I can get one when I'm ready.

All that shopping had made us thirsty, so we stopped at Fat Straw for pearl milk tea. After that, we biked down to Hippo Hardware where we finally got that "cold" knob for our shower. We could've gotten a set of replacement knobs at Rejuvenation, but Hippo seems more authentic, and the wacky guy who hangs around the plumbing section agreed to sell us only the "cold" knob (for half price) instead of the whole set. They're good people. We also found out that we can buy replacement Old Portland house numbers from them, which is good, since our "2" is cracked.

We Have a Cold Knob!

My favorite part of our visit to Hippo was when I mentioned that I was glad that I could buy house numbers from Hippo instead of Rejuvenation (because Rejuvenation seems slicker and more commercial). The guy who mans the doorknob counter chimed in and said, "Yeah, Rejuvenation's douchebag status has been increasing lately." Hee hee, douchebag status. The people at Hippo Hardware are pretty cool. Plus they liked my stripey fuchsia bike socks (I left my jeans rolled up after biking because I figured nobody would bat an eye at crazy socks in Portland, but I got quite a few comments on them).

As I already mentioned, Patches was back when we got home (yay!), and then we had a nice talk with our neighbor, Florence, until dinnertime. It was a good day.