December 21st is always a special day for us. It is the day Grandpa Nelson and I got married! It is also officially the first day of winter, and the longest night of the year. This year, it was also the coldest.
When We Three stepped out to catch our Lyft ride to La Moule for our anniversary dinner, it was near freezing! The Christmas lights on all our neighbors’ balconies sure looked pretty.
The driving was safe, but only because it has been so DRY that there was no water to freeze on the roads.
Our dinner was incredible, as usual. The waitress even brought us glasses of champagne for our anniversary! I had a radicchio salad and moules (mussels) served with buttery garlicky sauce and crusty baguette, and Auntie Bridgett had escargot served on focaccia bread with a creamy, yummy sauce.
Grandpa had pommes frites (French fries) and a fine glass of Merlot.
We shared and laughed and had a great time. It was a fine way to celebrate 48 fun years!
We got home and lit the candles for the fourth night of Hanukkah while enjoying the Christmas lights. Never miss a chance to celebrate!
Now that the weather is warming up, it is becoming what we call “Patio Season”. Our springs and summers are so pleasant, restaurants spread out into the sidewalk, and now, even into nearby parking spots.
Most of these are picnic tables in simple constructions of two by fours, plywood and corrugated plastic for the roofs. Others, like the delightful bohemian living room at Moore Coffee, have sofas, tapestries, and fancy light fixtures.
And just in case the evening gets chilly, some places have fire pits to warm things up. The flames are might pretty, as well.
The fires can be either the gas-fueled modern decor of the Modern Times rooftop or the campfire style fire pit at The Bivy. Once you get settled in, you just never want to leave!
I turned 66 on Saturday and had a fine time doing it. I woke up early and did my French lesson as usual, then Auntie Bridgett and I took the red wagon and walked to The Portland Nursery. I was looking for tomato plants, but was told that it was too early to put them in the ground and I should come back in April or early May.
Oh, well. Patience is a virtue. And we did find lots of potting soil, herb plants and other things we could use now.
Back home, I opened presents. Auntie Bridgett’s Momma Donna sent me a beautiful and useful bag for my gardening tools. I will be the gardening Queen!
Auntie Bridgett had found an adorable Amelia Opie painting called Therapy Cats at SideStreet Arts Gallery, and we got it hung on the wall. I felt like the richest woman in the world, but the day wasn’t over yet.
That evening, we headed down to La Moule for a delicious French dinner. Duck Confit, Tuna ceviche, absinthe, red wine from Bordeaux and a chocolate mousse absolutely topped off the day.
And after dinner, we walked a ways through the neighborhood to enjoy the magic of lights in darkness. I am now older, richer, and a little heavier. And very, very happy.
All our birthdays this year have been affected by the corona virus shutdown. But Auntie Bridgett’s had the added Barbecue flavor of the horrendous fires that are raging in California, Oregon, and Washington.
Because of the smoke, Portland is experiencing Hazardous air. Yep. Lately, it hasn’t been safe to go into a restaurant, or store, without a mask. Now, it’s not safe to go out, period. Our regular masks won’t help.
So Auntie Bridgett’s birthday was a stay-inside affair. Presents were opened, including a giant book of everything from the Picasso museum in Paris, a fabulous bag, and a new doo-hickey to help her film her how-to videos.
French Cooking radio played as we had a two woman painting party, inspired by “Ball Players on the Beach” by Picasso. We have such different styles, but we sure had fun!
A quiet afternoon gave way to dinner plans. Since Paris was on our minds, we put it on the menu by ordering delivery from La Moule, a French place down on Clinton. A giant bowl of mussels in white wine, crusty baguettes, pate, and a nice red wine made for a filling, French-feeling meal.
A game of Scrabble, a Giants loss, and a Baking show, and it was time to say goodnight to this weirdest (so far) birthday.