We had a fun, busy New Year’s Eve, just the three of us and Mouse the Cat.
Our dinner was take out pizza from Straight from from New York, just a block away on Belmont. It was, as always, delicious, with a nice bottle of local Columbia Crest Red Blend wine. We watched a Jim Gaffigan comedy special and discovered Ari Eldjarn, an Icelandic stand up comedian. Honestly, he is delightful.
But we knew that if we sat on the couch, we would never make it to midnight. So we worked on the newest picture puzzle, a particularly difficult impressionist painting of a rainy, reflective street scene. It has 1,000 pieces! It will take a while.
Auntie Bridgett and I kept up our tradition of making New Year’s Hats from used Christmas wrapping paper. My first idea of a newsboys’ cap totally failed, because, well, paper isn’t fabric. I went for a simpler tam sort of cap, which I was pretty happy with.
We had a FaceTime chat with Auntie Katie and the cousins, who were working on their own puzzle.
Auntie Bridgett made a fabulous wig out of snowman wrapping paper! The framework underneath was thin cardboard stapled together, and the wig had really good movement.
And of course, Mouse had a fun evening. She sat on our laps when we were on the couch, attacked stray bits of wrapping paper and finally just took over the trash bag. She was confused that we stayed up so late!
At midnight we watched the Ball drop in New York City and I stepped out on the rainy balcony to hear all the cheers and fireworks up and down the street. This has been a difficult, disorienting year. 2021 will be better if we let it.
We had a fun New Year’s Eve at home this year. It was wonderful.
During the day, Auntie Bridgett worked for a few hours at the SideStreet Arts Gallery, and I wrote a little and practiced French. Grandpa Nelson started researching what looks like our next European trip: Ireland and France!
This is one of the things I love about our trips, is the planning and discussing, the research and the antici…..pation.
But the most fun was the hats!
Auntie Bridgett had a really good idea, to make funny New Year’s Eve hats out of the bags of used Christmas paper that were waiting to be thrown out. We started snipping and trying ideas, making it up as we went along.
While the glue was drying, Auntie Bridgett and I went out for some bowls from Laughing Planet to take home. We opened some Columbia Crest Merlot, which went very well with the spicy food.
The hats were so much fun! Auntie Bridgett’s stayed on her head better… mine needed a little rubber band strap. I think mine looked better on the bear, anyway.
We played a game of Brain Spin, which plays with how we see things, and our favorite, Scrabble, which I won!! This is a rare thing and I enjoyed it very much.
We nibbled and sipped and watched some Baking Show, then counted down to midnight, feeling sleepy but happy. See you next year!
Last night was New Year’s Eve and we celebrated in downtown Portland. The weather was very cold, but delightfully dry…no rain, and just a few clouds, so getting around was easy and everything looked bright and festive.
We walked around downtown for a while, looking at shop windows and people walking by. We visited Powell’s City of Books and the Apple Store. Around 5, we got hungry so we stopped off at Case Study Coffee, at SW 10th and Yamhill for snacks. They closed at 6, so we wandered some more, finding the lobby of the Hilton a welcoming place with comfy sofas and friendly people.
By 7 o’clock we were ready for dinner, so we walked over to the Raven and Rose. Located at SE Columbia and Broadway, it is in what used to be the carriage House ( a combination of garage and barn, built in 1883) of William S. Ladd, one of the real movers and shakers of old Portland. The big estate and mansion have been torn down and built over, but this wonderfully restored barn, built in what they call the “Stick” style, has a restaurant downstairs and the Rookery Bar upstairs. It is one hundred and thirty year old, sits in the midst of modern brick and glass towers, and stands out as a jewel from another age.
Our dinner of beet salad, shrimp gnocchi, swede fondant, treacle tart, french fries and ice cream went well with the Pinot Noir and apple cider, and we felt indulged and sated. We chatted about our resolutions for the New Year and our hopes and plans for buying a house in Portland.
Wandering around some more, we stopped in at the ArtBar of the Antoinette Hatfield Hall and looked at a wonderful Steampunk art show. Steampunk art is a style that uses old industrial things like machinery and combines it in new ways with plants and animals. It is weird and spooky and delightful. After some tea and coffee, we headed across the street to the Arlene Schnitzer Theater at SW Park and Salmon for our main event, a concert by Pink Martini and the Portland Symphony.
“The Schnitz”, as it is called by those who love it, was built as the Paramount vaudeville theater in 1924. It must have been the most elaborate thing in Portland in those days, because it still dazzles the eye. The lobby is enormous and ornate, and every inch of stair banister, ceiling, and wall has been carved, painted, or plastered. We spent 20 minutes just walking around the place!
Once the show started, the fun really began. Pink Martini is a talented four person group that plays a delightful international salad of music. Backed by a hundred member choir and symphony, the vocalists sang dance hall tunes in French, popular American tunes in English, Opera arias in Italian, and frenetic rock songs in Japanese. The audience, which had kids as young as 10 and folks well past their 80s, clapped and sang and, when invited, many women joined the band onstage to sing Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman”.
At midnight we all stood and sang “Auld Lang Syne”, but the show wasn’t over yet.
Full choir, Symphony, jazz band and four operatic soloists joined forces to perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in German. It was powerful and wonderful. But it was after midnight, and during some of the quieter moments, I think I might have…dozed off. Just for a moment.
Once the show was over and thousands of happy people filed out of the theater, we caught our Lyft ride home and I was asleep in two minutes.