Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fast Forward to Fall

It's hard to believe that Greg & I have now been living in Portland for nine months. It didn't take long for us to feel at home here and every day we are reminded in some way or another as to why we chose this beautiful city out of all others as our new hometown.

After an amazing three month stint of record-breaking days with no rain, we are now embracing fall. In particular we are adjusting to the shorter days, cooler temps, and the inevitable wet weather. We knew it was coming so we went on what might be our last long (30 miles) fair weather bike ride of the year on October 7th. It was a beautifully clear & warm Sunday and we rode one of our favorite bike paths, the Springwater Corridor. Of course, we also took a mid-ride break at a brewery for a well-deserved beer & to watch some football!
goofing off on the Springwater Corridor
riding in our neighborhood on a fall afternoon
Just five days later the rainy season commenced but luckily we had already begun preparing our bikes for foul-weather riding. Besides basic maintenance & cleaning, we purchased fenders and, after some trial & error, got them installed successfully. We also ordered Goretex rain covers for our bike helmets and picked up some safety glasses that improve visibility and help protect us from street grime. We both already have reflective bike jackets and tights amongst other gear. Luckily, due to our extensive travels, we also already have full Goretex waterproof rain coats & pants as well as waterproof shoes and I had purchased a set of waterproof panniers when I won my bike in May. So bring it on Mother Nature!!!
the first day of rain in 3 months
pizza delivery!
Speaking of winning bikes, you probably won't believe this but I won another one. Yes, it's true, this time I am one of the very few people to win a 2012 New Belgium Fat Tire bike! The only way to get one of these custom Felt bikes is to either work at the brewery for some length of time or win one in their annual Enjoy the Ride Bike Sweepstakes. All I did was provide my contact info one time for the drawing and, despite the odds, I received the congratulations email a few weeks ago. I've waited until now to mention it because I honestly didn't believe it myself (although I had to sign all kinds of affidavits and releases of liability) until the bike was delivered straight from Colorado last week! I haven't even opened the box yet because, as much as I'd like to keep it and ride it around town, I already have a perfectly good bike. So, if you're interested, please make me an offer (just note that the box weighs 60lbs so shipping would be quite expensive and these bikes typically sell for $600-800).
special delivery
this is the bike I won
The bike isn't the only thing I've won lately. I picked up last minute tickets to FEAST Portland's Whole Foods Market Speaker Series just for being one of the first people to respond to a posting on Facebook. I wrote a short essay about why I love Portland's public transportation system and won a $50 gift card to my favorite local grocery store, New Seasons. I also won a free large Baby Doll Pizza by entering a contest with our local newsletter, ZippityNews. And I scored a free large Papa Johns pizza in their Two Million Pizza Giveaway. Just last week, I found out my name was drawn by Beer West magazine for their Doug's Nuts giveaway!
the program for the FEAST Portland Whole Foods Market Speakers Series
Greg enjoying free food at FEAST Portland
Greg & I continue to enjoy the many things that came with my Portland Monthly Magazine City Living Sweepstakes prize package (that's the one where I asked everyone to vote for me on Facebook). We have been to the opening night performance of the Oregon Symphony, two performances of White Bird Dance (LA Dance Project and Akram Khan's A Vertical Road - I actually took Greg's mom to this one), Sweeney Todd at Portland Center Stage, and Body Beautiful at Oregon Ballet Theatre. Plus I have been using my $250 Zupans gift card to buy gourmet food items (fresh scallops, local honey, cheese, beer...).

the view from our orchestra seats at the symphony
at the park across from Keller Auditorium, ready to see the ballet
There have been plenty of other free activities to enjoy around town. As always, it's impossible to do everything so we pick whatever is convenient or fits our schedule. Over the past few weeks we rode the Portland Streetcar on opening day of the new Eastside Loop. We visited a local business, Plywerk, for their open house/party. And we attended Flying Fish Hawthorne's one year anniversary party.
riding the streetcar for the first time across the Broadway Bridge to east Portland
filleting an albacore tuna at the Flying Fish party
 Another awesome free event we made a point to attend was SwiftWatch. Every September thousands of Vaux's swifts come to roost in the chimney of Chapman Elementary School in Portland. This is one stop along their fall migration from the west coast of the U.S. to Central America & Venezuela. About 30 minutes before sunset they start gathering (thus attracting birds of prey like hawks and falcons) and they swirl around the sky, finally funneling into the chimney just a few minutes after sunset. It is truly a spectacular sight! I did shoot several videos but have not been able to upload them due to incompatibility issues of iOS 6 and Quicktime. As soon as these are resolved I'll get them edited and uploaded as they are worth seeing!
swift watchers
all of those black specks are swifts and the larger bird on the edge of the chimney is a falcon
I also had the pleasure of working with the crew of Portlandia one more time before they wrapped filming for Season 3. There were only a dozen extras in this particular skit and we were all given specific props to use for the entire shoot. It was a lot of fun and was the first time in all of my work as an extra that I was encouraged to interact with the main characters (played by Fred Armisen & Carrie Brownstein) physically & verbally. Who knows what will end up on TV when the shows airs again in January, but I'm certain you'll see me in this one!
a "ray of light" in Holladay Park where I recently worked on a Portlandia skit
One final note as I wrap up this post. I am actively selling a large variety of fall/winter shoes & boots, clothing, sporting goods and electronics on Craigslist. Please take a look and let me know if you're interested. Thanks!