I just got back from another trip to the City of Roses. This time I went to celebrate the marriage of my son Mike to his long time girlfriend Kelly. I am happy beyond words, so I’ll try to keep them at a minimum, and let a few pictures stand in for a thousand or so that wouldn’t do the weekend justice.
Here they are outside the Multmonah County courthouse after the ceremony:
And here is a nice shot of them at our celebratory lunch at Produce Row Cafe in Portland OR:
I’m amazed to say I actually took this picture myself, and that it turned out to be one of their favorites. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I actually was able to operate my camera on the day of my only son’s wedding, and take a few decent pictures of targets that move faster than eggplants or cabbage.
The next day we drove out to a beautiful spot on the Clackamas River for the second part of their wedding event:
Mike filmed part of the music video Mystery Life he wrote and directed last summer at this location. They both chose this spot to “take the plunge” so they could have truly unique wedding photos. Here they are, rowing over to the other side of the river.
And here they are, poised to jump:
And there they go:
It was magical, beautiful, thrilling (and a little bit scary as a parent, I’ll admit). But the beauty of the place, their trust in one another, and their sense of adventure were infectious, and blessed us all. Here they are, post jump:
And since this is a blog about my own slow motion miracle, I’ll also say that the way down to this spot is a very narrow, often rocky footpath, not as wide or accessible as the trail at Elk Creek I hiked last summer. And I made it down, with Romeo spotting me every step of the way. Here we are, taking in the view after our hike down the slope:
Once there, I managed to put on my glasses and take a few photos. Here I am, new glasses on, caught in the act:
I even “peed in the wild” (but thankfully no one caught that on camera!). Even though I wasn’t the one who jumped, I decided to take a break in the raft after all the excitement:
And since this is also a blog about food, I can’t let this post go by without a glowing mention of our dinner out to celebrate the jump at Bamboo back in Portland. Here is a shot of Romeo and me en route to the restaurant:
At the risk of overestimating, I’d say Bamboo is the most amazing sushi place on the planet. They actually call themselves “the first certified sustainable sushi restaurant in the world,” and part of their mission is to make sure all their produce and fish are harvested by healthy, sustainable standards while still being delicious and appealing. I say it’s the best on the planet because they not only had fresh healthy vegan options, but the waitress worked with me to find three different dishes that could be adapted to my very strict requirements (no oil, soy, or gluten). And they all were delicious. We weren’t in photo mode at the table, but they were so spectacular that at the last minute I attempted to get a shot on Mike’s iphone before gobbling it all up. Here’s what I came up with:
This is a shot of the three dishes I could eat. On the right is a fresh forage plate, which that night consisted of a fresh melon, tomato and basil salad dressed with fresh limes and juice and a tiny bit of some kind of special salt. The forage plate is different each week depending on what is in season locally. It was hard to believe something so simple could be so heavenly. In the back center is a classic vegetable roll with avocado, cucumber, carrot and roasted red pepper. Wonderful. And front and center and to the left was the piece de resistance that evening: a baked sweet potato box, topped with a slight dusting of sesame powder and chili powder. It usually comes in soya garlic butter, but I asked if that could be left off and put on the side for anyone who wanted to taste it.
The presentation of everything, even the water glasses (note the cucumber slice at the bottom) was elegant without being opulent. Just simple, and fresh, and gorgeous. Even the pickled ginger was heavenly, thin slices, not discolored with the usual pink preservative effect.
But back to those sweet potatoes:
These were so good that we ordered a second “box” so everyone could try them. Kelly’s Dad, who is definitely not vegan, was heard to say “these would make a vegan out of anyone!” And aren’t they just lovely to look at, despite the dark photo?
It was a beautiful weekend, running the gamut from the fun and hilarious to laughter through tears and tenderness. I feel so blessed, not only to have kept up with it all, but that at the courthouse wedding I was able to serenade Mike and Kelly along with Mike’s Dad with an acapella version of Devoted To You. Once upon a time, I sang at weddings, but before I started eating low fat whole plants my throat had become too weak to manage something like this. Years ago, after John Denver died, I can remember putting on a favorite hits CD and trying to sing along, my back flat on the floor to help with projecting my voice, and ending up in silent tears because I couldn’t sing to my satisfaction. Not anymore. To be able to bless my son and new daughter-in-law with a song is itself a blessing beyond compare. I know my mother, who was a vocal music teacher, was smiling down on all of us for including it in the weekend of festivities.
So did I have a good time? I’d have to say the answer to that is exactly what Mike and Kelly ordered to have written on their second cake from vegan Sweet Pea Baking Company in Portland. The first one, at the top of the post, said “Mike and Kelly.” And the second one (which was a vegan, gluten free cheesecake)–well, the second one, said this:
Maybe this is not the way I would normally say it at this point in my life, but nevertheless I couldn’t agree more. (Truth be told, there have been moments in my life I’ve sworn like a sailor, savoring every profane syllable that came out of my mouth.) Whatever type of expletive you feel most comfortable with, it was a fabulous, loving, spectacular time. All of us family members on both sides are so delighted these two are now officially hitched. And we’re lucky too. Between their newly purchased home and the old rental they just moved out of, they graciously managed to put us all up for the weekend, and host a wedding party to boot. If it gets much better than this, I can’t imagine how. Hats off and love unlimited to my amazing son and daughter-in-law for “taking the plunge”!!