Snow Day! (Snow Week)

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Last week, we were excited to welcome my mom to Portland for a visit - especially since we thought she'd enjoy the warm temperatures we'd been having, compared to cold, snowy Ohio. The weather gods laughed at our plans and dumped 6 inches of snow and a half inch of ice on us while she was here. The city completely shut down. Everywhere we were meaning to visit was closed...even our snowshoeing adventure had to be cancelled!

So even though we love living in our temperate town, we unpacked all of our old winter clothes from back east and went on long walks every day of the storm. We weren't the only ones to brave the weather! Portlanders are intrepid souls - everyone had their ski gear out and their impromptu sleds at the ready. We decided that next year, we're buying snow chains and taking advantage of the snow more often than a once-every-twenty-years storm. (Even if we were both really happy to have temperatures in the 50s again this week.)

Luckily, my mom was prepared for snowshoeing - and came from even colder temperatures - so her visit was more of a winter wonderland than a snowpocalypse. Lots of tasty PNW beer, freshly baked bread, and Olympics watching. A very cozy week!

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Otsukimi

Last week was a full moon - a special full moon! We went to the Portland Japanese Garden's otsukimi festival. Otsukimi means "moonviewing" in Japanese (o = honorific, tsuki = moon, mi = viewing); it's a festival celebrated around the harvest moon. We like any sort of nature festivals - hanami, autumn leaf watching, meteor showers (unless it's cloudy, sigh!) - so we decided we had to go. We bought our tickets and showed up at 6:30pm, not sure what to expect.

...It was such a nice night! Our tickets came with little stubs attached for sushi, rice, beer, sake, and dessert. We watched the moon rise over Mount Hood, walked around the garden in the twilight, ate delicious food, and took another walk when it was completely dark. Well, not completely dark - the harvest moon is really bright! Once our eyes adjusted, it hardly seemed dark at all.

We love the garden during the day, but in the moonlight it seemed extra special. Still, you get a pretty nice view of Portland from up in the surrounding park any night of the year, so we might have to venture up there more often after dark!

our (unexpectedly) sunny day off

We set out to see cherry blossoms on the second of our two days off this week - undaunted by the "90% chance of rain, possibly thunderstorms" forecast that was looming. Surprisingly enough - or not, this seems to happen pretty often here - it ended up being absolutely beautiful! One of the things that we thought we'd miss about NY was

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at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden - but here, we don't have to visit a special garden to see cherry blossoms because they're basically everywhere. Today we went down to the park on the west bank of the Willamette, which is completely lined with cherries - all in peak bloom.

We hadn't ever been to the park before (somehow) and were really impressed with it - there were so many people out running, it was incredible! It was as if there was a race going on - but it was just normal weekday afternoon traffic.

After we'd had our fill of cherry blossoms, we walked over to Lan Su - the classical Chinese garden in Old Town (Chinatown). It's such a calm, relaxing place - and amazing that it only takes up one city block. The design makes it seem so much bigger as you wind around, in and out of each section.

A lot of the plants were flowering today, but the camellias were pretty much stealing the show - they're everywhere in this town.

Before we left, we had some tea and snacks in the teahouse (better known as the Tower of Cosmic Reflection). The windows were all open, there was a live musician, and we could sit drinking tea for as long as we wanted - all in all, not a bad day out.

a visit to the japanese garden on a rainy day

The Portland Japanese Garden is one of our very favorite places here - no matter how crowded it is, it always feels like the perfect place to relax. But we didn't have to worry about it being crowded when we visited last week since it had rained on and off all day long. It ended up being one of the nicest trips to the garden we've had yet! Everything seemed even more spring-y than it already does with a bit of rain on the leaves. The sun even came out for a while so it was like we to see the garden twice in one day.

There are so many details we see every time that we haven't ever seen before! We're lucky to have a membership so we can go whenever we want, at all different times of year.

And of course, you can't forget to look up -