For the longest time I have wanted to see Portland, Oregon. Maybe it is all the books I've read on gardening roses (Portland is famous for their rose gardens) or maybe it is the coffee and music culture. I am crazy for both. Last week I had another week of travels - LA to San Jose for three days and then to Portland for 24 hours.
My son gave me a lovely virus the weekend before my trip and it turned into something worse for me. My awesome doctor called in a Z pack and I was able to make it home on a red eye. Pneumonia that is now just bronchitis with the help of steroids and other stuff I hate taking (although I am very grateful for modern medicine when you truly need it!). So by the time I made it to Portland I was well and truly just trying to get better so that I could make it home. My one morning free, I spent an hour and a half walking the neighborhoods before being picked up. Portland is noted as the greenest city in the US and I could easily understand why. The business purpose was amazing and well worth the misery yet that last day was a bit of an unexpected surprise. Here is where I spent most of my one day in Portland:

During my hour of exploration, here are some things that captured my interest:

Green moss on most trees - and that most trees were in bloom a bit earlier than we were on the east coast.

Noticed how clean Portland seems to be (it rained most the the time I was there).

Also noted a ton of bikes and electric vehicles around.

The many restaurants and odd food spots. I saw a barbershop/pub. Wonder if the barbers imbibe on the job? One fascinating food stand sold grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The unexpected surprise I referred to was actually an amazing gift from a colleague who was born and raised in the area and who spent several hours with me prior to my flight. I can't even thank her enough.  After getting some work done she began driving us on an old highway nearby. Although I was a coughing, delirious mess, she gave me quite an entertaining education of the topography and history of Portland and her enthusiasm was delightful. Here is what I mean by gifts:

Location of "Prom" in the first Twilight movie - it's been badly burned and I didn't even know about its history until we were on the road again. I would have looked a bit closer! Glad I took this one snapshot.

So the best thing I got from my strange, brief visit to Portland was simply an appreciation for the kindness and generosity I felt from so many people there. My co-workers in that part of the country are inspiring and it was a pleasure to walk in their shoes. Even the hotel doorman and pharmacist were complete sweethearts and having that experience when you are at your most vulnerable is priceless. We are definitely planning a trip there as an entire family to do some hiking. Can't wait to visit again when feeling a lot better! Portland is a pretty special place.

Travels with Star Wars Lego Stormtrooper

I have been pretty busy with business travel lately. It is always difficult to leave your child behind yet he is at an age where he is busy with friends and school and that makes a tremendous difference. We used Skype every evening to read the next chapter of Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief and I hid small gifts around the house for him to anticipate each evening we would not see each other. Daddy was amazing!

My son gave me his Star Wars storm trooper Lego to "remember me by". Whenever we had a break in meetings I tried to snap a picture to e-mail him at night. Wanted to share our scrapbook. If you can't guess the background, we were at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Lovely, although we were so busy I barely ever left the hotel.