Saturday, April 6, 2013

Easter weekend: Pink Martini, "romantic" dinner, and family fun

With all the A to Z excitement, I'm not keeping up with regular news. Last Easter weekend was full of fun events, starting out the fact that we had AMAZING Portland March weather!

Pink Martini Singalong

Storm and China rocking the square
We attended a fantastic two-hour singalong with Pink Martini in Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland's "living room," with special guests from the Oregon Symphony, famed Norman Leyden (who is now 95 years old and still plays a mean clarinet), former governor Barbara Roberts, and the Von Trapp great-grandchildren! We didn't get there very early, so we missed the opportunity to get a song book...but I found that I didn't really need one. I realized, again, what a good memory I have for lyrics. The other day a friend was reminiscing about the song "One Tin Soldier," which I haven't heard for probably 30 years. She and I sang the whole thing--we both remembered the lyrics!

Norman Leyden on clarinet and China Forbes
With my singing partner
So I knew most of the lyrics to the songs...which ranged from classic singalongs (My Bonnie) to a few Pink Martini classics and songs from the "Sound of Music" (led by the Von Trapp singers, who now live in Portland), to oldies such as "Summertime" and "Those Were the Days" (sung in Edith Bunker style)...and my favorite, "I Will Survive"! Most precious about the experience was that both China Forbes (Pink Martini's long-time lead vocalist) and Storm Large were up onstage together. Storm Large covered for China while she was recovering from throat surgery, but they usually take turns on gigs. I've always loved both of these singers, so to see them up there together, leading all of Portland in a singalong, was unforgettable. They had such a great time, as did we all! It was really hot during the first hour, but then the sun went behind a building and it was a bit more bearable. Mike's mum, Olga, and Nicholas were up in the shade by Starbuck's--they didn't have as good of a view as Kieran and me (we were sitting right in front of the stage), but they were cooler! Chris went to a free concert of the band Phoenix, so Mike was doing some driving back and forth and didn't get to see the entire show.

Von Trapp great-grandchildren leading "Sound of Music" songs
Another memorable moment was as we were driving downtown to the square, we saw Thomas Lauderdale (band leader and charismatic pianist for Pink Martini) riding to the event on his scooter! I tried to take a photo but Mike was going too fast!
Waving arms to "Hey Jude"
Here is some video so you can get a taste: "Those Were the Days,"  "I Will Survive," "Hey Jude," "Unchained Melody," and "Hang On Little Tomato." I had the best time in I don't know long--loved this event!!!

"Romantic" dinner

When we got home after the singalong, Kieran decided to create a "romantic dinner" for us out on the back deck. He had heard us discussing the idea of going out to dinner and wanted to keep us home. I made the dinner (chicken tikka masala) but he set the stage. He is such a creative kid! He hung up a tablecloth for a backdrop, set the table using our best dishes, and even picked some camellias for the table. He and Nicholas got dressed up in their jackets and were our "waiters." It would have been more romantic if the waiters hadn't started arguing and Nicholas hadn't been fired! But it was a sweet gesture nonetheless. Poor Chris was not allowed out back, and he and Olga ate dinner in the dining room!

Dinner is served!
Our menu--along with "No kissing by the kids"!


With my date and waiter

The brainchild of this event!
Later when the kids were in bed we went out to Journey's for a drink!

Easter fun

We tried a few new techniques this year--first, we cooked the eggs in the oven. I had read about this technique and was anxious to try it. My mother-in-law was HIGHLY skeptical!! She was shocked when they came out alright! In fact, the advantages are:

1. No smell! (I can't stand the smell of eggs)
2. No cracking
3. They yolks are creamier and more yellow
4. Easier to keep track of the timing

They turned out perfectly--you just bake them in a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes--either right on the oven rack or in muffin tins--and then plunge them in cold water for 10 minutes. I will never boil a big batch of eggs again!

Second, we used Sharpie felt pens to decorate them instead of dyeing them. That was less messy really fun and I think we'll do it in the future!

Chris even participated! (He doesn't usually, with the dyeing)
The kids had three egg hunts on Easter--one at our house, one at church, and one at Grandma and Grandpa's house! After church we went to my parents' house for brunch, hanging out, and then ending with a little birthday celebration for our April birthdays--my dad's, Kieran's, and my mother-in-law's. The kids never have enough time together. It was the end of our spring break and the beginning of their cousins', and they were headed to the beach.
Chris got a "Mental Floss" mag from the Easter bunny
Kids at church, with an escaping Noah, the cutest two-year-old boy in church!

Nick hunting for eggs

Kieran on the labyrinth

With cousins and their adorable dog Ella

Birthday celebrations

Mom and Nadine talking to Stephen's new friend
Wonderful springtime family fun! And now the weather has reverted to our usual spring rain.


  1. I love the idea of using Sharpies on the eggs. The end of One Tin Soldier always made me cry & still chokes me up when I think about it.

  2. Yes, it's a very poignant song!