I celebrated my ninth annual 40th birthday last weekend. (A friend of ours has been celebrating her 60th for several years now!) I was delighted to discover, a few months ago, that one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Dar Williams, had a concert scheduled in Hood River, a little over an hour from Portland. We had not spent much time in Hood River until we celebrated our wedding anniversary there in June, and now we've been there twice in four months! I broadly hinted to Mike that I wanted to go hear Dar on my birthday, and he made arrangements. The lovely, historic Hood River Hotel has a $100 Sunday night special, so we took advantage of that. Thanks to my parents who had the kids overnight and transported them to school in the morning!!
We started out our trip by stopping for a quick (1.8-mile round trip) hike at Wahclella Falls, one of my favorite spots in the gorgeous (!) Columbia Gorge. The church we attend is celebrating "Creationtide" this month, and the sermon that morning was about "beholding creation" and being arrested by the wonders of nature. I realized as we were on our hike that one of my very favorite things in the world is waterfalls--I love them. I should have taken my actual camera rather than my phone, but you get the idea...it was a great way to spend a few hours on my birthday:
|One of several waterfalls along the hike|
|My wonderful husband!|
|Gorgeous mossy rocks|
|Beautiful fall colors|
That evening we went to Nora's Table for dinner (where we had a yummy breakfast the last time we were in Hood River).
We'd just ordered drinks, when who should walk in but some friends from church, Katie and Jason. We rarely get quality time with them because we are usually focused on our kids (they have an adorable 2-1/2-year old named Noah who is buds with our two younger boys). They were in Hood River for a couple of nights to celebrate their anniversary, so we invited them to join us and had a lovely dinner! So much fun--and I love those types of meetings. (Mike and I have a habit of running into people we know when we go places.) I had an amazing salmon dish, and Mike had a seafood curry. Then Jason and I split a piece of chocolate peanut butter cake!
|Katie and me on our spontaneous double date!|
|The handsome men, Mike and Jason|
Then it was off to the concert, which was at the Columbia Center for the Arts. Upon discovering that Katie and Jason also enjoyed folk music, we dragged them along with us to see if they could get tickets, but alas, it was sold out. It's a very small venue, which made the concert especially unique. We are accustomed to seeing Dar perform at the Aladdin in Portland, which is much bigger. I loved the intimate venue! Anne Weiss, a local blues/folk singer-songwriter and old friend of Dar, opened and shared a few songs with her. I loved hearing about how their friendship blossomed over the years (a former boyfriend of Dar's introduced them in Vermont, but he is long gone). I own a couple of Anne Weiss' albums too--she's a great musician as well.
I can't remember when I first discovered Dar, but I have loved her for years and seen her countless times in concert. Since I've been blogging, I've written several posts about how her. In fact, she has raised the bar on my concert going, because she's incredibly bright, engaging, and funny at her concerts. And when she's singing upbeat songs, she bounces! We own all of her CDs and I adore her thought-provoking lyrics and the way she speaks out for peace and justice. (She's also written a vegetarian book and two middle-grade novels, both of which I've read.)
|Loved being so close to Dar as she was singing!|
So you can imagine my complete thrill and delight when she came out after the concert and I got to meet her in person. Fangirl crazy!!! It was wonderful to discover how nice and engaging she was in person, not just onstage. I told her that I listened to her album "The Beauty of the Rain" during one of my c-sections, and she told me that her c-section was after several hours of labor and she had no such luxury to listen to music! (I didn't take her valuable time to tell her my whole first c-section story!!)
|Fangirl photo--this made my birthday!!|
Back at the hotel, I had some wine in my special "birthday girl" glass I got from a friend!
And I ended the evening by finishing an excellent book, Cinnamon and Gunpowder.
The next morning we left our lovely (large) hotel room and had breakfast in the dining room (our room came with a $10 breakfast voucher) and then visited the great Hood River independent book store and fancy Goodwill store (Hood River obviously has a lot of rich people)!
In June we stayed at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel, but I think I preferred the Hood River Hotel for its more spacious room and great location downtown--we could walk everywhere!
|Our corner suite|
|I want an armoire like that!|
|The large kitchen we didn't use at all (except for our bottle of wine)!|
|Check out the nice dining area, too, also unused!|
|View of the river from our room|
It was a perfectly lovely birthday with my perfectly lovely husband!