Some Jazz and a new friend.

Posted: August 29, 2008 in Friends, Journal, Music, photography, work

There. I am officially off work until next Thursday. Thank the good Lord.

What a week! I wanted to sleep like a log last night, but we had an incredible storm roll through our area, with near-constant lightning, torrential rain, and near 100 mph winds. So I kept waking up and wondering if the roar was just a storm or if a tornado was tearing through the neighborhood. We’re still standing, but there’s a lot of damage all over town and our house has a couple of leaks that need to be addressed. Nothing major, but annoying enough to Calvin, who is the Designated Mister Fixit.

My business trip to Oregon was, I think, only about fifty percent successful. We still have a LOOOONG way to go and didn’t accomplish nearly enough of what we went there for. But still, at least we’re headed in the right direction, project-wise. I think.

I had a lot of fun on Tuesday evening. One of the team members decided at about 2:00 in the afternoon to pull together an impromptu trip into downtown Portland to visit a jazz club and have a nice meal. Fourteen of us ended up going – quite a crowd to travel on the MAX light rail system together from Hillsboro into downtown Portland. THAT was an experience – I’ve never traveled on light rail before, and I was grateful that one of the guys was a “local” who understood the nuances of the transit system. I stood the whole way – about a half-hour and three train transitions. Keeping yourself upright on those trains is good for core strengthening, I discovered. And it’s also not conducive to taking pictures while in transit, so the only pic I got was this one of the platform:

The MAX train platform

We got off on the 11th Street stop, walked past several of the landmarks Calvin and I had become familiar with during our trip to Oregon last year (including Jake’s Grill and POWELL’S, where I stopped all too briefly to ooh and aah and text message Jen with an “ohai guess where i am?!?”), and ended up at Jimmy Mak’s.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of Jazz music, but I discovered that I really REALLY like listening to it, and watching it, live. This band was AWESOME, and they allowed several music students in their late-teens to sit in with them. One boy was on the piano and another took a turn at the bass, and they were seamless and incredible. I asked if I could take some pictures, and wandered around the club taking shots (and getting teased unmercifully by my co-workers for being such a shutter-bug).

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The venue was very dim and I was not allowed to use the flash, so some of the pics ended up getting blurry (and hence Photoshopped in an “artsy” manner to make up for it) since I most certainly did NOT tote my tripod all the way to Oregon.

So! Dinner was a lot of fun and very tasty (Greek-themed menu, and their grape leaves are to DIE for). I sat next to this guy:

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He’s in his late-fifties or early-sixties, hails from England, had four beers and four glasses of wine and a whisky throughout the course of the evening, and slurringly flirted with me. I commented to another co-worker there that someone needed to drive him to his hotel, and he volunteered me. Said he was staying at the Ritz and had an incredible white marble bathroom to show me. And then he said, “So, what was your name again?”

Yeeeeahhhh… everyone cracked up, and he was all, “What?” I didn’t feel too special, since he was also flirting with this guy:

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Heh. I kid. He sure was one of those, “I love you, man!” guys, though.

We left the club at about nine, and three of us girls decided to ride back together in the car that the lady on the very right drove in, instead of taking the MAX back.

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I’d met her for the first time the day before, on the first day of the conference. She and I exchanged a couple of funny comments to one another, and I started to suspect she might be a kindred spirit. Then, on the drive back to our hotels, she and I gabbed NON-STOP the whole way (the other lady, sitting in the back seat, hardly got a word in edgewise. Poor thing.) We dropped the other lady off at her car, then drove over to my hotel, where we proceeded to just sit in her car, in the parking lot, and talk for nearly another two hours. Calvin called twice while we were gabbing, and was completely baffled at how we could hit it off so well after having just met.

After Calvin’s impatient comment, “You know, I’d like to know you’re safe in your room before I go to bed,” she and I finally said goodnight. Calvin and I talked for a little while longer, and I finally went to sleep.

The next day, Wednesday, passed in an uneventful manner. My new friend and I IM’ed throughout the day (she was in another room with another testing group), and I informed her that she was now My Friend, with all of the benefits and responsibilities implied therein. There was more conferencing and more systems testing, and we all (over thirty of us) went to a local Old Chicago for dinner. Then Thursday I attended the conference until eleven, managed to find my way back to the airport all by myself and with no wrong turns whatsoever, not even one, caught the 2:00 flight back to Phoenix, and was back at home by 5:30.

I unpacked, bathed, ate, and went to bed early. I worked from home today, have Monday off as a company holiday, and am taking vacation days Tuesday and Wednesday. You can be rest assured that I ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT think about work until next Thursday morning at the earliest.

I have SO MUCH blog reading to catch up on (my Google Reader currently has over 200 “items”), so sorry for my silence for you bloggers who are used to me commenting. I’ll be stopping by soon!

(If you’re interested, all of the photos from my evening in Portland can be seen here.)

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Comments
  1. Taoist Biker says:

    I don’t know what sounds better, a cool trip, a night of jazz, a new friend, or no work until Thursday!

    Glad you’re back!

  2. Laura says:

    TB – It was a really good time! And, thanks!

  3. […] met multiple times per week (via teleconference) for nearly a year, and I met her in person on my business trip to Oregon. She and her husband were apart a lot, since his position kept him traveling to remote AcronymCo […]

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