Monday, April 14, 2008

2008 Oregon MS Walk

Our intrepid team participated in the MS Walk again this year, and so far we've raised a little over $4,800 for MS research. My thanks go to the team members and to all of our friends, family and associates whose generous contributions to The Lib*erators resulted in such successful fund raising.

Unlike the first year we participated, when it POURED the entire time, this year's weather was spectacular. It was sunny and warm, but the breezes from the Willamette River made it just right for spending an hour walking (or, in my case, being pushed in the wheelchair). According to the folks from the Portland office of the Oregon MS Society, this year's turnout was the biggest ever (including all kinds of dogs from our own Waggoner, who joined for the second year in a row, to a group of Basset Hounds who seemed to be forming their own team!). There were several of us in wheelchairs and/or motorized scooters, obviously folks with MS who found their own way to participate in the Walk, despite our inability to do it on our own two feet.

At one point, a woman I'd never seen before (and probably won't see again), walked past us and asked my friend Reva if she'd take a picture of the two of us. This wasn't easy, since Zack was still pushing me in the wheelchair, but Reva managed to do it somehow. The woman patted me on the shoulder, said "Bless you for doing this" and walked on ahead of us, disappearing into the crowd. Amazing.

It's events like this one that remind me how deep the human capacity for kindness and generosity can be. I'm grateful to everyone who participated in Saturday's Walk, to those I know and love and to all the strangers with whom we shared a glorious morning along the banks of the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. Who knows? Maybe the money we raised will fund a research experiment that finally discovers the cause of Multiple Sclerosis. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Anniversary Celebration

Yesterday was our third wedding anniversary (I tell folks that we had a decade-long engagement and decided it was safe to make things legal after that). We were married in San Francisco City Hall, just two weeks before I arrived in Portland (I'm a firm believer in cramming as much major change into as short a period of time as possible in order to maximize the stress factor). We chose to be married in that venue in solidarity with our gay and lesbian friends whose deep and loving relationships were given all-too-brief legal recognition by the city of San Francisco in that same place. It rained buckets the morning we were married, but the weather cleared later that day, and yesterday's weather was much the same.

Since I'm into the fourth month of my Year of Not Buying Stuff, we didn't exchange gifts (actually, we stopped doing that years ago), but we did exchange cards and David bought me a beautiful bouquet of French tulips (my favorite flower). Best of all, he made reservations at one of the restaurants we've been wanting to try for a while - Genoa.

I was a bit apprehensive when I looked at the menu (seven courses!?) but the meal was about as close to perfect as any I've ever had. Portions were small, thankfully, just enough to allow full enjoyment of the presentation and amazing mix of flavors without being overwhelming, and the menu itself was outstanding. I wish I'd thought to grab a menu before we left, because the menu was much too complex for me to remember, much less describe here. A few highlights:

  • Spectacular watercress soup (who knew?)
  • Kobe beef (David's)
  • Roast squab (mine)
  • The best selection of cheeses I've ever had

I loved that the waiter brought David a glass of red wine to accompany the beef course, since I mentioned that David kindly allowed me to order a bottle of white wine, even though he preferred reds. And that he put a slender candle in each of our dessert plates to commemorate our anniversary.

It was a quiet, elegant and totally satisfying celebration.