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Sunday, January 25, 2015

One of the many reasons I love my birthday is that it gives me reason to really check out some weird shit around town. My husband has created a sort of tradition of planning a day of strange surprises and mini adventures in celebration of making it another year.

This year I kicked off the week by heading to the Portland City Hall to watch Mayor Charlie Hales declare January 20 as "Decemberists Day". I knew full well that a free performance of any kind (but especially with the much beloved Pdx band) would be a large draw despite it being at 2pm on a week day when normal people in a normal city would be working at their day jobs. If there's anything portlandians love more than craft beer it's going to free events.

On the 22nd, my actual birthday, we grabbed some food from Los Gorditos and checked out Baerlic Brewing. 

We followed up good food and great brews by meeting up with some friends at The Funhouse Lounge to catch their current performance run; Star Trek: The Next Generation Musical Improv. Yes, someone found a way to mash together 3 of my favorite things: nostalgic nerdiness, comedy and musicals. 

On Saturday, Garrett kicked off a day of surprise adventures with a trip to the Expo Center for The Great Train Expo. No, neither of us are into model trains. It was still pretty kickass. 

We followed in the train-vein by heading over to the Oregon Rail Heritage Center where you can get the lowdown on the history of PDX rail systems (more interesting than you might think), see fully restored and in-progress engine cars (significantly larger than I thought), and on Saturdays take a ride along the Springwater Corridor to Oaks Park and back for just $5!

In the Gift Shop- Train T-shirts! And if you're over the whole train thing, one sleepy cat shirt.....

On the same property you'll see a set of these classic cars. I was excited and ready to hop a fence to try my luck at finding a way in to take some cool photos. Turns out, these guys are actually home to several small businesses including Cascade Web Development.

We had a little time to kill before heading to grab a bite to eat so we walked a loop around OMSI just in time to grab the last moments before the sun set.

We had dinner at the new-ish mexican restaurant Taqeria Nueve. As per my usual ultimate pet-peeve of all time, the lights were dimmed once we were seated (it's a scientific fact that I can go to any restaurant, any time of day and they will turn the lights down which makes me crazy because I hate eating in the dark). Therefore, you have been spared photos of the food. However, despite it's annoyingly low light and crappy red metal chairs (am I the only one who hates squeezing my fat ass into dinner chairs with narrow arm rests?) the food we tried was well above average and Garrett-the-veggie-taco-connoisseur maintains they're some of the best vegetable tacos he's had. If you go, do yourself a favor and try the Totopos Enchipotlados- basically fancy saucy nachos.

As we walked back to the car we heard music pumping and laughter. Looking up the street we could see people jerking around (we both thought maybe it was a bunch of drunk kids trying to have a danceoff). Turns out it was much, much, much more awesome... and that's how we found out that A) Basecamp Brewing has covered their outdoor space with an awesome, all-weather tent and B) Human Foosball is totally a thing and totally awesome.

We ended the day by heading over to the palace of nerds, Guardian Games to browse tabletop games Garrett has been dreaming of buying and await the final surprise: Dungeons and Dragqueens. And while nobody is going to accuse this little show of being overly rehearsed or even really seeming to remember where the story is supposed to go next, it was a cute idea and you know nerds are strong supporters of all things nerdy.

So all in all it was another strange and successful celebration of another strange and successful year of life.

If you're hoping to see more of these types of wild mini-adventures check out my sister's travel blog Graveyard Shift Travel where she explores and writes about Portland with the know-how of a local and the child-like enthusiasm of an 18 year old recent high-school grad getting laid by the hot guy staying at the same travel hostel on their first trip out of the US.