highway-44Without a doubt, yesterday was the absolute best birthday I’ve had in years, thanks in no small part to all the lovely birthday wishes via Twitter and Facebook. Thank you all!

So after putting in a morning at the day job, I met up with Nora (who had the day off from school due to MLK day) and we took the streetcar over to NW Portland, to Jovana Salon. I have a bunch of big work meetings this week, so I wanted to get my hair whipped into shape. And my stylist Tammy gives the most incredible shampoo massages, so I also treated myself to one of those.

Afterward, Nora and I walked up 23rd Avenue. I’m not a huge fan of hipster shopping, but with my (now really blonde as Tammy went a bit nuts with the highlights) hair, and Nora all Harajuku-ed up in neon colors, we managed to have a great deal of boisterous fun, representin’ for Oregon City. Sure, it was a little embarrassing when she destroyed the Universe, but all in all … a very good time.

Anyway, about the Universe destroying, here’s the story. I didn’t know there was a Salt and Straw on NW 23rd (I thought it was just a North Portland thing.) For those who don’t know what Salt and Straw is, it’s a super gourmet highbrow specialty shop that makes really good handmade small-batch ice cream in very odd flavors (e.g., “strawberry balsamic with black pepper.”) Because the flavors are so not-mainstream, they encourage sampling. They have these nice little silver spoons, and they’ll let you taste as many flavors as you like. I tried the “Elvis” (banana ice-cream with peanut butter and some kind of fruit swirl, I didn’t much care for it), the vanilla with salted caramel (their most famous flavor, and, I think, their best), the almond brittle with salted ganache (also very good), and something chocolate honeycomb brittle, I don’t remember the exact name. Nora also tried a bunch of flavors, one of which was called “The Universe” (maybe you can see where this is going.) After she’d tried it, she was handing the little silver spoon back to the counter-person (you’re not supposed to do that, they have a little dirty-spoon repository, but she hadn’t seen it) and in the transfer, the spoon dropped slam-bang into the very center of “The Universe.”

Great dismay. Wailing and gnashing of teeth. Rending of garments. The counter-person loudly proclaimed to the people behind us, “We are now out of The Universe!” and then climbed up on the counter to erase it from the flavor-board. Nora and I probably would have been horribly embarrassed, except for the fact that we were having so much fun making jokes about destroying the Universe. “I can’t even take you out for ice cream without having you destroy the Universe!” … that kind of thing.

Anyway, I do sincerely apologize (retroactively) to anyone in line at Salt and Straw yesterday who was hoping for a scoop of The Universe. I will try to keep my daughter’s mighty Universe-destroying powers under better control in the future.

After that, we walked around NW a bit more, picking up an artisan loaf from Ken’s Artisan Bakery, as well as a wedge of manchego cheese and a bottle of Spanish white wine from Trader Joe’s. We later consumed these with the Iberico ham my sister & her partner sent us from their trip to Spain. Oh man was that some good ham. Thank you Rachel & Greg! And then after dinner, of course, there was cake and ice cream and strawberries.

It was a wonderful, wonderful birthday. If this is any indication of what my 44th year of existence is going to be like, I’m wholeheartedly looking forward to it.

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