Have you ever been to a wiener dog’s birthday party? No, I’m not kidding. No, this isn’t a joke. On December 1st I flew to Portland Oregon to help capture the memories at Kramer’s 1st birthday party to benefit the Oregon Dachshund Rescue Inc..
Kramer, the spunky little doxie, was born with genetic deformities. Had it not been for ODR, he would have been euthanized at 5 weeks. I got to meet Kramer, who is quite the famous pooch in social media circles (3500+ followers on fb!) a couple weeks before the trip when I went to his adoptive home for a family photo session. Kim Granneman, Kramer’s adoptive mom, who organized the party and my trip to Portland, is a Cincinnati native (she was actually my childhood neighbor) who travels for work. She is passionate about animal rights and advocates for furry creatures who don’t have a voice of their own. Kim flew out to Portland to bring Kramer for a home visit to meet his new brother and sister, Toby and Sadie. On the day I arrived at Kims for photos, chaos and barking ensued and I spent the next hour with the cutest, but most wiggly and uncooperative subjects.
Over the next couple weeks, Kim and I ironed out the details of my trip. Saturday, November 30th I spent my day shooting the Leistler wedding. I wrapped up around 11pm and headed to Wally World to buy a suitcase (since I needed one and still hadn’t packed yet). After just a few hours of sleep, at around 5:30am my parents drove me to the airport to send me off. Going through TSA, the excitement bubbled. It could have been my empty stomach, but I’m pretty sure it was excitement. Who the hell gets excited going through airport security? This girl! Boarding the plane, I thought I was gonna explode with anticipation as I shuffled down the isle to my window seat. Like a 5 year old, I’m fascinated by flying (every time) and appreciate a window seat and the view more than most people.
My face remained glued to the window through most of the flight, although I did play a little donkey kong on my Nintendo 3DS XL. After a layover in Minneapolis, which might I add has an awesome airport,my flight, as planned, arrived in Portland in enough time for me to RUN through the airport to the rental car terminal, hop in my baby blue Hyundai and haul my arse to the Spring Hill Suites Marriott to change my clothes. Once I changed into something that wasn’t sweat pants and a tshirt, and got my gear ready, I made my way to the Columbia Conference Center for the Paw-ty.
I spent 3 hours with 60+ dachshunds and their owners. I had the pleasure of meeting the people who run the rescue as well as many other people who are passionate for these pooches. Instead of gifts people brought donations of blankets, food and treats for the rescue, as well as monetary donations. The Paw-ty even made the news in Portland, so all in all I’d say, a great success.
Although I was having a lot of fun, the time came for me to bid everyone adieu. I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and hop in a hot shower. I wanted to spend all the time I could exploring Portland, and although it was raining a misty rain, that was not going to stop me.
From my hotel it took me about 15 minutes to get into downtown and find a parking spot. With camera in tow (inside my coat), I meandered through the drizzle of nighttime Portland,
snapping pictures of trees adorned with glowing white holiday lights and luminous sodden streets, raindrops hanging from ledges, and droplets pooling in low places in the sidewalk, forming puddles that show the city its reflection. Something about the way city lights look when its raining… is simply beautiful. I stopped a woman passing by. “Top of your head, whats the best place to eat around here, within walking distance?” Her response was quick and definite, “Brasserie Montmatre.” She gave me walking directions and I thanked her for the suggestion. Soon after I found myself drying off in a Parisian-cafe-inspired restaurant foyer.
With high ceilings and Baroque style architecture, the rich history of the building is apparent. The building, I learned, originally the Calument hotel, was built in 1907, but did not become the Brasserie Montmatre until 1978 when it began its life as a dinner house. After spending at least 30 minutes trying to translate the menu, I decided on the Croque Monsieur. This dish consists of Ham and Gruyere (cheese) on Brioche (a French pastry bread) drizzled with Mornay (french cheese sauce). Basically French grilled cheese and ham. Ha! I also ordered the famous mac & cheese (white cheddar, gruyere and shells sprinkled with panko bread crumbs) and was served a complimentary Amuse Bouche, which is a thick, creamy, rich and flavorful bisque. I washed it all down with a frothy and hoppy local brewed, winter Jubilale. Talk about a food coma. The French really know how to indulge.
The food and service were both excellent. It took me about 30 minutes to move from my table after stuffing my face. As I finally made my way out the the streets again, I ran across Jeff of Rockstar Singing Telegrams singing and playing the guitar for a couple who was celebrating their 2nd anniversary. Let me tell you, if you’re ever in Portland and need a singing telegram for some odd reason, lol, make sure you look this guy up. I spent a few minutes listening to him jam out in the moist Portland air and then began my walk back to the car.
As I made my way back to the hotel that evening, my mind was swirling with ideas for adventures over the days ahead. I entered the hotel lobby, picked up a personal size bottle of wine, and traversed to my room on the 3rd floor. As I lay my head down on the pillow to sleep, I thanked the universe for aligning this opportunity, and for Kramer. The next couple days would see some awesome sights, meet some awesome people and take some amazing pictures. Keep an eye out for parts 2 & 3 of my Portland trip and don’t forget to check out the rest of the photos below!