SLC and PDX – A Glimpse Of Two Airports

Salt Lake City Airport (SLC)

pictures from SLC airport

Portland International Airport (PDX)

Pictures from the Portland Airport PDX
Although I’ve lived in Salt Lake City for more years of my life, I still consider Portland home. For my birthday this year, my husband let me take a solo trip home.

in the SLC airportSome people consider airports a necessary evil, but I happen to like most airports. Especially SLC and PDX. SLC is in major need of a makeover (and will be completely redone over the next decade). PDX is clean, modern, and spacious…with lots of natural light. There’s free wifi and places to recycle. There’s lots of shopping and dining options. SLC isn’t far behind, but PDX comes in second in my personal airport rankings, after Detroit (DTW).

The main catalyst was because Muse, one of my favorite bands, was coming to Portland within a week of my birthday. Muse isn’t going to Salt Lake City on their current tour, so I have been looking into options for other cities for a few months. We had tried to arrange our London trip to coincide with Muse performing at the O2, but we missed it by 2 days. I’ve been wanting to see them perform live again since 2010. I adore their latest album “The 2nd Law,” so I’m so glad to be seeing them perform tonight.

And now, a song for my city: “My Portland” from Portlandia

“When I see the sunlight glint upon your bridges, it makes me think of all the times that you and I have been together. You are my darling, girl. My beauty! My Portland!”

Flashback Friday: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana

Smells Like Teen Spirit album

In the early 1990’s, alternative music was just that – alternative. When the 4-chord riffs of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” hit the airwaves in 1992, it was a turning point in alternative music – alternative was now mainstream.

Kurt Cobain led the 3-man band Nirvana. In the late 80’s, they developed a style for their songs with dynamic contrasts, often between muted verses and loud, heavy choruses. This song layout became the trademark sound of the grunge era, and whether you believe that Nirvana or Pearl Jam was the ultimate Grunge band, you can’t deny that it was the signature sound of the genre.

Critics accuse Nirvana as being a “sellout band” because they struck deal with a major record label, but they did that because no indie label could buy the group out of its existing contract. Fame was tough for Kurt Cobain, and I remember the day he committed suicide just as clearly as the first time I heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Smells Like Teen Spirit was on their second album, Nevermind. It became the anthem of the Apathetic Kids of Generation X

With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us

Nirvana Nevermind

I am very loyal to my roots to Portland. And living my early adolescent year in the Northwest during the early 1990’s meant that Grunge was a part of life. Even though the heart of Grunge was 175 miles up the road in Seattle, it was no less prevalent in PDX. When Nirvana came on the scene, I first listened to it on 970 The Beat, an AM station with very poor reception. The distortion and static of the reception made listening to one of the underground stations even cooler.

According to Wikipedia, “Grunge is generally characterized by heavily distorted electric guitars, contrasting song dynamics, and apathetic or angst-filled lyrics. The grunge aesthetic is stripped-down compared to other forms of rock music, and many grunge musicians were noted for their unkempt appearances and rejection of theatrics.”

Smells like Teen Spirit Kurt CobainAt a time when my body was developing a more womanly shape, I could hide it with no qualms because baggy shirts and sloppy dressing were in. The fashion style of Grunge was the flannel shirt and other items from thrift stores. As a poor tween with little pocket money, it was an easy style to pull off.

The ubiquity of Nirvana’s music was undeniable. Before they hit the mainstream, loud bands that didn’t sing about sexy women and expensive cars didn’t get sold at mall records stores. Within a week of “Teen Spirit” playing on MTV, punk rock was everywhere. Echoes of Cobain’s music can be heard in today’s bands that contrast wailing guitars with brooding lyrics and diffident performances.

Interesting bonus factoid: Paul McCartney replaced Kurt Cobain for a Nirvana reunion performance for the 12-12-12 Benefit Concert for Superstorm Sandy.

Oregon Travelogue

Saturday, the three of us arose early to get ready to leave for the airport. My visiting teacher Sue drove us to DTW bright and early. We ate a quick breakfast at the airport, and got boarding passes without too much trouble. Rosie and I flew towards Portland (flying Northwest via Northwest) and Taylor flew back to Atlanta. This would be my last trip to Portland while my Grandma Watson still lived in Oregon – she moves to SLC on Saturday. Rosie forgot the battery to her portable DVD player (again!) so I handed over my iPod. The 5 hour flight was the longest I’ve been on in years, and has made me second guess the idea of flying with a child overseas.

We arrived around noon and picked up our rental car. Rosie wanted to drive into Washington State, so we crossed the bridge and got lunch. We ate at the Burgerville USA on Mill Plain. Since the last time I ate there in 2002, the chain has taken a more healthy approach – local and sustainable, with many organic ingredients-which is not typical for a burger joint. I got my beloved crispy chicken sandwich with Tillamook cheese, and fell in love with the most delicious sweet potato fries imaginable (yes Liz, even better than the 101 Café!)

I wanted to visit Title Nine’s store in northwest Portland, so we hopped on I-84. After a few miles, we realized we were going the wrong direction (east towards The Dalles). Since we’d already traveled a good portion of the trip, we continued to Multnomah Falls. It was pouring rain, but we didn’t realize that they had courtesy umbrellas until we’d gotten ourselves soaked. We snapped a few pictures, and after about 100 stairs, decided against the hike up to the bridge in the rain. We grabbed a few souvenirs at the lodge, and continued back to Portland. We enjoyed our drive through downtown, over the bridges of the Willamette River, with the friendliest drivers I’ve ever seen. We knew grandma was anxious for us to arrive, so we didn’t stop downtown. I decided to stop by my old house on Makah Street. I parked the car, and saw that a car was pulling out of the driveway across the street. It was Stephanie Siljeg, who’d been my neighbor from 1986-1993. We made eye contact, had a moment of happy recognition, and she pulled over. We made plans to get reacquainted at some other point of the trip.

We arrived at her home in Tualatin around 3:00 pm. We had plans to visit with Alaina and Jillian’s families in Salem Saturday night, but a large snowstorm was forecasted, and we canceled. So we just visited at her home for an hour, and then drove over to Bridgeport Village. We had dinner at Paradise Bakery, and went around looking at the shops. We stopped back over at Best Buy in Tualatin to buy another SD card, so I wasn’t limited on the photos I took on the trip. When we got back from dinner, we visited for a few minutes, and Grandma went to bed early. Rosie and I went over to the Siljegs and visited with Jodie, Kim, and Stephanie. It was so fun to get caught up after so many years. Of any non-family relation I have right now, the Siljegs are the oldest connection I’ve been able to make contact with. It was a lovely visit over hot chocolate and cookies, reminiscing over stories of the last 22 years, and I hope to keep in touch with them in the future. I got back to Grandma’s a little after 10 pm, and retired for the night after 21 busy hours.

Sunday morning we looked out the window to see the first bits of snowfall. By the time we left for church at 8:40 am, there was a decent 2″ accumulation. Church was canceled after sacrament meeting, and we drove back to Grandma’s. We had plans to go to a large extended family get-together at Laurie and Ricks, but their area was impassable in the snow, and chains were required to get there. Eventually, we had about 7 inches of snow. For those not familiar with Oregonians and snow…even with just a dusting, everything shuts down, especially if it gets icy.

Grandma looked through her cupboards for any remaining food items, since she’d been finishing off all her food and packing her dishes. We had a lunch of chicken salad sandwiches, frozen noodle casserole, and steamed veggies. With the snow as it was, we stayed in for the night, with the exception of a snowy walk that Rosie and I took near sunset. We watched Hallmark Channel movies and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas broadcast. Grandma spent some time with me getting set up on the Familysearch.org website – she’s an expert since she’s currently serving an online church service mission for family history. She looks forward to moving to Salt Lake at the end of the week to serve in person.

For Monday, Grandma will be picked up by her realtor to sign all the closing documents for her home. Flight loads look better for Monday night instead of Tuesday morning (unless everything gets messed up from the snow). Rosie and I hope to meet up with Coral and/or Carisa today, both friends from my youth…as long as the weather cooperates and the roads are passable. They’re pretty icy at this point. We’ll hopefully be able to spend some time walking around downtown Portland, before heading to PDX for our flight to SLC.