The first weekend in December was GreenLoop’s holiday party. Since there’s only one other GreenLoop employee in Portland, he and Stephen (& all of us) were invited to Bend for the weekend to celebrate.
Bend is an inviting mountain city in Oregon’s high desert about three hours southeast of Portland. We took the western/southern route and saw several snow capped mountains along the way–Mount Bachelor and Mount Jefferson among them. While there was a light dusting of snow along the roadside, we didn’t find a big patch for the kids to play in.
Stephen’s boss’s daughter babysat the kids for us, which was fabulous! We met the gang at 5:30, and I was glad to put some faces to Stephen’s co-workers. Peter, GreenLoop’s president, gave each employee a $100 bill and tasked them with buying something for themselves from the nearby shops in just twenty minutes. Then each of them had to show what they got around dinner. Fun! We headed to a gourmet kitchen shop where Stephen found one of his true loves, a deep fryer. He picked up a veggie slicer too and it came to $100 even (thanks to no sales tax in Oregon!).
The company put us up in a beautiful new hotel, and the kids were excited! We swam in the pool and enjoyed the continental breakfast before heading out to explore the High Desert Museum. This museum was very well done. There were indoor exhibits tracing the native people’s history and the settlement of the west. I especially enjoyed the Innovation Lab: Design Inspired by Nature exhibit where it detailed how scientists and engineers have recreated designs in nature to make more efficient machinery, called biomimicry. There were also outdoor exhibits with live otters, bald eagles, and several species of owls–all rescued animals.
Snowflakes fell gently as we walked the outdoor exhibits. I still couldn’t believe I lived in a place where actual snow fell! It felt like we were on the set of a Christmas movie.