06 April, 2012

Science and Art in hefty doses

After a quiet day at home yesterday spent knitting and chilling and generally ignoring each other, the girls and I filled today with activity. This requires a certain amount of discipline from us - we are far too happy to live in our pyjamas all day. But we are here for only two more nights so action-packed it had to be.

First - OMSI - or the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry - a sort of mix between the California Academy of Sciences and the Exploratorium. We had a great time spending several hours exploring the earth and life sciences before heading to the turbine hall for a bit of physics and chemistry. It was pretty crowded today with school field trips and fast small people everywhere followed by slower moving grandparents. We particularly liked the ball room - a room with lots of air blowing through tubes and ways to send lightweight balls in the air, through marble runs and so on. And the girls did a couple of chemistry experiments related to lead poisoning and using iodine to detect starch in materials.

Second, after returning for a much needed cup of tea (n.b America needs kettles and teapots, everywhere), the whole family walked down to the Portland Museum of Art to see a Rothko exhibition. This turned out to be a gem as Tom and I were familiar with his later work but had no idea about his earlier figurative work. This exhibition covered his whole life allowing you to see how his art changed over time. After Rothko we went upstairs to a John Frame exhibition - utterly different. Frame creates bizarre puppet-like tableaux using found and recycled materials. They are macabre and endearing and fascinating and spooky all at once. I was a bit worried at first that the girls would be frightened as the entire exhibit was barely lit except for the pieces and had black black walls. Atmospheric but also a bit scary. Actually they loved it - I think they could relate to the art as curious dolls and puppets.

And with that piece of home schooling (!?) we headed home via Safeway. Slightly tricky this. I needed to buy chocolate eggs for the annual hunt but secretly as we still believe in the Easter Bunny in our house. Or at least we did until I got delayed not finding the eggs and Tom turned up with two small girls just as I picking them off the shelf. Cue interesting conversation where the girls realized that the Easter Bunny was in fact Mama and Daddy and therefore probably by extrapolation, Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy were also likely to be Mama and Daddy. They seem to have recovered remarkably quickly from this revelation - probably because we assured them that the egg hunt would still happen and stockings would still be filled. After that they started to criticize us for typing Father Christmas's last letter to them!

We have only a short time more in Portland. It was a slight after thought addition to our itinerary and we could easily have added more days. It is a lovely city - beautiful setting, British weather (cold and wet and unpredictable at the moment), good food, Powells, small scale, very liveable, a bit less edgy than San Francisco from what I've seen.


Alison said...

I am still following your blog, and am very interested in this part of your trip, as Miss Chef and I are planning to spend our summer vacation time out there next year. I must make a note of the bookstore; she'll probably need half a day in there.

I also figured out the whole imaginary holiday figures by way of the Easter Bunny. I still remember my mother's face as she failed to find an answer to my question, and realized the gig was up!

Suzanne@ Panteg Alpacas said...

I agree , very livable , not sure how the alpacas would deal with the plane ride ??