Thursday, May 31, 2012

7 Year Anniversary

Today is my 7 year anniversary of living in Portland, OR.

I love this town. Here's why. Portland transforms normal.

1. Vegan restaurants are normal, and I even seek them out on occasion.
2. It's normal to agonize and argue about which coffee shop to go to : Heart, Crema, or Stumptown?
3. Stores for raw dog food, and making your own raw dog food.
4. 90% of my friends are in a band.
5. On my way home from work I usually see 2-5 grown men riding their skateboards or longboards down the road, while listening to their ipods, while texting on their iphones.
6. I no longer notice people carrying furniture around as they move from their community housing situation on Belmont to another on Hawthorne.
7. Ship Ahoy. Night Light. Slingshot Lounge.
8. Nostrana.
9. Streets made for cars, dedicated to bicycles.
10. Used/vintage scares me to death (germs!), but tonight I decided to buy more plates at a thrift shop.
11. When I set up our account with the water bureau, the woman cheerfully suggested I follow her advice to save on the water bill: if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down.
12. I feel guilty using paper napkins, paper towels, toilet paper (just kidding... kind of).
13. When you get in a fender bender in Portland, prepare to meet the other driver with a smile, wave and laugh it off, and move on with your life. This has happened to me 4 times since I've lived here.
14. Walking around old cemeteries is a super rad Sunday afternoon activity.
15. Living in a basement of a century old basement that includes sharing a bathroom with 18 other people and signing a mold/mildew waiver is even less awesome than it sounds. But the rent was so cheap and the location was so good- maybe we could live there again......

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Story

We have a nightly ritual in our house. When the boys get home and dinner gets on the table, we sit down together and we eat and we talk.

The conversation is usually a check-in of sorts about everybody's day. It usually includes some things like this:
"I argued with my staff for a while, then I got in trouble for it, so I argued about being in trouble!"
"I beat another level in my Pokemon game, and now I'm an expert Pokemon trainer!"

But the conversation can also be sweet, insightful, empathetic, and clever.

Tonight, the new boy, J, told us a story about ceramics class. He described the process of creating a new piece: how he felt like his creation took on a life of its own, and his hands molded and painted and glazed it into something more than what was in his head at the beginning. How he felt like an artist, and was proud of his art.

We sat, we listened. It was really quite lovely.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Year's Cliche

Hi there. Happy new year! 2012 (which, coincidentally, is the number of page views this blog had last year). As A said, "I can't wait to see what will happen on December 21 this year!" I am still having a hard time remembering we're in the '00's instead of the '90's. Yikes.

The close of a year typically brings nostalgia and reflection for me, but this year it was all about looking ahead and being thankful for the huge changes we made in our lives in 2011. Last year we:

both quit our jobs,
I got a new job,
then added another job,
Josh started a few companies,
Josh got a new job,
we became proctor parents,
we are renting a 106 year old farm house that I LOVE,

and I practiced trust (others and myself) and allowed myself to settle (I literally forget to breathe on a regular basis).

Maybe it's cheesy, but most of the years of my life have a word or two attached to them in my mind. 2009 = growth, 2010 = risk, 2011 = trust and settle, 2012 = truth.

Truth here means speaking truth and hearing truth. I'd much rather avoid conflict and practice apathy than speak and hear truth. The truth sucks- it's difficult, embarrassing, and often unwanted. But, it's also true. It's time to challenge myself to be more kind through honesty, whether it's expressing my love and appreciation for someone or setting boundaries or engaging in difficult conversation.

Do you ever notice themes in your life?
What are your hopes for 2012?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Girl is Crafty Like Ice is Cold. Or Not.

Well, hello there.

I've been feeling crafty lately, and since we are in the holiday season this is really great timing. Apparently, there is this really easy craft that all the cool Portland people are doing; you finger knit a scarf/garland/necklace. All you need is some yarn and your fingers! Easy peasy, and perfect for me to make for the Christmas party we're hosting on Tuesday.

This adventure starts at the Dollar Tree. Classy, I know. The boys were looking at gloriously hideous presents to buy, and I snuck off to find yarn. Because if there is one thing I've learned about myself it is that spending the big bucks for craft material is wholly unnecessary and usually wasteful. Yarn from the Dollar Tree it is. I bought one package of rad (the boys informed me that no one says this anymore) green yarn and another package of red- turns out the red is actually called something dumb like "country dust storm rose". But, it's red enough for me.

Once home I fed the children and the husband, puttered around the house, and got to crafting.

First stop, pictorial tutorial on a blog. "Finger knitting is so easy and fun! You can even teach your kids to do it if they are bored or not paying attention!" Good sign. I stared at the pictures until my eyes bled, and it still did not work.

Next stop, youtube. "My piano teacher taught me to finger knit when I was 5!" Great! Thirty minutes and much swearing (don't worry, I was quiet so the boys couldn't hear) later, I had made no progress past starting and pulling all the loopy-loops out.

Ugh. Please make it stop. Just then, my lovely sister chatted me from Japan with some encouraging words, but only after she laughed at me for a while after I told her what I was up to. This is a picture of me and my sister- in this shot I am helping her with something she isn't thrilled about. See? We help each other out.

Take three. I found this nice video, which was made by a 9 year old or something. David and I are practically BFF's after tonight. I watched, paused, played his video about 10 times in the making of my garland. And it worked, kind of. It wasn't David's fault though.

The first six inches of my garland look completely, and I mean entirely, different than the last three feet of it. Whatever. Here's my "whatever" face, mid eye roll.

I showed the finished product to Josh, and he got this panicked look on his face then quickly recovered and told me it looked nice. He's the best.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall, Falling, Fell

Well hello there. Welcome to Fall. I think it is kind of telling what kind of season this is by the name alone. Who said, "let's name the next three months after something that can kill you!" Or at least skin your knee.

Ok, there are things I do like about Fall. Things like such as Pumpkin Spice Lattes, red and orange and yellow leaves, Thanksgiving, sunny trail rides, and more time for reading and writing.

It's just that this year in Portland our Summer was so short- I still wonder if it even happened. Portland friends, did we have Summer this year? Because I'm pretty sure we had a gray, wet Spring that turned in to a gray, wet Fall. Hmmmmm.....

It may be time for a ten month vacation to Costa Rica. At this point I feel like I could sit my ass on the beach and drink pina coladas and swim in the ocean for a long, long time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Spirit Week

Well, we have A living with us and it is a blast in a glass (that's for you, Deena). This morning I spray colored his hair red for "crazy hair day", and yesterday he was Harry Potter for "super hero day". Hilarious. And so fun!

The thing about having another person in the house is that I am learning how to take efficiency (read, "mania") to new levels. For example, last night I did the dishes and brushed my teeth at the same time. I am proud of this accomplishment. In general I am trying to reduce my multi-tasking habits to preserve sanity, but there are times that call for a whatever-it-takes, cut-throat mentality just to get to bed sooner.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Contentment is a rare feeling for me, but I find that if I focus on being thankful contentment usually follows. We are two to three weeks out with getting our proctor kids, and I am incredibly thankful for the support we've already received from our friends and family. This whole thing would be much more daunting if we were trying to do it alone.

Another thing I am thankful for is artists who are able to express truth and meaning when I am not. Change is hard, and art is a comfort to me. Last night I read "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf". I loved this book, and Ntozake Shange's ability to put words to complex experiences creates a connection with the reader on an intuitive, emotional, and very real level.

Here's one of the poems, "One Thing I Don't Need/Sorry":

one thing i don’t need
is any more apologies
i got sorry greetin me at my front door
you can keep yrs
i don’t know what to do wit em
they dont open doors
or bring the sun back
they dont make me happy
or get a mornin paper
didnt nobody stop usin my tears to wash cars
cuz a sorry

i am simply tired
of collectin
i didnt know
i was so important toyou
i’m gonna haveta throw some away
i cant get to the clothes in my closet
for alla the sorries
i’m gonna tack a sign to my door
leave a message by the phone
‘if you called
to say yr sorry
call somebody
i dont use em anymore’
i let sorry/ didnt meanta/ & how could i know about that
take a walk down a dark & musty street in brooklyn
i’m gonna do exactly what i want to
& i wont be sorry for none of it
letta sorry soothe yr soul/ i’m gonna soothe mine

you were always inconsistent
doin somethin & then bein sorry
beatin my heart to death
talkin bout you sorry
i will not call
i’m not goin to be nice
i will raise my voice
& scream & holler
& break things & race the engine
& tell all yr secrets bout yrself to yr face
& i will list in detail everyone of my wonderful lovers
& their ways
i will play oliver lake
& i wont be sorry for none of it

i loved you on purpose
i was open on purpose
i still crave vulnerability & close talk
& i’m not even sorry bout you bein sorry
you can carry all the guilt & grime ya wanna
just dont give it to me
i cant use another sorry
next time
you should admit
you’re mean/ low-down/ triflin/ & no count straight out
steada bein sorry alla the time
enjoy bein yrself