Category Archives: Portland

Seek thee out the diamond in the rough

So. I recently saw on Facebook that my favorite shop Little Edie’s Five and Dime was closing in a month. “Of course!” I wailed to Andy. See, I had just been telling him THE DAY BEFORE that every time I find a diamond in the rough, a perfect shop, it’s snatched away from me ruthlessly by THIS GUY:

Dude. Relax.

Nah, not Jafar. Maybe the sands of time?

Whatever/Whoever it is, stop it!

Anyway, January was to be their last month open and I told Andy, “So I basically have to go there every day and buy all of the things. I HAVE to.” He nodded, understanding my plight.

I dropped by yesterday preparing to find goodness as usual. I asked the woman who was wheeling out the dollar bin, “You’re open, right?” Because I was not leaving WITHOUT MY MAGIC LAMP. She smiled sweetly and said yes and I chuckled maniacally and said, “Fantastic.”

I got to work. Looked at some scarves. Checked out some oxfords, looked at the coats, some suspenders. Went to the dress rack, held my breath and found it.

WHAT.

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This is what I’m saying.

As I was checking out, I told the woman at the register/iphone that I was so sad that they were closing, etc. She was, by the way, wearing one of the cutest dresses I’d ever seen: full skirted and multicolored with a lace overlay and DIVINE. She told me it was from Topshop via Nordstrom which I will have to check out. ANYWAY. The woman who had wheeled out the dollar bin was also there, and she perked up when I described my sadness and said, “Oh! Meet the new owner! Little Edie’s is staying open!” and I just kind of. um. SQUEALED. It turns out she was Penelope, the former owner, and she was so tickled pink by my enthusiasm for the shop that she pulled me into a hug and kissed my cheek and when I told her, “I’m sorry, I just love this place.” she said, “This place loves YOU.”

HOORAY! Little Edie’s lives to see another day!

And how about this dress?! I can’t get over it. It didn’t have a tag, but I did find a Fruit of the Loom copyright on the fabric. Andy said, “Cool, your dress is made out of underwear!”

Amazeballs. I’m off to go stare at it some more.

toods

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Filed under Portland, Pretty things, Stylefile

I love you, NoPo*

*I just saw I love you, New York. It sucked.

Everyone always talks about how pretty Portland is, and it’s true. Portland is a pretty, pretty place. One of my favorite things to look at in Portland is the St. Johns Bridge.

Look at that. The park below it is called Cathedral Park. Each and every time I go there, I hear “Grace Cathedral Park” in my head. It reminds me of living in Santa Barbara after college. Andy and I lived next door to this guy who would snore all night long. When yelling “shut the fuck up!” wouldn’t work to shut him the fuck up we would turn on some music to drown out his snores. I had never really liked Red House Painters before I started falling asleep to them. That sounds funny, I know, but man that’s good sleeping music. I should say that I have successfully listened to them while awake (even driving!) as well.

We also got in the habit of waking up to music. One morning I woke up and almost died laughing.

“What?” Andy asked.

“The Get Up Kids,” I said. “We’re waking up to The Get Up Kids.”

It was kind of a let down when he simply grinned.

Anyway, when we first moved to Portland, I remember being shocked to hear that Andy and I had moved to the ghetto. I had just gotten a job and all my coworkers wanted to know where I lived. I had no idea what the area was called. “Uh…St. Johns?” I asked.

They all looked at me with pity. “Yikes, that’s the ghetto,” they said.

I looked at them sideways. “Huh? Nah, not really.” But I knew it had to be true when my coworkers brought forward the only other black person who worked at the company to acknowledge this fact for real.

“It’s the ghetto,” he said gravely. So there you have it.

We lived in North Portland less than two years, then moved to Vancouver after I got pregnant with Z, hated it intensely, and moved back when I was pregnant with Mad Miles. After we left Vancouver, I found out that some guy had gotten hit in the head with a HATCHET in the park down the street from our old place. So, it’s nice to be in a better neighborhood.

Bye for now.

P.S. I remember watching My Own Private Idaho for the first time after moving up here and seeing the St. Johns Bridge in a scene and yelling to Andy, “Hey! I know that bridge!”

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Filed under Life, Portland

All I wanted to do was go to the effing movies

Every time someone babysits my kids I kind of freak out a little. I can count the amount of times Andy and I have left the boys in the care of someone else (not counting daycare) on one hand because we’d rather miss out on date night than worry about one of them freaking out and me/us not being there to soothe him/them. Fun with pronouns! Anyway, when Zain was three months old, Andy’s parents were in town and had agreed to babysit while we went to Andy’s company party. I told my father-in-law to hold Z facing outwards if he got upset and he’d immediately calm down. That little tidbit of information, I explained, was really all he needed. Cut to two hours later when my fil calls us at the party, little Z screaming in the background.

“He’s been crying for an hour nonstop!” my fil said. “I really think something’s wrong with him.”

“TURN HIM AROUND.” Andy coached.

“Oh, hey, it’s working!” my fil yelled (he yells a lot). “Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?” ARGH. The evening was shot. I kept hearing Z cry in my head long after Andy hung up the phone. My baby was crying for an HOUR?! Poor little guy. We left the party. Did we overreact? Sure. But we were new parents! You know how it is.

So now every time someone babysits for us, I immediately plan for the worst. “If Zain completely flips out you can try A, B, and C…” I basically freak the babysitter the fuck out before the night’s even begun. You know, start the night off on the right foot and all that. Just trying to do my part. Of course, wouldn’t you know it, Z and Mad were perfect angels. I like to think it was the 2 mile walk that I forced us all to take beforehand that left Z tuckered out and complaisant.

So Andy and I made our way to the theatre sweaty and anxious. Our first roadblock, literally, was that the 405-S was closed that day. We kind of knew this, but we hoped that roadwork had finished the day before and decided to take a chance. Which is probably not the best course of action when you’ve only got ten minutes to spare. YEP. We doubled back the way we came and took the super annoying detour route to our destination. I checked my watch. We were going to miss the previews. Meh. I could live with that, since I watch them all on apple.com anyway. We park.  We figure that since it’s Sunday, we don’t have to pay for a parking sticker. NOPE. As of July 31st or somesuch nonsense, the city of Portland decided to bend us all over and … you get the idea. But HUH? We have to pay for parking on Sundays now? WHAT?! Way to suck Portland. So we go to the machine to buy said sticker. It is broken. We go across the street. It too is broken. We go a block over. The sad song continues, until we finally manage to track down a working machine what felt like ten minutes later. Then we book it to the theatre. THE MOVIE HAD ALREADY STARTED. This irritated me to no end. But I moved on and laughed and cringed and laughed some more.

Got back to the car and guess what? A lovely yellow envelope lay beneath our windshield wipers. Every car on the car sported one, their owners having decided that a broken machine meant they got a free pass. NOPE. And when we pulled the ticket from the envelope? We noticed that we weren’t even ticketed for going over our time limit. One of our tags had fallen off. So basically, Mr/s Douchebag  had to have a full set. Can’t have one car without a ticket!

So many shades of lame!

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Filed under Good times, Portland, Rant, Truly?

Give me one reason to stay here.

*raises hand* New house, good jobs, stability?? Right. Portland it is. At least for the next 4-5 years.

A word of assvice: whatever you do, do NOT move to Portland and then complain about…anything having to do with Portland. People will act like you just ran over their dog. I don’t get it. It’s pretty, yes. There’s a lot of green…stuff and there’s…bridges! There’s a cool music scene, too. I think, though, that I would be way more jazzed about Portland if I loved any of the above: rain, snow, biking, hiking, jogging, beer, dogs (they’re okay, depending on the breed), paying to put said dog in “daycare”, eating extremely expensive organic foods, wearing tevas/clogs, etc.

So, Portlanders, contrary to popular belief you are NOT Joseph Stalin and this is not Elizabethan England, I demand my right to complain! Heh. I kid, but not really. I mean, you can’t whine about the rain without a dozen people telling you how much they looove it, and they can’t get enough of it! Bully for you, okay? And a lot of these people hate California but have never really been there. Like, they drove through it. ONCE. But they hate it, because…why? It’s sunny and clear and there are excessive amounts of attractive people? I’m confused (I think Portlanders equate L.A. with California, btw), but I can honestly say I don’t care one way or another!

What really chaps my hide is the way that Portlanders pat themselves on the back so frequently for doing things that either I REALLY DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT or that should already be done in the first place, like recycling and eating healthy. Or staying in your own lane if you’re a cyclist. And they fancy themselves as being so liberal but the ignorance I’ve encountered here is staggering. I can’t begin to count the amount of people that I’ve met here who don’t know how to simply speak to someone of a different race or background without falling all over themselves in stupidity. People who call the Lloyd Center “ghetto” but can’t explain why exactly when pressed. Maybe it’s because that’s the mall where all the black people congregate? And they’re afraid to go see a movie there because they don’t want to get shot. PLEASE. I’ve mentioned that people have confused me with the one other black woman that worked in my office, right? A woman who looked NOTHING LIKE ME. Or how I worked for a man who couldn’t wait to tell me about the black girl that he had sex with in high school? Or the black girl that he walked in on his son having sex with? Or how if my opinions differed from the only other black employee’s, he would say, “Steve doesn’t feel that way…” Or the girl who asked me if it was okay that she listened to rap music since she wasn’t a “gang-banger”? And these are the same people who act shocked to hear me say that this city is too white bread and that I cannot see myself settling down here for good. YA THINK? o_O

Before you get your panties in a bunch: Look, idiots are everywhere. I’m not claiming Portland has any more or any less. This is a big city and I have hardly met everyone in it…blah blah blah. What I am saying is that Portland needs a healthy sprinkling of color all up and through this place. ALL UP AND THROUGH.

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Filed under Portland, Rant, Shit just got real, Truly?

5 things I don't understand

1. Wearing white high heels/flats with anything that is not a wedding dress. Just…NO.

2. Wearing apple bottoms when you possess little more than a crack. They’re called apple bottoms. I suppose it makes sense if you think of an apple with a huge bite taken out of it.

3. Wearing flip flops in the rain and/or freezing cold. I wish I could say this was a Portland thing, but Santa Barbara had a lot of this going on too. Am I the only one whose feet are always cold? *looks around*

4. Wearing crocs or tevas in any weather.

5. Driving with a dog in your lap, the dog’s body practically hanging out of the window. What IS this all about? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this.

In other news…I’m still on the hunt for the perfect boot. I like the Frye “Heath” and the Corso Como “Sadie” , “Sandra” and

“Sasha” . Argh! When will my search be over?

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Filed under Opinion, Portland, Rant, shoes, Shopping, Truly?

In a big country dreams stay with you

1. Z has a new smile where he crinkles his nose and squints his eyes at you in delight. It’s so precious it makes my heart burst.

 

2. A student called me Ma’am today and it irritated me to no end. Very polite, but it made me feel ancient. I’m 27 years old. Does that make me a ma’am? I feel like I was 21 two seconds ago. Now I’m married with child (not pregnant, but…you understand), and I’m three years from the big 3-0. What’s happening? But seriously, I feel so foolish saying that 27 is old, so very cliché of me. Maybe it’s because I’m surrounded by 18 year olds all day. Could be.

3. I recycled a plastic snack bag today. I feel so empowered! I can now take on the world. Next stop: bicycle riding. Ha! Riiiight. But I do feel like strutting.

4. My sister, brother-in-law and nephew are flying into Portland tomorrow night! Very happy. It feels like it’s been forever, but it’s been more like 6 months. Still too long to go without a visit. This is their home away from home, and not just because I’m here. They live in Santa Cruz, a city that (like Portland) is apparently so weird that people want to keep it that way.

5. Why is it that I have to say “no mayo” whenever I order a sandwich or burger? Mayonnaise is so fucking disgusting, I have never understood why so many people love it. I’d say the only food/condiment/spread that tops it in pure evil nastiness is Vegemite. I could only keep that filth in my mouth for a couple of seconds. My co-worker brought it in to the office and claimed that it was “delicious” so I slathered some on a cracker and popped it into my mouth, only to spew it forth into a nearby trash can. According to the dictionary it is a “a type of salty vegetable and yeast paste used as a spread”. Does reading that sentence make you think…Yum? Then Vegemite, my friend, is for you.

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Filed under Life, Portland, shoes, Z the Mighty

No, you can't have my baby.

It took Andy and I a year and a half to get pregnant. I was beginning to think that I was infertile and it was a pretty scary thought. We definitely didn’t have the money to explore IVF. Just getting a sperm count was expensive. And when we did get pregnant that year and a half later, I miscarried soon after. Then I went to see an acupuncturist and found that my chi was “blocked”. Whatever that means. I drank herbs 2 times a day for… well I can’t remember. And I don’t put much stock in all that…I don’t know… gee your aura is a nice shade of magenta. Oh look, it’s glowing. The force is strong in this one. I do know that I ended up getting pregnant again pretty soon after I chugged my last fucknasty cup of tea.

Anyway, for that year and a half, and the months after I miscarried, I searched the Internet for something to read that I could relate to. I needed to feel encouraged. And since I assumed that I was infertile, it’s no surprise that I ended up perusing through and reading a good amount of blogs written by infertile women. A little pregnant being the primary one. That chick is pretty damn funny. She manages to joke and and write in detail about her painful experiences with infertility, the several times that she miscarried, and how she finally lucked out and managed to stay pregnant long enough to give birth to her son. I love that she wrote about that crazy Duggar family that seems to want to take over the world, when I saw the show on Discovery Health I thought mine eyes were deceiving me. The whole special was about how they were going on their 15th kid, and by the end of the segment they find out she’s pregnant again! Even if you’re not infertile and bitter, who wouldn’t find humor (and possibly disgust) in the fact that this woman has been pregnant non stop for at least 15 years? Turns out Michelle and Jim Bob (that’s right, kids. JIM BOB.) gave up birth control pills after she miscarried in the first few years of their marriage, because miscarriages never happen spontaneously. They only happen when you’re using contraceptives. Duh. Oh! And I love how the mom dresses her daughters in what have got to be the ugliest jumpers I’ve seen this side of Little House on the Prairie, while the boys get to enjoy some kind of normalcy in khakis and polo shirts. The eldest kids who are in their teens can’t even date, at least, not unsupervised. I see a Flowers in the Attic storyline unfolding…*Checks website* Dude. She’s STILL pregnant.

I’ve also been reading blogs written by white women who have adopted black children (I think a couple of these women live in Portland, too); it’s interesting how they are essentially black parents*: when their children are persecuted against, they are in kind. They hear and see things that they weren’t privy to before. I came across one entry that really resonated with me. The author wrote that black babies are seen as adorable, but black teenagers are another story. See, black teenagers are automatically felons and thus, are to be feared. *sighs* When I’ve heard people say things like “Black babies are so cute” or “Everyone wants a black baby” I’ve never quite known what to say to that. It’s strange to hear people speak that way. They think they’re paying you a compliment, but it just comes across offensively. It sounds like something you’d say about a pet, not a human being. It’s kind of like all those vapid starlets who just have to have the latest tiny rat dog that they can fit in their purse. Does everyone who adopts a black baby do so just to be trendy? I don’t think so. I don’t think the people who make these statements are actually the ones who’d risk leaving their safe little bubbles to live life as “the other”. It’s just cool in theory, right?

There’s also the whole “interracial babies are the most beautiful babies” argument that gets thrown around a lot. It makes me cringe sometimes when people come up to us when we’re out and comment on my kid’s attractiveness. I know it’s what people do with babies, but sometimes I feel like Zain is seen as some kind of novelty (one nurse in the hospital told me that she really liked his complexion). Look lady, I don’t know you from Adam. Please take two steps back. My kid’s beautiful because Andy and I are his parents, and that’s just how we do. Case in point: My Zain

* ETA: Yeah. Let me rephrase that, since I don’t necessarily agree with my phrasing.  I don’t think that having a child of color makes a white woman/man a black parent because the absence of that child will allow them to safely “pass”; to put in crudely…blackness can’t just…rub off on you. It doesn’t work that way. I do think one can acquire a heightened sense of their surroundings, and like any parent, feel their child’s pain when they’ve been mistreated.

to be continued…

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Filed under Baby, Life, Portland, Race