Tag Archives: Portland

My Love Affair with Powell’s Books

One hour to explore the world’s greatest bookstore.  The results:

  • Three books found me instead of me finding them.  Powell’s is an amazing labyrinth of stacks and stacks of books, (4,000,000+ to be precise).  I headed for Milan Kundera in literature and was sucked into countless book covers and displays along the way.
  • Finally reached my original destination– Milan Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, had second thoughts because my arms were already full, opened to a random page, which turned out to be a passage about writing a novel for the first time.  Fitting, sold.
  • Tears.  Literally.  I wanted to stay all day.  I have never been in a bookstore that sucked me in to this degree.  All those words, all those authors.  So many worlds captured.  A live poetry reading by a published author.  I will be back for much more than an hour next time.  Maybe I will just move to Portland.
  • Last, but not least, new life goal– someday have my own book hidden somewhere in those glorious stacks.

So many choices, so little time.

The bounty of my 30-minute shopping spree, (including two t-shirts).

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Keep the Pacific Northwest Weird

I figured out last night why I like Olympia so much.  It’s weird.  Good weird.  The walls are covered with amazing murals, the bars and restaurants are a mixture of kitsch, nostalgia and hipster.  It is working class, industrial, but also artsy, green, alive.  In short, I like it.  And, did I mention I have an obsession with murals?  I even found myself navigating alleyways full of broken glass to find more, (it was safe, I promise).  Ironically, I expected Olympia to be less interesting, just a stop to make for the roller derby bout.

Speaking of which, those girls know how to have a good time.  Truthfully, I threw in the towel around 1AM and walked my grandma-self back to the hotel.  By that point, the Jersey Shore beats in the club we somehow ended up in were just a little too much for me.  I can only fist pump so many times before I lose interest.  I think I reached my lifetime limit.  And, while I was asked more than once if I had any tattoos, I managed to avoid getting any, which is an accomplishment given the abundance of establishments and my not-so-secret desire for one.

Today we are headed for Portland.  Instead of Keep Portland Weird, I think it should be Keep the Pacific Northwest Weird.  If it were not so darn overcast up here all the time, I would move in a heartbeat.  There is enough weird in the Pacific Northwest to keep me writing for a lifetime.

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Anticipation Junkie

Four more days of school, then seven weeks of glorious summer.

If I haven’t made myself annoyingly clear, I’m an anticipation junkie.  Half the thrill for me is envisioning the future.  Life moves so quickly.  The real thing is over before you know it, but if you look forward to it first, it lasts longer.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.

So, in an effort to stretch out my summer before it even starts, here is what I’m looking forward to most:

1. Road trip to Olympia with my teacher lady friends! (Hello Portland, dirty bars, roller derby, beautiful coastline, our special version of Flat Stanley, and a raucous good time… Sometimes I wonder if people really know what elementary school teachers are like in their off hours… I didn’t!)

The fourth/fifth grade team dressed up like Viola Swamp to scare the children, told you we’re fun 😉

2.  Kauai.  Think the complete opposite of above road trip.  Peace, quiet, sunshine, beach.

See, I already have the crucial supplies ready!

3.  Mt. Shasta, CA.  Time with my mom, sitting under the pines, swimming in the lake, snacks at the Goat Tavern, hot springs soaking in Ashland, OR.

See Mom, I am excited to come visit you!

4.  WRITING.  As much as I’m excited for all of the trips above, I might be even more excited for the time to write.  I’m ready to do my final polishing of my book (AGAIN) and submit to 31 agents in 31 days in July.  WOOT.

Only a little more work left before I can submit! No thanks to Simon…

5.  General summerness.  Time with my dog, husband, family, friends.  Impromptu road trips to Napa for yummy Ad Hoc lunch, San Francisco Giants games, the Pelican Inn and Muir Beach.  Days spent floating in my dad’s pool, lazing about at teacher pool parties, thrifting, reading and sleeping.

More time with these guys!

Okay, just one more, because he’s so stinkin’ cute.  Clearly, I’m obsessed.  Watch out when I have kids…

See, now I’m excited, and summer hasn’t even officially started.  Thank you anticipation, I don’t care what people say about the present, you’re pretty cool too.

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Portland: Mecca of the Hybrid Hipster

Last night Alex declared to me that he is a hipster.  He is out of the proverbial closet.  Pipe smoking, road-bike riding, hipster.  Apparently, this video confirmed it for him, even though I was pretty sure that his love for Portland, Berkeley, and messenger bags gave him away years ago.

Actually, we’re a new breed of hipsters.  True hipsters might call us posers, but I think we’re just a hybrid of the hipster and the yuppie.  I’m not ashamed.  I like organic food, shit yogis say, and, of course, Portland, (as well as yuppie things like homeownership and a regular paycheck!).

So, when a coworker/friend asked me if I wanted to spend 26 hours stuffed in a Prius on a road trip to Olympia for her roller derby bout that would include a night in our beloved Portland, how could I say no?  (And, seriously, how could this scenario get anymore hipster?)

Yes, I know, true hipsters do not admit their hipster identity under any circumstance.  That’s why I’m the hybrid version.

Here’s my top 10 hybrid hipster reasons that I love Portland:

1.  Dirty bars, (even if I want to exit the dirty bars at midnight 😉
2.  Revamped industrial districts
3.  Foodie food
4.  Voodoo donuts, (standing in line for anything makes it that much cooler, okay, not really, but I still like weird donuts!)
5.  Microbreweries galore
6.  Green everything, (trees, hillsides, environmental consciousness, bicycles…)
7.  Proximity to the Oregon coast, Columbia Gorge
8.  Dogs welcome EVERYWHERE
9.  Alabama Street & NW 23rd, (two neighborhoods that make me miss Berkeley… hello gourmet food trucks with picnic seating areas!)
10.  Isn’t Portland where young people go to retire?

Voodoo Donuts in the middle of the night here I come!
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