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Location: PDX, United States

Friday, October 31, 2008


When I was a kid, my mom made her own bread, mayonnaise and yogurt. My family didn’t eat processed food, any vegetables that weren’t from our own garden, and we definitely weren’t allowed to eat dessert, other than on our birthdays or holidays. Maybe it’s because I didn’t eat much sugar growing up that I eat almost none now, although my sister claims it was the lack of sugar that created her sweet tooth.

I haven’t had a birthday cake in maybe fifteen years. Sometimes I enjoy ice cream, but I almost always have to throw the cartons I buy out before they are empty because I realize they are a year old. I enjoy making desert, though, and sometimes give pies and cakes away that I never even taste.

Maybe it’s because I know I can eat sugar if I want to that I don’t eat much. When I was a kid, and had little control over what I ate, I liked candy as much as any other kid. One Halloween when I was about twelve, I came up with a plan to make my candy last all year long.

I sped trick-or-treated, targeting specific blocks and houses that I remembered to be particularly lucrative. I came home with more candy than I’d ever gathered before, and then began sorting it by type. I then divided the candy into twelve equal piles, and put them in wax paper bags. In retrospect, I wonder if this Halloween pre-dated zip lock bags or if my parents were just being cheap. I labeled each bag for each month of the year, then put them in our extra freezer in the basement, where I thought they would be safe from my family. When I went down to check on my candy a month later, most of it was gone, and I’m not sure if was my siblings or parents who took it.

I’m also not sure why I had more self-discipline as a kid than I do now. I wonder where it went, and if I will ever get it back.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Too Bad

One of these days I will stop thinking of the books I will write, and actually do it.

My latest idea is probably impossible, and it's too bad, because I think it's pretty good.

I have to credit it to my subconscious. I dreamed I wrote a book called Mom's a Bitch, narrated from a father's point of view as he explains to his children their mother's recent departure. While I don't this is marketable, maybe it would appeal to an adult audience. I would have to write under a psydenom, though...somehow I don't think the fact that it was written by a youth librarian would make me very popular.

I hope that one day soon, I will get a more realistic idea.

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Monday, October 13, 2008


Yesterday J. and I made a pilgrimage to the pumpkin patch. I appreciated his willingness to go out of town to get one, if Sauvie Island counts as that, because I know he thinks the pumpkins you can get at Safeway are pretty much the same. I think the ones we chose were far superior to the homogeneous grocery store variety pumpkins.

It was such a nice day I wanted to drive around the island. I discovered that despite the pastoral benefits of living out there, I really prefer our house. The houses on the island are boxy little affairs with perfect lawns and I felt strongly they were inhabited by republicans.

The house boats along the river were much cooler. The idea of being able to move a house is appealing to me. If you didn't like your neighbors or just wanted a change of scene, you could just have your house pulled somewhere else.

I like the idea of living on the water and had a fantasy of buying an old shabby chic tugboat. I imagined we could paint it a nice bright color, have lots of pots of geraniums and mums, and a rickety table with a checked table cloth on it. I imagined cooking rustic Italian food, drinking wine and looking up at the stars.

J. thought we could take our tugboat to Seattle for weekends and I asked him if it was possible, because somehow between basic 5th grade geography and now, I had forgotten that rivers led to the ocean, and it happened on the same month that I finally realized why Apple calls their computers MacIntoshes.

I am glad J. remembers these things, and if he can navigate our imaginary tugboat to Seattle, I will go. To be honest, though, my fantasy of a boat had nothing to do with a destination. I just wanted to be out on a river enjoying the moment.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Resurrection: I'm back, judging and using run-on sentences

Sorry blog.

It's not just you I've been ignoring.

The combination of moving and changing jobs has been pretty overwhelming and I have been flakier than I've ever been in my life.

Recently, though, it has been suggested to me that I am too content to write. I have also been accused of using The Angry Librarian to say bad things about Seattle.

Since I disagree with both these things, I will make an effort to start writing more regularly.

And just to show the overly-sensitive Seattle people that that I don't think Portland is perfect, I will start by listing things I don't like about Portland.

1. Lines/waiting

The way people stand patiently in line here drives me crazy. The number of times I have had to leave a coffee shop without coffee or I would have been late to work is ridiculous. And it would be completely avoidable, if baristas didn't insist on having long conversations and trying to make a personal connection with each customer. I far preferred the fast-paced rude baristas in Seattle who would pretend they didn't know what size and type of coffee I wanted, despite the fact that I had been going to the same place and ordering the same thing ever day for years.

I am also astounded by the fact that people will wait up to two hours before they are even seated at certain restaurants. Don't they have anything else to do with their time? Whatever ever happened to being able to make a reservation? This is overlapping into my pet peeves about service.

2. Service

Portland has hands down the worst service I have ever experienced in my life. Many times I have arrived at a restaurant and been told there is only room at the bar when it is clear there are ten+ tables available. Servers in many places have acted like they are doing their customers a favor to simply do their jobs. Sometimes when I have been served something that is cold or is entirely different from what I ordered, I will eat it anyway, since the level of hostility or superiority I received from my server was so high just when I was ordering that I am afraid of what would happen to my food if I sent it back. The one time I did do that, at the despised Bread and Ink Cafe, getting my corrected dinner took almost 45 minutes and the friend I was eating with was done by the time I finally received what I had ordered.

3. Drivers

I know, I know, I don't drive. But it doesn't mean that I can't tell when other people aren't good drivers, and I have a special disdain for bus drivers who fall into this category.

I am also amazed by the short term memories of so many Portland drivers. Last Friday it rained more heavily than it has since last spring and I was astounded by the traffic and the fact that in four months, people had forgotten how to drive in the rain.

4. Lack of decent Indian food

I didn't really like Indian food until I was in my mid twenties. I attribute this to my mother being overly zealous with curry in the kitchen when I was growing up. My mom is a great cook, but I was either too young to appreciate her efforts, or more likely, she was prioritizing the nutritional aspect of dinner above the taste. Or maybe she was just experimenting. What I do know was that I didn't have a real interest in Indian food until about 1995 and then I wanted to eat all the time. Seattle really does have great Indian food, and it's also really cheap. The Indian food that I have in Portland can't hold a candle to it, and with the exception of the food cart by my work, is also more expensive.

If I wasn't tired and my eyes didn't hurt, I could come up with some more things I didn't like about Portland. Maybe another has just occurred to me that I forgot to mention the abundance of hippies and the trend of shared tables in resteraunts. But maybe not...I am not so content that I've stopped being judgemental, but I am really happy here.

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