Places: Portland, Oregon

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My history with Portland:

August-December, 2007 -- I attended school in Portland while officially living in Hillsboro (a suburb of Portland).

2008-2011 -- I longed to go back to Portland and talked about it frequently. I sporadically looked for jobs and apartments/houses in the Portland area, wishfully thinking my way into a future there. My younger brother did missionary work in Portland for two years, and I was very jealous of him.

December 6th, 2011 -- I went back to Portland (with my husband) and stayed there for all of five hours. And that was enough.

Craig at Powell's City of Books, an enormous and fantastic bookstore in Portland

on campus at Portland State University

When Craig and I booked our trip to Cannon Beach (see here), most of my primary excitement came from knowing how close we'd be to Portland. "We have to spend an entire day in the city!" I proclaimed. "No, two! TWO days! And even then it won't be enough!" In the interest of spending some of our vacation actually relaxing rather than sightseeing, we decided to devote just one day to Portland. It will have to do, I thought. To me, Portland is the ultimate. It is the destination. It is the trumpet that calls me home. It's where I always want to be.

But here's the thing: we drove to Portland (the drive was beautiful, by the way), parked the car, and set off for our adventure. Our adventure didn't last all that long. A few hours after our arrival, we were both ready to leave. And so we did. It was anti-climactic, to say the least.

Here are some factors that contributed to the day's lackluster-ness:

I didn't plan activities. When I lived in Portland, nothing was planned; every new experience was a surprise. Or at least that's how I remember it. And so I was sure that this city just had fun around every corner, waiting to be discovered. But when you only have one day to explore, as opposed to several months, you should decide beforehand a few things you want to fit in and how you'll go about doing that. And you should know the parking/walking situation.

I didn't buy any books/wander around aimlessly at Powell's. Major oversight.

We were cold. The weather was yucky, which is fine and not much of a turn-off at all, provided one is dressed appropriately. I wasn't. So Craig lent me one of his sweater-y things, meaning that both of us were still mildly cold, and we didn't have gloves or beanies, and it was windy, and etc. It's not much fun to go exploring by foot when you are very, very cold and ducking into storefronts just to get your shivering under control.

Finally: My expectations were high, unfounded, and unrealistic. Because the city of Portland was only part of the reason I loved "Portland."
When I lived there in 2007, here are some of the reasons I loved Portland.

a beautiful day at The Chinese Gardens

fire escapes in sunlight

jogging at a tiny park with life-size friends

putting on life jackets, though the boat was not in danger of sinking

morning hair with lovely Chelsea and lovely Brittany

calls to repentance, on Post-It Notes

reading books in the leaves

Stumptown drinks and scones, artfully done

volunteering at a book festival in order to meet a graphic novelist

The fall of 2007 was maybe the most wonderful, happiest season of my entire life. I was in school, and let me be clear about at least this one thing: I love school. My classes were thought-provoking and new. I was living with my best friend. I was getting to know a new best friend, one whom I would eventually marry, and I had a faint sense of how important and magical our relationship would be in my life. At the same time, I was in love with someone else, and being in love is a wondrous thing, so it contributed hugely to my overall happiness. And, yes, I was living in Portland. It's a great place. I had never lived someplace so diverse in its population or its options. I had never lived someplace so green. I was on my first life adventure, and Portland was its location. I wasn't married, I didn't have a degree, I was living on small and rapidly-diminishing savings, I didn't have cool clothes or listen to cool music, but ... man, I was happy.

What I'm saying is this: I've never experienced a more well-rounded happiness than the happiness I had in Portland, and I'm realizing now that it wasn't because Portland is a magical place; it was because I was living in a magical season of my youth.

Nothing against Portland itself. Portland, you are still my favorite city. I will come to see you again. I will plan ahead, dress warmly, and take my time in the bookstore. I'll remember to visit Everyday Music and the Rose Garden. I'll get a henna tattoo at Saturday Market. I'll sip hot cocoa at Mill Ends Park, the smallest park in the world. I'll close the day at Pittock Mansion. Maybe I'll even venture out of the SW quadrant. But more than that, I'll pay tribute to you -- my charming, rosy city of bridges -- by seeking to replicate the joyful serenity that I'm still reminded of whenever I hear your name.

Events: We Took a Mini-Vacation to Cannon Beach

Since we moved to Seattle, Craig has been working at a bank and I've been working at a secondhand clothing store. While my hours are pretty sporadic and flexible, Craig's are consistent and non-negotiable. Banks have to be open, and bank employees need to be there when they are. "You want some time off? Great! But it will have to be when none of your co-workers are taking their well-deserved vacations."

Ergo, our vacation time for the Christmas season actually took place from December 5th-8th. It was sort of an early anniversary gift to ourselves (our three-year anniversary is on December 27th). We had Brian and Natalie (brother- and sister-in-law) babysit the kitty while we headed to Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Cannon Beach is this amazing coastal town in northern Oregon, just off the Pacific Coast Highway and about an hour and a half away from Portland. I took a day trip there in 2007 while I was attending Portland State University, and with some killer off-season deals for lodging, we decided it might be a nice place to relax.

Oh, it was.

That enormous rock you see in almost every picture is Haystack Rock. You may recognize it from The Goonies. It's tremendous.

We stayed at Blue Gull Inn, which is managed by a company that has quite a few properties on the coast. They were fantastic, and the prices in the off-season are seriously cheeeeeap. We'll definitely be back.

My favorite memory from the trip took place on our last morning. We woke up as early as we could make ourselves, grabbed some beach chairs and books, and headed down to the water. Craig had this thing the whole time we were there about "tempting the ocean," getting as close as possible to the waterline without actually getting wet. We placed our chairs strategically so that the higher tides would go right past us, forcing us to lift up our feet while the legs of our chairs sunk lower and lower into the watery sand. We stayed there for an hour or so, reading and laughing and sinking and taking pictures. Whenever we were on the beach, at any point during our trip, I got a sense of earthly majesty. It was pretty overwhelming, but in a good way, in a wonderful way.

MeWriMo: Thirteen Days Worth (That's So Many Days)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 4: Document Something Old

I took pictures of a very small percentage of the things that I got secondhand (meaning from thrift stores, from consignment shops, hand-me downs from my mom or from friends, etc.).

shirts and sweaters

purses, hats, belts, jewelry, scarves

Day 5: Document Something New
(This one is a total stretch.)

The newest news in my life is that Craig and I have been assigned to be part of a dance festival for church. (Assigned, not called -- although we were asked if we would accept the assignment.) It's evidently going to be a multi-stake situation, really huge, happening in May, and we ... will have something to do with it. We don't know what. But okay. It will be a lot of scenes like this:

Including tye-dye.

Day 6: Document Art

I have a folder in my Google Reader called "art inspiration," so here are some images from that. I really gotta get going on making my own art again.

Day 7: Document Autumn

Day 8: Document Something Funny

This is firmly in the category of "funny because it's true." I found it here.

Day 9: Document Inspiration

I snagged this quote from the Flickr photoset "Thanks, Oprah!" 

Day 10: Document Your Coffee Break

I don't drink coffee, so pass. BUT: I will say that a Dollar Tree location recently opened up right across the street from my workplace, and so Dollar Tree is the new official sponsor of my lunch breaks. And I'm glad about that.

Day 11: Document Your Favorite Shoes

woven leather loafer-like shoes, Naturalizers brand, secondhand from Value Village, $8

Who can choose their favorite shoes without any second-guessing? I'm not sure that my choice is really the top pair out of all my pairs, but they are pretty close. These ones are mega-comfortable, as well as cute/stylish in a "my grandma or grandpa might wear these" sort of way. They're also the newest shoes in my closet (newest to me -- they were probably made in the 80s).

brown and black leather riding boots, Laredo brand, secondhand from Junk in My Trunk, $1

The runners-up: these Laredo riding boots that I found on the best thrifting day of my life. These are boots that were probably $100+ dollars originally and can be bought on eBay and other such places for $40-$60 ish. I found them for $1. They fit wonderfully, are super tough-looking, and they work with so many outfits. I'll never, ever get rid of them.

Day 12: Document the Highlight of Your Day

I watched the documentary "Bill Cunningham New York" today. It's been in my Netflix Instant Queue for a while, and it just seemed like the right fit for my morning of washing dishes and picking up dirty socks from the floor. What a great film! Bill Cunningham is a very well-respected photographer in the world of fashion, yet he is the most understated, salt of the earth sort of guy. He lives this incredibly pared-down life in New York City, and his whole focus is on documenting interesting, notable clothes. Because he loves them. It was a very inspiring and sweet film. Highly recommended for those who like documentaries. Or clothes. Watching Bill at work sincerely made me want to change the way I live my life, and it also made me feel like I can change the way I live my life, and there aren't many things in this world that I can say that about.

Day 13: Document Hopefulness

Just an excuse to share this picture from about a month ago. That's my husband, along with our niece and nephew (Sydney and Wes), on the banks of the Puget Sound. Also, speaking of hopefulness, I've gotta list a few songs that are making me feel pretty jazzed and hopeful lately.

Day 14: Document a Friend

I don't often talk about Craig as my "best friend." It's partly just an issue of titles, titles that best describe a person's relationship to me. I would say that there are probably five people who are my "best friends" -- Craig, my mom, Chelsea, Jesus, and myself. Do I call all of them "my best friend"? Not usually. Craig gets the title of "husband," my mom gets the title of "Mom," Jesus has lots of very obvious titles, and I don't really need a title to explain my own relationship to myself. By default, the title of "best friend" is usually saved for Chelsea. If I were to call her "my former roommate," that wouldn't be a title that really described our relationship. Similarly, if I were to call Craig "my best friend" and introduce him that way, it would probably be a little strange to say later on, "Oh, also, I'm married to him."

That was such a digression from the real point.

The real point is this: even though I don't talk about it often, Craig is a best friend of mine. These days, with our recent move to Seattle and our isolated-ness from many of the people we'd call "friends," our reliance on the friendship parts of each other has become more and more and more. We almost only have each other to talk to about our days, our sore muscles, our thoughts about music, our food cravings. I love that I married someone who was firmly my friend before we ever got together -- and not just any friend, but one of the most supportive and intimate friends of my entire life.

Day 15: Document Your Commute

This one was taken at the Renton Transit Center, waiting for the bus doors to open. That's my bus in the foreground (or, rather, one of the three buses I take in order to get to work).

Also on my commute that day, this ad was on the side of that same bus:

They are Mormons. And so am I. But four million bucks says I never get a bus ad. No worries -- here's my profile anyway.

Day 16: Document a Life

This is the "life" of our trip from Utah to Washington, the journey of our move. The pictures I chose are slanted to allow for the most cute possible, so there are several images of our niece Audrey.

the UHaul truck and our car behind it - Idaho Falls

Audrey wearing a "hat" made out of her dad's arm sling - Idaho Falls

Tyler, Janna, and Audrey, on a walk - Idaho Falls

Audrey with Uncle Craig, at Tyler's soccer game - Idaho Falls

Audrey watching "Bubble Guppies," with her monkey and alligator - Idaho Falls

Megan & Kent's house - Spokane
(we had buckets of fun with those two, but all the pictures were lame, sooo ... you just get this one)

pictures from our drive through Washington

at home in our new apartment, nesting by painting the living room purple

And finally ... pictures of what I wore. Please hold your applause.

I've liked a lot of my outfits over the past few weeks, but I've forgotten to take pictures/haven't been able to because of the rain. No matter. Onward.

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