Tag Archives: Portland Oregon

The Oregon Coast and Our Impending Bike Ride

The family and I just spent a few days in Newport which is located along the coast in the middle of the beautiful state of Oregon. I can honestly say the Oregon coast is much different from the Gulf coast. The major difference being in Oregon it’s freakin’ cold during the summer; the Gulf not so much.

Since we had two kids with us, Jessie and her visiting BFF from Austin, we had to eat more organized meals instead of the normal cereal I like to eat two or three times a day. Here are a couple of pretty good restaurants (and a candy store, of course) we found on our trip, in case you’re ever in the Newport area visiting.

Cosmic Soda Pop and Candy Shop – Okay, this one is actually in downtown Portland, where we made a pit stop on the way to Newport, but it’s worth a look if you’re anywhere near Portland and have a sweet tooth as big as my snarly toothed monster. This shop had a wonderful collection of old school candies and a large selection of soda for the kids and kids at heart.

My mom brought me back, from London, a candy bar I absolutely adored called Crunchie by Cadbury…or something along those lines, I’ve forgotten already, and Cosmic actually carried it! I’ve had a heck of a time trying to find my new favorite candy bar. Especially when I have such a hard time describing it: it’s chocolaty, with a honeycomb thing in the center…I can’t remember what it’s called though…it’s crunchy and airy and delicious…do you have that?

Mo’s – I try not to eat too much fish & chips, I know fish is brain food but I’m pretty sure the grease they fry it in isn’t, but sometimes I just have to have a little F&C. Even better: Mo’s serves their F&C in cahoots with a cup of their world famous clam chowder. Yum. Mo’s clam chowder was delicious: creamy, flavorful with just the right amount of small clam pieces. Just how I like it.

My favorite part of F&C, the fish, didn’t disappoint. It tasted like they had just caught the cod that morning and fried it up before the poor fish knew what hit him. I would have to say Mo’s F&C are my second all time favorite, a distant second to Spud fish & chips mind you, but Janet swears the F&C are better in New England. I’ll be the judge of that!

Savory Café & Pizzeria – I just love pizza. I love cheese, marinara and meats loaded on a giant piece of bread! Janet and I ordered the Mexican pizza and weren’t disappointed. It was just what we needed: pizza and Mexican food wrapped into one tasty, spicy package. The kids had spaghetti with meatballs and a giant chicken and rice burrito which reminded me of Chuy’s (an Austin Tex-mex favorite) big as yo face burritos.

Cystic Fibrosis Cycle for Life Ride

For those of you super fit people (you know who you are) 35 miles on a bike probably doesn’t concern you much. To an asthmatic 44 year old, fairly out of shape woman who prefers to lift weights than actually move around, it’s a terrifying thought. So, of course, my better half, in a Snapple and chocolate induced haze, signed us up for the “short” route. On the bright side: Janet could have signed us up for the 65 mile route!

She registered us several months ago and you might assume that gave us enough time to actually train for said ride. You would be mistaken. I’m pretty sure we’ll survive the event but just in case we both got all our finances in order. Just in case. I did forget to say a long and emotional goodbye to Jessie, before she left to go camping with her dad, but she knows I love her.

The CF ride sounds like a well run, pain free event, with mechanics, support vehicles and rest stops scattered along the route. To say I’m terrified would be slightly exaggerating my feelings. I’m just downright scared. I’m glad we’re arriving at seven in the morning, for the ride, so I can sleep through the first part. I might just make it that way.

jenn

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Portland and Our Slightly Wacky Clocks

I seem to surround myself with unique and interesting things and people. Some are downright wacky. I think that’s why I love Portland, Oregon so much. It’s a pretty wacky place. Austin needs a sticker to point out how weird it is (Keep Austin Weird)…Portland just is weird; a sticker would be redundant.

Janet is spending a few days working down the road in Portland and she decided Roxy and I should drive down and visit. Since I love to travel, and Roxy just wants to be with her pack, we said sure! Road trip! Roxy was a little nervous at first, when I was packing the car, but once she realized she was coming too she relaxed and snored the whole trip down (did I mention most Boston Terriers snore a little? Roxy, on the other hand, snores a lot).

I drive pretty close to the speed limit but we still made great time to Portland; seems like a lot of people do work during the week. Traffic was light and I made it to the halfway potty pit stop in about an hour. I wasn’t there very long because when I opened the back door for Roxy, she took one look at the cold, wet weather and said, ‘no, thanks, I’m good right here in bed tucked in with my own personal leopard printed blankie.’ Life is hard for little Roxy now.

When Roxy and I finally arrived at the Aloft (very pet friendly and an all around great place to stay), I went to check in and was informed my name wasn’t on the reservation. When the very nice lady at the front desk asked what my dog’s name was I said ‘Roxy’. The even friendlier guy said, ‘oh, Roxy’s name is on the reservation.’

Really? Janet made sure to mention Roxy and didn’t bother to put her human companion’s name in the computer?  (Insert by Janet: I did put Jenn’s name on the reservation; they must have lost it somehow.) Hmmm…that sounds a little wacky to me. Roxy has a free pass…I have to get my own room. Wait a minute…my own room.

After calling Janet to confirm I wasn’t a thief with an adorable dog in tow, I was allowed access to the room to drop off all my things. As you can imagine, since I drove, I brought just about everything with me. I brought enough books and magazines for a month because you just never know what you’ll be in the mood to read, I believe. My mood changes from moment to moment.

Yesterday, when I reminded Jessie about my upcoming trip to Portland she was upset she couldn’t go. I had to explain about the importance of school and responsibilities and she replied, “Mom, school is really holding me back. Imagine how much I could learn out in the real world.” To which I replied, “Be quiet and get ready for school. Don’t try tricking me with your logic.”

We went upstairs and Jessie said, “Mom, I thought you said it was 8:20.”

“It is 8:20.”

“Then why does our bathroom clock say 8:29?”

For the past few months, our ‘precise’ satellite clocks have occasionally malfunctioned a tiny bit. We have two: one downstairs above the fireplace, for all to see, and one in the upstairs shared bath for Jessie to watch in the mornings while she’s getting ready for that life stunting thing we call school.

They won’t be off by much, and it usually only lasts for a day, but it’s enough to throw you off if you’re not careful.  Take this morning, for example. It was running nine minutes fast and it insisted it was Sunday instead of Thursday. I’m glad Jessie didn’t notice it said Sunday! Instead of annoying me, I find it endearing and quirky.  I have days like that too, those days where I’m feeling not quite right but a good night sleep usually does the trick.

“Mom, are you having a conversation with yourself?”

“Oh! Sorry! What was your question?”

“Why is the clock off?”

“I don’t know. It’s just something it does now, every once in a while, so just know you have an extra ten minutes.”

“That’s weird.”

“Yes, it is.”

Jessie shook her head and focused her attention back to the mirror with ten more minutes to vogue. I turned to go and she said, “I guess the clock fits in with this family, right, Mom?”

“Yes. Yes it does.”

jenn

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Things I Wish Were True

I really shouldn’t complain about anything; I will, but I really shouldn’t because my life is pretty good.  There are some things going on, in my life, I don’t like – Curse You, Budge!, 5 veggies a day – but I’ll probably survive.  There are more really great things in my life than I can shake a stick at – exercising makes me feel good, Janet & Jessie, the abundance of sun lately – …but still.

I started volunteering at In Other Words Feminist Center a couple of months ago and I went in yesterday to help run the place (okay, I went to dust) and I saw some buttons, for sale, in case you need any buttons, that made me think of a few things I wish were true.

The First Button: The Coffee Party.  I wish there was a viable third party to compete with the Democrats and the Republicans.  Isn’t the Coffee Party a much stronger choice than the Tea Party?  I think so.  I would love to be a member of the Coffee Party.

I’m a socially liberal, fiscally conservative voter who has to register as a Democrat because I’m too nice to be a Republican.  I’m not green enough, not independent enough, and not wacky enough to be any other type of voter.  I’ve given up hope of getting rid of party labels and just declaring what you believe in – I think the parties have been around too long and we’d have to pry the Democrat and Republican cards from their cold, dead hands.

So, in order to be a Coffee Partier you must meet these criteria: your IQ must be above 85, you must enjoy traveling, you must embrace the ‘live beneath your means’ mantra, you must not see corporations as people, you must observe the Golden Rule – treat others as you would like to be treated, you must not force others to believe what you believe, you must not have a twisted interest in what goes on in someone else’s bedroom, you must be willing to compromise in all things…

And the most important, the one I think is hurting our country, the one, if you were to adhere to it, could change the world: You must be true to yourself.  What does that mean?  It means: know who you are, embrace who you are, and live the life YOU were meant to live.

Don’t be limited to these choices, though.  I really just don’t want any lazy stupid people in the Coffee Party; there are other parties for those people.  Being open minded is the key.  It helps if you are even slightly intelligent and have travelled outside of your county.  Outside of your state would be great and outside of the country would be too much to hope for.

The Second Button: Marry The Person You Love.  Now, I realize this button is for marriage equality.  Being a lesbian, I have to know this, but that’s not what I thought of when I read it.  I’m going to admit something you might take in the wrong way, something I don’t say very often; do not take me literally, especially you Janet: I wish sex didn’t exist.

Again, don’t take me literally, I just wish we could be friends with whomever we wanted to be friends with, instead of having the sex equation always lurking in the background.  We could hang out with men and women and parents would never have to worry about their kids and there would be no such things as creepy neighbors.  We could just be friends because the concept of sex doesn’t exist.

A while back, I moved into a third floor apartment and, on my way downstairs, I met the guy who lived in the apartment below mine.  I said, ‘hi, my name is Jenn and I just moved in upstairs.’  He said, ‘I have a girlfriend and she’s inside.’  Okay…I have a girlfriend, too.  If no sex, would he have said that?  I’m thinking he would have said, ‘Hi, Jenn, I’m tattoo man (he never did give me his name).  Can I get you a beer?’ ‘Why, yes, tattoo man, that would be lovely.’

See, guys, this is why some women aren’t very friendly around you: it’s not all about sex with us.  Just because we smile at you, or crack a joke with you, doesn’t mean we want to have your kids.  Sometimes we’re just happy, and by happy I mean Gay!  Anyhoo, if no sex, we could be happy all the time and not worry about sending the wrong message to a man who recently saw a movie where the guy relentlessly chased the woman, who finally stopped running and they got married, and now that man thinks that’s the way to win a woman!  Crazy!

The Third Button: Portland, There’s No Place Like Home.  I really like Portland.  A lot.  I wish I could call Portland home, but it doesn’t seem to be the case.  Jessie lives in Seattle, spending the school year with her dad and his wife.  She spends vacations and summers with me and Janet.  At least, that was the plan.  Then something occurred to me, something I hadn’t realized: Jessie still likes me.

She’s only 10 so I figure I have a couple of years of good love left in her before she becomes possessed by the devil, a head spinning, crazed teenager.  I hope she doesn’t start spitting out pea soup, I hate that part.  Yuck.  Moving closer to Jessie seems like a good idea right now, Portland will be there for us when we get Jessie safely tucked into Yale or Harvard or Stanford; when I dream, I dream big.

When my ex and I talked about moving to the Pacific Northwest, he was moving to Seattle for a job, I decided to move to Portland.  At the time, I thought Portland was close enough to Seattle to see Jessie all the time (a 3 hour drive) and I wanted to put some space between my ex-husband, his new wife, and myself (as all good exes should do).  But Janet knew better.

Janet said, ‘why don’t we rent something for now and see how it goes?’  I can’t remember my response, but it probably sounded like a snort.  I like to snort.  ‘I’m a big girl, I can live on my own’.  Janet wasn’t convinced…and she was right.  I want to be closer to Jessie because she still likes me and I really should take advantage of that.  That might not always be the case.  I am pretty embarrassing.

Janet and I have a lot of freedom in our lives right now.  Janet travels for work, she can live anywhere near an airport, and I work from home.  Work…watch TV…whatever.  Just kidding, Janet!  Now where did she hide the remotes?  Moving closer to Jessie is something we can do because we have the freedom to move.  Of course, freedom does come with a price.

The Fourth Button: In Other Words.  I like this button.  It has a nice background, the words stand out, and there’s a little bird flying free…as a bird.  Oh, it would be nice if Janet could volunteer with me at In Other Words.  I wish Janet could stop travelling and stay at home with me.  I see Janet from Thursday night, when I pick her up from the airport, until early Monday morning, when I drive her to the airport.  I see her for 3 days out of the week.  That gets old after a while.  Like 3 years ago.

The reason Janet and I are trying to save as much money as we can (Curse You, Budge!) is to get her off the road.  However that happens – saving money, not traveling as much (hmmph), the books do well, we win the lottery – it can’t happen soon enough.  We are aiming for 2020 as a retirement date, holding that, and our magical retirement number, out as a measuring stick of what we need to do to be ready for retirement.  Of course, if we win the $200 million lottery, forget about 2020, let’s all go to Maui!

So, I gave myself 4 wishes because in JennWorld I can do anything; I’m not limited to just 3 wishes like you people.  In Jennworld, I can write bestsellers, be a world famous blogger, and use my powers for good and not evil (usually).  So I’m spending my time blogging and researching and writing my book, in the hopes of an early retirement.  I figure if I work really hard…oh, hey, look!  The remote!  Um, I’ve gotta go, I’ve got a lot of…research to do.

jenn

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