KC Airport

KC Airport
Originally uploaded by myredtie
Toto, I think we are back in Kansas again.


Christmas Coffee Cake

Christmas Coffee Cake
Originally uploaded by myredtie
We started out the morning with this homemade cinnamon pecan coffee cake. We added some eggs scrambled with milk to make them light and fluffy. This recipe turned out great, and it is one that I will share in the blog soon. At the moment I am off to prepare Christmas lunch. Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas or Happy Birthday?

As Christmas draws near and I see the decorations, watch people frantically buying gifts, and hear the special music that is played only at this time of year, I realize once again that Christmas is really just a big birthday party. It is a celebration of the birth of Jesus where everyone gets gifts.

It reminds me of the passage in the book and movie Having Our Say: The Delaney Sister's First 100 Years. There is a part in this true story where the sisters, who are over 100 years old, invite family and friends over every year and have a birthday party for their papa even though he passed away decades ago. They make his favorite dishes and sit around the table reminiscing about their papa and how much he meant to them. It is a way of keeping papa alive in their hearts and minds, and it is also a way to pass down their papa's teaching and life lessons to future generations of Delaneys.

In a way, Christmas is like the Delaney's Birthday Party. We come together to celebrate the birth of Jesus and hopefully take some time during Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to reflect on what he means to us and how his teachings and life lessons impact our lives. It is also a day to eat, dance, sing, and just have a great big party.

If you read the New Testament, you will definitely see that Jesus loved to socialize, and he appreciated a good party. All those somber drawings of Jesus don't really tell the whole story of his life. Let's see the drawings of him dancing during the wedding feast at Cana or enjoying a good dinner at the home of Peter's mom. I want to see the drawings of Jesus being athletic and having boat races with his apostles on the lake. I want to see drawings that not only show Jesus' godliness, but also his humanity.

Ok, that is enough religious stuff for now. Hey, it is Christmas, and I'm allowed to go into religion a little bit on this day. Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday!


Grandma's Recipe

Grandma's Recipe
Originally uploaded by myredtie
I made these cookies using my grandma's recipe which calls for sweet cream. The taste is similar to shortbread cookies. Merry Christmas!

Mother Nature

Originally uploaded by myredtie
I think Mother Nature is turning into Santa more and more with each passing day here in Portland.


Table Top

Originally uploaded by myredtie
There is definitely more than 12 inches on top of the patio table. We rented a 4 wheel drive suburban to get us to the airport last night so that we could stay at the Sheraton and be close to the airport this morning. Unfortunately, ours was one of the 100 plus flights that was canceled this morning. A scary cab ride brought us to within three blocks of the house where we had to walk the rest of the way with our luggage.
Snow - 1, Mike - 0.


Originally uploaded by myredtie
View outside of the Sheraton Hotel at PDX.

View from hotel at PDX, December 22, 08

We woke up to this view outside of the Sheraton Hotel at PDX.

Division Street, December 21, 2008

Looking down Division Street on December 21, 2008


Portland Art

Portland art
Originally uploaded by myredtie
This sculpture lives in a park in downtown Portland.

Portland Art

Portland art
Originally uploaded by myredtie
This is another view of the sculpture.


Intelligence/skill over Wealth

There is something interesting about Portland that I think I am just now beginning to understand. I could be wrong, but I am beginning to think that the people of Portland actually value intelligence and skill over wealth. I knew something was different in this social realm, but I just couldn't put my finger on it until now. Keep in mind that I could be wrong, but my case is as follows:

1. Hobbies. As I wrote in an earlier blog, Portland libraries are full of people actually reading. The desks are full, and people are sitting on the floor. Even my little local library branch is full of readers. I think this points to a certain value for intelligence in this city. This is also a big hobby town where people are engaged in many different hobbies including arts/crafts, major organic gardening, environmentalism, poetry readings, technology, board games, live concerts, art market venues everywhere, bicycling, homeopathic medicine and cures, record album collecting, hiking, skiing, kayaking, camping, snow boarding, fishing, reading, and the list goes on and on. I think this points to a diverse population which prizes a person's individual interest and skills.

2. Education. In order to get most of my certifications in Oregon, I am having to take eight different education tests. I have taken tests in two states, but they were nothing like Oregon's test. Wow! These are difficult tests. I think they may have a higher standard for teachers in this state. Basically, this shows that they value education. I also find it interesting that during these tough times the Portland Public School District is reportedly not overly concerned because it has a huge amount of money set back for difficult times. I think that says something about a community when the school actually has surplus funds each year.

3. Wealth. I have been here for three months, and I just saw my first stretch limo the other night. In Tulsa, I saw limos quite often. It was not uncommon to see Mercedes, Porsche's, and BMW's driving the streets of Tulsa, but here those sightings are very rare. It is almost like those with money are not into the grandiose displays. I couldn't even tell you a family name in Portland that is known for wealth, and I have already been here three months. Wow! I often see beautiful homes in Portland with fuel efficient cars in their driveways. It is obvious these people could afford more, but I guess they are more concerned about saving the environment than showing off their wealth.

I think there are definite benefits to putting more value on a person's intelligence and skill rather than their wealth. Some people have money, but they actually have very little intelligence. Some people have intelligence, but they have very little money. The combination of both intelligence and money is often an unbeatable force and can accomplish great things in our society. But if I had to concentrate on one, I think that intelligence is definitely more important that a person's wealth. Money is a very fluid thing, it comes and goes so quickly. I have seen supposedly "wealthy" families lose their money quickly and all they have is their intelligence. When this happens it is unfortunate for the members of those once wealthy families who didn't take their time and resources to develop their intelligence. My father always said that education is the one thing that they can't take away from you in life.

I get chills up my spine just thinking about all the good a person with money can do in their lifetime. A perfect example is Andrew Carnegie. I know that Andrew Carnegie was not perfect, and that in order for him to become the "King of Steel" he probably at times had to wheel and deal in a way that bordered on questionable. But toward the end of his life he became a major philanthropist . He said that he was born without money, and he intended to die without money. He began giving money to libraries, education, scientific research, the arts, etc. Like I said, it gives me good chills to think of all the people who have benefited from the generosity of this one man. The Gates Foundation, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates, is another example. This foundation gives large amounts of money to education every year.

To wrap this up I'd have to say that I like living in a city where intelligence is valued over wealth. In addition, I am very curious to see how those with wealth and intelligence tend to use their resources in this town. Portland is definitely an adventure with new ideas and new social structures.


Sunset Highway (West to Seaside and Cannon Beach)

Oregon landscape
Originally uploaded by myredtie
This is one of my favorite photos that I have taken of the Oregon landscape. On the East side of Portland we have the Columbia River Gorge
( http://www.crgva.org/ ) which I blogged about earlier, and to the West we have landscape like this all the way to the beach.


Young at Heart (Nutcracker and Snow)

My boyfriend and I attended the Oregon Ballet Theater's production of the Nutcracker last night. This is the first time that either of us has seen the Nutcracker, and I don't believe that there are words to describe our response. Basically, it was beautiful and magical. I can't believe that I have waited this long in my life to see it. This is definitely going to be a yearly event.

I had all sorts of things to write about the ballet before I woke up this morning and saw the snow outside the window. The sight of snow has distracted me from the ballet, and I now have that giddy feeling of wanting to run outside and make snow angels. Snow brings out the kid in me, although it usually doesn't take much for that to happen because it is always just below the surface. Looking out the window this morning, I hopped up and down in excitement. I raced to get dressed and ran outside for a quick walk to church.

Walking in the snow makes me think of Victorian England. I expect to see overly dressed women and men in top hats strolling down the street. I also love how quiet and still everything seems during and just after a nice snow. I am sure that when I am 80 years old I will still wake up, see snow, and run outside trying to catch the flakes on my tongue.

IT'S SNOWING! IT'S SNOWING! IT'S SNOWING! All of a sudden I am remembering the big snows out in Western Kansas when I was a kid. We used to build snow block fort walls for snowball throwing, and one time we even made a snow block igloo.

Today we walked in the snow to breakfast at Clinton Corner, bicycled on snow packed and icy roads to the Fat Straw for bubble tea (3 miles round trip with no accidents). After that we had hot cocoa while sitting in the hot tub on the deck, and tonight I am making homemade tortilla soup and we are watching a movie. This has been a fantastic snow day.

December Blossom

December Blossom
Originally uploaded by myredtie
This December blossom is caught in the first snow of the season. Today when I drew back the curtains I saw snow flakes beginning to fall. On the walk to church I whistled "favorite things" and tried to catch snow flakes on my tongue. On my way back from church I was surprised to see a bicyclist speeding down the snowy and slick road. Now as I write this entry, I hear the neighborhood children laughing, playing, and throwing snow balls at each other. I love snow.


Portland Art

Originally uploaded by myredtie
Joan of Arc Memorial Statue, 1412-1431

Portland Art

Originally uploaded by myredtie
Joan of Arc Memorial Statue. 1412 - 1431


Allergies. How do you combat this seasonal enemy?

When I moved away from Tulsa, OK three months ago I thought that I was leaving behind a good deal of allergy problems. Tulsa has a lot of environmental factors (natural and man-made) that make it a difficult place to live for anyone who suffers from allergies. In Tulsa, it is not a question of do you take allergy medicine, but the question is what type of allergy medication do you take. Unfortunately, Portland, OR has not been to kind on my allergies either. At the moment I am blaming it on the fact that we haven't had a freeze and it is already December 11th.

I have tried most of the prescription medication, and all of the over the counter medication, with a small amount of success. My latest combination is Zyrtec, Mucinex D, and Advair, but I want to investigate more natural and homeopathic solutions. One approach that I am going to do is take a teaspoon of local honey every morning. In order to make honey, bees often use the allergens in the environment. The theory is that if you take a teaspoon of local honey every morning your body will get used to the allergens and not react to them.

Please post any ideas you have that might help with allergies.

Tree Carving

Tree Carving
Originally uploaded by myredtie
This is my neighbor's tree carving. This is the first one I have seen where they added color. The tree was dying and had to come down, so this is a great way to create art and also reuse a natural resource. At the feet of the statue is a carved kitten and raccoon.


Don't Panic; The Answer is 42.

It is easy to get unsettled listening to the news these days. It started out with Wall Street, then the auto maker's bailout package; AT&T layoffs; and just this morning I turned on the radio and heard that the Chicago Tribune, owner of the Chicago Cubs, is filing for bankruptcy. As my blood pressure started to rise and I got that butterfly feeling in my stomach, I was reminded of those sage words from that ancient book, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhLGA96fvMc . The truly wise teaching that transcends time and has a very profound affect on today's crisis is this, "Don't Panic."

My mother was born at the beginning of the depression when things were really starting to get tight. She was the youngest of five children, and her father was a Southern Arkansas sharecropper. One of her lessons to us was that no matter what happens with the economy and money, we can still make our way in life and we won't starve. She points to her parents and says that if they could feed five children during the Great Depression, then we can handle anything that comes our way. DON'T PANIC.

My father was also born during the Great Depression in the Western Kansas area that was hit so hard by the Dustbowl. In order to save the farm, Great Grandpa called back all of his kids and their spouses to live at home and work at any possible job to make ends meet and keep the farm. Several couples were living in that house and working at odd jobs to keep the farm going. Grandma told stories about seeing dust in the distance and driving hurriedly to town in the Model T to get the kids from school before the dust storm hit. After one of these storms there would be dust everywhere and you would have to shovel the sidewalks. The lesson of the story is that they did survive, and they did keep the farm that has been in the family for four generations. DON'T PANIC.

It is true that the economy is falling all around us and that things are going to change. There will be some truly bad things come out of this time of distress, but we may see some truly great things happen as well. For example, maybe America will as a whole pay more attention to preserving the environment and drive fuel efficient cars or take public transportation, maybe we will out of necessity begin recycling items and reusing them in creative ways, maybe families will become closer, and maybe we will finally see ourselves as part of the worldwide culture where our indulgence and excess has consequences on other parts of the world. DON'T PANIC.

Finally, be sure to remember that when things get tough all you have to do is tell yourself that the "answer to the Great Question, of Life, the Universe and Everything is Forty-two."
(Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).


December Blossom

December Blossom
Originally uploaded by myredtie
This is a blossom on a bush by my driveway that greets me every morning. It is incredible to have a flower blooming beside the house in December.


I spy Saint Nick

I spy Saint Nick
Originally uploaded by myredtie
This is an official Saint Nick sighting at the Clackamas Town Center.


I've been thinking about all of the rituals or traditions that my family keeps during the holidays. While growing up we always opened our presents on Christmas Eve. Mom would make a nice roast, and after dinner we would gather around the Christmas tree and listen to dad read the Christmas story out of the bible. As a kid I really didn't pay much attention to the story because I was more curious about how many of those boxes under the tree were mine and what they had in them. After opening presents we were allowed to play for a little while until we had to go to bed and take a nap before midnight mass. Around 11:00 our sleep would be promptly interrupted, and we would dress in our finest clothes in order to head to church for the midnight mass that would last for at least an hour, if not two.

Christmas morning brought with it a flurry of activity. I come from a large family of five where I was the youngest, so on holidays everyone would come home with their kids in tow. Grandma and grandpa would come and bring a great big plate of homemade cookies and fudge. This plate would include fig pinwheels, divinity, and peanut clusters. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. We would have a couple different meats to choose from, mom's famous homemade rolls, and lots of pies and cakes for dessert. After lunch we would go for a walk or play some type of sport in the yard with the nieces and nephews. At dinner we would snack on leftovers and lounge around the living room or den.

Why am I blogging about this? Because it has been on my mind. Last night I heard a guy talk about a New Year's Day tradition and it got me to thinking about all the different holidays and all the different traditions that I hold dear. I think we need holidays to look forward to in life. Holidays mean something special and something different. Holidays give us an excuse to stop focusing on the everyday things of life and for a brief time focus on family and refocus on what is important in life. They bring with them different decorations for the house, different social events, and different foods. I think we need holidays, and they are an essential part of a healthy life. Happy Holidays!


Recycling or Craft Project?

As I look around the house, I see several things that I wish I could recycle. My boyfriend gave me an incredible bouquet of balloons for my birthday, and as the helium slowly goes out of them I can't help but wonder if there isn't something I could do with them that would be memorable. Yes, I also used to dry the flowers that people would give me in hopes of recycling them into something memorable. In the end I just ended up with a bunch of dried flowers hanging around.

What about wine bottles? Surely there is some way that isn't tacky that wine bottles could be recycled. I know I could put them in the bucket for the trashman to recycle, but I kind of really like the labels and think there must be something I can do with them in the house. In the meantime, they are making themselves a home in the basement. Oh, and surely there must be something that can be made out of all those great wine corks.

The reason these wonderful materials don't get reused in our house is because I'm just not crafty. I have definitely tried to be crafty, but I just don't seem to have that ability. I have tried cross stitch, sewing, painting, crocheting, and even latch hook with no success. These attempts produced more stuff lying around the house that I felt I must do something with. My latest attempt at crafting is to call it recycling and see if that will bring some inspiration. Like I said, surely there is something I can do to recycle a wine bottle, but what? I could fill it with water and use it as a pitcher, or I could put a candle on the end and put a collection of them on the table as a centerpiece (ok, tacky I know), I might just put the dish washing soap in it in order to have a more festive sink area but that would then produce a great plastic dishwashing bottle that I would have to do something with.

Out of frustration, and a growing mound of recycle/craft materials, I will take my search to the Internet and google things to do with empty wine bottles and used festive balloons. I just hope that the ideas aren't too tacky.

Entrance to China Town in Portland, Oregon


Walking down Hawthorne on a Sunday afternoon

Sunday afternoon I decided to enjoy the sunny day and take a walk on Hawthorne Ave.. On may way there, I passed through Ladd's Addition, http://www.portlandbridges.com/portland-neighborhoods/00-Ladd%27s%20Addition.html . For the Tulsa readers, Ladd's addition has homes similar to Brady Heights, but they are kept up like the homes in Maple Ridge. I drool every time I walk through this neighborhood. I digress because this blog isn't about Ladds.

As I walked down Hawthorne Ave. on a Sunday afternoon, I saw a very diverse sampling of people and stores. I walked by the piercing shops, voodoo art shop, hemp products shop, mom & pop hardware stores, great individually owned restaurants, the Baghdad Theater http://www.mcmenamins.com/index.php?loc=9&id=176
second hand stores, Tibet and Asian art stores, metaphysical/magick healing facility, herbal remedies store, Christian bookstore, and one store that looked like the crew from The Matrix
shopped there. Hawthorne is a trendy, kind of hippy area of Portland. All of the stores I mentioned above can be found in a span of about six blocks. Most people really like Hawthorne, and I am no exception.

As I was walking down Hawthorne with my Ipod headphones blaring out my eclectic mix of songs, I stopped in at a second hand store that caught my eye. While opening the door I noticed the sign that said, "Feel Free to Dance." Huh! I soon understood what that meant as I walked into a great mall of shopping booths that played fairly loud techno music in the background. I looked around to see where the disco ball was, and I found it in a booth for sale. No, I didn't buy it. Yes, I did think about it though. As I walked through the sometimes antique, sometimes campy booths, I was drawn to a Christmas mouse statue. Yes, I love Christmas mice. It's my thing. Anyway, when I went up to the front of the store to pay for my cute treasure I noticed the owner behind the counter. She was a rather tall drag queen in a bright purple pantsuit and a wig whose color really was a little dark for her complexion. All and all she pulled off the look very well. Was I surprised? Not really. This is Portland after all, and a well dressed drag queen shop owner is not really shocking. It is noteworthy, but not shocking. Did I mention that there are more piercings and tattoos on Hawthorne Ave. then in all of the Oklahoma alternative education facilities combined? Yes, I am exaggerating, but not by much.

Portland is a great mix of people. Diversity is definitely honored, and everyone is encouraged to express their own unique personality. Living here is like a breath of fresh air because I am continually reminded not to put so much emphasis on the things that don't really matter in life. I'm definitely learning to relax and kind of let my hair down so to speak. I am learning to do my part to "Keep Portland Weird."


Was Jesus an Environmentalist?

My sister teaches in a Catholic School, and recently she facilitated an activity with her students where they had to list all the things that describe Jesus. One of the students said that Jesus was an environmentalist. Huh! Both her and I had never thought of him like that. It got us both to thinking about this concept, and has sent me searching for more examples both pro and con. Here is my list so far:

1. Pro - Loaves & Fishes. This is the story where Jesus feeds 5,000 people with five loaves and two fishes, which is a feat that would make even the Frugal Chef jealous. He not only knew how to feed many people with a few resources, but he also collected 12 baskets of leftovers afterward. Now I ask you, is this not the epitome of resourceful food management?

2. Con - The Fig Tree. "Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, 'May you never bear fruit again!' Immediately the tree withered." Mathew 21: 18-22. He killed a tree because it did not have signs of fruit production that he could eat. Environmentalist? I don't think so. I have to wonder if maybe Mathew just missed a crucial point to this story. Maybe the tree had a disease, like elm disease, which would infect all the fig trees in the area if it did not get cut down. Maybe he just transplanted it to a nearby orchard where it would somehow produce more fruit. Are my theories outlandish? Well, yea. But hey, this is my blog. :)

3. Con- In all honesty, if you look through the bible stories you will see ample examples where he talks about the afterlife or the importance of loving one another and treating everyone with respect. He talks a lot about fighting hypocrisy. He talks about loving God, loving yourself, loving your neighbor and saying no to any temptation that would affect your relationship with either God, yourself, or your fellow man. I'm not sure Jesus was so concerned about the earth. I think he viewed it as a temporary place, kind of like we are renting but not owning.

Conclusion: After doing some basic research on the subject, I'd have to say that I'm not sure Jesus was an environmentalist. I will tell you one thing though, Jesus was definitely a liberal.


Portland Museum vs. Tulsa Museums

Today I took the opportunity to enjoy some of the Oregon sunshine and rode my bike downtown to the Portland Art Museum, http://www.portlandartmuseum.org/ . Before I begin my reaction to the museum, I would like to point out to all the Portlanders who are reading this post that I do love Portland and have written many posts about all the great things this city has to offer, but I am sorry to say that I was not impressed with the Portland Art Museum. To be fair, it was mostly modern art, and that is not my favorite form of artistic expression. It is possible that many modern art enthusiasts would love this museum. To me it just seemed all too new, and I have never been a fan of things that are just too new. I like art that shows a bit of age and really delves into the human condition or the landscapes of the earth. Art that tells stories of human emotions and history. My favorite art always includes people in some way. A true artist can show so much about a person in the painting just by the way he/she paints the eyes or even the shading in the picture.

I have spent a fair amount of time in museums. This isn't bragging, it is just saying that I have an idea of what I like in art. I was totally spoiled by the Philbrook, http://www.philbrook.org/, and Gilcrease museum, http://www.gilcrease.org/, in Tulsa. I spent a lot of time in Philbrook studying the paintings and sculptures and walking through the beautifully landscaped gardens. The structure itself was built by Waite Phillips as his home back in the early 1930's. He was a very wealthy oilman (Phillips 66), and he and his wife brought a European elegance to their home from their travels abroad. Just the fireplace screens are incredible. He was also a collector of art and donated his house, art, and grounds to Tulsa as an art museum. It is listed in the top 50 museums of the United States, and it is in the top five for the combination of art, home, and gardens.

The Gilcrease Museum is a more modern structure which focuses on Native American Art and the West. It has some beautiful paintings by Thomas Moran, http://www.nga.gov/feature/moran/index.shtm. It also has a great collection of Latin American art. Thomas Gilcrease was an oilman who collected art and eventually donated his residence and art to Tulsa for a museum. It is an awe inspiring museum.

Once, I was fortunate enough to see an exhibit of Etruscian art. I had to drive a little ways for it, but it was totally worth it.

I will definitely miss the Festival of Trees put on by the Philbrook Museum every year. Local artists submit different interpretations of Christmas trees and ginger bread houses to the museum for display and auction. All of the proceeds go to fund the museum. The interpretations, based on a different theme each year, are truly remarkable.

Portland definitely has a lot of great things to offer it's residents, but art museums are not on the top of the list. Either that or I have just been spoiled by the art museums of Tulsa that are the legacy of a couple of very generous oilmen.

One can list many ways that Tulsa is lacking, but culture is definitely not one of them. For a city it's size, it has incredible museums, opera (http://www.tulsaopera.com/), ballet (http://www.tulsaballet.org/), and a very active performing arts center (http://www.tulsapac.com/). It has very active and established social groups whose missions are to promote the arts in Tulsa. All of these are products of Tulsa's Golden Era when it was the "Oil Capital of the World." All one has to do is pick up a Tulsa People, http://www.tulsapeople-digital.com/tulsapeople/200811/?u1=texterity, and see all of the party pictures from fundraisers and all sorts of balls. This months addition does not have those pages because October is the annual blackout period for events so that the United Way can get a great start on it's yearly fundraising goal.

Portland is a wonderful city; Tulsa is a wonderful city. This post just goes to prove what I have said all along, it is difficult to compare the two cities. It is definitely like comparing apples and oranges.



I biked over to my neighborhood library today and it was packed full of people. They were not there just to sit on the computers, but they were also browsing the shelves and sitting on any available chair or ledge and reading. Yes, they were actually reading. From what I understand, Portland is definitely a reading type of city. I ended up biking home in the rain, but I had a smile on my face because I had Changing Tides by Michael Thomas Ford, http://www.curledup.com/chantide.htm , stashed in a waterproof bag. I know what I'm doing tonight as my boyfriend plays Fallout 3, http://fallout.bethsoft.com/eng/home/home.php?fbid=y44A019Gpxt.

On a recent exersion downtown, I explored the central library, http://www.multcolib.org/agcy/cen.html . The sheer beauty of this building is inspiring. It was so full of architecture and marble that several parts of it reminded me of the Oklahoma State Capitol. I wish I could say more, but I think you have to see it to believe that a library could be this beautiful. It also has an eco- roof, a room just for writers, and a whole wing dedicated to arts and music which features several rows of sheet music. The best thing of all is that it was very, very, very busy. Once again, people were sitting wherever they could and even on the floors in order to read books. The checkout desks had non-stop traffic.

All of this activity around the library really made me stop to reflect on what a service a library does for the community. It gives everyone, regardless of socio-economic level or culture, equal access to knowledge; education; and entertainment. Another interesting point is that all types of people use the library regardless of socio-economic level or culture. It is also a living example of recycling.

I'm back home now in the upstairs office looking out over the rooftops at the cloudy, dark sky. I feel warm and cozy up here with my mug of apple cider. Maybe I'll grab a blanket from the bed and start reading my library book.


Walking path around Multnomah Falls

This is the four foot wide path that leads to the top of Multnomah Falls. I felt like a hobbit as I hiked the mountainside.

Multnomah Falls 2

Multnomah Falls 2
Originally uploaded by myredtie
I swear I saw a mermaid swimming at the bottom of the falls. :)

On the historic Columbia River Highway heading to Multnomah Falls

The historic Columbia River Highway is incredible. It has twists and turns and views everywhere. It has old concrete bridges with moss growing over them, and side white fences that give a quaint feel to the road.

Columbia River Gorge

This it the Columbia River Gorge. It is literally minutes from Portland, and it makes me feel like I am inside a giant Thomas Moran painting.

Individual Cabbage

Individual Cabbage
Originally uploaded by myredtie

A field of cabbage

A field of cabbage
Originally uploaded by myredtie
While driving on the historic Columbia River Highway, I came across a field of cabbage. It was November 17th, and the cabbage was very healthy and ripe for the picking. No, I did not take one.


Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Originally uploaded by myredtie
I biked into downtown to meet my boyfriend for lunch at a Lebanese restaurant, http://www.yahalarestaurant.com/

After we ate, we walked over to Pioneer Square and watched them in the beginning stages of putting up the Christmas Tree. They had to cut off the bottom branches in order to get it through the streets, and they will reattach them once the tree is firmly in place again.

Downtown Portland

Originally uploaded by myredtie
This is a picture that I took as I was exiting the Hawthorne Bridge. I stopped to look back over downtown.

Portland Rose Garden

Portland Rose Garden
Originally uploaded by myredtie
This was taken in the Rose Garden at Washington Park.

Mike at the beach

Originally uploaded by myredtie
This is a picture of me at the Oregon beach. We went to Cannon Beach and Seaside. It is hard to describe the experience of looking out at the ocean and realizing you are at the end of the United States.

Our House

Our House
Originally uploaded by myredtie
This is our wonderful late 1800's Victorian house. It sits 11 steps up from the road, and it has a back deck with a hot tub. The ceilings are very high.

Looking out over Portland

Looking out over Portland
Originally uploaded by myredtie
This is a view of Portland from Washington Park. We spent a wonderful Sunday afternoon hiking though the hills of this park. At one point we came across a tree hollow that had tiny little furniture arranged in it. Yep, there are fairies in the forest. :)

Hawthorne Bridge

Originally uploaded by myredtie
This is the Hawthorne Bridge that Ben and I bike and drive across to get downtown. It has been raised in the picture to prepare for a ship going under it.



After several days of rain and gloomy weather, the sun decided to make an appearance this morning. I am outside on the deck writing this because I don't want to miss any opportunity to soak up the rays. The sky is clear, and the temperature is mild. I would head out to the beach but the news says that the highways headed that way are closed because of water and mud slides. Maybe I will take a trek toward Mt. Hood.

It is hard to feel down and depressed these days because of the weather or the fact that I don't have a job yet. I feel so blessed and fortunate this year that I don't really concentrate on the couple of things I don't have. I'm not meaning to brag, but I do feel fortunate this year because of the following reasons:

1. Boyfriend. My boyfriend is the best boyfriend ever. We connect on several different levels, and I think he would agree that it just feels and is right. I have searched a long time for him, and I appreciate him a lot.

2. House. I closed on my house in Tulsa on August 5th, just a month and a half before the market went bust. I got a really good price for my house. Yeaaa!

3. Northwest. I'm living in the Pacific Northwest, how incredibly cool is that. I never thought I'd live on the West Coast, and now here I am. Wow!

4. Portland. I not only live in the Pacific Northwest, but in Portland. I live a little over an hour from the beach, a little over an hour from skiing, I have huge parks full of hiking trails, tons of stores and events. Yep, Portland is very nice.

5. Exercise. I am getting a fair amount of exercise living in Portland. We bike all around Portland, and I have made a commitment to do Yoga at least once a week. I'm toning up and feeling better. Life is good.

Well, that is the short list of the things I am thankful for as I head into the Thanksgiving season. Yep, I don't have a job and the weather can be dreary. Honestly, it is just a matter of time for me to get a job, and the weather every once in a while gives us a very sunny day like today. All and all, I am very happy. Life is for the living, so I better get off this computer and go find me some living to do today.


Sun Worshipping

I became very excited this morning as I looked out the window upstairs and thought I saw a stretch of clear sky. I dragged my boyfriend to the window only to realize it was just a layer of clouds on top of another layer of clouds. Bah humbug! I told him that if the sun would come out I would run outside and worship it. He laughed and continued to get dressed for work.

I have been pondering this concept of sun worship this morning. It is a very ancient concept dating back to the times of the ancient Egyptians http://www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/ra.htm , ancient Greeks http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/heliosmyth/Helios_Greek_Mythology_Helios.htm. and more recently the Native Americans http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/tawa.htm where their people worshiped the sun. The sun is such a necessity for good mental health for so many humans that it is no wonder that some cultures elevated it to the level of a god. The sun generally gives people a better disposition, a feeling of hope, energy, and it provides life to life nourishing vegetables and fruits. Physiologically it also prevents the onset of seasonal affective disorder. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/seasonalaffectivedisorder.html

When we moved to Portland this fall we were constantly warned by the natives that winter is coming. Having grown up in Western Kansas and living in N.E. Oklahoma where the sun is shining most of the time, I was a little unsettled by the prospect of not seeing it for large stretches of time. Now, I see it as a challenge, and I so love a good challenge.

Actually, it hasn't been that bad. In Oklahoma, we could have several days of rain, but it was heavy rain that never let up. In Portland, it is more of a mist or just a light rain or sprinkle. In Oklahoma after a rain, you would walk out and just smell the humidity and mold spores galloping through the air. Portland still smells fresh and clear outside after a rain. In fact, this is the first fall in many years that I have not been on an inhaler and at least two types of allergy medicine. There is an abundance of foliage in Portland, but it doesn't seem to affect my allergies.

I have also found that the lack of sun actually tends to slow me down and make me less worried and stressed. It is like a constant reminder to just relax and enjoy the day. It also seems to be goading me to work out and exercise more. Everyday I look for ways to workout and exercise. I ride my bike all over Portland, and I have committed to doing Yoga once a week. The clouds seem to energize me in a relaxing and calm way.

So, will I really change religions and start worshiping the sun? Although I appreciate the sun more and more, it is very doubtful I will make it a god. I do however understand better how ancient people could have made a god out of such a wonderful life giver as the sun.


Oregon Voting

At the risk of being a hyper cheerleader for Oregon, I need to write about what a great experience voting is here. About three weeks before the election we received handbooks on how to fill out the ballots. Two weeks before the election our ballots arrived with a brochure that described each measure in detail. My boyfriend and I walked over to our favorite coffee shop in Ladd's Addition, www.palio-in-ladds.com, and spent the next two hours looking up the measures and candidates on our laptop and smart phones. I have never had a voting experience where I was this informed about all of the decisions. After we finished up our butter pecan steamer and Italian vanilla soda, we then signed the envelopes and put them in the mail. Presto, voting is done.


Moments of Being

Virginia Woolf once wrote about a concept that she called "Moments of Being." According to Woolf, moments of being are those times in life when years later you can still remember how it felt, what it smelled like, the temperature, etc. They are those rare moments where no matter how much time elapses when you think about them in your mind you are magically transported back to that space. Woolf wrote that these "Moments of Being" are the things that one should write about. I can't will an experience into being a "Moment of Being." In fact, often they are fairly ordinary or common place moments, but for some reason I can remember them perfectly. An example is when I was little and a dog jumped up and knocked my snow cone over. I remember the air being crisp, and my hands being sticky. I also remember the extreme guilt I felt at the age of five as my mother wiped up my spilled cone and then gave me hers.

I have had many events that I wished were moments of being, but they just turned out to be magical moments in my mind. For example, today I was driving back on I 5 from a conference in Lake Oswego. All of a sudden I looked out and saw a fantastic view of Mount Hood. It was incredible. Because traffic was backed up, I had several moments to sit and stare at the snow capped mountain. While crossing the Ross Island Bridge, I was able to see Mount St. Helens in the distance. It just was so clear and crisp and enchanting. Will I remember it as a moment of being? I don't think so. But it was a magical moment all the same.

I am intrigued by this thought tonight, and it is driving me to consider my own moments of being. I have decided to list a few below:

1. I remember when I was in 7th grade and had been working out in the barn on a particularly cold winter's night in Western Kansas. When mom called us in to supper, she had homemade stew and homemade buttermilk biscuits on the table. I still remember the taste of that stew and the smell of those biscuits. I can still remember the steam coming up from those items on the table and how it felt when I swallowed all that wonderful warmth into my freezing body.

2. When I was 19 years old, I had the good fortune to spend a weekend at a retreat house in upstate Minnesota called the Villa Maria http://www.villamariaretreats.org/ We stayed in the main building that time had kind of left behind. The rooms were bare and cold. I remember waking up in the morning on the third floor and realizing that the cold Minnesota morning had crept into the room as we had slept. I jumped out of bed, my toes cringing at the cold linoleum underneath my feet, and ran to the bathroom. They had a couple of rows of old clawfoot tubs seperated by shower curtains. I filled one of the tubs with hot water and had one of the most soothing and relaxing baths of my life. No one else was up, and it was just me in this large bathtub with the steam rising up from the water. My feet are tingling just now as I recall how it felt to step into that incredible tub.

3. The first year after I graduated from college, my father passed away from a painful form of cancer. It was quite a year to say the least. I had taken a job five hours from home and was teaching Eng. 9 and Eng. 10, fall play director, forensics coach, and assistant basketball coach to the junior high. On the weekends I often went home to help mom with dad. On one particular Saturday I had stayed at school to work on the set of the play. It was just me in this large, old school. I worked late into the evening while rock music played on the radio. While I was blocking out the lighting system and when which lights should go on in the script, I started dancing to the music. Before I knew it I was dancing on stage to the rock music under the stage lights. I switch from green to yellow to blue lights as I danced more and more wildly on stage. I jumped and swirled in time to the music. It wasn't dull dancing, but a form of wild/animalistic dancing. I was dancing out all of my stress and fear. It was like if I didn't dance I would cry. I can remember the heat of the lights on my face and the beating of my heart as the sweat began to form and run down my cheeks. I can remember the thud my feet made on the stage as I ran around the stage dancing in an effort to bring back some type of calm and stability into my life Most of all I can remember the feeling of exhaustion and total muscle relaxation as I collapsed on stage in a heap of spent emotion. When I think about that moment, I am transported back to this time in my mind.

So, there are three of my "Moments of Being." I have more, but then again we all do. I wonder what other people have for "Moments of Being." What are your "Moments of Being?"


Oregon Wine Country

Last weekend my boyfriend and I headed out to the wine country of Oregon. It was his birthday, and we wanted to have a weekend getaway. We were amazed at how many wineries there were within 60 miles of Portland in the Willamette Valley Region. All we had to do was drive down 99 South and we found the winery signs everywhere, especially around McMinnville.

Saturday night we stayed at Harrison House, http://www.corvallis-lodging.com/ , a bed and breakfast in Corvallis. From the common areas stocked with complimentary red and white wine to the cute little cottage overlooking the herb garden that we were able to stay in, it was all very nice and comfortable. The breakfast was very, very, very good. Did I mention the breakfast was good?

We celebrated my boyfriend's birthday Saturday night with a meal at Aqua's http://www.aquacorvallis.com/Aqua%20Seafood%20Corvallis.html in Corvallis. We both thought we had died and gone to seafood heaven. If you ever find yourself heading though Corvallis and looking for a nice seafood restaurant, then this place is a must.

We toured four vineyards during our quest for wine. They are listed below:

Firesteed, http://www.firesteed.com/
Tyee, http://www.tyeewine.com/
Left Coast Cellars, http://www.leftcoastcellars.com/
Mystic, http://www.mysticwine.com/

All of them were very educational because they really took the time to tell us about the different types of wines and how wine is made. Tyee was particularly wonderful because they let us walk in the vineyard. There is something very special and almost biblical about walking among the old grapevines heavy with grapes. Tyee also had a plate of grapes that they let us sample, and then they used those grapes to educate us about the wines we were about to taste.

During our journey, I saw a sign that said Brigittine Monastery http://www.brigittine.org/ this way. So we went that way and found a wonderful, out of the way monastery where they sell incredible fudge. They gave us samples of all of the varieties. We particularly liked the pecan praline fudge royale and had to buy a box of it to take home. Their prices were very good, and you can buy their confectionaries on the web. Oh those high tech monks think of everything.

Finally, we stopped in McMinnville at the Bistro Maison http://www.bistromaison.com/ OMG. Yep, that just about covers the incredible experience of eating at Bistro Maison. The food was awsome, but the dessert was beyond words. What that chef does with dessert is just short of a miracle.

Whew! We had a full and fun packed weekend. Here are some of the things that I learned:

1. I love Pinot Gris and Riesling wines. My fondness for Pinot Noir depends on how much of the oak barrel taste is actually in the wine.

2. I tend to go for the white wines because they are a little sweeter.

3. The color of wine depends on the length of time the grape is in the skin between the picking and the actually pressing of the juice.

4. It is definitely ok to use those cans at the counter to toss in the wine. If you are the driver and heading to several vineyards, you will need to just take a swallow and dump the rest into the can.

5. Sometimes the best moments are the ones that are unplanned.



It is so different living in a blue state after living in the red state of Oklahoma. I could bash Oklahoma a little bit here, but I will refrain. This blog will be about Oregon, and more specifically Portland.

I daily come across reminders that Portland is serious about politics. When the debates were airing on television, many of the theaters around town showed the debates on the big screens. It was standing room only in these theaters. Wow! Also, I have been asked by volunteers on the street numerous times if I am registered to vote. These volunteers hold papers on clipboards eager to sign me up. This has happened downtown, outside of businesses, and even when I just go for a walk in my neighborhood. I also find it very interesting that you don't go to polling booths in Oregon. Instead, the ballots are mailed to you at home. When I asked why, I was told that people like to take their time and maybe even research the different candidates and items on the Internet and answer the questions in the privacy of their own home. In fact, I think the ballots were mailed out today.

While biking or walking down the streets, I am reminded of how blue the state is everywhere I look. One of the businesses downtown has unofficially changed their name from "Backspace" to "Barackspace." I also recently saw a garage sale and a bake sale where the contributions went to Obama. Just today I was biking in a neighborhood and looked over to see that a homeowner had painted the letters for Obama on 5 large gourds and placed them in her front yard.

From what I understand, not all of Oregon is blue. In fact, most of it is red and conservative. It just so happens that Portland, especially Multnomah County, is as blue as the eyes of a newborn baby. I find it incredible that one city can pretty much dictate the way a state will be represented.

Note: Today Germany passed a 675 billion dollar bailout package to help their financial institutions.


Biking in Portland

I have mentioned the amount of bicycling I am doing in previous posts, and I have made reference to all of the bicycling that everyone else does here in Portland, but I think I should go into detail about it just a little more. Biking in Portland is not just for exercise or sport, but it is for necessity. A lot of people don't own cars, so this is their main form of transportation.
People also bike for convenience. Whenever we go downtown, we bike downtown because of parking. When we went to the Weezer concert the other night at the Rose Quarter, http://www.rosequarter.com/, we biked there and back. Parking was sooooooooooo not an issue. :)

Portland was made for biking. Bike poles are placed all over downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. It is hard to find a business that doesn't have bike parking nearby. Bike lanes are marked on many of the streets, and now the city has devised green boxes downtown which help prevent bikers from getting hit by drivers making right turns. The following link tells about the bike boxes:

The sheer number of bikers is incredible. Whenever I go anywhere in Portland I see bikers. During rush hours you can see a flood of bikes enter and leave downtown on the various bridges. I read an article in a Portland magazine which told about two business women who ride their bikes all over Portland to different appointments. They said they save at least $300.00 a month in gas with no carbon emission. Another example is when I was biking into downtown the other day and saw about 100 bicycles tied up in the street in front of an open warehouse. I was told that the BPA, http://www.bta4bikes.org/ ,was sponsoring an encouragement event for bikers with free beer and pizza.

I am sitting at Clinton Corner, neighborhood pub/restaurant, and writing this blog. I am looking out the window and I see at least 1 bicyclist every minute at the moment. Wow!

My boyfriend and I are going to be die hard bicyclists. We are already biking home at midnight after events, and we are learning to bundle up tight for the cold evenings. I still have to put fenders on my bike, and we both need to get water proof pants and booties. Yep, we will definitely be biking throughout the winter. I keep telling myself I need to get fenders put on soon, but I just hate the thought of not having my bike with me for a couple of days.

Well, it is time for me to go. I have to actually do some bicycling for exercise today. I am wondering just how far North I can go in 30 minutes before I turn around and make the trip back. I am hoping to reach Loyd Mall http://www.lloydcenter.com/ and watch the ice skaters, or at least make it to Hollywood Theater http://www.hollywoodtheatre.org/ and see the times for the independent films.



As I sit here in the office and begin this blog post, I hear in the background the tick tock of my 1880's Waterbury clock that I got from Grandma's house. I like to think of it as the heartbeat of the house because if you listen quietly, you can hear it in every room of the main level. I have definitely put into it in repairs more than it is worth. I like it, and it is very relaxing. :)

So, what does the clock have to do with writing? Well, it actually was the inspiration to one of my longest writings yet. I have always said that every English teacher has at least one unpublished, and unfinished, book on their hard drives or in their closet somewhere. I am no exception. I have written over 100 pages on a book that takes place in the old west and centers around a small town called Justice. It unflinchingly details the specifics of small town life that applied back then and still today. It was inspired by the clock on the wall. This clock plays a visible roll in the first scene of the book, and it continues to reappear throughout.

Why haven't I finished the book? Good question. Part of me says that the book tells me when it wants to be worked on and continued. I know, lame excuse. I guess I just don't have the tenacity of the great authors. Hmmmmm, let me take that back. Someone can actually have tenacity and write/publish many books, but they really are not close to great authors, they are just popular authors. Yes, there is a difference, or am a I just an English snob.

I wish I were one of those people who really loved writing. Where an evening at home with my laptop or pencil and paper is the highlight of my week. Unfortunately, I am not that way. I am blogging now though, so maybe there is hope. One of my goals is to be a published author, and so far I have been able to attain my goals in life. I just think it would be so cool to walk into Barnes & Noble and see my book on the shelf. I would have to take a picture of it.

As I sit here in the office and see the clouds outside I realize that this would be the perfect day to pick up my book writing again. Will I do it? I don't know. I also am tempted to keep reading my current book selection, The World Without Us, http://www.worldwithoutus.com/ by Alan Weisman. I just looked out my window and saw my 82 year old neighbor, Frank, loading fishing stuff into an SUV. It looks like his wife is going with him too. An outdoor adventure sounds interesting today. Oh, and the Hollywood theater, http://www.hollywoodtheatre.org/ is showing some great independent films. Ok, now I am beginning to understand why I don't take the time to write.

Uh oh, the sun is staring to poke through the clouds which is a definite sign that I might end up doing something outside today instead of writing. I'm thinking the day might begin best with a Bubble Tea from the Fat Straw. Ohhhhh yeaaaaa!


Portland (Overall a definite yes)

I have to admit that I did not heap a lot of expectations on Portland. I moved around a lot as a kid, and the one thing I realized early on is that a place really does not have a huge affect on my life. I can be happy or sad no matter if I live in Oklahoma, Portland, or even in an exotic place overseas. At first everything is exciting, new, and very different, but overtime it begins to seem routine again. Some people despise the routine, but I kind of like both the new and the routine. Honestly, I figure it is just a part of living life.

Beauty. So, having lower expectations for Portland means that the city definitely exceeded them. Actually, if I had high expectations for Portland the city still would have exceeded them. The sheer beauty of Portland and Oregon is incredible. One of our friends said that if you could measure beauty by units, the unit would have to be called an Oregon. People told me about the beauty of the N.W., but I had no idea it was this incredible.

Activities. Before we moved here we made a trip to Portland in order to see the city and meet some of the locals. They said that they thought of the city as an extension of their living space. All the coffee shops, restaurants, music venues, bars, public parks, hiking trails were just an extension of their living rooms. I like that idea, and I think it is definitely true here. There seems to always be something to do in Portland. For example, tonight there is a board game group going on at the Lucky Labrador, and Friday night is the beer and blog.

Politics. Everyone seems to be interested in politics here. When the debates are on, most local theaters are airing them on the big screen. One thing I find particularly interesting is that if you go to one of those theaters a quarter till the debate starts, the theater is full. Cool huh. I definitely live in a blue state. One of the coffee shops in downtown went from being called Back Space to Barack space. Everywhere I look I see Obama stickers, signs, and t-shirts. When I was out garage selling the other day I saw a sell with a huge sign that read "Everything is free with a donation to Obama." Later in the day I saw a bake sale for Obama. It is definitely different going from the red state of Oklahoma to the blue state of Oregon, and particularly Multnomah county.

Struggles. It is not all roses here. I have almost decided that real estate is not for me, so I am considering pursuing education and training again. Most of my training is in this area, and I am good at it. It has been hard for us to meet friends here, especially fairly normal friends. Everything is new. I have to take about $900.00 worth of state tests in order to get permanent English/social studies certificates. We are both away from our families. In Tulsa, we lived just a 5 hour drive from our families, now we are a long flight away. This has not been easy, but we are coping with it. Sometimes I do feel lonely here, but I know it is just a matter of time before we make some friends and start to socialize more.

Stress. It is easy to stress right now with the $700 billion dollar bailout and the financial situation in America. Add to that the fact that I don't have a job, and you can see why I might be stressed sometimes. On the other hand, this has been a very relaxing and calming time for me also. It has almost been like a personal sabatical.

Well, that is about it for now. I think I'm going to try to convince my boyfriend that we need to go to the Fat Straw tonight for bubble tea. Yummmm! So addictive.



Biking or walking around Portland seems to be the preferred means of transportation. My boyfriend and I have parked the truck and are trying not to use it if possible. It results in physical exercise, as well as better personal finances. :) In fact, when I drive the truck around now I realize how artificial and out of touch motorized transportation is to the soil, the plants, the people, and the earth in general.

It reminds me of how cars were viewed in one of my favorite books, Howard's End, by E.M. Forster. In this book, that takes place in the early 1900's, an old wealthy family meets a new wealthy family and is slightly put off by their love of all things modern. The newly rich family are considered to be "just a wall of newspapers and motorcars and golf clubs" behind which lies nothing but "panic and emptiness."

Now that is an interesting thought. I am going to focus on how technology (represented by motorcars in the book) has led to "panic." How much has modern technology actually enhanced our life with true, not fake or superficial, interactions with our fellow man? Has modern technology actually made our lives easier or does it mean that people just expect more of us? For example, take the teacher. In the past, he/she had to figure grades once a quarter or so. Now they are in a "panic" to figure the grades weekly using a computer program and download them to the office at least on a weekly basis. It is expected that teachers run around in a "panic" sending letters home to the parents and responding to their e-mail on a regular basis. Some schools have it set up where the teacher has to post their assignments daily on a website where the parents can access them every night. Does this make for more effective teaching? Are the students learning more from this extra effort by the teacher in a hurried "panic?" Honestly, I do think that modern technology has helped many parents and teachers keep students on track, but in the process it may sometimes be robbing the students of learning personal responsibility.
Also, consider the incredible "panic" everyone is in to stay on top of the current programs and trends in technology. We are rushing around trying to master the new items before they become obsolete and replaced by even newer and more advanced technology.

Having said all of this I have to admit that I like my technology. I am becoming addicted to my new Blackberry, and Twitter www.twitter.com is definitely a friend of mine. I love my Ipod and feel absolutely isolated without the Internet for e-mail, information, directions. Yep, I am definitely hooked into the technology machine. I am being assimilated, like the Borg in Star Trek. In fact, I often think of the Borg when I see someone with one of those blue tooth ear pieces. It becomes an attachment to their body. I can see it now, slowly that piece of machinery will make it into informal pictures, then family pictures, and finally wedding pictures. "Resistence is futile."

So, maybe riding our bikes and walking to places is Portland's way of detaching from technology for a brief time and having a real interaction with the environment which surrounds us. Nature is so incredible and so accessible. We have to stop looking out the window at it from our heated office, close our laptops, turn off our radios, and actually walk out and experience the real that is nature. Ok, closing laptop now.


True Acceptance?????

As I venture out in the Portland scene, I find that people are very liberal here. Everyone recycles, many people are Democrat, and there are vegetarian and even vegan dining options everywhere I look.

Coming from the Midwest, you would think I would find this a breath of fresh air. In some ways I do, but in others I don't. It does mean that my boyfriend and I can be totally open in public and not have to worry about getting our heads bashed in. That is pretty good actually. On the downside I am beginning to notice a brand of Portland liberal that in the name of diversity is as unaccepting as the right wing conservatives back in Tulsa.

I have come across a few of the "militants." The ones who are very liberal, very cause oriented, and they appear on the outside to be just wonderfully accepting of diversity. They are not. They actually have little tolerance for anyone who might be more conservative or less into the environmental issues that they feel strongly about. In short, they are just as close minded as their conservative counterparts.

I believe in free thinking and exchanging a diversity of thought. This world would be pretty boring if we just had the environmental liberals or the right wing conservatives. We need all types of people to make this world interesting. Am I on a soap box? Yes. If you don't agree with me then that is fine. In fact that is great because we then have the opportunity to open a dialogue that could be interesting and possibly educational for both of us.

Note: I do realize the irony that in my own way writing this blog entry makes me close minded about the militant liberals or the religious conservatives. Hmmmmmmmm!


The BagdadTheater


My boyfriend and I went to the Bagdad Theater last night for the first time and watched a movie.


Be sure to check out the "View the Bagdad Theater and Pub Photo Gallery under the picture.

The movie was "Hancock." The movie was average, but the theater was incredible. It is one of those old "Golden Age of Hollywood" places where it magically transports you to the middle east with it's moroccan decor. One of the great things is that they replaced the chairs in the balcony with sofas and comfortable chairs. In front of these are skinny tables where you can put your beer, pizza, Jack Daniels, nachos, popcorn. Yep, I said beer, pizza and Jack Daniels. In fact, you can order beer by the pitcher there and bring it into the theater. It is a very comfy and cozy. We will definitely be going back.

We rode our bikes to the theater. It is amazing how much we ride our bikes here. I almost feel guilty when I fire up the truck these days. Most days I ride my bike around the neighborhoods or take the bus if I'm heading downtown. The oil price isn't a big deal for me right now. If I don't take a trip outside of the city, I think I could make it on a tank of gas a month. Wow! In Tulsa there were days of errands where I could use a quarter of a tank just in that day.

After the movie we rode our bikes to the Fat Straw, 4258 SE Hawthorne Blvd, where we had bubble tea. Yumm! Then we rode our bikes up and down Hawthorne and decided to have fish and chips for dinner.

It was a wonderful Portland evening.

What is next Portland? I can only imagine all the great little surprises you have in store for us.

Well, I have to go study the real estate stuff again.


People Watching

I have to admit, when it comes to people watching there seems to be an over abundance of characters in Portland. I mean this in a good way. One thing I've noticed is all of the tattoos. I have nothing against tattoos and have even considered getting one, but I have never figured out what tattoo I would want to look at for the rest of my life. I did one time put a deposit down on a pink snagglepus that would go just above my ankle. I had the one picked out where he is wearing a black top hat and carrying a cane. As I thought about it, I wondered a couple of things. First of all, is it too gay?????? Second of all, do I really want to be in an old folks home someday sporting a big pink pussy cat on my ankle? Needless to say, I did not go through with it.

I digress. Back to people watching. It seems like everything is so laid back here. People wear a lot of vintage fashion from 30 or 40 years ago. The other day I saw a woman in line at the supermarket wearing a coat that looked good, but all I could think was that somewhere an old lady is mourning the coat sized hole in her shag carpet.

One of my favorite things I love about Portland is the unexpected. Most of the time human behavior is fairly predictable, but sometimes little things happen that are so unexpected but pleasant. I was driving downtown the other day and looking out the window at the stoplight. I was watching this older heavy set woman walk down the other side of the street. She caught my eye and gave me a big smile and flitted across the road in the crosswalk. The smile was so unexpected and so genuine. I smiled back of course.

On the bus tonight I saw a huge variety of people in just the 15 people occupying the seats. I could go into each one in detail, but that would take too much time.

I love to study people and their mannerisms and expressions. So often people say so much about what they are thinking or feeling without even opening their mouths. Eyes are another good thing to watch. Eyes often tell the story behind the superficial exterior.

I saw a bumper sticker today that read, "Keep Portland Weird." I agree, and I think that sums up the people watching experience in Portland.

Good Night!


Chance of Rain in Portland

Just finishing a light lunch at the Chance of Rain Cafe in Portland,
It is great. It is on a side street off Hawthorne. The atmosphere is very laid back and they have great chicken nachos. Unlike the nachos in the midwest which usually come smothered with cheese, these have enough cheese to make it nice, but you can still taste the nachos. Overall a good lunch experience.


Read in the paper last Sunday about a woman who was riding her inline skates in downtown Portland nude. The police received several calls, not because she was nude, but because they were concerned for her safety. The police approached her and told her she couldn't bike naked. They told her she need something to cover the lower regions. She pulled out a bikini bottom, put it on, and happily skated away with her top ta ta's hanging out.

About a week ago I saw a woman riding her bike without a top on Hawthorne Ave. She was waving her hands around like a naked mermaid. On the back of her bike she had a sign that read join me for nude bicycling.

My reaction: Hmmmm, this is a hard one. I mean I'm from the midwest and gay. Unlike most men, I kind of don't really want to see the breasticles. But, if men can run around topless then why can't women? I don't know. My reactions are mixed.


Portland at last

We arrived in Portland about 10 days ago after a very adventurous Oregon Trail. The first few days was a fenzy of getting things unpacked and trying to figure out where everything is in this new city.

It can pretty much be summed up with one phrase, "I don't think we are in Kansas anymore."


Reflections on a past life

As I pack up my bags and cut my ties to Tulsa, I can't help but take time here and there and reflect. This has been my home for most of my adult life. I have had good times and bad times, happy times and sad times. I've known true friendship, but I have also felt the sting of true betrayal. It has been a bitter sweet city for me. I wonder if that is true for life in general no matter where you live.

My grandmother, who lived to be 91, says that as she looked back on life she saw a series of chapters with definite beginnings and definite endings. As I look back on my time in Tulsa I can see those chapters. This move to Portland is a little more than a chapter break though.

I leave here with a wonderful boyfriend, a few good friends, and a lot of memories. That isn't bad at all.

I find myself almost exercising out the bad feelings of some of the past things. I have visited places of my past and confronted some ghosts. Any bitter or harsh feelings I have I am trying to work through. After all, these people will not be part of my future. I think it is a healthy thing to do.

I find that I really am not putting a lot of expectations on Portland. I am excited about it, but I do not know what it holds for me.

Well, that is all for today.


Found a kitten

As I was driving to the U-Haul store today I found a baby kitten in the center median of a 4 lane road. She was trying to run into traffic. I scooped her up, she ran under my truck seat and fell asleep exhausted. I took her home, left a message for her owners, and started cuddling her. She kneaded my neck with her paws over and over, purred a lot, and fell asleep in my arms. Sooooooo cute. I'm sure I could assign a deeper meaning to this incident, but why? People say that everything happens for a reason. I sometimes subscribe to this concept, but today I think that sometimes things just happen. Gotta go run errands now.


First Post - Sounds

This is my first post for my new blog, and it seems I can't concentrate. I'm not one of those people who can block out sounds when I read or write, especially when I read. Let me see if I can identify all of the sounds I hear at the moment. Currently, I hear the cubs game on tv, the sounds of a double screen gaming system nearby, and a thumping noise which is probably the cat.............................. Oh wait, that's me. The chair I'm sitting in makes a thump noise. I also hear the occasional page turning from the friend reading a magazine while watching tv, and a popping of feet. Well, nothing productive or reflective at this point. Cubs are 2 in 1 in the 5th by the way. Go Cubs!