Posts Tagged ‘ lake oswego ’

Why I Love Living in Portland.

I know it’s old news by now, but I live in Portland. What I may have failed to mention is that I recently moved into Portland itself instead of living out in Lake Oswego, because I like Portland. Therefore, I have compiled a (very short) list of the things that are making me fall in love with this city.
  • The Coffee
As far as I know, most places in the country (and indeed the world) you can get coffee, but in Portland, you can get excellent coffee everywhere. I’m not kidding– everywhere. Even at random little greasy spoon places, if you order a cup of coffee it’ll probably be from Stumptown or Portland Roasting Company. Neither of those are my favorite roasters, but they do a damn fine job compared to the Folgers you’ll get at little places in Central Oregon.
  • The People-Watching and Eavesdropping
A few weeks ago, my sisters and I were walking around SE Portland. It was on that random weekend in April when it was 80 degrees and sunny, and since Jessie had misplaced her sunglasses, she was wearing ski goggles instead. No big deal. All through our walk of a half mile to the clothes store, only one person looked at her weird. Indeed, that guy was the only person who even did a double-take. He must have been from out of town, because he looked like he was either going to fall out of his chair or cry.
But therein lies my point. There are so many weird people here. The people-watching opportunities are endless; and I shan’t go on too long, but the eavesdropping is amazing, too. Just in coffee shops or on the bus I’ve heard so many random conversations, including one guy who was lecturing a stranger on how his crucifix was so much more powerful than his voodoo charms.
  • The Weather
I mentioned before that I think the weather in Central Oregon contributes to the significant writer’s block I have there. Since I grew up with sunshine, I take it for granted. It bores me. Rain, though? I love it. Today was gloomy all day, and as soon as it started pouring rain I breathed a sigh of relief. Call me crazy if you want, but I adore Portland weather.
  • The Public Transit
As much as I love to hate on Trimet, it’s actually really good. Yes, some of the buses come early or late, but they always come. Also, you can’t beat it for people watching and eavesdropping. Sometimes when I’m running low on writing material, I just go take a ride on Trimet, and the people always inspire me somehow. True story.
  • The Pride
I love how stoked Portlanders are just to be in Portland. I like the stickers that say Keep Portland Weird, even though the people who work too hard to be weird annoy me. I love how granola the city is, and how it’s so easy to find local and organic food. It makes my heart content how the church I’ve been to is so focused on being genuine but still proud of being Portlanders. I love living in Portland.

Let the World be Quiet

Frequently, I have no idea what to blog about. Oftentimes when that happens, I want to run around outside to clear my head and hopefully be struck with a lightning bolt of inspiration.

Lately I haven’t been doing that though, because I’ve been living in Lake Oswego and I haven’t met the neighbors, and they might get freaked out and think I’m a crazy person and then give the LO police department something mildly interesting to do, like come to my house and make sure I’m sober and sane.

Anyway.

Tonight when I didn’t know what to write, I decided to indulge my desire to go outside and think about what to write, since I’m in small-town Redmond where my neighbors either can’t see me and wouldn’t care if they did because gosh dangit they should be used to me by now.

Earlier in the evening, my dog was sitting on the back deck, bolt upright, ears perked forward, apparently listening intently to the family of frogs. “That’s pretty cute,” I thought, then sat down in front of my mom’s computer to scroll through Facebook and listen to my latest music obsession on YouTube.

However, the Internet never ever inspires me. I’m not sure why, but I only ever get ideas from real life and conversations with people.

So I went outside and looked up at the stars.

“What should I write about?” I asked, not expecting an answer.

The frogs chirped happily away, not knowing or caring that I was having writer’s block. Frogs are prone to chirping at night in the springtime.

I stood listening to them for a moment, struck by how musical frogs are. I am prone to forgetting how musical nature is.

Remembering to shut up for a second and listen for sound in the silence is something I’m very bad at– I always have been. I was talking out loud to myself before the frogs interrupted me, reminding me that my voice isn’t the most important voice in the world.

My voice is just another lil blip in the cosmos, and I need to be quiet sometimes and enjoy the answers in the silence.

 

Home

I spent the last week in my hometown, with my family and friends, because I was feeling desperately homesick.

While being in Redmond cured my homesickness,  I had a weird realization after a couple of days.

Even though Portland doesn’t feel like home yet, Redmond doesn’t feel like home any more.

It was kind of a bizarre revelation, and I don’t really understand it.

I suppose it has something to do with all the changing that has been going on in me in my time in Lake Oswego. I guess I expect to come back to Redmond and be the same as I was before, but I’m not.

It’s like when I’m back there, I start to revert into the person I was three months ago before I moved, and I don’t want to.

When I was home I was talking about growing up with my little sister. I was worried that I wasn’t treating her like the person she’s become, and she said something that was much wiser than her fifteen years warrants.

“While you’ve been gone I’ve been finding out who I am, and when you’re back it’s like I forget what I found.”

When I’m in my former environment, I forget who I’ve become in the few months I’ve been away.

I guess growing up is always a little strange and melancholy like that. Even though I’ve never wanted to stay the same and I’m very glad I’m undergoing some huge personal changes, the person I was three months ago was all right. I liked her okay, and I’m a little sad to learn how completely she’s gone.

But the new Bethany doesn’t know how to live the Old Bethany’s life, so when I’m at home I feel desperately out of place. I’m still in an awkward phase where my new home feels out of place, too.

Here’s to growing up.

Rich People are Killing the Earth

A few days ago, I was lurking in the Peet’s coffee in Lake Oswego. I was sitting on a bench very akin to an old wooden church pew right next to where some merchandise was for sale.

Two of my favorite things to do in coffee shops is to eavesdrop on any conversations within my range of hearing, and to take notes about general observations about the people around me.

I noted that a lot of attractive men work at Peet’s, and a lot of crispy fake-blonde women buy coffee there, in addition to the rich elderly population.

As I sat, looking, listening, writing, two older ladies came into the shop. Since there was a line they stood near me, looking at the products on the stand right beside me.

Just as I finished scribbling an observation, (“Fake-tanned men is possibly the most unattractive thing of all time,”) the womens’ conversation took an interesting turn and my ears perked up.

“Look at this!” Woman 1 exclaimed, “Why would you buy this?” She pulled a reusable coffee cozy from its tub, and tossed it back in like it was dirty.

“You wouldn’t,” replied Woman 2, “That’s the kind of thing you’d get as a gift that you’d never use again.”

For some reason they both found this very funny, and they laughed as they stepped up to place their orders. They took ages to order their nonfat lattes, and they got paper cups and sat in the shop for two hours. (Yeah, I was there for a long time.)

“It’s confirmed,” I wrote, referring to a suspicion I’ve long held, “Rich people are killing the planet.”

And the problem is not in the wealth itself. The problem lies with people like these elderly women with their flatironed hair and their country-club airs.

The problem isn’t wealth.

The problem is the attitude that everything is disposable.

I mean, that the Goodwill donation center in Lake Oswego reportedly takes in more inventory than any other donation center in the Northwest is telling enough. It’s not that giving to Goodwill is bad (not that I’m assuming it’s out of the goodness of anyone’s hearts since they can’t even seem to tip baristas well,) but this area is not highly populated.

People just get rid of a lot of crap and then buy a lot more.

I guess that we’re all guilty of this to a degree. Heck, the only reason I don’t revamp my wardrobe more often is because I don’t have the resources to do it.

But what if we all used and re-used things until they wore out beyond reasonable use?

We all know the three Rs– Reduce, Reuse, Recycle– but so often so much emphasis is put on the last one, while the most attention should be paid to the first.

If we reduced the amount of things we have, and then reuse those things beyond recognition, then recycling would hardly be an issue at all.

Imagine if everyone brought their own cups to coffee shops every time they got a drink? It would be AWESOME!

I’m not trying to be preachy because I certainly could cut a lot of waste out of my own life, and the only reason I’m not as wasteful as the women in Peet’s is because I don’t have the resources to be.

But what if we lived in a non-disposable society?

Something to think about.

 

Definitely a Very True Story

Today during the intermittent spurts of sunshine I went for a walk.  I’ve always known that springtime in Oregon is sketchy, but until I moved to the valley I never had to deal with pouring rain between the fits of sunshine. Central Oregon is really nice in that even when it does rain in the springtime, it’s usually pretty light and managable.

Anyway.

So today as I wandered down to the park , there was a sudden rush of wind through the tops of the tall trees, and  I ran for cover underneath a low-hanging pine tree.

I squinted up at the sky, my rain-flecked glasses partially obscuring my vision. Then, what I saw made me question first my own sanity, then the quality of Lake Oswego water, and finally the quality of the pain medicine I took this morning.

Descending from the sky, regally, even magnificently, was a huge winged llama.

Its fur was deep amethyst and its wing brilliant heliotrope. Resting on its violet face was a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses.

It stood across from my on a grassy knoll, just staring. My knees shook, but I was too frozen to speak, approach it, or run.

The winged llama took a deep breath, opened its mouth, and in its extraordinary, bleating voice, said only one sentence.

“I’m a badass.”

Then it looked up into the sky, bent its knees, and leaped, flying away at a remarkable speed.

Artist's rending.

I staggered out from under the pine tree onto the grassy knoll, searching the skies for the remarkable creature– but it was gone.

Forever.

(P.s. Obviously, I’m using  April Fool’s day as an excuse to write a ridiculous story to go with a ridiculous doodle.)

(Another p.s. I’m compiling a list of the funniest words ever, and I want your contributions! I just want words that sound funny coming out of your mouth, regardless of meaning. Obviously I won’t necessarily be able to include every suggestion, but I have SUCH great plans. So let me know your funniest words ever in the comments!)

The Journal, Stranger Repellent

Since I’ve been living in Lake Oswego, I’ve been riding public transit more and more. This is fine with me–  Trimet does well getting me to the few destinations I pursue that I can’t access on my feet or scooter.

Riding at night, however, is another matter entirely. I have yet to brave Trimet after dark. I’m not sure my reasoning is rational, but I just have a gut feeling that creepers are more prone to blatant creepage after the sun has gone down. A few weeks ago I posted a status on Facebook whining about this fact. My friend Andrew Gross had a great piece of wisdom– he suggested that the key to bus safety was to be the guy that no-one sits next to.

“Brilliant!” I thought, “I’ll grow a nasty beard!”

Jests ensued, including the suggestions that I stop bathing and let my hair revert to dreadlocks, or wear this in lieu of the beard I cannot grow.

Today though,  I made a startling discovery.

As I rode the 35 into downtown, I cradled my moleskine journal in my lap, drafting a blog which I may or may not write on Wednesday.

I wrote vigorously as the thoughts freed themselves from my brain through the escape route of my pen. Every few sentences I looked up from my black and white world to observe the people who came and went from the bus, as is my habit. Also by habit, I moved my purse from the seat next to me to the floor as the bus began to fill.

However full the bus got, though, no-one took the seat next to me. The young man across the aisle stole furtive glances in my direction.

Suddenly intrigued by the empty seat beside me, I watched the next batch of passengers board. A few people walked my way, toward the back of the bus. Each of them glanced at the notes in my lap and chose a seat somewhere else. I’m sure I imagined it, but they seemed nervous.

I smiled to myself, then picked up the offending book and scrawled (for I do scrawl) a few more sentences cursing daylight savings time (for there were four people napping on the bus today as opposed to the usual none.)

It may have been my admittedly slightly hipsterific attire, or the admitted pretentious attitude known to go along with Moleskine notebooks (don’t judge me, they’re so awesome,) or maybe today was just a lucky day.

But I like to think that people assumed I would write judgmental things about them if they sat next to me. (Which I might.)

The judgmental look on my face isn’t on purpose, though.

Also included in the strenuous drawing is ugly bus seats!

As long as the people sitting behind me don’t read over my shoulder, I should be good to go.

 

Fish out of Water, or the Lost Bethany Chronicles.

I admit right now, I’ve been putting off writing this blog for about the last three weeks. I wanted to wait until interesting things happened to me after the move before I wrote.

Well, interesting things have certainly happened.

The first thing that happened to me when  I moved to Portland was a raging ear infection, which led to a ruptured ear drum and temporary hearing loss. Literally the first thing that happened to me. Not even exaggerating.

So if day 1 was moving in, day 1 also consisted of a fever and overwhelming ear pain. Day 2 consisted of growing ear pain, a runny ear, and finally visits first to urgent care and then to the emergency room, where the doctor was a buttface mcStinker.

Anyway, I received antibiotics and eventually got better.

My next grand adventure involved Trimet, Portland’s bus system.

Trimet does have a trip planner on their website, and Google maps is helpful. But even the map isn’t all that  helpful when it looks something like this.

So anyway, the first time I decided to ride the bus into town to my sister’s house, it was quite the adventure. Since  I’m out in Lake Oswego, there is a limited number of bus stops within reasonable walking distance of me.

First, I couldn’t find my stop. I attempted to follow my faulty GPS, but it led me asunder–  I ended up scrambling down the side of a hill to a trail I spotted underneath a bridge. It was, at best, sketchy. However, the trail led me into a pleasant park, wherein I discovered that I was farther than ever from my destination.  After walking at least three miles out of my way, I finally made it to my stop, which was, as it so happened, only about a ten minute walk away from my house. I was not full of joy.

The bus arrived about 20 minutes after  I did, and I boarded, relieved. “The hardest part is over,” I thought. I deposited my handful of change into the thingy. The bus lurched away from the stop while I cleared a jam of quarters, and I nearly lost my footing. Seizing a bright yellow bar, I managed to not fall over, and haphazardly made my way toward the back of the bus.

At the front and top was an LED sign accompanied by a computerized voice announcing upcoming stops. I put away my phone, confident that I would hear my stop when it approached.

I rode for a while, observing people come and go with greater frequency as we approached Portland State University. I looked around as we went through downtown. I finally realized as we drove away from downtown and into an area that seemed oddly industrial that not only had I missed my stop, but I missed the entire area where I was meant to disembark and transfer buses.

Seized by uncertainty, I sat.

I rode around for another 45 minutes, waiting until we got to a decent-looking residential area before I got off the bus. I googled quickly as I walked, attempting to find out which bus stop would take me back to Hawthorne.

I must have looked quite interesting to the people in the yards, enjoying the sunshine, as I power-walked by, glaring at my phone indignantly.

Finally I reached the stop that would take me where I wanted to be. I checked the stop ID– it was off by one digit. A bus was coming up on the other side of the street. I ran to the crosswalk and across the street, in front of the paused bus. Out of breath, I boarded, carelessly pulling dollars out of my wallet and inserting them into the cash thing.

I again aimed for the back of the bus. While I rode back, a couple behind me talked loudly about how they were about to go smoke a joint, a kid got yelled at by the bus driver for not having his fare ready to go, and a girl looked at me as if she thought I was a rapist.

Whatever.

Forty-five minutes later, I leapt off the bus as the intercom announced Hawthorne avenue. Not wanting to bother with another bus, I walked the remaining distance to my sister’s house.

And that was just the first time I got lost.

This post ended up being longer than I anticipated, so coming Sunday– the Lost Bethany Chronicles, Part 2.

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