Archive for the ‘portland’ Category

at my mom’s behest, an update

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Life is still beautiful:


(that’s my awesome boyfriend’s band, Aporia)

A little more than three weeks later, I am on my way to healing. For awhile life really sucked. I was a moody percocet zombie. I stayed at home feeling sorry for myself a lot of the time. I don’t know what to say. My life has been consumed by recovery until recently. An MRI on my knee revealed only minor muscle tears, and I can walk just fine now. Physical therapy is helping me get back the rest of my knee strength and mobility. Check out my collarbone fracture, though:

For that, I’ve been wearing a figure-of-eight brace around my shoulders, like this:

That’s from a trip out to the Columbia Gorge with Andrew about ten days ago. Things are still up and down, but increasingly up. I hope someday I will be able to explain what I mean when I put these images side-by-side… coming to terms…


(from Be Here Now by Ram Dass)

I started some theatre work last week–just auditions for the show I’m SMing come August. I had a few rehearsals for JAW this weekend, and tomorrow the festival really starts in earnest for me. Andrew and I have been excitedly planning our trip to India (and Nepal!), which is awesome ’cause for awhile looking forward to anything was really hard. So. Yeah. There.

Full healing: three months from injury (so, mid-September)

Riding a road bike: mid-August if I’m lucky

Riding an upright bike, if I can get my hands on one: maybe a couple weeks??

Doc thinks I can ditch the brace in a week or so.  Doc also thinks my collarbone will not interfere with our trip, though I will probably have to figure out some way of padding my collarbone to keep the pressure off the bump (my lovely lady lump) for the purposes of carrying a large backpack. Could be worse!

what’s goin’ on

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008


(photo above taken by Kati)

  • I’m stage managing (at least) two shows this coming year and assistant directing one of them as well. I’m excited to be building my life here in Portland. However, November and December are once again free for possible adventures…
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  • I’m also set to help out with JAW/West for the third summer in a row–only this time they’re paying me! (A little.)
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  • I had a great time at Reed’s big end-of-the-year party, Renn Fayre, two weekends ago. It was great to hang out with my Reedie friends, especially alumni I hadn’t seen or spent much time with since last year’s Renn Fayre. A lot of other recent alumni have, I think, had similarly weird / difficult / awesome / indescribable years, and it was reassuring to feel that together and talk about it a little.
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  • I’ve been in a fantastic relationship for about a month and a half with Andrew, who is pictured above. He’s awesome. 
  • 230+ miles in three days

    Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

    (pictures above by my dad)

    Mom has been asking me to write about this here for awhile, and she’s right that I really oughta. In April I biked from my house in Portland to my parent’s house in Sammamish, Washington. I expected the trip to take four days–possibly five. Instead, I biked 90 miles on my first day and made it in three.

    Afterwards, I wrote the following:

    i didn’t take a lot of pictures ’cause i got to be pretty good friends with momentum, but there’s a few.

    first, some background: the longest ride i had ever done before this was a 60-mile ride the summer i turned 17. i wanted to avoid taking PE my senior year of high school, so i trained with my dad for the summer to get an independent PE credit. my dad does a lot of the super-light road bike, full spandex, drive to the start line kind of biking, so that’s what i did with him. dad bought a bike for me at the beginning of the summer, hopeful that i’d get into biking and join him on his long charity rides and such… and sold it at the end of the summer, because i pretty much hated every minute of it. that was the last time i wore spandex bike shorts until this past tuesday. my longest ride since then was, i dunno, 30-something miles.

    basically, before this trip i was riding (heh) on the assumption that if i could ride 30 miles nonstop without feeling too tired afterwards, i could probably ride 30+30 with a break in between.

    so on tuesday morning i got on my fully-loaded bike, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

    and off i rode. i hadn’t bothered with detailed directions for the first part ’cause i thought i knew how to get onto route 30/st helens way, so i ended up calling my dad in confusion when naito turned into front ave and it was intersecting with numbered streets and there was no bike lane and where was nicolai street?? answer: …a block away. embarrassing.

    on i went. basically, i was shocked by how easy the first FIFTY-FIVE MILES were. i finally rode over the bridge into longview, wa, in the early afternoon (okay so i walked some of it… motherfucker was steep, and the shoulder was strewn with wet mulch for some reason), having already biked farther than i expected to on day one.

    i called my mom from longview, where i stopped for lunch, totally high on endorphins and gleeful. “guess where i am? guess how far i’ve biked? guess how many hours of daylight i have left???”

    onwards i rode. i don’t remember the next 20 miles or so; they must have been okay. riding past lots of cows and stuff, probably. somewhere in there i started fantasizing about being able to call my mom that evening from centralia to say i’d ridden a fucking century. endorphins do funny things to your brain. pedal pedal pedal.

    so when i wrote out my directions, i tried to include mileage where the route i was using stated it. i figured i would reset my odometer at the turn onto nicolai mentioned above, so i wrote down the miles of various points from there. but i was distracted when i turned onto nicolai and forgot about it for a few miles. i’m not sure what my odo said before i reset it (i think somewhere between 8 and 12), which is why i’m not exactly sure what my total mileage was. so anyway i started looking for turns five miles or so before they were supposed to come up. ANYWAY.

    so i had a turn coming up at 71.5 miles. when at 68 or so i still hadn’t passed it i was starting to get worried. and tired. and maybe walking up some hills. i learned that it’s possible to ride a bike up a hill at 5 mph without it falling over. i started internally chanting “506 aka 7th st, 506 aka 7th st” over and over.

    so when i crested a hill at 71.7 miles on my odo (so 80ish miles total) and saw this


    (yeah i messed with the saturation, i am trying to express how much it MEANT TO ME)
    (there was also a chorus of angels singing alleluia)

    well. you know. i coasted down into tiny vader, wa…

    …and, because endorphins do funny things to your brain, i coasted right out of town again, and on towards winlock. i could do 100 miles. sure. about four miles down the winlock-vader road, i knew i couldn’t. i called my mom to ask how far it was between vader and winlock. she said “about 7 and a half” and then my phone’s battery died. well, i was more than halfway… i would get to winlock and find a motel and indulge in the unimaginable luxury of a hot shower: if only i could make it to winlock.

    i made it to winlock, where i didn’t find a motel but did find a public library, where, despite my head-to-toe raingear and the fact that even i could smell my stink, a very nice young librarian helped me get in touch with a bed and breakfast a mile or two away. i rode there, walked down their gravel driveway, and was treated almost immediately to a family-style dinner of hot soup and fried clams (yes, i broke my vegetarianism for the night; i didn’t want to be a pain in the ass, i was ravenous and they dug them themselves! i’m cool with this). yeah.

    anyway in case i haven’t stated this clearly:
    I BIKED NINETY MILES MY FIRST DAY.

    next day it was foggy and chilly when i left in the morning, but cleared up into a beautiful day in the afternoon. i stopped in centralia to sit in a coffeeshop for awhile and celebrate the fact that i’d hit the halfway point (of the StP route… not actually of my trip, as it turns out). my muscles, astonishingly enough, were not particularly sore. my knees were. but it wasn’t too bad.

    somewhere during day two i told myself with some happy laughter, “i have reached a zenlike state in which i can transcend minor aches and pains. there is only: the cycle!” endorphins make you think you’re funny. part of that doing weird things to your brain thing.

    i biked part of the day on a multi-use rails-to-trails path, which was pretty cool.

    in yelm, wa, i was passed on a narrow, shoulderless road by eight schoolbuses in rapid succession.

    in roy, wa, i sat on a picnic bench and thought, goddamn, i could just BE there already if i weren’t stubborn. but of course the only reason i was going to sammamish was to bike there. the symbolism of biking from home to home.

    i looked halfheartedly for a place to pitch my tent. i saw signs that referenced green river and couldn’t remember whether they’d ever actually caught the green river killer. you know what i mean? then i biked onward and found myself on a 50 mph highway with lots of traffic and fort lewis (a big army base) on either side with big fences and “no trespassing” signs every ten feet. so when i got to spanaway (70 miles that day), i… got a motel room.

    so yeah i didn’t do too well with the camping part of the trip. i lugged the stuff everywhere and didn’t use it. by the end of the day i didn’t have the courage or energy to find a place to camp, i guess. could i have done it if i knew where campsites were and had them as my end goals? yeah, i think so. would i still like to learn how to make anywhere into a safe campsite? yeah of course. maybe something to learn when i’m not traveling solo. i dunno. i can’t be too disappointed in myself when i biked 230 miles in three days. whatever.

    day three: raining when i left. knees sore again, but again, not too bad. i was pretty excited because i was in area codes i’ve lived in, you know? 253! tacoma!

    20 miles in, my right knee twinged painfully. then it twinged again. and again. fuck fuck fuck fuck. i was on an ugly road through somewhere industrial, south of auburn. i called my dad near tears. he said, calm down, take some advil. worth noting that his advice to me the day before i left was “don’t overdo it on your first day.” 3x farther than i’d ridden in over 5 years isn’t overdoing it, is it? naw…

    so i walked a mile until the advil kicked in, rode a bit further, stopped for coffee, rode on, felt better. i practiced pedaling with mostly just my left leg. i imagined giving up. my parents had already told me they can come get me if i need it. i have already come so far, i told myself. damn my knee hurt. no one could fault me, could they? but i wanted to ride door to door. SYMBOLISM, i kept telling myself, though i hadn’t figured out exactly what it was symbolizing.

    in the meantime, i kept riding.


    puyallup. i love the pacific northwest.


    sumner.

    and then…

    LAKE WASHINGTON! WHAT! I WAS IN SEATTLE!

    all right. i was gonna make it. okay.

    i was halfway across the i-90 bridge when my knee started hurting again. oh god. my left thigh was starting to burn from the extra effort. i was on a floating bridge, which is, according to the laws of physics, FLAT, and i was struggling along in my granny gears. then i got lost on mercer island. my dad had written out directions for me ’cause i left the StP route when i got on the i-90 bike path, but i managed to misinterpret them or something. i called him and he set me straight. “how much farther is it from here?” i asked. “oh, only another 15 or 20 miles” he told me. i had already ridden 50 miles that day and my knee ached. i couldn’t bike up slopes anymore. i walked. joggers passed me. my speedometer said 3.0 mph. it was, i dunno, 2 or 3… if i walked the whole way, i figured, i could maybe be home for dinner.

    i biked where i could, ate one of the energy bars i’d been carrying the whole way, made slow progress. on the other side of the bridge, though, THERE WERE SO MANY HILLS. OH MY FUCKING GOD. i walked a lot. by this point, when i wasn’t too busy breathing, i was either sobbing or swearing like a sailor. finally there was a long downhill, maybe 10 miles from my house. i actually tried chanting aum. it kind of helped, until the downhill ended and i ran out of breath.

    the last eight miles to my house consisted of five and a half miles along east lake sammamish parkway, which was mostly flat, and then… and then… inglewood hill and some other stuff. the point is inglewood hill. when dad was giving me this route from seattle to home, he said, “well, you’ll have to go up inglewood hill, but i think you can do it.”

    “i dunno…” i’d said doubtfully.

    “well, if you can’t do it, you’ll know you need to work on hills!”

    inglewood hill damn near killed me and i didn’t even try to do it on my bike. it was the hardest half mile of the whole trip. i think i would have given up right there were i not a mere three miles from home.

    goddamn those three miles were hard.

    but then i made it. as i was coasting the last half mile or so, i wondered whether i would manage to smile in those pictures i posted last night [ed: at the top of this entry]. i guess i did okay.

    here’s some other stuff:

    memorial crosses: 6

    wildlife: 2 deer standing in a section of clearcut, 2 herons within 2 minutes of each other, a bunny rabbit, a small snake that i almost ran over, lots of birds including robins and red-winged blackbirds, ducks–including ducks in a used-to-be-pasture still flooded from the december floods in the centralia area

    farms: cows, horses, chickens, llamas!

    dogs: every dog within a 2 block radius at any given moment was barking frantically at me. only one of them chased me and i was completely terrified for a moment before the dog stopped dead at the edge of its property line.

    one person yelled at me from a car; no idea what he was saying. in spanaway i sat outside a dairy queen and some kid driving a huge pick-up (he looked about 12 but i guess he was probably 16) yelled, “you have pink hair! you have pink hair!” “yeah, i know!” i said, and he drove off.

    (one of) the reason(s) i did this ride is ’cause i am going on a supported bike tour in france with my dad and brother next month to celebrate my dad’s 50th birthday (i know, awesome, right?). i was having trouble motivating myself to go on long circular rides around portland to train for it, plus i was reading all this awesome stuff about self-supported bike touring, so i thought maybe it would be awesome to do a mini bike tour down the california coast as long as i’m an unemployed bum and my parents have more frequent flyer miles than they know what to do with. california ’cause i figured the weather would be nice, the scenery would be beautiful, the campsites would be plentiful. my parents were actually not totally opposed to the idea, but my mom said, “maybe you should bike up here first.” so i said, “okay, will do.” and here i am. so will i bike down the california coast now? i dunno. i would still like to but i would also like to spend the next couple weeks in portland (there are some really awesome things goin’ on for me in portland right now, what can i say?). i totally feel like i could do it and i think i have made that point to my parents, though. yes, yesterday was very very hard, but i only pushed so hard because i knew i was so close to home.

    anyway–observable effects–my awesome glasses tan/burn (yeah i packed sunscreen, but i didn’t think to actually use it…):

    ok, that’s all for now. maybe more later when i’ve parsed it or whatever.

    I still haven’t really parsed it, I guess. This Thursday I’m leaving for France. I haven’t been biking a whole lot in the interim–for awhile my knee hurt every time I tried to bike farther than a few miles, and then last week I sprained my ankle. Stepping off of a bus. Pretty brilliant, I know. Obviously I should have been biking instead of riding the bus!

    More general photo update to follow.

    happiness

    Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

    Actually, I have never been so happy.

    march 23:

    this morning in church i kind of zoned out during the sermon (which was a little about jesus, yes, but mostly about darkness and light and acceptance and how waiting can be a heavy, full time*) and i thought about how, yes, it’s totally possible to think oneself into irrelevance and even nonexistence… into tinyness and impotence. there’s this strange balance you have to find between that and solipsism. i dunno. the thing that just keeps coming back to me is: life is about balance!! balancing our recognition of the injustices in the world and our search for contentment in our own small lives. i dunno. i’m klutzy as hell. you know what i mean?

    *we say that the world isn’t dying
    and we pray that the world isn’t dying
    just maybe the world isn’t dying
    maybe she’s heavy with child
    –jason webley

    march 24:

    it’s always clear and beautiful and calm at night and rain rain rain all day. walking home from the pub tonight, singing aloud and smiling to myself, pondering this unquenchable whatever lately… i feel this self-presence that i have never had before. i can’t describe it as balance or an even keel, but those are getting at what i mean. i have been trying for however many sentences now to explain that walking home tonight, i realized that all i feel is… sane. that is what has changed since i graduated. i can still feel sad and lonely and alone, but i know that in my belly somewhere there is me and there is joy in that, real joy. am i making any sense? doesn’t matter. i’m so okay i can’t even tell you. my goodness.

    march 27:

    …he asked me at one point how i spend my days, being unemployed and all, and i had to kind of feel sheepish about that, because some days, yeah, i look back on them and i have no idea what i spent the day doing. but the thing is,

    i have never been so happy. i’m not talking about the insecure “omg i love you so much i can’t even begin to explain” huge overwhelming miserable ecstasy which i have had a time or two. i mean really. it’s funny ’cause if you saw me sometimes i probably look like i’m cracking up. i smile to myself in public about i don’t even know what, HUGE absurd smiles. i sing all the time, i dance and love myself for it. i still feel stupid anxiety about social situations sometimes, but it doesn’t matter. truly–because of this happiness in me. so forgive me if i’m not really missing structured days and all that. what is there to miss? i don’t know what i mean. i have been trying to write about this year and what it’s done to me but i don’t know what did what. being unemployed? breaking up with my depressive ex-boyfriend (both of them)? selling my car? exercising and eating well? learning on my own terms? maybe even, in some way, the outpouring of grief i felt after kari’s death?

    so yeah on the surface i am doing a lot of the same stuff i would be doing if i were depressed: sleeping late, cuddling with my cat, walking around the neighborhood in the middle of the night and listening to music, baking cookies, losing myself in reading. i’m not really sure what to make of that. the fact remains that my hours are totally my own right now and i LOVE that knowledge. i am reluctant to give that up. i know i will have to eventually. i am INCREDIBLY lucky and privileged to have been able to do this so far. i am pretty much infinitely grateful to my parents for gifting me my car for graduation, and accepting my decision to turn around and sell it, because without that i would be up a financial creek right now, and instead i am contemplating a bike tour!! this period i have had for all kinds of self-discovery i haven’t even begun to parse has been… some kind of blessing if you’ll let me use that word. that all the events in my life came together to allow it. i know it will end, but i can’t imagine yet how it will. i hope it’s gentle and good and i can maintain this happiness. i hope i won’t have to feel like i am giving something up, but instead like i am bringing something else into my life.

    we’ll see.

    march 31:

    …it was the first time i realized that my four or so years of terribly off-and-on yoga practice are present in me in EVERY MOMENT… in my deep, even breaths.

    yoga classes (well, yoga classes and megan evans’ theatre warm-ups) were actually the first time it ever really occurred to me that my belly should expand when i breathe in. i spent so long as an incredibly self-conscious late-blooming adolescent, sucking in my gut ALL THE TIME, that breathing all the way down to my belly was a kind of revelation. i still take a lot of pleasure in that really simple thing. my happiness lives there, now, and with every breath i feed it.

    spring is sprung

    Friday, March 21st, 2008

    Well, I think I hoped that by the time I wrote here again I’d be able to say something along the lines of, “life rocks. I have a job I love, my relationships are stable and supportive, and my life is full of love and art.” Life is far from bad, but I’m still figuring stuff out. I stage managed a show that went up at the end of February and ran through last weekend. It was a good experience and I made some new contacts in the Portland theatre community. I still miss Kari every single day, but my brother’s cat Kepler came to live with me awhile ago, and he’s a sweetie, I admit. My friends are still great and I’m even making some new ones. And it is–slowly, slowly–spring. I am pretty excited by the future and trying to be excited about the present. I’m applying for internships in Seattle and Berkeley that would start in the fall, so my future is, once again, kinda up in the air.

    Here’s some pictures from my life the past few months:


    I dyed my hair pink again. It feels better this way, job opportunities be damned.


    Yeah, and then we broke up. Oh well. (That’s Kepler curled up with him.)

    it’s sunny here, though

    Sunday, January 20th, 2008

    Well, I am traveling again (sort of), and it seems appropriate to write. I’m in San Francisco right now–I came down to see a dance performance choreographed and directed by my aunt Theresa, and while here I’ve also gotten to reconcile with my first love, wander Chinatown with one of my best high school friends, talk for hours with my very close friend Elana, and see an awesome (really, really awesome) Olafur Eliasson exhibition at SF MOMA. I’m here for another two days. My aunt invited me last week and I decided to come the same day. My parents were kind enough to give me some frequent flyer miles and Elana was kind enough to let me stay in her apartment in Berkeley.

    I was surprised by how eager I was to get back on a plane with such a small push. When I was in Europe and close to coming home, I thought Portland would open its arms to receive me and pretty much never let me go again–at least not for a long while. Truth is, “home” is hard. My boyfriend and I have been quarreling a lot, I’ve been struggling a bit with money and how/why/whether to get a new job, the same small social anxieties I thought I would magically learn to ignore upon returning to my much-missed friends continue to pop up, and I’m in way worse physical shape than I was when I left for Europe. And my mom met me at the airport in Seattle with the news that my beloved cat Kari, who had been sick on and off since the summer, wasn’t doing well and had a vet appointment that very evening. Despite my best efforts, she continued to decline and died in my arms on January 10th. She was with me for over fifteen years, and even though I know that she lived a full, happy life, it’s been very hard for me.

    So that’s life. I admit: epiphanies evade me. Things are not coming together. I haven’t figured out yet how to make it work. Or what “it” is. Or what kind of artist to be. Or how to live without Kari, the heart of my heart.

    temperate climes

    Thursday, October 25th, 2007

    I am officially unemployed now, so no commute, but today was another gorgeous sunny day…! So I hopped on my bike to run some errands and tool around the city. Inspired by the Vélocouture Flickr group, I wore my favorite dress:

    I probably covered 15 miles or so, and caught the sunset/moonrise on my way home.

    It was a nice contrast from yesterday, when I looked like this when I got home:

    I guess you can’t really tell that I am pretty much soaked through in that picture. But I am. Woo Portland!

    pretty beautiful

    Monday, October 22nd, 2007

    Boy is today ever a day for falling in love with Portland for the thousandth time. After work I took a detour to go by the cleaners’ to see if I could pick up my purple jacket… they were closed, but I got to ride leisurely through some close-in southeast neighborhoods I’d never spent time in and admire old houses with huge porches and strip off my layers one by one to feel the sun on my arms. I ended up on Belmont and decided to ride over to Hawthorne and stop at Ben & Jerry’s to treat myself to a scoop of Phish Food ’cause the weather was damn well perfect for it! Yum.

    (Note the BLUE SKY.)

    At work today I bought a big ol’ handlebar bag that just so happens to be a fantastic shade of salmon pink. My bike keeps getting heavier and I keep loving it more. My dad helped me pick out a small multitool to carry around today, and as we were comparing them, he said things like, “well, this one weighs more, and you probably won’t need these things…” Hah! Weight shmeight.

    When I’m riding my bike and thinking about the blog entry I’m going to write about riding my bike, the entry always has a graceful continuity and flows easily from one thing I want to mention to the next. When I write it down it doesn’t work as well, of course, or I don’t have the patience to figure out how to make it work.

    Anyway. My dad has a great time on his superlight carbon fiber bike. My coworkers have a great time wearing lycra to commute and racing cyclocross on the weekends. I have a great time riding to work in jeans and schlepping everything in the sun around on my bike. Conclusion: bikes = great time!!

    I regularly read a bunch of sites that encourage people to think of biking as an easy, laidback way of getting around, not involving a change of clothes or even too much sweatiness. For example, Clever Cycles is a shop that opened up just this summer down on Hawthorne, and one of the owners keeps a great blog at their site about the merits of the Dutch approach to city biking, etc. And just today I found this awesome Flickr group: Vélocouture. Pictures of well-dressed people wearing clothes they bike in! I admit I am much less creative most of the time. I snapped this picture in my front yard when I got home this evening (”snapped” makes it sound easy. I balanced my camera on my housemate’s car, set the timer, ran and picked up my bike):

    This is pretty much what I wear to work every day. If it’s cold (and it usually is in the morning), I add a cycling jacket (longer in the back, which I appreciate) and a pair of cheap knit gloves, and I pull my hood up under my helmet to keep my ears warm. If it’s wet, I add a pair of oh-so-sexy rain pants and maybe pack an extra sweatshirt in case my jacket gets soaked through. I wear these fabulous amazing super-comfortable and totally beat up boots just about every day, and the legwarmers and fingerless gloves (both of which are from Sock Dreams, a nice little business that happens to be based here in Portland) are pretty much staples as well. Maybe when I’m not working in a warehouse it’ll be easier to be creative. In the meantime, I’m comfy, at least.

    Speaking of bikey fashion, I (and my bike) would love to receive a pair of these hammered steel fenders for Christmas. Y’know.

    Biking is amazing. Every morning my alarm goes off while it’s still pitch dark outside and I struggle out of bed. But eventually I get on my bike and I bike to work and the sun comes up and the morning light is beautiful when it hits the orange and red and yellow trees (the green ones, too) and by the time I’m at work I’m downright cheerful. Maybe that’s ’cause I only have two days left there. I quit my job. Did I mention that?

    “the odyssey years”

    Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

    I took a new route to work this morning, one recommended by a coworker as a way of avoiding Killingsworth (though not its intersection with Columbia–that’s unfortunately unavoidable). I had to get up my steepest hill yet–but hey, I did it! And I was rewarded with a quiet ride through a residential neighborhood, a golf course down a hill to my right. The houses were big, the lawns were green… it looked a lot like suburbia. Very nice and all, but I thought about the things within walking distance–a school, a convenience store, a gas station. That’s about it. Made me remember to count my neighborhood in the things I’m thankful for. I can walk to a grocery store, a video store, a couple coffeeshops, a pet store, my cat’s vet, a public library, Reed’s campus, a hardware store, a great Thai restaurant, a yoga place that I keep meaning to check out…

    Awhile ago I found this website: Walk Score. You put in your address and it tells you how walkable your neighborhood is. Mine (the Woodstock area, in the 40’s) scores 89 out of 100. My work’s address (out in NE near the airport) gets 29. Ouch.

    Mostly it kinda drives home to me that living close-in in this amazing city is pretty much where it’s at. I am pretty blessed to have ended up exactly where I want to be–and where it is oh-so-easy for me to use my car as nothing more than a landmark to help people find my house, these days. (For the record, I’ll be driving it to my parents’ house in a few weeks and they’ll sell it while I’m in Europe. Their idea and probably for the best.)

    I probably should hesitate to say things like “exactly where I want to be.” What do I know? There are many, many reasons to love Portland. Sometimes I’m not sure if the reasons I have found to not like Portland aren’t actually reasons to love Portland after all–if you follow me. The theatre gigs I’ve gotten since graduation have ocassionally been frustrating in their, you know, utter lack of real pay and such. But I was talking to a friend and found myself saying something along the lines of “but, I don’t know, I kind of like tiny incestuous communities where everyone knows each other…” Theatre people in Portland all have day jobs, but they also have enthusiasm and generosity that remind me of the theatre community at Reed (my alma mater, where I majored in theatre and literature, for the record). And maybe they don’t have that hint of bitterness that comes from relying on your passion for your income…? Or maybe I’m reading too much into my comfort zone. My beautiful, rainy, mountainous, bikey, friendly comfort zone.

    Anyway I’m leaving for two months to wander homeless through foreign countries. I am terribly excited! Anyway I have a paying theatre gig when I get back. If somewhere between one and two bucks an hour counts as “paying.”

    My mom sent me an op-ed piece from the New York Times a few days ago: “The Odyssey Years.” It suggests the existence of a new life phase, odyssey–”the decade of wandering that frequently occurs between adolescence and adulthood.” That’s us, right now, blah blah blah, according to this salt-and-pepper, receeding-hairline, spectacled guy anyway. Admission: I have never read Homer’s Odyssey all the way through. But Odysseus knew what he was heading towards, didn’t he? His wife and kid, his home island or whatever it was. The author of the New York Times piece claims we know where we’re going, too–we “have highly traditional aspirations ([we] rate parenthood more highly than [our] own parents did) even as [we] lead improvising lives.” I don’t know–every time I think I have something figured out, I learn something about myself or my environment or the world or whatever and I doubt everything again. So mostly I just work on not being bothered by the doubt.

    But hey, somewhere my instincts lined up with this NYTimes guy in calling this blog, in which I’m mostly writing about my routines and lifestyle(s) and choices and futures, a travel blog. Right? I’m not a confused 20-something–well, maybe I am. But I’m also hella journeying or whatever. Got my oceans to cross, my cyclops(es?) to battle.

    catch up

    Sunday, September 30th, 2007

    I’ve been having trouble writing here because I’m not sure exactly what I’m trying to accomplish with this blog. I thought it might be a “travel blog” in the broadest possible sense–in the same sense that I take the ring I wear on my necklace etched with the words “it’s not the destination it’s the journey.” But mostly I’ve just written about bikes, and in a kind of stilted, uncomfortable tone. I guess I’m cool with writing about bikes for now. In an effort to feel more comfortable with this space and feel more like I’m using my own voice, I thought I’d share some of my bike-related thoughts from my un-capitalised, mostly unedited, semi-private LiveJournal…

    aug 7

    i biked to work and back today. (ten miles each way, by the way. not much in the scheme of things, but ten miles used to be a big deal for me.) i am, like, a superhero. also, since i did it in the rain, without fenders, wearing cotton sweats, with an uncomfortable saddle–and since today i got fenders, a rack, and an ultra-cushy saddle–i have no excuse to not do it forever after. plus i spent most of the day thinking about how much i wanted to ride home, and not just ’cause it’d mean being done with work.

    i found a pretty nice route that’s all bike lanes and low-traffic streets, and the people-watching on the way home this afternoon was pretty awesome. waaaay more interesting than the highway. and yeah maybe my knees were hurting a bit when i got home (i’ll ask my boss tomorrow what i need to adjust) but hey good things, awesome things, etc etc etc.

    [...] anyway i also found this, which has inspired me to hereby (semi-)publicly declare my intention to sell my car by next august. yeah. i’ve told a couple people i want to do that, but a more general announcement is likely to make me feel guilty if i don’t manage it. i know thousands of people get by in portland without a car at all, and it’s not the city stuff that worries me–portland is easy. my car has mostly meant, for me, running away to the ocean or to the gorge, to see waterfalls, stuff like that. so i guess i’ll just have to get to the point where i can do those things under my own power. i mean, the not being able to bring other people thing will be too bad, but… there’s always other people’s cars? honestly the only thing i haven’t figured out yet is how to go skiing. maybe skiing’s just not the world’s most environmentally-friendly sport (lifts and all) but man is it fun. so anyway. i love my car. shit. we’ve been through a lot, me and my car. 40,000 miles o’ life. but kids give up their security blankets…

    so yeah, my bike is like batman’s batmobile, or superman’s cape. okay, hyperbole. i love it though.

    aug 8

    last night i didn’t sleep well, or didn’t sleep early, or whatever, because of being worried about kari [my cat], mostly. so this morning when my alarm went off at 6 (when i need to get up to bike) i grumbled and reset it to 6:30 (when i need to get up to drive). then i spent my shower and such feeling guilty and rushed, but i still ended up driving.

    kari has a scratch on her neck from whatever she got in a fight with when she got outside a couple days ago, and she’s been licking at it and it keeps getting bigger. it doesn’t seem to be infected or anything, but it’s definitely a problem. i talked to mom about it and she suggested this inflatable collar petco carries that’s supposed to work better and be nicer than those terrible elizabethan collars (the plastic cones). so at work i looked up the two petcos nearest to my house, and since it was such a nice day, i figured i’d drive home and then bike to one of the petcos, the one up on 82nd a little south of the springwater trail.

    so off i went. the last bit of the ride was pretty rough, lots of wind and traffic, and i biked past where the petco theoretically was (and i know i’ve been to that petco before. i bought a hampster there sophomore year!) TWICE, then once more much more carefully, only to discover at that address a “coming soon: dollar tree.” woo…!!

    so i biked all the way across town to the other petco at ne 66th and glisan, with lots of zigzagging on the way to avoid dead ends and heavy traffic. and the woman who greeted me when i walked in said “oh… hmm… well, if we have those, they’d be down that aisle [pointing] but i don’t know if we carry them in this store.” nope, of course they didn’t have them. at this point i was more amused than anything else, though. endorphins are pretty wonderful things. so anyway, mom called about then and we decided we should buy kari a doggy t-shirt, ’cause that might keep her from licking her wound.

    so yeah. then i biked 20 blocks to a starbucks i’d passed on the way, consumed some wonderful, glorious sugary fabulousness (chai and a cinnamon scone), and biked home.

    aug 31

    the moon was still up this morning when i biked into work. yesterday too. i’ve been doing okay with the biking thing; more on that eventually on my Real Blog. september is the bta’s bike commute challenge, plus i was kinda planning on challenging myself not to use my car for the month of september. i did that last year, but last year i lived a 15 minute (max) walk from my classes, and now i live 9 miles from my job. and i’m running sound in the evenings for a show way across town at the coho starting on the 23rd. for free… all the more reason to save money on gas!

    anyway i might have to make an exception for exciting adventures in the woods and that kind of thing. my life has included lots of that sort of thing in the last month or two, which is beautiful and amazing. the stronger i get and the more biking i do, the less i will assume that such things need include cars though… when i suck it up and buy some panniers, i think it might be nice to do a solo mini-bike-tour to some campsite somewhere some weekend, if i can borrow landon’s tent or something and if i can find a route/campsite that my skinny road tires can handle… i mean, just to see if i can do it. and to see if i can feel safe in the woods alone without a big metal box to lock myself into if need be.

    anyway i have changed tires or tubes etc four times in the past two days. hah! kind of a medium-long story involving ill-fitting fenders and… mostly just ill-fitting fenders. and my dad having a different approach to bicycling than me. anyway, good practice; better now than when i get a flat in the rain this winter. now i have an awesome pink-striped tire on my front wheel. it matches my pink cable housing. yum.

    when i got home i volunteered to change my housemate greg’s tires for him. i think i’m becoming a bike geek. it’s really satisfying somehow to take bikes apart (kinda) and get my hands dirty. i have hella grease stains on my legs, too. i want to learn more!

    sept 5

    things seen on my commute lately
    (or, why i like going slow)

  • a shar pei puppy playing with kids in a park
  • a hearse
  • a tortoiseshell kitten lying on the sidewalk; as i biked past, it looked up at me and rolled over onto its back
  • trees braided years ago around the posts on either side of someone’s front step
  • lots of astonishingly beautiful lush gardens
  • sept 10

    bicycling is teaching me a lot about patience, but i am still so impatient sometimes. i know life is too short to be impatient–i mean, there is too much i will close my eyes to if im trying to move too fast.

    sept 12

    i’m seven for seven so far in the bike commute challenge. every time i bike to work i draw a little bike symbol in my planner. i like looking at the row of little bikes.

    sept 13 [oh, here's some stuff about other kinds of journeying!]

  • i don’t even consider driving in the mornings anymore, even when i’m running late. it doesn’t register as a possibility all of a sudden. and it was drizzling this morning, so bite me. no, i don’t know. i was kinda bummed that all your responses to me wanting to sell my car were discouraging. if one of you had said “go for it!” it would be gone by now. maybe. i don’t know. jonathan got rid of his car… but i know the winter is going to be hard enough as it is. winter is always hard. winter when you don’t know what the hell to do with your life? guess we’ll see.
  • i don’t know what the hell i want to do with my life, or how to make the things i do know i want happen. i’m not feeling super-angsty about it right now, but that’s in part because i have something big to look forward to soon (europe). after that, i’m gonna have to do some figurin’ out of shit. hoping for some epiphanies. [...]
  • i sent a long email to my high school drama teacher expressing some frustrations i’ve been feeling since graduation and asking her how she made the decisions that got her to where she is (with a phd, teaching at a small girls’ school), and how she feels about all that. she wrote back saying she’d love to talk on the phone or in person if possible, so i’m going up next friday (also to see my parents). yes, i will drive. again, bite me. [...]
  • trying not to hope i find myself in europe. i don’t think i buy that anyway. i mean, i gotta make myself. i’m working on that (always…).

  • sept 19

    monday sucked. i had a podiatrist appointment that i biked to from work. apparently i have to get half of one of my toenails chopped off (probably next week) and, incidentally, i have very flat feet and should be wearing orthotics (which explains the crazy way my shoes wear down). on the way back to work i got hella rained on. i had a spare pair of jeans and a dry sweatshirt at work, and i bought a pair of wool cycling socks, but then i fought with my parents on the phone over dumb shit. okay, getting caught in the rain sucked, but mostly because my jeans were soaked through almost instantly and sticking to my legs. so, i will buy some rain pants. so, i am still selling my goddamn car. for the record. for one, i need to be some kind of student again and if i sell my car i can afford (in time and in money) to take classes at psu or audit them at reed.

    sept 20

    it’s funny to me how many times i have to learn that there are no answers, because every time i learn it, i think that it’s an answer. hah!

    had an up and down kinda day. drove for the first time this month. i’m in sammamish and by the time i’m back in portland i will have in one weekend pretty much used all the fossil fuels i saved by not driving to work for three weeks. [...]

    this afternoon i biked to nw 23rd and back, and got lost twice, once in northwest and once on the way home. getting lost on the way home meant that i ended up pedaling slowly past one of the ladd’s addition rose gardens, though, and oh my god it smelled heavenly.

    sept 24

    i walked to the bus stop and then decided to walk instead. so last night i walked from nw 23rd and raleigh to se 48th and tolman. i will do the math for you (or ask google maps to do it): 7 or 8 miles… it was lovely.

    this city is beautiful.

    sept 27

    i should be falling gratefully into bed right now, or maybe cleaning the bathroom so my housemates-who(m? agh)-i-haven’t-seen-in-days don’t hate me, or possibly taking a shower, but what the hey, tomorrow’s friday. i biked 25+ miles today, just because lately that is how i get around, and i had to get to work (ne 92nd and killingsworth) and then to the theatre (nw 23rd and raleigh) and then back home (se 48th and tolman). i love (love, love) biking. lately i am feeling pretty cocky about it. in this indian summer, riding home hours past dark in only a thin cotton sweatshirt, it’s easy to feel cocky about it. god it’s fantastic right now. (rain, please don’t bring me down just yet!) especially since i got home just now and the house smells like banana bread. whoever made it is my hero.

    i feel a little bit hypocritical though because i have asked for (or at least accepted) rides in gabe’s car lately (not that i have any kind of rule against riding in other people’s cars–but to an extent this is car rides caused by me). [...] see, his car gets hella worse gas mileage than mine. siiigh. i think it’s worth it to me to have broken the driving habit. i am really goddamn proud of myself, actually. [...]

    anyway, some more consequences of biking all the time:

  • thighs of steel
  • great body image (i look pretty much exactly the same, objectively, but being in shape makes a huge difference)
  • i get lost a lot, but i always eventually figure out how to get where i’m going, and i learn something about portland in the process
  • sore back from carrying too much shit in my bag (when you leave home at 7am and don’t get back until 11pm… agh)
  • i am not scared of hills anymore and don’t really even bother trying to avoid them. i can maintain an even, quick cadence even uphill, usually without using my granny gear!

    on the hawthorne bridge:

    later it says “you’re still cool.” even further–”nice bike.” on the ramp down to the steel bridge it says “call your deadbeat dad. he still loves you” in what i think is the same handwriting. i like it.

  • today

    raining now, of course.

    i got a pinch flat on my way from work to the theatre on friday evening. while i was biking, everything was fresh rain smell and rainbows. while i was struggling to reseat my tire on my rim and breaking two tire levers and swearing a lot, it was pouring rain and i hadn’t eaten since lunch and arrrrrgh. when i finally got it on (30 minutes + spit + elbow grease + remaining tire lever), i went to pump it up and must have pinched the new tube at some point in the process, ’cause it wouldn’t hold air. i called the director, told her i would be fifteen minutes late, and got on a bus. i still haven’t gotten around to patching one or the other of the tubes and getting it pumped up again. calling my dad in the rain, my blood sugar crashing, my hands cold and covered in bike grease, and asking him to look up the bus route for me, was one of the low points of my week. or month. i said “if i complain about this people will say this is why i shouldn’t sell my car!!” and he said “well, yes.”

    but if i’m anything i’m stubborn.

    So. Yeah. It’s a process (a journey!?).

    Some going-slow observations:

  • on Thursday I biked past a church with churchbells going at full swing (hah!). Gorgeous.
  • waiting for the bus this afternoon downtown, a saw a man wearing a brown pinstriped zoot suit and an orange fedora, carrying an umbrella and a Holy Bible.

    Also, last weekend I helped my mom set up a blog: Two Poodles! It’s pretty cute if you like curly-furred pups.

    Also, this is what I want to replace my car with. It’s too bad about the unfortunate color… an excuse to paint it, though!

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