Saturday, December 25, 2010

80 Cent Breakfast

Though technically a dessert, I enjoyed an 80 cent black bean sesame ball along Grand Street, deep-friend of course. Merry Christmas to me! I walked all along Grand Street to my old apartment, almost to the East River and then back once again the other way, through Chinatown and Soho. I like New York when the streets are like this.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I found this message written in shaving cream on the neighbor's sidewalk across the street. From what I can understood the son is on the football team and cheerleaders left him this poignant message. What does it mean? And why the dots? Are we, in 2010, still in the 1950s?

Also, about a million crows landed on the front lawn for about 30 seconds. No food in sight. A storm soon? It reminded me of The Swifts in Portland.

I'm off to Brooklyn soon to babysit an 8 pound dog. There are some other "roommates" not paying rent. For people who do not live in Brooklyn/NY that means they have tails and paws, but they are not dogs. I will miss my own fuzzy baby.

Also, I don't mean to hold out on anybody here, but I do happen to have a second date in the works on X-mas. Miracles happen.

Do I see a little Chinese food and a movie? A Jewliday? I'm not telling.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Practice a Fall

Tush in a Harness Much?

Brookyln Boulders Rock Gym at 575 DeGraw Street was not easy to find, but well worth the wandering through deserted streets that dead ended with the Gowanus Canal, only a pinch less beautiful than Venice. Even the floating debris like the empty milk carton I spied on its milky surface seemed ephemeral.

A friend and I walked right past the entrance but then saw an attractive, tall man in his 30s with a gym bag going the other way and we U-turned. Once you get through the beginning scent of feet or eau de locker room it becomes clear: this is where all the single men are spending their days. This is a plus. Putting my tush in a harness? A minus. Though larger than other appendages on my body, I'd only received compliments before. Aside from growing up and having a mother who called out very loudly in a fitting room, "Now turn around. Let me see your tush!" Then pinched the jeans or corduroys in her fingers declaring the pair, "much too tight."

Yes, the trauma was years ago but it lingers. It lingers!

Anyway, just wear flattering jeans or jeggings and you're golden. It was fun. And with the many signs that say, "No strollers," it is clear that kids are welcome but not their rides. People were kind, generous. Our instructor was pre-pubescent with acne and the hint of a mustache, and he forgot to introduce himself or provide a structure for the class. But I asked him for information like how long the class might be and what we were doing here and he obliged. My friend and I got caught giggling here and there (long story, cute boy in class with egg sandwich on lip) but once we got the figure-8 knot down, we were set.

My favorite part was practicing a fall. This is so utterly impossible to do and yet necessary. The climber lets go of the faux rocks and the person belaying is jolted and the rope needs to "catch" and there's an absence of drama. It strikes me as nothing like what it might be like on a real rock in a real world scenario, but it's as true as any fall: you try your best to prepare and yet you're totally caught off guard.

It requires attention (a hurdle for me) and patience and to baley is to really trust your partner. Not easy to put into words, but frankly the best three hours I've had since the move. Really fun and nice to focus on a physical task and not be in my head for a while. A bit pricey, at $60, but it includes an intro class, all the gear, a day pass (for that day) and then another day pass.

I'm looking forward to returning with jeans less low-waisted.

PS: If you're looking for a tasty Vietnamese sandwich within walking distance, that's spicy, cheap ($5) and a huge portion, try Hanco's - two locations:

And not to be redundant here, but you do need a tasty bite if you're going to be brave and put your tush in a harness in public. At least this one.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Don't Rush Back

My dad scurried to the city to go to an office party today. He is hard to get out of the house (his house, but whatevs) and so, as he gathered his papers and attache case and apple and sandwich and banana and cookie and keys and hat and muffler and bottle of water and swiss army knife and wallet and umbrella, I told him: don't rush back. It's a thing he likes to say to me often and I thought I'd throw it back in his face when given the chance. He understood. At the party, he ate steak and drank Johnny Walker Black, and it keeps lingering in my mind that not long ago he requested I procure a certain substance for him. And I have fallen short of this wish. He doesn't ask for much and I've not yet purchased a 40th anniversary gift so why not something a little different?

In other breaking news...

In Portland A. and I visited Tabor Park, Laurelhurst Park, the coast and other areas for hikes. We were constantly in nature and she had off-leash freedom. Here? A "park" recently opened up which really consists of a baseball field and a soccer field, two goal posts stuck in place. Big news in these parts.

The first time we visited, I let A. off-leash and she waddled to and fro, only returning when I whistled. Her little run-trot gave me so much joy, I thought I'd burst from happiness. Although B. suggested she try deal-a-meal, I enjoy the extra pound or two on her frame and as a great friend referred to her dog as having "furry pants" I too have a dog with such pants for the winter.

Anyway, first visit. Euphoria followed by joy. A. runs in fast circles, going wild when i stamp my feet and running to receive treatsals.

Second visit: hm. Why is that a new sign? Whatever does it read? NO PETS with a somewhat familiar illustration of a stick figure with a stick dog and a large black line through it. We stay.

Third visit: three signs, all the same as above. A. completes circle. I am happy.

Today's visit? Four signs total. As they say in this house, momzas! Oh pardon me.

But as I told (off) people at Tabor and Laurelhurst, and to quote Lucinda Williams: you will not take my joy away. Seeing my dog run off-leash in an empty field with not a soul around? I will happily break that rule. Any day.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Just For Men

I'm giving thanks today that I'm not a guy. Over a glass of wine with friends and the second dog I know named Bug (at Washington Commons in Prospect Heights), I learned that there is a man in a friend's office who uses Just For Men (dye) to create a dark mustache. As a young jewish girl, I was introduced to Jolene to touch up my own fringe, creating the ever lovely blond mustache. But that's different.


Monday, November 22, 2010

When Our Grown Kids Disappoint Us

I snagged this book at the library, while hanging with Ma B. It screamed out from the shelf. I wonder why?
It's by Jane Adams and oddly perceptive. Some favorite chapters include:

Whose Fault is it, Anyway?
We're Waiting...and Waiting...and Waiting
They're Ba-a-a-ck!
The Limits of Love

Overheard from living room...Dad in kitchen, speaking to dog:

You again?

You're going to put on weight. I'm eating cake. I shouldn't say anything.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Ditmas Park? Sign me up. It was like a little taste of Portland: Victorian houses, tiny yards, parking as far as the eye can see. If you're not afraid of the B/Q, it could be a slice of Brooklyn heaven.

Checked out The Castello Plan. We didn't eat, but at the cozy bar, watched food being prepared and more importantly, smelled it. My god. I repeat: my god. A religious experience. Pumpkin gnocchi. A mushroom spread on crispy toast that looked like a recipe my mom's made for 30 years (the secret ingredient? half-n-half). Yum.

Also, excellent white wine. Lots of free pours. Mellow crowd, solid music, Saturday night.

A free yoga class with Y. on Sunday. Lovely, lovely.

Strolls through Prospect Park. Bands of men playing soccer. Also lovely, lovely.

Then shangri-la came to a screeching halt. On the train from Penn to NJ picked up about 1,000,000 Jets fans. I inserted earplugs (don't leave home without them), but they weren't the miracle I was hoping for.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Brooklyn Delivers

Highlights, and I'm not talking hair.

FOOD First.

Luscious Food:

I like that the icon for Press is a fish. Then you click on the fish and get...a larger fish. New York Magazine rated these cookies The Best. Up there with monoliths like City Bakery and Jacques Torres. And, (insert pat on shoulder), I stumbled upon this little joint. No iphone! No internet! No article! Simply, walking down the street like a normal person before meeting a friend @ Flatbush Barn/Farm. Another cute, candlelit place, and a good find at 6:30pm with plenty of empty tables, dark wood, and a long bar - a ridiculous GLASS of red wine from Oregon priced at $14, but still.

By 8pm, I counted seven sets of women getting drinks together and one couple. Guess it's no newsflash that ladies may outnumber men here. But it couldn't ruin my night. Luscious had amazing split pea soup and a huge bowl (5 bucks), fresh, soft bread with a crunchy crust and vanillas cupcakes with star-sprinkles. All homemade. Who's home? I don't know. I don't care. Yum!

Park Slope Yoga Center

This place is perfect. I've long regaled friends and family with my yoga tales. Cliche as it may be, I really fell in love with yoga in the East Village over a decade ago at Bhava Yoga, a small studio run by a lovely couple. The room was, how shall I say this? A dump? But a brightly, purply and orangely, painted, cheery one, and nobody cared - it was always, 100% packed, and hot, with the exhalations of yogis. They had 2 hour classes that were cheap and well done with amazing music - no Enya-rock garden, drops of rain stuff, more like R&B, Guns'n Roses, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young.

Sadly, the couple got priced out (though they re-located to Brattleboro, Vermont and one day soon I hope to re-visit them and their classes). Park Slope Yoga Center - located on the second floor of a brownstone, is the closest I've come - in my years of searching East and West Coast - to Bhava. Nothing fancy, nothing chic. Smart, mellow, larger type, earthy lady instructor who adjusts you, excellent pace - challenging, and they offer 20% off a 10 class card if you join after your first drop-in class ($10). When I told them I didn't have a job yet, I got a coupon for a free class & a note on it, that I could apply the 20% discount any time.

Free yoga? My heart almost exploded from happiness on the spot.

Portland, Brooklyn, Coffee

Cafe Grumpy. Second time visiting the one on the 7th Ave in Park Slope. Met a lovely barista there a few weeks back, who, when he heard I moved back from Portland said that he hoped he'd made my Americano okay and gave me lots of encouragement about living North Slope/Greenwood area. Nice and quiet, as quiet as say...a cemetery.

This visit, two lesbian punk girl baristas/children (one from PDX). I ordered wrong. I wanted something chocolatey and so got a macchiato but i meant a mocha. I know. How pedestrian of me. Well, I received the smallest cup of coffee/espresso I have ever seen. The saving grace? A tiny white heart made of foamed milk. Love lives.

I still want to check out the Greenpoint Grumpy, where they serve a $12 cup of coffee and they roast their own beans right there. I'd been considering Greenpoint as a new possible home but I heard nightmares about the G train, there is no real park for my furry monster baby and there was a huge oil spill there, apparently, a sewage plant and a nature walk along the sewage plant.

Not exactly Mount Tabor Park.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fact Fiction

Visited with a life-long Brooklynite yesterday - wonderful K.'s aunt-in-law, who suggested I refer to her as "Auntie" and I shall! She invited me to her sprawling apartment (she's had about 30 yrs - apartment turned coop situation). I met her daughter. Auntie walked me all over Prospect Heights with her dog, Brooklyn, a near replica of my furry, white monster, A.

Auntie was so lovely and warm, and though she would likely not be a kidney-match, she is now an aunt. Voila! Wandering her neighborhood gave me hope that I would find a cozy, nearby home, for me and my little dog too. (Insert evil cackle. Throw head back.)

Hearing about her career (similar to mine), got me thinking about much longer-term hopes and goals, like writing goals, and also how private I am, despite the mini-blog presence. Really, I include a tiny portion, a certain sliver - as ephemeral as a parental fart, for which my mom is none too pleased, by the by.

So much remains absent here. And that stuff lives on paper. Real paper...maybe some day it will see the world.


I'm reading an excellent novel now (Ship Made of Paper) & thinking about solid writing. These themes lately:


Stumbled upon this...

Dr. Pankratz got his start in “mysteries” by studying deceptive patients. He began with a study subtitled “Summering in Oregon,” about patients who were wandering from hospital to hospital, telling false stories about their lives. The next critical paper was about veterans who claimed to have been traumatized in war. He found that four of five had never been in Vietnam, and two had never been in the military. This work was subsequently expanded into an exploration of other claims by imposters.

(pasted from

Internet profiles. Imposters. Stories.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Young People Bullshit

Dad: Overheard on Phone

"The keys are too small. Text? My son has a blueberry. Young people bullshit."

"First class punks, A-holes and momzas."

"They gave him the ax."

"They charge you an arm and a leg for everything but they're very nice. Very nice. And furthermore, I can say without contradiction..."

blowin' up my phone

Driving to X-Treme Fitness this am where real men grunt while lifting weights and orange-tan women speed-walk on treadmills, their elbows high, I heard a fantastic song by Lady Gaga.

I know, I know, I'm a pinch older than her target market and over-educated, but this song made me car-dance. It made me move, people. And, it reinforced a little dating lesson: men find women more appealing when they are a bit unavailable. I both hate this fact (yes, fact) and know it to be true. I've done my research with many friends, neighbors and friends of friends, and perhaps crossing some boundaries, even my own parents - my mom was dating two other guys while she dated my dad. I've shared that tale a while back. The other two men are sunning themselves on the riviera now, or searching for a well position helipad to land on, you know how rough that is & my mother is perfectly ecstatic, cutting out Shoprite coupons and napping in New Jersey with my dad who can often be found staring into a stuffed fridge and screaming up the stairs, "What's for lunch?"

And back to my point. I have one! Why is it a bad thing? It's good to have a life. It's even better to have a life where you're too busy holding a drink to text. Anyway, Lady G. says it brilliantly:

Just a second, it's my favorite song they gonna play
And I cannot text you with a drink in my hand, eh?
You shoulda made some plans with me, you knew I was free
And now you won't stop callin me, I'm kinda busy

Boy, the way you blowin up my phone
Won't make me leave no faster
Callin like a collector
Sorry I cannot answer

Some call me a wise sage. I had to share.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Isn't She Lovely?

And I thought I was having a bad day.

Sometimes NYC will eat you up and spit you out. Sometimes literally. I had that thought while riding an elevator into the nether regions of a Barnes 'N Noble on the Upper East Side. Meeting my friend, B., after her doctor's appointment. I had a job interview that morning & an appointment to see a cute, one bedroom in Park Slope that night.

How shall I describe the job - the job which I have not even been offered? No benefits. No definite hours. The pay was less than I was making as a temp, exactly one decade ago - at a job where I completed an entire novel. The woman at the agency told me cheerfully that people often take this job until they find something better.

Next, I got a text from a friend that said: Showing Off. I wondered what she might be showing off? What parlor tricks had she been amusing her office-mates with? But no. The showing was off - in text speak. Between the night before and that afternoon - less than 24 hours some person swooped in and stole my apartment.

But what's worse than a shitty interview and losing an apartment you never had? Getting ricocheted out of a NYC bus. My petite new friend, who had tried to find me a nice apartment in this cesspool, attempted to board a rather full public bus. I imagine the driver did not like that or maybe did not see her, and closed the doors on her, forcing her from the vehicle, into the air, and plopped back down on the sidewalk. Like a day old bagel.

I guess I'm lucky: I've boarded all public transportation unscathed thus far.


I got to hear Stevie Wonder in a bodgea.


I got the chance to walk with B. along 5th Ave from 86th all the way to the big cube/Apple store, where we descended the clear, plastic steps and found...lots of Euros. Some cute, with scruff and well knotted ties.

And of course B. made me laugh so hard I couldn't speak. Thank you, B. Can't buy that.


With manic energy, that night I went to a little networking event at NYU and met a gayasian (they flock to me & me to them), a lovely black gay man (same) and a woman doing the exact same work I hope to do and doing it in Brooklyn. She has since been helpful and we are getting together next week to check out her office space.

So, not every person here is evil. Exactly. At all.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Secret Key to Getting Along with Parents: Sangria

Yesterday I decided to be seen in public with my parents; it doesn't happen often. They wanted to check out a 55 and over community and I liked the idea of being the youngest person in the room. Apparently after a certain age, stairs are out and elevators are in. We spent over an hour touring unit after unit, all crazy-expensive like 7 figures and each elaborate. By the end I felt the walls coming in on me. After the visit we hit Trader Joe's and then a nearby Italian restaurant.

The air hit us in the face; it is crisp and cool around here, dropping more than a few degrees. The leaves are piling up, some trees are already bare. So the time is right for my mom to wear her ghetto-fly-mac-daddy hat. It is black, puffy and really loose on top, not unlike Snoop Dog's. Paired with her mirror sunglasses, and wow. So, take that ensemble and my dad's: fedora, replete with feather, and hounds-tooth scarf, and you've got one smokin' couple. My fashion plate move: my purple fleece zipper up vest, which makes me look like a lesbian, but it's just too comfortable not to wear. And with pockets that zipper? Who could resist? The check-out lady at Trader Joe's quite liked my dad's outfit.

Some snippets of conversation over dinner:

Mom: "If you die and I have to clean out the basement, I'm going to be cursing you out."
Dad: "Yes, I like the chicken here too."


Me: "I feel bad. A. hasn't had her dinner yet."
Dad: "You're welcome, sweetheart. My pleasure to take you all out for dinner."

My all-time favorite...

Mom: "Why do you think he needs a hearing aid?"
Dad: "They're five thousand dollars! They don't work and medicare doesn't cover it."
Mom: "He hears when I pup in the other room. That, he hears."
Me: "Wow, that's impressive."
Dad: "I'm sorry? You're mumbling again."

Sangria, sangria, sangria

Sunday, November 7, 2010


First off, I apologize to friends who I did not get to see during this trip. It was just a few days and I would love to have connected. Alas, I miss you all and hope to be back or to have you visit me soon.

One of the funniest moments of my recent trip to Portland. I had only 3 full days there, and had to cover work concerns, get official fingerprints, and other tedious errands but I would not miss a trip to Powell's (or Lovejoy Baker's of course). Perusing the fiction then psychology aisles I heard the announcement, "Whoever lost an umbrella please come to the yellow room and describe it and we will return it to you."

Who has ever lost an umbrella in Portland, Oregon in November? And at Powell's?

As if that was not silly enough, on a hike turned walk with L., from Mississippi to Alberta, we spied a bike rack cozy. That's right: just what Portland needs. A person (who I don't know, but who I know I love, I know it) is knitting pretty cozies that fit perfectly on bike racks and running around Portland applying them.

Lest our metal bike racks get chilly.

FYI: Apparently a friend of a friend in Brooklyn knit a sweater for a tree in Prospect Park, because "it looked sad without its leaves."

This gives me hope, people.

Another fun moment: arriving back at JFK airport after the red eye. 5:30am. Man in line at Dunkin' Donuts cuts in front of me, proceeds to bump me two times. On the third, I tell him, "Excuse me. You've hit me three times." But I settle down as he apologizes and offers to buy my coffee. I don't let him. And soon enough...

LL Cool J is overhead and I'm at the baggage carousel about to hop on the $5 AirTrain. Dunkin' Donuts in hand with the C-S scrawled on the side:

cream, sugar
Welcome back.

And another FYI: Turns out things are better with MLAM as friends, and it is something I've chosen not to write about on here, for now, since he may be reading this. But maybe some day I will share. Funny enough, I re-posted my dating ad and within 48 hours a guy I met 5 years ago through friends emailed me.

Strange times.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dog Charms Neighborhood - Lifts Girl's Spirits

Upon walking 'lil A. in the neighborhood I can't help but notice her charms. First, we rounded the block to find L., a neighbor with full sleeves. We'd run into him the other day while he buffed his Harley. L. adores A. and gave her a full massage replete with crooning and rhyming of her name: Raggy, Shaggy and Waggy. I was in heaven. Farther down the block an older gentleman in a mini-van playing Frank Sinatra, backed out of his driveway. A. immediately made eye contact with him through the car window. She has also, in the past, made eye contact while in the car on the highway, spying little kids in backseats. So this shouldn't be a surprise, but it was precious, especially when mini-van guy stopped the car, rolled down his window, and A. ran over, put her front paws on his car and he pet her head - exposing a decadent onyx pinky ring. It was insta-love.

The love continued when we saw a grandma type in her bathrobe observing the work on her driveway and lawn. A. stopped in front of her house and followed her while she lugged a trash can from the curb to her house. At first she didn't acknowledge our presence, but soon enough she was melting and discussing her niece's yorkie terrier. Nobody, and I mean nobody can resist A.'s charms.

I could go on but I fear this may verge on too cute. Verge? Suffice it to say A. is the cutest dog in the whole world and I'm lucky to have her.

Later this afternoon I'll be back in the JFK Jet Blue terminal, on my way to PDX yet again. But for now? I will rake some leaves on this perfect fall day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Look Less Ugly

What is better than rubbing my dog's belly while all her paws flop open and out and one stretches straight in the air in her signature disco move?

And what is better than spending a plane ticket's worth of money on my hair?

Why not focus on fun and superficial things when the real, tangible stuff is too heavy?

And what is better than a 4 day trip to PDX this weekend?

(FYI: Look Less Ugly is the M.O. of the salon in the East Village where I have my appointment. When I leave today I'll either be in tears of joy or sadness. Then I see B. - who will say how beautiful I am - and we will discuss everything from her business to art to our pets to death and we'll walk around downtown NYC. )

What is better than friends, hair, and coffee? Cheap Indian? Chinese food in Chinatown? A hot pretzel? No, they usually smell better than they taste, fyi.

Who needs boys? Really?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Invisible Airplanes, Wonder Woman, Pep Talk

Sometimes you need this You need to hear this. Thank you, friend, for your reminder below...

You do have a life! You do! You have plans and a job and smarts and friends and a cute dog and you have . . . bangs! and an apartment--a real place that will feel like home again. It's transitional time. It's the worst. Really. I hated it when I moved back to NY from London and had to live in Westchester with that crazy girl who ate the bottom of my food and put it back in the fridge. Like I would want it after that? She'd eat half my yogurt, too, or like 1/8. I dated fake-name-here and smoked too much and daydreamed about the nice life I would have one day living in my private library on the UWS high above the city like an angel up in the clouds with no cares. Like Wonder Woman in my invisible airplane! OK so that never happened. Still!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Me? A Hater?

I know, don't be a hater. And how can I be on a day like today with the wind, the tree leaves, the clear sky, the crisp air, the sun? I get to experience a true Fall with the sun and everything, and a small miracle has occured: my folks have gone on a field trip? I should be loving every second of this. And I am, in a way. And yet I'm not.

Took A. to Metuchen, enjoyed ancient trees and A. sniffed for over an hour. I eavesdropped on two teenage boys engaging in a serious tete a tete about girls. Had to resist the urge to shove my two cents at them, but decided to hold back.

So where's the hate? What's the problem?

The problem is complex. I have no job. No real job, just a little something, a pittance. I have some friends, actually more than I realized, but they are in The City. I have no boyfriend. God, this getting depressing. I thought I might miss LA Man, because he has his own share of life stressors right now with his family and is not as present. And I do, I really do. And I thought I might miss Portland. And I do. And I thought I might miss have a purpose, and doing work that is meaningful. And I do. But what do I really miss?

I miss me. ME! Me in Portland, with my writing workshop and my job and my walking/dog morning group and everything. I miss me! Plus, I miss quiet: time to have thoughts. No TV, no talking, no pesky relationship interactions. I miss me as an independent person. An independent person not making a ton of money with a Vitamin D deficiency and industrial carpet and a lawn I hated to push-mow, but me nonetheless.

And though I've been invited to several events lately that I'm sincerely looking forward to in The City - a birthday party in Brooklyn (with dancing, DANCING!), an IHOP in Harlem w/ E., a knitting trunk show in Park Slope...I have to admit it:

I need a life. Pronto.

Helpful Advice

Driving Mom home from the hospital after a procedure requiring sedation. Opens her eyes a touch as we drive into the development I grew up in, which has about 10 different turns that bring you to the same place. Closes her eyes again after sharing:

Mom: You're going the wrong way.


Dad, while petting A.'s white fur, styling her bangs away from her eyes. A.'s long white eyelashes slowly lower and she's asleep. There is a lot of sleeping around this place.

Dad: If you don't write a book about this dog, I'll tell you. Something is wrong with you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

BINGO: A Game of Skill

Recent dinner conversation with my parents.

Mom: I liked that place in Santa Barbara!
Dad: The one for old people?
Mom: You're 77.
Dad: Nobody was there. Two people and they were sleeping.
Me: You'd fit in then. You took three naps today.
Dad: I like activities.
Mom: Like BINGO.
Me: A game of skill.
Mom: And for people who don't like to cook. (Two hands raised violently in the air.)
Me: They're having a cupping.
Mom: (dumbfounded)
Me: You know? With coffee? I saw the postcard?
Dad: You don't cook! (shoveling green beans with almonds into pie hole)
Mom: I don't want a roommate.
Me: A stranger farting?
Mom: At that age? To have a roommate?
Dad: Furthermore, it's expensive.
Me: Don't worry. We'll just throw you in the yard. Put up a nice tent.
Mom: Toss me some apples occasionally.
Me: Are these the chocolates with turbinado salt? Trader Joe's?
Dad: What's for dessert?
Mom: Almond crescent?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Some things never change in NYC. If there were a nuclear war, what would remain? Besides Jersey Shore episodes and landfills? Strawberry and David Z.

B. (an excellent friend for a decade or so now) and I had a very fun time eating at Bubby's in Tribeca (minus the $5 soda) and wandering through that area, Soho then over near Angelika Film Center. I had planned to visit the MOMA, but it never happened. We almost saw a movie but opted for Whole Foods sushi instead. I highly recommend the Philadelphia roll. How I love B.! We literally talked for eight hours. We got to talk about boys, life, boys, boys, and eat several meals, drink lots of coffee and bond. She is married and one of my favorite moments of the evening was when she asked me if i remembered when she and her husband were dating and broke up, which I did not. She said, "It was horrible. It was for 15 minutes." Then she sighed a very long sigh.

Of course we ended the night getting shitfaced and dancing topless on bars. Well, not exactly. Instead, we hit Petco (her cat, my dog) and Barnes N' Noble.

However! We did get into trouble giggling at David Z., where the salesman asked us if we were laughing at the shoes. Sometimes I do laugh at shoes, sure, but this wasn't one of those times.

Alright already. I know what you people want to was LA? I won't leave you in anymore suspense. LA was marvelous, MLAM was lovely and sweet and rugged and handsome and brilliant and funny and reading this. I also met some of his family members, which I really enjoyed as well - very much so. LA? LA! LA, is a big city. And MLAM is gently coercing me to move there. Could I drive there? It's no Portland. It is a real city. What did we do that is PG-13? We walked on a beach at night. We....held hands. We....went out to dinner. We saw a friend's photos. We did a couple of other things too.

So all in all lovely. Since I've returned I've only had a short period of existential angst, wondering if I should cancel my crush. I did not hear from MLAM for a couple of days, which in a normal person's world is not a big deal. But in mine? Huge, especially since it is a change of behavior. So, I did what I often do. I discussed it, ad nausem, with B. then asked myself: what would a confident person do? Let's use our imaginations. Conjure a confident person. A confident person would assume/presume that everything is just fine and MLAM wants to hear from me. And that appears to be the case. Whew.

The question from friends and family now seems to be: what is your plan? What are you two doing? Ah the peer pressure! Inquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

From Scratch

Hazelnut Coffeemate? Chock Full O'Nuts? Olive bread from scratch? Sweet potatoes? Trader Joe's red wine? Blue cheese dressing?

Whose sophisticated palate do these belong to? Why heavens, not me. But let's imagine it was me, and I was traveling across the country to meet my cyber-husband and if - say, just by hypothesis - he was to stock his kitchen with said goodies? Might I be impressed? Perhaps. Not that I'm staying with him of course. That would be ludicrous and trollopy (mom & dad). But if I did and if he did, then that would be very nice. Hypothetically. In an imaginary scenario. Of course.

And if such a cyber-husband were to, oh say cook me dinner at 9pm with a tomato sauce from scratch with (kosher) sausage and feta cheese (A.'s middle name) and not allow me in the kitchen, where I usually am in charge of imperative tasks like chopping a million vegetables or setting the table, that would be very lovely indeed.

It would. Wouldn't it?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Jackpot Question

To be fair, Jersey isn't all evil. Nor are my parents. Well, maybe half and half. For one thing, I joined a nearby gym through the end of October. They literally play three songs: that cute little Eminem ditty about lighting his girlfriend/wife on fire and her solo about liking it; the techno ballad featuring a young fellow whose girlfriend has gone away for the night and he's oh so lonely, and the piece de resistance, the one about a nightclub that's terrifically naughty and where upon entering people go wild almost immediately and tear off all their clothes at night. I don't know the name of them, but I do know that last one is pretty similar to what goes on around Chez Parental Unit. First it's some dinner.

Recently my dad has taken to sitting on a large rubber ball at the table. Unfortunately, while sitting on it, his head barely grazes the table and he must stretch his arms up and out to reach the table to cut meat and generally to eat and see the television (Jeopardy!). It would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic, since he now has chronic pain, nearly constant.

No. Wait. It's still funny.

At 7:30 there is pure silence, because after all it's the Jackpot Question. If I'm not spent, it's onto a little House Hunters with my mom. How many episodes are there? Millions? There's the original, there's Property Virgins, and there's the International version. In fact, while visiting B. in Bay Ridge (the beautiful, elegant B., I might add), and perusing the pad she shares with her husband, I found myself falling into House Hunters speak. "I love the open concept, and I love the crown molding, and the fact that he has his man-cave and you have your more airy work space. The windows are large and I like the flow. What I'm wondering about is the lobby and the proximity to a park and the train."

After say 4 hours of House Hunters, chatting with MLAM/Some Guy and Aggy pets, there's sleep. And that's my big night in Jersey.

But wait, there is another potential suitor: Dom from the gym. He waltzed over, introduced himself. He's about 65-70 years old. He asked me some basic stats including my profession, to which he responded, "Me? I'm bi-polar!" He giggled and walked back to his other petite Italian friends who were all wearing...tanktops and you guess it, that necklace! The little, sperm squiggle to keep away the evil eye. The Corno! No, they weren't, but they should have been, because they are amazing:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Caffeine & Books

These will save me. I am sure of it. Visited Menlo Park Mall to return a Kiehls product then popped into Sephora. As a 35 year old woman, I doubt I can pull off glittery lotion but for some unknown reason doused myself in it. Lathered on several other products: shimmery pots of gray and tan eye shadow, Easter pink lip gloss. Upon leaving there, sat in B'n N for hours and read one of those books about French versus American women. The basic message seems to be to flirt more, especially in front of your husband.

Sipped at a $4 pumpkin spice latte from Starbuck's. Listened to terrific re-mixes of songs like Gold-Digger and Total Eclipse of the Heart.

But I have my health! And both my legs!

So looking forward to a Greenpoint jaunt with A. tomorrow. And it helped to catch up with D. on the phone, a PDX friend and NJ transplant. And there's sure to be...

More caffeine, more books. Wine, cheese, chocolate, running, dates, movies, walks with A.

Mimosa Moms

Aggy and I have been on the East Coast for about three weeks so far and a lot of people have asked why. Why did we move here? Didn’t we love Portland? Lots of people in NJ especially ask me this question. Why come back? People love Portland.

We did. And we do. We always will.

In Portland we went on a walk every morning at Tabor, that was more of a hike, really. Almost each and every morning A. scampered by lush fir trees, fields, hills, and my least favorite, overgrown blackberry bushes. There were birds, other random animals - once an owl who simply sat on a fence until A. noticed him and woofed - other dogs and humans. In NJ this doesn’t exist, at least not where my parents live. In NJ we’re surrounded by new construction, traffic, neighbors who don’t speak to my parents, and Dunkin’ Donuts.

But most of all I liked how people treated us. In Portland, A. and I were a big hit. We had a lot of friends who adored both of us, and who truly loved A. Here, we seem to be a problem and a bother. Aggy is too growly and her enjoyment of walking up on people’s lawns is a behavioral issue. Plus, the introduction to her cousin, L., though it went pretty well, resulted at her being screamed at in the face.

In Portland we were not treated like this. Here, A.’s personality is not really appreciated, and thereby, my training/approach towards her is suddenly a problem as well. I have a newfound appreciation to all our many friends, neighbors, and even strangers on the street who adored her. THANK YOU!

What naysayers here fail to consider is that this is a huge adjustment for both of us. Also, not one person here has set a moment aside to brainstorm ideas or apply any problem-solving techniques toward a solution. Nothing productive or helpful has been offered – only critiques and screams. I have to wonder: why did I come out here?

This only solidifies my theories of place vs. personality, a theme on this blog – I think. And that is that different regions of the country have specific cultures and my personality meshes better in some spots better than others. In other words, I don’t have that East Coast mean-spirited, rude, pushy, gonna-get-mine quality. But hey maybe that’s just me.

On a more positive note, I feel confident that A. and I will find ourselves our own home. We’re certainly not going to stay any place we are unwanted. It’s just that a large part of our move here was to be closer to family and it’s turning out that it’s not all that wonderful. So, we just don’t know where that next home might be yet, Brooklyn? Back in Portland? LA? Who knows?

The month of October will be a telling one.

In 10 days I fly out to Chicago then LA. This will be a fun trip and it’s not overlooked that my parents will take excellent care of Aggy, I’m sure. And I’m very grateful for this.

I am looking forward to seeing K. and meeting her kids - I’m really excited about this. We went to college together and the last time I saw her she was pregnant with Kid #1. Now there are two. One funny thing she told me recently was that she was looking forward to one of her kids starting school because it’s hard to balance two all day. While some moms were saying goodbye to their precious babies on that first day of school, they had tears in their eyes, meanwhile others were discussing mimosa options. I won’t name who did what, but I foresee an orange juice cocktail in my near future.

PS: MLAM and I continue to talk at length. (Did you think I’d leave you out?) He was wondering aloud when I’d write about how my two dates a week had been whittled down to one or with just one? But I think that’ll need to wait until we meet in person. I mean, it’s not like I’m dating up a storm while living at my parents’ place anyway. Hello?

For now I live in the future. I exchanged many fun texts with A. and A., two friends in LA who I haven’t seen in a long time. Also, I enjoy asking MLAM questions like what will happen in LA? Where will we go? What will we do?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Getting Lost

Aside from a heat wave, a case of poison ivy that only itches when I blink, and living with my parents, life is pretty good.

My dad enjoys putting away the sugar bowl when I'm still using it for my morning coffee, and also knocking while opening my old bedroom door and tossing my sandals in - lest I leave them in the kitchen. But hey, I've got central air, free rent, all the decaf coffee I can handle, help with the furry white monster and my car has arrived from Portland. I immediately removed A.'s little wicker basket of toys. She selected one of her old knuckle bones and has been busy working on it for the last hour. I think my parents enjoy having their messy, slovenly daughter back in their roost again, albeit temporarily - someone to correct, instruct, and fetch things from the basement.

Yesterday I visited Brooklyn by myself. I had already seen my brother and Y. and was doted upon properly with more grilled vegetables than ever and lots of fun, attention, and warmth. It was time to explore on my own. Was it the 95 degrees? Was it too much alone time? It just didn't feel like Brooklyn was the right place for me, and i had assumed I would. A Jamaican fellow talked my ear off at Prospect Park, and then I made my way around Park Slope, hopping into the AC of Starbuck's and Barnes 'N Noble.

As I wandered Brooklyn it felt foreign, cramped, and yet everything was too far. It ain't no Portland. But as I was meeting E. at Arturo's back in The City for dinner later, I figured I'd head back early and walk around the West Village. Immediately I felt more at home. Walking down 7th Ave, getting lost (of course) and winding up near Hudson, the wide streets, not my old neighborhood (LES) but streets I was more familiar with.

I discovered a (new to me) place called Roasting Plant Coffee, as BB said, I don't want to feel like I've been beamed into The Jetsons, I just want a coffee. It was strange to see a computerized monitor listing coffee options, tiny, white leather booths, and almost all men (this being gayville). Still, I tucked into some tiny, dark streets for shade and out of curiosity, passed Cherry Lane Theatre and a restaurant called 50 Commerce that looked so beautiful from the outside, with its antique panes of leaded glass that I assumed inside was a world of terribly sophisticated diners, munching on pigeon and various animals' cheeks - maybe I would pop inside with E. later and drink a vodka gimlet? But I knew better: never would I be able to find it again, not the street nor the restaurant. And when i googled it I found the website cheesy: "A Contemporary American Restaurant in a Historic Space."

Barf. I mean imagine my dismay and disappointment.

Meeting E. was a wonderful reprieve. She makes me laugh and I have known her since I was 21. At Arturo's there was someone playing the piano, we got our favorite front booth and the pizza was perfect. At the bar were Italian men twice our age. The anti-hipster choice. Afterwards we went to a very unhip Caliente Cab Co. For a mere $14 you too can drink a flavored margarita! We opted for non-frozen basic $8 choice and had a memorable, very silly conversation. I realized E. was the first friend I have seen so far this visit. And damn, I needed that!

But back in Jersey, reality sets in: my dad is in pain most days and I try to cheer him up. I encourage him to get a medical marijuana card. After all, he requested pot in Portland, why not try it? I suggest yoga, music, movies, and while he appears interested, it's not the immediate solution he needs.

Meanwhile A. chews her bone. My mom flees to ten grocery stores, then the library.

I continue long, lingering phone conversation with Some Guy in LA. We do not sext; it's all rather innocent though it feels like 40 hours of foreplay to me and frankly, I'm ready for the main event. In my mind, I spend copious amounts of time planning my September trip to LA. I have a feeling I will really like it there and then what?

What then? As my old roommate and I used to say as we threw ourselves down on our NYC couch with much drama: What will become of me?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Welcome home

I've been in Jersey less than 48 hours and my mom has poison ivy (confluent on her arms) and my dad has had one panic attack. A. saw her first deer and her eyes grew huge. My dad wouldn't "allow" me to walk her in the neighborhood alone at night and we had words. Plus, A. was a ball of anxiety the entire flight from PDX here. That is putting it mildly. She also got into a terrible dog fight at her own going away party at Tabor, which included a visit to Dove Lewis.

Welcome home.

I also suffered a mild wave of panic while walking down the block - what had I done? What was my plan? I spied the corner where there used to be a huge, magnificent tree, of course chopped down, what had I done? We loved our neighborhood and our routine. But somehow I knew that nothing would ever changed if I stayed there. Things might not become "bad" but they'd not become joyous either.

Back here, this is the neighborhood I grew up in, the house i lived in since 3. On a walk with A. my dad pointed out the houses where people had yelled at him about our old family dog. They didn't want him walked near their lawns. Why? I don't get it. My mom pointed out a different neighbor, right next door, she told me they don't say hello and neither does she or the husband. Does this mean I'm supposed to act like I don't see them too? Are my own parents haters?

In Portland we knew almost all our neighbors and they knew us. I may not have been inside most of their houses but everyone was chatty, friendly, smiley, pleasant. Our last couple of days were spent in a neighbor's house while she was at the coast - she offered her place to A. and I. The adorable neighbor children came by to say goodbye to me, but mostly A. It was a very sweet day and one child even burst into tears.

A bit different here on the East Coast.

Thank god for my cyberfiance in LA. Every girl should have one. We have yet to meet but already I'm wondering about how I might get back there. To live? To visit? To...I don't know what. I made the mistake of telling my parents about him and they are convinced he doesn't have a job. Don't worry, I instructed them on how they should react in the future. I told my mom:

Be enthusiastic. Be supportive. Then, stop speaking.

Since then she's played the part. God help her for taking instruction well. MLAM/Some Guy does have a job, fyi but the hours are flexible. We talked on the phone for 8 hours yesterday. That's EIGHT. Not one, not two. But four plus four, four times two, seven plus one. That's crazy. That's ridiculous. That's effed up. That's awesome.

I thrill myself. And how do I spend my days? Perusing jetblue's website.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


If you don't have anything nice to say, sit next to me.

It saddens me that I cannot take credit for this fabulous, accurate line. It belongs to K. But here are some others: Don't tweak, Zeke. Find another floozy, Flossie. Pathetic. Okay, on 4 hours sleep that's the best I can do. Things have moved up a notch with Mystery LA Man, or MLAM. We've moved from dating site email to personal email onto phones. Next move? Engagement.

Wait. He did already propose over email - romantic or what? I love a message that begins Dear Cyber Fiance. But I must correct a mistake. Apparently, I wrote on my blog that he confessed his love. And people, I really believed that, but after a lovely phone conversation whereby MLAM said that he suggested that it might be possible that he could potentially fall in love with a person without meeting per se - or something like that - I must make it clear:

Nobody. I repeat, nobody. Nobody is in love with me. Zero. Zilch. Nadda. Nothing. Whole lots of nothing. Well sometimes I'm a little in love with myself but does that count? My dog?

I enjoy MLAM. He will be my cyberfiance as well. It's done. My mom can brag to all her Jewish friends whose children are married to wealthy men and who have popped out dozens of brilliant grandchildren, that her own daughter is engaged! A cyberfiance.

But really, I don't want to go into great detail here because I want to respect his privacy (read: he has peeked at the blog) but so far he is in the lead. Not only because he made me laugh so hard I cried, but I stayed up late. I stayed up until 1:30. Friends may not believe this but it's true. That's ONE and that's THIRTY.

Eat my dust.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Do you ever notice when you go to leave a bar or a party that a guy tries to talk to you? That there is something inherently attractive about a person leaving? Human nature does this to us and it's not fair.

I ran into Flossie yesterday at a local schoolyard. He had his dog, I had mine and my friend K. A. r(my dog) refuses to make eye contact with his dog. Flossie had invited me to a film, yes film not movie, this Sunday. I told him about my lack of internet but c'est la vie.

No word from Zeke, maybe he's fixing his wife pancakes? CREEPy.

Brunch plans with a dating site suitor from NYC who is very into dogs. 1 point for him!

My LA suitor has professed his love to me. Never mind that we haven't met. Perhaps a touch soon, but I remain flattered.

I have a mover scheduled for next Saturday, another coming over today, who is probably more reliable plus I just looked up a place locally where they'll pick up your stuff and yo u can donate it to families with less money. If they can pick it up by Saturday or even Sunday morning, I'm going with them. All this is to say, I think I've made something very complicated out of a process that could be quite simple.

Hmmmm....An aha momet. Better than a Fried Green Tomato Moment (huh, Y?). I've got a few years before I get to have those. Apparently my mom has been having them quite a bit. Was that a scene in FGT, where Kathie Bates rams her car into someone else's in the parking lot? I love it! I must netflix it! All i remember is a Man-Stew.

On that note, time to eat a leftover bagel. I've got about 9 due to a lack of enthusiasm of friends attending my little sale. I won't take it personally, well I did, but I'm moving on. Thank you L., N., Uncle KayKay, N. and M. All oddly close in the alphabet. Also, I got to learn that M., a former colleague where I did volunteer work, is adopting a baby. I gave her my curtains and a soft blanky.

I've done my mitzvah for the year.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Zeke and I have an hour long phone chat (Tuesday), future plans are discussed but no concrete plans. I hear ya, K., he's married, but maybe he's just busy and has a job where he travels a lot? Maybe? Per chance?
email from Flossie (Tuesday), movie date invite is mentioned
younger man from dating site lft vm msg - I must stop dates before leaving PDX...on the other hand, nice to hear from a former NYer, we share the same area code. Go 917!
continue email flirtation with LA suitor (a mystery)
no word from X (living with gf)

1 brief but lovely phone talk with K. in Chicago
2 xs Mother rushes me off the phone mid-week, she's heard enough about dating & moving and moving and dating and moving, moving, moving, dating!
A 2nd visit to Departures scheduled for Saturday
1 lunch with gay boyfriend from high school and his bf here from DC today at Lovejoy Bakers
2 phone conversations with car shippers
3 visits to the pet store for boxes
2 freddy visits this week, 1 TJ's
1 bottle oh Lemmelsohn's pinot almost polished off (thank you, B. & Y.) and really thank you, R.
1 overnight guest from Bremerton (M., fun!), 1 visit to Sapphire
4 middle of the night visits to the yard because A. had the runs (not fun)

Enough. The send-offs continue. House/garage sale but I have no garage on Saturday, replete with bagels and coffee. I'm feeling the love.


Recent conversation with my dad:

Dad: This couple we know keeps wanting to fix you up with their son. He's 49. Never married. Lives on Park Avenue. House in the Hamptons.

Me: 49? Never married? He's gay. And he's too old for me.

Dad: That's what I said. Hey? Why don't you get yourself one of those nice 30 year old medical residents? Be one of those cougars. You could be a nice cougar!

Me: I'm too young to be a cougar. I'm 35.

Need I explain more?

Monday, August 9, 2010

I Never Said That

At a party for S., who is moving to Dublin with her BF for 4-5 months and who I will miss like an appendage, a woman introduced her boyfriend in this way: "He's a douchbag accountant."

And I thought I was mean?

Now, back to me. Me! Me! Me!
Received a text from Zeke while at the gym today, asking how my weekend was. This only proves my point, which is both gratifying and infuriating: the minute you stop obsessing about a person, they contact you. It defies the rules of science. It just is. It's like when I was having boy trouble years ago in NYC and my old therapist suggested I light a candle, in an effort to change the energy. LIGHT A CANDLE? That's the best she could do? I wanted to toss my arms around her and strangle her, squeeze the life from her right there. But what did I do? I went home and lit a candle. And you know what? Nothing happened.

My point? I don't have one. Except, I hope Zeke is not a Married Freak. I hope he is nice and normal-ish and can supply some well needed romance and fun in my last few weeks here. And I also hope he doesn't take note of the boxes of books and clothes in my house.

And should we skip off into the sunset, I never said that part about him being married maybe or any of the earlier entries.



Dates Disappear

Is it me? Or is my enthusiasm short lived? After a second date with Flossie where we split the bill, he didn’t walk me to my car in the dark after a scary movie (Girl with the Dragon Tatoo), and I had trouble understanding his words because he mumbles and has a thick accent – it was so thick I thought he was hard of hearing, but no. I’m thinking he gets no third date. Not that he’s called. Not that he’s texted. Not that he’s asked.

On Saturday morning over brunch on the terrace of Manzana in Lake Oswego with two former friends and colleagues, I described my dilemma. One friend, who I will really miss, ever insightful, M., asked me an outlandish question: well, what are you looking for? You are moving.

True dat. And while this question may sound obvious and even fair, it struck me as crazy and poignant. What am I looking for? Am I supposed to know? M. and I decided that there could be two categories and there are not often transferable: romance/excitement and marriage/partnership. But wasn't one supposed to lead to the other? I argued this point with her, while understanding the rub. Often the men who are exciting are egocentric, jerks, idiots, louses, or dumb and then there are the socially inept ones who make me feel sad, and somewhere out there are some gems in the rough, some men who are just lovely, perhaps not urban legend after all, those overlooked fellows.

Still, M. may be as right as the sky is blue, but in my heart the idea of settling doesn’t thrill me. What are those women’s lives like? The ones who marry for security, who don’t feel the juju? Are those the women I see with streaks of gray in their hair, baby slings smooshing their breasts, waiting in line at Albina Press? Milk stains on their tunic? They have the guy and the kid but they don't look very happy. Mostly, they look tired.

Perhaps. But I still can’t concede that settling leads to anything but boredom, sex on Sunday mornings only, and long games of Scrabble. Wait a minute: it’s not sounding half bad now that I write it. But I will always long for sharp conversation, verbal sparring, a dry wit. And see, look how far it has gotten me.

Later that same day, my friend, D. invited me to a Yelp event at Departures, on the rooftop of The Nines Hotel. Free wine, cocktails and free food, fried chicken on sticks, beef onion skewers, watermelon, cherry, basil thingies. The theme was nautical. In the elevator I immediately befriended a Gaysian (I love this word, K.) and up on the roof D. and I chatted mostly with each other.

And of course another day goes by that I don’t hear from Zeke (consider re-naming him Freak out of sheer disappointment/rage), the too smart, too cute, possibly married man from Pendleton who must be curling himself into a blankey as I write this. While at Lovejoy Bakers Sunday morning A. and I googled him on her Blackberry and I nearly lost my vision looking at the screen but was grateful to find out not too much information about him. However, I am up front with myself about this: I may not be the best judge of character. And in my defense, it takes time to peel away the layers of getting to know someone. I can be too trusting. I don’t go out on dates and try to search out the lies. And yet, three separate women suggested Zeke may be married. I put that in the pathetic category, by the way. If you’re going to have an affair, stumble into a bar like a normal person, don’t put all your junk on display on-line. Advertising on-line for an affair? You look like a tard.

A short anecdote:

Guy looks at me on a dating site and his photo is familiar, says he lives in Brooklyn. I write to him, we figure out he friended me on myspace a million years ago. I recall that he lives in Kansas so I ask him when he moved. Oh, he writes, I haven’t moved. I still live in Kansas, but I travel to Brooklyn about once a month or so and by the way, my profile says I’m 38 not 44. When I told my mother this story, I tried to be rational, hey, what’s the difference, 38? 44?

Her response? 6 years.


Dates Abound: Zeke & Flossie

“If there’s still lead in the pencil, you want someone to write to.”
K.’s grandfather, 89 yrs old, who dated the ladies through his 80s

Recently I was feted by a handful of friends at Tiga. And while the next morning it felt like a tiny hammer was lodged in my head, smacking over and over again (thank you cheap margaritas) we had a lovely night.

K.’s grandfather recently passed and I was touched by the quote she shared. It resonates the need to connect. In a vast sea of endless crap (what is life if not suffering, pain, disappointment, and loss, then death?) we cling to the notion of romance. That we will meet someone who will complete us, save us, our better half, our dark shadow, our forgotten traits. That this person will enhance, enrich, and profoundly change our lives. We may spawn with this person. We will grow and grow up with them. They will teach us things. Although I admit in the last few years I’ve whittled this list to someone who is funny and cute, has a pulse and a heartbeat.

But seriously, how often do we consider what we will bring to them? What we bring to the table? What we offer as human beings?

Aside from the petty stuff, like real estate and debt, which aren’t really petty since finances quite often have the power to damage and break relationships, what do we bring to this whole dating/relationship thing?

I found myself asking this question while on a date with, shall we say, with Zeke? Zeke and I exchanged fun, witty, flirty, sharp emails. But as we all know, this doesn’t often translate into “real time” chemistry. He appears well adjusted, he is employed, attractive, and smart. In fact, he is well employed, doing interesting work with much import and we ran into a colleague so he’s not bullshit. He is not a bit cute, but stand out in a crowd hot with penetrating steel blue eyes and a rugged chin. He is not skimming the Style Section of the New York Times and catching Kathie Lee and Hoda at the gym (Who would do that?) and considering himself well read. He is terribly bright, I mean terrifically bright, I mean scary-shocking, name people on the Senate fucking smart. Jerk!

Sidenote: When that big tsnumani tragedy hit, my mom called me and said softly, “Now I know you don’t read the newspaper, but you did hear about the tsunami, didn’t you?”

See, I wasn’t insulted, because she may have been right. I’m not a complete idiot. I just don’t always keep abreast of the news because I find it depressing: tragedy, rape, murder, pillage, death. I hope I did not make a complete fool of myself and I will hear from Zeke again. My approach in these situations is to feign listening skills. The less said the better.

We had a five hour date, does that not count? Of course at one point, during a discussion of when and when not to use the middle finger, I asked him why not and he said it was not polite. So, Zeke may be too attractive, too smart, too well employed, plus too polite.

But I’m like a going out of business sale, I’m leaving the state in three weeks – though he has yet to receive the memo. Enough long gazes across a candlelit table! Enough talk of politics! I found myself thinking, okay enough already: it’s clear, you’re intelligent, handsome, wonderful, I really like you, you’re all that and a bag of chips, awesome blossom, Woot woot, thumbs up, let’s just do it. Let’s get past these pleasantries. I’m in a drought.

But, I know my ladylike role and I will continue to wear dresses and hang back. Plus, I’ve got a date with Flossie this Friday night. It rhymes with a country he’s from (slang) and I recently bought this treat for my dog. Flossie and I have had one date and one run-in so far. He looks like a young Michael Caine and I like him. Immediately. He doesn’t make my leg tremble like Zeke, but I’m into it. He’s six years older, employed, also smart and cute and funny.

Where were these men six months ago?

Though we met on a dating site, we first met via running into each other at the dog park. Our dogs happen to both be white with rough fur, terriers, sweet and have similar names. An odd sensation to walk towards someone and feel like a mirror is coming at you. We went to Sapphire for our first date, again two drinks, again a hangover. It was a fun time, and I believe a movie is in our near future for tonight even.

More soon…stay tuned.

And thank you, K.’s grandfather, for lifting my spirits. I can’t help but think of an old teacher who would ask the class: does everyone have a writing implement?

Sunday, August 8, 2010


After 2 years of "sharing" my wonderful neighbors internet, I've been cut off. The nerve! Just when there is so much to blog about. I've used the library's internet stations, rubbed shoulders with local homeless,scented youth, and now at the very least have a 20 lb laptop at a coffeeshop. What I have to share, dear readers, is I've gone on some dates. I will need to leave you guessing for now, but will try to write tomorrow and copy some stories I wrote on my desktop. This may take hours, but they are worth it. At least I hope they are!

2 basic pieces of information. One potential suitor was in the running but failed to walk me to my car after a scary movie. Do I write this off as sheer stupidity/Aspy behavior? Give him another chance? Let's name his Flossie. He is from a foreign country. The other suitor is too attractive. My mother said that was impossible, but it's true. He also drives a pick up and was sewing machine shopping.

Like I say, I couldn't make this up if I tried.

More soon. Air kisses!


A dear friend asked that I plug her friend's play. I support any girl's dating adventures on-line and of course a fellow member of the tribe? I wish I was in NYC already to go see it. But alas, maybe you can. Plus, anyone who knows me knows that I love some clever word play. Go see Jew Wish and tell me about it, people!

Jew Wish

A one-woman show written and performed by Rachel Evans
Directed by Rachel Eckerling
Part of the NY International Fringe Festival
at THE PLAYERS THEATRE (115 MacDougal Street)

SAT 8/14 - 10:00 PM
SUN 8/15- 6:15 PM
MON 8/16- 10:00 PM
TUE 8/17 - 4:15 PM
FRI 8/20 - 4:45 PM
Tickets go on sale July 23rd, at:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Ice Cream Truck

Where to begin describing the best wedding ever? With the ice cream truck? A boy falling into a pond? My high date? A stalker? Lawn games? Those would be good spots, since we missed the actual ceremony.

When I picked up N. at his place he was dressed elegantly in a lavender button down, perfectly punctual, plus he brought a card. As we sat in the car and I wrote my part, he gazed into my eyes.

"Are you high?"

Giggles. N. can pull this off well but his eyes were red, as in bright red. Plus, he was falling for a guy he'd recently met. falling hard and it all sounded good. Nonetheless he made a smashing date. We had a lovely, wonderful conversation in the car, but I missed a turn and had to route us back to the 405. Not fun, and this meant we'd not make the ceremony.

I don't know why this happens. I remain perplexed. Am I an idiot? If I have something, like a date, or a good friend's wedding, hypothetically, I will leave each thing to the last minute. I mean, why didn't I bring a card? Why didn't I leave earlier??? Still, I managed to put my dress on the right way. I don't believe my bra was showing. And I wasn't on any drugs. What more do you people want?

We get to Sauvie Island where a school bus picks us up from a lot and drives us a mile to the ceremony. Sauvie Island is green, green, green and lovely and we are going to a herbery where there is lavender sprouting like grass. I feel like I'm in the French countryside or Tuscany and maybe I am. Immediately, I love our driver who says, "What's the name of that guy who brings everyone in a limo?'

"A chauffeur?" I ask.

"Yeah," he says. "I'm that."

N. asks if we can blame it on the driver that we are so late and he refuses and laughs, making eye contact in the rearview mirror. Amazing. Riding s school bus as a kid? Sucky as all get out. Riding a school bus as an adult? The best fucking thing ever. We run into an old friend from grad school and it's all very fun. Plus, we are not the only assholes arriving late. We have company. Which means we can be late together and that's better.

Once we are on the bus I test N., "What did I say about the Deet?"

N. replies quickly and with proper calmness, "You have some in your purse but if anyone asks, you ran out. It's just for us."

"Good boy."

I had been to Strawberry Island (as my dad re-named it) and almost had my face eaten off by misquitoes a few weeks ago. It wasn't happening again. Not on my watch.

At the wedding I cry - real, fat tears - when i hear the bride's father's toast and some others. I don't know why. N. is just about the best date ever, how will I live without him? We mill, chat with old grad school friends of mine, a lot of people I like but haven't seen in years. Really, L.'s friends, and she has a lot of friends and it is all very sweet.

However! Sometimes friends have spawn and you never know what they will be like...

N. and I sit at a table with a lovely couple and their son. Just then we hear the ice cream truck and see it approaching in the distance. There's nothing left to do except flip off our shoes and run at full speed. This is as instinctual as flight or fright or freeze. Ice cream truck = run. I get a rocket pop, which tastes like ice with food coloring, and N. gets something. We sit with the same family. Then we get our food cart food, our dinner, and then we decide, it is time for another sweet course. We return to the table, and this time I mean business. I have a chocolate magic shell type thing on a stick - and that is when sthe boy remarks:

"You already had dessert."

N. and I are silent, but I swear I have chocolate on my face and am still holding my ice cream.

"That's your second dessert."

I put a finger to my lips and tell him, "Shhh."

He tells us, "You can have one sweet a day."

I don't have the heart to tell him that just that morning I had a chocolate croissant so technically this is my third sweet on this day. I want to explain that hey, as an adult, you can totally pig out. I fear this might push him over the edge.


At the end of the night, after I whup N.'s tush at a game of throwing hackeysack like items into a weird board with cut-out holes (this is the best humans can do? And yet, it is fun.) We decide to head home.

Somehow i find myself running, in heels, for a school bus. N. has gone ahead and asked the driver to wait for "My lady." And so, when I finally make it, it's packed and the driver is so amused by us..."Had to wait for My lady." And we take silly pictures with my antiquated phone that somehow seem to get my eyes and eyebrows but all of N.'s face but you can still tell we look so happy and silly and this is so not like the school bus of our childhoods.

And we get to the car, and people want to go out with us. Suddenly we are popular. But N. and I like to go to sleep early and so much has happened for one day. And between his lurv and my friend, T. visiting from Seattle (she has brought a Brazilian jewish man she met dancing 2 weeks ago), I feel like love is possible. It may not be urban legend. N.'s broken his streak and T. found someone to like, and somewhere there might be a non-gay man who has a lovely personality and who is dancing at some wedding some place some where in some country on some planet.


That night I dream that I'm a school bus driver but the bus is double in height and it's scary crazy, I'm really scared, it's treacherous, but I'm doing it and turning corner, I'm figuring it out and I just keep going.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One Bloody Manicure & One Glow-in-the-Dark Pedicure Please

Three days before L.'s wedding she invites me to join her for a manicure and pedicure. I haven't known her to be the type of girl to do this, but it's her wedding and there are 200 people invited. They probably want to see some good nails. I am getting excited about this wedding for a few reasons: 1) L. is a lovely friend and I really, really like her fiance, 2) there will be local food carts, & 3) there will be lawn games.

Leaving things to the last minute, L. googles the nearest nail place. I understand her dilemma, this is what I do too when I'm stressed, I "forget" about things and somehow that creates more stress. I wish I had checked in with her earlier to offer (my friend) services. But alas, here we are...and what a place it is. I won't name it because I really don't want to disparage a business on-line and I liked the woman who (I think) owns it.

Upon entering, I had some doubts. I would remember this moment later. There was nothing particularly wrong with the decor but not that much "right" about it either. Yellow walls. Babysitter ad stuck with a tack. And children, countless small children (more on that later).

We are told in broken English that someone will be with us in a minute and that it'll be $30. Fine. After selecting our polish, we are seated for pedicures. Everything looks clean and THE MAN attending to me, is nice. He has terrible skin and that makes me sad. I hope he's gay because a straight man doing ladies nails? With bad skin? Is just too sad for words. My pedicure is fine, aside from the tickling of the bottom of my rancid feet. But as I look at L., her face is grimacing and I switch to look at her toes and one is bleeding as the persistent lady works at it with a pointed instrument.

"Tell her she's hurting you!" I instruct L.
But she is too polite. I think she does tell her but alas the lady doesn't speak English and soon enough it's over.

My torture, on the other hand, has just begun. I always choose light, pale pinks, beiges, and whites, thinking them classy and on the stubs of my nails, appropriate. This time, it being summer and my wearing silver strappy sandals to the wedding, I go with metallic silver nail polish. IT LOOKED GOOD IN THE BOTTLE! I swear.

This is when I notice that L. and I are the only white people here, and that's cool, but I have to wonder that because of my pale skin, might I not require a um different aesthetic? Like I might not be able to pull off silver? But whatever, it's on my toes and there is no going back. This is when I begin to really take note of the small children running around like college students on Spring Break. There are the two sisters, one of whom's a baby and they are cute, loud, curly-haired and fighting. Then there's the owner's son who is a touch older and interested in the two girls. His mother yells stuff at him in another language and then looks to me for support and the man does my nails.

"I know. I know." I nod and repeat this with a what-can-you-do shrug. But I don't know, I don't have kids and I'm not sure I want them anymore. If it means tantrums over a wheeled ottoman like what's happening now. The two sisters are fighting over who gets to roll themselves on it. i understand. it looks fun. But now there is crying and the Baby Mama next to me who appears white but maybe isn't, is yelling about hitting them, smacking them, and having them wish they were never born.

Okay. Not the time to call Child Protective Services but disturbing. Still, the owner makes eye contact with me, a strange mask affixed to her mouth, the little girls continue to fight over the ottoman-ride and a new person walks in. So far a man selling chicken and turkey (if i overheard this right) has walked in and now there are two girls with 'tude. There is some miscommunication between the owner and the girls. They just immediately do not like each other and it's like a terrible car crash: I don't want to look but I can't turn away.

The girl with 'tude struts to a high chair and places her toes in the empty tiny tub. The princess awaiting her pedicure, but oops she drops a bottle of polish, it falls to the floor and with a loud crash it breaks into a million pieces. The owner rolls her eyes, snaps at the man doing my nails - he's on Coat Four and it's so thick I fear it will never dry - but he pops up and cleans the mess. The girl gets up and leaves. Apparently, her job here is done.

Just when I think this must be the best manicure/pedicure story ever...I spy out of the corner of my eye the strangest thing. The two girls, the may be sisters have stopped fighting and seemed to have "worked it out" in that the tiny baby type is belly down on the ottoman with her knees bent up. Her sister is standing behind her, holding onto her ankles and steering her, and thereby the ottoman across the salon. The baby being steered has the oddest expression: like, whoa, isn't life grand, isn't it just the best?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

To Ponder

"Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Don't worry about appearing sentimental. Worry about being unavailable; worry about being absent or fraudulent. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you're a writer, you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act-truth is always subversive."
-Anne Lammott in "Bird for Bird"

"You can't bullshit a bullshiter."
-My Dad

Friday, July 9, 2010

Splinters, Mosquito Bites, Weddings & a Mustache: Summer is Here

1) Removed one bastard of a splinter from my palm yesterday. Enjoyed the excavation process with a pointy Tweezerman tweezers.
2) Am getting 3-6 bites during DAYlight hours and Tabor. WHy? I know not. My sweet blood.
3) One wedding next week: L & B. Excited. Get to wear bridesmaid dress from B.H.'s wedding - she was right, I would wear it again and I still love the color.
4) If I don't put sunscreen above my lip I get massive amounts of freckles that even connect together and look like a mustache of freckles. Believe me, I've been applying sunscreen like mad. A single girl does not need a mustache.

In other thrilling news...2 or 3 bits.

Got an email from my old doorman in NYC. Doorman makes it sound like a fancy building, and such a person was wearing long, white gloves and a black suit. Not so much. It was more like my apartment bldg was a block or two from The Projects and there was a little house (or hut) outside my building where the doorman/security guard sat and often fell asleep.

One guy in particular I really liked. He had grown up in the neighborhood, was 10-15 years older than me. We had long, heartfelt talks about he and his wife. She had left him and I thought it temporary. They had been together for many years, like since high school. I said stupid, cavalier things like:" I'm sure she'll be back", and "It's temporary." Fast forward: I get an email this week. He found a greeting card I gave him before leaving the city 4 years ago. He tells me he and his wife are friends, but they never did get back together. He's wondering how I like Oregon and if, ever, I'll be back in NYC.

So strange to have him reach out at just the time I'm planning to go back.


And randomly, ran into some neighbors at Tabor in the morning. A. likes to listen to the lady, P., play her flute. We can hear her inside her lovely house. It's the one down the block with a million wind chimes, and totally gardened-out front yard. WIth everything in bloom like it seems to be now, the music wafting outside, the sun...Portland shines.

Ran into her and her husband (?) and long story short she tells me that another neighborhood couple is actually a woman and a man who was once a a woman, or who has transgendered. She explains that as neighbors they "saw" the change or the before and after. I find this fascinating. One, I really like this couple - both parties are awesome, and how often does that happen? And two it gives me pause. Since I have often thought they have a cool, equal, even fun looking relationship, with a dog, and a kid and an artsy house, and lots of friends and an exuberant outlook on life, since I've had these thoughts but in actuality the "man" really grew up as a girl and a woman...

Well, it sunk in that perhaps my expectations are set too high for your average male.

That said, I still want one. I joined a dating site.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Young 48!

July 4th and this town is dead. The way I like it. I've done all the important things one should do on a national holiday. Took advantage of free parking on the west side. Ate an amazing ginger molasses cookie at Lovejoy Bakers, dipped in Rostretto Roasters coffee (of course). Shopped, perused, and generally wandered Powell's. I exercised while watching Analyze This and reading 50more pages of that aforementioned hedgehog book.

Let's face it: I'm a little blue and I'm a lot tired. Last night A. got scared at the sound of fireworks and hopped into bed with me. Truth be told, it was cozy having her and it felt nice to be needed. It's been a little quiet since my parents left. Dare I say it? I miss them. Those crazy, freakish people I call "my parents." Also, it is not sunny here. Overcast, gray sky, June gloom but it's July! July! We ordered at least 2 months of sunshine. And where is it?

I'm tired of lousy dates. I'm tired of this streak. I'm ready to move my ass to NYC.

FYI: I had a phone conversation with the guy my dad pimped me out to last week. Turns out he is 48 years old. Remember, I'm 35. "A young 48," he said. And I give him props: he was honest and exuberant. My rule has always been about 10 years in either direction with exceptions given to any man exceptionally attractive and/or good looking. I have depth!

But cause for perhaps more concern, I don't know yet - he also told me healed a person of cancer. My immediate reaction was, "How did you do that?" But just then a potential customer walked into his store, I assumed and he said, "I'd love to tell you that story some time."

Hmmm. I'd love to hear it.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

In Love with a Narrator

I'm reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and came upon a passage I wanted to share. It's from the POV of Paloma, a 12 year old prodigy who realizes far too much for her age:

"Apparently, now and again adults take the time to sit down and contemplate what a disaster their life is. They complain without understanding, and like flies constantly banging against the same old windowpane, they buzz around, suffer, waste away, get depressed then wonder how they got caught up in this spiral that is taking them where they don't want to go."

And later...

"People aim for the stars, and they end up like goldfish in a bowl. I wonder if it wouldn't be simpler just to teach children right from the start that life is absurd. That might deprive you of a few good moments in your childhood but it would save you a considerable amount of time as an adult-..."

To some that might seem depressing, but to me, as a reader, I find it uplifting. I'm only 50 pages into the novel and know just a bit from having also read the jacket copy. According to that inside flap, she will meet another person in the apartment building (another narrator) and then a Japanese man, a new tenant too. The three are kindred souls. What I imagine and predict is that through these connections, Paloma will have a renewed faith in adults, and further, in life. That her quote above reflects her lack of understanding others and being understood and isolation in her emotions. Not to say that what she writes is untrue at all - but that through humor, love, relationships, maybe we become less like flies stuck at windows, reach stars, and escape the goldfish bowl.

Just a theory.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

COEXIST in Portland?

Anyone who lives in Portland has seen about a million Subaru hatchback type sporty station wagons with a bumper sticker that says COEXIST. Or maybe the one that says KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD, and that one might be stuck on upside down. Too cute. Usually this is a person I am cursing out in my car as I come to a screeching halt behind them because they have stopped at an unexpected spot on a street, perhaps to let a person who is still on the sidewalk, to cross the street - as in, they are not even at the curb yet. Anyway --

Sometimes I want to tell Portland to grow up and other times, liked today, the day my parents flew back to NJ, I want to give Portland a wet, sloppy kiss.

Yes, my parents and I had a fun trip and we did more than coexist, we had fun. We have - what I'd call - a healthy, adult relationship. However...they do live like college students instead of retirees. Instead of waking at 5 or 6am, like lots of people in their peer group, they sleep in. Plus, they stay up late. A couple times I told them I was off to bed at 10 or 11, while my mom barely waved goodnight while fixing herself some raspberry sorbetto.

They slept right through my dog's emergency pee/ yard visit at 3am and then her second wake up call at 6am. They usually were still in bed after I returned from a 1 or 2 hour morning dog walk at Tabor with friends. A. would run in the house with her tail wagging and hop on the bed, invariably kissing my mom then licking her pillow, which she found distasteful and which I secretly enjoyed.

One of the sweet things about this visit is that on June 28th my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. As my dad repeated to anyone within earshot, "Offer your congratulations or your condolensces. Either or."

We had dinner at Southpark, which I chose because of the fresh seafood. My mom ordered the butternut squash and my dad, the chicken. The meal was lovely and then we embarked on a walk around a few park blocks until my dad's bad leg kicked in and we headed back to the car.

During this walk I asked them some questions about how they met. Below are a few snippets...

Me: Let's talk about your wedding.

Mom: It's on a V8 then we put it on a video. Now we have to put it on a DVD. But how?

Me: You mean a Super 8? A V8 is a drink made of vegetables.

Mom: Will this go on your blog? I think you're making fun of us.

Me: Mom, I remember you said you met two other guys at the Hamptons that same weekend you met Dad.

Mom: That was a good weekend. And actually, I dated three guys for about two months.

Me: Nice!

Mom: One was a resident at the hospital I worked at. He dated a lot of girls and married a nurse. Another was a stockbroker. And then your dad.

Me: So you were dating two rich guys and you chose dad. I like it.

Dad: Oh you don't even remember the stockbroker's name.

Mom: Yes I do.

Me: Maybe you can call him up and invite him over to share a V8?

Dad: Didn't one take you on a plane over Manhattan?

Mom: Mm hm.

Me: Why dad?

Mom: You've seen the picture of when we were engaged. He was handsome.

Dad: Was.

Mom: Well you were younger. And you're not going to believe this but on our dates he listened. He really listened. You know a lot of men can't listen or don't listen well. And you're dad seemed to really do that.

Me: Are you sure?

Dad: She didn't seem to care that I was late all the time!

Mom: I don't mind waiting at a restaurant. Not out on the street.

Dad: No, not the street! But I couldn't believe it! I'd show up late and she wouldn't give me hell. I thought to myself, now this is really something.

Me: Yeah, you found a sucker.

Dad: Exactly.

Mom: Once we went to that place. The French Shack? Is it still there?

Dad: I have absolutely no idea.

Mom: Well there were two doors.

Dad: That's right.

Mom: And anyway, we went in the wrong one.

Dad: I remember that.

Lately, my dad's hearing is so bad I like to use this example below, the scene is inside a car:

Mom: The light's green!
Dad: You like hazelnuts too?

But during this walk, talking about how they first met, he heard every word. Each one.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Dad, My Pimp

Wherever we go and whatever we do, there is a spokesperson, my dad. It's a strange sensation to be having a conversation with my mother and to hear myself referred to in the third person several feet away. A restaurant, a shop, a hotel, wherever.

"My daughter - she has a blog."

This happened at dinner with my friend, D. and his dad. It happened in Vancouver, BC with a cute waiter and then again in Portland with a shop-owner. Apparently, my dad is proud of my blog. One night at CinCin in Vancouver...

"She writes about her experiences in Portland," my dad says. "People are reading it."

I refuse to elaborate and awkward silence descends. Does it get any sexier than this? Why yes I am 35 blogging about my lack of dates and yes, I am on vacation with my parents. How do you like me now?

"This young man is riding his bike from Vancouver to Portland."

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match...

The cute waiter described the upcoming ride, and that he'd be staying at the Ace Hotel. My dad mentioned my impending move to Brooklyn, "the in place, with all the young people." The waiter said he had a trip planned there. My dad relayed the info to me, like any good matchmaker. My dad was pimping me out!

I really wasn't sure if the waiter wanted a big tip or had some real interest and I wasn't excited enough to actually pursue it much with the obvious impediment of two retiree onlookers nearby. We split an $11 rhubarb type dessert then walked down the long, stone stairs back to Robson Street while the waiter rushed to the top and called to us, "Goodbye! Have a goodnight!"

My dad called back, "If you're ever in Edison, NJ look us up!"

"He's going to be in Portland and Brooklyn," I wanted to tell my dad. "Back off. He's mine."


Back in Portland. We walk around the Pearl District, weaving through Davis and 9th, Couch and 11th. We stop at Sweet Masterpiece and buy a chocolate candy named Seafoam. Kind of amazing. We stop at Pearl Bakery and buy a slice of almond cake after my mom sneaks about 3 free samples - never mind that she's a diabetic.

We make our way to a ceramics shop. Here is where I learn that there are perks to having a friend or oh, shall we say a relative who likes to chat people up. My dad talks with the guy behind the desk and in the faint distance I hear a familiar echo...

"My daughter has a blog."

"Oh? What's it about?" the guy asks.

I refuse to feel embarrassed. "It's about my dates," I shoot back. " Or my lack of dates lately. My experience in Portland with meeting people."

He tells me he has had similar troubles, and talks of friends.

"Friends?" I tell him. "I've got friends."' What I want to say is that I've got a million friends and what I'm looking for a friend won't do.

Instead we make chitchat. I sign the shop's visitor's book, and include my email. Within 2 hours the guy has sent me an email, inviting me for coffee. This is Date 3 procured by the blog - effing amazing. I tell my mom about the email and she says that's good - he doesn't let any grass grow beneath his feet.

"Plus," I say, "he has balls."

My mom says, "Literally." And shortly after, "Let's hope so."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jews Hit Portland: Good Chinese Food Found

My parents have been here less than 72 hours and we have discovered a true gem: Zien Hong on Sandy and 53rd. They serve authentic dishes like eggplant with garlic sauce, General Tso's chicken, and a sizzling Chow mien or as my dad says: chal-main.

Though I found it via yelp and googling, it was my parents' demands for Chinese food that pushed me to research properly. What about a local place? Or something organic? Ridiculous!

While walking on the sidewalk we outran another senior set, but once inside the stranger, a man of about 70 claimed to be before us in line. My mom, at five two, suddenly appeared to sprout up taller. She quickly gave him the stink eye and said, "No he wasn't. We were here first." It didn't matter much that the restaurant, though crowded, had 3 or 4 empty tables.

Later, my mom shared a delightful story of how she an my dad were traveling in Dublin and of course wanted some Italian food. They asked the hotel, which recommended a terrible restaurant that served noodles with ketchup. The moral of the story: hotel chains get a cut and want to promote crappy, new restaurants. Don't trust them. In fact, while you're at it, don't trust anyone.

Call me crazy, but I find a tiny flaw in this. Why search out Italian food in Ireland? But hey, you get to reach 60, yo do whatever you want, like burp without covering your mouth. Hypothetically.

At dinner my dad salts the General Tso's Chicken, points out a customer who he finds aesthetically unpleasant and we enjoy our food. I decide, with the carpet and taped on wallpaper, that maybe this is where I should take my future dates. With the lack of ambiance, all you have is food and conversation - it's sink or swim.

Anyway, we enjoyed the meal and the refrigerator is overflowing now with crazy leftovers, as are the counters. There is fruit everywhere, as if something has exploded.

And something has: my patience.


The day before we went to Dundee to try some wines at the Soter vineyard in Carlton. Though we enjoyed the view and the adirondack chairs, they poured several white wines and it does not meet my dad's hopes. The neighbor who recommended it will not be trusted again and when said neighbor later tells us about Clark and Lewis my parents don't want to hear a thing about it. "What does he know?" my dad says. Mom chimes in, "Yeah. He recommended that German place."

Over lunch at Farm to Fork my dad mentions how dark it is. I explain that it's all windows and there's no sun out today. "So," he says, "couldn't it be sunnier?"

My dad scoops up a bunch of coleslaw and adds it to my mom's plate. "Here. Take."
Mom says, "What am I? A Garbage Pail?"
Dad, "You used to be."


At Laurelhurst Theatre to see The Ghost Writer. The admission is $3.
Dad, "No senior discount?"


Tomorrow night we hit Vancouver, British Columbia, then Victoria. We will be sharing one hotel room. Wish me luck.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Within 24 hours of arriving my dad has broken my computer. Well, not really. He just shut it down while I usually put it to sleep. But when I tried to re-start it at first it didn't work. I'll admit I lost my patience and got aggravated. I asked, "What did you do?" The response, "Nothing!" And then he shared a familiar refrain, "Don't get so fresh!"

Apparently, you can still get in trouble at 35 for talking back. Okay.

Things my parents have shared since their arrival:

1) My dog is fat. Not chubby, not a bit overweight, but fat.
2) My dad refers to my dog as he, and each time my mom delights in adding softly in the background "She" - each and every time. Now it's become not so soft and more of a screech, "SHE!"
3) While in the car, my dad spots a guy walking away from Stark down 33rd street. "My, my how awful," he says. When we ask what's the problem, my dad says, "His head is too big for his body."
4) There is not enough light in the kitchen, space in the bathroom, and the seat-belt in the back seat of the car is lost in the back - this will not do. Dad uses a pliers to remove it and tells me how dangerous it was.
5) We go to Wildwood for dinner. My dad says he wants the salmon but it's 30 dollars. My mom says (and i do too) that you only live once, and to his credit he orders it. But first he corrects this, he was revived from his heart attack twice. Point taken, dad.
6) My mom likes the silver-wear. Of course, their last visit they bought it for me, because it is stainless steal. My dad chimes in, "Not like the junk you had before."
7) Take parents to 23rd Street and reach Lovejoy where there is construction, a couple of homeless people. Dad: "Why are you taking us here? There's an element. The hoi polloi."
8) Eat lunch at my favorite spot: Lovejoy Bakers. My dad spies the owner, tells him how much we like the place. The owner brings us complimentary, olive bread. Dad remarks on this as a marketing tool, and we buy the bread later. Because it's magnificent. Dad makes sure to chit chat, ending with: what this city needs is a good Jewish deli!
9) I needed to leave them for an hour or so to see a client. When I return I take too long finding a parking spot in the 23rd street area. I return to the folks sitting outside at a table, sunglasses glimmering. Mom has purple shades whereas dad's are tinted dark green. First: "Where were you?" Second: dad points to the cable, securing the tables and chairs and how he almost tripped on it: dangerous. The dog bowl at the restaurant earlier at lunch he tripped on too: dangerous. My carpeting at home with its bubbling area: dangerous again. When I point out it may be him, I am told that is ridiculous.
10) Most Disturbing Moment So Far: in car, crossing Burnside Bridge, discussing the blog. Dad says, "Let's say you were out on a date with me." I stop him there. "Sure, but just for a sec, let's imagine you on a date with your mother."

The biggest uproar around here is that I had the nerve to cancel my basic cable. How will dad watch the Pebble Beach gold tournament? How will mom watch Judge Judy? I explained that I never watched TV, only DVDs. Why should I pay $12 a month for something I literally never use. Dad pulled out a pad and pencil, that 49 cents a day.

When my dad talks about listening to the news, knowing what's going on in the world. I tell him I'm not interested, except for Hoda and Kathie Lee. I hear enough horrible news at my work. I ask him about meditation and calmness. His response -

"Why on earth would I want to do that?"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dirty Talk

Explosive diarrhea? Prostate trouble? Acid Reflux? Alopecia? That's right, the folks descend upon Portland in a mere few hours. Gear up!

X Marks the Spot

At Laurelhurst Park the other day with A. sniffing up a storm and who do I see? A past date? This was PB (pre-blog) about two years ago. A time when I felt a large amount of optimism regarding suitors, my romantic future, and life in general, shortly after the end of a long-term relationship with, oh a person shall we name X?

At the time I was dating a friend's son. Yes, the crop of singletons is small here, but who could resist? My friend, still a wonderful friend today, I met through grad school. Her son was 22 at the time with a mop of curly blonde hair and wooed me. Scandalous! Mon dieu! The flurry of dating - believe me - was short lived. I get a dull headache from multi-tasking office projects let alone men. So, there was the lovely 22 year old, former college football star, prom king, who adored Russian literature and was (clear throat) just finishing up school, yes undergrad, at U of O. He was the guy i never got in high school and pretended I did not want either. He was sweet, adoring, smart, and made me a mix CD with such contemporary artists! this generation! Suddenly I was driving around listening to Arcade Fire, look at me. Anyway. Just a month or two. It's obvious what transpired, I think, so no need to go into much detail, but the guy I bumped into was someone who I had been chatting with at the dog park at around the same time. We'll call him Dog Park Guy, who may be reading this.

But I promised myself not to edit because of audience, still, I like him as a person, so I will try to be gracious.

The story: basically, after many flirtatious conversations, Dog Park Guy asks me out for a beer. Now this may not appear amazing on the surface, but for Portland? This may well be urban legend. So we went for a beer near Belmont and 33rd, Side Street?, I cannot remember - so many dates, so little time, and we had a nice time. DPG is a genuine nice guy from the Midwest. As I recall, there was one kiss. All fine. But my mind was some place else. Maybe with the 22 year old I had seen naked that morning?

Then, I ran into him at the park maybe three months later, I cannot remember. And guess what? He's walking two dogs now. My fling has ended. He's met a girl, she's moved in, and there's dog love. Already. I remember thinking: wow, that was fast. The musical chairs of dating, and the music is slowing down and shit - there are no decent chairs left.

So, now fast forward to another year (another year!?) and i see him where else? And we're walking our dogs and he only has one. I had ruled him out before, in part, because his dog is spastic, though sweet, and enjoys mauling or "punching people on the stomach" as he described. A. thinks the dog is so bizarre that she walks about 20 feet away while we walk. So, we head around the lake, down leafy paths, Laurelhurst is a like an incredibly mini-Central Park and anyone who lives here will be quick to brag that it was designed by the same set of brothers. And they are right to brag: it is overgrown, yet lovely, peaceful, lush.

So my point - damn, I know there is one in here - oh, is that I tell him about my moving plan (aug/sept) and we discuss the blog and dating. He tells me, "I don't know how to date." In my twenties I may have lamented the same and thought it sweet. But now? I find this unacceptable. Plus, he actually does know how to date, so he deserves a crapload more credit than he's giving himself. So this rant is not directed at him but to others with this issue:

1) In your 30s you must learn how to date or you look sad. You look like a guy who cannot get the job done and that quite unsexy. Be capable.
2) It is simple.
3) Meet a woman, smile, flirt, within 3 meetings ask for her number.
4) Put thought into a bar or restaurant. Be early.
5) Look nice, smell good. Again, not hard. A button down or retro tee-shirt and jeans, fine.
6) Make eye contact, ask questions, feign interest.
7)Pay for said drinks or meal.
8) If interested, a kiss, even if a peck.
9) Follow up with a phone call. That's right. NOT an email. NOT, I repeat, NOT a wimp-ass text. A PHONE CALL. Very retro, I know.

Whew, I'm exhausted.

So, the next day I get a call from X. Sometime during our relationship I nicknamed him Stinky (not because of a smell at all, but because of an inside joke, some quirk), that morphed into El Stinko, Stinky-la-roo and my favorite: Stinkles. Now, I call my dog by these names too so it is really an uber-compliment. When my phone rings it says: Stinkles.

Just the other day, with N. on the porch, drinking wine, spying the new potentially gay neighbor - who he refers to as a hanging pair - N., who knew X got tipsy and asked, "Do you ever see yourself with him, like getting back together with him. I mean all I'm saying is that he was so great when he came to Christmas that time and helped my mom cook, clean, and everything. Plus, I think he's cute."

Ah N.

Of course I do. Does anyone not lament on past X people? And wonder and imagine and consider it? But I quickly launched into the misery that was the end of our relationship, and then told him what I believe to be true: I am an unreliable narrator. Even of my own story. I don't know what is true anymore. Did we abhor each other that much? Were we really in love? One day the answer is as clear as the night sky and another day it's cloudier than the Sandy River.

Then my phone rings: Stinkles. Who is also probably reading this. And we talk for one hour and twenty minutes. My phone has the proof. And it's a fun phone call beginning with him saying, "I'm on Percoset for a migraine so I hope I don't say anything I'll regret." And we banter, and it's just fun, he is someone who knows me well, seen me at my worst, best, and in between and hasn't run off into the hills. He has a deep voice that lures women and girls of all ages and he's funny, bright, and a wonderful listener. Even when we get off the phone I feel a little high, like he's passed the Percoset through the phone line.

But of course, it could never work, could it? No, there is too much history, much of it painful. And another small detail: he is moving in with his girlfriend in one month.