Thursday, August 28, 2008

The girl is back in town

What a long, strange trip it's been so far. Moving to Portland is no small deal- let me tell you. The last week and a half has been filled with stuff... primarily boxes- big, small, short, tall, labeled, unlabeled- boxes. That and countless items neither Mr.Mr. nor I probably actually need. Oh, and a few things we absolutely can't live without... like chocolate bars imported from Italy by our friends Dionne and Matt.

The good news is, we have jobs. Mr.Mr. and I both received offers of employment from the companies we had second interviews with and we begin work on the 8th of September. In short, we rule. Mr.Mr. will be working for RatherLargeConsultingFirm (RLCF) and I will be working for BigMunicipalOrganization (BMO). The more exciting news is that we've managed to relocate to a city with a lower cost of living and more difficult economy without losing opportunities for reasonable income. I know, I know- no one likes to talk about money except the people who make it. Which is sort of true but only in so much as that this change means that within a year, we may actually be able to realize the dream of buying our own home. Portland, it turns out- is one of the best decisions we've ever made. (You were right, Megan B- thank you!)

I'll have more posts soon on all the delicious food we're eating, cool stuff we're doing and updates to the general life story as it happens. Thanks for bearing with me through the dead air. It's good to be back.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Quick update

Just a quick dispatch from the coffee shop around the block from our new place stop have moved in to new apartment stop have had requisite breakdown and subsequent blow out argument with husband stop will surely recover stop have resolved to drink more stop just kidding stop sort of stop more later stop

Friday, August 15, 2008

Early mornings




This is getting a little ridiculous.  I woke up first because of the heat- the bed sheet too hot for comfort and the window fan too obstructed by the sheer curtain to be effective.  I resorted to my secret weapon... the icepack. Your body temperature has to actually drop in order for it to give the green light to sleep, so some time ago I realized I could trick it on unbearably hot nights by wrapping an icepack in a kitchen towel and keeping it under my pillow between my two hands.  The towel keeps my fingers from getting too frozen and the residual cold usually makes it's way through the pillow to cool my head.  It's a great tool for beating the heat. 

But that didn't work.

Then I started thinking about how my potential future boss had called at least two of my references yesterday. Did they say the right things?  Did they give him faith that I'm up to the job?  I have no way of knowing, really but that didn't stop me from worrying.

Then I started thinking about all the things I won't be doing anymore in a few short days.  

  • I won't be walking past my father-in-law's office on my way to and from work- occasionally catching his eye and greeting him with a wave and a smile
  • I won't be a block or two from the best doughnuts in town at the Dahlia Bakery
  • I won't be just down the street from Kristen and all her exciting energy and new projects (not to mention her nascent ping pong league)
  • I won't get to see Kent at the Sunday market every week
  • I won't get to put off calling someone back because I know they're only ten minutes away and it's really that easy to get together
  • I won't [likely] be walking to work 
  • I won't be able to go to the Lab (and I'm completely going to miss their "Bring and Brag" session)
  • I won't be working with Mr.Mr. anymore... able to swing by his desk to get his opinion on something, lean on him when I've had a rough conversation, or steal a hug in the elevator just because I can
And really, what it all comes down to is that I won't be in Seattle anymore soon.  And as much as I tout Portland for it's low cost of living, great people, supportive art community, safe biking... whatever... it's not really going to be Seattle anymore.  And I think that's just hard when you get right down to it.  I think I've been trying to be firm about our move... giving everyone the impression that I couldn't be more sure of myself.  And part of that is for Mr.Mr.'s sake because he's putting some distance between himself and his family which is hard.  Part of that is so we won't be dissuaded by nostalgia and inertia when faced with the opportunity for growth and change.  But part of it is also so I won't wake up every morning at 4:00am thinking about all the things I won't be doing in Portland.

Because deep down I know that I will be doing a lot of great things in Portland.  It's just a little hard to see them this early in the morning.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Separation anxiety

Normally, I'm like a teenager in the morning.  The alarm goes off- I hit snooze four or five times and thrash around in bed,in complete denial of my obligation to start the day.  Occasionally, I've taken to showering, getting dressed, and then laying back down in bed for just a few more minutes.  That or I'll skip the shower (knowing full well I'm pushing the boundaries of appropriately slick hair) just to steal an extra thirteen beautiful minutes of rest before I make the trek into work.  Needless to say, I'm not an all a morning person. So you can tell there's something on my mind when I wake up at 7:15am and can't force myself back to sleep. Trust me... I tried.

Even though I knew it was coming-  I'm a little alarmed to realize that tomorrow is my last day of work.  I'll be boxing up my stuff, gingerly moving plants, and taking down my certificates from the wall to tote home.  And I think it's just plain weird.  At three years (almost to the day), my most recent job is the longest running position I've had yet and I find it sort of amazing I made it that long at all.  I won't bother you all with details, but it's been a roller coaster ride with a few steep descents and some unbelievably dizzying turns. Knowing all that, I don't think I expected to feel so odd about it.  I think that more than having a new apartment... more than scheduling the movers or the rental truck reservation... this is when it starts to feel real.  And real is the kind of nerve-wracking stuff that keeps you awake in the morning.

On a side note, Mr.Mr. and I both had second interviews with two great companies on Tuesday.  We won't hear until next week what the verdicts are but I'm really proud to be seeing these sorts of results so early on in our respective searches.  We're really good candidates for a number of positions but the job market is not so hot down south.  As the family budget mistress, Mr.Mr. is taking me on my word that we'll be fine without work for a few months, but I know having a position lined up on the horizon might help assuage some of his fears about the Portland market.  And that sort of peace of mind is what will help him sleep past his alarm. 

Cross your fingers for us?

Friday, August 8, 2008

If you've ever worked in retail

You will LOVE this site.

This one entry in particular is priceless.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Shock and awe

I know this is a completely negative entry but I really can't resist. You've been warned- this is tirade territory... enter at your own risk.

That being said: My mother always told me never to say "hate" - but I hate American Apparel. I remember the days when the aura around AA was so bright you needed a pinhole camera so as not to burn your eyes... when they were lauded as the best, reasonably priced, non-sweatshop provider of American-made wearables.

And it's been well documented that the owner of the company (Dov Charney) makes no bones about sexualizing his workforce and objectifying women in general. Countless magazines have interviewed him in various states of undress and he has been involved in at least five lawsuits with former employees. People are aware of this.

But what adds insult to injury is that on top of all of the disgusting, back-office issues that swirl around American Apparel like a filthy tornado of shame- they make really crappy, ugly clothes. I walked into their Capital Hill store recently out of curiosity and was faced almost immediately with a guy in (what looked like) 70's gym shorts, a t-shirt, a bandana-style scarf around his neck and a terry-cloth headband. He was an employee. Venturing downstairs to the women's department I encountered two women, equally barely dressed. Also employees. One wore a cotton/lycra dress with a severe v-neck, dropping below her chest line and moon boots. The other sported gold lame hot shorts that exposed the thigh and actual bottom of the backside, paired with a massively open-neck shirt hanging precariously off one shoulder.

And now they're marketing this crap as "back to school" fashion? I'm no prude and I enjoy baring a little skin here and there but come on? How is it that this loathsome company has bewitched 20 and early 30-somethings to buy and wear their clothes with such a debaucherous back story and an obvious lack of taste?

... Really?

I mean, really.


I'm done.

Everday giving

I read a lot of blogs. And I mean- a LOT of blogs. It's gone way past the casual clicking and become a full-fledged part of my day... so much so that I sometimes feel frustrated or bad if I don't have a chance to catch up on a daily basis. Ridiculous, I know. So to offload some of the internal conflict I feel about spending so much time online, I make a habit of incorporating a small bit of daily giving into my blog routine. Charity USA is the link on the top of my list of blogs as a reminder to spend at least the first fifteen seconds of my web day on something productive.

Through their homepage you can visit all six of their charitable sites (Hunger, Breast Cancer, Child Health, Literacy, the Rainforest, and Animal Rescue) and contribute to their causes with the click of a mouse. Once you "click to give," you'll be directed to a page listing the site sponsors whose ad revenue supports each cause. Not to mention, some of the shops selling items made and sold through fair trade exchanges offer really unique gifts with frequent shipping discounts. Double up on your good deeds!

I know it doesn't seem like much but I remind myself that sometimes big change is manifested through small (and frequent) acts of kindness, and that it's the least I can do before I start clicking madly through the mass of design, art, and food sites to spend a little time thinking of others.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

August First Thursday show

This Thursday, August 7th I'll be showing two or three new collage pieces at the LuxCollective gallery as a part of the monthly Redstripe [first Thursday] artwalk. The gallery opens at 6pm and since I've got another job interview in PDX the next morning (yay!), I'll only be around for about an hour and a half before I hit the road. BUT- there are several other great artists who'll be showing new work so consider checking it out if you're free. There will be music, drinks and plenty to see.

It would be great to see you there.

LuxCollective Gallery
Prudential Building
114 Alaskan Way South
Seattle, WA

Monday, August 4, 2008

In it to win it

There's something about one scrawny, twig-armed kid hanging from the rings with a couple of under-rooed wiggle worms backflipping into a pile of foam that says to me, "Seriously. In China, we don't screw around."

I'm thinking the good old U.S. of A. better put on its collective game face at the Olympics because that kid and his beady little competitive stare is scaring the crap out of me. That is... until I remember the gigantic fog of death that hangs over the entire nation of China. That should take the edge off, right?

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

PDX part two: gratuitous paper shots

I don't need any more paper. I don't need any more ribbon. And I most definitely don't need any more greeting cards that I can barely stand to send for fear the recipient won't truly treasure it as much as I did while it gathered dust in my desk organizer.

All that being said- I do love me some paper. And ribbon. And cards. So Oblation Papers & Press is a great place to indulge. It was almost two years ago when Mr.Mr. and I were just about heading out of town and on our way home when I spotted that ever-alluring word on a storefront that nearly stops my heart: Paper. Fortunately, even then, Mr.Mr. knew better than to stand between me and that fantastic fibrous drug. That love affair has been raging since long before he came along and as the smart man he is, he knows when he's fighting a losing battle.

This time around I picked up a couple of small bits and pieces including a housewarming card to celebrate our new place, and a smart little note pad with a rather inspiring quote on the front. It reads, "Have you begun today what you want to be tomorrow?" I'm thinking it will be a nice place for Mr.Mr. and I to write short notes to ourselves and each other in the mornings before work. I'm not sure if the practice will stick but I think this move is a great opportunity to work on starting some really great new habits. Ones that will encourage us to focus our time and energy into building a great new life for ourselves together.

...That and to buy lots of new paper.

PDX part one: early morning eats

I think it's fair to say that in a marriage you're expected to trust your spouse on a lot of things. But seeing as how I'm the self-appointed chair of the "let's move to Portland" committee, Mr.Mr. put a hefty bit of faith in me when he agreed to rent an apartment, sight unseen (to both of us) based on a conversation I had with the landlord and some photos sent via email. Fortunately, we arrived safe and sound to our new apartment Thursday night around 9:30pm and Mr.Mr. was really pleased. We both oohed and aahed about the extra closet space, the new carpet and most importantly, the lack of street noise outside... a stark contrast to our Capital Hill digs.

So the place is great.... the neighborhood is better. It's a straight shot to downtown in an area with several little shops, a number of diverse restaurants and two bus lines with regular schedules. And, we found Costello's Travel Caffe. With WiFi and a full kitchen, friendly baristi and regulars willing to share a table, I think we've found our first favorite coffee shop. Mr.Mr. gave their lattes a thumbs up and I'm already a fan of their cinnamon scones, monster cookies (they're vegan and I still like them!), and hot chocolates. You can bet we'll be spending a lot of time there and who knows... maybe we'll even brush up on our Italian at one of their many foreign language conversation groups? If nothing else, checking out their globally-themed live music or movie offerings will definitely help amp us up for the big anniversary trip in May. Bring on the pots du creme!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

On the horizon

It may be little consolation to know that the radio silence around here lately is because I've had a GREAT weekend... (And get this, it's only Saturday night!)  

BUT, I've got more pictures than the average reader has the patience to scroll through, so I'll spend some time sorting and report back on the details of our go-see tomorrow.  Suffice to say, Portland is looking like all kinds of shiny and new with plenty to places, people and things explore.  More tomorrow.  Promise.