Saturday, December 29, 2007

And the Gay Shall Inherit the Earth

Ok, What The Hell?

Here is my favorite part:

Epple said she opposes domestic partnerships for gays and lesbians because of her Christian values.

"I think we're opening up a can of worms that we're not sure about," she said.

WHAT CHRISTIAN VALUES? Do you even understand what you are saying? This is definitely one of those times when I am not super proud of being aligned with Christianity.

Let's play a little game. I'm going to list off some Christian values, and you tell me which of them is being violated here.
Monogamy (although the Bible certainly has plenty of inconsistencies on this one)

Hmmm, no, I'd have to go for No on all of those. Maybe instead, it's just your personal comfort zone that is being violated and you are masquerading that as so-called "Christian Values." Maybe you should take 5 seconds and try to figure out how your life, your values would change ONE IOTA if domestic partnerships were allowed. (Try looking at other states where this has happened: it doesn't make a damn bit of difference to already-married, heterosexual couples. I promise!)

Sometimes I can only imagine that people like this have never actually engaged with someone who is gay (and out) and in a loving relationship with a partner. It's the only plausible excuse I can come up with for this stuff.

Until this BS gets overturned and people can finally get the rights they deserve, I can only offer my deepest apologies to committed gay & lesbian partners out there. It's really a travesty.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Santa is Coming

Currently (as of 9:30 pm PST), he is in Greenville, Mississippi according to our trusty Santa Tracker. He better hurry up if he hopes to make it out to Portland before sunrise. My friend's 4 y.o. daughter, Io, will be VERY upset if he doesn't come down her chimney.

It hasn't been super Christmas-y around our house today. Our puppy Lucy took a bad fall between the slats of a park bench & we spent much of the afternoon at the vet. Big shout-out to our local vet, North Portland Veterinary Hospital on Lombard. I've been taking my kitty there for 6 years, even when I was living all the way out in Beaverton. Dr. Christine Fletcher is absolutely amazing. And Dr. Kirchner was wonderful today, talking us through the various scenarios. Unfortunately, the x-rays were somewhat inconclusive and it's hard to get a specialist on Christmas eve at 4 pm. If we're lucky, it's just a really bad sprain. Otherwise, it could be a ligament tear that requires surgery. Nothing like the super sad big eyes of a 5 month-old puppy looking up at you as she hobbles to the x-ray table to make you tear up. Poor kid.

What does Christmas hold in store for you tomorrow? We have a strict no-traveling-at-Christmas rule, which has kind of morphed into a no-family-at-Christmas rule, since our families live in New York, Texas, New Mexico and South Carolina. Thanksgiving is for family, Christmas is for relaxing spouse time. We have a few presents from our parents to open in the morning (we already exchanged our gifts last month), then it's off to see Juno at Fox Tower. Then hanging out with Lucy and Moby until we prepare a delicious dinner of ingredients purchased from Market of Choice. New Seasons is wonderful, but I do miss living closer to MoC. R bought everything today so it's going to be a surprise for me tomorrow. Last year it was beef pinwheels stuffed with feta, spinach, and bacon. Can't wait to see what this year brings.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, enjoy your day off.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Lists of the Year - Part 1

Well, it's that time of year when people make their "Best of" Lists. And there are few things I enjoy more upon this earth than lists. This is the only time of year when I get to bust out my list obsession and no one thinks it's (too) weird. So here I go...

Best Movies I Saw in 2007

Not all of these came out in 2007, but that is why God invented Netflixx.

1. Children of Men
One of the most amazing and powerful films I've seen in quite some time. Clive Owen is not only smoldering as is his norm, but gives a wonderfully affecting performance as a gradually transformed man. Michael Caine steals the show, though. A very moving look at a possible dystopian future.

2. Half Nelson
Ryan Gosling is in my top five of actors, and this movie is the main reason why. The elements are all there for this to be another Stand and Deliver/Freedom Writers/etc.: white young teacher tries to teach in poor, Black New York City middle school, overcomes obstacles to lead his students to achievement. But Gosling's turn as a drug-addicted teacher whose student catches him in the act, and the way their relationship plays out, is filled with nuance and surprise. A lovely and unsentimental film.

3. Knocked Up
Judd Apatow is clearly the man. And despite the fact that he writes his male characters so much more fully and sympathetically than his female characters, I still LOVED this movie. The relationship between Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd's characters is really the heart of this film, but of course Kathryn Heigl and Seth Rogen are excellent. And Seth's gang of stoner/porn-loving friends are a hilarious sidebar.

4. Waitress
Cuteness to the max, yet not cloying. A little modern fairy tale full of whimsy, kind of the cinematic equivalent of Pushing Daisies.

5. Pan's Labyrinth
A terrifying adults-only children's story that is astonishing in its creativity and visual effects. That this movie wasn't up for best film last year is somewhat of a travesty.

6. Jesus Camp
A wonderfully fair documentary profiling a fundamentalist Church camp in Kansas (I think) that trains little soldiers for Christ. It is very scary without feeling exploitative.

7. Casino Royale
Best Bond movie in a long time. Daniel Craig is exquisite in this role, and Eva Green really grew on me. This film makes me very excited to see what the future holds for the Bond franchise.

8. SuperBad
Not quite as enjoyable as Knocked Up, and far more crude, but still an excellent film. Michael Cera has perfected the art of awkward, comic sweetness. The ultimate 14 year-old boy film. Uh, in the good way, even if you're a 30-something female.

9. Notes on a Scandal
Two masterminds of the theatrical arts - Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench - face off in a film chock full of tension and bewilderment. The Phillip Glass score is almost too much at times, but it is a great 3rd main character in the movie.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Late to the Posada

I've had a dozen posts rattling around in my head and no focused time to sit down & write them. Business trip to the East Coast, last-minute Christmas shopping, and general puppy raising time have all sucked up my energy and resources.

However, I did manage to make it to La Posada in St. John's last weekend. I didn't really know what to expect, and it was pretty cool. So... some fun and interesting things about Posada.

1. Whoever they got to do face painting did an amazing, amazing job. These were no daisies and sunshines - these were complex, detailed little works of art on dozens of kids' cheeks. Had there not been such a line (and were I not convinced that the moment I got face paint on, the grey skies would finally open up for the day and leave me looking like a very sad clown), I would have been right there among the under-12 crowd.

2. Tienda Santa Cruz makes some mean tamales.

3. Tina Kotek was there! Tina Kotek was there! Tina Kotek was there! Standing next to me! In line for food! (For those of you who don't know, Tina is our North Portland representative to the State Legislature. She is also an incredibly smart and sophisticated advocate for kids issues and health care, and I kind of have a little silent secret crush on her. If my husband can have a man-crush on Sam Adams, I am entitled to my own girl crush.

4. Woodburn High School has a mariachi band?? How cool is that! Even more cool: it has at least 3 female members. They played at the end of Posada, and it was lots of fun. How many high schools can boast their own mariachi bands? Not many, I'm guessing.

5. I heard nary a word about the clustersuck that is/was Interstate Ave./Cesar Chavez Boulevard/SW 4th ave. There were upwards of 200 people there with what seemed to be a good mix of Latino, White and African American. Peaceful and supportive - a good small step for the community.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Seen Around the Neighborhood

Santa Checks to See if the Tiger was Naughty or Nice (Bad Santa!)

Wandering around the neighborhood was this little guy. We couldn't get the picture, but for awhile he was just walking down the street shoulder-to-shoulder with a little white cat. He seemed pretty content to peruse the front lawns and didn't seem to much care about us or our dog on the street.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Be a Beautiful Elf

How do you combine a fun, low-key social event with some worthy holiday philanthropy? Head on over to Trixie's Beauty Bar this Sunday, December 9th between 11 and 1. They are hosting a Holiday Open House to benefit families served by the Children's Relief Nursery in St. Johns.

Trixie's will supply the mimosas, snacks, and CHAIR MASSAGES! You bring a donation to the Children's Relief Nursery. Here are the specific items they are looking for:

  • Thomas the Train set
  • Thomas the Train toys
  • Keyboard
  • Indoor play structure
  • Tricycle for 3-year-old
  • V-Smile “Smartridges”: Day on the Farm, Noah’s Ark, Animal Adventures
  • 3-hole shape sorter
  • Cause-and-effect toys for 18 months old (push button to make sound or make something pop up, etc.)
  • Wrapping Paper, ribbon, tape, boxes etc.
  • Non perishable, protein-rich foods like chili, mac & cheese, soup, tuna
  • A cash or check donation to support the Children's Relief Nursery

Trixie's is located at 4821 North Lombard, at the corner of Lombard and Fiske.
The Relief Nursery is a wonderful organization and I'm so glad that Trixie's is doing this for them. For more info on CRN, visit them at:

Monday, December 3, 2007

Donde Esta Santa Claus?

Oh wow, did my husband find the mother of all Christmas lawn decorations a few blocks over. I promise a picture as soon as this crazy torrential rain stops flooding the earth. It involves Santa and sunglasses and a motorcycle. Rock on, biker Santa!

Friday, November 30, 2007

O Tannenbaum

Growing up on the East Coast, decorating for the holidays meant simple, tasteful, and clean. Every year, my mom would wish aloud that we would just decorate our Christmas tree in white lights only. She didn't win on that one (I insisted on multi-colored lights), but we did have white lights in the windows, white lights on the trees outside with a few red bows, and nothing else to sully the look.

Here are a list of things you would never, ever see at my house or in my neighborhood in New York:
1. Lights that blink, alternate, flutter, or do anything other than stay on steadily
2. Solid strings of non-white lights outside
3. Any figures, statues, figurines, inflatables in the yard or porch. No dancing candy canes, no inflatable Frosty the Snowman, etc.

In all the other Portland neighborhoods I've lived in before this one, there was an eclectic mix of holiday decorations. But nothing, nothing compares to what happens in our new neighborhood between Halloween and Christmas. It is a spectacle of inflatable Santas, giant snow globes, and dancing lights. Last year I admit to thinking it was a little tacky. But this, this year I am INTO it. When the neighbors across the street put up their giant inflatable pumpkin before Halloween, I knew the Turkey was not far behind, to be followed by the Santa.

I am determined to get some good pictures this year. My neighborhood has some SERIOUS holiday spirit. If you want calm and tasteful, head down to University Park or Overlook. Portsmouth is all about the bright and flashy. My inner child leaps for joy.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Post-Thanksgiving Giving of Thanks

Inspired by this post (and OUTED at LRB this morning - very impressive, Ali), I will say that I've been reflecting on all things to be grateful for this season. I have a long list, some of which I will share here:

1. My fabulous, wonderful, funny, compassionate husband of 2 1/2 years, without whom life would be significantly more difficult (and a hell of a lot more boring to boot)
2. A great little house that loves us (somehow I just feel it)
3. A new puppy, Lucy, who is a bundle of sweetness and energy (even if that energy does come out at 2 am...and 4 am...and 6 am)

4. A job that I adore
5. Being able to live in such a beautiful and satisfying place as Portland, Oregon
6. My new sport of dragonboating, which allows me to spend time on the river and see our fair city from a new perspective
There's so much more, but that will do it for now...

Evolution of 97203

The heart of the 97203 district is along Lombard between Fiske and the ‘village’ of St. Johns. While there have been a few neighborhood gems – the beloved Mexican grocery store with restaurant in the back room, the St. Johns movie theater, the St. Johns bookstore, and Tulip pastry shop, there are WAY more of the KFC/DQ/Gas station/car dealership type places.

Last Saturday night, R & I attended the grand re-opening of Genuine Imitation, a small art gallery formerly located in Old Town specializing in pop art. After meeting the owner, Vincent, and his wife Cassie, I was so thrilled I could hardly speak. This is exactly what St. Johns needs: a low-key, unpretentious, hip space (that would also make a kick-ass party venue) full of wonderful fresh art. We bought some fab postcards from this local artist (, mingled a bit, had some wine, and listened to the DJ-ed music. It got me thinking about how many changes in the neighborhood have happened since we moved in just over a year ago. In that time, we’ve had the openings of…

  1. James John Café (downtown St J)
  2. Ladybug Organic Coffee (downtown St J)
  3. Legong gelato/dessert/wine (downtown St J)
  4. Little Red Bike café (Lombard & Fiske)
  5. Pastrycat (Lombard and Buchanan)
  6. Encanto New Mexican restaurant (Lombard and Portsmouth)
  7. Leisure pub
  8. It’s a Dog’s Life doggy daycare (downtown St J)
  9. Refind – fun, kitschy estate sale-type housewares (Lombard & Buchanan)
  10. U.S.E.D. – nice used clothing & household items store (Lombard & Ida)
  11. Atomic Daylight – designer clothing (downtown St J)
  12. Genuine Imitation (see above)

On the negative side, we’ve seen the addition of Christie’s – a crappy, pseudo-Denny’s restaurant that is mere blocks from our house. However, the good outweighs the bad.

Add these to Trixie’s Beauty Bar, Anna Banana’s, Proper Eats, John St. Café, Tulip Pastry, Greg’s Gift Store, and Orleans Candle Shop, and you’ve got some good stuff all within 1.5 miles of each other. The neighborhood is really coming along and I’m incredibly excited.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I Choose You

R & I have lived in Portland now for 5 1/2 years. Prior to this house (which we've had for just over a year), I had lived in 7 different apartments/houses in those 4 1/2 years. The good thing about that was getting to experience different neighborhoods and 'feels' of Portland and find out what I liked. I experienced the crazy hippy-ness of Belmont, the tranquil poshness of upper NW 25th, the weirdness of St Helen's Rd, and (my favorite) the wonderfully small-city, walkable neighborhood of NE 28th/Burnside. I also got a taste of the 'burbs by living with a friend in Beaverton for a year (reinforcing the fact that I am NOT interested in buying a house in the suburbs), and experienced the SW in both Burlingame and Multnomah Village.

Point being that when we were house hunting, I knew what I liked: small, neighborhood feel + some walkability + access to Trimet. With our under-$235k budget, we had limited options for purchasing a home (we decided no townhouses/condos). Knowing we wanted to stay in the city (for us meaning inside 205), the neighborhoods within our reach were:

1. Portsmouth/St. Johns (on the N side of Lombard) (97203)
2. SE Portland: between SE 55th and 82nd/S of Powell, N of Johnson Creek Blvd (97206)
3. NE Portland: between NE 42nd and 82nd/Prescott & Columbia Blvd (97218)
4. NE Portland: between NE MLK Jr Blvd & NE 13th, N of Holman, S of Lombard (97211)

There were a few in 97217, a few in Rose City/97213, and a (very) few in N Concordia. But these were really the main ones. And without a doubt, the neighborhood we felt most at home in was St Johns & Portsmouth. We would have loved to be in St J village proper, or University Park. But as it turns out, we're happy we're a little bit closer to the 5 by being in Portsmouth. Even though it didn't have the 'walkability' of downtown St Johns (more on how that is changing later), it's still a lovely little neighborhood.

If money weren't an object and I could pick any neighborhood I wanted, I'd go with Laurelhurst in a heartbeat. Somewhere around 35th and Oak, or maybe just on the N side of Burnside...Davis or Everett. I love love love Laurelhurst. However, homes are outrageous. AND, I guarantee you there is no family-run Mexican grocery store that sells delicious $3.50 burritos out of the back room within walking distance. So take that Laurelhurst :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Welcome to View from the North

This is my little blog devoted to all things North Portland (Oregon, not Maine). My husband & I have owned a house in the Portsmouth neighborhood for just over a year, and I am finding this neighborhood to be all kinds of interesting and diverse. Social, political, gastronomic and retail changes abound. Things I hope to blog about...

- the face of the neighborhoods...not just Portsmouth, but St Johns, Kenton, Univ Park and other parts of NoPo
- urban planning issues
- food & social stuff
- other random Portland issues that arise

I love this town, I love my neighborhood & it is rife for good postings and discussion.