Archive for November, 2007

Lovin’ LilyToad

Lily ToadSo if it does snow tomorrow and you’re in St. John’s, you’re more than welcome to drop by my place and watch my awe at snow turn to abject panic because I’ve never, ever lived in snow before, and despite my going to New Seasons and buying every single canned good I could find plus a gas lantern from Fred Meyers, I’m fairly certain I’ll need to gnaw my own arm off if the power goes out for more than ten minutes.

Or you can swing by LilyToad on N Lombard where you’ll find all the things the budget green baby needs. They have recycled baby clothes, maternity clothes and the most delightful wooden toys handmade here in North Portland.

Plus a little playroom and a sweet nursing chair.

And they’re open later for the holidays.

St. John’s — why would you ever leave?

Things to do When it Snows in Portland

Frozen Rose

1. stay home from work (or “work from home”)
2. have a snow ball fight
3. ice skate in your driveway or down your street (only works if it rains after it snows, then refreezes — only happened once in my nearly 20 years here, but it was a blast)
4. grab a cardboard box and go sledding at the biggest hill you can find
5. practice driving in a big empty parking lot somewhere

What else?

Are you prepared?

All over the airwaves and internets this morning is news that we’re getting a “MONSTER STORM” this weekend. Earlier this week, parts of the Willamette valley received their first snow. Every year, we have these weekends where we get high winds and rain and invariably, many lose power. So, my question to you is – are you prepared?

When I say “prepared,” I don’t mean having a bomb shelter with a 3 gigawatt generator and a cache of arms and enough food and supplies for a year without sun. What I am saying is – do you have a blanket in your car and maybe some power bars and water? I have the blanket, but no food nor water just in case I get stranded on a remote road for some reason. Do you have some extra canned or packaged food in the pantry in case we get an ice storm like three years ago where one could barley walk on the sidewalk? Do you have some candles and matches handy? (Note here, the cute smelly candles from the boutique are nice and all, but not practical if you need to move around the house. Look for basic pillar type candles that you can easily pick up without burning yourself.) Do you have enough beer or liquor or games to get you through the evening if the power is out and you can’t watch Tivo?

With winter on its way (only 22 days till it officially arrives,) be sure to think outside the box next time you go shopping so you are prepared if per chance the wind and rain and snow make a visit to your neck of the woods this year. Be prepared.

I Blog This Because I Love You Pt. 2

St Johns Community CenterHello Portland Mommies. Now that I have your ear, come a little closer, I have all sorts of things to share. And please, by all means, use the comment section to share your own naughty little secrets.

Here’s this week’s tip, after where to buy bras, of course. The community centers around town have this thing called Indoor Park where, for less than a dollar, your kid can play for a few hours, inside, with all the large plastic toy cars and balls he or she can ride or throw. Many parents use this time to actually play with their children. Some folks use it to read a newspaper, or socialize with other parents.

If you choose to check out Indoor Park, do say hello to me and my hen party. We’re the ones in the corner mixing drinks and rating dads’ asses and we’re always looking for new ladies with hip flasks and sharp eyes to join our circle.

Bye-Bye Abandoned Shopping Carts

I think that I could call this hot-line every single day. There are always shopping carts – I assume from the nearby Albertsons – sitting along my street. But what I wonder is if they’ll pick up carts that are obviously on private property, not just along the boulevards or near bus stops?

I have neighbors who are um…interesting….to say the least. They have a personal collection of shopping carts on their lawn. Sometimes just one – sometimes two or three. I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen them out collecting cans from the neighborhood, and while they have several cars in the driveway – I’ve never seen any of them move and I believe they usually walk to the grocery store. So they do use the carts, but when they’re not in use they don’t put them in the garage, they leave them out on the lawn.

My neighborhood is by no means fancy, but their house is one of just a few that looks trashy.

No – I’ve never talked to them about it – my one conversation with them put me off a bit. I met one of the three roommates shortly after moving in a few years ago when she was sitting outside reading a magazine and drinking a beer when I got home from work. She couldn’t go inside because her roommates were “preoccupied” (my word, hers was R-rated.) This is what she yells at me from across the street just after introducing ourselves.

So if I call the shopping cart hotline on them, do you think they’ll get picked up from where they sit up near the house?

Should I call – or is that being a bad neighbor?

Big (THUNK!) Pipe (THUNK!) Digging (KA-THUNK!) Continues (RAT-A-TAT-A-*THUNK*!)

Every day now, the floors start to rise up to meet us at work at least three or four times a day. If you’re wise, you’ll stop looking at your computer monitor when the shaking starts – the shimmying picture that results has already felled at least one co-worker reeling from motion sickness. And the noise – that dull, leaden, rhythmic THUNK? It’s the worst kind of earworm of all.

Yes, the Big Pipe drilling has now finally reached our block in inner SE. We’ve felt the distant rumblings draw nearer and nearer and nearer – and now, they’re definitely Here.

From what we’re told, they’ll be there for a while yet – it takes a long time to drill 20 feet down into the ground to reach whatever it is they’re reaching down there. And that doesn’t include stopping to deal with backfill, I guess.

We’re doing our best to endure, knowing that our sacrifices now only benefit us all when we flush later – we’ll no longer (God willing) spill raw sewage into the Willamette after every little sprinkle.

But lordy, December’s certainly going to be a painful month at the office…!

Willy Week’s Weak Mayoral Picks

I know I shouldn’t take seriously Pulitzer prize winner Nigel Jaquiss’ list of 12 potential Sam Adams challengers in today’s Willamette Week, but indulge me while I pick it apart a few of his would-be draftees.

First, fully a third of the list come from the Portland K-12 schools scene, a scene dominated by part-time policy amateurs following the lead of their handlers in the business community.

Cynthia Guyer, former executive director of the Portland Schools Foundation (PSF), falls into the latter camp. She is credited by supporters and foes alike for foisting a free-market, business-oriented approach onto Portland’s largest school district. There are serious concerns that under her leadership, PSF went from being a small equity fund to the dominant voice in Portland Public Schools policy.

Former PPS school board member Julia Brim Edwards also has questionable bona fides in the minds of many Portland schools activists.

Current PPS school board member Sonja Henning is an especially puzzling choice. (As with other potential candidates, Jaquiss seems to be picking based on resume, race and gender, not political leadership skill.) Henning seems to be a genuinely nice person, and she always seems to just about get it on the really big issues, like school funding equity. But she never quite seems to be able to take the bull by the horns and lead on policy. That’s (sadly) the way things are done at PPS, but it seems like a deal breaker when we’re talking about the full-time mayor of a big city.

Jonah Edelman, founder of Stand for Children, doesn’t want the job. Which is good, because the “K-12 parent army” ain’t lining up behind him (or any of the other three schools people Jaquiss picked).

Finally, a comment on Eileen Brady, a partner in New Seasons and wife of New Season’s CEO Brian Rohter. Jaquiss thinks Brady’s “gender, the sustainability mystique and the resources she brings to any race make her a potent possible candidate.” (Serioulsy, I think Willamette Week must be joking on this whole thing.)

What about policy and leadership experience? Jaquiss notes other potential candidates’ pros or cons with organized labor, but somehow neglects to mention that Brady is a partner in the largest non-union grocery chain in Portland. Her husband was instrumental in breaking up a 1996-97 union campaign at Nature’s fresh Northwest (New Season’s predecessor), and has been consistently hostile to organized labor in practice. (Willamette Week covered the union campaign at Nature’s in 1997, but the articles are not available in the online archives.)

What I’d like to know is: who’d they miss? There’s got to be somebody with legitimate public policy and leadership experience willing to take on Sam Adams, a guy who’s never held a real job, has a spotty policy record, and whose number-one priority seems to be representing condo developers’ interests.

We know Erik Sten has his eyes on a bigger prize, like, say, a high-level appointment in a future Clinton administration.

One person who’s rumored to be considering a run is PPS school board member David Wynde. (I’m surprised Jaquiss missed that.)

How about it Portland, isn’t there anybody else out there who can bring professionalism, experience and policy expertise to this election? Or are we destined for a “collective nervous breakdown” under Adams?

Commute Me

crowded streetcar

The streetcar gets really full quickly. To make things worse today, there was a crew of 4-5 dooooods filming with a boom mic and everything. I know I got a lot of camera time, but they didn’t ask permission, which bothers me a little. At least be courteous to let people know why you are shoving a camera in their face.

During my daily 2+ hours on transit, I cope with a good set of inner-ear headphones that are great at blocking out all ambient sounds. Babies, loud cellphone talkers, and crazy people who love to talk are all blocked out by a podcast, NPR, or some good old fashion tunes. I get a kick out of listening to depressing music on the trains or bus while looking around at people. It makes it feel like everyone is having a terrible life, which gives me a little boost. I know, pretty F’ed up. But if I can’t be honest to all you strangers in internet land, than what chance do we have?

A Public Service Announcement to Umbrella Carriers

See that thing you’re holding over your head…that contraption of metal and a lovely waterproof fabric? It will protect you from the rain that is falling down around us. Because you have it your lovely clothing will not get wet.

You are smart for carrying it. I do not begrudge you having one. I – sadly – was not smart. I left mine at home. I know that’s my own fault, but please do not walk under the awnings and make me step to the outside of the sidewalk when we pass.

Thank You.

Holiday Ale Festival

The annual Winter Ale Festival is happening this weekend at Pioneer Courthouse Square, starting tomorrow. This year’s beer list looks fantastic, and Thursday it appears that they are going to roll out some very special kegs. This festival is one of the things that makes living in Portland so great. The entire square is covered under a large tent, and heaters are judiciously applied, keeping the cold out and making things nice and toasty. The beers are big and rich, warming your insides as the heaters warm your outsides. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. It’s a great time.

One word of advice – go early. The word is out on this fest, and it has, frankly, outgrown its humble digs. At night, it gets crowded – uncomfortably so, and you may find yourself waiting upwards of 15 or 20 minutes for a beer. However, before the tent fills up, it’s a great time. And no matter what time of day you’re there, the beer simply can’t be beat.

Everything you need to know about the Festival can be found right here

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