Archive for the ‘Rants & Raves’ Category

I Love My Jeans (and that I can wear them anywhere in Portland!)

It’s Monday morning, I’ve already been at work for an hour, tomorrow is April and the thermostat says 33 degrees… but I don’t care because I love being in Portland.

I am a casual person – I like dressing up occasionally, but I’m a jeans girl at heart. I have to dress up for work everyday – so on weekends – I like to be comfy. We had tickets to the symphony on Saturday night, so I put on cute jeans, a cute top and cute shoes. It looked nice – but definitely casual. Standing in the lobby before the concert I saw a couple in tuxes, others in jeans, a young couple that looked dressed for prom and I’m pretty sure the fur coat on the woman sitting in front of us was real. And no one cares. Sure – there are a few clubs in town that try to be all “L.A.” and implement dress codes – but they’re ridiculous places anyhow.

I LOVE the fact that in Portland I can go and enjoy the symphony, or any other place in town, and do it the way that I feel appropriate – not the way dictated by someone’s random dress code. And that no one even thinks twice about it!

Are You On Spring Break? Me Neither!

I can admit it – I’m a little jealous. I’d love to get a week off every year in the spring, but honestly I think this whole week long spring break thing is pretty lame. I don’t know if the full week is a recent thing, or a West Coast thing – but where I grew up our spring break consisted of the Friday before and the Monday after Easter – just a long weekend. So I have a few – someone pissed in my Cheerios – gripes about this thing.

First off – it’s a real pain in the butt to those of us working regular jobs – both those who do and don’t have kids. People who have kids all have to make other arrangements for them during the day. They have to pay money to send them extra hours at their normal childcare place, a spring break camp, or some such place – or they have to take time off of work and burn their PTO hours. And when they do that – it increases the work for those of us who have to cover for them, ’cause it’s not just one parent gone, but several who take the week – or at least a part of it – off. And if you want a vacation day during that week but don’t have a kid…well no such luck getting that approved.

Secondly – The whole world does not revolve around the school calendar. Only about a quarter of the households in the Portland area have school age kids – yet suddenly everything in town is on a new “spring break” schedule and costs more than it did last week or will again the following week. And people will talk to you as if you’re supposed to know: “oh that beach house you wanted to rent – I know that website says it’s $200 per night, but this weekend it’s $350. Why? Well it’s spring break of course!” Not for me it’s not!

Third – what the hell are high school kids doing taking trips to Mexico or Florida for anyhow? That is supposed to be a college experience. Enough said.

And finally, like I said, I can admit to being jealous – I’d love to have a teachers schedule. I whole heartedly feel that they deserve to be paid well, but when you consider all the time they get off – and how much they’ll all complain next Sunday about having to go back to work next Monday – it’s hard to listen to any whining about salaries that are pretty comparable to a lot of other professionals out there who do work more than eight months out of the year.

So happy spring break everyone! …. grumble grumble grumble….

James Beard Foundation Pretty Well Snubs PDX in Awards

Even though our local food scene garnered its fair share of national media attention in the last year or so, that apparently did not translate into much in the eyes of the James Beard Foundation. The foodie organization announced its 2008 James Beard Foundation awards today and Portland garnered what appears to be only two nominations:

  1. Rising Star Chef of the Year: Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon
  2. Best Chef: Northwest: Scott Dolich, Park Kitchen

You can view the entire list of nominees by category here. What’s up with this JBF? Seattle, San Francisco and others got way more than PDX, which is the hometown of your namesake. Maybe you didn’t like the fact we got such media spotlight as an under the radar kind of place? You nominate like four Washington chefs and only one Oregon person for Best Chef: Northwest, as an example.

Beard must be rolling right now…

Tuesday, March 25, 11am – BEER!

Hopworks Urban Brewing will open their 9000sq ft location Tuesday to the joyous screams of beer mavens throughout Portland.  Hopworks (HUB for short) has been much anticipated over the past year.  Christian Ettinger, the owner and master brewer, made his name as the brewer at Laurelwood and has taken his vision of beer and sustainability to new levels.  The building HUB is in used to be Sunset Fuel and was reclaimed.  They are also doing fully Organic beer, a new trend in the craft beer arsenal.

I have been drinking HUB at different locations around Portland for a few months now and it is pretty darn solid for a brewery just starting out.  They obviously know what they are doing.  Oh, and they’ll have pizza and a back patio to boot.

Head on out next week to congratulate HUB on opening and help support another home grown microbrewery.

Hopworks Urban Brewing
29th and SE Powell
Opening 11am, Tuesday March 25

Spring doesn’t start until tomorrow…..sorry O

I would love to tell you today is the first day of spring, but it is not.  I have been pining for spring for awhile now and am the first to tell you it can’t come soon enough.  But I won’t tell lead you astray like Michael Rollins of the O.  He believes, and probably has some Oregonians believing as well, that today – March 19 – is the first day of spring.  Well, honestly, no harm, just people walking around wondering why it is so cold on the first day of spring.

Michael, spring doesn’t start until March 20, tomorrow.  I confirmed that with Google, the knower of all things.

Wine editor needs some language coaching

I was listening to The Splendid Table’s podcast yesterday on the way home and stopped in my tracks when I heard the discussion regarding Pinot Noirs of Oregon. Lynne Rossetto Kasper, the host, was interviewing Food and Wine magazine’s Senior Editor, Ray Isle about Pinot Noir. The crux of the interview was about how much Pinot Noir is on the market and how some of it is pretty bad because it has become the wine of the moment. Lynne asked for some recommendations and this purveyor of fine wines suggested Raptor Ridge, a winery in “Oregon’s Willamette Valley.” This is where I choked on my own spit! This “wine guy” pronounced it “willa met” instead of “wil lam ette.” Oregonians know what I mean. He then went on to discuss the Russian River valley in California, but pronounced that one right. I can’t believe a wine editor doesn’t know how to pronounce the name of the wines he is suggesting.

To go further, Lynne Rosetto Kasper has been advertising a trip to Oregon this summer for her readers to taste some of the fine wines of the Willamette Valley and she pronounces it right. I can’t believe she didn’t correct him or even say something after the interview. I understand people have trouble with regional pronunciations, yet when you are the Senior Editor of a wine magazine, one would think you would do your homework.

A beautiful weekend

I haven’t recovered from my lost hour of sleep.  Oh well, I’ll soldier on into spring here soon. I was out NW yesterday taking some wood to be recycled and ventured off the beaten path to see if I could find anything to photograph for the “Where in Portland” series.  I found this oil rig and thought it would be ideal.

0309081641a.jpg

 

I jumped out of my truck and began taking some photos when a man approached with his dogs asking if I wanted a photo with the derrick.  I chuckled to myself because I was in that position where I felt I should explain why I’m taking a photo of an oil rig in NW Industrial.  I thanked him, but didn’t need the personal photo.  So there I was, in deep industrial Portland on a Sunday afternoon and a random Portlander offered to help me capture a moment.  How cool is that?  Now I’m wondering if I should have taken him up on the offer.

 

A side note – the reason I stopped for this oil pumpjack is that when I was young, my parents took us through eastern Texas and one of the games we played was to try and count the “nodding donkeys.”

V-Day in P-Town

Valentine’s day is almost upon us – and love it or hate it – tomorrow you will be surrounded by it.

The Willy Week and Mercury already have their “Valentine’s issues” out with stories of creepy old men trolling for twisted daughter/daddy hook-ups and wacky messages of love from secret admirers. Our own resident Gilmore Girl has given all the single ladies (and guys) some handy advice on making the most of their Hallmark holiday hook-ups and the guys on all the corners of MLK and 82nd are making a killing selling stuffed animals, balloons and flowers.

Me – in my life now – I’m a fan. We don’t do anything extravagant or expensive, but we spend some time together, just the two of us. And with our busy schedules that can be hard to do, so that’s what really counts.

In the past – I’ve not been so fond of the day. I actually burned the month out of calendars with my roommates in the “I am womyn” days of college while we ranted against the evils of forcing people to spend money to say ‘I Love You’ or they’ll get in trouble with the one they supposedly loved.

We also may have just been a bit bitter that we didn’t have anyone to share the day with.

So whether you give or receive a Valentine tomorrow, whether you dress all in black and swear under your breath at the people who do, or whether you totally forgot that that it was even coming up and you just tell the one you love how much you love them regardless…from Metblogs to you…

Happy Valentines Day!

My Political Rant

Metblogs can get a bit political. I have yet to take a firm public stance on the day’s issues. But today, walking through downtown, past Nordstrom, changed all of that. I passed this window and realized, I have a mission. I have a cause. I have a cause the good people of Portland need to get behind.

Here it is: we must eliminate the sneaker-pump.

How many more times in my life must I witness such a plain abuse of two perfectly useful shoes? The sneaker, well yeah. But the pump? I’m not one to don these particular shoes, but Dr. Maria Cerruto, Italian urologist, has found that heels may improve a lady’s sex life. Would I like to run a marathon and have better sex, who wouldn’t? But not all at once, people.

Who’s with me? Who’s willing to start making banners and pins and dedicating blogs to the eradication of the sneaker-pump?

It starts with just one.

Bay Area to PDX by Amtrak: A Review

So when I last published about my Amtrak travels, it was regarding the Portland to Seattle run. Last week my wife and I, returning from California after a two week visit, decided to go overnight from Emeryville to Portland via the train’s Coast Starlight route. Here is a tale of that travel.

We arrived at the Emeryville station on a rainy night in the Bay Area with some friends of ours. They hung with us for awhile until the Coast Starlight pulled up. Prior to this, we’d heard that if you were staying overnight in one of the train’s sleeping areas, which we were, you really needed to check your larger suitcases. We did as such and were smart in doing so – the Superliner Roomette we ended up in was a hell of a lot smaller than what it looks like in the picture. We boarded the train, had a brief moment of shock when we got to our cabin and quickly adjusted. I slept in the upper bunk and my wife in the lower.
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