Posted on

21 Drafts

I have 21 drafts right now. 21 unfinished posts of ideas that get fragmented throughout the days. My only drawback is that Siri doesn’t sync nicely to my WordPress App. I have drafts on parenting, politics, and run of the day things. But today, I’m not going to update any. Instead, I’m going to give you pictures of Levi running around Council Crest.

Today was an absolutely beautiful day in Portland. Cool, clear, crisp with a light wind. I drove back home from the chiropractor’s office and all three mountains were clear. It wasn’t safe to take pictures with my phone while driving around the I-5 curves, so Levi and I visited the park after Peter left for work. Here’s what it looked like.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”alexis22578″ id=”72157629180080103″]

Enhanced by Zemanta
Posted on

Commuting in 2012

English: Bus 2909 of TriMet, the public transi...
Image via Wikipedia

You may recall I’ve had a varied commute in all the years I’ve lived here, in Portland. 2012 marks the start of the 9th year I’ve lived here. Nine years. It’s a little surprising that I am working towards being here for an entire decade. While I was still living in Michigan, I was able to finally figure out my purpose, if you will. I wanted to educate people on the importance of a sustainable society. Once I got, here, to Portland, I began studying Sustainable Urban Development and living out my green dreams to the best of my ability.

I partook in regular bus commutes. I refused to own a car. I toyed with riding my bicycle. I bought organic foods and preached to others the importance of doing so. I bought recycled toilet paper. I ate more beans than meat. When I moved closer to work, I walked to work forgoing all fossil fuel options and using my own two feet instead.

Then, life changed. I got a curve ball. I got pregnant and married while still in school. What a humbling experience this has been! I used to eat arugula salads all the time, but then I found myself married to someone who’s taste buds hadn’t been acclimated to the slightly bitter green. Then, we found ourselves with a huge budget crunch: no income while taking care of a baby! Organic dreams went by the wayside. Always lurking in the background, but not something we could act on when we had $300 to spend, per month, on our total grocery bill (including the WIC and SNAP benefits allotted).

At the same time, I got the best bus pass – ever. It was good for five years and was an all-zone pass. That’s right, I got the benefit of being the partner of a TriMet employee. While I got the best bus pass, ever, I stopped commuting! My husband drove me to and from school on the days I went. Then, I finished school and I stopped needing to go places save once a week or so. Then, instead of taking the bus, driving, or walking – I found myself driving an SUV!

Next, life changed again, and I got employed. The only problem was that I didn’t look close enough at the job description and the job was twenty miles away. I was looking at a 45 minute commute by car or a 90 minute commute by bus. I had to factor in day care, so commuting by car became my new norm.

Well, the beginning of this year has proven another change. The office moved downtown. Downtown! My commute decreased by 15 miles! Challenges remain, especially in regards to picking up Levi. However, I took the one bus to work. I walked. Walked! I listened to NPR, sent emails, checked my schedule — all while on the bus.

The ride home was a little more stressful as the bus was running late. I might benefit from changing my schedule a half hour on the start and end time to allow more flexibility with picking up Levi. We made it home though, not without complaint. And, my feet just aren’t used to walking fast anymore, so they need to be retrained. Tomorrow, I will try a park and ride option. This means, I will bus to work then home, and then pick up the truck and get Levi.

Commuting in 2012 will mean a driver’s license renewal. It will mean an all-zone, five-year bus pass renewal. It might mean Levi gets his own bus pass. (I can’t remember the age kids are supposed to have their own tickets.) Yes, 2012 will have changes in commuting. Here’s to less driving and more bus riding.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Posted on

Michigan Vacation 2011

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”alexis22578″ id=”72157626371000466″]

18 months from our 2009 adventure, we were able to travel back to Michigan. Experience has shown us 10 days is not enough, so this time we booked two weeks. It really looks like 12 full days when you consider one day you fly in and one day you fly out. This time, we traveled in March!

March! I’ve been living in Portland since October 2003. I think the last time I was in Michigan in March it must have been 2003. I didn’t realize how much I missed that crisp air, the chilly nights, the brown grass, patches of snow, and twiggy deciduous trees.

I do miss my home.

I am still glad I am here, in Portland. A point which my husband and I diverge. But, this post is about the vacation, not the time-line for moving back home.

This year, I did a survey of kitchens, bathrooms, and beds. My husband and I are always thinking about our dream house and if we were to purchase a house here in Portland, what would it look like. So, we are house hunters, no matter how cold of a prospect our Realtor should consider us. I am even more interested in how people organize their lives and what guests are given for their stays. Our house, currently, can only offer a lumpy couch.

I was amazed at the little things. The kitchens I most appreciated were open. No walls restricting vision to cooking surfaces, people in the kitchen, kids playing. My mother-in-law, cousin, and sister-in-law had the best laid out kitchens.

It was interesting to note who had the most intuitive organization and who did not. My grandmother’s kitchen was the most intuitive, but I could be biased there because that is my second home so I already knew where everything was. Next up was my cousin and mother-in-law.

My sister had the best guest bedroom. She even equipped the guest bathroom with amenities! Like we were at a hotel! Shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste! Extra pillows, pillow cases, and blankets were stocked in the drawers and closets! And, my sister boasted the best guest bed. Although we only stayed one night in her house, it was the most comfortable sleep, for me.

My brother and sister-in-law had the best kid toys – likely because of the two kids residing there. So, the most fun was had at my brothers, for Levi, because he got to play with cousins! It’s really amazing to see the connection these kids have, when they’ve visited no more than 4 occasions in their young lives.

We did better planning this one, I think. I wanted to make a conscious effort to try to visit with people, but I wasn’t going to press any visits given how tired and moody we can get traveling. We had adequate naps and play times, so it felt balanced overall. The last visit we had was such a whirlwind, we all ended up grouchy by the end!

To capstone our trip, we were even able to move our late arriving flight to an earlier arrival. Although, Levi and I still took the next day off to transition from cousins to normal. Thanks to all the family for such lovely visit. Hopefully we can get back before 18 months this next time.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Posted on

Portlandia

The Portlandia statue on the Portland Building...
Image via Wikipedia

I am very thankful for Hulu right now. I love this city. I do. But, with all the transplants (yes, like me) and our ideals and our fantasies and our 300 steps away from reality, this is good fun. Thank you Fred & Carrie.

I moved here in 2003. In 2004, I believe, a native Portlander wrote into the Oregonian as a guest columinist, asking Portlanders to get over htemselves. she argued that in this green archiplego, Portlanders forgot that there is a wider world out there. She claimed with exmaple after example of how Portlanders don’t realize not everyone in the country wants to go green, eat organic, or boycott Wal-Mart. As sad as it might have been to read, it was refreshing because it’s true!

So, this is the first Portlandia episode, the show that lovingly makes fun of Portland, the place where we want to know the name of our chicken but might be afraid to see the farm.

Enhanced by Zemanta