The Little Things and Microwaves

Everyone always talks about the “little things” worth living for, the “little things” that make you happy. But what about the “little things” that just piss you the hell off? What about those seemingly insignificant moments, ticks, behaviors that, for some reason, just drive you up the wall? As amazing as it is what simple things can make people (myself included) happy, the most abstract occurrances can easily send them in the other direction. One of my top offenders: the microwave.

Now understand, I love microwaves. They heat up delicious Thanksgiving leftovers. They provide me a fast track to my hot cocoa fix. But, don’t push the reset button and it’s a whole different story. Ask anyone in my family and they will confirm that the microwave in my parent’s house almost always showed the correct time on its little digital clock. Why? Because after each person finished re-heating their respective food or drink, pulling the newly warmed delectable from the microwave with just a second left (let’s be honest, the beeping timer at the end gets real old, real fast) I would be there within the minute to make sure the reset button had been pushed to clear the leftover time. Maybe it would not have been such a big deal had there been another functioning clock in the room. Maybe I can just be a little anal, but nothing used to infuriate me more than looking at the microwave to see what time it was, only to be faced with a lone “1” in the digital window. It was like the appliance was flipping me off! I just could not stand it!

I realize this confession places me in the category of slightly insane, but truly, everyone has their own little tick. It all comes down to whether you are crazy enough to fess up to it (which clearly, I am). So what about you? Are you just crazy enough to tell me? What is your “little thing”?

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Menstruation Barbie

As long as I have known her, Barbie has perpetually been 5 steps ahead of the rest of the women on Earth. Between flawless skin, a hunky boyfriend, an unbelievable figure, and about 50 successful occupations, she is like a beauty queen overachiever on steroids. It’s too much to handle! To much to take! What I would LOVE to see is a real woman’s Barbie. Not only that. She would be portraying something every true girl must go through:

their period.

Menstruation Barbie would be outfitted not in her usual fashionable attire, but ugly grey sweats to better hide the week’s unfortunate bloating. Chocolate stains line the edges of her lips and the stress lines of holding 50 different careers, plus constantly losing her shoes (if you have ever had a Barbie, you totally understand this) would finally be visible on her forehead. As for Ken, he would be cowering in the corner, the latest victim of her unstable hormonal rage.

If anyone has ever seen a Barbie like this, or created one themselves, please let know/send a pic. I would love to see it.

Is this really better than Anthrax?

As I have mentioned before, I don’t exactly live or work in the nicest part of town. There are crazies on the MAX, homeless on the streets, and piss on the sidewalks. So it should come as no surprise that a certain individual near my office has taken it upon himself to add to the delirium

Perhaps he is unstable. Maybe it’s a fetish. There is also the slight chance that he simply hates the US postal service. Regardless of the reason, this particular creature decided to make a very public “genetic deposit” (as my coworker put it) into the curbside mailbox across the street from my work building. And the scary reality is, he can’t possibly be the ONLY one.

So now, my heart goes out, both to the postal workers who have to deal with this sort of craziness on a regular basis, as well as the two poor little curbside mailboxes in the area that had to be removed. All that remains are some sad little bolts on the sidewalk. And all I can think is: What is gonna happen next? Oh P-Town

 

ABCs of P-Town (part 2: I-L)

Alright bloggers, here is another little snippet:

International – No, I am not referring to PDX, Portland’s International Airport. Nor am I speaking of the multiple ethnic restaurants and food carts around the area (although, if you have a chance, they are definitely worth a taste).  Instead, I am talking about Portland’s overall acceptance, abundance, and celebration of different national cultures. There are, of course, the expected celebrations such as Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Irish Festival,  and Oktoberfest. (The last link is probably the most prominent of Oregon’s Oktoberfests, at Mt. Angel, but if you are looking for one that is actually closer to downtown Portland, check out the events page for Oaks Amusement Park.) But then Portland takes it a step further. Other festivals throughout the year include the Festa Italiana, the Greek Festival, the India Festival,  the Chinese New Year, and, an event I have yet to see but am definitely going to mark on my calendar, the Portland Highland Scottish Games.

Japanese Gardens – A popular tourist site, the Japanese Garden is really something to see. Nestled next to the International Rose Gardens and walking distance to the Wildwood Trail, you could easily spend an entire day enjoying mother nature at her finest. Picturesque bridges, steps, streams and fountains mingle gracefully with the surrounding flora. In addition to its beautiful landscaping, the Japanese Garden also is host to multiple events and festivals throughout the year. There is even a free admission day for those on a tight budget. (Veteran’s Day)

Klickitat Street – For those who grew up reading the many children’s books written by Beverly Clearly, Klickitat Street should definitely be ringing a few bells. This is the street the famous little Ramona Quimby (and her older sister Beezus, of course) grew up on. Haha, I still love recalling the book where the two girls complain about cow tongue and are forced to make dinner for the family the following. Not knowing how to check first for ingredients, Ramona and Beezus end up making a simple dinner of rice, chicken, and cornbread include substitutions of banana yogurt, cream of wheat, and chili powder.  In their world, one could also hope to run into Otis, Ribsy, Henry, and many more Cleary characters. Well, actually, you might run into a few of those characters too. Near Klickitat, in Grant Park, there are a few bronze statues, erected in 1991, depict Henry Huggins, Ribsy, and Ramona Quimby.

Light Rail – While Portland (and let’s face it, the U.S. in general) is waaaaaay behind Europe when it comes to public transportation, it does do it’s part with the Trimet MAX or Light Rail. The Light Rail here consists of 4 different lines (Blue, Red, Yellow, and Green) that run from various metropolitan areas into downtown and back out again. This provides an easy way to get around, a relief from the task of finding a parking spot, and a daily dose of entertainment. (see my earlier post, Trimet). And no Light Rail is going to give you more of this than the eastern Blue Line, which runs into from Gresham (deep SE Portland) out to Hillsboro. Simply put,  SE Portland people are CRAZY.  (Again, read my earlier post, but know I see far-fetched variations of those interactions almost every day.) Even so, the Light Rail really is the trick to getting to and from the airport without the hassle or cost of a taxi, or to Jeld-Wen field to cheer on the Portland Timbers, or even to see an a capella group randomly break into song. You may know where you are going, but you can never be sure what you will see along the way.

The ABCs of P-Town (part 1: A-H)

I was originally going to make this all one post, but, since I am too impatient to wait until Z (in my defense, going through the entire alphabet takes a while), and the end result would end up being some ungodly length anyways, I am just going to break this down into parts. The final post will have the entire alphabet so no one has to jump around for the complete list. But until then, here is A-H.

Alphabet District – How perfectly appropriate that we start the ABCs of Portland with the Alphabet District, which is, I must admit, one of my favorite areas in the city. First, there are dozens of smaller shops, boutiques, and restaurants that provide a lovely departure from the main stream mall feel and bustle that surrounds Pioneer Place everyday. Second, there are more than enough unique and charming older style houses to give you that warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia… even if you, like me, are only 23 years old. And if nostalgia isn’t for you, maybe recognizing a few Simpson’s characters in street names might brighten your day. (Matt Groening is from Portland, after all.) Finally, as the name would suggest, the streets within the Alphabet District are, indeed, in alphabetical order, beginning with Burnside and heading North. Add to that the numbered avenues running perpendicular and finding any address suddenly became 10x easier.

Burnside – Aside from being a Bridge and a great place to meet Bums (I am on a roll with this letter) Burnside St. is also unique in that it is a very handy navigational landmark for finding your way around Portland. In the greater downtown area, if you see any address or street labeled “NW” or “NE” you will know that you are North of Burnside. Likewise, “SW” and “SE” refer to any location South of the street. Just remember not to try this same trick if you end up too far out in the ‘burbs’ or Beaverton. Then again, why would you go there in the first place?

Costumes – Portlanders absolutely love to dress up (or down in the case of the annual Naked Bike Ride). From body and face paint, to drag, to some of the most outrageous/unique/creative outfits you can think of, there are hundreds of costumes and literally dozens of opportunities to wear them throughout the year. One is very likely to see attire fall short of the norm at the The Starlight Run, SantaCon, PDX Hunt, Urban Iditarod, One Mile Drag Race, Zombie Walk, Tour de Lab… just to name a few.

Donuts – For those who live in Portland, or who just watch the Travel Channel or Food Network a lot, it should be no surprise that Voodoo Donuts made this list. These lovely deep-fried creations are delicious, no doubt, but that isn’t the only reason that Voodoo has become such a staple and tourist attraction in the Rose City. The shop itself is an experience, a far departure from the boring task of grabbing your sugar fix from Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme.  Voodoo boasts innuendos in its slogan and menu items, some truly unique looking and tasting fare, legally binding wedding ceremonies, and, most recently, a world record for the largest box of donuts. Did I also mention they make a special Blood Filled Voodoo doughnuts depicting the Portland Timber’s opponent before each match? Well, they do that too.  Just make sure you are willing to stand in line for the donutty experience. So far this year, I have yet to see it any shorter than around the corner from the original shop downtown. The Magic is in the Hole.

East Bank Esplanade  – Much to the dismay of my boyfriend, this esplanade is how I am able to torture him every sunny day as I take my lunch hour. By connecting this pathway to the Tom McCall Waterfront via the Hawthorne and Steel bridge, I have a lovely, nearly 3 mile loop to stroll along, admire the Portland cityscape, and catch a little bit of my daily dose of Vitamin D. Any time the weather warms, you can expect to see numerous people walking, running, or cycling along this loop, or connecting it to the Springwater Corridor that runs further South. Warning: while most of the walk is enjoyable, there are a few smelly areas (hey, it is on the Willamette), but not to worry, the worst parts are on the west side so you may not even notice them.

Farmer’s Market – When it comes to food, Portland, in general, has a wonderful selection of restaurants, bars, and even some amazing food carts. But if you are looking to add the warm fuzzy feeling of helping a local grower out (while still noshing on something delectable) then the Farmer’s Market is definitely the place to go. I usually frequent the one up near PSU (Portland State University) where I can find anything from homemade tamales, to just-picked berries, to sweet baked goods, and even some fresh fish or amazing smoked salmon. It really is a great place to wander around, listen to a little music, and enjoy a market focused on food without all the crazy that is the larger Saturday Market down near Skidmore Fountain (although that can be fun as well). Just remember to watch your waistline and wallet in these parts. With all the good grub at Farmer’s Market, it becomes almost too easy to over-indulge.

Green – When thinking of a typical city most people will picture paved roads, skyscrapers, congestions, noise and traffic, among other things. But something that Portland adds to this black and gray concrete jungle is green, a lot of it. Portland is home to the largest inner city park in the United States. Sorry New York, but Central Park couldn’t beat this one. Forest Park, located in the West Hills of Portland, is filled tall trees, lush flora, and an escape that will make you forget how close to the city you really are. There are miles upon miles of trails suitable for a simple stroll, a nice run, or a walk with man’s best friend. And these trails don’t just take you in circles either. Local and historical attractions can be found throughout Forest Park and its interconnecting trails such as Council Crest, the Oregon Zoo, Washington Park, the International Rose Test Gardens, Pittock Mansion, the Vietnam Memorial…  or you can just lose yourself somewhere on the 30 miles of the Wildwood Trail, all while forgetting you are still in the city.

Hollywood – Yes, there is a Hollywood in Oregon… well a Hollywood District. But don’t be fooled by the name. It is definitely not as glamorous as its California counterpart. Portland’s Hollywood has a little more of an indie/bohemian feel and it is not necessarily the place I would want to be after dark… then again, most places out in SE or deep SE Portland are probably areas best avoided at night. One of the neatest things about this District, however, is the Hollywood Theater. A historic Portland Landmark, this not-for-profit theater is often showing movies you are not likely to find anywhere near a mainstream cinema. Older movies, film festivals indie flicks, and student shorts are the main sources of entertainment in this building, making the Hollywood Theater a great alternative to some over-sold blockbusters.