Category Archives: Chrissie

Portland Love

There is a very kind and delicious article on Portland over at the NY Times.   I have to agree that Portland is a great place to come and eat.  And eat.  And maybe eat just a little more.  Even better, you can eat well and cheaply which is always a plus.  And that doesn’t even begin to cover the beer.   But what caught my eye in this article, was how aptly Matt Gross sums up the charm of Portland….

Amid economic catastrophe — Oregon has the country’s second-highest unemployment rate — there was a general indifference to wealth. In its place was a dedication to the things that really matter: hearty food and drink, cultural pursuits both high and low, days in the outdoors and evenings out with friends. It’s the good life, and in Portland it still comes cheap.

Maybe it’s coming from the Rat Race that is LA but I have to say, Mr. Gross hit the nail on the head.  Oh sure, we have some snobs here but the vast majority of folks you meet out and about are friendly, open and kind.  Money and cache don’t seems quite so important here.  Most people sport good walking shoes and a well loved raincoat and this ensemble will work no matter where you roam from hiking trails to restaurants.  We still know that the “good life” means enjoying the beauty of nature that surrounds us and the simple joy of looking a stranger in the eye and sharing a smile.  Ah Portland, you really know how to show a girl a good time!

Getting My Groove Back

I have been a bit distracted lately.  I have 101 different projects running through my head and I’m trying to do them all at once.  This means I work on something for about 7.8 minutes before moving on to the next to do item.  It isn’t working out so well.  

Anyone have any ideas on how to get yourself to focus on one task at a time?   Yesterday, I spent 10 minute agonizing over which unfinished task to tackle, decided it was too hard to decide, and ended up spending the rest of the night watching a Hallmark Channel movie.  Yes, it is that bad.

Maybe it’s because it’s finally spring and the weather is warmer and the days longer.   But whatever it is, my groove has been worn away.  Right now, I’m more like newly paved asphalt.  Flat and uninspired.  Luckily, it appears that the Hallmark Channel is continuously playing made for tv movies so I’m good there.  

But seriously, I’ve set my chrissieterry mind to it and I will snap out of this.  Even if it means having Kevin hid the tv remote at night.  And in the morning too.  

Maybe I should just cancel cable altogether.  (shudder)  

I think I may have to fall back on my old reliable inspiration jump-start.  A trip to OfficeMax.  In law school, whenever I had a new paper or class or project to start, I always headed to the office supply store.  I would spend the afternoon buying notebooks, new pens and filing folders.   Sure, I’d be out 50 bucks but I’d be so inspired to start working I couldn’t wait to rush home and get organized.  There is nothing like a clean notebook and fresh pens to make a girl feel ready to take on the world.  I haven’t been to the office supply store for years.  I think this may be the problem.  No wonder I can’t get anything done!  I’m surrounded by half dried out ball points, dog-eared  notebooks, and blunt pencils.  It’s enough to drive a girl to the Hallmark channel I tell you.

Yes!  That’s it!  I need new pens!  This can be easily fixed.  Sheesh, sometime I can be so dense.   Look out efficiency, here I come!


My good old friend Erica is flying in today for a Portland visit and I can hardly wait.  In law school, we had the perfect trifecta.  Kat, Erica and myself.  I used to kid that if I ever wrote a tv show, I’d have to base it on us.  Kat was the blond from Rhode Island.  She used to get dressed in full make up and hair to go to the grocery store which is pretty unusual for Oregon.  She was our sweet one who cried at every Hallmark moment and once lost her cordless phone in her apartment for a week.  Erica was our feisty red-head from the south.  She was definitely the mother of the group.  When your heart was broken and you need a shoulder to cry on, Erica was your girl.  She’s a non-nonsense, go getter with a real spark.  I was the brunette from California.  Not so much on the mothering but heavy on the sarcasm.   We complimented each other beautifully and supported each other even more.  So it was with much regret that Kat and I watched Erica move back to Louisville after graduation.  We were down one southern redhead and they aren’t easy to replace!  Erica’s last visit was right after Leina was born so I didn’t get to see her much being in the middle of tiny child shock.  That was four years ago!  That’s a long time to have to go without Southern Spice.

But she’s back!  She flies in the moring and will be here all weekend.   Even better, I’ve managed to get rid of the kids to Grandma Vicki’s for the weekend so I’ll be flying solo which means lots of time to catch up and bask in the reunited trio once again.  I can’t wait.

Does anyone know any single Portland men who like red headed girls from the south?  I’m willing to play dirty to get her back here full time.  Send me any leads you have!

Sick, Again

I think I might make a generic “I’m Sick” post to have on hand because it feels like that’s all I am lately.  Sick.   Sicksicksicksicksicksick.  Every time I claw my way back into the realm of  the healthy, I get dragged back down by something else.  So yes, I am sick.  Again.  The silver lining is my gum surgery has healed nicely so now I can go back onto solid food.   And, the sick spot on the sofa is totally broken in.  The icky part is that my house has fallen down around me in a pile of dirty clothes, unwashed dishes and dog-hair covered floors due to the fact that they have been left neglected for about a month now.   Sigh.  

So hello Mr. Sickness.  I’ve expecting you.  Come in and wear your welcome out, the way you always do!

Hello March!

I must confess that February is my least favorite month.  Neither winter nor spring but somewhere miserably in between.  Thank goodness it’s so short!  Now March, March is just a big tease.  She swings between sunny spring days and frosty winter mornings but there’s a feeling in the air and buds on the trees that lets you know she won’t break your heart.  March may tease but spring is just around the corner.

Which means….garden!  Yes, it’s the time of year when I start thumbing though cookbooks, rushing to the mailbox to look for gardening magazines, and reading gardening memoirs.  Of course, I’ve forgotten how horrible gardening really is.  The weeds, the slugs, the prickly brambly bushes that want so badly to play in my little space.  Right now those are just a dim memory.  This is a good thing.

My sister in San Diego could garden year round due to her lack of seasons but to me that holds  no allure.  The best part of having a garden are those winter months when everything is bare and bleak and all the planning and dreaming you have time for.  If I had to week year round, I think I’d lose my mind!  But my green thumb has started twitching so I know it’s time to start planning for spring.  Hip hip horray!

Banned Books

Unfortunately, there are some books I should never be allowed to read but I just can’t help myself.  These are any type of memoir that involves a city girl moving to the country where she plants a garden and raises chickens.  Chickens….my dream bird.  I suppose, like my unfounded love of West Virginia, chickens are really messy, stinky birds that require tons of work for a couple of meager eggs.  Fortunately, I am not one to let reality interfere with my dreams and I do dream of chickens.

These memoirs are like waking  dreams for me.  Someone actually did it!  Moved to the edge of a forest, the foot of a mountain or the middle of the prairie and planted their dream garden and built a chicken coop.  I can’t get enough!  I just finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and will have to add it to my list of banned chicken dream books.  I loved it.  The author and her family decided, after moving to a farm, to eat locally for one year.  All their food had to come from within 100 miles of their home.  Talk about adventurous!  Do you have any idea of what is in season during the month of Feb?  Nothing good I can tell you.  But they did it and they liked it.  While I have no intention of trying to eat locally all the time, I am inspired to do it more of the time.  I live in the middle of the Willamette Valley and we are surrounded by great produce all spring and summer long.  So as spring approaches, I think I’m going to try and use our local farmer’s market instead of Safeway to supply our fruits and vegetables.  In fact, as I was walking through Safeway yesterday, I found grapes from Chile, strawberries from Mexico and bananas from Ecuador.  I’m guessing it took a lot of energy to get those items here for me.  More energy than I am worth to be honest.  So even though Leina wanted a peach, we contented ourselves with raisins.  I discouraged the watermelon whining and instead grabbed some fresh asparagus.

Isn’t it odd how we forget our childhood lessons?  In my opinion, one of my biggest responsibilities as a parent is teaching my children they can’t have everything they want.  I have to show them that there is a vast difference between “what is good for you” and “what you want”.  This involves saving their quarters instead of buying everything they covet.  It involves learning one scoop of ice cream is enough even if four sounds delicious.  It encompasses the art of waiting their turn and sharing with others.  And then we go to the grocery store and all these lessons get thrown out the window.

Want a peach in December?  No problem.  Craving watermelon on a cold March day?  Got that too.  Corn on the cob can be had any day of the week in November.  I am quite convinced that my girls believe that strawberries grow year round on any farm.  When it comes to fresh food, we have reverted to preschoolers.  We no longer wait for things to come into season.  If we want it, we get it with no thought to how it happens or what it really costs.  So I’m going to try and teach myself as well as my kids a bit more.  I’m going to take the time to read where my produce is coming from.  I’m going to remember that patience is a virtue and that it is worth waiting for some things.  Not just for my health but the health of  this planet too.

And did I mention the chickens?  Someday….. Someday…….