Friday, November 21, 2008

losing perspective

One time in Maui I was out on a boat, run by a friend’s charter. We saw whales everywhere- breeching, spouting, and frolicking. They’d just mated so there were families of whales, too. Mama whales. Baby whales. With Daddy close behind.

The whales were so close that I thought I might touch one, until my friend laughingly told me- they were a mile away. That’s just your perspective, he explained. They seem closer than they really are.

Ah. Perspective. I’m familiar with the term.

Because I seem to have problems with my “perspective” on dry land, too. Believing in the wrong kind of people. Following my heart and not my head. Getting let down.

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the journey I’ve been on for the last couple of years. I know that life is a learning process. And I know that I still have a lot to learn. About myself. About other people.

But lately I’ve been wondering, when will the learning stop? Will I ever feel like I know what I am doing? Or years from now, will I still be constantly surprised by other people? Still saying and doing the wrong things at incredibly inappropriate times?

And when I am finally learn-ed, will the answers I find look different upon closer inspection? Or will it all be what I thought it would be like when I get there? Is it ever?

And whatever will I do when I finally arrive?

Perspective: When you don’t know what you want, and you don’t know how to get it, either.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Things to do in Portland: Holiday Craft Sales, Art Fairs and Christmas Bazaars

Holiday craft sales, art fairs and Christmas bazaars are a time-honored tradition for procrastinating gift-givers. The holiday craft shows are typically sponsored by churches, clubs or high schools and are often some sort of fund-raiser for the sponsoring organization. Christmas bazaars and holiday craft sales offer yummy foodstuffs and homemade crafts, art and photography at cut-rate prices.

Get the best deals at holiday craft shows- and avoid the crowds- by showing up on the first day of the sale. If you can manage it, take off on a Friday to visit the Christmas bazaars and show up early; you should have most of your shopping done by lunchtime. After you visit the art fairs, you can hit the Heathman for high tea (if you’re with your parents) or head to OTB for a couple of pitchers (if you’re with my parents).

Holiday Craft Sales and Christmas Bazaars
Look for: Homemade cookies and native desserts, holly wreaths and eclectic gifts made by artisans.

Best for: Hostess gifts, moms and mothers-in-law presents and cheering up sisters who are going through a divorce.

A sampling of holiday art fairs, Christmas bazaars*, holiday craft sales and shows happening in Portland:

Christmas Tree Sale and Holiday Bazaar
Saturday, November 22 10-4
Clackamas United Church of Christ, 15303 SE Webster Rd., Milwaukie

Holiday Gift Bazaar
Saturday, November 22 9-6
Bethel #67 Job's Daughters International, 3612 SE 52nd Portland, OR 97286

Cornell Estates Marketplace Bazaar
Saturday, November 22 10-3
1005 NE 17th Avenue, Hillsboro 97124

Holiday Bazaar
Saturday, November 22 9-4
East Portland Community Center: 740 SE 106th Ave, Portland: Located behind Floyd Light Middle School

America's Largest Christmas Bazaar
November 28 - December 7
Fridays and Saturdays 10-6, Sundays 10-5
Expo Center, 2060 N Marine Dr. Portland OR, 97217
Child Price: $3.25 Ages 12-17
Adult Price: $6.50

Museum of Contemporary Craft Presents: Holiday Shop
December 4 – January 3, Tues-Sun 11-6, Thurs 11-8
Museum of Contemporary Craft, 724 Northwest Davis Street, Portland, OR 97209

Handmade NW Artisans Fair for The Holidays
Tuesday, December 2 10-6
World Trade Center, 121 SW Salmon St, Portland, OR 97204

Have Yourself a Crafty Little Christmas Holiday Craft Show
December 5 - December 6
6-9 on December 5th and 10-6 on December 6th
2223 NE 47th Ave. Portland, OR 97213

Irvington Artisan Market
Saturday, November 22 10-4
Irvington Tennis Club, NE 21st & Thompson, Portland, OR

Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) Student and Alumni Holiday Sale
Friday, November 28 - Sunday, November 30
Nov 28 7-9, Nov 29 10-5, Nov 30 10-4
Oregon College of Art & Craft, 8245 SW Barnes Road, Portland, OR 97225
$3 admission on Friday, free Saturday and Sunday

Portland Saturday Market Artisan Market
December 8 - December 11 11-6 Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th St, Portland, OR 97205

Last Chance Holiday Bazaar Hood River Fairgrounds
Saturday and Sunday, December 13-14, 10-4
Hood River County Fair Grounds, Wy'East & Summit Rds, Odell, OR 97044

In addition, the Portland Saturday Market will be open daily from December 15th through Christmas Eve. Shoppers can receive two hours of free parking at any Smart Park Garage or a Tri-Met ticket with a $25.00 purchase.

*Admission to Portland Christmas Bazaars should be free unless noted otherwise. Feel free to post information about your organization's holiday craft show in the comments section.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Things to do in Portland: 2008 Holiday Ale Festival

The 2008 Holiday Ale Festival kicks off on Wednesday, December 3rd and runs through Sunday, December 7th. There will be 37 Oregon craft beers available at the festival, including beers from Alameda Brewhouse, Astoria Brewing Company, Collaborator, Hazel Dell Brewpub and Track Town Ales. Ah, yeah.

It’s free to get into the 2008 Holiday Ale festival and then you can buy a mug and tickets for beer tastings (Who does that? Really?) or to fill your mug with some yummy Oregon craft beer. Per the festival website, they need volunteers. 2008 Holiday Ale Festival volunteers get a limited edition long sleeve t-shirt, souvenir mug, free entry into the event, and 12 beer tickets. Volunteers who work a back-to-back shift get an additional 16 tickets for a total of 28 tickets.

I’m trying to imagine what shape I would be in after redeeming 28 beer tickets. It’s probably not too far off how I’ll be after spending eight of them.

2008 Holiday Ale Festival
Pioneer Courthouse Square
701 SW 6th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97205

Sunday, November 16, 2008

things to do in portland: 5 months of lompoc lagers at bailey's taproom

Bailey’s Taproom is hosting a 2008 Lompoc Brewing Co. Lagers tasting event on Wednesday, November 18th from 4 p.m. until midnight. Visitors planning to attend the Oregon craft beer event will meet the brewers and have the opportunity to try the July through November seasonal lagers:


  • Heaven's Helles 5% ABV Bavarian-style pale lager

  • Saazall 5.5% ABV Bohemian-style dry-hopped Pilsner or lager

  • Oktoberfest 5.0% Bavarian-style Maerzen or amber lager

  • OktoBock 6.7% ABV Bavarian-style Bock or amber lager brewed with 5 lbs/bbl of fresh picked Crystal hops

  • Saazilla 7.6% ABV Bohemian-style double Pilsner or pale lager brewed with over 2 lbs/bbl of Saaz hops.

Visitors can order flights, pints or glasses of the Oregon craft beer.

2008 Lompoc Lager Tasting
Bailey's Taproom
213 SW Broadway
Portland, Oregon
503.295.1004

Day Trips from Portland: Newport Lighted Boat Parade

The 14th Annual Lighted Boat Parade happens on Saturday, December 6th in Newport’s Historic Bay Front. The holiday boat parade will include commercial fishing boats, charter boats and sail boats decorated for the holidays. Newport’s Lighted Boat Parade can be viewed from 5-6:30 p.m on the 6th. Many commercial fishing boats keep their Christmas lights going well after the holiday boat parade, so if you’re anywhere on the coast with a view, you’ll see them twinkling on the ocean at nighttime.

Visit Discover Newport for more information about the Lighted Boat Parade and upcoming events in Newport.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

the chanterelles

Spending time with my family is never dull. And it often proves interesting.

A couple of weeks ago, I ran down to the coast to visit my folks. Two of my brothers (the twins) were also visiting, for the start of deer hunting season. Slow, sweet days with my mother while the boys hiked over the pass were golden… And the days went by too quickly.

And I’m reminded again, of the cultural divide that exists within my sprawling family. On the one hand, we have the hunter-gatherers, fishermen and hunters who ooh and ah over new gun purchases, think McCain would have been our salvation, eat red meat and often work in dangerous or semi-dangerous occupations.

I am endlessly fascinated by them and forever asking questions:

“Bears? What kind of bears do you see up there?”

“Dead ones.” Because when you come face to face with a bear or a cougar and the animal isn’t running away from you, self-preservation quickly takes over.

“Why are there so many cougars here?”

“You can thank PETA for that.” According to my brother, the animal rights organization put a stop to the apparently abhorrent but time-honored tradition of hunting with dogs some years ago. Since then, the cougar population in Oregon has exploded ten times over.

But cougars still fear many types of dogs.

One day in the woods, my brother saw a cougar in a low clearing and for a joke went running down the hill, barking and baying like a bloodhound. Once at the bottom he looked around and realized, he could no longer see the cougar.

And not in the good way.

The same brother once stumbled in the snow and found himself kicking at air, with only his shoulders above ground.

That’s one way to find a bear’s den.

A hunter’s stories never cease to amaze me, and my dad and my brothers have many. I press and press for more detail, as much for myself as for my friends, who like me, live vicariously through their tales. They look like city-bred woodsmen, sagely nodding their agreement while I spin my family’s many tales in back-lit barrooms over icy gin martinis.

And then there are my other family members. A brother in tailored suits who isn’t too masculine for the occasional manicure (though the time he got home and realized they had used clear nail polish was “a little much.”) Brothers and sisters who refuse to wear fur, vote Democrat and work as engineers, executives and, a writer.

I even have my own (little) hunting story to tell. Once, when my friend Ann was visiting, my dad drove us up the pass so we could see where they hunt. We trundled up the mountain in his pick-up truck, the road becoming more winding and narrow as our elevation increased. Upon reaching the summit, we found a beautiful view of the valley. A photo opportunity.

I hopped out of the truck, barely glancing at the tall hedges on the other side of the eight-foot wide road. Happily snapping photos, I paused to consider a different angle… And heard a long, low growl from the hedge on the other side of the road. I jumped back in the truck, slamming the door and rolling up the window.

“What???” I told them what I heard and my dad sloughed it off in attempt to calm us down: It was probably a dog.

A dog? Three miles up from the rest of the civilized world? Are you kidding me?

Later, I relayed the story to my sister, who asked me what time we’d gone up the pass. Oh, it was around 5:30.

Ah, she smiled.

Dinnertime.

It makes for interesting family get-togethers. I really don’t know how we all manage to get along. It hasn’t always been easy. I think truly, we support each other, we’re interested in each other and above all, we make an effort.

The fellows didn’t have any luck this time around. Weather that’s far too warm and sunny for the beach at the end of October quickly put an end to any of their buck dreams. Dry leaves crackling underfoot and snapping branches meant that there was no chance of bagging a deer. Instead, they happened upon green glades overflowing with mushrooms.

So they picked Chanterelles instead.

Friday, November 14, 2008

from the road: seattle

I’m in Seattle* tonight, at El Gaucho Inn on first ave. I have a beautiful view of the water from my suite. And Seattle seeps into my consciousness… When I was driving in I came over the hill where the city is laid out to greet me and I leaned forward to see… and caught myself holding my breath. Cruel to be Kind came on the radio so I sang really loudly all the way to Aurora Avenue.

Wednesday I leave for Orcas Island. I called the innkeeper where I am staying tomorrow night and it was the classic innkeeper/stupid tourist conversation:

“What time ya gettin here?”

“Well, I thought I might get the 2:30 ferry or make the 3:00.”

“Nah. Them don’t run to Orcas. Ya gotta get on the noon boat or wait til four o’clock.”

“Ah, I uh, yes, I definitely don’t want to wait until 4.”

“Ya wanna get out here during the day anyway, so you can see some stuff. And it gets dark real early.”

“I’ll be sure to be on the noon ferry.”

Funny. I checked the menu where I’m staying tonight and it’s a sort of twee steakhouse, with dishes like Chateaubriand (which I love) and Porterhouse. I may order a bottle of Billecart just to mess with them, ha.

This is where I’ll be tomorrow: Turtleback Farm Inn. Then the next night I am on to Lummi Island for another inn and a tour of an organic farm and hopefully, a reef netting fishery.

The innkeepers at Lummi are apparently of different stock than at Orcas. They called me to confirm my visit and explained they’re having a wine dinner for the journalists and their guests on Thursday. I’m not sure what that is (a different wine with every course, maybe?) but I told the innkeeper, hey-hey, that’s right up my alley. My mom called right before I left and told me, you may have to dress for dinner at some of these places. I threw some gold shoes and a bunch of jewelry in my bag at the last minute and will hope for the best.

I actually can bring someone with me on these trips. They want the writers to be happy, so they kind of encourage it. And everything is comped except for travel, usually. This one just came up really fast and I thought, why not? I’ll focus on my writing and enjoy some self reflection. I got an assignment today to write a fictional story for a women’s fashion magazine about three couples who are on holiday. I want to give someone a secret, or maybe all three of them; someone is having an affair, someone lost their job 18 months ago and hasn’t told anyone and the other couple lost a child.

When my mother called me this morning she wished me a happy birthday (yup, it’s today) and I thanked her for deciding that seven children just weren’t enough. At the end of the call she said, I love you so much, Lisa. It was sweet.

Call me, because I am not sure what my email capability will be on an island where the boats don’t dock in the afternoons, ha.

It’s sunny and glorious here. I’m off to Pike Place.

*Sometimes I am a travel writer. This was from last month, when I did a tour of the inns of the San Juan Islands in Washington.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

the memo

To: My faithful employees

From: Your Benevolent CEO

Re: Best Practices, Core Competencies, Integrated Solutions and Action Items for the New Year

Dear Employees:

Well, another year has gone by and it’s been a good one.

I’d like to take this time to recognize some people who really stood out this year and unfortunately, point out the few who proved to be a huge, huge disappointment to me:

A big thanks to Jerry, Mike and Randall- I know that the infinite, interminable meetings in the product marketing department that never resulted in anything “productive” (heh, heh) certainly made my weeks go by faster!

And once again, we spent more time on project management than on projects. Building instead of buying proved to be a decision that sunk us. For the fourth year in a row (coincidentally, the fourth year since we started using Project Managers), no project was actually completed and we wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars. Bravo!

For those of you (Kelly, John and Reg) who utilized jealousy, infighting and back-stabbing to get ahead: I applaud you. For those of you (Mary and Chris) who remained apolitical throughout all of the drama that ensued (Way to spend more time in the break room and less time on the phones, customer service!), I encourage you to look to your brethren for advice on the proper way to conduct yourself in the office.

As a reminder this holiday season, please, keep the cube decorations to a minimum. We don’t want you to “labor” (haw-haw) under any sort of pretension other than that you are at work. In your gray hole, toiling away from morning til night, you’re mine. Mine! And I don’t want to see anything that smacks of a life outside of work.

Before you head off for the holidays, we have some good news and some bad news to tell you. If we don’t start cutting w-a-a-a-y back, we may have to (gulp!) start leasing our jet. Or (shudder) sell the Lear and start flying… commercial. I’m sure you can see just how hard that would be on my third wife and our precious three-year old twins.

The bad news is that 80% of you will be laid by off by the New Year. As I’m sure you know, times are tough for American-based businesses. But the good news is that moving most of our operations to another land will save us three million in the first year alone. Really, and I know you agree, it’s just the best thing for all of us.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 7, 2008

2008 weblog awards

The 2008 Weblog Awards

You can nominate your favorite blog for the 2008 weblog awards online now until Wednesday, November 19th.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

the southern girl

In the midst of champagne toasts and the ongoing celebration at the beautiful election party I attended last night, I found myself caught up in an extraordinary conversation. Even more extraordinary was the moment I found myself caught out when the person I was speaking with said, “I detect a southern accent.”

Why, yes, I trilled. I’m from Northern Kentucky. I just moved here in April. We laughed and the conversation continued.

But it made me think.

For a long time, I resisted the urge to speak with the southern accent of my many friends and neighbors in Newport and later, Covington, Kentucky. I spoke eloquently (or so I thought) and without a hint of an accent. I enunciated my words properly, without any bluegrass slang. And I took great pains to sound Northern.

But over time, I learned some things that changed my attitude. Forever.

It was getting to know the hard-working people of the towns where I lived. My neighbors, my friends, the people at the post office and the bus drivers. Artists, writers, government officials and restaurateurs. I can’t do them all justice here, so I won’t try.

They weren’t dummies. They were unique individuals, with hopes and dreams like the rest of us, but expressed in a slow-talking, slightly southern drawl.

It’s that “slow-talking” cadence of the language of the South that fools you. Seems funny to outsiders. And it’s easy to assume that southerners are stupid. That we should distance ourselves from them. Talk pretty. Sound smart.

Some years ago I was visiting friends in Wisconsin and an actress who’d been taking voice lessons told me I sounded "a bit southern." At the time, I felt vaguely resentful, as if she had pointed out a stain on my blouse.

Nowadays, when I pronounce words in a way that makes my friends smile, I have to smile too. I take pride in my accent. In my inflection. If you talk to me, you’ll find out right quick that I do have a bit of an accent. And that’s just fine. I’m proud of who I am, and how I got here.

To be otherwise… Well, as we say where I come from, that ain’t right.

Question: What’s the plural of “y’all?”
Answer: “All y’all!”

historic Oregon photos available online

Bathing beauties at Oregon Centennial Exposition at Portland, Oregon, 1959

The Salem Public Library historic photograph collection includes thousands of Oregon photographs dating from the mid-1800's to the present. You can search for vintage Oregon photos online in the historic Oregon photos database. The old photos of Oregon can be downloaded for personal or educational use and purchased for commercial use.

Monday, November 3, 2008

the list

I am writing a fictional story for a women's fashion magazine and trying to clean up my place in anticipation of out of town visitors. During the razing, I found a list of things to bring to the coast for my dad's birthday, which was in September:

- New David Sedaris book;
- Rose's macaroons;
- my sassy attitude.

I have to think I was on the phone with my sister when I wrote the list; that last one sounds like something she'd tell me to pack.

I’m always amazed at the cleaning products that I find under my sink. And slightly suspicious: Who bought those?

Who put them there?


Back to work.