Friday, August 28, 2009

language lessons

Cheryl’s nephew Aero is visiting from Mexico. He’s come to Portland to immerse himself in the language. He’s twentysomething, very sweet, lives at home with his folks and works in some job that involves math.

We frequently, quite by accident, get into very personal conversations with Aero when I am visiting Cheryl's house. It’s something to do with the language barrier. He asks a simple question and we are so forthright, we blurt out an overwhelming amount of information in response to a question that really, probably could have been shrugged off with some simple A-B answer.

We are sitting at the dining room table when Aero asks Cheryl a question about her marriage. Cheryl, stumped for an answer, brightly changes the subject:

“You know what, Aero? Lisa’s never been married. Not even once. And she’s in her 30’s!”

I am looking at her stupefied, when the questions begin:

“Why you never marry, Lisa?”

“Well, I…” Sighing, I give Cheryl a thankyouverymuch look and try to formulate a response.

And it’s funny, I couldn’t really… come up with any good reason for never getting hitched. Instead, like a flash, came a whole long list of reasons why I haven’t married. What I was thinking, was this:

Well, he told me one thing and then he changed his mind, eight months later.
He ended up being a crazy drunk.
Him, I would have damaged him completely.
I am not sure why that one didn’t work out. I liked him a lot, actually.
He cheated.
He lied.
He… just wasn’t the right one.

I have no idea what look was on my face while the play by play was running through my head, but Cheryl finally shook me out of my reverie by saying emphatically,

“Well, she just hasn’t met the right person, Aero. That’s all.”

Ah, they nodded, looking at me speculatively.

That’s all.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

the house-sitter

I am house-sitting for my folks at the beach.

My dad, upon leaving for their trip: “Well, if you decide to vacuum the hardwood floors…”

My mom, choking with laughter, “Sure, Lisa will vacuum!”

Me, indignant: “What?! I might vacuum!”

By this time, they are both laughing so hard that the conversation more or less ends. Maybe I’ll clean the whole house, I think (still smarting from the slight). That will show them.

They return tomorrow.

Needless to say.

I have yet to empty the dishwasher, dust a windowsill or pick up a broom.

I don’t think they’re showing up until late afternoon. I think I can get everything done tonight and just rest tomorrow. Or get everything done tomorrow morning and relax during the afternoon. Or maybe I could just…

Aw, screw it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

day trips from portland- scandinavian festival

Junction City's annual Scandinavian Festival runs through this weekend. For almost 50 years, the festival has been celebrating the area's Scandinavian heritage with crafts, food (don't forget the lefse!) and the Scandia Run, a 10K flat course (walkers can choose to take the 4.4 mile Scandia Stride). The cultural festival also features folk dancers, storytellers and plenty of people in traditional dress. A beer garden and wine terrace rounds things off perfectly. It's great fun and at just under 100 miles, an easy day trip from Portland. Uff-dah!

Scandinavian Festival
Through August 16th
Junction, City Oregon

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

bridgeport brewery block party

This Saturday, August 15th from 4-10, BridgePort Brewery is throwing a block party on NW 13th in the Pearl District. The beer festival is in celebration of the brewery's 25th anniversary.

$1 for every beer sold during the block party will go to the portland audubon society. In addition to live music, beer and whatnot, members of the audubon society will be on hand with some live birds. Your faithful blogger will get into the spirit of the thing by drinking beer... and twittering, ha.

BridgePort Brewery

1313 NW Marshall Street
Portland, Oregon

Monday, August 10, 2009

the weddings

From start to finish, the two weddings I attended this weekend were lovely and couldn’t be more different: a traditional wedding, held in a house of worship (after which, I scuttled home to sleep off my miserable summer cold) and a charming, bohemian outdoor wedding, held alongside a river. From blushing brides to cheerful, expansive grooms, the weddings were just what I’d hoped they would be- full of love, laughter and tears (even from me, I have to admit).

When you see the little nieces and nephews grow up; when you watch them move into the next chapters of their lives, there’s something sweet and yes, beautiful, about watching them go. And there was more than just wedding celebrations happening this weekend.

It was about family; strengthening the bonds with the matriarchs and patriarchs, heads bent together with the littlest of the group to feed baby goats through the fence, gossiping with the one-time adults who became, over time, my best friends and contemporaries. Little girls in flowered dresses, tiny boys trying on gamma’s silk gloves and the hearty, champagne-induced laughter of everyone’s parents- these are what wedding memories are made of. From a cancer-stricken father who cheered everyone with his fluffed line (“Who gives this bride? My mother and I do-”) to the sedate giggle of a grandmother, the time spent with my family this weekend glows like the little flame on the unity candle- warm and soft and leaving me in its knowing.

Bryan and Casey, Danielle and Matthew, much love and felicitations on your new lives together- you make our family complete.