My Life, Updated (a.k.a. welcome to Portland, now get a job)
City of Roses – First Letter
At 4am Friday morning 3/31, Angie, Lauri and myself left for the airport with the 3 cats in duffle bags. Got checked in and were standing in the security line with plenty of time to spare for our 6am flight when all the security computers went down and they had to hand check all luggage and persons going through security. 3 hours later, and after they’d felt up all the cats for weapons and we’d smelled enough feet to last us a lifetime, we got through and bundled onto a flight to Houston. Once we got there, we were told that there weren’t any flights with space on them either to Portland or back to Nashville for at least the next two days. Nice. We ended up flying to Seattle and driving down to Portland. Of course, we had to go pick up our luggage at the Portland airport when we got to town, around 9pm, since it had made the 6am flight. Through it all, Lauri and Angie were funny, patient and fun to be with, and the cats were real troopers. The next couple of days passed in a sleep-deprived blur, but both ladies made it back home eventually <g>. I can’t thank them enough for helping me out with this.
Bedhead and Kitty were really sick the day of travel and the next ten days. They are finally both mostly recovered. Bedhead is having the hardest time with the changes, but he seems to get a little more comfortable every day. It really helped when Chris showed up four days later after driving across the country. Makes me think Bedhead thought I was taking him away from his Dad. All our stuff arrived the day after that, and everything is in great shape. We are still living among boxes, but have more than just a semblance of our house setup.
The rental house is huge – 4 bedrooms, one bath. Built in the ’20s, it has a Victorian feel to it. The one bathroom is kinda small, and the kitchen has your typical rental electric stove/oven. But it’s got plenty of counter space and cupboards, and even has a pantry. Little backyard with a tree and a wooden fence, big basement to store all the stuff that we aren’t even going to unpack here. Lots of windows, so lots of light. Yes, it rains here often, pretty much a little bit every day. But it seems to blow over really quickly, so it comes off as more of a punctuation in the day, not anything that sets the tone.
We are walking everywhere, it’s so cool. Every yard of every house is interesting to look at. There are tons of interesting plants and every house is unique. There are a lot of people also out on the sidewalks, and the people are all unique and interesting to look at. There are a lot of different folks out here, a real melting pot of sorts. And the food!!! The food here is soooo good! I’m very happy on that front. This is halibut are in season, so I’ve been eating fish every other meal. mmmm. Unless you count Louisiana and its crab/crawfish, I’ve never lived anywhere with really fresh fish. What a treat.
Thanks for the birthday wishes and calls and cards. Portland is definitely a good present to myself.
I “tried out” a job at Elephant’s yesterday and today (fri and sat). Retail-ish, serving food from the deli and being the assistant cheese monger. And I thought I’d known a lot about cheese. Wow, it’s an amazing spread of stuff there. Don’t think I can physically take standing for the 9 hours a day this is going to require, tho. I’m only doing these 2 days as a test, figuring that I’ve been having trouble with my food/tendonitis, and that this would probably kick it in, but thought I’d try anyway. I do like cheese <g>. I think I’m going to end up at a desk job somewhere at least for the first job/year here, no point in going through pain for $10/hour. Elephant’s is funny, they think they are “slammed” at lunch, and it doesn’t even come close to the frantic pace at Grins. Amateurs! I’ll decide about the job based on how I feel on Sunday, but considering how I feel this morning, I doubt this is going to work out. I have been offered another job at a Yahoo call center, but that has a lot of negatives associated with it, unfortunately, so I’ll be looking into some office management kind of positions next, I think.
Chris has had a bunch of call back interviews, and is doing some various not-fulltime contract things now, so things are hopefully looking bright on his end as well. Will keep you posted.
I’m getting my first official visitors to Casa Knaus, Portland Branch next weekend (Angie and Lauri don’t count, they’re family). Deanna, my roommate from when I lived here over 10 years ago and her friend that I went traveling to Vancouver Island and whale watching with are taking the train down from Bellingham, Wa. (“taking the train”, isn’t that cool!) You may have met Deanna and her husband at my wedding (she had on the striped socks). We’ve also already had invitations to visit friends in Seattle, so altho it will be cost prohibitive to fly East too often from here, it does seem like we’ll be busy checking out the NorthWest for quite some time before we get bored.
The Cheese Stands Alone – Several Months Later
So it’s been just over a month here, and I still really like Portland. This morning is the first day that it hasn’t been quite beautiful and sunny when I woke up. Definitely cloudy and gray today, but not raining at the moment. Probably going to wait until I head out for the bus. I officially took the Assistant Cheese Monger Job..something about the evil you know being better than the evil of a call center. I found some amazing shoes that have a spring for a heel that make the problems I was having with tendonitis in my heel much less of an issue. I’m just waiting for the moment when I can spring up over tall buildings to safety and leave those around me wondering what the hell happened…
I’m enjoying the fact that I can take the bus to work and back each day, especially with gas prices so high. The people watching is fun, the walks to the bus station always invigorating, the only down side is all the extra time it takes vs. just heading out last minute to get to work. At the end of every day, Elephant’s staffs out any leftover bread, and I haven’t gotten over that novelty, so I’m always coming home from work with a bag stuffed full of sourdough and foccacia. I’m using it as a ploy to meet our neighbors and try to sweeten them up for a potential cat sitting scenerio next month (Twangfest). EVERYONE around here seems to have cats, healthy & happy cats thank goodness. This is a very pet-friendly city. There are easily 4 pet stores (one is naturopathic) within a few blocks of our house, plus two self-serve pet bathhouses. Won’t be taking the cats there anytime soon, but it’s nice to be surrounded by pet love.
I’m learning a lot about cheese, altho the deli chick quit the first week I started, so I’ve been spending most of my time dishing up salads from the cold case. Talk about a Grins flashback. I laugh all the time when the staff at Elephant’s talks about being “busy”…they have no idea. Seriously, they have no idea. This is a walk in the park compared to a lunch rush at Grins. I hope that they’ll hire a new deli girl soon, tho, my brain is going numb quickly with any lack of stimulation. The food is the same every day, so I don’t get any pleasure there. I want to be off tasting cheeses with customers and discussing the “grassiness vs. the mushroom and the blooming rind vs. the washed”. I have my eyes open for other opportunities, both at this business at at other companies. The world is my oyster and Portland is the pearl. Or something like that.
I’m sort of in Bizarro world when it comes to my schedule – after so many years of early risings at Grins, I now go into work at noon Sunday through Thurs and work until around 9pm. Perfect for a social life, if I could just get used to the physicality of my job and not be so sore at the end of the day. Each week it gets better. It’s kind of funny to be staying up later than Chris for a change. I’m actually going to concerts, even on a “school night”, and not feeling the worse for it the next day.
Ok, as you can tell from the opening paragraphs, I started this email about a month ago. It’s been two months now in the Rose City, and it’s been raining a bit more. I’m really enjoying the weather, tho…we are about to go into JUNE and it still is dropping to the low 50s at night. If it takes some rain to make it so, bring it on. I’m still cheesing it – Elephant’s has embraced me and all my “fresh” ideas, and we’ve been doing a lot of cheese promotion and rearranging of the cheese way of doing things. Still don’t think I”ll last too long here, but while I’m here I might as well have fun.
And to Catch Us All Up:
Well, I said in my last “letter” that I didn’t think I could take the mind-numbingness of an entry-level service industry job for long, and I lasted about 3 months. I learned a lot about cheese and had great access to fresh bread, fancy candies and fantastic salamis. Didn’t help my diet much, but expect to hear a lot about cheese from me in the near future. Chris got a great job working for a company (Aeshen – http://www.aeshen.com) that consults for Microsoft, Intel, and others (including, abstractly, the Afghan Army). He works from home, which makes the kitties very happy. The combo of having a good job but still being able to enjoy the comforts of home suits Chris well. He’ll have to do some traveling, mainly to job sites in the NW, so there will be some change of scenery. I’m able now to take my time to find a good job, rather than just the first thing that comes along. After getting offered the first three jobs I applied for when I first got here, I think I had an unrealistic expectation of how easy it would be now that I’ve reentered the market. Still waiting for that most important call back for something that I actually want to do. Cross your fingers for luck, please.
We’ve had a lot of fun living here – so many interesting things to do. We’ve been to several street/art festivals where the streets have been closed down for the weekend. We probably try a new brew pub or restaurant on a weekly basis. There was a great zydeco festival (really a blues fest but we stayed all day at the zydeco stage) on 7/1, and this weekend finds a brewmaster’s festival down by the riverfront. You know we are in the right part of the country when there are almost 100 local-ish brewers all with something different on tap. I volunteered to work a tap on Friday, and got stuck serving Dick’s Best Bitter from Centralia, WA. Tasty enough, but I heard my share of “hilarious” comments about the name.
From this point on, I’ll try to make my posts more food topical, although I still have plenty to say about Portland. Hopefully I’ll keep it interesting. Creating a web page/log centering around myself seems awfully self-indulgent, but I’ve been assured that I have “valuable” opinions, especially with regards to food related info (heh). I miss you guys!
Originally uploaded by eatlikeachef.
The temperature hit 124 according to my outside thermometer, not the most perfect weekend for Marcia and James to vist from Salt Lake City. But we made the best of it, traveling down the shady Gorge to view waterfalls, eating some good food and enjoying a cold beverage or four. Unfortunately for James, he doesn’t like cheese. The horror.
A Bunny Made of Fire
Local to the Southeast part of Portland, this elusive rabbit is an unassuming grass-eater by day, but at night, if you sit quietly in your backyard, you can bear witness to a fantastic transformation. Just don’t burn your hands.