No, this was not a soft Landing. I had grand ideas for a series of posts laying out my travels and love affair with Australia. I wanted to convey my sheer delight of the trip in sequential order, very neat … Continue reading
My girlfriend came to visit. For the sake of this post I’ll call her the recruiter. Being from Denver she was instructed to be on the lookout for Bronco bashing- upcoming Super Bowl and all that. Her assignment was to document anything negative she saw and send it off for fodder in the greater Denver area. Now I thought she should take a picture of the butch guy in Seahawks drag with boa and blue fishnet because honestly he was faaaaabulous! Instead she was shocked to see how polite Seattle fans really are. One store’s sign displayed both teams helmets with the question, “Who will win?”
Of course there were 12th man signs hanging all over town. She had no idea what that meant. So I filled her in explaining that the 12th Man, A Seattle Superfan’s love is so large it registers on the Richter scale. Belying the fact I’m not at all sporty. Seriously I don’t care about the Superbowl. In my younger feminist years I used to rage about the number of women beaten by their husbands on SBS. So really could care less. And even if I were sports inclined, as a previous Colorado resident and now Seattlite, I’d have a win win scenario on my hands.
Now the recruiter and I have known one another since college. We lived together in Munich during our 20s. Upon our arrival in Germany we were trying to find our way around, navigate the U-Bahn and such. We hung languidly on the subway straps darting from one stop to the next. Two guys nearby began talking about us, labeling each-the girl next door, the athletic one and our third friend, the pin-up. The recruiter replied to their characterizations in Spanish with ease. They turned six shades of red. No doubt sure we’d never understand. We were Americans in Germany after all. They felt safely cloaked in their native tongue. Though, as it turned out, Jan spoke seven languages fluently. Again sports, athleticism and I were linked.
Now I love being a tourist in my hometown. Frankly I’ve needed to get away, to have a wee vacation. And her visit was the perfect opportunity. So we headed downtown, Fluevogs our destination. I’ve heard all about this store and their magnificent shoes but had never been. I fell in love with these purple boots though the price tag was more than I wanted to plunk down. Subsequently I keep dreaming about wearing them. Oh and a shorter bright blue suede pair.
Next we traipsed around Pike Place market. I don’t handle crowds very well but did my best to push through. And normally I’d bring my camera but not this weekend. I just wanted to experience the day. And the recruiter graciously agreed to sit every 20 minutes or so to let me recoup my energy. My stores aren’t fully replenished, yet.
She was feeling noshy so we grabbed some Greek yogurt to-go at Ellenos, marionberry for me, passion fruit for her. We had a saucy exchange with the guy at the counter as he assured us we would want the largest container. That by the time we were licking the container clean we’d regret such a small portion. Honestly I did want more even before I had finished my serving.
After walking around window shopping and people watching (my favorite pastime) we decided it was time to eat something more. I’ve been craving pâté. This is the only way I can digest organ meat- which apparently is very good for SIBO. And liver frankly is never my go to choice. So where else was there but Le Pichet for a charcuterie plate and glass of wine. The recruiter felt very civilized- I, French. In the corner, my eye caught an artist sketching scenes in marker. Even the underside of his page, ink seeping through was really good, a little Hooperesque. Suddenly I felt whisked away to Paris. “I really must go” I thought to myself. (I’ve already picked out the apartment I’ll rent near the Musee D’Orsay).
More walking, sightseeing, and shopping ensued. The only thing on my agenda was to take her to my favorite little hole in the wall, a throwback speakeasy, Bathtub Gin & Co. These days I don’t go out much and heading downtown on a weekend is extremely rare. So I had to hit my favorite gin joint. The owner, Marcus, can pour one strong and deadly concoction. And if I was going to try an alcoholic beverage in my still healing system he was the man to create it (especially with all my limitations). He made me a last word. Which as my friends will attest, I occasionally like to have.
The recruiter got a tequila concoction. Of course after sharing tequila made her “friendly”. Not that a Leo needs encouragement in that area. She is naturally social and chatty. By evening’s end we’d talked with everyone in the bar- the Law Students, Zesty the hairdresser, the Danes and the Deep Thinker- a poet out with a buddy from Portland. Interestingly the only time I’ve been bought a drink by a man was in Germany. No doubt due to the recruiter’s bubbly nature even back then. Not my intense nature as recruiter (as well as others have) pointed out.
We chatted away at our end of the bar, reminiscing, catching up. At some point in conversation the recruiter pointed out that Marcus was just the kind of aloof, hard to figure out puzzle I’d be attracted to. He reminded her of my first husband who actually grew up across the street from her. I assured I’ve grown up. I’m no longer interested in a guy who when asked if he has a girlfriend replies, “That’s what she likes to call herself.”
She shared her tendency to melt for any man with an accent; her first husband a Brit. This soon became troublesome when the Danes arrived. Danger Will Rogers! So the law student next to us pointed out. She and I high-fived one another as the recruiter honed in.
The recruiter commented that black women age so much better than white women, remaining youthful looking. Earlier in the day a stunningly chic Nubian goddess with shaved head passed us on the street. A look the recruiter relayed that white women don’t pull off quite as well. The younger ladies next to us, the Law Students, shared photos of their fabulously beautiful Mammas. Overhearing us discuss divorce and exs one suggested we try dating a woman. Now, for me, that would be akin to playing house. Usually it’s my gay friends that try to peddle conversion not another heterosexual woman. As a sidebar the only time I was ever actually propositioned by a woman was in this very bar.
They also shared their ink. One gal’s lower back covered with a large scrolling tattoo basically labeling her property of her Ex-gang affiliated boyfriend. The recruiter talked about tattoo removal. She has a friend that owns such a business and I spoke to cover art, having tattoos of my own. I was tickled that the Danes were surprised I was the one of the two of us with tattoos. They assumed it would by the recruiter not me inked.
Now Zesty, the hairdresser at the other end or the bar, was drawn to our conversation by catching the tail end of something I said, apparently not talking as quietly as I imagined. Or perhaps sound carries over the polished surface of a wood bar. But “……..and I never stripped again” was all he heard. Now this is a much longer story about my youthful 20s involving my boyfriend and a bee sting. One I was sure I’d shared with R before. But now the cat was all the way out of the bag- dancing across the bar for everyone to hear.
The bulk of our evening was spent talking to the Danes. I told you R has a thing for accents. They were in town on Microsoft business, though one actually went to school in Kansas. Of all places I thought. Their English was far better than our Danish. Seriously what is with all the extra letters? Or the letter that is actually two letters combined?
I commented that American woman tend to have a reputation with Europeans and Dane1 said “Loose”. “Exactly”, my reply. He laughed and said the American women were known for “store armbevægelser”, large gestures (see what I mean about the letters). Expressive and dramatic was my translation, flamboyant even. The recruiter called it gumption.
We were talking about the differences in our cultures, men and women, marriage and children. They wondered if American men participated in the household duties 50/50 with their wives as this is common place in Denmark.” No” our answer. Each of the Danes had two daughters and the recruiter has two sons. So they had lots to share among themselves including pictures of their wives and children. The Danish are beautiful looking people. Dane2’s daughter had model good looks. But it was the a photo of her fully clad in hunting gear carrying a pheasant she had just killed that made me think that’s my kind of gal- Beautiful and strong.
Flirting also became a topic of discussion. I learned long ago Europeans are much more relaxed with flirting. And like I said they were both married men so everyone calm down (that’s for the American women reading this post). We talked about the art of flirting and yes flirted appropriately. Asking how to say something in another language is a quick way to get to know people. Trusting they aren’t feeding you something obscene to laugh about.
When asked about flirting technique the recruiter said she would take the indirect, coy, approach to let a man know she was interested and give a smize (smile with your eyes) over her drink. When asked what the direct approach would be I replied stroking your bald head. Dane1 laughed, head smooth shaved. Earlier in the evening Hairdresser Zesty had displayed the proper technique of hair, neck and jawline caress upon the recruiter. We all agreed that touch and the return of touch was the largest indicator between men and women of interest and attraction.
Dane1 shared he’d learned that giving presence is the most important thing to intimacy and making relationships successful. I was amazed to hear a man say this. I was ready to move to Denmark right then and there. Now we were venturing into my territory. The deep end of the pool as one of my girlfriends calls it. After a few moments of nods, the conversation continuing amongst the other 3, the recruiter commented she would rather have a man clean the house or fix something for her then diamonds any day. It dawned on me I was not on the same page. I had misinterpreted. So I interrupted. “Wait, did you mean give presents as in giving gifts?” “Yes” Dane1 replied. Doh! This entire conversation could have been a chapter in Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages.
At the end of the evening the Danes headed to their hotel for an early morning start and the deep thinker and his buddy took the seats next to us previously vacated by the law students. The Thinker placed his leather bound Zine on the bar. The recruiter sniffed and tasted their libations upon invitation of course. She Joked that the poet looked like a Greek fisherman and said he and I had much in common- our thoughts on the weightier side than most. I wasn’t going to make another assumption so I took the liberty of snatching up the poet’s journal. His secret Flood theory exposed-the philosophy of hot women and conceptual method of attracting women.
The evening came to a close. My body beginning to ache I was ready for bed. I bid my fellow deep thinker and Marcus à bientôt and we made our way out into the night. Only to realize 6 hours had gone by in a blink.
I had the chance to get away to Portland with a girlfriend and her Bo. It’s been a few years since I last visited. It was during Portland Fashion week to watch my students show their wears and catch up with an old high school friend. It became quickly apparent I really should go down more often. It never fails to pull me out of whatever slump I’ve fallen into and give me a sense of release. But I suspect travel in general would do that for me these days. So I am hoping to plan some more trips.
On this excursion I made a few observations about Portland I can’t say I’d noticed before.
- There is an inordinate amount of single men walking dogs all over the city. Perhaps I should say solitary men because after much discussion I had to contend they might actually have significant others that have shoved them out the door tasked with walking the dog. But seriously while sitting in a bar for happy hour we must have seen a dozen walk by. That was only on one count. They seemed to be taking over the city. Where were the gals we wondered?
- Joggers. Ok, so Seattle is healthy. Go to any park and you’ll see runners, but Portland steps up the game. There are people jogging everywhere-not just along the waterfront.
- Many, many, many women in Portland have very cute short haircuts. Love it! Hope the trend comes north.
- Food carts are everywhere. They’re giving Austin a run for their money.
- Portlandians love their food, particularly sweets. The line for Voodoo doughnuts was around the block. I saw a guy give one to a homeless man and you’d think he’d struck gold. Seriously I suspect they might have magical properties (or drugs in them). Then there was the line for ice cream at Salt & Straw– also down around the block. It was cold outside folks. Not that anyone noticed. I have never been so thankful for such long lines. It helped curb my intense and insatiable sugar cravings.
Actually the waits at restaurants all over town were long. Granted it was the weekend. But that led to people milling about waiting to be seated, which in turn led to talking and meeting new people. There was a sense of community around every corner, perhaps one of my most favorite things about Portland.
Straight away we headed to the Saturday Market. It was 3 blocks along the waterfront from our hotel. I’m a sucker for art fairs. Shockingly I managed to escape making only one purchase. A print by Renee Staeck called Found. Very me, my friend pointed out.
Artwork by Renee Staeck (Found is the upper left print)
There was another artist Sienna Morris I adored. She painted these elaborately colorful works with numbers and formulas scrolled all over them representing scientific, mathematical and psychological concepts. She was speaking my language. The strings on the cello where the hertz frequency of the actual notes A, D, G, C. The shell was drawn with the Fibronnaci sequence and the women adorned with the chemical compound for Oxytocin.
Laughing, I admitted I could use a little of that. The artist educated that besides the obvious skin to skin contact, holding hands, prolonged hugs and sharing a meal with others releases Oxytocin. (No I didn’t ask her for a hug. But I should have). As we headed away from her booth, my friends holding hands, I commented they were shooting up.
Artwork by Sienna Morris (Oxytocin anyone?)
Of course It was mandatory I drag them to Mother’s. There was an hour wait. So we put our name on the list and headed down to the Oyster Bar. These two are Oyster fanatics. I watched in awe, witnessing a science experiment. As far as I’m concerned I might as well hack up a luggy and swallow it. (texture issues). So I began watching them taste this and that then make notes in their database. Sadly Portland you did not rank very high on the Oyster connoisseurs scale. But I don’t know what to say about people who eat a living animal. I was aghast with this new awareness. Another long debate ensued about any other food people eat while it’s living. Sure convince yourself that it dies the moment it’s cracked open but let’s be honest it isn’t until it hits your stomach acid that it really done for.
Now alcohol has basically been removed from my allowable beverage list, since it is nothing but easily consumed sugar and carbs. So I had to get creative. I’ve been told I can have hard apple cider (Angry Orchard Apple Ginger is fab), very dry wine (Yuck), or perhaps the occasional vodka drink. Very occasionally! My stomach has been slow to actually tolerate any of these. I can’t have syrups or carbonated beverages so this makes happy hour all the more challenging. So I created a drink. In a short glass pour Sweet Tea vodka. Preferably use a brand sweetened using honey or at the least pure cane sugar. Then simply add water and a lemon garnish. Viola! I had already gotten my friend hooked on these, so we ordered two. Then I realized it needed a name, this new concoction of mine. Hence it was dubbed The Tealight.
We got the “You’re table is ready” page and headed back to Mother’s. One of my biggest fears around traveling was being able to find foods that fall inside my new wild dietary needs. This was quickly alleviated. Our waiter sat himself down to take our order. He had no problem with my high maintenance questions about what oil was used for cooking things. I feel like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally these days. Not a pretty site. Ultimately I landed on the Cobb Salad with olive oil, a titch of balsamic, no chicken (since they grilled it with canola oil), no tomatoes (because blah!), extra bacon and passion fruit tea.
Our waiter was a wealth of knowledge when talking about health, food and energy properties. He talked about roots and teas (sharing his personal favs) which are particularly good for kidneys. My girlfriend and I looked at each other with a “no way” glance. How did he know? He says I touched my back. Subconsciously no doubt, but he was attuned enough to pick up on it. But that is a story for another day.
So let’s just say we had a bit in common, a kindred connection. We both liked to think of ourselves as poets. We were metaphysical in nature. He was German and Danish. And when I inquired if he too suffered romantic melancholy he answered without hesitation. “Of course, I have a map of my exs.” He could take my poking and then push back. “I’m demanding I said” ribbing him for my tea to arrive quicker. “No, you’re impatient.” Mishearing him I said “in what universe is this considered patient.” He corrected that indeed I’m not. He had Tibetan tattooed along his forearm and a triangular labradorite necklace that he pointed out was a “masculine stone in a feminine shape for balance”. He called me Angelic. Well actually my necklace. “Seriously, that’s a first” I told him.
My friend’s Bo wanted to play matchmaker trying to urge me to give him my number. He had a long list of reasons why men need help and encouragement. I argued that men need to be men. That when they’re truly interested they go after what they want. Either way my friends thought the waiter was sweet on me. Perhaps he was, but I’m not looking I reminded. Not that the attention wasn’t nice. It really was.
My girlfriend said he’d make a great friend if nothing more. “No doubt”, I replied. Male friends are something I’ve always had and truly enjoy. Then she pointed out to her Bo, when it appeared as though he might try and meddle, that the waiter was at the very least geographically challenged. This did not deter her Bo’s conviction. “Really?” I thought to myself, this coming from a man that won’t move from Puyallup to Seattle to be closer to his girl. And here he wants this guy to move to Seattle because as he argued “he can teach QiGong anywhere”. He was becoming a worse Yente than my very own DT.
So of course being my cheeky self, I told him it simply wouldn’t work. As my in-house Yente has already informed me the next man in my life will look Italian but be Jewish. So can you guess Bo’s next move? He actually asks if he’s Jewish. I nearly choked on my fork. “Well yes, half Jewish”, he replied. Now what was I to do? Smile, say Goodbye and head out for the rest of our escapades around PDX.
We traipsed all over town walking from one end to the other. Hit up Powell’s Book because we simply couldn’t pass it by. But it was so much larger than I remembered and honestly a bit overwhelming. So we quickly existed. Though it did remind me of CU Boulder’s Library. Once considered in the top 10 pickup places on college campuses. I think it is because people like to steal away and make out in the stacks. Yes higher education at it’s finest.
We bought a day pass for the transit which is phenomenal, but to be honest we barely rode it. We could walk the 20 blocks in the 15 minutes between trains and stay warm. So we walked and walked and walked. And ate and drank and window shopped. I am very sore today.
After dinner, a comedy sportz show, and a final nightcap at Paddy’s we headed back to our hotel, The Rose. Ugh! This is where my evening turned. I wanted to watch a little TV. But it wouldn’t turn on. Once I determined it wasn’t late night pilot error, I called down to reception. Where I was informed that there was no maintenance man, she couldn’t help me, and they did not have another room they could move me to. Seriously they would want me to switch rooms at midnight? So she offered me a $20 discount. I took it. It was something considering I was already paying more than my friends, who managed to snag their room at the Groupon rate. By the time I had called I was informed all the rooms available at that rate where booked. And I was traveling with them so there was little choice.
Then rest of the evening proved unsatisfying. The max went by right below the window every half hour till around 2am. After managing to drift off I was awoken at 3am by some man pounding on the door either next to mine or across the hall. I wasn’t the only patron he awoke as some yelling ensued. Then at 4am I was awakened with a bout of leg cramps. By 5am it was a dream where the concierge came to tell me it was important I call my roommate immediately. It was 5 in the morning so I thought it best not to actually call her. By 6am I was wide awake. So I dressed and took my camera out on the town to capture some early morning sights. I love cities in the wee hours when they seem to still be sleeping.
So next time I head to Portland I’m staying at the Embassy Suites again. That is a hotel I can rest in; that is still near the Saturday market and Mothers.