On Writing More, Blogging Less

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Thanks to Owen for making my sweet new banner art!

It’s crazy to me that I’ve lived in Portland for more than a month now. A lot has happened, and while the first couple weeks were a little slow, I’ve got a ton of stuff coming my way soon. Roller derby tryouts for the Rose City Wreckers are September 5, and I joined a writers group. I’ve made a handful of awesome lady friends who have been so great to include me in what they’re up to on weekends. I’ve traveled and seen so much of Washington and a little bit of Oregon — more to come, for sure.

However, regular readers may have noticed I haven’t been posting much on this site. I have good news and bad news on that front — the good news is, I am working on a book, getting more paid writing work, and curating a growing newsletter! The bad news is, that’s where I’ve been focusing my time and energy.

First, that damn book: I haven’t been writing about roller derby here because that’s what my book is about. (Let me know if you’re interested in being a test audience!) Second, those essays: It’s basically been my dream to get paid to write about myself because I am a narcissist, and now that dream is a (small) reality. Third, my newsletter: If you like what I post on this blog, you should by all means sign up for The Sleeper Hit TinyLetter. It’s where a lot of my thoughts and observations are going these days.

I’ll still be posting here — just less so. For example, I am working on a post about going to visit my cousin Paul, and I’m excited to share it here just like I normally would. It’s just that the articles I am getting paid to write had to take priority, and if I’m lucky, they’ll continue to in the future. I won’t go so far as to say blogging is dead, as others have been crying for a while, but I do feel my posts are going to become less frequent.

I started this blog almost eight years ago, and I’m not ready to stop writing for it. I’m so glad so many of you found me and my writing and kept with me through break ups and moves, break ups and moves. Thank you for reading and supporting me, always!

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A New Space

As of this week, I finally feel pretty settled in the new apartment. A woman from Task Rabbit came by Monday to put together my IKEA bed frame for me, and it was worth every penny to not have to tackle it over the course of six hours. It took her four, and she knew what she was doing.

Some people have asked, and so here’s some photos of my new Portland apartment — a place where it’s just me and lots of lovely blue things.

Pretty blue door, leading into hallway, passing bathroom and large mirrored closet. Kitchen entrance at right.

Pretty blue door, leading into hallway, passing bathroom and large mirrored closet. Kitchen entrance at right.

Kitchen counters, storage.

Kitchen counters, storage.

Kitchen art, plus fridge and stove.

Kitchen art, plus fridge and stove.

Kitchen table/additional counter space, which can also serve as a breakfast nook...

Kitchen table/additional counter space, which can also serve as a breakfast nook…

...or a writing station. Ottomans are stored below the table (and also contain guest bedding).

…or a writing station. Ottomans are stored below the table (and also contain guest bedding).

Small couch sits up against the other side of the kitchen table.

Small couch sits up against the other side of the kitchen table.

Bed is full size, as a queen was questionable for the space.

Bed is full size, as a queen was questionable for the space.

The bed is separated from my home office by a curtain that matches the one covering the window.

The bed is separated from my home office by a curtain that matches the one covering the window.

Bed and office, in split view.

Bed and office, in split view.

Home office, view one...

Home office, view one…

...and view two.

…and view two.

Cube shelves are next to the office. Maybe a TV will go there, maybe not.

Cube shelves are next to the office. Maybe a TV will go there, maybe not.

My bathroom pretty much looks the same as the one I had in Albany Park, my brother pointed out.

My bathroom pretty much looks the same as the one I had in Albany Park, my brother pointed out.

The fan in the bathroom loudly runs whenever the light is on. It drives me crazy, so I bought this clip lamp, which most of the time instead of the overhead light.

The fan in the bathroom loudly runs whenever the light is on. It drives me crazy, so I bought this clip lamp, which I use most of the time instead of the overhead light.

 

 

 

Some Oregon Beauty

The Columbia River Gorge, as seen from Vista House

The Columbia River Gorge, as seen from Vista House

Weekdays aren’t so bad for me in terms of getting out and talking to people. I’ve been good about going to Collective Agency, a coworking space here in Portland, to work remotely. There’s always a group of people working there, happy to walk to lunch at the food truck pods nearby together. I like them a lot, and it’s interesting hearing what other people do for work that allows them to do it from wherever they like. It’s interesting hearing why they choose to do it where they do.

Most evenings I go to Coffee Time, which I said in a previous post is at NW 23rd and NW Johnson when it’s actually at NW 21st and NW Irving. The people working there recognize me already and are friendly. There are always tons of people inside and outside, so I can sit wherever I want to listen in on other people’s conversations and chess games. I don’t really talk to people there, but it’s nice to be around them.

Weekends have been harder; My first weekend here, I frantically ran errands and made my summer cold and cough worse from overexertion. The second weekend, I wrote in my TinyLetter about getting very emotionally invested in Bojack Horseman on Netflix and being unreasonably sad when there was no more of it for me to watch by the time Monday night rolled around.

This past Friday, I went to a couple of bars by myself, but felt strange in both. I stayed out at the second one a while, listening to music, but never talked to anyone. I went home and slept for nearly 10 hours in a baking-hot apartment that still doesn’t have the AC unit I ordered last week.

I wasted away Saturday. I keep doing this thing where I leave my apartment and wander aimlessly before giving up and going home again. Part of it has been the heat, but part of it has been a frustrating lack of direction. My brother was home when I called him around 8 my time that night, meaning it was after 11 in Ohio. It felt so good to talk to him, and he offered some advice on how to set up my furniture after I gave him a video tour. I admitted I’d been having trouble making myself go out and talk to strangers.

“There’s an ice cream place two blocks away, where there’s always a line out the door, like Jeni’s,” I told him. “People complain about the wait, but I’ve gone there three times since I got here. I’ve got the time to wait in line for ice cream.”

I woke up Sunday morning, late. It was 9, but I saw I already had a text from my dad saying a friend of his was in Portland on business with his son, who is my age. They might want to meet up, he said, so I decided to get ready for the day in case they called. While I was in the shower, Betsy texted — the  girl who is the daughter of a friend of my dad’s I mentioned. She wanted to know if I wanted to get brunch, and just like that, I had plans.

I met Betsy at a cafe in her neighborhood. After we ate and got caught up on the last 20-something years, she asked me if I’d been to Vista House yet. I told her I didn’t know what it was, and she asked me if I wanted to go. I did.

She drove us west on I-84, the way my dad and I had come in a couple weeks earlier. We took a winding back road to  a gorgeous structure on top of a peak, which overlooks the Columbia River Gorge and everything else around. It was breathtaking.

“I’m glad you asked,” I told her.

Vista House

Vista House

She wanted to see how bad the congestion was at Multnomah Falls, probably the most famous waterfall around, and a huge tourist attraction. I’d spent months double-tapping photos of the falls on a range of Instagram accounts, and I wanted to see it in person. On the way to the waterfall, we found another, one neither of us had seen and one I’d never heard of. Latourell Falls was easy to get to and you can get even closer to it than you can Multnomah. We stood at the base of a giant, beautiful waterfall and felt the spray from it hit our legs and our faces. It was already the first non-90-degree day in several, but right then, I finally felt comfortable.

“This might be even better than Multnomah,” Betsy admitted.

I’m glad she said that, because it turned out we couldn’t see Multnomah that day. Too many people had had the same idea, and there was nowhere to park. I’d never have guessed parking would be a concern at a natural landmark, but welcome to Oregon, I guess. We headed home, glad to have seen what we did.

I’ve been thinking about Latourell ever since.

Latourell Falls, from a distance

Latourell Falls, from a distance

I told Betsy in the car about how my dad had a friend in town, who I was supposed to meet up with later. I mentioned that he had yet another friend, with yet another daughter our age, who had just moved to Portland.

“It’s so strange,” I said, “I feel like Portland must be made up of all of these daughters of hippies who migrated here.”

She laughed.

“That seems fitting, actually,” she said.

I’m going to Astoria on the Oregon coast on Saturday with my Chicago-turned-Portland friends, Christina and Kiernan. Then I’m going hiking with Betsy on Sunday. It’s nice to have trips and conversations to look forward to.

Latourell, up close and personal

Latourell, up close and personal