Friday, May 22, 2015

One Year in Portland

It's official. We've been here in Portland for a year already. Our "date" with PDX (as the cool people refer to it) sees us walked safely back to our doorstep, and... signing another 13 month lease. It's still to be determined whether or not we marry Portland, but we do like her an awful lot. Living downtown suits us right now, and we haven't found another part of town we'd rather live in. We don't love the idea of our rent going up, up, up every year, which we hadn't really thought about when we started this. So if we stay, I suppose at some point we might want to buy again. But we like apartment life. It's so easy compared to all the maintenance we used to do on our adobe acre in Taos. We don't miss it. Not one bit. And aside from a few friends we'd love to see, there's nothing in New Mexico to lure us back. A year here seems to have made that pretty clear.

We live about 2 blocks beyond the tallest white building in the picture. It's a 10 minute walk down to the marina. Not bad!
So what do we love about Portland? It's a long and growing list. Our proximity to so many things is right at the top. We've discovered that we can walk to all the places we used to take the streetcar to. In bad weather it's nice to have a ride, but more often than not, we just hoof it. It makes for more fun and in-depth explorations, and we find new things out there all the time.

So where do we walk? Well... The park behind our building, Lovejoy Fountain, Keller Fountain, Keller Auditorium, and the riverfront are all regular dog-walks. Laughing Planet restaurant is in our building, along with a terrific little market that carries our favorite snacks and has the best prices on wine and beer, and a nail shop I have yet to go to. I plan to! Pizza Schmizza is right across the street, and a couple of blocks up is Hot Lips Pizza, which we like best for it's vegan cheese offering and smoke-free outdoor seating. Our bank is also just steps away, as is the UPS Store, several other restaurants and bars, and a nice little pod of food carts.

We're basically on the Portland State University campus, and love going to the bookstore there. The streetcar stop and MAX stop are right there too. The Park Blocks run for a long way north, a lush strip of urban green, with beautiful lawns, big old trees, sculptures, fountains, and benches. Little cafes and restaurants line the Park Blocks, and the Farmers Market magically appears there every Saturday and Wednesday. Then we have the Portland Art Museum (which offers free admission every Friday after 5PM) and the Historical Museum, which is free to Multnomah County residents. A little further out is City Target, the designer label Goodwill Store, and the main library.

For provisions we walk to Safeway - a 10 minute walk - or Whole Foods - about 20 minutes away, with Powell's Books as an optional detour. In between, of course, we find a seemingly endless number of little shops we've never seen before, favorite cupcake and coffee places, and restaurants to add to our long to-try list. The downtown mall, Apple Store, and Pioneer Courthouse Square (which is known as "the Living Room of Portland") are just a quick few blocks up the street from us.

One day, on a really ambitious Fitbit spree, I walked all the way up to 23rd Ave from our place on 4th. It took me about 40 minutes to get to Trader Joe's on 21st, and the only reason I took a Car2Go home was I bought too much food and couldn't carry it! From there, if one is really feeling peppy, it's completely possible to walk the next hill up to the Rose Garden, and a little farther up to the Japanese Garden. We like it so much there that we just bought a membership, which will get us and two guests per visit in for a year. So come see us. We'll take you along!

I'm leaving out a lot, but you get the picture. And this is all on "our" side of the river. The whole east side is another world of Portland, that we discover little by little, when we feel like taking the car out. Another year here seems like a pretty good idea. Forever? Here or anywhere? Well, I really can't say. We've never lived at the beach, and we'd both really like to try that before we're too old to move anymore. For now though, our date with Portland continues. We're playing hard to get, and Portland is being a very attentive suitor.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ready, Set, Color!

Is it wrong to use my own blog for shameless self promotion? Well, gee... I don't think so. What I do and make and present to the world is part of what makes my life my life. Separate business from not-business? Impossible in my world. And that's a good thing, because it means I'm making a life by doing things I love to do. I wish that for everyone I know, although most people don't even know it's possible.

With the help of SendOwl, I've sorted out how to put my drawings in PDF format, post them on my website, and have them instantly delivered to buyers all over the world, who then print them and color them. The technology is wonderful.

The first five Mandalas to color are listed on my website now. The plan is to leave them there for a week, then bump them down the page next week and add a few more. The following week, the first five will go away and make room for the next batch. Essentially, all of them will be up for a limited time of about two weeks. This was Rick's idea, and I think it's genius. The web page will be fresh and full of new work all the time, and won't have so much older stuff that it's a chore to wade through it all. Then I can take the archives and put them into a coloring book somewhere down the road. It all makes sense to me, and it all seems.... right.

Personally, I love the idea of single coloring pages. You can choose the ones you like the best and give special attention to one project at a time. And for those who might want to sneak in some coloring time at work (I would do that if I had a real job and a desk and all that), it's much easier to slip a single sheet of paper under a pile on your desk than it is to hide a whole coloring book.

Are you with me? Get your colored pencils, crayons, paints,  and pastels out, and have some fun coloring. And feel free to help spread the word. I so appreciate a little help from my friends!