CART ATTACK!

On Monday, I had to run a bunch of errands.  We have only one car – which my husband now uses to commute for work, so that meant walking 40 minutes into town.  No big deal.  To kill as many birds with 1 stone, I brought along my beloved push-shopping cart.  It looks like this:

cart

Except mine is black. Now, this cart is something I used w/ regularity in Philly.  You see them everywhere and people never give them a second look, ever.

WELL. LET ME TELL YOU FOLKS.  After pushing my trusty black cart into town and back this past Monday, I have deduced that these carts are NOT – I repeat NOT – used here in Portland, except by the homeless.  Rather than treat me like the environmentally conscious, DIY type I’d imagined myself to be:

chicshopper

To the majority of people, I apparently looked more like:

crazyman

WHAT THE HELL??  For a city that’s supposedly GREEN in oh so many ways, these Portland folks were downright surly towards me & the cart.  Like that a-hole in the main post office.  YEAH B*TCH, I AM TALKING TO YOU, you snooty-faced weasel.  How DARE you SCOWL at me and my cart, looking us up and down, when we turned to smile and say hello to you.  Didn’t your momma ever warn you about your face freezing like that??  You KNOW it’s cold enough here for that to happen.  AND YOU.  YOU SMARMY BALDING GIT, with your ugly suit and greasy hair.  If ONLY you could have read my mind when you gave me that fish-lipped smirk.  OH YES.

It is obvious that some of the uptight jerkwads residing here in Portland have never seen a red-blooded woman pushing her overpriced whole foods groceries home in a folding cart EVER.  I will not comment on the size of their wieners, but I should.  Because the rest of them is SMALL.  It is narrow-minded and childish to treat anyone with contempt, simply for doing what they need to do.  Me and the cart – we are above that.  So the next time we go shopping in town, you uppity lot better WATCH OUT.  I have an airhorn, and I know how to use it.

I love this place. Why are there so many chiropractors?

YES!!!!!! FINALLY! After my prolonged & totally unacceptable ABSENCE, I am BACK!!!

AND It’s official!!  My family & I are now MAINERS**.

**NOTE: We really are transplanted Philadelphians now living in the guise of MAINERS, but I’m giving it to us anyway.

SO HOW’S THINGSS??!  I KNOW.  It HAS BEEN A LONG TIME< HASN’T IT??  OOoh, I am sorry to hear that.  How awful.  My next-door neighbor’s dad got laid off too, but then they called him up a week later and offered him another job.  Yeah what a crap fest.  Good thing he decided not to jump. Huh?  ME??  Ohh. well you know how it’s been total craziness the past few months.  The whole “packing up the house and moving to a 2 bedroom apartment in a completely new city” thing.

I guess it’s to be expected, but this move is taking a little getting used to.  You can take the girl outta Philly, but you can’t take the Philly outta the girl. Right?  RIGHT. SO. The first night we arrived.  We’re outside unloading the U-Haul.  It’s really dark out – we didn’t get here until after 7 – so we’re unloading, and a car sloooowwwwly drives by.  Then another.  And of course we’re all thinking DAMN! They’re totally casing the joint – just waiting for us to be inside so they can help themselves to our stuff.  But then, another car drives by… slowly.. slowing.. to a virtual stop.  The driver looks at us.. we look at her.. and.. and.. then she smiles and WAVES!  Because people here aren’t thieves. They’re just NICE.

SO>As you can imagine. There’s a whole mental adjustment taking place. No one is trying to cart off our belongings.  No one is skulking in the bushes waiting to stick me up or show me his “thing.”  This Portland.  It’s a whole new world!  And, lest I forget to mention, after just one week here in Portland — (hold your breath) — we get OUR MAIL!!!!  Can you believe it?!  I KNOWOOOO.  We’ve only been here a week.  ONE HONKIN WEEK.  And we’re RENTERS!  No matter.  Our friendly mail carrier does her job like a PRO.  We actually had mail WAITING for us when we arrived.

HAHHAHAHHAHHAHHAHHAHHHH!!!

Back in Philly – where we’ve owned a home for ALMOST EIGHT YEARS, we STILL DON’T GET OUR MAIL

PS: Thanks for that awesome card, Curly babe! Love ya! xoxo

BUT BESIDES THE MAIL, there are some other things I’ve noticed about Portland.

Number One: Portland is clean.

As long as you don’t mind cigarette butts and dog shit.  B/c BOY ARE THEY EVERYWHERE.  But other than that. This city is pretty clean, at least in comparison to Philly.  Seriously, the day before we moved, I had to go to Target to pick up a few things.  As I waded through ankle-deep trash in the parking lot, I noted the number of empty garbage cans just begging to be used.  Here in Portland, I can’t find a trash can.  Not even outside people’s homes.  I am convinced everyone here stuffs garbage inside their clothes to keep warm.  And this theory isn’t just crackpot.  NO, it’s backed up by HARD EVIDENCE.  You see, here in Portland you have to pay for special blue *CITY OF PORTLAND* trash bags to put your weekly garbage in for collection.  I KID YOU NOT.  AND. Not only are these designer bags expensive, but they are EXPENSIVE.  $7.50 for FIVE.  F-I-V-E.  YET, you don’t see dingbats dumping their garbage in random lots – or dropping chicken buckets out car windows while waiting for the lights to change.  Nuh-uh.  Garbage in Portland “appears” to be a dirty little secret no one wants to air.  People hide it away until trash day when they are FORCED to put it out on the street – B/C THEY HAVE TO.  THANK GOODNESS for those pretty blue bags.

Number Two: Portland is home to a population of roughly 65,000 – 3,893 of whom are Chiropractors.

On every corner in Philly, there’s either a pizza/take-out beer place or some sort of mini-mart bodega.  Here in Portland there is a chiropractor’s office.  Sometimes two.  On one stretch of Congress Street, I’ve actually counted 3 chiropractors in a row.  With another just a block or two away.  All this adjustment raises several questions.  First.  If you are working as a chiropractor in Portland, how can you possibly be making enough to buy trash bags?  And Two.  What the hell is happening up here that warrants so much manipulation?  I’m hazarding a guess with snow shoveling> but .  BUT?  ANYONE??  Can someone help me out here.  Please>??  I am stumped.

Sorry I’ve been AWOL..

The past few weeks for me have been interminably long. In a good way, though. Somehow, it just feels as though time started and stopped mid-October, and although days keep progressing on, I’m somehow fixed within the calendar. Three weeks ago, I was in New York. The night was blustery, raining, just plain ugly, but I was giddy inside. John and I had gotten tickets to the premier of a movie we’d discovered a year before. A Cricket in the Court of Akbar. The tale of a white guy from Texas, who discovers Indian music and falls in love… with the sitar. He learns to play, and eventually goes to India – to win a music competition – not once, but twice. TRUE STORY, by the way. I’d stumbled upon the trailer on youtube months and months ago, it struck such a chord (no pun intended). When I found out the movie was premiering at the Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea October 25th, I bought tickets w/out hesitation. That night, girls safely deposited at John’s grandmother’s, the weather miserable, I was elated. Few things matter to me more than a truly compelling story, and I was not disappointed. After a meal of sushi & Sapporo, we made our way to the museum. John got seats in the front row. We watched as the star and director sat directly beside us. WOW. The movie… just plain amazing. Captivating, start to finish. Afterward, Andrew Mendelson answered audience questions. We got home late, tired, bleary eyed, and happy.

The next week wrought another tremendous surprise. As a lifelong Philadelphian, I know I fall prey to the mentality of doubt which pervades this city like so much garbage. A year ago, Philadelphians were rumored to be the ugliest people in the nation, according to a poll conducted by Travel & Leisure Magazine. Before that we endured the whole FAT THING, with the American Obesity Association ranking Philadelphia in the top ten for overweight people SIX YEARS IN A ROW. In sum, Philadelphians have long succumbed to being the less worthy, less interesting, less sophisticated shadows of our cosmopolitan cousins to the north and south.

Until October 29th… when somehow, someway this city rose above its tarnished image to win the title of WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS. No longer would Philadelphians be the has-beens, the not-quites, those sorry sacks incapable of sealing the deal. We were WINNERS! and BOY was victory sweet. We turned out by the millions to celebrate on Halloween Day. To cheer on our beloved Phils, and to embrace something not felt for 28 years. The thrill of success. And that collective charge made us – as a city, and as a people, ONE.

Last week, fate parlayed Philadelphia’s victory onto the nation. NO LONGER WILL THE WORLD SCORN – B/c November 4th 2008, Barack Obama made history. His election, like Philly’s World Series Championship, has restored the faith of – not just millions of people across the Delaware Valley, but BILLIONS WORLD WIDE. By becoming the 44th President of the United States, and the first of hopefully many of color, Barack Obama proved – for once and for all – that we are not prisoners of our checkered history.

In the ensuing days I have done many things on a personal level. Hours of work went into the upgrading of my eponymous low sodium recipe site, THE DAILY DISH, which launched the same day as the election. I’ve spent nearly every day since in the kitchen, testing recipes, taking photographs, and having an exhausting but grand ole time reacquainting myself w/ what it’s like to be creating art on a daily basis. Last Thursday we took in an unbelievable lecture by the world famous Dr. Irene Pepperberg, whose African Grey Parrot, Alex, changed the world’s perception of what a “bird brain” really is. You KNOW I was first in line for the signing too, tears in my eyes. “To Christy & Kiwi, with kindest regards, Irene & Alex.”

My dad spent last weekend with us – leaving Tuesday morn. And now my beloved sister and her brand new & FABBBBULOUS boyfriend are coming Saturday afternoon. Leaving me two days to get the house in order for the ensuing chaos, once again. To meet with the girls teachers for parent conferences, to assess direction and performance. To commune with nature and spot another Ruby-Crowned Kinglet . To do all the schtuff that one needs to do, always.

Having spent many, many days now listening to the radio, to people’s opinions, to stories of what is happening to our nation, to the world’s economy.. Listening to the election recap, hearing how people are being slaughtered in the Congo, how the civilian casualties are rising in Afghanistan.. I can’t help but wonder.. WHERE ARE WE HEADED NEXT? As bad as things seem – and they do seem dire for a whole lot of people – sitting here typing away in Philadelphia. I remain hopeful. Things which seemed impossible even a month ago, today are reality. I cannot help but wonder, WHAT NEXT??

Barack Obama accomplished something the critics never thought possible. And unbelievably, Philadelphia did too. Can you imagine what could happen if we as a collective envisioned victory in a way we never had before – and MADE IT HAPPEN? The possibilities are endless.