Thursday, October 02, 2008

some things about portland

  • In the coffee shop in which I sit and type, a girl in a Vanilla Ice backpack is inquiring about the price of soup. It's clear she has some money issues. The barista is directing her to a local apple tree. They've spent several minutes now, discussing the quality of that tree's fruit.
  • There is a small red tricycle locked to the bike rack outside the Tin Shed.
  • As noted on facebook, observed: two men in utilikilts, strangers encountering each other across a busy street, giving each other a thumb's up for their clothing choice.
  • There is an initiative to replace some parking spots with bike parking. Laurel explains the theory thus: look how many more customers you can cram into one car's worth of space!
  • Two pierced girls discuss pirates at the coffee shop on Mississippi. I roll my eyes, thinking they are part of this stupid punk rock pirate trend, only to realize they are discussing Somali pirates.
  • There are traffic signs on the major bike routes around the city. They tell you how to get from one place to another, and also how many minutes it will take you to bike there.
  • My local library is in the same building as Whole Foods.
  • Older people whiz by you on hiking trails. Younger people knit on them.
  • Houses are so personalized that I always know exactly where I am not by the streets but by the houses: the baby pink and baby blue one with the gargoyle, the one with the round upper level porch like a crow's nest, the one with the window in the fence (discovered last night), the one with the tiny palms at regular intervals, the one with the massive acrylic/oil portraits hanging on the outside, the one with the red neon heart visible through the window, the one with the rhubarb garden out front, the tall one on the hill that was two houses stacked on on the other, the one with the giant stuffed animal on the porch, and ours with its rosemary bushes and columnar apples and sign that says Salut.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

safe arrival

We went out of range of electricity, so I haven't blogged the rest of the trip yet. I will soon, but for now, suffice it to say that I made it safe into the city of roses. My housemates painted my room with a beautiful art deco pattern and flowers. There were fresh flowers from my neighbors in a vase on the floor. Walking to the coffee shop today I passed plums and lavender. My car smells like sage. There are rumors of fig and olive trees in my yard. My old furniture is still in use, and the pizza box collage I made at the Providence Children's Museum is still gracing the wall. I'm home.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

the buffalo bill roundup

We think we saw every main street in Kansas yesterday, almost. Although the rain prevented us from running around in the tallgrass prairie, we did manage to see a lot of flat land. First stop on the Santa Fe Trail was Cassoday, Kansas, population 131. We avoided the stares of people and even cows who knew we weren't from around these parts. We heard a story about Columbia students taking a greyhound down to Cottonwood Falls, an event which was so momentous that a local newspaper wrote a story about it. Then we ate at a Mennonite restaurant in Hillsdale, Kansas - brisket! sauerkraut! peanut butter pie! Finally, we ended up at the Boot Hill B&B in Dodge City, which in its heyday was part of what my mother always termed Bloody Kansas, and which the brochure tells us was once termed "Buffalo Capitol of the World," "Queen of the Cowtowns," and the "Wickedest Little City in America." We're visiting on a Sunday, of course.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

tallgrass prairie beckons

10:16 at the beacon, ny train; irritating hershey, pennsylvania with its chocolate tourist trap; hamburger inn in delaware, ohio; champagne and blackberry pie in bloomington's bryant park; the world's largest ketchup bottle in collinsville, illinois; malteds at crown candy kitchen and a tour of a striated, gentrifying neighborhood in st. louis, missouri; sweet indie rock in lawrence, ks. one dissed "lemonade stand" (coke in cans) and one reluctantly patronized "lemonade stand" (watermelon kool-aid). one shipped suitcase. many cups of coffee. part of the devil's dictionary. part of a geographical history of the west circa 1908. lots of icelandic punk.

photos in reverse chronological order.

Friday, August 08, 2008

indiana farewell

leaving bloomington for the last time tomorrow morning. blackberry pie in bryant park with dear friends and champagne from my cousin on the occasion of finishing my thesis. i'm very sad to leave here. i don't have a home here anymore. the dear house with the green porch swing has a basketball hoop in the driveway. restaurants have closed. dunkin donuts has opened. boxcar books has moved. but the crickets are still out in the twilight. next stop, kansas.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


I owe lots of letters and edits and such right now. I'll be in touch soon. I swear.

stay tuned

Now that I'm out of the communications black hole that is The Putney School Summer Programs, I'm going to start posting again. And what better way than to document the great Cross Country journey of 2008! My cousin and I are driving west to my new home in Portland and we're stopping in Bloomington for one last hurrah, in Dodge City to dig up the bones of gunslingers (the same bones the boys used to dig up and shake at my grandma), in Grand Teton to hike and wherever else we feel like stopping.

The road beckons!