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Posts Tagged ‘gluten free’

Thursday, September 11

Love.  Perhaps not the first word that comes to mind on this day, a Memorial to America’s most devastating tragedy.  When I think back to seven years ago, I remember waking up to a morning that was glorious in Washington, DC – there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun was illuminating.  I lived in an apartment with my sister in Pentagon City, in northern Virginia.  At the time, I worked for a quaint wine shop in Dupont Circle.  I got up, got ready for work and just after 9:30 a.m., or so, I was on the metro headed for L’Enfant Plaza, where I switched trains from the yellow line to the red line, leading to the Dupont Circle station.  Only, just as we left the Pentagon station, just as we emerged from below ground to cross a bridge over the Potomac, in a sudden flash a bust of fire plummeted into a side of the Pentagon, thrusting a black plume of smoke into the unblemished sky.  My first thought was that we were getting bombed.  It was utter pandemonium on the metro, and in a flash, we were back underground, nearing the L’Enfant Plaza station.   

To make a long, horrific day short, I was stranded in DC overnight.  It was and remains to be a day of horror.  I was stranded and feared we hadn’t seen the worst.  A sleepless night kept me frightened about what might happen next – biochemical warfare?  Bombs?  More kamikaze airplanes falling from the sky?  If it was a perfect sky that day, it was a perfect patchwork of glittering stars that night.  And it was quiet, except for the occasional helicopter pounding through the night.  We listened carefully to the silence, wondering if the sound of airplanes would cut through with sonic booms and possible explosion.

But, back to love.  My parents celebrated their 42nd Anniversary today.  How inconvenient to have a birthday, an anniversary, or any other happy occassion on such a dark, sad day.  That was true for them in 2001.  And perhaps in 2002, as well.  But, since 9-11 became synonymous with a cowardly terrorist act on the Twin Towers and in our nation’s Capitol, my mom and dad have quietly celebrated their marriage without diminishing their respect for the nation.  But, then again, they really celebrate their love and commitment to one another every day. 

It amazes me how they have managed to treat each other with such honor and respect for nearly a half century.  A reminder to me and my siblings about what it means to have a good marriage.  It’s kind of bittersweet for me, because their marriage has been the benchmark for what I expect out of a potential marriage for myself.  I want no less – to find a partner who loves, honors and respects me, who holds his tongue before lashing out before it’s too late to take unkind words back, who feeds my dreams and my soul, who stands strong by my side with an open hand reaching out to mine.  This is the example they have given me.  And it has proven to be a challenge to find and keep the right partner to share my life with – but I’m still grateful that theirs has been that shining example that continues to give me hope.  I’d be so lucky to have a marriage like that.

Okay.  Here’s a photo of my parents on their honeymoon.  They married in Pennsylvania, in my mom’s hometown in the Lehigh Valley, and then headed across country.  Here, they visited my dad’s family in Eugene, Oregon.  My Uncle Ken and Aunt Kathie were married exactly one week before them, on September 4th, 1966. 

 

Pictured on my grandparent’s front steps, Eugene, OR, clockwise from left: (back) my dad, Kurt, my mom, Marie, dad’s brother Uncle Ken (front) dad’s sister Aunt Irene and Ken’s wife, Aunt Kathie 

This photo is of my mom and dad on the Oregon Coast, still on their honeymoon, with my Great Uncle Johnny.  They were clam digging.

And, finally, this photo totally deserves another run.  This is dedicated to my mom and pop – married on September 11, 1966.  Here – they’ve been married five years, still two kids in love.  God bless them!


Okay, so that’s how you go from 9-11 to love.

As for my day.  Well, it was a good one.  Lot of self lovin’ going on, lot of positive energy.  And a lot of big winning.  I went to my friend Lota’s house to play poker.  We started off with a nice spread of bountiful seasonal goodness – a Caprese salad, a garden vegetable salad and I made my Pico de Gallo with three different heirloom tomatoes.  Then we cleared the table and began playing poker.  I hadn’t played in years.  It was so much fun.

And, one of the players brought Red Bridge gluten-free beer.  I had a bottle and began losing on five card draw, seven card stud, and then my luck turned for the better with a fun game called Aces Duces, which I kept calling AC/DC.  I won several pots and took home $10-15 dollars in quarters.  We all had so much fun we decided to do this semi-regularly.

 

Bottle of Red Bridge gluten-free beer with some of my winnings…

And, to end a note on love…well, like poker, it’s a gamble.  Okay, that’s pretty bad.  But, if it were true, and if it were anything like last night, then that would make me a winner at love.  And that’s cool with me.

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Saturday, September 6

Wow.  Ten days left and I am done with this.  I have no plans for a party or celebration.  But, if I get a book deal and get my narrative published, based on this blog, then I will definitely plan some sort of gluten-free party in a vineyard here in Oregon. 

Anyway.  I didn’t really sleep in.  When I got home from the movie last night I went right to bed, which was around 12:45.  I was feeling a little off, and have for about a week or so.  First, there’s the moderate congestion.  It’s not requiring a decongestant just yet.  But, rather, is uncomfortable.  And contributes to my being drowsy.  I realized I could use a multi-vitamin injection, as I must have had some gluten intake over the past week or so.  I’m feeling some of my celiac symptoms.  And I think I’m dealing with malabsorption again, meaning, my small intestine isn’t able to absorb nutrients from the foods I have been consuming.  It’s so complicated.

I worked all morning on the holiday catalog I had begun for work.  I’m basically doing layout design in Illustrator.  And I really like the way its turning out – I have some great photographs to work with and it looks really elegant, so far.

Finally, at around 3:00, I needed to shut down the computer and get ready for a concert.  I was going to meet friends Kerry and Renee to see G. Love & Special Sauce at Edgefield, a McMenamins property.  They have a really cool outdoor concert venue.  Opening for G. Love were Tristan Prettyman, touted as the female Jack Johnson, and then the John Butler Trio.

I got dressed, grabbed one of my straw cowgirl hats, and a bag with a blanket it in.  We met at Renee’s house and then carpooled to Troutdale, just 25 miles or so down I-84 East.  It was a quick and easy drive and we parked in a small field and headed into the roped off area.  We grabbed a drink, beers for the girls and a Lemon Jack cocktail for me.  We set out our blanket super close to the stage.  It was amazing.

Tristan was very good.  Her music is very sunny and light.  When her set was up, we walked back to the concession area and ordered Thai curry dinners.  I got the chicken.  It was pretty good.  We sat at a picnic table, which was nice.  There were trees all around.  Like a little tree village.  After we ate, we went back while the John Butler Trio was into its set.  Their music is amazing.  John Butler cut off his long dreadlocks.  He looked really cute.  He’s a great young singer-songwriter born in California, but he grew up in Australia.  He began the song “Zebra” when we got back to our blanket.  We started dancing with the rest of the crew.  There was a ton of pot smoke around us, which was actually upsetting my stomach.  And, a young woman passed by us in a long tie-dyed sundress.  She smelled of poop.  Renee and I looked at eachother quizically.  I asked her if she smelled the poop.  And she did.

JBT’s sound is a blend of reggae and Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Great guitar rifts and rockabilly sounds at one moment, then hard rock and roll the next, then folksy-reggae beats.  It’s upbeat and fun.


Here’s John Butler addressing the eager crowd.


Here we are between John Butler Trio’s set and G. Love’s.

And then, G. Love & Special Sauce hit the stage.  He was seated, playing guitar and harmonica.   He’s brilliant.  He’s really a blend of surfer folk meets Philly hip hop, with a lot of rhythm and blues. 

G. Love got everyone up and dancing.  I missed dancing like this.  Like a bunch of hippies without rhythm.  Only, me and my gal pals, we had rhythm.  We were totally getting into the groove.

Then, the highlight was when G. Love called John Butler back to the stage to sing a couple of songs together.  They basically had a killer jam session.

After the last song, we headed back to Portland.  It was pretty easy getting out of the venue and Troutdale, which was a relief.  I dropped the girls off at Renee’s and drove home.  I was tired.  It had been a full weekend, so far, and I was looking forward to sleeping in and having time to myself tomorrow.  I’ll do more work, to get ahead on some of the creative projects in my queue.  But, all in all, I was looking forward to some down time.

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Wednesday, September 3

I got an email from my former French boyfriend.  Well, on Facebook.  It was sweet.  And it made me feel bad for avoiding his last two emails.  On Facebook.  I don’t know.  I’m bad about Facebook.  I forget to answer emails there.  I’m not sure if I should respond when people write on my wall.  I drink and Facebook.  I’m not the most diligent or responsible Facebooker. 

But, then again, I got a message like this one in my inbox which made me love Facebook:
Hello ! just a little kiss from Paris. I wouldn’t mind talk to you a little. hopefully soon
xoxo

Now, what girl wouldn’t swoon from such a message in her inbox?  The one thing I will give this man, my former French boyfriend, is that he knows how to do romance.  When I last visited him in Paris, ten years ago, I would wake up at his father’s apartment in the Montmartre (he had a couple of fabulous apartments) and Jean would have a fresh pastry, French press coffee and a USA Today on the old, wooden table in the kitchen, waiting for me.  He’d kiss me on the forehead and I’d wonder when he had left and for how long.  He’d wake early and go to the same patisserie on the block.  There were usually some flowers on the table for me, too.

His previous email, that was sent about a month ago, asked me when I was planning to return to Europe.  Ah, Europe.  Let’s see.  I have no vacation time to use.  I can’t afford to take leave without pay.  Um.  That would be never.  Or at least not until I win the lottery.  I’m glad I frivolously traveled in my twenties.  Because I practically live paycheck to paycheck now, which is ironic.  And I just found out today my rent is going up.  My limited funds seem to be flying out the windows.

Not ideal.  Not ideal, at all.  I made a list of where to cut spending.  I am worried about paying for my heating bills this winter.  They were pretty bad last year and will probably be worse this time around.

I worry.  I worry about taxes going up.  I worry about gas prices continuing to skyrocket.  I spend a lot of my time worrying. 

I know it doesn’t help to worry.  But it’s feeds the woe that makes me feel like it’s impossible for me to do this all on my own.  I remind myself how much easier it would be if I just married someone and got it over with.  You’re either taken care of or you split the bills.  Either way, you come up ahead.

It’s useless to lament over my inability to travel.  Which is more or less why I let my French ex’s messages go unanswered – it just isn’t plausible to get over there.  And, even if I could take a leave of absence, what next?  The thing is, Oregon is my home.  It’s funny that the few men I’ve met over the past year or so, that I’ve actually been interested in, all live elsewhere.  Not in Oregon.  I am unwilling to pick up and leave my beloved Oregon.  So, I have already decided it’s not worth getting the heart mixed up with anyone who doesn’t already live in Oregon or love it as much as I do.

As I drove home from work, I thought more about this.  I came to no new relevations.  It’s in Oregon I shall stay, loved or not loved.

At home, I changed and met Susan at Tryon Creek Park, up Terwilliger Boulevard.  We hiked a trail for about four miles or so, possibly more.  It was a nice change from the gym, an old growth forest with perfectly manicured trails and a nature center.  As we hiked, we chatted at length about Sarah Palin.  I have no idea how I’m voting for this coming election, but, because I am an Independent, I am interested in listening to what each of the candidates have to say.  It’s a thrilling election.

When I drove home, I caught the first half of her speech on NPR.  She had my attention.  I was surprised that this was her first major national address.  She sounded confident, competent and she had her own brand of charisma.  She has my attention.

I quickly made a gluten-free pizza for dinner.  This one had a touch of tomato sauce topped with thin slices of yellow heirloom tomato, buffalo mozzarella, shreded Assagio and Provalone.  I then topped it with fresh basil from the garden.  It was my seasonal Margherita Pizza.

While eating, I worked on my latest writing project.  I’m in the process of collecting the copy for each of my blog entries and separating them out in Word files by month.  I plan to organize the entries in a way that I can build a new narrative – the book will be based on the blog.  I don’t want it to be the blog reprinted word for word.  Instead, I plan to highlight themes and begin a meaningful narrative that reads more like a novel. 

I’ve been struggling with writing the book proposal for this, as most nonfiction book proposals are constructed for writers who are experts in a field or promise to help the reader accomplish something (learn how to cook, self help, etc.).  My nonfiction book is all narrative, so it doesn’t really fit the typical model.  I’m not claiming to be an expert on finding love in all of its manifestations, nor am I trying to teach anyone how to find love in all of its manifestations.  I am simply writing about my own experiences that have helped me to seek out and sometimes find love in its many manifestations.  And I’m satisfied with that.  Now, I have to figure out how to get an agent or publisher on board.  Between that and figuring out how to launch my new website, I’ve got a lot to do in my few hours of ‘free time’.

 

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Tuesday, September 2

Things don’t seem to change.  This does not surprise me.  I shrug, even.  But, alas, I went to bed at 1:00 a.m.  That’s when I get tired, that’s when I’m ready to actually go to sleep.  And, the alarm went off at 7:30 a.m.  I don’t have a snooze button.  My alarm clock is a tibetan gong.  I stop the alarm and then either get up or lull back into a half-sleep.  Which is what I did this morning.  I finally got up at 8:00 a.m.

I had breakfast, including some of the dried plums my friend, Susan, gave to me.  These aren’t your grandmother’s prunes!  These were sweet, delicious with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, meaty, and more like figs than the dark, slimy prunes I remember at my grandparents’ house.  Susan’s family has a prune ranch in northern California.  She just returned from harvest.  It was a nice treat for her to bring back the freshly dried fruit.  Susan did warn not to eat more than 5 per day, when you’re not used to eating dried plums regulary.  Good thing she did that – otherwise we’d get more fiber than our young bodies could handle!

 

I got to work at 10:00 a.m. and was busy all day without even a stop for lunch.  I made a turkey breast sandwhich on gluten free bread and ate at my desk.  I worked until 7:30 p.m.!  I was waiting for a bunch of photos to upload on flickr for our event photo galleries.  It took forever.  Plus, I was working on website updates.  I didn’t even realize what time it was.  I get in a zone.

When I left, I locked up and drove home with every intention of going to a driving range to hit some golf balls.  But by the time I got home, it was too late.  I dropped off my bags, with a handful of basil I brought home from our garden at work, and put it in water.  I changed and went to the gym to ride on the exercise bike by 8:15 p.m.  I got a good 20 minute workout in, and my legs were wobbly and sore by the time I made my way back down to my townhome.  That was a nice change from my usual jogging on the treadmill and yoga.

I quickly got to cooking.  I boiled in water with a dab of olive oil and a pinch of salt some Tinkyada brown rice spaghetti.  I cooked up two small spicy Italian pork sausages in garlic and olive oil.  I then cooked up some homemade tomato sauce.  I topped the cooked pasta with a mozzarella-assagio cheese blend, the cooked sausage and garlic, the tomato sauce and then some freshly chopped basil. I love to show how you can make delicious gluten-free options for your favorite meals.

After dinner I had a cup of hot Yogi India Spice tea.  I then cleaned up the kitchen and wiped down the counters and floor.  I have been so nervous about the ant situation this summer, that it has forced me to be obsessively clean.  Which is probably a good thing.

I missed the Republican Convention this evening.  Because I am registered Independent, I don’t believe in voting for a party.  I vote for the best person.  And I feel I must listen to both parties present their cases.  I am curious about Sarah Palin, especially after her controversial announcement of her 17 year old daughter’s pregnancy.  Unfortunately, politics get ugly, and it will be interesting to see how the Democrats rip these people and their families apart, and vice versa.  This is the part of politics I hate.

Today, I received my order of a USB desktop microphone to record myself doing readings of my literary work for my new website.  I can save them as mp3 files and make them available on the new site.  I noticed today that my friend cleared up my current website with a “new site coming soon” announcement.  I am excited about creating my new site.  This will go to show potential publishers (and agents) that I am a “dream author” who knows how to market herself.

When this blog comes to it’s end in two weeks to this day (wow!), I will start a new blog on my writer’s website.  I won’t stick to a daily entry cycle as I have with this one, it’s a totally different kind of blog.  I am happy to see this blog come to it’s end.  I will still keep it up and accessible via my new site.  I am proud of this blog and I am still hopeful I can get a book deal based on the content of this site.

As I began to wind down for the evening, I realized how promising my writing career has been since I committed to this blog.  It was one great step for me, one that will surely turn things around and land me my first book deal.  I am sure of it.

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Sunday, August 31

I got up rested and made myself French toast for breakfast, made an egg mix of organic, free range brown eggs, ground cinnamon and Grand Marnier; I then dipped Ener-G brand Seattle brown loaf bread slices (which is the best gluten-free bread for French toast, as well as toasted cheese sandwiches) in the egg mix and cooked it up in a buttery frying pan.  I served this up with sliced organic Gala apples topped with Rivers Edge Chévre, known as The Little Goat Dairy by The River, in Logsden, Oregon.  I poured myself a small glass of organic orange juice and enjoyed my quiet morning.

After I ate, I worked on revising my third chapter for my writer’s group.  It took me about an hour and a half to do the revisions.

I read for about an hour and then curled up on sofa with my cats and took a nap.  It was dark and kind of gloomy out.  Occasionally, the sun would break through the sky to make an appearance.  It rained hard for about an hour and then was clear again.  And it was cool out. 

My body was reacting to the weeks of late nights and early alarms, and lack of proper sleep.  I welcomed the rest, I gave in to it and fell dreamily asleep surrounded by my soft, snuggly cats.  I was feeling a little congested and got a little anxious about it, as I had been clear for almost two months.  The last thing I wanted was a return to those weird non-allergic rhinitis symptoms.  

When I woke up, three hours had passed.  That was crazy.  I checked my voicemail messages and hurried to get dressed to meet Kerry downtown to watch a French film at the Living Room Theater, next to the Ace Hotel and Clyde Common.  The Living Room Theater has been on my list of things to do, as I love art house films.  This venue reminded me of a place I used to love to go to in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.  We bought tickets for a French romantic comedy starring Audrey Tatou, from Amelie and The Davinci Code.  It was called Priceless, a charming story about a young woman who only dates wealthy men to ensure she’ll be taken care of.  She glitters the screen with her gorgeous haute couture.  She meets a handsome young man at the hotel bar, where she’s staying on her birthday, and she mistakes him for a rich guest.  He actually works for the hotel.  They drink a bunch of cocktails and end up in the hotel master suite, which she thinks is his room.  In the morning, she is gone.  A year later, she returns with the same older gentleman and runs into the hotel worker again.  It’s a great comic play on mistaken identity and then the old story of girl will only date rich not poor men.  The best part comes when the young man plays her game and becomes a boy toy to a wealthy much older woman.  It’s a fun story and, at times, is quite sad.  But there’s a redeeming moment when Audrey Tatou’s character wakes up and realizes what’s really important.  It’s fun, it’s light, it’s very French.

 

After the movie, we made a refreshing and bold move.  We didn’t go to one of our typical foodie spots.  We headed over to Henry’s and sat at the bar.  I was starving.  It was happy hour.  So, I ordered a medium rare cheeseburger without the bun and a chopped salad with mango and avocado.  They have an extensive beer list – probably the largest in town.  No gluten-free beer, of course.  So, I ordered a pear cider.Kerry and I caught up, as it’s been about two weeks since we’ve hung out.  We talked about what we’ve been up to, and then our smug married friends (not saying our married friends are all smug, we’re talking about very specific married friends who happen to be smug), and then our latest bad behavior.  I told her about my drinking and facebooking episode a few weeks ago, which was, of course, funny.   By 11:15 I was ready to go home.

It was so cold out, it felt like we were being robbed of a decent summer, of a decent Labor Day weekend.  It really felt like early spring or late winter out.   It was really annoying.

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Friday, August 29

I had a long, tiring week, coming off only one day off this weekend.  I have a comp day to use, and I’ll likely use it when I go home for vacation in a few weeks.  Alas, Friday was finally here, meaning I could sleep in.  You gotta appreciate weekends if only for sleeping in.

After a morning full of meetings, I went to the winery for a photo shoot.  And then I worked on a bunch of projects before taking off for the long weekend.  I was the last to leave.

I purposely made no plans for tonight.  I drove to Washington Square Mall and parked at Macy’s.  I was a woman on a mission.  I was long overdue to replace my bras.  I had been wearing the same three bras for three years, rotating them.  I know better than that.  I know the importance of maintaining good breast health, and that includes replacing bras when they are worn, to ensure continued, proper support.  I also know that 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. 

So, rather than make myself a slave to over-priced Victoria’s Secret, I went through the many rows of bras at Macy’s.  I picked out 18 bras to try on.  I picked out bras by Vanity Fair, Warner’s, Maiden Form and Calvin Klein.  After trying them on, I narrowed this down to my top eight.  I carefully returned the ten rejections to their hangers, and lined them up on the rack outside of the dressing room.  I went back out to search for the eight bras I liked in two different sizes.  My old size no longer fit properly, so I needed to figure out which of two new sizes would work better for me.  It took me awhile to locate the bras.  After trying two on, I discovered my new size.  And this was life changing!  All but one of the bras was wireless, which was like a revelation.  They were just as supportive and less restrictive.  No metal poking into your skin under your arm.  The six bras I picked out were comfortable, cute, they fit perfectly and they were on sale!  I also bought a garment bag to use in the washer, which promises to protect lingerie.

I spent two hours picking out bras!  That was crazy.  I hurried to the Origins counter to pick up some powder.  I matched a compact with my former Clinique powder.  I was happy.  I am now fully switched over to Origins, make-up wise.  Well, Origins and Aveda.  It was already 8:30.  I was tired from being at the mall and and I was getting hungry.

When I got home, I put on the television and the movie The Cinderella Man was on.  I had never seen it before.  I listened to it while I was in the kitchen making my dinner, a mixed greens salad with white cabbage, heirloom tomato, red onion, cilantro, a little lime juice and shrimp sautéed in olive oil, butter, garlic, red pepper, salt and pepper a little more lime juice, topped with a light gluten-free Caesar dressing.  I had a cup of Yogi’s Bedtime Tea.

I picked up, again, The Virgin Blue and started picking up reading it where I had left off.  While I read, I listened to the news coverage about Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s choice for running mate, a little known Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.  This not only was a bold and strategic move by McCain, but pretty brilliant.  Naysayers are saying it’s an insult to women, as a strategy to simply win over Hilary Clinton supporters and women voters, in general.  Be that as it may, it’s an historic ticket.  Plus, there’s no way staunch Clinton supporters would support a woman who supports the NRA, anti-abortion and other conservative issues.  This election continues to get more and more exciting.  It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.

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Thursday, August 28

This evening marked the last Last Thursday on Alberta Street for the summer.  I hadn’t been to one in, gosh, about two years, maybe.  It’s unlike any other street fair or art walk on the planet.  Really.  There’s this wild confluence of hippie dippie, antique chic, hillbilly, and soulful art and music.  I wandered around up and down Alberta, loving Portland with my whole heart. 

On every corner there was different music – jazz, funk, bluegrass, folk.  I tried to stop here and there and give a listen. I looked at some really good paintings that were patched in between some creative but not-my-taste artwork.  I came very close to buying a painting of a beautiful tree in golds, oranges and turquoise blues, which would have been perfect for my meditation room.  It wasn’t meant to be.

As I walked down the street, a thirty-something guy with a hoodie on, a trucker-style mesh baseball cap sitting high on his head, was riding a bike pulling a wooden cart.  Inside the cart was some kind of cooler.  He yelled out, in a sarcastic, goofy tone, “Frozen…” he paused.  I thought what?  Treats?  Ice cream?  Popsicles?  What??  He finished, “stufffff!”  And continued along.  It was pretty funny.

I felt like I was wandering aimlessly.  But there was nothing aimless about it.  I followed the music, the smells, the sights.  Ahead, someone opened up their window to their loft apartment facing the street, put a speaker up to the window and blasted out Obama’s Democratic presidential nomination acceptance speech.   People of all walks crowded around to listen.  It was something.  It was just another moment in the midst of American history happening.

As I continued along, looking at the wares of street vendors, walking down the free spirited vanity faire, I ascertained that one couldn’t help but feel the change in the air.  People were happy, no – hopeful.  Well, both.  But the mix of different colored faces, hair and style – the happy hopeful mix was so different, so unique, so diverse, so weird, so Portland.

I actually stopped for a moment on a corner where a blues band was performing.  I missed my sister.  I thought about summertime in Chattanooga, the sweeping heat and humidity that wrapped around the Riverbend Music Festival on the edge of the Tennessee River each year.  I thought this street festival was something like the Bessie Smith Strut, a mid-week celebration during the Riverbend Music fest that celebrated the famous blues singer, a similar event by way of mood, colors, art, jewelry and food, but mostly the music and diversity.

I peeked into the window at Ciao Vito and wanted to go there to eat so badly.  I’ve never had a meal there before.  With its dark mood lighting, and especially its lovely dangling chandeliers, the place dripped romance.   I decided I’d wait for a date to go there.  That may be a long wait, but that’s okay.

I was surprised at how many amazing restaurants and eateries have popped up on Alberta over the past couple of years.  And cute boutiques.  But, mostly the “fooderies”.  Thinking about this made me hungry.  I briefly met Susan in the streets to say hello and walk a few blocks while totally distracted by all the pandemonium all around.  She ended up leaving soon after with friends, and I headed to the Alberta Street Oyster Bar – another place I have been meaning to go to.  I entered the dark front room, a throwback to another time with its dramatic black and red color scheme.  It was cozy in this room.  Another good date place, I thought.  I grabbed a seat at the bar.  That’s my thing.

I ordered a Cherry Bourbon Sour, per the recommendation of the friendly bartender.  It was a cherry-infused Bourbon cocktail with lime, orange and club soda.  Lying across the top of the tall, thin glass was black plastic toothpick lined with three amaretto cherries.  I was pleased.  I often judge bars and restaurants by the kinds of cherries they use, usually in Manhattans, my staple drink.  If an establishment offers maraschino cherries, I judge them harshly.  Gross.  If they serve up Amarena cherries, I am a life-long friend, a fan, a patron.  I asked the bartender where one could pick up the Amarena cherries, and he advised at Pasta Works.  Toschi brand.  Good bartender.

I started with a duck salad on wilted greens.  It was nice and actually tasted really good with the Cherry Bourbon Sour.  Then, I had the pork cheeks from Carlton Farms with artichokes and fingerling potatoes.  It was amazing.  I heart pork cheeks.  It’s like braised pork and just pulls apart effortlessly, almost sweet in flavor.  Delicious.  I finished with a scoop of molé ice cream with chunks of chocolate.  It was lovely.  I enjoyed it with a cup of Stumptown coffee.  Another reason to love the Alberta Street Oyster Bar – amaretto cherries, Stumptown coffee and really good food.

A few days ago I wrote about lonely.  But, truth be told, I signed up for lonely.  When I packed up all of my treasures, watched four young men load it all up on the moving truck an stood in line with a one-way ticket to Portland, Oregon, my poor, anxious cats in their carriers, yup, I signed up for lonely.

And lonely is not so bad.  It’s not as foreboding for me as it might be for others.  Because, I love my solitude.  I love the quiet of eating dinner out and sitting at the bar and savoring food as only a foodie can, without forced conversation.   I don’t need or require company.  I am delighted in my quiet, reverent moments of alone.  It’s not bad when it’s wanted.  Just like anything else.

But in the event that it’s not wanted, that I’m missing my family, or I’m bored with my routine, sometimes I have my moments of lonely that make my taking on “alone” sometimes a little sad.  And it’s okay to be sad every now and again.  I say this with strong conviction, because before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, before I went gluten-free,  I had endured many, many very dark days of lonely.

As I walked mistakenly down 31st Street, happily full from my savory dinner and sour cocktail, I ducked down for a moment to pet a very cute kitten.  I heard giggling just ahead.  Then, a wiry, medium build young man climbed down a small tree all dressed in white.  He startled me.  His two friends, a guy and a girl probably in their thirties, were sitting on a patio cracking up.  The guy approached me in white sweat pants, sneakers, a plain white zipped-up hoodie, and a white cloth wrapped around his head, covering all but his eyes and mouth.  He had HUGE white Mickey Mouse clown handed gloves.  He kept asking me in a bad mockery of an Asian accent, if I feared the White Ninja.  It was pretty flippin hilarious.  His friends were practically rolling off the patio. 

It wasn’t scary or threatening.  It was a joke.  He was up in the little tree waiting to spook unassuming passers-by.  It was magically hilarious.  The little kitty had run off.  When he asked one last time if I feared the White Ninja, I casually told him no, but at least the White Ninja scared the cat.  He and his friends cracked up.  It was a fun night.

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