From the Blog

I Walked a Lot Today

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Before I talk about today, just a quick note about yesterday: My interview at the temp agency went well. If I may allow a bit of self-praise: I interview well. I can talk the talk-talk and the blah-blah (and the yadda yadda.) I ended up spending over two and a half hours there. I spoke to 5 different people. By the time they were done, the agency wanted to hire me as a recruiter. I have no doubt that I’ll be working within a week of arrival. The good thing about accounting, (there are spare few good things about accounting) is that everyone needs them. Things need to be accounted for.

So today: Foggy. This, I expect, is more typical Portland winter weather. I walked from my hotel to, well, Starbucks, to strap a coffee to my face. This may seem like blasphemy, this being the city with more coffeehouses per-capita than any other place in the nation. (Yes, even more than Seattle.) Also, Portland has more brewpubs than any other city in the nation. This is the City of Tasty Beverages.

In defense of my blasphemous purchase of Starbucks, I’d like to say that it was just my appetizer coffee. It was just the coffee to tide me over until I found fabulous, wonderful, local inde-roaster coffee. The plan was to find breakfast, get caffeinated, then walk, walk, walk. So the Starbucks coffee was just my starter cup. I drink a lot of coffee.

I had looked at a map and got a “general” idea of where I was going. I wanted to go to the Japanese Garden. I may have reconsidered if I had known what a considerable distance it was, PLUS once you get there, there’s a hike up a huge hill. It was chilly out, but I was sweating.

The Rose Garden was all cut back and sad for the winter. But the Japanese Garden was lovely. See photo below (ha, just kidding. Damn USB cable!) The Japanese Garden was quiet, serene and suitably gray and mysterious from the fog. I took a LOT of photos.

Here’s the thing about me taking photos. I got a rinky-dink little camera that would fit in my pocket book. I did this so I would take it with me where ever I went. Instead of NOT hauling around a big SLR camera to fun, exciting places. Too big. Too heavy. Too expensive. So now, I take out my Altoids-sized camera, take photos, and I look like a tourist. And I get disdainful looks. I do. I just know it. Whereas, say, you take out a big bad-ass camera, and you are a Photographer. Doesn’t matter that you may be taking pictures of the same city-square Christmas tree. My point-and-shoot identifies me Mayor of Podunk.

So I had the Japanese Garden and the rest of the park to myself. I clomped down the hill back into the city, and then went up NW23rd. This is like the Melrose Ave of Portland. All the funky shops and boutiques, with big brands beginning to muscle in. I never did find a place for breakfast, so I stopped for soup, sandwich and a Big Fat Mocha. It was goooood.

There were many, many cute, kitschy shops. Some were inspired. Some were similar to the store that I’d eventually like to have. I chatted for a while with the owner of one store, I and told her I’d love to have a marvelous place like hers. She smiled wearily and said “Are you prone to depression?” She explained that retail is very hard. She said she had to cut the coupons out of the Sunday circulars every week in order to make ends meet. She was regretful to have not started with a web presence first. She said she was in the process of building her website. She was thinking the web was more important than a brick and mortar store. Interesting.

So I went all the way up NW23rd until I reached an area that was not interesting, then back-tracked to find Powell’s Books, the largest independent bookstore in the WORLD. I spent ONLY 2 hours there, and got out ONLY having spent $70. This, dear friends, is nothing short of a miracle. I am a book addict. I cannot go into a bookstore without buying at least one or two or ten books. It doesn’t mean I read them! I just want to stick my nose in the fresh binder of a new book and drink the sent of ink, paper and words. Is there anything in the world so sumptuous? So, I escaped this fabulous wonderland of books relatively unscathed. A miracle.

I found a bar to sit near a roaring fire, have a glass of wine, nosh on happy hour, and talk to some friendly locals. From there to Stumptown Coffee Roasters for a delectable decaf mocha and some phone calls to figure out how I’m getting to Seattle tomorrow.

In the city, there isn’t anything to suggest a devastating storm hit 2 days ago. I could see some flooding as my plane came into Portland yesterday. The local papers have crazy photos (The Oregonian, The Seattle Times.) It’s bad. The I-5 is still closed and Amtrak had canceled all of their trains due to a mudslide. I was thinking I was going to need to book a return flight back to Seattle. As it turns out, some of the trains are resuming their schedule, so I’m catching a train at 2:30 or so. “Trains may be delayed.”

More tomorrow on the Whirlwind Adventure Tour to Determine Where Heather Lives Next. Night night.


  1. holy-spicoli! those photos look like the aftermath of katrina… i saw the reports and meant to call you, but never got around to it. some friend, huh? but i did leave a comment.

  2. (i know this is old, but i’m bored at work and on break and reading through your archives)… funny thing about that storm – i had family and friends call me from all around asking if i was okay. i didn’t know anything about i-5 closing or amtrak because, well, i don’t read or listen to or watch any news (or at least didn’t then). i was so confused, since all we got was a few days of rain – no biggie. then when the boyfriend and i went to the coast a month or so later and we saw all the damage, i was trying to figure out what could have pushed all those massive trees over…
    (excuse my lack of capitalization.)

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