week fifty: pitch and yaw

The only time I'd been in a really small plane was on a sightseeing trip over the Grand Canyon when I was a girl. All ten or so passengers threw up on the turbulent flight except me and that was only out of sheer will. So a few months ago when my friend first asked... Continue Reading →

week forty-nine: the first last

When I first moved to Portland, the art walk/street fair/Portlandia skit come to life known as Last Thursday didn't exist. Alberta Street was not "The Alberta Arts District." Back then, the hipster bar was a Baptist church. The gift boutique was a boarded up store front. Slowly, artists started to move into the area (for... Continue Reading →

week forty-four: the big float

My neighborhood in southeast Portland provides all the essentials within easy walking distance. It's easy to exist in a little bubble over here, rolling back and forth over the same 10 square blocks. Ever since I stopped commuting to the west side for work, I sometimes forget that there's a great big river that flows... Continue Reading →

week forty-three: under the bridge

I've never been in the loop. As far as new and local music goes, even in my twenties I was pretty clueless. I had friends that were regulars at Satyricon and La Luna and where else? See, I don't even know where else. I love music. I'm deeply moved by music, but I've never been... Continue Reading →

week forty-two: lake!

The last time I was in a good, swimmable lake was so long ago, the only photos I have of it are printed out and pasted into a photo album. That was a lake near Bar Harbor, ME in 2000.  There was one float across a seaweed choked pond just off I-84 near Multnomah Falls... Continue Reading →

week forty-one: care a little less

I struggle with what I want my writing life to be. Struggle isn't the right word, though. It's too active. Too involved. Me and my writing and my caring about my writing create a fairly passive, only slightly more than occasional dynamic. But it does come up. I've sworn off writing entirely more than once.... Continue Reading →

week thirty-seven: botanical dreams

Many, many years ago I drove to a house that sat along Johnson Creek and the Leach Botanical Garden to do a trade with an acquaintance. I remember being surprised that a street so deep in southeast, just off Foster Rd. could feel so tranquil, lush and foresty. The trade was entirely unremarkable, but I... Continue Reading →

week thirty-five: new art, new artist

This week I got a new tattoo surrounding an old tattoo, both done by the same artist, Joanne Martian. I hadn't been to the shop she and her husband own, the wonderful Martian Arts Tattoo, but the process of getting the tattoo was very familiar. The stinging, nagging pain of it was familiar. The artist... Continue Reading →

week thirty-four: unchaste

Work your way past the brightly lit pool tables and sports-filled TVs of The Rialto and go down into the basement, into The Jack London Bar.  It's better down there. It's very dark and kind of cozy and the bartender is nice. I discovered this on Tuesday when I went there to attend the Unchaste... Continue Reading →

week thirty: go it alone

I take walks by myself on a nearly daily basis. Sometimes it's just up the street to Mt. Tabor Park. Sometimes it's an urban stroll through a new neighborhood or a trek downtown.  But I've never headed out of town for a hike on my own. On some level it's because I have a handful... Continue Reading →

week twenty-eight: an unknown shape

This week's new thing is an adventure in self-publishing and vulnerability (stupidity?). I've been thinking for some time about publishing one of my personal essays here. It would have to be something not written for this blog, but something languishing in a file on my computer. It would have to be important to me, not... Continue Reading →

week twenty-seven: winning (kind of)

I never win anything. Mostly because I never try to win anything. I don't play powerball, enter contests or buy raffle tickets. I don't play sports or board games. When I get into an argument I usually give up or change my mind before ever achieving victory. So, what a surprise it was when I... Continue Reading →

week twenty-six: on the up and up

I love the butter-light glow of houses at twilight when the lives of strangers are on display. I love the unkempt, backyard views from trains and trams. Seeing a bit of what is usually hidden is immensely appealing even if what is there is immensely mundane. The hidden staircases of Portland appeal to me in... Continue Reading →

week twenty-four: elevator speech

Maybe you'll laugh. I know I did. On a beautiful mid-week morning, I got in my car and headed south down 99E to Oregon City just to ride our country's only outdoor municipal elevator. Kind of a ridiculous thing to do since it's just an elevator. It's just another small Oregon town. Why bother, right?... Continue Reading →

week twenty-two: a brief exhibition

The Associated Writing Programs (AWP) annual conference took place in Seattle this past week. I went to the conference years ago in Chicago and decided the chaotic shmooze-fest was something I only had to do once. People attend for different reasons, but I imagine many attend to connect with other writers and pursue relationships with... Continue Reading →

week twenty-one: go sports!

I've never been a fan of team sports. Not one lick. I appreciate the athleticism and skill required to play on a professional team and can usually find some pleasure in simply watching such fine-tuned bodies in motion, but I couldn't care less who wins. Intellectually and socially, I get why people rally behind a... Continue Reading →

week twenty: never not a novice

Forget super speed, or super strength. Forget invisibility, agility or telepathy. There was a time in my life (let's call that time yesterday) when, if given a choice of superpowers, I would have chosen super intelligence. And not just smart, but a few hairs shy of god-like omniscience. Why? Because I've always hated being a... Continue Reading →

week nineteen: meditations

All the usual resistances were there. I'd never done it so I didn't want to do it. I'd never been so I didn't want to go. I didn't know what to expect so I didn't know how to prepare. But this little blog post was waiting to be written. If I didn't try this, I'd... Continue Reading →

week eighteen: seaskysand

It's hard to write about the ocean. It's not just waves, black beach rocks, seafoam and sand. It's not just windbent trees, the long horizon, the scent, the swell, the hush and roar and hush and roar. It's not a list or an elaborate description, but it seems that's all I have. It's not just... Continue Reading →

week seventeen: history lessons

I've lived in Portland for over twenty years and feel deeply rooted here.  My sense of history about this place, however, is also only twenty years old and looks mostly like a brief series of before and after photos. Before: the struggling art galleries, auto repair shops and empty fields west of Old Town, scented... Continue Reading →

week sixteen: tin chef

Sometimes I imagine standing up in front of an AA style meeting and announcing My name is Tracy. I'm Italian and I can't cook. As a teenager, I'd sit at my grandmother's dining room table and flip through the paper while she stood a few feet away stirring up a delicious pasta sauce or frying... Continue Reading →

week fourteen: distraction holiday

This year was my holiday from holidays. Both Thanksgiving and Christmas were whittled down to nothing but having a quiet day off and eating pie. This week, my work schedule was mellow. My friends were busy with their own holiday celebrations. On Sunday night, I looked at the lull of the days ahead and knew... Continue Reading →

week eleven: an accumulation

The weak sun starts to set around 3 these days. By 4:30 it's dark. Until the light comes back, I'll follow up my afternoon naps with nine hours of sleep. I'll avoid festive gatherings in exchange for a pile of blankets, a long movie, a good book, a lapful of cats. For me, this time... Continue Reading →

week ten: noir at the bar

Portland could have found a seedier bar for their inaugural Noir at the Bar, a literary event that's been happening in cities all over the country since 2008.  I was kind of hoping to settle into a night of readings by noir writers inside the sad, sketchy misery of The Matador on W. Burnside.  Instead,... Continue Reading →

week nine: maintenance care

I'm not a fancy woman. I get uncomfortable in really nice restaurants and don't even dare set foot in higher end stores. I long ago gave up on the idea of having nice clothes since I inevitably ruin them with massage oil or spaghetti sauce or general neglect. And while I'm all for self-care, if... Continue Reading →

week seven: dance fever

I used to leave notes in my mother's purse asking her questions I was too shy to ask out loud. The last one I left, around age 11, read, I want to learn how to dance. Will you let me take a class? My dance experience up to that point included the following: a single... Continue Reading →

week six: 3-minutes to nowhere

From where I live, I see Oregon Health Sciences University rising high in the west hills like a second downtown. To get to Pill Hill you have to wind your way up through a stand of lush green trees, as if you're heading out for a hike in the woods. But instead, at the top,... Continue Reading →

week four: breathing

I could say that, this week, there was the newness of sleeping in my roommate's bed, under his deliciously thick covers, tucked in by two cats, while my partner's father slept in ours. And the newness of that father moving through my house and around my life for a few days while I barely found... Continue Reading →

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑