Thursday, October 3, 2013

The One Where Lindsey Channels Daniel Day Lewis

First and foremost dear reader, I have edited this blog post from a wordy diatribe of our recent shenanigans to a quick and dirty version.  You and your patience may thank me by sending me Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  Please and thank you.

I've discovered the quickest way to update anyone who may read this here blog post is with bullet points.  I'll try to keep my usual wordy self locked in a cage and write efficient succinct paragraphs so you're not here for days.  Or, give up two paragraphs in because I've pretended this is my diary.

On to the updates!

1.  We are heading into fall in Portland and we love it.  Rain!  Glorious rain!  We had no AC this summer in this rag tag living situation we're in and we couldn't be more thrilled about chilly wet weather.  BRING IT ON PACIFIC NORTHWEST.

2.  Eric and I were on a Sunday drive recently and he asked if I'd heard of the movie "There Will Be Blood" starring Daniel Day Lewis.  I answered him by launching into this monologue on the spot:

He literally laughed out loud and I beamed with pride.  I've never seen this movie nor do I have any plans to, but somehow this anchored itself into my brain and I recite on a somewhat regular basis.  Thank god this man loves me unconditionally.  It's not even the quirkiest thing I do around here if you can believe it, which I'm sure you can.  I'm confident my Oscar is in the mail because frankly, I do this scene as well, if not better, than Danny here.

3.  While our business has thankfully kept our bills paid and bellies full of pizza and beer, Eric and I decided to get full time jobs because we want to move out of this house and we'd prefer to buy than rent again.  A friend of ours referred Eric for a great job he started this week and all signs point to the perfect scenario.  A paycheck he's satisfied with, but flexibility to keep Multnomah Medical alive.  The universe promptly rewarded him by blowing his phone up the first week at his new job with a slew of jobs for Multnomah. Looks like he'll be working two jobs for the foreseeable future.  We're eyeball deep in gratitude over here and gearing up for a busy winter.

4.  I decided to sign up with a temp agency while I looked for a job in the dreaded medical administration field and ended up with a three week assignment at a job I love.  Yes.  It turns out there is an actual job out there that Lindsey can go to daily and not loathe.  Unfortunately, it is temporary and I start my new permanent full time job Monday.  I was offered a position in a spiffy high-rise in downtown Portland where I will be a Billing and Eligibility Specialist (sounds's not) and although I'm snarky (Me? Snarky?) I'm also grateful.  It pays well and I get to ride the bus into downtown every day with the cool kids. Seriously.  Everyone who works downtown rides the bus because there is virtually no parking, and what parking there is you have to mortgage your house to pay for.

5.  Eric had a booth at Portland Comic Con a few weeks ago to sell more of his hoarded duplicate collection of action figures.   He made quite a tidy sum and I celebrated by buying Barbra Streisand's coffee table book about decorating on Amazon.  I love that book.  I ended up buying two copies so I could cut out pictures from one for the vision board but still have the other to read.  Again, nowhere even close to the quirkest thing I do around this place.

6.  My cousin Sara and her sweet fiance Peter came out for a visit this summer and we had a great time.  I hadn't seen Sara in about 10 years we figured, and I'm happy to report that I still like her sooooo very very much and Pete too.  They biked downtown and all around while they were here for a few days and we wound down the evenings with cocktails, beer and food which is the only way to do it in this town.  A good time was had by all I'm happy to report and Eric and I are looking forward to visiting them in Boulder when Eric has a minute between jobs.

7.  Now that the rain has moved in I am reminded of my silly dog's refusal to step in wet grass resulting in me having to walk her around the block 37 times a day in a torrential rain storm for her to find the perfect piece of concrete to piddle on.  She's more than a little neurotic, and she gets this from her father I assure you.  A trip to REI for heavy duty rain boots and rain coats is in order.

8.  Eric and I celebrated eight years of wedded bliss yesterday.  We went to our favorite itty bitty Italian restaurant in the neighborhood and enjoyed a few cocktails and a cozy dinner while it poured down rain outside.  It was dark, there were candles lit and it was perfect.  We kept the romance alive afterwards by heading to Fred Meyer for me to buy new ear buds because the ones I had were hurting my ears.  Keep that romance alive folks!  I'm happy to report that after 12 years together, we still really really like each other.  Also, in spite of the aforementioned dramatic monologue Eric still finds me attractive.  It goes without saying that I still find him smoking hot too.  That beard!  That may be my favorite thing about this move in fact.  Eric's freedom to grow in a scruffy beard that I adore.

So there's eight somewhat quick takes of the goings on at Casa de Lamer in case you were wondering. Stay tuned for more adventures from this gruesome twosome as we head into the winter months in this beloved rainy land.

Peace out.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Things I Heart In This Moment

I always love hearing about stuff people are into.  Anything!  Anything at all!  Favorite snack, favorite Starbucks drink, favorite lipstick, favorite pen, favorite book, favorite get it.

Here's my list of favorites currently:

Purple gladiolas.  I can't get enough!  I get them at Trader Joe's or Fred Meyer's and they are on my table every week.  They are my $5 splurge and I encourage you to get some.  Post haste.

The Love Letter.  I love this movie *almost* as much as my Nora Ephron staples (You've Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless In Seattle).  Kate Capshaw is stunning in what appears to be zero make-up, it takes place in a pretend town called Loblolly By The Sea, and Tom Selleck is in it sans mustache.  Perfect for a Sunday afternoon.

Also; the soundtrack is a winner!

What's a blog post by Lindsey without a snack or two, eh?

Tzatziki sauce.  It's that creamy cucumber sauce that comes on gyros at carnivals and I am hooked.  After years of trying I finally had a decent crop of dill this year so I commenced to making this dip and I eat it on almost everything.  I've also taken to making dill bread with the recipe you will find if you click right HERE. One piece toasted with an egg over medium makes the perfect breakfast.

Tzatziki Sauce:

3 small containers of plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup (more or less) of fresh chopped dill
1/2 - 1 cucumber with the seeds removed (cut in half length-wise and scoop out with spoon)
3 heaping tbsp of sour cream or mayonnaise.  I've used both, low-fat, non-fat versions of each and all are delicious.  Pick your poison.
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
Handful of Feta if you're feeling froggy.

The only two requirements for this dip are that you drain your yogurt (dump into a sieve lined with a paper towel or cheese cloth, cover, and set in the fridge over a bowl for a few hours) and do the same with your cukes.  I chop mine, sprinkle them lightly with sea salt, and drain them in a sieve over a bowl for a few hours.  These two steps give you the creamiest sauce that won't get weird and watery after a few days.

Mix it all up tasting as you go and add what you think it needs.  Then call me and tell me everything you're eating it on.  You're welcome.

BB Creams.  I've been on the BB Cream band-wagon for a few years now and I highly recommend it.  It usually has an SPF and acts as a primer, concealer, foundation, and sunscreen all in one.  With minimal coverage!  My skin tends to break out once a month (ahem) and I notice that it seems less since I'm using BB Cream.  I've been partial to Missha brand in #21 for a few years now but have recently tried Loreal's Magic BB Cream and like it too.

Find the Missha HERE.

I just buy this one at Target.  Holla back if you try it and let me know what you think.

Date nights in the park with this dude.  I've taken to keeping a quilt in the back of my rig for impromptu dates to the park.  Perfection.  Living in a town with a gorgeous shady park on every corner is everything it's cracked up to be.  Our favorite for lounging is Laurelhurst.  We sit next to the "leash-off" area and make friends.

Well, I do.  Wicket and Eric not so much.

Mojitos.  My girlfriend Josie whipped these up a few times at her house and I'm digging them big time.  Here's the general recipe for her magical Mojitos, adjust to your tastes as necessary.  Also; serve in a Mason jar.  That's how she does it and I'm not one to mess with a good thing.

Josie's Magic Mojitos:

Simple syrup
Club soda
Fresh Mint
Rum (a dum dum)

Josie makes her syrup infused with limes and mint which is just lovely.  Here's how I did it and it was pretty damn close to her's.

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
A few springs of fresh mint
A few wedges of lime

***I double this recipe so as to not run out too soon.  Because that would be tragic.

Simmer ingredients gently on the stove until sugar melts.  Remove mint and limes and pour syrup into a Mason jar to stick in the fridge.

To make the cocktail:

Muddle a few springs of mint and a wedge of lime in your cocktail shaker (or mason jar with lid)
I pour a 5-count of rum and a 3 count of the syrup into the shaker with a few ice cubes.
Shake vigorously.
Pour into clean Mason jar and add club soda to taste.  I don't fill the jar all the way without tasting a few times to get it perfect.  I also go heavy on the lime because lime is my jam.

Take this perfect cocktail to your patio and toast to Josie for inspiring us.  It has to be done.

I guess that's it for now.  Summer in Portland is proving to be divine!  We're getting into grilling in the evenings for dinner, drinks on the patio, good music in the background, and cool breezes.  Come visit!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Guilt, Ghosts and Biscuits...Oh My!

Eric left for work this morning for a job a few hours away, and I was wrestling with guilt.  He had to get up at 6 am (you know you've been in vacation mode when that feels like a big deal) and I am left to my own devices.  I dropped the dog off for a much needed grooming and realized I was anxious and felt guilty about having an entire day to myself with no pressure, no commitments.

Driving home after dropping Wicket off I started frantically trying to think of a place to get a job.  A coffee shop.  The pottery studio up the street.  Maybe a dog grooming salon (they are every where here).  I shouldn't have a day in the middle of the week to myself!  Eric is working today, why should I get to sit in the sun and drink jasmine tea without a care in the world?

Yikes.  I pulled my neurotic self together and decided that instead of feeling guilty and anxious I needed to be grateful.  This is exactly what I wanted.  The last two years of my job in Fresno seemed so tedious because I didn't want to work 9-5 anymore.  I wanted a free day to myself in the middle of the week without having to call in sick or schedule it weeks in advance.  I got exactly what I wanted, why in the world would I waste a second feeling badly about that?  Besides, Eric was relieved and grateful to have a job to get to today.  He's certainly not pissed that I'm home blogging with my tea and pastry from the bakery up the street.  He's the first one to remind that this was the goal all along.  I'll have "work" when his paperwork comes home with him tonight, so in the meantime be grateful and excited about the fact that we made it happen.  Take advantage of the backyard I love, gorgeous 70 degree weather that is so out of the ordinary for this city, and the time to myself.

So, in the spirit of embracing the fantastic life we chose for ourselves here's a little update about what we've been up to lately.

1.  I joined a paranormal research club.  I know you're shocked *snicker*.  My girlfriend Michelle invited me her club's monthly meeting a few weeks ago and I gladly went.  I had a blast!  There are four other women in the group (including Michelle) and I felt like I'd known them forever.  They formed their club as a hobby and have the same approach I do about such things.  They are an interesting group of women who were so friendly and made me feel right at home.  Plus it was potluck and they like to eat so it was a perfect match from the start. I am really looking forward to our next meeting at The Kennedy School, which is a funky old school house turned hotel with bars and good restaurants.  If you come to town while we live in this itty bitty house I will highly recommend that you stay there.  I'm coordinating an investigation for the group this summer at ECETI Ranch where Eric and I spent a night last October.  Awesome.

2.  That same Sunday I also volunteered with Michelle at a local cat rescue.  It was nerve-wracking at first, you know I feel the need to wallow in sorrow about every "homeless" animal I encounter but this was a great experience.  These cats were cozy and at home.  The owner of the rescue runs things the way I would.  These cats have a permanent home with her and IF the exact right person comes along and can provide the perfect home they can be adopted.  Otherwise these cats live slap-dab in the lap of luxury at the shelter.  I had a great time and didn't feel at all guilty or sad when we left.  It might have been the baby lambs the owner rescued that Michelle and I were able to bottle feed, but maybe not.  Maybe I've finally found a place to volunteer with plenty of animals I can help but not feel the need to bring home.

3.  Eric and I have made some cool new friends that we're excited about.  I've met some really awesome ladies through my girlfriend Rachel.  She has a great front yard where we meet up about once a week and watch the kids play in the pool while we gab.  So.Fun.  In fact, we went to a bbq last weekend at one of the ladies houses and I LOVE HER!  She is effing hysterical and makes me laugh so much.  She's got a great daughter and we're really looking forward to meeting her husband this Sunday.  We're already planning a couple's trip to Cannon Beach with them!  Side note:  One of Josie's neighbors came over while we were there and happened to have some tarot cards with her.  She pulled a card for me then one for Eric.  She had some really insightful things to say and Eric and I both agreed she was extremely intuitive.  Eric is very skeptical (but open minded) about such things, but he had fun and we both agreed her reading was bizarrely spot on.  Bizarre for Eric anyway.  You know me, I am totally into all of that!  *wink*

4.  We're still loving the house in spite of the drama that living an older home can bring (plumbing issues and such).  Our neighbor upstairs did a cleansing and blessing the weekend she moved in and was kind enough to come downstairs and do her thing in our apartment too.  She uses Native American practices in her work so she drummed and sang Native songs and it was amazing.  She sang a blessing for us as a couple as well as our business.  Eric and I talked about it after she finished and we both agreed that although we don't necessarily understand everything about what happened or what she did, it was a great experience.  Whenever anyone offers to cleanse and bless your home, take advantage!   I would feel the same way if our neighbor happened to be Catholic and invited a priest in.  I am open to any and all goodwill that comes our way no matter what the spiritual path is.  How can it be a bad thing for someone to perform ceremonies in their practice that offer well wishes and good things for you?  We have felt great since she did it, so mission accomplished.  She's a fantastic neighbor by the way.  We couldn't have asked for a better person to live above us.  She's turning out to be a good friend, and I'm grateful for that.  She likes my smelly dog and is down to chat when we cross paths.  Also, she recommended the bakery up the street that makes this pastry I'm having a love affair with this very minute.

5.  Eric's on the hunt for a group of guys to play Dungeons and Dragons or poker with and according to Craig's List there are plenty to choose from.  Eric is a lot more tentative about meeting strangers than I am, so he's taking his time to find the right group.  I've never met a stranger so anyone I meet that I have anything in common with I consider a friend.  Eric is careful to find drama free people who have jobs and pay their bills on time (his sarcastic words, not mine).  Sometimes it's shocking what a great couple we are considering the huge difference in our personalities.

6.  Work is going well.  We're steadily getting regular calls for jobs from the two clients we have and Eric has a meeting with a potential client on Wednesday, so cross your fingers for him.  In the meantime we're having fun in Portland and starting to plan weekend excursions to the coast and Seattle soon.

Here's a few pictures too, pictures make any blog better!

Where I sat while I typed this blog.  I spent Sunday planting flowers and herbs so I took advantage of the patio to write.  There is the pastry I mentioned earlier (savory with onions, asparagus and cheese).  I'm totally buying you one when you come visit.  You will love me forever.  

Avocado seeds I'm finally getting around to rooting.  It will take a while from what I understand, but I'll be patient.  Tip if you want to try it:  Soak the seeds overnight in water to soften them up and use corn handles to keep them half immersed in water.  
I tried toothpicks and gave up after I broke seven trying to get them in.

Eric declaring to a lazy Lindsey that it is Saturday night and time to get the party started.  It worked.  

Lazy Lindsey a few hours earlier that Saturday looking particularly...well...lazy.  However; Eric walked by and randomly said my hair looked like spun gold instead of saying I looked like a zombie which would have been closer to the truth.  He's a keeper.  And, I freshened up before we went out that evening.  

The Reggie.  We went finally got around to trying Pine State Biscuits last week after driving over and finding the line somewhat manageable (it wasn't wrapped around the building).  I regretted my choice almost immediately.  This place has been featured on every Food Network show it seems because they have outrageous biscuits. The three owners are also from North Carolina, so I would try anything they were serving in the hopes that it reminded me of NC. This one has bacon, fried chicken, sausage gravy and cheese.  With a side of heartburn and fatigue.  I'm no light weight when it comes to food (my ass the size of Texas proves it) but this biscuit did me in.  The mimosa with fresh squeezed orange juice, sweet tea, and pimento cheese is what I'll have when I take you here.  You can order what you like, and I'll make sure I have Alka-Seltzer on hand for desert. 

Graffiti on the side of a building we walked past.  Enough said.  

If you made it to the end of this post, you are probably my mom and I thank you!  Hope you and yours are happy and healthy, see you soon!!!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Casa de Lamer

When Eric and I were planning our move to Portland we agreed that I would find a place to live and Eric would work on our business plans.  After a month or two of casually looking we were down to the three week mark and no house in sight.  We have three pets and although Portland is extremely pet friendly, homeowners and property management companies charge a fortune in deposits for pets.  We found a townhouse we really liked but when I added up the cost of deposits and first month's rent being just over $4,000 I had to keep looking.

We ended up choosing this house because the landlord didn't charge us any pet deposits and there is a secure fenced in backyard.

And that's how we ended up in the basement apartment of a house built in the 50's with weird white tiles and an exposed water heater in the hallway.  Oh, and 1980's cafeteria linoleum in the bedrooms.

We do have a neighbor upstairs but her apartment is completely separate from ours.  The deal with this place is that we get to use the backyard (our doors open up to it) and she parks in the driveway.  We have plenty of parking on the street and it's a quiet residential neighborhood so we aren't worried about security. 

Take a gander:

The entrance into our house.  The green deck above our doors is an atrium off the living room upstairs.  

The view from the entrance.  You can see all the way back to the kitchen.  We managed to fit both the couch and the love seat in here without it looking cramped and weird.

To the right just as you step in from the French doors.  Eric hung our t.v. on an arm so it can be moved back to hang flush with the wall.  Also notice our wood stove.  We've attempted two fires but we're pretty sure there is supposed to be a fan with this stove because if you close the doors the fire goes out almost immediately.  Leaving the doors open fills the house with smoke and an irrational fear of carbon monoxide poisoning for me.  If you have any tips for us on the wood stove let us know!

To the left of the wood stove.

This red bookcase covers the storage space under the stairs leading to the first floor (that we have no access to).  We managed to get all of our camping gear and holiday trimmings under there.  Considering we were anticipating approximately zero storage space we were glad we had this weird spot to shove things and a bookcase to cover it all up.
The hallway to the bedrooms is to the right.

The dining area.  The huge cut-outs in the walls here make the living space really nice.  I think it makes it feel a lot larger than it is.  Also, that counter space above is tiled with bright multicolored patterns which are right up my alley because that match NOTHING.  

Hallway to the kitchen. Ikea makes these amazing square pieces of carpet in a bunch of colors so it was easy to grab only what we needed instead of worrying about buying an entire rug.  They were $9 a piece too!  Of course I picked bright green because that's my default color and Eric rarely objects.  I think he's always initially concerned about my constant choice of a screamer but this space needed some perking up.  These were perfect.

The kitchen window.  This makes up for having only two cupboards and a stainless steel restaurant supply shelf for storage space.  I love this window!

These are the only cupboards in the kitchen and I love the glass.  

We're working with an old school oven here, check out the buttons that control the eyes on the stove.  This thing works great by the way!  I thought I'd miss my fancy gas range but I've cooked several times here and everything works great.  *knock on wood*

I had a pretty large kitchen in our house in Fresno so I did more downsizing in the kitchen than anywhere else in the house.  When I was packing the kitchen if I hadn't used it in a year it had to go.  I gave away a dozen pots and pans, casserole dishes, glasses, and a huge box of Tupperware.  Almost three weeks later I haven't missed a thing I got rid of.  I know this might drive some people crazy, but I love having everything out in the open like this.  It keeps the clutter down and I only have out what I use regularly. 

The view from the kitchen.  Perfection.

We've got a big window but the bottom half of the room is below grade.
It stays super chilly in this room and we've slept great.  It's not nearly as big as our old bedroom but all of our furniture fit (king sized bed here) and we can still move around.

Still some have some decorating to do, but you get the general idea.  

The bathroom.  What can I say?  It's tiny and we spend as little time in here as possible.  The bright side is that we get great water pressure, there's plenty of natural light and good ventilation, and eventually these tiles I was crazy about at first eventually stop looking scary.  

Get a load of those.  Odd, no?

There is a gas water heater that is exposed in the hallway.  I found this screen in the garage and our landlord generously let us borrow it so we could cover it up.  Thank goodness.

The office.  The next project is finding a rug for this room.  The linoleum is awful and it's dang cold.  

My desk.  Knickknack Central to be sure but I have all my favorite books here and some of my grandfather's books that were on his coffee table when I was growing up.  All of the art hanging has a fun story to go with it and I like a hodge podge look when it comes to collections.  
Also note the cozy dog bed to the right.  Ridiculous.  

Eric playing Batman.

We've come to love this space in spite of how small it is compared to where we came from.  We're grateful everything fit and we've had fun sprucing it up.  We've definitely got work to do because eventually it would be nice to go barefoot again (I have slippers all over the house) but we're making it work and we're happy to be here.  Stay tuned for pics of the backyard.  The landlord is leveling the yard today and planting more grass.  I'll post pics soon!  Thanks for swinging by friends!  Can't wait to have you up and show you around.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Our Pilgrimage to Portland

Here's a few updates about what we've been up to since we arrived in our fair city.  I've tried to limit the gratuitous food shots to a few bear with me.  We'll get through this together.

1.  The drive up was fantastic.  Lots of gorgeous scenery, two pets who took the trip in stride (Murphy I am NOT talking to you!) and our very first client acquisition.  All in all it was seamless, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention the 15 minutes of sheer panic I experienced when I realized I'd almost run out of gas on a mountain pass with the nearest gas station a few miles away.  Thank goodness for good cell phone signals and husbands who can keep crazy wives calm.  I slid into the glory that was a Shell station on fumes and took a picture of this Drama Queen while I filled my tank.  Murphy, you're fired.  I also vowed to pay more attention to that pesky little gas gauge.

The one where he squishes 30 pounds of cat into approximately six square inches of litter box and refuses to move for 13 hours.  He gets this dramatic flare from his father to be sure.  

The only photo of scenery I managed to take on the drive up...but she's a beaut ain't she?  I had a lump in my throat when I came over hill and saw these misty mountains.  It reminded me of drives through the Blue Ridge mountains growing up and I got a little misty myself. 

2.  Eric stopped in Northern California to dazzle a potential client with his vast knowledge of medical gas systems and naturally, he won them over.  He was back to said facility a few days later and wrapped up our first official job.  Thank goodness because at the rate I'm spending money on pizza and beer these clients can't come quick enough.

3.  Unpacking our truck from California was...Crazytown.  I was never so grateful for Eric's OCD as I was on this day.  Our moving truck was delivered the day after we arrived and parked on the street and on a hill causing our wall of boxes to collapse under our furniture.  Wheeeeeeee!  Eric had that nonsense unpacked in four hours and we were playing Tetris with our furniture that evening.  We had a 15 minute window of sunshine today and I managed to get some pictures of the new place so stay tuned.

4.  The house we landed in is working out great.  I think Eric was questioning my instincts the first night we arrived but all is finally well.  Our neighbor upstairs is moving in next week and all I can say about her is that she's a therapist, energy worker, and uses Native American traditions in her practice.  When she came down to introduce herself she wanted to make sure the drumming she does with her clients wouldn't bother us. I asked her if my curling up on the front porch to get some secondhand therapy would bother her.  You all know I love myself some therapy and some New Age techniques so in a word, she's perfect.

5.  The pets are settling in as well.  Wicket is her usual charming self and upon moving in only requested a few pillows strategically placed on our cold tiles to keep her bum warm.  She spends her days curled up in various spots throughout the house napping and avoiding the cats.  Murphy and Tucker are as adjusting nicely and spend approximately 23 hours a day sleeping on our nothing new there.  We've only had one incident so far where I considered dropping Tucker off down by the river.  He refused to come in one night and thought it would be fun to crawl under our fence into the neighbor's yard.  Since he's too dumb to find his way home I was forced to fetch him at 11 pm in my robe and Uggs.  Neighbors, you're welcome.  We'll try to manage that situation better in the future and I promise to wear pants next time.

Murphy, Tucker, and Strange Cat.  Strange Cat showed up a few days after we moved in and his favorite past times include sitting on the other side of the French doors and wailing loudly for MurphTuck to come play.  He seems affable enough but Eric's concern about Strange Cat possessing feline AIDS is keeping my strapping young boys from being able to join in the fun.  Basically this means the first day Eric's out getting clients for the day I'm kicking these two fatties into the yard to make a friend.  Let Strange Cat deal with their shenanigans for an afternoon I say!

The first day we were unpacking the truck my friend Rachel brought us lunch.  No less than three varieties of gourmet mac and cheese at that.  We love her and will be asking her to join our hand in marriage when next we meet.  There was a delicious mix of cheeseburger, chicken cordon bleu, and an over-the-top-to-die-for parmesan concoction to choose from.  Bliss.  Pure bliss.  

The aforementioned pizza and beer.  *angels singing*

A groovy sidewalk we found exploring the Hawthorne District.  This town is full of funky surprises like this.  There is art and inspiration every where you look 'round these parts.

My southern soul never fails to sniff out pork and my radar didn't fail us when we were at the Saturday Market in downtown Portland last weekend.  This family's sweet tea was like nectar from the gods.  Cajun fries!  And a pulled pork sandwich!   Eric had a gyro for desert but I failed to take pictures as I was too busy snatching it out of his hand to get a bite myself.  We listened to some live music, bought some groovy art from a local artist and had a fantastic time.  Next weekend's mission is to find the Farmer's Market.

Tree lined streets every where and misty ran falls almost all the time.

Our landlord owns a bakery here in Portland so when we pay rent we get a free cupcake!  This month's pick was the "Gorilla Cake" which was made of banana bread, peanut butter frosting, and chocolate frosting on top.  We agreed it was the best cupcake we'd ever had and that it might be safer to mail our check from now on because this could get out of hand.

Lest you all think all we've done is eat since we got here (you wouldn't be wrong...exactly) I'll be posting pictures of our house soon.  It's taken us a little longer than usual to get settled because we lost about 700 square feet with this move but we're all squared up now and I can't wait to show you where we spend our days.  See you soon!!!!

***My font went rogue on me halfway through this post and I can't figure out what happened.  At least it was quadrupled in size making it easy to read.  Kind of like a picture book for a five year old.  Thanks for bearing with  me.  

Thursday, January 31, 2013

It's all happening...

A quote from one of my top five favorite movies to be sure.

Take a gander:

 I love the way Penny comes up with these elaborate plans and everyone thinks she's crazy until the last scene of the movie when homegirl is buying a plane ticket to Morocco.  This is the running theme for this blog post.
As predicted, Eric and I are still reeling from our vacation to Portland this past October.  By reeling I mean we can't stop thinking about how much we loved it there and that we know we need to live there.  So we're moving.  March 15th.  *gasp*  Well, that's officially Eric's last day of work.  We'll keep you posted on the exact date we are throwing all the critters in the car and hightailing up to the PNW.

The last few months have been interesting around Casa de Lamer.  Two days before Thanksgiving I walked out of my job of four years.  A job that paid well in this economy, a job that provided enough security that Eric and I rarely worried about money, a job that made me all kinds of miserable.  I just walked out.  Quietly gathered my belongings, put them in a box, and walked out without a moment's hesitation.  I came home that morning and sat in the sun on my back porch waiting for the panic to set in.  It never did.  And I've been cartwheeling through my days ever since.

Odd that I would choose to walk out of a job four months before we are picking our lives up to head for greener pastures (figuratively and literally!), no?   It's absolutely odd.

All I can say is, I knew it would be okay, Eric knew it would be okay, and I'll be damned if things aren't working themselves out.  We've started our own business and are anxious to hit the ground running when we get up there.  It's the same line of work Eric's done in Fresno for the last ten years and we're anxious  to see where it goes.  We're both confident that it's going to be fine and since we've worked together before, we know this is going to be the ideal professional situation for us.

We've shared the news with everyone we're close to, and everyone is supportive of course.  It's been interesting.  We often get asked "What's Plan B?" "Have you considered what you'll do if this doesn't work?" and different questions with the same theme.  Here's the thing.  We don't have a Plan B.  We can't put all of our focus and energy into Plan A if we're planning the what-ifs if something doesn't meet our expectations.

We've carefully looked over our finances in the last several months.  We've saved, paid off, budgeted, and done all the things responsible adults do when they are making a huge life decision in the direction of change. At some point when all the responsible adult research has been done you have to come to a place where you say either "Fuck it.  Let's do it, and do it now!" or "It doesn't feel right, I'm afraid what will happen if..."

Needless to say, we're going with the first option.  And we're beyond secure in the decision.  We followed our instincts that it was the right thing to do, and things have been falling into place ever since.  Including me quitting my job!  We've had some unbelievable moments in the last few weeks that confirm that we made the right decision and that things will be fine.  Things that I'm convinced wouldn't have happened otherwise.  Some might call them coincidences.  I say there's no such thing.

So we're putting Casa de Lamer up for rent, exploring rentals in Portland, and seizing the damn day!  Boxes will be packed soon, closets weeded out, and what I predict will be many trips to Goodwill getting rid of the things we don't need anymore.

I'll keep everyone posted on our updates as they come.  Right now we're doing all the the paperwork and planning associated with opening a small business (see, we CAN be responsible!) and dreaming of the day we pull into our town.  A place where it's rainy, green, and not 115 degrees four months out of the year.  Desert living has dried us out and we are going to soak up the rainy goodness that is Portland like sponges!

Carpe Diem!  It feels amazing...promise!!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

How We Are Avoiding The Seven Year Itch Thanks To Portland

I was a bit disappointed in myself this week for not prioritizing this post, but I realized that my procrastinating nature has served me well.  I've been looking forward to reliving this vacation all week and I'm so glad I waited until I had time to write it, enjoy it, and reminisce about one of the coolest weeks of my life.  We had a good first week back to work so we have nothing to complain about, but we talked about what we would be doing if we were in Portland RIGHT NOW.

So, let's get to it shall we?

Day 3 of this adventure also happened to be our seven year wedding anniversary.   Wheeeee!  We started the day with the goal of exploring as much as possible.  The day before had been spent with the road trip to the coast, so we wanted to stay local and soak in the city.  We started in the Pearl District where we found a shop that Eric proceeded to spend the better part of an hour in.  It was awesome.  Billy Galaxy's was one of those tiny shops you dream of when you're a collector.  It was packed from floor to ceiling, wall to wall with toys from the 70's & 80's and who knows what else.  I could tell by the way his eyes lit up that he needed at least an hour to explore this gold mine, so I wandered up the street to Powell's City of Books for another look.

I want to take this opportunity to make sure that all of ya'll realize what a huge deal this morning was for us.  Of all the cool shiz we got into on the vacation, these are the moments that we long for the most now that we're back in Fresno.  The moments we can't wait to live in real life.  Eric is somewhat discreet about his vintage toy collecting but to know him is to know his passion for it.  It's been his hobby since before we started dating.  He loves the hunt for obscure toys from his childhood.  To be casually walking down the street and find a place like Billy Galaxy's could only happen in a town like Portland.  This is why I refer to Portland as our version of Adult Disneyland.

 I, on the other hand, feel the same about books.  I love a good book.  I have vivid memories from elementary school of trying to discreetly read The Baby Sitter's Club under my desk during math or some other useless subject.  I LOVE TO READ.  I love collecting books as much as I love reading.  So for Eric and I to spend a few hours a few blocks apart from each other, each submersed in something we are passionate about, well, this is what it's all about for us folks.

Eric came looking for me at Powell's after an hour or so to tell me about the things he'd found in Billy Galaxy's.  We walked back to Billy's together so Eric pick out what he couldn't live without.  The neatest part of the Billy Galaxy's experience for me was seeing the nod of approval from the guy who owned it, who I assume was Billy.  Eric bought things that were apparently awesome finds for a toy hunter, things only a true obscure toy hunter could appreciate.  Awesome. Eric made his purchases and once we confirmed Billy would safely mail them to Fresno, we were off to search for lunch.  Since there are options a-plenty in Portland we looked to Yelp for a suggestion.

We ended up at The People's Sandwich downtown.  As we were walking to this spot for lunch we passed it.  VOODOO DOUGHNUTS.  Perfect!  The universe lined up and without knowing it we'd picked a spot for lunch that was conveniently three blocks from Voodoo.  At The People's Sandwich I decided on something light (more room for doughnuts, you understand) and it was a good pick.  A typical caprese for the most part, basil and spring mix, grape tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella.  Eric decided to get the Argentina Arrabiata that was a tasty mix of salami, ham, mortadella, pepperocini's and a few other yummy ingredients.  Both sandwiches came with homemade potato chips and a Tootsie Roll.  How cute!

Eric's is on the left, mine is on the right.  See the adorable Tootsie Roll?

After the sandwiches we hightailed it over to Voodoo doughnuts.  Voodoo is a pretty famous because their toppings are less than traditional.  They get real creative up in there with the flavor combinations.  With toppings like Fruit Loops, Captain Crunch, "grape dust", and bacon it's no wonder they're notorious.  We also confirmed that Voodoo is as big a deal for locals as it is tourists.  Without further ado, I give you...Voodoo:

My pick with was the "ODB" or, The Old Dirty Bastard.  And dirty it was.  Deliciously dirty.  Chocolate frosting dipped in crushed Oreos then drizzled with peanut butter.  *mouth waters*  Eric's picks were the maple bacon bar (which my Aunt Carol hysterically referred to as the "Lady Gaga Meat Shoe").  Captain Crunch was the third pick, and I must say it was a close second to the ODB.  Odd, I realize, but tasty nonetheless.  There was a cute little coffee shop right next door where I ordered a delicious latte, but I was too busy digging into these little treasures to stop and take a picture. 

Don't judge us people, when in Rome!

After we stuffed ourselves silly with doughnuts we kept up exploration of the city.  We drove up to Washington Park to peep out the Japanese Gardens and attempt to walk off some of the Captain Crunch and bacon, but this was as far as we got:  

Unfortunately, the hours of operation had changed two days prior so the gardens closed promptly at 4 pm which happened to be the exact time we arrived.  We took the opportunity to drive through the neighborhoods surrounding Washington Park and laaaawd, there were some gorgeous homes!  The road was twisty and narrow so it was hard to stop for pics, but just picture The Shire from Lord of The Rings if The Shire was million dollar real estate.  Adorable hobbity homes that were unassuming but had the casual elegance of one million plus price tags.  We talked about the possibility of robbing a bank, and if successful which house we'd buy, but decided that our doughnut consumption a half hour before negated the swift escape required for a bank robbery.  I'm pretty sure people fleeing the scene of a robbery shouldn't be carb loading on doughnuts.  

Eric decided to take matters into his own capable hands and navigate me to a "surprise" for our anniversary.  Now, I love a good surprise.  But I prefer the kind of surprise that involves said surprise being divulged spontaneously and right that very moment.  Anticipating surprises has a tendency to bring out the control freak in me.  Eric navigated me back across town and when I saw the sign for what was in store for me, my jaw dropped.  Take a gander:


That's right folks.  Eric surprised me with a trip to Portland's Tub & Tan. This is a facility wherein one rents a room by the hour with a private Jacuzzi.  I know what you're thinking.  It's probably EXACTLY what I was thinking.  And it probably involves an image similar to the one found if you click right HERE.  Now, if Drew Barrymore is to be involved with anything I have the opportunity to partake in, I'll take what I can get. Even if it means meeting "the great Eagle spirit".  I thought a soak in a public hotTUB would certainly result in spiced meats, jackrabbit haunches, and Lovers so I was a smidge skeered. Alas; there were no swingers in sight.  We enjoyed a perfectly relaxing hour in an outdoor room next to a waterfall.  A little disconcerting at first, but the staff was so friendly and professional they quickly eliminated any fear of running into Rachel Dratch and Will Farrell.

It was a fun time.  There was no roof on this room, a private bathroom w/ shower, fireplace, music with no less than 90 options, and LOCKS ON THE DOORS.  It was a great surprise, and a story we'll always have fun telling.  I think this is the insurance policy that our marriage will not be suffering from the oft reputed "Seven Year Itch".   Thank you Eric!

After the soak in our hotTUB we did more wandering around 23rd Avenue for shopping and the best manicure ever (while Eric people watched from the side walk).  We decided in light of our anniversary we should celebrate with our favorite food.  Again. Since Portland has no shortage of places to try, pizza it was!  23rd Avenue had several options, but we chose a place called Pizzicato.  Once again, an excellent choice.  We sat at one of the cozy sidewalk bistro tables and ordered what sounded good. We started with the artichoke and spinach dip, which we quickly agreed was probably the best we'd ever had.  

It was the perfect serving.  A little cup served with freshly made garlic pita strips and lemon.  
Ya'll it was delish.  
What more can I say?

I realize it doesn't look like it here, but these were personal sized pizzas.  I swear.  Why try to deny the food consumption taking place at this point?  Eric ordered the Pepperoni Supreme that came with mushrooms and pepperocinis.  Kind of spicy, perfectly delicious.  I went with the Quattro Formaggi that came with goat cheese, fontina, Parmesan, bleu cheese, and mozzarella.  Oh, and some roasted garlic to keep it spicy.  We shared them and still managed to have a doggy bag.  Great service, great wine, great food.  Another spot that I'm sure will be a favorite when we live there. 

Because we will.

This concludes day three of the Portland adventure, but stayed tuned for the most often asked for ECETTI Ranch post.  You won't want to miss it, it's a fascinating tale!