Thursday, February 24, 2011

sNOw News

I know all my New York friends will laugh at how excited I am that snow has fallen in Portland.  I don't blame them really, they got hit hard this year. What's really funny to me is what happens to this city when barely a few inches fall and the mania that occurs in anticipation. Our Mayor, Sam Adams - yes, that's really his name - even tweeted the Winter Weather Advisory report. That's ok, he's just passing on the alerts he gets. It's the news coverage that really cracks me up.

To be fair, the news coverage in Portland makes me laugh on a daily basis. A nice change if I do say so myself. I'm not one to watch the news typically. This is because it's always bad news: "If it bleeds, it leads." Not here. There are often reports of firemen getting cats out of trees. Of course, there's bad news like the week long report on a girl from a local high school who had a person in a car drive up to her after school and say a lewd remark. This was cause for a week-long report on stalking and a man hunt for the driver of the car. Stalking is nothing to shirk, but one comment does not a stalker a make. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, I think the news humor meter for me hit an all time high last night, when I watched a full half hour of coverage of snow in Vancouver (about 20 minutes away). You'd think it was a blizzard with the constant replay of the traffic camera showing flakes falling from the sky. Then the news decided to focus on a bridge that had maybe 3-inches of snow. This story was repeated about every 5 minutes in the newscast. Oh, and I can't forget the reporter that was outside a Starbucks wiping very little snow off a table, correctly calling it a "dusting." At one point in the coverage before a commercial break, the anchor said, "We'll be back with more snow coverage." I swear I thought I heard a tinge of sarcasm in her voice.

I mock, it's true. I can't help myself and if you ever come to Portland, do yourself a favor and watch the local news at least once. That said, it's kind of nice living in a place where the news organizations need to work at finding news and it's really nice that in the end it's not all bad news.

Anyway, I better go check out what's left of the snow because even as I write this the snow melts. I wonder if tonight's headline story is: "Portland gets snow and it melts... stay tuned for news at 11."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Shoes and Hair

When moving to a new city there are certain things that need to happen before you feel like you "really" live there and aren't just passing through. For some it's finding a doctor or dentist. For me, it's two things: It's finding the meal that I would have to have when returning at some future date for a visit and finding a hair dresser. 

The meal came pretty early on since the food is just so darn good. In New York, my must have food actually isn't anything too fancy. It's basic and easy to get: Getting off the plane I like to head to the nearest grocery/deli and get an egg and cheese sandwich on a roll. The other must have is a bagel - H&H, if I can make it happen. New Yorkers all have their favorite bagel and there is no disputing someone's favorite bagel. Just accept it and move on. Oh and if I can make it over to Bloomingdales, I'll try to get a frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. Here, in Portland, the meal I would head for right away is the pork sandwich at Ping. 

Finding a hair dresser was not such a simple task. In fact, I fought it for a long time and flew back probably twice a year to New York to get my hair cut. I know it's a problem. I could list a thousand reasons why I held out so long, but at the end of the day my hair guy Tonee in New York is just so amazing. I am not alone in this thought. Other friends of mine who lived in New York, but have moved out of the city to other places - even as far as California - make pilgrimages back to New York for a Tonee visit. A Tonee hair cut experience is great. Let me explain, I usually don't have any real input on how my hair is cut so Tonee adopted a style of his own. He got inspiration from the shoes I wore to my appointment. Once I learned this I'd pick out a pair of shoes to wear that fit my mood and as a result I always ended up with a fabulous hair style. 

I know this is not normal behavior, but as they say "It is what is." See, I have thick hair, a lot of it, and oh yeah, it grows like a weed. I really shouldn't be going 6 months between hair cuts, it's simply not fair to the drains in the house. So I finally surrendered and found a hair stylist in Portland. It actually wasn't as hard as I thought it would be to find someone. There's a friend of mine who always has great looking hair and she says she doesn't do anything to it. That's my kind of style. So I tried her person, Twila. Not knowing what I wanted when I went to my first appointment I decided to wear some fun shoes and wouldn't you know at the end of the visit I had another fabulous hair cut that matched my shoes. Better yet, I found a great stylist with the loveliest personality - I've already gone again.

The sad part of the story is that I'm heading to New York next month and while I fully intend to have my bagel and egg sandwich during my visit, I don't think I'll be seeing Tonee. I guess this means I don't have to pack an extra pair of shoes ;). The moral: Portland is beginning to feel a lot more like home.  

Now, if only I could find a dentist.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Oh, Portlandia!

So maybe you've seen the new show from IFC about Portland or maybe you haven't. The show is definitely amusing and does a great job at focusing on some of the things that make Portland, well, Portland. Too bad that it takes some of the stunts that were initially funny way too far making it almost ludicrous. Maybe that's the point, I don't really know. I'm not a comedy critic.

Here's what I do know from the two episodes that I have seen:

- Yes, there does seem to be birds on everything. It's kind of crazy. At first, I thought it was cool and kind of hip and wondered when a designer like Kate Spade might pick up the idea and add it to stationery. I don't think she's going to be picking it up anytime soon as the bird motif might soon jump the shark. That said, birds are definitely Portland.

- Chicken from the farm. In the first show the hippie commune was a bit ridiculous. What was entirely missed was how truly amazing the food is here in Portland and part of what makes it great are all the local ingredients. The waitress having the patience to explain the chicken's pedigree is not far off. Though no one would bring you a dossier about a chicken, but they would be able to speak to the freshness of the local ingredients used.

- Let's not forget the bikes. Portland is a huge biking town. I, myself, am still trying to learn how to ride a bike. Perhaps when it gets a little warmer I'll practice more and finally get the hang of it. Bikers are everywhere. Sometimes they do drive a bit recklessly where they shouldn't. That said, there are tons of bike-dedicated roads and in those areas drivers and bikers seem to co-exist pretty well. Oh and if you're trying to ride a bike between a dumpster and a wall you probably have bigger challenges to overcome. I'm just sayin'.

- The chatty bookstore owners. Despite the behemoth bookstore and annexes that are Powell's - a truly fabulous bookstore (Think: The Strand, but with coffee, newer books, a lot bigger, and tons of recommendations.) - there are lots of off beat bookstores dedicated to a particular theme: Mysteries, for example. The point here is not the unique bookstores. The point is the chatty folks who work at the bookstore. First of all, they typically aren't that obnoxious. Generally, people who work at stores are pretty friendly and seem genuinely interested in talking with you while ringing up your items or helping you locate something. Last night, I went to the supermarket and they noticed they had a coupon for something I bought and they swiped it anyway, saving me a $1. I know it sounds silly and a little old lady coupon clipping, but it was actually nice. It's small town in the way that a neighborhood in New York feels small town.

I do genuinely look forward to seeing more episodes of Portlandia. It's true Portland is a unique town and they are pointing out some entertaining things about the city. My favorite part about the show is the video below created to promote it. Here's one of my favorite lines in the song: "Where people in their 20s come to retire."

Give a listen and let me know what line speaks to you.