Category Archives: Portland

20 Indications You’ve Left Portland for Tucson


* I spent a few weeks in my hometown of Tucson this summer and it was the first time I felt real culture shock traveling back. I compiled a list of things I noticed while in Tucson that made me homesick for Portland. Don’t get me wrong, Tucson has its own value…saguaros, monsoons, mountains, family, a sky full of stars, wildlife, etc.  And, obviously, this does not mean ALL Tucsonans (or Portlanders) fit in to these categories.  

1)  When you cross the street in a designated crosswalk that does not guarantee that anybody will stop for you. In fact                  you’ll stand in the middle of that busy street patiently waiting for a single driver to even acknowledge your existence                with a slight press of the brake pedal. They never will. You’ll just have to wait for an opening and run.

2)  It’s trash day and Tucsonans have trash cans at least double the size of Portlanders and their trash gets picked up       weekly. Add to that, many people have two trash cans, quadrupling the size of trash that gets removed from your house every other week. You’ll wonder what in the world are they filling those gigantic cans with.

Portland trash is the middle canister (picked up every other week)

Portland trash is the middle canister (picked up every other week)

3)  If your 8 year old boy decides to wear his hot pink shirt to Target you will have two separate Target employees comment on the color of his shirt and the correlation to his purchase (a hello kitty watch and cd player for a bday party). You’ll have to refrain from giving both employees a loud piece of your mind and assure your son that pink is a perfectly awesome color for boys.

4)  There is no friendly conversation between you and any service person (minus one engaging waitress I had). You forget quickly how friendly Portland is compared to other cities. The moment I got back in to town I shopped at New Seasons and came home glowing, “Oh, so many people to talk to in New Seasons. Everyone is so nice!” And they were playing Nahko and Medicine for the People. Grocery shopping doesn’t get any more engaging than it does in

5)  You have to pump your own gas in Tucson and you will quickly realize how awesome it is to have pump attendants especially when it’s 100+ degrees out and you have kids in the car.

6)  Everyone comments on your purple hair. In Portland, I’m kind of a plain Jane with my purple hair and tattoos. In Tucson I’m a slight shade of different.IMG_2318

7)  Compost? What’s That? When we lived in Tucson I started a worm compost bin in our kitchen (It Rocked!) and most people thought it was weird if not downright gross. Composting is not something most people in Tucson think about.

8)  Your server looks at you like you’ve lost your mind when you ask if the restaurant is locally owned and god forbid you ask where they get their meat.portlandiapicseasonone9)  Gone are the funky, useful commuter bikes. Instead are designer, carbon racing bikes. A few grand on two wheels.  I’m dying for a commuter with a basket and mud guards…my carbon with clips doesn’t have quite the flare or usefulness here in Portland.

10)  Walk there? Public Transportation? Are you insane? Plan on driving EVERYWHERE.ridersboardingmax11)  You begin to miss your group meditation practice so you attend a weekly meditation/yoga class and each week the class only has you and one other person. I guess meditation practices in Tucson are still a private affair.  

12)  Brunch is an after church Sunday event only.


13)  Plastic bags are doubled up and handed out in abundance.

14)  There is an obvious distinction between rich/poor. There are wealthy areas and there are poor areas. And the division between the two is very obvious.images15)  Need wheat berries for a recipe? Good luck with that. A wheat berry is not only unheard of but it’s really challenging to find. In fact, I never found a single one!

16)  Mini coopers are swallowed up by Ford F-ton 50s. I don’t even know the name of these super beasts but they far outnumber any electric or mini vehicles. The name of the game is, the bigger the better. In addition to in-your-face monster trucks, truck after truck is adorned with NRA bumper stickers. Just in case you weren’t aware, the environmental super polluters will also shoot you because they have the right to do so.BumperStickers

17)  After being in Portland for a time, you forget how many people drive fast and loud and that the government monitors most of it with red light cameras and speed cameras. People honk their horns for the slightest infraction, give you the finger for getting in their way, and cut you off just to be an asshole. I’ll take my 30mph streets in Portland any day.

18)  You may not know what you need to purchase or who you need to vote for but somebody certainly does. You can get your answer every so many feet with election propaganda and consumer billboards.

speedway blvd 1970

speedway blvd 1970

19)  Front yard chickens, gardens, and greenery are traded in for desert brown and poisonous animals. Not to mention that Tucsonans will water a grass lawn in spite of not having a drinking water supply of their own.

20)  Need a pharmacy? Just drive to the next corner and the next and the next and the next….download (1)


I Heart PDX


Last week we celebrated one year in Portland, Oregon, and it seems only appropriate that I give a shout out to this great city.  Oh how I love you, PDX.

I love that when I let a guy in to traffic, he opened up his sunroof and flashed me a peace sign.

I love the guy who saw us driving our dumpy RV and grinned a huge smile and gave us a rock on gesture.

I love that the crowd cheers during ET when Elliot sets the frogs free to save them from dissection.

I love that parents start hollering, whistling, and literally cheering when Turbo starts inching toward the finish line.  

I love that people gather every night during Sept to watch the Swifts.  And not only do they watch, they cheer when they escape the predatory falcon that is looking for dinner.

I love that cars stop all the time for pedestrians and cyclists.  They really share the road.

I love that I can have pizza and a growler delivered on a bike.

I love Little Free Libraries and Poetry Posts.

I love the acts of kindness that are in abundance.  The man who jumped out of his car and helped an elderly lady cross the street.  The man who paid for a woman on the bus because she couldn’t find her money.  Those people are the majority.

I love the creative yard decor.  Signs that say “free leaves”.  Houses covered in angry demonstration of our government.  Houses whose yards are covered in bowling balls, dummy heads on stakes, and all sorts of crazy artistic expression.

I love front yard, community and curbside gardens.

I love that I can be a vegetarian or a vegan or just a conscious consumer and most businesses accommodate whatever choices you’ve made for your lifestyle.

I love that the wellness co-op has gender specific nights and they state…it is not for you to decide what someone’s gender is.  We allow our guests to choose which gender they identify most with.  

I love that I witnessed the most amazing crowd of spectators at the Macklemore concert.  

I love that my trash bin is super tiny and only gets picked up every other week. This has been challenging for a family of six but we’ve gone from filling two giant trash cans per week in Tucson to two or three bags of trash total over two weeks!  I can compost curbside too!

I love the DMV!  No joke!  The staff at the DMV is fun, witty, and super friendly.  Like, I’d totally hang out with these guys!

I love the race signs during the Portland Marathon.  Two of my favorites, “Even our government can’t shut you down” and “You’re running better than our own government”.  

I love all the pink/purple hair, tattoos, body jewelry.  

I love that I just bought my wine in a growler at a wine bar in New Seasons.  New Seasons really is the friendliest grocery store around.

Because New Seasons is just that awesome, I have to tell you another reason I love them.  I love that when my 10 year old asked the florist if her job is peaceful and if she believes the flowers feel pain when they are cut, she did not dismiss him.  Instead she invited him behind the counter, validated his questions, answered his questions, and then began to teach him details about each of the flowers she was busy preparing.  

I love the smell of weed floating out of homes during my morning runs.

I love that the ladies I run with carry their own coffee cups so as not to waste a cup when we get our coffee at Starbucks.  

I love that neighborhoods have block parties.

I love the amount of genuine people.  People who have thrown away their masks, have learned to accept themselves and others.

I love that I only have to go a few blocks before I run in to a beautiful park.

I love all the dogs running freely in each of these parks.

I love that Adam belongs here.  That I belong here.  The my boys can grow up comfortable in their own skin.  

I love that we drive slow.  It’s rare to see someone frantic or in a hurry.  The pace of life is perfect.  

I love the inclusion.  Everywhere we go people invite us in to their lives.

I love that kids are kids.  Parents here are invested.  They aren’t sitting in their phones while their kids play.  Instead they are playing, listening, engaged.

I love our school community.

I love the girls in my book club.

I love the Eagles that fly overhead.

I love the blend of nature and city.

I love the bikes.  They’re everywhere.  They’re unique.  People are riding unicycles, parents are riding around with 3 kids on their bike, some have custom built speakers with music blaring, some have fancy homemade baskets.  Love them all!

I love that people are mindful.  

I love that this is home.  

Thank you Portland for a fantastic first year!  I’m excited to explore even more this coming year.  I still have so many places and things to see!

Truth Moments


Every day we have moments when truth(s) appears.  I think most of the time we are simply unaware of its presence.  Perhaps denial?  Since letting go I have been more open to my surroundings which allowed me to see and breathe in this truth during my morning run.

Words are powerful.  Even as simple as these words are, they brought a happiness to my soul.  We are all connected…so many of us with the same truths.  And there is beauty in even the ugliest of situations.

This was in a poetry post that I came across on my run this morning.  It made me smile because it's my truth too.

This was in a poetry post that I came across on my run this morning. It made me smile because it’s my truth too.

Where My Smarties At?

The Wall Street Journal has given me yet another little push to convince Mark that AZ is not the place to be.
Portland, anyone?
Arizona listed as #6 on a top ten list of states running out of smart people.  
6. Arizona
> Population Change (2000-2009): 1,194,233 (23.3%)
> Bachelor’s Degree or Higher: 25.6% (29th)
> Population With White Collar Careers: 11.3% (40th)
> NAEP Math: 39th
> NAEP Reading: 41st
Arizona ranks in the bottom ten for the majority of metrics considered for this list.  Between 2000 and 2009 the amount of adults in the state with a high school diploma decreased by 0.85%, the eighth worst decrease in the country.  The state also has the fourth lowest increase in adults with bachelor’s degrees and the the eighth lowest increase in adults with advanced degrees.  Arizona has lost over 3% of its population with careers that require some sort of post-secondary degree between 2000 and 2009, the sixth worst drop in the nation.


Read more: The Ten States Running Out Of Smart People – 24/7 Wall St.



I have wanted to move to Portland, OR for no real good reason especially since I have never visited the city or the state in fact.  But I have this idea that it’s the right place for me.  Trying to convince Mark to move without a solid argument as to why we should has not proved successful.
As of today I think I have the perfect reason to get him to move.  If only I had known it could’ve been this simple:)
Portland’s World Naked Bike Ride!