In the past, I have had a terrible habit of asking anyone who will listen to solve my problems for me. I have done this for so long that I can be perfectly honest and tell you that there are some important topics that have yet to truly penetrate my thoughts because I listened to the advice of others and promptly executed their will instead of my own.

I have put my friends on pedestals, and have thought that their advice is golden. It is generally meaningful advice, given with love, and meant to be helpful, but I think this mutual indulgence has hurt all of us in a way. I can’t remember the last time I made a concrete decision without the input of another person. Scarier still, I’m not sure I know what my decision would be if I let myself actually ponder it. For the other person, getting sucked so far into another’s psyche can’t be healthy. Some things should be personal and sacred.

These decisions can be as petty as choosing between clothes to pack (I actually have a friend who comes over every time I travel internationally to pack my bags for me), to what drink to order at the bar, but as you may have guessed from my previous posts, much of this anguish centers on my search for love. You can see what comes next. Yes, I have indeed let outside sources sway my feelings for the men I date.

Why do I do that? I think what it all comes down to is that I’m fearful not of making the decision, but of the consequences. If I can place the decision-making on someone else, then that someone will be there to blame if it all goes sour. If it goes well, I know who will be the maid of honor at my wedding. No harm, no foul, right? Except, there is no one but ME who really knows who will be the right man for me. I must start developing my own thoughts! What greater decision can we make than that of who we will share our lives with?

What can I do right now to snap out of my fair-weather decision-making? Today, I will rewrite my dream man list. It’s something I’ve been doing for a few years. I write the qualities that are most important to me in a partner (No, not washboard abs and a perfect SAT score; things such as wanting children, the ability to challenge me, and, most importantly, being emotionally available.), and put them in the love gua* of my home. I find that consistently pondering what I want most in my potential mate helps me focus my search (even when, admittedly, I let my friends sway me). It has been especially useful while I’ve been on dating websites like What’s the worst that can happen? If I have faith in ME that I can choose my partner, the journey will open itself to endless possibilities, and if I can understand that what will be, will be, then there are no mistakes; everything is a lesson. Each date is a lesson learned. (We can be real here—sometimes it can be a hard lesson!)

*Baguas are the map of feng shui. There are 9 parts (guas) to the map, and each one has a specific purpose. The love area should include colors like red and pink, shapes like hearts, lists like the one mentioned above, and anything that screams “love” to you. I used the book Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Karen Rauch Carter to lay out my apartment.

What else will aid me in this process? Remember my post where I listed the places I wanted to go most in Portland? One of them was the Japanese Gardens. Since I wrote that post, I have visited them, and they were absolutely exquisite! I think the Japanese Gardens would be a great place to sit quietly, open up my mind, and envision my future husband. I encourage you to find a special thinking spot and go there often.

I’ve learned some general things that can help on my journey of trusting in myself. One particular source of this “education” has been Wayne Dyer. Look into his literature for his excellent teachings. Following is some of the wisdom I have picked up:

I know that I am on a lifelong journey. I will, through much trial and error, learn many lessons in my life. There is no right or wrong answer or action.

There is no climax, though there will be many peaks and valleys. I will forever be a student of the world, even after I find the love of my life, write that bestseller, or go on a belly dancing tour. My decisions may not produce the result I am looking for at the time, but all of them will impact my journey. I must trust in that.

I am recognizing the value of letting go, delving into the mystery of life, and letting chance take me where it will.

Lastly, I am learning to be grateful for all of life’s adventures. I am also grateful for you.

The P-List

I am just glowing in Portland pride right now. This city is so awesome, and weird, and diverse, and beautiful! So I’ve decided to make a list of the Portland experiences that absolutely must be crossed off my list in short order. And yes, I will be writing a post about each one when the time comes. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know which one(s) you want to know more about! Dare to join me?

1) Freakybuttrue Pecularium:  The name kind of says it all, right? I dissolve into giggles just thinking about this place, a self-described store and gallery of the strange, that is home to the Insectarian Club, where the most brave of souls from near and far devour bug sundaes (or bug chili dogs) in hopes of stardom and fame! At the very least, they get their picture posted on the Pecularium’s website, and perhaps if they’re lucky, a groupie or two.


B) The Portland Aquarium (Ok, this is technically in Milwaukie.): I’ve got kind of a reputation for not being a pet person. Now, I’m not saying I dislike animals, but personally, pets are just not my thing. I can barely keep a succulent alive in my apartment, and that is because it only needs to be watered once a quarter. I’m rarely home! However, animals, the ones you can visit temporarily and not have to clean up after, those are pretty cool. The aquarium has plenty of those. Plus they have great family and evening events like Sleeping with the Sharks! Sold!

III) I am ashamed to say this, but I haven’t made it to the Japanese Gardens yet.  I know, I know…I honestly have no excuse. I’ve seen the Chinese Garden, the Rose Test Garden, Crystal Springs…I’ve been to the Redwoods for crying out loud! I just haven’t taken the time to go and take in the Zen of Portland’s beautiful Japanese Gardens. It’s about time.

4-or) Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Clinton Street Theater. This is a long-running tradition in Portland. I cannot believe I’ve never made it to this show. I absolutely love Frank-N-Furter, Magenta, Brad (Damn it, Janet!) and the rest of the cast of RHPS! I haven’t yet decided if I will go all gussied up in a costume like the hard core fans, but I certainly must “lose my virginity” and see the show sometime soon! Come with me, and don’t forget the toast!

A classic!
A classic!

cinco) Glowing Greens Putt-Putt:  Doesn’t blacklight indoor miniature golf with a pirate theme sound amazing? I’ll let you know!

seix) The HUMP! Film Festival: This festival piques my curiosity and my sassy side with home-movie erotica, amateur sex cinema, and locally produced pornography. Local sexpert Dan Savage is the master of ceremonies. I’ve heard many different adjectives describing this festival. I’m sure I’ll have a few choice words myself when I walk out of the theater.

vii) I want to attend a service at a Unitarian Universalist church. This particular congregation meets in a stately church downtown. I’ve been intrigued since the summer of 2003, when I worked at a Quaker summer camp that seemed to be overrun with Unitarians. I had never heard of this religion before, and being a Unitarian at a Quaker camp seemed to be quite popular that summer. It seems our religions have some things in common, but I never had the chance to really delve into the mystery. Here in Portland there are several churches to choose from. My only real challenge is when to go.

∞) OMSI After Dark:  Adult-only science fun? Yes please!

nein!) And because this is named the P-List…(You assumed it stood for Portland, didn’t you? Don’t you know that assuming makes an ass out of U and ME!? Har har, that’s an apt phrase, considering what’s coming next…) I am going to make my last entry be the best place to pee in Portland! Through much internet research, it seems clear that Rimsky-Korsakoffee House has the coolest loo in town. I will admit something to you guys: I have been here before. Indeed, I remember the awesomeness of the bathroom. Why, then, is it on my list? Go, see for yourself. It merits a second, third, and fourth visit.

Rimsky's Bathroom Ceiling
Rimsky’s Bathroom Ceiling