Tag Archives: Portland

Bridging the Gap

15 Jun

“You should go for it!” Claudia said after we had shimmied our hearts out. I was sweaty and utterly exhausted, and had no patience for whatever she was babbling about. She gestured excitedly to the poster hanging on the studio wall. The large, colorful advertisement shouted at me: One day, six workshops! Sepiatonic presents Samba, Bollywhack, Expanding Movement, Afro-pop Fusion, Waacking & Vogue Fusion, and Isolation Drill Bits…We are Bridging the Gap! “There is still scholarship money available!” She told me gleefully. The application involved several essay questions and a video audition. “Oh,” Claudia mentioned quasi-casually, “and the application deadline is tonight.” How in the world did she think I was qualified for this kind of scholarship? I’d never even heard of half of these dance styles! And how would I stand out among so many talented dancers? I imagined them all recording their auditions on a stage in front of a live orchestra, finger cymbals winking in the spotlight and $900 costumes flashing to the sound of the audience’s ooohs and ahhhs, while my audition would most likely consist of me in my clammy workout gear in my living room.

Bridge the gap

But Claudia never doubted me, even when I had little faith in myself. She had been my belly dance teacher now for over eight years. Yemaya had been my first mentor, and the one who helped instill solid muscle memory and strength in me. Several years ago, when she moved out of the country and I expressed panic at losing her—just when I was beginning to perform—she reassured me that a new teacher would guide my dance education from then on. Claudia had been nothing short of amazing. In addition to the solo performances I had already taken on, duet, and troupe performances had been checked off under her watch. I built my style, and learned to better understand my strengths and weaknesses during her classes. I also admired her insistence on learning from a variety of teachers—she was all about building the self through a community. She knew my uncertainties and apprehensions almost better than I did… so I tried to trust her conviction in my ability.

I went home and thought about it, determined to make a decision that was based on fact, not fear. Normally I would have pushed all hopeful thoughts out of my mind and gone to bed, making excuses of why I couldn’t do this. I’m tired. It’s too late to submit. I’m not qualified. What was bridging the gap, anyway? I Googled the group’s website: Bridge the Gap is a way to stay connected, to collaborate, to innovate, to celebrate diversity, and to keep making art and growing community in these fearful times of oppression. The more that different artists, thinkers, feelers, and awake people of our communities unite, the stronger of a power we are against forces that strive to annihilate free-thinking, passionate creativity, and diverse and alternative lifestyles in our country. It sounded like something magical and daring… It sounded fantastic…it sounded like it could be perfect for me. My dance community was wonderful but small, and expanding mine could only build me up as a dancer and a human being. Suddenly, I knew I needed to do this.

I started with the essay questions. I’m excellent at tests, especially long form writing ones. I considered each question, and wrote each answer with loving intention in my heart, excited to share my passion for dance and the experiences it had provided me up to this point. Then, the video. I propped up my phone, pressed play, and performed my best 30-second belly dance/Latin fusion that I could muster after two solid hours of dance class and a full day of work. I watched it, then re-watched it at least three times, then re-recorded it at least three times, then took a deep lungful of air—don’t forget to breathe—and clicked send on the application.

A few days later I received a reply. I opened it nervously. I had submitted my application literally at the eleventh hour. Was it possible I actually got in? I had to read it twice for it to truly sink in. I had won a scholarship—for the full day of dance!

I walked in that Sunday feeling terribly nervous and only somewhat physically prepared. I had packed way too many snacks and not enough confidence, but it didn’t matter. I was here now, and the embarrassment of running out the door trumped embarrassing myself in the classroom. First up: samba. I had taken a few samba classes over the years, but I was absolutely overwhelmed by this style. My arms were on fire after the first few rounds of choreography and my feet were constantly playing catch-up, but I grinned through the sweat. Overall, I was keeping up! I could do this! The smile didn’t leave my face for the rest of the day.

Bollywhack was next. Kumari Suraj is a force, a stunning, feminine presence that I was immediately attracted to. As a curvy woman, I was ecstatic at the sight of someone larger than a size two teaching the class. It turns out that this combination of Bollywood (The dance form used in Indian films) and Waacking (Waack/Punk is a form of dance created in the LGBT clubs of Los Angeles during the 1970s) was exactly what I needed to experience. I instantly fell in love with the crisp, energetic movements introduced by two seemingly opposite styles of dance, but it worked, and Kumari stole a piece of my heart. Following were Afro-pop Fusion, Expanding Movement, Waack and Vogue Fusion, and the last, which unfortunately I had to miss due to a previous commitment, Isolation Drill Bits. The workshops made me feel weightless. Nothing mattered but the movements, and my physical body was almost secondary to the energy and spirit I exuded.

This community of dancers was a diverse one—not only belly dancers, but those who samba, waack, vogue, play, flounce, whirl. People who aren’t one type of beautiful. Men with giant braided ponytails of hair, flinging them madly, within dangerous distances of other dancers. A big and beautiful dancer like me, who astounded the crowd and made me want to rip out my eyeballs and send them away with her, to continually watch her dazzling generosity of movement and flair. These people were all so human, so robust, boisterous, and raw. I could read it in their eyes; they proudly polluted the definition of societal allure.

My definition of what a dancer is has forever been altered. There is nothing like the rush of power I feel when I move to the ancient Middle Eastern music. Belly dance makes me forget to feel self-conscious and be proud of who I am; I forget to crave the comforting stability of the status quo. Dance obliterates my worries and wraps me in a bubble of protection that I yearn to hold on to in my everyday life.

A dancer of stunning feminine essence was born in a basement studio. My name is Maysam Janan, meaning beautiful heart and soul, and dance has set my heart on fire. Shaky or strong, my breath keeps the fire going, and the community I continue to build will hold me up when I can’t fuel it alone.

Tangled, But Not Tied Up

25 Feb

Last week a special Trail Blazer alumnus passed away. I didn’t follow Jerome Kersey in his heyday, however, his presence in the Portland community was very well known by fans and non-fans alike. He became a Trail Blazer ambassador after retiring from the NBA in 2001, and went above and beyond his duties. He made a positive impression on many, and was a true community leader. I even had a few interactions with him at a favorite restaurant that we both frequented a couple of years ago. He was always smiling and friendly to everyone at the bar. Many people have expressed warm remembrances of him from years past, including this beautiful essay by a friend of mine. It’s safe to say that Portland is feeling a great loss this week.

20150223_220441

Jerome’s death made me incredibly sad—it hit unexpectedly close to home—but also very pensive and a little tangled inside. I had just come off of a first date when I read about his death on Facebook. I was flying high—my date was nice, a gentleman, adventurous, and he was willing to go zydeco dancing with me, which was a first for both of us, and very cool of him. I was patting myself on the back for taking a chance on someone I may have passed by in another life. We met speed dating, which, let’s be honest, is always a guessing game as to whether you just wasted $29 or met some really cool people that you may or may not ever see again.

So when I read about Jerome’s death, I instantly started reviewing how I spend my time and who I bring into my life. Since I moved to Portland almost 12 years ago, my life has taken many twists, turns, and curved paths that I could never have foreseen. It made me want to reach out to you in the best way I know how—through writing.

I want this blog post to function in two ways: 1) As my Christmas letter for 2014 to tell you what I did last year, and 2) As a way to dispense what I’ve learned in the past year (Okay, 14 months). During December, I kept finding excuses to put off the writing of my annual Christmas letter, and I wasn’t sure why. Now I realize I had so much more to process about my past year before sharing it. Normally I send these out to close friends and family only, but we are all one, we are all family. I love you, and I want you to learn my life lessons along with me. I’ll share my thoughts with you and use examples from my past year to make sure you get the best of both worlds.

Spoil yourself.  Spend the money. Take time off. Go somewhere new. You’re worth it! In 2014 I took my third annual solo beach vacation. For three days I ate decadent food, walked on the beach, drank wine, got my nails done, and did whatever my heart desired. I truly pampered myself. I also took a five day camping trip (between several shorter camping trips) to the Olympic Peninsula. It was so awe-inspiring and beautiful! In the fall, I went to New York. If you’ve read this blog in the past, you may know the story that goes with this. If you missed that one, read about it! What an amazing trip. I enjoyed staycations and fancy dates with handsome suitors and nights out on the town with good friends. I’m so blessed to work at a company where they reward loyalty with quite a bit of vacation time, and boy did I take advantage of it!

Challenge yourself. Some of my biggest challenges in life have been the result of belly dance. When I left Ohio, I could shake my booty with a little rhythm, and that was the extent of it. I had no formal training at that point, and I never thought that dance would be something I would later take on as an amateur performer. But then I met Yemaya, a professional belly dancer who also happens to be my long lost third cousin. She somehow convinced me that I was going to be a belly dancer one day. My style had never been particularly feminine, and when she said that, all I could picture was a horror show of obnoxiously bright sequins and awkward dance moves to snake charmer music. However, I allowed her to tease me into a few lessons, and from then on, I was in love. Soon I was practicing multiple times a week, taking every available workshop, and started performing in 2007, debuting at the Oregon Country Fair’s Gypsy Caravan Stage.  In the past few years, I have fallen into a “comfortable sweatshirt” type of relationship with belly dance. I still practice and even learn some new skills sometimes, but rarely do I try anything that really scares me. For the last two months, however, I have embraced the sword! Sword dancing scares me—big time. I took a four week course more out of dedication to my teacher than actual interest, but I should have known that it wouldn’t stop there. Now I’m signed up to perform my sword dance in front of a crowd, with the assumption that I won’t allow it to fall off my head and pierce someone’s foot. Terrifying? Yes! Essential to grow as a dancer and as a person? Absolutely!

Hope for Andrew edit

20150225_121422

Embrace Your Sexuality. Yep, we’re talking about it. In the past, I hadn’t been confident in my sensuality or sexuality. This was caused in part by my weight issues as a child, my perceived lack of femininity as a young adult, and being from just above the Bible Belt in the Midwest, where traditional values and conservative ideas still have a hold on the population. I envisioned that the right type of sexuality centered on a husband or at least a serious relationship. I thought that sex under other circumstances was not wrong per se, but not ideal, and not really necessary. I believed that expressing your sexuality freely maybe made you just a little slutty, if not an actual slut. In acknowledging my feelings of judgment, I also recognized that I had mistakenly thought that my lack of sexual expression was a character flaw; now I understood that judging others was a defense mechanism, and my personal level of sexual expression is not a flaw. It is wholly mine, and I must engage it in a way that is true to my own nature and not anyone else’s. Make sure to explore this side of you, even if you’re not in a romantic relationship, because it is so important to know that side of yourself before you share it with anyone else.

Life is short! Do what makes you smile and giggle, and spend time with people who inspire you. There have been so many times that I have stayed home to get a proper night’s sleep, only to find out the next day what unbelievably cool exploits I had missed the night before. If I had a nickel for all the times I’ve heard, “You can sleep when you’re dead!” I would be a millionaire…okay, maybe I’d have a few bucks. But you get the idea. Don’t get me wrong, I value my health and I truly feel my best when I’ve had a good night’s rest, but sometimes it is totally worth it to take a chance and stick it out for a little while longer. Nights that I stayed out with the Hash House Harriers for one more conversation, or salsa danced for one more song almost always ended up with new friends, new plans, or a memory I would never forget. I knew that I would feel tired in the morning, but I also knew that I was put on earth to experience those blissful moments…and I have had so many of these moments this past year.

1538630_10202672691352298_3690544826838070362_n

1557332_10203044196094864_1307089997_o

1502518_10204128794033955_9175887961204161240_n

10636172_10203666384594008_1964862718047768673_n

10703686_10203974793384035_2213213488194408674_n

mfinancial social-352

Make every movement with love and authenticity. This is a big one for me. I am a people pleaser. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with bringing joy to your loved ones, making yourself happy and loving who you are will bring you the most joy in this world. Don’t worry about impressing others or fitting normative expectations of your culture. Live with authenticity in your heart and express gratitude for it daily. Be Love, every day.

2014 was a fantastic and enlightening year for me. When I think about the possibility that life can be cut off so abruptly, the way Jerome’s was, it makes me sad, but it also makes me grateful that I do the things I do, know the people I know, and experience miracles every day. Nothing is ever perfect, but my perfectly tangled existence is absolutely an abstract design of immaculate beauty.

10917205_10204679369117988_3303868587831424682_o

The P-List

27 Mar

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.

Yummy!

Yummy!

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

Looking for love under a full moon

29 Nov

I wrote a short piece on being single this week. It started out as an “assignment” that had come out of a first date from Match.com last week. The purpose was to write about a funny/embarrassing date I had experienced. That would have been an easy one. I’ve had lots of interesting dates that have turned into something more along the lines of full-on mortification. But Monday evening, I was taking a walk in my beautiful neighborhood, and when I looked up, the almost-full moon spoke to me so loudly that I couldn’t ignore it. So I decided on a commentary about being single instead. Following is what I wrote:

On Being Solo. You’re an incredible single, solitary being. You’re cyclical and pulled by the tides, like the phases of the moon. Some people can only see you as an enigma, hiding in the shadow of the sun during those wan days, mysterious but needy; those people haven’t been single for a long time, and, let’s face it, they don’t ever want to see that side of the moon ever again. Those people, with their selective amnesia, look at you pityingly, as if you’ve been branded with the word SINGLE and truly believe that showing up to a party alone is a terrible burden or a fate worse than death. But you know that you’re holding all the cards…there’s a vast inventory of love epiphanies hiding inside the penumbra that can’t wait to powerfully emerge. There is light playing in the shadows; those little crevices hold much more than anyone could possibly imagine. The brilliant, beaming face of the man on the moon is just a front for a haven of love that hasn’t found a specific path yet, but who needs one? Give it freely and don’t be sparing with it. Moonbeams aren’t selective; their light blesses every face in all of creation. Know that you are a stunning body of light with a purpose of giving love. Being a single, solitary entity doesn’t sound so bad anymore, does it?

There is peace in this chaotic journey of giving your love—it’s all in the way you perceive it.

Stop Singing Me the Blues–Do Something!

18 Jul

Recently, I listened to an interview about The Weight of the Nation, a documentary about the rising occurrence of childhood obesity, on NPR’s Fresh Air podcast. It was a fascinating discussion that highlighted the relationship between poverty and obesity.

Though it can be somewhat difficult to get healthy foods on a budget, it is possible. Even those who are eligible for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) and WIC can have healthy foods. In fact, I looked at the list of approved foods for both programs in Oregon, and one cannot buy very many processed foods at all with these benefits. I was really surprised to find this out. So I asked myself how is it that when you watch shows like Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, you see that kids don’t know what broccoli is? They don’t know that French fries come from potatoes! Why are they lacking the fundamental knowledge of where food comes from and how to prepare it healthily? It’s a simple, two pronged answer, in my opinion.

Parents are making bad choices in what they are feeding their children. They are tired, overworked, underpaid, underappreciated, and sometimes lazy, so they slack off on their responsibility as a care-taker to prepare nutritional meals that help young bodies develop properly. I’ve seen parents spend their last $20 on a fast food meal because they simply don’t want to cook for their kids. Sure, this is okay once in a while, but when it happens so often that the kid can’t identify a vegetable, it’s a travesty! No wonder these kids are obese.

The other prong? Greed in the schools. As much as I want to scold the schools for trying to make a little extra money by pushing Taco Bell, French fries, mystery meat, and vending machine food like Cheez Balls, part of me understands that they are doing it out of necessity. Education is one of the most (probably THE most) under-funded programs in America. I find it incredibly depressing that we see the schools as the bad guy for selling high-sodium, high-fat snacks and meals, when they probably need that money just to keep textbooks in the classroom—and let’s be real…with the amount of low cost/free lunch programs out there, they barely come out even.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that brings me to my next point. Earlier this month, I volunteered at the annual Waterfront Blues Festival put on by the Oregon Food Bank. It is widely known as the best in the west, and in fact is the largest one west of the Mississippi, and has won several national awards. It is on the Willamette waterfront, of course, on beautiful green grass with large stages spread out so thousands of Oregonians can hear, see, and smell the glory that is the Blues Festival. I worked the main gate for three and a half hours, collecting donations for the Oregon Food Bank.

I remember when I was a kid, seeing the boxes and cans that were donated to those who couldn’t afford to feed themselves. My mother always impressed on us that it was important to give back, so we volunteered at shelters and donated to food drives many times. It was always mushy green beans and high-sodium meals in a box. On that Thursday at the Blues Festival, however, I saw more people donating healthy (healthy as nonperishable food can be, anyway), organic foods than I have ever seen in all of my shifts at the Food Bank. It gave me a great feeling of positivity and hope. Perhaps this can be the start of a change that our country desperately needs. While it is really depressing that many of our poorer citizens don’t have the knowledge that would aid them in feeding their children healthy food, it behooves those in a better position to help out in such a fantastic yet simple way. It is a beautiful thing to see a helping hand extended when someone has fallen.

I realize that we can’t all be advocates in a big way. We have our own problems and lives to deal with. We aren’t being paid like Jamie Oliver to change the world, but even something as small as consciously donating a healthier can of food makes a difference in someone’s life. If you’re truly led to help out more, there are constant opportunities at the OFB, and not just in organizing donations. Volunteers can teach parents how to cook healthy meals for their children and even how to garden their own fresh produce. I volunteered initially at the Food Bank because someone asked me to be their “partner in crime.” They were interested in going, and we all know that everything is more fun with a buddy. So I joined her, and went back several times on my own. When the email about the Blues Festival arrived in my inbox, I didn’t hesitate to sign up and recruit a friend to come with me.

I hope you’ll be inspired by the spirit of philanthropy, feel the drive to educate yourself like I did, and reach out in your own unique way. Don’t ever hesitate to ask me to be your volunteer buddy! I’ll be there right beside you.

Picture courtesy of the Waterfront Blues Festival website.

Waterfront Blues Fest Crowd 2012

A Brave New Girl

27 Jun

The new wave of Match.com is in-person events, an idea that should have been introduced ages ago. I know, I know, it’s ONLINE dating, but the thing is, online dating can be incredibly awkward! Don’t get me wrong—I believe in the power of online dating. Case in point:  I found my last boyfriend on Match. I can name 4 couples off the top of my head that are now engaged or married to their Matches…but let’s be honest:  Men are very visual creatures. If you happen to post a picture at a bad angle or you’re having lousy hair the weekend you went to Vegas and snapped all those pictures that you put on your profile, you can’t talk your way out of his opinion of you with biting wit and funny jokes. It’s click, moving on to the next lady. Ouch.

Enter an event where you are sure to be surrounded by eligible bachelors, but you’re not forced to talk to every single one of them, like in speed dating. Last night I was bold enough to attend one of these first Match.com “Stir” events. I had no idea what to expect, and I was terrified of the unknown, so I did what any normal single woman would do:  I brought along my trusty wing women.

The three of us walked into the Radio Room in NE Portland and spotted the hostess standing behind a sign that read “Networking Event Check-in.” (Seriously!? Let’s just call it what it is, folks. We are all here because we are single and looking!) So, we checked in. Then she leaned over and told us that the event was open to the entire bar, however it was also open to the public!?!? WHAT??? Not only were we entering an event that marked us as lonely, pitiful singletons, but we were also facing certain social death-by-mortification by bravely approaching a handsome fellow to talk to him, only to find out he had a fiancée, or worse, was gay!!

So, following the single women’s code, we stayed tightly in our gaggle, and actually added more women to it, ending up with six beautiful (pitiful, lonely) ladies at one table, looking at each other and snickering. Very soon, my wing women locked eyes with me and we decided that we would never meet a man this way. We got up and headed to the bar…and ran into yet another girlfriend! This was not going the way we expected. There was no event host; there were no games, and no ice breakers. Basically this was a regular happy hour at a bar in Anytown, USA. How exactly were we supposed to find love in this setup? Weren’t we obviously on Match.com to help us find dates because we felt uncomfortable hitting on people at the bar? I found myself questioning my decision to click YES on that RSVP.

In addition to my nerves about the event in general, I had been sweating bullets for another reason. At the Radio Room that evening, there were short women, tall women, exotic ones, plain Janes, and there was me. I’m the cute, petite, curly-haired girl with the big personality and a hundred hobbies. I can ask a man to salsa, I can belly dance in front of a live audience, and I am a smart, talented writer. Do I feel that way when it comes to dating? No way. The moment I walked in, I was panicked. I have this bad habit of comparing myself to women all the time. It is intensely exhausting, but I find myself doing it every day. I can’t believe how much energy I could have been refunded, had there been that option, on time wasted thinking about other women that I don’t even know! As I looked around, I realized there was no way I was going to be able to stand out in the crowd. Hell, most of the crowd couldn’t see me, even with the 3-inch wedges I was standing in (I’m 5’1″). I knew I couldn’t let this opportunity pass. The men looked more terrified than the women, so I had to quickly confront my fears and be the guru of my own destiny.

In a moment of rare courage, I took the reins and grabbed one of my girlfriends. I said, “We are going to that table right there. We are going to sit down and ask those guys why they haven’t talked to any girls yet!” We crossed our fingers, hoping that they were part of the event and weren’t already on a date with each other! (Hey, this is Portland…my Gaydar has failed many times over the years here.)

We sat down, I spewed out my ice-breaker (hopefully with a winning smile on my face)…and the next hour and 20 minutes flew by like wildfire! The man I talked to was tall, a ginger (strawberry blonde), strong enough to pick me up without hurting himself, and he was a fantastic conversationalist. I was so surprised when my other wing woman came over and told me it was 9:00! We thanked the men for their hospitality, and started gathering our purses and coats. My friend looked thrilled when Paul asked for her number. Unfortunately my guy was solely a wing man and said he wasn’t looking for anything serious at the moment because he was focused on school. I was disappointed, but thanked him for his honesty and wished him luck with his Master’s Degree.

It’s true, I was saddened that my bold move hadn’t gotten me any bounty, but in the car on the way home, I heard how excited my girlfriend was about meeting Paul, and the feeling wasn’t so sour anymore. Plus, I had a great conversation with a man who was easy on the eyes, had some laughs, and a yummy cocktail. My night wasn’t a loss at all!

Perhaps this is the Universe’s way of telling me to keep the faith. There are good men out there, and I just need to hold out for the right one. This way, I know that when I meet a good one, I’ll have a bevy of stories to keep him entertained for at least one coffee date!

Number 1

Girlfriend, you’re number ONE!

Welcome to Summer!

11 Jun

Welcome to summer…?

Now, if this were Ohio (where I’m from), I’d be sweltering and grumbling about the sweaty, makeup-melting heat by now. After all, summer starts in the second week of May over there. This being the more temperate Pacific Northwest, however, we are fully ensconced in what we Oregonians call Junuary. Yes, you read that right. “June-uary” is the month where it’s generally gorgeous and sunny the first few days, and once our hopes get up nice and high, it turns into a rainy abyss for the next 25. We all say we’re used to it, but the dull reality really doesn’t really hit us until we have a couple fantastic 70°+ days. We break out the shorts and tank tops; we even dare to get out the sunscreen if we’re feeling really spunky. Then the Rose Festival starts, and then Fleet Week, and we know it’s all downhill from there. I doubt I’ve seen a completely sunny Fleet Week, and that’s a real shame. Now that I’m past all the giddy sailor stalking from years past (Okay, maybe not completely over it!), I found it immensely enjoyable to walk the waterfront and watch all the ships come in this last Thursday. It was a grand affair, and, well, I can’t say I wasn’t excited to see all the men lined up in their whites along the ship’s edge while they slowly came to port along the Willamette River waterfront.

The Broadway Bridge lifts for a passing ship during Fleet Week.

Over the weekend I was out and about among sailors and civilians alike. Friday night it rained off and on, but that didn’t stop me from having a great time with my friends and several of Portland’s finest drinking establishments. Saturday was a typical Portlandy overcast day. It was perfect weather for me to take a stroll over the Broadway Bridge. I had had a bit too much to drink the night before, and luckily was able to leave my car at the parking garage where I work downtown. Instead of taking the bus back to my car, I decided to walk. I took the same path I take every day in my vehicle, but I saw so much more. It’s fascinating to see what your eye misses when you’re driving to work every day. It’s 7:00 AM; you don’t need to see much more than the stoplights and the cyclists you’re hoping to avoid.

Thanks to PDX Pipeline for the Fleet Week photo.

Moon phases

Seen on a building on NW Glisan, Portland.

Thanks to David Mint for this photo.

This picture was taken along my route on NW Glisan Street. There were several sets of themed wooden artwork along an old, long-abandoned building. I never had seen the phases of the moon shown here. It made me smile and realize that this seemingly-awful hangover had a silver lining.

I have lived in this city for almost nine years now, and still there is so much to explore! I have never had a fear that I will become bored here. I can honestly say that for as long as I live, I will probably always be able to find something surprising and exciting about this place. I love Portland for that.

Drop it Like it’s Hot!

29 Mar

Becky Drops Another Hot Article on MilwaukieRules.com!
I love the tagline that Mandy Zelinka (my editor extraordinaire) attached to my article:
Get Your Groove on at Any Age!
http://www.milwaukierules.com/ 

Click and enjoy!

One last note, local readers!! If you are in the Portland area, please consider coming to my belly dance show this Friday, March 30th. “Bella Notte” is being held at Vino Vixens on SE Powell. Doors open at 6:30 and the show begins at 7:30! My troupe “Benet Jenna” will perform a full set to delight and astound you! There are about 8 sets featured, and the headliner of the evening is my beautiful and talented teacher Claudia, of Belly Dance Soulfire and Oregon Country Fair fame! I hope to see you there.

Benet Jenna

Benet Jenna

Should I do a Post a Day in October??

1 Oct

November marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a project in which thousands of writers around the world work toward completing a 50,000-word novel by November 30th. Sound like something you want to get in on?

Whoa. That’s 1,667 words per day. I’m not ready for that!

We hear you — writing a whole novel is a pretty big undertaking. So why not gear up for the project by starting the WordPress.com Post a Day Challenge this October? It’s a great way to meet others in the WordPress.com community, including writers who have completed NaNoWriMo in the past.

At The Daily Post, home of the Post a Day Challenge, we provide creative inspiration each and every day. You can also find tons of writing prompts at Plinky.com, so you never have to worry about running out of ideas. Participating in Post a Day is also a great opportunity to prepare outlines, character sketches, and research before starting your novel in November.

*     *     *     *

That excerpt was taken from my WordPress News email I get every week. Now…I’m thinking this is a great idea. The more you write, the more it flows! I’m not sure which direction I’ll take it. I am probably not going to put my NaNoWriMo info in it. It most likely will be a continuation of the blog I already write…er, maybe not. Perhaps I should not flood This Curious Universe, perhaps put it on a different page with a link on This Curious Universe for people who want to read my daily posts. Well that decision was just made for me! I’m extremely excited for National Novel Writing Month to commence, but I must say, I am still collecting a LOT of content for my novel. I have a basic idea, but I don’t have the big conflict yet.

Well readers, stay tuned! I will reveal my link when it’s all set up…as if you need to read more from me! I think this project will be more for my benefit than yours, but what can I say? I like to share!

And YES, I will be writing a long and detailed post about my fabulous flying experience from Portland to Chicago to Detroit to Scranton, with lots of giggles and frustration in between. (Look at the right side of this page to read my Tweets during the adventure.) The adventure continues—I still don’t have my luggage! I am praying it will show up tomorrow. I am exhausted, and finally able to get more than 2 hours of sleep, and so I will depart for now!

Quickpost—Read Oregonlive’s Spotlight on Urban Gardening!

23 Aug

Look what I found in today’s paper! See how Portland is supporting urban gardening by re-zoning city codes and addressing livibility issues, community gardens, and small-scale for-profit gardens, among others. Happy reading!

http://www.oregonlive.com/foodday/index.ssf/2011/08/growing_the_citys_vibrant_food.html