Saturday, January 31, 2009

beauty, jobs, and transition

We went to the Portland Art Museum today with our friends the Johansen family. The most beautiful things of the day: the foggy morning, the mother/baby 4' tall painting, Native American masks (I have a new appreciation for art when viewing it with three little people!), and Kate falling asleep in her stroller. In addition to this beautiful day with toddlers and kids we roamed the streets of downtown and found ourselves in Stumptown. It was SOOO good. It is defenitely better than Blue Joe, which I was a bit surprised by. Not that they were better but that they were SO much better. I could have done without the echo-y architecture and acrodian music though, come on guys.

Being poor married people like we are I'm greatly looking forward to tomorrow mostly for the food... although partly for the people, partly for the commercials, and definately partly for the doggies.

In other news, I might be an aunt soon. My oldest sister informed me that they're trying. I think it will be fun to be aunty Em, for real this time (not just for baby Hershey).

On the job front, I may get hired as a therapist at my alma matter to start in August. The good news is the opportunity to do supervision (me! at 25 years old!). The bad news is there is no pay.

Donovan also has new job news. He is going to start doing contract work soon for a FileMaker business. Yippee! We're still hoping something more full time pulls through for either one or both of us. But that's a start!

Our transition to Portland still continues... we haven't found a church yet, we really haven't finished decorating our new place, we are still figuring out how we will make money and work in Portland, and we get lost or confused about where we are fairly often (a sign to me that we're still not "settled" yet). Transition is challenging, but good. I'm learning to embrace not knowing all the time and just trying to do our best.

Friday, January 30, 2009

AI vs. therapist

By the grace of God OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting) has an amazing hour of thoughtful psychological discussion that just happens to coincide with my rather long (and late!) drive home from work each night. Last night it was on AI and emotions and I almost flipped a lid. It is normally so intelligent and a perfect transition home from me... it gives me something intelligent and psychologically oriented to be focused on and an in-between-thought to interrupt me from my evening of work to my evening of fun and hanging out. Last night though, I almost had to call those silly people up and give them a piece of my mind.
They were actually having an arguement about how emotions are not of primary importance during decision making and that robots would eventually be able to BE human. The rebuttal was terrible unfortuantely. It just got me thinking about what it is exactly that a therpist does and why the role in our society is important. There is just something about being heard by another, being mirrored by that person, sharing a secret or exposing a fear and being met with warmth and compassion that I think speaks to our humanity. There's nothing that can replace that one on one connection, no way to fabricate it, and for that reason no life if there is no emotion. Maybe on paper it makes sense to someone that robots can eventually become functional human beings in every way... they argued that it would even be able to create things!... but I think in reality we can all see that a hug is undescribable and fills us in some way that nothing else can.
After I was done with my initial shock from hearing this proposterious proposition, I realized how wonderful and beautiful it is to be in the business of helping people to wholeness. It is something that we all need, a friend to walk with us through hard times and to nod in understanding when things don't go perfectly right.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Girls Night at the Game

I went to a Blazer's game with my big sis last night, it was so fun! We were so close we could hear the players argue with the refs! Melissa commented on my freakish ability to wear coats in hot places. I think my blood got used to being a little hotter while in LA because I felt very comfortable in my coat!

all the ladies

A few days ago I went to Bob's Red Mill with all the ladies on my mom's side of the family. Bob's was good, lots of healthy food baked fresh there, yum! My mom has 7 siblings (she's the youngest), 6 of which are female. Out of all of those families all are parents and many of my aunts are grandparents too. By some freakish run of events many of those people are also female. I think this is why I spent many of my late teens and early twenties wanting nothing to do with women. I'm sure this also had to do with being raised in a very female nuclear family. Not that there is anything unhealthy or bad about my family but it was my way to process the overload of hormones, drama, and talk-your-ear-off-syndrome. I think I'm over it now. Since I've been back to Portland I've really appreciated the depth of history that I have and how great it is to be alive and all living in the Portland metro area (minus a few who have left over the years).

Not surprisingly our breakfast date at Bob's was SO fun. It was almost like a movie scene how we all trickled in and the servers kept being surprised that more had joined our party. Yes, we're all related! My three cousins, two sisters, mom, three aunts, and cousin by marriage were all there. We talked about babies (of course), finding social work jobs, family stories, current work situations, and the latest things we had done to our homes (my cousin is in the middle of a big mural project at her house). My aunt (the oldest of the family and the current matriarch) had a contest with me to see who could take a more steady picture on my iPhone. It was tough because the lighting was weird but I won! Here's to many more years with these hilarious and wonderful women.

Monday, January 26, 2009

monday blessings

There are little things to celebrate each day. I am reminded of this as I read through my friends blogs, each a narrative of celebrations... one found joy and blessings from God in the short snowfall this weekend, another juxtaposing the celebration of her son's life to the current economic crisis, another celebrating the inauguration and challenging us to continue to care about the injustices in the world.

I too have much to celebrate. We went to another new church this weekend (this is number 5 on our Portland church journey) and the people there were very loving and accepting. It is so great to see a body of Christ who is embracing outsiders and wholeheartedly welcoming. I don't know if we'll end up going there forever but that Sunday alone was a special encouragement to me. What funny timing! My parents just called me as I was blogging and invited us out to Monday lunch (my dad's weekend is Sunday/Monday and it's become somewhat of a tradition since Don, my mom, and I have such flexible schedules). In tough economic times a big meal paid for each week by the 'rents is a big deal! (I feel like such a college student making such a statement) I can celebrate that Bonny called me this morning and wants to hire me (starting in August) as a volunteer therapist... at least I would get my license sooner even though there is no pay. And I can celebrate being on my porch this morning reveling in the sunshine and cool weather and silence and God's glory. Sometimes I have Sunday night blues (an unfortunate reminder that I don't have a "real job" to wake up for the next day) and it's good to realize that Mondays can surprise us in all these small ways.

Gotta go! I'm off to eat some sushi! YUM!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

goodbye 08, hello 09

Being in Oregon means having a great time with family and friends. We have done many fun things that we said, oh, we will do that next year!, and have really enjoyed seeing more of our old friends and especially my siblings (it's the first time we've all lived in Portland since 1999!) early October my sister Melissa, my dad, and my two favorite dogs in the world went on a spontaneous trip to the gorge. We saw beautiful waterfalls, ate a wonderful meal at none other than Burgerville, and got to play "Oregon tourist"... so fun!

 October I visited my dear friend at the coast... it was so fun! Kari came and trick-or-treated with us, jan showed me her garden, and i got to help jan take and post pictures of her beautiful home!

Later in November we were able to come again and both Donovan and I said it was such a fun visit but someone we didn't realize we missed so much was Chloe the cat! We were so happy to visit with her again, she's our favorite!

Our friend Kari has been such a joy to be with. I have been able to share unemployment woes with her and spend some quality time with her. On this day we baked cupcakes together. Another day we went to Starbucks to chat and then on to Goodwill (with all the other grandmas in Tigard, lol).

We have had lots of crazy adventures with Steph and Scott too. We went to a Korean market, a Japanese restaurant (so good!), we go to church with them sometimes, we went on a breakfast date, we play Yahtzee and wii with them all the time, and we just generally like these guys, they are so fun!

In my moments of frustration with unemployment (of sorts) I have to remind myself that these are the reasons why I moved to Portland. Professionally it might be falling on a sword, but personally it is so rich and good. My sister Meliss tells me that in five years it will seem so much better because my network will be stronger and things will be moving forward... and I try to listen and believe her.

Since the snow has subsided, a record 18" in Portland!, and 2009 has begun we have continued to have fun with family and friends...

hanging out with the Pratt's is so fun! Kevin is so precious (Don's cousin), he has a crush on me! It was also fun to care for Kent, Don's uncle, because he had rotator cuff (spelling?) surgery and I played nurse for a little while...

...on Alberta St with Steph, Scott, and Don... we saw Scott's fav wine shop, so cute! And they even sell my fav chocolates from Seattle!

...and then last weekend seeing Linds in Olympia. We had McMennamin's (so NW!), Caffe Vita (our Seattle favorite) and some bakery food (the BEST!). Yes, we chatted the whole day away and ate a lot of calories! Linds and I have plans to do more fun girls dates in the near future. Yea! That has to be one of the best parts about being in the NW!

decorating things

I've been watching some designing shows and getting inspired. I was a little down and out thinking about how we have no money, and even a small budget could go so far in our new place. I don't know if I would more love to paint, refurbish furniture, or get big pieces (like a huge italian dinner table with benches)... that is if there was a budget.

But I didn't let my situation get me down. I brought out old things and arranged them in a new way, and it actually doesn't look bad. In one very manic night I redid the bedroom, did a cute thing on the mantel, and even found a few cute pieces for the bathroom and kitchen. It feels really homey here now! Well, maybe that's a bit too overly excited... it feels *rather* homey here now, which is still a great improvement. The whole night of decorating started because I wanted to find storage for my artifical Christmas tree (the outdoor storage is getting full thanks to the drum cases)... it's hidden under a big sheet and kinda looks like a big table or something.

blue joe coffee, extended

Today my favorite coffee shop in Lake Oswego closed! By chance I decided to go there early in the day because they have early hours and we got there 30 minutes before they closed the shop permanently. I almost didn't believe the owner when he said "permanently" ... like, forever? He said it all happened really fast and this morning he notified his staff. The business was only bringing in $30,000 a week and the economy is only getting worse... I'm still in shock. It's always full every day. He said he might open up shop in Orange County later in the year (insert frustrated Portlander laugh) I just can't believe it, Blue Joe is gone. As I sipped my last sip of hot soy vanilla latte I thought about how fleeting coffee is and how evasive yet romantic it is to enjoy a moment with a friend over a cup of joe and how that makes it all so wonderful.

I'm trying to find something in Lake Oswego that I can transfer my faithfulness to, but I just haven't found any other spots that we really love. We love the library, so I guess for a while we'll be there more often. That sounds geeky, but it's really the best library in the state and has been for many years, so it's nice. Anyone have any ideas about cool local spots or coffee shops?

I'm thinking about exploring some mom and pop breakfast joints, LO seems to do that rather well. Possibly a bakery or something. I'll let you know what come of my adventures. For now, I will have to make the 20 min drive to Stumptown each time I get desperate.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Sorry for my long hiatus from the bloggosphere. It happens to us all at some point I guess... my excuse is just as lame as any other... being a new professional I am trying to learn how I can engage in this medium without lacking integrity as a professional. Yet, I have been longing to keep a connection with LA friends and so because so many of you who follow this are from LA, I thought long and hard and decided what my topic for today would be.

I have been reading a book called God in a Cup. It's really good. Unexpectedly nothing about God and all about coffee. I love both God and coffee a lot so I thought I might see some clashing of the two worlds but really it turned out to be a fabulous book about the world of specialty coffee. Maybe I loved it because my beloved Stumptown was talked about in such depth that I hope to one day shake the CEO's hand (although the guy's business practices can be pretty shady at times, but he has done a lot for the specialty coffee world). It made me realize there is so much I can do to make a better cup of coffee at home myself. The book also inspired me to travel more and opened my eyes to the possibility of discovering things all the way across the world as well as just down the street from me that I never knew about.

For those in LA, you must try Groundworks Coffee and let me know what it is like. Here is a link to their cafe location page
When we were in LA we heard about this place but didn't go thinking that it might not be as cool as our favorite place, Intelligentsia. Intelligentsia is also great and talked about in detail in the book. I encourage you to try both places. Increasingly places like this are popping up, places that buy directly from farmers and roast on site (or locally) within 7-10 days of coffee consumption.

As for me, I will have to wait to try Groundworks until next time I go to LA. But for now, I have a growing list of dreams for my near future:

visit the Stumptown's cafe in the Ace Hotel and drink black coffee
buy freshly roasted coffee at the Annex and try french press coffee at home
go to Seattle to visit Stumptown's new stores and compare this to Caffe Vita
...and of course, blog to document these experiences.

It might take me a while to compete these goals, as my coffee budget is small these days, but I really want to do it, as my knowledge of coffee is growing and my love of the cup of joe remains.