That’s where self-improvement will land you – a dive bar.
Okay, seriously, it’s not easy being mindful. The context of our conversation was trying to notice something new as we travel along our normal commuting routes. I for one tend to be a bit of a daydreamer as I walk along. Details become the background to the story in my head, but I don’t usually notice them as anything other than scenery, closer to a mood.
Plus, actively observing is work. You have to notice, wonder, make connections. Rarely do I do all three. Continue reading →
One of the last meals Kara and I had together in Portland before I moved to Minneapolis was at the Portland Chapter of the Sons of Norway. In most of the cities I’ve lived, when it came time to move, in a panic I would try to cram everything that city had to offer into a final week (or day). While living in Portland, I was much better about taking advantage of the city, but after two years, still on my list was breakfast at the Sons of Norway – a Viking breakfast of pancakes held in the basement of the lodge. The pancakes – all you can eat – were quite good, plus the meal felt like it had leapt from an earlier era. Not bad for $7. We should have gone sooner. Continue reading →
This past year while I was still living in Oregon, Portland took back its ranking as the number one bike-friendly city in the U.S. That made sense to me. Portland feels like a compact city for its size with a strong bike culture, lots of bike lanes, great weather in the summer, and if you don’t mind a little rain, decent weather in the winter.
Minneapolis had been ranked number one the previous year. Perhaps I should have shown more loyalty to my home state, but I was dubious of that ranking. Minneapolis always felt so spread out to me. During visits home over the years, I always saw Minneapolis from the passenger seat of a car, paying little attention to distances. And snow? Can we talk about the snow?
Wait, strike that. Let’s hope we can wait a month or two more before we have to talk about snow. Continue reading →
My two years in Portland, Oregon, were street food heaven. Everything you’ve heard is true. There are tons of food carts and they are that good. I knew I would miss them when I moved to Minnesota.
The Twin Cities, however, are experiencing the beginnings of a street food revolution. What I like about street food is that it creates life along city streets; people make connections with the owners and chefs; the food tends to be cheap; there tends to be lots of variety; and the cost of entry for entrepreneurs is low, which can lead to new ideas and better food as everyone steps up their game. Continue reading →
Now that I’ve moved to Minneapolis, I have the task of finding a new office. I loved my office in Portland, so I am trying to keep an open mind as I undertake the search in Minnesota.
Before I continue, I should probably mention that as an editor and writer, I can pretty much work wherever I please. My “offices” tend to be cafés.
My requirements for an office are, in my opinion, simple. The café must have good coffee and the baristas need to be able to make a proper cappuccino (the foam must be velvety, not bubbly like a bubble bath). I also like enough activity in the café to create white noise – too loud or too quiet and I’ll keep looking up. Despite the never ending Operation Feel Good (my plan to get fit), the café needs to have a decent pastry selection. Continue reading →
I had decided to simplify my life, to remove the clutter from my house in preparation for yet another move (rather than move said clutter from house to house like I had done several times already). Some things were easy to get rid of, whether selling, donating, recycling or trashing – like the second tea kettle hidden on a top shelf, collecting dust. Some things were harder – like my “thin” jeans that I had vowed to fit into again but hadn’t been able to squeeze into since 1996. Hardest of all, though, was thinning my library – a collection of 2,000 or so books. Continue reading →
At this point, it’s no secret that I’ve been eating my way through Portland for the last two years. I’ve convinced myself that because I walk or ride my bike, a treat every now and then (unfortunately, the literal meaning of those words rather than the infrequent occurrence the colloquial phrase suggests is closer to the truth) is okay. Alberta Street in North Portland is a common destination for me (Petite Provence for Saturday brunch, Pine State Biscuits for the Reggie, Bollywood Theater PDX for Indian street food, Salt & Straw for some of the best ice cream in town). I ride up a hill that I’d otherwise avoid, however, for a slice of pie from Random Order Coffeehouse & Bakery. And it’s open late!
The craving for pie hits often enough that it’s not a surprise that I’d eventually run into “Last Thursday.” Stella! and I would be riding toward Alberta Street and suddenly there’d be a wall of people before us – at least on the last Thursday of the month (the “coincidence” happened three times this summer alone).
You may remember a few weeks ago, when Stella! and I were riding down to Oregon City, she got a flat, a nail punctured her tire. Waiting for the bus to take us back downtown, I knew it was time to learn to care for Stella! properly. Continue reading →