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On Leaving North Portland

October 10th, 2007

Honest to pete, I need to stop reading Hockey God’s blog. You know Hockey God, aka Steve? My husband? Yeah, everyone is weighing in on his blog re: should the Wacky Family move or not?

You don’t see them over here packing. You don’t see them kicking pitbulls for me.

My response?

Dear NoPo Parent,

First of all, re: “But we can’t get going when the going gets tough.”

Yes, we can. See ya. And see this.

You’re not married to me (and for that, you should thank God, because really? I’m a handful) but Hockey God is married to me, and this conversation should we stay/or should we go now? has come up about 50 times since we got together 10 years ago. This is nothing new for us, talking about leaving.

Which you don’t know because you and I are not married, see? So you don’t get to weigh in here.

Portland-metro area is and has always been fifth choice for me, or sixth, after San Diego (family, great weather, Mexico close by); Lisbon, Portugal (where my husband and I fell in love); Oh, Canada (on the prairie, or East coast, hockey); Iowa (family, Amish country, boating on the lake); and Manhattan (always, always my first choice, but not my husband’s).

Has a pitbull tried to eat you lately? I’ve had it with that shit. At what point did I say, “I’m done”? Last Thursday, when a pitbull tried to nibble on me. Try saying something to me like, “Sheesh, sorry — that must have been a drag” or “I’m glad you’re OK,” or something, would you? instead of rambling about restaurants and “wrestling with questions” and yadda-yadda-blip.

I love my neighbor (not the Nekkid One, although I do love her, or the Nasty One, who I do not love at all, but another one who lives nearby). But when she showed up on my front porch last year, with a pitbull attached to her leg, I wasn’t that fucking pleased. So when I say, I love most of my neighbors and will miss them… Yes, I will. But I won’t miss the other shit. I won’t miss calling my sister and saying, “Library/community center/neighborhood is in lockdown, I can’t stop by.” My sister lives nearby and there have been numerous times we haven’t been able to navigate the twenty-odd blocks between us because the police? They’re either over in her neighborhood or they’re here in mine. And usually someone has ended up dead, or close to dead.

We are divided and at each other’s throats here, and that is the last thing I wanted. I thought we were past all that. See: Chavez Blvd. We are so not past that.

This is my life. This is my reality, not yours. Mine.

I didn’t care for it much, the evening we couldn’t come home because of the sharpshooters on the corners. I don’t like the SWAT teams circling. I don’t like the way the kids get scared when the cops are searching house-to-house. I don’t like when a Hispanic family’s house gets raided and then INS or the FBI is all, oh, sorry! Wrong family!

I don’t like how I’ve taken to yelling, “Move, bitch!” at male drivers. I don’t like that a homeless man was shot to death right down the street. (Edited to say: And worse, that no one seemed to care.)

I don’t like my nearby neighborhood schools being in fucking lock-down every time there is an “incident.” I don’t like it that Jefferson High School is in perpetual lockdown, just because PPS said so.

I don’t like that the Nekkid Neighbor asked us to walk to the library and later, I was glad that we didn’t go because a man was shot to death on the corner. Five minutes before my neighbor walked by.

I was glad she had called me, because all I could think was, maybe that was her five minutes that made the difference. What if she and her baby had been right there, right then? What if my babies and I had been with them? Would the outcome have changed? Would it have been more than one person dead? How can I know?

She was so shook up, all she could say was, “I saw his feet.” They were sticking out from under the police blanket.

My kids are going to be at home and in public schools here for about ten more minutes and then they’ll be off to college. So please you will not try to run our show. Go get your own blog and go off on there, would you? You have plenty to blog about, it sounds like.

And last of all, I don’t like the nickname “NoPo,” cuz the word po’ is colloquial for “poor.” Were you aware of that? NoPo to me has always sounded like, “No mo’ po’ people around here, boss, just us chickens.” It’s not North Portland that I’m leaving, or Northeast, where I’ve lived my entire life.

It’s NoPo.

Wherein I Call My Mother a Tart and Don’t Want to Know How Magic Works

August 20th, 2007

The first fight my husband and I got into (he doesn’t remember this but I do), we were outside of Lisbon, Portugal, at the remains of an ancient Moorish castle. (It was Castela dos Mouros, not the Castle of Sao Jorge.) My future mother-in-law was with us — he took me to Europe to meet his mother! At the moment, I thought that was romantic, now I’m thinking — was he nuts? Did he not realize I was already pregnant and this would complicate matters? (more…)

Thursday Thirteen #104: why i love my husband

August 1st, 2007

Thirteeners and Usual Suspects,

Are you hot? Hockey God is. No, I mean, really. It was warm today. Also, he’s sexy. We may run away together. Oh, wait! Already did. I mainly love him for many, many reasons. Scads of reasons. A plethora of reasons. Myriad reasons. But largely because (damn, one glass of wine and I can’t type):

13) He insults microwbrew drinkers. Which is about shocking in these parts of the woods.

12) He drinks vodka rocks, which is about sexy.

11) the big one. you know.

10) He gardens, mows the lawn, oh, wait. That’s me. He gardens and occasionally mows the lawn.

9) He plays hockey.

8) He’s romantic. He asked me to marry him when we ran off to Portugal.

7) Our wedding was perfect. I mean — so fun, so different, so just what I wanted. Perfect.

6) He figured out how to take care of our kids before I did. Me: Diaper wrap? Him: Voila!

5) He loves his family. He loves my family. He fell in love with my cat, Wacky Cat 1, before he fell in love with me. She’s kind of a handful, so this meant a lot to me.

4) He’s fairly tolerant of my superstitions and the way I insist on making the sign of the cross over him whenever I’m worried. (I do this to the kids, too.) (I know Unitarians supposedly rejected the whole Trinity business, but they are a tolerant people, so I feel free to worship as I please. And free to make the sign of the cross whenever I am so moved.)

3) When we got married, he asked my Granny, “Can I call you Grandma now?” which, you know. Made her weep. And he asked my Grandpa for my hand in marriage which, you know. Made my Grandpa and me both weep. For different reasons. My Grandpa: “Thank God she left that mental midget she was with before and is marrying an Iowa boy.” Me: “He is the sweetest guy I’ve ever met.” (sob.)

2) He is great to snuggle with. He’s like a big bear.

1) He gives me whatever I want.


Too Much! But Never Enough.

May 2nd, 2007

Ten years ago next week — May 9th, 1997 — my husband-to-be and I went out on our first date.

I had a mangorita, he had a vodka rocks. I was so nervous I dropped a hunk of bread in my water.

When we got engaged two months later — not quite two months even, because really, why waste time? — we were in Lisbon, Portugal. He took me there to introduce me to my future mother-in-law, who was working there at the time. If you have never been to Portugal, I highly recommend you get your booty over there. They have it all — romance, the gorgeous ocean, incredible beaches, castles and nice people, great food, streetcars that go careening around hither and yon. And Portuguese, which I do not understand one word of. I barely speak English, I think that’s probably obvious by now.

So when we went out for Chinese food, and the six-foot-tall Chinese waiter came over to our table and asked me, in Portuguese, what I would like for dinner, I turned to Hockey God (who was not yet Hockey God, he was just this cool guy I’d run off with to Europe) and he ordered for us. In pretty good Portuguese. Which he had never spoken before. That, to me, was very cool. I did not drop my bread in the water this time, mainly because no bread was served.

More about Lisbon: It is sunny there, and they have funiculars. Funiculars! Also we ate a lot of ice cream.

But we had no rings! So off we went to Iowa City, Iowa, after a brief visit to Prague (for my beau) and a trip back to Portland (for me) and bought a couple of gold bands at a jeweler’s downtown. Then I met my father-in-law and stepmother-in-law for the first time. I may have dropped my bread in my water glass. We had a fun trip.

(that’s us)

Happy Anniversary, sweets. It just keeps getting easier, doesn’t it? HA!


October 16th, 2006

Not Winning Mother of the Year started it, and we obviously have some things in common. Tag you’re it — e-mail them to your friends if you have no blog. (No blog? You must start one today!):