Thursday, February 28, 2013

How Green Can I Be?

Since I've been in Portland I've started several blog posts, save them as drafts and swear to finish them up in a day or two.  It hasn't happened.  Not sure the reason, maybe a lack of motivation, lack of focus, or just being busy trying to settle in.  I did get a job the first week I was here, actually it is a freelance type of position.  Doing the things I love, writing, editing, researching, all the things that can drive a person mad.  Especially when sitting in a basement studio apartment wondering whether it is day or night outside.

But, what I thought might be the hardest adjustment, the one that everybody who has ever been to the Pacific Northwest or has watched an episode or two of Portlandia will warn you about, is of course, the weather.  The rain, the gray skies, the rain.  To be honest, I haven't seen all that much rain.  I don't know if I've even seen one solid day of rain yet.  I have seen the sun almost everyday, for at least a short period of time.  And gray, yes, if the sun isn't out, it is gray.  But, it is winter.  And, I like to remind myself, it is gray in Paris and London too.  That always makes me feel better.  And worldly.

But here is what I am having difficulty with.  Two things actually.  The driving.  And the elaborate recycling system here in the "greenest" state in the nation.  Wow.  For anyone who has ever thought that California might be leaning far to the left of center, come to Portland.

First let me tell you about the driving.  I always toot my own horn when it comes to announcing my great skill at driving.  I think I might be one of the best.  It is in my DNA.  I have a lot of experience driving, all you have to do is look at the odometer on all of the vehicles I have owned and you will know, I drive a lot.  And, I have driven in some of the more challenging areas, mainly the Bay Area.   And Los Angeles.  I have mastered the art of merging.

Here in Portland everyone goes slow.  It is like they really have no destination in mind.  It seems they are still trying to wake up and it is just another lazy Sunday morning, no matter what time of day or what day of the week it actually is.  You might be driving behind someone, heading over one of Portland's many bridges, when they start to break, for no apparent reason, some even almost come to a full stop.  When merging on to the freeway, some people will tip toe their tires onto the onramp and wave you on!  What the hell?  "Go, Go, Go!" I want to scream at them.  But how can you, when they smile and give you the peace sign.

Okay, now on to the recycling portion of this show.  There are four containers.  One for recycling, one for yard waste, one for garbage, and one for compost.  Compost.  I don't have a garden, or even a strip of dirt outside my door.  The thought of collecting rotting food and keeping it inside in a little plastic container pretty much grosses me out.  Yuk.  But I'm doing it.  Then, they tell me, if you recycle, compost, and use the yard waste properly, you should have very little garbage.  The goal is to have 0% garbage.  And, the garbage is only picked up once every two weeks.  Okay, so I'm making my best attempt.  But it looks like the recycling police paid me a visit, leaving what looked like a traffic ticket stuck to my door, letting me know all of the things I had tossed in the recycling bin last week that were not acceptable.  The whole thing is starting to stress me out, I worry constantly, "is this the right container, where should I put this?"  Yesterday morning I went to pick up my daughter to go for tea and just took all of my trash to her apartment and dumped it into her big garbage dumpster. Whew, a sigh of relief. I'll try a little harder next week.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Changing Tide

I've been in Portland now for almost two weeks and moved into my little place last Monday. I only had one very full car load of my things with me, so the unpacking was quick, but the putting away was another story.  Does anyone need this many toiletries?  This many black t-shirts?  Moving makes you want to toss out just about everything you own.

The day I arrived, after driving for 10 hours, I pulled into Portland around 6:30, it was dark and my windshield was spotted with rain.  I expected that.  As I drove further north the lights of the city came into view.  It was magical and electric and I could feel the excitement of the city.

But since I've been here my emotions are as changing as the tide ~ one minute I feel a swell of excitement and adventure and the next I just want to throw myself down on the bed and cry into the pillow, "What am I doing here?"  I don't know.  I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.  I just want to close my eyes, click my feet together, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home."  Only problem is, I don't know where that is anymore.  Maybe I am home.

Nobody knows what the future holds, as much as we try, as many fortune cookies as we read, as many psychics and astrologers that we consult, we have free will, we make decisions and we never ever know for sure what would have been if we had taken that other fork in the road.  We just have to have faith that we are walking the right one.  Change is a difficult thing, even when those changes are for the good, positive, in the right direction.  It is still hard to leave that what we know behind.  But there comes a time when we have to let go of what was, what we thought could have been, because after holding on so tight and our hands are worn raw, we realize there is nothing left to hold on to.

I mentioned before that there is a tale in Hawaii that when it rains on the day you depart, the island is crying for you.  Well, what I am holding on to now is the hope that when it rains in Portland on your arrival, it is showering you with endless blessings.

I"ll learn to live without you,
but I'll never learn how not to love you