Please enjoy these blogposts, written between 2011 and 2015. Another blog is on the way.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


We drove south to Portland, Oregon last week to hug our daughter and check out her new employer, Sunshine Tavern, at 3111 SE Division.  Mary, almost finished with her program at the Oregon Culinary Institute in Goose Hollow, is wildly happy to have a paid internship at chef Jenn Louis’s new restaurant.  We’re happy that she’s happy, and that the school-to-job progression, so easy when her dad and I were 23 and so unlikely now, happened for her.  Read about the restaurant at The food is great! If you drop in, wave at Mary.  Here she is at school:

Something else we're happy about--that we have a reason to go to Portland.  We lived in Palo Alto for 30 years, where the old gets eradicated so fast that whole blocks become unrecognizable in the space of a year. We live now in Bellingham, WA, the City of Subdued Excitement, where appearances mean little.  Portland isn't about upscale accumulation like Palo Alto, or earnestness like Bellingham. In Portland--Mary's southeast corner of it, anyway--how you look definitely counts, as does how your place looks, but shiny new goods, especially if they are mass-produced, are shunned like the work of the devil.  The idea is to know where, when, and how everything you wear and use was made, or to make it yourself.  Vintage clothing stores are everywhere. Slim young women drift into coffee houses in sixties flowered shifts with pieces of lace tied around their chignons.  Neighbors paint sunflowers across the intersections of their residential streets.  People gather to play "ironic" games like kickball.  Every square inch of southeast Portland is in one way or another beautiful or formerly-beautiful-now-unaccountably-elegant or weirdly interesting.

Hippo Hardware on Burnside, carrying the salvaged kitchen drawer hardware of your dreams, announces itself this way:

Gnome Chomsky figures adorn the Laughing Horse bookstore, just off Burnside:

Also on Burnside, near the Imago Dei community, art serves the people:

My husband tells me that Portland, built on timber and shipping, is still livable partly because money comes into the city from outside, from parents of the lacy young.  Mary insists that she hasn't been "Portlandified," a process depicted in the IFC TV series "Portlandia," but has found that Portland is a good fit for her, a hard-working food artist.  She won't need our help much longer.

If you're interested in cultural trends, Willamette Week's Aug. 10 cover story, "Brooklyn Wants to be Portland: Should We Be Proud--or Embarrassed?"is funny and informative (