Portland

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You may be wondering if this is going to turn into a doggie blog. It might rabbit, it just might. Nah. That said, we are in serious doggie mode here. Our schedule has been upended, with us more regimented, rising earlier, so we can get at least an hour walk in every day, though Juniper sometimes behaves as though it’s only been fifteen minutes, darting around the yard like a race horse before deciding she is REALLY hungry and devouring her food in a minute flat. She’s energetic like that.

Our choice of books has been augmented to include everything dog, heavy on the Cesar Millan. We our doing our best to be calm-assertive pack leaders. She is doing her best to keep us guessing, well behaved dream doggie to a spazzy-zig-zaggy pup in the blink of an eye. She’s goofy like that.

But that’s not all I want to talk about, partially to prove that we are not all dog, all the time, and partially because it’s what is on my mind. I am pretty sure I have already mentioned this, but because I am human and rather fallible, I’m going to act like I didn’t. Part of what I love about Colorado Springs, besides its close proximity to near and dear ones and New Mexico, is that it reminds us of all the places we have ever lived.

Much like me, the hubster, and our new pup, our fair city is quirky, complete with a Keep Colorado Springs Lame bumper sticker. Our house is blocks away from a very Powell Boulevard-esque street. It is a five mile bike ride from downtown (though it would have been a treacherous one in Pittsburgh) in a very walkable city, for which we thank goodness, because we are going to cover every inch of it with our sweet Juniper Beulah. Palmer Park is almost equidistant as Mount Tabor was, complete with a snow capped mountain in the background! Capacious Red Rocks Park and Bear Creek serve as fine Forest Park and Frick Park stand-ins, swapping geologic wonders of granite and sandstone for dense woods and towering trees.

Though Portland reigns supreme in this category, we have some super organic food and grocers and stellar local restaurants. One of our favorites, insert spooky sound effect, even has the number 503 in its name. Whaaat?! Though it refers to an address, not the area code of our favorite rainy city. But still.

It is a collection of hills and dales and flat plains, coal mines slipped in and amongst a perfect grid and bowl of spaghetti collection of senseless winding streets, the best and the worst of East and West Side Portland and the whole of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

It is blue collar and higher ed, an hour from every beauty imaginable, save the stellar Oregon coast.

It is HOME, and we are so happy to be here.

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Farewell portraits of Portland, silly, fun, beautiful Portland. I do not miss the City of Roses. There is no ache in my bones for what lies behind, for what once was my house, my verdant patch of earth. The timing was right, and my body, in eager anticipation, pitches forward, smiling, arms outstretched for what will be home again.

Hello Pittsburgh, a small sweet slice of what lies ahead. Rivers and bridges and remnants of the steel industry that was. People as kindly as Portland’s, good food, and beauty everywhere. I shall be happy to call you home!

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My friend Rob was in town, a single afternoon of play, and we went for the familiar, with heaps and tons of photos snapped at the Japanese Garden. I am going to miss these days, of him sending a last moment message letting me know he will be here in a day or two, and might I have an open schedule? Yes, of course I do. The timing is always perfect and our shared moments, too. We talk of the big and small and delight at all we find on the other side of the lens. I take him to tasty places and we mmm… and ahh… and laugh and marvel at the wonders on the radio.

And this time, our last in Portland, there was something of the magical. Walking back to the car after lunch, taking an unplanned route, a cat, as if it had been waiting the whole of the morning, bound down the sidewalk to greet ME. My heart leapt and I gasped, for it was no ordinary cat, but a near twin for my dearly departed Paris. She flopped at my feet, in the same way she always did, and I rubbed her belly and stroked her tail, marveling at the silkiness, the turn of the head, the tufts of fur between her toes. Paris. I love you, Birdie. I miss you, so very, very much. And she, in her way, told me she was happy, no longer in pain, running, jumping, flying even, into my heart, up to the sky. Forever and always.

And Rob, for his part, bore witness. Neither of us would have believed it had we both not been there. Perfect timing. Thank you, Rob, for coming, for being one of my oldest and dearest friends, for being here and there.

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Wednesday, I…

awoke with the sun, to cuddles and the purring of cats.

ate every strawberry I picked.

set my abs and butt on fire with Cassey Ho. Silly and fun, she kills me every time!

mowed and fertilized, and plunged my hands into earthy compost.

heard the first steady hum of bees on blossoming lavender.

got bouquets, cards, and well wishes from friends and loved ones.

walked with the hubster, love of my life.

ate dinner to the Bee Gees, Hall & Oates, and Fleetwood Mac, and sang my heart out!

realized, in a weepy moment of gratitude, that the greatest gift I’ve recently received is that I am finally surrounded by MY people. I’ve shed the drama queens and gossips, the self-absorbed, the unkind, the ones who lack the common courtesy to call or email. My people are kind, caring, fascinating, fun, and super duper smart. We get each other. We love each other. We share all we have and all that we are.

A pretty terrific way to celebrate forty-three orbits around the sun!

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More miniatures at the Mount Hood Model Engineers Open House. Egads, soo cool! Within walking distance from our house, we’ve been itching to go for years and finally remembered on the right day and at the right time. Good golly was it fantastic. My hat is off to the kindly gentlemen of all ages, eager to share what they know and show off some super cool HO Scale Model trains. Thank you so much!

Susan, they DO scenery!

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