Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Weird Portland Wednesday: Would You Like Doritos With That?

In a town that has every type of food cart available, it only makes sense that we would have a mobile marijuana dispensary.  This clever business dispensary was built by local North Portland residents, Larry and Jessica.  They traveled all around different neighborhoods dispensing their wares.  Just because marijuana is now legal doesn't mean we don't still like to purchase it on street corners....

Unfortunately, the Oregon Health Authority said the Smoke Buddy cart was illegal. Operating a mobile service or a medicine delivery service is not allowed under the state dispensary rules so the dispensary was closed.  

Good try, Larry and Jessica!  Your clever idea is just one more way for us to keep Portland weird.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Put Your Right Foot In...

I took a spill last week.  Oh it was a real header, stubbing my toe on the sidewalk seam and went faceplant into the cement. I grabbed for my grandgirl and pulled her down, too.  Fortunately she kind of fell on me...  My right leg got caught on a sidewalk chair and my left arm on a table.  Knocked off my shoes and skinned off my ankle.  I was a bit of a mess.  And for over a week now I have been finding bruises that are still just coming out.

This is not the first faceplant fall I have taken over the past few years.  One time, again on the sidewalk, I smashed my chin and broke my glasses.  Once was out walking the dog and turned wrong and landed on the ground.  The pup tried to come to my rescue.  I tripped on the carpet in my Upland apartment.  And Macy's...that was a huge header right at the entrance.  And each time I find myself falling I try to catch myself, so I stumble forward, trying to remain upright, moving speedily along until I can no longer stand up.  SPLAT  Sometimes I fall back into the chair as I try to stand up...I am actually up, actually standing and I just lose my balance and sit back down.  

Now understand I have never been graceful.  Mom sent both my sister and me in the early 60s to "Charm School" at Sears...twice.  I have always had a habit of walking through the door before actually opening the door.  I would get out a ladder to work on the gutters of my house in SE Portland and the neighbors would come running out to offer to do it for me.  I have owned my own pair of crutches since 1985.

But this is different than it used to be.  This is becoming a problem.  And then I thought about my feet.  See, I have neuropathy of the feet.  Slowly over the last 10 years I have lost feeling in my feet.  Started with the right big toe and now it is in both feet, numbness through the ball of the feet.  My right foot is worse than my left but the competition is fierce.  After all the tests, it is found there is no reason.  The neurologist said, "A small percentage have no reason for the neuropathy.  No diabetes, no rheumatoid arthritis, no weird stuff going on."  Just lucky I guess.

Some people lose feeling in their feet or hands and that's all there is; some people have severe pain that goes along with their numbness.  That's the weirdest part.  I can't feel much but pressure on the bottom of my feet and toes, but the pain is at times excruciating.  Like tons of pins sticking into my feet while the toes and soles are on fire.  I can't wear closed shoes or straps across my ankles.  I must have a soft sole to cushion the foot.  And I think that this is why I am falling so often.  Where is my foot going?  

Also, my right leg has never been straight since I had my knee replaced.  It doesn't bend as well either (but MUCH better than before the replacement, both the bending and the straightness).  It is a lack of lifting my foot high enough that is part of the problem along with not knowing what the foot is doing at all times.  So I stub my foot.  I try to catch myself.  I stumble forward.  I move speedily along.  Alas, I can no longer stand up.  SPLAT 

My newest idea is to work on balance.  I will not recover the feeling in my feet; it will only continue with loss.  But I can work on balance.  I am thinking of trying tai chi.  And one of those balance balls thingies.  Good thing I have a walker down in the basement to hang onto while I work on this balance thing, eh?  Otherwise no one will be able to save me--not my grandgirl, my pup, myself :)

And so we go, sharing the thrills of aging.  Not always as fun as it sounds ;)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

TBT: Disco Fever

written 1978
The excitement of dancing fills the room.  The wooden dance floor is waxed to a glistening shine, reflecting colored lights like a Christmas tree on moonlit snow.  Each tiny light flashes on and off on and off to the rhythmic beat of rock-and-roll, music that pounds its way out of the amplifier and into the people's heads.  High in the center of the dance area spins a giant mirrored ball that catches the glint of each glittering sequin, each shining bangle, each shimmering bauble worn by the dancers and tosses them back in one constant motion of electrical flashes.

The dancers are alive with throbbing music flowing through their veins, pounding its way to each section of their bodies, setting each limb in a vibrant reaction.  Nothing stops--not the music, not the lighting, not the dancing--overtaking even their breathing patterns--in and out in and out--until the excitement causes a type of hyperventilation; energy overloads the circuits.

Little round tables are scattered around the room to provide pit-stops for the dancing machines.  Model-thin girls dressed in the latest fashions of size-four clothes take orders for drinks as performers join those not shod as well or those not as adept at dancing.  While these performers recharge their systems with liquid fuel nothing stops--not the music, not the lighting, not the dancing.

When their loins have been strengthened and glow revived, the actors rejoin the others in the limelight, providing the means of continuation within the dance hall.  In doing so, they once again leave those seemingly inept at disco to stay behind, only able to smile, to bop to the beat of the sounds.

These wallflowers are important for they provide an audience to the rendition before them on the waxen floor.  They bring the ultimate contrast to the reigning disco queens as portly maidens once provided for bikini-clad beach-bunnies.  They sit in their chairs, laughing and nodding, hoping no one will notice they are not asked to dance and lacking the confidence to be the asker.  They are having fun, caught in the excitement that surrounds them.  If the tall, the dark, the handsome men parade past their tables without stopping, they laugh and nod to one another, telling jokes to remind themselves they are having fun, secretly saying inside, "Please don't notice my rejection, please don't notice my hollow smile; please don't notice me."  And all the while nothing stops--not the music, not the lighting, not the dancing.

As I leave the nightclub amid a frenzy of action, I take deep breathes of cool damp air.  Reality slowly flickers into my brain like a tongue, soothing the pulse-beat that nearly exploded inside the electric atmosphere.  It was entertainment.  It was exciting.  It was fun!  I remember it was fun--the smiling and the nodding and the laughter.  And no one noticed, god no one even noticed for behind me nothing stopped--not the music, not the lighting, not the dancing.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Weird Portland Wednesday: Darcelle XV

Darcelle XV

Every city has a welcome wagon to greet newcomers to their little town.  I remember when I moved to Grants Pass, I was brought this big basket of goodies to welcome us into the town.  The Willamette Week has claimed that here in Portland, Oregon, our "unofficial welcome wagon" is the delightful Darcelle.

Darcelle has done much for our city and in 2011 became the Grand Marshall of the Portland Rose Festival's Starlight Parade.  It was the same year that she was awarded the city's Spirit of Portland Award.

Darcelle was born in November 1930, as Walter Cole. He grew up in Portland, joined the military to serve in the Korean War, was married and has two children.  With his money upon leaving the military, Walter opened a coffee shop downtown.  He then moved it to southeast Portland and opened a little jazz club in the basement.  He sold this spot when Urban Renewal came alone and with that money, he bought a tavern on northwest Third and Davis in Portland.  Walter then came out as gay, left his wife and met his lifelong partner, Roxy Neuhardt.  His tavern later became the Darcelle XV Showplace and an iconic drag queen was born: Darcelle.

With the closing of San Francisco's drag venue Finocchio's in 1999, our beloved Darcelle became the oldest female impersonator on the West Coast, and Darcelle XV Showplace was then recognized as the oldest continuously running cabaret in the United States.

Willamette Week's Kelly Clarke described Walter Cole/Darcelle as "an energetic businessman whose desire for a life less ordinary catapulted him from a job at Fred Meyer to become the proprietor of a counterculture coffee shop, an after-hours jazz club, a rough-'n'-ready 'dyke bar' and, finally, a nationally known drag revue, without ever leaving Portland."

We love ya Baby!  Just keeping Portland Weird.


Sunday, June 05, 2016

I'm pollyanna...Fly Me

When I was ready to leave high school, I wanted to be an airline stewardess.  I wanted to travel the world, see things I had never seen, go places I had only heard about.  I knew I could do the job and wanted this so badly.

Now this was a major jump from the desire to be a hair dresser the year before when I was a junior.  I cut all my girl friends' hair...the fact that I only had one style I could cut didn't matter...we all looked cute with the same basic style.  Gina kept that style the longest.  She looked great.  I wonder if she still has that cut?

Anyway, I had wanted to be a hair stylist until I watched some movie--can't even remember the title--that had airline stewardesses traveling the world.  It looked exciting.  It looked fun.  It looked perfect.  

At the time, I was dating a young man who was in the Marines.  When he was deployed, I thought about how I could fly to Hawaii in my job and we could spend his leave together.  This career for me was sounding more and more perfect.

So long before graduation, I checked out what I needed to do in order to get this career off the ground, so to speak.  That's when my great disappointment happened...  I was too tall.  

This height thing had been part of my life since I was two years old.  At that time my parents doubled my height and found I would be perhaps six foot tall or more.  They couldn't believe their little toddler would ever grow that height.  But I kept growing until I actually reached that pinnacle.  I was taught to hold my head high, never slouch, and (apparently) look over people's heads.  It has, over the years, kept me from being asked out, had strangers ask "how's the weather up there?," and got me sent home from school because my skirt was too short (although no shorter than other girls only longer legs).  That "sent home thing" was just fine because I just didn't return that day :)  Anyway, all those things were less a disappointment than the realization that the career of my choice was not possible for me.  What happened to the "you can be and do anything you want to be when you grow up?"

So, I gave up my dream of being an airline stewardess.  It went the way of being a dancer (too clumsy)...singer (not that great of sound) stylist. 

Apparently I  got pregnant and married instead.  And that's a whole 'nother story.


Wednesday, June 01, 2016

What's Up on My Design Board

It does rather look like a forest that has been devastated by locust. Or maybe a wildfire. But in the near future it will look like something lush and beautiful.  Lilies!  Tiger lilies.  Stargazer lilies.  Butter lilies.  This is a wallhanging for my wonderful friend, Vicki.  I promised her a special quilt after her husband Darrell died and this is what she asked me to make.  I've been procrastinating working on this...I open the pattern and look it over...close up the pattern and work on something else.  But as of yesterday, the pattern stays open!

Vicki with my two sons
I met Vicki when we lived in Grants Pass, Oregon.  She and her first husband moved in next door and we became good friends.  When I was pregnant with my second child, Vick felt especially close.  She dreamed she gave birth to him in her kitchen sink.
That must have been a hard birth ;)  

After her first husband died and I moved to Portland, got a divorce, we continued to see one another many weekends when my sons were at their father's.  We lost touch sometime after the mid-90s but reconnected through Facebook.  Yay Facebook!

So she wanted a wallhanging to go over her dining room table.  It's on it's way to becoming such....  So glad she has patience :)

The pattern...kinda what it will look like when finished