Sunday, July 29, 2012

The New Zine

So, I have a new zine written and I plan to publish it in Colorado and Iowa where I will have a lot of time in the car and a working printer to print everything before leaving for the wedding. I am so pumped about this zine! I'll give you guys the basic concept and inspiration for it. I am looking for this zine to be a multi-issue zine with input from other contributors, which is precisely why I'm posting here. I want your guys' input. So, the zine is title Lullabies for the Musically Conscious and the idea is to give us music savvy folk a musical cannon that we can access when singing our children or the children with whom we have close relationships to sleep. This idea was born out of my own personal experience with Helena. I was babysitting her one night and it was time for bed. She insisted that I sing her a lullaby. Her mother usually sings Spanish lullabies or "Rock-a-bye-baby." I don't really know any lullabies in English or Spanish and I just don't like "Rock-a-bye-baby." The "oh shit!" moment happened and then I remembered that Helena loves The Flaming Lips song "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1"so I sang it to her. Then, it was Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird" and so on. I didn't think much of it, but a week later Helena's birthday rolled around and she wanted to have a dance party. She bossed me and told me I was going to be the DJ. I told her that she had to help me pick the songs. Her first request was "Yoshimi" and her second request was Passion Pit's "Sleepyhead." Holy shit! I'm totally influencing this kid's musical tastes. The power was totally in my hands. The idea slowed crept into my head that singing songs that are either indie rock or contributed to musical history in some way would be more fun for the caretaker than lullabies and would also help to mold a musically educated child. I wrote the zine in an hour and half, I was that excited. Then, I went to a reading (you know, the one with the crush and that whole thing, blah, blah, blah) and I was talking to this guy about his comics. He asked what I was working on and I told him about Lullabies. I thought he was going to pee his pants, he was so excited. He was like "That's a zine I would actually buy... and use. All the time!" Then, he grabbed his buddy at the table next to us and told him about my idea. So, I feel like this baby his some serious momentum. I also feel like it's an opportunity for music lovers to dialogue about how and why they want to musically educate the children in their lives. I'm considering this zine the Rad Dad for the music community. I have established a few rules so that everyone who reads Lullabies for the Musically Conscious can easily use these songs. 1) The song must be able to be reasonably sung by your average lullaby singer. Everyone should be able to sing these songs fairly well. 2) Your song choice must be either indie rock or from an artist who significantly impacted musical history. When I say indie rock, I'm certainly not excluding any genre. It just has to be independent. I don't want any Katy Perry up in this, ok? Actually, I'm looking for an Emmylou Harris song and perhaps Roy Orbison. I am also trying to find more culturally diverse musicians. I've got a lot of white folks in this first issue, so help me out here. 3) The song must be able to be sung without a CD, computer, iphone, ipod... you get the point. This will require some studying on your part to learn the lyrics (surprisingly, I found that I didn't know all the lyrics to many of my favorite songs), but it's worth it. Epic poems were memorized by bards in Ancient Greece and recited for entertainment. These bards memorized 10-30 thousand lines of poetry-- poetry that told a story, provided lessons, and educated the youth in the community about the social morays of Ancient Greece. That's pretty awesome and it's a dying art. Let's bring it back. Memorize your songs and bust them out for bed time, at the playground, or as a party trick. Furthermore, there is an intimacy to singing acapella, even if you aren't a brilliant singer. You're sharing your love of a song, you're sharing music with child, you're making yourself vulnerable by allowing yourself to screw up on the melody or lyrics. Singing lullabies is about building a human connection with them. I happen to think there is a significant dirth of human connection as of late and that needs to be changed. Having an electronic device helping you to sing a song somehow obstructs that connection (I'm not sure how, but it is less intimate). 4)You have to love the song. If you're not passionate about the song, kids pick up on that fast and the last thing we want is to push our kids toward the Justin Bieber crap machine because we aren't choosing the right songs to sing to our kids. If you choose to submit, e-mail me at with the subject line "Lullabies for the Musically Conscious" and include the song title, artist name, full lyrics (you can google them and copy and paste), and why you chose the song (you can talk about why it's easy to sing, the images you see in your head as you hear that song, if it reminds you of a time or place, the message of the song, or even why the artist is significant). I look forward to hearing from you!!

Headed to Denver

Tuesday evening I will be heading back to Denver and then traveling with my parents to my cousin's wedding in Iowa. It's kind of a disjointed trip, but I'm excited to have some familiarity in my life for a few days. With living with friends, searching for a job, and not knowing where my next paycheck will be coming from, there is a lot of uncertainty in my life. I'm looking forward to being around the ones I love for a little while. I'm particularly excited to see this small yet tight-knit group of friends from when I pole danced in Colorado. These ladies are like my own personal set of cheerleaders. They think I am way more awesome than I actually am and, because of that, they encourage me in all of my pursuits. I can not wait to see them. It does get a little lonely here because 1) I've been pretty focused on the job hunt, and 2) When confronted with vastly unfamiliar settings, I tend to get excruciatingly shy. This doesn't help with the whole making friends thing here. So, to feel safe with a group of women who I know I can be silly with and swear like a sailor around and talk about just about anything with is very exciting for me right now. I've been on a starvation diet as far as intimate conversations go. So, I will try to check in a couple of times while I'm in Iowa/Colorado, but it will definitely be even more sporadic than normal.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

An explanation of the previous post

Alright. A little back story. I went to a happy hour yesterday with $3.50 margaritas. I was planning to have a few with dinner and then go home and watch the Olympics with Helena. Then I had margaritas and thought it would be fun to go to a reading where I knew my crush was reading her comic. Yeah. I did that. It was actually a good thing, because I had a lot fun and got a lot of encouragement about a new zine I just wrote (you will be hearing about it here in a few days), but there is something about this girl... Usually drinking a little gives me ovaries of steel and I just go for it. This isn't the first time I've plotted a meeting with a crush when drinking. This girl has a different effect on me, though. I think it's because I know that she is way more intelligent and talented than I am. She's also a bit younger than me so the combination of the two makes me wildly insecure. She found me almost instantly when I walked in the room and watched me until I looked at her. She waved. I barely mustered some kind of embarrassed half wave and averted my eyes, drinking my beer to look a little more natural. She presented her comic, which was brilliant and then sat down. I'd catch her looking at me and I'd smile. Then, I decided "Hell, I'll just stare freely at her, too, since she seems to welcome it." I also decided I was going to talk to her after the readings were over. Alas, at the end we both kind of got caught up in conversations (she was definitely the woman of the hour, what with her sneak peak of the comic) and I was too foggy-headed to butt my way into her conversation with some witty quip (as if I'm ever really witty, ha!) So, that's my little crush story. Fortunately, I get a do-over, as there is a double release party today and she is attending. I'm currently psyching myself up to go up to her this evening. I'm also enforcing a two drink maximum. She already renders me foggy-headed and absolutely juvenile. Obviously, alcohol can't help this situation any.

Acting half my age

It's pathetic when a twenty-nine year old woman is so enamored with a girl that she can't even talk to her after said girl has been caught staring on numerous occasions. Feeling a bit sheepish but encouraged by her obvious interest. The good news is I get to see her tomorrow. I'm working up the courage to speak to her then.

Monday, July 23, 2012

OK, yes!

I've been spending time meditating and doing a lot of soul-searching (hence, the absenteeism). I asked myself if it was worth it to stay here, was I meant to stay here, what am I really good at besides teaching, am I meant to be a teacher and am I denying my fate? All of these things have been swirling in my over-occupied head space. They still are, but then some weird things started happening to me. I have always been curious about the food industry. I've kind of aspired to be a bartender my entire life, but I don't have the skill set. So, I started looking for jobs in food service that I could do. I applied to Einstein's Bagels at the downtown location-- got an interview. I applied to Ken's Artisan Bakery (a well-known and loved bakery in Northwest Portland)-- got an interview. I applied to Prasad (a vegetarian, organic, raw food restaurant that shares its space with a yoga studio and is owned by two female chefs)-- got an interview. My second interview for Einstein's and the other two interviews are all happening on Wednesday. So, what changed? I was honest. On the applications and cover letters, I told them what I knew about their companies and what fascinates me about what they do. I showed my passion for their vision and/or their products(Except Einstein's. That one was hard, but I was honest about needing a job and enjoying breakfast.) And it seems to have paid off. By applying for food service jobs, I kind of chucked all of my need to feel validated in my experience as a teacher and merchandiser out the window. I had nothing to prove because I'd never been in the food industry. Instead, I allowed my personality, my natural curiosity, and my excitement about food and people to show. How elementary! As I mentally prepare for Wednesday, I am continually reminding myself that it was my personality that brought my resume to the top of the pile and it will be my personality that will get the job. So, here goes. Wish me luck! Ken's Artisan Bakery
Cuisine at Prasad
Funny side note: When walking into Ken's to hand-deliver my resume and application, I ran into Mierco (one of the Italian guys of Gallo Trattoria fame) heading to Ken's from the other direction. We chatted and I told him I was applying there. He said to his friend next to him "Weird. Wasn't I just telling you how cool it would be to know someone who works at one of these awesome bakeries? And here she is. Good luck, Carly! Do you need a reference?" I said something to the effect of "Sure, Mierco. I've known you a grand total of 20 minutes, so a reference would be great!" but I did take seeing him there to be an auspicious event. Seems I was right to think that.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Power to the Bike

Yesterday was kind of bad, but only because the day before was terrible. Today was better. I had to go to a couple of sites to apply for jobs today, so I hopped on my bike and caught the Max. The locations were kind of all over the place so I did a lot of cycling today. It lifted my mood significantly. There were crazy women screaming about how they weren't interested in the poor man passing them by or how "I don't care what he thinks. He's just a loud-mouth, fat ass mothafucka." Bikes zipped in and out of traffic, children were eating cookies the size of their head and smiling like they'd hit the jackpot (which I guess they had). Slowly, I found myself forgiving Portland for being so mean to me. I highly recommend to anyone who feels like their city has just shit on them to go for a bike ride. I'm not talking about hopping on your bike and hitting the trails. To really reconnect with your city, you have to take to the streets. Get downtown with your bike and just pedal around, taking in the scenery. Downtown is the best for any city, because almost all downtown areas are at least marginally bike-friendly/bike safe. Also, downtown is where the crazy people live and nothing lifts your mood like watching a crazy person screaming at themselves thinking someone is actually there. I know, it's terrible to say, but at least you can look at them and say "Well, I'm not there yet. There's still hope for me." Finally, downtown has that vibrancy of so many diverse people mingling in the same area for just as diverse reasons. Just observing the human interaction is intriguing! And you have to do it on your bike because the air is fresh and you can hear and see things better and, did you know that researchers have found that outdoor exercise is just as effective as anti-depressants for curing the incurable blues? I mean, it worked for me! So, I'm not mad at Portland. Oh and guess what? I have a job interview tomorrow. That's something. The power of positive thinking maybe?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Profound Pontifications (hope you don't come here for sound advice because that I don't have)

Sometimes in the absence of answers, it is best to get drunk. Today I am drunk... and eating a giant chocolate cake. That's a pretty good indication of how well my first day of work went. I quit. And then got drunk on champagne and a giant store-bought piece of chocolate cake. Yay Portland!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Am I still in Portland?

Why did I move to this city? Because crazy shit happens to me here. Simple as that. Today, after heading over to Portland Button Works to create a card for my zine crush (it's no secret who it is-- definitely Thomas Moniz of Rad Dad. He's smart, well-spoken, and he's sooo sexy in person), I was feeling pretty hungry. The heat and my rabid need to bike EVERYWHERE had finally gotten to me. I biked over the Steele Bridge and decided to fart around Northwest Portland to find a place to eat. Northwest Portland is uber-gentrified, which usually equates to overly pricey though nice food and pretentious up-and-ups. But the food is friggin' fantastic, I'll give 'em that! As I was tooling around, I found an Italian restaurant. I checked the menu and even though it met my expectations on price, I found a few affordable options and I liked that the food was the lighter, lesser-known, coastal Italian food. Perfect for a hot, sweaty day. This lunch started out as normal as any lunch on my own-- Caprese Salad, Prosecco (I swear I would replace champagne for water if I could), and reading Stolen Sharpie Revolution. Slowly at first, but then in a flurry, a gaggle of sweaty Italian men sporting soccer shorts flitted into the restaurant. The restaurant was instantaneously flooded with lilting, spirited Italian heckling. Tables jostled as they were shoved together. A man enthusiastically hollered "Vino? Vino? Qualcuno vuole il vino?" to his buddies, slowly coaxing them to drink with him. And more people kept arriving. "Mama Mia! Mama Mia! Vieni! Vieni!!" More tables crammed together, more kissing, more languages-- Italian, Spanish, English. In my corner of the restaurant, I gleefully observed the merry chaos. And then? I was swallowed by it. "Come! Come! Join us! You're hair is beautiful. What's your name? I'm Adriano." "Miercos." "That's Camillo and that's Donato." "Some of us are Italian, some Spanish. Like him. That guy's Spanish. I forgot his name. Non è importante. We all play soccer together at a park in Southeast Portland. Then, we come here to eat and drink. We know the owner. Here he is. This is __________." (At one point, the owner was having such a jolly time, he lost track of his wine and that he was actually cooking the food.) "What are you reading?" "Stolen Sharpie Revolution. It's a zine about how to make a zine?" "What's a zine?" "Che cos'è una zine? Cosa sta parlando?" (What's a zine? What's she talking about?) "I'm Anita. Miercos, a zine is_____________________________________________________." "Here, Carly, try this food. Hey! You need wine! Camillo! Pass us the wine! Fretta, fretta! She has no wine." and more "___________________________________________________________." Chaos. I was back on the beaches of Lido di Jesolo again, listening to the bustle of Italians dining, celebrating (always celebrating), and loving life. We shared our food and our drinks and our conversations fluidly. I floated through multiple conversations and was even fortunate enough to have moments where I wasn't engaged in a conversation at all. Those were my favorite moments, because I could just watch the Italian magic happen. They even invited the Bosnian waitress to sit with them when the restaurant was slow. Eventually, I had to go to the bathroom. On my way back, our waitress smiled at me and said "I know. They're like a hurricane." I just smiled. A hurricane. Only much more extraordinary to me. It was the most beautiful hurricane I'd ever known. I had to leave early, but even my departure was perfect. I have a tendency with beautiful moments like these to ruin them by trying to extend them or resume them at a later time. I can only attribute that to the shy-girl in me. When I meet people who immediately put me at ease, I want to cling to it. Today, I just said goodbye when it was time for me to go. Sometimes moments are only perfect, and beautiful, and extraordinary when they are encapsulated by reality-- hemmed in by the mundane.

Friday, July 13, 2012


On my way to go work out (a luxury I know I'm going to have to stop paying for here soon), I rode by a construction zone. No big thing. But, of course, some jackass in a truck decides he's going to make the light that's pretty bright yellow (which I didn't see and you'll find out why) and whizzes by me, blowing a fistful of dust into my eye. The obvious bodily reaction is to close your eyes as they well up, and as I opened them I realized that I was running the red light. Fortunately for me, Portland drivers are rarely in a hurry to get anywhere (except this truck guy obviously) and I didn't get hit. But seriously? I mean, what the fuck, asshole? You're in that big of a hurry that you have to torture the hardworking cyclist who's just trudged up a hill? Take a lesson from every other driver in Portland and chill out! My eyes were secreting protective tears for six blocks.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Time of Service

So, I got a job! It's for a non-profit, and even though I am going to be wicked poor, I'm really excited. I've mentioned how much community means to me before. Well, I think I have found a strong community at this organization. I will be canvassing neighborhoods and events to raise money for Planned Parenthood and OxFam. The organization for which I will be working works to raise money for left-leaning political organizations, which is definitely more aligned with my politics. I am excited to be actively working for things that are important to me, even though it will mean a poor existence and I will continually be challenged by having to persuade strangers to donate their money. When I walked into their office, I was floored by how passionate, warm, friendly, and open the staff was. It just felt right. I felt I had found a beautiful community. Then, I was offered the job immediately after my interview, which also felt like kismet. In all honesty, I'm nervous about the money. But, as I told my mom, I think everyone should be poor for a time. It forces one to be creative. It forces one to be empathetic. My poorness will push me toward doing all of the things I've talked about doing like buying my clothes secondhand, growing my own vegetables and herbs, foraging for food that grows in the city, fixing my own bicycle, and making my own shampoos and household products. I'll have to go to free events and buy beer on the cheap. I think it will be amazing! And the people in this office! I am so excited to get to know them. They remind me so much of the radical community with whom I was involved in college. I believe that I was meant to take this journey and, evidently, I was meant to do it all the way. What I mean by that is that I came here for the Portland experience and I have been handed the Portland Experience on a platter,starting with my service job. I will work for a non-profit, I will not own a car because I can't afford one, I will not eat meat (mostly because meat's expensive and it's easier to find roommates that way, not because I don't like meat), I will make my own laundry detergent, I will live in a house with four other roommates who host punk rock shows and poetry readings in their house, and I will go for beers with my co-workers after a day of being shit on by the general public. Basically, by taking this job, I am saying yes to a lifestyle that I've been afraid to embrace. It's not a secure lifestyle, but I want to be insecure. It's good to be uncomfortable. Plus, I just want to fight for something that I believe in. I talk about things that I believe in, but I rarely actually do anything. This job is doing something. I want a strong sense of community. Well, the first step is to be a part of one and the next step is to work for a better community. Raising money for what I believe in is a great way to better my community. So, I'm putting in my time of service. I do not know how long it will last. I just know that I believe I was meant to do this.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Soap Box Time

This has nothing to do with Portland, but I'm going to talk about it anyway. I am facebook friends with a professional pole dancer from Brazil who I met at a competition almost a year ago. She's wicked strong and an incredibly talented gymnast, so when she posted an article about pole dancing on which one of her photos was the cover photo, I was pumped for her. I immediately clicked the link. Ok, first of all, the editing is appallingly bad. I'm guessing the writer didn't even bother to do a once-over to proof read, which only shows how little regard she has for what she is writing.
Second, she kept referencing how far pole dancing has come from strip clubs. The entire article is about how some pole dancers are trying to get pole into the Olympics, presumably to legitamize it as a sport. Here is my soapbox speech on that issue: Pole dancing is not a sport. It is an art form. It is an art form that requires almost inhuman flexibility, strength, and grace. It is an expression of your accomplishments as an athlete, as well as what you are experiencing at that moment. And quite honestly, I don't need to be legitimized by the Olympic Committee as a pole dancer, thank you very much. I actually believe that if pole dancing became an Olympic sport, it would strip (pun absolutely intended) the sensuality of pole. Sexuality and sensuality do not have a place in sports in our culture. They are attached to our baser instincts, and therefore, less revered. While I think that this is crap, it is still the culture we live in. That being said, if we took an innately sensual art form like pole dancing and inserted it into the Olympics, in order for Pole dancers to truly feel legitimate, the sensual aspects would slowly disappear. And then there's this whole, separation of pole and stripping business. I loathe the idea that pole dancing is becoming less and less like its parent, stripping. Stripping is the only original dance form that the United States can claim as it's own. Striptease came out of burlesque in the 1920s and started in the U.S. then expanded to the rest of the world. I think it's pretty freakin' awesome that we didn't create ballet, or salsa, or river dancing, but, damn it, we've got the corner market on striptease. Striptease is an art form in and of itself and many women use it in their pole routines to tell a story. It's beautiful to watch,too.
Pole dancing does great things for womens' bodies, as many pole dancers will attest. But more importantly, pole dancing does even more profound things to the mind. Until, I became intrigued with using striptease, lap dance, and burlesque in my pole routines, I never understood how powerful an effect my body could have on an audience. Up until that point I saw my body as strictly utilitarian, because I understood the sexuality of my body to be something that should be managed and not celebrated. The first time I ever stripped for a burlesque-chair routine, I noticed that never before had I had a more captive audience (and I only stripped to my bra and panties!) I would never want a woman to look at pole dancing and think "Wow, that's a great workout!" I constantly tell women who say that, that "Yes, pole dancing is a great workout. But it also taught me how to love my body just as it is and, through that self-love, to stop feeling threatened by other women and connect with them." Pole dancing is intimate and it exposes both the performer's vulnerability and the audience's. There is someone who is using their body in a distinctly sensual way right in front of you, the audience, and you can't help but watch, enjoy, notice her straining muscles, and hope she takes off that dress before she does some crazy trick. So, I say "Keep poles in strip clubs and keep stripping in pole!"
Photo Credits from top to bottom: Rafaela Montanaro's Facebook page, Vintage burlesque via google images, my first burlesque routine And just so everyone knows, I did do a once-over to proofread.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This and That

I have become such a cheap skate. Today, I went to the library to make copies of my letters of recommendation. The library charged 10 cents a copy, so I went to pull out my change and noticed that there were 80 cents left from a previous copier. I looked around to see if anyone was close by to claim it, and then I made 8 copies of my letter of recommendation! Yay, free copies! Also, I have an interview on Thursday with Grass Roots Campaigns where I will be working for Planned Parenthood. I'm pretty pumped even though I will be doing field work fundraising. I love Planned Parenthood and it would be pretty awesome to work for them. Oh! And just because this girl's gotta dream a little, I spent some time on Craigslist looking at places to live. Here are some of my favorites! I actually genuinely want to live in both of these places. Alas, neither of them accept dogs, and I need a place that not only embraces my inner freak, but dog's as well (and he is a freak). $300 queer artsy apartment of 2 lookin for a 3rd 42nd and Alberta Date: 2012-07-10, 9:34AM PDT Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?] Hey! We are currently looking for a 3rd to move into our 2br apartment so you should be OK with one of us setting up our room in the living room. Don't worry, there is plenty of space. Matter of fact its so big we haven't known how to fill it. We are a vegetarian/vegan friendly household. I don't really know how else to put this but you need to be OK with drinking at any hour of the day. This is far from a party house but we do go out often which leads to us coming in very late at times. One of us has a girlfriend and she is over often. We are down with having company we just can't have too much because our neighbors will make a noise complaint. We are both very much into art with one of us currently attending art school so creative types are encouraged to apply. We are both queer ladies so you must be 100% open to that and it would be great if you're queer yeself. We have three cats and a rabbit so unfortunately no more pets. Email me with a little about yrself and the kind of place you'd like to live. I will be meeting everyone before a decision is made August 1st 300 move in or now for 150 look forward to hearing from you! 42nd and alberta at 42nd and sumner $322 Collective house by Alberta (NE 15th and Killingsworth) Date: 2012-07-10, 12:59PM PDT Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?] Collectively run house two blocks from Alberta looking for a housemate August 10th (earlier move in is possible) The house has vegan kitchen, meaning all food in the house is vegan. (don't care whether you are but you must respect this) The house is collectively run, all the housemates have radical left politics. Some are involved with Decolonize Portland, Committee to Connect the Dots, Industrial Workers of the World, Red and Black Anarchist Cafe, various collective farming projects, doing art, playing in punk/hardcore bands, running record labels, etc... Some identify as queer, some identify as POC. The house is used for community events, usually fundraisers ranging from potlucks, to live music shows, to house parties. this only happens once every other month. The house is used for various meetings from time to time as well so being cool with a safer space politic is important to us (in general for all events). The house has plenty of storage, a gigantic back yard, space for projects, a band practice room, laundry room, etc... Rent is first last and deposit. appox $1100 to move in... No pets, or couples. Sorry not enough room. Also no christians.

Monday, July 9, 2012

It just felt appropriate

My horoscope in the Willamette Weekly (super reliable source, I know) said that I need to stop farting around and get down to business. Pretty sure that is in reference to the job thing. So today I did it up good. I was a machine with the job search. I looked for everything! Signature signing, teaching at a charter school, dishwasher, retail, and (GASP!) even call centers. You know I'm committed to being here if I would even dain to consider applying for a call center. Whatever. It's what all the underemployed, over-educated, punk rocking, anarchist zinesters are doing here. If I'm going to do it, might as well do it right. That's not the point of this post, though (as if there's ever a point to my posts). While perusing Craigslist for a sufficiently seedy job to fulfill my Portland fantasies, I found this: Retail Customer Service Adult video and pipes! (SE portland) Date: 2012-07-08, 6:42PM PDT Reply to: We are looking for a mellow and down to earth person to complete our tight crew. We need someone experienced with managing cash in a retail environment. You must be easy going and comfortable with our diverse customer base. We value our customers and need someone that respects the relationships that we have built with a personable attitude. A flexible schedule is a must as extra hours and swaps occur regularly. Most of the work is weekend nights. This is a part time position. Please have a clever response to this ad and show us your personality. Include the name of a famous singer in your subject line so we can insure that you are not a robot. Please leave a contact number, a short resume type thing that is at least 3/4 truthful (pasted, no attachments) and a brief reason why you are perfect for this position. How awesome is that? I am all for it. It sounds like the coolest job I never thought I'd have. Naturally, I applied on principal. Working in an adult video store slash pipe shop seems like something I should try in my life. Plus, I'm just to concerned whether they will judge me or not, so it made it that much more fun to reply. Here is my response. Hello! I saw your ad on Craigslist and was intrigued. I am a former 8th grade teacher with a purple and green mohawk. I feel like that might just make me unique enough to work for your shop. I am perfect for this job because I'm very friendly and curious about people. Here is my resume for you to review:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

When the highs are high, the lows are lo-ho!

*After a spectacular day two days ago, I plummeted into an emotional abyss that I hadn't expected to have for a very long time. It's probably similar to watching a heroine addict come off the ultimate high. Crying, cussing, pleading. Fortunately, no one witnessed it. But I love self-humiliation, so this is my tale. The start of the slump: Oregon moves at a different pace. A slower pace. Usually, that's a good thing. It's not so good when you're trying to find a job under a tight deadline. To be in childcare, one must have a whole grip of certifications-- Oregon Foodhandler's Card, CPR, First Aid, Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect, and registration in the Oregon Criminal History Registry. Ok, that's all fine. I already have my CPR and I was able to conduct my study and exam for both the food handler's card and first aid online. I assumed the child abuse certification and criminal registry would be equally simple. Not so. The reporting abuse course (a course I've taken before in Colorado and, frankly, isn't that hard) had to be attended in person and the registration with Oregon's criminal history? Well, we'll get to that in a moment. A little lesson in humility: Yesterday I went to the IPRC for First Friday. I had e-mailed my crush, telling her that I would be there and I would love to buy her zines then. Of course, the zine transaction was merely a ploy so that I could see her again and hopefully make a move. There were strong indicators that she like me, too, so I figured we'd be able to meet up soon. I never received a reply, which surprised me, but she's a pretty busy gal, and I figured it just wasn't a big deal. Furthermore, she's at the IPRC all the time so fate might be in my favor even if she didn't get my message. Fate wasn't on my side, and she didn't come. I coaxed myself out of disappointment by telling myself that it just wasn't in the cards. I'd read her wrong and that was ok. It wasn't a reflection of me. She just hadn't experienced the chemistry that I had. I mean, it hurt and it bugged me that I was wrong, but that happens sometimes. I've been practicing this type of zen-ness for a while, but I learned yesterday that one should also allow one's self to experience the lows in their life. It's important to feel the entire spectrum of emotion. Coming Home: A little sad and a little perplexed, I arrived home to a package. This was the catalyst that made me crack. It was from the Oregon Criminal History Registry. Now, the story comes full-circle. "After reviewing your application, it has come to our attention that you have not lived in Oregon for at least 18 months blah, blah, blah. You must provide the following items to acquire a provisional application: 1. Finger prints (Great! Now, I have to find a police station and fork over another $10 only to scrape by on $9.50 an hour. This all might be a bit overrated.) 2. Complete the FBI application that is enclosed (Ok. Fine.) And ready for the kicker? 3. A check for $62 to complete your application (Sixty-two fucking dollars when I'm already finger-printed and in the god damn system in Colorado! And I don't even buy checks anymore! What is this, 1952? Who the hell has checks?) I have the money, I just don't want to fork it over on principal. It cost me three dollars to initially register in the system. You're seriously going to tell me that because I moved from another state, you need 62 more dollars to find out if I was a criminal in Colorado? I'm thinking "Not really, but it would be awesome to squeeze a few extra bucks out of you out-of-towners." Screw you, Oregon! This opened the floodgates, literally. I cried and cursed all alone in my tiny walk-in closet. I felt totally betrayed, like everything had led me here only to make me struggle and sweat and feel ridiculously inadequate. A bit melodramatic, I know, but I did consider just giving up and going home. It's a shit-ton easier to find a job and navigate the bureaucracy in Colorado. After a good, long cry, I laid down and watched some TV to numb the pain. I felt raw, as if someone had carved into my belly and opened it up for everyone to see my insides. I actually think the disappointment of the failed crush was what really hurt me, and my frustration with Oregon's stupidly archaic bureaucracy just compounded my despair. I once read a zine about depression, anxiety, stress, and anger created by an amazing organization called The Icarus Project. The Icarus Project believes that mental illness should not be treated exclusively as an illness and, therefore, medicated. Rather, mental illness strikes talented, empathetic, creatives mind and those minds must feel empowered to explore their mental illness and the best coping skills for that illness. One chapter discusses how we must allow ourselves to experience that sensation of depression, anxiety, or whatever it is at that time. It is healthy to feel, and it is most decidedly unhealthy to ignore those feelings. It is important that we feel those emotions and then find a healthy way to cope with them. Today, I decided to embrace the rawness that I'm feeling. I'm sad and disappointed and not sure how to proceed in a healthy manner at this exact moment. That's ok. Feeling sad is part of living. Not knowing what to do is part of living. It's uncomfortable, but it's not permanent (I also got that from the Icarus Project). I carried on with my day. I had my child abuse training this morning so, of course, I went. I treated myself to a gluten-free almond cookie and iced coffee in my favorite quadrant of the city. I bought some zines that I thought would make me smile/laugh. I rode my bike in the sun, went to pole play, and ate a soyrizo burrito (I'm actually starting to crave vegetarian food. Weird!). I did the things I love and steered clear of the sauce (which has historically been a nasty pitfall of mine). Those are my coping mechanisms. And they're working. I can feel myself smiling more and talking to people free of anxiety. I knew these days would happen, but it still didn't prepare me for the wave of emotion. I'm finding that I just have to handle each episode as it comes, since each one is unique. And I haven't give up on living here just yet. Random side note: There is a barbershop choir convention here this weekend. Lots of fun people! P.S.: To you check writers out there, no offense. I understand that there are a myriad of reasons that people write checks, whether it's to manage your finances more responsibly or whatever. I just don't like them.
Where I bought my zines today: Portland Button Works

Gender Bending

I witnessed a man riding his bicycle today in a hot pink, tie-dyed, free flowing dress. I have never made my sentiments about pushing the gender boundaries very clear on my blog. Politically, socialogically, and psychologically I'm all for it! However, true gender ambiguity has challenged me in this city. I thought I was progressive and I am super progressive for Colorado. Not as much in Portland. I will say this, though. I smiled at the man I saw in the skirt today. It's been fucking hot the past two days. Because of the heat, I decided to don a short flowy skirt just to keep things nice and aired out. Furthermore, I learned after a shopping trip today that my body is not meant to be in jeans-- or at least not women's jeans. I find pants and jeans in particular ill-fitting around my butt, legs, and tummy and downright constricting. My body needs room to breathe. Even on a bike where I often flash some cheek when I dismount-- the air flow is worth it. So, why can't a man enjoy that amazing feeling. Skirts and dresses are awesome! I mean what sex or gender identity doesn't feel the need to air out their tender bits every now and again?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Little High

Yup. I said it. But, folks, this is definitely a "high on life" kind of high, not the chemically induced kind. I started the day with an interview and coffee in Outer Southeast. That was all fine. Nothing much to report. Then, I went to my first pole class in three weeks. It was just an Intermediate I class, but it was so fun to be back on the pole and I always marvel at how many women are in the stripping industry here in Portland. In Colorado, stripping is kind of treated like a woman's dirty little secret. In Portland, women are strippers and they're loud and proud about it. I find it liberating.
Then, I was hungry so I decided to hit up a happy hour somewhere. That wasn't terribly successful, but as I was tooling around Burnside looking for a place to eat (and imbibe, of course), I found the Doug Fir. Doug Fir is a lounge that is attached to the Jupiter Hotel. I walked in the restaurant and immediately the bartender, Josh, commented on my smile. He said "You have a wonderful smile. There is something so genuine about it." I get this a lot in Portland. I mean, I've heard it periodically throughout my life, but since moving here, I hear it on a pretty regular basis. I don't know if being genuine is an extremely important quality to Portlanders or if I'm just that happy here that it somehow comes through in my smile.
Anyway, I ordered a New Belgium Sunshine Wheat (the beers were disappointingly dominated by IPAs so I had to stay true to my home state in this case) and what I will call a Grown Up Mac and Cheese (gruyere cheese and bread crumbles. It was a beautiful thing!) I was reading a book and these two women (one my mom's age or older and the other in her mid-thirties) asked me what I was reading. I explained that it was Ursula Hegi and that my friend Anna bought it for me because I was moving to Portland and she thought I had to read Ursula Hegi in the Pacific Northwest (Anna was right, by the way). The older woman mentioned that she had lived in Oregon her whole life and never realized until recently how many great writers live in Portland. This long-haired, scruffy-looking guy who's probably 24 years old tops looks over at her and says "And cartoonists. There's this amazing cartoonist named _______________ (I don't remember his name) that lives in Portland. He's so talented." And, as happens way too often here, the older lady cries "That's my cousin! We're best friends." I've read about this phenomenon that seems exclusive to Portland. The Degrees of Separation game happens constantly here. Your bartender probably went to high school with your boss and the chick you met at a show last night is definitely sleeping with your roommate's best friend. It's inevitable here. Also, it's an everyday occurrence to witness people my mother and grandmother's age conversing with 20-something hipsters with ironic facial hair (and they actually have a lot in common!) So, I was treated to a wacky tale of this cartoonist-cousin's drug-laced public readings and naughty behavior. Awesome. Just awesome. Then,this set of characters decide to make a mass exodus, and I'm alone at the bar with my new buddy, Josh. Zola Jesus wails over the speakers and he wails with her. I decide to insert my one iota of musical credibility in a town of indie rock buffs by saying "Did you know she studied opera? That's why she can wail!" Josh, my new bartender friend, says "Omigod, the lead singer for the Tune-Yards, now she can wail. It gives me goosebumps." I stared at him vacantly, as I'd never heard of the Tune-Yards. See? I got one little fact in and then I was tapped out. Pathetic. Josh busts out his phone and plays the song for me and it is life-changing. He was right. Goosebumps. I scooped up my phone and instantly made a playlist of them on Spotify (Don't worry. I'm including the video. This band should be enjoyed by all.) I meet a lot of people here, as I've mentioned, because people are just disgustingly nice. However, I was instantly at ease with Josh-the-bartender-who-was-a-perfect-stranger. That's a little less common. It was like he was an old friend that I hadn't reconnected with in a few years. We're chatting about music and what he's going to do that night (evidently, it's Soul Night at The Devil's Lounge, a-SHOCKER-strip club. Soul Night is where they play exclusively Motown and soul music. Nice. Stripping for the musically conscious.)and how beer and I are in a relationship, but it's complicated (I'd love to tell that story, but it gets convoluted and you probably wouldn't enjoy it as much as we did). At a certain point in the conversation, the assistant manager of the Doug Fir asks Josh if he knows anyone who's looking for a job because they have a line cook, dishwasher, and one other position open. I blurted "I'm looking for a job! But I don't have any restaurant experience. I'm willing to start as a dishwasher." (No judgement. I don't care what job I do, as long as it keeps me in Portland. That's the priority for me.) Josh was sure to chime in and say "She's super friendly." She gave me her card and asked me to e-mail my resume to her. Bar stories, great music and fun company, and a possible job?! Good day, man. So, I go to leave and decide at the last minute to do something uncharacteristic for me, but commonplace in Portland. I said "Hey Josh, when do you work? I really enjoyed your company and would like to be in it again." Apparently, I can enjoy it Monday through Friday. I can't wait! Tune-Yards- Powa Tomorrow I'm headed to the IPRC for a First Friday concert and to hopefully see my crush.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Maria and Mario have asked me to teach their daughter, Helena, to read. I have minimal experience with teaching emergent readers to read. My area of expertise is teaching struggling readers who are in the secondary grades that are not performing on grade level. I was a little intimidated by the challenge, even though Helena is an extremely eager learner. Yesterday, we took her to a learning store so that I could evaluate exactly what level she was at in her reading. We purchased one book and I told Maria it would make more economical sense to go to the library and find books for her level. It's actually pretty cool because most libraries have a "learning to read" section (see, I don't know this stuff since I've never taught early childhood or elementary education) and the publishers put the reading levels of the book on the binding (super user-friendly). This morning was our first reading lesson. Helena and I have spent two days solid learning together. Yesterday was the learning how to make a zine and this morning was learning to read. I definitely had a moment after her lesson was over for the day. I realized that I miss teaching. It made me really sad for a fleeting second. Then, my mind completely switched gears from dreary nostalgia to an invigorated hopefulness. Portland has a strong sense of community, and as I have begun to dip my toes in that community, I have learned that not only do I want to be a part of it, I can also contribute a lot to it. I have been entertaining a fantasy of creating a community center (out of my home or rotating between many people's homes at first), where the focus is strictly on learning. However, I'm not talking about strictly academic learning here. I want adults to be able to come to classes where they can learn how to do bike maintenance or grow their own food in the winter time affordably (by scavenging supplies for greenhouses and engaging in seed swaps to get free goods). One of the free zines I got from the Reading Frenzy event was published by an organization that started in Portland called Urban Edibles. They have used google maps to plot the locations of food that can be foraged either on public land or on private land where there is an overabundance of a certain type of food. Say you have a plum tree in your front yard and that sucker produces way too many plums for you and your roommates/family/whoever you co-habitate with to consume. You can go onto google maps and post your place as a place where others can collect your plums for their own consumption. I am completely obsessed with this, but I don't even know where to begin. In my head I'm thinking, "I could ask one of the organizers of Urban Edibles to come to this community center and we could do a foraging fieldtrip!" Ta-da! An idea is born! Then, I began to think about obesity, particularly with minorities and how so much of that is linked to affordability of certain kinds of food and access to safe places for kids, in particular, to exercise. I thought "Well, I'm a Zumba instructor. We could start there and I could offer Zumba classes for kids and adults for free." (The area where I intend to live in Portland is where the majority of the minorities live-- hence, the cheaper rent. Sad but still true. But this gives me easy access to that demographic.) Making the zine with Helena made me think that I could partner my community center with the Independent Publisher's Resource Center to offer cheap and/or free zine-making workshops. I also thought I could use zines as a way of helping students learn to read and write (that's where my expertise could merge with the IPRC's expertise). We could offer tutoring and workshops and get-togethers to build something in our community that would improve it and seminars to educate adults and children about politics, religion, and human relationships. All of this excites me and I have to confess that I have never dreamed this big before. I think it's big because it is something wholly outside of myself. My dreams have historically been pretty ego-centric. Now, all of the sudden, I see happiness and meaning coming from what I can contribute to a community. I am not saying that this community center will happen any time soon. A year? Maybe more? But the idea that I will teach in some capacity and on my own terms in a way that will strengthen my community is absolutely intoxicating.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

What I'm consuming

I think I'll make this type of post a regular thing, so I've been exposing myself to a myriad of new ideas through music and books. First, a song. This is actually an old song, but I just stumbled upon it, so it's new to me. The song was used as background for a video about an art project featuring Barbie and Ken (yes, you read that right). Monogold- Dead Sea Minerals You can play this while you read about the books that I am reading. I just finished a book called Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills. This book is the most user-friendly DIY book I have encountered. In fact, it is so user-friendly, I will be making my own shampoo this week. I have recently become infatuated with the do-it-yourself aesthetic as a means of living outside of the consumer conciousness and living a simpler lifestyle. This book offers simple recipes for everything from nosebleeds and intestinal distress to cleaning your body and your home. Raleigh Briggs is a bonafide expert on the subject matter, but she also makes the information accessible to DIY novices such as myself. So good and so worth anyone reading. If you want it, it can be purchased on my favorite publisher's website, Microcrosm Publishing.
The other song that I can't get enough of is Alpine's Gasoline. It just feels so summer. I discovered this song from one of my favorite writers. Her book (and all women who love music should read this book) is called Record Collecting for Girls. I've read it twice and would be reading it a third time, but it's packed in Colorado. She posted on facebook that this Alpine song is her summer crush. Since I consider her writing the word of God when it comes to music, I had to have a listen. It's now my summer crush. Alpine- Gasoline I have begun to train myself in the art of reading multiple books. I am trudging through a very academic book called Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism by Rudolf Rocker. It's slow-going because of the history and jargin. To temper the intensity of the politics in Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism, I am also reading Hotel of the Saints by Ursula Hegi. This book was purchased for me by one of my dear friends in Denver, Anna. Ursula Hegi lived in the Pacific Northwest and has a very distinct style of writing that conjures the mood of this region of the country. I just started reading Hotel of the Saints last night, so I can not vouch for it, but I read Unearned Pleasures and Other Stories when I first got here (another gift from Anna) and loved it. That's what I'm consuming right now.


I've been out of commission yet again. This time, not because of any illness (I think I might have conquered Portland's microscopic beasts), but because of an active social life. Yay! I'm meeting acquaintances and starting to partake in more activities. I went to see Fire Walk with Me which is the prequel to the Twin Peaks series late on Wednesday night at one of my favorite movie theaters, The Hollywood. Thursday, I went to Laurelwood Brewery and then a zine reading at Reading Frenzy (where I won 6 free zines of the readers that were presenting!). Finally, Friday, which turned out to be an epic night. I went to the North American Organic Brewer's Festival and met up with a guy I'd met on the Max when traveling home from the movie on Wednesday. He insisted on being the proper tour guide, so we quite literally ate and drank our way from Northeast Portland to Southwest, where we both live. I'm sure you've figured out how Saturday went: Nursing an epic hangover. Today was zine day with Helena. Now that I've chronicled the past few days for you, here are some observations from my time frollicking. Unfortunately for you, dear reader, this blog is becoming a dumping ground of all my random observations, while I use up my finely honed writing skills (ha-ha) on the zines I am writing (I have finished writing one, by the way, so I'm moving on to publishing). Let the dumping commence: 1. No one in Portland is actually from here. That's not entirely true, but mostly. Basically what this means for me is that Portland is this wonderland where most of its occupants conciously moved here and contributed to a community that accepts many different lifestyles. There is a bit of a "chicken-before-the-egg" scenario here, since no one seems to know if progressive people transplanted here and changed the face of the city or if the city planted the seedlings of progressivity and there was an "if-you-built-it-they-will-come" movement. 2. The tans here are awesome. No there not. I'm one of the darkest people I've seen here. 3. This one's all about me and my accomplishments. I can now ride my bike with no hands while pedaling and on slight uphills for an extended amount of time. Now I'm teaching myself to dismount the bike while it is still coasting by swinging my leg over the back instead of looping it over the cross bar. Yes, these are the goals I have set for myself. 4. I'm never really alone here. I'll have moments of loneliness, but I never get to fully indulge. Every time I start to dip into self-pitying homesickness, some very lovely person strikes up a conversation with me. And people don't shy away from the intense stuff here, either. I met a man who is old enough to be my father at the brewer's festival and we started talking about the beers. We started out just chatting when we passed each other and then kind of paired up, while I was waiting for my friend to show up. By the end of our conversation, we were talking about public education and raising children. I apologized for preaching, but he said earnestly "You're passionate about it, so I enjoy hearing it." There are many more examples of this, but I won't bore you. 5. There is a lot of gender and sexuality ambiguity. I mistake women for men because of the way they carry themselves or I see an otherwise obvious male wearing hot pink lipstick. I read a man or a woman as gay or not and then I found out I was wrong. This only makes me laugh because in Colorado, I considered myself extremely progressive as far as gender and sexual identity were considered. Not here. I'm beginning to understand how far I need to come to be truly progressive. However, since I have decided not to take much of anything serious, I find most of these situations comical because I'm generally the ass who says something and then realizes that, oops, I was wrong. 6. Finally, I'm gayer out here. It's weird and cool because people are much more likely to read me as gay, and I like it. I think because people live more in the gray or even the colored areas of life here, I just feel like I allow more of my creative and alternative side to show itself. Those are some observations. Maybe someday soon, this blog will start to take a distinctive shape, though a doubt it.

International Zine Month

Today is the first day of international zine month. Yay! The writer of Stolen Sharpie Revolution (Alex Wrekk) kindly posted this follow-along list of activities for each day of July.
Today's task was to sign up for We Make Zines on the ning, which I did. However, many zinester's on facebook are posting about their first experience with a zine today. So, that is exactly how I will start this post. I found my first zine when I came to Portland in March of 2011. It was at Reading Frenzy. I believe it was called Heart, though I'm not sure because it is packed in a box in Colorado, waiting to be moved back to its homeland. It's a large zine in that it is 11 X 15 inches, which is uncommon for a zine (at least from what I've seen). It was filled with poems and color photographs portraying love in all it's complexities and nuances. I barely understood the poetry but I loved it anyway. So, thank you, Reading Frenzy, for popping my zine cherry! I know I wasn't the first and I certainly won't be the last for you, but I'm ok with that since I'm pretty sure I got the better end of the deal here. Also zine-related, I told Helena (the precocious 6-year-old with whom I live) about the zines I have been writing and that the Independent Publisher's Resource Center (IPRC) actually hosts teen and child zine workshops on Sundays. She got really excited so I asked her if she would like to make a zine with me and she emphatically replied "Yes!" She even scheduled today as our zine day. She came up with entire concept herself, we planned it together, she planned the drawings and I did the writer (since she is learning to read and write right now). We're not yet finished with the illustrations, but it turned out to be this amazing experience for me. Here are some of the pictures of our process together:
This was our plan
This is how the zine is prepped.
Helena's plan for the drawings on each page.
This is the first page.
Helena's author bio
My bio and our last page
This is my plan for a submission to the zine Rad Dad (which is a zine about radical parenting and the second zine I ever read) that was inspired by the incredible process of helping Helena make her zine. More pictures to come as we complete the zine!