The move…to Portland!

Yesterday, the first of the month, I moved all my stuff from the burbs to NE Portland! While moving always sucks a little bit, this time was particularly unpleasant. Why is it that some people are so maddeningly irresponsible? I drive to my friend’s house, who is to become my new roommate at this house. We grab the truck from U-haul, sweatily pack all her stuff in the truck, squeeze my mattress in there, and head over to the new house. Side note, Portland traffic sucks balls. It’s the worst thing ever, especially when your car is packed full to the rim, bags and boxes hanging out the windows. After we finally make it to the house, we are delighted to find that the person supposedly vacating has not packed. Anything. The kitchen is a mess, the old couch remains in the living room, right where we are to put our things, and they are smoking weed. Nice, people. Really nice.

As a result, I have learned that I need to grow a little bit more of a backbone. I still have a problem with confronting people in uncomfortable situations, just like the one last night. My roommate had to butter them up and light a fire under their asses to get them moving. And then all of a sudden, they pack up their shit and clean the kitchen in, like, 15 minutes flat. So, it is possible, you just have to not be a lazy slug with no excuses.

Despite that negativity, I will be moving into my room tonight and unpacking everything to get nice and cozy. Can’t wait to settle into our awesome, new home 🙂


Tin Shed

A review of this awesome Northeast Portland eatery is in store.  I happened to land in the patio of this place last Saturday night after moving over a bunch of boxes preemptively before the official move this Wednesday.  Mr. Z and I drove the incredibly short drive over to Alberta–location of my favorite Brunch place, Petite Provence, which is blogged here under “Brunch Escapades”–in search of a new Hawaiian place I had heard of first hand from the “new owner.” Well we searched and searched for this place and to no avail. Alas, it does not exist. While feeling slightly duped and silly for falling into the trap of this young alleged restaurant entrepreneur, we ended up at The Tin Shed. We squeezed onto the heated, dog-friendly patio just before closing. At first sight, the menu is quite small. But then you discover the plethora of sandwiches they have to offer! Woot. I got the Cubano, which consists of their house-roasted pork, Canadian bacon, garlic mustard sauce, and cheese. YUM! Mr. Z got the special mac, which that night combined cheesy spirals with sweet potatoes and rosemary. Uh. Yeah. Good choice.

The interesting part came when our waiter, who insisted that we need not rush out the door despite their 9pm close time, sat down with us and explained that in the past few days, they have been hosting Guy Fieri and his show Drive-Ins, Diners, and Dives! What?!?! Cool! While I love the Food Network and have spent many a lazy afternoon melting into the couch at the sight of such delicious dishes that they so seamlessly create in their luxury kitchens, I dislike the influx of consumers to places that “get discovered.” I think it’s wonderfully FREE publicity for small, new businesses, but the result is inflated wait times and that sense of letting “the secret” out to the rest of the world of how good this little hole in the wall used to be. Nevertheless, it is not too shabby to be recognized as having great Dill Pickle Mac N Cheese and a sandwich known as the Baby Beluga (two menu items which we did not get to try).

So, moral of the story: GO TO TIN SHED BEFORE IT EXPLODES WITH HUNGRY NE PORTLANDERS. It is worth it and your sense of having discovered something before it got popular will remain intact this time. Yes!

Service Learning

Yesterday was Day 1 of our endeavor of service learning at my school. I am teaming up with a 6th grade teacher to educate students about what service learning is, what it means to be a volunteer, and how to help the community with the needs that it is lacking.  We introduced the vocabulary around “community” and started the conversation about what we think is important in it. We started wit the question: “What is a community?” Students decided that the school is a community. The town is a community. Anything with a common interest is a community. We then talked about what a community is built on–words such as “concern,” “altruism,” and “philanthropy” help guide our thinking.  Later this week we will use these words to “build” a community on poster paper.

I am super excited for these lessons and to eventually guide the students to create a service project that serves the community in a positive and effective way. What do you do to help your community? How do you get involved? Get out there!

Freaking Springtime. It’s a love-hate relationship

Yellow pollen. How I hate you so. Get out of my nose and leave me alone!

My last (brief) post will seem contrastive to this one. I feel inspired to write today because last night I opened my (for my eyes only) journal to the last entry…December 5th…2012. Wow. That was ages ago. That was the day I met Mr. Z. I started thinking about where all the time has gone. We are 1/3 of the way through 2013 and I wanted to reflect on the highlights:

I spent my birthday with a sig other, for the first time ever.

I became a wine club member (!

I made souffles!

I have volunteered (

I found my future abode in Portland!

So many great things have happened among the stressful, frustrating times that I have experienced this year in AmeriCorps.

I am hoping that more good is to come. I am still waiting to hear about my future options. Grad school? AmeriCorps? Big girl job? In the meantime and between excessive sneezing, I am enjoying the simpler things in life. Happy Spring!




Screen Door

Brunch at Screen Door this past Sunday happened spontaneously. Mr. Z and I had intended to go over to E Burnside again to hit up this New Orleans restaurant we had spotted while at Laurelhurst theater last Friday night. We parked on a side street (parallel parking abilities are improving) and walked up to the restaurant front…still closed. We decided to walk a bit, catch some rays, and see what other brunch opportunities there were. And then we saw the enormous crowd spilling over the edges of the sidewalk. The letters “OFFEE” were visible…people stood around with there mittened hands gripping white mugs. Free coffee while waiting to be seated?

We took a peak at the menu in the window and we were instantly sold. Southern food (perfect for Mr. Z) with Northwest quality makes for delicious dishes oozing with flavor. We waited for over an hour, sipped cups of joe while we chatted in the sunlight on the corner of Burnside.

We were finally seated at the bar. I decided to go sweet and got the Breakfast Cornbread, which was covered in whipped cream and pear compote. Small dish, ok taste. I added on a Shane’s Breakfast corndog after that and it was worth it. Mr Z ordered the sausage and fennel omelet with red potatoes as a side. He made the right choice. Delicious dish. We both got mimosas, which were served with a healthy serving of sparkling wine. Coffee is free until you are seated, so I recommend getting your fill before taking a seat. 

Overall great experience, exquisite food. Curt host. What can you do? Check it out in any case. More brunch adventures to come this Sunday!

ESL Class

I have now taught 2 lessons of my adult ESL Class at the Tuality Hospital in Hillsboro. These are employees who needs English intervention in order to keep their jobs and to better perform on the site.  I was really nervous about the class initially, thinking that they would have very high expectations of me and that I wouldn’t be able to fill the time with relevant activities.  Despite my worries, I am quickly seeing that these individuals are very eager to improve their skills and they are hardworkers. We started out with an oral dialogue about asking permission to do things and offering to help. These are two topics that are very important for my students. In their jobs at the hospital, there are countless instances where it is necessary to offer to clean the area, change the sheets, etc. as well as many times when they need to ask permission to perform a duty. So this was a great warm up activity!

I am just really impressed with their work ethic as a whole. They are pretty consistently working the ENTIRE time. They aren’t really slackers at all, even though I know that for some of them this is extremely hard and seems like fruitless efforts. I am so excited to keep working with them for 10 more weeks! Hopefully we will see a lot of progress and improvement in their English and their confidence using it!

New Plan!

I have a new plan. I have been him-ing and ha-ing and blah-blah-blah-ing about what to do when my AmeriCorps program ends in June/July, but I wasn’t actually making any moves toward my list of options; ie Repeat AmeriCorps. Teach English in Spain. Move home. Go to Grad school. Ah hah! I think ultimately I want to go back to school and get my teaching credentials. I had been looking into different programs around the Portland area and then yesterday I had some downtime at work, so I decided to call the School of Education Department at UP just to get some mo’ info. The lady was nice, helpful, and friendly, and she advised me to go to the information meeting regarding teaching programs that is happening next Tuesday on campus. Excellent! Count me in!

Just the thought of going to school in North Portland got me excited about moving to Portland and living in such a fun place! I already hastily started looking at housing on (because my days have been slow with all my kids OAKS testing) and I found a really cool place that I could see myself living in…immediately. I don’t think I will jump that fast, but it did get me really excited about possibilities for change!

Happy hearts day to all. Whether or not you are snuggling with someone. Have a wonderful Thursday!

Petite Provence on Alberta

What a wonderful place this is for brunch! C’est un resto tres bon pour le petit dejuner. You should first check out their website and get in the mood with same french cafe tunes.

The only problem is that in the establishment itself, they play overly American music and, in my opinion, this kind of squanders the french feel that the chairs, linens, and mountains of pastries so successfully replicates (For a second, I tricked myself into thinking I had, in fact, apparated to France…no such luck though).  However, they do have incredibly delicious food. I got there before my friend, so I put in our name and perused the menu. I had only been here once before and all I had gotten that time was the pear tart (which I remember being so good, that I got it again this time for dessert). I ordered a small cappuchino and the quiche du jour and the soup du jour alongside: Roasted veggie quiche with white bean and bacon soup. It was between this and the procuitto and brie sandwich. Tough choice, but I was very pleased with my selection. Friend ordered the eggs provencal with a side of the roasted potatoes and butternut squash.  Excellent presentation plus exquisite tasting food. It was a clear success. We stayed and chatted a while until it felt rude to keep the table with such a long line forming out the door. Despite the crowd, though, we only waited about 15-20 for our table and they really keep the patronizers moving through there.

Great place. In an excellent location. I would highly recommend it. Petite Provence has many sister locations, one of which is called Provence on Division St. Though I haven’t tried it, I’m sure it is on par with Alberta’s location.

While I would like to keep frequenting Petite Provence every weekend and eat my way through their varied pastry selection, I am going to do my best and try other places out for brunch. Stay tuned for more reviews of the food adventures I get myself into here in the PNW!


Finally, a moment to take a breather after an incredibly long week at work. After 200+ attendance at our Parent Involvement Event last night, driving to the airport this morning at 4:30am, Just Dancing 4 on Wii in 80s attire at the school assembly, tutoring my struggling bunnies, and editing the school newspaper, the only things I have on my mind are wine, couch, and JeoParty. I thought I would come home and literally crash into an interrupted slumber on the stairs, but then I started catching up with my friends from my weekly shows…Jess, Dr. L, and the crew at Dunder Mifflin (especially Nelly on this episode…”Oh no, Nelly…”).

I took bf to the airport this morning for his flight to his homelandia, AKA NW Florida, AKA basically the deep South. This is the first time apart for an extended period and I am trying to not seem pathetic about the distance.  So much time spent together makes time away seem totally foreign, awkward, and a little bit lonely : / I’m going to take this opportunity for some much-needed me time. Brunch with girlfriends, extra sleep no alarm clock, and, of course, more vino. Here’s to the weekend 🙂