Drinking In Portland

There are SO many local theatres in Portland, it’s hard not to find SOMETHING of interest every week.  During the Fertile Ground festival, I saw the fabulous world premiere of International Falls at the CoHo.   This weekend, I was back at the theatre to see Bill W and Dr Bob.  It is based on the story of William Wilson (Bill W.) and Dr. Robert Smith (Bob S., or “Dr. Bob”), the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and their wives Lois Wilson and Anne Smith, creators of Al-Anon.

In 1929, the famous New York stockbroker William G. Wilson crashed with the stock market and became a hopeless drunk. Dr. Bob Smith was a surgeon from Ohio, who had also been an alcoholic for thirty years. In fact, he often went into the operating room with a hangover. Through an astonishing series of events, Bill W. and Dr. Bob Smith met and formed a relationship, each helping to keep the other sober. The two went on to form AA together. The show told this story in a delightful way, and also managed to give me pause.

We had dinner after the show, and I skipped the usual glass of wine. But, as fortune would have it, I had already planned on skipping that wine long before I’d watched the show. I had purposely given up alcohol that weekend, and so it was especially poignant to see  Bill W and Dr Bob on Sunday afternoon.  Was that coincidental?  Probably not, as I find my life always runs little themes that get woven into glorious threads and ribbons.  But I was giving up alcohol for another reason:  The Cleanse.

cleanse 010

For the past year, I’ve been trying to understand a friend’s regular “fasting”.   Why does one “fast”?  With food such an important part of experiencing the company of friends and family, and being part of the foodie town that I live in – why would one chose to go without?  Is fasting about religion?  Or diet?  Or some other mystic goings on?

But it finally hit me – the rest of the world may “fast” – but here, we “CLEANSE.”   And after reading one of my younger zumba pal’s blog – I wanted to CLEANSE as well!

I quote my new “facebook friend” Yoona: “I remembered that long ago, my friend Kim had extolled the virtues of the juices at Portland Juice Press—in particular, a milkshake-like drink that came at the end of each day’s ration of juices. I researched the company online. Six juices a day, for three days? With daily delivery to my house? How hard could that be?”

My box of juices have arrived this morning at my office.  So begins THE CLEANSE.

Francene has over 30 years in the home mortgage business, and she loves being part of the Portland community. If you’re interested in homeownership or refinancing, give her a call today to schedule a consultation or find out more about Portland mortgage options. 


More Aerial Schools–This One’s In Cambodia!

My blog last week detailing the fantastic time I had at one of Portland’s great aerial schools got me a a little wistful for some of my recent travels. You see, while I was traipsing through Cambodia several months ago, my travel companions found a similar school. This was the first time I’d really heard of something like that being open to the public, so needless to say I was very excited. The school was in Battanbong, the second largest city in Cambodia. The group at this school was known to have an amazing blend of traditional and modern theater, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and contortion. What’s more, this group wove all those activities into a beautifully choreographed performance which told the a story of Cambodian people and society  The famous artists of this school, called Phare Ponleu Selpak, had performed all around the world. We scheduled our time in Battanbong around an afternoon performance that might allow us to participate.

But alas, when we arrived at the school we found it closed. The country was mourning the passing of the Cambodian King Father Norodom Sihanouk. We wandered the grounds, melancholy as we climbed the bars, dangling aloft. Slowly, though, our disappointment dissipated as children arrived from the surrounding grounds and joined with us to frolic in the so previously empty structures. My aerial lesson would have to wait until I least expected it, but meanwhile we made some new friends.

Our new buddies trying out some headstands.

Our new buddies trying out some headstands.

Francene has over 30 years in the home mortgage business, and she loves being part of the Portland community. If you’re interested in homeownership or refinancing, give her a call today to schedule a consultation or find out more about Portland mortgage options.

Birding from Costa Rica to Portland

One of my very first family vacations outside of the US was a trip to Costa Rica.  Oregonians are quite fond of this small country, and I ran into numerous folks with ties to the two places.  No doubt the green-loving personality of a typical Oregonian is enamored with a tiny country where more than 25% of its land is dedicated to national parks, reserves and wildlife refuges.

Costa Rica hosts more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity even though its landmass only takes up .03% of the planet’s surface. There are more than:

  • 130 species of freshwater fish
  • 160 species of amphibians
  • 208 species of mammals
  • 220 species of reptiles
  • 850 species of birds
  • 1,000 species of butterflies
  • 1,200 varieties of orchids
  • 9,000 species of plants
  • 34,000 species of insects
  • and still counting as new species are discovered every day!

So it comes as no surprise that I stumbled into my first brush with bird watching while touring Costa Rica. Bird watching is one of the fastest growing recreational sports in the world.  The equipment required can be nothing more than your eyes and ears, so you can do it ANYWHERE–but I have to say, it’s especially fantastic in Costa Rica!  Traveling just a short distance by bus into the jungle, a young man guided my family and I into a lush setting where we saw Woody Woodpecker!   Wow – he was real!  And macaws!  And toucans!   Holy smokes – those cartoons from my childhood took on a whole new meaning!

After the initial excitement of seeing those showy tropical birds of Costa Rica, it might seem less enticing to head into a slick muddy trail in Forest Park back home to find little brown birds.  But little brown birds, it turns out, are also an exciting bunch of birds.  Most of us will come into contact with the tiny Bushtit both at home and in the work place on a daily basis.  You’ll know them because, first of all, they are REALLY tiny, and they swoop in with the whole dang family and a cast of friends. And boy, do they keep a schedule.  DANG, these guys are predictable!   That’s one of the characteristics that helps Birders identify their birds.

Birding can be frustrating if you’ve had the experience of someone spotting these gorgeous creatures for you, and then head out on your own to find them.  Birding by Ear is one of the solutions, and it’s offered this spring at the Audubon. Check them out!

A Very Unique Birthday Party

When my neighbor invited me to her 69th birthday party last week, I have to admit that at first I didn’t quite realize what I was getting myself into. As it turned out, this was no garden party, folks—this was a group class at the Portland Aerial School.

more aerial students

You read that right. Aerial. Like trapeze, acrobatics, and other hang-from-the-roof type activities. Needless to say, I was thrilled! I didn’t even know we had an aerial school here in Portland! And what a fabulous event they led us in. After watching the talented students perform, we were invited to learn “the ropes”.


The very first thing I attempted was the Aerial Silk, or Tissu. Performers climb the suspended fabric without the use of safety lines, and rely only on their training and skill to ensure safety. They use the fabric to wrap, suspend, fall, swing, and spiral their bodies into and out of various positions. Aerial silks may be used to fly through the air, striking poses and figures while flying. I managed to hoist myself up, over, point my toes, and descend with the help of the experts. It was such a thrill! Next up, the trapeze. Incredible! Then juggling. Wow! (I really should have started learning this MUCH earlier in life) Finally, I moved on to the Hula Hoop. Sounds like the simplest of the bunch, right? Wrong. How was it even possible that I’d forgotten how to keep the hoop in the air?! But the students patiently guided me through, and I was happily hula-hooping yet again.

aerial students

The Pendulum Aerial School is celebrating 13 years here in Portland. I had an amazing experience and hope to go back. If you ever get a chance to give it a go, I only have two words for you: DO IT!!! And post about your experience in the comments!

Francene has over 30 years in the home mortgage business, and she loves being part of the Portland community. If you’re interested in homeownership or refinancing, give her a call today to schedule a consultation or find out more about Portland mortgage options.