Oregon, Portland, Writing

Oh My Portlandia

Husband and I recently completed a six week birthing class at our birth center here in Portland, and more than anything it made me realize that we are just living in an extended, never ending episode of Portlandia. Bumper stickers everywhere implore us to Keep Portland Weird. I don’t think we really need to worry about Portland losing any of its weirdness. Just this past week, as we were driving down our main street, in our little slice of weird Portland, we passed a woman who was waiting for the bus with a turtle in a cat carrier and a trio of wandering musicians: one wore tight pink pants and beat on a little kids drum, the second carried a sign around their neck asking for money to support musicians, and the third beat on a cowbell.  Portland.

Then a couple of weeks ago my mom and I went to check out a reflexology massage place in the Alphabet district. We were given foot massages by a husband and wife team—a duo straight from a Portlandia sketch. The husband held different bottles of essential oils against my feet to see which one my body resonated with. That time it was frankincense, the time after that it was lemon, and last week it was a blend that had spruce in it—I believe it was called Balance. Anyway turns out the couple also writes a blog about all of the feet that come through their door.

Not to mention that every single clip I have watched of Portlandia, I am able to find something identifiable: put a bird on it, the male feminists, the raw milk hippies, the tiny home dwellers. But our birthing class has been  over the top—every week. We learned a lot and met some very neat couples, as well as getting to know one of our midwives a lot better. A. LOT. BETTER.

We knew things were going the way of Portlandia when we took our seats among the seven other couples in the room. It was a little surprising to look around and see that EVERYONE in the room was white with brown hair. I mean everyone was brunette and there was a lot of flannel and moccasins. There was even a couple who live in a school bus—a love bus I believe is what they call it. But they were pretty tame compared to the final couple who walked in.

They were a little late, a little younger than myself, and both wearing wolf tails—wolf tails attached to their derrieres. They had taken the bus to get to the center, and when they took their seats on the other side of the circle from us, they both gingerly moved their tails in order to sit down.

That was only the beginning. I am pretty sure Mr. Wolf Tail was high whenever he was in class, or he was just really spacy and VERY overly communicative. Everyone listened intently as the midwife talked us through the anatomy of birth, but none of us felt the need to verbally signal that we were tracking what she was saying–except Mr. Wolf Tail. He could not help but nod in agreement with really any point the midwife said, but he carried it a step further by continuously saying things like: interesting, I agree, yes (not as a response to a question), okay, etc.

But the Wolf Tails were not the only Portlandia experience. The second birth video they had us watch was something else. It was of a Mexican midwife during the birth of her third child. The video opened with her talking about her husband, a Japanese sculptor, who was very in tune with the birth process due to the nature of his art. He would slowly, patiently carve his sculptures, giving birth to them as it where.

At one point the video, which goes from her early labor all the way through to her water birth, cuts away from her and her husband to a pair of mating dragonflies. Husband and I have talked it over and we aren’t really sure what that scene signifies. Were the couple having sex to help labor along and this was their classy way of showing it? Or was it just a representation of their love?

I really don’t know.

But it gets more interesting. The next scene showed pregnant momma walking forwards with her husband holding her hands and walking backwards. Her narration explains that she realized that when she was walking towards her husband it felt like her belly was swollen with their love, but when she ended up walking away from him it was physically painful, so his solution was to walk with her.

Watching the video with seven other pregnant couples was an interesting and slightly uncomfortable experience. I am pretty sure we all avoided eye contact. Especially when we learned that it was the mother’s father who did all the filming. Imagine your father—or for you men imagine your father-in-law—filming the birth of your child and all the beautiful, naked glory that it entails. I mean her birth ends in the bath tub with her naked with her naked husband, and then after the baby is born, the other two naked children climbed in. Now I have nothing against nudity, especially during childbirth, but I cannot imagine sharing that much with my father.

All of these very Portlandia experiences have me convinced that I would love to be a writer for the show, but I am pretty sure that is just the lazy part of myself speaking. EVERYONE who lives in Portland could contribute to the content of that show. It wouldn’t really take much talent or effort as just living here is enough to supply anyone with enough material for ten tv shows.


Nano Day 5

I don’t really want to talk about writing today or how Nanowrimo is going. Nano is going well, I am meeting my word goals everyday and I am on track to finish on time, but it is only day 5 and who knows what will happen between now and the end. But that is all I want to say about that, and since I need to get onto my Nano writing I think this will be a short post–probably about inconsequential nothings.

Like the fact that I haven’t eaten meat in a couple weeks and I do not miss it at all. My in-laws are probably doing a happy dance, as they are all vegetarians. Since I am staying with my sister-in-law (Gita) for another couple of weeks it will be a complete month without meat (minus that one dish at that one Thai restaurant, but that hardly counts). I thought at least I would feel fatigued, but I seem to be getting all of the nutrients I need.

Also I am now addicted to Boggle. I had never played before when Gita pulled it out and a group of five of us played. I did not want to stop, and I wanted to WIN. I haven’t felt like that with almost any game I play. I have played Settlers of Catan for years and maybe about once a year or so I get a bug up my bum to win, but that is it. It is a completely different story with Boggle. Husband stayed up with me a little bit later then everyone else and played another couple of rounds. What a good man.

What else?

Baby Tulsi seems to be growing before my eyes. Everyday she seems a little bigger and definitely stronger. I am loving being around a baby so much. She sleeps almost all of the time, but for now that is alright with me. She can sleep on me as much as she wants. We will be back for another visit in December. It will be so much fun to see how she has changed. She will be a whole new…thing!

I suppose that is it for today. I am off to write a novel. Ciao!


Nanowrimo 2013

We are one month away from Nanowrimo 2013, which means we are only one month away from me morphing into a crazy, word spewing, drooling lump of a human. Or at least that is what happened last year when I attempted to write 50,000 words in 30 days in November. Am I looking forward to it?


Yes? Maybe.

At least I think I am looking forward to it. Last year was sort of a train wreck–I will admit. I started off going strong. I was writing at least 1,600 words a day. I was diligent, prepared, punctual. But then I hit the week and a half mark, and I stopped. Full stop, stopped. I didn’t write a word until I crawled out of my hole of denial during day one of week four. WEEK FOUR.

It was that Monday when I realized that I only had 10,000 words written and five days left. So I pulled a couple of all-nighters, called in sick to work, and wrote like crazy. I wrote 30,000 words in a week, ten (thousand) of which were on the last day of Nanowrimo, but it wasn’t enough. So around 11:30pm, thirty minutes away from deadline, I threw in the towel.

So I packed up my sorry behind, crawled into the car, and drove from Tacoma to Portland where Kashi was. I got to our place around three in the morning. I have never seen Kashi so scared when he woke up to me standing over him in the dark. I think he hyperventilating for about twenty minutes.

That was Nanowrimo 2012. This is Nanowrimo 2013. Obviously I am hoping to finish this year. I am also hoping to be slightly less of a train wreck and to not basically take a two-week hiatus from writing in the middle of the month. The biggest difference this year is that for at least the first couple of weeks of Nano I will be in California helping my new sister Gita with her new baby. A lot of you know how much I love babies. Maybe I can use the infant as motivation?? No cuddling till after the word count for the day is completed?

Sounds like a plan! Babies.