Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Oh man you guys, here's what happened a couple weeks ago when I skipped across the UVillage to meet Ashton at Starbucks and this creepy dude was WATCHING OUR EVERY MOVE.  I had to hiss at Ashton to check him out, but poor boy never could figure out where creeper even was, probably because the guy was sooo good at being "sneaky."  Seriously, I thought he might be the next up and coming Green River Killer, especially when we got into the car later and he ran after us

Fortunately, he ended being our friendly local photographer who wanted to "shoot us for a new ATT phone ad" (as you can tell, the phone is the opposite of fancy).  At first we could best be described as skeptical, because when someone tells you they like your "energy," you feel a little like those poor midwest girls who move to the Big Apple and accidentally get into the porn industry because they think people are just being nice to them.  Next thing you know, BLAMMO, innocence lost.  However, he sensed our hesitation and chose that moment to drop the financial stats on us.  I've previously mentioned that we have the combined income of two people who should be living in a grass hut, so we couldn't say no.  We just could not say no.

So here we are, shots stolen straight off some dark corner of the ATT website that I won't even try to explain since it's so far down the rabbithole.  This is after three solid weeks of apartment hunting, living on couches, and wearing the same outfit three days in a row (he asked if we had a change of clothes and we could barely contain the church giggles).  Thanks, Creepy Starbucks guy who ended up being a total delight to spend an afternoon with, and who then let us make a week's worth of cashola on the spot without even taking our clothes off!  Three cheers!

PS. Ashton would actually murder me if he knew I put the "casual glasses in mouth" shot of him on here, let's keep that our little secret, k?

*All photos courtesy of Marc Carter, thanks Marc!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

a corner of the cloak.

"...and conclude, for the thousandth time, what a wild and blessed gift,
What a bloody and magical machine it is, what a slather of stories,
What an endless thicket!  You really and truly could be issued fifty
Lifetimes and spend each of them addled and muddled in wonder
And never understand or even see more than a corner of the cloak."
-Brian Doyle, from A Corner of The Cloak

Well, look who just had a half dozen strokes of kismet fall upon their poverty-stricken shoulders! Ashton (grad student), Amy (currently unemployed) and I (sugar mama non-profit employee) somehow found ourselves the world's most beautiful townhome in the Central District (that's the view of Quest Field from my deck!), and I couldn't be happier.  Like, granite countertops, 3.5 baths and hardwood-to-die-for happy.  I love coming home at the end of the day.  Love it. 

We're definitely in a different world than our Wallingfords and Greenlakes of yore.  A trip to Starbucks becomes a mini-UN meeting as I am surrounded on all glorious sides by Eritrean women with gorgeous scarves, old black men playing chess and tipping their hats at girls who walk past with espresso, the occasional lost-looking Latino teenager, sweet-faced retired Asian couples with matching sweaters, perky Garfield students with braids and magenta tennis shoes... the faces hold stories, and the lips are more willing to speak them to a stranger.

In the parking lot, inevitably, Omar comes to sell me incense.  "It's handmade, home-made, it's only a dollar!" he encourages me, his hands reaching from his pristine alabaster robes to extend an offering of his wares.  "I'm allergic, remember, Omar?"  (This is only a small white lie.  I just despise the scent of incense because it reminds me of middle school, when my theater friends wore too much black eyeliner and listened to grungy music, and I secretly wanted to listen to R&B and throw everyone's blown-glass incense holders out the window)  He backs away instantly.  "Baby, baby, I would never want to do anything to hurt a woman like you!  You are so beautiful."  (Flowery prose that leads me to wonder if it's not just incense that Omar lights at home...) "Oh, thank you Omar, I hope business is good today!"  I hop into my car to arrange my coffee and my files and my sanity before work, and Omar taps on the hood to call through the windshield, "Because of you, I WILL have a great day."

Our first Saturday in the new dream house, Dower and I abandoned all the moving boxes and went on a walk.  It was all I could do to drag my exhausted body through the neighborhood but I was revived by the echoing ululations of what sounded like a party-- a big one-- and we followed the billowing smoke through the sidewalks.  As it turns out, Ethiopian churches really do know how to party.  A few hundred beautiful people (what is UP with East African bone structure?  Could they be any more perfect?!) were chanting, dancing, and celebrating a holiday that was unknown to me (I have since looked it up, and let me just say that Meskel sounds WAY more fun than Labor Day).  I was pretty thrilled when I realized we were about three blocks from my new house, and hoped the smoke would sweep its way over our rooftop to impart some of its intrigue on our home too.

But ok, the neighborhood is a little hood.  Frank's friend got shot in the middle of someone else's drug deal at Parnell's, the corner store 2 blocks up from us.  Our landlord chastises us for not keeping every lock firmly secured on the gate to our yard.  Hardly a week goes by without witnessing some dude getting apprehended by the po-po, or hearing some racially charged argument at Subway, but there is nothing boring about living between MLK and Jackson and Rainier.  And really, no matter where you live or what you do with the long hours that create a day, is there any substitute for wonder at the world, for seeing new constellations under every leaf and fully expecting beauty and strangeness to leap out from every corner and catch you off guard?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

classy joint.

You'd think that when you buy a fancy condo on the water, you'd really experience a step up in signage.  Dower's place proves this theory totally correct.

Some thoughts: what are cupons, and are they as painful as they sound?  Will Bobbi be compensated for her trauma?  And did the people at the engraving shop even notice?