Moving is difficult…but always worth it.

Husband and I have successfully moved out of our little trendy apartment on Capitol Hill and packed what we thought necessary as storage material in a little u-haul and hauled ourselves across the state.

Moving is difficult. I understand why it’s easier to stay in the same place for 50 years, never throw things out, box stuff and storing it is easier than releasing your attachment to it and passing it on. I know I am a recovering packrat and still have many attachments to items that have memories or stories. I found in the Seattle apartment my UConn outing club secretary notes from 2002! Proudly, I lightened my load and recycled. We reduced our file cabinet into a little box and a binder. Who really needs to save the utility bills for the past 4 years? Not me. Otherwise, I’ll hold onto it forever.

I was able to reduce my clothing collection (it helps that I don’t shop much anymore) because it’s basically 3 categories: wear all the time, wear never, save for circus performances/fancy events. I had no idea how much clothes I had until I filled buckets of clothes to donate. Same thing goes for gear. But it’s hard to get rid of gear…and kitchen stuff. Those are the tuffies for me. I definitely sold/donated my gear that I don’t use anymore (I now have 2 pairs of climbing shoes instead of 5 and 1 harness.) I gave away all the kitchen utensils I don’t use or could easily find at a Goodwill another day. I was able to get rid of most of my kitchen stuff, but the hardest was my spice collection. What a sad day. I spent 4 years building up a spice rack Isa Chandra would be proud of to only put it all on the free table in my building. I tried to give my spices to friends that cook, but no one was interested. Well, at least I have all the cupboards empty and can enjoy putting together another spice rack one day in the future and have it be only spices that I use.

After the illegal yard sale (we got in trouble by the management but continued to have it-we sold our bed, futon, dressers, bookshelf, tables and more…so much easier than posting each item on craigslist), multiple donation visits to the Aids Alliance, computer donation to Re-PC, selling most of our books and cd’s to Half Price Books (and donations to Eco Encore), somehow I feel like I still have too much stuff. Which I know is a good feeling. It encourages me to let go of more attachments, live with less “stuff,” and most importantly, the burden of accumulation has been lifted. Not fully, but enough for me to feel freer. I would love to be able to live out of a backpack, but I definitely have a lot of interests that pull me in many stuff directions: cooking, circus, hiking, climbing, knitting. As long as I make an effort to not be a packrat again and have shoeboxes of rubber bands that cute boys flung at me, movie stubs, and rocks from every body of water that I visited, I feel like I’m moving in a good direction. I know I can’t get rid of all the notes and letters from friends starting from 2nd grade on, at least not yet.

Matt introduced me to a really interesting (short) essay on stuff and how we view it/live with it in our society today. Check it out, perhaps it will inspire you as well.

Portland, OR: city of vegan sin

Husband and I recently spent a weekend in Portland to visit a friend and experience a new city. Portland has been touted as the “old Seattle” or what Seattle used be like before everyone got dependent on cars and yuppified and decided they didn’t want to make friends with outsiders. I’m not bitter :) There’s plenty wonderful about Seattle, but this post is about Portland. It seems the average age is more mid-20′s in Portland. It may just be my view, but Seattle seems very early-mid-30s.

Portland is the second greenest city in the WORLD, just behind Iceland. It’s got parks, trees, light rail, buses that are numerous and used, bike lanes and it’s pretty flat compared to Seattle. Which means more people could handle the bike riding. I saw a lot more people out on bikes for joy rides at all times of the day, which seemed like fun. I guess you can always feel like a 12 year old on a bicycle in Portland. We didn’t ride bikes on our trip, but walked a lot, checked out all the mini-neighborhoods and played frisbee and took a nap in Washington Park (which has an amazing Arboretum, hiking trails etc. And it’s on top of a big hill with views of the city).

Portland is also the #1 vegetarian large-city in the US, and I believe it. FoodFight Grocery has a vegan foodie’s guide to Portland, which I printed out and we visited a bunch on the list. We ate at Blossoming Lotus (which has it’s main restaurant on Kauai, HI and I’ve been cooking from their cookbook lately) and I had an all-raw dinner there. My body felt the difference eating raw in just one meal; but I’m not ready to go all Woody Harrelson on ya. I’m still excited and learning about the vegan cuisines. It’s amazing. I’ve always said that by becoming vegetarian I’ve never felt like I’ve been denying myself food. In fact, I feel I eat a greater variety of grains, protein sources and produce while being a vegetarian. Back when I was ignorant and had not been introduced to Vegan with a Vengeance, I thought vegans were the ones denying themselves food, oh those extremists! But the more I learn about the dairy industry directly connecting to the veal/hamburger etc etc and the more I cook vegan somehow, someway, even MORE doors have opened for me that I didn’t think possible. I’m really enjoying cooking my way through VWAV and husband agrees that vegan food is tasty. Enough of that rant, we ate WELL. I was very surprised to find 99% of the restaurants we went into proudly stated on their menus they can make most items vegan on their menus. We sampled some amazing biscuits and almond gravy, microbrews galore and vegan soft serve ice cream. If you want a rundown on the food experiences in detail, come to the foodblog.

Our friend had a dodgeball tournament that weekend as well, so we checked out a few games. Apparently dodgeball is HUGE in Portland, but not as big as kickball. There’s more than one division. Being 12 is really where it’s at.

We considered joining the mondo croquet party but we didn’t have any wonderland clothing nor a sledgehammer nor bowling balls. It was a giant croquet party in the Pearl District and we stopped by and checked it out, but I enjoyed more than anything just walking around the city, through the Saturday market, people watching, and just getting a vibe of the city.

And the vibe seems good and friendly. I estimate that 50% of the people have dogs and walk them a lot–we saw a lot of dogs in restaurant cafes, especially in Alberta. There’s doggie water dishes everywhere. I love all the unique buildings converted into bars, restaurants, movie houses (thank you McMennamins!). It was definitely strange having most buildings one story tall and all the large victorian houses (mmm, turrets!). I’ve gotten used to Seattle’s bungalows and high-rise condos. It still felt big to me because I didn’t really get a lay of the land, but it is smaller than Seattle, which is nice. I definitely am ready for something smaller than Seattle–4 years in the Emerald City has worn me out from city-living, especially all the driving. I look forward to the change of being in a rural place without all the noise, crowds, and intensity that pulses in cities.

Portland also touted as the most breweries in a city in the US, at 28. I have visited 2. I think I shall return there to drink more beer and enjoy their vegan fare another day. And another random fact: Portland has possibly the most strip clubs per capita of any us city. How does such a little city have soo many “mosts”?

To sum it up: if you are a dog-owning, beer-drinking vegan stripper, you better head to Portland!