Got a Netflix addiction?

I’ll be honest. My family has a Netflix addiction.

But who could blame us really? First I’m a lucky member of the Netflix Stream Team, and not to sound braggy, but they do spoil us. For New Year’s the crazy lemur King Julien, featured in a Netflix original cartoon, gave us a box that would make any NYE party complete. Noisemakers, hats, 2015 glasses. We had some friends over and put them to great use.

The kids (big and small) loved all the NYE fixings from Netflix.

The kids (big and small) loved all the NYE fixings from Netflix.

Happy New Year! (Anyone else floored that it's already March?)

Happy New Year! (Anyone else floored that it’s already March?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To also help kick off 2015 right, we received a Puss in Boots calendar. Puss in Boots is the Antonio-Banderos-sounding feline that we first met in Shrek. Frankly, when Puss in Boots was introduced to us in those movies, I found him utterly annoying, which is saying a lot because I can watch Spongebob and not get annoyed.

Anyway, I sat and watched Puss in Boots with my 7 year old and found myself chuckling at some of the lines. Clearly the writers are putting zingers in for us as well. Logan, who absolutely adores cats, loves the show. He’s already devoured all five episodes and is asking for when more will come out. (I asked the folks at Netflix, they didn’t have that information, but did give me a list of new shows coming this month. I’ll tell y’all more about that later.)

But all of that is healthy, good fun. The bad part of our Netflix addiction happens after the children go to bed, Hubby and I turn down the lights and our TV screen melts into that distinctive red. We are binge-watching old shows, and right now the show du jour is Sons of Anarchy. Oh. My. Lawdhabmercy.

Jaxson Teller. So scrumptious. I think I’m supposed to keep my Netflix posts PG, so I’ll stop there. But his chiseled… No I’ll stop. No 50 Shades of Jaxson here. Nevertheless, we love the show. It’s hard to avoid the spoilers online, but if I see a SOA-related headline on a post, I quickly click out of it. Anyway, our addiction is so bad, we’ve been staying up until 2 a.m. watching episodes, knowing full well that we have to get up in four hours.

Charlie Hunnam at Comicon. By Gage Skidmore.

Charlie Hunnam at Comicon. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

The problem is, and yep, I’m gonna blame my husband, The Enabler. We finish up an episode and he eagerly asks: “One more?” This happens about four times. Both of us are looking forward to finishing the series so that we can pretend that we have some sort of self control.  The only time this “one-more” tick doesn’t happen is if I experience a surge of will power and immediately turn off the TV when the episode we’re watching is over.

There are many shows we watch separately, for example he finished Black Mirror a week before I’d started. I’m on episode 5 now and wish I’d seen it earlier because it’s a really thought-provoking series. Also, he’s miles ahead of me when it comes to the Netflix original House of Cards. But with Sons of Anarchy, we have to see that together. The only exception was last week when he was traveling, he asked if it was OK if he saw an episode because he needed an escape from a tough day.

We watched the episode that night in separate cities. Kinda lame, but it’s our “thing.” Some couples run together, climb mountains, ride bikes, camp or hike, but not us. We’ve got our lovely Netflix addiction, which will never change, and we’re good with that.

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Wordless Wednesday: Rusted Links

Break this chain.

Broken chain.

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Wordless Wednesday: I can’t get enough of the #urbangrime

The backside of Hair of the Dog Brewery in Portland.

The backside of Hair of the Dog Brewery in Portland.

 

I’m going through this phase where I’m in love with the grit of a city. On Instagram there are amazing pictures of urban grime. My pictures aren’t near as great as many out there, but I’m still learning, still experimenting.

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A Valentine’s Tale: Do you know what today is?

Today is a special day. It’s the day that I decided to take a chance.

Many years ago, I met a Norwegian boy and he made it clear, he liked me. I had just ended a bad relationship, so was hesitant to get back in the saddle, so to speak. But after some time, the Norwegian asked me to give him a grain of a chance to try to make me happy. And on Feb. 10, 1998 I figured, why not? I mean, somebody has to be the rebound guy. Why not him?

Shortly after we started dating in 1998.

Shortly after we started dating in 1998.

Fast forward two years, through many laughs, road trips and new cities and I was working in Kansas City while the Norwegian was in grad school at Iowa State. We’d been doing the long distance relationship thing for almost two years and he was coming over to celebrate our February 10 anniversary.

He asked me to find a place where we could enjoy a nice view overlooking the city. Now I don’t know how many of you have been to Kansas City, but as you can imagine there’s no mountains, peaks or really a single respectable skyscraper. But I booked reservations at a restaurant atop a tall building and planned for us to talk at a park called Quality Hill. It was in a roughish neighborhood, but it was on a bluff, overlooking the Kansas and Missouri River. It was as good as I could get.

I was jumping through hoops to prepare this date because I was thinking this would be the perfect moment for him to propose. We’d talked before about the possibility of marriage, but no concrete plans had been set. I didn’t even know if he had a ring, but it just felt that this evening should be the one.

I did not say anything to him about this February 10 being the “Proposal Date.” That’s largely because I was never one of those girls who dreamed about growing up and being married. No way. My mom always said: Once you get married and have kids, your life is OVER! And lawd knows I didn’t want that. 

But I did want to be with this Norwegian. So we went to dinner, and I waited patiently, expecting the ring to come out between one of the courses, or at least on the dessert plate like I’d seen in the movies. Alas, the ring never came. We decided to go to the park and talk. I’m freezing my tail off because, duh, it’s February in Kansas City and I was in my 20s and trying to look cute, not warm. I was shivering uncontrollably in his arms when he prodded me to get back into the car to warm up.

I remember, through chattering teeth insisting I was fine. By now, I was really wanting that damn ring, “Propose to me already damnit!” my inside voice screamed.

Soon commonsense took over, and I walked back to the heated car. We got settled in our seats and he begins to tell me how his dad proposed to his mom in a car and that my father had done the same to my mother, so he wanted to propose to me in the car. He began a sweet speech that I won’t get into here, but clearly, I said “yes.”

Fast-forward 15 years, through many laughs, tears, arguments, kids, jobs, friends, and here we are. Me and that Norwegian. I’m glad I gave him that grain of a chance. We’re not always happy, but we’re always us and that’s more than good enough for me.

Jeg elsker deg, J.

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Wordless Wednesday: Another foggy day in Portland

I really enjoy my morning walks.

I really enjoy my morning walks.

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Storytelling in Portland: I’m At The Alberta Rose Theatre

My big day is coming up. It’s not a wedding, not a baby, but it’s essentially just as important. It’s my biggest storytelling show in Portland thus far.

A couple months ago I got an email from Jimmy Radosta, a storyteller, writer and former journalist. I met him briefly after a storytelling show, complimented his performance and I’m sure my name/face was washed away by all the other people he spoke with that evening.

So imagine my surprise when his name popped into my inbox. I hesitated to open it, and when I finally got the courage to do so, I was gobsmacked. (I’ve always wanted to use that word. It works well here, right?)

The crew for the 2015 "It's Not Me, It's You" show.

The crew for the 2015 “It’s Not Me, It’s You” show.

It turns out that Jimmy is also the communications and marketing director of a group called Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon. He wanted me to tell a story for a fundraiser at the Alberta Rose Theatre! Whaaa? I felt like I was Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles and Anthony Michael Hall just told me that Jake Ryan was asking about me at the dance.

Seriously. I had to read the email a few times to believe it. Naturally I said yes, but good lawd.

The fundraiser is called “It’s Not Me It’s You.” So we’re sharing our dating horror stories, and my “castmates” or whatever you call them (clearly I need to pick up some theater lingo) are ridiculously talented. Not sure why I made the list, but check them out:

It’s also hosted by variety show stars Bri Pruett of Late Night Action w/ Alex Falcone and Leo Daedalus from The Late Now.

Crazy town that I’m in that line-up! Click here for more info on tickets.

Anyway, Jimmy was telling me that this event began in 2010 to give folks a fun alternative to the kissy-kissy warm and fuzzy Valentine’s Day drivel. Plus the money goes to helping Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon.

“I feel it’s important because women’s health is under an unprecedented attack across the country, and I want to stop that trend from hurting Oregonians,” Jimmy wrote. “I’m proud to live in a state that trusts women to make their own personal medical decisions without the interference of politicians, and we need to remain a beacon of hope to states that are rolling back the clock on women’s rights.”

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon supports and educates people about legislation such as a comprehensive women’s health bill, protecting patient privacy and reproductive freedom as well as expanding access to men’s reproductive health care. It has a laundry list of other do-goodings, but also supports its coalition partners that includes the Fair Shot agenda. And those Fair Shot folks push for pesky things such as raising the minimum wage and requiring paid sick leave.

But enough about all of those important social issues. Let’s get back to talking about me.

Kidding.

Kinda.

If you’re in town, I hope you guys come, it’s going to be a hilarious night. Or if I flop it’ll be mortifying, but still funny for you, so really you should come.

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Wordless Wednesday: Life’s a Beach

Oceanside, Oregon.

Oceanside, Oregon.

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Wordless Wednesday: I can’t believe I took this shot

A massive tree on the outskirts of Hillsboro, Oregon.

On the outskirts of Hillsboro, Oregon the fog was so dense it seemed alive.

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My Portland Adventures in Storytelling

Storytelling, live literature, oral histories, whatever you want to call it. I’ve been completely hooked on this for a few years now.

I fell in love with the format immediately because it reminded me of hanging around my family when aunts, uncles and cousins would share hilarious stories from long ago. Like the time my cousin inadvertently caught a snake in his mouth or when my sister tried to fly.

Tad's Chicken n' Dumplings' monthly storytelling show has been around for three years.

Tad’s Talks is a monthly storytelling show that has been around for three years.

All great stories that tightened the bonds of our family. A storytelling event is similar in that people tell true stories from their lives and they can be funny, poignant, in fact they can capture all of the emotions. And the beautiful part of it for me is the connectivity you feel with one another, whether it’s the person on stage or the stranger sharing a laugh next to you.

Not to get all warm and fuzzy, but I feel it tightens the bonds of humanity. At least for that moment, in that room.

The storytelling community is very robust in Chicago and I was really getting into it shortly before we left. A few months after we arrived in Portland, I was lucky enough to be introduced to the close-knit storytelling community here. I was infatuated with these artistic wonders and was inspired by their storytelling.

In October, I went to support one of these gems, named Lesley Harper, as she was storytelling at Tad’s Chicken n’ Dumplings. We were sitting at a table with other storytellers and when Martha Grover (who produces the show called Tad’s Talks) opened up the mic, a couple of them prodded me. It was peer pressure, I couldn’t say no.

So up I went, and told a story about my pet snake and the difficulties we had. Midway through the tale I began to wish I had chosen another story since I was before this Portland crowd of artsy, granola, tree-hugging animal lovers. There’s a tragic death in the story and when I got to that part I was hoping they didn’t whip out their pitchforks, or whatever it is mobs carry these days. But they laughed so it was all good. If you’re curious, here’s a link to the sordid tale.

After that night in October, Martha asked me to come back to share a story, which is what I did on Monday. It was my first real storytelling gig in Portland and I was stoked. I was also nervous. The place is 40 minutes from my house, and I knew no one in my neighborhood would venture to come with me, plus my husband is traveling in Europe. I was on my own.

That drive alone to Tad’s felt much longer than usual. I was sitting between a couple of my writer/storytelling friends, which was great especially because they understood that I didn’t feel much like talking and they let me be. None of that “You’ll do great!” or “Everything will be fine!” crap. They just let me sit and be. What a perfect gift.

All too soon Martha was introducing me. I couldn’t wait to get to the mic. It’s because once I’m there, my fears and insecurities melt away. The mic is in front and I’m just free to be me. It’s nice.

I told the story of my lost cell phone. You can listen to it here.

The audience was great, almost all storytelling ones are though, they’re rooting for you and you can see it in their smiles and head nods. You feel supported, you feel loved.

It’s crazy because now I’ve got two more storytelling gigs. My biggest audience yet is a performance on Feb. 3 at the Alberta Rose Theatre. (Tickets are on sale here.)

And I have another one in March that I’ll post more about later.

Naturally, I’m already worried about the Feb. 3 show and my nerves will only get worse as we get closer to the date. That is, until I open my eyes and I’m standing before the mic.

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Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Not-So-Much Cheer

I didn’t expect to be in the picture and, clearly, Ethan was not a fan either.

Us three and Santa.

Us three and Santa.

 

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