1)  There are more black people on American Idol than in the entire city of Portland.  

I like Portland.  It looks like an Edward Hopper painting, a little dark and depressed.  The city is chock full of old neon signs and from the outside, the city seems like it hasn’t changed in fifty years (although the old tannery is now a trendy bistro)…. but maybe the city has TOO much of a 1950’s feel.   I’ve never seen so many white faces in my life.  On Thursday night, we went to a jazz club that Ellen Bloom recommended called Jimmy Mak’s and saw one black guy, the sax player in a fifteen piece band.  That’s ONE black guy in a Jazz Band, in a Jazz Club, in an entire city, in four days!

2)  We’ve met Portland’s finest bloggers.

Lani and Patry (photo stolen from Lani because mine was too dark)

After meeting the charming Chantel at Tequilacon, we made it a mission to meet other Portland bloggers.  We had dinner with blogging friend Alexandra (who baked us some delicious cake) and then attended a literary salon at the home of the uber-talented writer/illustrator Lani.   The meeting was in honor of Cape Cod-based blogger Patry, who is on tour promoting her first novel, The Liar’s Club.   It was inspirational hearing Patry talk about her book, which I can’t wait to read.  Laini also talked about her forthcoming book, Faeries of Dreamdark.   It was wonderful hearing about the successes of fellow bloggers!  (Yeah, right.  I hate them!)

3)  It is official.  Sophia has the “X” factor.

I drive as slow as an old woman.  Sophia drives like a Nascar racer.  She was stopped TWICE by the Oregon highway patrol, but both times she was let go WITH just a WARNING!   Why does that never happen to me?

4)  Sophia and I are punching each other.

Danny’s daughter, Leah, taught us a driving game that is more current than “Geography.”  I forget what it is called, but you basically can punch the other person whenever you see a Volkswagen Beetle.  The score so far:  Sophia – 7, Neil – 3.

5)  High culture — feh!


We’re currently staying in Ashland, Oregon, which is a cute little town in the Southern part of the state.  We’re staying at this offbeat hundred-year old hotel that looks like something out of “The Shining.”  The main excitement in town is that it is the home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.    So, what did we see at the Shakespeare festival?  A bad Tom Stoppard farce.  However, tonight, there is Shakespeare playing at the Shakespeare festival , but we are choosing to go to the Oregon Cabaret Theater to see some dumb little musical called “Men on Ice,” about a fishing hole in Milwaukee.

6)  Water.

We’ve seen a lot of water — the ocean, lakes,rivers and creeks.  Being a Pisces, I should like water, but Sophia is the one who’s always dragging me to drive an hour and a half to see some creek.  We had a long discussion today, and decided that rivers and creeks are the coolest of all bodies of water.

7)  Soap Opera to Go.


Sophia and I keep up with “All My Children” via our nifty “Hava” machine plugged into our DVR at home.

8)  We’re not done yet.

Tomorrow, we are off to San Francisco — and meeting more bloggers.