Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Life, Downtown Portland & Filofaxes

Yes, when I first moved from New York City to this part of the country after a short stay with my mom, there was a brief moment I lived and worked in downtown Portland. I loved the walking city life in New York so much I was thinking I could replicate it by living and working downtown. Well, the good news is that I did walk back and forth to work – downhill ten blocks to the waterfront in the morning and uphill those same steep ten blocks in the evening. An enjoyable walk and I had the butt and thighs to prove that the uphill climb was a great workout. Who needs a gym or a spin class?

I worked in a terrific small office with fun, very bright people and I had gorgeous views of the Willamette River from my office window. And, as an added little bonus there was a Starbucks in the lobby of the building! I loved that we could walk to a variety of joints for lunch – all rather tasty, I might add. When the whim hit, I could walk a few blocks and do some shopping at major department stores and quaint boutiques. Life was good in that moment.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that after dark, if I was going more than just a few blocks away from the loft, I had to drive. While I am sure things have changed over the last several years as the downtown population has grown, as a woman, walking alone at night, I never felt safe. Weird how that happens; in the ten plus years I lived in New York City I never had a moment of feeling scared…there was always a building to run into, a doorman to help you out and lots of people on the street if needed. My neighborhood in downtown Portland pretty much shut down after 6:00, no people out walking to dinner, theatre, or home, making it a bit eerie to stroll the streets alone.

Yesterday, I discovered these pix that I snapped while living in the loft-style apartment. It was an interesting new building with two drawbacks. I had no balcony – and you know me, I need to be able to step outside at any given time; and, the proportions of the interior structure were a bit off – at least for me. The space had a two-story ceiling which was great, with a loft style bedroom and bath upstairs, but I think the narrowness of the space made me feel as if I was living in a box…well coffin was the word I used at the time.

The views out the giant two-story windows were fabulous no matter the weather or the time of day. These pix were taken with my really old camera so they aren’t the best quality; but still give you a pretty good idea of the beauty of the city. I also had to shoot through window screens as there was no way to remove them for better shots. While the views were lovely and the light streaming in onto my studio benches was magnificent, there was a huge downside, Beatrix was quite miserable living in the city. She no longer had the run of four acres every day and she didn't have her Sissy Missy to play with. She just wasn't cut out to be forced into being a city mouse. So on a very sad Sunday two weeks after we moved into the loft, I took her back to live with my friends. She was dying in that small space, living on the end of a six foot leash just didn't suit her and I realized I was being quite selfish to try to mold her into a new lifestyle just to make me happy. I was heartbroken.

Long story kind of short, I ended up moving back out to the country after only a few short months of living downtown, gathering up my sweet pup, and making a cozy home and studio for the two of us in this little funky 1964 house (heavy emphasis on the descriptor little). She was and is so happy. We have a pretty good sized yard, she still gets to spend lots of time with our friends on their four-acre fenced area with Missy Sissy, and I am quite content. What I learned from it all is that sometimes things don’t always go according to plans, no matter how many Filofaxes you keep! But, if you really take some time to observe and absorb everything around you and listen to your intuition and your heart, it’s interesting to see how the unplanned might really be part of a grander scheme of life. 

Curious, are you a country or city mouse? What has your experience been with one or the other or both? How have your furry little pals adjusted?