Looking for Mexico

IMG_3884When TJ and I lived in Phoenix, Arizona, there was a little restaurant about a mile away called Roliberto’s. Located in a sketchy strip mall, on the outside it was nothing to look at, but inside, the most magical things happened in the kitchen: burritos brimming with succulent carne asada and guacamole, tacos and nachos, no sour cream to be found. We ate there when I didn’t feel like cooking, when it was the weekend or just because it was freaking delicious. Continue reading

Pacific Northwest Field Trip: Multnomah Falls

We’ve been meaning to get to the Multnomah Falls, a quick thirty minutes from us in Portland. There was no planning, we just happened to pick a perfect day — clear, dry, and warm for January.

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I thought we were going to walk up that first little bridge, take some photos, and get on with our lives. This was a short-lived fantasy. When we reached the bridge, we kept going. And noticed this little cave. We did the most obvious thing:

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Up we went. The first switchback had a sign: 1 of 11 switchbacks. I knew then I was in trouble. I had dressed inappropriately: Ugg books with no ankle support, cardigan, and makeup. I was only good for looking pretty, not for hiking. Actually, I don’t think I’m ever good at hiking.

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At first, I kept up with TJ, but soon, I was falling behind.

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Eventually, I gave up, waved TJ on, told him to go on without me and to remember that he loved me, despite my failings. I pretend to try some ‘photography’ . Really, I was bent over at the waist sucking air.

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Don’t judge me. I hadn’t eaten breakfast. I workout inside. I have weak lungs. At switchback 7 of 11, I swear I saw a burning bush and Moses.

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By the time I got to the overlook, TJ was heading back down the trail, but he turned back to walk with me.

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At the top, you could stand at the edge and look down, straight down the waterfall. It’s moments like those that I remember that I don’t enjoy heights. Was it worth the pain and embarrassment of being left behind? Of course. I have two strong legs, a heart in good order and ability, I try not to let my brain get in the way.

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What I love about this photo, besides TJ’s half-smile, is the fact that you can’t tell that I am bushwacked, with sweat stains and swamp crotch. Excellent.

We highly recommend this hike. But I suggest being a little more prepared than I was. Maybe, wear sneakers or hiking boots, bring some water, wear layers and if possible eat something. Or, if this all seems like too much, convince your travel party not to go past the first bridge.

See Ya, 2014: Another List

I heard someone say that lists were annoying, like those end-of-year lists or the ones that comprise a lot of Buzzfeed. But hasn’t this been the year of Buzzfeed? So, a few someones must enjoy a good countdown. And as much as lists require ten times less attention than a well-written essay, they are so wonderfully tidy. So I made one, too, for this blog, because I can. Here’s my top 5 favorite post thus far. Happy New Year and thanks so much for reading.

5. Prince & Patrice Do Hollywood — Once my brother and I reached California, we took a side trip to LA for the day. With no plan, we wandered into one of the funniest days of my life.  Continue reading

Train Views

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We left from Union Station in downtown Portland after our first bus adventure.

On the second morning of a two-day trek to our new hometown of Portland, Oregon, we were up early and waiting to eat breakfast at place called Ardella’s —  a quaint little restaurant in the picturesque town of Willits, California. Two young men working at the gas station had enthusiastically recommended the place. I could tell it was small-town northern California when the regulars showed up exactly 7 am, as a waitress was unlocking the doors and flipping the Closed sign to Open. We left with full bellies and lots of local gossip. TJ took the lead as we took scenic route 99 — a mountainous road that made my coffee slosh in my stomach. The only thing between me and the Kalmath River, sometimes fifty feet below, was my own skill as a driver. When we finally reached I-5, the major highway that would take us the rest of the way to Portland, my shoulders were so tight they were at my ears. We got in much later than we expected, hungry and sick of the road. It was a relief to have no trouble finding the house with the room we’d leased for a few days until we found an apartment. I’d used AirBnb, my first time, to save money for a hotel, and I wanted to actually feel what it was like to live in one of the many neighborhoods in Southeast Portland. The whole AirBnb experience could be its own post and probably will be, but not today. Our hostess, a woman named Karen, asked us each morning, how we were fairing — in general and on our apartment search. On the first morning, we were able to tell her that we’d found a place and by the second morning, we’d signed a lease. She said we were people who “Get Shit Done” —

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Halfway Home

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1. I basically threw a tantrum and demanded that we take a route through San Francisco instead of around it.

2. Due to traffic, we drove through at a moderate 35mph, right through the city to get to the Golden Gate Bridge.

3. Do I get to say that I’ve been to San Francisco or is this the same as being in the airport in Chicago because of a layover?

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The Colored Girl Connection

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Of all the fears and doubts I have about moving to a new place, one of the biggest and most overwhelming is more than a little shallow. It was my biggest stressor about moving to Spokane for school and even made me reconsider Boston as an option. As a black woman I have to research if there will be a place for me to get my hair done.

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