Portland Memory Scrapbook

(Credit for the idea and format goes to Mighty Girl)

The local rock station, WCYY, is moving into a new station and in cleaning their stuff, they are resurrecting the music from their “vault” that hasn’t had much airplay since the station first debuted. So the majority of their tracks for the last two weeks have been circa 1994-1999. Days of the New, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarten, good Pearl Jam–it’s been awesome.

People in Portland have a specific walk. Hands in pockets, coat zipped to the top, leaning into the wind or leaning back depending on which way it’s blowing and if they are walking uphill or downhill. Couples try to incorporate some minor snuggling into the walk but are not often successful.

There is no way to sneak up behind someone on a deserted side street. The crunch of sand, salt, and cracking ice is just too noisy.

The Waterfront smells fishy, but like cooked or fried seafood and not like rotting nastiness. There’s a difference and it’s a subtle one, but it’s there.

The tobacco/head shop up the street sells salvia divinorum to anyone over 18. Maine is pretty lax on that one. They also have a pretty incredible selection of bongs for being less than a mile from an elementary school, as this is a pretty suburbanized part of Portland.

There are very few post office branches in Portland, comparable to the size and population of the city. I can think of two off the top of my head and they are less than five minutes away from one another.

Interstate 295 is REALLY poorly lit.

Portland Public Works will pay for your tire repair if you have a blowout going over a pothole. This is really useful information because the roads are horrific. They are also running low on their salt supply for the year and each snowstorm makes for increasingly slippery driving.


No mention of babies within

Memory scrapbook (idea from Mighty Girl): Portland, ME

Congress Street and Forest Avenue take you everywhere. Doesn’t matter HOW lost you get, if you can find your way to one or the other you can get from Point A to Point B.

The Old Port has lots of interesting bars and kitschy shops, but last call is 1:00am. Lame.

You can find north-south-east-west using the Eastland Hotel and the Time/Temp sign and orient yourself quite easily.

With the exception of a few major intersections, the lights go from green-yellow-red to flashing yellow or flashing red after a certain time of night. This makes a lot of sense, as I used to wonder why I was beholden to a red light if there was no one around for–literally–miles when I lived in Eliot. This is also sensible because coming west down High Street toward Forest Avenue when there’s two or three inches of snow is a trick and a half, never mind having to come to a full stop and then go again if there’s a red light.

Particularly up near Morrill’s Corner, there are a lot of specialty stores that carry the “buy local” insignia. Appliances, furniture, camera shops, the vacuum salesman’s place–definitely indicates that enough people in Portland eschew the big chains to keep a healthy Mom ‘n Pop atmosphere in the city.

The ice skating area off Forest Ave. near Rt. 77 south, Congress Street near Maine College of Art, and the Old Port have great light decorations up well past Christmas. They are lovely, especially in the snow, except for those few trees by the ice skating area that have red teardrop shapes that look like the trees are crying blood.

Becky’s Diner (“Nothin’ finah!”) has the best apple pie EVAR.

South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, and Scarborough are really not often worth the trouble of getting there.

The best socks in town can be found at L.L. Bean’s outlet downtown–$7 for a pair of “irregular (no idea what that means) SmartWool socks in varying lengths and cushions, but all super-warm. Love!

Munjoy Hill looks very pretty from the Marginal Way at sunset, especially with a light dusting of snow. Munjoy Hill is Portland’s version of a Monet painting.

The Downeaster train from Portland to Boston is $46 round-trip and possibly the most economical deal going–assuming lighting doesn’t hit the tracks in New Hampshire. Then all the signal lights blow out and you only get to go about 100 yards before the conductor has to call ahead and confirm that the NEXT 100 yards are clear. But there’s free parking at the Portland train station.

The House Rules

I’ve been in Maine for a total of ten days and shoveled twice.  My back feels stronger already.

After the holidays and sending my husband back to DC, I drove up to my new home base in Portland.  Tom will be in the DC/central VA area for a few days before moving on to set up house in Honolulu, while I deal with the winter wonderland you see above.  For the moment, we are effectively homeless.  It’s kind of fun, living out of some duffel bags and a hiking backpack, but it would be more fun if he were here.  
That said, living with my cousin Mark is a hoot.  He’s a man of routine and structure, and while he has been incredibly generous about offering his space and a gracious host, he does have certain rules to follow.  Thus follows “The House Rules” according to Mark:
The House Rules
Subcategory 1: Preservation of Mark’s Morning Routine
Abstract: Mark wakes at 4am and works 12+ hour days.  Thus, his morning routine is sacred as it allows the rest of his day to flow smoothly.
Rule 1: The coffee maker is preprogrammed to his specifications.  I am not to touch it.  If I want coffee, he has an extra coffee maker in the basement.
Rule 2A: He eats 3 pieces of toast in the morning.  The type of bread he likes works out perfectly to three slices a day for a workweek.  Thus, I am to get my own bread if I want toast.  This brings us to… 
Rule 2B: The orange juice is also reserved for his breakfast, and if I want OJ I can buy my own.
Rule 3: Do not be in the shower between 4am and 5am, as that is when he wakes to get ready for the day.
Subcategory 2: Preservation of Energy
Abstract: Energy bills in Maine are HIGH, particularly because it is so f***ing cold.  Thus, keep bills down by conserving energy.  All of these are things I would have done anyway, but they were included in the breakdown.
Rule 1: Cold water is free; ergo, wash all laundry in cold water.
Rule 2: The thermostat is set at 65 degrees.  No higher.  No lower.  Cold?  Layer.  That’s why we have extra blankets.  (I’m glad I invested in extra long undies and thick socks.)
Rule 3: Lights are to be turned off immediately upon exiting a room.
Subcategory 3: Housekeeping
Abstract: He’s a VERY tidy dude.  I am really, really not.
Rule 1: Dishes go straight into the dishwasher.
Rule 2: The towel on the rod that is closest to the door is mine.  Towels that are put back on the rod are to be folded in thirds, or else face being accused of having been raised in a barn.
Rule 3: My closet is the coat closet next to the recliner; all things that need to be hung up are to be hung in there.
Rule 4: Get a suction-cup storage unit for the shower as to avoid having “loose bottles” in the tub area.
Rule 5: Shoes off at the door.  (See Rule 2, Barn Penalty for explanation.)
Rule 6: Do NOT block his truck in, and do not leave the front entryway into the duplex unlocked.
All of these are quite reasonable when you think about it; he’s allowed me into his home for a VERY long period of time, and he is a guy who needs alone time more than anyone I’ve ever met.  His world is orderly and structured to best fit his needs and as his house guest, it is on me to disrupt that routine as little as possible.
That said, I was kind of surprised that I would need my own coffee maker.