July 12, 2007

Snoqualmie, now located 629 miles closer to Snoqualmie.

I write to you now from my new house in Portland, which is ALARMINGLY AWESOME. Holy built-ins, Batman -- I've never seen so many cleverly countersunk cabinets in one place, and the only place you'd find more wood than this would be a porn set. Roommate #1, who owns the house, has clearly put a metric crapload of work into it, so that where it was once an old, quirky and trashed house, it is now an old, quirky and beautiful house. The floors are a mix of hardwood and the same linoleum pattern that my parents still have in their den; the walls are being converted room-by-room from strangely endearing wallpaper to daring designer colors (my room is, as promised on the phone, a shade of medium pumpkin), except in the basement where there's so much gleaming wood panelling it feels like a hunting lodge. It's a forest of doors -- the second floor is away up a narrow wooden staircase hidden behind what I was certain was only a closet door. The basement is away behind another door that I've been told sometimes spontaneously locks itself, and all down the basement hallway the wood panelling turns out to be doors into weird little utility closets. The cupboards in the garage still list someone's hourly rates for auto repair, the den in the basement opens off a door you could drive a smallish truck through, and I will throw a root-beer kegger down there with the built-in tap and the walk-in refrigerator. I will.

I nearly slept in my walk-in closet last night simply because it is big enough to do so.

I took a shuttle home from the airport yesterday, and chatted with the driver about Ethiopian food and North Portland. Seven years ago, he said, his shuttle company wouldn't come near this neighborhood. Today I look down my street and see flowerbeds and new paint jobs, and while I've been sitting here waiting for FedEx I've seen my neighbors cruising by on bikes and walking dogs. I don't know how much my owning roommate paid for this place, but I don't doubt he'll get it back double when he sells the place.

When I got in last night I got a deluxe tour, from which I finally tore myself away because my renting roommate was trying to offer me a burrito. I accepted; my owning roommate handed me a bottle of cider, and we sat around the kitchen table talking until bedtime. They are delightful. One is reassembling, in the backyard, the yurt he built for Burning Man last year. The other is subversively teaching small children to like interesting vegetables. We are having a barbecue this weekend. Anyone who would like to drive 629 miles to attend is warmly welcomed.

Posted by dianna at July 12, 2007 11:45 AM

A week from Monday I'll be passing within shouting distance of Portland. Well, not *shouting* distance. Julie and I will be driving up the coast towards our eventual goal of eastern Seattle, which would put us around 80 miles from Portland at our nearest passage.

Still, we will no doubt be coming down to Portland at some point in the reasonably near future.

I will expect a tour.

Posted by: Erik at July 12, 2007 04:19 PM

Your house sounds amazing. It's nice that you've found a situation where the yurt is provided, unlike that governess job you saw that was strictly Bring-Your-Own-Yurt. When I come visit, can I stay in the yurt?

I think it's funny that yurts have become the hippie dwelling in this day and age, considering that they were the original dwellings of the Mongol hordes. Who were, you know, not known for being nice, or liking vegetables. I think when they "built a yurt for Burning Man" it meant something a little more... sinister.

Posted by: katie at July 12, 2007 07:23 PM

"built a yurt for Burning Man..."

BWAH! Katie, you made a little wine come out my nose.

Dianna, I'm glad the Portland seems to be treating you well. Looking forward to some armchair travel as you blog more about the city.

Posted by: didofoot at July 12, 2007 08:49 PM

I'm glad it's working out so well, and good luck at work manana! I miss you exceedingly.

Posted by: lisa at July 12, 2007 09:52 PM

I strongly believe that, all other things being equal, hippies would more logically choose a nice tipi or wikiup over a yurt. However, all other things are NOT equal -- yurt is one of the most fun words imported into the English language. I should know; I spent the afternoon saying it as many times as possible while helping my roommate assemble it.

"Hey, could you hold this wall for me?"
"Oh, sure. You mean the yurt wall, right? I just want to make sure you don't mean some other wall."

"We just need a couple more roof poles over here..."
"No problem. The yurt poles are right in this yurt pile here. Yurt."

No hippie tent borrowed from a wise and peace-loving people can compare, I'm afraid.

Posted by: Dianna at July 12, 2007 11:51 PM

I'll take "words that sound Yiddish but aren't" for $1,000, Alex.

Posted by: Chris at July 13, 2007 04:33 AM

I didn't know what a yurt was, so at first I thought it might be a combination of Yinsh and Zertz. But I guess it's some sort of mongolian hut.

Posted by: MoltenBoron at July 13, 2007 08:07 AM

As someone Dianna has recently turned into a Yinsh addict, I'd like to say that Zertz sounds awesome as well. Aren't these games designed to be combined? Because I'm all for maurading my way to Portland and playing Yinsh-Zertz in a yurt.

Posted by: katie at July 14, 2007 05:23 PM

They do combine, but I'm not completely clear on how it works. I think, though, that all the combination is centered around Gipf, the first game in the series. That is, Gipf has special rules for adding Yinsh pieces that have Yinshish properties and Zertz pieces with Zertzish properties and so on. So you could play Yirtzpf in a yurt.

Posted by: MoltenBoron at July 14, 2007 07:32 PM

Glad to hear the house is so awesome! We in Berkeley are jealous. I'd love to see pictures, even if they're cellphone pictures. Does my bathroom scale also love Portland, or is that still located in the Bay Area?

Posted by: Jacob at July 14, 2007 10:54 PM

Yarr, it be still in Berkeley, having been left behind in the last flurry of moving activity. Sorry about that. My plan was to bring it to your lab on Wednesday before catching my plane, but I ran flat out of time. It's at my sublet apartment still, and if you'd like I can ask the roommate who's on campus every day to bring it to you.

As I told my sister on the phone today, I need to get myself a camera and if I don't spend all of my remaining money on an antique wood bedframe tomorrow, I might actually get one. Pictures will follow thereafter -- as it stands, I lack a critical cable to move pictures from my camera to my computer and so pictures will not currently follow.

Posted by: Dianna at July 15, 2007 12:47 AM