by cheri granola

I took my granddaughters to the newly named Oregon Zoo, formerly known as the Portland Zoo.

Aside from the fact that, unbeknownst to me, my homemade sandwich fell out of the backpack that I had strapped to my back like a sturdy mule, that the stroller (really a small padded chariot) I pushed weighed at least fifty pounds, and that the three Shave Ices we bought (for only 13.50) were the same sizes as the newly-born Australian piglets, the morning was joyous. Never mind that the 5-year-old dropped mine before I could plunge that straw down into that ice for a refreshing burst of pure sugar–and did I tell you that the Portland metro is having a major heat wave?

So glad for my newly minted muscles, but so disappointed that my healthy sandwich lies somewhere between the California Condor and penguin exhibits.

The Oregon Zoo, as you might imagine, is hilly. Down into the riparian forest exhibit and up to the giraffe enclosure. Down to see the bears; up to see the primates. In the 95 degree heat, many grandparents and even parents and even kids, plodded up and down like prisoners on a death march. But still, people in Portland seem way more laid back than we Californians, who are  all wound up like lemurs wearing huge watches, our eyes strained, our necks tense, our feet hot and humid in closed shoes.

Portlandians, especially the women, don’t seem as concerned about their appearance. Please understand what I am about to say. I’ll make the point by way of personal comparison. And please, do not comment that my daily make-up and hair routine is my choice (which it is).

Oregon women seem very OK with themselves. Either that, or they don’t care. Or, they’ve given up. I prefer the first statement. They have not drunk the Kool Aid. Make-up, eye-liner, mascara, rouge, lipstick–I don’t see that many women wearing this stuff. Cute sandals, albeit uncomfortable ones, do not make too many appearances either; rather, Birkenstocks, with their deep-dish pie effect, seem to be on every foot. Seeing all these feet can be a plus or a minus.

I, on the other hand, start off my day by putting on lipstick before I have my coffee.I’ve never gone out of the house, except one time to Urgent Care, without mascara, blush, and eye-liner. I wear cute sandals, even if they are not that comfortable. I’m sure many of you are now judging me. That’s OK, it’s cool. We are in Portland.

People in Portland seem nicer than Californians. Why, a young guy waiting for his wife and daughter to exit the bathroom stopped me to tell me my backpack was unzipped. It’s clear how that sandwich fell out. Out in the parking lot, a young  woman getting her own children into the car complemented me on my one-shot hoist of the chariot into the trunk of my son’s car.

“You remind me of my mom, ” she cooed.

I thought, “This would never happen in the Bay Area.”

We got back onto the freeway, where people actually drive the speed limit in their Birkenstocks.




About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life, People and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Portlandia

  1. Susan says:

    I needed a LOL today and your post did it! Hilarious!!

  2. Brig says:

    The Portland zoo used to be must for my granddaughters & I, great fun. The Vancouver main library is a good place to take them,
    as is my favorite of all OMSI.

    • Cheri says:

      OMSI is truly the best in Portland. It was at OMSI last year that I discovered I had no quadracep muscles. Upstairs in the fitness area…

  3. Sharon says:

    Leaving the house with make up, particularly lipstick, is a genetic trait you got from your beautiful momma! I NEVER leave the house without my lips…..lip gloss in glove compartment… No flashlight….You’re in good company:)

  4. Chris says:

    Tickled my funny bone. A smile on my face the whole time I was reading it. This summer I have rarely put on makeup, it felt freeing. I have to admit though, I am hopeless when it comes to acronyms. What is LOL, BTDT, and OMSI?

  5. Jan says:

    Your stories are so much fun to read. I always feel like I’m right there with you. I, too, smiled through your entire zoo experience. No judgement here regarding the make-up. Never (ever) leave home without it!! Wouldn’t want to scare the animals LOL!

  6. Richard says:

    How to go about reading your dream?

    My own last night was of a child running around an immaculate garden with a hawthorn hedge and a labrador playing in the snow.

    Not nearly as elaborate.

  7. ShimonZ says:

    Portland of today sounds a lot like California as I found it in the 60s. How nice. Though I can’t but suspect that someone there unzipped your backpack hoping to find your wallet, and went away with your sandwich.

    • Cheri says:

      Always wonderful when you leave a comment, Shimon.
      I had zipped and unzipped and zipped and unzipped that lousy backpack (not mine, my son’s) so many times that I am sure I left at least 5 of the compartments open. From reapplying sunblock, to dispensing snacks, to unearthing wipes, to grasping for Zoo Keys…you get the picture. That sandwich ( it was on a flat round roll ) just rolled out like a meatball. 😊

  8. shoreacres says:

    I laughed and laughed at cheri granola. That was a beautiful touch. As for makeup, that’s gone by the wayside years ago. Working outdoors in the heat and humidity can wreak havor with everything except lipstick. That’s a must-have. Even when I was sailing, that was the inviolable rule: never pull the anchor until the lipstick’s been applied.

  9. Cheri says:

    Great sailing mantra!

  10. wkkortas says:

    This struck a chord with me, as I lived near Ithaca, NY (home of that Ivy-League-school-with-cows-and-chickens, Cornell University) which is a mini San Francisco or Portland, except no one drives the speed limits as bicycles do not move that fast, nor do they allow the slackers who frequent internal combustion machinery to move with much dispatch.

  11. Cheri says:

    I’m not sure what chord it struck but the Netflix series Portlandia, if you haven’t seen it, is a must. Season 1 is particularly funny and as my son says, “accurate.” Portland is even edgier than SF–I’d compare it to Berkeley…I’ll add Cornell to this list, along with Duke…I’m proud to say that Stanford does not fall into this category…liberal of course, but edgy? No way. Look at the football team on TV and count how many players have tats…not many.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s