Archive | March, 2011

We are sitting in a restaurant in Rome. The Peroni Brewery Restaurant, to be exact. Shockingly, it is neither touristy, nor overpriced, nor terrible, but it is overrun with locals and the staff is gruff and rushed. My aunt, uncle, and cousin have come to meet us for a day in Rome, and my aunt suggested we eat there as it was on the way. Rand and I were hesitant, anticipating the Italian equivalent of Gordon Biersch, but once inside, we see that’s not the case. It’s locked in time in the 60s, serving an occasional kitschy German dish alongside traditional Italian ones.

The waiter comes by with the haughtiness and exasperation of someone who knows that the gratuity is included in the bill. My uncle will remind me that this isn’t just because we’re in Italy, but also because we’re in Rome. It’s somewhat like New York – people are rushed, people are busy, people are yelling. It isn’t because they are angry at you (or if they are, it isn’t because it’s personal). It’s simply what life in the city is like. As we rattle off our orders in Italian (yes, Rand included), our waiter seems less disgusted with our table. My uncle’s Roman accent surely helps, as do, I suspect, my cousin’s big green eyes.

My family laughs at my reaction to the service, but I tell them I’m just glad I haven’t been yelled at. It seems that I’m always getting yelled at in Italy … or by Italians (that is another post. I promise you).

I order cacio e pepe pasta – a dish so absurdly simple, I’m wondering why I’ve never ordered it, much less made it. Butter, pecorino, a tiny bit of pepper swirled over fresh pasta.

Carciofi romani in the background.

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Before we dismantle our home, and pack it up (destination: TBD), I wanted to document our place. I figure I share so much of what I see on the road, it was high time to show you what I see while at home.  Or what I saw, since now that it’s been photographed, it’s time to start packing.

  1. Our bedroom. A.k.a., where the magic happens.

    Metal letters remind us of our initials, and who sleeps on which side.

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  2. The view from our bed. Portrait at of me and the Mr. (upper right)  by the brilliant Skye McNeill.

    Quit squinting: we're clothed.

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  3. My accessories. I’m going to need several boxes for this stuff alone.

    Also pictured: Totoro.

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  4. Our bedroom closet. Specifically, my half of it.

    Rand has an equal and opposite side of the closet, which I swear is just as full.

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  5. Master bath. Two sinks spared us many a fight.

    It also minimized the chances of spitting toothpaste on your spouse.

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  6. Rand’s office. Where more magic happens, albeit of a different nature.

    See that chair? It sucks. Don't buy one like it or your back will hate you.

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  7. Rand’s favorite part of our place: the hallway o’ pictures.

    I took a picture of a picture. This feels so meta.

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  8. My favorite part of our place: the Viking range.

    Oh, the desserts I baked.

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  9. Our living/dining area. Which I didn’t think was that special until I started shopping around.

    I have yet to find another place that can fit a dining room and a sectional sofa. Le sigh.

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  10. Our somewhat mediocre except for the wee hours of the morning (when you can see the sun rise) view:

    See? It's not so great.

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The thing is, part of me is devastated, and part of me isn’t upset at all. The part of me that hates moving, that feels wronged and pissed off? Yeah, she’s angry. But the part of me that’s ready to try something new, the part of me that feels lucky just to have a place, and lots of wonderful friends to invite over to my home? That part of me doesn’t mind at all (the problem is that it’s a very small part of me. I should probably feed it more cupcakes. That might help it grow.)

Okay, fine. I’m being a little melodramatic. But still. When it rains poop … um … make poop-ade? I suck at maxims, too, it seems. The point is, things are going less than optimally well in the Everywhereist-Fishkin household. Let’s recap:

  • Air France is operated by primates. And not even smart primates, like the ones on T.V. that smoke and can re-enact scenes from movies. No. Dumb primates.
  • Our landlord is a misleading jerk.
  • Apartments in Seattle are impossible to find and the stress is causing us to go all Mr. Hyde on one other. Rand said something to me that resulted in guilt so severe, tweeps were apologizing on his behalf. And in retaliation, I cut the crotches out of his boxers (he doesn’t know about that yet – SURPRISE, babe! HAPPY SUCKDAY!)

Sigh. Yes, things were not going well. Last night, Rand told me that he was pretty sure someone had put a hex on him. He told me this over the phone. He should have told me this in person, but, alas, he could not. Because he was stuck in Phoenix. And that gets us to the title of this post.

Lately, there has been a lot of craptacular stuff going on lately, and amidst all of that, I got to thinking about how Alaska Airlines was one of the few things that had not let us down recently (I mean, besides keeping us waiting for hours in San Diego a while back).

And then before I could blink, ALASKA WENT AND LET US DOWN. Rather, it let several thousand people down. And kept them there. Apparently Alaska’s computer system (which they use for their flight plans) failed yesterday morning. So no flight plans. And then, no flights (they canceled 140 of them). Rand was in the air during this time, flying from NOLA to Phoenix, where he would catch a connection to Seattle. And because he was in the air, he ended up being last in line to get rebooked.

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Okay, so clearly I'm not ready to move on.

When we got back from Europe this past weekend, I had hoped to spend this week blogging. It’s been ages since I’ve really been able to sit down and write, so I was looking forward to recounting all my tales of adventure (and a few of woe, because, hey, you know me) to you guys. Unfortunately, it looks like all of that is going to have to wait, because right now I have the unexpected task of finding a new place to live and moving out.

Rand and I have lived in a condo (one we rent from a private owner) for the last two years. Though “live” isn’t really the right word, since we’re hardly ever here. Rand and I joke that it’s more “the place where we keep all our stuff.” Our landlord seems a bit AWOL, too. In two years, I’ve met him once (Rand has never met him). He wasn’t even the person to show us our place. Instead, it was a lovely real estate agent whom he described as “a good friend”; the agent later told me she barely knew the guy. He never replied to my emails when anything broke (we had to fix a lot of things ourselves, because after  weeks of emailing him, calling the phone numbers I had for him, and receiving no reply, I got fed up.)

We heard from our landlord once – when it was time to renew our lease last year. I politely told him that, as we had discussed when we moved in, we’d like to move to a month-to-month lease. When we first moved in, he had promised me it would be totally fine with him. Of course, it wasn’t in writing, and a man’s word isn’t worth more than he is. So when he resolutely refused to keep his promise, I was upset, but I realized I had no legal recourse. He explained that he wanted long-term renters, and that we needed to sign up for another year, or move out immediately.

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As I was composing yesterday’s post, I realized something: the problem with having so many good restaurants in Portland, is that we rarely go any place twice. Even if we really enjoyed it, it’s not worth passing up the opportunity to try a new place. Meals are an endless string of one night stands: You promise the pretty girl at the door – and yourself – that you will call again, but you rarely do. So strong is the desire to test the waters, to see what else is out there.

There are, of course, exceptions. The meal so incredible, it makes you want to forget your culinary commitment issues and settle down. You are hopelessly smitten: and you can’t think of anyone else.

For me and Rand, this place is Broder.

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While down in Portland a few weeks ago, I met the lovely Jessica from WhyGoItaly. I can easily attest to her awesomeness (and I swear, even if she didn’t read my blog I would do so). She gave me some tips about our trip to Italy (which were profoundly helpful – but that, as they now say, is another post), and I asked her for some Portland suggestions, as I had the day free.

The strange thing about Portland, we noted, is that there isn’t a lot to do. Well, that’s not entirely true – obviously, there’s good shopping (tax-free! Whoo-hoo!), a rich night life, and a museum or two. But in terms of attactions or notable landmarks to visit (a’la Seattle’s Space Needle or San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge) there aren’t really any. Instead, it seems that the thing to do in Portland is eat.

The food scene in Portland is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The place is rife with restaurants, and the cultural landscape and competition demand that they be good. Like, really good. Like, this-is-the-best-thing-I’ve-ever-had-in-my-mouth-(that’s-what-she-said) good. Like … you get the idea, right?

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Photo by the fantastic @sallysimpleton, who I really need to visit now that I'm home.

Misery, thy name is Air France.

Rand and I are home after a long trip to Europe, a trip made even longer and more difficult by the good people of Air France. They must have an extreme fondness for us – as they did everything possible to try and keep us the country, and when they couldn’t prevent us from leaving, they kept our suitcase as a souvenir. Forgive me if I have trouble writing this post, but this Dick Move is still fresh, like a crisp baguette still warm from the oven (also, apparently I am hungry, and thinking about French things isn’t helping).

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? We booked our tickets with Air France months ago – sometime in January. It was our first time flying with the airline, and we hadn’t really heard anything (good or bad) about it. Our flight to Europe was without incident, and the plane was a newer one. We were in the Premium Voyageur section, and while not quite as nice as BA’s World Traveler Plus, it was still pretty darn comfy. It was on our return flight that things started to break down. We were going to be flying from London to Paris, and from Paris on to Seattle.

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The blog  has been a little slow this week (translation: completely neglected) as I’ve been doing a lot of traveling, eating, and accumulating some great stories. I promise to share them with you soon, but right now I’m proving the adage that the more interesting your life actually is, the more boring it seems on social media.

Don’t stray too far, okay? I’ll be back in just a few days with lots of the blather to which you’ve grown accustomed.