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Fragments and Shrapnel – Unexplored Territories

When I was a kid my mom would tell me and my sister to get out of the house and go explore. This was parent talk for “you’re driving me crazy and I want to talk to the adults.” We would balk and threaten to go drown ourselves in the lake and she wouldn’t care. So we would go for walks and whine about getting kicked out of the house/cabin/tent/campground and then get distracted by the local stream or lake and forget about drowning ourselves.

I carried this motto with me as I grew older and went away to college. I choose the farthest place I could go that still offered a break on tuition and prevented me from being called home to shovel snow. (964 miles in fact!). After college I moved even farther away and settled in the Pacific Northwest. When I first landed here, I bought a book on the best places in Portland. Each week I choose a place (Powell’s, a funky neighborhood, etc) got directions and went exploring. It was a good way to waste a Saturday afternoon and check out this new and exciting town. After a while, work and the grind of daily life settled in and I found myself not doing as much exploring or checking out “famous” Portland landmarks. People would ask me if I had been to a certain place and I would say no. It took me a few months to get out to Multnomah Falls. Most tourists see it on their first visit.

So, I’m a little embarrassed to say that I have lived in the Pacific NW for almost 13 years and not gone to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In my own defense, Ashland is a bit of a drive from Portland (4 hours to be exact!) and I had it in my brain that it was insanely expensive and couldn’t afford it. So, when my friend Amy sent me and e-mail and asked if I wanted to go to Ashland for a weekend, I jumped at the chance.

During our drive to Ashland, it got me thinking about all the other places I haven’t been to because I was intimated by them or thought they were beyond my reach. Obviously, traveling to India is on my Bucket List but the .34-cents in my bank account will not get me there. I’ve ignored a few places on the Oregon Coast and despite the fact the fact that I grew up around hockey players and talk like a Canadian, I still haven’t been to the “other” Vancouver yet. While I have explored and experienced much of what this city has to offer, I still haven’t attended the Time Based Art Festival or seen Storm Large in concert. There’s really no excuse. I’ve made many proclamations on this blog and not followed through with them (Hello, Words to Shoot By!) but gulldurnit, I’m starting a new series on this here blog! I’ll call it “Go Explore”.

This week I’m going to make a list of things I haven’t done or experienced that are almost mandated by law to living in the Portland-Metro Area. Yeah, I live in a suburb. It’s affordable!!! Check back in the middle of the week or so and I’ll post a few ideas of what I think should be on the list. I’m not going to post everything because it would take away the surprise but I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

What are some of the things in your hometown or state that you haven’t experienced? I’m interested in finding out. Comment and let me know about your experiences!

In other, completely unrelated news, a guest blogger on science fiction writer John Scalzi’s blog confessed to some of the guilty pleasure music on her iPod. I hide my guilty pleasure music and only listen to it when I’m in the car or when I know my husband isn’t listening. I pride myself on having good taste in music but ocassionally when I hear an old Madonna song or Can’t Touch This comes on the radio, I turn up the volume and sing.  Here are a few songs on my guilty pleasure list:

  • The Promise – When In Rome
  • Various Lady Gaga songs
  • Barbie Girl – Aqua
  • Cheap Trick’s Greatest Hits

What are your guilty pleasure songs?

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About Anna Alexander

I am a freelance writer and producer living in the Pacific Northwest. My husband and I live with our cat Grendel who lets us pay his mortgage.

2 responses »

  1. Oh Anna, I love the twists and turns your mind takes. 🙂 I too (a lifelong-except-for-those-five-years-at-UM) have never been to the Shakespearean Festival even though I’ve been to Ashland many times. Try the lithia water from the fountain in the town square! I have also never climbed the steps to the Gold Pioneer at the state capital or watched the Rose Parade in person. Up until last year I’d never been to McLaughlin House or Ft. Vancouver. I have, however, visited every county in Oregon. We all have our little quirks.

    Keep writing. I enjoy your Fragments and Shrapnel. Have fun in Ashland.

    Reply
  2. Getting caught up with your blog!H Your mom is very special. Most moms I encounter around here won’t let their kids out of their sight. Then these moms complain they never get any “me” time. And it’s so wrong. Kids do need a chance to get out on their own, explore and learn about the world around them.

    My guilty pleasures: Van Halen – Hot for Teacher, and Madonna’s Like A Prayer. I turn the radio up to 11 when I hear House of Pain’s Jump Around.

    Reply

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