by Dr Tim Selig-
It’s hard to believe my last article “SF in the Rearview Mirror” was two months ago. my friends in San Francisco Bay Times It let me skip a month since my laptop was buried somewhere in the mountainous piles of boxes and bubble wraps that filled my new home. It looked like a view of Mount Hood outside my living room window. Oops. Spoiler alert (scrub it a little). The mountain is covered with this white substance called snow almost all year round.
Most of us have moved at least once in our lives. We are a passing people, after all. Sixty percent of San Francisco’s residents were born outside the city. Moving is never fun. I’ve found, however, that the more you do this, the less you have to move! Every time, I channel Marie Kondo. If that’s no joy, go to Community Thrift as sales benefit the San Francisco Gay Men’s Band (SFGMC)!
I’ve moved multiple times in my 11 or so years in San Francisco. It definitely helped me get to know the city. I have to say one of my favorite things was the indoor sunset. It’s one of the reasons I felt comfortable moving to Portland – swapping Karl the Fog for wet/grey Portland weather. That was not my experience in the first two months. There was no rain and it was warm, but San Francisco is not warm. by the way, New York times I recently reported that Karl has reduced his appearance by a third since 1951.
My last week in San Francisco was my dream thing. In fact, beyond dreams. I will cherish every moment in the rest of my life. In the past three weeks, the medical team at SFGMC has literally put me in quarantine to make sure I don’t contract COVID and miss my final party. It is very difficult to say goodbye to someone who does not exist. That time at home allowed me to pack up little by little, so I was ready when the movers arrived on July 18, just three days after the festivities had ended.
This was a step like no other in my life. For the first time, I wasn’t switching to a job. I wasn’t moving to upgrade my condo – or downsize. I wasn’t moving with or out of another human being. I was moving into the unknown in many ways.
You ask why Portland? Well, a year ago, I started looking for 3 things:
1. The cost of living is lower than the Gulf region. It was easy to find.
2. Liberal politics. Dallas fell out of the contenders like a rock!
3. Water and water everywhere. Palm Springs has fallen. So did Denver. Pools don’t count.
Portland answered all three, so we set off on our adventure. we? naturally. I couldn’t have changed this life without my beloved partner in crime, Tatter Toot. I’ve had a dog my whole life. I don’t think I’ve ever turned to anyone for support like I did with Tatter. He was very nice when he listened to me talking while we were out of town. They know when we grieve, when our hearts hurt. Every step of the way, I shared with him what I was thinking and feeling. It was great, and best of all, he wouldn’t tell anyone what I said or reveal the tears I had as we drove across the Bay Bridge.
Portland is primarily a 10-hour drive away. That’s without two 71-year-olds on board. We split the trip in half with a stop halfway at the Rouge River near Grants Pass. Amazing.
I got amazing help from a great realtor who sings at the Portland Gay Choir and works on the GALA Choirs board. He found us the perfect place. It’s one level on the first floor – an excellent selling point for retirees! Water? We live on an island for heaven’s sake.
We have a balcony and patio! We seem to live in the middle of the Columbia River, and yes, Mount Hood is at the end of the riverscape! Tim and Tut Tot are at home. It took two weeks for the furniture operators to arrive. I took this time to decorate the patio and porch. I don’t have a green thumb. I chose the succulent to remind me of SF and because it is impervious to neglect. My best friend Dan flew in from Denver as soon as the operators arrived and was hugely helpful with unpacking and all things IT.
Next, it’s time to start ticking the boxes of Portland: Costco, Drag, Food, Beauty, and the Beach.
You made the requested trip to Costco. I wanted rice but not 50 lbs. Obviously, I need a Costco People Training. I have to learn the trick of bulk buying. I didn’t do it in San Francisco due to space constraints. I have a little more room here, so I could invest in 36 rolls of toilet paper!
Everyone insisted on trying the famous drag queen Darcelle XV. At 91 years old, she holds a Guinness World Record as the “Oldest working drag queen”. She’s currently doing her job in a wheelchair, which she’ll “throw aside” one of these days. She finished the first act by singing “Send in The Clowns”. Tear jerker. She owns the Darcelle XV Showplace, the longest running nightclub in the US for 55 years! I am so glad I tested it.
At my annual body weight after my first year in San Francisco, my doctor asked, “Do you just eat your way across town?” I said yes.” And I got a new doctor. I’m off to a great start in Portland, another foodie paradise. First of all, donuts. How about Portland and donuts? My favorites are Voodoo, Blue Star, and Beebs. I know I’ve only been here for two months, but the scenery The food is amazing and totally different from SF.There are the famous food trucks of course.The restaurants are casual and serve exceptional local fare.I think Portland holds the records for more coverage by Diners, extra driving and diving than any other city. I’ve eaten seafood many times, Vietnamese, Italian, Peruvian, Thai, Mexican, Guamani, Chinese, modern American and some of the best Southern food ever at places like Gravy and Pine Street Biscuits. I just started! I haven’t had a doctor’s appointment yet, so it wouldn’t be a shame because there would be no baseline for comparison!
Summer is clearly a good time to be here in the Northwest. Street fairs and markets are in full bloom. Hop over the bridge to a Vancouver, Washington, farmers market: great heirloom tomatoes, Rainier cherry vinegar, Portland goat cheese, cranberry lemon chess pie, and Washington apple butter. I love the Portland Saturday Huge Market and Rose City Food Park. I just got started with food trucks!
Portland is absolutely wonderful. My first day in Portland for the workers, Tatter and I hopped in the car and just started driving east on the Washington side of the Columbia River. We had no idea where we were going. We discovered the amazing bridge of the gods. She carried us across the river and then back to Portland on the Oregon side. Breathtaking green, blue and mountains, as well as water.
One of my friends, a gay band leader Eugene, and his husband packed their dogs and me and Tatter Toot and drove to the beach in Seaside, Oregon. Oh, the Oregon coast. It’s just under two hours from here. I have a feeling for Tater and will take this trip more often. They brought chairs, snacks and a Prosecco and we spent the afternoon in camel.
If you got this far, you must love reading travel logs! I promise you there won’t be another one of those. I will not go anywhere! I am so excited that I will continue to write to you every month. I’m already thinking about the things I want to share.
At this point, I would like to thank you for your support over the past six years of writing this column. I look forward to sharing with you every month and am so grateful for you! “See you in October. Maybe by then I’ll feel that rain everyone’s talking about.”
Dr. Tim Selig is the conductor of the San Francisco Gay Choir. http://www.timseelig.com/
TLC: Tear, Laugh, and Conversation
Posted on September 22, 2022