Downtown Portland in pictures

Last weekend we took our first trip downtown. (Our stuff from Arizona, including my computer, only arrived today and I didn’t have the patience to try and blog from Eoin’s laptop. Soz!) The weather was dire so we didn’t stick around for long but I did manage to snap a few pics as we walked around. I LOVE Portland. To me, it’s how a city should be: plenty of people on the sidewalks, lots of atmosphere and best of all, bars. So very many bars. It’s worlds away from Phoenix and a lot like Dublin. No wonder I like it so much.

We stopped in hipster hangout Stumptown Coffee Roasters for a quick latte and it was there I realised just how old and uncool I am. I think I was the only person not using some kind of Apple device. The shame.  Then we hit up Powell’s Books, which I believe is the biggest book store in America. Or I could be making that up. Anyway, it’s mahoosive, covers an entire block and is four stories high. You need a map to find anything. After all that, and some yummy noodles, we headed home which is exactly 20 minutes away by car. My aim for next week is to get my shizz together and go in using public transport. It will involve one bus and one trip on the MAX. I think I can handle it.

I’ll leave you with this Portland themed gem, as sourced by the incomparable Doug Whelan. It’s quite accurate!

And before I go, I want to say thanks everyone for your support over the whole dog thing. It has consumed me all week. One minute I’m 100% sure it’s not meant to be and the next I’m searching frantically on Craigslist, refreshing the page every 30 seconds. Get it together, emotions!

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Application: DENIED

Last night I found out that my application to adopt a dog from the Mini Aussie Rescue Shelter (MARS) in Oregon was denied. Believe me, I was as shocked as you are (assuming that your jaw has just hit the floor, that is.)

I emailed in my application on Friday and when I hadn’t heard anything back by Monday afternoon I re-sent it to the local Oregon address (MARS is a national organisation). When I hadn’t heard anything back by Wednesday, I emailed again to see if my application had been received at all. I got an immediate response directing me to the info on Petfinder.com about incomplete applications, which basically says that if there’s anything missing, MARS won’t reply to tell you because they’re just too busy. Fine. So I re-read my app and realised that I hadn’t included a letter from my landlord to say I was allowed keep a dog in my apartment (when we were choosing a place to live months ago we requested that our community and building were dog friendly so I knew it wasn’t a problem). I had included the phone number but that obviously wouldn’t suffice. So I headed over to the leasing office and asked lovely Lissa to send me through the relevant document, which I forwarded on to MARS straight away. The response I received was that the letter wasn’t ideal, but it would do. But then the MARS rep declared that there were so many other things wrong with my application that she didn’t have time to go through them with me as she is a volunteer and is plenty busy with her own paying job, thank you very much.

Heartbroken doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. I’m not being big-headed, but I thought that my application was pretty damn good. I even said that I would consider taking a partially blind or deaf dog. As a responsible, mature, educated adult, who sits at home alone all day, surely I could be trusted taking care of a dog? I owned a pony when I was 11 and managed not to kill her. Even homeless people are allowed to have dogs, I wanted to roar back in block caps.

And then, not surprisingly, the rage came. I wanted to find that girl and bawl in her face. I wanted to tell her how I read my new dog training book from cover to cover on the beach on St Stephen’s Day. I wanted her to know how many hours I’ve spent researching the best dog bowls (stainless steel because they’re less likely to harbour germs) and the most nutritious dog food ( a brand called Blue Buffalo. Expensive, but worth it because of the meat content). And still I wasn’t good enough to take care of a dog that someone else had dumped? Bitch, please.

Looking on the bright side: there’s obviously no shortage of people trying to adopt dogs from MARS, which is a good thing. But it isn’t providing much comfort this morning. There are other shelters here I can apply to, but to be honest, I’m a bit scared in case I get rejected again. Of course, I could just go online and buy a puppy right now. Breeders don’t make you fill out an application, they don’t give a shit who you are or what you do. But my conscience would give me a terrible time.

Maybe I’ll just have a baby. Much less paperwork to do. Weird, that.

All I want for Christmas…

…is a dog.

In Ireland, the general consensus is that if you want to have a dog, you need to have a garden. Not so in America (and mainland Europe, I might add). And so we’ve asked that our new gaff in Portland be pet-friendly. So unless I somehow make it on to Santa’s naughty list in the next week or so, I should be adopting a canine chum in January. Can I get a HELL YEAH?

Deciding on the perfect dog for us was tricky. Temperament has a lot to do with breed, and we wanted a pooch that would be active enough to love playing in the park and going for long walks, but at the end of the day would be happy to lounge on the couch watching rom-coms. My favourite breed ever is the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel (cos my family used to have one) but, how can I put this, they’re a bit gay looking for Eoin. And so, on Petfinder, we came across  the Mini Australian Shepherd. Not only are they the right size (medium) but they’re extremely cute and love playing around. Here’s an example. Couldn’t you just eat them?

And so my dream was born. After a little research, I discovered that there’s actually a Mini Aussie shelter near where we’re gonna be living in Oregon. I think it’s fate, don’t you? I’ve downloaded and printed the adoption form (seriously, I bet Brad ‘n’ Angelina didn’t have to answer so many questions) so here’s hoping me and the Aussies make a good match. Fingers crossed!

Do you know any Mini Australian Shepherds? Are they as cute as they look in pictures? Do they like rom-coms?

Adventures in babysitting

Last night I babysat for a couple Eoin knows through his job here. Let me put this out there before I go any further: I’m not a huge baby person. I find some of them cute and some of them fugly. I don’t subscribe to the idea that they’re all amazing but my charge for the night, little Hannah, who I think is around one (she looks about the same age as Kendra Wilkinson’s baby, E! fans) was just adorbs.

Like many Irish girls, I babysat almost every weekend from about the age of 14-17.  But since then, and coupled with the fact that I have no siblings, I haven’t really been within spitting distance of a baby. None of my friends have them, I’m not (and never will be) an aunt and I’m definitely not anybody’s godmother. So I was a little nervous, especially when people on Twitter started talking about nappies. I had kinda forgotten babies piss themselves – and worse – a few times a day. Gross.

Because Hannah’s parents were going to a football game (go Cardinals!) I had to feed her, change her and put her to bed. And make sure she didn’t fall out any windows etc. It sounds easy, but for a novice like me it didn’t all run smoothly (through no fault of Hannah’s, I might add). For starters, she did this – I think I’m going to hurl – thing in her nappy. I’ve never seen anything like it. I retched but then put myself in her booties and just got on with the job of cleaning up her little arse. She lay there innocently eating a sock the whole time, acting like poopsplosion isn’t even in her vocabulary.

After putting on her nappy backwards (my life is so like a Hugh Grant film sometimes) I decided now was the best time to put on her little bedtime onesie. As a proud onesie owner myself, I didn’t think this would pose too much of a problem. But it really did. My onesie has a zip and is quite baggy but Hannah’s had buttons and was a snug fit. It took me ages to wrestle her into it. On my third attempt (I had her on my knee) it worked. She must have thought I was retarded.

After some more playtime (reading books, eating pens etc) she started showing signs of tiredness. Let me tell you, babies should work on being less obvious. She was rubbing her eyes and everything. So I gave her a nice warm bottle and then scooped her up and put her in her cot. After turning on her musical mobile yoke, and giving her her soother, I left her lying there happily. Not a peep out of her for the rest of the night. Very good baby.

And then I got to play with Lionel, the family pug, until Hannah’s parents came home. Couldn’t you just eat him?