The Portland Depression

When I began telling friends and colleagues that we were moving to Portland I was met with varied reactions ranging from “Portland is so you” to “how are you going to handle all of the rain?” I found that rain question especially hilarious when it was asked one February morning as I arrived in my Chicago office looking like Kenny from South Park after standing on an elevated train platform in 13 degree temperatures.


Last winter, our first in Portland, I was thrilled. Although we did not have much snow to play in on the mountain, the winter was mild. I gardened all winter and was so excited to harvest some overwintering foods come spring. We even did some landscaping in February and laid new sod. Natives kept repeating almost daily, “this is not normal.”


Fast forward to this winter. Now on day 17 of grey and rainy I am experiencing what I thought I was immune to- The Portland Depression. The urge to stay in bed. Fighting back tears for no reason.   These are not things in my personality. The grey is really affecting me and no amount of this city’s amazing coffee seems to be curing it.


I have been taking vitamin D like it’s a lifesaving drug. I am wondering if my husband has a happy light in one of the boxes beneath our Christmas Tree. The precautions native Portlanders advised me to take are all too real a year later, as normal returns.


Fortunately normal also brings fresh snow on the mountain and an opportunity to take advantage of something Portlanders have been raving about-playing in the snow on the mountain but not having to shovel it in the city.



Holiday Lights

It’s that time of year again, full of traditions and wonder.  So I wondered what would become our traditions in our new city of Portland.  Here are a few we have checked out as well as my holiday lights wish list.


Peacock Lane

I love this one.  It’s a street of neighbors that bring the holiday spirit.  It’s just a campy block that you can walk down with hot cocoa and coffee in hand.  The sense of community in Portland is something I love and this is a perfect example.  We will be doing this again when it starts up on the 15th.


Zoo Lights

Last year we bought a membership to the zoo and I was excited to check out zoo lights.  There was a lot of hype about this one.  It was fun but we won’t be adding it to our annual menu.  Frankly it was a bit crowded and the lights were better suited for younger kids.  If you come from a bigger city, it just falls a bit short.


The Grotto

We just went to the Grotto a week ago and it is magical.  If you want lights and the true meaning of Christmas this is your place.  You are encouraged to bring non-perisable food to donate on your way in.  There is a beautiful nativity and the singing in the chapel was so peaceful.  There is a petting zoo for kids and it is largely uncommercial wonder.


Still on my wish list are the Christmas Ships and Winter Wonderland at the raceway.  In the meantime Clark Griswold seems to have moved in across the street so I’ll just enjoy the light show from the dry comfort of my home.