A pair of cowboy boots stood in the hall outside the door. Keeping my feet where they were, I was just able to contort enough to reach them. I pulled them on, then line danced to the kitchen for the dustpan and broom.

Keri Maijala, Eight Legs and Cowboy Boots

This is the kind of clever, nuanced wordplay that reminds me that I have so much to learn as a writer. It takes a lot of practice and restraint to make the cowboy boots reference nonchalantly, only to bring it home with the line dancing a few sentences later, like a little surprise gift.

Sigh

It’s 2pm on a summery Sunday afternoon in Portland, OR. Your wife and baby are sleeping. You and your 4-year old are wide awake, on the verge of boredom. What would you do?

I reach for Yelp and type “milkshake”, because that seems like an appropriate thing to do on a father-daughter date. Yelp steers me gently away from American burger joints — as if it knows Portland can do better — to a juicery (is that even a thing?) called Sip. Sip. A name doesn’t get more Portland than that. Short, simple, hipster, descriptive… Of course we jumped in the car right away. This we had to see.

Sip is a silver trailer outside a co-op grocery store called People’s. (Seriously, you can’t make this town up.) We order our smoothies (“The strawberry one for her, something green and gross for me, please.”) and go sit in the sun. My daughter and I tell each other stories about pirates (hers are better than mine), and people at nearby tables smile and/or join in with story suggestions of their own.

Our smoothies are ready. We have to go fetch it ourselves, of course. This is Portland after all — no one’s going to wait on your lazy butt. It’s beautifully presented in mason jars with “Sip, Portland OR” printed on the sides in bold, clean letters. And holy crap, it’s amazing. My green smoothie looks as gross as I expected, but it actually tastes great. My daughter proclaims that this is the Best. Day. Ever. I mean, I know she doesn’t have much to compare it to, but in that quintessential granola, detoxifying moment I’m tempted to agree with her.

This city has so much to give if you just let go of whatever yardstick your upbringing gave you for “normal”.

It’s 2pm on a summery Sunday afternoon in Portland, OR. Your wife and baby are sleeping. You and your 4-year old are wide awake, on the verge of boredom. What would you do?

I reach for Yelp and type “milkshake”, because that seems like an appropriate thing to do on a father-daughter date. Yelp steers me gently away from American burger joints — as if it knows Portland can do better — to a juicery (is that even a thing?) called Sip. Sip. A name doesn’t get more Portland than that. Short, simple, hipster, descriptive… Of course we jumped in the car right away. This we had to see.

Sip is a silver trailer outside a co-op grocery store called People’s. (Seriously, you can’t make this town up.) We order our smoothies (“The strawberry one for her, something green and gross for me, please.”) and go sit in the sun. My daughter and I tell each other stories about pirates (hers are better than mine), and people at nearby tables smile and/or join in with story suggestions of their own.

Our smoothies are ready. We have to go fetch it ourselves, of course. This is Portland after all — no one’s going to wait on your lazy butt. It’s beautifully presented in mason jars with “Sip, Portland OR” printed on the sides in bold, clean letters. And holy crap, it’s amazing. My green smoothie looks as gross as I expected, but it actually tastes great. My daughter proclaims that this is the Best. Day. Ever. I mean, I know she doesn’t have much to compare it to, but in that quintessential granola, detoxifying moment I’m tempted to agree with her.

This city has so much to give if you just let go of whatever yardstick your upbringing gave you for “normal”.