Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Friday, October 19, 2007

2 self portraits and shots downtown

My curly locks really do need a trim. I can't stand hair in my eyes, and it's getting right down there. Naturally curly hair presents a problem to most hairdressers, but young Jon goes into a creative zone when I settle into his chair, speaks not at all, and sculpts my poodle-ish mop into a chic coffiure. He makes me look expensive without inquiring too deeply into what I want because what I want is to look pretty but I don't know how to get there.

Of course, I had to dress for the weather. I love my rain boots!! People see me coming and smile!!

The salon is just down the street from this urban flower shop - too cozy and personal to be a "florist" and they always dress their frontage so happily.

This is a shot from beside the North Park Blocks. Portland is rife with parks. Of course, the parks are rife with hookers and pushers, punks, drunks,and junkies, winos, beeros, hoboes and common hos, but these folks are willling to share with local urbanites as well. Ten minutes before recess, the day-care center on the corner of this park sends a staff person out with rubber gloves and a trash bag to pick up used needles, condoms and other oddities, then the kids are led in a proper crocodile across the street to play on the swings and slides and to scamper under the trees. Apartment dwellers clutching plastic bags, walk their dogs and are careful to pick up after them lest some dirty homeless bag lady deride them for uncivilized behavior.

I wanted to take photos of some of the things that make me happy, but they don't photograph well. The Pearl Bakery is a small, non-descript, storefront without even much of a sign. You can't photograph the fragrance of baking, or the high-ceilinged serenity of their seating area, or the delicate flake of a tender croissant as you sink your teeth into its buttery goodness.

And Powell's Books. The legendary Powell's bookstore. The main building is a three-story, square block of all the words in the English-speaking world! Drift at will through the science fiction shelves, through the multiple shelves of knitting books, through the mystery and romance and history. There is a seperate store for technical books, and another one for cookbooks. They carry new and used and if you can't find it there, they will order it for you. But, poor deluded muggles that they are, they never expect Stephanie Pearl McPhee to draw so damn many knitters!! I have spent entire days in Powell's (They have a coffee shop of course.) There are some people who pretty much live there. They know all the many clerks by name, and have their own reading corners staked out in the quiet alcoves.

But how can you photograph the glory of the largest new and used bookstore West of the Missippi? It's BOOKS! All the thoughts and worlds and emotions you can imagine, all squeezed down onto paper and ready for you to enjoy. Instant escape - just open and go. Hard to get that into the digital camera.

Another reason I am so fond of young Jon is that he gives a fabulous scalp massage. He was working away and I told him, "I'm resting my eyes on the pattern of open beams and pipes and shadow and light on the ceiling, I'm loving the fragrance of the shampoo, the music in the background is perfect and you are hitting alllll the right points on my skull. All I need is a bit of excellent chocolate on my tongue and I will have covered every one of the senses in bliss. I would just transcend and you'd be left with a pile of empty clothes and a pair of hot pink boots. And what would you tell the police?" He started to laugh and laugh and laugh. Finally he gasped, "My gosh you have a vivid imagination. I can see I've gotta read your books!"

"Well of course. Everyone should."


  • At 12:23 PM , Anonymous Marsha said...

    I love Powell's and wish I didn't live so far away from it! I'm particularly fond of the store cats. :)

    I went there once with a friend who filled his basket with books from all over the store. The clerk who rang up his purchases exclaimed, "You bought a book from every room! I've never seen that before!" Not something my friend had set out to do, but a delightful and memorable event nonetheless.

  • At 5:59 PM , Blogger Willow said...

    I too love Powell's Books! We treated our visits to Powell's with great solemnity and and proper circumstance. Every New Year's Day. Every time a visitor from out of town came.
    You have taken me on a memory walk again and I love thinking about the traditions we had. Now I must focus on making new traditions in my new home.

  • At 10:55 PM , Blogger Amy Lane said...

    I have HEARD of Powell's--Mate had a business trip in Oregon last year and visited...that's sooooo cool! And you've got the best book sales technique in the West, darling--I've never seen good karma and transcendent goodness of heart used to sell books, but if anyone can do it, you can...,

  • At 1:07 PM , Blogger Warrior Knitter said...

    I hear you on the bangs in the eyes thing. And oh, the head massage.

    LOVE the pink boots! He's right. You DO have a wonderful imagination and you're right also. Everyone should read your book.

  • At 10:59 AM , Anonymous MonicaPDX said...

    Powell's = Heaven on Earth. Mike and I used to live only about 9 blocks away, up on 19th & Burnside. Sucky location for everything but the bus...and access to Powell's. [g] We used to wistfully wonder how we could manage to set up a tent in an obscure corner and live there!

  • At 9:35 AM , Blogger Gretchen said...

    check out for lots of great info about curly hair!


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