Am I An Urban Sissy?

I never thought of myself as a spoiled little city girl. I actually grew up in the countryside of Kansas amidst corn and wheat fields. As a little girl the highlight of our week was when the trains came by carrying the sweet potatoes and/or sugar beets. All the kids would gather at the crossing and catch all the vegetables that fell off. (Shuddering at the remembrance of us kids so close to the trains) The roads were mostly dirt roads and I think if I stood on my roof I could see the entire town. I left that all behind when I was 10 for the big city. (lol big city………looking back you could walk from one end to the other in 1 hour but it was big compared to our dirt road town before)


After marriage we chose to live in bigger cities then finally going back to a little city where we have spent the last 23 years. I enjoy the small city life where I am close to a bigger city and I always considered myself a little bit country but I found out that is not the case. I think I have become an urban sissy. I never saw that until my recent to trip to Oregon. Not only am I an urban sissy, I have become a lazy urban sissy. I have become accustomed to having everything at my fingertips. A Wal-Mart 3 minutes away, shopping for almost anything I could ever want is within 30 minutes away. I do complain a lot as there is not a lot of Gluten Free shopping available and not as many safe places to eat as I would like but that can be said of almost anywhere.
(I am sorry to stray from my usual writing of just foods but I found my trip a wakeup call that I just had to share with my readers. I also want to apologize for the photos; most were taken from a car going 65 MPH on a cell phone. But I wanted to chart my wonderful adventures to what I considered a foreign land as I have forgotten about the wonderful basics of life. I will chart all the wonderful GF adventures in a future post.)
I learned a lot of things traveling to Oregon. We were in the Portland/Salem/surrounding areas. We traveled a lot of distance to and from places shopping/planning a wonderful wedding.
Since I normally write about Gluten free things, I will start out with a little of that. I found shopping for gluten free about the same as home, the selection was about the same size however the things they had were different. Brands I never heard of and some I have heard of but have never found in Alaska. For example I found mission flour tortillas. Oh my goodness my daughter and I ate burritos and quesadillas three nights straight! They were that amazing. We found the salted caramel pretzels from Glutino and some cookies that reminded us of Girl Scout thin mints. And eating out…………….um well let me just say I almost went into a food coma. Of course there was PF Changs, we have been there a few times so it was not a big deal but I found Dickie Jo’s which is local and only has two locations in Oregon and yes I ate at them both. They had gluten free buns and fries that were as good as McDonald’s (from what I remember) in a dedicated fryer. I thought it was the best burger I have ever tasted with the bun so soft and it didn’t crumble and it just made my mouth tingle and then I found Wow Burger and WOW. I will say that again because I am sure this is how they got their name but WOW just WOW. They make their own buns and it was like eating a croissant. It was buttery, flaky but not so much it crumbled. It was sturdy but light and flaky and I just about cried as I sat there eating. My son, I am not sure he took a breath. He inhaled the whole thing (an adult burger and fries) and then asked for another! Wow, it was Wow burger and it was the last thing I ate as I left Oregon. What a memory to leave with. Of course there were some normal things like DQ which we only have two of here, neither close by for me to go to so we enjoyed the heck of that place a few times and frozen yogurt at Costco was a frequent stop. Over all I enjoyed my eating adventures very much, even the healthy things like fruits and veggies……


The fresh fruit and veggies were amazing! I had the pleasure of going to a new family member’s home and I was just floored with all the fresh food. I tried figs for the first time in my life. I have never even seen a fig; I thought figs were just the filling of a fig newton cookie! I had fresh plums and tomatoes off the trees and vines. Even the stores had fresher food then what I ever found in our stores up here. You actually could buy food that tasted fresh and felt like it was freshly picked. The watermelons were sweet as sugar, the peas were large and crisp, and the melons were so fresh that you could smell them being cut throughout the whole house. The grapes and radishes were twice the size of what we find here and it all just tasted so good. I felt as if I couldn’t get enough of it all. I am a food lover and this just made my mouth very happy!

We stayed in a small little city that reminded me of Kansas and the reason why was as soon as it got dark the crickets started chirping. What an amazing sound. There was one gas station, one store and a few odds and end places. It was a cozy little place but the crickets just brought it all back to home growing up. I did miss the fireflies though, that would have just made the whole experience a Deja Vu moment taking me back up to age 10. One thing I didn’t like however was the spiders!
The very first day to our new home away from home, I was greeted by a spider. I opened a drawer to put things away and a huge black spider that had the super strength of Thor and the speed of Flash was there. After I killed that one I guess more came to mourn his loss. Over all I killed 5 of them, had another 3 or 4 killed for me and by the end of the trip I was so skittish that everything looked like spiders! I lifted the toilet to make sure I would be sitting down safely, I never left a cup of coffee unattended for fear one might want a Jacuzzi experience. I shook my blankets out each time I used them. I remembered why I love Alaska very quick. Yes we have spiders but not the kind that stand on your counter and literally taunt you and dare you to come close. These spiders had no fear and they were big and scary and I think I shall have nightmares forever now. There were just so many different bugs down in Oregon that I am just not use to. No mosquitoes that I ran into but give me Alaska mosquitoes any day over the bug population down there. I love you Alaska, no snakes and minimal bugs compared to where I was at.

I am sure the bugs are from all the greenery, the trees were so large in Oregon. Alaska is known for its huge cabbages and at our state fair we have some pretty big fruits and veggies. So you would think our trees would be massive too but they are not. Oregon has trees that I literally cannot touch the leaves of, because the trunk is so tall. I just watched out the window in amazement of all the different types of trees they have. They actually have tree farms. Want to know where your Christmas tree came from, probably Oregon they have Christmas tree farms. The most amazing thing to see and you can see it from the roads everywhere you look almost. If it isn’t trees, its grapes, corn, blueberries, wheat, hay etc. There are fields and trees everywhere you look.

This brings to me one of the things I hate about Oregon. Oh my; driving forever and the cities which kind of melt into each other. One moment you are in this city then it becomes another city and all these highways and byways and underpasses and overpasses and belts and turns and off ramps and on ramps and these funny go around ramps and there is just so many roads! On these roads are big trucks. They are everywhere; I didn’t drive one time without encountering 50+ trucks. I have seen trucks, I drive with trucks here but where I was in Oregon, oh my goodness you have 5 or 6 around you at all times all going fast and with all the turn offs and on ramps they made it hard. I Love truckers, but just not use them all over the place. I was just not use to all the exits and roads and trucks. The billboards were also annoying as heck. We don’t have billboards here and I am thankful, some of the messages I saw were just stupid. To the roads, truckers, highways, and trashy looking billboards I say “No thank you”.

When the cities aren’t melting together there is forever stretches of land between them. It never fails that once you leave a city and are out on the highway someone has to pee. Well you just can’t stop on the side of the road, it’s all fields and well it is a fast moving highway so this was hard at times. That however didn’t stop the big trucks carrying livestock. The animals inside had no trouble with that, they just peed while standing in the truck and well the lucky person following got a disgusting shower. Not cool.
But all the animals we saw was kind of cool, you see cows everywhere as you’re driving and there were even sheep, goats and wild turkeys. A lot of our driving consisted of what I guess you would call in the country? We shopped in the cities but most the places we went were out in the middle of nowhere. Houses would literally be 10 miles apart from each other. You just can’t jump in the car to head to DQ or Wal-Mart way out there as it’s a 20 minute drive just to do so. This bothered me a bit and that is why I call myself a lazy urban sissy. Sorry but I am a run to the store because I need something or forgot something type of person and if it meant a 20 minute drive well no thank you and life would just be miserable.
We shopped almost everywhere, but let me tell you there was one city that was like a plague to me. We always ended up there because as I said before one city runs into the other and it was confusing but we would get to the store and have a shopping cart full of things and then they ask “do you want to buy a bag” um yeah they don’t give you bags, you have to pay 5cents for one and it’s a paper bag and it busts ½ way to the car because you fill it as full as you can (okay I am a cheap urban sissy too). Talk about irritating me to no end! Yeah that city really irked me. And don’t ever try to pump your own gas, you can’t do it. It’s all full service. That was a hard thing to get use to at first then I welcomed the break.
We were out at the crack of dawn most days and back as the sun was setting. I don’t know why but this still gets me sometimes when I visit other places. Living in Alaska where summers are light and winters are dark I hate when I travel to places that have both light and dark. The sunsets/sunrises are beautiful but my mind keeps telling me, something isn’t right. Yes it took me years to get use to the all light or the all dark here but now that I am use to it there is just no other way to live in my mind and it confused my brain to see the transitions from light to dark day after day.

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Well there you have it, I could ramble on for a few more pages but I will leave it at this for now. I am not a traveler. I have been to Hawaii, Florida and Canada on vacation. I have lived in Kansas, Colorado and North Carolina but most of my years (23) have been here in Alaska and although I wasn’t too keen on it at first, I call it my home and I love it here. I stay in my own little community and haven’t ventured much into the Alaska wilds and I love it that way. I do think my husband loved it in Oregon however. First thing he did when he came home was clear out a corner in our back yard so that next year we can plant a garden of our own. I am excited about that!


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