Raining Writers Block

In March, I sat down to write my newsletter but couldn’t. Writers block had hit me hard.  Winter in Portland is cold and wet. By March, I crave sunshine, but this year we got snow and sleet followed by days of rain. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed. I had no […]

Appreciating Failure

A couple of weeks ago, the sun came out briefly. I suggested that Alan and I play hooky and go see the cherry blossoms at the Portland Japanese Garden. When we got there, we saw a sign—Closed on Tuesdays. Too disheartened to go home, we went to the zoo instead. Harbor seals glided through water. […]

Walking Dance

Tango is a walking dance. What could be simpler?  Walking in tango is simple. It is also really hard. Last month, Alan, and I couldn’t do anything right. Minor changes in his balance threw me off. Slight tension in my body threw him off. Even our embrace felt uncomfortable. Our instructor, Elizabeth Wartluft, told us not […]

Japanese Woodblocks

The extraordinary woodblock exhibit Human/Nature 150 Years of Japanese Landscape Prints at the Portland Art Museum highlights our interaction with nature. On my last visit, I was struck by the images depicting how fragile existence can be. In Katsushika Hokusai’s 1831 print Under the Wave off Kanazawa (also known as The Great Wave), menacing finger-like projections extend […]

Jazz Community

The 1905 Jazz Club

Food. Booze. Jazz.  That’s the slogan for The 1905, a jazz club and restaurant in the historic Mississippi neighborhood of North Portland. A club that Downbeat Magazine recently recognized as one of the world’s top jazz venues. Several years ago, my husband, Alan, and I chatted about music with Andre, the head waiter at Urdaneta. After Alan shared that he’s […]

Acting and Accents

What I'm Learning

Remember Moonstruck? The 1987 romantic comedy-drama won three Academy Awards, Best Actress for Cher, Best Supporting Actress for Olympia Dukakis, and Best Original Screenplay for John Patrick Shanley. Though, honestly, the performances by Nicolas Cage, Danny Aiello, and Vincent Gardenia also felt award-worthy to me. Moonstruck checked my boxes—it captured New York City life, celebrated […]

Food Nostalgia

Everything bagels

January 2023 Often, especially in the winter, I crave food from my youth, especially New York Jewish deli cuisine. I long for whitefish salad, beef tongue, chopped liver, pickled green tomatoes, and knishes (which are baked or fried dough stuffed with fillings like mashed potatoes). In Portland where I live, I’ve been unable to find truly […]

Hooked on Midnight Diner

Tokyo street at night

January, 2023 This winter I rewatched one of my favorite television shows, Midnight Diner, a Japanese series set in a tiny, Tokyo restaurant. It’s a comforting and contemplative show, so different from the fast-paced Nordic noir and French dramas I tend to watch on Netflix. The diner is open daily from midnight to seven in the […]

An Evening at Kachka

Pot of Russian Dumplings

January 2023 For my husband’s birthday, we dined at Kachka in SE Portland. It’s been around since 2014, but we had never visited. The story behind Kachka goes back to World War II. The grandmother of co-owner and chef Bonnie Morales escaped the Nazis in Belarus by pretending to be Ukrainian. As the story goes, she was […]

Gift Searching

In August, I had surgery, which meant that I needed to remove my wedding and engagement rings. My hands have changed. My rings are now too small and taking them off was a struggle. As I ran cold water over my fingers, I thought about how often I had planned to get my rings resized. […]

Get your Free E-book now!

Ursula LeGuin said, “The creative adult is the child who survived.” Yet what happens when that creativity gets blocked by everyday life? My e-book Living Creatively shows how we can release our inner artist and see beauty in the everyday.

You will be automatically subscribed to my newsletter!

Join Gail’s Art Encounters

Sign up for her monthly newsletter here.

MM slash DD slash YYYY

In August, I had surgery, which meant that I needed to remove my wedding and engagement rings. My hands have changed. My rings are now too small and taking them off was a struggle. As I ran cold water over my fingers, I thought about how often I had planned to get my rings resized. Life got in the way and I haven’t made the time.

My husband recently surprised me by suggesting that he buy me a new wedding ring. A friend recommended we go to Twist in NE Portland. I had never been, having already dismissed it as out of my price range. We decided to check it out.

I sucked in a breath when we entered. Stunning, one-of-a-kind jewelry displayed in beautiful gallery-style arrangements filled the large space. A woman wearing dangling, fresh-water pearl earrings asked if she could help. We told her that we were looking for a wedding ring suitable for everyday wear, one not so expensive that I would fear losing it when we travel. 

Her face darkened. “That’ll be hard.”

I thought, yup, this place is too expensive.

“Let’s explore,” she said.

We followed her around the store.

“Okay,” she said. “White gold doesn’t do your skin tone justice. You’re more of a yellow-gold type.” She made the rounds of the jewelry cases, growing more excited as she did.

“Ooo,” she said after I had tried on a ring studded with green aventurine. “Green is your color!”

In the end, we purchased a gold band with intricate carvings. Delicate. Beautiful. One-of-a-kind—and in our price range! A special order that will arrive by my 31st wedding anniversary.

The ring itself is a wonderful gift, and so is the memory of  the saleswoman’s care and creativity as she searched for the ring just right for me.