About Michel Gregory

I had the good fortune to be born in Portland, Oregon, and the good sense to live here as an adult. From my green Pacific Northwest post, I write for a living, cook from farmers markets, dig in the dirt (and dish it now and then), and celebrate the good life.

Tribute to the good cat Anna

Early this morning, I held my kitty Anna in my arms and said goodbye. Her little six-and-a-half-pound body was doing battle with a large mass attached to her kidney, so George and I set her free. The moment her heart stopped beating, I felt the gut punch of her absence. She was gone and our time together was over.

Nap time

Being a card-carrying dog person, I had no idea that little feline would purr and nudge her way so deeply into my heart. During the indoor months, she was my frequent office companion: sleeping on my desk, wedged behind me in my chair like a purring lumbar pillow, plunging her head into the water glass next to my computer. On TV nights, she took her place in the human-pet lineup on the futon, jockeying for position with Shona. When I settled in with a book, she curled up atop the Pendleton blanket on the back of the couch, reading over my shoulder. But as soon as summer weather arrived, she spent her days sprawling on the deck in the sun, helping me weed and water in the garden, or—more frequently these days—snoozing in the shaded, cushioned comfort of the Adirondack chair. Today, these places feel empty without her.

I’m sending out thanks to the little cat who gave us so many smiles and boundless affection. I will miss her companionship—her inimitable Anna-ness—as I write, read, garden and curl up for a nap. And I will miss her when the two cases of premium, grain-free canned cat food that I ordered last week arrive on our doorstep this afternoon. Pate and crackers, anyone?



Summertime and the music is easy

There’s no better time to be living in Portland. Besides being reliably beautiful––and only occasionally too damn hot––July and August are jam-packed with outdoor music. Best of all, plenty of it is free.


When my thoughts turn to picnics and dancing on the grass, I check out Portland Parks & Recreation’s Summer Concerts in the Park schedule. The series offers free, live music at parks throughout the city and a feel-good, kid-friendly vibe. Check out the schedule and get thee to a neighborhood park with your friends, family or neighbors. I’m starting my summer tunes season this Friday, July 11, at Fernhill Park, when Trixy & the Nasties get the ‘hood movin’ with irresistable funk & Motown.

In West Linn––the quiet town south of Lake Oswego––Marylhurst University kicks off its Summer on the Green series on July 12. Besides performances by 5 Guys Named MoePatrick Lamb Band and Pepe and the Bottle Blondes, the lineup includes three perfect-for-summer Shakespearean plays.

And out on bucolic Sauvie Island, Kruger Farm is luring city dwellers across the bridge for Farm Tunes. Through August 28, it’s the place to be on warm Thursday nights. Leave the office early, grab a blanket and load the kids into the car. Before you know it, you’ll be in an island state of mind, feeling the farm tunes beat and feasting on a freshly roasted ear of Kruger Farm corn. If you have a hankerin’ for bluegrass, get on down to the farm on July 24 for Jackstraw. Save me a dance. I’ll keep my eye out for you.

What outdoor music is getting your summer groove going?

Mything in action

Technically, I missed the deadline for my April 2nd poetry post. It’s after midnight and April 3rd has begun. However, since I collected the daily prompt at 11:58 PM,  I’m calling it good.

And the prompt is…”I challenge you to write a poem based on a non-Greco-Roman myth.” A perfect opportunity to write a haiku inspired by the Pacific Northwest’s favorite myth, Sasquatch.

Seeking: hirsute and
mysterious man in touch
with his inner beast.





Let the poetry begin!

I’m a sucker for a writing prompt. This month, poet Maureen Thorsen will offer a daily prompt on her National Poetry Writing Month blog. It’s the perfect excuse to crawl out of the cocoon and start writing. Care to join me?

Today’s instructions: Go to Reb Livingston’s Bibliomancy Oracle. Clear your mind, push the button, and then write a poem based on the quotation that the oracle provides.

Here’s my prompt, direct from the oracle:

Resist alcohol.
Resist tongue kissing.
Resist peaches.

from ”The Technique Is Flawed” by Alexis Pope

 And here is my April 1st poem:

Cease and resist
Stop and turn away

Cease those things that cause me pain
set me back
make me numb
silence dreams
inhibit growth
put love out of reach

Resist the temptation to wallow in inertia
delay the inevitable
set questions aside
speak quietly
stay inside
abandon joy

Cease and resist
Begin and embrace

Moving toward the light

At last, the days are getting longer. It’s nearly 5:30 – dusk – and a tinge of gold still hovers off to the west, proof that sunshine was part of this winter day. The moon glows high in the sky, taking over where the sun left off.  Stars are not far behind.

The fact that there is still a glimmer of daylight at 5:30 is nearly as thrilling as actually being able to see the sun, the moon and the stars. Not only are the days lengthening, but the clouds and rain are taking a break. At least for today.

In the morning, the sun will rise at 7:45. It will set at 7:58, 9 hours, 13 minutes and 5 seconds later, whether we can see it come and go or not. January 18th will be two minutes and one second longer than today. And so it will go, minute by minute, until the the light is victorious.

Today the view from my second story window is the jolt of hope I need to survive February and what’s left of January. It happens every year, when I least expect it: the sudden realization that winter will end and spring will emerge.

As the day fades into night, I am grateful. For the remnants of sunny skies. For the promise of more light, less darkness. And for the reliable rotation of the Earth, spinning us to a brighter place. At least for a while.