Tag Archive | portland

Mermaid’s Ashore!

To most people, Portlandia is just a quirky show poking at the oddities of Portland, Oregon. I have to admit, “put a bird on it” and “the dream of the 90’s is alive in Portland” are genius and crack me up every time I see them but most of it is beyond me. We live in a small town East of the city and trips there are rare.

Where I may not frequent Portland these days, being born and raised in this great state I am very aware of who “Portlandia” really is. In the midst of downtown in a rather modest location sits the second largest hammered copper statue in the United States, right behind the Statue of Liberty. At 34 feet 10 inches tall a woman holding a trident reaches down to the people below her. Portlandia was modeled after the city’s seal which also boasts a woman holding a trident.


The trident is known to be the weapon of Poseidon, the God of the seas, and Neptune, the God of freshwater and the sea. As a city that was once known to be the number one place in the western hemisphere for “crimping” and “shanghaiing” amongst the sea captains and sailors, a city that’s known for it’s beautiful bridges spanning the river, a city that boasts the amazing dragon boat races, has a waterfront walkway that hosts festivals – bike riders – walkers – runners – fountains and those just gazing at it’s beauty and a city who’s access to the water make it an easy port for transportation of goods; once known as one of the most dangerous ports in the world; it seems only fitting that it has a protector in Portlandia watching over the city.

With so much action on the water it was only a matter of time before it hosted it’s own Mermaid parade.  On July 30th Una the Mermaid & the travelling Fanta-Sea Cove organized Portlandia’s first annual Mermaid Parade.


Those familiar with us can only imagine the excitement in my household upon hearing this news, those new to us, let me explain.

My beautiful daughter was born with a rare genetic skin disease called Linear Epidermal Nevus. It’s complicated, it comes with a laundry list of potential complications including skeletal, ocular and nervous system abnormalities. Has the potential to cause both benign and malignant tumors, raises the risk of melanoma, and in our case, may potentially take over the entire left side of her body. At first we were devastated, plagued by the “what if’s” and lost due to the lack of information and medical knowledge surrounding her disease. Over time we found some support groups and started this blog to share our journey and connect with the world to both learn from them, and share what we know. It’s hard to explain to a child what’s slowly growing on their body, we joked that her “scales” were from her previous life as a fish. A friend said to us, can’t you find something better? Like a Mermaid? and it stuck. From that moment on she became Mommy’s Mermaid. As she has gotten older she has told strangers, doctors, friends and family about her Mermaid scales, she whole-heartedly believes that they were a gift from a Mermaid. She believes they are a special and wears them proudly.


An opportunity to take her somewhere full of Mermaid’s, those magical creatures that shared their beauty with her, to walk amongst them and relate, could not be passed up. I had no idea what to expect, I thought it would be small, generic, cute but nothing to write home about. I could not have been more wrong. I know now, that I need to start preparing for next years event! Mermaid could barely contain herself as we got ready, Mama are we leaving yet? Mama, are we ready? Mama, can we pleeeeaaaaasssseee go now. As if she knew just how special it was going to be.


We were blessed to have a friend and her little one in tow with us, with the girls in wagons we headed to the historical waterfront, the friendship circle to be exact. The friendship circle celebrates the sister city relationship between Portland and Sapporo, Japan. The Friendship Circle includes a pair of 20-foot stainless towers that generate electronic tones. I can only describe it as nothing shy of magical. Men, Women and children of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicity filled the gorgeous backdrop of Portland in full costume. There were people giving out gifts, bubbles, shells, dancers, birds, artists and even a man fishing for Mermaids with a cat on his line.

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We flipped down waterfront passed Saturday Market and the Brewfest. People lined the path taking pictures, videos and cheered. After the parade we took some time to enjoy the city and played in the fountains!

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We get caught up in the daily grind, I often forget to take moments to stop and truly let myself enjoy the beauty of imagination. Mermaid’s disease will be with us forever, there is no cure, very little relief for symptoms, and at this time – minimal research or trials to move in a forward direction. If allowing my 3 year-old to believe that she was gifted her scales by a Mermaid gives her even one small ounce of happiness in this journey, I will believe it too.

To the amazing group that made this dream a reality, to every single person that came to celebrate and to our honorary Mermaid’s Geneva and Charlee for walking this path with us, I thank you all. This parade meant so much to us. As magical as I saw it, I can only imagine what my little girls thoughts were.

There are no words to describe the beauty and creativity that was bestowed upon us that day but thanks to the talented Christelle Morgan who has graciously allowed me to share some of her work, you can enjoy some of the sites from our day. Enjoy!

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You can find more information about the wonderful Christelle and her work at:


To learn more about Una the Mermaid you can visit her site at:
Thanks for walking with us today,
Mermaid’s Mommy

Staying afloat…

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As you may or may not know, the Pacific Northwest has been under a stream of storm systems causing flooding and power outages. I have been on a 2 day staycation and without power for the duration of it. Needless to say… I have been disconnected.


Mermaid and I went for a short drive up our road to check out some of the damage. The power lines must have felt festive because they managed to wrap themselves through the trees like Christmas lights. We could hear generators running in the distance and saw neighbors along with PGE crews working diligently to cut and move downed trees.

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Outside of our drive; my dimly lit, slightly chilly home is my whole world. As Mermaid naps I sit writing in my trusty notebook by a lantern . (To be fair I am finally getting this typed up as I get a pedicure) It may sound far from ideal but being unplugged from the modern world got me thinking, my stress level is nearly non-existent. Without the constant stream of e-mails, texts, tablets and tv’s going; my focus has been on the simpler things in life.

Building castles, making shadow puppets, wrapping presents, reading, writing and reflecting. Part of that reflection has been pondering what initially caused all my anxieties around Mermaid’s disease? Yes, the initial diagnoses left me saddened but it wasnt until I started surfing the internet that I became so fixated on the potential negative effects of her disease that my fears were magnified. As I watch my seemingly happy healthy child live almost as normal a life as anyone else I think back to those first days. What if I accepted her diagnosis and left it at that, never looked anything up? Its funny, working in the medical field I am fully aware that turning to the internet for answers is one of the most detrimental things anyone can do, yet I did it.

So I wonder, had I been unplugged from our modern world at that time, would I have gone racing to the nearest book store or library looking for medical journals in search of cures and answers? Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe I would have accepted that first short visit as the end of our story and had the faith to blindly walk this path. I suppose we shall never know, and for that, I am thankful.

We live in a world where being uplugged is rare ,and for some, never happens at all. When my power returns I will be inundated with emails, fb alerts, picture texts and emails. This is a good thing, it means I am loved. Ok, maybe Amazon Prime doesn’t LOVE me, but they certainly want to make sure I don’t miss the next big deal!

I was built to find answers, I say I am thankful  for not being a part of the unplugged world because I am one of those  people constantly looking for logic and fixes. My need to have a direct answer to something has been both a negative, and positive in my life. In this case, I see it as a positive.

We all know this disease is somewhat manageable and the likelihood of one of those more severe complications is slim; but on the chance it occurs, I plan to be prepared and educated for what that might look like.

By means of the information super highway that provides me a road map of every potential route, through your stories and all our experiences I will continue to search for those answers and truly hope you continue to do that with us.

Until the power returns and my anxieties slowly creep back, I will enjoy the quiet. I will sit and listen to each raindrop hit the roof, each crackle of the fire and enjoy my Mermaid without distractions.

Where I may not be built to always be unplugged, I must say – I am enjoying it. I challenge both myself and all of you to unplug for a while and see where it takes you. Then rejoin the world and stop in to tell us what you did!

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Stay dry my friends…

Thanks for walking with us today,

Mermaid’s Mommy