Thursday, July 30, 2009

Meme on the Lunch Break.

There are 36 sentence-starters in this little internet meme, but I'm only gonna fill out ones that jump out at me; if I had to think more than ten seconds on it, then I didn't fill it in. Won't you, oh won't you, leave some of your answers in the comments? It appears that about four of five people read this thing, but I know that's not true. I appeal, for the first time, for some comment love.

1. I’ve come to realize that my chest-size. . . is totally awesome. I can make fun of it for laughs and the rest of the time, it allows me to do everything I want to do.

2. I’ve come to realize that my job. . . has always been something interesting for the past four years, and I'm lucky or ballsy or stupid enough to keep that streak going in 09-10.

3. I’ve come to realize that when I’m driving. . . I will worry about every noise the car makes.

4. I’ve come to realize that I need. . . a whole lot. Of lots of things. Experiences, love, activities, travel, emails, drama, books, food, drinks, gossip, magazines.

5. I’ve come that realize that I have lost. . . the ability to live without Kleenex. Using TP no longer works; I must be an adult now?

6. I’ve come to realize that I hate it when. . . PASS

7. I’ve come to realize that if I’m drunk. . . I'm probably having a lot of fun with friends and we're celebrating something, even if it's just being friends.

8. I’ve come to realize that money. . . PASS

9. I’ve come to realize that certain people. . . PASS

10. I’ve come to realize that I’ll always. . . be a little bit unhappy. I think I'm happy when I'm unhappy.

11. I’ve come to realize that my sibling(s). . . is the epitome of the phrase 'still waters run deep'.

12. I’ve come to realize that my mom. . . works to grow every single day, spiritually and emotionally.

13. I’ve come to realize that my cell phone. . . is annoying, necessary, and I fear the inevitable iPhone upgrade.

14. I’ve come to realize that when I woke up this morning. . . PASS

15. I’ve come to realize that last night before I went to sleep. . . PASS

16. I’ve come to realize that right now I am thinking. . . PASS

17. I’ve come to realize that my dad. . . continually puts it all on the line, risking losing face in order to gain great, enviable, epic experiences.

18. I’ve come to realize that when I get on Facebook. . . I can't remember who I am logged in as. (It's part of my job.)

19. I’ve come to realize that today. . . PASS

20. I’ve come to realize that tonight. . . I just want it to be 45 degrees and raining. How did I become such an Oregonian?!

21. I’ve come to realize that tomorrow. . . PASS

22. I’ve come to realize that I really want to. . . work from home forever. Work-Life Balance is a BS phrase, but the actual thing itself? Genuinely priceless.

23. I’ve come to realize that the person mostly likely to repost this is. . . Kelly P.

24. I’ve come to realize that life. . . PASS

25. I’ve come to realize that this weekend. . . is continuing a good '09 summer stretch of possibility-filled weekends.

26. I’ve realized the best music to listen to when I am upset. . . Glen and Marketa, at least at this point in life.

27. I’ve come to realize that my friends. . . are a good, healthy, oversized portion of my life and I need that.

28. I’ve come to realize that this year. . . birthday-wise, has been unreal. One of the most active and incredible of my life. (Side note: could every year begin to feel like this? Each one topping the next?)

29. I’ve come to realize that to me, exes. . . fall into two categories: treasured friends or foreign, otherwordly dream-beings.

30. I’ve come to realize that maybe I should. . . clean less. (But I won't.)

31. I’ve come to realize that I love. . . enough things that any day can become a great day if I spend a little time with something/someone I love.

32. I’ve come to realize that I don’t understand. . . short selling. No matter how many times John explains it, it falls out of my head within five minutes.

33. I’ve come to realize my past. . . can only be defined by me and the stories I choose to tell about it. That power is intimidating.

34. I’ve come to realize that parties. . . PASS

35. I’ve come to realize that I’m totally terrified. . . PASS

36. I’ve come to realize that my life. . . is the one I want to be leading. (Does that make me a jerk, in this hip, ironic, distanced, detached age?)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Disney's World.

Did you know you cannot buy a coloring book that is not Disney themed? I went shopping yesterday for a hot-weather activity to do with my niece... cuz I got a niece and two sisters along with that new husband... and the only options were Cinderella, Snow White, Nemo, Cars, etc. I don't know what I was expecting. Were there coloring books in my childhood of trees, butterflies, sandcastles? Perhaps not, but it seems like it.

And watching the opening scene to "Happy Feet"? The penguin is singing Prince's "Kiss" and finding her mate. She is actually drawn as an hourglass-figure-penguin, and while I find the artistry behind alluding to breasts on a penguin quite fascinating, I also find it a bit sexualized for a six year old. Maybe I'm seeing the point of a former acquaintance, whose children were allowed 30 minutes of television a day, and only comedies, musicals or quiet dramas created in 1950 or earlier. Seemed nutso at the time, but now I'm not so sure.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Too Hot to Think, but not Too Hot for a Soapbox Moment.

The cultural zeitgeist, the rise and fall of ideas in the collective unconscious, the spreading Portland ennui about a given topic... you can find all this, and much more, on Facebook! Yes, you can!

But this week, if one more person writes a status update about how they are from the Northeast, or Midwest, or South, or Southwest, and that anyone bitching about the heat is just a whiner, I might sign up their email address for every e-newsletter I can find. (And as you may know, I can find quite a few.)

The perfect candidate for this is a person who has been complaining about the complainers for three or four days on Facebook now, in complete honesty... who then added this morning that s/he lives with AC at work as well as at home.

Was it tongue-in-cheek? I am too cranky from the heat to discern. And s/he can go right back to the Midwest/Southwest/South/Northeast, places that I guess it is OK to complain about the heat. I meanwhile am from Montana, and can complain as much, as much, as much as I want.* And I will gladly listen to your tale of overheated woe.

*But, oh, yes, right. I won't. Because our R2-D2 portable air-co machine saves lives. For real. B & B, gifters of the world's most magical gift, need to know that without it, I might be here; John might be here; but we wouldn't be here alive together.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We all think we're so sharp.

We do. We all think we're highly attuned to the world around us, and Not Much Gets Past Me.

Well, my neighbor - in an apartment complex - has been dead for 48 to 72 hours. With the kitchen sink running.

So this sort of evidence reminds me that apartment living has many, many frustrations when you feel like you're sharing the most mundane, intimate, uninteresting, gossipy - and more - parts of your life with virtual strangers. But while that may be so, there is also a lot that can go unnoticed, things you don't even know that you don't even know. As it were.

This Eastern European immigrant gentleman worked nights, so on weeknights, I always knew when it was 9:50 PM, because he left for work, resting his bicycle against my front door, locking his place, and pedaling away. On weekends, I heard very little from next door, and during the day, he slept. Every couple days he had a jam session to Journey or Stevie Wonder or Donna Summer around 4 PM for about an hour... I assume, when he woke up for the day.

He was polite and an almost complete loner. Whether he didn't want to engage with his neighbors or whether the language barrier required it, we had mostly conversations about the weather and polite exchanges in the laundry room. (He did his laundry shirtless and while smoking a cigarette. Yup.)

I am not afraid of death, and instead find it an important occurrence with its attendant rituals, emotions and meanings that we pretty much ignore, shame and/or avoid. But death is there, and it's really there today. It is strange to see the windows that were never open be now stripped of the curtains, allowing fresh air in and cigarette smoke out. It is strange to think of the cleaning crew that I'm told will be coming by tomorrow, and it is strange (or morbid or totally natural) to want to see all the possessions from life carried out, sans ceremony, into dumpsters or off to donations.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Country Mouse.

I enjoy when typically urban experiences feel foreign; it reminds me of my country roots. I also enjoy when rural life creeps into the city and it shocks me; I consider myself a city mouse now.

Yesterday, I'm driving back from my CSA pickup, and a happy, well-fed, collared dog goes sauntering down the sidewalk, no owner in site. I immediately panicked. Who owns that dog? Is it lost? It's alone without a leash or a fenced-in yard? What, what, what?

That's my city mouse talking. The country mouse had to remember driving with my mom in the car, a mile or two radius around our house, calling for Bridger to come home. Had to remember when coming across a dog meant saying, "Oh yeah, that's the Anderson's dog. They live waaaaay over there." Or, "Hey this a great dog, let's take him on a hike up into the national forest behind the house. Cool!"

Happy Friday.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Recipe Break.

I am trying to post every day for seven days without getting too muse-y or arrogant, so here is the latest culinary late-night adventure.

Two shout outs are involved...

The first is to Bill, whose canned blueberries and peaches (apricots?) have been sitting silently in my fridge for, oh, 18 months. These were the last two jars, begging for something easy and sweet and memorable.

The second is to my mom. A few years ago, an aunt on my paternal side told me she had great memories of my mom jumping up at 7 or 8 at night, and deciding they all needed warm, gooey brownies. "Your mom was a great one to make dessert, I remember her whipping up brownies long after everyone else was done with tasks for the night," said Aunt B.

Well, I do not remember this, but it must be genetic. Some nights, I get a craving that cannot be denied for a homemade dessert, and I'm always on the hunt for the easiest things possible. The mostly eaten blueberry-peach cobbler pictured above IS one of the easiest things possible. (Or buckle, if you like that, or crapple, if you're in my nuclear family - though that only applies to apple crumble, or, apple crapple as I've been calling it since age six.)

Take a half stick or so of butter and melt it in the microwave, in a glass pie plate.

Mix 3/4 cup of flour, 2 tsp of baking powder, 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of sugar. Drop the mixture in spoonfulish lumps into the butter --- and do not stir it in.

Smear a Bill-sized jar of canned blueberries and one of canned peach slices evenly all on top of the goop. Bake at 350 for about an hour. Tah-dah!

(I think I might add a pinch of salt next time. And I cut the sugar from the original recipe in half, and adjusted the butter, just FYI. You never need as much sugar as they say - another Mom tip.)

But we didn't have ice cream, or another family tradition, heavy cream poured in as a float for the dish. So... oh darn... guess I'll have to make it again.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Personal Space: Another Note from NYC

I find that people in NYC have extraordinary body awareness, and not the kind your yoga teacher talks about. They practically swim down the sidewalk, like the sardines at Monterey Bay Aquarium. They float up and down subway stairs, lugging suitcases and babies on the hip. They have mastered the dance of a grid - they don't slow down at intersections and yet, I never see anyone walk into each other.

This, apparently, is true of Midtown Manhattan - where Grand Central Station is, where the business people are. I visited TriBeCa (Triangle Below Canal, thank you Lin) for the first time over the weekend. (The island of Manhattan is so small that a girl from Montana has a hard time grasping all this. First, how can I have been to SoHo but not here? Second, how can TriBeCa be so different from Midtown from the Village from the Upper East Side? The whole thing is less than 2.5 miles wide and less than 13.5 miles long... and those neighborhoods don't even mention Wall Street, the Financial District, Harlem and the rest of this tiny island!!)

But certainly better and funnier writers than I have marveled at how small the Capital Of The World really is. So, back to TriBeCa.

These people have NO body awareness! I did the left-right-left-right dance a few times. I got bumped into every five or six minutes. I was leaned on in the theater by my neighbor. My feet must've grown -- they got stepped on a bit.

And while I would like to claim an understanding of this, it was Lin who explained it.

See, TriBeCa is full of hip under-25ers, and they're gonna live in the city for a year, or two, or six, and then get out. If they stay, they'll have to get a real job and grow up pretty fast, and gain the skills for the eyes-scanning-but-never-settling and body-awareness-walking required by this city. (Oh, and an iPhone. They don't let you into Manhattan or Brooklyn without an iPhone anymore.)

So while I loved the skinny jeans, the dyed hair, the beautiful people and the short film fest screening we went to, I have to say that I like the adults in Midtown better. But best of all? I like the winding, quiet, rainy, romantic streets of the Village on a Saturday night at 10:30 PM and sitting in the window of this place, eating seared scallops, corn chowder, dijon tuna and shiitakes, and a truly killer strawberry-rhubarb crisp with almond streusel topping and a scoop of gelato.

Admittedly, yes. I like that the best. While an argument could be made that a meal like that is not exactly consistent with "body awareness," it's my blog and I'll eat like I want to.

Monday, July 13, 2009

How To Be a Bad Waiter.

Great French cafe in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, yesterday.

10 AM, about half-full cafe, the sun has risen above the brick building next door and is shining down on us, on the lovely outdoor patio, where I looked up to see a neighbor in his jammies checking out how busy the cafe was from his 4th floor deck next door. (Great classic blue jammies a la Josh in Season 1 WW.)

"Excuse me, Painfully Hip Waiter Who Has Not Checked on Us in Forty Minutes, would you mind raising the umbrella at the table next to us, as it will cast a shadow that will partially protect our umbrella-free table, and then can we order mimosas for dessert, giving you a bigger tip?"

(Well, that's basically what I said.) He replied:

"I'll get you the mimosas, and YOU can feel free to ask that other table."

Holy cannoli.

It's very, very tough to get me to tip less than 15% - EVER. But sorry, Brooklyn hipster. And sheesh, lots of people out there are looking for table-waiting gigs, and they have to be nicer than that!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Ok, so I'm skipping town for a camping trip.

But when I return, a post on the End of an Era; or, An Ode To The Honda, She of 230,000 Miles.

In the meantime, thanks to Mikey P for the laugh above, kicking off a long weekend!