Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Berry Season.

Every summer, I am surprised when I have the first raspberry of the season. I am taken back immediately to the raspberry patch on the side of the house at my grandparents home on Quail Road in Osterville, MA, on Cape Cod. I am standing there with my grandfather, and there is a very good chance I'm tasting the first raspberry I ever had, sweet and warm off the vine. And every year I think, will this strong sense memory fade? Will I someday pop a raspberry in my mouth and NOT be transported to the humid August air, the salty breeze off Nantucket Sound? 22 years after this happened, at age 28, I think not. I think it will surprise me each and every year, and I am so, so, so grateful for it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Begin with Failure.

Life wouldn't be worth living if we weren't trying to continually improve ourselves, would it? We've all met the folks who aren't working to grow, and not only are they stagnant to be around, they must be miserable shoes to walk a mile in.

The only exception to this striving-for-evolution is my late grandmother, who at 84, was still operating under the impression that she'd find the magic cure to lose weight. (And to erase wrinkles and revive her sight, but the weight loss was the major focus. Lord, I hope I give up thoughts of physical perfection in my 7th or 8th decade!)

But. Back to this week's newest benchmark for improvement: not throwing out leftovers. Some folks, I hear, don't save or have leftovers. What is this concept? I grew up in a house where my mother, as a gift from her mother mentioned above, saved every bite of food... and to quote my father... as a result... we had a fridge full of "a thousand little tin foil packages!!" (With or without expletive in that. Ahem.)

If food should be taken seriously, if food should be honored as our daily communion with sustenance, health, community... then I ought not be throwing it away, tiny-tin-foil package or no.

So I begin with failure. Sunday night's turkey loin and sauteed kale. The final bite of turkey loin (yes, there is one slice left) will get eaten on toast in moments for breakfast. Five, six days old? I live on the edge! But the kale? It looks sad, and limp, and lonely in streaks of cold olive oil, a too-large Tupperware dish. I think I'm going to give up the dream that it'll get eaten, and turn my attention instead to the half jar of peanut sauce for a stir fry this weekend, the small scoop of chicken salad for lunch today, and the zucchini that are getting a wee bit soft from last week's CSA pick-up.

I'll report back when I fail again, but I have high hopes for now. High, apple pie, in the skyyyy hopes...

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Whew. (See below.)


So whenever I buy something off Craigslist, I inform someone where I am going, when, who I am meeting, and that I will call or text when I'm done and safe. Am I crazy? I'm safe, that's what I am!

So right now... at 5:45 PM Pacific Time... the reverse is happening. We are selling something in advance of moving in a few weeks. And the buyer is clearly a serial killer. So I will post when we're safe because this guy... YIKES. He is chatting with John OK in the other room, but I think I was the first woman he's ever shaken hands with. We're talking Grade A Awkwardity here, my friends.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Another husband laugh.

While watching "The West Wing" he says to me...

"I like President Bartlett better than President Obama. He's less scripted. If that's somehow possible."

Game changer.

I was on the MAX train the other day, and three high school boys were near me, talking about who made the football team for next year, and some girl that one recently said, "yeah sure" to a girl who asked him to "get serious and be exclusive" ... while he really plans to only date her for the summer. Ah. 16 year old boys. How the same they ever are.

Then they started talking about some adult who came to the school, for some reason I missed due to the train announcement, and tried to make appointments with them. College counselors, I wondered? Two of them joked about how they just agreed, made the appointment, and then were called on their cell phones at the pre-determined time only to both respond, "Uhh, yeah, sorry, dude, can't make it." What a coincidence! They both bailed on these same adults!

Tsk tsk! I thought. Bad kids. No respect for elders, or others' precious time.

And then the third laughed at his pals. "Yeah, I'm not going to join no fucking Army."

Oops. Many apologies for judging you, young men. Keep on. Keepin' on.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ahem. Shamless plea #2.

Just like last time, I'm marching in a parade! On Sunday! The 40th anniversary Portland Pride Parade! It promises to be a beautiful weather day and a good time, marching behind the big boss and enjoying a parade that celebrates love, tolerance and good neighborliness. Want to join? You can! Just shoot me an email.

Tee shirts this 'round say, "Are you bike curious?" C'mon, you wanna join...

Perfection was achieved.

I went to brunch this past week with a total of 10.5 people... 10 adults, 1 infant who did not partake of the menu. (Though her Cheerios looked delicious.)

And as a group of old friends, new friends, and some as complete strangers to one another, we achieved perfection. We did!

The bill was $159. With a 20% tip, that should be $191. At the end of cash-counting, bill sorting and each person responsible for their own calculations... we ended up with $191 on the table.

I can die happy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The muse.

If you're looking to support a truly hard-working artist, someone who has fought to continue pursuing her passion of writing - despite financial setbacks that would send most of us running for Mommy, despite treatment by employers that would send most of running for a lawyer - then I recommend you come to this. I'll be there, and it should be fun! It'll be your good deed for the day, and you can say you gave to a local artist, a working writer.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I went to my first State Department briefing! And besides making the foreign service sound unassailably cool, I learned some good facts 'n figures that might come in handy for you at an awkward cocktail party.

30% of Americans have passports! (This is higher than I expected; does it seem high or low to you?)

In 1990, about 3.6 million passports were issued. This year, they're on track for over 15 milllion issuances!

Some very busy consulates (embassies) in larger cities around the world have over 1,500 visa interviews each day! That's a whole lot of tourists, students, fiancees and folks hoping to get to visit the United States.

Cool huh?? What can I say, I'm turning into quite the briefing geek.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Le Fridge.

As a potential boring ol' homeowner, please allow me a brief rant on refrigerators...

Why on earth is a unit with a freezer on the top and a fridge on the bottom called a "top mount refrigerator"?? And while I'll agree it is consistent, the kind with a fridge on the top and a freezer on the bottom is called a "bottom mount refrigerator"?? What? Ugh.

And speaking of top versus bottom mount... NO, it's not what she said... but rather, let me sing the praises of a bottom mount fridge. You can see all the food, you don't crouch down to get veggies out, the part you use less is out of the way... genius, right?! Genius! I grew up with one, and I'ma gunna get one in my new home.

(Yes, of course, a French-door fridge is really the way to go but *eek*! The prices!)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The CSA is back, baby.

We joined a CSA again this year. (A different farm from last time, and in fact, the very one recommended to us in the comment section of that post! No nameless farms this year; Groundwork Organics already rules!) And Friday was their first day of local, organic, fresh bounty. Whoop!

I know we all - myself especially - like to think we are these unique beings, who choose our culinary, fashion, music and literary consumptions carefully and will not be swayed by advertising, marketing or ginormous social influences. But really, we all have a healthy dose of being "sheeple" and in the case of our CSA, I embrace it!

It's true, it's true... seasonal, fresh, organic, local produce tastes nothing like the canned or frozen or ethylene-gas-ripened tomatoes you find in January. But I did not make this discovery on my own; I made it through the influence of friends, the food and locavore culture of Portland, and the media I consume preachin' it to me.

But all that aside, if five years ago you told me that a big bin of fresh veggies was going to the very highlight of my weekend... in the form of some steamed baby turnips with butter, some sauteed bok choy, and some new potatoes with thin delicate skins (roasted in olive oil and tossed with my very own parsley growing in the deck garden!)... I would have never believed you.

I see some of the heavy cooking of the past few months receding, to be replaced with the delicate, sweet and whole food of summer in Oregon.

Though in the interest of full disclosure... we didn't do a totally veggie meal last night. There was a big fat steak on the plate too. You can't change me into a TOTAL hippie all at once!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Your world?

If you live in a world where you don't know who Ayelet Waldman is, bless you. No links here for her. I envy your ignorance.

(And yeah, this has been a week of shortie blogs!)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Learning on the fly.

Buying a house is a whole lot like planning a wedding... they are both things you don't learn to do till you're in the midst of doing them, and they're things that don't get repeated with enough (or ever) frequency to really get good at it (at least for most of us plebs).

So, a couple more comparisons betwixt the two:

Like women who buy a wedding dress and then inexplicably KEEP LOOKING at dresses, there are those who encourage me to keep looking at houses. No, thank you very much! Until/unless the inspection goes bad, this house is a lovely first one for us, and I'll be keeping my nose off the realty websites, indeedy.

And like figuring out how to book a wedding venue whilst picking out flowers and clothes that coordinate with the vibe of said unknown venue... this is much the same as paying for various inspections (sewer, oil tank, regular, radon) while choosing a lender while thinking about putting in notice at your current place while, while, while.

More news from the front as developments roll in!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I need never write about female sexuality and how it develops again.

Because you just have to read this:

And that's it; that's what I've been feeling, saying, talking about since I was 20, and experiencing that exploration of sexuality for myself and my young women peers. If there's a damn thing we can do to teach women and men about this, SIGN ME UP.