Sunday, June 22, 2014

This is how freshman year ended up! Hooray! I could not be more pleased. WHEW! Because you just never know what you are going to get with school.  Socially, there were other places that would have been a better fit, but the academically challenging route is what we chose and I think (hope) it will pay off when college applications roll around.

I had another iron treatment at Good Sam, this time, and it was a horrible place, much less nice than the cancer center at Adventist.  The nurse wasn't at all nice (although she was much more proficient at getting a IV started) and didn't offer me even a glass of water, despite the fact that I was the only one there, for most of the time.  Her son is a firefighter and had been sent to Bend to deal with the big forest fire.  While I had a great deal of compassion for her worries, she still did a shitty job of taking care of me, leaving me sitting for almost an hour with a hep lock, in my arm, and no medicine.  So far I feel mildly better.  I had to work in a toddler classroom the other day and was able to RUN around our toddler track with a pack of two year olds chasing me, for several laps.  I was pleased that I did not have an allergic reaction while having this treatment, as I am not convinced this particular nurse would have been composed enough to revive me. 
Maxwell and I looking very arty, at Mi Mole, the evening before he left for Africa

He was testing my level of sentimentality by ordering a COKE.  I allowed the transgression.

I had some preschool directors over for dinner to talk about a new quality rating thing that is most likely going to become a big thorn in my side soon.  I made a fantastic roast chicken, a chicken so fine, Julia Child herself would weep with joy.  Also a salad of butter lettuce, with black and red planed radishes and homemade Roquefort dressing that people were licking off their fingers.  It was unctuous meal of excess.

Teacher Candace in praise of stinky cheese.

Celery root salad with home made tarragon mayonnaise, and roast potatoes.

Golden beets, beet tops, shallots, bacon, and kale

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Maxwell is leaving on a trip to Africa next week, so I decided to make a special dinner for him.  He and I went shopping in the morning, which is pretty unusual; he never wants to go with me, unless purchasing something for him, is on the agenda.  Freyja and I often go the Sheridan on Saturday mornings, but she was on a sleep over, so the boy and went and he selected a large pork roast, a shoulder piece, which is not my favorite, but I went along.  He also talked me into a large bag of pistachios that cost a fortune, but I am a sucker for this kid, so there you got.   Expensive nuts.

We were making spaetzle, with out Rolf.  Both Mark and Maxwell questioned whether or not I would be able to make them as well as Onkel, which only acted as an incentive.  Unfortunately, I have the weakest hands in the world these days, and I needed Mark to do the beating of the batter, at the end, and also to hold to bowl, while I poured the batter into the spaetzle machine. Rolf would have been appalled by my addition of chopped herbs to the batter and of green apple to the caramelized onion topping.  I also used much less cheese than he does and more onion.  It was fantastic. 
Noodles: a work in progress.

I made the Vincent Price mayonnaise again, but this time with two yolks and garlic, herbs and lots of lemon, to go with artichokes and asparagus.  The extra yolk added a lot of unctuous mouth feel  as they might say on one of those cooking shows. 

The pork was pretty restaurant perfect! with a crust of mustard seed and applesauce.  I made a little white bean salad, just because I like navy beans and they sounded good. Tarragon, parsley, dill, lemon and oil. And some zucchini, because Mark likes zucchini.

My boss gave me this sweet little rose plant, for my one year anniversary at the school, I put it in a little pot I had, but I think I will eventually plant it in the ground.  Our yard is an abomination right now, me having done exactly nothing this spring to fix it up.

Friday, May 30, 2014

not your typical Memorial Day

Every year, on Memorial Day, I have a dinner party.  At that dinner party, I honor the people that I love, who have died.  I have done this for many years.  I cook the food of my grandmothers.  I think of my dear friend Leo.

This year I did nothing for Mark's birthday.  I mean, literally NOTHING, other than saying a weak "happy birthday", because I just wasn't feeling well enough.

He went to some comedy shows the next week, but still.

So when he asked to have a party with his friends, I said SURE!

I had been dying to impress his foodie friend for ages, with a chicken gallantine, so this was a great opportunity.

Besides, our social lives over the years have been dominated by my friends and my preferences.

The problem with this plan?  I have been feeling like complete dogmeat... but that is where my people came to the rescue.  An old friend, a professional chef, who I had recently, in a moment of nostalgia reconnected with on Facebook, and a newer friend from People's Coop, came and cooked their asses off (mostly in the form of grinding a shitload of meat by hand, and even sharpening my knives- Thank you Victor, you totally rule!) We wound up having a beautiful day, cooking and laughing, and boning whole birds.

The results were pretty awesome- I wound up blowing the doors off with a country pork pate with pistachios , a chicken liver mousse and the gallantine.
The day of the event Mark got nervous and bought a giant ham.
We were meated up, yo!

I also made a special cocktail, an herby vodka lemonaide, which was a big hit (see case in point: my friends drink wine.  They are strictly wine drinkers, but this crowd burned through a lot of cocktails and beer!).

We had three tables going.  Had this been my thing, everyone would have been in one room, at one table, but I bit my tongue, because I was just the facilitator, man! 

Gallantine with garlic mayonnaise! Lentil pate with walnuts, roast potatoes, country pork pate.  One of our friends brought their father along.  A charming man in his 70's who was impressed by the Charcuterie... "My grandfather had a meatshop, before becoming a minister.  My other grandfather was a farmer.  I grew up with amazing cooks in my family.  I grew up with hunters, and gardeners and people that made things" Is what I told him when he asked how I knew how to do "all of this".  All of this is just what we do.  Not trying to be cute.  It is just a thing.  I cannot imagine opening a can, I said.  That would just be weird.  That would just not be good. 

dancing lady

He invited the softball team families!

30 napkins

30 cupcakes


Rolf and Victor grinding 7 pounds of meat, and fighting sinew, they were rock stars!

Cheesecake as a sheetcake, you say that 10 times fast!

Vampire weekend

So it's been well documented, my feeling shitty.

I am feeling shitty, with a little rattiness thrown in.


Done in. 



I had this and that and a madly expensive surgical thing in November and aside from being nearly $5000 poorer I remain steadfastly worn out. 

Today we brought out the big guns.  

I went to the university oncology and hematology folks, because my family doctor felt that I needed a closer look. 

I am not a big fan of doctors and for good reason, having been treated rather badly by many over the years. 

Things weren't looking too hot for this appointment yesterday, when at 2:00pm I got a call from the office saying that Dr. Blah, Blah had a conflict and they would need to reschedule.  


Me getting time off requires a minor act of god, so there was just no way I was NOT going to have my appointment. 

I had arranged child care. 

Dog care. 

Work Coverage. 

And I was bloody well going to be seen! 



high water. 

So I went.

I saw a different doctor.  A tiny, powerhouse of a woman, doctor, and her giant, well coiffured  intern.  

They were amazing.  


They had read my file, my history, through and through.  

All the jumbles and confusions and tests and ultrasounds and ins and outs. 




It was amazing to feel known, to feel heard

I was offered two choices, a "slow infusion" with almost no risk, but taking 8 weeks,


A fast two week, four hour infusion, that carries a risk of anaphylaxis.

but you guys can revive me, right? 

yes, we can revive you, I mean we are doctors and nurses.  

So you can totally SAVE me, right?  If you can SAVE me, then I totally want the fast thing.  
I hate needles, a lot, the eight week thing sounds terrible.

That made the doctor laugh out loud.  

A full on belly laugh.

The very pregnant intern also laughed.  

Her giant belly shook with delight.  

Her elegant hair also shook.  

I was tempted to inquire who had done such a magnificent job on her bob, but it felt somehow tacky.  

So with a tiny handshake, we agreed on the fast track, and then a bone marrow check, just for good measure, in August.  

Saturday, May 3, 2014

In Memory

I attended the memorial for the friend, daughter, sister that committed suicide in February, today.

I have been in communication with the friend that has taken on the role of custodian for the mother. 

We have spoken and texted and e-mailed. 

Here is my dirty little secret- I never visited her in assisted living, even though I had been rather dedicated and faithful in the past.  I had been a fixture in her life, ever since her son, my dear friend, committed suicide in 1985. 

Then I failed.  

I chickened out. 

I am that big of a coward.

How can you go on when both of your children are dead?    

That is what I asked my custodian friend. That is what I asked myself.  I didn't come up with a suitable answer.

The service was beautiful. 

I wept the whole time, leaning on my friend J, who I have known since 6th grade. 

You never talked

Is what I said to him, of our youth. 

I never talked, until I was 20.  I never really talked.  

Is what he said of our youth. 

There was a punk rock icon in attendance. 

We talked about choosing a school for your child. 

We talked about how weird it is to be old. 

To have time pass.

We talked about people we knew in common. 

I had forgotten to eat, so by 3:00pm I was an inarticulate, dry mouthed mess.

I like your dimples. 

Is what the mother of the two dead people said to me. 

We talked about art for children.

Are you still teaching?

I am director at a fancy preschool and kindergarten, with 170 children. 

She likes impressive things. 

She likes people to be accomplished and beautiful.

a little stinging is normal

Freyja and Rolf went foraging for nettles yesterday, while I went to the doctor.  It was part nature study, part nanny.  All excellent.  They returned with an impressive haul, that I will freeze for the bad times.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Thank goodness the rain has stopped. 

After monsoon like down pouring for the past week.  

Half of Freyja's softball games canceled.  

Rolf walking around making pronouncements of deep hatred of the rain and irrational threats to move to central Mexico. 

Today I'm volunteering at Potluck in the park, and I lack proper rain gear, being too vain, or too cheap to invest in such things. 

I had visions of being less prepared than the folks I was there to serve, having to borrow a tarp, or scarf.

When it rains I typically wear a 30 year old black beret and a woolen, thrift-store sweater, looking like a zaftig, middle aged Kurt Cobain. 

I haven't owned a proper coat since the vintage things I used to wear in the 80's.  
My mother often buys me coats, great matronly things that are always ill fitting, too big in the shoulders and waist, too snug around the hips. 

I look like a boxy gnome.  

The intention is good, noble and kind, but no thank you.    

Earlier in the week the clod from my doctor's office phone to say "your blood counts are low! like super bad, cancer patient low, Caitlyn wants to see you."  Naturally I was stunned and angry, but I know the doctor will make her news more palatable and gentle.  

It was a strange week with people angry about the weather and curt in grocery lines.  

On Wednesday Ripley was at his dog daycare, hanging out in the office, due to his fragility and neediness, when someone opened the door between the office and the exercise room, and a pack of dogs ran into the office and over Ripley.  He got a gash on his head and quit a bit of fur ripped out and couldn't walk for a day or two, but he appears to be recovering.   When Rolf brought him home he was in shock.  Lifting his head weakly and letting out a tiny bark, over and over.

I felt, several times this week,  like crawling under a rock.  

On Thursday, at the end of this cruddy week, I received and e-mail that was so flattering, and so kind that I wept in the car, as I read it on my phone.  

The executive director of a professional organization I don't even belong to, I should but don't, sent me a note and two job announcements at Western Oregon University.  

People are as kind and thoughtful as they are nasty and thoughtless.  

There is no way I can move to Monmouth, but to be considered to even apply felt huge.

in case you are still looking  for other career possibilities, here are some openings.   I thought of you for the Equity Specialist position.  

Mark brought me home a stack of books yesterday, and I fully intended to start on a collection of Sherman Alexie stories, but then I just read Entertainment Weekly instead, because I am getting weird in my old age.  

We watched a couple of forgettable movies this week and are re-watching The Shield, my fondness for cop drama never wanes.  Every evening the cat comes to watch TV with us, nudging Mark with her head for a long time, before finally settling down. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dog jacking, film at 11:00

From the "Only in Portland" section of life... my housemate was stuck in NW at Good Sam, after accompanying his girlfriend to the hospital, for an all nighter with her grandfather. 
He was waiting at a bus stop, to go home, and happened to have our ancient poodle in a tote-bag (because the poodle can't be left unattended, due to anxiety issues, and he can't walk due to a bum leg, and he was unable to reach me). 
A woman strikes up a conversation and asked if Ripley was a toy poodle. She then started ranting about how Ripley was neglected and needed a haircut (he is 15, extremely spoiled and very fragile cannot handle a professional haircut anymore!) and demanded that housemate give the dog to her! 
He refused and they got into a kerfuffle, until the bus came and she got on and rode off! 
Holy cats!  

Rolf and I reenacting the crime!