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!

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Freyja has this vision for a cake she wanted to make for Easter.  She wanted to go to The Decorette Shop and buy sugar Easter decorations, she wanted to tint coconut, to create grass.  I was envisioning something a bit classier, but never one to block creative vision, I played along. 

And since I am never one to leave well enough alone, we went ahead and busted out our German Easter molds and made two additional cakes; a rabbit and a lamb. Rolf lent steady hands and long arms to the cause.

Just in the nick of time, mama pulls out the Easter tableaux

a little on the spicy side La Concina de Chepe

Bored with the usual suspects, we headed east, for some El Salvadorian grub, at the sweet family place in Hazelwood, Chepe.  There are several places we go to for El Salvadorian food that are good, great even, but the atmosphere can be a bit of a downer.  Chepe is not fancy, but it is clean, well lit and festive.  The food is AMAZING and inexpensive and the have margaritas.  Win.  We had pupusas, which is what you go for, but also yuca fries that were incredible, as well as sauteed plantain and tamales that were out of this world.  Freyja the world's most picky eater loved her dinner of chicken tamales, steamed in banana leaves, for a succulent finish that is other worldly- they are stuffed with chicken, garbanzo beans and potato.   We tried cheese and bean pupusas both plain and with ranchero sauce.  We had one that came with sauce AND over medium eggs on top, AND avocado!  It was phenomenal

Yuca fries with crispy pork belly and salad

best tamale ever

fruit in plastic cups reminded me of Mexican beaches, were the vendors stop and squeeze lime for you, and chile if you ask

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Friday, April 18, 2014

It's been a long week with me not feeling well until today. 

Lying around on the sofa, and on two evenings going to bed before Mark got home from work, which is something I have never done, so it was a bit odd. 

I have been terribly behind on everything. 

On cooking,
on cleaning,
on decorating for Easter,
on washing the dog.

I've kept up with work and that is about it.

One evening we watched a movie with Adam Scott, because we both like Adam Scott, and there was nothing better to rent.  The movie, also featured Richard Jenkins, also a favorite.  A.C.O.D.   is a small movie with a great cast and the topic is "adult children of divorce".  It is a fine little dramedy, which I sobbed through and felt gutted by for two days after watching. 

It wasn't the movie, it wasn't that good a film. It was the topic of course, and the character, which was nicely defined and developed, as a problem solver and peacemaker. Mark, who has parents that amicably divorced in his 20's, when his father came out, looked at me like I was insane. 
He is used to looking at me that way, but I am sure it gets old.  You have plenty of your own issues, bub, is what I thought, but didn't say.  
Later that very day a friend wrote a lovely post about the neighbor woman that provided a certain amount of comfort and sense of place after his own parent's divorce when he was nine.  He had recently reconnected with the family.  There is no doubt in my mind that his grief over his traumatic childhood makes him the knockout father he is today, but still. 
In the movie, a researcher was writing a book about the effect of divorce on children.  She said "children growing up in the 70's were the least parented generation ever." which resonated strongly with me.  I think the social value shifts that had everyone thinking in a Maslow frame of personal needs, profoundly informed that new style of parenting, or lack of parenting that so many of my peers grew up with, coupled with single parent households and adults focused on their relationships with other adults, lovers, second families, created what my friend Teacher Marta likes to call "a generation of pissed off latchkey kids!"
At the very least I think it informs all the attachment parenting and babywearing you see in progressive circles these days.  
I had a long thing in my head to write.
A long, meandering thing that sounded good bouncing around in my mind for two days, but today I feel a bit better, so I put out Easter decorations with my kids, instead. 
Another writerly acquaintance asked a question about yearning. 
About meaning. 
I spent my whole life consumed with the notion of meaning, wishing, hoping and yes, yearning for it. 
I let go of that notion when I said yes to being a parent.  Parenting my child, making sure a hole in his life would never open up and swallow him, that he knew every moment that he was loved unconditionally and that we could and would never leave him, that no one, no one in the whole world would ever mean as much as he means, that became meaning.  There are good and bad days.  There are days when lying on the sofa seems like the most rational thing to do, but there are never days when I lose that sense of meaning in my life.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

 There is a meme going around Facebook, one of those stupid quizes, that I love to take, this one ranks your life skills.  I scored 96/100, I don't know how to ski, and four other stupid things.  One of the things on the list was driving a stick shift, and I was shocked by how many of my friends said that they can't drive stick-
 My best driving a stick story is from  Christmas Eve of 1988.
 I was cooking dinner with some European grad students from PSU, and around 6:30 one of the women started crying because she had no tree. 
I said "I think the Thriftway over by Alpenrose Dairy sells trees until late" I phoned them up and they indeed had a few left. I had no car, but there was a French fellow, very macho, who had been building a sailboat, and owned a rusted out 1968 International Harvester, that was missing the rear window... he was totally drunk, so I offered to drive. 

The problem was not that this was a stick shift, the problem was  that the seats were stuck all the way back, which required me to perch on the edge/stand up to reach the peddles, it also had that long kind of gear shift, like a mail truck, or a VW van, that requires a pushing down motion to shift; getting decent leverage was tricky, so I drove across town, standing up, with the wind whipping through my hair. 

When we arrived the Christmas tree guy said "did you let that little girl drive that thing?"  to our intoxicated friend.  We got our tree for free, and returned to chestnut puree! Rolf and I made a little flag for the puree and the tree stood unadorned in the corner, with only a few lights.


This woman is funny and amazing!

domesticness heidelcus

Mayonnaise isn't particularly hard to make, but it feels like a pain in the ass to me, due to all the whipping. I have terribly arthritic hands and the motion of whipping things with a whisk kills me.  Whisking, along with writing with a fountain pen, have become tasks I no longer preform.  I think the last time we made mayo, was in September, when a hearty friend was over for a day of cooking and was able to do the whipping.  Mark bought me this amazing vintage cookbook for my birthday, Vincent Price and his wife's work from 1961, with menus from famous restaurants and their recipes! At the end of the book there is a section with Vincent's helpful hints and his own recipes!  This blender mayo was included and it is amazing, the texture perfect!  WOW! Place 1 egg and 1/4 cup vegetable oil in the blender, along with 2 T vinegar, salt and 1/4 teaspoon mustard.  Blend on low for 15 seconds, then turn on low and drizzle in 3/4 cup oil.  Blend on high for five more seconds, and VIOLA! You are done, man! Super easy, excellent results. I added garlic and dill for a green goddess type dressing for a salad.  This is a knock out recipe!

The new kitchen has this narrow little shelf next to the ovens, that Ben the builder built me for my over-sized cookbooks, because he loves me and wants me to have special things (I am totally making that part up, there was extra space left over, because the kitchen is an odd shape and size- I like the made up story better though.)

I finished this meadowlark pillow I've been working on for months.  Getting the feather patterns correct was a bear.  It isn't my finest work, but it comes from a place of great sincerity, which I hope will mask some of the glaring mistakes.

I taught Maxwell to hand sew well enough to add his patches to his own clothing, mostly because he was pestering me frequently to do it, usually when I just wanted to do nothing.  Today I had the machine out, so I reenforced some of his work, and fixed up a pair of pants that were literally falling apart.                                                                                              "The ass is just about out of this pair, do you want me to add the Rum Rebellion patch to keep them functional?"         Is how the conversation began. 
The waiting (for your mom to sew your shit) is the hardest part - said the sage Tom Petty!

Heidi as Polish serf

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Staggering distance

We had breakfast at the Midpoint Cafe, which is about 10 blocks away, which is awesome. 

It's SOPO (south of Powell for nonPortland folks) which is brave, or crazy, or cheap, depending on how you look at it. It's in a funny, little, ugly strip mallish thing, with zero curb appeal.  Thank goodness a nail salon with reflexology has also just moved in, providing some foot traffic.

When we moved out this way 16 years ago it felt like the end of the world, but our little area has gentrified, even if we are only 1.5 blocks north of Powell.  

The folks just south have not done as well. 

We hold out hope every time something nice comes along, so we hope the best for these gals. 

It's owned by the sisters that opened and ran Dot's for years.  I have no idea why the sold it, but they did. 

The new owners have yuppied it up a bit... old patrons got all bent out of shape, but the place was packed last time we were in. 

"The new Dot's has better food", said Mark, and he's right. The food is better and so is the lighting, but still.  I was never a regular, regular, but I have friends that were, and people hate change. 

People hate tomato jam and brioche hamburger buns.

 They just do.

The menu at Midpoint is a little strange, and a little limited. 

The food was good, high quality, attention to details, portions smallish, and a tad over priced for the area, where you can get a diner breakfast that would feed two, for $7, a couple blocks away, at Diane's or The Trap.  I didn't say that is a good thing, just that you can.

If they had any sense they would add some simple egg/meat combos, or some kind of big greasy hangover breakfast.  

The coffee was passable, and the service was excellent, outstanding.

Freyja was cranky and the waitress/owner got that letting her order a hotdog before 11:00am was a really good idea.  They have some good kid menu items at a great price point.  Thinking like people with kids, that is a big plus.

They are offering cocktails until 11:00pm, which is great.  A place to walk to for a drink is a nice thing. 

The decor is charming; a tiny open space with a few red booths and some built in banquets along the walls. My chair was too high for the dinette table, but I've sat in worse.  The lighting was nice.  I hate dim lighting, I know I am a minority on this front, but I just hate it. I was pleased that the place was well lit. 

There is lovely wallpaper and collectable salt shakers. 

It is certainly to my taste. 

I liked  it a lot.  The look was right up my alley, that is for sure. 

Freyja would have liked ham

The lack of ham pissed her off, but she is high maintenance.

Me? I like most things, so I was easy to please, with a giant cup of coffee and some sour yogurt that tasted expensive and had blueberries.  Mark had soy sausage and an egg that looked overcooked to me. 

That is one of the strange things, they are only offering over medium eggs. 

Is the cook limited in skills? 

Is it a safety issue?


There is a large selection of scrambles. 

For scramble fans there is a lot of choice.

Friday, April 11, 2014

We watched "Inside Llewyn Davis" last night.

It was beautifully made.

I happen to love that time period (1961), and folk music, and Coen brother's movies, so I was happy enough.

The character is someone I would find attractive in real life.  A real self centered asshole, with a high level of intelligence.

So there was enough content there to keep me watching, but the movie never really took off, it never came to a conclusion and the ending was rubbish.

A cop out.

As if they had simply run out of film.

At the doctor's office , waiting for the doctor I love and trust, utterly baffled by the horrible assistant that calls me "hon" as if she were working the counter of a diner, and tells me in great length about her problems after taking my history, even though I have not asked or expressed interest. She also insists on measuring me; I am 46, I have been 5'3" for the past 33 years, unlikely to have changed since my last visit two months ago. I detest this woman

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

You're Up!

 Baseball season is upon us and Mark is coaching again this year, coaching and managing the team, the Blue Ninjas.  

Freyja and he are beside them selves with happiness and joy and exuberance and I could mostly not care less, which may, once and for all seal my fate as a terrible person.

Never have been much of a joiner myself, I can't relate one iota to sports, so it's tricky.

I also find the time commitment  oppressive.

Freyja, on the other hand lives to be busy, to be in motion.

Where I like to clean my house thoughtfully and with great attention to detail, then lie down with a good book, or sit in solitude with a bit of sewing, or maybe, on a Friday evening have two cocktails with a close friend in a bar with jazz,  she would like nothing better than to attend three parties and a sporting event, all in one afternoon.

I was talking to my friend Lisa about this recently.

Lisa, also an English major, with an unkempt yard and a dog with the beginnings of teensy  dreadlocks on her delicious belly, Lisa who has a Volvo as old as rattle trapish as my beloved old and rattle trapish Volvo,  Lisa so smart and funny and lovely, said  

"I am just tired and hungry"

and I think she summed up middle-age rather nicely for me, right there on the front steps of her house, that, like mine, could really use a paint job, or at the very least, a pressure wash.

I am tired and hungry and a little bit numb from all that life continues to throw right in my face. 

A lively series of fastballs that I am unable to recover from, or dodge. 

I told Mark last night

"I just need to go away." 

"but then you need to come back... What then?" 

"I haven't gotten that far yet"

Alaska, that might be good.  Someplace beautiful that isn't hot.  Heat would just spoil the whole thing, wouldn't it?