Tuesday, December 29, 2009

and more snow


I was down in the basement doing laundry, and when I came upstairs this is what I found!


Not a big deal for all of you east coast types, but it rarely snows in Portland.

A really LONG movie

I took Maxwell to see Avatar, as a gift, since I hate most movies that are of interest to him, and for some reason me going to a movie with him is a big deal. 

The special effects were amazing, if you are into that sort of thing (I am not).

The story was a simple one, with a decent moral.

It disturbed me to have both the good guy and the bad guy be former Marines.

Marine on Marine violence felt wrong for me, even though I detest the action of the military, I feel that it is wrong headed to portray soldiers as ruthless thugs.

I would have been much more comfortable to have the ruthless thug be a politician or a corporate hack.  The bad guys that make all the bad stuff happen.  Let them take the heat.

Just my little bone to pick.  Otherwise an ordinary shoot 'em up movie with really beautiful scenery.

Not really suitable for kids.  Had I know more about it I would have asked him to select another movie.

My own damn fault for being so out of it regarding popular movies & culture in general, I suppose.  

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thanks a lot Mrs. Rombauer!

I am a perfectionist and I am also prone to dissatisfaction, and crankiness, setting myself up for disappointment and all around gloomy gusness.  I admit to all of that and more.

So I thought I would keep it really simple this year and not put everyone through a big production.

For months I have had this image in my head of a fondue dinner in front of a raging fire, for Christmas Eve.  Not so hard, right?

We tried it a couple of years ago, and the fondue was yucky, it separated and was simply not good.  We blamed the lack of a proper pot.

Months ago Rolf bought me a very fancy fondue pot expressly for this purpose, for this meal, for this one day.

We were all set.

I looked over a few recipes and decided to go with the Joy of Cooking, because it is usually my go to source for everything.

The fondue failed AGAIN this time, same problem, nearly garbage- wayyyy too much wine (how often do you hear that from me?).

Not good, not good at all!

Not only that, but my fire was wimpy and never really raged.  It didn't even really burn, it just sort of sat and smoldered.

We ate microwave popcorn and the other half of the bottle of wine.

The next day I went through all the fondue recipes I could put my hands on, and all called for half or less than the wine in the Joy.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

garlic makes me really happy.

For the past few Christmases we have taken my mom and stepfather out to Greek food during their visit.

I used to buy them gifts, and while I am sure they appreciated my efforts, they have most things that they need and hauling a bunch of stuff back to San Francisco seemed silly and cumbersome.

I always like taking people out for special occasions, since Portland is chock full of awesome ethnic restaurants and an amazing gourmet  food scene, but my stepfather is a sort of old school meat and potatoes kind of person, so it was always a little tricky, until my mother took his mother on a tour of Greece and she won him over to moussaka!



I was turned on to this fabulous place my sophomore year of high school, when we went on a field trip with the Western Civ class.

In my teens and all through my 20's I requested all of my birthday dinners be at Alexis.
It is located in a fairly sketchy part of town, but within walking distance of their hotel, so it works out well.

 They are very brave and long suffering with all of my demands of going to sketchy parts of town.
My mother and stepfather were mugged during a visit to me for my college graduation, which is unheard of in Portland, people simply do not get mugged... so it is a running joke, that I will ask them to venture into unsavory parts of town at night.

They have had my two children plus my brother's two, in a hotel suite, since Saturday, so it was the least I could do to get dinner!

Operator, give me long distance...

I just got off the phone with a dear friend that moved across the country to the south, and is feeling a little like she landed in a foreign country.

Apparently her neighbor has forbidden her child to play with my friend's child over some potty talk. 

My friend is livid because it was the neighbor child that initiated the naughty words in the first place and she feels that the neighbor is being extreme in her reaction, which also included spanking her son, and "grounding" him, all over some  eight year old children saying "penis head" or "butt head" or some related head word. 

Spanking and grounding and fundie Christians, you are surely not in Portland any more my friend.

I grew up with  religious family members that would say the most outrageously insulting, horrible things to each other, but always avoiding swear words, so it was acceptable.   I certainly don't want my children to swear, but I would rather hear a damn, than a stupid, fat, ugly or retarded.

People have such wide differences when it comes to parenting.

"I need my people" she said. 

Me too.

For twenty-five years we have propped each other up, and this distance has been really hard.

Merry freaking Christmas Butthead, I love you and miss you a lot.  

Friday, December 18, 2009

the computer is winning

I had no internet today until 2:40pm,
which really pissed me off,
since Friday is my day off without children, a time I can goof around on the internet without someone yelling


every ten minutes.

Last night there was some kind of update- why can't the computer just work?

Why must it constantly be updated?

I hate the stupid updates, they make me crazy.

After the update, the computer would no longer let me look at any of the webpages I like to look at. It also made Yahoo the primary thingy on the frontpage, which also pisses me off, because I don't like Yahoo, and I didn't CHOSE Yahoo, and I resent Yahoo horning into my life in such a sneaky manner.

So I spent a few minutes, every few hours messing around trying to get the settings back to where I like them, without much success.

Then I tried browbeating and insulting the computer, with little success, but at least that part made me feel better.

"I HATE you!"

"You totally suck and I wish I could throw you out, right this minutes, right into the GARBAGE!"

"Thank GOD you were free, because I would be furious if I had paid for such bad service!"

The computer was a freebie from my father, which I am deeply grateful for, except for times like this, when the computer doesn't work, at those times the computer is like that boring guy with earhair and bad breath. The bad kisser, that you are only dating because you don't want to spend Christmas season alone, and you plan to dump him as soon as January rolls around.

I suspect the computer knows that it's days with me are numbered and sometimes I think it acts poorly just to spite me.

So with no internet, I finished wrapping some gifts, spruced up the dining room, and prepared some cookies for Freyja and her friend C to decorate this evening, during a after school playdate.
All of the machines around our house are in league with the computer, the dishwasher, the washing machine, the oven, all louts, breaking or limping along barely getting by.

The Christmas cactus, however is preforming beautifully, and the Christmas tree is looking nice and Victorian, and holding it's needles well. So you win some, you lose some I suppose.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

one, poor correspondent

Remember that song from the 70's?

It doesn't mean you aint been on my mind.

No one ever comments, so perhaps I have driven my few readers away with my slacker blogging habits?


Time just gets away from me so often these days and I can't even say I have been doing anything worth while.

Reading a little.

I just cracked In the time of butterflies, by Julia Alverez which feels promising- I didn't love her other novel, the one with the girls losing their accents, in the title. I don't recall, why, now, but I know I never finished it.

We watched Julie & Julia, over the course of two evenings (insomnia continues to kick my ass, leaving me a heap on the floor by 8:30pm each night, only to wake at 4:00am feeling like I had been hitting the speed, or at least drunk several pots of strong coffee.
Weird- not in a good way.)

It was a delightful movie.

I don't usual do delightful, or lovely, but my love of Julia won me over.

I have loved her so dearly, for years and years, it felt good to see her portrayed so well. Her relationship with her husband is my ideal. To be loved in that way is remarkable.

It's worth a rental, and staying up late for, for sure.

One of my favorite things, is to watch Martha Stewart for Julia rip offs.

I love catching Martha redhanded!

Julia also has the blue that I love in her kitchen.

It is the same blue that Matisse's kitchen was!

He had a lot of tile work though, more rustic.

I love that kind of r u s t i c.

What I do not love is the rusticness of my kitchen with it's broken stove and dishwasher.

That rustic I could live without.

I also love the pegboard in Julia's kitchen.

I love high function, I hate fussy.

Pegboard is function. Pegboard is a good thing. Sorry Martha, you know I love your moxie, but you lose.

I am trying to figure out what I am going to do to make myself better this year.

I have narrowed it down to going back to my volunteer work with women leaving domestic violence (which I gave up when I got pregnant with Freya, just too intense for a pregnant mama), or taking some kind of pragmatic computer class.
I have vowed to do something, though, something outside of my work as a mother and wife and outside of the nonprofit I have work at for so long. I need to branch out into something that is not related to what I have around me all the time.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Decking of the halls and all of that stuff

More pastry than you can shake a stick at!

Miss F, in Hanna Anderson skirt ($3.99) & Dansko Clogs ($5.99) from Goodwill!

It has been a whirlwind of activity around here, since December 5th, when the children & Rolf started in on St Nicholas Day celebration.

Every year, my gift to Rolf is making a big St. Nicholas dinner with a goose as the centerpiece.

This year the geese were $70, and since I both cheap, and not into eating geese, I suggested a focus on the sweets instead, and I would say that a jolly time was had by all, despite the lack of any honking fowl.
a very tall skinny Noble Fir tree. The only kind I like.
Maxwell kneeding the Butter S dough.
Freyja showing him how it's done!

OOOps! I forgot to take photos of dinner! Dang! St. Nicholas dinner 2009 really did happen!

Friday, December 4, 2009

(more) Proof of God's love

Isn't this the most extraordinary color you have seen all day?

Dino in a hole

I have to drive to Olympia today, so I got up early and made something a little special for breakfast. I usually use the heart shaped cutter for this, but it went missing ( a playdough related accident?) so I used a brontosaurus instead.

The recipients were not that thrilled.

My children like to turn their noses up to pretty much all food that is not candy.

was happy with the results.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mr. Fluffyhead

Ripley finally got a haircut, sadly the really cold weather is also finally, just setting in, so he is freezing his fuzzy, pink heinie off.

In a fit of whimsy (or disorganization) I wore Maxwell's tie dyed socks to work today- it was 6:30am and I was tired and I couldn't find any of my own socks, so there you go.

That would be a pretty good indicator of how my week is going.

The good news is that I finally have something decent to read, after a long dry spell.

I am just finishing up The Size of the World by Joan Silber, which is a good collection of interconnected stories.

The only thing that I didn't care for was the fact that I found myself distracted a couple of times, because I was searching for the connection, and it was really thin, or it came at the end.
That has more to do with me and my linear personality than the quality of the writing, though.

I am also nearly done with When you are engulfed in flames by David Sedaris. I love David Sedaris, even his shittier work, like that one with the stupid Corduroy title, so I like this one. He has jumped the shark a little, but I still laugh out loud every few pages, so I will be happy with that.

Next up is Trash by Dorothy Allison, which I know I will love, because I love all of her work as well as just about anything of this genre.

Friday, November 27, 2009


In this time of warm fuzzy thankfulness, I feel like I am coming up short.

Last night an older friend said

"I am thankful to be here"

and I knew that she didn't mean to be sitting at my table, she meant to still be sucking in oxygen everyday, after 70 years.

I knew exactly what she meant.

It sounds so tacky and ungrateful to say it, but it is a great deal of work not to simply stick your head in the oven and be done with it all.

So in the most basic and essential way, I am thankful to be here too, I suppose, but I do wonder why it has to be so difficult for some people, and so seemingly easy for others?

If that sounds like sour grapes, too damn bad, it is true for me and I am sticking with it.

Another friend said

"you are an amazing mother"

and I will take that compliment and bask in it and hope that it was sincere.

I am a good mother

I am a good wife,

sadly those things are not valuable to anyone outside of this house and you can't eat them, or trade them for electricity, so I frequently forget to assign them value.


As usual I have not mastered getting the photos to appear in order, but here is what Thanksgiving looked like at our place.

Way more food than any 12 people could eat...

Animated conversations
Parental food cutting duty
Little girls only wanting to eat ice cream all night.
The table before the action started!
Sitting around after the dinner was over.
Aunt Karen playing with Moonshadow
Heidi and Mark cooking, and cooking and cooking and cooking
Rolf and Karen preparing beverage service
Rolf and the dog doing math games and being anti-social
Heidi, Maxwell and grandpa before the guests arrive.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Apparently it is really BORING around here, or so I am told, by the ones I bore so frequently.
We are waiting around for the overnight guests to arrive and keeping boredom at bay by baking a gingerbread cake.
That really is boring, isn't it?

Monday, November 23, 2009

at least I haven't been literally run over lately...

Thursday night, on the way to swimming lessons, Maxwell and I witnessed a guy get hit by a car at the intersection of 52nd and Lincoln.

It was as creepy as it sounds.

The car that hit him was moving pretty slowly, so he didn't fly up into the air, or hit the windshield, the way it happens in the movies. He just sort of rolled, like a somersault, across the crosswalk to the curb, where he came to a stop, and then crawled onto the sidewalk.

The car that hit him was a big cream colored Cadillac, driven by a very well dressed elderly man.

The elderly man pulled his big cream car over, but didn't get out and check on the fellow he had hit, for a long time, like maybe five minutes.

I pulled over, found a place to park, waited for the light, and crossed the street and was there talking to the victim, for a long time before the guy got out of the car.

The man that was hit, was wearing all black, including a hood. He was extremely unpleasant, which I think was his personality, not just a result of having just been rolled across the cross walk, by a Cadillac.

He was snarling at me, to give him the address, so he could tell the 911 operator where to send and ambulance.

He had a cell phone, and didn't need to use mine.

When the elderly gentleman did get out, all he said over and over was

"I just didn't see you" to the hit guy.

"I just didn't see him" , to me.

I felt really sorry for the old guy, since I also didn't see the man in black, and easily could have run him over, had I been one car ahead in the line.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ready, steady, GO!

We did the shopping for Thanksgiving today!

HOLY COW, what a lot of produce!
I will confess to purchasing canned pumpkin this year, I just don't feel like fighting my crappy old oven, to bake a pumpkin, and frankly the prospect of having to scrap the guts out doesn't excite me either! So there.