Friday, July 31, 2009


After making my earlier post, I felt like I had to come through, so I made Little Miss Red, during Freyja's nap.

The pattern is free on the blog

The sewing machine was in my room, where she was napping!
(STUPID, STUPID, STUPID! slapping forehead)

So I had to sew the whole doll by hand, which made it slightly slower going, than it normally would have been (about 1 hour start to finish, with cutting and all).

I also got the wacky notion to add a bit of lace, after the doll was about 3/4 finished, so that tacked on some extra time and made her look a bit less polished, in the end, since I had to tack the lace down in front.

I used french knots for eyes, and modified the hair.

I think she is pretty dang cute, despite her imperfections (just like me!).

lazy crafter

I have not touched a needle in weeks.

I dunno why it all feels so unappealing these days.

I saw this cute little doll, that I think I will try to force myself to make for Miss F.

She LOVES Little Red Ridinghood, so it should go over well. She loves the thrill and danger of the wolf.
One of her little rituals before nap, is to ask me "are there any wolves in this town?" and I reassure her that there are not, and then I whisper in her stuffed horse's ear "take good care of Freyja, while I am downstairs!" and Horace Borris Norris, the horse always agrees to do his guard duty, along with his wife Delores Cloris Norris, although she is never the primary care giver, she just sort of sits off to the side of the bed.

If the pattern turns out to be pretty easy, I will make one for the next birthday party we have to attend. It looks pretty simple. I think I will change her hair to blonde though.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


It has been over the top, record breaking HOT here since Monday! 105-107, really freakin HOT!

So we have been taking refuge in any place with AC.

This particular cool spot, also happens to be one of my favorite places, the Pearl Bakery, in the Pearl district, downtown.

I am not so keen on the whole Pearl district, which brought with it's development a form of gentrification so extreme, that it left my favorite part of Portland unrecognizable to me, but I will ignore that travesty for a decent cup of coffee and a pistole, on a hot day.

Gone are the industrial lofts and galleries, here are the yuppies and decent Italian coffee.

so it goes.

The Pearl has pretty much everything I look for in a cafe, Illy coffee, good simple bread, tastefully simple decor, marble tables, knotty pine credenzas, fresh flowers and really exceptionally great service.

I stopped in here on my way home from the hospital, after having Freyja, despite not feeling well, and the early immersion seems to have worn off, because nary a Sunday morning passes when she doesn't jump on my head at 6:30am and demand a Kaiser roll.

This is what I had to look forward to at home. A dining room so intensely hot, the candles were drooping.
They are my favorite candles too, dang.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Freak Magnet

Spent a couple hours this afternoon listening to loud music with inappropriate lyrics, while Bootiful Princess was at preschool.

It started out with me digging through dusty piles of cassettes, looking for a homemade copy of Jello Biafra's "night of the living rednecks", where he describes being attacked on West Burnside, by some fratboyish guys in a big truck.

I told Maxwell about this and he naturally was interested, but sadly I couldn't find the tape and thought better of the idea, anyway, lest there be any blue material unsuitable for a little kid (regardless of how precocious.
Now Mark is looking over my shoulder as I write this and telling a long involved story about meeting the guy that did the artwork for the controversial "frankenchrist" album.
Mark says "he is a very cool guy. Super sweet."
OK, there you go, then! Who knew?)

But then I was sort of in the mood for something rowdy- There is nothing like country-punk to clean the toilet to, let me tell you!

So I busted out the Violent Femmes...

I still get a thrill out of "old mother reagan", even though old ronny is dead and gone and hopefully suffered in the end...
My mom has this photo of my grandmother and her sisters hanging in her office, so I thought I would take a picture of the picture, since I was there, standing in the office, with nothing better to do.

Grandma is the second from the left, and I think she is the prettiest one.

She and aunt Alice, the one on the far left, were the bakers, the ones that would have to stay home from school to cook for the threshing team.

I sometimes make her gingerbread for myself, even though no one in my family will eat it.

They are idiots and don't know what is good.

I miss you grandma, and think of you everyday.

a close relative to the artichoke

Rolf was very insistent that I feature the cardoon on this blog.

This is not the finest example, but it is, never the less, lovely.

Some years this plant grows to be about 7' tall, with flowerheads up to 8" in diameter and looks very prehistoric and mysterious, but this year it has hovered just above my head, and not become very lush and full around the leafy bottom.

What you cannot tell from this photo, is that there are three bumble bees buzzing around in the "choke" the purple prickly part.

They look really remarkable in the purple fluff, but I couldn't get the proper angle to capture them, so you will just have to use your imagination and take my word for it.

The stalks of the cardoon are edible; peel and steam like celery (who steams celery? not me!)- very popular in Victorian times.

We have not, in our 19 years of growing cardoons, in three different houses, ever once peeled and steamed them.
We mostly just like them for looks, only, strictly ornamental.

Monday, July 27, 2009

It was like Christmas in JULY!

What a MONDAY!
My friend from work returned from a trip to India with a coconut rasper, that I had been coveting for a long time, and also some fabulous homemade confections, gilt (gilded?), awww, wrapped...
in silver edible paper-
does it get any better than THAT?

Because Mark also came home today, and had a big bag of swag from the Comic Con!
a book for me, and a bunch of cool plush toys for Bootiful Princess! and a totebag that we are still haggling over. I haven't seen what he brought for Maxwell yet...

what I did on my summer vacation, by heidi

On Friday we went to Marine World, with my mom, my kids and my two nieces!
I am not usually a big fan of such places,
I decided to be a good sport, and we had a really nice time.
all the shows were well done, and the whole place was spotlessly clean and tidy.
There was this weird Loony Tunes theme, which seemed strange to me, since I don't think children really watch those cartoons anymore, do they?
Above- is Freyja and my niece with Speedy Gonzales.
We found these penguins hanging out with the keepers on the grass!
But the very best thing was this ANTEATER! We had front row seats for the exotic animal show! The anteater blew my mind.
The kids and mom petting stingrays.

The butterfly house was really beautiful too. Loaded with butterflies!

there is no place like home

I dashed down to Cali on Thursday to pick up Freya, from my mom's place.
It is always a little weird staying there, since it is not my childhood home, and if my mom & my high school graduation photo weren't there, there would be no connection to me, and of course, there is my neurosis about staying away from home, to take into account.

I hate it.

A nice anonymous hotel room, I can take, but staying in someone's house really creeps me out.

I can never sleep, and I never know what to do with myself during the lulls in activities.

My mother is married to a very nice, very generous guy, but even with all of his niceness and generosity, he is still essentially a strange old man, to me, and therefore he makes me nervous.

This is totally and completely my issue and has nothing to do with his behavior, which as I said, is quite nice and pleasant.
Mom's midget hamsters Snookums and Baby!

My mom has a very nice house.
Very CLEAN and nice and well appointed with tons of nice and tasteful things everywhere.

This also causes me some concern, when my children are around.

The first day I was there, Maxwell dropped a Waterford crystal glass on the glass cover of the kitchen table and smashed both the glass and the table top.
Freyja and Princess Sparklehorn on the plane on the way HOME!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

goofing off - it's taking all my time

With Mark gone working Comic Con, and the kids at my mom's place I feel like a real lazy bone...
a layabout.

I have been lying in bed reading for long stretches, eating ice cream at inappropriate times, drinking coffee at 9:00pm, playing wayyyy too much online scrabble.

I have not been


I don't really go OUT, and wouldn't know what to do if I did go out, never the less people continue to ask me "have you been going OUT?!"
To which I now reply,
"Oh! YES!"
"WOW! Going OUT is sooo great!"

Rolf and I did venture out for dinner last night- big mistake, considering neither of us really wanted to go out, and weren't super hungry.
I wanted to go to The Hungry Skeleton on Belmont, and sit outside, and split a margarita, but he was being all cranky and insisted on going to the new Ethiopian place down the street on 50th & Division -Bette Lukas, or something like that.
The service was atrocious.
Not wacky bad, or so bad it's funny, just really shitty and slow and unwelcoming enough to ruin the mood and the meal.

Naturally, being the insecure ninny that I am, I suspected that I was being persecuted for my lack of hipness
(the place was chock-o-block with 20something, tattooed Portland hipsters types, including the new editor of Hip Mama, at the next table!)
as I was wearing my schlumpy salwar kameez from work, and it was about 900 degrees outside, so I was sort of wilted, maybe even a little sweaty and wrinkled.

The food was fine, but next time I want Ethiopian (which is fairly often), I will happily drive all the way out NoPo and eat at EnJoni's, where the lady is nice and sweet and friendly, and the food is good too.

The worst part of the cruddy meal out, wasn't the bad service, or the food.
It was the nauseating fragrance of the hand soap!!

I am picky about a lot of things, really picky, super picky, but I am NOT one of those overly sensitive allergic types, but I am telling you, the strength of the cheap perfume smell of that hand soap was enough to knock out a grizzly bear!

I rinsed and rinsed and could not get it off, I went all Lady Macbeth, for the remainder of the evening, scrubbing, rinsing, Mint Dr. Bronners, dish soap, Ajax (joking about the Ajax)...

It continued to linger this morning!

Oddly enough one of the teachers I work with came in while we were eating, and today said the same thing about both the service and the soap!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009



is soooo much cooler,



I am still having a really hard time relating to the digital world, although I am grateful for this camera, now 8 years old, and clunky as hell (but considerably less clunky than say, my land camera, so see, everything really is relative), a camera that allows me to add poorly rendered illustrations to my babbling.

You have to love that kind of instant gratification, but mostly I am still really resistant to the whole digital thing.

I am particularly pissed off about the whole tv switcharoo.

Half the time we can't get any reception, at all!

No, I will NOT give in and get cable anytime soon.

I refuse.

I also HATE DVDs.

I can never rewind or fast forward the way I want, it always results in multiple efforts, where I skip over the part I want to see, or skip to the end or back to the beginning, and then I get all angry and yell at the VRC, which makes Mark really defensive, which results in me yelling

"WHY? Did you build it? What's it to you?"

or something like that.

Sometimes both Rolf and I get mad at the DVD player at the same time, and the kids involve themselves so it becomes a sort of digital haters, lynch mob, with daddy feeling like the outgunned sheriff.

Oh, and don't get me started on CELL PHONES.

I HATE freaking cell phones.
You give a semi-normal person a cell phone and they instantly transform into a rude idiot.

No one can make an appointment anymore, or commit.

You have to CALL them.

Guess What?

I don't want to CALL YOU, I want to see you and I want to know if you can see me, period.

I have no desire to call you and get a blow by blow of how you spent your time between our meeting.
I also do not want you to sit in the car-cafe-movie theatre-dog catcher with me and chat on your cell phone to someone else.
It is RUDE and should be avoided at all times.

Turn the goddamn thing off and make your calls in private, later, when you are ALONE and have nothing else going on.

The other thing that just chaps my hide, is the relentless upgrading of the computer.

Every time I turn around there is some upgrade, necessary to make the bloody thing functional.
I don't want it to be state of the art, I want it to work.
I want it to work every time I turn it on, and not run me through endless scans and upgrade. Just work.
Is that too much to ask?

Monday, July 20, 2009

I am reading The Orientalist, a FANTASTIC book about a Jewish guy from Azerbaijan, that poses as a Arab prince, and lives right under the nose of the Nazi's and other rough folks.

He also writes adventure stories and seems to believe his own invented past.

I am just starting but I can already tell I will love this book, a lot.

I picked it up at Goodwill last week, and glad I sprung for the $3.99!

Prior to picking up this book, I knew NOTHING of the oil boom in this region, or really anything at all, other than the bleak picture painted by my sister in law, who has traveled there extensively for work. The former grandeur has been replaced by Soviet era concrete.

Run, don't walk to the library and pick up a copy so we can talk about it!

I am also reading but, Enough about me, by Jancee Dunn, who writes for Rolling Stone and also was an MTV Veejay. Having spent 1987-1998, mostly tv and pop-culture free, I had no clue who this gal was, but the cover looked entertaining, so I grabbed it at the library.

It is an interesting read, mostly making me wish I had worked harder at "making something of myself" when I was young, as this seemingly modestly talented, totally white-bread, middle of the road, woman stumbled onto a really cool job, with very little effort.
Some people get all the breaks!
I think it is a good summer read, and has some mildly amusing stories about rock stars she has interviewed.

I finished up the man is the white sharkskin suit, and while I liked learning about the Jewish population in Egypt, the family of this story left me really cold.
The father sounded like a selfish asshole, and the mother wilting violet, the kind of person I cannot stand.
I think the book is a good read, only for the historical info, for me there was zero connection with the family, or even the author.

I stopped reading body of lies about halfway through. It is an ok book, might serve you well on a plane, but not a gripping kind of thing. We rented the movie and it was ok, entertaining and nothing more.

We also watched the documentary No end in sight, which makes a very compelling case that the current terrible situation in Iraqi is largely due to inept decisions made by the Bush cabinet & crew.
Not just the war (not just liberals saying how much war sucks, but military dudes saying how badly Rumsfeld & Co. totally and completely screwed up) but all of the insurrection and looting and on, and on ( It isn't as simple as oops, war is really hell, this film makes the case over and over that really colossal bone headed blunders were made by totally unqualified idiots). The movie is very even handed, and never goes all Michael Moore. Lots of feedback from military folks.
It is definitely worth a rental.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

hitting the road

I am not a very spontaneous person, so imagine my surprise when I found myself saying
To Rolf's suggestion for driving to the beach (we Oregonians go to the beach, not the coast or the shore), at 11:45 this morning.

At the time we were sitting in the parking lot of the mall, where I had just rushed in and purchased a new outfit to wear to my mother's house, where I will travel to this Thursday, to pick up Miss F.

It will be a one day, whirlwind trip, but I have nothing suitable for the hot weather they are having down south.

We made a quicky stop at the house to get the camera (which died after four crappy pictures! Damn battery!) and to let Ripley out for a potty break.

We went to Cannon Beach, the closest town, and also my favorite. It was really super windy on the beach, which was fine with me, but Rolf got really cold.
We walked down the beach in the water, to Haystack Rock and found this brilliant green seaweed along the way.
Then we walked back up the beach, into the town and got ice cream.
Then we drove home.
Without the kids in the car I gave into my cravings for speed, and made it back in an hour and a half!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Eat Local

Rolf and I prepared a bunch of salads from the booty collected from the farmer's market this morning.

Mark had already chowed down on his pate, so this meal was strictly veggie.
We made Mark's favorite, Onkel's German potato salad, with some steamed al dente string beans on top

(I wanted to mix them in, but he is a traditionalist, and wouldn't allow it).

boil some new yellow potatoes, in their jacket, allowing them to rest and cool, peel and slice paper thing, dress with oil & vinegar, paper thin slices of white onion, and salt & pepper.


Attempting to add other things may result in a whipping with a wire whisk.

I made a spinach salad with boiled egg, onion, sunflower seeds and my nutritional yeast dressing.

We also had cucumber salad, and the daikon radish salad, which I adore.

Mark had prepared some herbal iced tea earlier, so everything was super simple!
It was Rolf's turn to clean up. I love it when that happens!
I am headed up to watch the new season (new from me from Netflix) of Anthony Bourdain, and read my new library books.

I haven't decided on which one I will crack first.

Home Ec

It is really hot. I don't really enjoy the heat. I would go so far as to say that I HATE it, a LOT. Even Moonshadow, is hot and bothered and ready for summer to be over. She didn't bother to even get close to her bed, but instead plopped down right in the center of the kitchen floor, and refused to budge, to allow anyone to open the fridge.

So to beat the heat, get some breakfast and do something semi-productive with our Saturday Mark and I headed downtown to the Farmer's Market.
As usual the photos are all out of order.

Above- Mark seeking out the pate dude's booth. Below- the pate & some Pearl bakery bread.
Paying 1.60/hour to park downtown! The fancy automated parking meters.
While we wandered aimlessly through the aisles of fresh produce, looking for something that would spark Mark's fancy for breakfast, we talked of cooking and planned our evening meal, which I would prepare from some of this amazing produce.

I was reminded of my 7th grade Home Ec class, which like most of Jr. High, pretty much sucked, and lacked any kind of authentic inspiration to make one want to hone domestic skills.
It was taught by a woman that looked like a teenager, who was very prim and uptight.
Mrs. (Miss?) Brown.
Ms. Brown HATED me, which at the time I found very puzzling, since I lived for Home Ec, but now I can sort of understand her perspective.

I was raised by a single mother and spent a great deal of time helping with housework.
When I was in 5th grade we had a baby sitter that was an elderly, German, seamstress, with failing eyesight.

I became her eager assistant, begging to be allowed to stay home from school, threading needles, piecing & finishing bindings on quilts, as well as helping her keep up her tiny ramshackle home.

I had excellent hand sewing skills by the time I was 11, and was proficient on the machine.

My grandparents bought me my own sewing machine for Christmas when I was 10, and I spent a lot of time making Barbie clothes, although I never had the discipline to become a really skilled machine seamstress.

I hate following patterns.

I come from a long line of people, who from necessity were natural "do it yourselfers" before the concept of DIY was fashionable, or even quaint.
No one in my family would be caught dead wasting money on prefab or processed items, it was simply an alien concept.

People who didn't darn socks, grow gardens, change the oil in their own cars, and reroof their own homes were simple lazy, good for nothings.
Case closed.

I came to 7th grade Home Ec class with considerably more skill than your average child, or adult, or teacher, as in this case, and while my general MO in school was to be painfully shy, bookish and silent, when it came to Home Ec, I was a fount of energy and knowledge, which was unwelcome.

The one really exciting thing to come out of Home Ec, was my interest in classic International cooking and French bon femme cooking.

Mrs. Brown's lessons on boxed cakes bored me, driving me to the library and soon my little brother was devouring baked Alaska's, quiche Lorraine, and moussaka.
My mother allowed me to experiment as much as I wanted, and willingly ate the masterpieces produced. She also took me with her on a trip to New York city that year, which inspired a life long love of "exotic" food.

In those days I was very invested in "fancy", complicated technique driven recipes, which I would abandon for simpler, flavor driven things, in my 20's.
So today while I walked with great pleasure through stalls of brilliantly colored produce I thought about the pinched, impatient woman that didn't inspire a god damned thing in me.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

three little birds

a paper finch

a wool finch

Sometimes I complain about my life & my job,
and make little pieces of artwork, and tuck them around the house-
only I notice.

Sometimes I think I have the best job ever, because I literally get to stop and smell the flowers.

My board meeting last night was held in the garden

a real finch

and while we were nit picking over policy issues,
NINE, purple finches hung out in the borage.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Insititute for the very, very nervous

Remember the Mel Brooks movie High Anxiety?

The past few days I have felt like I needed to go to the


There is no real reason I should feel this way, but MAN, has it been rotten.

There have been a few unfortunate incidents and screw ups in my life, both at home and at work, but nothing to warrant feeling like I was

A. having a heart attack

B. that everyone hates me

C. that the world was coming to an end

which is how I felt all at once.

I am feeling quite a bit better today,

and while I have not checked in with EVERYONE,

I am pretty sure most people do not hate me.


Friday, July 10, 2009


checking out pictures of Dom's kids on my computer, in my filthy basement office

One of my best high school friends was in town this week for her stepdaughter's wedding.

A group of us have remained close for nearly 25 years, and it was a jolt when she moved away two years ago.

I was shy and bookish in high school with very few friends, and have stayed close with the few that I had, which included Joe, the one out gay kid at our wealthy, middle class suburban high school, and Kathy, another misfit.

Dom, Kathy and Joe became friends in 5th grade (the year she moved here from New York) where he would squire her out of class to do "safety patrol" and spend the rest of the day checking out the retired band instruments under the school stage.

I knew of Joe in Jr. High, and because he was my grandparent's neighbor.
We became close friends in a creative writing class when I was a sophomore- we both loved Diane Arbus, Edie Sedgewick and antiques. Joe, a really smooth talker, was always very good for my ego, telling me "you stop traffic, you are so beautiful!"

I met Dom in 10th grade, through her brother who was in my class (they were all older), who told her "you have to meet this Heidi girl".
We were the only two girls in an elective Western Civ class, for advanced students.
She was a gum smacking, mini skirted smoker, in a Sex Pistol's t-shirt, with a 4. GPA.

I was both scandalized and memorized!

Later when she won a full academic scholarship to a prestigious liberal art's college here in town, she was known to tell the preppy assholes, that harassed her (and everyone that was different) we went to school with "you can all kiss my ass".
We have had many adventures together over the years, and weathered many storms.
These people have been my greatest fans and my most staunch allies, and defenders, they have been there for me far more often than anyone in my family, even when Joe moved to San Francisco after college we remained in close contact.

He wrote me hilarious letters and post cards weekly and eventually moved home, into the bottom half of the duplex I lived in with my poodle, before I moved to the big apartment in Northwest, with Rolf.

The year I turned 30, Dom and I went to Italy together, we trade books, and share a extreme, sentimental attachment to old friends.

It was delightful to see everyone in one place for an evening, and one of Dom's four younger brothers even made a brief appearance on his way home from band practice.

I had waited a long time for this evening and it was special, it also made me a little lonely and sad for what lies ahead.

I wonder how on earth I have become so isolated?

oops, managed to cut St. Kathy the Good out of the photo.
not cool