Thursday, January 28, 2010


"I hope to hell that when I do die somebody has the sense to just dump me in the river or something. 

Anything except sticking me in a goddamn cemetery. 

People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody.” - JD Salinger 1919-2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I have been requested to attend an open house for work tomorrow.

Tomorrow is Sunday, and I am not excited about the prospect of working on Sunday, and leaving Mark with the children, but I am easily guilted into such things so work I shall.

I was also asked to bake something, and since I have and  unhealthy sense of obligation, even when I  know that there is no reason to feel obligated.

It is an illness or a wound-  a big scrape that  I am waiting for someone to say  "you really should get that looked at",but most people are too polite.

Mark looks at the kitchen and shakes his head, then opts to take Freyja for an hour long walk.

What if no one else bakes anything and the table looks bare? 

 I think to myself.

In my mind I have to save the whole world from disasters, created by the  incompetency of  less conscientious people.

Everyone is one cake away from misfortune, in my head.

No one likes to be rescued and no one values or appreciates  my over diligence.  I learned that much long ago, but that doesn't dissuade me, on I march straightening collars, tidying up and working on my day off.

I baked four varieties of vegan cakes.

huckleberry lemon
ginger apple oat
banana apple muffins
gingerbread with prunes (which I baked in a copper fish mold, and Max says looks like a snake)

Now I am tired.

funny Haha

We watched In the Loop last night and enjoyed it, I laughed out loud several times in fact, which is rare for me.  I usually hate comedies.
James Gandolfini plays a general that is opposed to the war.  He manages to make you forget about Tony Soprano, which I though would be pretty tough. 
Peter Capaldi, is brilliant as the hot headed, foul mouthed director of communications, of the Prime Minister.

The entire cast is just really excellent.
Ugh the computer is acting all wonky and making writing really unpleasant. 

Just rent it, ok?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I hate clothes shopping.

I usually go at the eleventh hour, when I have to have something special for a specific occasion, otherwise I shop online at this place, where they make everything to order and take it back nicely if you hate it, all from the comfort of your own home.

I bought Rolf a blazer for Christmas, and when he tried it on he noticed that the pockets were sewn shut.

When I attempted to unsew them, we found that they were FAKE POCKETS!

Rolf like to carry a lot of crap around with him at all times, and cannot leave home without pockets, so back to the shop the blazer had to go.
I also needed to return an outfit that was given to Freya that was too small.

So off to the mall I went.

The returns both went very smoothly, so I was emboldened enough to try something on for myself.

I found a sort of interesting skirt with a fringe and a sort of brocade pattern- hippie meets Victorian.

I managed to squeeze into the skirt (it was the right size, but it had this sort of absurd lining and several teirs that made it hard to figure out, as well as one of those really cheap plastic zippers that gets caught every inch or so, as you zip up).
Under the harsh lights of the dressing room, it became clear that this skirt was not meant for a middle aged, overweight woman.

I looked like a lamp that someone had thrown a scarf over in the attempt to create mood lighting, after a few too many cocktails.
I looked like Stevie Nicks after a particularly severe Dairy Queen bender.


It only got worse from there, as it seems that all bras are now made with FOAM RUBBER lining!


I wear a double DD bra, on what planet does foam rubber make sense?

I should have taken the sales girl's sunny

"good luck!"

as a warning.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

when you give birth...

People give birth everyday.

It is normal, miraculous, and extraordinary, all at once.

When there are complications it can become super intense, super fast.

There were complications, and I ended up on bedrest for SIX weeks.   I don't sit down for six seconds, how would I lie down for six weeks with my five year old and my new born?

Both of my kids nearly killed me. 

For Real. 


Birth is just not for me.

Five years ago, I was  happy to have a big, healthy baby girl, right before they told me not to move for six weeks, lest I drop dead.


All that natural birth shit?

Right out the window, this baby had done me in.

My husband was due to leave on a business trip for New York.

We needed that income, that business trip! 

I had no choice but to call on the replacements !

Both my parents and Rolf came through with flying colors!

They made Maxwell's life ok, and got me through a dark time.

it's all fun until someone's hair catches on FIRE!

Yesterday we attended a party for one of  Freyja's friends. 
It was a beautifully done, large party. 
When the time came for cake all of the children gathered around a big table and each recieved a Voodoo doughnut with a little candle.
I am normally a pretty uptight person, always watching out, but fire makes me even more nervous. 
I looked over to see a little girl with long, long wavy hair bend close to her candle, and just as I was about to say
"don't bend so close"

her hair burst into FLAMES!!

I was a long way away, with many chairs and children in my path, so I screamed to a mom that was closer, and she patted out the flames. 


Later Freyja said
"Mommy, you embarrassed everyone with your loud voice."

We survived the big FIVE birthday! 
Freya had ten friends over and we set up a big wooden castle in the livingroom,  that I borrowed from the kindergarten class. 
Maxwell let us use all of his knights and horses, and we furnished it with the doll house furniture!
One of Freyja's favorite preschool teachers came over to help out and entertain the troops.
All and all it was a terrific party!
The center piece, was a drawing by our friend K, of a chinchilla, which was super exciting.  The glitter was added by me, I never could leave well enough alone!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Is sleep a feminist issue? You tell me.

Here is a thought provoking blog post.  I would say something meaningful about it, but I am too tired.

Mark's sister was married July of 2008, and they had a photo booth at the reception, which Freyja got into and managed to figure out how to operate... needless to say they wound up with LOTS of pictures of the Bootiful Princess! 

As her birthday draws near we are spending lots of time talking about what she did when she was littler, and how she was when she was a baby.

These topics are endlessly entertaining to her.

She is far more curious and inquisitive about real life events than Maxwell ever was at this age.

She has already asked me both how babies get into their mom's tummy and out.

Maxwell  never cared, even when I was pregnant, simply taking my word for it when I said that we really, really wished for a second child. 
That explanation was good enough for him, at five and half.  A child that believed in fairies and gnomes, and stubbornly clung to Santa until he was nine and half.

Freyja is much more interested in facts and figures (enjoys counting change for instance) and shows very little enthusiasm for the Waldorf curriculum that suited her brother so well for preschool.

We have to start searching for a school soon.

The lottery is upon us, and the insanity that overcame our lives six years ago will visit us again, with school tours and brochures, waitlisting,  hand wringing and waiting for lottery results.

I feel much calmer and more prepared this time round, but it is still a nail biter. 

I want the math and science magnet that goes through eighth grade and Mark desires the simplicity of our neighborhood school.  There is a new Montessori charter school, but they start at first grade, and are in North Portland!

Maxwell has hinted an interest in the arts magnet Jr. High, but I think we are pretty set on Mt. Tabor Jr. High's Cedarwood? Redwood?  plank? their core  program for academically gifted children.

That one feels like a no brainer, it is the damn kindergarten that has me losing sleep.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


In 1988 I got my second poodle, Teddy Braun, after the tragic death of my first poodle Pupp-o.
Ted was trouble from the start and remained a giant biting, barking, pain in the ass until the day he died in 2002, but I loved him dearly and so did Rolf.

Over the years I made up a long running story, for Rolf, about him and his origins (he came from a planet called Goatron, ruled by oppressive goats, that had driven the poodles population underground, where they developed time & space travel, as well as gem mining.)
The time traveling poodle was a bridge blowing up anarchist, in turn of the century Danzig.
He led all kinds of labor movement protests and strikes.  He implanted tracking devices in the teeth of people he would need to meet again, via kindly pediatric dentists sympathetic to his cause (this explains why both Rolf and I have such cruddy teeth!).

Recently Rolf's friend K. has written some of the story down, as well as created illustrations.  This  is part of the little book she made as a Christmas gift.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Flower Power

Embarrassing, vast, and amazing lavish display of my favorite flowers, in my favorite colors.  How could a gal not feel loved with this many people declaring her their one perfect daisy?



I have very few photos of myself from say age 10 when my grandmother stopped having an annual portrait made until I had children ( classic case of low self esteem plus not owning a camera- in the few that I do have, I can be seen in every photo hanging onto my long suffering boyfriend like a life raft, or hiding behind taller friends.), but I thought I would post a few from 20ish years ago, since it is my birthday and it feels weird to think that I was already an adult 20 years ago, and part of what I am trying to do with this writing project is to be more authentic with myself.  That is why I post my photos now, living more in the present and trying to worry less about perfection.  

The top one is from Christmas 1984 at my mother's house.
The one with the pink jeans is sometime in 1985
The purple stripe shirt photo is cropped from a big group photo from a New Year party 1992
and the beach photo is me sleeping, at the Jonathan Club in LA July 1986, I drove down with the long suffering boyfriend after graduation.
I just got this link from Mrs. Fosback, a fabulous, creative, energetic, child-centered teacher, that created "Education Soaring", a program for motivated students.

She is offering a MLK day, full day program this year!

Maxwell has done Education Soaring's summer program several years and it has been one of the most well done programs we have tried (and we have tried them ALL, let me tell you).

They offer a full day program with hour long classes (lots of cool ones to choose from).  Maxwell has done the animation class several times as well as the reptile class and a biology class.  They also offer a full day lego robotics class. 

If you have to work on MLK day and need something cool for your school aged child, I highly recommend this program!

Monday, January 11, 2010


We have this set of kitchen chairs that are really rather nice. 

They are all wood, made in Czechoslovakia. 

I purchased them along with the table about 8 years ago at a garage sale and we have been delighted with them ever since. 

That I discovered, a year or two into owning them, that they had these little nonsensically placed nails on the bottoms of each leg, that were punching HOLES in my kitchen floor! I was SICK, when I realized that 

A.  The kitchen floor was pretty much FUBAR by the time I realized what was creating the problem

B. That I will never have the money to buy a new kitchen floor.

Upon discovering the source of the ruined floor, I immediately went  Home Depot and purchased this handy little plastic feet that you nail onto the bottom of the offending chair leg to stop the damage to your already cruddy vinyl floor. 

They did the trick!

Until tonight, when I went to scoot Miss F. up to the table, and felt that horrible resistance.  

I knew instantly, it was another hole in the floor.  

In a fit of rage, off I went again to Home Depot, to purchase yet MORE little plastic feet.  Naturally the little plastic feet that I needed to match the ONE missing from my chair were not longer in stock, so I had to purchase four NEW LARGER plastic feet. 

When I got home I realized that I had to somehow pry the old feet off three of the legs, and  of course every tool in the house was misplaced or missing, so I had to use a butter knife.  

Then came the time to apply the new feet, which required finding a suitable hammer substitute- 
Dansko clog?  Worked pretty well, but I finally settled on a wooden meat hammer, that I had won as a door prize in 1985 at a Tupperware party.  

I was to have margaritas with a friend tonight to celebrate my birthday, but she couldn't make it, but I was not to be thwarted, I made a quart of fresh squeezed margs and by cracky, I intend to force both Mark and Rolf to drink to my health, my handiness and my birth! OR ELSE!



Sunday, January 10, 2010

dining OUT!

Tuesday is my 42nd birthday.  With birthdays come all this pressure to be feted and dined and celebrated, none of which suits me very well.  I love to throw a party, but I am hard pressed to sit still and be the guest of honor. 

I am never comfortable in that role and usually work myself into a nervous wreck before I even leave the house. Our week is super busy and we have swimming lessons smack in the middle of Tuesday evening, for both children, so tonight was our window for going out to dinner. 

I chose this place     which was daring of me, since it was new and I was feeling a little put on the spot.  

I almost always wind up going to bread and ink when put on the spot, but I have fallen out of love with them ever since they discontinued their Yiddish brunch and started adding all kinds of "fusion" items to the menu. Things like chicken skewers do not belong on my bread and ink menu, thank you very much!   I decided to bust out, and I am glad I did. 
The food was lovely. 

Authentica is not perfect and not quite as distinct and magical  as the garden seating at  La Calaca Comelona  which we both adore, but good none the less. 

The black bean tortillas were wonderful, fully, soft and chewy good, with three unusual salsas.  

The romaine salad with Mexican fresh cheese and  spicy peanuts was terrific and the house guacamole perfect. 

We shared a pomegranate margarita (hey it's Sunday, duty calls early in our house!) which was excellent.

When we were driving home Mark said  

"it is really hard to eat out with someone that is a really good cook, and it is hard to eat out after living with a really good cook for twelve years." 

It made me feel good that he got where I was coming from and that he values what I do in the kitchen. 

tidying up a bit

I did a bit of rearranging  and dusting of the china hutch today.  This is a small fraction of the china and glassware that I own.  Before I had children I entertained a great deal.


Almost never.

I have no idea why.

Mark and I have no friends in common, so it is always a bit odd, I suppose to have parties, with his or my friends, and it feels like I know fewer and fewer people as time goes on.

Never the less I persist in keeping all of this crap around collecting dust.  It makes me happy to see it sitting there, I suppose.

Almost none of has any family connection, nothing inherited.

The reality of my family is that pretty much no one had anything inheritable.

My great grandmother had some depression area arts and crafts pottery and Fiestaware, but it was utilitarian at the time it was purchased, and long since given away to Goodwill by the time I was interested in collectibles.

Most of the people in my family were lucky to have a pot to piss in, as the old saying goes.

No one was messing around with fine china.

I have a lovely set of crystal that belonged to my grandparent's neighbors, that were like parents to my mother.  Very special people.  Their own daughter had no interest in any of their belongings when they died, and gave the contents of the house to my mother.  She gave me the things that were not to her taste, ornate glasses, gilded dessert plates, and some vintage cookbooks.  I am happy to be the protector of their special things.  

My grandmother, like me, liked to buy the odd piece that caught her fancy, at thrift stores.  I have a few things that belonged to her, but they were just things she picked up and stored away in a china cabinet, when she was older, never anything she used for special occasions.

In her last years, before she died, she had taken to purchasing sets of hideous stoneware, with duck and goose motifs that she really loved.

Man was her taste ever rotten, but she took a lot of pleasure from having dinner with those duck plates and even glasses.   Glasses  painted with garish geese smiling at you from under sunbonnets.
 That is what she liked right before she died.

I think I offended her by saying I didn't want them when she was gone.

What I wanted was a greenglass Fireking bowl, with a spout and a handle, for pouring batter.

Here, take it now, take it home with you, I never make pancakes anymore.

I never make pancakes either, but I am happy for the bowl.

When I was five she bought me a china tea set, from Bush's furniture store in Oregon City.

My grandparents bought every stick of furniture they ever owned from the Bush family store in Oregon City.

Old Mr. Bush allowed my grandmother to pay things off on layaway, when they first moved to Portland during the war, and she rewarded him with fifty some years of loyal patronage.

Why they were carrying a big,  fancy child's teaset, I have no idea, but she bought it for me for my fifth birthday, and I have it still, or at least most of it.  The bad man broke several pieces when he helped me moved from NW to NoPo in 1997, and I am still pissed off about it.

I thought about giving it to Freyja for her birthday, but I am not that generous, and she is not that careful.     

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Worry wart

I made it through another sleep over.  Maxwell spent the night at his best friend's house, for a birthday party, which usually means a sleepless night for me, but I did pretty well last night, worrying very little.  I did make Mark call to check in at 10:00am though.

We are rewatching season three of the Sopranos.  I never watch movies twice, but I am enjoying watching this again, since it has been several years, and I like the show so much.

We also watched The King of Comedy on DVD.  It held up really well, it looked dated, but it didn't detract from the movie in any way.  

I bought Mark a Scorsese collection of DVDs for Christmas, so I fully expect to watch the whole catalog over the next few months, which is fine with me.

Jerry Lewis plays the bad guy so well in this movie, really brilliant. 
I also love him in Funny Bones , where he is essentially playing the same part, but he pulls it off so well.  Both are among my favorite films, so perhaps I have some weird Jerry Lewis fetish?  Geez, I hope not.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A banner Day

The great kid birthday party stress of 2010 has begun.  
I have mailed the invitations, I have bought the goody bag treats and today I made this banner. 
I tried to talk her into having her party at the preschool, so that we could invite all the children in the class and I would feel less pressure over the state of our crappy house, but she would not budge. 
She wants the party at our house as it has always been, and so the pressure, the stress and the worry are all lined up for me. 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

nickled and dimed

I just got back from Joanne's where I had to put a quarter into a lockbox, in order to use one of their shopping carts! 

Holy Cow!

What is the world coming to?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

role playing

I just got an e-mail from Mark, asking to remind him not to forget his niece and nephew's birthdays this weekend, to which I replyed

"you already sent them birthday gifts along with their Christmas package".

On new year's eve, he drove a family friend home from dinner at our place, and had the awkward situation come up, where she thanked him for the Christmas gift from our family, and he had no idea what it was.

It isn't that Mark is a thoughtless person, who doesn't like to give gifts. 

We have simply slipped into roles, and my role is to be the gift selector, wrapper and mailer offer. I also keep our family calendar, make most appointments and correspond with the schools.  

I have no idea why, but it always works out that way.  I suppose I do know why, I am better at working these tasks into my day to day life and I have a better memory for details.

There are many times that our established roles make me feel like a bad feminist, but I am evolved and self actualized enough to realize that chosing do do what I like, what I am good at and what works for me, makes me a good feminist, at least I hope it does.

a lazy woman's wintery enchiladas

I made a pretty decent vegan casserole to go along with the cake.

I chopped about 2 quarts of root veggies into a large dice
(jewel yam, yellow sweet potato, turnips, rutabagas)
tossed them with olive oil, salt & pepper, oregano, and the juice of one orange

Then I made a simple salsa by grinding 6 roma tomatoes, salt a squeeze of lime, one jalapeno pepper, and a handful of cilantro in the blender.

I oiled a 9x11 baking dish

lined it with corn tortillas,  cut in half, with the straight edge out

threw the veggies on top, with some shredded kale for color,

drizzled a teensy bit of the salsa over

topped with more of the tortillas

then spread the remainder of the salsa over the top, sprinkle with a tiny bit of olive oil

bake at 350 for  and hour and 15 minutes.

this was good, healthful and colorful.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Watch it!

Remember a while back, when we watched the pilot of The United States of Tara?

This week we finished watching the first season, and I really enjoyed it! 

The acting is really good. Mark said, more than once "this could have been so bad  based on the premise", but it is really well done, and funny and entertaining and bawdy and if you are like me and you find multiple personality disorder interesting, then you will like this show!

One of the best things about this show is that the husband is a good guy.  A really good, nice guy with a fleshed out character, which is rare in comedy.  He is not simplistically long suffering, or a buffoon.  He is compassionate and also sort of macho at the same time.  Excellent.

Our lady of many cake plates and books

I have a work potluck to attend this evening and a cake was requested. 
So I made an old standby- my vegan citrus & coconut cake.  Essentially a basic genoise cake veganised with egg replacer and coconut milk  to retain the moisture and fluff factor.
I have always gotten excellent results when I bake it in a copper tube pan, but as you can see, this time it cracked a bit when I turned it out of the pan. 

The crumb seemed very excellent though so I hid the cracks with some lemon glaze & thinly sliced oranges.

I wanted to transport the cake in one of my vintage cake carriers, which required the near death experience of having the cutglass (heavy) cake plate fall on my head, as I had foolishly stored it on the top of a 6' bookshelf  (doesn't everyone stash vintage serving pieces in their library? )

I would like everyone to take a moment and admire my faithful Sunbeam mixer.  It is a freaking champ, whipping the dickens out of batter to make the lightest and fluffiest cakes!  I bought it at an estate sale 20 years ago, and it was old then.  Sunbeam, you rock!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

We managed to stay up until midnight, which is something I never do.  I just never feel well when  I stay up late, but I had promised Maxwell that he could stay up with his friend, so up we were.  

Freya had a morning playdate, which was fabulous until I realized that they had upended a huge basket of Playmobil figure and dismantled many of them, as well as dumping out tons of other things, while I was in the shower.  It took me and both children and hour and a half to put everything back together!

We had a couple of friends over for dinner.  I made a fabulous soul food feast, with homemade mac and cheese, okra, cornbread, coleslaw, baked beans and a friend brought over three desserts, so all in all is was an excessive evening.

I am plowing through the big stack of paperbacks Mark got me for Christmas.  I finished the wrong mother , by Sophie Hannah, essentially a murder mystery.   The protagonist is a working mother to two young children, which made it more relatable for me.  It was a decent read, however the ending was a bit silly, and contrived.

I also finished the best food writing of 2009- I always enjoy those anthologies, and this was a particularly good one, which reminds me that I forgot to get Mark the "best crime writing of2009" which he likes, and is always a good gift for the man that is impossible to buy for.  

I am just starting the we came to an end which I am liking a lot.  It is about a fatcat ad agency facing layoff and economic  downturn.  The writing is very conversational and witty, which I like. 

I also read about two pages of the girl with the dragon tattoo which has gotten so much hype, that I hardly need to throw my two cents in.  I hope to love it.  I have not loved a book in a while.