Sunday, June 27, 2010

I really loved the novel   True Confections   by Katharine Weber. 

The New York Times book review does a much better job writing about it than I ever could. 

Do read it though, ok, then we can talk about it.
After enduring weeks and months of freakishly cold, wet weather, it seems that summer is finally here.  The berries are not as nice this year, at least the strawberries aren't we are hoping the blueberries will not be spoiled by the wet spring.
Rolf took Freyja berry picking at Sauvie Island on Wednesday, which was a nice break from the babysitter for her.  They also stopped at Reader Beach and got to visit Mr. Biggie, a cat friend, as well as some chickens that live at the RV camp there. 

Our fridge is loaded with raspberries which I should freeze, but I am hoping the kids will eat them up before I have to deal with them.

On Saturday I made a salmon  for dinner, which felt like a summerly thing to cook. 

I personally find fish repulsive, but the rest of the fam really likes it, so there you go, fish it was, and corn on the cob and chocolate cream pie.
and some ice wine, a Riesling from Idaho, in an antique coupe for Mommy for dessert.

I normally do not drink sweet wines but this was a nice one and it went perfectly with the berries.

I don't know how my tiny baby got so big, and I really don't know where those long legs came from!

A friend that lives in the country asked if people that live in the city keep their houses clean so they can have their doors open, without passers by seeing the mess.  Clearly the answer is-
not me

Our door remains open in summer and people can look right in and see my mess, which is mostly a big pile of books and stuffed animals, and a ratty sofa with a tacky slipcover. 

I have no secrets,

or pride, apparently. 

 As is her way, Miss F was up at dawn, plotting her Sunday adventures. 
She got to have two friends over, which was super exciting. 

These two are zombie, vampire rats, that cannot be photographed, as you can see here, by the closed eyes, and the faux marabou trimmed princess dress. 
They were out front blowing that whistle, and screeching to beat the band at 10:00am, which I felt not one ounce of remorse for, as the neighbors next door had a really LOUD party all day Saturday and by Saturday evening one of the guest was pretty drunk and was suffering from a bad case of potty mouth.  Which we could hear both inside our house and outside on our deck.
He was making me uncomfortable, which is hard to do. 
At one point Freyja said
" If he wants to talk potty words like that he needs to go into the toilet"
so I felt like he could bennifit from a wake up whistle from a couple of five year olds.

Friday, June 25, 2010

what I want to know is, how does this song go?

We have been watching the fantastic series "freaks and geeks", on DVD, and it ended with Lindsey sneaking off to follow the Dead for two weeks.

Mark was horrified by my sentimental singing along at the end-only my getting up and plunking out a Billy Joel tribute on a piano could have been less welcome.

I am no Deadhead, that is  for sure. 

I loathe guitar solos, space, and improv that goes on for more than 90 seconds, but there are a few songs I like and a few that transport me to a sweet space in my memory.

I love the whole album of  Workingman's Dead, for instance, probably because it lacks those very elements, which excludes me from ever being a true Dead Head, I have this proclamation from an authority.

In the early 90's I dated a fellow that was a Deadhead.

It was his job, his passion and the meaning of his life, to follow them around the world, watching concerts and trading bootleg tapes with other Deadheads.

He liked to say that he was on sabbatical from Columbia, but at 27 he was just a bum with a really big trust fund and a lot of time on his hands.

He literally stumbled into my life, one day while I was working in a chi chi stationary store downtown, doing a window display.

I was standing up in the window of the store, when I met eyes with this really tall guy.

He proceeded to make some silly gestures and mime to me, which was lovely, until he missed his step when the light changed and fell into the street, and was nearly run over by a bus.

 Naturally I had to run out and make sure he was ok.

He was, and after following me around the store, purchasing a lot of unnecessary paper he asked me to dinner. 
For the next year or so Jimmy was a sort of 6' 4" sociological case study for me.  

I eventually quit the store and got a job teaching kindergarten in Beaverton.
Jimmy went across the US and to Sweden, Germany and Denmark and watched Dead shows.
I worked  bartending on the weekends for a temp agency that placed catering staff, to make extra money.  Jimmy slept all day on my sofa, when he was in town and chastised me for being boring.
I made craft projects with five year olds, and  Jimmy drove to San Francsisco for the weekend.
We wrote letters to each other constantly.

I adore writing letters.

He would address my letters to Heidi in Poetland

We were not in love with each other, thank goodness. 

I frequently tried to lecture him on being more responsible.  He laughed and ate a lot of my food and took too many drugs.

He once called me to wire him money when his father cut him off.

but  I  don't  have  any  money.  


I sent him $20 and asked him not to use it for drugs.  He called me pompous and boring, more than once.
Then he got beaten up really badly in a drug deal gone bad.  I called his brother and asked him to get him out of my house.  He made me worry and I hate to worry, so after a while I asked him not to come see me any more when he was in Portland, which he sort of ignored until there was an incident where I threw his backpack out the second story window and wouldn't buzz him into the apartment.  

I found better boyfriends, and not a single one listened to the Grateful Dead, which was a really good thing, and eventually I found Mark, who almost never sleeps on the sofa and  doesn't think I am boring. 

Right after I had Maxwell, I got a call in the night (which if you know as many crazy people as I used to, is never a good thing).  
It was Jimmy.  
He had gone through rehab and somehow thought that after nine years I might be happy to receive a call from him in the middle of the night. 
I asked him never to call me again, and he agreed and so far he hasn't.  

knock wood.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

another rainy walk

We walked to Mt Tabor reservoir, (really a series of reservoirs,  terraced up the side of Mt. Tabor)  something we frequently do on the weekend. 

It is close, provides exercise to us old folks and wears the children out, which is always a good idea.

On the way, we encountered this little guy.  He is pretty far from water, and all alone, which made me worried for him.






We pass by this old pump station on our way.  It is all boarded up and closed off now, but my father says that when he was a child, that you could stop and get a drink inside. 

We have to settle for the fountain outside.  These perpetually running fountains are all over Portland.





Up the first level, and a 1/4 mile stroll around the water, brings us to ...


The next level.  Which Freyja can RUN up.  

This is the top of level two, looking down onto the empty reservoir below.


If it wasn't so blasted hazy, you could see downtown. 


We live to the far left of this photo.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

it's a wrap

Freyja's friend has a birthday today, so it was a flurry of activity, as I  sewed a wrap skirt/apron at the last minute.
It came out really nicely, with the little embroidered  daffodil face.  I love the vintage inspired embroidery patterns.
The flower fairy holding the  e card on the bag, is made from silk flowers and a wooden clothespin, with a little acorn cap as a hat.

The pink tote is filled with art supplies and stickers, and wrapped in a piece of sari cloth, which is good for all kinds of dress up play and fort building- a back up gift just in case the homemade thing doesn't cut it.
Now, on to the next 2400000 things I have to do this weekend.

Friday, June 18, 2010

good grief

My senility is getting more pronounced lately.

I seem to have forgotten father's day, and I am too overwhelmed to do anything about it. 

I really need a secretary or a wife, to get me properly sorted out.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It raining, it's pouring

The first day of summer vacation for Maxwell, and the weather is pretty cruddy. 

We decided to go for a little walk, since we were all feeling a little housebound. 

There was this really lovely patch of calendula along the way, but otherwise not a lot of excitement.

Freyja was being a little bit of a pill, and a camera hog, which made Maxwell look like that.

I thought it would be cool if we could replicate the photo from the title of the blog, but I couldn't get it just right, now matter how many times I tried.

  Miss F made  a valiant effort, hurtling down the steep hill, over and over. 

 She dazzled us with her ring crossing abilities.  I still can't go all the way across.

While we were making our hill running photo, we I noticed that Maxwell was really uptight. 

"are you embarrassed to be out with your mom and running down a hill with your sister?"

"no I am feeling paranoid about those gang bangers"

I look around a notice a group of teenagers huddled under a tree.  
I had to look twice to make sure they were actually teen agers, and not just really big children.  
I am getting to that age, where everyone under 25 looks like a child to me. 

"those are not gang members, Maxwell, they are just kids trying to look tough."

but they were clearly up to something.

Sure enough, a minute later I smell the tell tale smell of pot, and suggest we leave the park.   

He walks home through this park everyday, alone, and now I feel really guilty that he might have been feeling afraid everyday.   He tends to be rather cautious and  little old ladyish in many ways, which I  like to attribute to Mark's mother providing child care for him when he was an infant, she is a very nervous and cautious person, but I am too, so there you go. I will check in with him more often about his feelings.




It really started to POUR on our way back. 

Even us tried and true Oregonians had to say uncle, and retreat inside.
The clematis seems to be thriving, so that is a good thing, I suppose.

Monday, June 14, 2010

get in line...

the number of broken things has become quite staggering around here.

It seems that all the recent rain and wind have blown out our phone line off the kitchen.

We do have other phone jacks, but this is an ancient house and the only phone jack next to a outlet (to support a wireless phone) in the common areas is the one that is broken. 

That essentially means no phone, unless we take one of the wireless phones from the bedrooms and walk around with it, and more importantly remember to put it back on it's hook, so it doesn't  run out of batteries.

I don't even want to think about having the house rewired is going to cost. 

All of the wires are snarled through the attic and in some cases inside walls. 

A complete headache.

We had a similar thing fixed a few years ago and it meant literally taking a basement pillar apart, because some brilliant do it your selfer, installed a line through the center of the basement ceiling, inside the ceiling.

For now we are living with very limited phone service.  It is a perfect match for our lack of a dishwasher, and goes well with the windows that need to be replaced.

This old house... sucks.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

There was a time...

I can't believe how wimpy I have become, despite all the  working out I have been doing. 


I wound up heading down to work this morning and putting in five+ hours. 

There was a time when five hours from me would have kicked ass.  

Today?

You could hardly tell I had been there. 

My stupid neck was really giving me hell and my head hurt, and I waited too long to eat, so I was all out of sorts (thank goodness they fed me some amazing Indian food.)

I am very disappointed, tired and sore.

I am grateful that Mark was willing to be on Freyja duty all day, and that Maxwell had a friend over, and oh, I am grateful for Chinese take out. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Fairytale life

I am working the knots out of this pile of  fairytales
Fairytales are long knitted tails, that the children use for all sorts of things in the preschool.  One thing is tying things and sometimes other children up, hence the knots.  I am using that chopstick to work the knot out, and when necessary, I am repairing the fabric by knitting it back together.  It is tedious work, my penance for not going in on my day off and working on painting the school.  I am deeply guilty, whether it is rational or not. 


I cooked up a Mexican feast for the staff yesterday and delivered to the school.  Today I have a veganized mac and cheese, and this lovely lemon poppyseed vegan cake.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I am truly ridiculous

We recently bought a freezer.

It was a big deal, involving lots of research and comparison pricing, like every purchase ever made by me.

The new freezer is now installed in our basement office.

Right next to me, as I type.

Every so often the new freezer makes a little noise, that sounds a lot like the furnace, and each time I get all riled up and think to myself

WHO TURNED ON THE FURNACE?

and for a split second I get to feel all outraged and self righteous about sitting around being frugal and cold, while someone, someone weak and loose with his money,  has turned on the furnace, even though we agreed not to turn it on after April.  Then I have to give myself a sort of dope slap and remember that it is not the furnace, but rather the freezer. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

packing it in

We are closing in on being prepared for sleep away camp, and by we, I mean Mark and Max.  

I will stay here, in the comfort of my home, with my tv and my coffee maker.

They are headed off in the general direction of Hood River, for three days of nature camp.

I am heading into three days of single parenting and IN SERVICE at work, which means lots of work and no child care.

I am cooking for the staff.  

That is my big contribution.  

Piece   of   cake.

 Literally, 
I will make them cupcakes, and enchiladas, and lasagna and other comfort food, then I will leave, and let them give the school a good once over and a new paint job.

My days of painting and once overing are over.

I am old and tired and I have painted a lot.

When I return on Monday, my office will have moved into a new building.

I will have a new office with a fresh coat of paint, and many confused parents to deal with.  It works out ok.

I am really, really good at helping people when they are confused or frustrated.  It is one of my super powers, along with cupcake bakery and splinter removal.

Monday, June 7, 2010

We hosted Mark's extended family over the weekend.

It is always bittersweet for me to be around happy functioning families.

My own family is dysfunctional at best, and at worst, conditional, absent, distracted, crazy, mean, intolerant, ignorant, foolish, lame and misguided.

Being around people that are nice to each other, normal, kind, makes me feel like an alien and long for something solid to hang on to, lest I be swept away into a giant hole of loneliness  that I feel opening up under my feet.

It always takes a couple days to recover and to get over the sadness  and sense of loss that I feel from not having a family of my own, that works, that knows me, that cares for me and for each other.

My relationship with my children is a response to the perfunctory relationship I have with my own parents.  The absence of any real familial intimacy.

I cling to my children, like buoys, they keep me afloat when my own parents rush away from our limited visits, back to the people and things that are important to them.   My brother and I joke about this phenomenon, of leaving of separating, if we didn't joke we would cry. We are dedicated parents in response to indifferent parents.  My children are not my life, my children are more important than my life. 

I  marvel that Mark can see his family without having his heart break, without need to try to put himself back together again, and again, a perpetual Humpty Dumpty.

Friday, June 4, 2010

if you aren't outraged, you aren't paying attention

Last night Mark chastised me for being such an angry person.  That is big coming from him- not exactly Mr.  calm and cool, if you know what I mean.

I admit, that I do have a pretty short fuse, but I feel like it is justifiably short, due to all the lame things I am subjected to. 

For instance, I wanted to register my children for swimming lessons. 

I wanted to register them at the same pool them have been taking lessons at for years and years. 

The pool we go to twice a week. 

On Tuesday I stood in line for 15 minutes, waited for the woman to look us up on the computer but she couldn't coordinate two classes at the same time, she couldn't tell me when two classes were offered back to back, so after about 15 minutes I gave up and went on to my own class.

I was irritated.

On Thursday I went back, waited in line again, and spoke with a less stupid staff member, and just as she was about to answer my questions and get us signed up a crowd of people came in and needed locks, and change for the bus, so by the time she got back to me, it was again time for my class. 

Today I attempted to register online, but that requires CALLING them to get a security code!

By the time I called the office I was really furious.  About an hour of my time has been wasted registering for two classes.

I told the attendant on the phone how absurd it is to have to call to register online, and he explained that it is because the webpage and some other page are not produced by the same host, so they have to be linked... this is a huge organization, managing parks and rec for a big city, but they can't figure out how to get their website organized? 

WTF?

Once I got to talk with this fellow, he had us all signed up in about 2 minutes, because we are in the system. 

I am trying not to be totally annoyed and angry, but things like this happen to me all the time and it wears my patience very thin. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I am bone weary this evening. 

The past two nights I have slept more poorly  than I can remember, since having a newborn- I am severely sleep deprived, as evidenced by that clunky sentence. 

My neck is a mess, Hurting constantly and the minute I lay down to sleep I snap wide awake.

I wind up reading in bed, which is bad for my neck, but what exactly is good for my neck at this point?

I haven't found it,  if it exists. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day

Someone left this little bouquet of peonies on my porch.
At first we suspected Rolf's girlfriend, but the way the stems were so carefully arranged made me think it was someone a bit more Marthaish.  
So now I am leaning toward my neighbor Coleen... Coleen did you leave flowers on our porch?  Thank you kindly if it was you.

We worked like slaves in our horrible, despicably filthy overgrown yard on Saturday, and rewarded our hard (but hardly noticeable) work with a little dinner party on Saturday.  

I am much better at dinner, than yard work.
That ugly pole ruining my photo, is holding up the umbrella that theoretically keeps sun off of us, while we eat out on our deck.  There was very little sun this weekend, so the umbrella was mostly useless. 

I wish the picture showed off the little yellow mid-century divided relish bowl I recently found.  It is just the perfect shade of yellow.  
On that evening it was holding marinated mushrooms, olives and bread and butter pickles.  

We were having a nostalgic meal in honor of Memorial Day.  

I made roasted root vegetables,  mashed red potatoes, baked beans, sauteed savoy cabbage, and tomato aspic with bay shrimp, just to horrify my family. 

I even piped horseradish sour cream around, to make it extra kitschy and tacky. 
Rolf had been telling of the horror of tomato aspic I made sometime in the early 90's,  for years, so I decided
I would make it again, because I like it, and it is a great conversation piece.
  
Maxwell ate it with diplomacy, mostly picking out the shrimp.  

Rolf's girlfriend picked out the sour cream part and everyone else ignored it.  I happen to like it and it reminded me of my Grandma Betty.  

I made strawberry lemon-aid and an iced herbal tea. 

We were given homemade pickles in these giant 1/2 gallon jars, which I found positively delightful, and kept long after the pickles were eaten.

That is what I do, I sit around wishing for an occasion to fill up a 1/2 gallon jar with something pretty.

I also made the most perfect Devil's Food cake ever.  
No, really, it was my  masterpiece.          
I only wish I had, had a larger audience to share it with.    We ate it with some of the best local whipped cream I have ever tasted, and some ice cold Riesling.  An excellent end to a good evening.