Tuesday, August 31, 2010

the end

Friday was Bootiful Princess's last day of preschool. 

It was hard for both of us. 

She had been coming to school with me since she was six weeks old.  

The notion of turning my tiny baby over to some overcrowded public school has been really rough. 

There will be no tree house loft to sit under, not capes, no crowns, no silk cushions and woolen toys.   

There will be no softly watercolor painted walls and windows with  flowing draperies.

There will be rough, creepy children with snotty noses, and Disney themed clothing. 

When Maxwell went to kindergarten it was at a magnet program and the principal allowed me  and some other mothers to lazure the walls, make cushions, a father made a story loft. 

Miss F, lost in the lottery and will go to a regular old school, school where the principal has bigger concerns than my sense of aesthetics.

with luck there will quickly,  be new friends, and we will try like crazy to keep up with our dear old friends.

misfits and a new camera

the fam, with Mark looking more bald than he really is.
We have a million things this week.  Most of them related to Maxwell's new school. 

I hate casual social events and meeting new people in particular. 

I cringe at the thought of  social situations, where one is required to make small talk. 

It has been a painful week. 
On Sunday there were a number of potlucks "get togethers", so I randomly chose one and RSVPed. 

We showed up to a very fancy house with very fancy grass, only to discover that the people all lived in that neighborhood, and that all of their kids had gone to school together since kindergarten. 
Maxwell was not feeling well, but was a pretty good sport, as the other kids ignored him completely and none of the parents encouraged inclusion. 
It felt weird. 
All of the parents looked really old.  They looked like my parents- well not my real parents, but like what my parents would look like if they were ultra middle class, and fancy.  I felt like some kind of hippie freak, with tacky shoes.
Freyja was horrible, and wild and I wanted to crawl under a rock.

And to add insult to injury, only one person ate my pie. 

It was an outstanding pie, damn it and deserved to be eaten.  

Needless to say this is not what I had expected from the arts magnet school crowd, but Mark thinks it was an anomaly.  The children there didn't seem arty to me, they were all in band and ballet, the expensive kinds of art, not the alternative kinds of kids that are Maxwell's friends.

The good news is that Rolf bought me a new camera, and hooked it up to the computer. 

Hooray!  Lots of random photos to follow. 

Lucky YOU!

test shot of kitty
a blueberry polenta cake I made for Rolf's girlfriend's birthday
my new $2.50 t-shirt!

the raccoon, up to no good!

amazing local produce!

black quinoa salad, with chickpeas!

pickled beets and green beans!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Food cart wars

Unless you live under a rock, you are probably aware of the exploding food cart scene in Portland, there was even a story about it on NPR recently..  
Portland is a foodie town with fantastic ethnic restaurants and cafes around every corner. 

The food carts are taking it to a new high, with "pods" of carts turning up all over the city offering an amazing selection of top notch grub. 

We took Mark's mom, Wawa out to lunch at the downtown pod at 9th and Alder, where there are two blocks of carts to chose from. 
Our target was "the frying Scotsman", since Wawa misses England and the fish and chips, she loved to eat there.  

Wawa says  fish and chips lived up to the hype!

(sorry about this weird centered text, there is some kind of autoformat issue today.)


I chose this Bosnian place.  I had a sort of Bosnian version of spankopita, that was excellent, with cucumber salad on the side.

Maxwell elected to play it safe, with salad rolls, which he said were good.

Mark chose a Turkish kebab place, that was passable, but not stellar. 
He really wanted the Polish place, but the woman is super slow.


We are in the process of harvesting and processing our elderberries. 
We have been lazy this year, the birds have gotten a lot.
Rolf is very fond of making this Swabian dish out of them, basically just the berries stirred into a roux, with sugar.  I don't really like it, at all.
I have been making syrup.  The stuff at the health food store is $10 for about 6oz- making my own feels like  a great choice.

It is a lot of work for this tiny payoff.  We also put a lot of berries into the freezer, so if I feel more ambitious later I can make more.

We used some of the syrup to make homemade sodas, man was that ever good! poured over crushed ice, with charged water & lemon!
Does this dress look too much like a nightgown or is it OK?

A little.

It looks a little like a nightgown? Or it is a little OK?

The poofy, scrunched up part looks a little nightgownish.

Do you mean the gathers, or the ruffles.

I don't know the difference.

the ruffles are this decorative part around the bodice, and the gathers are here.  This part, right here, around the empire waist.

"Impure waist?"

NO! Empire, empire waist, that is what a waist is called when it ends right under the bust, like this one does.

I guess, the gathers at the empire waist, then.  The part that makes you look pregnant.


Not really, but isn't that what you asked?  Does the dress look like the kind you wear when you are pregnant?

That is NOT at all what I asked.  You are talking about a maternity dress.  I ask if this looks like a nightgown.

Is there a difference?

Are you insane?  Of course there is a difference.  A nightgown is what you wear to sleep in.

You never wear nightgowns, only pajamas, how was I to know?

Just forget it.  I am going to go change my clothes.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

We spend all day Saturday, and some of Sunday refinishing and weatherizing the deck. 

It is a big  400 SF deck and it took a lot of elbow grease.
We opted not to pressure wash, because we have been told that it can cause splintering. 
The deck is almost 13 years old and still in very good condition, so we wanted to be careful.  What we did was scrub the deck with laundry soap, and get all the dry leave out from between the cracks with  a butter knife.

We used a colored sealant this time, which came out more orange than I intended, but I like.

Friday, August 20, 2010

a work in progress

I am tiling the top of a coffee table, using free tiles from Pratt & Larson's free box. 

It has taken me forever to get enough of the one inch tiles to do the job, but I am pretty happy with the outcome.  
I got this little table out of the trash when we lived in NW, but the top was pretty beaten up. 

It goes well with all of our other repurposed furniture and makes me feel empowered on my "buy nothing" crusade. 

I wish I had the skill to tile the floors. Dang!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

facebook taliban

I like to play scrabble online through facebook.  I sometimes play with my friends, but sometimes I join games with total strangers, because I like to play more games at once, than my friends do.  

I consider this a pretty wholesome activity, that keeps my mind more nimble than sitting around watching TV.   

I have a few people that I met through these games that I chat with and consider "pen pals" or even think of as friends. 

Nice people, with  similar interests, that happen to live far away from me.

In the past week, there has been this freaky shift in the tone of the people posting games.  Three of the games I've joined recently have been with men that have made overt sexual comments- on a scrabble game!

Like a scrabble obscene phone call! 

Who in the hell would find that attractive? 

And what on earth is their objective?  Do they think women are going to be pleased, attracted or titillated by that kind of behavior? 

I told Mark about it and his reaction was "with all the sex venues on the Internet, why do that on a scrabble game?" and I totally agree.

Why indeed?

I asked, and one guy told me to post a photo of my cat, rather than my face.

Great, so my face, my unmade up, face is to blame for some schmuck's potty talk? 

Isn't that the argument used to support the wearing of burkas?  That the site of women's bodies or faces will arouse unwanted attention from men?


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Block Party

Block party food
Ripley with Rolf's girlfriend's dog Pincone.
These dogs have nothing to do with the block party, I just thought the photo was super cute and wanted an excuse to post it.  Freya loves Pinecone and thinks he looks like Scooby Do.  He is very gentle and long suffering, which I like.
Today is our block party. 

We have been having a block party, for many years, maybe ten.

The block party has consisted of a potluck and on a few years a garage sale, and a visit from a fire truck, for the kids.  We have had a face painter and a clown come too. 

I have no idea who organizes the entertainment, because I try to avoid all organizing duties, since I do so many things like that for work, and I am essentially antisocial.

This year we received a invitation to the block party that says it starts at 4:00pm and ends at 10:00pm, which is about five hours more than I am comfortable with. 

It also includes a scavenger hunt, pinata and something else that makes me nervous, that I can't recall right now.

I hate pinatas. 

They are way too dog eat dog for me, not to mention I don't like my children eating candy.

Freya is always too wimpy to take a turn hitting the damn thing and always afraid to run into the fray and get the loot, so I am left to beg candy for her from other parents. 

I hate it.

She always elects to get shy at the pinata time, after she has waited in line for her turn.  She chickens out every damn time (we go to a lot of children's birthday parties, due to my work in a preschool). 

I totally understand,  having been a shy and nervous child myself, but she isn't generally shy and nervous, only when it comes to bashing in a paper mache donkey.

Then there is the inevitable candy fight with Mark. 

My strategy is to let them eat all the candy up in one sitting and be done with it, but Mark tries reasoning and doling it out, which leads to fighting and crying and begging, that drags on for days and makes me insane.

So anyway, today we will have a stupid pinata and most likely tears.  Then some kind of stupid scavenger hunt, that I think I was supposed to contribute "white elephant" stuff, for prizes, but didn't, because I don't have anything I feel like giving and I would have purchased something, but the message was so vague, it was unclear what kind of prizes they wanted, and it was also unclear who was doing the organizing. 

I will be lame and offer who ever seems to be doing all the purchasing and organizing $20 and hope it is good enough. 

I will then resent it for the entire year, until the next one rolls around.

Mark is in Florida at a Star Wars convention for work. 

He is not here to help me move our table outside, which means I will have to sit on the curb, or perhaps with the elderly couple across the street.   

Rolf is hiding out at his girlfriend's house, to avoid the festivities. 

Maxwell is still at my mother's house, so it will just be me and Freya, the bad family that didn't contribute to the pinata, perhaps that is better than our current title- the people with dandelions, or the people who painted their house orange

I did make some nice food, though.  some roasted beets with horse radish and sour cream, eggplant salad, marinated wax beans, deviled eggs.  Does that sound to weird and boho?  I may go up and make some baked beans, and potato salad, just to be safe. 

It is super hot today, so I don't see myself making a cake, although the pinata guilt may drive me to turn on the oven.  Who knows?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bracing myself

I am a creature of habit. 

I like routine. 

I like stability and predictability.

Lots of things are going to change for me, and for our family in next month, so I am mentally bracing myself.  I am preparing not to be overwhelmed and nervous. 

I am waving, not drowning, that is my story and I am sticking to it- today, anyway.

Both kids are starting new schools in September, and I am almost doubling my work hours. 

It should be interesting, at least.

I don't have a solid plan on how I am going to get both children to school, and myself to work, but I am working on it, and friends have offered to help, and Maxwell's new school has a good carpool, pool, so things will work out.

That is what I have to believe. 

I am taking on more new responsibilities and going back to some old  responsibilities, so I am feeling a lot more positive about work. 

That part is good. 

Mark is taking the first week of school off, because that is my super busy time, and he can take on the kid transportation  piece, hopefully he can help smooth things out. 

I feel good about dumping that on him, since I am mostly on my own until then, with all of his business travel.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


We went to see Winter's Bone,
which is amazingly well done, without a drop of sentimentality. 
Harsh alert. 
If you can't stand harsh, then this is not the movie for you.

On a lighter note, we rented "hot tub time machine", which is not as lame as it sounds, and "kick ass" which is gory, but entertaining.  

Oh, and I adored The last station , which is not a big surprise, with  my  giant crush on Russian history, not to mention James McAvoy. 

Who could resist him? 

Not me.

The story is first rate, the acting excellent and the scenery gorgeous. 

We are also rewatching "Six feet under", and so far it is totally holding up. 

Love it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

a cool summer

Since my  ability to post photos has been so hit and miss, I will bombard you with a heap of miscellaneous summer photos, which you wouldn't really identify as summer photos, due to the fact that we are wearing sweaters and long sleeves. 
What a weird, cold summer!
The Mississippi Street fair was one of the best events of that kind that I have ever attended. 
Lots of variety and diversity!

It was a spur of the moment thing, and I am am not looking very pulled together, but there we are, first thing in the morning- wind whipping our hair around, enjoying the free vitamin beverage, in search of the perfect street food. 
We found it in the form of meat on a stick, an Pan African curry, and herb flavored ice cream. -

We did manage to find a few lovely little strawberries, depspite the cold weather, and had a cream cake to celebrate the 4th of July.