Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I have been instructed, by Rolf to "blog about the cardoon." 
He takes his cardoon very seriously and each year we take a picture of it.  Last year is was a bit meager and disappointing.  This year it is better, not yet what anyone would call perfect, but better. 
I have  further been instructed to say that the cardoon is a relative of the artichoke and that this particular cardoon happens to be about four yards tall (yards, not feet).
Please consider yourself informed.
I might add that this cardoon is 13 years old and has been almost completely neglected for it's entire life.  Not one iota of care has been show to this plant, or at least not with any consistency. 
If you want a plant that thrives on neglect, this is a sure bet!

Bee love

Sunday, July 22, 2012

You can be my Dixie Chicken...

Quinoa and grilled vegetables, berries, lady fingers and cherries.  Rolf came late for dinner so he was eating dinner while the rest of us had dessert.  I love the colors of everything this time of year.  

I was sitting in the driveway listening to an interview with John Sebastian on NPR, when Mark dashed past with the garden hose.

It turned out the neighbors behind us-the ones with five unruly children-fence was on F I R E .

The strip between their house and the house next door to them is covered with wood chips and is about five feet wide.  It is where they have their garbage cans (not my favorite) and where their big son's stand and smoke.  These sons must be in their 20's by now.  The house has a little mother in law unit attached where these big thuggish fellow live.  they stand behind the house and smoke and talk on the phone.  When we are on our deck we see them, standing their smoking their head's off in their wifebeaters and sagging pants.  Our yard is fairly large, but due to the stupid arrangement of houses, we have to look right at these guys.  I suppose we could build a better fence, but there never seems to be extra money for that.

These folks have been problematic since the day them moved in; barking dogs, loud music, young children left unattended. A real mess, and not a good fit with the rest of the neighborhood. 

This is not the first time they have had a fire either, I found our chainlink fence burning a couple years ago, the result of fire works. Someone had stuck them in between the chinks of the fence and walked off.   This fire today was big, and scary and involved the other neighbor's fence, so I suspect the mom will put her foot down for a while at least.  When the fire department arrived they asked if someone was smoking, and the whole family denied it.  I felt like ratting them out, but I didn't.  I just stood there and let them lie.

Freyja and I stopped into this super fancy icecream shop in Pearl district last week when we were playing in the fountains. 

We spent most of Saturday playing catch up, after ignoring house work for a week or so.  Work, work, work has pretty much dominated the scene in the past few weeks, and while in the past I would rush home and vacuum, or clean, this week I just didn't have it in me.  So things were pretty hairy- cat hairy, dog hairy, dust bunnyish, a mess. We could have gotten more done, but my brother came to pick up a table and chairs that had been lingering in our backyard for WEEKS.  Something my mother was giving him.  I was glad to see it go, but geesh. Doesn't everyone know that surprises makes me nervous?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Chatty Patty

I spent the better part of an hour arguing about the merits of the croque-monsiuer  vs the monte cristo, with an old high school friend that gets a kick out of arguing. 

He will argue about just about anything, but cooking is our best topic, politics is just too loaded.  One or the other of us will get pissed off in the end.

Cooking keeps it light.

We chat online, which makes it even more absurd. 

I type faster and spell better than he does, but he has some real zingers. 

Knows how to roast without offending.

You are my favorite curmudgeon

I tell him, and he calls me a brainiac. 

He accuses me of being so Portland.

He is cultivating a persona of the eccentric  living off the land.  He has money and can make that work.

I am not so Portland and he is no gentleman farmer, but chatting is fun.  Old friends are a comfort.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Maxwell and I went to lunch at the Horse Brass, one of those Portland institutions that I could never quite understand. 

Maxwell likes pot pies, and Shepard's pie and fish and chips. 

I blame his anglophile tastes on his father, but whatever the source he has them and if you slap a crust on gravy he is in.

I am not such a big fan of British food, and only went to humor him. 

I ordered a salad, which in retrospect was probably a mistake.  The lettuce was the dark green outer leaves that you generally throw away.  They were limp and looked like something you would feed a pet turtle. 

You could collect your salad trimmings all week for Timmy the Turtle and pile it on a plate, and it would look exactly like the salad I paid $9.00 for.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

and off we go! To celebrate the 87th birthday of my grandfather.  The whole extended family are to meet and cram into my mother's new micro house.  Should be interesting.

Freyja is all decked out for great grandpa's birthday party, with her "kid high heels" and  new dress.

Grandpa with the cake

Another birthday cake

I was in a little bit of a hurry and put the frosting on before the cake was completely cool and so it is a little bit more shabby chic than I had intended, but I can blame it on Freyja, sshhhhhhhhhhhh!
Mashing cherries to tint the frosting pink.  Freyja wanted to make Pink frosting for my grandfather's cake, what every 87 year old wants, right? PINK CAKE for all!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I primarily use Facebook to keep in contact with a group of women from Hipmama, that were on a message board in 1998 when I was pregnant with Max. We have all remained close and communicate fairly regularly online, the various incarnations of the boards have withered away and Facebook seems to do the trick fairly well.

Last night while goofing around on my phone trying to message a friend a whole slew of really old private messages showed up, and a request for photos of my feet was among them. 

This fellow was very upfront about his foot fetish and offered to pay $80 for foot pictures. 

Clearly this was a random and mass mail, because anyone that has ever laid eyes on my feet knows that they are not cute. 

Fred Flintstone comes to mind.

I have peasant feet and ankles, that my grandmother used to say provide me "with a good understanding". 

Mark would said "only YOU would worry about disappointing the pervy foot guy!"

Friday, July 13, 2012

listening to

and not feeling inspired to write, knit, embroidery or clean the house.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

There are some real consequences of living aloneish, and having to drag the compost, recycle and garbage bins in from the curb is one, mowing the lawn is another and having no one but yourself to sniff out the stinky thing in the refrigerator is another.

I like a great deal of personal space; I like to read in silence, sit in a room alone, for instance, but I don't really like being alone.  I would not, for instance ever like to be single.  Never liked it and don't find it appealing in the least.  I need to be needed and I need to know I have someone in the next room that I can need, if I want to need them.

When Maxwell was a baby Mark traveled constantly.  He was gone about eight weeks out of the year, and worked fifty hours a week, so I was used to being alone often. 

In the past seven years or so his travel has diminished a little each year, and now when he goes on a trip I feel it.

I am not sad, or lonely, I just feel an absence, like I have misplaced something, I need to have near by.

I am taking refuge in the big stack of books he picked out for me before leaving.  Mark worked in a book store for years and year, then in publishing, so he has a keen sense for matching books to readers.  I wish you could make money off that type of talent.

After being a ravenous reader my whole life, I am just now coming out of the freakish slump of two months where I barely touched a book.  I am reading Raylan the novel that the series Justified is based on.  I love the show and the book is quite entertaining so far.  Who doesn't love a philosophical, badass US Marshal in a big cowboy hat? 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I hear some rumbling around upstairs and it is exactly 8:53pm, which is a good thing.

Maxwell asked if he could go to an all ages "punk show" and I told him he could, if he was home by 9:00pm.

I know what you are thinking and I normally wouldn't be turning my baby loose in the streets, but this show, was some bands playing in a garage near our house and he was going with friends, and it was outside, and it's still light out.

I also happen to know a thing or two about punk shows that start at 7:00 and I knew that he would be well clear from any illicit activity before a guitar string was plucked, if he came home at 9:00.

Sadly, this meant disappointing him, as the band, as predicted, in my evil mind, didn't even start, by the time he left.

So he is stomping around upstairs being disappointed, and I feel not one bit bad, since he is going to fly to San Diego in the morning to meet his father at Comic Con, and get a great  open access pass, because he is lucky enough to have a father that works in the industry, while I stay home doing laundry and entertaining a seven year old and nursing a elderly poodle with an bum leg.

Mark is already there, and while I get that it is work and long hours, it still beats the hell out of what I will be up to for the next five days.

I am reading Please Kill me, which is a nice walk down memory lane and makes me feel like an old lady waving a cane on the inside.

I just hate popular culture these days.




And most young people piss me off.  Hate them too. I was in a meeting tonight where a gal in her 20's insinuated that I was racist because I said that we can't allow the children to give each other Indian Burns.
She is one of those uber-earnest vegan Portland types that makes you feel like you are living in an episode of Portlandia.  I felt like dope slapping her and saying

"listen here sister, I am old enough to be your mother, and despite the fact that to you I look like a frowzy old white lady I have a degree in WOMEN'S STUDIES and I have about 10000000000 hours of sensitivity training and anti-oppression training, and diversity training  so shut the hell up and the next time you see a child in this school twisting another child's arm in a manner that rubs the skin raw, I suggest you interrupt it regardless of what you call it!"

but instead I said "yes, Indian burns are bad on a number of levels." 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A way better week

 This appears to be truly the most loving and patient dog a little girl could ever find, and I am grateful for that.

 Maxwell and I snuck off to Bread & Ink for lunch in the middle of the week, my choice not his.
Over the past month or so I have frequently felt like I was totally losing my mind, completely overcome with sadness and a lingering feeling of defeat.  I allowed silly things to become overly important and I let my work take center stage and it wasn't until Mark said "you don't have to feel this way" That I felt a shift, of course he is right, I don't have to feel that way, I don't have to let other people's baggage be so heavy.
I feel like I neglected the kids on some level during this time.  I'm not proud of it, but it's how things played out.  I wanted to spend a little time with Maxwell and check in.

It is harder than it sound to do that with a 13 year old though. I keep trying though.

Then I looked up and it was suddenly Rolf's birthday and I hadn't done a thing.

His birthday and Thanksgiving are my big entertaining days, so I felt sort of awful about the situation. 

I compromised and did just cake a few days late, with just our family.  Our friend Don happened by around 9:00pm so he got to have a bit of cake and offer a birthday greeting.

I think it was fine.  It was not my usual style, but I am calling it fine.
Genoise  cake, with mascapone cheese frosting and BERRIES!  There was also whipped cream, lady fingers, plain berries, pastries and marzipan dipped in chocolate. 

cheeses and crackers and apples and apricots.

Mark caught licking the spoon!

the party crashers!

the last piece, which was gone by the time I got up this morning.

Maxwell's drawing of Onkie.
Maxwell with a plate of whipped cream!