You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2006.

I find it so much easier to blog when my life is boring. When I start doing things like going out of town for the weekend, I lose the ability to blog. I mean, who wants to read and me & my friends sitting around having a good time?

Based on the pictures, you would think that the weekend was spent crafting wedding invitations.

Dear Lis is one of the FOUR people I know getting married this August. Remember how I said that no one else I know can get married this August? And how there were three friends getting married? Now there are four. I’m serious now.

But, it turns out I’m an excellent paper folder. It’s all those years of library volunteer work. It was very satisfying to fold & glue and chat with Miss August Fifth, seen here with the fruits of our labor:

After the invitations came a by-the-seat-of-our-pants batchelorette party for Miss August Fifth and Miss August Tenth that involved being the youngest people in a bar, dancing to a cover band and rocking out in a style unusual for us as a gang. Then we stayed up till 4 am, with both batchelorettes 100% sober.

When we get together for these holiday weekend reunions, we tend to go to the grocery store a LOT. At least twice a day. The local Safeway saw quite a bit of us this weekend. There was the time when Lis chatted up the cute little old men veterans handing out fake poppies. The time when Laurel bought Kleenex just because she needed $50 in cash. The time when we couldn’t find the bubbly water for Laurel. The time we actually bought food for dinner (nachos, tomato soup, salad). The time we couldn’t find film for Laurel. Well, it just took a while.

There was also the incident with the broken glass. See, Toni broke a glass. And we thought she cleaned it up. But what she really did (this was around 3 am) was carry it to the garbage can and sprinkle tiny shards on the rug in front of her sink. So that when I did the dishes the next morning, I kept stepping on glass. So Lis swept. And I kept stepping on it. And then we figured it out.

Then I drove home on Monday and lo, the sun came out and it was beautiful. And there was a turkey dinner at my parents, with a vat of mashed potatoes and a crock pot of gravy. And it was good.

And there was much wine, and many side dishes, and three birthday cakes, and one birthday pie.

And a Western Hero Indian Warrior Set, which I modeled. The end.

A rock for show & tell. I was completely stumped when I learned this week’s subject was “a rock.” Because I have no interesting rocks. I was trying to think of interesting ways to shoot the rocks around the garden when I remembered this little guy. He hasn’t really seen the light of day in four years, having been imprisoned in my raincoat pocket. I picked him up on Brighton beach in 2002, while I sat on the shore & ate fish & chips. And just never managed to take him out of my pocket until now. Also featured is a French lavendar that a Sunday Schooler left behind when we were doing herbs for Mother’s Day.  Posted by Picasa

I really should go to bed but instead I’m watching Empire Records. Apparently we are special fans because this is the Special Fan Edition. I’d forgotten how much time they spend dusting the place. Oh, it’s so high school (not the dusting, the whole thing).

Damn the man.

I finished Human Croquet. Now I want to play human croquet, although we don’t have enough people. Pity. Maybe Monday. (Which, according to the news, should be “dry enough for a barbecue!” You know you’re in Portland when that’s the leading story.)

Now I’m trying The Eyre Affair. I’ve got Summerland and Headlong waiting for me on the shelf.

Coming up: Jessmonster has a weekend! A whole two days in a row off! Sunday AND Monday! My only weekend until…oh, God knows when. Maybe August when I get a week’s vacation. I’m gonna celebrate by 1) hitting the open road 2) catching up with the girls and 3) eating turkey & giving thanks with my family. Wrong holiday? No. It’s just the 4th Annual Turkey Dinner in May.

I’m thinking of taking up Kate’s challenge with the scones and testing out a recipe of my own – hers were indeed too much on the cakey side. Naturally, like Kate I’ve been reading recipe reviews on Epicurious. Does anyone actually follow the recipe? Is that a fad that’s gone by the wayside? Do we all just look up recipes online so that we can make something totally different but review that recipe anyway? I’m thinking of making these. But, I’m going to completely change all the flavorings – perhaps turn them into a mascarpone cheese torte instead, with essence of orange flavored cranberry and lime drizzled over the top. And instead of using half and half, I’ll use orange juice. Instead of flour, I will decimate a young coconut and use my teeth to combine it with the butter.

In all seriousness, though, my favorite review is the one that says, “the only thing I did was change the half and half to non-fat half and half because everyone was talking about how fattening it was.”

Excuse me while I piece back together my exploded brain.

1) Non-fat half and half. Such a thing cannot possibly exist, can it? If you take out the “half” that is cream, you are left with just milk. It would be like non-fat milk. The definition, the very essence of half and half is the FAT. It is there for a reason. First, milkfat is delicious. Second, it is useful to our bodies.

2) Do not eat a scone if you are worried about the fat content. In fact, if you’re going to try subsisting on low fat anything, you might as well just die now and get it over with. Okay?

Last night there was thunder, and then it sprinkled, and then lots of lightning, and a bit more rain, and we picked up Annie to go out for dessert, and then somewhere on Burnside it felt like the car was hit by a tsunami. We could barely see out the windows, the streets were enormous puddles with water leaping up onto the sidewalks, sheets of water were pouring off the buildings. And we were all wearing skirts and our most un-sensible shoes. I always wear sensible shoes. For some reason, I thought last night would be a good time to break in the wedding shoes. Thankfully it slowed to a heavy rain by the time we got to Kitri’s apartment, but she did get her toes gritty in the process of leaping across the broad river that was the gutter. It was like the Oregon Trail game, where you have to ford the river and lose two oxen, a wagon, three sacks of flour, and one small child.

Today the house smells of wet dog and presently Annie will come over and we’ll go for coffee and perhaps discuss further plans for our naming business. As Annie said, we’ll have a cozy office with tea and I shall read aloud from the Prologue while Annie takes notes. Splendid.

Also, the rain just makes me want to curl up on the couch with a book. It’s the perfect thing for a rainy day.

Twenty-one years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night to find my parents gone and my world upside down. The next day, this little thing was brought home and I immediately began mocking her tiny baby hands. It was rough there for a while, but we still keep her around. Fittingly, Q just met a baby sister of her own. Welcome to the club, kid.  Posted by Picasa

Sal tagged me, and since she’s irresistable, here goes:

I AM: creaky in my joints like a little old woman.

I WANT: a massage. Pure and simple.

I WISH: cups of coffee stayed hot while I write letters.

I HATE: my uniform shorts with their lovely rubbery waistband.

I MISS: taking the train from London to tramp around England.

I FEAR: I am not as clean and tidy as I’d like to think I am.

I HEAR: cars. And, if I lift my finger to turn it back on, the melodious voice of Josh Ritter.

I WONDER: what Q’s sibling – no, SISTER – will be named.

I REGRET: not eating more cheese when I was in France and more gelato when I was in Italy.

I AM NOT: good on the phone.

I DANCE: best in my own living room.

I SING: along in a nutty voice.

I CRY: over books.

I AM NOT ALWAYS: right. I know, shocking, isn’t it?

I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: half-finished quilts, hats that don’t fit, and cookies.

I WRITE: letters sitting on the couch.

I CONFUSE: myself.

I NEED: lunch.

I SHOULD: turn the music back up after I turned it down to answer my phone & get baby news.

I START: cleaning and get distracted.

I FINISH: anything chocolate.

How is it that I have the energy to get up, go for a three mile walk with a dog pulling at my arm, unload the dishwasher, reload it, sweep the kitchen floor (okay, it’s about two square feet, but still), clean off the counters, and fix breakfast, but then I can’t manage to pry myself off the chair to go take a shower? Eh.

I finished A Thread of Grace a couple days ago, and I think my favorite part about it (and this will sound so so wrong) was the way she killed off characters. But you know? Some books set during wars are so predictable. The sweetheart will be killed, but not till close to the end. It will all build up to it. Like Cold Mountain (which I also happened to love) where you KNOW he will die – but of course not until the end. But in this one, you’d get an air raid and a stray bullet and torture and what have you – all spread out. Characters you were attached to and others that were on the side. Characters you thought would pull through. But real life isn’t as well plotted, usually, as fiction – and that made the deaths feel so much more real. Also, I was pleased to see how much foul Italian language I remember.

Now I’m on to Human Croquet, which, I feel, should have a cover that has something to do with croquet. I like Kate Atkinson’s wandery feel and her sense of time.

It is also time for Baby Watch 2006 – three women from church about to pop. As of yesterday, there were increased rumors of Q’s mama being in labor. However, God only knows how much time will pass between the appearance of an actual baby and any phone calls to let people know. They might wait days just to torture us. I want to get my hands on that baby.

Also, I have Pomp & Circumstance stuck in my head and I would like to share it with you. No thanks necessary.

for some reason this picture gets the song “sunrise, sunset” stuck in my head. Posted by Picasa

We ran this morning. I feel like my muscles should make squeaky noises when I move.

Did you know that it’s incredibly beautiful out at 6:30 am? It is. And cool enough to run. And there are lots of baby geese out on the pond in Oaks Bottom. And the air has a hint of swamp in it. And if I weren’t running it would have been really really enjoyable. Okay, I admit that I like the after-effects of running, the endorphins and the muscles, the sense of accomplishment. But I would’ve liked to stroll and take some pictures.

Yesterday at work (library) I got to thinking about fairy tales. I adored fairy tales as a child – we had a well worn copy of the Brothers Grimm and I read my way through all the colors of Andrew Lang’s collections. I watched every video of Faerie Tale Theatre that the library owned. Then I got sick of them. They seemed boring and repetitive and their magic was a false magic.

Then, somehow, I got back into them. I like the old-fashioned kind, where there is blood and gore and heartbreak. Where the Grandmother gets eaten and the parents die and heels are cut off. I also like the sharp new versions, where the characters have rapier wits and the illustrations are splendid and the details are all just so. (I abhor the soft focus, the characters without character, the dumbing down, the too-happy ending, the constant flow of tomboy princesses (they are legion), the unexamined cliche.)

I was covering Lauren Child’s new version of The Princess and the Pea when it occurred to me that TPATP is perhaps really my favorite fairy tale. It’s not too overdone, you know? It’s still nice and juicy when you cut it open. There is no commercialized image, no tie-in toy. There is endless opportunity for wit and mockery.

It happens to be one of my favorite of the Faerie Tale Theatre productions, proving funnier as an adult than it was as a child. If you haven’t seen it (or any of the FTTs) what are you waiting for?

My whole TPATP renaissance really started with Mini Grey’s version. The characters have eyes like peas. They garden. They have fabulous vegetable print wallpaper. The pea whispers to the princess (who’s really the gardener’s daughter) to say she slept poorly. I am in love. Also with Lauren Child’s which has cut-out characters against a doll-house scale set and a real princess. And a smart prince. And great fabric.

*Despereaux’s cry as he is banished to the dungeon and the rats.

May 2006

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