June 30, 2011

the summer list

well, I've now been off work for five weeks. five weeks. that is insanity.

in five weeks, I've:
  • had my second bad cold of the season (just three weeks after the first)
  • pimped out my bike with a new front headlight, a rack (which I had to remove and now have to fix), and a $70 new rear tire (highly puncture resistant). plus I've spent like $30 on spare tubes which turned into flat tires FOUR TIMES. I don't even want to talk about it.
  • finished a couple of books
  • knitted a waldo-style hat for scott which turned out to be too small, so I'm working on #2
  • threw a kickass birthday party
  • made a 7 layer cake
  • biked ON THE ROAD! like, for realsies
  • ridden my horse for the first time since march
  • gone, fruitlessly, to physical therapy
  • written marketing copy for the opera
  • done many rounds of dishes, laundry, and grocery shopping
  • hung out with a certain someone
  • gardened.
basically, I've spent a lot of my time reading, a lot of my time poking around on the internet, a fair amount of time in a blanket nest on the couch, and roughly the same amount of time gardening and riding as I would if I were working.

I live in fear that I will go back to work and feel as if I haven't done anything good with this vista of unfilled time. I had grand plans that I'd do something really productive with the time, while resting and reading and sitting by the river at sauvie island. but what? if you'd asked me on may 26 (my first official day off contract), I'd have told you:

learn to ride my bike like a person who knows how to ride bikes
read books sitting by the river
play my clarinet regularly, which I haven't done since ... college (sorry, dr. caravan)
brush up my french, which, tragically, is rusty as hell
cook a new recipe at least once a week
keep the house clean so a certain someone doesn't have to, since he's working and I'm not
go to the beach
lay around
play video games
watch movies
catch up on random tv shows
ride cookie
make cookie a better "citizen"
stop having back and hip pain
start running again
grow lots of things in the garden, and eat them
learn to pickle and can food
wear cute sundresses
don't go broke

you know, when I write it out like that, maybe I'm not doing so badly after all?

I guess my biggest problem is that I vacillate between wanting this time off to just be restful, since once the season begins it is always a whirlwind, and wanting it to be useful, since I have a swath of time in front of me that is kind of unprecedented as an adult. and as always, I can't decide whether to work or to loaf. and I have a hard time loafing if I feel like I've been unproductive or like there's something I should do.

I hung out with jesse last week, and she suggested that maybe my two big summer goals should be "throw an awesome candy-soaked birthday party" and "have a great time at the beach." I like this idea but my brain is too hard-wired for productivity to settle on it. sad!

honestly, "write a summer list" has been on my list of things to do for five weeks. that is absurd.

OK, here is a stab at fleshing out the Real List. because if I have the Real List I won't feel like I'm floundering. GOALS, people. I have to have goals.

learn to ride my bike like a person who knows how to ride bikes
this means:
feel more comfortable biking on the street
feel more comfortable turning the bike (seriously)
stop feeling like the bike is BETRAYING ME every time something happens to it (which lately has felt like, uh, constantly)
begin some form of regular commuting

read books sitting by the river
the only thing that has kept me from this thus far? the effing weather. let's not talk about it.

play my clarinet regularly
I brought my horn home last night. the keys are tarnished, which kind of makes me die a little inside. I haven't played it in nearly a year, and it had been nearly a year before THAT. the problem with starting up again is twofold:
1. it hurts because I don't have the chops anymore, and sounds awful for the same reason
2. I don't have anywhere to actually play/perform so there's no external reason to practice

that said, I could play 20-30 minutes a day and that would probably make me feel like a better human being.

brush up my french
are we doing any french operas next year? sadly, no. I have an 'advanced french grammar' workbook that I got for christmas (upon request) two years ago and have not touched. can I load some podcasts onto an ipod and start listening to them? any french is better than no french.

cook a new recipe at least once a week
I've actually been pretty good at this, thanks to scott, who maybe once a week says, "maybe could you cook dinner sometime this week?" the big success was a mango slaw I made last week, in conjunction with one of the provenance farm chickens from slaughter day. that mango slaw was AMAAZING. more please. and I managed to avoid triggering my mango allergy.

keep the house clean so a certain someone doesn't have to
check. I even vacuum. (truth: I love the vacuum)

go to the beach
two weeks from today, baby.

I could definitely do more of this.

lay around
check, dudes. but I'd like to keep it as a goal if only so I feel better about it.

play video games
I miss my xbox 360 :(

watch movies
why have I not done more of this? gotta do more of this. particularly if it keeps being cloudy and 65 all the time.

catch up on random tv shows
ditto to the above.

ride cookie/make cookie a better "citizen"
OK, this one requires fleshing out. here are my sub-goals:
- ride an average of 5 days a week, with no more than 2 days between rides
- work on P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E, which we are both lacking
- training-wise, work primarily on lateral work, working in the correct frame, and going forward - equitation-wise, get my leg strength back (a slow road), work on lengthening the back of my lower leg and correcting my leg position, work on riding as if my arms were side reins
- acclimate cookie to having her ears clipped without needing to be ear twitched, which is how they have always done all ears at my barn, and which I hate and find to be terribly inhumane. cookie will consent to being clipped everywhere but the ears. probably for obvious reasons.

stop having back and hip pain
I honestly don't even know what to do about this anymore. so far physical therapy has just cost me $300 and has done nothing but prevented me from wearing flip flops.

start running again
I'm almost certain it will be the fall, at least, before I am running, let alone without pain. running is something I almost prefer not to think about at this point. so, I'm removing it from the list.

grow lots of things in the garden, and eat them
in progress.

learn to pickle and can food
I bought scott a canning kit for christmas, and he later purchased a pressure canner, so this is totally doable. now I just need something other than peas to grow in the garden :)

wear cute sundresses
step one: wait for warm weather

don't go broke
here's hoping.

June 23, 2011


22. naked bike ride

so. this is the second year the world naked bike ride has appeared on my birthday list. last year, two things complicated the item's completion: 1. I spent the whole day at a horse show, and didn't get home until about an hour before the ride; and 2. I didn't have a bike. I could have borrowed one from Scott, but I just wasn't that motivated to go.

I have a personal philosophy that an item can't go on the list more than twice (I don't even like to put them on the list that second time) so I was pretty hell-bent on making the ride this year. plus, I've been cycling more, and I have my own bike with its own cushy gel seat.

saturday was kind of a bike-related clusterfuck. on friday, I intended on biking over to the shop where I'd dropped my car the day before, and then potentially spending the day biking around. I spent a great deal of time loading my rack trunk with all the necessary items, but discovered as I began wheeling the bike out the door that it had ANOTHER FLAT. frustrated beyond belief, I instead had to walk the four miles to the mechanic.

on saturday, I asked scott if he'd help me with the bike, since he's been cycling for most of his life and has a crapton more experience than I do with bike maintenance. he suggested that it was likely that whatever caused my first flat probably was still stuck in the tire and therefore had caused the second. I decided to see if I could puzzle it out and to get his help if I needed it. I stripped the tire back off, took the tube out, and inflated it. when the leak didn't make itself known right away, I filled the bathtub and stuck the tube in it. the leak was a pinhole at about the 7:00 position on the tube. when I compared the tube to the tire, I discovered a TINY EFFING THORN still embedded in the tread. victory!

also, frustration. A THORN? seriously? man up, bike.

so, I pulled the thorn and took a photo of it for posterity.

then I changed the tube, put the wheel back on the bike, and inflated it. I had checked prior to inflation to make sure none of the tube was sticking out from beneath the tire, but unfortunately I'm a noob at these things, and did not think to check during the pumping process. I hit the right PSI, uncapped the pump, and screwed the valve. then I went to spin the wheel to make sure it was in correctly, only to find that it stuck in one place. I went around to the hub side of the tire and discovered that the now fully-inflated tube was sticking out of roughly 20% of that side of the wheel. just as I thought "oh god, gotta unscrew the valve," the thing exploded in my face. I was close enough to it that the powder it was coated in sprayed the lenses of my glasses.

then I went and cried in the bathroom for ten minutes.

after that I had one remaining spare tube, and abandoned the notion of changing the tire myself. when scott got home I asked him to do it. then the pump was acting squirrely. we tried a CO2 pump, which wasn't working properly. we couldn't find a hand pump. my hand pump is missing a valve adapter. finally, we unearthed a working CO2 pump and pumped the tire up enough that I could ride to the meeting site. we figured we'd borrow somebody's pump when we got there and finish the job.

we biked through downtown to get there, which for me was a harrowing experience, seeing as how I am still getting accustomed to sharing the road with cars. and it was dark. and my tire was squishy. when we got there, we found some guys with a pump (they weren't yet naked) and started inflating the tire. immediately scott made a sad face. the valve had punctured the tube and I had YET ANOTHER flat.

we hobbled the bike over to a fence and tried to work out what to do. scott made his way into the crowd in hopes of finding someone who would give me a spare tube, but eventually it was clear that I was stuck with my flat. it was nearing 10 PM and most of the crowd, by this point, was naked. I was standing with my bike leaning up against a fence, crying. it was the culmination of what had been a trying few days with my bike. i could have hurled it into the willamette.

eventually, they set off without us. we began the trudge back home. scott offered to let me take his bike, and to walk my bike home so that I could go on the ride (he came along more to share the experience with me than because he particularly cared about bike riding naked). I couldn't take him up on the offer because we didn't have a backpack, so riding his bike would mean having to ride back to his place naked, alone, at the end of the ride. at 11 or 12 at night.

about half a mile back I was still really despondent and was beginning to think I might consider riding back naked, which is technically not a crime. he suggested that we could walk back home, grab his other bike, and meet up with the crowd. so we began power-walking through the crowd. at one point, my rack fell off the back of the bike. I had to just grab it and keep going.

by the time we got back to scott's, the group had already crossed back over to the east side of town. I had an idea of the route from last year, but there was no guarantee that the ride would follow the same path, and this year's route hadn't been posted. we swapped bikes. have I mentioned that I've never before, ever, in all my life, been on a road bike? scott has three bikes: all road bikes. but, you know, whatever. I had scott adjust the seat all the way down -- it was a "boys" frame (straight top tube) and I've also never ridden one of those, so I wanted to know I could put my feet down if I needed to.

we took the bikes downstairs and began chasing the ride. I struggled to figure out how the hell you ride a road bike. goddamn, people, you lean so far over! the pedals had toe clips, which I was both too afraid and too inept to use -- I was afraid to have my feet attached to the pedals, and I also couldn't keep the pedals rotated long enough to get my feet in them. so I just pedaled with the clips hanging upside down.

we couldn't agree on which route to take and ended up following what we believed to be directly behind the ride, which was my idea -- the reasoning being that the riders couldn't be going THAT fast and we could likely catch up. we crossed the river on THE SCARIEST OF ALL BRIDGES and then cut eastward, hoping we'd ride up alongside them. we biked all the way to 39th -- where the ride turned southward last year -- but still didn't find them. then we had to bike along the sidewalks of 39th for blocks and blocks. there was no sign of them anywhere. traffic was proceeding as normal. occasionally we'd pass another cyclist and I'd call, "see any naked people?" but nobody answered in the affirmative.

we cut back westward and finally, about a mile from the start, I spotted the flashing police lights that were, with any luck, the same lights that were trailing the parade of riders. we cut over to hawthorne, and then biked like mad down the hill in hopes of catching them. but we were stuck in the regular traffic that had been clogged behind the closed course, and had to follow normal traffic patterns.

in the end, despite our best efforts, we reached the ride only after it had pulled into the finish. in frustration, I took off my shirt in the middle of the road, so I could at least say I was naked, momentarily, at the naked bike ride.

I am reluctant to call this item complete, since I didn't actually ride in the event and since I still REALLY want to do it (and am REALLY sad at how things went down). but since we sincerely could not have tried harder to get there -- and did, in fact, at least GET there -- I'm going to cross it off, with an asterisk. it probably won't go back on the birthday list, but it's still on my heart's list of things to do.

June 22, 2011

the right to be a carnivore


on tuesday, I drove down to help friends keith and rachel, who own provenance farm, butcher some of their broiler chickens, to be sold in stores and restaurants around the corvallis/portland area. once a month during the season, keith and rachel invite friends to help them process the birds. I've wanted to go out there since I met them last summer, but since they butcher on tuesdays and I am usually working, I haven't been able to make it until now.

it was a picture-perfect first day of summer, abundantly sunny and warm. the processing facility is at afton field farm. it's a nearly open-air building based on the designs of joel salatin at polyface farm in virginia, whom you may have read about in michael pollan's the omnivore's dilemma or seen in food, inc.


the chickens are brought over to the farm in crates, in the back of a pickup. the kill area consists of a stand of six metal cones, into which the chickens are inserted, head-first, so that they're hanging upside down. the corotid artery is severed -- by hand, with a knife -- on both sides of the neck, and then the chicken bleeds out for a minute or two before being transferred to the scalder. the scalder is a tub of water, lightly soaped and heated to 140 degrees. inside it is a rotating drum that rolls the slaughtered chickens through the water, which helps to loosen the feathers. then the chickens are tossed into the plucker, which is a metal tub with rubber knobbies that spins the chickens and pulls their feathers off.


the heads and feet are cut off the body, and then the bodies are transferred, through a window, into the processing facility, where most of us spent the day. the facility is equipped with tons of hoses, and rows of stainless steel tables. everything is washed down thoroughly before the processing begins, and water runs constantly as the chickens are cleaned and prepped for sale. the whole place is designed to be hosed off! pretty cool. it's almost entirely windows, so although you're inside, it feels very close to the rest of the farm.

I spent most of the day at the evisceration table. evisceration consisted of the following:

1. make a cut at the base of the tail to remove the oil gland;
2. cut halfway down the neck; remove the trachea and loosen the crop, which is a soft tissue sac where food gets softened and awaits digestion;
3. open up the back end and stick your hand inside the chicken, which, by the way, is quite warm. reach under all the innards and pull them out. if you're good you can do this in one handful but I didn't quite master that.
4. separate the liver, heart, and gizzard from the rest of the innards. discard innards. separate gall bladder from liver (and be careful because if you explode the gall bladder on any meat, that meat will taste like bitter garbage and will be BRIGHT GREEN). throw liver in the liver bin and heart in the heart bin. and gizzard in the gizzard bin. GIZZARD BIN: great band name
5. cut off the vent, which is essentially the chicken asshole.
6. rinse out the bird and pass it to the lunging station.

the lungs are removed with a special scrapey-looking tool, since they are attached quite firmly to the ribs. you know, I always think of lungs as balloon-looking things that are hollow on the inside, but of course they are not! they are spongy membranous tissue that happen to hold oxygen.

after lunging, the chickens are passed to quality control, where they are thoroughly rinsed. they're then checked and double-checked for bits that should have been removed already, like feathers, and also vents and crops, which we occasionally forgot to eviscerate. the birds are also checked for broken wings and legs, for bruises, and for other anomalies. if deemed acceptable (all but 3 or 4 were), a slit is cut in the rear of the bird, the drumsticks inserted neatly into the slit, and the whole bird put into an ice bin.


that process, done to 276 birds, took us from 8 AM to about 1 PM. then we ate lunch.

you are probably wondering why on earth anyone would volunteer for this job. I suspect we all had different reasons. one family is beginning to raise their own chickens and wants to learn the butchering process so they can do it themselves. several folks work on farms, so this was already something they were already familiar with. some folks might have been working in trade for food -- we each got to take home several chickens and a dozen eggs at the end of the day. my personal reason: I felt very strongly that if you can't bring yourself to kill the animal you're eating, then you haven't earned the right to eat it. barring fish -- which feels very hands-off to me in this respect -- I've never before had the opportunity to kill an animal. nor have I sought one out. but when the chance presented itself, I realized how much I wanted to know if I could bring myself to kill a chicken, and I knew that if I couldn't do it, I'd have to change my diet.

most of the volunteers did not seem to have any desire to try their hand at chicken butchering, although they understood why I wanted to. I waited until we had about 80 live birds left before going outside. I had watched the very first kills of the morning and experienced a lot more sadness than I expected. I sincerely respect the feelings of my vegetarian friends, but personally feel that there's nothing inherently wrong with eating meat provided that the meat is humanely raised and killed. the idea of killing chickens didn't bother me. but standing there, with the crates of chickens next to me clucking madly, was a different story. watching steve, who worked the cones most of the day, carefully carry a chicken over to a cone, stuff it in (for obvious reasons they resist going in, and will try and get their feet in to prevent their heads from dangling out the bottom), and then hold its small helpless head between his thumb and forefinger to make the cut -- it was really sad. the chicken's process of going from crate to death was fast and without ceremony. the chickens relax once they get into the cone, and the death is instant, but five to ten seconds after the cut, the body begins to twitch violently as it bleeds out. it's not easy to watch.

but. I did it. steve very patiently walked me through the whole process, and then I went through every step. I apologized to the chickens as I picked them up. my first kill wasn't as clean as I would have wanted, because I wasn't sure how hard I had to push the knife and didn't want to cut the whole head off. but steve gave me some pointers and the next several chickens were very clean kills. I took their bodies to the scalder, and then to the plucker, and then I had experienced the whole process.

not for the squeamish:
chickens in the kill area

after lunch, we came back inside to bag 1-lb bags of hearts and livers, to open up gizzards, and finally to bag, tie, weigh, and store the chickens. the whole process was finished just after 3 PM.

it was a long day, full of hard work, but it was incredibly satisfying. I am feeling homesick lately: I haven't been home to maryland during the summer in two years. I love portland but, as you all know, the weather at this time of year is so hard on me. I grew up in a place where in june it is humid and sticky and warm, and there are great fields of grass and muddy rivers to tube down, and iced tea in the fridge. afton field has a farmhouse and a second building which houses their interns. the intern house is where the bathroom was, so I walked there a few times. the covered cement walk from house to house opens onto a small backyard area which overlooks the property. it's shaded and lightly landscaped. as I passed it the first time, I paused to take in the view and thought sincerely that I could have stood there for the rest of the day, or maybe all summer. something about the gentle clutter of the farmhouse and the sense of small-town community between the volunteers (some of whom were k & r's church friends), coupled with that beautiful day -- I'm not sure I can explain how it felt. it reminded me strongly of my favorite place to be as a child, which was my aunt and uncle's five-acre property, where every summer I would roam the woods and pond and long gravel driveway with my three cousins. I kept thinking, I kind of wish this was home.

for more details on how to butcher a chicken: http://butcherachicken.blogspot.com/2007/09/introduction.html

for a partial shot of that beautiful backyard: http://highheelsinthebarnyard.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/peaceful-morning/

June 18, 2011

a wish

for the love of god please let this be true.

Screen shot 2011-06-18 at 12.06.48 PM

June 15, 2011

sick day


I'm home sick today. "sick day" takes on a different meaning when you don't have to go to work, but the results are the same: stay in your blanket nest all day streaming things on netflix, drinking tea, and feeling a little like you should be doing something more productive than this. also, repeatedly coughing, clearing your throat, or hoping your headache will go away. doesn't that picture of emily dickinson on the kindle look creepy? she looks like she's about to sprout fangs and bite your ear off.

I'm taking a momentary tv-watching break because I think my brain's getting soupy. thought I'd update you on life.

misadventures in cycling

on the list of things I want to accomplish in my time off this summer (a list I'm still compiling; maybe I'll share with you if I manage to get it finished before the END of the summer) is to be more proficient on my bike. I want to be more comfortable riding in traffic, and I'd like to commute more by bike. also, because I'm still rehabbing my hip injury, biking is one of the few activities I'm allowed, so I'd like to do more of it. to that end, last thursday I decided to go out for a 20-30 mile ride along the springwater corridor, a multi-use path that cuts through downtown and parts of SE portland before making its way eastward. I began from the garden, biked a couple of miles on the road, and hit the path.

okay, so let me preface this with a few random points.

1. I loved to ride my bike as a kid. I got my first bike when I was five and liked to pretend it was a horse. I got my first ten-speed when I turned eleven; it was on that bike that I first learned to ride no-handed, and I can remember zipping around the neighborhood without ever touching the handlebars.

2. I didn't do much bike riding in high school or college, but got a mountain bike when I was in grad school, and spent a lot of time with my friend wayne on the trails just outside town. we liked to bike from his apartment to the erie canal trail, which was just a mile or two down the street. then we'd bike 15-25 miles down the canal. we talked about bike camping the entire erie canal but we never did.

3. just last weekend, scott and I went on a short bike ride. as we were leaving, he said, "do you have a spare tube?" and I kind of laughed, because I had no idea how to change a flat. "you should carry one anyway, somebody would help you."

4. last wednesday I went to a bike maintenance class at REI. it was mostly boring as hell, and to be honest I could have learned most of what they talked about by reading an article online. most of the problem was that the instructor encouraged everyone to ask questions, so the class quickly devolved into very specific questions about peoples' very specific bike problems. WHO CARES. but at the end of the class they did a full demonstration of how to change a flat tire.

5. I bought myself a spare tube on the way out of the class.

you of course know what this is leading up to.


so on thursday's jaunt I ended up getting a little overzealous/in love with the weather and I just ... kept biking. once you get out of outer SE the trail becomes more rural, and I was feeling nostalgic for home. there's a bike trail in my hometown just like the springwater corridor and I spent a good deal of time on it as a high schooler, where I'd go down and tube on the river or go for a jog or eat mulberries.

I biked about 15 miles down the trail. finally, about a mile after the trail turned into a gravel path, I turned around and headed for home. I was hungry and I'd forgotten my water, so about 8 miles from my car I stopped at a convenience store and bought a popsicle, an orange soda, and a bottle of water. I stuck the soda in my bottle cage and held the water in one hand as I kept biking.

then, a couple miles later, I started to feel like things were really bumpy. I stopped and looked at my tire, wondering if maybe something was stuck to it. nothing. I rode for maybe another half mile and things just got bumpier and squishier. I stopped and checked again. rear tire = flat.

I mentally noted that the REI guy told us how, for whatever reason, it seemed that rear tires blew out more than front ones.

I was bummed but also a little bit like OH BOY I CAN DO THIS I JUST LEARNED YESTERDAY! I had a tube! and then I remembered: my bike pump, firmly affixed to my bike, was missing the adapter which made it compatible with my presta valves. so even though I had the tube, I didn't have anything to pump the tube with.

as if on cue (and just as scott predicted), a cyclist stopped to ask me if everything was OK. I explained the situation. I told him it was my very first flat and that I'd just learned the day before. I honestly didn't want him to stand there while I clumsily figured out how to change the tire, nor did I want to ask him to change it for me. I figured I was about 3 miles from the car, so in the end, I waved him on. and started walking.


I ended up trudging probably closer to 4 miles with my flat. it wasn't so bad except that I'd only put sunscreen on my face and arms, not my legs, which had already been on the verge of sunburn and got toasted on the return walk. I was frustrated that I had to spend an extra hour escorting my bike home, but also kind of amused that I was having what appears to be a pretty universal cyclist experience.

it turned out, also, that I'd bought the wrong sized tube anyway, so I'm doubly glad I didn't make the helpful cyclist stay.

I was already signed up for this past monday's fix-a-flat class at REI, so I decided to try my hand at doing it from memory/googling and figured I'd either fix it or I'd bring it to the class. it turns out I remembered just fine (it helped that the night before, scott had showed off his flat-changing skills -- he can do it in like a minute and a half!). the hardest thing was putting the damn thing back on the bike.


turning the bike upside down helped, since I no longer had to hold the bike AND figure out how to guide the tire in. then I pumped that sucker up. then I rode on it that night. AWESOME.

the garden

is really hurting from lack of sun. AREN'T WE ALL.

you can't see it very well from this picture, but the garlic scapes are just about ready to be cut. the scape is the flowering end of the garlic, and you have to cut it off or else the garlic will put its energy into making a flower rather than into making a bulb.

my peas are finally flowering. they are later than nearby gardeners, which I think is mostly the variety of pea, and potentially also due to not fertilizing.

strawberries: ripening.

pole beans: UP! those things are SO satisfying. I swear I planted them like three days before I took this picture.

tomatoes: flowering.

the monarda survived the cold (and the living under a milk jug) and is beginning to grow. hopefully it will flower this year.

I built a cucumber trellis, and now I'm really hoping the cucumbers will grow. I planted them thinking it was going to stay warm, but we've still had temps in the 40s at night. WHY DON'T YOU JUST SHOOT ME, PORTLAND.

in other garden news, I'm pretty sure my onions aren't going to come up. I can't decide whether I should plant the luffa in place of the onions, or whether to buy some pretty flowers. I have to wait on the luffa (too cold) so we'll see. I'm giving the onions until the weekend to pop their pretty heads out. I haven't seen a single seedling. jerks.

I've been trying to cook more and I made a spring veggie pilaf last week, which included beets. beets are a food I'm desperate to like -- they seem so ... virtuous? -- but I just don't. scott does, though, so I left them in the recipe. well! I kind of loved them. there might be hope for me yet.

they do make things pretty.

on saturday I went to REI's used gear sale (this post should be titled "I <3 REI," apparently). I'd never been before. I stood in line for TWO HOURS (!). but I did end up finding a pair of bike shoes, which is what I wanted. they were $30, brand new. and I couldn't come home without a pair of lightly-used vibrams, which I scored for $4.83. now if only I could run!! IMAG0139

injury rehab
is ongoing. and really effing slow. still not running. I'll tell you about it soon.

June 10, 2011

the list.

30 things to do while I'm 30.

1. bike to the island.
2. lookout.
3. finally start wearing my new glasses.
4. go by rail!
5. throw a surprise party.
6. hug.
7. renew my passport and
8. leave the country SERIOUSLY THIS TIME GUYS
9. pay a debt.
10. rehab.
11. worship at the church of elvis.
12. go to the desert.
13. make elaborate homemade ice cream.
14. get to 250 hours.
15. more boozetues!
16. float.
17. 50 books.
18. go chinese and japanese.
19. do the fruit loop.
20. go see the rollers.
21. watch a movie outside.
22. naked bike ride! *
23. head to the pool.
24. ride horses on the beach.
25. bridge pedal.
26. shanghai.
27. see the planets!
28. brave the nude beach.
29. plant a letterbox in forest park.
30. climb mt. st. helens.

June 8, 2011


the last part of Scott's birthday present came today.

Photo on 2011-06-08 at 16.12
Photo on 2011-06-08 at 16.11 #3
Photo on 2011-06-08 at 16.11 #2
Photo on 2011-06-08 at 16.11
Photo on 2011-06-08 at 16.10 #2
Photo on 2011-06-08 at 16.10
Photo on 2011-06-08 at 16.10 #3

I LOVE HER. I still don't know what to name her. ideas?

June 4, 2011

"superbly situated," robert hershon

you politely ask me not to die and i promise not to
right from the beginning-- a relationship based on
good sense and thoughtfulness in little things

i would like to be loved for such simple attainments
as breathing regularly and not falling down too often
or because my eyes are brown or my father left-handed

and to be on the safe side i wouldn't mind if somehow
i became entangled in your perception of admirable objects
so you might say to yourself: i have recently noticed

how superbly situated the empire state building is
how it looms up suddenly behind cemeteries and rivers
so far away you could touch it-- therefore i love you

part of me fears that some moron is already plotting
to tear down the empire state building and replace it
with a block of staten island mother/daughter houses

just as part of me fears that if you love me for my cleanliness
i will grow filthy if you admire my elegant clothes
i'll start wearing shirts with sailboats on them

but i have decided to become a public beach an opera house
a regularly scheduled flight-- something that can't help being
in the right place at the right time-- come take your seat

we'll raise the curtain fill the house start the engines
fly off into the sunrise, the spire of the empire state
the last sight on the horizon as the earth begins to curve

June 3, 2011

garden update: June 2

because of the birthday and the moving and the looming work furlough, I hadn't been out to the garden in what seemed like AGES. things! they grow! I might actually have vegetables at some point.

the strawberries have their first teensy berries. yay!

the raspberry continues to try and stage a coup:

the peas!!!!! they are knee-high. they are growing so fast I'm almost convinced I could sit and watch them get taller.

I put in a second round of tomatoes. lord help them. it's still chilly at night but hopefully it's warm enough by now, RIGHT PORTLAND?

I also planted my tomatillo seedlings, which are probably already dead. remind me next year that I hate having to start seeds indoors.

I put the brussels sprouts seedlings in as well. I have more confidence in their survival chances. the rubines will be PURPLE! yay.

garlic: knee-high. beginning to grow scapes? (I think). and probably in need of a nitrogen boost. the tulips are over for the season and have been deadheaded.

the chive blossoms are going strong. a certain someone had one the other night and is a convert.

the sage is blossoming too and I have no idea if the flowers are edible. somebody remind me to google that.

the bronze fennel survived from last season and is another plant that's threatening to take over the entire garden. I find offshoots of it all over the place. STOP THAT

the fancy italienischer lettuce is beginning to need thinning, which is going to make me sad because I hate pulling up plants! even if they make delicious baby greens.

teeny kale and chard:

super SUPER teeny broccoli seedlets, which I hope will survive:

the bell peppers I planted in late april (wtf, jess?) which I'm pretty sure will probably never produce fruit.

I'm fast running out of space and still have some things to plant which will hopefully fit. you can write it all on a piece of paper but still until you get it in the ground, see how it spreads, etc, it's all conjecture. (at least for me). hopefully soon I'll be able to put the cucumbers, pole beans, and edamame in the ground. the weekend weather calls for eighty degrees PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY JESUS and hopefully it heralds the beginning of warmer weather, because we sure could use it.

June 1, 2011



I'm 30 now.

30. 30. 30.

I think I am officially a "grown-up." (I think.)

I threw myself a party which will forever be remembered as the envy of all eight-year-olds anywhere.

there was a candy buffet:

there were party favors, and a beautiful unicorn (pinata).

there were friends (and a bonus boyfriend).

there were burgers.

there was a BEAUTIFUL CAKE. I made it myself!
beautiful cake
(with thanks to jesse for the photo)

there were also coloring pages (featuring the smurfs, the flintstones, star wars, monchichi, the little miss bossy characters, peeps, sesame street, and sailor moon), and a frisbee nobody used because it was TOO FREAKING COLD. so cold I had to wear a sweater, a hat, and a scarf for the whole party.

a certain someone gamely manned the teeny tiny grill all afternoon. about 25 of my friends showed up, including the aforementioned jesse and her husband and her wee tiny toddler, who is just about the single most adorable kid ever, and who was overcome with a debilitating case of shyness when we were introduced. so cute! one of my coworkers brought her husband and nine-year-old daughter, and said daughter was SUPER EXCITED about the candy buffet and indulged in all of the party favors, much to my sincere delight. I hope she didn't puke on the car ride home. she wrote me the sweetest birthday card and included a little necklace! proving that I was right to try and model my birthday after that age group -- they are the best.

so, now I am 30. there is a lot of leftover cake and candy, and a friend brought me a delicious box of goodies from one of the nearby bakeries, so I'm still surviving on a high-sugar diet. I finally finished moving (yesterday) and I wrapped up at the opera last week. today is technically my fourth day off work, although it still feels like a long weekend. I'm recovering from the entire month of may, which was EXHAUSTING. observe:


I'm still working on compiling the 30 list. as for 29, I finished just 12 of the 29 things I set out for myself, although it would have only been 11 had scott not taken me at the eleventh hour to have cupcakes at saint cupcake as part of his birthday celebration for me on saturday. (the rest of our saturday celebration was wonderful; it involved carnival rides, a sun dress, a nice dinner, and A MUPPET among other things).

I also got a kindle for my birthday, from my wonderful mama, and I've already finished reading one book on it. bringing my 2011 reading total to a shamefully bad THREE BOOKS. that is cringe-inducing, no joke.