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July 29, 2009

Dying of hot

It's been outrageously hot and humid in Portland for the past few days. On Monday it got up to 103. Yesterday hit 106. Today is supposed to be 107 or even a record-breaking 108. Not only do we not have air conditioning in our new apartment, we are without fans as well.

Yesterday morning I handed the manf $20 and told him to buy me something windy. He came home after a multiple-hour search to deliver the tragic news that Portland had sold out of every wind-maker. We were relegated to fanning each other with a number my little brother got me in Japan. It didn't help.

Sleeping is miserable because it only cools down to about 80 degrees. I've taken to spraying myself with a hose and dousing myself in a cold shower before bed, but it just evaporates and makes me even stickier than I was before.

To top it all off, our freezer isn't working. All of our lovely ice cream and popsicles turn to goo within hours.

I'm seriously considering sleeping at work/in the river/at a movie theater/inside a walk-in freezer tonight.

July 18, 2009

Found objects

There's something about finding things just lying around in the great outdoors and taking them home that makes me feel so resourceful, like I'm one of the Boxcar Children. And I think you'll understand completely when I say aspiring to be like Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny is one of my chief goals in life. Especially because my own siblings and I go boy, girl, girl, boy in birth order JUST LIKE THEM. Fate.

Yesterday I went to the movies to see another group of kiddies I'd very much like to emulate. Sectumsempra! Except not. More like Wingardium Leviosa. Semantics. Anyway. I snarfed way too much popcorn with melted golden topping and cherry cola and was feeling woozy from all the sodium and sugar I'd ingested. I required approximately 1 million salads to counteract the effects, stat, but in a pinch decided I could make do with the blackberry bramble in my alleyway. The bramble may have its roots in someone's yard, but the plant itself leans wantonly into the alley, making its fruit The People's Berries, I speck.

Nevertheless, I was very sureptitious as I pulled one juicy fruit after the other from its be-thorned lair. As soon as I had filled my little plastic container, I raced home with my illegal berries and admired they way they glistened in the sunshine.

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I gobbled them up straightaway, and let me tell you. Blackberries never tasted so sweet. So tart. So delicious.

***

My Portland bosom buddy invited me to a homewares party hosted by her former coworker. The brand was Demarle, a line of French cookery that's all floppy and nonstick and stuff. I was very intrigued, especially by the mini tartlet pan and the mold that would make your baked goods look like a bear. I was close to buying their famous pan, weirdly called a "silpat" for no good reason, until I learned that it would cost about a million dollars. Plus if you're going to be baking things like meat or fish that would "throw their juices," you would need to get the special pan that costs about two million dollars.

Throw their juices? That has to be the funniest/best phrase I have ever heard coming out of a very put-together plastic surgeon wife's mouth while she conducts a live informercial, like, ever. You could use it for expressions of rage ("You'd best step off or I swear I'll throw my juices!") or joy ("I was so psyched I threw my juices!"). But I digress.

By the grace of Moses I was able to get out of there without parting with my dearly-beloved moolala. And I'm so glad I did, because look what I found lying on the sidewalk yesterday:

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It's Flexipan, not Demarle, but it's still french! And floppy! I soaked it in soapy water for a good long time last night, but it still has a filmy green tint on top. What think? Should I risk self-poisoning and make some delicious blackberry muffins in this baby? I'm pretty sure that's what Jessie and Violet would do.

And now, as your reward for reading this far, I give you another found object: Mt. Hood, as viewed from Mt. Tabor at sunset:

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July 11, 2009

#ouch #cantwalk #ouch #neverdoinglungesagain

I've been trying to make up from my total deviance from the Get Healthy Plan while I was in Seattle (I worked out once the whole week and ate many Things That Are Bad). This week I'm back on my Don't Eat Crap diet-- I even refused a cupcake from Cupcake Jones two days ago--and my quice-weekly workout regime.

Yesterday I decided to kick it up a notch at the gym. I've been doing mostly the same machines when I go, so I asked my personal trainer (who happens to live with me) for ideas for some moves with the free weights. He had me grasp 10-pounders whilst slowly lunging all the way across the gym floor, with my knee almost touching the ground on each dip. I could only handle four lengths of the gym before I felt like I was going to collapse.

I had already done the leg press, leg extension, calf extension and seated leg curl. My stems started feeling as they have never felt before-- as if the muscles were atrophying on the spot, as if they were disintegrating into sawdust. I usually feel a bit tender after a workout, but don't get full-on sore until two days after the fact. That I was already feeling as if I had been body slammed did not bode well.

After our nightly episode of Big Love, I told my personal trainer I didn't even want to THINK about moving. "Why are you worrying about moving?" he asked. "We have another nine and a half months until our lease is up."

"I meant off this couch. I don't think I can do it."

Sure enough, I stayed put all night, adding a backache to my list of ailments. This morning, I've been hobbling around like an old biddy with a bum hip and a bad case of the gout, grunting as the strain of walking hits each muscle group. Le ouch.

July 10, 2009

Welcome to my hood

Please join me on a tour of the delights and wonders of my new hood.

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Art. I just love this little guy. He puts a smile on my face every time I walk by. A heart balloon? For me? Why thank you!

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Nature.

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The wares of my new favorite store, which sells a mash of twee rolls of wrapping paper, vintage jewelry and wedding dresses with bird remains stuck to the bustle. It was closed by the time I stopped by so I could only take a snap through the window.

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Do you need wine, chocolate, gourmet salts and flowers and nothing else? This store is for you.

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Can't be a hipster enclave without a bike repair shop. It's Article 4 of the Hipster Bylaws.

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Bulbs. All shapes, all sizes, all colors.

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July 5, 2009

Home again, home again, jiggety jaw

I'm coming up on my year anniversary of the Great Move West, and the feeling that dear old Porty Pants (as Anna calls it) is really my home became clear during my travels in the past week.

In honor of that blessed event known as my birthday, my dear benefactress aunt and my new unk swooped into town like a battalion of angels and spoiled me with such plunder as a cast iron skillet and dutch oven, a cookbook stand and, most importantly, a set of crumpet rings. After a few days of gallavanting in the hood, we were off to Seattle to visit another dear auntie.

Before I moved here I saw Seattle and Portland as interchangeable: both were drizzly, cultured cities near the coast that in my mind's eye were overrun with apple orchards (why? I don't know). My first jaunt up to Seattle proved me wrong. There's just something about big cities with lots of tall buildings that make me uncomfortable. My favorite cities that I've spent more than a few weeks in--Portland, DC, Paris--all have a shorter skyline that makes me feel like I can breathe better or something.

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See? Just too durn big fer leetle old me.

Less than a day after I returned from Seattle the manf and I took off again, this time for the Oregon Coast. We've often been to northern coastal cities Astoria and Seaside, each about an hour and a half from Portland, so this time we decided to go to Newport on the central coast. It felt a heckuva a lot like Canal Park in my hometown Duluth with its kitschy shops selling nautical wares and huge masses of fat tourists. There's even an iconic bridge.

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I had very delicious crab soup and playing on the beaches was very fun. But I found myself longing for my humble little abode.

Have I even told you about my new apartment yet? Since I've been a very neglectful blogger and all-around horrible person, I think not. I blame this jewel of a place for keeping me from you. You see, when we were in the shoebox, I had nothing to do but sit in my cave and troll the Internets. There was nothing to do nearby and I lived so far off the beaten path that going to the places where there were things to do was always a chore.

Now I live mere blocks away from a brewery; a pizza pub; a store that only sells wine, flowers, chocolate and salt; a store that only sells lightbulbs; several boutiques, including one that sells refurbished wedding dresses with stuffed owls on the bustle; antique stores; cafes; music venues; a bakery; a local independent video store; and much, much more. Now people actually want to come over to hang out in my hood, and my apartment is big enough for me to return to my chief joy: entertaining.

So, a year after I first set foot on this fertile soil, I feel like I not only belong here but that I want to stick around for a good long while.