Monthly Archives: January 2008

snow day!

fields of snow

it’s been snowing! not a lot by indiana standards – my only extreme winter was spent in south bend, indiana, where i did not see the garden of the house i rented until april when the solid layers of stacked snow finally melted – but it’s enough by oregon standards.  cars can’t make it up the hill, yoga class has been cancelled because of slippery roads, and HRH is got a frosty and snowy bum during her last squat in the fields.

how does an african hound recover from such trauma?


by facing the sun like an iguana of course.  she may never go out there again…


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Filed under dogs, nature


hours during which head ached today = 8

hours during which self cooked today = 5

hours spent eating bagels&lox = 3

there was some overlap between the the head ache and the bagel-orgy, but the cooking time was exclusive. what did i make once the screw-driver that was drilling in my left eye into the back of my head stopped doing that?

1 mango mousse (6 portions ; from canned mangos – fresh ones don’t grow here, and the ones that make it to the shops don’t look like mangos)

12 gaufrettes (approx) – these are little belgian waffles, not the american version eaten with syrup and other heresies.  they are dryer and smaller, ideal with a cup of strong coffee or a glass of milk in the afternoon.

1 pot of winter vegetable soup, very comforting

1 winter-squash lasagna, with raisins in between the layers and pine nuts on top. succeeded in making the bechamel even on notoriously useless burners of our ante-deluvian electric range.

and what did i have for dinner? that’s where the trade-off comes in. bagels, cream cheese, lox, oh and i forgot to mention crepes (made by self and other guests at brunch in a “flippin'” contest), breakfast sausage and scrambled eggs with caramelized onions which tasted like they had been caramelized in goose schmaltz – soooo good. all this goodness can only be followed by a zero calorie crunchy red and white cabbage salad , dressed with nothing more than a sprinkling of salt and a dash of rice wine vinegar (just like mark bittman demonstrated on this week).

atonement never tasted so good…

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happy household rule #1: always have a plunger ready

i don’t mind that the lovely PB wakes up at the crack of dawn, i actually sort of like knowing my waking hour is nearing when i feel him roll out of bed, and i like the reminder that my waking hour is really close when i hear him grinding coffee (isn’t he amazing?). as much as i like being in bed, and as much as i need more sleep than he does, i LOVE the fact that when i wake, it is usually to share a cup of coffee with him in our blindingly bright kitchen (this time of year the sun is at the weirdest, bordering on dangerous, angle).

so imagine the distress when instead of hearing the comforting grind of coffee at 7.00am, i hear PB saying from the stairs :

“sweetie – where’s the plunger?”


these are not good words to wake up to. they are even worse when you realize – oh no – we don’t have a plunger.

on the bright side, HRH did not feel the need to inspect, so at least we weren’t trying to keep a nosy dog out of the mess, and we had enough towels to mop it all up (they are all being washed in super hot water now – i’d boil them if i could). a plunger was procured and all is well with our plumbing (i tested all other loos in the house), at least for now.

but i am buying 3 small plungers for each loo, and am getting one big massive industrial type plunger for the real emergencies. might i suggest you do too? you never know when you’ll need one, and i am fairly sure these things rarely happen at the right time.

and on that note, appreciate your indoor plumbing and have a great day!

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dark thoughts and pink wine

what do you do when its coming up to the one year anniversary of your best friend’s really premature death from cancer? i hear you thinking “what a dreary thought – and why is she asking ME? “.

i understand – noone likes thinking about these things, and trust me, i am trying SO hard not to think about it either, but let me tell you, this is not something i can easily control. thoughts of her and of time passing and of the cruelty of a 39 year old mother of 4 dying of breast cancer just seep in, and then they sit there. and i miss her so. her mom sent me a photo frame for Xmas, and as i looked through pictures of her and me to put in it, i had the really odd thought ” we really should take a good picture of each other next time we visit” immediately followed by the realization that there will be no next time, there won’t be any more photos, no more visits.

i also found a person on facebook that claire and i gave a high-school pep talk to. we thought we were being kind to the girl, suggesting a haircut that would make her so much prettier. i am sure this girl hated us for it, and rightly so, but we really meant well. claire and i never forgot her, or the ridiculous hubris of our 16 year-old selves. so imagine the void that i felt, finding this girl on facebook, and not being able to call claire immediately to revisit the moment together. god i miss her.

it’s no good ignoring these moments or thoughts, usually that just ends up with me getting cross at the lovely PB for no good reason. but the kitchen stays clean, that’s aparrently a typical way of dealing with undealt-with grief.

wishing to wallow no more, or at least hoping to have some concentrated activity that will both force me to face it (by ‘it’ I mean the 1 year anniversary of gloom) and be productive rather than depressing about it, tomorrow i am hosting a couple of fabulous women for a pink-athon planning committee. that’s right – cancer sucks, but let’s drink wine and plan a fund raiser to send more money to the scientists who will hopefully find the cure so no more good friends die before they’re really old.

apart from that, i have been working on chapter ugh. do you care about wealth distribution in the the 19th century? because if you do, i’ll gladly share. just let me know. really. no? oh come on – it’s fascinating.


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Filed under book, pink

uncommonly readable

or should it be ‘legible’? anyhow, instead of working on my book – this is (or was) the point of this blog afterall – i read alan bennett’s latest “the uncommon reader”. at less than 130 pages, it was an easy morning’s read – i read it in less time than it took two cups of coffee to get cold, but it was the most fun i have had between the hours of 8am and 10am in a long time. i am quite aware that this is not how i should spending my time, especially if i want to finish this chapter i am working on before the end of the month, but this book about reading, and the pleasures of discovering oneself in others, and of reading when you should probably be doing something else, is best read in one sitting, in your bathrobe, preferably during a workday.

but since it is still a workday, now i must work.

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vegas baby, vegas!

To those of you wondering if my sparkly shoes –– ever walked the walk, let me update you. 

They did.  I wore them for a dinner at a Mexican restaurant.  They behaved admirably – they sparkled as I walked the 5 steps from the car to the restaurant, were admired for 2 minutes while we waited to be seated, and then spent a lovely evening peeking out from time to time from under the table.  

They were less amenable on New Year’s eve.  I wore them to dinner – it was a long walk from our hotel room to the restaurant, up the stairs and 4 times by the lobster buffet.  But we persevered. Until the dancing started.  That activity exposed the limits of my sparkly shoes.  It is a fatal limitation, seeing as that type of shoes really was made for the dance floor. But we were at the beach, dancing barefoot was appropriate and I forgave them.

Not so last week in Las Vegas, where the evening temperatures were well below freezing and the distance between one side of your hotel and the other is excruciatingly long.  It is even longer when you want to meet someone at the hotel next door, which is conveniently connected to yours via a bridge.  It’s an outdoor bridge, meant to afford you to glorious nighttime sights of Sin City in between bouts at the blackjack table (I didn’t do that – my Vegas experience was limited to a very good show and a lot of even better food).  I am sure it is glorious for some, but after walking a mile in the sparkles, teetering over the frozen bridge (literally – there were ice patches) and painfully climbing another set of stairs and another mile to the chic restaurant I was expected at – I couldn’t care less about the sights.  The pink champagne helped my recovery, but even Billecart-Salmon can’t undo the pain on my toes or of the realisation that I had to do that whole long walk again in order to get to my room and take these b%$#&y shoes off! Dead feet walking…


I had half a mind to leave the shoes in Las Vegas, a fitting burial ground for wasteful spending and gaudy baubles if ever there was one, but I brought them back and now they sit in my closet, reminders of my shoe folly, daring me to do it again.  I won’t . Just you watch! 


(I promise I’ll try)  

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Filed under bubbles, shoes

“they never do THAT on E.R”

my sister got into a bad car accident while on holiday in australia this xmas. she’s ok – thanks for asking- but we were worried for a while. 16+ hours of time difference, a guilty sounding boyfriend and australian boondocks hospital phone operators didn’t help. we tried hard not to contemplate the near tragedy and focused on my sister’s dislocated clavicle and bruised thighs, but i couldn’t quite  erase the alternative scenario my brain produces in these situations. this is the same sister who 6 years ago shared the plane with the shoe bomber. everything ended well there too, but we all got too close a view of the alternate outcome, and it still ices me to the core.

so imagine what a relief i was to hear my sister’s story of the rectal exam she got immediately post crash.

apparently, and NOONE ever tells you this, this is a fairly reliable test to check for spine trauma after an accident. the doctor ran his finger’s down my sister’s T 1 and T 2 and whatevers, and then proceeded to give her the intimate test, poking around, asking her intermitently to “clench” and “release”. As my sister slowly recovers her memory of those hours and days, she today remembered mumbling during the procedure: “they never do this on E.R …”, only to hear her doctor mumble from behind her bum “… no, and I am not George Clooney”.

now there’s a man with a sense of humor.

best of all, if my sister could conjure up memories bad TV drama in the midst of her chaos and pain, she could not have been in that much danger. i tell myself that and slowly erase the images of that alternate scenario, and start breathing again.

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Filed under family, travel