Category Archives: nature

on being exceedingly hot

and i don’t mean hot like the PB, i mean as in it’s a gazillion degrees here.

so hot you sweat even under a cold shower, so hot the night was almost unbearable, so hot Her Highness has not stopped panting all day. in fact, i have been panting too. other people are complaining miserably , i am staying sweaty, but happy. after the two winters we had this year (winter started in october 07 and ended around may 28th 08 ) i can take this heat and i welcome it.

this heat means : TOMATOES! it means happy vines (and yummy wines), it means meteorologically and medically recommended laziness and hydration by any means (i vote for micheladas – see the kitchen section for instructions) – these are the dog-days of summer we hungered for in april, so bring them on!  however, i did not survive a year in yucatan without learning some lessons on how to make this heat more pleasant, so here are a few:

  • drink lots of liquids – lukewarm sweet mint tea, water with a sqeeze of lime, ice cold diet-cokes, micheladas
  • eat cold fruit and veggies – watermelon, peaches, frozen berries, cold cucumbers (slices of which feel very good over sleep-deprived puffy eyes)
  • down gallons of gazpacho (see kitchen section)
  • sleep in a hammock if possible
  • take a wet bandana or sheet and wrap yourself in it – particularly good at night
  • let it slide: there is literally no reason to get excited about anything, and it is too damn hot expend any energy on anything. no really. not even that.
  • go to the cineplex – it’s air conditionned. the PB and kidlets are going to base-ball game tonight, so i am free to see pineapple express. ice cold air and tub of popcorn here i come.

and last but not least, go commando. when it is too hot to breathe, it is definitely too hot to wear underwear. TRUST me.


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Filed under dogs, food, movies, nature, weather

why i love summer

here is one reason why this season rocks:



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warding off vampires, and other good things

one of the great things about living where i live is eating what grows here (and i am not just talking about the wine). there’s an amazing bakery in town – which i blame for at least 5 of the 10 pounds i gained over the winter ( it made sense at the time to follow a demanding morning yoga class with one of their cinnamon snails, but i don’t think my hips got the memo, and they stretched accordingly). there’s a couple of amazing restaurants (this one has something resembling a website, but most are just about the food, sans website – quaint eh?), all of which contributed to my expanding waist and financial ruin. and last but not least is the best boutique in the world, where the friendly owners also serve the BEST cappuccino in town, all of which added to the afore-mentioned fatitude and slow decent into credit precariousness.

and now that summer is here and the veggies are out, we can add my farmers to the list of why i LOVE it here. they are two hardworking, stunningly gregarious and committed people, and every tuesday we get bagfuls of vegetables from them, heaps of luscious lettuce, the odd chard still – but also spring garlic, sweet arugula, and the revelation of revelations – the most succulent broccoli.

like coldplay, broccoli is now laughing at me. after years of hating it, reviling it as the foulest of cabbages and the most pestilent of greens, i now love the damn thing. unlike coldplay however, i am not embracing it bc it now tastes like fritos, but bc it is the most elegant and frothy and crunchy of veggies. and it is the best vehicle for a vinaigrette made of anchovy paste, lemon, olive oil and as much raw garlic as you can stand to mash up. broccoli as vampire protection – who knew?

i just ate a mountain of green doused in this garlic concoction, and should vampires descend upon the farmer’s market this afternoon while i am buying strawberries for my first summer sorbet, let me tell you, i have nothing to fear.

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not bad, not bad at all *

this is my life today:

big bouquet on the desk (present from dinner guests last night), almost-finished chapter on computer screen and bright sunshine in the window. even my allergies seem under control. and HRH is snoring (less loudly) under the desk. this is as close to heaven as i need to get at 10.30 am on a working friday.

* this sort of turn of phrase is called “ litotes“. special thanks for merriam-webster’s word-of-the-day for explaining this, and giving me a new scrabble word. because given this set of letters, i might not always want to spell ‘toilet’ – which is exactly what my brain unscrambled as if by instinct when the delivery popped on my screen this week.

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carrion, carrion, there’s nothing to see here

on our afternoon walk through the fields, HRH chased away two HUGE vultures. the fields have been recently mowed, and i suspect that field mice and other critters get mowed over. cycle of life and all that – the vultures eat, the field gets fertilized and that’s a few less mice in my kitchen. except for this: instead of continuing the walk with me, HRH proceeded to chomp her way through the now vulture-less field. i had to drag her out of there by force as five black raptors hovered overhead.

it’s not enough that she’s a deer-shit-eating, quail murdering hound. now she eats dead mice too. whatever will she do when we return to the city in the fall???

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hot – very hot!

this is not the description of the lovely PB (although it could be, he is dangerously hot) or the chicken wings i ate at a vietnamese restaurant i love last tuesday (see pok pok in portland eating guide in right side bar). – it is the alert notice on for my zipcode….

temps will reach 96 degrees today (that’s about 35 celsius for my european contingent). that’s almost 50 degrees of temperature variation in less than 4 days. on monday (as in FOUR days ago) : we had to turn the heat was on, my mother had a hot water bottle in her bed to prevent frost bite of toes, and i was wearing socks and boots and a coat. 2 weeks ago it hailed, and there’s still snow on some of the hills around here. and now we will spend the w-e sweating off winter pounds (good), lathering on UV 900 protection (winter sking burns people, it burns so easily!), and making sure her highness is hydrated while we float in a tub of ice water to keep cool…

and they say global warming is a myth.

before we reach that apocalyspe, last evening was perfect! bubbles on the front porch with view of fields and mountain, warm breeze and tons of colorful birds, and an evening walk through hazelnut orchard in flipflops. divine.

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Filed under bubbles, dogs, nature

psycho-killer, killer tired.

we all woke up too early today. the lovely PB woke up at 4 am to catch a 6.30 flight out of LAX and we (my mom and i – yes, she LOVED her present!) woke up at 6.30 so we could make it to the airport by 8.30 for breakfast with PB before her 11 am flight out. PB could have taken a later flight home, allowing him more than 2 hours of sleep after an evening of work. we could have slept till 8 am, allowing PB a lovely cheery girlfriend upon his return to oregon, instead of the the cranky gnome i become when i haven’t slept enough. but my mother and the PB wanted to sacrifice sleep so they could at least share break-fast since the scheduling of this mother’s-day visit overlapped with PB’s out-of-town travels.

let us revisit this situation: my boyfriend. my mother. making extra-human efforts to meet at the airport so they could share a cup of coffee and catch up face to face. this qualifies as one of my life’s really good things, a little reward after too many loser/forgettable/a#*&ole boyfriends that probably taught me a lesson or two about myself and relationships, but whom i knew better than to introduce to the ice-queen my mother becomes around people she (sometimes rightly) considers undeserving. but the PB – him i knew i could expose to the ice-queen, she who melted immediately and continues to adore all about him. she does adore him, and visits us here – far from the urban bubbles she thought she’d brought me up to survive in – where we live in a house that has mice in the walls (we live in a FIELD, therefore technically, we live in their house), where you can’t hear any noise at night – which of course made my mom suggest we might be killed in our sleep by roaving psychopaths – bc THAT is such a common occurrence here. it is particularly hilarious that my mother considered the risks of living in the country side, when she recently realized that the sweet youths playing in the street next to her car while she was waiting at a red light in the ginormous city she lives in were in fact not playing, but trying to figure how to break into her car, WITH HER IN IT. i rest my case.

so yes, we are all very tired, bc no one slept enough. but tonight, provided i don’t get murdered by the serial killers native to these hills, i will sleep and wake up to the sound of nothing. not even a mouse.

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