November 5, 2012

New Things

I apologize for taking such a long break from this blog. I know it disappointed a few of you. I've had a lot of changes in the past few months. For one, I was laid off from my job the day after I returned from Shi Shi. It was a shock. After the initial confusion wore off, I spent a lot of time avoiding computer-related activities  and doing other things that I had missed during all my time as a forty-hour-a-week employee. It was pretty great. 

What came of this time of exploration and freedom was a decision to go into full-time freelance copywriting. Copywriting is a pretty all-encompassing term. I write ads, blogs, web content, catalog copy and product descriptions, newsletters, etc. Really, I'm a writer for hire. The good news is that I have a new blog (one that's a bit more focused on my work and related topics). You can see that on my new website: www.rachelhisakowright.com. Please check it out if you haven't seen it already. I will still post on Rachel Wrong but it will be with less frequency (but more frequency than months past!). Thanks for reading. 

July 26, 2012

Shi Shi Ho!

I'm off to the magical lands of Shi Shi Beach tomorrow. For those of you who need a little magic in your life, I recommend this article about the fantastic reemergence of Dryococelus australis on Ball's Pyramid.

From NPR

July 25, 2012

Attack of the Flies

Okay, so I'm not really even sure how to explain this or if the magnitude of the situation is going to come across. Sometimes with things like this, it's hard to tell.

Yesterday I came home after accordion and made a salad and read my book and then a friend came over and we sat on the couch talking as the room slowly went dark with evening. To clarify, there was never a time when I was just sitting around with all the doors open. The doors were shut. Our windows have screens. I didn't notice any flies.

But then we left the house for half an hour and when I came home there were a couple of flies buzzing lazily around the kitchen like they had been there forever. You know how flies are. They drone around. You can't ignore them. They seem obsessed with being wherever you are, the dogs of the insect world, and then they are wily, acrobatic, and unwilling to be caught (or rather, squished).

I noticed those two in the kitchen with some despair, looping in the circles near the ceiling like they would be there forever, and then one came to rest on the cupboard. Right in front of me. I went for it. I smashed it with a sponge. And to my surprise it worked. You know how it usually is. You swipe through the air with your weapon and they just keep going, somehow avoiding you by millimeters. Whatever was going on with these flies was different. They may have been drunk. Or weak. Or unaware they were dealing with someone so ruthless. I killed that one with the sponge. Then I killed one in the bathroom with a French Vogue (Last year's September issue when Carine Roitfield was still there and obviously massive). I killed another one in my room by swiping it out of the air with a clog. I mean, this is not typical right? First try fly killings? Finally, right before I went to bed, I found another buzzing near the window which I swatted with my hardback Faulkner novel (I'm deep in a southern gothic binge right now), again totally killing it. That's four flies. In the course of about twenty minutes.

I would like to note that I picked up all of these fly corpses with a small piece of tissue and disposed of them properly. I said sorry to the first one. After a while it just got mechanical.

In the morning, I was telling Sam about it and I noticed one on the floor near the bed. A carcass. Cause of death unknown. This was strange enough with all the recent fly attacks, but then I went to put shoes on. Dead fly in my shoe! Neatly placed in the heel of the left shoe. I thought Sam was messing with me but he wasn't. He promised he wasn't. It was just there.

I've thought about it quite a bit and my conclusion is that our apartment may be haunted.

July 24, 2012

Meow

Kyle Arthur just brought this to my attention: http://cat.rachelwrong.blogspot.com.meowbify.com/

My life is forever changed.

July 20, 2012

It's Coming


 August 11, 2012. Be prepared.  

July 19, 2012

A little something to brighten your day

You know, sometimes you look through old folders and you find cool things. Like this:


Brooding stare from behind the guitar? Check.

Pinky ring? Check.

Awkward mystical title? Check.

Day brightened? Check.

July 18, 2012

Open Sesame

About once a week Sam makes me breakfast. It's a real treat. Today I requested steel-cut oatmeal. He looked around and ran in and out of the bedroom with various bags of assorted grains, none of which were steel-oatmeal. Finally he comes in with the right bag, at least, it appeared to be the right bag and I approved. I came into the kitchen about five minutes later to see the oatmeal merrily boiling on the stove top. After showering I came out of the bathroom to find him tasting the oatmeal. He grimaced and told me it wasn't ready. I took the spoon and stirred, only to realize that it wasn't steel-cut oatmeal at all, but sesame seeds. In case you're wondering, we didn't eat them.

July 12, 2012

Self Portrait of the Writer as a . . .

Total weirdo.

So, awhile back Gabe posted about the upcoming weirdness/amazing noir/modern dance/(with Kylie Minogue?) film Holy Motors, which I have to say, I'm really excited to see.

In this post he happened to reference Aaron Neville which took me back to the days of yore when I was a weird, somewhat solitary kid who was completely ignorant of pop culture and listened to whatever her parents happened to be listening to at the time. At this time in my life I remember a lot of Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Nottingham Hillbillies, and most importantly, the Neville Brothers. 

In the year 1990 the Neville Brothers came out with an album called Brother Blood. It featured predominantly in our car trips, dinner parties, and day-to-day lives. I was totally obsessed with this album. My obsession centered on a song called Fearless that featured the angelic voice of Aaron Neville (here). It's so inspirational! And romantic! And weird that I loved this song at nine years old!

I have a very clear memory of lying on the floor on my stomach next to our entertainment center (which featured frosted glass which would later be broken), listening to this song on repeat through my dad's huge puffy headphones, and writing down the lyrics in my tiny spiral white cat notebook so that I could, I don't know, walk around singing that song whenever I wanted.

Which was all the time.

July 10, 2012

People I Saw . . . Near Zupans

There have been few times in my life that I have thought I wanted children. One of them was this time. Back when I worked on 30th and Belmont, I took a lunch break and walked to Zupans. It was a gray day and I was probably feeling a little morose. But I passed this family. A mother and her two sons. Really typical in that neighborhood. But the older kid was like, "C'mon! What are you doing?" and was standing there staring incredulously at his younger brother. The younger kid was just kind of softly singing to himself and clinging to this tree trunk. But as I got closer I realized that he also had this massive green marker beard and mustache. All over his face. I made eye contact with the mother and we both just kind of cracked up. And I thought, I want that kid.  

June 7, 2012

Living Room Pop

Haim (one of my new favorites) just posted their first video. Here it is:



Living room band practice, bike tricks, R n' B synchronized dance moves, childhood video footage, and sweet lo-fi pop that somehow reminds me of our childhood babysitter who had a massive Kewpie doll collection and used to drive us around in her CRX and play "Hold on to the Nights" over and over again. Like, she would just rewind that tape and play it again. A quick Google reveals the singer of that song to be Richard Marx. I always thought it was a woman. Anyway, Haim and their modern ballads. I'm not saying that I'm planning a breakup, but should that ever happen Haim's entire library is going on my Breakup Mix.

June 5, 2012

Dealing with Dentistry

Oh man. Since when has the dentist become such a traumatic experience? It's not like I enjoyed it as a kid (I remember gagging when they tried to make me sit with my teeth in those fluoride foam trays and spitting pink stuff all over the place) but it wasn't a place that I dreaded beyond comprehension. My lukewarm feelings are no more. The dread is real.

Exhibit A: Gentle Dental.

A hellish, cream-walled prison of confusion, pop-up fees, receding gum lines, and Novocaine.  The first visit almost exactly one year ago should have been enough. I was sideswiped with a need for different x-rays even though I had recently had x-rays and would have to pay for these out of pocket. Already smarting with this indignity, I was forced to bite down on unpadded bite wings (they were out of the pads) which cut into my gums quite painfully, while staring at a ridiculous mural of a tropical white sand beach dotted with palm trees. This kind of crap (the mural, the missing pads) does not inspire confidence. The resulting struggle was epic and in an embarrassing turn of events I found myself glaring at this woman in her baggy scrubs and telling her she was hurting me. With exclamation points. Because she was. I realize this is somehow against the rules of modern dentistry. Going to the dentist sucks but you deal with it. You need take it like an adult, even if it feels like an advanced and creative form of torture. If you don't follow the rules you are treated like you're five and told what a great job you're doing as you sit there suffering. The whole thing is a complete humiliation.

So it was that I found myself too cheap to deal with the necessity of paying for new x-rays yet again and returning to same dentist office for my cleaning a year later. It was a mistake. An adult would perhaps acknowledge that this place was not the right place for me, learned from last year's mistake, and found a new place to go, x-ray cost be damned. But apparently the challenge of find a new dentist was too much for me. I just wanted to get it over with. So there was this: my dental hygienist with remnants of a heavy french accent who insisted on asking me questions about my life throughout the cleaning (why do they do this when their hands are in your mouth?), the exam which revealed two cavities (allegedly) and was conducted by a dentist not much older than me who called me sweetheart repeatedly and appeared to imagine himself a possible shoe-in for Vince Vaughn in Swingers. Desperate to avoid making another appointment, I signed on to get them taken care of then and there. The whole thing took on the air of a bad dream as I was shuffled from the cleaning room to the lobby and back again, was informed of the cost of the fillings after they deduced coverage of my weak dental insurance, and then the found myself in the midst of sudden dental chair and Novocaine-needle freakout which resulted in tears streaming silently from under the Ray Charles glasses they gave me, and the eventual administration of nitrous oxide. This made the dentist's schtick almost bearable (at one point he told the hygienist that he needed the area to be dry, desert dry, Gobi dry, Sahara dry, but thankfully I was able to ignore this as an indictment against against his dental qualifications, and remain sitting still and breathing through my nose.

I left with my Quasismodo face (you know how it feels) and vowed never to go back. For real. I'd like to think that I could hold it together in a different dental office, one that doesn't constantly inspire words like "chartalan", "highway robbery", and "malpractice" but we'll see. I'm not convinced that dentists aren't secret sadists, every one, but I am looking for recommendations. I need a new dentist.

June 1, 2012

Adult Partying

What do you do at Adult Party Weekends?




You rent a house. You fill it with all your favorite people (some of whom you only see once a year at this event). Once this weekend was dedicated to Sasquatch, but we've moved past Sasquatch, grown up, if you will, to dedicate Memorial Weekend to quality time sans music festival madness.

You drive south after work on Thursday, stopping in Eugene to say hello to old friends who can't make the journey this year. You eat tacos and then sit around the fire and listen to records. In the morning you go to breakfast at a fancy restaurant and celebrate birthdays and the weekend and all that is to come. On the way to Lake Shasta you will stop in the tiny town of Rogue River to get some diner coffee and buy a dream catcher. You make it to Shasta in the afternoon and proceed to set up your tent (everyone else is inside on beds and air mattresses but it's nice to have your own little cave). You check out the lake, you jump in, you drink white wine with icecubes and eat hotdogs, you set up the badminton net and witness the most spectacular, aggressive dive for a shuttlecock you've ever seen. Blood is drawn. At some point the dancing starts and you start whirling around on the linoleum kitchen floor for hours and hours and hours. Cars filled with your friends file in throughout the night. It's exciting. Conversations range from catching up, updates on adventures, boyfriends, jobs, engagements, to African Killer Bees, cloud formations, stories from years past, feats of strength.

You go for runs in the morning. Some woman will say to her kid, Look honey, those people are running on their vacation. They're crazy. You will laugh politely, unsure if she actually hates you for doing this. After breakfast, you swim across channels to access the best, grassiest peninsula where you will float around on rubber rafts, eat Doritos, and watch your friend Brian leap from the bushes and throw a makeshift spear made out of a cattail at one of your friends. You'll see an osprey catch a fish. You wish the sun wouldn't hide behind the clouds. Later you will battle Brian in a choreographed Jackie Chan kind of way and vanquish him with a mimed stab to the chest. After dinner you will apply temporary tattoos to your body, because this is what adults do, and you'll end up with a neck tattoo of a panther killing or perhaps mating with a snake. You dance and talk, you watch the sunset, you lie in a meadow filled with lavender and look at the stars.

On Sunday you  experience Shasta in the best kind of way, via pontoon boat. Your generous adult friends rent a boat and all of you go out on the water and you will do this safely and responsibly because you are adults. The weather is the best it has been all weekend and you find a sheltered cove where you swim for hours, floating on life rafts, eating candy, and narrating the interactions of the jet boat people like it's a nature show. You will pull into a different cove on the way back and make rock piles on the shore, proof that you were there. You'll see deer hiding in the shade of the trees as you motor slowly up one of Lake Shasta's many arms. You will stay on the boat with Liz and Alexa to form the All Girl Crew (AGC!) and aid Captain Jesse in his efforts to return the boat back to the marina after dropping everyone else off. You will try not the laugh when the boat comes in a little hot and the marina guy's tone turns to panic as the boat bounces off the dock. You and Alexa will carry the heaviest, largest cooler ever across the dock, stopping to drain it out of desperation and then wait forever, while it drains.

You'll go back to the house, where people are lazing around in the grass, in the sun, wearing borrowed hats and listening to Alexa read from Book 1 of the Avian Gospels. You will eat barbecue and a burger that is just a patty between buns and some ketchup and it will taste like the best burger you've ever had. You play charades, two-person charades, and act out completely ridiculous scenes, such as fighting over an orange at Winco and then shooting your adversary. You'll sip beer from the bottle and end up cleaning the kitchen late at night after making the biggest vat of macaroni and cheese that has ever been made, because that's what adults do when they eat adult food. The night will end lazily, with minimum rush, because it's the last night and everyone wishes they could stay longer, but you can't and in the morning you will get up, pack up, clean up and then drive back to Oregon.

That's adult partying.



May 23, 2012

Yelling Toddlers

Around six o'clock I was lifted from a very heavy sleep by a strange, continuous noise. It sounded most similar to a couple of hoarse toddlers yelling on one of those mid-grade roller coasters that make the rounds on the county fair circuit, you know, a few loops on a mildly hilly course. So, these kids are shouting "Whooooooooooah! Whoooooooooah!" and I'm thinking that it's totally inappropriate for toddlers to be yelling at this hour and then I really wake up.

I looked out the window. I'm not sure if it's mating season or if they're just very territorial, but these cats were sitting on this fence outside our place, just going for it. Normally I get pretty excited about petting street cats, but these guys are jerks. They stare at each other, make these horrible noises, tussle for a bit, and then break off and stare at each other some more, tails twitching. At this point Sam is awake too. I yelled out the window, "Shut up! No!" They turned and looked at me but then they're right back at it. I shut the window but it didn't matter, you could still hear them. I then decided to take matters into my own hands.

Had you been one of those cats, or a neighbor who happened to be looking out the window at 6:00 a.m., you would have seen me running at you, waving my arms, wearing my extra-large hot pink Lightspeed t-shirt and no pants.

That scared them off.

May 21, 2012

Second Place

It is rare that I get a chance to talk about personal success on this blog. However, this last weekend was nothing but a complete and utter success and I have the hand-thrown mug to prove it. That's right. Winners. Our team came in second in our age division in Pole, Peddle, Paddle!

A relay race of epic proportions (You start at Mt. Bachelor and do a downhill course, then a cross-country ski loop, bike to Bend, run five miles, kayak or canoe up and downriver, and then sprint a half-mile to the finish line), I did both the downhill and the finish sprint this year, and we came in for the silver. Not that I'm implying my performance was what brought us to victory. In fact, to be completely honest, all the other legs are the long, difficult, and crucial ones.

The first year we did this event I totally missed the start and added about five minutes to our time. Not only was this a horrific blunder, but missing the start is now referred to as "pulling a Rachel" at our company. Not ideal. Fortunately, each year has been better than the last and this year we changed divisions so that we might have a chance of winning a mug (the corporate category is especially competitive and only the top three teams win mugs). Sam was a supporter last year, but this year he got a team together for Greasebus, so we had the added bonus of another team to cheer for.

Highlights included the Greasebus team leaving Portland so late that we had to check in and get their numbers for them, though they luckily managed to sneak their boat (this gigantic silver battleship of a canoe) into the boat drop-off area a full half hour after the cutoff time, some puking and almost puking after finishing the various legs of the race, the mugs (of course), Kyle Arthur and I cheering for Caroline and Lindsay as they battled their way up the mighty Deschutes (we may have bummed some poor kayaker out due to our vocal celebration of the exciting fact that they were actually passing someone), a delicious bbq dinner, a rousing dance-off, and, in a rare and not-to-be-missed moment, Kyle Arthur waltzing with some bearded dude to Porno for Pyros. I'm still not sure how that happened. 

Anyway, the weekend was a great adventure and I'm actually excited about doing more running. Who wants to a do a race with me this summer? 

May 18, 2012

Fighting Injustice

It's the weekend! Almost! I'm off to Bend for the Pole, Peddle, Paddle but I leave you with this: Melissa "Marbles" McCarthy.

 

May 14, 2012

First You Get the Bunny . . .

Oh man. Friday was a sad, sad day.

Lately, there has been a void in my heart. When it comes to matters of the heart, there's very little you can do using the analytic side of brain. The hole is there when you think of it, the hole is there when you don't think of it, and no logical solution can fix it.

So I went to the only place you can go when there's a hole in your heart that you don't know how to fix.

That's right. The Human Society.

It was there that I discovered Bun Bun. Had I gone to the Humane Society at any other time, I may not have met Bun Bun. But the lady working the small animal room was a certified rabbit advocate and she wanted nothing more than to see me walk away with my perfect match in small, twitchy, rabbit-eared form. We looked at a few different rabbits, a sickly angora, a far too large brown rabbit called Thunder, a white, pink-eyed Easter bunny with a penchant for kicking. Then she took me to the back room to show me a few more. There were two back rooms actually. The first one contained a couple nice ones, but I wasn't convinced. It was then that she took me to see Bun Bun. Despite the fact that Bun Bun was given an annoying, yet oddly fitting name, I immediately fell in love with her. She plugged the hole in my heart. Bun Bun was a mini Rex, velvety soft, with grayish brown fur and large dark eyes. The rabbit advocate escorted us back to the front room where we sat in a small pen and I held her in my arms, feeling her heart slow as she got comfortable in my lap. Ugh. It's still too much.

I put her on 24-hour hold, mind racing as I pondered the perfect rabbit home, the various trips I would need to make to procure the various rabbit supplies, the sudden changes that would occur in my life to adapt to the responsibility of a rabbit in my life, and then the truth really came home. I would need to call my landlord and make sure he wouldn't evict us if he found a rabbit in our home.

I made Sam do it. I couldn't stand the disappointment of hearing "no" once again. And of course, that's we heard. Denied yet again. To make matters worse, she's already gone. Somebody else has my rabbit.

May 9, 2012

Romance in the Spring

Romantic Night is upon us once again. For those who don't know, Romantic Night is something that started a few years ago, back when I was one of the Ladies of 834 and living in a big purple house. It started one winter night, when the Ladies of 834 visited Tony Vu's house, and we walked in to find wine glasses in a row on the table, the fire roaring, and tuna steaks sizzling in the kitchen. It has grown into a longstanding tradition and has seen events as varied as late night hors d'oeuvres by the fire or sitting down and watching The Room while eating a giant cupcake.

It is happening tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited. Just to give you an idea of the magnitude of this event, you should read some excerpts from the emails that have been going around.

Ladies, 
Whisper to me tenderly the days next week when you will hunger for Charissa's succulent pot roast...
Sing out your times of availability to enjoy libations poured by Heidi!...
Proclaim your willingness to cancel all previous plans so that you may enjoy sweet morsels of yet-to-be-determined-appetizers from Ms. Wright!..

And lastly, please be there to partake in the pie I will have made for us--for Charissa, for Heidi, for Rachel, for Tony...

Romance is coming.



...


Hush, Tony, I hear your gentlemanly call.  I will be available any night next week for the making of braised meats and tender merriment.  I am all yours.  All ours.  Forever.


...


Considering that it will be nice all week, may I suggest a warmer-weather type meal? Fish tacos? Fried chicken and greens? I've never made fried chicken before - and you know what they say about how trying new things together keeps the romance alive.


...


Despite my eternal longing for the slightest taste of Charissa's simmering pot roast, I realize that love is a two way--err, four way relationship--err, wait, it's like 12 ways between all four of us, which is why romantic night is so damn good.


...


When I think of fish tacos, I think of love. Not the tawdry cheap love that a term like fish taco evokes, but the kind of deep, slow-moving-river-type love that exists between us. I will eat the shit out of some fish tacos. 


...


It's official.  I will create with my two hands fish tacos for us to enjoy on our slow-moving-river of love.




Romantic Night is coming. 

May 3, 2012

Free Stuff

I don't know about you, but I love free things. I can't resist digging through free boxes on street corners, even when you know they're going to be stuffed with slightly damp velour hoodies, broken picture frames, elastic-waist pants, and barely-operating kitchen appliances. Sometimes there are gems! You just never know.

So, I thought I would share a couple things with you.

One, you can go here and get a free download of Haim's EP. An LA trio of sisters (yeah, long straight hair and cutoffs and all that) who have this stripped down harmonic folk crossed with 90s R&B thing. Think Stevie Nicks and TLC skipping in a field. Pretty magical stuff.

Two, Cinco de Mayo Festival. The Waterfront. We're talking tacos, Ferris wheels, The Octopus, red-white-green, elephant ears, live music. This is taking place across the street from my office. I've been watching them set up and yesterday I took a walk along the esplanade to really check things out. The best thing? The carnival rides are brought to you by a company called Funtastic. Their slogan? Just Possibly . . . . the World's Finest Carnival. The amount of doubt brought in by the "possibly" has to be the best part. The Cinco de Mayo Festival is FREE tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m and you can bet that Kyle Arthur and I are going over there to get an elephant ear. And probably tacos. And I might take a spin in the Hammer.

May 2, 2012

Bus to Nowhere

When I was younger I moved around quite a bit. The first four years of my life were spent in St. Helens, Oregon, and then we moved up to Washington for a year. I have a lot of great memories from that time. Mostly that when we moved back to Oregon I was allowed to eat cake for breakfast, a novelty that clung to my memory with a tenacity that many other experiences have not. We then settled in Newberg, Oregon, the home of my grandparents and as stated by the welcoming sign on the outskirts of town, "A good place to grow." We lived in three different homes in Newberg during my childhood, the last being the house that my parents still occupy. I was pretty bummed about that last relocation and had some compelling arguments for why we should stay in the city limits. I had made quite a few friends in town, we had all these cats (some stray, some not), and I didn't want to change schools. My parents were uncaring and we moved out of town with only a single cat in tow. The school that I transferred to for fourth grade was out in the sticks. No longer would we get rides to school. My younger brother and I would have to ride the bus to and from school like everyone else.

On the first day my parents weren't going to be home when we arrived since they had jobs with commutes, but my Aunt Sharon was going to be there to welcome our triumphant return. This would have been a real treat, as she was our favorite aunt. We caught the bus to school without hitch, we went through the bewildering cloud of a First Day at a New School, and then somehow my brother and I got on the wrong bus. We rode, silently, sharing a seat and staring out the window until we noticed that everyone had gotten off the bus but us. The scenery was unfamiliar. The hills were on the wrong side. Besides the roaring of the motor, it was eerily silent. As the bus continued its ponderous meandering into town I sat stewing in horror. This bus was completely out of control, destined for some horrible place, and we were in its clutches. I was a shy child and the prospect of actually speaking out loud to an adult was frankly terrifying. With sweaty palms and a cracking voice, I finally worked up the nerve to ask the bus driver where we were going and why we hadn't been dropped off. She squawked into her radio. The radio squawked back. It was clear a mistake had been made. She then revealed that there was nothing she could do because this bus was destined to pick up the Middle Schoolers. I broke into a cold sweat. Middle Schoolers.

We were going to have to wait it out and ride the bus with the middle school kids until the bus driver could loop back around and drop us off. She was understandably apologetic but nothing else could be done. Finally the moment of dread occurred and she let the doors open with a hiss. They piled in, all loud, coarse language, upper lips covered in awkward fuzz, grotesque heavy metal shirts, shaved legs, backpacks covered in Sharpie. It was like the bus filled with vikings. These were gigantic thugs, probably drug users, practically adults. Hoping to be unnoticed, Laurence and I sat very still and just waited for it to be over. Eventually one leaned over and said to my brother, "Hey! Hey! Are you a homosapien?" I stayed quiet, studying the vinyl seat back in front of me. I didn't know what this meant. Laurence didn't know what this meant. "Are you?" It was obviously offensive. "Leave him alone!" I snapped, showing a vestige of retaliation that would later be a teenage trademark. And that was that. We were left alone. We eventually, after hours of being on that wretched bus, were released into the early fall air to walk down the lane and find our worried aunt sitting with warming milk and Oreos. It had been a harrowing ordeal that we could hardly put into words. But we had survived.

April 27, 2012

Call Your Girlfriend

So, I'm in Liz's wedding at the end of the summer. This will be my first time being a bridesmaid (I've been a groomslady but that's a little different) and you can't really be sure what to expect from this sort of thing. Thankfully the most intense request thus far is this: Learn this dance. Be prepared to reenact this video in unison with the bride and your fellow bridesmaids.



I practiced six times last night. It's really coming together.

April 26, 2012

Short List Day

Things I Will Never be Able to Accept

1. That my boyfriend doesn't derive the majority of his happiness from giving me backrubs

2. LOL, lol, Lol or any other version you can come up with

3. iphone users who can't resist walking around in public and using the headphone feature (Q: How is it different and less annoying than a bluetooth? A: It's not.)

4. Crocs

5. That I'm allergic to cats

6.The use of "natch" in lieu of "naturally" in print


April 25, 2012

Networking It

So, recently I decided I need to work on meeting new people. And in association with that: networking. It's in italics because networking has always been a really creepy thing to me, but it's also one of those necessary things in life, especially in a place like Portland which is such a tiny community. I mean, how do you do it? What do you even do? I associate it with "mingling" and handing your card to people, and making lots of unnecessary eye contact, and asking what someone does and then slowly sidling away when they're like, "Yeah, I'm an artist. But unemployed. But I do installations. In public spaces. When people aren't looking . . ."

But now that we're not in school anymore, and are busy, and have jobs, it's become a lot harder to meet new people. And I'm not the only person I know who would like to meet new people. So I decided to organize a happy hour that would allow all the cool girls I know in Portland to meet up and talk, and bring their friends, and we can settle on a plot for taking over the world and whatnot.

So, there it is. Today's happy hour will be at Maui's. There will be cool Portland women (like, not me, but actually cool people) and we will have drinks and talk about stuff, though considering it's Portland, we will probably focus on the  fact that it was sunny two days ago and how that was totally awesome and we'll talk about stuff we like to do when it's sunny out, and all the things we will do when it's sunny in the future. So, I hope to see all you ladies at Maui's at 530. Drinks. Food. Talk. Today! And just to add some extra incentive: Hologram Tupac is going to be there!

Not really. He's not. Because he's a dude. And a hologram. Though really, do holograms even have private parts? Does a hologram really have a classification? Either way, he's not actually going to be there but maybe next time. Because yes, if today doesn't suck (and why would it, really?), this will be an actual monthly thing. My goal is to plan next month's for a Thursday so Thursday lovers can attend.

Oh! And it needs a catchy name. Suggestions in the comments please.


April 24, 2012

Grimes

This video compounds so many wonderful things.
Football? Check. (I have been watching so much Friday Night Lights lately).
Bubblegum? Check.
Extreme stadium action? Check. (I prefer monster trucks but dirt bikes fit the bill.)
Girl with shaved head? Check.
Sequins? Check.
Living room dancing? Check, check, and check.

April 20, 2012

People I Saw at the Waterfront

The best thing about the weather getting nicer? There is a constant stream of activity in Waterfront Park. Public exercisers, public maker-outers, public tai chi enthusiasts (why do they have to do it in public? Is that part of the rules?), public lurkers, public karate kings, I see you. And I thank you. Especially these guys. What is it with awkward white guys and karate?































One of them said, "We should totally spar sometime."
The other said, "Okay."

April 19, 2012

Just Add Western

So, this post isn't groundbreaking or anything (apparently everyone I know goes there all the time), but Landmark Saloon! Have you been? We went last night for the first time and it was seriously like walking into a different world. The Landmark appears to be an old, unassuming house on the corner of 49th and Division, but you step inside and the interior is all warm wood, wool blankets and glow; men are wearing serious cowboy hats (not those frat boy ones you buy at Target), a live band was playing great country music, and few couples were spinning around in front of the band in a mellow country swing. Last night was Whiskey Wednesday (wonderful), which apparently is a weekly thing complete with live music and whiskey specials. They have an enormous patio in the backyard, a corn-hole area set up, and a food cart tucked away in the corner. I didn't have any food but it smelled amazing. We sat in the corner and talked about, I don't know what, spurs and cacti and shooting people in the back, until it was time to go home. I can't wait to go back once the weather is nicer and I can sit outside and pretend I'm on summer vacation. Speaking of summer vacation, Charissa is done with law school. What a journey. Congratulations!

April 18, 2012

Austerity April Update

The new name was Alexa's suggestion. I also like Frugapril. What do you think?

So, sometimes I accidentally set my phone on totally silent (usually it's on vibrate) and I don't notice because I never hear my missed calls anyway because my phone is down there in my bag not making enough noise to be heard, and then I do things like sleep in. My phone didn't wake me up this morning because it couldn't and I woke up at 8:24 in a bleary, jello-y, sleepy panic. Tony Vu was planning on swinging by at 8:45 and we were going to ride the Max together. Commuters. Serious commuters. And I had 20 minutes. Anyway, I usually take long showers, do some kind of workout or walk, eat breakfast, sip two cups of coffee, and linger over french textbooks, but today I jumped in the shower, was done in ten (with hair washed!), and was dressed and ready to go by the time Tony Vu appeared at my door. It's amazing how quickly I can get ready in the morning if I just rush.

The only problem was that I didn't actually have time to make myself a lunch and I had to buy lunch today. Austerity April fail. My only saving grace is that I didn't have to buy breakfast. Oatmeal packets in my desk. Crucial.

Valuable Lesson 2: Keep random food in your desk for unexpected occasions. If only I could keep freeze-dried turkey sandwiches in my desk that would just require a bit of water to pop out into soft-breaded, crisp lettuce glory.

April 13, 2012

TGIF

Oh man am I glad it's Friday. It has been a rough week. And I don't mean that in a light existential angsty it's in my head way (which sometimes happens), it's just actually been rough due to circumstances and events. But it's going to be a great weekend. And do you know why? Because look:



Newt in a t-shirt. Look at that little Ewok. I can say with certainty that I used to be anti- clothing on dogs, but you know what? People change. Putting a shirt on that dog made me happy. Inexplicably happy. It will definitely happen again.

April 12, 2012

People I saw at the Beach

Easter will never be the same.

Forgoing the usual ham and hard-boiled egg combo, Sam and I lashed our surfboards to the top of my car, stuffed my parents and their dog Newt in the backseat, and took off for Pacific City. It was a beautiful day. Sunshine. Good waves. First surf day of the year. Plus there was this lady sitting on driftwood, smoking her cigarette, flying her cheap drugstore kite. There was something oddly compelling about the passive disinterest across her face juxtaposed with the frantic jittering of the kite at the end of its string. We passed by her on our way to rinse off under the outdoor shower and then enjoy a beer on the patio in the last sunshine of the afternoon. Easter Surfday: a new tradition.

April 10, 2012

Saving April Update

First of all, Saving April is a horrible name. I probably should have spent some time thinking about it instead of just going for it, because I'm stuck with this name that reminds me of that Katie Holmes movie about her family visiting for Thanksgiving or something. I've never seen it but I'm assuming she's quirky and probably has an unnatural color in her hair and and doesn't cook, therefore hijinks ensue. I'm not even sure what the movie is called . . .. Wait, there you go: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0311648/

I was right. Unnatural colors.

Bahahahaha. Here's a still:


Unnatural colors, bad cutoffs, and are those knee-length support hose? I can't tell. Her life is so bad she hangs out with trash bags while wearing a choker. Anyway, every time I think about saving and April, I am reminded of this movie. I mean, Katie Holmes is obviously a paragon of saving as she is a pants reuser. Inspiring or ultimately depressing?

The saving thing is going okay. The internet keeps reminding me that I could be spending my money in really great ways. LivingSocial has 10 bottles of white wine for me! Kaufmann Mercantile has handcrafted gardening tools that cost more than my shoes! All spring clothing is 50% off on Asos!

And then there's my lunch. This is going fine too, but right now I'm still kind of inspired.

Yesterday: Salad of spinach, avocado, an entire yellow pepper, and mozzarella shreds.
Today: Romain, mushrooms, celery, garbanzo beans, peas.

We'll see what the future will bring.

Also someone at work gave me a free set of Blazer tickets! So there's that.

Valuable Lesson 1: When you decide to stop spending money on frivolous things, someone will give them to you instead.

April 6, 2012

Saving April

I've been thinking about money a lot lately, mostly about saving it and the various frivolous ways I spend it, and in an effort to save more and spend less, I have committed to not buying anything online (clothing, shoes, etc.) for the month of April. Ugh. April will be remembered as The Month of the Saddest Mailbox.

But! That doesn't mean that you have to do that. Check out Delicate Doilies on Etsy. Emily and Shola (both great bloggers and fun people) have combined their thrifting (and modeling) skills to bring you vintage treasures on the regular (If that horse sweater is not a total treasure I don't know what is.)




And just to make April a little bit worse, I'm not going to buy lunch out for the rest of the month and have committed to packing a stupid gross lunch every day (I pack lunch all the time, but you know, eat out at least once a week, maybe twice). This is going to be tough. Moving the office downtown opened up my world to a whole plethora of carts, quick lunch places, and friends who also work downtown and want to eat lunch with me. There is nothing more depressing than being stuck with a weird salad with leftover roasted broccoli, bits of old lettuce, salami, and goat cheese, when you would prefer to go get some pho. And for the sake of honesty, The Month of the Sad Lunch Sack started yesterday because I definitely went out for tacos on Tuesday.

April 4, 2012

New Favorite

Oh man. Here's my new favorite band: Shannon and the Clams. Doo wop garage rock from Oakland. Swoon.

April 3, 2012

On Being Rude

I've been told that my neglect of the blog is rude. I hate to be rude and try on a pretty regular basis to be a not-rude person (nice is sometimes a stretch, but not-rude is achievable). So, with that in mind, I'd like to share Hot Chip's newest single "Flutes" from their upcoming album In Our Heads (June 12th!). Please don't watch if you get motion sickness. Just close you eyes, listen, and look forward to September 13th, when they finally show their faces in Portland after many years of neglect.

March 26, 2012

Apologies

I'm sorry for the lack of posts lately. I'm taking a break from blogging until it feels more meaningful. It may be that I will have to take things in a new direction. To be continued . . .

March 7, 2012

Getaway

Guess where I'm going tomorrow?

I'm going to need this:


And these:

And I might see one of these (if I'm lucky):




Give up? Well, this should make it easy:



Ooof. It's even better than I remember.

February 29, 2012

Riot Horse

I love horses. Even though I know city horses are pissed and bored, and in the case of police horses, working, I still want to walk up and pet them and you know, run my fingers through their manes. When I was in second and third grade, I stayed after school for a program called CARE. My brother and I would hang out there for a couple hours until one of our parents picked us up. CARE was managed by this lovely hippie lady who read cool books to us and let us hang out and do whatever. At one point, my friends and I played "Jack the Ripper", which involved one person being Jack and the others wandering around the playground unwittingly until they were killed. They were then led by Jack to the jungle gym dome thing and forced inside, where they had to stay because they were dead and in a strange fog-filled purgatory. We loved this game. The odd thing about this game is that I distinctly remember overhearing a man (there was a man observing us on the playground. This is probably a red flag and he may have a Jack the Ripper type, but we are still alive today) say, "Jesus, nice game." He found our game disturbing. I find the fact that there was an adult man on the playground disturbing.

But anyway, the thing that proves I have always loved horses was that during my time in CARE I perfected an accurate imitation of the gallop on my hands and knees. This was not just running on my hands and knees. This was galloping. This skill was developed through watching a lot of horse movies, acting like a horse on a regular basis, and generally being obsessed with horses from a young age. It was uncanny. It was faster than any other method of running on hands and knees, and we regularly put mats out across the gym floor and had horse races. I always won. Always. Because, the gallop.

But anyway, this afternoon Kyle ran into my office to tell me there were horses outside. And there were. Apparently there's an Occupy thing going on down the way (which explains the giant puppet capitalist pig head thing we saw earlier) and the riot police and their riot horses are out. Look at the riot horse gear. So cute. I had to fight the urge to run out there and pet the horses in their riot gear.


That's all.

February 24, 2012

DFP (double fist pump)

Florence + The Machine tickets are mine. I have to tell you, it was like watching someone you love run through a minefield or performing open heart surgery using blunt instruments. My nerves are shot. I was refreshing my browser, pushing buttons, mistakenly typing the wrong letters in that stupid code thing (for the love of god, why are they always so illegible?), and then waiting, waiting, and waiting until they finally came through. Liz got some too. We were on the gchat together, keeping each other updated on progress and hyping each other up. I'm not sure I would have made it to the other side if it wasn't for her. Going through stuff like that, it really changes you. 

Anyway, happy Friday! 

Here are some links to make your weekend that much better (if all you're doing is sitting around looking at stuff on the internet). 

Robyn in GIF form. Prepare to be mesmerized. If you're not careful, this could be your Friday night. 

This annoying article about living alone. Like people who live with other people don't do weird things. And since when is it totally quirky and only okay for single people to sing in the shower, do random home aerobics, or eat random things like a sweet potato for dinner? Please. 

A dog on things. I want a dog. 

And in that same ilk, Kim Jong-Il looking at things. I don't think I want a Kim, but the more that I look at this, maybe I do . . . . 

February 22, 2012

Ask and you shall receive


Sam made this bench for me and my shoes. Wow, right? Now I need to make sure that I don't cover it with superfluous clothing and detritus of life, so I can continue to appreciate all that recycled wood glory. 

February 21, 2012

Taking a Break

I'm never one to turn down much of anything. Cake. Fried food. Ribs. A glass of wine. I mean, life is pretty short and I like all those things. But lately, with winter and the general doldrums that entails, I've been on this cleansing kick. It's not a Cleanse. I don't do stuff like that and I think it's completely illogical to assume your body will somehow function better when trying to subsist on nettle tea or lemon juice or whatever. My "cleanse" will be brief and vague (I mean, birthday cake doesn't count because it's birthday cake), but I think it's good to do this kind of thing once in a while, even for a short amount of time. At the moment, I am abstaining from two things:

1. Sugar

But only kind of. The thing about sugar is that it's in everything. I'm not abstaining from fruit, or refusing to eat whole wheat bread with tiny amounts of whatever in it. But I am passing on desserts of any sort. It's hard. I love sweets. I have always been obsessed with sugar.

When I was young, probably about 10, I was visiting my mom at her work. She works at a hospital. She gave me a dollar so that I could go get a drink from the soda machine. I took that dollar and went to the soda machine, but then, once I was there, I noticed I was standing next to the candy machine (this story is horrible). Unable to control my urge for candy, I spent that dollar on a king-size Three Musketeers (not even the best of the candy bars!) which I took to the bathroom (so many germs!), hid in the handicapped stall (you know, just in case a nurse tried to stop me or something), and ate the entire thing. My memory is not completely clear, but I am pretty sure I told her the machine ate my dollar or some other depraved lie, and then was probably given another dollar to get something to drink. I totally got away with this. I'm not saying I was the worse behaved child in the world, but I would say I was average-to-poor at times.

So anyway. I'm giving up sweets for a while. I do this on occasion so that my body does not get so addicted to sugar that I wake up craving a bowl of ice cream first thing in the morning. Because that has been known to happen. This is called Resetting my Sugar Levels. It's science.

2. Alcohol

I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory. I don't have any funny stories about my 10-year-old self and alcohol.



What about you? Do you ever take a break from certain vices? Do you believe in Cleanses? Tell me all about your colon in the comments.

P.S. When I'm done with this mini-break from vice, I'm really excited to check this out.

February 16, 2012

The best compliment (almost ever)

Look at this. Saturday night at Choptsticks will live forever on the internets (thanks Keighty). And by the way, it was Kyle's first time back since his now infamous engagement party and I'm happy to report that he left unscathed. He even ran into the guy who was holding his hand in this picture. Hilarious.

February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

In keeping with my new leaf of being a total cat freak, here you go. Cats. Hearts. Love. 


How do you feel about Valentine's Day? I've been seeing the usual backlash on Facebook (corporate manipulation, etc.) but to be honest, there's this part of me that is at peace with this holiday. I mean, the nostalgia factor is huge. I remember constructing an elaborate Valentine holder, the painstaking addressing of all those cards (I actually drew all of mine by hand and chose the recipients based on my fondness for them, so you know, best friend gets the awesome horse drawing, kid that smells bad and always wears sweatpants gets the slightly failed version of a moose in love), and the fact that candy was often involved. It was a good day. But then I got older and full of hate and was single for years and years and years and Valentine's Day became this annoying holiday that I usually celebrated with blush wine in a jug.

And now it's somewhere in the middle. It seems funny to take one day out of the year to celebrate your love for someone, but for some people, maybe it's the only day they really do that. I mean, it's probably the only day of the year that I construct an elaborate construction paper card for Sam with a super mushy message. St. Valentine is all right in my book. I've gone totally soft.

February 10, 2012

Le Weekend

Oh thank goodness for the weekend. I'm heading up to the cabin tonight and hoping it doesn't rain on the mountain tomorrow, but there are a couple things going on that you should know about.

The One Motorcycle Show: All things motorcycle. Custom motorcycles, rare motorcycles, helmet art, motorcycle art, motorcycle music, etc. I am going because Sam loves motorcycles. He had to sell his motorcycle to move out here. Did I ever mention that? It's one of those things that makes him sad and if we ever break up he will probably use, "I sold my motorcycle for you!" as his parting shot. So. Motorcycle show. Saturday night.  And probably the Sandy Hut to make the whole thing more fun.

Too Short: Yeah. Too Short is in town. Tonight! He's playing at the Roseland. What else should I say?

February 9, 2012

Cat Shows are Dangerous

So, I went to this cat show last weekend. I assumed it would be really weird and entertaining and filled with odd cat people wearing cat sweaters and clip-in barrette bows in the hair. I wasn't far off on that. Cat people are weird. I definitely overheard a lady introducing her prize-winning Siamese to a couple of cooing ladies. Or rather, she did some ventriloquist stuff and introduced "herself" to the ladies, as in: "My name is Sabrina and I'm a blue ribbon winner!"

We watched judges picking the cats up, lifting them, squeezing their legs, shaking a bit of tinsel to check their general interest levels, and we wandered around and peeked in all the different cat carriers filled with various breeds of exemplary felines. There was, among other highlights, a cat agility course. I'm sure you've heard the term "like herding cats." Cats are not made for agility courses. They are agile, yes. But they are uncooperative and lack the ability to respond to outside motivation. The first cat we saw on the agility course just walked around and rubbed its head on the little jumps and little bridges and little tubes. So dumb. We moved away and found a hairless cat to touch (not before applying a large amount of hand sanitizer to prevent the hairless cat from getting our germs).

However, the next time I wandered listlessly by the agility course (there was a lot of listless wandering. We were at a cat show after all), there was a tiny black cat leaping over the various features, lured by the possibility of catching a little feather on a string. She was amazing! I watched her go over the entire course. I was mesmerized. I was practically clapping every time she cleared an obstacle. It might have ended there but Sam watched where they took the little champion and came and got me from whatever cat cage I was poking at.

He took me over to the agility cat's cage and there she was, meowing and twisting around. There was a sign on that cage that said ADOPT ME. I reached through the cage and started petting her. She loved me. We loved each other. Sam watched in increasing dismay as it seemed that I did not just want to touch this cat, I also wanted to hold this cat, and then I wanted, seriously, to take it home with me. May the record show he was very supportive of this insanity. This cat had a thing going on. Like, a weird head twisting thing. And kind of a twitch thing. And when you picked her up, she flopped over like a broken fish. I asked about this, as I imagined this cat running around my home and purring in my ear and generally making me a happier person, and adoption lady said she may have had a stroke but rest assured, she was perfectly healthy. This may have deterred some people but this disability only made her more appealing. Stroke Kitty would soon be mine. The final step was calling my landlord and making sure cats were still allowed, as our lease had stated. And this is where the story gets sad.

Apparently my landlord is phasing cats out due to some crazy cat lady he rents to. He said no, sorry, and ended all of my cat-filled dreams. I had to say goodbye to Stroke Kitty. Sam breathed a secret sigh of relief while stating that he was extremely sad to hear that, and we left. I was heartbroken. I was so heartbroken that I was barely lifted from my malaise by the cat socks Sam bought for me as a surprise. I sighed heavily through the entire Super Bowl (even Madonna's half time show) and I thought about Stroke Kitty.

It wasn't until two days later, when I was compiling my last-ditch feelings-soaked letter to the landlord and emailing the agency about Stroke Kitty to make sure she wasn't gone, when I found out something else. Stroke Kitty is obsessed with having animal friends. Apparently I would not be enough. The agency told me that she needs a cat or dog friend in her life, or she yowls all day every day until everyone around her goes insane. This truly put an end to my dreams of adopting Stroke Kitty. But now I'm on a mission to get my cat-owning friends to adopt her. Anyone?

February 2, 2012

People I saw at the Graveyard Show, Vol 2.

I never see celebrities in Portland, so when I saw one of the guys from Danava standing around between sets, I totally did the, Oh look, the guy from Danava, right? Right? thing to Sam and he said yeah, and then the guy from Danava looked at me, probably because hearing your band name, even if it's not said very loudly, is kind of like hearing your name in the middle of an otherwise inaudible conversation. He was wearing bootcut jeans and talking to a lady but I didn't notice her because I was too busy focusing on this mild almost-celebrity encounter. Sam asked me if I noticed her later, because apparently she was wearing this nutty white robe thing that maybe came up over her head, or included a head drape portion, or turban, and I had no idea what he was talking about. Apparently that's how excited I get about Danava.


February 1, 2012

People I saw at the Graveyard Show, Vol 1.

Metal shows are just the best for people watching. You see so many interesting people and for some reason, they just stick out in my memory a lot more than the typical flannel-wearing, soft leather shoe, tortoiseshell glasses types. Take this girl for instance. I noticed her waiting in line for a drink because she had an enormous neck tattoo and I started thinking about how not tough my tattoos are and what I would get if I were to get a neck tattoo. Probably a manatee. And all I could really see was her torso because it was pretty crowded in there (sold out show!). But then, when I walked past her, it turned out that she was wearing these crazy lace bell bottoms and platform boots. Lace! Bell bottoms! Underwear!

January 31, 2012

Breakfast Club

I really like breakfast. I feel like most people do, especially people in Portland. I mean, we wait for an hour at some restaurant, sit around, chat and drink coffee, and then we sit down and eat and chat some more, and that is considered an excellent Sunday morning. So, inspired by a friend of Colleen's who has a regular brunch get-together, I decided that Sam and I should have one at our house.

Sam sent out a text on Friday afternoon that inspired gags from some of our friends who think we are a gross couple because we suggest things like Breakfast Club, and suddenly we were on. People were into it. Everyone loves breakfast and apparently people don't book Saturday mornings the way they do Friday nights and Tuesday evenings. Everyone wanted to come. I had replies from friends I hadn't seen in months.

The plan was to take the waffle maker on its maiden voyage (Christmas gift from my mom) and we requested that people bring toppings and fruit and other protein things for sides. Of course, Sam and I slept in a little later than we should have, so when people started arriving, coffee was still brewing and I was frantically trying to whip runny egg whites into mountainous peaks, but my parents arrived and my mom took over waffle-making helm while I turned my attention to whipping cream into mountainous peaks. It was a success. There were multiple berry topping options, tropical choices, quiche, sausages (brought by The Sausage King), bacon, scrambles, and mimosas. Pretty much a huge mess of delicious waffles and other breakfasty things. Plus, the day wasn't even half over and I had already had quality social time with friends and family. We spent the rest of the afternoon skating at Pier Park and pretty much had the perfect Saturday.

I can't wait for the next Breakfast Club. (Liz and Jesse, did you say that it's your turn?)

January 26, 2012

Now with more Pig Roast

Just to remind us that summer does exist in Oregon and it will come back some day, here are more photos from Pig Roast 2011.




From top: (1) Yes, it looks like a crime. A delicious crime. (2) Master BBQ-er. (3) Laurence, Kyle, and Sam went early to help set up. They were in charge of balloons, (4) and a sign for the road. (5) Down in the pasture discussing the likelihood of someone falling into the fire. (6) Liz made a beautiful pie (notice the pig on the spit).

January 17, 2012

How to Throw a Pig Roast

If I were a more responsible blogger, you would already know about this. The pig roast happened in August. But as it is, I always end up lagging on this stuff and posting whatever happens to fall into my lap, so it has taken a long time. But that's not because it wasn't extremely special.

Find Reinforcements: Last summer (that is, 2010), I asked my parents to throw a pig roast. They have this huge brick smoker, they have land, they are nice people; all the necessary ingredients are there. But it fell through due to timing and we let it go. Cut to 2011. I had backup. Somehow Kyle Arthur got involved and you know, once my parents have pressure coming from multiple angles, they just kind of give up and say yes. I feel like at some point I said, "But Kyle Arthur just can't wait for the pig roast!" So we set the date and started planning. Laurence was coming up from SLC, friends were being called, plans for setting up were in motion.

Make it Official: Nothing says official like real invitations made out of paper that are sent through the U.S. postal system. I sat in my garage for an afternoon and spray painted a pink pig stencil announcement while getting high on the fumes. Then I mailed them to people. Official.

Make it a Potluck: There was so much amazing food! People brought pies, salads, snacks, etc. There was no end to the goodness, and no one had to spend the entirety of that beautiful sunny day slaving in the kitchen. Plus, Sam managed to swing a beer hookup and we had a couple kegs. Things were really falling into place.

Entertain Them: There was a lot going on. My parents went out and got a vintage ping pong table (so cool), we got the croquet sets out, badminton was in full force, and Sam brought his bocce set. My mother (you never know what she'll come up with) set up a raffle system as well. All guests put their name in the hat and anyone who won a lawn game got to put their name in the hat again. Besides the lawn games, there was the pasture to explore, tents to set up (an aerobic feat of its own), and general wandering throughout an idyllic pastoral setting. And then the eating. And the socializing. And the drinking. And the karaoke. Yes. There was karaoke. The raffle took place near the end of the evening and most people received things of semi-value. Except for me. I went with the item that required batteries. It was a Christmas edition of Big Mouth Billy Bass.

Sing Something: So, Huy brought out the karaoke system and we all started going off on that. My dad had poo-pooed the whole thing (oh bah, karaoke) but shockingly enough, he and his friend brought the house down with their rendition of Whiskey Bar by the Doors, complete with synchronized dancing. We ended the night with a cathartic Bohemian Rhapsody frenzy, with everyone present standing in a huge huddle and screaming along.

Don't Fall in the Fire: I was a little worried someone would break something navigating the steep hill down to the fire pit, or even fall into the fire, but no one did, and we sat around the fire and told stories and whatever else you do around a campfire late at night.

Save Some Beer for Cleanup: As long as there's some beer left in the keg, there will be some people willing to stay around the next morning to cleanup and breakdown camp.

Basically, this was a magical event and it went off without a hitch. I hope everyone who attended will come again, as my dad has already planned his karaoke song for next time. I also hope it happens again because I did a really bad job of taking photos. So many photo opportunities, so few taken.










From top: (1) Balloons make it better, (2-4) Carl took like five pictures of us, just sitting there, (5) Sam wearing my french hat, (6) Colleen and Jocelyn in the old arena, (7) Captain Carl in the sunset, (8) Pancake breakfast, (9) Most Haggard Award.

January 16, 2012

White Stuff

An illustration of us in all that snow.

Finally! It's been tough to be a snowboarder in Oregon. Opening weekend was apparently this epic day filled with light, fluffy, bottomless powder. I say apparently because I didn't go. I'm not sure why. I guess I didn't really believe it was going to be good. But I was sure we would see more snow soon. But I was wrong. That marked the beginning of a dry spell that seemed to last For----ever. The last couple weeks of Thanksgiving were dry. The entirety of December was dry. The mountain alternated between frozen ice block, slushy spring-like conditions, and rain. All the while the snow pack was whittling away and all the rocks and trees and grass (yes, grass) were showing through. Tragic times. January is usually known to be a dry month, but with an entire month of nothing preceding it, I really couldn't believe it. But now, finally, a storm has rolled in and we're seeing feet of snow stacking up. Sam and I drove up together, experiencing a rather harrowing ride, but once we were there we met up with Carin, Jocelyn, and Huy and saw nothing but powdery goodness all day. There wasn't a crappy run on the mountain. So fun.

January 13, 2012

Graveyard


Hot tip of the day: Graveyard, a rocking psychedelic band from Sweden, will be at the Doug Fir on the 31st. I will be there.


Uncomfortably Numb by Graveyard on Grooveshark

January 12, 2012

Friends in Past Lives

Today I'm meeting a friend from middle school for a drink. We were really close in middle school but grew apart in high school. I haven't seen her since then, but we recently connected on Linkedin. I'm really excited about it.

I find the way that friendships ebb, change, end, and begin to be extremely fascinating. There is just so much variation. Sam grew up with a bunch of cousins his age who were his automatic best friends, so he has these friends that he has known since before he was actually a sentient being. He is also very close to friends from high school. I don't really share this and only keep in touch with a few people from high school. Speaking of hometowns, I am also friends with a group of people who lived in Corvallis. While they weren't all close when living there, they have grown together and become closer friends as they've gotten older. I think that's really nice. It's also odd, because Corvallis continues to be this strange theme in my life. I'm always meeting people from Corvallis. I personally maintain friendships with only a few people from my hometown. I've never really used Facebook as a tool to catch up with those people and I'm not really interested in doing so. I don't necessarily expect our shared youth or shared hometown to mean that we need to maintain a connection. People change and grow.

But that doesn't mean I'm totally unwilling to make some effort. I mean, Charissa and I were in the same 4-H group. We were called the Spirit Catchers, which at the time, was a name that we thought completely magical. One of the Spirit Catchers' highest achievements was creating a float for the Newberg Old Fashioned Festival Parade. The float was a plywood barn on the back of a flatbed. As we rolled along we popped open little doors (painted to look like stall doors and decorated with our misshapen portraits of our horses) and chucked candy at people. While you would think this shared experience would automatically bind us all for life, there was a time when I lost touch with Charissa. Thankfully, we both moved back to Portland the same year and Charissa lost her phone during Arctic Blast 2009, prompting an email request for phone numbers. We reunited and have been friends ever since.

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to catching up with this old friend of mine. It could be that we have nothing in common anymore, or it could be that we could pick up where we left off, and become friends again as new people with shared experiences. New frontiers, even friendship ones, are always exciting.

January 10, 2012

On shortening up

How do you guys feel about getting your haircut?

In high school I had long, thick hair. It was even longer than it is now, and it didn't have a lot of style to it. I wore it back all the time because it was so unruly. I had bleached one section and always dyed it hot pink or red. That was my style. During my senior year, I ended up doing work study and I worked at a camera shop.One day in the spring I decided to cut my hair. My coworker took photos of me as I chopped it all off at chin length with a pair of blunt scissors. From that day on, I cut my own hair. I always kept it above my shoulders, cut random chunks out of it, and sometimes dyed it black. You could call the style "messy mop". Eventually I decided to grow it out and that's when I realized I needed to bring in an expert. While randomly chopping works well for a short cut, on a long cut it turns into a disaster. I spent about a year in denial, with awkward hair.

When I moved back to Portland I gave in to the idea of professional haircuts and began to go to my stylist Karyn. She's totally awesome and I have always been happy with her haircuts. You can visit her at Gold + Arrow, which is totally, totally awesome. It's a newish salon over in SW and it's impeccably decorated. Macrame rope art, heavy wooden tables, the sweetest wallpaper I've ever seen, and a glass of wine with your cut. You will feel special and stylish. I certainly did.

But here's the thing. I kind of hate getting haircuts. Even though my hair was totally fried and frazzled and needed a cut like no other, it's never quite right when it's freshly cut. After I went home and washed and styled how I usually do (which is to say, not at all. I'm a big proponent of air drying), it just looks weird, and feels unpredictable, like my hair is taking over my head. The good thing is, this feeling always happens after I get a cut and then it goes away. In two weeks' time, I will be so happy I got my hair cut. I just have to wait it out.

January 4, 2012

The worst


There is really nothing worse than a bad orange. I mean, on the scale of disappointments it's probably worse to not get the big job or win second place in the pie-eating contest, but really, when an orange is bad, it's just so bad. And you spent all that time peeling it. And it was going to be your one snack. And there isn't even one way an orange can be bad. The flavor can be sour or stale or that weird not-orangey overripe flavor (the flavor of disappointment) or it can be desert-dry inside, with the tiny segments inside the segments actually separating due to lack of juice. And they always look so good. It's not like a banana. You look at a banana and you know. It's either overripe or perfectly green. An apple you can tell by the season, the type, and by poking a little bit and judging the softness. There's just no telling with an orange. They're like attractive jerks.

January 3, 2012

2012

Well, the flight from Chicago to Portland was pretty rough but 2012 is off to a good start.

I went out to Kankakee for a surprise visit to Sam's family. This was a very last-minute thing completely orchestrated by Sam's mother and a total surprise to Sam and everyone else in his family. It was pretty great. When I walked into the kitchen Sam didn't actually look pleased for at least 30 seconds. He just continued to stare at me with his mouth open like an alien had walked in the door. Eventually though, he did the proper thing and smiled and gave me a hug. We went ice skating (outside!) in Chicago, spent some quality family time at the Grant house, did some amazing last-minute thrifting at his cousin Megan's vintage shop Fancy Pants (I finally found a black leather jacket!), and then I attended a New Year's Eve wedding at which he was best man, and we danced, hugged, and toasted, and then I got up the next morning and got on a plane back to Portland. Again, the flight was not the best I've had, but well worth it. Surprises are fun.

Now, last year I kind of dismissed resolutions but there are a lot of things that I would like to happen this year. Things that I would like to make happen. So I guess I don't have resolutions but I have a lot of goals. It's good to have goals. One of my big goals is to do more creative things, art, writing, and otherwise. More crafting, making, constructing, and doing. More outdoor activities, random walks, and being confident in my creative abilities. More sewing, painting, and drawing. Sitting down and editing all my first drafts. I'm really looking forward to a productive 2012.

What are your goals for new year?