29 October 2006


Jer and I spent three days last week on the Washington coast, just north of Astoria. Friends own a house about halfway up Long Beach peninsula, a couple of blocks from the beach, and when they offered we couldn't resist. Getting to the coast hadn't been a big priority since we moved to Oregon, since we lived at the coast for almost ten years. But we really missed the ocean -- the sight and the sound of it, and the proximity -- simply knowing that it was there.

Off-season, mid-week, Long Beach is a sleepy place. This sign about sums it up.

But we checked out pretty much everything that was open, from the sublime -- that would be Leadbetter Point, where a flock of shorebirds, literally hundreds of them, wheeled over our heads -- to the ridiculous, e.g. Jake the Alligator Man at Marsh's deeply weird and mildly depressing Free Museum. Found quite a few interesting objets rusting in the marsh grass along Willapa Bay, some v. cool driftwood and an astounding abundance and variety of mushrooms in the woods. Oh yes, and some of us (i.e. moi) ate oysters. Advice to oyster-philes: Counter-intuitive as it might seem, when it comes to Willapa Bay oysters, "extra-small" is what you want. These puppies tend toward the, ah, big-boned end of the spectrum, oyster-wise. To use a cat metaphor, they are the ragdolls of the mollusc world.

On the way home, we stopped at Cape Disappointment (that, along with Dismal Nitch (sic), has to be one of the best place names in the Northwest) and the excellent Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. L&C bicentennial-mania was just peaking when we moved here last summer; at the time, unpacking and settling in was a much higher priority than satisfying any incipient curiosity I might've felt about those guys and what, exactly, they'd accomplished. Now I'd like to learn more. Good job, Interpretive Center!

Jer and I aren't lighthouse freaks, but we do make a point of climbing every legally-accessible iconic tower-like structure a new place might offer. I took a bunch of arty closeups at Cape D's North Head Lighthouse, on view in my Washington Coast set on Flickr.

22 October 2006

Desperate Housecats


L to R, Stella Luna, Abbie, China Rose.

Here's a better shot of Abbie:

Oh, what the hell, here's another:

He's 17 going on 18, and the sweetest guy I've ever lived with. I've heard him hiss maybe twice in his entire life.

Hallowe'en in the 'hood

Portlandians take their holiday decorations seriously. This house is still under construction, but they're ready for Hallowe'en, you betcha. They've got the full spooky graveyard thing going on, complete with a pair of 1/4-scale vulture replicas and a fake crow with glowing red eyes. Here, in Eastmore-corvus-land, ersatz crows; what is the neighborhood coming to?

Speaking of fake, gigantic siding-climbing spiders are apparently this season's must-have decorative note. I prefer their over-the-top creepiness (no double-pun intended) to those humungous inflated pumpkins; so 2005.

The best decoration we've spotted so far, though, was on yesterday morning's walk. Here, on an "unimproved" block of 37th Ave. was a skull-like apparation projected through sun-dappled leaves onto a conveniently-placed rock. How did they do that?

19 October 2006

Introducing Chef Jerub

I used to document Jerry's culinary accomplishments, especially the more photogenic ones, here, as Chef Jerub's Company-Grade Dinners, but I fell woefully behind. Maybe blogging will make it easier to keep up. Here are a few for starters.

Of course, I can't remember what they all were, other than delicious. I really have to get back into the habit of wiping the plate rims. What has happened to our standards, people?!

Oh yeah, he does desserts, too.

18 October 2006

Amenities of Civilization

Last night we went to see West Side Story at the new Gerding Theater downtown. (According to the program notes, it was originally going to be about Catholics vs. Jews. I wonder what that would've done to the fight scenes?) This morning, we checked out Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination, at OMSI, and had a late breakfast afterwards at Cup and Saucer on Hawthorne. Stopped at the Dollar Scholar, where spending five bucks feels like a major shopping spree, and bought several plastic animals to deploy in the furtherance of the Horse Project.

Urban life, still a novelty after a decade living on the coast. It's nice to be back.

15 October 2006

The Leo in Autumn

Even though the leaves are turning, temps have been in the 70s, even the 80s, the last few weeks. It still felt like summer in Portland. As of this morning, I've got to admit: It's undeniably fall. The rain's here. The backyard plum harvest is over.

The Brandywine tomato monster is still going strong, but I see fried green tomatoes in our future. I have a fabulous recipe for same, thanks to Winter Green Farm:

4 green tomatoes
2 C buttermilk
1 T Tabasco sauce
1 C yellow cornmeal
1 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 C peanut oil
4 T unsalted butter

Core the top of each tomato. Slice into 1/2” slices. Mix buttermilk &
Tabasco. Place tomato slices in mix & marinate 1 hour, turning
occasionally. In a shallow bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking soda,
salt & pepper. Drain tomato slices & dredge carefully in breading mix.
Place slices on baking sheet & refrigerate 30 min. to allow breading to
dry. Heat oil in heavy 12” skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter & oil.
When hot, carefully place as many slices in the skillet as will loosely fit in
a single layer. Don’t crowd or the fat temp will drop & the tomatoes will
be greasy. Panfry 45 sec. to 1 min. on each side until a nice, golden
brown. Remove to plate w/paper towels. Hold in oven @200 degrees
until all tomatoes are cooked.

Sigh. Goodbye August. 'bye September...

14 October 2006

The Mom Quilt

Earlier this year I started a quilt that used a dozen cotton damask napkins from my mother's hope chest, dyed indigo using various shibori techniques. (I knew Mom wouldn't mind, because she'd dyed her own wedding gown dark blue so she could wear it again! Always practical, my mother...) The branching structure (family tree? river of life?) I cut from an old suede jacket of Mom's that I appropriated when I was in my teens and wore until it was literally falling apart. The back of the quilt is made from the tablecloth that went with the napkins.

I thought of it as the "Mom Quilt," and figured I'd show it to her eventually. It hung on my design wall for several months. It still needed something; Jerry said "bling," and I agreed, but I didn't know what.

Mom died at the end of June, and never did see "her" quilt. After her death, I embellished it with some of her many volunteer pins, and covered each of them with tulle or organza, so each pin is in its own see-through pocket. Voila: Bling. Instead of a conventional label, I made two pockets, one embroidered with my mother's name and dates, the other with my name and the year, and put some of Mom's laminated ID badges (more of her volunteer swag) in them.

in medias revalations

Let's just pretend I've been blogging for the last two years, okay?