Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Butterflies in the kinder garten...



These butterflies hang in Ruby's classroom. I always bump my head on them because I am 9 feet tall, but they are kinda purty.

-H

Monday, December 19, 2011

If these were a man...

So, there are these cookies at Clinton St. coffee... little almond flour cookies from heaven that well? If they were a man, I would so totally take them into the parking lot and do them in my car. I guess it's good they aren't. That could get me in some trouble.

Still, holy forehead, they are amazing.

They have them in a jar on the counter there, and it's also a good thing the cute guy behind the counter has to get them out for me with tongs, because well? It's kind of embarrassing to buy more than one at a time for that reason.

Thanks, cute barista, for keeping me in line.

I almost bought a box of them this morning, to set out with the other cookies I'm planning on making. I do still make glutenous cookies for the rest of the family, so I may still get some, because I have no idea how to re-create those things. Gluten free baking has been enigmatic for me, to say the least. Recipes are simultaneously costly, and elusive. Once someone figures out a special formula for something that really works well, and effectively mimics the glutenous predecessor, they are not going to give that shit up without a fight.

I have found a few online websites for gluten-free baking, but like I said, it's enigmatic. These sites are pretty simplistic, and the things I have made from them; following the recipes to the letter, have never fooled anyone. They are OK, but don't employ enough science for anything to actually taste right.

See, this gluten-free thing? People think it's easy. Well, sorry. These people are wrong. It's FAR from a slam-dunk, and you really have to know what you are doing, because you are basically moving heaven and earth in the name of science to combine some wacked-out ingredients into something that does not taste like absolute shit, and actually resembles food you might have seen before, but never thought you would eat, again.

Trust me. It's tough. It really, truly, is. Sometimes? Literally. No one wants to actually eat a tough cookie.

And sometimes? Things are just not compatible. Like a nut-based pie crust, combined with a custard filling. Custard takes a long fucking time to set up in an oven. Nuts scorch. FAST. I have yet to figure out how to do this successfully, but I will work on it until I get it right, because I am one of those people who notices things like a big fat crack in the top of a pumpkin pie, or a pie crust that's been burned all to hell. And before I understood that I had to cut out the gluten, I mastered the perfect, non-cracked custard. The crust was never the issue, like it is now.

So, this year for 'smas, I've asked for a couple cookbooks that will explore territory that I have only visited via library checkout. I know they are good books for that reason, and it would be nice to be able to reference them, and really explore them.

This food allergy thing can be a bitch, but I usually kick her until she falls down and begs me to let go of her arms and legs, and to get my fat ass off of the small of her back.

It also means that I eat at home before socializing.

Thankfully, I can still drink when I go out, though. Thank gawd for that!

-H

Quite possibly the most bizarre flowers I have ever seen.



I was takin' a little stroll near a friend's house the other day, and came across some pretty wacky flowers. They kind of remind me of pink leather stars with a blue bead in the center. Someone told me that in the spring, they are even more amazing and beautiful. I can't wait to see this, and am amazed at how long these things seem to want to stick around.

The blue portion in the center is hard, and the petals are really hardy/waxy. I would like to know what these are, but currently, I don't.





Think you may have missed something along the way? Here you go!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rosy Hips.

Missed something along the way? Here you go!

I love me some rose hips. Did you know they are related to apples, and are quite edible? I wish I could say I was industrious enough to dry them for tea, but alas, I usually just buy them from this place, over on Belmont.

Well, OK, there were some years when I was more industrious than others, and I DID do this. Our rental property has about 35 rose bushes surrounding the lot, and I had ample opportunity when I still lived in that house.

The house we live in now is surrounded by Cedar trees, and while I do have a couple rose bushes, they aren't really fans of the acidity and shade provided therein, so they don't exactly thrive the way my other bushes do.

Oh well. Trade-offs, I suppose...

-H

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Irrational phobia.

So, this week, for the first time in a very long time, I encountered a small woodland critter in my house. I don't take kindly to this sort of thing. I kinda hate mice. Mr. Hed said: "Now Skeeter, he 'aint hurtin' nobody,"

But I wasn't buying it.

In fact, just now, one of my daughter's super balls rolled under the couch, and it gave me a start. Thought it was a tiny wolverine under there, waiting to reach out, grab my foot by the ankle, and chow down.

Well, OK, the vibration from the rolling across the hardwoods, did, indeed, make a growly sound.

I have one hell of an imagination. I am aware. I have come to terms, and I do my best not to get too outwardly dramatic around other humans these days. Because, if they were actually privy to what went in this head of mine, it would be akin to opening a door to a very scary world, in which a cheetah would leap over their heads, followed by snakes, and other vermin... then a burst of flame, destroying everything in its path.

Most of the time, I keep that under wraps.

But earlier this week, we saw a fucking mouse in our house! Where we live! And sleep! And eat! And... live!

FUCK!

I hate those motherfucking things so much! I have said it before and I will say it again: A clown, Buffalo Bill, and a mouse? Pretty fucking level threesome, as far as I'm concerned. I don't ever want to see that, either. Yeah, no.

Also, in the past week, I have noticed a story circulating around Facebook about a baby seal finding its way into someone's house. At first, I thought the photos were darling. And then I thought harder.

How would I react if this happened to me?

Mr Hed said: "If you can't even stand the sight of a mouse, you would probably shit your pants if you saw a fucking baby seal on your couch."

And you know what? He's right.

I don't mind baby seals at the zoo, but I really hate surprises. Especially surprises that involve wild animals of any kind in my sacred-space-of-living-area. Yeah, no. Really, that's fine. No.

This story also took me back to a simpler time in my life, shortly after I moved in with Mr. Hed. One night, I went to my parents' house for dinner. I walked up the driveway, and thought I was going into the house, until I realized that I had cornered a nutria on the porch, just in front of the entry.

Terrified, I was.

I let out quite a scream, which set the aquatic rodent hissing at me, in turn. My parents lived in a ranch house that had a big window in the front door. My mother came to the door, and gave me a look, as if to say: "What the fuck, girl?"

I pointed at the brown, hissing, orange-toothed, long-tailed beast. It really did look like an R.O.U.S., only I had no aid of fire, or long stick with which to stab it in the hip.

Then, she looked down. And she, too screamed. Loudly.

And then I ran. I ran all the way up the street to get away from that... thing.

About five minutes later, I walked back to the house, but it was still sitting on the porch, so I sat on the retaining wall outside of the house across the street from ours until it eventually sauntered off.

I have no idea what it was doing near their house. I had never seen one there. Not before, or since.

I will say that I'm not completely opposed to surprises.  In fact, there are some surprises I quite enjoy. But freaky wildlife in my house, or just an unexpected place, is not a fun surprise. Remember that on my birthday, and take heed, k?

But just the same? Hello, coyote! What'cha doin' on the MAX?
-H

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Think you may have missed something along the way? Here you go!


I was strolling around the streets of SE Portland, and saw this little guy, just hangin' off a tree near the sidewalk. It caught my eye right away, as if it was winking at me, and saying: "Hey, baby, how's it going? You know you want to take me home with you.
"Come on. Just grab me."

I am a good girl and left it there, but I did manage to snap a photo of it, anyway.

-H

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Un-identified fluffy objects.



Missed something along the way? You can see a recap of other daily photos here!

I am sure there must be a name for this plant, but hell if I know what it is. I just think they are fun to photograph, and nice to look at. Whoever can identify this for me correctly wins a coffee date with me. Ha ha!

-H

Monday, December 12, 2011

Even more autumn wonderment. Because... I can't get enough of these leaves!









Just tuning in? Check out the previous dailies, here.

We are so lucky to live in a part of the country that provides us with such spectacular, natural aesthetics. I lived in Los Angeles for the first several years of my life, and the leaves there change, but they don't develop such amazing colours. They just sort of dry out and turn brown there.

I had no idea this really existed until I saw it with my own eyes, after moving up here. So gorgeous.

Sure LA has its merits, but so does Portland. And, how!

-H

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Belmont St.



For those just tuning in, I post these daily to this blog. If you would like to see some that you may have missed, here you go!


One of my favourite places to go in Portland, is Belmont Street. So much fun shopping, and also some pretty great places to eat. Mr. Hed and I visited last night, and had dinner at Hoda's Middle Eastern.

If you have never gone, I'd have to ask you why. Especially if you can have gluten. Their pita is amazing, and they give it to you right out of the oven. It is really good. I miss that, and usually just have hummus and rice with whatever I order these days, but even without the pita, they serve really great food, and are easy on the pocketbook.

If you have never been there, and tell me that you like the hummus they bring you at McMenamin's, I will kidnap you and take you to dinner. Then you will never order hummus at McMenamin's, again. Ever. I guarantee it.

So, if you didn't know before, now you do. You're welcome!



-H

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Autumn wonderment






There are still a few leaves out and about. Just a few, but I managed to capture them, anyway. I think Fall may be my favourite season. Until the next one comes. I think I say that about every season. I'm disgusting that way.

-H

Friday, December 9, 2011

The last of the elderberries...

This post is going to be quick, because I am pressed for time today. A hamster in a wheel, I am... a hamster in a wheel.

One of these days, I would like to actually harvest and dry elderberries. I make syrup every few weeks this time of year, because it's good for your immune system. But I always just buy the dried berries at the food co-op.

So yes. Note to self! Remember to do this next year. There are definitely good spots around here for accessing them.

Oh, and for those of you not in the know about them: never, ever, ever eat them off the tree. Never, ever, ever eat the skins and seeds. Cook them down, then strain them. Then, add honey.

I'll post a recipe for this later if people are interested.

-H

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Apropos of not exactly nothing...


Portland, from my happy place, Council Crest Park. If you have not been up here, you are really missing out. It has been one of my go-to places for many, many years now.


Today is an anniversary of sorts for me. I moved to portland on this day in 1999. It was not quite as beautiful that day. In fact, it was very cold and wet. Visibility on the 5 was ridiculously non-existent in my 1983 Toyota Tercel Wagon. All of my valuables, up to, and including my betta fish in a bowl, secured to the floor of the passenger seat with towels and books, were in the car with me, and I had to start work at a brand new job that very day. I was just a babe, and scared to death.

When I arrived in Portland, there had been a miscommunication, and the girl I stayed with that night had gone to work, and forgot to leave a key under the mat, or reach me, because of some hold up beyond either of our control. (Yeah, we didn't have cell phones back then.) She did manage to reach me at work later on that day, and we got it straightened out, but not before I had to go to work with everything still in my car, including the fish!

I am glad they were pretty understanding of the crazy, at that office. They even allowed me to bring my fish in! That fish lived for 3 1/2 years on my desk, before I quit, to raise my first child. And I have a funny story to tell because of it.

I have come a very long way since then. Anyway, in honour of that day, I figured it only perfect to add a few photos of my fair city.

Enjoy!





Portland, about 5 feet from where I used to live, once upon a time. I kinda miss that spot. This is where T asked me to marry him a zillion years ago!


Yes, this beautiful place was my dream of the '90's. I managed to realize it with not even a month to spare in that decade, but I'll tell ya: I have not, and never will look back. Our love is here to stay.

-H

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bringing back the daily photos!


One of the things I used to do, and honestly can't figure out why I stopped doing this, was to post a daily photo, or three, depending on my mood. Today? It's a good one, so you get three!

I am always capturing, but I have gotten lax about posting what I have captured, as of late.

For those of you just tuning in, these photos may be from my personal collection, or possibly from a recent sneak peek, if it happens to be something I'm particularly fond of.

Today's photo is from a little time I spent out and about the other day with a friend, playing around the streets of Portland. There was a telephone pole there that had been so very littered with flyers, it appeared to be covered in what seemed like a carpeting of colourful goodness. I could not resist.

You know you are in a place that sees a lot of action when THIS appears before your eyes!





I hope you enjoy what I have to share in the days to come. I'll have some good ones lined up, for sure!

-H

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

They don't live in Transylvania, they don't live in rock and roll...

I think I can say with some certainty that vampires fear me when I have a cold.

I have a tendency to overdo it with the garlic, but it usually helps me kick the damn cold's ass very quickly. My kids won't do this, and they have had the same stupid cold for 2 weeks now. I got over it in less than 2 days, thank you very much.

Some of you may not think this is worth it though.

See? I ate 4 heads of garlic in 2 days. I was a stinky mutha'fucka, but you know? I'm all better now.

I think my favourite thing to do with the garlic, was to make a little wrap, using a brown rice tortilla, almond butter, a little pepper sauce, cilantro, cabbage, shredded carrot, shaved ginger, and 4 great big cloves of garlic, sliced up, and dispersed evenly, so it wasn't ridiculous. It was kind of like a spicy Thai wrap, of sorts, and the almond butter diffused a lot of the crazy strong, mustard cloud effects that garlic can have if you just bite into it without doing anything to it.

Yeah, that really was a tasty mutha'fuckin' burrito. I wish I had more tortillas. I'd go make another one right now.

Look out, vampires. I may just keep going.

-H

Monday, December 5, 2011

It is curious...

What could be said for a person who shoves their little truck into reverse so hard that they ram into a pole at the speed that it takes to forcibly remove a bumper?

What is that?

This morning, on our inbound commute, I sat behind this very truck at, well, several stop lights.

But well, It's NE Couch at 9th or so, and it's 8:15 A.M. Things move slowly at this point in time, so we had time to ponder this.

Admittedly, I wasn't even really paying attention to this. I do seem to have OCD in some areas, but I try to live and let live when it comes to traffic, and the people therein, unless they are doing something directly to me, or participating in the possible endangerment of myself or my family. Then, I get scrappy. But I probably never would have even given this a second thought, had it not been brought to my attention softly, by Mr. Hed.

And honestly? I really can't talk too much shit about other drivers pulling fast ones. I have been known to do it. There are times... when you just have to. For example: one day, just before this very spot, there was a person in the turn lane at NE 12th and Couch. I could not tell what was holding them up, or why they would not turn left onto Couch, with their blinker on, other than the cars that were at least 3,000 yards away, coming toward them.

So, I sort of sailed past them in the oncoming lane, going around them, to make the turn before the light turned yellow.

Mr. Hed actually gave me a kissy face for that. Not sure why the person in the turn lane was being so cautious about. There was really no good reason for it.

At all. Really. None.

I am just glad he doesn't complain much, because when you are in the car with me, it's best to just hold on, and trust that I know what I'm doing.

Because, I do.

Digressing here, to get back to the moment in question.

See? I was too busy listening to the The Raconteurs, and thinking they were sounding an awful lot like Queen. So much so, in fact, that I wasn't concentrating on much else but that and the traffic, and wondering who these people were, exactly. I am normally very good at identifying unmistakeable instrumental styles, as well as voices, and damn, if that wasn't Freddy Mercury and Brian May.

I had to look this song up later, because it was one I hadn't heard before, and was also improperly back-announced on the radio.

Once again, I digress... back to the subject at hand, because... well? Holy hell! I mean, really?

But first! Ooh! Shiny things!!!!

All right... once again, while we are digressing, let's mix in the fact that I don't hear all that well from my right ear, and I just flat out didn't hear him, when he said: "Better look out. That guy in front of you may just try to back-slam into us."

"Wha? Did you say something?"

What I heard:

Raconteurs: "You can not take it back, so many shades of black... "

And over that: "Murmble, burrbb back into you with force."

"WHA?"

"Are ya deaf, woman?"

"Yeah, kinda. You know that. Speak the hell up!"

"That GUY! That guy in front of us! You'd better watch out! He might back into you!"

Just then, I really looked at what was in front of me. It was a truck. No bumper. HUGE pole dent on the tailgate.

"Whoa. What the fuck did was that guy smokin'? Really??? How hard do you have to really not be paying attention to something for that to happen?"

"I don't know. But I bet it played out, something like this: 'I gotta get out of here fast!! Like NOW! I'm just gonna shove it into reverse, and see how fast, I can shoot it back out of -- BOOM!"

"Yeah, I bet it was something like that. Gotta wonder where that guy's shoes and pants are."

-H

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How I am doing it.

Well, I weighed myself today. I am down 72 pounds. I don't really know why I am bothering to use a scale, but there it is. 72 pounds. I wish I had some before shots, but yeah... I avoid cameras and mirrors, even now. I prefer to believe that I look like Liv Tyler most of the time, and well, those things sort of spoil that alternative reality for me.

As far as my actual appearance, I have a long way to go, but that's fine. I will just keep the illusion going in my head.

Several years ago, I decided to try and lose a hell of a lot of weight. I made myself really sick, and all but destroyed my immune system. I do not recommend becoming a vegan, or a somewhat anorexic vegan, who considers a Bloody Mary a meal. It is just... well? It's not for everyone. The latter is not for anyone. That's for damn fucking sure. As far as gaining a better appearance at least size and shape-wise, I succeeded, and I had one hell of a rad body, but my face looked like hell without a ton of makeup, and did I mention I was pretty much constantly sick? Yeah. I was.

It ended up not being worth it to me in the end. A doctor told me that I was missing out on some key amino acids, and to knock off the vegan thing. So, I did.

I am sure there are probably ways to do the vegan thing without killing yourself. There are people who do it. I don't know that many who have succeeded in doing it long term, however, and you really should pay attention to how often you get sick, because that could either mean you are consuming something your body hates, or you aren't getting enough of something else your body needs.

What I do know, is something that stemmed from actual research. I started reading up on proper nutrition, and ways to replenish these deficiencies that had long wracked my body, making me so sick. I was also consuming things I was quite allergic to, without realizing it. Corn, soy, gluten, and peanuts are all things that should be kept far, far, away from me.

I can have other legumes, as well as tree nuts though. But dairy is so, so, so definitely off the list, that I fart in your general direction if you offer me something containing it.

Be warned.

So now, I just eat a bit less, but I eat a well-rounded diet. Animal fats are just fine. I do eat these things. Polyunsaturated fats, and fish oil, are also consumed daily. No big deal. I also do things like make bone broth from the bones of the animals I consume. This actually takes a lot longer than one might think. I typically let them go on low in the crock pot for about 30 hours. When they are done, the structure of the bones that are left will actually crumble between my fingers when pinched.

That shit is GOOD for you, and your teeth, especially. If you want my recipe, leave a comment, and I'll share.

I do my best to keep carbohydrates in balance with everything else, but I don't necessarily scrimp on them. They are good short-term fuel. I also eat lots of eggs, (which I am thankfully not sensitive to.)

I had tried in the more recent past to lose weight as well, and I felt a bit like Sisyphus. I am realizing now that part of the reason I may finally be able to lose weight has to do with my not being on steroids, due to asthma, caused by food sensitivities. It's a vicious cycle, id'n'it?

The other thing that I have been doing is making physical activity a good part of my day. I had to try and figure something out that would keep me entertained though. I hate it when I get bored, and I get bored VERY easily. So I picked dance.

This is something I never thought I would do. I sort of resented dance when I was a theatre major. I knew it was necessary, and I enjoyed watching others do it, but I was so terrible at it, that it... well? Just... damn. Yeah. I pretty much hated everything about it.

I am not even entirely sure what it was about dance that made me want to try again this time, but now that I have been doing it for a few months, I am realizing that, not only is it a really great form of exercise, but it is also very entertaining. I have improved my skills enough that I don't mind when Mr. Hed comes into the room while I am doing it anymore. He actually likes to watch me do this now, and says that I have made some vast improvements. Things just flow now, where they never did before.

And 72 pounds? Well that's nothing to sneeze at.

-H

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Upon the: my, oh, my...

I let my hair fly normally today. I don't normally talk about it, but it is now indescribable.

I will give it a try though. Seriously.

If you were so inclined, I'm thinking it would work well to scrub dirty pots. No joke. My hair isn't just wool. It's steel wool. Yes. The element: steel, as in: "You are a magnet, and I am steel."

Cheezy '70's easy listening aside, I can't tell if it is because I let it hang dry naturally, or if it had to do with the misty conditions outside, but well? Damn. Steel.

That steel.

Not blue steel. If it had blue steel, I am pretty sure it would not be in this predicament. That is a reference that has been circulating a lot lately. I have no idea what it means, other than Ben Stiller making a stupid face. Because, you know what? I live under a fucking rock, and I get most of my media information via friends, who pay more attention to that sort of thing than I do.

I think it's better that I don't know, truth be told. I just... don't care enough about Ben Stiller to even look this up.

I should name it Dan. Then I could call it Steely Dan.

Steely Dan moved to Portland. And they live on my goddamned head. They are NOT going back to their old school. Oleander is poisonous, anyway.

Damn. I just looked in the mirror, and I am looking a bit rough. Like Captain Beefheart rough. That's some rough, right there. That's the my, oh my!



-H

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Well, I tried...

It appears that I am failing at this blogging once a day thing. I am trying. Perhaps I should commit to something more reasonable, like blogging once a week. I have a little time to sit and write presently, but only after a day that was so busy that I didn't even have time to eat. I also forgot my phone.

And then, I got good and lost trying to find the Mexican place that I wanted to get takeout from. And then I got pissy, frustrated, then just flat-out mad.

And laughed at, which made me actually hiss at said laugh'er.

I did finally find the place, and I did finally eat about an hour ago. And well? You know how it can be when you went all day without food... then the time and the food finally arrive, but for some reason, only half of what you normally eat makes it into your belly, because eating more than that just hurts?

Yeah.

And now? I feel like a boa constrictor who swallowed a motherfucking elk.

What is that???

I was so looking forward to dinner, followed by drinks, and dessert. And yeah. The last two things are just not going to happen.

I... yeah, just no.

On the subject of food, I tried Filipino food for the first time yesterday. Perhaps, it was not the best representation of said cuisine. What I had was supposed to be a pork stew. It may have been, but whoever cut the meat for said stew wasn't paying attention or something, because what I got was about 75% pure fat. Just big blocks of fat floating in sauce.

Uh, er, huh?

I will give it another chance, perhaps at a different restaurant sometime. Because after I did this, I did something incredibly uncharacteristic for me. I went from rejecting exotic food, to ordering tater tots at a bar.

Tater. Tots.

Really, Hed?

Yes. Really.

Tomorrow, I will go out and buy a loaf of wonder bread.

-H

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Not even the craziest New Year's Eve I have ever had. But still... there is a story there. Yes. Yes, there is.

When the year 2000 rolled into 2001, I had been living in The Land Of Port-lia for about a year. Mr. Hed and I were not yet married, but we had landed ourselves a sweet pad in the Goose Hollow area. We had a double income, and no kids. Life was pretty fucking sweet back then... not that it isn't now, but damn. There are times when I sure do miss being able to do what I want when I want.

But I digress, because at that time, I was looking forward to having what we have now. Whatever. Can't have it both ways. I know this. It's cool.

Anyway, on this particular night, we walked to a downtown bar near the waterfront, to meet up with some friends. It was a nice walk, and I didn't really think much of it.

At the bar, we proceeded to drink ourselves silly with our friends. Yeah, it was a good time. I am not sure how much I had on my own, but I was pretty glad to know that the train would take us home, and we didn't have to think about driving.

But when that time came, apparently there were "rioters" in the streets. I don't know if there was an actual riot then, but there were at least seven katrillion police cars blocking the MAX tracks leading toward my warm bed, where I had been planning on sleeping this off with minimal effort in getting my tired, drunk ass there.

I also really had to pee. I was not amused.

Realizing that we were going to have to walk back home, we left the train, and began our journey back.

For those of you who don't know, Downtown Portland works its way uphill, until you are uptown. I have no idea if this was intentional at the time, but in any case, we had to walk up a big, stupid, annoying, hill that we had not planned on walking up when we chose to drink as much as we did at the aforementioned bar.

I also realized pretty quickly that my bladder was not going to make it home in the particular state it happened to be in at that moment in time. No. No, it sure wasn't.

We knocked on a few pub doors, but everyone was afraid of the "rioting" that was supposedly taking place right next to us. Honestly, I am unclear as to whether or not I was so drunk that I did not notice severe violence happening just mere feet from my person, or if people were overreacting.

Methinks the latter was probably the case... somehow.

At any rate, there were no pots in the Inn. Or that Inn. Or... the other Inn. No one letting us in.

So, I did the next best thing. I found a bush, pulled down my jeans, and proceeded to do my thing.

Suddenly, I heard honking, whistling, and yelling. Then I realised it was coming from behind me. And then I realised that I was standing next to, and above the 405 freeway. And... then, I realised that everyone was stopped on said freeway, due to the "rioting", that somehow also affected the arterial that runs through our fair city.

Yes, I am sexy. And I know it.

Finishing up, I did a little curtsy, and went on my merry way.

By this time, we were closer to home, and I was feeling somewhat better. My belly wasn't too happy with me, but I figured I would deal with it by munching a few saltine crackers upon arrival.

When we got to the last hill, things took kind of a bad turn though. I felt a bit like a soda, or beer that had been shaken. That is not a good feeling. I'm glad that bottles are not people, because it would suck to be nauseated constantly. This is rare for me, by the way. I have almost no gag reflex. True story. I even tried to be bulimic once. It... just would not come up! I never even experienced morning sickness later on with either of my pregnancies.

Blowing chunks is just not part of who I am. I have faced this reality, and I think I've come to terms.

But by the time I reached the hill, and I could see my home... that's exactly what I did. And this was the one, and only time I have ever gotten sick after drinking. I am just glad that Mr. Hed had already gone inside.

No one needs to see that.

-H


Monday, November 7, 2011

The bitch switch.

Don't flip it. Consider yourself warned. The bitch inside of me is like a two-headed monster, complete with scales, and flames shooting from its eyes, nose, mouth, and asshole.

Yeah. Try some of that!

I don't know what the hell crawled up my ass last night, but good lord, I was being a bitch. OK, I was beyond bitch. This was more grade-A, assholeface-style ranting. And I could NOT stop. I bitched for a straight 15 minutes about everyone, everything, and everywhere. It was epic. An epic bitch session that would not quit. I was in rare form.

I think the thing that triggered it was the fact that I could not get netflix to stream my workout video properly.

I was so pissed!

I also ran out of water. God damn it!!!

As I walked through the house, I noticed a mess the kids made on the floor with paper. They were watching TV, after I had told the older one to clean up the mess and do her homework. She did not do either of these things, however. So, I got mad about that.

She got up, and did it. I was being so ridiculous she actually laughed at me.

Mr. Hed was home shortly after this, and he was trying to set up a video game for the smaller one. I bitched about how she bitches about how the game never works in her favour, which makes her throw a fit.

Which made her throw a fit. Then I threw and even bigger fit.

Then... I went running for the shelter of my Mother's Little Helper. Quick swig, a few deep breaths, and I was much less of a bitch.

I'm glad today is nicer. I'm going to run in the park rather than try to use stupid Netflix to stream my workout.

~ Happy Ending ~

-H

Plants.

So, yeah... I have never really been great with plants. I can handle the ones that are hardy and not easy to kill. Mr. Hed and I had a plant years ago named "Robert". It was a spider plant, and it lived through everything. In fact, Mr. Hed would sometimes give Robert at treat, and feed it cherry Kool-Aid. Good times.

We never even repotted the poor thing. Robert, if he is still living, probably has mighty sore feet.

After we moved to Portland, I decided to take Robert to work with me. He sat on my desk, next to my equally hardy Betta Fish (who lived for 4 years,) and seemed to love it there. In fact, he loved it so much, that I left him there for my successor. I went into that place to visit a couple of years later, and a few other people held my former position. But Robert? He stayed. He was still there when I visited my friend Nick Wells, at least 2 years later, who happened to be holding my former post.

For all I know, he could still very well be there. They have a tendency to hold onto things in that place.

This describes the extent of my success with plants. I have killed cactus before. Once? I looked at a Bansai tree, and the entire display exploded. The tree, itself, BURST INTO FLAMES, and the detritus from that could be seen down the street, scaring pigeons off of the sidewalks. I am that bad with plants. Seriously. I barely know what they are.

I like my vegetables. That is true. But I like vegetables other people have grown. When friends who garden bring me things to eat, I eat them, and I'm happy. That is a pretty darn special gift right there, because, damn. I just... kill things, and I have no idea how these amazing souls manage to keep the same things alive.

I once grew spinach, garlic, and lettuce with minimal trouble. Sort of. I probably could have grown a lot more than I did, and things were fairly dinky, but I grew enough in a season to make one bowl of salad. I was fucking proud of that goddamned bowl of salad, too!

For next year, Mr. Hed has talked about wanting to actually have a vegetable garden again. While I am excited about this, I am also terrified for these little seeds that hold so much promise, and would probably be amazing in someone else's garden.

In mine? Well... I'm sorry, seeds. I guess we'll see.

No, really. I am. Because like I have said, I'm like "Carrie" for plants. I guess I'd better go find a prom dress and douse myself in pig's blood.

-H



Saturday, November 5, 2011

TACOS, TACOS, TACOS!!!!!

They are fucking delicious.

Well, OK, some are muthafucking delicious. Not all. Taco Bell can bite my ass. They suck. I hate them. Yeah. Also? Bars that serve cheap tacos to get you in there? Don't order them. I never have, and I think I can safely say, I've not missed a damn thing.

In Portland? I'm thinking the best goddamned place to get a muthafuckin' taco is in one of those hole in the wall, divey, real-deal Mexican joints.

Fuck Chevy's.

I don't want to be able to identify the species of creature that was cooked in that pot... from which they spooned my taco, uh, filling. All I need to know, is that at one time, it had a face. And now? It's in that pot. Eyes, and all. Unless it's a fish. And then? I want the whole goddamned muthafuckin' fish in my taco. None of this stupid asshole Gorton's Fish stick bullshit. What the FUCK is up with that shit? Did I ASK for a fucking fish stick? NO. No, the fuck, I did not. Get me a goddamned whole, un-PC deep fried-assed fish, you fuck!

Yeah.

And cabbage. There had better be some goddamned cabbage in there somewhere. You all need to understand. And recognize. Cabbage is delicious, goddamn it. And lime.

You put the lime in the cabbage. And you shake them both up. You put the lime in the cabbage with the fish, and the onions... on the tortilla. Then you eat it. And don't forget cilantro. You need some cilantro. Then you call me in the goddamned morning.

And you will thank me, because that shit's good.

Some people like ketchup on their tacos. What the fuck is that??? Fuck you, you goddamned middle American fucks! Seriously. God. Damn. Ketchup? No!!! I'm gonna puke!

And therein ends my treatise on tacos.

Carry on.

-H

On writing... when you are stretched for time.

I feel like writing is an incredibly important part of my day. My head hurts if I miss out on doing this. I may not always have something amazing to say, but it is still an important exercise for me.

When I happen to be stretched for time, I have a tendency to break everything; including writing, into manageable chunks, so that I can function at the level I need to. When I do this, I also rarely get bored. And honestly? I am always stretched for time. It can take me days to write one of my more epic blog columns. I enjoy this a whole lot more than trying to crank out a post a day, or several posts a day, as I see some people doing. I have no idea how they have the time or inclination to do something like that, and rarely is their material very good, because quantity takes quality's place.

What are you left with then?

And, who has time to read everything, anyway? I say, choose your words carefully, so they will be effective enough to make your readers think. Less is usually more, so when you are working on something, keep that in mind.

That is not to say I don't wax loquacious at times. I can be mighty wordy. But usually, it's because I either honestly do have a lot to say, or it's because I have a lot of things to relate to what's been said.

So, when pressed for time, that's what I do. What can be very nice about writing this way, is that you don't get sick of the particular piece you are working on. If you can keep the subject matter on your mind, and make little notes here and there; adding them when you come back to your piece, it can be quite inspired. Rarely, do I think of everything that goes into one of my columns in one go.

Of course, in the here and now, that is not really what I'm doing, since I am trying to write on a different subject every day, and actually turn out a piece every day. Pieces are bound to be shorter. Because, like I said, I am always stretched for time.

-H

Friday, November 4, 2011

On last food...

The question, actually from the 2nd day of NaBloPoMo, (which is supposed to be making me write every day... as if I don't have enough to do already,) is: If you knew that whatever you ate next would be your last meal, what would it be?

First thing I would do, is take my nice fat credit card, and passport, as well as myself, to the airport. There, I would buy a ticket to Spain. I would not eat anything on the plane, since that could seal my fate before I arrive at the destination I'm doing this for. Yeah. Not even peanuts. I don't want to be responsible for taking an entire plane full of people down with me.

That's just bad form.

Upon arrival to Spain, I would begin a week-long fast, so I could see things. When it finally came time to eat, I would probably order all manner of things I'm not supposed to have, then travel to the Picos De Europa, find a good cliff, and Jump.

If I can control the first part, the rest of this might as well be on my terms, too.

-H

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Can you listen to music and write at the same time?

Hell yes.

In fact, I think I need it. I don't do well without multiple sources of stimulus, for lack of a better term. (OK, I am quite sure I am capable of coming up with a better one, but... well? I don't wanna. I'm nasty that way.) Right now, I am listening to a song about singing, and writing a post about writing. It is somewhat inspiring, I must say.

After all, "Life is no cabaret. We don't care what you say. We're inviting you anyway. You motherfuckers, you sing something!"

How can you not be inspired by that? I like being yelled at to do things, I guess. It's the sub in me. Sue me.

I have things on shuffle right now, and it can get interesting, since I like everything; from Joni Mitchell, to Apocalyptica, to Beethoven. And everything is in there. It just jumped from The Dresden Dolls, to Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds. Not really that much of a stretch if you think about it, but... well? Sort of. The Dolls can range from really beautiful, to really, really ugly. But... ugly with Charm. Like a sad, sick little monkey who just killed her hurdy gurdy man; blood trickling down the side of her cheek, but still... you feel sympathetic, and want to help her, because, after all, she is just a sick little monkey. And she has climbed onto the piano and is playing it so beautifully... and she has that spark in her eye that draws you in and makes you want to follow her around.

Yeah, I kind of have a thing for Amanda Palmer; a special place in my heart, if you will.

I was raised to enjoy a wide range of music. I was exposed to a lot of... things growing up... in many senses, and I always learned to adapt and take what I wanted from various places, so long as they worked for me. These days, it makes me kind of sad when people won't give the unknown, (even from just a musical listening standpoint,) a chance.

"There is this thing keeping everyone's lungs and lips locked. It is called fear, and it's seeing a great renaissance. After the show, you can not sing whenever you want. But for now, let's just pretend we're all gonna get bombed." -- The Dolls.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Yeah. Switching gears to the subject of fear, I have to wonder what people are really afraid of in life. A while back, a friend said something to me about fear, and about how she felt it was important to face your biggest fear, and try to learn from it. But... what if your biggest fear is actually quite reasonable, and is there for a reason?

There are so many things we don't do, because we are afraid of getting hurt; literally, or figuratively. Some of this fear is there for very good reason. Personally, my biggest fear is asphyxiating due to smoke inhalation, or burning to death, if the smoke didn't take care of me first. I think that is a reasonable fear to have, and one stemming from a 20 year fight with asthma, where I got to experience near-asphyxiation many, many, times. That was pretty stressful, and traumatizing. I hope I never experience that again.

Maybe I have faced this big fear in a different way, though, considering that one of my favourite things is fire. I am not afraid of fire, at all. I am quite good at building fires. I am great at keeping them under control, and putting them out if need be. I have built more fires than I could ever count, and have never once had an issue. Ever. It's all about respecting the element, and treating it the way it should be treated. Safety and common sense go a very long way.

As far as being hurt figuratively; the kind of hurt that sticks that knife in your heart, and makes you wish you had never tried... I've been there, too. But you know what? I always bounce back. And I can say that I did try, rather than saying I lived a life of never trying anything with anyone, and missed out on so many, possibly wonderful, experiences. Some things are bound to be regrets, but how else do we learn?

"What are regrets? They're just lessons we haven't learned yet." -- Beth Orton

I don't want to be that person.

Facing fear is just a natural part of life. We all have to do it. Some of us have built strategies for doing this; some of us haven't. I try to keep my smaller fears in perspective, relative to my largest fear. Nothing really compares to burning to death, and as long as I remember that I am not about to go before a funeral pyre, I can get through just about anything. I do my best to figure out what is to be expected first, and that lessens the fear a lot. Knowledge is power; not just because it means you can go far with what you know, but also because it means you can extrapolate to a certain extent, and worry less about having a poor outcome, which is a pretty common fear. Before jumping into something new and unexplored, be sure to take the time to learn about what you are getting into. Things are far less scary if you take the time to understand them.

I am amazed at how many people don't do this.

Music has certainly taught me how to face some of my fears; not just in the messages that songwriters have come up with, but also in my own experience as a musician and performer. It has probably been the most consistently empowering force in my life, to this day. So why would I exclude it from my writing, or not have it playing while writing? It's downright necessary, as far as I'm concerned!

-H












Wednesday, November 2, 2011

You're not fooling anyone!

Hey, you!

Yes, I'm referring to you in the refurbished police car. You are not fooling anyone, and it is VERY UNBECOMING of a young lady to drive around at 10 miles an hour under the speed limit during rush hour in Chinatown, just trying to freak people out, or make them go slower.

This is... really not OK with me.

See? There are enough of you now who have these cars, that the rest of us have become hip to it. We know the difference between civilian and Police license plates. All you are doing at this point, is making me late, and PISSING ME OFF! It is not amusing, so just... stop it!

Did you buy this car thinking it would be OK to drive around with a power trip? If I could kick your car, I would, but that would make me EVEN LATER, so I will just seethe behind you, because nothing else I am tempted to do, is worth it.

Stupid, stupid, poseur asshat... GET OUT OF MY WAY!!!!

-H

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nah Blow Poe Moe.

It's November. This means NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) is back in full swing. I am sure that I will have many things to say this month. I am hoping so, anyway.

Lots of things are happening in my world. I am a busy lady. In fact, this is the first time I have had time to sit down for more than 5 minutes all day. Honestly? I love days like that. I am happiest and seem to thrive the most when I am so busy I have to figure out how to prioritize things, just to fit everything in.

My business is taking some interesting turns. I am transitioning from exclusive location photography, to a more grounded business where I will also offer studio photography. Yes, I will still do on-location shoots, but for those who want things like head shots, or something more traditional, this is also now ready. It has been a very fun challenge, and I have enjoyed almost every minute of setting things up.

We also have some temporary roomies! My friends, Echota and Josh, moved here from Langley, BC. They have secured a place to live, but will be staying with us in the interim, as the landlords prepare their new home, which is just a few blocks from my house, and definite walking distance! It has been very fun having them here, and you should see our kitchen! I see some very fun dinners in our near future.

I started running again today. I hadn't done that since about June, because Mr. Hed was worried about me hurting myself. But today, everyone wanted to go to the park. I wanted to work out, so I decided to just involve the kids. They really got into it, as well, and alternated between racing me around the park, and playing on the playground. Such fun!

I have been dancing for several months, on a daily basis. This has really helped me increase my running stamina, as well as improve my form. I did three miles, and I am not even remotely sore right now. I think I will try to incorporate more of this into my regimen. My ass is happy.

Well, that's about all I really have the energy for tonight. I'm pretty tired.

See you tomorrow!

-H

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I hear the secrets that you keep...

Last night, I had one of my more bizarre dreams. I was having quite a day. Things were busy for me. The kids were in school, but required an early pickup. On top of that, I had a wedding cake to bake (?), a dog to train, and a horse to guild. No joke.

I also drove a giant, gunmetal gray, Mercedez van. I... don't know.

I figured out that the only way to retrieve my children early, in the midst of all of this, would be to drive my car up to OHSU, take the tram, transfer to the MAX, and take 2 buses to their school. But I had to be fast, because parking was $5 an hour there. There was a place for me to park it, and a personal vestibule next to each car to place our personal effects, including very important things, like birth certificates. Because we naturally carry all of that stuff on our persons every damn day of the world.

So, I place my things into the vestibule, and wait for the automatic sliding door to close, only it gets hung up on nothing, and won't go anymore. Of course, my time has already started, and I am MAD antsy, because I have a fucking wedding cake, a Great Dane, and the balls of a newly-guilded horse in the back of this thing.

But eventually, it closes. And it takes me 4 hours to retrieve my kids, and return to the van, where naturally the neglected dog has eaten both the wedding cake, and the fresh horse balls.

So... I failed on every task. And I didn't have enough money to pay for the parking. And because of this, I then had to work as a parking attendant to make up for the money that I didn't have. Luckily, this was only an hour, but my kids were not happy with me, and the dog got sick all over the van.

Exhausted, I finally leave the parking garage, deliver sick dog to his owner, and proceed to clean the most disgusting muck from the inside of the vehicle.

Apparently, in the land of reality, and not in the dream, Mr. Hed tried snuggling me in the night, and I had a full conversation with him about all of the happenings of the dream. I do remember telling him things, as well, but he was standing across from me, wearing a Parking Attendant uniform, not snuggled into bed with me. And... I thought he was cute, and that I wouldn't mind having him snuggle me in bed. But he was just a parking attendant, and not my husband.

While sharing the strange conversation with me, he was quite amused. I, on the other hand, am relieved that the dream was silly and not incriminating in any way.

-H

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The crazy-good cocktail that I think I remember making... sort of.

Last night, we had a gathering at our house. It was fun. Not huge, as per usual, but really just the right size, and combination of people for it to be a success, without my feeling like I had to divide my attention all over the house as in years past.

Apparently The Cold Of Doom has come to Portland early, and damn, that thing is a sadistic bitch. I had it last week, which is why I had to reschedule this shindig. So... when people told me of the woes, I said: "Say no more." It's an evil one.

EVIL!

I made my usual spread, but didn't have as much time this week as I have in years past to prepare, so I bought cans of garbanzo beans from Trader Joe's to make my hummus.

And well? Fail.

I should have known when I was prepping the beans to go into the processor that they were not the right consistency. They were way too hard, and basically nullified all the prep that still goes into that.

So... what did I learn there? This: Trader Joe's garbanzo beans. Proof that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Yeah, I will never take that shortcut again. But... you know, at least it wasn't all fails: today, I have quite a hangover. For a... somewhat unusual reason.

See, I don't normally enjoy sweet cocktails, but I decided to get creative. I also have an herb shop next door to my house, so I mosey on over there a lot, peruse the shelves, and dream things up. I had heard the virtues of infused simple syrups extolled a time or two recently, and decided to give that a whirl. The one I really wanted to try, I discovered that I was missing a key component, and was therefore, unable to make it. I had one of my regular kitchen cleanouts last week, and threw out a sizeable container of black peppercorns, without thinking of the fact that I might... want to use those, after all. Sure, they were about a year old, but they may have been OK.

Oh well.

The one I did end up making was pretty good though. I had some dried Jasmine flowers. I love those in tea, or sometimes just by themselves in hot water on a cold day. So, that was what I did!

The first thing I made, was a Jasmine screwdriver. It was fairly tasty, although a bit sweet for my taste. It contained:

2 cups orange juice
1 cup absolut vodka
2 cups soda water
1/2 cup Jasmine syrup.

Not too bad, but yeah, pretty sweet.

The one that I really liked, and seemed to be a big hit with everyone, was also the one that I sort of made up as I went along, while quite tipsy. I was a little worried that it wasn't going to turn out, but well? This was one of those cases in which I became awesome, rather than just... drunk, and made magic happen. I will call it a Jasmine Vodka Rickey.

It contained, and I am guessing at the proportions, since I wuz teh dronk when I made this, but it... sounds right, considering the pitcher I used was a 6-cup pitcher:

1 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (Please use this. Don't buy that bottled shit. It's just not as good. I prefer to leave the pulp in this, as well.)
2 cups absolut vodka. (I would have preferred gin, but Mr. Hed wasn't paying attention at the liquor store, and inadvertently picked up 2 bottles of vodka, different brands. Oops!)
2 cups soda water (I used the lime-essence soda water from TJ's.)
1/2 cup Jasmine syrup.

I just made sure everything was well-chilled, poured into a glass pitcher, stirred, and served up.

To make the Jasmine Syrup:

2 cups water
1/2 cup Jasmine flowers
2 cups sugar

Place Jasmine flowers in pan, and cover with water.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a slow-simmer.
Simmer for about 10 minutes, then remove from heat, cover, and allow to sit for another 10 minutes.
Strain flowers from water, squeezing them to get all of the goodness out.
Place water back on stove, and add sugar. Return to a low boil, then back down to a simmer, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved.

Let cool, then refrigerate. This should keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

There you go. Now you, too, can be awesome.

-H

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blurthday.

Fuck. I'm old. I don't know how it happened, but there it is. I am going to hold onto 28 for as long as possible, but in reality? Yeah... I'm not fooling anyone. I am falling down that fucking rabbit hole, in which I am now closer to 40 than 30. Shit. Really?

Unfortunately. Really. Time marches on, friends. Yes, it does.

Here is a little something I wrote when I was 18 on the subject:

Do we
ever really know when the end will come? Life is temporary,
and at any time, it can be
taken from you.
Happy Birthday.

I did have a nice day of good, distracting activities to keep my mind off of that little tidbit, however. On my way to dropping everyone off at their respective daily posts, I could hear my phone chirping away. People texting me, and my being tempted to return the love, right then and there, because... I'm a talker, even when it's not expressed in an audible way. But yeah, no. I'm a good girl, and I don't text and drive. Ever. I still have some to return, and I'll get to it soon. Thanks, everyone!

After dropping everyone off, I drove downtown and picked up my friend Jenn, and we met up with our friends Karen and SanQ at Petit Provence for breakfast. They have about 80 different kinds of mimosas. I tried the hibiscus one. Damn, that was tasty! It was so nice to catch up with the ladies, and just hang and gab for a little while. I am still getting used to not having my kids with me during the day, and having all of this time to do adult things is really foreign.

But well? Also really fucking nice. I kinda forgot what that was like, after having this gig for the past 9 years.

Adult time. Who knew?

After dropping Jenn off, I found Mr. Hed, and we did a little shopping... and then had a little uh... picnic in Washington Park that I won't go into detail about, but yeah. Let's just say I know how to have a good time, and am not really that scared of the cops... anymore. A-hem.

Before I knew it, it was time to pick up the kids. I took them out for cupcakes at New Cascadia. Now, this is a place I can sink my teeth into. Gluten free goodies that are actually pretty damn good. The kids were quite impressed, and they aren't even on any sort of restrictions when it comes to this sort of thing, so yeah... that's saying something. There is a little soy in their frosting, but I think I'm finally at a point where a little bit won't hurt me once in a while. I feel OK right now, so I'm guessing that's a good thing. I just won't be doing that every day.

We went to the park for a bit, and ran our kinks out. It was so intensely beautiful yesterday, I did not want to spend much time indoors. Laurelhurst Park was a mighty good backdrop, I must say.

We went home a little later on, then I got gussied, complete with my favourite sexy boots, and went to the bar, and got goooooood and drunk with more friends. I will say that a Hot Toddy made with Knob Creek is worth trying. Blood orange old fashioned's are not too bad, either. And Bulleit Rye? Win. Yes. Win, my friends.

This morning, I woke up quite hung over, but pretty darn happy. We were supposed to go out again tonight, but I went insane and decided to make apple butter from 50,000,000 apples. It is still cooking now, and I'm still recovering.

All in all, freaking awesome birthday. And it's just begun!

-H


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Is it all rhetoric?

I don't know what to think of what Facebook does to people. It is really interesting to hear how affected people become over things they see on this website that... well? It's a website.

I think it's important for people to realize this. It is a tool for communicating, sure, but is it too much? At times, I think so. I think it's important to remember that when we have lists of people that range above 200, we should probably think about what we post there. This is why I use an alias, why I post almost nothing personal, and why I keep changing my birth year to reflect my desire to remain 28.

I don't believe this prevents us from being ourselves. Can't we be ourselves in real life with real people?

My close friends know my story. They hear my story while I use my real voice, usually in person. That is how it should be, as far as I'm concerned.

It does crack me up though when I'm out and about, usually at a restaurant, bar, or coffee place, trying to have a conversation with a friend about real stuff; or trying to read a book, because yes, I still do that, and I hear people bitching about this social networking site. They go off about how they see too much from some people, or not enough from others. They become butthurt when someone drops them from their friends list. They talk about people they have dropped from their own friend lists.

Is this what we have become as a society? Really? South Park was right. Facebook is like Tron. It will suck you in, and you will become trapped in the matrix. Well, if you let it.

The latest thing that I have noticed from people are all of these political/philosophical tiles that get shared, and re-shared. They are a bit like bumper sticker wisdom. At times, I think those are great. Some have really great quotes that make you think. But I also have to wonder, if this, too, isn't too much?

It sort of reminds me of that time a couple years ago when I drove down SE 20th Ave toward Hawthorne BLVD, and I saw a stop sign. Underneath the word "stop", someone had placed a sticker that read: "Now is all you have." At the time, I thought that was just fantastic! But on the same drive, I noticed more of them. And more of them. And... still more. One bike rack area had them plastered all over it.

And well... yeah. As you could imagine, I was less impressed. See where I'm going?

Are we turning great wisdom into cheap rhetoric? It is feeling like that to me, at least a bit. I get it, and it's great that the word is getting out, and possibly making people think, but... is it, or is it more of the same in a veritable sea of once-great things that are starting to matter less and less? I guess it's all been happening for a while with the ability to rip CDs and DVDs; the ability to buy cheaper art prints; the ability to basically cheapen anything that is truly great, bring it to the point of saturation.

Accessibility is a great thing, don't get me wrong. Without the benefit of these truly great things, we would live a miserable existence. But accessibility and saturation are completely different things, and I believe it's important that we are careful in that distinction.

When we allow accessibility, we are saying that we believe anyone, if they so choose, can see, learn, and experience something that may have only been accessible to a select few in the past.

Nothing wrong with that.

When we allow things to reach the point of saturation, we see people rolling their eyes because they have not only had way too much access, but may have never wanted access in the first place, and are so sick of said subject matter, that they start looking for something completely different.

This is a lot of what I see on this social networking site that, yes, OK, I still go to, because I will admit... some of it is fun. Enough of it is fun to make me want to stay. For now. But I am not really that into talking about it... on the outside. I would much rather hear about what you have been up to, and what you are doing with your life.

-H

Sunday, October 9, 2011

It only takes once: Proof that my friends are a terrible influence on me.

There are times when I am so influenced by a certain misspelling, or slang term that I will always think of that when I see the real word, though should probably try to use... the real word, instead of what has replaced it in my mind.

Exhibit A: The word "Amazeballz".

It's not even a word, but now, when I see the word "Amazing", no matter where, and no matter the context, it always reads as "Amazeballz" to me.

The other day, as I dropped my daughter off at school, a little boy wore a message T-shirt, that read: "The Amazing Spider Man", with a cartoon drawing of him on the front. But in my mind? Spiderman was... Amazeballz. It took me a second to register that a small child probably would not wear that particular non-word on his chest, and I had to re-read to confirm that yes, in fact, this was all in my head, and no, they really did not make a shirt that size with that non-word emblazoned across the front of it.

See what you people are doing to me? Do you see? DO YOU SEE???

And still more proof follows with Exhibit B: The word "Waffle." Oh lord.

Really, this should be a benign, innocuous breakfast food. But no. It will never, ever be the same. See? Several months ago now, some friends started using a word that described someone so annoying, the only word left that fit was "Twatwaffle". It is the kind of word that goes well with a cough, and as you can imagine... perfect to fit into conversation, virtually undetected, unless you speak smartass, which I happen to be fluent in.

It was all very funny, but now? Whenever I see the word "waffle" anywhere in public, I crack up a little. And good lord. How long have I known the normal, everyday meaning of that word?

It will never be the same.

Here is another example of my mind's ridiculous ability to adjust to its surroundings. This one actually has nothing to do with my friends, but still... guh.

Exhibit C: Unintentional Misspellings.

There was a woman I worked with several years ago with a name that wasn't easy to spell. I was in charge of all things filing, because I was young like that, and whoever had made her file folder up, had transposed two letters in her name. No matter how many times I saw her name spelled correctly in print; because of that particular misspelling on her folder, my mind would always transpose those letters, and I would read it the other way. I had to really concentrate so that I would not also make the same mistake any time I needed to type her name up for any reason.

I even went so far as to make a new label for her folder the second week I was in that office, but alas, to no avail; the synapses were already misfiring, and she would forever be Mrs. Misspelled to me.

Sad, but true.

One of these days, maybe I will decide to just be set in my ways, and my brain will be an impervious store of knowledge that neither I, nor anyone around me will question. Although... I have to wonder if that's actually a good idea either? See? The older you get, and the more you learn, the less you really do know.

It is getting worse with the internet.

I had a conversation over coffee recently with Miranda about this, and about how the ability to "Google" anything and everything, and not having to actually know things anymore, because we all have our little "smart phones" and other devices, might actually be a bad thing. If it's there, and you don't feel the need to store it organically anymore, will you?

Is Google destroying our ability to retain information?

It could be. If you know it's there at your disposal, and you are busy with other implements of world domination, it's quite possible that you may need to go back and look at something again and again. And thinking about my own mind, and how it will retain incorrect information because it likes to taunt me, it could be quite dangerous. Hm.

And yet? I still do it all the time.

-H

Friday, October 7, 2011

But your memory is here and I'd like it to stay. Warm light, on a winter's day.

In the morning, I am to drive to Eugene to celebrate the life of a friend from my younger years; a life that was cut short way too soon. I suppose this is all part of life in general, but frankly? It still sucks.

I really hate goodbyes. Especially permanent ones.

I have had an eventful week, and haven't really had much time to process all of this. I received the call that he had passed away last Sunday morning, just as I was parking my car to meet up with a friend and do AIDSWalk. After receiving this news, I was not myself that day, but I did my best. It was a nice distraction to have something going on that required me to be a bit active, since that does seem to be the way I deal with things most effectively.

After that, I had a pretty steady week of work, mixed with neighbourhood disturbances that required my attention and Chutzpah.

Let's just say... there are times when I take the easy way out. What can I say? I don't handle this sort of thing that well, so I often bury myself in work, and fill what would normally be free time with other things so I don't have to think about it. That sense of doom that pends after someone I know leaves this world, has never been an easy thing for me to face.

I'm just being honest here. I don't like visiting dark places for long, so I look for the shiny distractions at just about every turn.

We all knew this was coming for a while. Aaron was diagnosed in 2009, just two years after he married the love of his life; right around their second annivesary. He did last about 2 years longer than originally predicted. I think a lot of that had to do with his attitude toward life. He was not the type of man who would let something like Cancer get him down. He even coined a phrase that caught on with his friends, as well as people who may have seen his story on the news: "Cancer Sucks. Life is good. Choose joy."

'Aint that the truth? Few things are this true, people. I feel that if anyone needs a lesson in how to live with, rather than die of disease, it's that one. Attitude is everything.

Aaron was not the type to wallow in self-pity. In some ways, we were a lot alike. Humour was a coping strategy for him, and he used it often. He even did stand-up comedy for a while, and he was good at it! We often had to remind him after he became sick that it was OK to feel sad about certain things, and it was OK to cry. We wouldn't think less of him if he did.

And there were times when he did. Really, I think he struck a pretty healthy balance when it came to emoting about his condition. He handled it remarkably.

As far as the before time; we were fairly close for a few years. As many of you know, I have a history of being Baptist. There were times when I enjoyed going to church. And other times... the majority of the times, really, not so much. Aaron was one of the few people who made it bearable though. He was hilarious and comforting. I think we had a pretty good understanding of one another, because we were both only children. To me, he always felt like an older brother, though neither of us would ever really know what that felt like.

It is funny how life works. I can remember talking to my mom on the phone, making pancakes, while pregnant with MicroSqueak. She told me that this girl that I knew from the before time; the long, long ago, wanted her to come along on what would be... sort of like her first date with: get this! Aaron Jamison!

I remember thinking to myself: "Wow!"

It didn't take too long until they were engaged after that. And this girl, who I still remember as this adorable middle-schooler, to me, could not have been a better partner for him. She has more character, strength, and integrity than most people ever gain in life. It has been an amazing thing to witness. I am really proud of her for being so strong through all of this. It has been an extremely rough road, and she deserves so much credit.

He was a Christian, and one of the most accepting Christians I had ever met; the kind of Christian I have actual respect for; non-judgmental, and would be your friend regardless of just about any difference you may bring forth.

Just about anyone who went to the U of O in the mid 1990s and hung out at The Glenwood on campus would probably remember him, since he worked there at the time, and would often play guitar and sing in the evenings. He was one of those people you just don't forget.

I will never forget Aaron Jamison.

-H

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Why should I care what stupid people think? After all... they are stupid.

It's true. There are people out there who will make snap judgments about you based on appearance, or first impressions. Some of those snap judgments are not reversible, or if they are, it takes a LOT of time to overcome them. Personally, I usually give people a while before I decide whether or not I like them. It takes a long time to get to know a person, and depending on how guarded they are, you may never get to know certain people at all.

And... to those people, I say: Damn. Whatever. If I had more time to try and draw you out, I would... but I'm already juggling 15 things on my right hand while trying to figure you out with my left, so I guess I'll catch you at some point on the flip side. Maybe it's just not our time yet. Whatever.

And... to the ones who make the snap-judgments based on a single meeting, I say: Screw you.

It has been said by many, many people, and I will say it again: There will always be someone out there who has more than you, or looks better than you. They might be more articulate, or stylish. They might have a little more personal growth in their background. The list goes on, and you know what? Who the fuck cares? If anything, I think it's a great thing to meet people who can teach me a thing or two.

Most of us can stand to learn new things, am I right? I think we all have something to teach one another, and the quicker we learn this, the happier we will be.

That said, I believe life is way too damn short to worry about what some person you have only just met thinks of you. Just be yourself. Chances are? You are probably pretty great without adding any sort of affectation, or trying to make a good impression.

And if not? Try stuff out. Keep trying stuff out until you find something that makes you come alive, and thrive. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to make a living at it. It could simply be something that gives you enough enjoyment to keep going, and work a job that you may not necessarily love, but must do for survival. You also don't have to be a virtuoso in the beginning. No one is. We all have to start somewhere.

But you know what? You will have so much more energy for that job, than if you didn't pursue whatever it is that you love. Just try, damn it! And you never know: maybe the inspiration or idea to do something really well will lead to a better position or offer. Life takes strange turns at times.

Pay attention to them.

But don't pay attention to stupid people. After all? They are stupid. Spend more time reminiscing about the tape single while listening to this gem, dug up from my demented youth. It was a marvel.



-H

Monday, October 3, 2011

On when it is a good time to be dramatic and kick some ass:

Today was kind of a busy work day for me. I had a quick-turn project to work on in my studio. This basically means that the photographic subject matter is brought to me, and I shoot and process all in the same day. This is no big deal if I don't have a lot of other jobs in process, but right now, I do. I'm a busy lady, and I love it.

I was going to do this product shoot in my studio, but conditions were not really suitable for the pieces I was trying to capture. See, I work with refracted light when I am shooting glass, meaning I have to figure out a way to suspend the product over the light, and allow it to illuminate the pieces from underneath.

For now, because I have not yet built or found a glass table small and suitable enough to keep in my studio, I have been shooting the pieces on the glass shelves in my bathroom. Hey. Don't judge. I have done some AMAZEBALLZ work this way. So far, only my friend E has watched me do this. And she did for a while today, and totally cracked up, as I climbed into my bathtub, propping myself up on the edge to get the shots. It works. Whatever.

Anyway, because of this I did not notice that a transient had settled in on the property between my house and the neighbouring building, housing three businesses. This has been an ongoing issue for us since we have moved in here. The problem being, the dumpster and small inlet between the two properties. It is very easy for someone to go back there and hide from the world... well, most of it.

As soon as I did notice him, though, I called the police. This particular transient has been notorious for certain offenses. I had suspected someone was doing something there for a while, because I discovered my clothing catalogues opened to the lingerie section back there from time to time.

Yeah, I try not to think too much about it.

I told the dispatcher that I needed to step out to pick my children up and explained the pertinent situation to her. She said she would send someone out there to move the guy along.

Well, when I arrived back home, not only was he still there, but he was masturbating in plain view, and my children both saw everything, and of course shouted "EWWW!!!"

Yeah, that was fun. Explaining drunken transient masturbation to a five year old.

Not OK.

So, I called the police again, this time in practical hysterics, explaining what had just happened. once again, the dispatcher said she would send someone out.

About 20 minutes later, I received a knock on my door from someone I will refer to as "Officer Butthurt". He pointed to the transient, and asked me if that was who I was referring to.

I explained that it was, indeed.

He then had this to say: "So, you do realize that he not on your property?"

At this point it was very difficult for me not to verbally abuse this idiot. "Yes. But he is visible, and he is making my yard an unsafe place for my children to play."

"Explain to me what you saw today, Miss."

"It's Mrs., first of all, and secondly, I called for the first time at 2 PM. No one came to do anything then, even after I had explained that this man has a history of masturbating back there, in full view of everyone.

"When I came home from picking my children up from school, he was doing exactly that, and my children saw everything. Have you ever experienced the joys of explaining public, drunken, transient masturbation to a five year old? Well, I did about 20 minutes ago. That was GREAT fun!"

"Well, again, this is not on your property. I will go next door, and see if they are willing to have me remove him. If they let transients stay back there as a rule, I will have to let him stay."

"But the landlord has signed a no-trespassing agreement with the police department. Seriously. What the... huh???? Are you for real? Really? HE WAS MASTURBATING!!!! HE WAS EXPOSING HIMSELF TO MY 5 YEAR OLD! HOW IS THAT OK?"

"Those are the rules, Ma'am."

With that, he walked next door. I can't tell you how violated and under-valued I felt here, and now moreso by the police officer than the fucking drunken transient masturbator dude.

I thought they would set him straight and he would remove the man. No. They did not. And he did not.

Absolutely infuriated, I started texting my friends like a madwoman, since my children were being loud, and acting confused as to why I was keeping them in the back of the house, away from the windows. One friend suggested I alert the media. Another suggested I call the mayor's office. I finally just put a show on for my kids, quickly walked next door to the art gallery.

I walked up to one of the employees, and asked her: "Did a police officer come in here to speak to you about a transient?"

"Yes."

"Did you tell him to remove said transient?"

"No. I told him to call the landlord."

"Do you have the landlord's number."

"No. I don't."

"I need to explain the circumstances of this particular transient. He has been jerking off back there, and I can't even let my children go near the window right now. We need to remove him, stat!"

"I don't know what to tell you."

I walked to herb store. It had a sign on the door that said: "Be back in 5 minutes."

FUCK!

I walked into the record store, and explained the situation. He promptly gave me the phone number for the landlord. When I dialed it, it showed up as "Next door building landlord."

I am awesome.

I know it.

Shut up.

I called him in tears, explaining the situation to him. He was livid, since we both knew that he had gone to the Police department and signed the aforementioned agreement with them.

Mr. Hed arrived home not long after this, and I was in tears, and quite distraught, because it really felt like nothing was going to be done about this. He went into the basement and pulled out a shovel. I then spent about five minutes talking him out of getting popped for assault, because yeah... is it worth it? Not really. But it was nice to know that he was taking it seriously.

I instead, explained that I was more upset with how the police handled this than anything else. So, the next thing I knew, he was on the phone to the cops, giving them a real earful.

Thanks, honey.

His wife came over and smoothed things out with us, telling us how to handle the police, by telling them to be sure to check their records here, and look up the no-trespassing agreement.

Not long after that, I watched the man get arrested across the street. He is gone. Hopefully for good.

And we also received a call from the landlord of the building. He has plans to secure that area so the transient problem will hopefully be history.

But in the same call, he let us know that he talked to the same officer who originally responded. And because of the way things were handled in the first store he went into, and was told that he needed to call the landlord, but that they didn't have the phone number for the landlord, he felt "Jerked around", and just left.

So... because of an officer's ego, I had a rawther unpleasant afternoon.

Mr. Hed has plans to give them yet another earful tomorrow, because apparently he was told to call back on day shift. Uh... the officer felt jerked around? Really? Poor piggy.

Seriously. What a day! Good lord!

-H