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