Monday, January 31, 2011

conversations with a three year old

Conversations I had with three year old Tayla as I watched my friends' kids Saturday night:

(While watching The Great Mouse Detective)

Me: I loved this movie when I was little!

Tayla: When you get to three like me, you can watch this too.


Tayla: Can I pull the kitty's tail?

Me: No.

Tayla: Why not?

Me: Because it will hurt her.

Tayla: Will she scratch me?

Me: Yes, she will scratch you.

(Right. That's all that matters, kid.)


(While watching WALL-E, the space ship comes back for Eve and takes her away.)

Tayla: But she's good! She's a girl!

(Teach 'em young. Girls=good. Boys=Bad.)


(Tayla spots a bowl of candy)

Tayla: Ooooh what's that?

Me: That's bad for you.

Tayla: But what is it?

Me: Drugs.

Tayla: *eyeroll*


Tayla: I want the kitty to sit on my lap.

Me: I can't make her sit on your lap. She does what she wants.

Tayla: Why?

Me: Because she's a cat and she does what she wants. She has to want to. 

Tayla: Make her want to.


Tayla: Can I have the candy?

Me: Nope.


Me: Tayla, it's quiet time. Let's read a book and go to sleep.

Tayla: I don't want to.

Me: You don't have to want to. But I'm gonna read this book to your sister. You have to be quiet while we read.

(I read Curious George. About half way through...)

Tayla: I want to see too!


Tayla: Can I have the candy?

Me: Nope.


(After the book is done)

Tayla: I'll lay here but I'm keeping my eyes open until Mommy and Daddy get back.

Me: Good luck with that.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Song Sunday: Gravity

I discovered this song watching the indie flick Adam the other day, which, if you haven't seen it yet, you SO should. It's very good.

Anyway, Lucy Schwartz's music is quite lovely and so is this song. I think you'll love it. The video is sweet too, that is if you aren't a trained dancer and can spot shoddy dance moves. heh.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sexy Saturdays: Ask and you shall receive.


Happy Sexy Saturday, kiddos! I could not be more happy that my pal The Suniverse agreed to post today. This is long overdue. If you read my post about how the Raw Photos Contest began, you know how Sun and I met and became friends. Since, she and I have become close and I consider her one of my greatest friends.

She's like a big sister and I'd go to her for advice on just about anything. She's like me in that she's quirky and goofy and complicated and OCD. Plus she's a great writer with a rapier wit. If I could change anything about Sun, it would be to get her to post on her blog more. Maybe you all can help me shame this busy woman into making her blog a bigger priority in her very full life. Just kidding. But not really.

I think you'll really love this post. I love hearing her honest perspective. Oh wait, first go follow her on the twitter and subscribe to her blog.


I like sex.  Really, really like it.  A lot.

It's fun and nasty and silly and dirty and serious and passionate and a great way for me to release tension.  It's also a fun way to get to know people.  You know, like an ice breaker.

I wanted sex, or at least the idea of sex, from about high school age and on.  I was, however, so sheltered, that I wasn't sure what happened where. 

True story:  I was 16 when I saw a Playgirl magazine and realized that men had pubic hair, too.  Seriously.

Unfortunately, I didn't like sex so much when I started.  When I was 19.


Did I mention the sheltered thing?  I was raised in a VERY STRICT household, where being a virgin was far more important than, say, being a nice person.

It wasn't easy getting over the idea that sex was evil, and particularly the idea that sex outside of marriage meant you were going straight to hell, and that actually enjoying sex meant you were a whore and should be taken out back and shot.  Or at least beaten.

Yeah.  That'll give you some conflicting feelings.

Anyway, I had sex a few times with a few people before I realized it was not only ok to have fun, but perfectly acceptable to ask for particular things.  In fact, people REALLY LIKED IT when I would ask for something, when I was involved in making decisions and not just kind of going along and [maybe] quietly seething because oh, my god, why aren't you moving this way, you idiot?

Being vocal, being strong enough to ask for what I wanted took some time.  Actually, it took some time to ask one night stands.  It took FOREVER to ask someone I was in a relationship with.  Because I figured I'd be judged as, you know, a whore.

But when I was finally comfortable to do that, to say, "Listen, I'd like it if you did this," it was amazing. 

That, my friends, was a revelation. 

I could ask for something, willingly get it [boy, people will give up pretty much anything when asked while they're having sex, won't they?], and not be ashamed about it.

That last thing?  That's the best part.

Not being ashamed with a lover, or a one night stand or with your mate.  That feeling of freedom, of knowing it's o.k. to ask for what you want, and even if it's a little out there, there will be no judgment.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Portland Foodie: Chocolate Fest!

So it seems all I can write about is chocolate. Huh. Either that, or the only potent potable that has stirred my palate to spew my delight into words is chocolate. But I don't hear anyone complaining. And hey, this post is also about wine. Because wine is the dirty mistress of chocolate in such a happy way.

But enough about that. On to Chocolate Fest! Chocolate Fest here in beautiful Portland is Oregon's premier chocolate event. The event is an annual fundraiser for the World Forestry Center in Portland's Washington Park. It cost $10 at the Convention Center and entrance got me into a miles (okay, maybe not MILES) of booths handing out copious samples of fudge, ganache, hot chocolate, mint, cupcakes, kettle corn, wine, sake, and products made from cocoa.

I tasted a lot of goodies that day, but am only sharing my faves. Are you ready? Awesome!

Isn't this purty?
The Dessert Tray is all about baking. They were handing out samples of red velvet cupcakes which just, mmm, hold on, I need a moment. The fluffy, dreamy cake just melted in my mouth and the butter cream frosting, oh my crap. Heaven. 

Plus? I am all about the pretty bakes good. Feast for my eyes and my mouth. I am glad this bakery is not near my house because I would be there incessantly. And I would be 50 lbs heavier. Every pound worth it.

Taza Choclate is not for everyone, I think. It's stone ground organic chocolate which gives it a very dry texture at first. But, if you let it melt, it does get creamy. It's very flavorful, however, and I love that they had many interesting flavors to choose from.

I tried the chili chocolate and very much enjoyed the rumba of flavor action. Seriously, at first, all you taste is the rich chocolate then the tones of chili start to release on your tongue in a very delicate way. The sweet with spice is exciting and, thankfully, not overpowering. Don't worry, white folks, you won't need a glass of milk to cool this off.

AND, lucky for you, you can get Taza near you. Mostly likely. I mean, I doubt you can get it in Belarus. Just sayin'.

On to our first wine booth! This year, you had to pay for wine tasting. But with as much as you got, it was more than a fair price.  Barefoot Wines offered a small selection of wines, but what they do they do well. Pretty much what you see above is what they offer.

I tasted the Sweet Red and the Moscato. The Sweet Red was exactly as described. A distinctly sweet, sugary tone with hints of the bitter Merlot underneath with flavors of raspberry, pomegranate, and cherry. I'm reminded of a line from Grease: "It says right here: It's a dessert wine." The Sweet Red would be great with cupcakes or...wait for it...chocolate! They recommend it with meat, but dude, it's dessert in and of itself.

The Moscato was not my favorite, but I didn't dislike it. I tasted it after the sweet, so it may have ruined it for me. The bottle claims to be sweet, but in comparison, it's got the bitterness you expect from a white wine. You can taste the orange and tangerine flavors which are subtle enough to not feel like you're drinking juice. I would probably drink a wine like this with savory foods.

Seely Family Farms
 I am sad to report that Seely Family Farms is only available in Oregon. Because it is pure bliss. Do you like mint? Do you think you've had the best there is of mint? Well you're wrong. This is the best mint I have ever tasted in the whole of my life. And I am a mint lover.

Their products are made from pure Oregon mint oil, not a blend of imported oils and menthol crystals, and you can absolutely taste the difference. It's heaven. These peppermint patties were a blend of pure mint flavor which explodes in your mouth with such a smooth, creamy texture that you can't even imagine. The chocolate only provides a base so that you don't die of minty rapture.

If you come to Oregon, either come during Chocolate Fest or trek out to Clatskanie and visit their farm. I know I may do just that. Oh! and they also sell other mint products like pure mint oil. I'm getting all fuzzy just thinking about it.

A Little Bit of Sweet is exactly what you expect in a baker/confectioner. Simple, sweet baked goods with a light fluffiness. Chocolates that melt on contact and leave you in euphoria. They kept shoveling chocolate samples down my gullet and I was not complaining. I loved their style. If they made it, there was a sample of it.

My favorite was a chocolate/peanut butter combo that killed me out of deliciousness right there on the spot. The textures were so unbelievable creamy and the flavors so, how do I say this, accurate? Real? I felt like I'd killed the chocolate peanut butter cow and was enjoying its raw tastes. I know that sounds nasty, but that's how potent it was.

And have no fear! You too can have chocolate euphoria. This bakery confectionery ships to you. I would get on that yo.

Lest we end up in a food coma, let's taste a little more wine! HV Cellars is from Southern Oregon. A lovely, family owned vineyard and you can taste that. This may have been my favorite spot and I wish I'd purchased a bottle or 12. They offer different varietal fruit wines that defy that concept of fruit wines. They're decidedly NOT undertones of fruit because, unlike most fruit wines, they don't flavor grape wines; these wines are made from the different fruits and berries.

I tried the Blackberry, Pomegranate, and Pear wines. I didn't love the Pear because, well, I don't really like pears. The Blackberry and Pomegranate are both in contention for my faves for decidedly different reasons. The Blackberry tasted like, yes, blackberries. It was potent and tart, full of so much flavor without tasting too sweet. The Pomegranate was sweeter, as pomegranates are, but still full of all the richness you'd find from pomegranate juice with the bite of a wine. In other words: YUM!

It's a good thing they ship, because I might just be their new loyal customer. I heartily recommend them.

 I confess I stopped at Ladybug Chocolates because of their cute uniforms. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a uniform. And they didn't disappoint. I didn't die of joy from their products, but I sampled all their goods eagerly and relished each bite. Their truffles are simple, traditional, yet just how you want chocolate to be. Velvety and gently zesty.

They do make a bacon and maple truffle which they were out of and I am dying to try. Sweet and savory? Yes, please. Bacon? Yes, please. They also sell candy making supplies which I find totally cool. I mean, I'd love to learn to make candy if I weren't so lazy and there weren't so many confectioners out there doing it for me and doing it better that I ever could. Nonetheless, well done, ladybugs!

Look at the size! The SIZE!
 I am not a sake connoisseur by any means, but this is some serious sake action right here. I paid $4 for the world sake tour, which means I basically paid 4 bucks for like 6 some odd shots of sake. If you know sake at all, you know that you sip it in small increments. And this girl can't really handle her alcohol. Really cannot handle it. And I'd already tasted quite a bit of wine by this point. Needless to say, this booth kicked my ass.

I liked the classic sake, very smooth with the strong bite I'm used to with sake. I didn't love the unfiltered sake. The consistency reminded me vaguely of milk of magnesia. Not a great combo. The coconut sake was very tasty, but, again, I didn't love the thick consistency. Now, after like 4 shots or so, I have no idea what the next flavor was. It was fruity, with the consistency of champagne, and I loved it. The bubbles were delicate as was the flavor. This sake is only available in the tasting room, which means now I have to go to the tasting room.

My very favorite, which is also only available in the tasting room, is the Cranberry Limeade Sake cocktail. This is the kind of drink that gets you into trouble. It tasted like a backyard party type cocktail. Tart yet sweet, full of flavor with a slight edge. AND, as luck would have it, I have the recipe:

4 oz. Momokawa Silver Saké
3/4 oz. Cranberry Monin Simple Syrup
1 tsp. Frozen Limeade concentrate
1/4 cup Ice

I saved my very favorite for last. I visited this booth twice because it was just that intoxicating. In fact, I suspect they put some sort of addictive substance in their fudge.

Yes, fudge. I tried lots of fudge that day, but none quite so smooth, quite so creamy, quite so flavorful, quite so daring.

I tried all 7 fudge flavors, but none so delightfully scrumptious as the Root Beer Fudge. You heard me right. Root Beer. Now, if you don't like root beer, don't worry, there are plenty of other flavors for you. But, I happen to lurve root beer and this fudge is like a rich, fudgey eruption of my favorite soda. Darker than a root beer float but just as equally pungent and velvety. 

Yes, I bought a tub. I'm doing my best to make it last. I'm also told they have hand-dipped truffles but I didn't even get to those.

*I have to make a correction.  The root beer fudge was made by Wallowa Lake Fudge Company, not IC Confections. What can I say? I had too much wine. But I must say that both companies had excellent fudge and you just can't go wrong.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Girl's Club

Hot topics seem to trend in and out. Hot button issues.

And lately? Gender roles and inequality seem to be on a lot of bloggers' minds. Many of my friends have brought up the topic lately. This is something close to my heart so, of course, I can't leave it at a short yet entirely too long comment. I have to tackle it too.

I've always been fascinated by gender roles. Always. From the little girl who didn't understand when my little guy friends didn't want me to play with their boy toys to the woman who struggles today, it's always been an issue for me.

As a little girl, I asked for Big Foot, the monster truck, for Christmas. Not the toy, the actual truck. I was 3. Needless to say, my parents got me the toy, which I'd put my Barbie in and have her drive all over my house.
3yo me SO wanted this!
That's what I've always been: a Barbie in a monster truck. And what's wrong with that? Why the distinctions of gender roles? We all exist somewhere in between those worlds, those two worlds which we like to think are distinct delineations of hormones and sex organs. But that's just not the case.

I don't bring this up a lot. Mostly because it's not necessarily relevant to my daily discourse. I was raised Mormon (dundunDUUUUUUUUN). Both my parents were converts and I think we all know how insane my mom is and how supportive my dad is. At church I learned to toll paint and make cookies and talk about values and that marriage and babies are paramount. At home I was told I could be whatever I wanted. What did I want? I wanted to be an astronaut, the President, and a ballerina.

All in a dress.

Let me know when they make dresses for astronauts.

As a teen, I was wildly rebellious. I discovered feminism. I burned my bras. I went to the extreme (as teens do) of what was an expression of my burgeoning beliefs. I was bored with church activities. The boys got to hike and play basketball while the girls learned to sew. What the fuck is that? So I talked the leaders in organizing a girl's white water rafting trip.

It's probably obvious that I left the church while I was barely an adult and I didn't come out of the closet as queer until my mid twenties. THAT story is not necessarily relevant to our discussion today. But what is relevant is that I always suspected I was slightly different than my peers and I knew palpably that that was okay.

In college, I studied literature that addressed gender and ethnic roles, whether in post-colonial lit or Chinese lit or modernist American lit. It is all related. And you know what I think? It all comes down to fear of difference and control of the subjugated. Gender roles enforce control of the ruling class in society and the subversion of a society's traditional can help a conquering nation subjugate native people. But the subversion of these roles within a society? Can begin revolutions. Which I think is insanely cool.

But what of that subversion? Feminism was supposed to free both sexes, at least according to Gloria Steinem. It was never meant to just empower women and leave men in the dust. It was supposed to blur the lines of gender and allow both sexes to choose their paths sans the restricting patriarchy.

I don't see that happening.

The other day, one of my fave bloggers Stay at Home Dad PDX wrote a post about how hard it is to be a stay at home dad in a world of women. Tell me how many times you've heard a dad referred to in disparaging terms. Bumbling and stupid, that's how we picture men, with a woman always coming to the rescue. We expect men to be captains of industry but sheer idiots at home.

Which, frankly, pisses me the fuck off.

I am not a mother. I am not a mommy blogger. I don't have any logical investment in this world. But women? We should be ashamed of ourselves for this. I suspect the reasoning for this girl's club is complicated.

I think it's partly about being threatened. About having a place in the world that belongs just to women and that men aren't allowed to take over (as they have taken over the rest of the world since time immemorial). But ladies? This is counter-productive. Some men are great at the traditionally homemaker schtuff. Cooking and cleaning and caring for little ones. How many of you SAHMs have complained about the thanklessness of your home jobs? Don't you think you could develop a little empathy for men in that role too?

And don't tell me that a man who's great with his kids isn't incredibly sexy. Okay, I could see how some of you wouldn't be turned on by that, but I lurve it and I know a great many women who do too.

But how many women suck at that? I know many gals who cannot cook, hate to clean, hate children (or don't have the patience or attention span to be home all day). How many women excel in the business world? And who have fought to break glass ceilings and climb corporate ladders? Don't we applaud these women? So why are we so exclusive when a man wants to leave that world and stay home or even to choose a traditionally female job?

Pot? Is that you? 

Women these days are under more pressure than ever to have it all. We've surpassed feminism too far in some ways and now it's not about choosing our own paths; we're expected to simply do both. While looking beautiful and well dressed. Are you kidding me? That seems insane to me. Nobody has that much time and energy in a day.

So if a man recognizes that maybe he's better at home and supporting his ambitious wife, what's the problem? Or a woman chooses to live alone and work full time, what's the problem? Or anyone of any gender decides to work part time to spend more time with their children (or their cats), what's the problem?

And don't get me started on queer theory and gender. That's a dissertation for another day. In fact, until I do get around to writing that, go read my pal Made of Words. But be prepared for queer nakedy pictures. I love it, but it's not exactly safe for work. 

I realize we cling to these roles tightly because we're ingrained to believe they're the threads of our society. But I'm here to tell you two things:

1. If you pull those threads, we won't die. Subversion can be healthy for a society to stay alive. Change means we grow instead of implode. I mean, look at Rome.

2. Our society ain't built on all the grand hoopla they taught us in school. We're not built on a utopia; we're built on salacious scandal and subjugation (how's that for alliteration?). On slavery. On racism. On warmongering and genocide. On unyielding patriarchy.  On utter brutality and bigotry. I won't comment on the current political state right now, but just crack open any history book (despite being written in favor of the Great White Male) and see the mayhem.

All I'm saying is to question these roles. Question their supposed sanctity. Question why we hang on to them? Relax a little. It won't kill us to realize that blurring the lines is healthy and we all really live between the lines anyway.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Marathon Weekend

What a weekend I had! As you know, if you're a loyal and obedient reader, my cousin Stacey was in town last weekend and that woman ran me ragged. We tromped. We ate. We shopped. We saw. It was fun and exhausting. I hope she's as exhausted as I am. If not, I'm finally admitting that she's a robot with endless energy.
isn't she purty?
She got in Friday evening and it was off to Hungry Tiger for dinner and drinks (incidentally, Hungry Tiger is one of my fave restaurants here in Portland and I'll be writing about it soon.) and to consume entirely too much food. Then karaoke (of course) where she saw how kooky and crazy the places I love to frequent (and the kooky people who go there too).

Oh, and I should also mention that we had technical difficulties. First, Stacey's portable phone charger depleted her phone battery overnight and then when we tried to charge it on her computer, it wouldn't turn on for the longest time. We thought we'd have to go get her a new phone! But it was okay, it finally charged up; it was just that depleted.

On top of that, Stace has a HMO (dundunDUUUN) and said monstrous HMO which rules the entire world does not have an office near where her boyfriend lives in Northern California and where she's spent the last few weeks. So she needed to refill her very simple and not in any way contraband prescription here in Portland.

Well, they gave her the ever-lovin' runaround. They had to transfer it. They had to call her old pharm in Los Angeles. They said they'd call her when it was ready. No wait, they think the LA office is closed on the weekend (it wasn't. we called ourselves.). Then finding a location with a pharmacy open on the weekend here was an ordeal. Yikes. It was a mess.

And, look, I am the daughter of a genuine, bona fide prescription drug addict. I am all for drug control. But her prescription? Was harmless. You can't OD on it (and you wouldn't want to). You can't sell it on the street. Something like this you should be able to get more than one month's supply at a time, especially if you're traveling. Good freaking grief.

So Saturday was a DAY. She needed to go to Ikea to get stuffs to decorate the house so we call in said prescription to a location near NE Portland (I live in SE). So after a yummy breakfast, we head north and tromp around the ever-crowded town of Ikea. By the time we were done at about 3:30 or so, they still hadn't called about her script.

And we still had to make it to the one destination we'd really wanted to see: Chocolate Fest! (which ended at 5). So we said screw it to the prescription (we'd deal with it on Sunday) and booked it to the Convention Center. I won't even begin to tell you all about Chocolate Fest because I'm writing a Portland Foodie post about it (in an attempt to apparently convince you all I only write about chocolate), but suffice to say, we arrived having not eaten any lunch and proceeded to sample all the amazing chocolate and wine we could procure in one hour.
miles of fudge
 It was delicious. It was decadent. It was devilishly gluttonous. I was a little trashed and bloated by the time we were done.

So then it was off to Thai food at my fave local Thai place in SE Portlandia where we finally got real food and I ate my body's weight in noodles. Needless to say, because of the horror I subjected my stomach to, I didn't sleep much Saturday night. Where's a stomach pump when you need one?

Sunday morning we couldn't get hold of the original pharmacy we called her script into on Saturday so we found one slightly closer and called them. The gal there seemed on top of it and said she'd get it read and call us soon.

So after bagels and coffee, we headed downtown where we tromped around and I made Stacey experience all the joy that is Powell's Books. Then we settled in at a sport's bar to eat hot wings and drink beer (which was surely a mistake considering it digestive acrobatics on Saturday) and watch the Packers slaughter the Bears (and let's be frank, I don't really care about either team, but I love a fun game).

But we still hadn't heard from the pharmacy by the game's end, so we called and lo and behold! It was ready. Though I still can't believe they didn't call. At this point, it's about 3ish (a technical term) and the pharmacy closed at 8. We had plenty of time.

Anyway, we could've headed over to the pharmacy right then, but Stace also wanted to watch the Steelers Jets game. So we hopped on the MAX and found another bar to watch the game closer to home (which was the most boring football game of my life even thought the Jets perked up in the second half. and I HATE a boring game. dude, why watch then?). The game didn't end until almost 7 (and of course we were there to the bitter end) and we immediately hopped in the car to hustle over to the pharmacy.

We got there about 7:30 and took a million and three years to find an open door and the pharmacy. I finally just parked it and Stace got out and found it just in time. AND (hallefuckinglujah!) the pharmy took pity and gave her a 3 month supply. Thank the lard for nice people.

By the time we got home, I was so utterly beat from the past two days. I couldn't even eat dinner. We watched a movie and snacked on crackers and cookies until we both passed out.

Sunday morning we awoke early and got our no longer skinny asses to Voodoo, because you absolutely cannot visit Portland for the first time and not go to Voodoo. I'm pretty sure it's a law. They check your breath and BMI at the Oregon-California border to make sure. Stace had the Maple Bacon Bar (a personal fave) which rocked her world.

Then I hugged my older cuz, helped her load her car, and sent her on her way. I assume drove safely because she texted me on Tuesday.

I'm sure, like me, she won't be eating any more chocolate for a week (though she DID buy more than me at Chocolate Fest). And it's a good thing I had leftovers from our dinners because I spent my whole week's food budget in three days.

And I don't have any photos of me or the two of use because those are all on Stacey's point and shoot and, knowing my cousin as I do, I'll probably never see them. 

What a weekend. I should get a medal like they give marathoners. A prize just for finishing.

Raw Photos: We have a winner! (Reader's Choice)

You guys voted and we tallied the votes. But I must say, while I could definitely have voted for more than a few of these shots, you all did good. You chose well, as they say.

And we have a winner!

First, our runner up, who lost by only one point:

Frosty Viewpoint
by psychmamma

Now the photo you've all been waiting for, a feat of photography sans photoshop, the winner of the Your Best Raw Photos Contest.....

Wait for it....


The winner is:

sunset from a cave
by spenc_parker_2009

Congratulations, Spencer Parker! You are a Raw Photo Maven!

Contact awesomecrazylady at gmail dot com to collect your badge!

Don't put your cameras away yet because the next contest begins in early March!

Theme: What Makes You Laugh
Watch for details!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Photo of the Day: Stacey

Stacey This is my lovely cousin Stacey who was in town this past weekend. Yes, she's a natural blond. No, she didn't know I was taking this shot. No, I don't know where she got that adorable scarf.

I will have to write another post about our shenanigans. Woman ran me ragged.

Raw Photos: Your Best Finalists! (Reader's Choice)

Well, this month was a bit of a breeze for me and Sun. And let me tell you, I was glad it wasn't up to me because there were so many amazing shots to choose from! You guys had your work cut out for you.

BUT, we had some clear leaders. Without further ado, I give you your finalists (in no particular order):

sunset from a cave
by spenc_parker_2009
Wow. This is spectacular. Love the negative space and framing. 

Frosty Viewpoint
by psychmamma
Man oh man. Love the awesome depth of field and the crystally detail. 

Lightening over Clear Lake
by Bitchin' Amy
So much going on here! Love the bright sunset, the dynamic sky, the lightning, and the negative space!

by steffsux
I want to kill the printer. The perspective of this is gorgeous and haunting. Plus? I love Holgas.

Venice night sky
by Hssheldon
So vibrant! Love the dynamic clouds and the palm tree silhouettes. Reminds me of home.

Check back tomorrow to find out the winner!

Monday, January 24, 2011

cat toys

Around our house, cat toys are aplenty. Believe me. These two are super spoiled.

Even more so when I worked more than full time and I feel would feel guilty leaving them alone so much (Yes, I am insane. I realize. Moving on.) and could afford to, I was always buying them new toys. Every time I went to the pet store for food or kitty litter (which is the utter bane of my existence), I'd get a new toy. Every time I went to the grocery store for all those kinds of things one goes to a grocery store to acquire and subsequently consume, if I spotted a cute cat toy they might like, I'd get it.

I had a problem.

So you should have no doubt about the oodles of love I shower upon my felines.

Don't get me started on Jeté's blankie. Yes, she has a blankie. It's a long story and I finally took it away because the thing was disgusting because she drug it everywhere. 

They don't get many new toys these days but they do have a toy box. A cloth orange box I purchased for five dollars at Ikea. They know their toys are there and I know when they've dipped into the toy box because it's been tipped on its side. Well, it's probably usually Hobbes because he's more playful and he's a strong effing cat and he likes to tip things over just to see what's inside. Like the trash can, which, incidentally, is not filled with toys.

But they don't often dip into the toy box these days. They prefer to steal pens and jewelry or any other small object that catches their eyes. Back in California, they'd lose all their toys and look at me like I just needed to supply new ones. Then I'd find huge piles of balls and mice under the couch and against the sliding glass door where they'd inevitably end up in the midst of playtime.

However, they've been less playful of late. I now blame that on myself for not supplying them with endless toys and not taking enough time to play with them. I chalked it up to Jeté getting older, but she's only 7 and despite having cancer, she hasn't presented symptoms yet so cancer shouldn't really be slowing her down yet.

It's really my fault.

The other day, my bestie and roomie tied a shoestring to one of their mice toys, an old realistic-looking white mouse who'd lost its tail and eyes long ago that has a small rattle inside, and blew their minds.
just a raggedy mouse with a shoestring
To be fair, they do have another mouse that's tied to a shoestring which I made years ago. But that toy is old and boring and the mouse tied to it is cheesy and fake and the shoestring decimated from hours of cat killing.

This toy! is new! and exciting! and new!

It's like a flying mouse! that rattles!

They've been going crazy. And getting tons of attention because both Lynnette and I play with them avec said toy all the time. AND, don't tell him I told you, but I supect the other roomie is playing with them too sometimes.

Jeté and Hobbes are in heaven.

All I have to do is rattle the little mouse and they come running.
I drag it around the house. I wave it around in the air (which is their favorite part). I play keep away between them.

They love it.

Hobbes is more fascinated with the mouse. How is that thing flying? Ce n'est pas possible, he thinks. Or, he would if he thought in French. I suspect he speaks Pig Latin, but that's just me.
not sure how this happened
Jeté is more fascinated with the string. She knows the string is attached to the mouse and she is determined to destroy it. In fact, I've found it dismantled from the jaws of Jeté several times and tied it back together. She's the smart one in the operation and she knows it.
the hunter prepares to eat its prey
I've even woken up and found the toy on my bed, a not so subtle hint to wake up and play with us, woman!

Sometimes Jeté will meow at me mournfully for no good reason. I check her food and water. Nothing. I try to cuddle. No, not cuddle time. So I ask her, "Where's your toy?" And she'll take me to it. Playtime. NOW!
They've been addicted to the new toy and both of them have been bounding with energy. One new toy and they're totally different cats! It's really a joy to see and it's making me take the time to play with them more. Quality time for both the kitties and moi-self.

Since Jeté was diagnosed with a sarcoma, I have made a point to never turn down cuddles. She gets as many as she wants when she wants because I don't have much time with her left and I'm going to miss stroking her insanely soft fur and she purrs like a Hemi. But more than that, I know I'll regret not giving her as much loves as possible.

It just didn't occur to me to give her as much playtime as possible too. And playfullness is the first thing she'll lose.
So, for now? Thanks to their loverly benefactor Lynnette. Because we are going to play as much as possible.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Song Sunday: Who You Are

My brilliant bestie and roomie Lynnette sent me this song the other day and I instantly fell in love with Jessie J and this song.

I love everything about this. The song, the lyrics and their message, her incredible, throaty voice, her style, even the delicate way this way filmed. I hope you love it as much as I do.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sexy Saturdays: Sexy Underthings

Guess what day it is kiddos! That's right. Sexy Saturday. Awwwwwwwyeah! 

I am so tickled to bring you this week's poster. Jen from Outside Looking In is quite possibly one of the sweetest, funniest, talentedest (not a word, but I was going with the "est" theme) gals I've had the pleasure of meeting. She and I haven't known each other for long though. I'm not even sure how she found me on the twitter, maybe at #wineparty(?), but at any rate, I liked her immediately. 

She's kind while not holding back with a rapier wit, mucho talented without being vain in the slightest, which we'll have to work on. Let's all boost her ego mmmk? when she finally pointed out her blo to my unobservant brain, I subscribed at once because I knew I couldn't get enough. Plus? Love her photos! You all know how much a love a talented fellow photog!

Make sure you check out her blog and follow her on the twitter. Then? Enjoy!

Andy asked me to write an article about the sex?  For her blog? 


Am *I* even qualified to talk about the sex?  Especially since I call it “the sex”.  Should I tell her how long it’s been since the lady bits have seen any genital to genital interaction?  This single parenting, it’s a rough gig y’all.

I was going to tell you a story about my post divorce crazy sex phase.  That time right after my divorce when I would probably have humped anything that walked, but stuck to those with man genitals.  That girl that got married having only done the sex with her now husband then got divorced and HOLY SHIT IS IT SUPPOSED TO FEEL THIS GOOD period.  But, I think many of us have those right?  That time when you discover lots of new things about the sex and realize that OMG I *CAN* ORGASM DURING SEX…….frequently.  ::hallelujah::  And did y’all know that THERE ARE people that ENJOY having their face sat on?  I like those people…..a lot.

But, instead I will tell you that tonight I went on a date.  With a REALLY cute guy.  Who was seemingly normal.  Also?  There.was.LOTS.of.tension.  Sexual tension.  The way he put his hand on the small of my back as we walked inside the restaurant.  His hot breath on my neck when he whispered in my ear during the movie.  His hand on my thigh.  The way he grabbed me and kissed me.  Oh.em.gee.  ::shiver::  The witty banter, the great conversation.  It was a phenomenal date.

But, here I sit telling you folks about it instead of STILL ON THE DATE!  It’s only 1:00am, I could easily be 3 to 4 orgasms in by now.  Don’t think I wasn’t 0.00002 seconds from blurting out “do you wanna come over?”  Tonight?  I wore unsexy underthings.  On purpose.  I knew if I wore the old, trusted hipsters that I would not be having the sex tonight.  And why on earth would I do that?  Because y’all, this guy was so nice and so sweet.  I don’t want to mess this up from the start.  The post-divorce, sex crazed Jen would have said “screw the date, just come over so we can fuck”.

But sweet, tiny baby Jesus I would have ravaged him in the back seat of that fancy car of his.  I would have asked him to come over and teased him the entire way home.  Until we busted in the door and he pinned me against the wall.  Pulled the buttons right off that cute button down of his and dug my nails into the skin on his back.  My bet?  He’s just as fantastic without his clothes on as he is with them on.

Date number two is tomorrow night.  Date number two is a good night to wear the sexy panties right?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Photo of the Day: Silly

We've had some rare sunny winter days here in the Portland and you know the cats are taking full advantage of that, stretching out in the patches of sun. And lest you think from my previous photos that Hobbes is a graceful or fancy or aloof cat simply by his sheer photogenic face, THIS, my friends, is how my Hobbes usually looks. Pure silliness.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On Planning

I made a new friend the other night. He was 22, a student, the whole world ahead of him. He and I talked for some time about careers and education and picking a path. He was very concerned that he had to "pick something" and that he create a back-up plan just in case.

And oh how I did relate! 22 year old me was exactly the same. I have always been a planner by nature, but, as life is wont to do, my plans rarely stayed on course and being somewhat flexible has allowed my brain to stay relatively intact. So I felt compelled to tell him the secret to surviving life: you can always change your mind.

Though I could tell he believed me and even valued my input (imagine that!), he was nervous to really accept this truth. So I told him: Make your plans. Stick to them. But don't give them too much weight or let them rule you, because life rarely works out the way you intend and you can always change your mind. And if you do change your mind? Everything will be fine. If things don't work out? You won't die from it.

I am convinced this is the secret of life. How vain of me, I realize, to purport to know the secret of life. BUT, I think I'm on to something!

First, I think the dedication to a plan you choose when you're barely an adult is what causes heart attacks and resentment and depression. This isn't 1964. I don't think you have to choose one career before you even begin college, meet your life partner when you're 21, get married, buy a house, and pop out 4.5 kids, all before your thirties.

How do we think we're even emotionally smart enough to make all those life decisions at such a young age? And after we've chosen so young, we felt we had to stick with it or become pariahs. Well I call bullshit.

Life is fluid. And instead of forcing a path, I've chosen to let life find me. Sure, that hasn't always worked out in the ways I'd hoped, but I've also had some cool experiences and flexibility helps me stay somewhat positive (that is, when I'm not snarking the world to death).

I wish I'd kept better journals as a teen. Because what I wouldn't give to read you my young plans. I wanted to be married by 25 and running Vogue Magazine, all while adopting 4 kids and fighting injustice in third world countries. I had big plans.

But life never quite follows your well-laid plans.

Instead, I did all sorts of different things in all sorts of crazy orders.

I got two AAs (two AAs don't make a BA, ps). Bounced between every industry from fashion to television to event planning. I got my BA at 26. I lived abroad. I got engaged at 25 and we'd broken up before I was 26. Somewhere along the way I adopted two cats. I discovered things I loved like writing and photography and travel and food.

At some point, I figured out I preferred the things I loved to a solid paycheck. I fell in love. Had my heart broken. Met new people. Made new friends. Left others behind. Started cutting out those in my life who were toxic. Made huge, scary changes. Made huge, scary moves. Surprised people. Showed my loyalty and reliability to others.

Life can change drastically in a single moment. And the only way to live, I think, is to change with it. What seemed like a brilliant plan when I was 22 now seems slightly naive to me. But there are things I'm glad I went for back then because each step led to where I am today.

Recently,  my friend Sonja asked me if I saw myself staying in Portland forever (Or something to that effect. I'd had some wine. Shut up.). I replied, "I don't know." I don't know not because I don't like it here or because I don't think I could be happy here for some time. But because I honestly don't know what the future holds. I don't know where life will take me. Maybe it will take me to Seattle or the east coast or Europe or South East Asia or maybe just to the other side of the city.

I don't know and I'm okay that I don't know. Somewhere in the last 12 years I stopped making strident plans. I still make goals. But the fluidity of those goals astounds even me. Hardly a thing has worked out like I planned at 18 or 20 or 22, but I've learned so much and grown so much. All, I think, due to being flexible with each curve ball thrown my way (would you look at that! a sports metaphor!).

So what am I rambling on and on about? This: make plans, but be okay with changing them. Plans help us get through the day, sure, but being able to let them go helps us get through life.

You can always change your mind.

Except with tattoos and children. Can't send those back, despite what my mother always told me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

the eldest child

My older cousin Stacey is coming to visit this weekend and I am so stoked! I haven't seen this lady in forever and I just know we're going to have a blast.

I haven't talked about Stace much, mostly because the woman is so busy I don't remember the last time I saw her. And that's back when I lived in California.

But it's really about time I did. My two cousins and I are like sisters and I love them like sisters. We certainly have a sisterly dynamic and we've each lived with one of the others at some point in our childhoods. But more than that, our moms are sisters and each had only children and wanted the three of us to be close.

Stacey is definitely the eldest sister. She's 5 years older than me and the story goes that she was there the day my parents picked me up from social services and she didn't understand why I wouldn't play with her (I was 3 months old). I was definitely a toy for Stace in my younger years and I ate up every minute. I worshipped her. 

Once, when I was two, we were visiting Stace and my Aunt Paula, and when it was time to leave, I apparently threw a royal fit. Cried like it was the end of the world, as two year olds do, because leaving your favorite person is akin to a world-wide disaster when you're two. Well, Stace went in the house and found her favorite pink doll and gave it to me. That was Pink Baby and I carried that doll everywhere until I was much too old to be carrying a doll everywhere. In fact, in later years, when I was Stacey's annoying little cousin, she threatened to take Pink Baby away in order to get me to leave her alone.

I still have it. Damn thing looks like a faded pink monkey that was left in the rain now.

I am definitely the middle child. In childhood, I vied for attention from Stacey. Lindsey is definitely the youngest and back then I hated that Stacey would baby her. There's this old reel film of us after Lindsey was just born and Stacey is fawning all over Linds and I am pouting the most spectacular of pouts. I still think if they'd only let me near the baby I wouldn't have been so jealous.

Of course, over the years, Lindsey and I got super close. We're close in age so we spent a lot of time together growing up. These days, I count Linds as one of my best friends too.

Back then, I wanted nothing more than to not be the middle child. And to be blond like them. Being adopted, I hated my brunette hair in the middle of my two blond cousins.

Isn't this the sweetest picture ever? I love my cousins
And if you have any doubt about our sisterness, you should just see ALL the matchy photos we had to take every Easter and Christmas. Oh yeah.  Poor Stacey. Being the oldest, she bore the brunt of the uncoolness of it most of all.
Yes, I am the brunette
My Aunt Paula (Stacey's mom) had cancer for the whole of my youth and during a chunk of that time, Stacey lived with us. By that time, Stacey was my very cool older cousin and I was the annoying little sister. When she played house with her friends, she made me be the dog. The dog! Which, of course, I was happy to be just to be able to play with her and her friends.

Then, of course, I'd retaliate with Lindsey and when we played, I'd make her be the boy. We both still bear the scars of that. THANKS, Stacey.

Of course, by the time adulthood rolled around, I'd pretty much grown out of my big sister worship, but I hung on probably a little too long than I should have. Stacey was so pretty. Stacey was so cool. Stacey had all the best clothes.

Stacey's mom passed when she was 12 (miss my Aunt Paula so much!) and left her a decent inheritance to get her through college, etc. But in my teen years, if Stacey was visiting, that meant shopping! Linds and I both had pretty meager households so those shopping trips were heaven to us and I think Stace liked spoiling her little cousins.

Even though I'd grown out of my childhood worship of Stacey, she still gave me a lot of my first experiences with the world and instilled in me my love of travel. We lived together when I was 21 in Hollywood and she was my introduction to the big city. Most of my friends at that time were her friends and they all treated me like a cool little sister.

That time wasn't perfect. She and I bickered like the sisters we'd forgotten we were. But we both learned a lot about each other. She and I are totally different in a lot of ways. And sometimes it did get old sometimes when Stace would get drunk and grab my cheeks and talk to me like I was 5 again. Yeah, that was fun.

Stacey took me on my first trip to New York, thus beginning my love of New York, and encouraging my attempts to move there after fashion school (that didn't happen as I decided to stay in Los Angeles instead). She got my my first gig in television and supported me completely when I decided to go back to school, which meant moving to a small college town.

She also took me on my first trip out of the country (not counting Mexico) to Costa Rica. She was going with her boyfriend and he landed a production gig and wasn't going to be able to stay the whole 2 weeks. So who got to go so Stacey had someone to cavort around with? Me!
Remind me to tell you about the time I was bucked off a horse in Costa Rica
Stace pushed me to live abroad (she lived in Spain when she was in her early twenties) which was one of the single-most transformative experiences of my life. I grew so much in that time. And when I struggled abroad with homesickness or language barriers or tough professors, she was there to understand.

These days, the three of us live very busy, separate lives. Linds and Stace are still in Los Angeles and I couldn't feel further away from that world. Stacey is notoriously harder to get a hold of than Carmen San Diego. But she'll always make time when it's important. She continues to be incredibly supportive. She lost her pug Eddie to a kind of brain cancer a couple of years back and has been a great resource for me during the whole cat cancer drama.

Stacey, Lindsey, and I will always be more than cousins and slightly less than sisters. I love each of them immensely and individually. I only wish Stacey would pack Lindsey in her suitcase and bring her along this weekend. Yes, ladies? Think that could be arranged?

Lindsey, me, and Stacey
Yeah, this was when I was dying my hair blond

Stacey will hate all these childhood pictures. That is my revenge for having to be the dog all those times.
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