Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Do the holidays frighten you as much as these mannequins frighten me?

scary mannequin
scary mannequin2scary mannequin3
You, too, can have the bajeezus scared out of you on SW Third and Washington in downtown Portland. I saw these mannequins the other day and was entranced by them. The scary, clown like make-up, the open mouth laugh caught in that one moment when someone is laughing but if you stop time, they look maniacal. ***shudder**** I dunno. I hope the store that just opened in this space does well and flourishes: I totally need to get past the mannequins and go in and check them out. But these things are frake-ay. I imagine at night they come alive, step out of the window, and walk up to the greek cusina....

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

BUSTED on the Morrison Bridge!

Ha ha to the stupid *#&@^s who haul ass and switch lanes on the Morrison Bridge. Portland Police are in full swing of a major STING today, with at least 10 motorcycle cops, and several cars, pulling over and citing speeders and illegal lane changers. I've written about the Morrison Bridge before, and if you know it, you know how dangerous the steel grating is when it's wet. I can see them from my office window, and if you don't want a ticket, slow it down out there. And even when they're not set up in a sting, slow it down, will ya? I also heard there's a new camera on the bridge catching speeders heading eastbound, and sending lovenotes in the mail to pay up for violations.

Don't get me wrong. I love me some bridges. But they can be dangerous, and I really don't want to die, okay?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

So 4 Bloggers Go Out to Lunch...

...What do 4 bloggers do when they get together? They go out for sushi, and then they take photos. Duh! From left to right, here's Walking Portland, Gravely Gay, and the lovely Superinky Fixxations, all photographed by moi. Of course we rotated the cameras around, so for a picture of Lelo, I suppose you'll have to visit their sites. Or not. Anywho, it was quite a lovely Saturday lunch, and while there was no Jello, there was plenty of chit chat, philadelphia rolls, and good times. Props to all for making this happen. Good times, peeps...good times....

Friday, November 25, 2005

Wink and Ginger have a playdate

Oh it's so exciting. Sisters, reunited. You may want to add an audio soundtrack to this have 2 options. Sisters, from White Christmas, or Reunited, and it feels so good......

Thank you, RSG, for hosting such a splendiferous evening at your place, and allowing Wink to payback Ginger with a piddle or two on your floor, AND your rug. Egads. Especially nice to meet up with ya'll, and LBCG as well. Wink is completely worn out from running around and around and around and around the ottoman, chasing her sister, Ginger. Too much fun. Until next time!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

From Kansas to California to Oregon: Grandma's Salad Recipes

When my grandparents moved from the farm into “the city,” I went to Kansas for the farm sale. If only I knew then what I know now. But alas, I’m so glad that I went. Helping pack for a farm sale is hard. You find things stashed in cupboards that you’d never thought you’d find, and trying to determine a value of something to keep to something to sell, it’s impossible. Thus, when my grandma Leola told me to take anything I wanted, I was at a loss for thoughts, words, or response. What do you take that represents your childhood memories of a farm in rural Kansas when you’ve grown up in Southern California?!? The things I wanted, made my grandmother laugh.

Farm Fish
I wanted the fish. The fish that blew bubbles on the wall while I took a bath. They were always there. Or the tablecloth on the family holiday table that would eventually be on the table of my wedding reception.

Little things like this stayed with me. And the times in the kitchen. Listening, and singing to the radio and tape recordings…and salads. The salads were so classic to every rural Kansas meal. And I'm not talking green leafy salads. These are jello based extravaganzas. Even when Meals On Wheels* was delivering over the Fourth of July during one of my last trips to the farm, red, white and blue Jello was part of that meal.

The holidays make these memories rise to the surface, don’t they? With that in mind, I present, Grandma Leola’s amazing salad recipe card collection. When my grandparents sold the farm, my grandma’s recipes were to be thrown out. I asked for these, her salad recipes. I also have her bread/muffin, appetizer, and meat recipes. But her salad recipes are classics. I love them, because I loved her. I don't make them, but they're such a window into a time and life that is very different from mine. They are from and of a farmer’s wife in Kansas, circa 1959. She carried it on, onto her daughters, and son, and into our lives.

A meal at the farm was not complete without a Jello salad. Once I tried to tell my Grandma that Jello wasn’t popular with my friends in Portland, and she took her hand to her chest and said, “People just don’t make time for jello anymore.” Alas, grandma, you may be correct. But I have your amazing salad recipes. And if anyone wants them, all they have to do is send me an e-mail and I’ll promptly send you the full directions…and here they are:
A side note: the names in parenthesis after the title are the originators, as noted, on the recipe cards. She credited every passed along recipe.
3 Bean Salad (Marsha Scarlett)
Angel Hash Salad—includes miniature marshmallows and cornstarch
Apricot Salad
Apricot Salad (Florence)
Apricot Salad or Dessert—features apricot pie filling
Aunt Marion’s Fruit Salad
Bing Cherry Salad—from the Kitchen-Klatter brand
Blueberry Salad (Marlene)
Blueberry Salad (typed on index card from Mrs Loren Lancaster)
Broccoli Delight Salad (from the farm kitchen of Lynn Fickes, Herman, Minnesota)
Cabbage Relish Slaw
Cheese Salad (The Famous Holiday Cheese Salad)
Cherry Chiffon (Phyllis)
Cherry Salad (from Marlene)
Christmas Salad
Church Salad (Florence)
Cranberries (Gladys Puckett)
Cranberry & Marshmallow Salad (Eva A.)—dad’s favorite
Cranberry Fluff
Cranberry Salad (Brandt)
Cranberry Salad (Eva Alderfer)
Cranberry Souffle Salad (Tupperware recipe courtesy of Lois Schlicker)
Crunchy Cabbage Salad
Delightful Cranberry Mold (Bunny Spring)
Elegant Cherry-Berry Dessert on a Cloud (Gladys Puckett)
Elegant Cherry-Berry Dessert Topping
Frog-Eye Salad
Frosted Grape Salad—includes nutmeats
Frosted Raspberry Salad (typed on an index card)
Fruit Salad (Marlene)—includes a sauce of vanilla pudding, orange juice concentrate and sour cream
Green Bean Salad (Linda)
Jan’s Salad
Layered Berry Salad (Farm Wife News)
Lime Jello—includes condensed milk, horseradish, pineapple and cottage cheese
Luscious Overnight Salad
Mandarin Orange Salad (Virginia Bauman)
Maple Cranberry Sauce
Microwave Fruit Salad
Orange Jello Salad (Laverne Thies)
Orange Jello Salad (Leola)
Orange Salad (Dorothy Wikle)
Peach Bavarian (Phyllis)—I think almond extract makes this Bavarian
Peaches and Cream Salad (from the Kitchen-Klatter brand)
Pineapple Gelatin Salad (Marlene)
Rhubarb Salad (Betty)
Salad (from Daisy)
Salad (Libby Cook)—unnamed salad features tapioca pudding, lemon jello, vanilla pudding, fruit cocktail, pineapple, cool whip
Sandwich Salad (Phyllis)
Summer Salad (Leola)
Tangy Apricot Salad—features apricot nectar
Turkey-Vegetable Salad—includes condensed cream of celery soup, unflavored gelatin, frozen mixed vegetables, mayonnaise and turkey
Veg Salad – Layered (Evelyn N)
Velvet Salad (Suzie Sunnenberg)

* Yesterday while checking out my purchases at New Seasons, I noticed the checker was wearing a button offering the opportunity to donate to Meals on Wheels, so I donated 2 meals, thinking how they helped my grandparents.

P.S. I should clarify that my Thanksgiving meal did not include any of the above salads. It did include: Free range turkey breast roast, arugula salad with pecans and pomegranete, wild rice stuffing with hazelnuts and cranberries, brussel sprouts and organic pumpkin pie. So there.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Famous Holiday Cheese Salad

There are recipes we make at Thanksgiving that we don’t make any other time of year. Admit it. How often do you make stuffing? Or cranberries? Or The Famous Holiday Cheese Salad? What? No Famous Holiday Cheese Salad? Alas, I am not making The Famous Holiday Cheese Salad this year. You know what I’m talking about. Yours may not be the same recipe, and perhaps it has marshmallows in it, or mayonnaise and coconut, or whatever family tradition horror it may be. But it’s nostalgic. And most of the holiday salads contain that one, secret ingredient: Jello.

Mom and dad hailed from rural Kansas, and moved to Southern California in the mid 1960’s to raise their family and live the California dream. Think suburbs, aerospace-fueled economy, when the hills still smelled like butterscotch sagebrush and creeks like Matilija still ran in the wild, and little girls rode their bikes down the street without sidewalks and ran over purple blooms falling from jacaranda trees.

Before the health kick and wheat germ episodes of the mid 1970s, meals in our house were highly influenced by the small town, 1950s menus of my parent’s childhoods. But even after mom began frequenting Lassen’s Health Food Store and bringing home keefer milk, two holiday salads made their place at the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables. One my father was prone to like (marshmallows, chopped cranberries, whipping cream extravaganza), and one I always loved: The Famous Holiday Cheese Salad. Key ingredients being canned pineapple, gelatin, whipping cream, grated cheddar cheese, lemon juice and sugar. Stop making that face. It’s good stuff. And when cooking it, you must refrigerate until it congeals. I love that word.

When I began having Thanksgivings in college, away from my family, and then afterwards here in Portland, I continued the tradition and always made the requisite salad. About ten years ago, I had a great Thanksgiving: “Thanksgiving for orphans.” About 12 of us not celebrating with our families got together at our old farmhouse in Sellwood, and each brought food and wine, and we had a great time. But I noticed no one really ate The Famous Holiday Cheese Salad. Why would that be?

Finally I realized a few years later, when AdRi gently told me she didn’t really like it, that it wasn’t the star of the Thanksgiving menu. Not everyone likes pineapple and cheddar cheese and whipping cream congealed in lemon jello (gasp!). Since that time, I’ve continued to make it, because I can’t imagine Thanksgiving without it. No one in my family makes it anymore. I told my mom last year that I was making it, and she said she hadn’t made it for years. My brother (Hi Ja’AmLo!) scoffs at the sugar-loaded mention of it. I wonder if my sister makes it, but she doesn’t live in this country anymore, thus, she doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, so I doubt it. But I know that if I made it and my dad was around, he would so eat it. I’m sorry, but some things you can’t get out of your system. (If you’re reading this dad, admit it: you’d eat it!)

This year, alas, no Famous Holiday Cheese Salad for me. I’m the only one who would eat it, and frankly, I’m a little scared of the calorie count and what that much sugar could do to my system. In case you’d like to make it, here is the recipe. Bon appetit!

Famous Holiday Cheese Salad

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wink in her bag, and how I cried like a baby watching my first DVR show

Wink! in a purse
Here's Wink in her purse. She went to work with me yesterday: just getting out of the house was a whirlwind. But she did great. She was pretty scared, though, of the trucks and cars in downtown Portland, and on a potty break walk, she froze in the middle of the sidewalk and I had to go back and pick her up and carry her across the street. As cute as that purse is, I kind of feel silly carrying her in it. A year ago I would have scoffed at someone doing that. Oh well. I guess we become what we fear. Or something like that.

On another note, I can't believe that I cried like a baby last night. LIKE A BABY! It's a whole new world with DVR, and we're just discovering how to record shows and watch's pretty easy, but the concept, like a dog in the house, is a new one. The first recording on the DVR was yesterday's Oprah, and lo and behold, it was the My Favorite Things show for the year. AdRi couldn't stop grinning ear to ear, and at one point said, "It's better than winning the lottery because you don't have to decide what to do with the money!"

This year she kept the show a surprise, and filled the audience with Katrina volunteers. They thought the show was about sharing their experience. Surprise!!!!! I started crying right then and there. On My Favorite Things, everyone in the audience gets every featured My Favorite Thing from Oprah. Last night, they got laptops, iPods, Ugg boots, Burberry coats and purses, and the list goes on. And throughout, vignettes featured the volunteers, what they did and saw, and how selflessly they gave to help the victims of Katrina. Oh. My. God. Loved it! So sad. So much bling! It was dueling emotions=really weird. And with DVR, we just flew the commercials. It's a whole new world peeps.

So there's my odd post for you. A little bit of dog blogging, and how I cried watching my first DVR show.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Introducing Wink!

Picking out a name for new family additions isn't easy. There's been quite the drama about it here. We wrote the different names on little pieces of paper, crumpled them up, and waited for her to tell us which one it was. But then we couldn't really agree about the decision. Pitiful, isn't it? The lobbying call from my mom was influential, but AdRi really loves Satine. And it's pretty to pronounce with a spanish accent, and easy for family members. Yes, Satine is from Moulin Rouge. Love that movie. Speaking of movies, Hedwig and the Angry Inch was on last night. God, I love that movie, and those wigs. But I digress. Our new addition isn't particularly elegant or Queeny, or old fashioned like Violet. And with Abba I wanted to keep calling her Abby. But she's definitely sweet and spunky, a perfect fit to Wink. Or, as AdRi just called her, the Winkmaster. So there it is.

We are learning the joys of housetraining, and how to read her body language and needs. I don't think either of us have ever said the word "potty" as much as we have in the last 24 hours. And who ever knew that such a thing existed like "piddle pads"?!? Special shout out to RSG for her awesome help, advice and list of recommended supplies: we would have been completely lost without all of that information. And props to Superinky and Dieselboi for their love of little dogs and sharing that with us. Wink is very much looking forward to playdates wtih Frodo, Ginger, and others.

Wink is super sweet, and follows me wherever I go. She's so tiny sometimes it's hard to see her, but usually when I look down, there she is. We went for two walks yesterday: she doesn't really understand or know the leash thing. But we figured out during our second walk that if AdRi walked ahead, Wink would follow. So that's how we went for a walk: Wink following AdRi, and me following Wink. She's getting the hang of the leash, and today we'll try it again. We're also taking her with us to run some errands, and we got her a purse. I know I know. I'm turning into the crazy lady with the little dog. Well, live with it. And you know you want to see a picture of her in that purse. Duh!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Guestblogging: From the Cats

Okay. We got the letter yesterday (thanks for putting it in a letter instead of telling us to our faces!), then last night "this thing" arrived. She's not as bad as we thought she'd be. We, Frida and Picasso, have joined into a united front. Yeah yeah yeah: I know that's new for us, but we figure there's power in numbers. Word in the house is that she's adorable. I guess, if you think dogs are adorable. Here. You judge for yourself.

But here's the ridiculous thing. LeLo and AdRi don't even have a name for her yet. Guffaw! Actually, they've narrowed it down to six names and evidently they'll be randomly selecting one later, or, even letting "the dog" pick from the six. Gasp! They're having a hard time picking between:
1. Satine
2. Queen Bee
3. Abba
4. Chiclet
5. Violet
6. Wink
Guffaw again. We, are artists. The dog? Whatever.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Dear Picasso and Frida,

Today is going to be a big change for us all, but particularly for you two. You gals know how much I love you, right? I do. I really, REALLY do. Picasso, you and I have been together for years...ever since Chico, when you came home to live in the pink house with me. Remember when we lived with the German Shepherd? (Hold onto that thought.) Frida, since you've been with us the last 2 years or so, you've brought such good times, and AdRi adores you. I mean, look at you two! You're beautiful, smart, and such great gardening buddies. And, good snugglers, even though you, Picasso, are a pillow hog.

Please keep all of this in mind, girls, when I bring home your new friend today. IT WON'T CHANGE A THING OF HOW I FEEL ABOUT YOU TWO. She's just a new member of our family. Yes, yes, yes, I know she's a dog, well, actually, she's a puppy, but as the genes have it, you two will most likely always be bigger than her.
I mean, look at her. You will always be in charge of household. THAT WILL NOT CHANGE. Be patient with her. She might want to play with your toys. She might want to play with you. I hope you two won't stay under the bed too long. You're going to have to come out and meet her. IT WILL BE OKAY.
You met her sister Ginger last weekend (and her wonderful mom, Recovering Straight Girl). Well, you kind of met her when she poked her nose under the bed where you were hiding. Remember? Remember how tiny she was? Well, our new friend is Ginger's sister. We haven't named her yet. Maybe you can help name her? Would that make you feel better about it?

And Frida. I'm okay that you've adopted the puppy's new bed. You can have it. We'll get the puppy another one since you took ownership of this one the minute we put it down.

Okay, so I think that's it. It's going to be okay, girls. You'll still get special time with us, there's just a new distraction that will arrive in our house tonight. Have faith that we'll all get along!


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Guadalajara Street Vendor

This is one of my favorite photos of Guadalajara. These are different kinds of agua frescas, drinks. Aren't they pretty? The hot pink one intrigued me, and I found out it was Strawberry flavored horchata. Hmm...horchata. Tell me you've had it, right? Usually it's white and looks like milk. It's made from rice, sugar, ground almonds (sometimes), and cinnamon. It's very tasty and refreshing. AdRi's mom taught me how to make it by running rice through a blender until you have a powder, and then soaking it in water, and then straining it all through cheesecloth. But I had never seen PINK horchata. Alas, I didn't try it: I'm not the bravest street vendor eater. But they're so pretty! Other flavors included sandia (watermelon), tamarind, and hibiscus flower.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Congratulations to our 10,000th visitor!

Looks like the person who threw the LeLo blog over the 10,000 mark came from Perth, Western Australia. Funny thing is, I'm pretty sure I know who that was.
****waves**** to my sister!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Frida's House in Mexico City

Frida Kahlo had some hardcore pain in her life. I knew it was bad, but until I went to her famous blue house in the Coyoacan neighborhood of Mexico City, I didn’t realize how bad it really was. To see some of the many braces and casts that she wore to keep her back straight, in person, made it pretty real for me, as well as the many letters on view to her friends and doctors, detailing her pain and surgeries. The house is now a museum, and unfortunately they made me check my camera at the entrance due to their no photo policy. Damn! But I did get a few in the lovely courtyard...
Frida y Diego lived here
Frida Kahlo's House in Mexico City

You may also remember a certain Frida lives in our house…
Frida en El Jardin

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Scenes from a Mexican market

Colors. Smells. Sounds. They’re all different in the Mexican market. Be grateful, peeps, I didn’t take pictures of the meat stalls. Here are some photos from the markets…wherever we go in Mexico, we always go to the local markets. They are places where we’re immediately introduced to everything local and give us a sense of place.

This fruit vendor stopped announcing his frutas when I took his photo. He was fun, loud and a chatterbox.

Sugar cane juice and bags of sugar cane pieces for sale…

Chayote: yum…

Flowers, herbs and snakeskins for Day of the Dead…

Click on any of the images to see them larger and with more detail…
IMG_2008.JPG IMG_2012.JPG IMG_2013.JPG DSC03301.JPG DSC03303.JPGIMG_2017.JPG

Churches, architecture and public art in Guadalajara

Probably one of my very favorite things about Guadalajara is the massive amount of accessible, public art and the beautiful architecture. We walked a lot. First, the churches…there’s a church on every corner in Guadalajara. Seriously. There’s a ton. The Catholics really got a toe-hold in Mexico as they plundered across the country. But the buildings they built (or had the people build while they directed) are really incredible. Here are a few…
church found by accident
main cathedral inside

Muralist José Clemente Orozco left his mark in several places in Guadalajara. This one-handed artist believed in “art for the people” and painted his work in public places to ensure accessibility and visibility. In the government building is this historical mural in a staircase….
But Orozco’s most amazing work is visible at Cabañas Cultural Institute, sometimes called the "Sistine Chapel of the Americas." We spent quite a lot of time here just taking it all in. Inspiring.
IMG_1997.JPG IMG_1996.JPG
Information about Guadalajara’s murals are here.

And then there’s just fun public art (and tons of it)…

And beauty…

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Halloween in a 250+ year old Mexican cemetery

Walkway at Panteon Belen
Welcome to Panteon Belen, Guadalajara’s ancient, haunted cemetery. Actually, aren’t all cemeteries haunted? I’d think so. On Halloween we walked up to this old cemetery in the morning, and spent a few hours among the graves, trees, crypts and place. It was quite a hub outside for tickets to the sold-out guided tours and night time shows, but once inside the tall walls (the walls themselves actually hold 900 bodies), it was quiet and serene, and really lovely.
Wall of crypts at Panteon Belen

This place is packed with history and stories…I particularly like the story with this grave….
Trees and grave at Panteon Belen
The tree you see here actually grows from the stake that was driven through the vampire’s heart to kill him, and buried here. Look carefully and you can see the roots growing in and out and around and over the grave, slinking it’s way through everything. They say that if you cut the tree’s branches it drips blood instead of sap.

Grave at Panteon Belen
Another grave is a child’s, and the story goes that he was scared of the dark. When he was buried, the caretaker would return every morning to discover his grave open to the sky, and every day, he would replace the cover. After awhile, they decided to just leave it open. Even after death the poor little boy was scared of the dark.

Night show at Panteon Belen
Since we were there during Day of the Dead, we returned in the evening to attend a special show. The walkways were lit with candles, the sun was setting, and the mood was particularly spooky. The performance was a one-woman show, featuring her as Death. It’s not as morbid as it sounds. Actually, none of this is as morbid as it sounds because in Mexico, death is not taboo or feared or talked about in whispers. It’s celebrated, honored, and respected. AdRi had to translate most of it to me afterwards, but it was a cool performance and the small 40-50 person audience wildly loved it.

Quincinera photo at Panteon Belen
This is how different our cultures are when it comes to death…there were several girls having their professional portraits taken for their Quinceanera. It produced one of my favorite photos from the trip…
Quincinera photo at Panteon Belen2
To see more photos from this beautiful place, visit my set of photos .

Sidenote: I realized during this trip that for some reason, I seem to travel a lot during this time of year. In the past 5 years, I've now spent Halloween in a mexican cemetery, Chicago's Logan Square huge Halloween performance art gathering, the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, and a candle-lit tour of a historic and haunted Western Australia prison built by inmates. I think this proves I'm a freak.