Monday, December 31, 2007

Kiss-My-Ass Cake follow up

Kiss My Ass Cake delivery
In follow up to this post.

We must march! We must shout! We must....

...bake! I'm baking. As a form of protest, I shall bake. And so it is how Kiss-My-Ass-Cakes* came to be, and those who can Kiss-My-Ass are the Alliance Defense Fund, the instigators and out-of-state influencers with money who argued to a federal court judge that domestic partnerships should not occur. And, they did this on a Friday afternoon prior to a holiday weekend just a few business hours before partnerships were to begin. But I digress. Back to the baking.

I ripped this recipe off of Amy Sedaris, who probably ripped it off of someone else (she pretty much admits to it somewhere in the beginning of her fabulous book). These are yummy vanilla cakes with vanilla buttercream frosting, and Amy's book is just what I needed to peruse the last few days.
Supah-props to Rozanne for introducing it to me a while ago (I still can't believe you made the Lil' Smokey cheese ball). The photography is soooooo good, and inspiring, really. Reminiscent of early 1970's feminine product ads, they are windows into a weird and wonderful world. A world of a woman who throws dinner parties and sets up a 25-cent for sale table for her guests to peruse. A woman who makes door art appropriate for the dinner party theme. A woman who makes ghost cakes for Halloween and sets their eyes afire (with eggshells and sugar cubes)--and gives directions in her book so I can, too. God damn, you know I will.
But before I give you the recipe for Kiss-My-Ass-Cakes, I have to give props to Karol for a wonderfully articulated response to the yanking of domestic partnerships. Karol visits here sometimes, and I just have to say, thank you, for writing such a beautiful response. We are so lucky to have you on our side.
Kiss-My-Ass-Cakes (especially you, Alliance Defense Fund!)
Preheat oven to 375. With mixer, whip 1/1/2 sicks unsalted butter smooth. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar. Whip more. Add 2 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 1/2 cups flour and 1 1/4 cups milk. Mix it all up. Line your cupcake pans with cupcake liners, and pour the mix in, about 3/4 of the way full. Should make 18-24 cupcakes. Bake for 20 minutes.
Let them cool, then frost. To make frosting, combine 1 lb of powdered sugar, one stick of softened unsalted butter, 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 1/4 cup milk. Whip all of this up until it's as smooth as you can get it. If you want to separate some into bowls and add food coloring so you have different colors, do so. I didn't have food coloring, but I added some lingonberry juice from IKEA to a little side batch and it made the creamy color a little more pink. Not much.
*Thank you, PAgent, for helping to name these. And yes, I agree, the name would look GREAT on a t-shirt.

Also, welcome to all of my new visitors and new commenters here at Lelo in Nopo. I love it when people comment, so welcome to The Mama, Lewis (whose form of protest is shopping), Frances, Wacky Mommy, Kathy, Mick, Fairy Dog Mother and Picture Lady.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Did you hear that sound?

That’s the sound of me being kicked in the stomach again. Yeah, it hurts. It’s the same pain I felt after Measure 36, when the state ruled my marriage was invalid.

There it is again. That sound.
When we received the refund check from the county for our marriage license.

That sound? I hear it every day. Every week. All the time. It’s the sound of inequalities of gay and lesbian couples in Oregon who are denied the benefits of marriage that our friends, family and other members of the Oregon community enjoy.

Enjoy? They’re actually benefits that really matter mainly in times of life or death. The stories I’ve heard..of the partner of a war veteran denied being handed the flag at his partner’s funeral. Of an emergency room scenario where a partner is denied access to be at the bedside of their loved one. Of a partner whose name was crossed through on their child's birth certificate because she was not “wed” to the birth mother. The list goes on and on of the stories I’ve heard. They're horrible, and tragic, and they hurt.

And today? There’s the sound again.

Just days before AdRi and I planned on going to the county courthouse and registering as domestic partners, a judge has delayed the laws. Thanks to the outside influence of an Arizona based organization fighting the laws here in Oregon, AdRi and I will just cool our heels. Again. And wait. Despite that we’ve been together over ten years. Despite that we celebrated our marriage with friends and family 3 years ago. Despite.....the list could go on forever, really.

Sigh. Yes, we’ll wait. We’ll wait to stand in line to get a partial list of benefits that the majority of people in this country benefit from, when this makes it through the courts.

It’s just another kick in the stomach. Again.
Join with us and a community that supports you, at a candlelight vigil, Wednesday, January 2nd, at Q Center with Basic Rights Oregon. 5:30-7pm.
69 SE Taylor (at Water Avenue)

Oh My God Look What I Made

oh my god i made bread
No, that's not a $4.99 artisan loaf of bread. That's a homemade bread loaf I baked last night. I know. Yes, I baked it. And it was pretty easy. And you know what? It's really, really tasty. I mean, fresh from the oven? Homemade bread? Me? Seriously. It's really good and really easy.

I've always thought breadmaking was done with elaborate bread machines or by people who are extremely methodical and patient and a quasi mix of scientist and cook (hello, Alton Brown!). I've heard stories of bread that wouldn't rise, gooey messes, hard loafs that shatter when you drop them. But last year I became intrigued about the much-blogged-about Mark Bittman no knead bread, in the New York Times. Shout out to Rodger and Mark who blogged about it then. But I don't know if I really believed it could be that easy. And then I came across this recipe. I mean come on. Look at the ingredients. Water, yeast, salt and flour. No kneading. What the hell! So I tried it and now I have a bowl full of dough I can pull a piece from over the next two weeks and bake. The baking process itself is interesting: heating a baking stone, and pouring in water to a broiler pan on the bottom shelf, quickly shutting the oven door. Over the 30 minutes it bakes, the water evaporates and steams up the lovely loaf of bread. How cool is that?! And it really works.
close up of Oh My God Look What I Made Bread
I was recently asked what my description "I'm currently undergoing a reinvention" means on my blog. See it over there on the right? I didn't have a clear answer for that. It originally began with leaving my long-time job a year ago and starting my own business. It is, but it's more than that. I think doing something like baking bread is part of it. My exploration of self over this past year has been intense. Making choices about what I do and how I spend my time, learning new things. I think I will always be undergoing a reinvention. It's becoming a constant and I actually really like it. Learning new things, trying new things, exploration of self and what I can do. What I want to do. It may lead me in different directions, but that journey of self, of wonder, of discovery, is a lot of fun. It has become part of me. It's always been there, this part of me, but I've created the space and room for it to more fully evolve.

So what's in store for me in the coming year? What discoveries and explorations do I want to make? These questions are ones I'll be pondering in the coming few days. I'm a firm believer that if you say what you want, you'll receive it and make it happen. And while "baking bread" wasn't in my brain a year ago when I was making huge changes in my life, time and space to explore things were.

See how baking bread can make you do some self analysis? Amazing. And in the spirit of the movie Waitress, which I recently saw in which the main character names every pie she makes (such as Bad Baby Pie, god isn't that great?), I'm going to start naming my explorations. This bread here? Oh My God Look What I Made Bread. It's tasty. And oh my god, I made it myself.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The gift all gardeners eventually receive

Alternative blog post title: The sing-song ditty that's going to be stuck in your head the rest of the day

I've always been intrigued by them. In an odd, weird way. Haven't you? How does the Chia Pet magic work? Don't fret. I'll debunk the Chia Pet myths here and post their progress. By the way, it's somewhat complicated. But I'm determined to only lead to success in my new Chia Pet endeavors. Here we go.

First, soak your Chia planter.
soak your chia planter

Let it soak overnight. Don't worry, it won't drown. The Chia Pet's porous surface is soaking up that moisture for the seeds you'll soon implant in its grooves. Next, soak your seeds.
soak your chia seeds

While they're soaking, gaze at the sweet, soft plushy that came in your Chia box and remind yourself it's not a dog toy. It's your toy. Tell that to the dog.
when you grow up, you'll look like this

After everything has soaked, put your Chia planter in the plastic tray you left in the box, and fill the hole on its top all the way up with water. Get used to that little chore because you're going to have to do it every day for god knows how long.
make sure it's always filled with water

Next, rub the squishy soaked jelly like seed mixture all over the planter. "It rubs itself with the lotion." No no no. Don't say that. Get the seeds into the grooves. Don't gross out.

I said rub it everywhere. Get to really know your Chia planter.
talk to this

Now wait. And fill it with water every day, mist it with water too, if you like. Set it in a sunny place, and hope it doesn't rot and start to smell.

I'll let you know how it goes, okay?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Proof of snow on Christmas day in Portland, Oregon

Christmas snow in Portland
We're fully documenting everything, now that there's another camera in the house...and it makes movies.

I can't remember having a white Christmas, ever, unless you count the fake snow at Disneyland from when I was about 9 years old. Children are running through the streets shouting "It's snowing! It's snowing!" and one even had a superman outfit on, complete with red cape flowing behind him as he ran around the corner and down the block.

Last night we encountered a truly quirky site. 4 people, one dressed as a Christmas tree, one a present, one an Elf, and the other a Santa, with a guitar, harmonica and tamborine. They were singing through the streets, playing their instruments (prettty well, actually). I think they may have been tipsy—or drunk on the Christmas spirit—so we gave them a shout out and cheered them on.

Enjoy the day, however you may choose to spend it. I'm going to go play some Christmas songs on the piano...
Christmas snow in Oregon

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The package that went half way around the world

All of my family live in other states, or even, in other countries. We celebrated last week with AdRi's family: the big family food and gift extravaganza. It was fun. But for my family, they're all receiving packages. And word is the gift box to my sister's family in Australia has arrived. Actually it arrived over a week ago and I'm still laughing that my sister opened it up, looked at everything, and put it all back in the box and underneath the tree. Ha! Sneaky snake. But since tomorrow is actually Christmas in Australia (they're one day ahead), I figure I can post the following picture and not ruin anything.

Yes, I can make other kinds of aprons too. Even ones for little kids! So here is what I made my niece....
sock monkey apron front
And here's the back...
sock monkey apron back
We grew up with a sock monkey, so I hope my sister recognizes that those are sock monkey faces. It was fun to make, and yes, of course I had to put my signature pom poms on. Duh.

We've been baking up a storm, and AdRi is off and about delivering some of the goods to our neighbors. Tomorrow during the 2.5 hrs of daylight that we seem to have this time of year, I'll snap some pics and post them.

Radio Gretchen reminds us today is Festivus: hope you all have your pole up!

Stay positive out there people, even when drivers flip you the bird, your relatives say something moronic, and someone gives you a fruitcake. Grip and grin, grip and grin.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Baby Jesus vanishes from all nativity scenes in town

Actually, they found all of the 26 stolen baby Jesus, and hit the motherload. My favorite quote?
Police spread the figurines out on a counter at police headquarters to take inventory. All lay, in swaddling clothes on their backs.

"It looks like a nursery here," said police spokesman Ken Kelly.
Sigh. Read it here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The true message of Christmas

Are you filled with the desire to sing holiday songs?

...out loud and with others? Preferably in a room filled to the gills with fabulously queer folks and those who love to sing? (I can see those jazz fingers wiggling from here!) Then this is ***the event*** for you.
Welcome to Q Center’s revival of the classic cabaret, where the piano was the center of attention and Broadway was the only street in town. Cabaret with a Q is a casual evening of music, meeting new and old friends and light-hearted conversation around Darcelle’s piano.
Q Center has been hosting this highly succesful series, Cabaret with a Q, and this month will feature plenty of holiday classics, though I doubt this favorite song of mine from White Christmas will be part of it, but you never know...

This is my kind of family holiday get-together!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I got into a fight

And it wasn't pretty. You can see how the whole thing went down here.
P.S. It's obvious who the instigator is here!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Santa came early....

...and brought me the Fiber Optic lights from my childhood.
fiber optic lights from my childhood
The real deal. Even the original packaging. Ah ha. Proof that my parents ARE reading this blog, since I waxed nostalgic about those fiber optics a few posts back:
I drifted back to my childhood, laying under our Christmas tree, and the mysterious fiber optic lights. Like tufts of glowing grass, their little dots of light at the tips glowed at me, and I was in love.
Aren't they pretty? AdRi looks at them like they're from another planet. She doesn't understand the magnetic qualities of fiber optic lights. There's a new grass I've seen at the plant sales the last few years, called fiber optics. They're pretty tufts with little seed bumps on their end. I'm so getting one next spring. Oh, and it should be noted that when my brother heard I had been given the fiber optic lights, he shit a brick. Ha! They're mine, sucker. All mine. In the spirit of the holidays they're mine, of course. Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Happy Festivus!

It's not too late to get your Festivus goods, people. And if you celebrate Festivus, through Airing of the Grievances, Feats of Strength, or just through the warm glow of the Holiday Pole, you can share the spirit of the season with those you love! Thanks to the ever fabulous and talented Radio Gretchen, check out her Cafe Press site for lovely Festivus cards. I'm especially fond of the Human Fund logo. It looks like something I may have actually concepted for a client at one point. Shudder. Only through force!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Growth and birth

Some people love the scent of paperwhites. Some say they smell like dirty diapers.
indoor blooms
And here is an update to this post. It took awhile, but it's growing quickly now.
an update
Oh June. I hope you have your babies soon!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The day the music died: reflections on the sudden passing of a neighbor

Oh Sweet Home Alabama. We didn’t see this coming. Cancer. Suddenly. Gone.

When we first moved to this North Portland neighborhood 10 years ago, the neighbors weren’t overly welcoming to us. Not like I expected a dang welcome wagon, but it wasn’t as if people came over and introduced themselves or brought us a covered dish. The welcome in this area comes through time, through small talk in passing, sharing of advice and information, and watching out for each other. And that was D. He did. Gregarious and out going, D eventually warmed up to us, the two women across the street, even if a little cautious in the beginning.

D was a hard working blue collar family man, and we could see the economic changes in our community through him. The lay offs at Freightliner hit our working class neighborhood hard a decade ago. Another neighbor eventually lost his house, and the impact it had on D was tangible. He had had a good job, but the lay offs meant big changes for him. He could get an education, in a new field, and so, as a middle aged factory man with a family, he went to school.

I always wondered how that was, going back to school, for him. One semester he was particularly chatty with us. Turned out he was taking a women’s studies class, and through our visits, we heard him use words he was trying on for the first time. Words like feminist and lesbian. (Two things he knew we were.) It was fun to see him all lit up about learning something new like that, and I think he reveled in having someone to talk to about it.

We built a large garden on our lot, and whenever we were tending to it, especially when mowing what was left of the grass, it was a known fact (sometimes we’d place bets on it) that if D came out while we were working, we’d hear, “When you’re done over there, come on over here” shouted loud and with laughter from D, as if we’d never heard that saying before. We’d laugh and smile, and keep working. He’d offer the use of his edger, or blower, or whatever tool it looked like we needed at the time. We didn’t have a lot of power tools, but D had a tool for everything. And he knew how to use them.

If we ever needed to borrow a tool or get advice on a problem at the house, D was the go-to guy. He’d rush right over and look at what was going on, offer up ways to solve it along with the tools to do so. I once saw him help a neighbor chain up an old stump to his truck and try to pull it out by stomping on the gas. When AdRi worked the swing shift, I’d work in the garden by myself. One hot summer afternoon I smelled something odd. Sniffing like the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, my nose led me to the lavender bushes. But it wasn’t the sweet smell of lavender that drew me there. I clapped my hands and shouted to scare the sleeping black cat away, and when it didn’t move, I realized it was because it was dead and the scent I smelled was death. I ran straight over to D’s, completely wigged out. He stopped what he was doing, and quickly went into action, calm as can be. “You got a trash bag?” He came right over with his gloves and took care of the cat for me. Didn’t flinch one bit. He was just like that. No problem.

He watched out for us. One year we had a flower thief. She’d show up periodically in our garden with buckets, and pick and pull up flowers uninvited. Yes, buckets. She drove a van. We found her once, and told her to skeedaddle on along. So we told D about it. And one day, The Flower Thief came while we were gone. D confronted her, told her he knew she wasn’t supposed to be there. She told him to mind his own business, but he didn’t. He shooed her off and got her license plate. I felt safer knowing he watched out for us.

This summer, as I worked from home, the tune of Sweet Home Alabama not only played through my head, but through the soundwaves of the neighborhood. D enjoyed his new hobby of the electric guitar, so much so, that on nice days, he’d plug in, turn it up–way up—and sit out on the front steps practicing.
Big wheels keep on turning
He liked sitting there, playing, and interacting with those who passed by.
Carry me home to see my kin
He’d play that song over, and over.
Singing songs about the Southland
At first, a little herky jerky. Stop and start.
I miss Alabamy once again
But by later on in the summer, he got it going, and could play Sweet Home Alabama right on tempo. It wasn’t speed metal, and it wasn’t twangy country. It was good, classic rock. A good song, played by a good, classic man.
Big wheels keep on turning
Carry me home to see my kin
Singing songs about the Southland
I miss Alabamy once again
And I think its a sin, yes

Well I heard mister Young sing about her
Well, I heard ole Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A Southern man don't need him around anyhow

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet Home Alabama
Lord, I'm coming home to you

In Birmingham they love the governor
Now we all did what we could do
Now Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you?
Tell the truth

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet Home Alabama
Lord, I'm coming home to you
Here I come Alabama

Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers
And they've been known to pick a song or two
Lord they get me off so much
They pick me up when I'm feeling blue
Now how about you?

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet Home Alabama
Lord, I'm coming home to you

Sweet home Alabama
Oh sweet home baby
Where the skies are so blue
And the governor's true
Sweet Home Alabama
Lord, I'm coming home to you
Yea, yea Montgomery's got the answer

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I've got dingle dangles

dingle dangle pom poms
Dingle dangles, pom poms, dingleberries, whatever you may call them. What would you call these? Well you can have them too with the newest addition, Oliver Pink! Complete with dingle dangle pom poms.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Are you feeling the Christmas spirit?

Come here Santa and let me drool on you!
I've got spirit, yes I do. I've got spirit, how 'bout you?
Oh the days are flying by, and we have family (and a baby, see above photo for proof) visiting. Getting into the holiday spirit early this year, and even went to Santaland at Macy's downtown today. Woo hoo! I had never been there before. We picked the perfect time to go. No lines of screaming children and irritated parents. No sirreeee. It was beautiful and quiet and a few kids and their families, everyone behaving beautifully. I know. Can you believe it? My 5-month-old nephew did great, and just smiled (and drooled quite a bit) in awe at Old Saint Nick. And can I just say, that Santa at Macy's is one of the better ones I've seen? He was great, and the two of them just sat and laughed together (one drooling, one not). We walked through Santaland and saw the reindeer and Santa's castle. We stepped on the magic star and looked through the window at Cher.* It was charming, really, and I felt all warm and fuzzy. Oh and I'm supposed to tell you that they told us the little one was the cutest baby ever. Well, duh!

But then the following scene played out outside on the street...I could hear the horn coming for a block or two. Apparently a silver PT Cruiser driver was irritated at a bus. Of course, laying on the horn non-stop for blocks is a great way to deal with your inner aggression. But then he'd pull in front of the bus and cut it off, making gestures with his hand at the bus driver. But one block up, he pulled in front of the bus and slammed on his brakes. The bus had to lock it up, and skidded to a fast halt behind the PT Cruiser. Sitting there and recovering, I can imagine what could have happened to people on that bus with a stop like that. What the heck! You silver PT Cruiser driver, you are NOT filled with the Christmas spirit. Get with it and stop being an asshole, will you? You need some time with a fabulous Santa to cheer you up.

Okay. On with the holidays!

*Thank you, David Sedaris, for the best read-aloud story ever, SantaLand Diaries.

P.S. To really encourage you to get into the holiday spirit, here is the tree I blogged about recently. It's currently showing you what it looks like in all white lights. Mmmmm....pretty!
I love this tree

Monday, December 03, 2007

If Frida Kahlo went to a Quinceanera

If Frida Kahlo went to a quinceanera...
She might wear something like this. Aye yah yah. I just need to throw in a rabbi and a priest into that joke intro. So I'll stop there. And just tell you how much I love this creamy fabric with imagery inspired by the artwork of Frida Kahlo. So mexicana. So lovely.
Frida Kahlo inspired quinceneara apron detail
And there's that flounce at the bottom again. I know. I continue to be inspired by the dresses I saw in the window of the shop at the Bobilu Center in Oxnard, California. On a main thoroughfare in Oxnard, the city I was born in, home of the lowrider, the Bobilu Center had a shop with a front window full of mannequins dressed in multilayered lace extravaganza numbers. Dresses of the likes I had never seen in my own life, but lace layers I'd see on the girls in front of Catholic churches, on their way to and from catechism ceremonies, quinceaneras, or other important events requiring being dressed to the nines.

I've gone back to the Bobilu Center as an adult, and the shop is gone, but a panaderia is in its place. I even took AdRi there so she could taste the difference between the pan of Oxnard and the pan of Portland: very different. And I still believe Oxnard's is better.

But I digress, as usual. This lovely number went up at Etsy today in case you're seeking the perfect gift for someone who seeks a little inspiration and revelation from Frida Kahlo and the Bobilu Center.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Please meet Veronica on the Range

Veronica on the Range apron
Oh Veronica. Veronica, Veronica, Veronica. She just rode in on her horse straight from the Rubber Rose Ranch. Rubber Rose Ranch you ask? If you've read Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, you know what I'm talking about.

My latest creation over at Etsy is this lovely number, Veronica-on-the-Range...
Veronica on the Range is a one-of-a-kind, with fabric featuring sexy cowgirls and their horses, holsters and lassos. Her cream colored soft lace wraps around your neck and waist, while the front chest pocket of cheerful floral includes a dash of even more soft lace. Finished with a double layer of lace flounce, this cowgirl is sexy and fun. How can you not say yee haw when you’re Veronica?

You do realize I'm having way too much fun, don't you?