Saturday, May 31, 2008

Save the water for the Slip 'n' Slide

Cytisus Battandieri
My latest Sassy Gardener column is out on the streets. You can read it on-line here: how to be water wise in your garden.

Is this where I admit I only have half of my soaker hoses in yet? Sigh. This weekend, I swear!

The photo seen above is Cystisus Battandieri, also known as Pineapple Broom. It's one of my favorite drought tolerant plants, and the flowers are in full bloom right now. They smell like pineapple.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bad Memer

I've been tagged for many memes and have not responded. What can I say? Bad memer I am. Bad memer. But today is different. Thank you Wacky Mommy.

1. What were you doing 10 years ago?
Taking a big step in my relationship and buying a house together. Moving into our new place, working my way up in an agency, planning a new garden and imagining what it could be. Looking at a lot of lawn. Lot of lawn.

2. What are 5 things on your “To Do” list?
1. Do the laundry.
2. Respond to all outstanding work e-mails and requests.
3. Deliver on ads for volunteer commitments.
4. Sort and file the mess on my desk.
5. Pot and plant all plants sitting on my back patio.

3. What are 5 snacks you enjoy? (In no specific order)
Keifer milk, hummus and carrots/pita chips, cottage cheese, chips'n'salsa, toast with butter.

4. Name some things you would do if you were a millionaire.
Make some fat ass donations to organizations that work with young people, buy a Nash, take care of the old people in my neighborhood, invest in a farm. Oh, and hire a personal trainer. And pay for a family reunion for all of my far flung parents and siblings and their families. Somewhere fun.

5. Name some places where you’ve lived.
Camarillo, Chico, SE Portland, N Portland

6. Name some bad habits you have.
Shutting down my laptop and unplugging: I need to do it more.

7. Name some jobs you’ve had.
Piano teacher, counter help at a German deli, babysitter, desktop publisher for a fitness company, sewing bows on crotchless underwear, working at the phone company, set and costume assistant on short films and commercials in LA, office assistant, public relations associate, director, vice president of design, consultant/small business owner. Can I stop listing now? I think I could triple this list.

8. Name those whom you are tagging.
I won't tag so as not to induce guilt if you choose not to do the meme (pitiful, huh?), but I do encourage my readers to visit some of my new recent blogging finds, and if you haven't checked out these blogs, you should. I, Pigeon, Culinaria Eugenius, Miss Malady and In Medias Res.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Camping Haiku

Moss + Campfire
Sitting here with trees
Sipping cocktails by warm fire

I hear wood chop chop

Warm all day camp fire

Suddenly explosion yap!

Yap! Yap! Stupid Kid.

That is hotness there

Down under there it will burn

Fire My Fire Good Fire

She's sugar Uno

Hello Kitty smiles at you

Cheater will get cut

Thank you, long weekend. I'm caught up on my sleep, reading of The New York Times, time staring at fire, hanging out with most excellent friends, Hello Kitty Uno and alcohol intake.

You can go here to see a slideshow of photos. Didn't take a lot, but did a little walk-a-bout with the camera, and if you haven't camped in the Pacific Northwest, you need to know it usually involves rain and lots and lots of gorgeous moss. The pictures prove it.

Thank you to RSG and HG for sharing this weekend with us: you don't know how much we needed it. (And their camping skills are mad hot.)

Here's to summer!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ellen asks John McCain about same-sex marriage, and he's speechless

There's something about Ellen that's just getting better and better. It used to be that she didn't talk about her "personal life." And we all know what that means. But lately, she's been putting herself out there, and her beliefs, a little bit more. Since the California ruling that will allow gays and lesbians to marry in that state, she has been bubbling over with excitement, as has her audience, with talk about marrying her long time (and hot!) girlfriend, reading up on Modern Bride (sarcasm) and today, she's set to interview John McCain. The old Ellen wouldn't have asked about the gay marriage equation. But I think now that Ellen is experiencing it—the ability to get married—it's like she's blooming and becoming fully authentic with us her viewers and audience. She's putting herself out there.

This is a great clip. Great for Ellen's articulate and plain-as-day questions, and incredibly telling as McCain really has no response or anything to offer for his rationale, except for noting they respectfully disagree on this topic. You know why? Because he has no valid rationale. There is none. And I'm glad these questions leave him speechless.

Hat tip to Just Out .

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Marital Rating Scorecard: I can only aspire

I can only hope to aspire to many of these. Sigh. Maybe I would at least score high for #10?

I dare you to fill this out for your Significant Other. Let me know how that goes, okay?
Hat tip to Pagent: make sure to let us know how this goes over with The Wife!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Transparency in Blogging, People!

I was invited to blog from the studios of KGW on election night to see what goes on behind the scenes. Sounded interesting...

So I got set up at a vacant desk, plugged in, then wandered around with my camera taking a few stills. The place where it all happens, where the excitement seems to be, is at the Assignment Desk. It's a raised area, and about 5 desks with a lot of screens and panels and a level of energy a little higher than elsewhere. As I approached the Assignment Desk with my camera, someone yelled out TRANSPARENCY IN BLOGGING PEOPLE! I think it was a warning. I was coming.

I'm hoping to get the people in my life—friends, family, colleagues—to adopt this same action when I enter a room. I think it could make life a little more interesting. A little more regal. A little more irritating for those around me.

Before I took off, I asked a few reporters and A-List Blogger Jack Bog if they'd join in on the action. They did. They had no idea why. What good sports.

Transparency in Blogging from LeloNopo on Vimeo.

Rumor mill: Ron Paul is in Oregon tonight

Can you feel the excitement? I said, feel it!

Can you feel the excitement? No, feel it.
As I began taking photos here at the assignment desk, someone shouted TRANSPARENCY IN BLOGGING PEOPLE. I hope to encourage everyone to do that whenever I walk into a room.
P.S. I'm really embarrassed. I just asked a staff person how to spell Joe Smith's last name.

It's all about the sacrifices

It's all about the sacrifices
Priorities people, priorities!

The life of a D-Listed Blogger

The bloggers being interviewed
If you're watching KGW, or the live streaming feed on, you may be seeing the interview seen here with the bloggers in da howze. As seen above. (I don't know many bloggers that wear full on suits to blog but apparently Len does. Go Len!) First of all, I'm not in that section. No, I'm 4 desks over, in the area that's not lit up for on-air. And I'm fine with that. Really. SRSLY. I am. But I'm not alone. I have my TV monitor. wOOt! And my new friend Kevin. He's here too. I checked in over at his blog and it looks like he's actually reporting on things like election outcomes. I need to find out how I can get into the studio. I have some important questions to ask. Okay, me and my camera are off and about....
screen on screen and that's live!

Live from KGW tonight, and here's a photo to prove it

election night at kgw
You didn't think I'd come to KGW on election night as an invited blogger and not bring my camera, did you? Of course not. Here's one at about 7:58pm. Isn't he a good sport?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Marionberry+Ginger Drop Scones: a recipe perfected

Marionberry+Ginger Drop Scones
I've been working on drop scones over the past year or so. I prefer making the lazy version of scones, because it requires no kneading or rolling out: much preferable to me as an AM task. I've made these with many different ingredients, including dried apricots (very delish), chopped apples, dried cranberries, blueberries, golden raisins and plain, too. They're really good with a hot cup of coffee in the morning, and a nice treat to share later in the day as well.

But recently I made a batch that were particularly good, and upon trading them with G. for some homegrown eggs, had a message from her that she as well thought they were delicious. Validation! And then I received an e mail asking for the recipe. Fortunately, I snapped a pic' of one from the last batch, so you have the picture to go along with the recipe. But I'm glad G. thought they were good, too. You know when you make a recipe over and over and you're getting down little things about it that make it really good? That's how I am with drop scones now. SRSLY.
Marionberry+Ginger Drop Scones
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prep a baking pan with a sheet of parchment paper. Into your standing mixer bowl, sift 2 cups flour, 1 T baking powder, 1/3 cup brown sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Mix in 1 stick unsalted butter (chilled, cut into 1/2 inch slics) and let it run just until the butter breaks down into small pieces, slightly smaller than peas but not so fine as cornmeal. In a small bowl whisk 1/2 cup cream and one egg. With mixer on low, mix in the cream/egg mixture just until everything sticks together. Add more cream if necessary. Stir in 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger and 1-2 cups frozen marionberries. I use berries frozen from last season, but you can also use fresh. I like using frozen because they keep their form and don't bleed their color into the dough. But either would work fine. Just barely mix everything together. Drop by large spoonfulls (1/2 cup or more) onto your baking sheet. Divide 1 Tablespoon raw sugar among scones and sprinkle on top. Bake for 20-24 minutes, until your kitchen smells wonderful and scones are turning golden. Cool on wire rack. They are best eaten warm, or the same day. Do not store in a closed container (they become soft and not as tasty.)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hate is a strong word...

Dandelion flower
...weeds deserve it.
"I’m coming to terms with my relationships with weeds. Through self-reflection, better communication and improved breathing exercises, I’m letting go and letting…oh who am I kidding? Weeds are a pain in my ass. But I’m learning a lot about them, and education is always a good step toward betterment, right?"
This was a fun column to write. You can read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

W=Wednesday, W=Wink!

Wink color coordinates her scarf with her pillow
It's been too long since I've posted photos of The Cutest Dog in the World, also known as my dog, also known as Wink, also known as Wink Satine Lo-Ri. I won't blog about how the other person in this household talks baby talk to Wink. No, I won't do that. But she was able to coax Wink into posing for a graduation photo. Graduation from what, I don't know, but that's what this photo makes me think of.
Graduation photo
Wink may look like an energetic and outgoing dog. If you meet her in person she will definitely portray that. But the reality is, she's very calm, low key and just darn sweet. In fact, she sleeps a lot. And when she sleeps, she likes to get comfortable. Kick it. Proof:
How Wink sleeps
And then today I saw this. It's so, so, so, so, so tempting. It's not that crazy, is it? Don't answer. I know. I know.

Hey, that's me!

There's something to be said about going to the homepage for Multnomah County Library and seeing your own face. Whoa! This Sunday I'll be at the Hollywood branch as part of the Writers Talking series. I'll be sharing and reading aloud favorite posts (including my grandmother's Jello salad recipes), photos and what I've discovered blogging. Including a whole lot of really incredible people. More information here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Who knew rhubarb could be so delish?

Rhubarb is beautiful
I recently got my hands on some rhubarb for the very first time. And not just any rhubarb. This stuff is gorgeous. Seriously. I couldn't stop admiring its beauty. Red metallic? Intense.
Metallic red rhubarb
The Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler recipe I used is from the always wonderful Kitchen Parade. (Alanna's recipes are always good!) Strawberries and rhubarb are a classic combination, in season at the same time, and their colors!
Spring strawberries
And with this long grey spring in Portland, these vibrant colors are so welcome.
Strawberries + rhubarb = delicious scents
Such an easy recipe, with no pie crust to roll out, and a whole lot less butter. I had never made a cobbler with cornmeal, but it gives the crust a wonderful crunch.
Bubbling rhubarb strawberry cobbler
Did I write about how good my kitchen smelled? But then there was what it tasted like....pure deliciousness. The tart tang of the rhubarb joins with the sweet strawberries, sugar and cinnamon and it's the weirdest thing. I could swear it was carbonated. It bubbled in my mouth like carbonation. Or it felt that way.
Now THAT'S an introduction to rhubarb. Taste-a-liciousness!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My previous post about the St. Johns parade was just a tease

If you thought the parade was only full of Clowns for Christ, you're wrong. No no no no. The parade is much more than that. Though I've never seen so many Clowns for Christ before. If you are wanting to see more clowns, Steve has some for you. I just have more juicy tidbits and insight into the depth of the parade. And Jess was right in her previous comment: it is an event with no pretension and I love it because of that.

I love the Shriners....has anyone ever seen a young Shriner? I haven't. Wave at my Shriner!
Shout out from my friend the Shriner!
Wave at the Royal Rosarians! They used to scare me, but not anymore. I love them. They are the official ambassadors for Portland's Rose Festival. Now that's a kick ass volunteer gig.
The Royal Rosarians
This was a warning to all children who misbehave (and part of the pirate contingent). Right before I took this the pirate girl was actually rolling down the street with her head and hands in that thing. And then the wheels locked up on her and she had to tow it.
A warning to all children
And then there were the cars. I only share a few here for you...this is my car. If I could have any of the cars in the parade, this is the one. I'd ride in it with my dog.
My favorite car
I told AdRi she could have this car.
AdRi's dream car
This car was made by carpenters. Could you tell? And, how much you think this thing weighs?!
A whole lotta wood
And finally, there's this group. Whenever I see these banners and stickers, which first came out around the same time we were seeing the One Man + One Woman stickers make their debut, I always wonder to myself if I should hate them. I mean, what are they about? It just doesn't feel quite right. But they were there.
This group always makes me ask myself the question...
Because marching in a parade just isn't marching unless you march with your bag of KFC.
Kids need both parents, and KFC, evidently
Until next time, happy St Johns parade everyone.
Don't miss my previous post featuring Clowns for Christ.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

You can't say the St Johns parade isn't unique

Today was the St. Johns parade. Our local neighborhood parade, but it's a long-time North Portland tradition. The chess club team marches, there are a few bands, little league teams and many candidates running for positions. Of course the mayor, fire chief, etc. It's one of my favorite North Portland activities because it's definitely a slice of life. Scary and delightful all in one. And so I share the scary with you, my dear readers.
We are Clowns for Christ
There were lots and lots church contingents. Lots. But this one took the cake. Clowns for Christ was their theme, and some of those placards on the van say "Whose clown are you?'" and "We are clowns for Christ." Could it be true? Clowns for Christ?
These are clowns for Christ
It's true. There were lots, and lots of clowns for Christ. And really, nothing says thank you Jesus like a bunch of people dressed up like clowns, right?

For more photos and stories of the 2008 St. Johns Parade, I have a new post here.

Friday, May 09, 2008

My dog is a narcissist

my dog is a narcissist
Can you tell which one is the dog and which one is the pillow?
This photo should be titled AdRi's favorite Christmas gift.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Have a 360

The sun came out this week and I had a moment of zen in my backyard garden. Wink did too. And here we share it with you.

My garden 360 degrees from LeloNopo on Vimeo.
Make sure you stop to smell that wisteria. I swear it smells like Bazooka bubble gum.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

We're so in touch we're going to hurl archaic terms back at you

Alternate Title: The Oregonian prints my letter, highly edited.
But first, let's have a little humor. Take a listen at this morning's conversation between AdRi and I:
"Brickback? Brokeback? Bareback?"
"No honey, brickbats. I don't know. I'll look it up."
My letter to FoodDay was printed in The Oregonian today, and that sentence there would be a link if they put the article on-line. It's actually 1/3 page with 3 other letters on the same topic, and an opening six paragraphs. But guess what kids? It's not online. Update: It's now online here. Here's the headline:
Grocery budget stories spark buzz; Articles about families trimming food budgets draw praise, brickbats.
I believe my letter falls into the brickbats category. Brickbats. The American Heritage Dictionary says:
  1. A piece, especially of brick, used as a weapon or missile.
  2. An unfavorable remark; a criticism.
Word History: The earliest sense of brickbat, first recorded in 1563, was "a piece of brick." Such pieces of brick have not infrequently been thrown at others in the hope of injuring them; hence, the figurative brickbats (first recorded in 1929) that critics hurl at performances they dislike. The appearance of bat as the second part of this compound is explained by the fact that the word bat, "war club, cudgel," developed in Middle English the sense "chunk, clod, wad," and in the 16th century came to be used specifically for a piece of brick that was unbroken on one end.

No response, but they did print the letter. And today I learned an archaic word rarely used in modern language, and one that stems from Middle English 16th century and as a theater critic reference. The Oregonian continues to prove how in touch they are with their readership.

The original letter and my blogpost can be found here.

Oh FoodDay. I'll still read you, and I'll still make your CousCous with Carrot and Cilantro salad you have on Page 3. Because I'm fickle that way. I just wish you were a little more in touch with the rest of us. Kisses.

Update: Special welcome to all of my new visitors from Slashfood!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Another installment of Things I've Seen in North Portland

I'm not sure what the "Bud" reference is. It could be Budweiser. But no matter what, no knockin' if this thing's rockin'. I hope I have my camera handy next time I see a Calvin peeing on a Ford truck logo. Or praying to a big cross.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Gays are Gardening: Food Not Lawns!

A new column is up, and I only scratched the surface: The Gays, are definitely gardening!

Sisters + 9200 Miles: Casts and Seeds

Casts and Seeds
My sister homeschools her kids. In Australia, there's all kinds of nature education: even on holiday, they participated in a nature program, and made casts of animal prints. Can you see the paw prints of the kangaroo?

It's getting to be Autumn there. Opposite sides of the world mean opposite seasons. She's thinking of apples and winter is coming. Me? I'm reveling in Spring. Starting seeds in newspaper pots and egg cartons. My Favorite 11-Year-Old stopped by last week and we planted these together. Swiss Sunset Basil, Ponytails Amaranth, Love Lies Bleeding Amaranth, Purple Tomatillos, Ornamental Freak Gourd (not its real name but I'm calling it that, as a lover of all things freaky). Together we immersed our hands in the soggy soaked coconut shell soil, and filled the pots. Then with a chopstick, poked at the soil to bury the seeds. They're sprouting now, the amaranth to be the first up. Today my eye spied the basil emerging. Emerging. I like that word right now. It's how I feel in Spring.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Thank you Gloria, Louise, Zora and Georgia

Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche
Those are the names of the chickens who provided eggs for tonight's dinner. Make that, tonight's Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche. And how did I come across these glorious eggs? That, my friends, is the wonders of the blog. A very friendly reader, though sparse commenter, GoblinBee, whom I met in person at an event last fall, sent me an e-mail asking a trade for produce from our garden, for eggs from her lovely girls. Alas, we don't have much produce this time of year, but I do have some tasty Apple Ginger Marmalade and Spicy Honey Dill Carrots. (And come this summer, we'll grow her her very own tomato plant.)

Ready for the small world part? She lives 3 streets away. We're neighbors. And she's a really nice person. How great is that? I love the internets. And I love this quiche. So much I'll even share the recipe with you. I made my pie crust, because it's super easy and I know how to do it with my eyes closed. No sugar though. Whip that up, put one in the freezer to use in the future, and one in your pie pan.

Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche—From The Culinary Institute of America's book on Vegetables

Preheat the oven to 350.
Heat 2 T of oil in a large skillet, medium heat, until it shimmers. Add 1/2 cup minced onions and saute, stirring frequently, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 4-5 cups washed spinach and saute until very hot, about 4 minutes. You're cooking down the spinach. Put the mixture into a strainer in the sink and let it drain and cool. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on it.
Whisk together 3/4 cup heavy cream and 2 eggs (I used 4 because I think a quiche needs more than 2 eggs). Stir in 1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, 2 T chopped sun dried tomatoes and the spinach/onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper and spread evenly over the pie crust. Bake for 45 minutes, or, until a knife blade inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the quiche rest for 20 minutes once done.

Thank you Gloria, Louise, Zora and Georgia, thank you G!