Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Let's talk about pie, baby

apple pie
...let's talk about you, and me....
Now that I have that song stuck in your head, let's DO talk about pie. Have you ever heard pie lovers talk about pie? What kind they love the most? What kind they remember as kids? What kind their grandma taught them how to make? And if we're talking about pie makers, well, it just gets intense. And so it was just a day ago, and that dialogue spawned a Pie-Off. As in a dance-off. As in, Bring It On! My pie will kick your pie's ass. And people on twitter waxed poetic of their love of pies. And thus the Pie-Off was born.
Do you love pie? Do you love to make pie? Do you love to eat pie? Gawk at pie? Well, come Saturday, August, 30, 3pm, at a picnic site up at Washington Park, local pie hounds will join together. If you'd like to share pie links, stories, recipes or photos to the pie blog from afar and can't come in person, please e mail me at sassygardener at gmail. Keep up on the Pie-Off news, brush up on your favorite pie recipes, and plan to join. For the love of pies.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The internet makes the world a smaller place...

...when your mother's clogging group can be found on YouTube. And yes, this is my mother's clogging group. The Georgettes. In Texas. Performing. God bless America!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Yes, we had a birthday party for our dog

If you thought I was kidding about a birthday party for Wink, well, you were wrong. We really did. It was all about her friends...
Duncan came to the party
And of course there was Winston
Lucy came, too
There was a piñata
i love my pinata!
And cake (tres leches, of course)
wink on her cake
And attempts at a group photo
attempt at a photoshoot
And times when the birthday girl got bashful
all this excitement
But all in all, it was very sweet. And a very nice donation has been made to the Oregon Humane Society.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Today is Wink's Birthday

Wink and her portrait
Wink Satine Lo-Ri. You may remember when she first came to live with us, if not, here's where she made her first debut on the blog. Since that day, I can't begin to count the amount of photos I've taken of her. Well, I could on Flickr, but let's not.

In honor of her third birthday, and AdRi's upcoming birthday, I commissioned a portrait of Wink by an artist. An artist who blogs and is named Radio Gretchen. I've been bartering some kitchen skills, and she is one of them. Can you believe it? You may recognize the portrait from Wink's awesome Magnum PI photo. It is now immortalized in a painting.

How's that for a birthday? Next up? Wink's birthday party....

Friday, July 25, 2008

A visit with a fellow North Portland gardener

I recently visited with Jeff Fisher in his garden in North Portland. Both personal networking with someone I have a lot in common with (we're both designers, gardeners, live in North Portland) and to see his garden. Truth be said, I invited myself over. And just happened to have my camera. And voila! It showed up in my recent column for Just Out.

You can read the column here, but I thought I'd post more of the photos from Jeff and Ed's garden. Jeff wrote about it on his blog, too.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

To see the photoset in Flickr, go here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A photowalk around the Ferry Building, San Francisco

A foodie's mecca in San Francisco, the Ferry Building is really hopping on Saturdays during the Farmers Market. We explored a bit on Sunday, a more quiet time, and just took in the atmosphere and beauty. One of the shops offered fresh, local olives in a self serve set up and I couldn't resist. Olives stuffed with blue cheese, romano, nuts, garlic...the most delicious olives ever, really. Here are a few photos from our walkabout...

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I could be responsible and write a nice write up about BlogHer

...or I could just post a lot of photos and show you the crazy social side of it. Okay, I'll be a little bit responsible....

I went to a few workshops at BlogHer that were really really great. One was a writing workshop, where I heard from some really serious bloggers and writers about having a goal for your posts (what a concept!), and thinking about the core actions you want to come from your readers. I heard this several times over the course of the weekend, so I took this as a great take-away. You can read the liveblogging from the writing workshop here.

Beautiful blogging was a great workshop, and I just felt akin to the women around me who were committed to putting out good things into the universe, and cultivating good with their blogging. I thought it was interesting that the workshop about making money with your blog was also going on at the same time and that room was so loud and overflowing you could barely walk by. I guess we beautiful bloggers are a different flock. And that's fine with me. You can read the liveblogging from the Beautiful Blogging and Powerful Posting here. There are some great links to presenters and attendees also in that post. Many I'm adding to my reading list: you should too.

Opening night featured 20+ bloggers reading posts that had been selected in a juried competition. It was the highlight of the weekend. Such brave women to share their truths in their blogging, but even more so to get up on stage in front of 1,000 others and to read them out loud. We laughed, we cried, we gave standing ovations. Awesome power of words. Awesome power of truth.

I found it odd and humbling to answer the question when meeting new people, "What do you blog about?" I put out a call to my friends on Twitter to help me out, and I have to say thank you them for all of the nice feedback on that. So many of us blog about our lives, but to try to describe that to people can be tough, and when I found myself telling the woman from CafePress that I blogged about things like local foods and canning, she stared at my blankly and repeating back to me, "Canning? Really?!" as if it was a foreign language. Sigh. Just know, there is a huge world out there of bloggers, and our little niches are just that, little niches.

I have lots of notes and cards and tools and swag to go through. So many great women I met: a few I knew from online, and many I did not. I do know this...

I used to bash the mommy bloggers. Diapers poop blah blah blah. But you know what? Being divisive within women's blogging is perpetuating that woman against woman crap. We are not our enemies. We all have our own truth, and while I may not relate to the truth mommy bloggers blog about, they have every darn right to put it out there. More power to them.

And another sidenote? The queer blogger's break out session was the weirdest thing of the whole conference. Weird, weird and more weird. The ad-hoc queer blogging get togethers were much better!

And now, for the debauchery. As told through photos.
Mosaic of BlogHer
Read the commentary about the photos in the photoset here.
Oh, and RSG? Thank you for being such a great friend and travel companion. I heart you!

How my day started

It's 8am and I'm having needles stuck into my eyes. And it's not even for something like botox. Or collagen. Or lasik. Would it hurt? Would I cringe? Would I panic? "The worst part will be the numbing injection," the doctor says. He makes a crinkly face and says through clenched teeth "it will feel like a pretty bad bee sting. In your eyes."

Doesn't this sound enticing? Exciting? Invigorating? It's how I began my day. It's no big deal. And I'm not going into detail except to say it's done and over, and I'm okay. I wish I could say I look 10 years younger, but alas, I do not. My eyes are puffy, I have a little bruising, and a little while ago they started to sting a lot. But they are smooth and lesion free, which is always a wonderful thing. Needles in the eye? Not a wonderful thing. But it's done, and I'm grateful I have such good insurance to cover things like this.

Hope your day is going better than needles in the eyes!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Days where you just don't feel like you're on your A-game

flower for reflection
I'm giving you a pretty picture to look at while I get back into gear with a bunch of work stuff. I'm trying to focus on looking at something I love, like a flower, or gorgeous color—like this photo—in hopes it will get me on track again. Or allow me to hear what's trying to be told to me. Or whatever.

Do you ever have one of those days where you just find you're on/off and either things coming out of your mouth aren't quite you, maybe not so nice, or things coming at you, from others, aren't so nice either? It's like the planets are a wee bit off kilter today and I think I need to just take it down a notch this week and have some alone time. My art time. My create time. My time where I don't interact with people time. Where I walk my dog and draw pictures and sketch and dig in the ground and experiment and design and just work.

I owe you some wonderfully fantastic photos and thoughts about BlogHer. Oh, and I have some really good stories. About meeting amazing people and hearing some great talks and being surrounded by a thousand technologically saavy women and having fun in San Francisco. But until the planets calm themselves down, you're just going to have to wait.

See how pretty that flower is? It's pretty, isn't it? Yes, yes it is.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Miscellaneous thoughts from my first day at BlogHer 08

At BlogHer08
We have this look of awe because we discovered all of the presenters are in the nude, and no one wrote about that in the conference program.

That's what I would title that picture.

Okay. First of all. My braids. I was hot and my hair was bugging me so I did what I always do when I'm hot and my hair is bugging me when I'm in Portland and not going to a business meeting. I put it in braids. But come on. Here? One woman said she knew I was a lesbian "because of the braids." WTF. And how many other people have asked if I'm native american, or even, what tribe I'm from. People. Just because a woman wears her hair in braids does not make her native american--though know I am very flattered by that. But really.

Having a good time, popped into the Gold Dust Lounge this evening, a bar just off Union Square. Lordy, lordy. This is a lot of fun.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The new economy: an inside eye on my bartering.

I’ve been developing some wonderful bartering deals. Business leads for produce, misc homemade food items for eggs, and the biggie, cooking lessons for custom artwork. Of course there’s always the friendly sharing, but there’s something really promising about bartering. Knowledge and expertise for goods, or sharing of abundance and skills. A friend called this the new economy, and to me, it’s just a part of mindful living, and getting outside of an economy that buys buys buys and and a life of go-go-gos.

So this post is about a recent cooking lesson with my friend the artist. She’s been wanting to use and cook more with items from the farmer’s market, so we set a list of a few things we’d make together. Homemade pizza, using goods from the market, and a tasty salad with homemade salad dressing was one lesson. This is a standard meal at our house, and easy to make from scratch. With a little bit of work one evening, you can make dinner, as well as lunch the following day, and prep for another night of easy pizza and salad. And, you can use a mix of whatever you’ve got on hand, along with fresh items from the market with what’s in season.

Start with the pizza dough. Pizza dough is really easy. No. I mean it. Really easy. And so affordable. And my recipe makes two, so you can mix up the dough, make one, and pop in the fridge the other, for up to a few days. I use the recipe in Serving Up the Harvest, a great cookbook for eating seasonally and with items from farmer’s markets.
Pizza dough
Basic Pizza Dough
3 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 T salt (I use a little less)
1 ½ cups warm water
1 packet or 1 T active dry yeast
3 T olive oil
Heat your oven to 500 degrees. In your standing mixer bowl, combine 3 ¾ cups flour and salt. Measure the warm water into a glass measure, add the yeast, and stir until foamy. Stir in the olive oil into this yeast/water mixture. Attach the dough hook attachment on the mixer and start the mixer. Slowly pour the water mixture into the bowl and process until the dough forms into a ball. Continue to mix for 1 minute to knead the dough. Lightly oil a bowl and place your dough ball in the bowl, turning the dough to coat with the oil. Toss on a towel and let it sit in a warm, draft free area while you prep your pizza toppings. It will double in size over the course of an hour.
Pizza dough has risen
Almost every pizza I make has carmelized onions. Thinly slice 1-2 sweet onions, and sauté with olive oil over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Don’t let the edges char, keep it stirring, until your onions are a caramel brown color.

As for other items, whatever is in season at the market and sounds good to you is up for grabs. The key is to slightly cook/sauté the items, so that they don’t sweat their liquid onto your pizza dough. Mushrooms, peas, asparagus, spinach, kale, these are all great things. As well as roasted red bell peppers. And fresh tomatoes? This is the meal for you. You don’t really need meat, but if you must, we sometimes use spicy turkey sausage. If you make a good handfull of each of these veggies, you'll have enough for several pizzas, and that means no prep when you make that second pizza. Sweet.

Once the dough has risen, divide into two balls, and with the one ball, stretch it out to the size of your pizza pan. I swear by the pizza stone, because it gives a great crunch to the crust. A little olive oil on the stone helps with that too.

We had found some wonderful pesto at the farmer’s market, but if you make your own, this is the time to use 2 or 3 cubes of it. Then add a sprinkling of your vegetables. As for cheese? Our favorite is always feta, but you can use what you like or have on hand. Have an abundance of herbs from your garden? Now would be a great time to use them.

Pop it into a very hot oven at 500 degrees, and let that puppy cook for 20 minutes or half hour or so, until the crust is golden brown. The result?
Homemade pizza
Pure deliciousness. Cooking from scratch, using what’s in season, and keeping it local. I don’t mind bartering this knowledge one bit: it’s what’s for dinner. Wait, that tagline is taken. I’ll work on that…

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A small tale of a simple summer moment of thanks

I had one of those moments the other day. Those moments, sometimes rare, when you just feel good about who you are and where you are, and what your life is filled with. And I realized in this moment of reflection, it wasn’t in something new I had just bought, or some far-off place I had just been to, or how powerful I had been in a meeting with important people. It was in relationships and simplicity and the beauty of summer.

I spent Friday cleaning out closets and drawers with my assistant. I’ve hired my 11-year-old neighbor to help me with my business, but now she’s expressed interest in more work, so along with helping with mailings and filing, she helped get ready for the garage sale. I pulled out crap, she labeled it with the price. (And yes, she insisted that my Jesus head whose eyes follow you around the room be priced at $4 because “people are really religious!”) I enjoy spending time with kids. Especially this age. She’s very professional when she comes to work with me. She turns off her phone, and takes it seriously. I’m really impressed. Later when she was off work, we experimented making some homemade popsicles. With keifer milk and berries, and some with horchata and cajeta.

Saturday I hung out at the garage sale next door, spending the day laughing and talking with my neighbor (my assistant’s mom). I’ve always hoped to have a neighbor who’s a friend, and over the last year, and with the help of Wink, we’ve met and befriended a really super handful of them. But next door? Dreamy. We’re the same age and both loved the same music growing up and I just feel like we could talk and talk and talk some more. I really respect her. And neither of us understand scrapbooking. Or the other neighbor who insists on playing country music for all to hear.

Sunday I spent several hours with 15 of the most amazing women, a cross section of women all with different stories, and we talked about what it’s like as women, what we deal with in our lives, the history of the women’s movement. Incredible. Moved. Connected. Touched.

I found AdRi at the garage sale, and later that afternoon, together we made and canned 24 jars of raspberry and tayberry jam. From berries she had picked herself early that morning. Just berries and sugar. The tayberries? They smelled like flowers. Sweet berry flowers and summer. The pop pop ping of the jars sealing throughout the evening made both of us smile and our eyes light up.

And I realized I had had a really good weekend. I feel so fortunate to have these connections, and to live in such a beautiful place. And I feel so fortunate to realize this. To see the beauty around me, and to know the people that I do. Thankfulness is a very good thing.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Eating local: how do you do it?

We're eating local this summer. AdRi can't even stop at the store on her way home to buy berries. She stops at the U-Pick and picks them herself. How local can you get? I'm eagerly awaiting the tomatoes mere steps from our front door. And if the eggplant ever kicks into gear, mere steps from our back door. In the meantime, we have...

Cherries: 60 miles
Eating local: cherries, 60 miles

Eggs: 2 blocks
Eating local: eggs, 2 blocks

Love that. How local can you go?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Too hot to handle and too many links for one post

So much going on, uber busy and good. Here's a little window into my life for you...

I love that my dog is on the main page of one of the biggest food sites on the interwebs.
I also love finding what I thought was gorgeous, the simplicity of strawberries seen in the field at Sauvie Island, was also deemed gorgeous here.
And then the other huge food site loved my patriotism. God bless America!

I recently wrote about heirloom roses in my print column, and bonus, there's also a recipe for rose petal jam. You can read it online here.

A project I did the graphic design (my profession) for was featured on the show MarketPlace on National Public Radio yesterday. It was a great project to work on, and you can even see my design work in the slideshow here if you click through. And yes, my client was GM. Can I just say right here and now that with this post it appears as if the blurring between my professional and my blogging life is just going down the crapper? Since we're going down this slippery slope, I'll also share this link with you, featuring a project I've been working on for quite some time, and featured in The Advocate.

I'm cornering the Home Arts from a queer perspective. Some of my posts are getting picked up over here, leading the content for Queer Home Arts at the fantastically committed and talented Gay Rights Watch. Great source for queer news!

Okay, that's enough about me. Let's talk about you...

I'm so glad this blog is kicking in again. Eating local, from a North Portland perspective: inspiring and exactly the reasons why I eat local. Only she says it better than I do. And she understands why picking berries and making things with them is good for you, good for your pocketbook and good for supporting the local economy.

Are you a fan of Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck? I hope you'll join me and not buy that wine anymore. Not that I ever did, actually. I thought it tasted like ass. But seriously, there's a price for ridiculously low prices like that, and this one comes on the backs of contracted exploited and maltreated labor. Read about the death of Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez and learn what you can do to help protect the workers who bring us our food and wine.

I'm thoroughly enjoying this new Portland group blog. Kudos to all of the folks who are working on this little gem.

And look at Alan go. He's getting his green on with worms, bees and commingling. I'm keeping my eye on his new blog.

I've been flickring lately. Lots of great groups, and this one is always a source of inspiration. And you know what else? They're going to be at BlogHer next week. And so am I! Wait, this is about me again isn't it? No no no. I'm going with her, so it's about us.

Are you still reading or have I linked you out? One more? Okay. Life is good. Summer is good. I can't believe I admitted to slathering myself with baby oil and laying in the sun on broil blankets. Did I really say that? Oh sheesh.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Sweet Adelita: Hunting the Summer Cocktail goes south of the border

Sweet Adelita: bebida de jamaica
Imagine the warm breeze, bouganvilla blooms brightening the mountainside, and ranchera music serenading you, a cool refreshing bebida de jamaica in your hand, and tu amor kissing your neck. Just remove the bouganvilla reference and you have my household right now. We’re hunting the summer cocktail for you this July evening.

A classic refresca in Mexico is jamaica, a bright red tea made from the hibiscus flower. You can purchase ready-made jamaica mixes (muy popular) or the hibiscus flowers in hispanic stores. If you go the hibiscus flower route, steep them in boiled water for several hours and strain. You’ll have a gorgeous red liquid to work with. If you go with the ready-made mixes, pick one without sugar added: you won’t need it for this cocktail because we’re adding a simple syrup to the drink.

The other element you’ll need for this cocktail is a simple syrup infused with ginger. Super easy, just mix in a saucepan and bring to a boil 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water, along with 2 inches of sliced fresh ginger. Once you’ve brought it to a boil, remove from heat, let cool, and strain the ginger. This will keep in the fridge for a week or two.
Sweet Adelita: a summer cocktail
Sweet Adelita
Squeeze half of a lime into a low ball glass. Muddle with 2 Tablespoons of ginger syrup, fill with ice, pour 1 shot of vodka (2 if you’re daring), and top with the jamaica. Stir. Tart and sweet and spicy and refreshing. Perfect for summer libations and perfecto para una noche de verano.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Take a walk-about through the garden for Green Thumb Sunday

A walk through the garden: July '08
I took a walk through the garden and brought my camera with me...I missed the whole front garden, but here's a little bit from the back and side. It's still lush as we've had a cool summer so far. But things are coming together and the garden is a little slice of peace and calm right now.

Join me for the slideshow here.

This is a post for Green Thumb Sunday, a meme started by this lovely gardener.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Resurrecting Fourth of July Past

fireworks at PGE Park
Digging my toes into the sand at Pt. Mugu, eagerly awaiting the fireworks soon to explode over the Pacific Ocean. Bonfires everywhere. My dad parks the Ford Galaxy alongside the road and walking, walking, walking.

Fireworks above the pier in Ventura. Cool ocean breeze. After a day in the sun my skin burns warm. Salty ocean air.

Shooting bottle rockets on the farm, out by the pond. One after another, my brother and cousins are out there all day. My aunts churn ice cream by hand. Jello salad. Laughter. Kansas corn grows and at night the lightening bugs glow. My mom talks about making jewelry as a child, with the glowing parts of lightening bugs. This day is a whole different world for me to know, of family, calm, love and simplicity. I’m at peace.

Fires burn across the Northern California valleys, sunset glows hot red. No fireworks with so much smoke in the air.

The last year my sister still lived in the states, we drove into the Conejo hills in the truck, hoping to get a view of the fireworks. Up, up, the scent of sagebrush and butterscotch, traffic lines the 101 with headlights. But the sky is dark and fireworks are far away, but there. We sit with the back of the truck open, silent, together, for the last time in a long, long time.

The climbing panda and spinning pagoda, hung from the old oak tree in front of the little pink stucco house in Chico. Must have been 100 degrees that night, but some of the best fireworks I ever had. The smell of that river in Chico stays with me to this day. I smelled it that night, when we swam, in the dark night, laughing.

And tonight? A new one. A new memory. Of baseball and friends and fireworks. We’re lucky to have such great friends and good times. And good seats!
dew on the field at PGE Park

And did I tell you? The Portland Beavers were down 3-0, and in the bottom of the 8th? Scored once, then twice, followed by a Grand Slam, and a few additional hits, to come out 8-3 victors. God bless America. Now that’s the way to play baseball.
Beavers Antonelli

Friday, July 04, 2008

I adore this blog...

...and you should too. Visit Franke James.
"They paved paradise, and put in a parking lot."
Patriotism? This is patriotism, to me.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Sweet summer '08: My office is outside

Summer is here: from my summer office
I blog a lot about my hobbies. Gardening, cooking, eating local....I don't blog about my work. But here's a little inside secret: I work a lot. Not too much---I've done that plenty in my past. But running my own business, having clients and projects and deadlines and contracts and invoicing and technology, well, it keeps me busy. And I do it all from home. So when I need a break I water the garden, or write about gardening, or make lists about canning, or cook up some strawberry cupcakes.

Working from home, I have a nice little office, set up just for me. Bright and cheery and great art and huge windows, but come this summer? I have a new office. In my backyard. Our backyard is a sanctuary: rain chain fountain, birds, flowers, and now a conference room table and chairs. With umbrella. And last night I discovered, when I was taking photos of myself in my office as seen above here, my wireless airport reaches so voila! Summer Office '08. I don't have my hard drive or my big screen monitor, but I can write and talk and research til my battery gives out. And then I can run a cord if need be.

Sweet Summer '08 also has a developing music playlist, thanks to some great advice and leads from some of you. I'm playing some of the new Erykah Badu, along with classic Queen, Pink Martini, Elliot Goldenthal, George Michael, Prince and Sharon Jones & The Daps. It's growing to be an eclectic mix, just like my summer is turning out to be: new and exciting clients and work, great growing networking and conversations, berry picking and baseball game outings, harvesting and preserving local foods in the kitchen, exploring new cocktails, parties and get togethers with old and new friends, and plenty of enjoying the outdoors. Even when I'm working.

What are you dreaming of this summer? Hoping for? Expecting? What kind of summer are you manifesting? My summer list is coming to fruition. It feels really, really good.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Wow. American Family Association is really wigged out by the word gay.

So wigged out, they have a script written into their website changing the word "gay" to "homosexual" every time it shows up on their site. And now, Tyson Gay guessed it. Tyson Homosexual. Wow. Technology is amazing. And to think I originally thought the People Mover at Disneyland was the wave of the future.