Monday, September 28, 2009


Sweetie-Pie had the day off, so we drove out to Oregon City to hit up a farm out there. The plan was apples, but pears were the bargain of the day, so we bought a big box. I foresee pear sauce or pear butter in my future. Maybe even ginger-pear pie! Now that's the flavor of fall.

There are people out there who deride Oregon City as a crappy Portland suburb, but I love it out there. The town itself is crammed with history, and the river is big and green. All around the edges of the city, there are little farms to explore and neat parks. Also, there's the Municipal Elevator. If you haven't been, make sure you take a ride soon--it's a wonder of 50's design and one of two city elevators in the world. So cool.

We'll be going back to Oregon City soon. I've promised myself we'll take a ghost tour this month to experience the paranormal side of Oregon's history.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Brain ... dead

First the cold, now the sinus infection ... will I ever be able string words together in a sensible way?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The wizardry of words

Being sick, I haven't made it into the library, which has reduced me to exploring (gasp!) my own bookshelves. This is something that rarely happens. Most of my books are mangled college literature texts I might revisit in another two decades--if the entire Multnomah County Library system burns down and Powells has become a private book club. Fortunately, this spring I used some of my tax refund to add a few volumes to my collection. The pain of nothing-to-read-for-the-morning-commute was thus reduced. I simply picked up the 20th-anniversary edition of So You Want To Be A Wizard, by Diane Duane, and dug in.

I think I found this book when I was seven or eight, pretty early in my book-reading career. I've probably read it ten times. Or more. It's so good that there I was, thirty years old, reading this kids' book on the bus, grinning my face off. Wow.

Revisiting books like this--books I've read many times, at critical points in my life--is always amazing to me. I can see things in the characters that shaped me. I can see themes about living that today I try to pass on to my daughter.

Being a writer is an amazing thing. The really good ones create words that go on to create people. Those writers are the wizards of the real world.

So, yes. I want to be a wizard.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sore throat

Revision Marathon interrupted by some kind of cold. Took a nap, ate some delicious pot pie, and watched We Are Wizards. It made me a little teary. Now I want to do a lot of reading, get people into reading, support international literacy campaigns, fight the man and learn a bunch of songs on my dulcimer.

But for now, a hot bath and early bedtime.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Editing Marathon, Day 3

20+ good pages, plus a revisit on the "punching" scene that gave me a panic attack yesterday. Also, I have forbidden myself to read any more of John Truby's Anatomy of a Story, which was making me feel like an idiot.

Tomorrow, I might not get much work done. I'm facing a big dilemma: Pirate Festival or the Scappoose Sauerkraut Festival? Wow, how do I choose?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Revision Marathon: Day 2

Welcome to the Great Sept-October Revision Marathon! The goal is to revise/rewrite novel #1, which is in its 3rd edit, and to complete this task before Nanowrimo begins.

This promises to be difficult.

For me, revisiting previous work has so far been more like an exercise in masochism than a positive, progressive experience. Book 2's 3rd Draft might have killed it. Book 3 is dead (although it did inspire a wonderful--and sold!--short story). Sometimes I think I should forget this book and just write Book #4, a book grounded in experience and knowledge, a book whose revision process would not only be less like peeling the scab from a half-healed wound, but positively enjoyable.

Hey, it could happen. I know I've learned a lot about writing since I sat down at the computer and picked out my first (complete) book. But I feel like I have to give this project my best shot. I can't keep setting aside pieces and never finishing them. I'm beginning to lose faith in myself. If I don't see this project through to a point where I can finally send it out--and I don't care if it finds acceptance, I just want to get it out the door in a proud and professional manner--then I might break the part of me that wills words into being.

I can not do that.

So if you've got any support or advice, now is the time for it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ecosystems in my home

Don't get too freaked out about this, folks, but last winter a slug moved into our house. We knew it was there because every morning we would find trails of scribble all over the plants and the rugs, but we could never find the darn thing, until one magical day (months later), I found it sliming up a branch of the Mexican cinnamon bush and chucked it outside.

Well, today I found out where it had been living. You see, I'm not a very good housekeeper, but I am a plant freak, which has created a terrifying condition in the corner of our living room: jungle-itis. We have packed about ten plants and one terarrium into the little sunshine nook and with all the beautiful greenery, certain household tasks get a bit neglected. Like sweeping and vacuuming and dusting. I mean, it always looks nice over there, so why fuss about the details?

Erm. Yeah. Back to the slug. Anway, the place looked lived-in. So today, I finally pulled out all the plants to give them a little extra attention. Everything was encrusted in dead plant-y bits, sprinkled in potting soil and dabbled with dead bugs--everything that wasn't swaddled in cobwebs. It was pretty gross. Not as gross as moving the bookshelf/plant stand and looking at the floor beneath it, however. At first I thought Fiona'd spilled a bottle of glitter. Then I realized that an inch of spider webs gummed with slug scribble creates a remarkable shimmering fabric (nice if you didn't think about it, or notice the bug corpses). Even worse was that even after I swept and vacuumed, the floor was still slug-sticky.

Eww, eww and double-eww.

But all's well that ends well. Not only is the corner spic-n-span, I've convinced Sweetie-Pie to add a base to the bottom of the plant-stand. Not only will there be no more slug hidey-home, but now the second shelf will receive sunlight. Bye, bye books, hellooooo more plants!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


You know you've got a cold when the sun is pounding on the windows and you're sitting around in long johns and a sweater. Jeez. In fact, I should probably stop messing around with blog updates and go take a nice hot bath.

What do you think of the new look, though? The little rock art monster on the header is from a photograph taken at Horse Thief Lake State Park. I think he's pretty cute!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Domestic mama

Jinkies. I can't believe I lived through yesterday: 7 hours of back-to-school/ready-for-E's-wedding shopping. John didn't have any pants with an opaque behind, or shirts with elbows. Fi didn't have any shoes, and had outgrown everything covering her below-the-belt area. I learned there would be tuxes at the wedding, and the MOH can hardly be seen in a cotton dress wearing Birkenstocks when the Best Man is wearing a tux. It was a shopping emergency!

Fortunately, we fueled up with a big Burgerville breakfast (if you don't have BV where you live, you are welcome to stay a few days in my basement so you can aquaint yourself with their magnificent offerings)--Green Chile & Cheddar Egg Sandwiches, hashbrowns and coffee. It is still a blast to put all the wrappings and leftovers in the compost bin, no matter how many times I go. Too bad our subsequent visits to S-bux and a pizza parlor weren't quite so eco-friendly.

But at any rate, pants and a dress shirt were found. Fiona picked out some dress shoes. I found some sexy strappy wedges and a red dress (polyester, so obviously much more formal). I even bought a big package of pens. How can I edit when there's only one blue pen in the house, and the kid's got it under her bed?

Not that I got any editing done last night. Nope, I spent the evening hunched over the sewing machine. I am halfway done with the Flower-Girl dress, and it looks adorable! Now, as long as I don't sew the skirt on upside down, I might manage to get it done before the wedding. =)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Fantastic tofu & spinach!

I have no idea what to call this recipe, but I do know that it was a big hit at the dinner table tonight. You can cut back the salt by using real veggie broth and salt to taste, but when you're lazy ...

Fantastic Tofu & Spinach!
1 package (14 oz) extra-firm tofu
1 tsp vegetable bouillon (I used Better than Bouillon brand)
1 1/c C hot water
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 oz (ish) brandy
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch spinach, cleaned and de-stemmed
1/4 C packed basil, in chiffonade
fresh-ground pepper, to taste
1 tb crumbled feta OR if vegan, juice of 1/4 of a lemon

Drain tofu and press under a weight, 10-20 minutes. Prepare marinade: dissolve bouillon in hot water. Stir in 2 cloves crushed garlic and brandy. Dice tofu and immerse in marinade, allowing to soak about 30 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a skillet, adding 1 clove minced garlic. Remove tofu from marinade, reserving the liquid. Add tofu to garlic in hot skillet. Stir until browned. Add spinach and reserved marinade, cooking on low heat until most of the liquid has been absorbed by tofu. Stir in basil. Add pepper and feta (or lemon juice) and serve warm. Serves 2 hungry parents and one hungry kid.

This recipe has the squishy, sexy spinach richness of creamed spinach without the fatty kapowy. The feta adds a tangy piquancy that I enjoyed, but I will probably prepare it vegan-style in the future (feta is kind of pricey, and I really want to cut out the dairy before winter).