Friday, March 27, 2009

The Audacity of Hope.

A couple of weeks ago I went in to get my hair done, and I told my stylist I wanted Duffy/Julie Christie hair, and my friend Sara Gray at Vanity Junkie delivered. She sent me home with Big Sexy Hair's Big Tease- Back Comb in a bottle. This might be the most fun I've ever had doing my hair.

One of the more annoying things about moving back to Portland, is running into people I knew years ago. Sometimes, this is delightful, but other times, it is seriously obnoxious. A couple days ago, whilst waiting in the checkout line at Costco, I ran into one of my mom's old friends, whom I haven't seen in probably 15 years. After she overcame her shock that I was no longer a child, she asked if I was married.
"What are you doing? Are you married?"
"No I'm not married."
"You're not married?"
"No."
"How old are you?"
"Old."
"And you're not married? With that hair, you're not married! I don't believe it"

A lot of people I've run in to, who don't know me very well, seem to be shocked that I am 26 and unmarried. (Although, one of my old visiting teachers, on our first - and only - actual visit, told me I would never get married. Then as a birthday present, gave me a care bear, one I dubbed "Always-a-Bridesmaid bear", before I gave it to DI.) I'm not shocked at my marital status, quite the opposite, but with the way she qualified her disbelief, "With that hair, you're not married!" I am now not entirely without hope that my hair might overcome all other deficiencies.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cafe Rio.

So, aside from people and school, the only thing I miss about Utah is Cafe Rio. Oh, the sweet pork salads are sheer bliss. There was a Costa Vida thirty minutes away here in Portland, but it closed a few months ago as a victim of this economy. This upset me.

In order to remedy this loss, I decided I needed to figure out how to make it. And since you either love Cafe Rio or have never had it before, I thought I should share my findings with you, dear readers, to experiment on your own if you, like me, are far away from Utah.

Sweet Pork
I marinated a 2 lb. pork roast overnight in a large Ziploc bag with ¾ c brown sugar, 16 oz Coca Cola, 1 small can of green chiles, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 c tomatillo sauce (you could substitute green taco sauce), and 2 Tbsp of Worcestershire (because I add this to everything). (I just found a couple other recipes online that added chile powder, if you want some more heat, do that.)

Then I pressure cooked the meat and marinade (with top piece rattling) for 40 min (if you're of the patient variety, or the kind who is cool enough to wake up early in the morning to set up a crock pot, go for it.) Then, take the meat out and shred it.

To the marinade, I added 1 tsp corn starch paste, and ½ can enchilada sauce, heated to just before the boiling point and blended with a submersion blender and then added the shredded meat back in.

How easy was that?!

Cilantro Lime Rice
My favorite part of Cafe Rio is the rice. This is pretty close.
Standard rice fixings, 1 cup brown rice, 2 cups chicken broth, 2 Tbsp butter, then I tossed in the the white part of 3 green onions minced, 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice and 1 tsp cumin. After it did its cooking business, I added about 2 Tbsp of finely minced cilantro and the green parts of the scallions with 1/4 cup tomatillo sauce and fluffed up the rice.

Black Beans
Um for simplicity's sake, just take 2 cans of black beans drained and rinsed and add it to a pan after you've sauteed 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil and 2-3 cloves of garlic minced, then add a little bit of water or chicken broth and a 2 tsp of cumin.

Tomatillo Ranch Dressing
I Sandra Lee-ed this too, (but I was sober,) mainly because who has time to make a million things from scratch like Cafe Rio? I took a jar of Trader Joe's ranch dressing and added two diced large tomatillos, one clove of garlic, and half a bunch of cilantro, and the juice of one lime. Use the handy submersion blender again and you've got deliciousness.

Throw in the tortillas that Costco sells that you cook yourself, lettuce and guacamole and you've got a pretty close facsimile of Cafe Rio. Go do it.


***Edited: After eating leftovers for lunch, I've discovered that I would make more rice and beans for the amount of meat the 2 pound roast made.

Rocket Science

In one of my film classes, we started talking about Napoleon Dynamite, because, let's be honest, we all knew Jared and Jerusha. My beloved professor said, I think people either love or hate Napoleon Dynamite. I am not one to be very vocal in class, but apparently, my face betrayed me (shocker) and my professor looked at me and said, "you don't agree?" "Well," I stammered, "I liked it, but it's not a movie I'd watch over and over again. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone I know, but I did like it. And, now that it has taken over the world, I am getting increasingly sick of it and all of the 'Vote for Pedro' shirts."

So, being the person who still is lukewarm about Napoleon Dynamite, I have a movie recommendation I am equally lukewarm about. I watched Rocket Science last night on DVD and enjoyed it in the same way I enjoyed Napoleon Dynamite. But, in Rocket Science there's a cute boy, Nicholas D'Agosto, and it's written and directed by Jeffrey Blitz, the man behind the awesome doc, Spellbound. It is a nice little story about a high school aged stutterer who joins the debate team for a girl.

Not to be a spoiler, but I have to share a couple of quotes that I literally laughed so hard at.

Earl Hefner: (to his stuttering brother) I swear Penelope, I don’t know what you would do without someone in this family who could steal and then organize.

High School Counselor: (also to the stutterer) Get out of your own way here, man. Go back to living how you were before you tried to exceed your limitations.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Und die Katzen haben hoffentlich ein dickes Fell in den N├Ąchten...

Ashley made my whole week when she showed me the blog, bloggingaboutmykittens. These people threw a wedding for their cats, Princess Wondercat and The Internet. Totally ridiculous and totally awesome! So, I officially read all of the posts from this year, and loved the video, "Kittens inspired by Kittens" but felt I should restrain myself to one cat related video.

And so that left me with this. You know I love German television.



While he's picking up the cat he says something close to: "And our studio cat is in here, without permission but I'll just keep it." And then closes with "and hopefully the cats have thick fur at night."

Have You Heard?

The change of seasons always brings a change in my musical moods, and I have some suggestions of new releases for you to usher in the days getting longer!

1. Little Jackie - The Stoop. Little Jackie wants to be a Star. Do remember this Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam hit from the late 80s? Well, Imani Coppola did and decided to name her new group after it. My uncle told me to check them out and I can't get over how delightful this cd is. My uncle was right, yet again, not surprising. It is a really great blend of hip hop vocals and old school soul/R&B arrangements. *My favorite track: "Liked You Better Before"

2. Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You. I love so many of the ladies from the UK scene, ok, mostly Lily and the exceptionally well-coiffed Duffy, and I love the revival of the old school sound. This album is so much fun. I am not sure how many genres are channeled on the album, but there are a lot, and all of the tracks are infectious and super diverting. *My favorite tracks: "Chinese", and "F**k You"

3. M. Ward - Hold Time. Everyone loves M. Ward. To know him is to love him. Check this out. *My favorite tracks: "Never Had Nobody Like You" and "Rave On" - He does such an awesome job on this cover. I LOVE IT, oh and Zooey Deschanel also sings on both of those tracks, so I might be influenced.

4. Loney, Dear - Dear John. It is safe to assume that if a band hails from Scandinavia, I will love them. From the Hives, to Teitur, to the Shout out Louds. The same holds true for Loney, Dear. They were opening for Andrew Bird, and let me say, there is now a lot of love. It's a little bit more melancholic than the other selections, but pretty great. *My favorite track: "Airport Surroundings" - I have a soft spot for synthesizers.

5. Andrew Bird - Noble Beast. My friend Beau said that this was Mr. Bird's most accessible album, so if you've not liked him before or have never heard him, Noble Beast might be a good train to hop on. I am not a good judge of accessibility, but since Beau said so, I believe it. Trust Beau, and like Andrew Bird, because he's AMAZING, and he whistles! *My favorite tracks: Fitz & The Dizzyspells, and Anonanimal, but if you're looking for "accessibility," check out "Oh No" it is as charming as Andrew Bird is.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wait, wait. I'm sorry. WHAT?

MANDY MOORE AND RYAN ADAMS GOT MARRIED?!?!?! WHAT THE EFF?

Where have I been that I didn't even know they "announced their engagement" last month. HOLY GUAC. That is like the little pop star wanna be that sang "Candy" just married one of the greatest and most prolific and angry songwriters ever. Oh wait, that's exactly what it is. I am completely shocked. COMPLETELY SHOCKED. I think I need to find a blanket and elevate my legs.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Morton

Recently, a few different sets of friends have brought up my penchant for naming things. Slippers, wellies, sewing machine, iPod, rolling pin, long board, my currently broken video camera, all of these items, and many others have names. One friend asked what the name of my car was, and I said, "I've never named a car. Why would I name a car?" I, of course, was inadvertently lying. I forgot about Morton.

One summer, when I worked for the local parks and rec district, my friend Rachel and I had a truck assigned to us, and we called him Morton. We knew automobiles usually had feminine names, but if you saw this truck, you'd know like we did that he was all geriatric male with nothing going for him. The rest of the parks and rec community called him 308, and when people would ask which truck we were in, or notice him outside, they'd always smile coyly and say, "Oh, you've got 308, huh?" as if they knew something we did not. They didn't have anything on us, because we knew Morton sucked.

Morton was an early 90s electric blue Chevy, with no mounted rear view mirror, and a slow reacting brake pedal that took a long time to get used to. While most of the other fleet had air conditioners and cd players (your tax dollars at work), we had nothing but wing windows and the FM dial.

But we were very much endeared to Morton by the end of the summer because of all of the adventures we had inadvertently put him through. On the very first day, we accidentally created a dent in Morton's side by misjudging the width between two posts. Soon after that, we got Morton stuck in the mud, and used our cell phones to call for assistance because we were too embarrassed to use the radio. It happened again two weeks later.* Then there was that time that we accidentally spilled a 5 gallon tub of paint all over his bed. Oops. Just so you know, Rachel and I are not idiots**, we just made a couple of poor judgments.

What Rachel and I did not know about the parks and rec job, is that no one does anything. NOTHING. Whilst we were going about the area and repairing picnic tables and painting benches and buildings, we happened across a lot of employees who were not doing anything. When I say, "not doing anything" I mean, we found several at Starbucks, or lounging in a beach chair reading the paper. About a month in, when we had finished our chore list for the summer, we were slow on telling them we were done and instead decided to go to Starbucks*** ourselves, because they had frappuccinos, and air conditioning.

*Morton's tires were not what they once were and in our defense the ground did not look muddy at all. Unlike the time we were recruited to help move picnic tables into a park in preparation for a Kenny Loggins(!) concert. We were riding with two macho guys called Rick and Randy. Rick drove into the park first, and got his truck, and the trailer full of picnic tables seriously stuck in the huge amounts of mud that were evident from the street. Then, Randy, in an effort to save Rick did the exact same thing. Both trucks stuck in the mud, so why not go to Starbucks? Rachel and I didn't have our purses with us, so we waited. An hour later, one of the nice mechanics showed up to tow the trucks out of the mud. Rick and Randy aren't back from Starbucks yet? Really? Rachel and I moved the trucks and trailers, and then waited for another long while for Rick and Randy to come back.

**Ok, maybe I am, but Rachel is one of the brightest people I know.

***We also devised a plot to leave one of our cars at a park, then come by and leave Morton in its place while we went downtown to see a noon time performance by Guster.**** We decided, instead, just to take the day off because we were moral and a little bit chicken.*****

****Guster was cooler back then.

*****It totally would have worked.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Christmas Letter, 2004

My grandparents have never really cared for me, although, to be completely honest, I've never really minded. I found myself going through some of my aunt's old papers today and I came across my grandparents' Christmas Letter from 2004 and thought that I should share what, according to my Grandmother, what all of us grandkids were doing in 2004.

My brother was mentioned first (they really seem to like him)
: Our grandson Blake, Drew's son, took a five month self directed bicycle tour in Europe this year. He started in England, went from there to the Northern coast of France, followed the Western coast line to Spain spending the bulk of his time in Spain and Portugal. He flew from Barcelona to Amsterdam and spent a few days in Holland before returning from England. Blake called us from New York - "Hey, Gramma, I'm back. I'm in Brooklyn!" (My father's birthplace.) This is true.

Then came Davie:
Our youngest grandson Davey, passed his state exam and is now a CPA! We are all very proud of him. He works for KPMG - the most prestigious accounting firm in our lovely state since Arthur Anderson had to leave. He bought a small house and is very independent. This is true, except Davie spells his name with an "ie".

Now me:
Molly is a senior at BYU this year. She is majoring in film and is planning to become an independent screenwriter and film editor. Bill and I are encouraging her to do her graduate work at USC even though there is a lot of independent film making going on in the Portland area. Molly is very much a "my way" girl and we suspect that she really doesn't put much credence in our recommendations.*

Juxtaposed with: Nikki will be pursuing a career in nursing upon her graduation next August. It is always a thrill for us to see these kids graduate. It is even more so when they have a specific goal in mind. Nikki also had a lovely son that could have been mentioned, but maybe that would have painted her in a negative light since she wasn't married at that point?

Now, you can tell she really is getting her bragging on with Devon:
The oldest of the grandkids is Devon. Dev is the public relations director of the Everett Silvertips, a semi professional ice hockey team. He lives in Everett, Washington and we don't get to see him too often. Everett is a small town just north of Seattle that enthusiastically supports their hockey team. Dev is truly in his element and has been greatly responsible for the increase in attendance at local games. It also helps to have a good team and the Silvertips went to the national finals. Way to go, Devon!

And lastly,
Our granddaughter Jillyn, Tracey's daughter, continues to be a delight for Bill and I. She was three months old when Bill retired. We were her first baby sitters and have enjoyed watching her grow and become her own person. When the others were young we were both working and did not have the time to spend with them. Jillyn is twelve, she has been on the honor roll every trimester in middle school, she is in her third year of piano, and she is an avid softball player. She is the pitcher for her team. Dan has become a coach and Tracey is serving as treasurer for the Blaze Softball Association. Dan's love of the kids and baseball is an unbeatable combination. Jill is very proud of him. With all of this, Jilly is warm and friendly, has a great sense of humor and is very considerate. I took her with me to a DAR function and she charmed everyone she met. The nicest thing about being a grandmother is allowing myself to brag about my grandkids. I had no idea she ever had a job, and if Jillyn was 3 months old when Bill retired, I was a geriatric 9. And yes Jill is a delight. $5 says she has never bragged about me.

*I was not a senior. I have never said I was going to be a film editor. They never encouraged me to go to USC, but since it is my grandfather's alma mater, maybe it was implied? I do like things to be a certain way, but I can be easily influenced if I find another alternative to be better, more efficient or more logical. If you talk to my mother, she will verify that I have never thrown a tantrum about needing something "my way," not even when I was small, I'll just chalk this up to a "Kettle, it's Gramma, you're black!" situation, and that they didn't spend, and continue not to spend any time with me. It is hard to know someone you never see or talk to. She is right that I don't put too much credence in their recommendations, but I'm not sure why she felt it necessary to share that with all of her friends at the Holidays.

I'm really not bitter, I think it's funny. And to quote the amazing Zora Neale Hurston, "Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Why can't I finish a book this year?

So, spring has sprung around my neck of the woods, and I am THRILLED! The past two weeks I have been running around like mad doing things, meeting people, reorganizing and purging stuff, being creative, and just over all getting things done. It has been totally exhausting but also exhilarating as I've been able to tic of many items from my to-do list, items that have been the victims of procrastination, and thus have an even sweeter taste of accomplishment.

So, with the energy that comes with spring, I have decided to make this month one where I complete, or make serious headway on, all of the projects I have started and never completed, or planned out intricately in my head but never actually got the ball rolling on. This whole idea is making me giddy just thinking about it, and though I've been ready for a nap since I dragged myself out of bed this morning, I know that I am going to stay up for at least another 15 minutes while I finish another task I've been meaning to do for awhile.

But with all of this thinking of things I haven't finished I started thinking about the books I have started recently and haven't yet finished. And because I make lists, here is one detailing why I haven't finished all of the books that hold a bookmark of mine right now.

1. Middlemarch. I started reading this before Christmas, when the snow was coming down like crazy. Then, the first week of January, 80 pages away from the end, I accidentally spilled the entire contents of my SIGG water bottle on it, my journal and my planner. My planner and journal being much thinner books dried within two days, but Middlemarch took a lot of time sitting in front of the heater vent with the pages all curled up to ensure they wouldn't stick together. Then, it was so warped and the pages all bumpy, I put it under a piece of furniture to flatten it out. It is still there.

2. More Information than You Require. My brother gave this to me for Christmas, and it is pretty delightful easy reading. It was the first book I turned to when Middlemarch was soaked. But then the Israeli Palestinian conflict flared up pretty substantially and I decided I should finally read Jimmy Carter's Palestine Peace not Apartheid.

3. Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. This one is just pathetic. I am about 10 pages from the end, but for a book club needed to re-read If on a Winter's Night a Traveler, so put it down.

4. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler. I think if I can swing getting all of the kids REALLY run down before nap time thus ensuring a long nap, I can finish it tomorrow.

5. A Girl Like I. Anita Loos' autobiography (she was a writer/screenwriter/playwright who wrote Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, among many other things). I started this last fall and put it down when I found the Winchester Austen editions and decided to read Emma, Persuasion, and Pride and Prejudice in a week. Sadly, Anita and I have yet to be reunited.

6. Cahiers du Cinema 1950s. I've been reading this off and on since last summer. I'll read an article or two and then decide I need to netflix the film(s) they discussed in the article. Then, after seeing the film(s) I re-read the article. This process might never end.

So here I am, in limbo with 6 books simultaneously. I am not sure I have the same high hopes for a couple of these titles as I do for the rest of my to do list, but I think getting George Eliot out from under the furniture and finishing it is the first thing I'll do after Italo Calvino solves this mystery for me once again.