Sunday, August 31, 2008

Weekly Winners 8/31/08

Weekly Winners, hosted by Lotus.

Click pics for better looking larger images or take a peek at the entire album and/or watch as a slideshow at this link.

I'll be entertaining a visitor, so it might take me an extra day to get around to all who comment, but I promise I will, and thankfully, it will be a relaxing holiday with lots of time. And coffee.

Resting On Webby Laurels


To Brewery
(and other places, I s'ppose)

Back to Good
(hint: toasting almonds dry over medium heat adds much to any salad)

A friend came to visit from Tokyo, so we explored and went up to Mt Hood and got these shots.

Warmth, Dormant
Timberline Lodge, near Mount Hood in Oregon

Summer Powder
Mt Hood, Oregon from Timberline Lodge

Look Out
Timberline Lodge, Mt Hood, Oregon

Rescue Me
Mt Hood Information Center and Musesum

Unfortunately, Obstructed
Trillium Lake, Partial View of Mt Hood, Oregon

Pyon Pyon Takuan
(Pyon Pyon is the onomatopoeia for a hopping bunny in Japanese, and Takuan is pickled Japanese radish called daikon)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Haiku Friday 8/29/08 - Part Five

Haiku Friday

Previous Installments:
Prologue-Boo!, Part One-Leaving, Part Two-"Adults", Part Three-"Freedom",
Part Four-"Epiphany"
Writing About Writing This


I told him I had to go.
No more runaway.

He was not real thrilled.
He'd brought me there, you know?
A way to keep me.

I would need some help.
It's not like he'd drive me home.
(Just take me from it.)

One of those "adults"
who hadn't done anything
had been his mother.

She knew I was there.
We'd even stayed there one night.
But she'd lied "for me."

My parents had called
worried, anguished, scared to death.
And She? Lied. To. Them. (!!)

She hadn't seen us,
had no idea where we were,
her deceitful words.

This while my parents
wondered, worried, drove and search'd.
(Mom, Dad, I'm sorry.)

He must have snowed her,
snowed her so incredibly,
the audacity!

Still, she did help me.
She bought me a bus ticket.
Half of my battle.

his brother flipped the hell out.
I mean really flipp'd...

...He started ranting,
speaking crazy, throwing stuff,
begging me to stay.

It was all scary,
bet he'd put him up to it,
one last ditch effort.

Crazy backfired,
bolstered my new determined.
I was out of there.

(to be continued)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday Thirteen 8/28/08 - 30th Edition

Thirteen Unspectacular Quirks

I've been tagged by Danielle and also tagged by Bellamocha to divulge 6 unspectacular quirks about me. Surely there are a bucket load of them, but here are 6 for each, plus 1 because it's time for Thursday Thirteen, and efficiency makes me hot (bonus quirk, that one doesn't count).
  1. In a fix and without cream/milk and sugar, I will gladly put ice cream or whipped cream in my coffee. Sometimes it's good to be in a fix.

  2. When I feel icky like I did when I had a cold last week, I crave comfort foods from Japan like ochazuke (rice soup), okayu (rice porridge). Since I didn't grow up in Japan and only lived there as an adult, it really doesn't make a ton of sense.

  3. I've never seen Star Wars, but I'm saving it for my wedding night as a special gift of myself since I kind of lost the other one.

  4. I often watch TV shows online and sometimes watch whole shows from start to finish, like watching The Hills (yes, reality trash, junk food for the mind) from Season One all the way through the current Episode 2 of Season Four in just over the past week. The addiction is all right here (except for the missing S3E21, but that's here) if you are in the market for a mindless new addiction:

  5. I love The Dick Van Dyke Show (Netflix rocks with the Watch Instantly option), and I am on Season Two, but shows had way more episodes per season back in the day.

  6. I keep the toilet seats closed because I have cats. Yes, they hate water, and so that makes zero sense.

  7. I don't wear shoes in my home and kind of breathe heavy in a bad way when others do. I've mentioned this in passing here - another "Japan thing."

  8. I usually just can't quite follow action-adventure movies. Or science fiction. Fantasy, too.

  9. The language in which I speak to Tom 90% of the time is only roughly based on English and is more based on gibberish revolving around fish, ducks, pee, lily pads, Tuesdays, rice, and a few other key terms.

  10. The end of the toilet paper rolls under my roof must pull from over, not under. It's just the right way.

  11. The subtitles on my TV are always on because I can't hear jack shit, and, yes, I've mentioned this previously as well.

  12. I own an old piano that I grew up with but that I cannot house where I live, so my sister has had it in her living room (in different houses) for about the past 15 years, though nobody in her house knows how to play piano. I can only barely play, but I do enjoy it.

  13. I once owned a VW Bug. With a Rolls Royce hood. Until it caught fire. Remind me to tell the rest of the story someday.
I'm not tagging 6 bloggers, but anyone is welcome to play along, and if you link back and tell me, I'll link to you as if I'd tagged you. Sound fair?

Here are the rules:
  1. Link the person who tagged you.
  2. Mention the rules on your blog.
  3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.
  4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them.
  5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.
  6. If you participate, let the person who tagged you know you’ve posted your quirks!
Today is smoke-free day 438, and I'm still counting.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Gift

Today is smoke-free day 436, and time for Heads or Tails.
Today is HEADS - Talk.

It's probably no surprise that I am rather talkative and always have been since way back in the day when comments were made on my Kindergarten report card about being excessively chatty with my neighbors as if being social was kind of a bad thing. I'm also sure that I have bored people to tears with stories and taking the long and scenic way around getting to the point (though I promise I do get to it). I know all this. I've even tried to change it about myself once or a million times, but I've made my peace with a sort of balance that this is who I am while also aiming somewhere in the general vicinity of within the boundaries of what's appropriate in a given setting (sometimes biting holes in my tongue as I suffer).

Words are powerful. Conversation is magic.

I know only a few ways to convey what is in my heart and mind and understand that of another, and aside from certain subtle expressions and the quiet gestures of body language, talk is the way it gets done most efficiently (though flipping the bird is pretty efficient, too, I guess, as an alternative). Sure, sometimes words are awkward, other times eloquent, imprecise one moment and then eyes closing in order to gather thoughts, and suddenly they become articulate the next moment, but eventually talk leads to understanding, even during the difficult "stuff" of life if there is patience and willingness involved.

I am blessed. Really, I am. I'm blessed with the gift of gab but even more with a sweetheart who will both listen to me without ever making me feel the need to apologize for my chattiness and who also will talk openly with me so that I can peek inside his heart and soul and mind, when he can get a word in edgewise.

The Monday Method

Today is smoke-free day 435, and no matter how many times I look at the calendar, I continue to notice that it still keeps being Monday. What is that all about, I wonder?

I suppose this is good because "Monday" is when I kept saying to myself (yes, out loud, sometimes) that I'd get back out of the bad habits I'd gotten back into with eating everything in sight with complete and delicious abandon while my nephew was visiting and then after that eating even more while "feeding a cold" with a whole bunch of yummy because that's what you are supposed to do (right? feed a cold, starve a fever?).

Anyway, my mom always subscribed to the Monday Method of getting back on track after not being on track (at least until Tuesday). She didn't call it that, but that's what it is and shall heretofore be named by me because naming random stuff is my favorite.

Words of Wisdom: It's so much easier to stay on track than it is to get back on track.

Put that in your pipe and (don't) smoke it (that one's as my grandma used to say - generations of wisdom and sayings all right here in one blog post, lucky you!).

Are you doing the Monday Method of starting or renewing anything this week?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekly Winners 8/24/08 - Portland, Oregon Edition

Weekly Winners, hosted by Lotus.

Click pics for better looking larger images or take a peek at the entire album and/or watch as a slideshow at this link.

Maggie's Chicken Tortilla Soup Burritos (see below)

My visiting nephew and I spent all day last Sunday in wonderful downtown Portland, Oregon. It was the perfect day.

Former Elk's Temple
(now part of The Governor Hotel - see history)

Central Library


Escape, Looking Up

Portland Aerial Tram

Downtown Portland from the Tram

Portland Sky from Top of the Tram

Portland Sky from Bottom of the Tram

Jamison Square / Parenting in the Pearl
(seriously, this is cool)

Keeping Portland Weird, Really Weird
(Taken on Trendy 23rd Ave While Minding Our Own Business)

Weird, Departing

Looking Up
Pioneer Courthouse Square Starbucks

Which Way Do We Go?
Pioneer Courthouse Square

Pleasantly Surprised
(We'd seen lots of gorgeously dressed Indian families on The MAX, but we only found out late in the day when we headed to Pioneer Courthouse Square that this was the reason. I left with a belly full of yummy and eyes full of beautiful colors. India fascinates me. I was a happy girl.)

Festive Colors

If some of these look a little familiar, it's because I did a similar Maggie's Grand Tour of Portland when my dear friend J came to visit back in September, photographed in this post.

Maggie's Chicken Tortilla Soup Burritos
* 15 ounces canned corn, drained
* 15 ounces canned black beans, drained (or kidney beans)
* 12 1/2 ounces canned chicken, drained (can save broth for other recipes)
* 10 ounces Ro-Tel tomatoes
* 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
* 10 tortillas (8-inch )

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Heat the first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan until warm.
3. Soften tortillas (I microwave for about 10 seconds).
4. To each tortilla, add about 3 rounded tablespoons each of cheddar and the heated corn/bean/tomato/chicken mixture. Fold burrito style - two ends folded in just a bit, then another end folded over the filling and the other end overlapping it.
5. Place in a baking dish sprayed with nonstick spray and bake about 10 minutes or until slightly browned.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Haiku Friday 8/22/08 - Part Four

Haiku Friday

Previous Installments:
Prologue-Boo!, Part One-Leaving, Part Two-"Adults", Part Three-"Freedom"
Writing About Writing This


"Freedom" seemed less so
even as a runaway
considering "stuff."

One of my best strengths,
feeling at home anywhere,
a double-edged sword.

I lied to myself,
just compounding all his lies,
that this was OK.

It was easier,
easier to lie than to,
you know, tell the truth.

I'd let him take me.
I'd let him take me over.
I gave him my brain.

When he got fired
from his job flipping burgers,
something clicked inside.

All his promises
started to seem more empty.
The fog was lifting.

Though mostly selfish,
I could start to imagine
my parents' anguish.

(Hurting family
is the one bit that still hurts,
my only regret)

Living in his car
or with those who would hurt me
was losing appeal.

He'd squelched all reason,
separating me from mine,
but truth will shine through.

One day I just knew.
I had to finish high school.
I had to go home.

(to be continued)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Whatever You Call It

Today is smoke-free day 430, and I'll keep counting until I run out of fingers and toes. Or something like that.

I think I'm getting a cold. You know that place where your nose and throat meet? I bet there is a name for it (any smarties that know it?). Anyway, my whatever that thing is called has been feeling like a dry patch and kind of irritated-ish since yesterday. Often this is my first sign of a cold. Sometimes I get lucky enough that it just goes away without a cold, but luck can be kind of fickle. I'm pretty sure I'm getting the cold because it (that weird feeling) is still there, and generally I'm feeling kind of not so good. I wish my Tom was here - he's very good at catering to my every whim, sometimes with Hello Kitty stickers, too! taking care of me when I am sick.

I hydroplaned my death trap car this morning, one of my worst fears because of previous experience. No, really. I mean that I drive like a really Nervous Nelly in the rain, slower than your oldest and most skittish little granny, to the point that it's probably unsafe because people are going around me in droves (I hate puns, but I'm not right in the head today) or whatever you call herds of cars containing annoyed motorists. White knuckled commutes on rainy roads are my least favorite, and today I spun my car even going slow around a corner on a side street. Thankfully, none of the usual militant and determined bicycle folks who sometimes ride in the road (and in the rain, silly folk) were out at the time. I didn't hit anything, but I did shake.

I'm still feeling kind of shaky inside physically and mentally, partly maybe the cold, partly maybe the scare, but I do feel a little shaky inside, or whatever that's technically called.

Don't tell me I'm whining. I already know that already. I also know that if these are my biggest problems, then I am blessed, indeed. I would give my eye teeth to be driven home today, though, and early, like right now, and to have Tom there with soup. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Today is smoke-free day 428, and honestly? Honestly I wondered. I really, really wondered if I would not slip just a bit while having someone staying with me who smoked and also smoked what used to be my favorite brand. Once or twice, like just after my little panic meltdowns at each landing of the see-through metal grating stairs coming down from the scary-ish (but awesome!) lighthouse or driving across the big Megler-Astoria bridge, I really almost asked to bum a cigarette. But honestly? I didn't. I didn't partly because I really gave it some thought only to find that I didn't really physically want one after all outside of the old idea of smoking, partly because it's not the example I wanted to set for my nephew from whom I considered bumming a cigarette (and who already smokes the brand I used to smoke, a fact not lost on me, if you'd like the rest of the honest truth), partly because I'd feel the need to mention it here and to my Chantix bloggy quit buddies, partly because it still smells bad (sorry, but it does), partly because of a million reasons.

It's still just one day at a time here because that's where I happen to be, and I'm cool with it because it's still working.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Weekly Winners Sunday 8/17/08

Weekly Winners, hosted by Lotus.

Click pics for better looking larger images or take a peek at the entire album and/or watch as a slideshow at this link.

I am still on vacation while my nephew is visiting, so I will be visiting and commenting, but it will just take me a few more days. These pictures show some of the fun we have been having since the last batch a few days ago, and to be completely honest, there were many more shots that I loved, but 100 would have been a bit excessive, even for me.

Oregon's Columbia River Gorge
Bridge at Latourell Falls

Oregon's Columbia River Gorge
Outside Multnomah Falls Giftshop
(see the kids eating ice cream?)

Portland, Oregon
Japanese Garden

Newport, Oregon
Portland's 104F/40C temps without an air conditioned home or car was brutal.
Hitting Newport on the coast with fog and 60F/15C temperature was very welcome and very refreshing.

Newport, Oregon
Yaquina Bay Bridge

Newport, Oregon
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Yes, it really was that foggy, and yes, I really did climb that far to the top and then kind of freaked out coming down the stairs that are grated so that you can see below you.

Tillamook, Oregon
Cape Meares Lighthouse

Tillamook, Oregon
Tillamook Cheese Factory and Museum
Lunch: Clam Chowder and Grilled Cheese with Shrimp
(there was ice cream and a latte, too, if you wonder)

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Random Flowers That Looked/Smelled Like "Distressed" Daisies to Me
(probably not the technical name - anyone know?)

Cannon Beach, Oregon
Haystack Rock

Cannon Beach, Oregon
Sentiments in Sand

The Other Side of the Columbia River from Astoria, Oregon
The bridge you see is just the tiny and tame portion of the big and bold and tall (and pants wetting) Astoria-Megler Bridge.