Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thanks, Powell's

Back in this post, Matt described waiting in line for the newest Harry Potter book. A nice lady from Powell's named Beth commented that she liked our pictures and wanted to send us a thank you gift. She did and we were thrilled that it was a $25.00 gift card to Powell's. That made our copy of the book essentially free. So Matt made her a thank you card. I thought it was pretty funny and illustrated both Matt's wit (though I'm the funny one in the relationship) and his good drawing skills.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Shower curtain, part duex

Our shower curtain has the top 500 SAT words on it. So we can review while we brush. When we first put it up, Matt read a few words and commented that all those words were easy. I reminded him he had already completed high school and should know them anyway.

Shower Curtains

For the past five years I've lived in apartments with showers with solid sliding walls, not shower curtains. My grandma was right, those sliding doors are a pain to clean, but they do have an upside. There is no shower curtain to stick onto you during your shower.

So I've developed a bit of a phobia of shower curtains. I don't like how they get kind of mildew-y and gross at the bottom, even if you do keep them stretched out all the time. I don't like how, once they get some mildew and come forward due to that hot air/cold air physics thing I don't understand, they stick to you.

Luckily, we live in the time of cheap shower curtains. Though wasteful, it is possible to buy something for a few dollars, hang it up for awhile and throw it out when it starts getting gross. However, I wanted a nice shower curtain to go in front of the cheap one and I didn't want to hang them together, because I would have to undo the nice one and the cheap one and then reload the new cheap one with the nice one and I didn't really see that happening as often as I wanted it to.

So I solved that problem. Here is my nice shower curtain:

And behind the nice shower curtain is another curtain rod with the cheap curtain. If I want to wash or clean it, I just have to undo one shower curtain. The result is that the cheap one has already been washed and my phobia is under control.

Such a modern world we live in.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday Walk

Matt and I have been taking walks in preparation for a half-marathon in October. We've used these opportunities to explore North and Northeast Portland. This rambling walk we went on was chosen to take us by my co-worker Maureen's new house and to walk by a lot of parks. The neighborhoods we walked through had a lot of little vegetable gardens tucked here and there. I had a great time looking at all the growing vegetables.

Some highlights:

This house has groovy little gathering place in their carport. I love the string art on black velvet especially. Three things you see a lot of in Portland: A clothesline, a rain barrel and Tibetan Prayer Flags (visible as little daubs of color on top of the clothesline.)

This house is an island, surrounded on three sides by streets.
We came across Woodlawn Park, which had this great little water feature for kids. There were no kids around, so we took advantage. We turned it on, which you do by pressing your hand into a hand print on that blue post. There are four different water features and they come on in a cycle. Seconds after I took this picture, I ran through those blue hoops and got thoroughly wet. Such fun! Then I was a bit cold the rest of the way home. Curse this gray summer we are having.

Glowing Greens

I was wandering about downtown and I came across a new miniature golf course right in the heart of the city! Glowing Greens is easy to find, due to this fellow standing outdoors.

Once inside, you walk down a few levels of stairs and see murals like this. It gets darker and darker.
Inside, it is a black light wonderland. The whole course is pirate themed, and very glow-y. You can also buy 3-D glasses to see the 3-D murals on the wall.
As we played through the course, each hole had a different theme.
The holes were marked by these glowing skulls.
A very cool pirate statue.
Some glowing gates.

Us afterwards in all our Glowing Greens Glory. Matt won as he is the more professional miniature golfer and I am a hack. With little hand-eye coordination. I took a lot of pictures, though. The course was fun, and because there was no one behind us, and we had slow people in front of us, we played each hole twice (at least.) Also, I'm wearing the shirt I got doing the Night Ride, which glows in the dark. I'm extra glow-y.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Harvest--Kale and Collards

My kale and collard plants were taking over the tomato area. It turns out I learned a lot about planning a garden this year. My set up was not really optimal. So, to let the tomatoes ripen, I needed to take out some of the kale and collards all together, and cut the rest back.

Here is my leafy kale planted with nasturtiums to help repel cabbage moth.

The collards encroaching on the tomatoes.
The harvest! When I packed this into bags, I filled two plastic grocery store bags. The collards, I blanched and froze for eating this winter. The kale we eventually stir fried and ate. Yummy!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Garden Update Late July

When I planted everything earlier this year, my main fear was that nothing would grow, that I would look out in the back yard at my wizened, yellowed plants and shudder. I am happy to say that those fears seem a bit silly right now. The garden has grown!

A long shot:
I didn't get my tomatoes in cages, so they have sort of become the vine they want to be. Here they are taking over the carrots' area.
I planted both red and yellow peppers, one plant of each. Peppers abound. I had to use the tomato cages to stake the red pepper plant, as the peppers on it were pulling it over.
Here is my "three sisters" project. You plant the corn and the squash, then plant some runner beans around the corn. Everything supports each other. The beans climb up the corn and the squash shades the ground around the corn to keep it from drying out. Plus, all of those plants love each other and grow well together.
Long shot of the three sisters.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Picnic Project. Northeast.

The Picnic Project.
Established, 2006.

Each year, Patricia chooses five parks in Portland—one from each section of Portland: N, NE, NW, SE & SW. She plans food and invites people for a picnic, then records the festivities. By 2027 she will have picnicked in every park in Portland.

Date: 22 July, 2007
Park: Normandale Park
Present: Matt & Patricia
Food: Delights from New Seasons. Matt had Spicy Tofu Salad, Lasagna, protein drink and half of a peanut butter bar. Patricia had Egg Salad, Spicy Noodles, Cole Slaw and the other half of the peanut butter bar.
Activities: Discussing around the Harry Potter book, which Matt finished less than two hours before. Not talking about much else, because Matt had been absent from the world while reading Harry Potter.
Comments: This is a great park if you want to play baseball/softball (3 fields) or have your dog run around. Strangely, baseball so dominates this park that there is only half of a basketball court, which is wedged up against the bathrooms in an awkward configuration.

The food
Did I mention that Matt finished Harry Potter VII
Kite flying
Dog parking.
Odd basketball court configuration. That's the hoop there on the left.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Cooking. A lot. Of. Vegetables.

While Matt was busy reading away the day today, I was frantically cooking vegetables. When we moved to this house, we decided to get most of our vegetables delivered from Organics to You. One week we get a box of fruit, the next a box of vegetables. I love having produce delivered, except if you fall off the metaphoric horse of cooking all those vegetables, it's hard to get back on before more vegetables arrive. So this morning I made, soup, which I will freeze, stir fried bok choi, steamed green beans, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted patty pan squash, cucumber salad, steamed new potatoes and steamed broccoli. Once they are all cooked, its much easier to eat them.

Harry Potter!

I walked by Powell's around 1 p.m. in the midst of running errands. Kings Crossing was already up and people were already waiting in the rain for their books.
The people at the start of the line were teenagers. They looked very happy to be starting the line.
That night, Matt went to stand in line for a book. I went to bed. Here is his photo record.
All right, the crowds were way more impressive than I could capture in photos. The line went around Powell's (a whole Portland block) then zigzagged 3 times each direction up and down the street. Unfortunately, most of the drive-by spoilers were on Burnside and I forgot my iPod.
Again, I failed to capture the size of the line. I thought the camera was broken for a while, so I only got a couple shots.
Pretty good costume, no?
Free face-painting.
Get your Bertie's Every-Flavor Beans!
"Can I take your picture?" "Yes, you may."
Hagrid was on stilts and huge to begin with.

Carriages, though no thestrals.
These were my compatriots from 11 to 2. The elbow on the left belongs to Jesse, an 18-year-old kid newly graduated. He planned on getting his book at 12:15 and then catching the last MAX at 12:30. When he called his mom for a ride, and she told him to come home, I told him I'd give him a ride, even though he lived a half-hour away from my place. Dumbledore there is named Aubrey, a film student. She won a calendar for her costume. In the yellow is Barb, whose picture I insisted on taking after she told me she does voice talent for Fred Meyer: "Customer service at the bot-tle re-turn." I hope she doesn't think I was putting her on.
Look hard, you can see Voldemort's pale white face.
And that white spot is one of two Bertie's Every Flavor Beans that the girl in front of me spit out on the ground.
This is my favorite shot of Hagrid. Notice the keys on his hip.

More entertainers.

Fire jugglers.

And this woman on stilts, I like to think is Madam Maxime.

First people getting their books. High fives. Hugs. It's so nice to see people excited about reading.

He's not possessed; he's holding up his book in triumph. I accidentally turned the flash off or something.

More triumphant book-getters.

When we finally got in, there was a sign for Platform 9 and 3/4 and a conductor stopping and starting lines for people going in and out. And helping that conductor was a dementor.

Thank God I preordered. Short wait. Once I got my book, I had the option of getting in a 40-person line to get my book stamped and autographed by someone dressed as a character from the book. Hmm, tough choice. Luckily, Jesse was thinking the same thing and we met up at my car. I offered Barb and Aubrey a ride also, but they disappeared. We went back and looked for them, but then gave up. Barb said that her husband was waiting by the phone, so we didn't feel bad.
After dropping Jesse off, I went home and stayed up till about 5am, slept until about 8, read, slept, read more, and it's almost ten and I'm not even half done. Whew! I thought it was supposed to have bigger type or something.
I was right about Hermione being a boy (there's a passing reference to her Adam's apple) and about Ron being gay, so that he and Hermione can live happily ever after. Sorry if that spoiled it for anyone.
Note: Patricia here again. I only read the first chapter, but I can tell by the way Matt is hooting that he is making up stuff to make you think that he read it in the book. He got a false spoiler from The Onion when Book 5 came out and has never recovered.