Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Be warned...

...what follows is going to be pure visceral grumpytude. NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED, THE SENSITIVE, OR THOSE ADVERSE TO WHINING.

For the past 11 days (though it feels considerably longer) I have not:
1. Done any laundry.
2. Cooked a meal in my house that wasn't for some sort of social event (not that I don't love social events, I'm just saying, no leisurely nights at home).
3. Spent more than 30 minutes in my garden.
4. ...or by my sewing machine.
5. ...or reading a book.
6. ...or working on my manuscript.
7. Slept more than six hours a night.

I have however:
1. Worked and then worked some more.
2. Worked on this super awesome super secret project.
3. Gone to bed late and gotten up early to work on the afore-mentioned project.
4. Listened to an otter rip apart my house.
5. Worn a lot tattered jeans.
6. Decided that the next person who asks me if we're going to have a baby gets it.
7. Formulated in my mind what I'm going to say to that person.
8. Come to the conclusion that no matter how annoyed I am due to the circumstances of my life it would be really mean and unfair to tell a some well-meaning, caring person that:

"No, not just right now, due to the fact that I actually think that a person can have quite a full-filling meaningful life without continually plotting to create small, genetically slightly differentiated copies of oneself, and even if I did have a spare moment to engage in baby-making activity I would probably at this juncture take that opportunity to either a) put my feet up and eat ice-cream, or b) work on my novel, but I would love the see the time machine that brought you here from the 1950s and please do check back next month when I might have less extra curricular activities in mind and I can fully devote myself to the extremely complex and intricate process of baby-making, which always achieves the best results when one plans it meticulously. I mean who leaves this stuff up to Mother Nature?"

9. Realized that I'm way too grumpy to write blog posts and that I should just put my feet up, watch September issue, fall asleep while eating left-overs and wake up in a couple of hours to work some more before going to work.

I ♡ you guys though and will be returning shortly in a better mood, better dressed and more interesting,

Friday, March 26, 2010

Books, dresses, bikes.

Once upon a time when I was much much younger and lived in a huge, old city, I was briefly and inexplicably a bike messenger. The point being? Portland is a bike messengers wet dream. It's flat, cyclist- friendly and biking is cooler than thou.

I wish I had a picture of us biking in our matching garb, borrowed messenger bag and helmets, especially the helmets which were popular, but not as popular as they should be for city cyclists. Hipsters, pay attention.

Doing that made me feel infinitely more connected to the city, giving me an opportunity to make like I belonged, and experience more than you could just walking around in a new environment.

I also wish that I had pictures of all the yummy foods we ate, or even just the names of the restaurants that Talu took me to, but frankly, I'm not that organized.

So instead I have a bunch of random shots, from around town, and my two favorite Portland shopping locations, one old, one new.

The weather was fabulous when I got there, sunny, in the 6os and, at times, almost summery. I even got a tiny bit of a tan from all the biking.
One of the must stops on my list was Powell's bookstore, where I could pretty much live, even if it meant eating nothing but muffins from the coffee shop and sleeping between rite-in-the-rain displays in the haunted corridor.
In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, maybe I could just be cremated and spread somewhere in the fiction section, when I die? Maybe they'd think it was morbid...Anyways, check out this ah-mazing Nancy Drew-shelf.
I grew up with 60s Nancy colors, with her bright red page-boy do, and lots of close-ups, but these are sweet too. Now that I think about it maybe those were illustrated by a Finnish cover artist? Does anyone else remember 60s style Nancy Drew covers?
When I was reading them the series was titled (directly translated) Miss Detective. That always cracks me up. Another interesting tidbit is that in Finland Nancy is actually called Paula Drew. I don't know why. They didn't bother to change Georges name, for instance, and that's way harder to prononce than Nancy...
So, if you haven't been there, you must be wondering by now if Powell's even sells any non-Carolyn Keene related literature. Fret not. It ain't called "The City of Books" for nothin'.
In fact it was so busy, that the only place I could find to take a shot was in the nerd-isle, which featured titles on poker, with Lara Croft on the cover. Now that's quality literature.
They have this really cute system of staff recommendations.
Honestly, I got totally overwhelmed in the store both times I've been there. Like misting up, hyperventilating overwhelmed. If I could I would just stay forever, roaming between the books, foraging for food in the afore-mentioned cafe. I've felt the same way in the British Museum reading room, and the Village Voice bookstore in Paris. Places with books are like churches to me.
I did manage to escape without too much financial damage, and score some essentials, such as a couple of Annie Proulx titles, as well as entirely new books as well. Our next stop however turned out to be a little bit more wallet-damaging...
No, I did not go visit the city of plaid, but the Red Light vintage store. They have one in Seattle too.
Thank Goddess we went in about half an hour before they closed. I could have bought everything. Well, maybe not everything, but there was a lot of cute stuff.
I got a bunch of swap stuff, a daisy-dress, which had been on my list for a long time, a pair of leggins, which is always on my list and a new favorite dress:
It may not look like much on pixels, but it's pure magic head-to-toe. Real live outfit pics coming soon.
The most fun I had in Portland though, was hanging out with Talu, eating yummy cuisines and taking bike trips, such as this bike-and-hike to the top of Mt. Tabor. Shopping is one thing, but biking friends are a whole lot more fun.
Other awesome things I saw in Portland that I did not get a picture of:

1. A yellow 80s Toyota Corolla with four teenagers in it who were all wearing Kiss-face-paint.
2. A gang of three hipsters on bikes all wearing different colored skinny jeans, one smoking, one drinking what looked like a beer.
3. A Victorian house painted all different colors, but only the top floor visible because it's whole front yard was full of cherry trees.
4. A stop sign that said: STOP waiting for Godot. (I think I've seen one in Seattle too.)
5. Two fully geared, spandex clad sports cyclists asking directions from bums. The bums were obliging them.

All in all, Portland gets a high score for a city, and a city not even by the sea mind you.

I know I owe you guys a Portland post...

Voltaire and Rousseau, originally uploaded by TGKW.

...but it's 5:30 in the morning, there's windstorm going on and I'm trying to work, so instead I'll just post pictures of people dressed all warm and cozety...



That's it. I'm putting on a big-ass sweater and going back to bed.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Portland is kind of beautiful for a city...

No seriously. I haven't even manage to take any of my own photos of it yet, but it's freakin' nice. If you like cities start packing.

More posts when I get home.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Life and death and spinach pancakes

Today has been a chore day. I've been picking nettles and cleaning my wardrobe. This may sound like fun, but I've got lots of work to do and its hard to keep on top of it with all the everyday things going on around me. I wish I was as good as Andrea with separating chores from working at home.

To make the cleaning part a little more pleasant I watched Princess Mononoke while I worked. My cleaning method is to pull everything out of my closet onto the bed, fold it and put it back. I have to do it every week, or so, because it all gets messed up when I get dressed in a hurry, in the morning. It's incredibly annoying. The closet is way too small for my clothes, or rather I have way too many clothes for my closet.
The weather has been topsy-turvy again: rain and shine, and crazy winds, all within the same our.
The stroll I took to harvest nettles though, was nice and peaceful.
We've also gotten some other yummy bounty from the woods:
All the big-spored, grey ones are from right here in the park.
I'm going to head out to a women's sauna to relax, but I'll leave you with a nettle-recipe, though I couldn't get a decent picture of the finished product.
Milla's Finnish Nettle Pancakes:
2-3 cups of milk (depending on how much your flour swells)
2 cups or so of flour (i used a mix of rye and barley)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon of salt
1-2 cups of finely chopped nettles (use scissors)
butter for frying

Mix ingredients, let settle for about an hour in the fridge, grease a cast iron pan, heat really hot, fry pancakes like crepes. Yummy and nutritious! (As for the life and death, you really should watch Princess Mononoke.)

I don't know wether I'll have time to post again before the Portland-trip, since tomorrow I have to finish a work project, tie-off odds and ends and go milk in the evening. We'll see.

Oh yeah, there were a couple of questions about milking. Since its not my cow, it's obviously someone else's cow (nudge nudge wink wink). I shan't disclose further on that. We pay for the milk in feed, since its not legal to sell unpasteurized milk in this state. Which answers the second question.

The milk going bad is not much of a problem since it's so yummy and creamy that we consume it pretty fast. And I'm definitely more worried about factory farmed milk, where I can't myself inspect the hygiene standard, so it's a good lesson in taking responsibility for what you're eating (or in this case drinking). It is my humble opinion that USDA is a little bit off its proverbial rocker. This is what we here in America call an understatement.

That about caps another exciting day here in Park-land. How's yours?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

All strung up and ready to go!

This is going to be the shortest post ever. I'm literally blogging while I wait for my chariot to arrive and take me to a bonfire party for a couple of nice chaps who happened to be born today. (Happy Happy Happy Birthday to Blake and Ben!)

Generally I have about five different jobs at any given time, but for the past couple of weekends I've been subbing as a barista at the lovely Isabel's Espresso. This is hands down the sweetest coffee shop there is. Not only do we serve great coffee, have awesome decor, and cool baristas with great tastes in tunes (hhrmmh...) but there's also superfast wireless internets that I'm utilizing right now.

This is a pic some really nice tourist lady took last summer and emailed me. Man I look tan...
Isabel has an awesome sense of decorating. There's lizards, flying goddesses, cat altars, and witty slogan galore.
The winter staff leaves something to be desired though. Very pale. But with new, awesome mocs, just like Amber's and Kristiina's. Moccasin-club meeting at Isabel's this coming Saturaday? I'll buy the coffees.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Got milk, will travel...

Since ya'll were so adamant that you're okay with these "what I did today"-posts, here comes another one...Honestly I'd love to write some of the cultural commentary/ things I'm totally obsessed with-posts, but I just don't have the freakin' time right now. There's about a million and one things going on in my little world these past few weeks, and coming few weeks are just as happenin'.
The upside is that when you're pressed for time, dressing becomes a lot faster. It seems that the sailor/soldier jacket is the one that is becoming the uniform. Very fitting.
I scored these mocs on ebay for 5 bucks. Pretty good. I have another moc pair coming along shortly and then it's broke town for me. Which means I gotta get on that etsy-thing, 'cos our camera is about to kick the proverbial bucket.
At least, our furnishings are cheap and easy. Check out this new coffee table/chopping block. At first I was horrified, but in our clutter-tastic house another surface to rest things on is always a good thing. Can you tell we need more bookshelves too? There are books everywhere. Everywhere. I'm really into fullstops. Fullstops.

As I mentioned yesterday I've started milking again, and quickly remembered how bad I suck at it. Hopefully next time we can actually get all the milk out ourselves without aggravating the poor cow. Anne asked if I had a cow of my own, and the short answer is no, I wish, or better yet some goats, but living in the park sets serious limitations to one's ambitions in farming. Three chickens is about the limit of our menagerie.
While I think that in general our society is a little too addicted to the juice and meat of the teat-animal, and its dire environmental consequences, and am not a big consumer of milk products at all, there are a few milky things that I'm finding I can't do without.

This winter I tried to ease dairy out of my diet and go vegan, but the stumbling block proved to be butter. Cheese, I found, was easy to drop. Straight cream and milk, no second thoughts. Yogurt, pretty difficult, since as a Finn, fermented milk (piimä), cultured yogurt (viili) are very much part of good eatin', though I would not have those everyday. Still, it was all doable, until we came down to the nitty-gritty of abandoning butter. Could not. Do it.

I figure this milking thing might work out, in that maybe fresh cheese could replace butter on top of my bread. That way, at least my conspicuous dairy consumption would be local. (I'm not gonna churn my own butter out of 1/2 gallon 'o milk.) Bread, is another Finnish staple food. Can't. Live. Without. Bread.
Speaking of bread. I've been making a version of rieska, which is fermented milk-based, yeastless bread. I used yogurt and fried mine in a pan.

Milla's Modified Rieskaleipä:

1 cup of rye flour
2 cups of barley flour
1 tsp of baking powder
2 cups of yogurt and water mix (equal parts) (you can do all yogurt but mine was too thick)
mix dry stuff first, then add liquid until you have an even mixture. Divide into 8-10 balls and roll round and thin. Use plenty of flour on the rolling surface. Fry on dry, hot pan, or stick in the oven on 350 *F for about 10 minutes. Let the bread sit under a cloth for a while.
Yummy with afore-mentioned butter.
In other news, and things happening: money situation providing, I'm going to Portland next week to visit Talu! Woohoo! I hope the camera makes it there, because I plan to take many pictures of our adventures. Riding the train down will be a big adventure too.