Artemis: the hunt for the perfect caterer

I am so excited! In an hour, I will be sitting down with B. to do our tasting with our wedding caterer!

Oh, how I love to be fed delicious, locally sourced, thoughtfully prepared food. And today, I feel like a bottomless pit. I am insatiable!

Our caterer is Artemis Food, and Grace, the owner and executive chef, has been, from the beginning, extremely excited about our wedding's location and concept. Her enthusiasm and passion for local and sustainable food have really been a turn on for us, and it's great to know that we'll be able to boast an authentic Pacific NW themed dinner that has been shaped by the season. Will be have platters of amazing heirloom tomatoes? Will the peaches be in season for a grilled peach appetizer?

I'm salivating just thinking about it.



This week, for exercise, I danced, ran, and walked. Lovely, long walks on the beach. A short run on the beach and through the state park in hale and rain and wind. I also did some practicing of embroidery. I drew this bee and then traced it with pencil onto a linen towel. Then I just started sewing in black. I want to do a few simple projects to get the feel for it; plus, I'm killing time as I wait for a few embroidery books to come in at the library.

The thing with these projects: you just have to start. Don't be scared. Don't worry about the rules. Just get started!

This week:
Sweaty, tough cardio x3
Easier cardio/yoga x1
Lots of reading this week: Life of Pi and All Quiet on the Western Front
Work on curtains for the house
Continue embroidery projects


The 10 List

Exclamation points galore this week! Wedding excitement comes in waves, and lately, I'm fluttery with excitement, joy, and gratitude!

1. There's a surf board on our car, which means we're going to the beach! Manzanita getaway!
2. Moist, decadent brownies.
3. Yeasty, salty bagels.
4. Daydreaming about being a bride!
5. Good advice, like this: "It's not the stuff you had at your wedding or the way your wedding looked that you'll remember. It's the way that you felt that you'll remember."
6. Sitting around watching "Downton Abbey" and looking at dresses on-line with the girls.
7. Having my professor ask me if he can use my essay as an example for struggling students: score!
8. Having embroidery projects, books, wine, and other delectable delectables packed for the beach getaway!
9. Grooveshark! Did you guys know about this? It's amazing!
10. Watching the new moon and sun set behind Forest Park from my front porch.



I did not accomplish my goals for this week!

Instead, I aced my midterm (or better have!), found out that Ooligan wants to publish our introduction to The Morgesons, went on several walks, became addicted to Downton Abbey, did some wedding planning, and became totally inspired by the following:

Embroidering portraits. I thought that it would be amazing to try it out with my grandmother's portrait, so I will keep you all posted.
Jenny Hart's and Lucky Jackson's work is really beautiful. Here's one by Jenny Hart.

And then I'm really enjoying Lucky Jackson's 365 Lucky Days.

Her portrait above is Don Draper from Mad Men.

Goals for the week:
Make progress on my grandmother's portrait: materials bought, pictures copied, tracing done.
Finish curtains for front guest room.
At least two cardio workouts: run/dance/cycle
One mellow workout: walk/yoga
Materials also gathered for bedroom curtains.


The 10 List

This week, lots to be grateful for!

1.  A healthy newborn niece!
2. "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye: such an amazing song that I can't stop playing. I love the narrative, and how the lyrics present both sides of the relationship/story. Love this remake.
3. Books, books, books: surrounded by books this week as I select over a dozen titles for freshmen lit. circles!
4. That Ooligan Press wants to publish our work from last semester on The Morgesons.
5. Going off to spend the three-day weekend in Sunriver, Oregon (where I hope there's some sun)
6. Seeing my film students finish their first-ever films!
7. Being exposed to students, parents, future in-laws, friends, co-workers who are creative and passionate.
8. Having an amazing house where there are multiple comfy spots to curl up like a cat and read.
9. Doing the Worst Day of the Year Ride with friends and feeling like extras on an episode of Portlandia!
10. Health and appetite!



This week:
I went swimming twice at the PSU gym, Monday and Tuesday.
I biked 18 miles in the Worst Day of the Year Ride.
I got a massage on Friday night: almost as good as meditating.
I sewed curtains for the front bedroom. They're not quite done. I still need to hem them. I also figured out what curtains I want for our bedroom and started planning some embroidery projects.

Other accomplishments: we met with the caterer for the wedding. We found one that we love: all local, fresh, organic, sustainable food and drinks will be served, giving people a truly Northwest experience, since the foods will be from our locale. Fresh tuna, grass-fed beef, seasonal berries, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, etc. Organic local wines. Local brews. Yum yum yum.

This week:
Snowshoe at least once in Sun River. Maybe snowboard if it's not too expensive. Otherwise, snowshoe twice.
Run once
Yoga once.
Meditation twice: this one seems to be giving me some trouble. I need to think about why. Is it just harder than we give ourselves credit for to sit and be still for even ten minutes? Is it difficult to allow ourselves this time?
Ace my midterm (thus fewer exercise goals because I need to study tonight, and tomorrow I have a staff meeting before the test)


Swamplandia!Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The New York Times ranked Swamplandia! as one of its notable books for 2011, and I found the first forty pages lovely and engrossing, with a bizarre plot that seemed to examine the notions of time and memory. And then, after the first forty pages, I became somewhat indifferent to this book. It seemed sloppy and amateurish. I kept thinking: "Well, if it's a notable book for 2011, I have to be missing something, right?"

But I don't think so. Russell's writing is highly--and often overly--stylized. The plot was awkward. The characters were often two dimensional. Larger issues were not resolved or were skirted around. The symbolism is often heavy-handed and cliched.

And yet, I wouldn't give up on Russell yet. She's young and has talent. There were moments--unfortunately rather spread out and few--but moments nonetheless where I was dazzled by her writing's poignancy, poetry, and insight.

Here's such a moment:

"'God' was a word I used as a spell-breaker. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't. 'God,' I'd whisper, feeling sometimes an emptiness and sometimes a spreading warmth. If a word is just a container for feeling, or a little matchstick that you strike against yourself--a tiny, fiery summons--then probably I could have said anything, called any name, who knows? I didn't have a normal kid's ideas of the Lord as an elderly mainland guy on a throne. The God I prayed to I thought of as the mother, the memory of love. She was my own mother sometimes, baggy-eyed and smiling in the Chief's heavy canvas work clothes in the morning, one of the Chief's cigarettes hanging from her mouth. The Our Father and the Hail Mary I'd picked up somehow by osmosis but it was her name I invoked out there, her memory I summoned like a wind I could lean into, and I liked this prayer much better: Mom, please help me to find Ossie. Please help me to make the net" (178).

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The 10 List

Here's what I'm grateful for this week:

1. That we found a caterer for our wedding who serves organic, local food that is simple, in-season, and delicious.
2. That certain causes of stress in the past few days turned into sources of excitement and joy! Sometimes uncertainty leads to positive outcomes.
3. For my new walk-in closet, made by my man!
4. The library. I love the library.
5. That I do not have to proctor the state writing test again for at least another year.
6. That I'm getting a massage tonight!
7. Being able to look at things in a new light.
8. Friends who make me feel calm, positive, and loved.
9. Celebrating the success of a loved one!
10. Crossing things off of the to-do list.

What are you grateful for today or this week or this month?



This week, I ran! I cycled! I danced! I did not go to yoga, nor did I meditate, but I went to cycle class on Monday; I biked 8 miles on Wednesday; I ran 3 miles on Thursday; I danced my booty off on Friday (80s dancing! So much fun!); and I biked over 30 miles on Sunday!

So I am pleased as punch and craving more: tonight, swimming and cycle class; next weekend, Worst Day of the Year Ride; and definitely some yoga this week, because my poor knees might need a break from the running. Although, when we're having clear skies, sunshine, stars, and moonlight, it's much more enticing to go for a run than to go sit in a yoga studio.

Financially, I made some positive steps. Just have to stay diligent on that score.

This week:
Finish reading Swamplandia! and get a decent start on the latest book-club novel.
Cycle class, swimming, Worst Day of the Year Ride
Meditate at least twice
Keep on top of finances
Sew something!



Today's warm and sunny. Not only are we Portlanders going mad with glee, but the bees are happy as well. We had to move the hive in October, which was a bit of an adventure. After nightfall, we closed off their entrances using tape, being careful that none of the sticky side was facing them. Then we lifted the hive, put it in the back of our friend's truck, and slowly drove the four miles to our new house. We lifted the hive out of the truck, positioned the hive in its new spot, and hoped they were okay. And while I never really was too worried about them, today they were out and about, coming home with full pollen baskets, their back legs plump with yellow pollen! This means that they are finding sources of pollen and adjusting well to their new location!

I really like the spot that we've decided to place the bees. It's in the back corner of our yard, under a cedar tree. I can sit on the back fence and watch them from one side, and I can also easily access their viewing window. And, from my kitchen window I can see both bee hive and chicken coop.

Speaking of the ladies, they love the new house. Since there's not yet a garden for them to terrorize, they get to go out and play whenever we are home to let them out.

speaking gratitude

 1. Not only is it Friday, but it's blindingly, spectacularly sunny!
2. The sun is slated to last all weekend long!
3. People are smiling and friendly and exuberant...maybe because it's sunny!
4. Going dancing with friends to 80s music!
5. A weekend slated for projects, crafts, cooking, bike rides, and kite flying.
6. The smell of artisan chocolate on my runs past Moonstruck Chocolate Co.
7. The Willamette River reflecting the twilight on my runs.
8. Being healthy enough to run.
9. That my handyman fiance is building me a walk-in closet!
10. Sipping coffee in the sunshine with an enticing novel.

What are you grateful for?


Enjoy St. Johns

More and more, I love my new neighborhood, where I can walk to anything that I need; where there's a park a mere three blocks from my house that's named "Cathedral" because of the archways of the beautiful St. John's bridge overhead; where I can see the lush, green Forest Park across the river from my house.

Here's a shot from my run the other day of the St. John's bridge and Forest Park, taken from Cathedral park, a brief little walk from my house.



AngelsAngels by Denis Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Denis Johnson is a master of hauntingly beautiful imagery in the midst of plain-out fucked up situations involving under-privileged characters who have little to hold onto. Someone said in a review that this book is magic realism: I disagree; it's the imagery of the high, the drunk, the desperate, and the dying. This book is so carefully crafted that although it's only two hundred pages long, it feels like an epic, taking the reader on a drunken Greyhound bus ride through Ohio and Pennsylvania, a brutal tour of Chicago, and a crime-ridden and drug-filled spree in Phoenix. Johnson is able to zoom in, like a camera, intensely on a moment, as we do sometimes in life, where suddenly we stop and notice the most minute and beautiful thing: the sulfur snap, lighting, and burning of a match before lighting a cigarette, for example. Everything goes into close focus, time slows, and then, suddenly, everything speeds up again.

This book reminds me of the film Requiem for a Dream, filled with madness, sadness, and sometimes a tender love, an understanding of the beautiful, and a mourning of what could have been but never really was.

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