Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Playing catch up- as usual!

Well the weeks just fly, don't they?! Here we are coming up on February and I have hardly processed January yet. It's been a great couple of weeks, lots of fantastic eating out, the excitement of Shannon and Adam heading back up north, and the possibility of a new member in my life. I wish I had the time and energy for all of the stories but I just don't! I am only going to be able to sneak these few in because I am home injured from trapeze class today- I banged my shin/ankle on the bar yesterday so hard that i have a welt and a limp. Poor me! So an extra hour and a half appeared! I suppose trapeze is as good a place as any to start....

I am getting so strong! I hardly notice it at home but all of a sudden in class things that i struggled so hard with at first are coming much more easily. I can climb no problem, even up to the tall trapeze bars, which was a challenge at first. It's one thing to just go up the silk rope, but to go up to where the bar is hanging ( swinging!) and hold on with your legs only while reaching to grab the bar....let's just say it's getting easier. We've been doing a lot more upside down stuff, too, which is super fun. Tricks where you wrap you arms up in the silk and flip upside down, hanging and swinging from the trapeze bars and also this one cool flip where you go from upside down on the bar to sitting- i just did that one on the tall bar for the first time yesterday. Scary as hell, i tell you what.

Another fun thing that happened, ummmm, i want to say last week but coulda been the week before... Common Ground. I have been listening to Kelly talk about this place forever so, one even when she came home sore and i was sore from class, i suggested we hit the hot tubs. It was pretty incredible. Community bathhouse, one giant hot tub and a sauna. It's all outdoors, on this particular evening it was about nine thirty when we got there, lightly raining with a breeze- amazing. There was a plastic clock on a string hanging against one of the walls and it was swinging in the breeze, clicking against the wall, gave the whole place a kind of Dorthy in the tornado feel. Absolutely amazing. Kinda spendy, but well worth it. I will be back.

Along the same lines as my weekly brunch program with Shannon (now defunct, of course) Tonia and I have started treating ourselves to a fancy dinner about once a month, it started with a gift certificate I got from Savoy for Christmas to Laurelhurst Market, a kind of fancy meat centered restaurant. We got sort of dressed up and totally went all out, 5 courses, including dessert, wine, fancy cocktails, the whole deal. And got out for like forty buck each before tip. Granted we did have a gift certificate to take care of part of it but still. That is the greatest part about Portland cuisine- there is so damn much of it that is good, it has driven down the prices to reasonable levels. Almost all of the places around here you look at are like this- amazing, creative, local food, for not so much money. Love it. Last night we had our second date, well deserved by both after last week in school ( ahhh!) at Biwa. This is a Japanese restaurant that is, coincidentally, in the same building that I take trapeze. So I have gotten to oogle over the diners ( and the cooks!) through the windows for a few weeks now. When I asked Tonia what she was in the mood for, she requested healthy and not so expensive. I thought of Biwa immediately. Their menu is based on Japenese "bar food" sort of small plates and snacks that you would order in japan with your sake at the sake bar. We got a full array of things, an awesome Asian pear and dikon radish salad with rice vinegar, gyoza, Japanese style fried chicken that came with mustard so spicy it could possibly melt your sinuses- so good! Hanger steak, pork belly, rice and pickled plum taco, and some amazingly creative cocktails. My first one had some kind of sweet potato booze, plum wine, and i have do idea what else. Tonia burned away the beginning of a cold with a super lime cocktail and then a super ginger one. Oh, and the mustard was helpful in that area, also. The dessert was the highlight of the meal for me, and possibly one of the highlights of my entire Portland dining career. They had a half of a small orange peel, scraped out and filled with house made satsuma jelly, topped with a cascade of satsuma segments that had been tossed in plum wine and a chiffonade of Japanese mint, I can't remember what the word for that was- started with an s. Served with a glass of plum wine on the side. It was amazing, so fresh and light, the flavors went together perfectly, I was thoroughly impressed. And again, we got out of there for around forty bucks each- no gift certificate this time. Not bad!

Ok, off to work now!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Meet Baji!!

Well. The term wiggle butt- one I used to assign to most dogs- has taken on a whole new meaning with the arrival of Baji, our little house guest. She wiggles, and not just a little, this dog has almost no motion besides walking and wiggling. It's pretty funny, actually. She wants her butt scratched so bad that when she greets you, her body is bent in half, she literally greets you with both her face and her butt. While wiggling.

This is Kelly's friend Dana's dog. She is in Thailand for a bit, we have Baji through the end of the month, at least. Originally, when we were going to get this little dog, she was thought to be pregnant and had to stay in Eugene with Dana's mom. They found out late last week that she was not actually pregnant and we got the call to come get her. So Kelly did. And that's the story.  Kelly and I have been thinking recently about adding a dog to our household, in various forms, for various reasons. Now we have one and actually have the opportunity to see what it's all about. It's been a cake walk, for sure, this is a middle aged, maybe 6?, dog, raised by a serious dog trainer mom. She is so incredibly well behaved, it's almost concerning. I wonder sometimes if there are things she wants or needs that she is just not going to ask for. Not that we would know what she wants, but whatever. It's great. One of the things I was most amazed by- this dog heels. Having never really encountered this in a dog on a leash, I was amused, to say the least. She walks beside my feet, with slack in the leash, keeping perfect pace with me. I played around with this a bit on our first walk, speeding up a lot and then slowing down to see if she would stick with me and she did. It was kinda funny.

 She came with a big bag of goodies, the most awesome of which are these toys here in the picture, a bone the size and weight of the dog and a burlap ring of sorts, large enough to go around her neck ( I know it doesn't look like it in this picture but it is- one of my favorite games early on was to put it around her neck and laugh while she tried to get it off! Ok, that sounds mean in type but it wasn't, I swear.) Yesterday morning, while unpacking all the ziplocks of dog food- there were several- I found a little ball in the bottom of the bag. Oh, so much fun! Finally, a game we both liked! We played ball all day, all night, and all day today, I throw the ball, she gets it, chews on it a bit on the rug and then brings it when I ask for it. Seriously, there is no way her mom lets her do this because the ball has not lasted two days- it's pretty much gone.
Ball, in pieces.

This is the largest remaining piece of the ball and as I type this, we are playing fetch with it. As long as she's happy, you know?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Re-cap, week's adventures....

This has been a busy, busy week! I started school for winter quarter, I am taking astronomy ( again, second part of the class, not retaking it, haha) Electronic culture, a social sciences class examining the changes and effect on people by this crazy e- society of ours, algebra ( ! ), and counseling. The counseling class is a real class, not online, at the oregon institute of technology campus in Milwaukee, the next town south of portland on the 99. I had my first class monday, it was awesome. The teacher is young and energetic with a great sense of humor and some interesting experience. I am trying to give him the benefit of the doubt on a few things but the first announcement he made was that the class would be lecture based, all of which he had typed and would supply for our reading pleasure on the college's online program. No need to buy the seventy five dollar text book that I had scrambled to buy the week before. Oh well. The rest of the class was great, I am not regretting the choice to take a class mon eve from 6-10 pm. I had wondered whether I would.

The other school I started this week was circus school! Two nights a week all quarter, I will be taking aerial circus arts, or, as I like to call it, trapeze class. I had it tues and weds, and I have to say I am so sore I can hardly get dressed. Literally- the new muscles I have both discovered and overworked this week, the ones that live under your armpits on the back side, are the same ones you use to pull your pants up, climb ladders, and cut things with knives. Who knew? These things have all been much more difficult this week, to varying degrees of importance, but it's worth it. It's so fun! The class is split between silks and trapeze, the silks are giant hanging silk pieces ( I don't know what to call them, they're not ropes, per say, more like large hanging pieces of fabric). The silks are in two pieces but we have mostly been working so far with them held together. Climbing is the first task. It's not as hard as it seems like it would be but it's still really hard. You use your feet wrapped in the silk to climb, it's a kind of inchworming process up and down. Definitely easier than climbing just with your arms but it's pretty hard to grip the silk between your feet. Oh, aching muscles! Trapeze is just as hard, I hung upside down for the first time second class, the first class was mostly swinging, and trying to do something insane called a straddle up. Ok, seriously, you stand with a trapeze bar ( they swing) about chest height ( a practice bar) hands together, gripped around the bar. You then bring your knees to your chest and open them to a splits position while flipping upside down backwards and drawing the whole splits legs up over your head. Ya. It's hard. Ok, enough about trapeze! Oh, one more thing. The instructors are just amazing. Young, energetic woman who totally took it upon themselves to create a trapeze school in a studio space in se portland. I'm impressed.

What else....Ah, yes, the great plant debacle. So, the tea plant is on it's last days. It's sad, yes, but kind of a relief in the same breath- what a nightmare! I understand ( shannon : ) ) that washing the plant in the sink once a week or so doesn't sound like so much of a big deal but it really is. It's way more than I can handle. So look forward to tea plant funeral pics to come. I'm sure it'll be epic. Death brings with it life, however, this new life coming in the form of a flower contest of sorts created by my grandfather.

My plant is not looking so hot just yet, it looks about the same as it did when I took it out of the box. I got it a fancy orange pot though, so one point for me already!

The last exciting thing I did this week was install windows 7 on my computer. I got a crazy student deal on the software, 150 bucks for the windows 7 upgrade and also microsoft office package. It was kinda scary to make a switch, change is hard. It took a few days to get all the programs reinstalled and figure out my files and such. Now all I have to do is retrain it to know everything about me, that's the hardest part. It's going really well so far, I have almost no complaints about the new operating system. It's pretty, remembers more things in more ways and has several new programs like sticky note and snipping tool that I have yet to even delve into. Super exciting.

And so goes another week. Happy 2011!