who's the ECL?

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm not BAD evil, more like devil's food cake evil.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Things I Have Learned During Snowmageddon 2008

Yep, folks, Portland and the PNW as a whole has been experiencing snow and below freezing temperatures for a week now. Usually, we get a day or two of snow and/or ice and then everything melts away, lalala. This time, there is snow piling up and it doesn't seem interested in leaving.

this much on Mt Tabor

This kind of weather wouldn't be a problem in normal wintery places, but here we're all housebound and getting cabin fever. The only people out on the roads are Winter People--people who grew up in snow places and think this is all normal and maybe even fun.

So here is what I have learned in the last week, during Portland Snowmageddon 2008:

1. Portland likes words like "snowmageddon" (hipsters) and "arctic freeze" (gay liberal media).
2. Walking in 7 inches of snow sucks when you don't have cool things like snowshoes or shoveled sidewalks.
3. Living on a hill also sucks because every time you go down the hill you have to figure out how to get back up.
4. Snow is actually really pretty, and makes what should be a grey poopy day merry and bright.
5. Public transportation becomes really essential in times like these.
6. Which makes it even more lame that the bus that stops outside my building gets re-routed in times like these.
7. Maybe having spent some time in my youth in the snow would have been a good thing.
8. Freezing winds that rush out of the Gorge and hurl all over Portland are lame.
9. Cuddly cats are really nice when it is below freezing out.
10. When my Winter Friends refuse to leave the house, it must be really bad out.
11. I'm much more willing to walk places when there's snow out, because I don't like to feel trapped in the house.
12. If you don't know how to drive in snow, befriend a Winter Person. They'll either drive you themself or give you lots of pointers.
13. I've never dreamt of a White Christmas and here I am, in one!
14. Listening to my Winter Friends complain about how poorly the City of Portland takes care of the roads during "inclement weather" leads me to suspect that in other wintery places cities don't shut down on account of snow, and that roads and sidewalks are kept clear.
14. I am very thankful for basic things like shelter, electricity, running water, sewer service, phone service, and food, and the nonbasic luxury of wireless internet.
15. I miss the rain. I really do.

Happy Holidays, everyone, and stay warm and safe!

happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

26. see a show at the crystal ballroom

So you know how you go to a show and get reasonably close to the stage and discover that those boys commanding the stage with the thick saucy Scottish accents are also damn sexy and can put on a hell of a show, and you realise that even though you haven't listened to their music that much lately you need to listen to ALL of their music right now and forever more?

Yeah, it was like that.

And if you ever need someone to go with you to a show, Zetta is your girl. She fuckin' rocks. As do Franz Ferdinand and Cold War Kids.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving, my American friends. To all others, happy Thursday!

Thank you...

...Portland, OR for being a place where natural/organic food is so big that no matter what part of town I am in I can find my organic kale and free-range eggs.

...Portland, OR for having such a liberal birth culture that I can assure most expecting parents that the horror stories people hear about hospitals don't really apply here.

...sweet turkey hen for giving up your life so that my friends and I can eat your succulent meat together in our pajamas.

...fluffy kitty cats for curling up against me in the night so that I wake up sandwiched between the two of you.

...Stooges for being ridiculous and my ridiculously awesome best friends.

...Blogger for giving me two platforms for expressing myself, and connecting me to people around the world.

...Zetta, for bringing together four people who would go on to create the impossible--a work environment we all love.

...Mom and Dad, for being great parents, even if I complain about you all the time.

...sis, for getting married this year and taking the pressure off me for a while.

...clients and patients for continuing to come see me even though the economy is tight, for without you I can't pay my bills or feed my cats.

...wireless internet, for allowing me to be able to sit on my couch or curl up in bed and learn about brining a turkey or the latest baking trends, or to watch the latest episode of South Park without being stuck to the phone jack.

...Barack Obama, because you are the first president that really truly has me hopeful. Good luck to you and please don't ever become "a politician."

...Creator, for all of this messed up, crazy, beautiful, amazing, irrational, juicy, miraculous life.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ask ECL: What the Heck is Up With the Doula Bashing?

Carlotta left me a comment that I thought would make a better post:
I can't believe what I heard on the news today. Some hospitals are banning doulas because they "get in the way when split second decisions are needed." WHAT?? Is that even legal?? Have you heard of this?
Carlotta, you may be referring to the Today segment on doulas that ran this morning. One of the OBs interviewed said that their Virginia hospital has banned doulas, because "they created a more hostile environment for deliveries..." This is legal. Hospitals aren't public places, they are businesses, and can do what they feel is best for their employees and patients. We as patients cannot underestimate the importance of malpractice liability when we enter a hospital. They are doing their best to provide the best care, AND to prevent the possibility of losing a malpractice lawsuit, ESPECIALLY on the Labor and Delivery ward, where the majority of malpractice lawsuits are aimed.

The Today show segment also brought up the issue of regulation for doulas. So far, there is no official licensing body that governs a doula's training and education. You could wake up tomorrow, decide you're now a doula, and go and get paid for it. DONA (Doulas of North America) is a certifying body with standards of care and education that many doulas adhere to, but it is not legally necessary to be certified. This has led to quite a wide range of offered services, protocols, prices, and professionalism within the field.

So yes, Carlotta, doulas have been banned from some hospitals. And yes, Carlotta, some doulas have created hostile environments and have left a bitter taste in the medical system's mouth. The doula community has been well aware for some time now that there are doulas out there who do more to hurt rather than help our relationship with the hospitals and medical care givers. Every doula is well aware of the hostility she may encounter when she walks into her client's hospital. Any doula worth her salt would strive to build and maintain good relationships with her client's caregivers, no matter if they are nurses, OBs, or home birth midwives.

It saddens me that the Today show chose to focus on this aspect of doula-ing instead of all the other wonderful ways a doula's support has helped the medical staff perform their jobs even better. It saddens me that the Today show didn't even bother to get any other OB out there in America who might have a good thing to say about doulas interviewed in their segment. The segment played out as "parents, you might like a doula, but they're an expensive luxury item and YOUR DOCTOR HATES THEM!"

The Today show did get one thing right, though. Parents looking for a doula, you've got to be smart about who you hire. Not all doulas know what they are doing, and not all doulas are going to be the right personality fit for you. Interview a few doulas and call their references. A good doula will probably have some sort of birth experience, but she'll know how to listen deeply to what you are saying. She'll have the courage to guide you into the deeper waters of your concerns and help you find your own answers. She'll be a team player, and most importantly, she knows to put aside all her own personal beliefs, issues and experiences so that she can be fully present to support you and your experience.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Things Found Dead in My Refrigerator Today

  • one roasted chicken breast
  • leftover Lebanese food, including
  • --tabbouleh
  • --pita
  • --the chicken kabob we didn't order and therefore got for free (none was eaten! dang!)
  • Blaukraut
  • once delicious vanilla-rum poached pears
  • "meat" that my roommate's boyfriend made in EARLY OCTOBER
  • some sort of beans and rice that supposedly went with the aforementioned "meat"
  • lemonade from THE SUMMER
  • Amazing Pear-Ginger cider
  • 9 eggs, raw
  • salsa
  • something that might have been tomato sauce
  • 2 heels of Ezekiel bread
  • cooked spaghetti squash

    This is supposed to be funny, but it is sobering how much food we've wasted.
  • Friday, November 14, 2008

    Not Facebook, But Ravelry!

    I know that the Facebook craze is spreading like wildfire across the internet. People I never thought would Facebook ask me when I'm going to get a Facebook. And I always say, "Really?"

    I feel the tug. I am stumbling under the pressure. I want to be loved and to be a part of the crowd. I want to believe.

    But then I stop and think, "really? Facebook?"

    So I joined Ravelry instead. A social networking site for the yarn-obsessed!

    And I'm organizing my unfinished knitting projects, and all my yarn stash, and my needles and crochet hooks, and it is awesome! I have projects lined up in my queue, and almost all my knitting needles accounted for. The yarn stash doesn't feel so out of control anymore. I can see all my works-in-progress and feel as though I actually WANT to finish them! This is big, people! Big!

    So for all you Facebookers out there, you'll just have to wait. But if you are a knitter or crocheter, go to Ravelry, look for evilcakelady, and check out all my knitting crap! Awesome, huh?*

    *I don't mean my knitting crap is awesome but the fact that you can check out my knitting crap is awesome. Just saying.

    Tuesday, November 04, 2008


    A public service announcement; image brought to you by Cake Wrecks:

    I mean it, Americans reading this post. Vote, please. Especially if you're planning on voting the same way I am. JUST KIDDING. Kind of. No seriously, JUST KIDDING. JUST VOTE. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE.

    Well, off to get my free doughnut, free coffee, and free ice cream scoop.

    Sunday, October 05, 2008

    A Different Kind of Harvest

    It may be the fall and we are all enjoying the fruits of our labors: squash, corn, tomatoes, apples and pears. But thanks to yahoo news, I've been reminded that there's another kind of harvest that goes on year round, and is under a little bit of controversy:

    The Doctors Who Are Redefining Life and Death
    From the Washington Post
    By William Saletan
    Sunday, October 5, 2008; Page B02

    Think being the next president would be a brutal job? Imagine being a transplant surgeon. You can't tell the parents of a dying kid when to pull the plug, but you have to be there, ready, the minute he expires. You have to wait until he's dead, but not so long that his organs become useless. You can give him drugs to keep his organs healthy, but you mustn't technically revive him. And you can't remove and restart his heart until it's been declared kaput.

    Pick up a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, and you'll see the far edge of this tortured world. In the journal, doctors at Children's Hospital in Denver describe how they removed hearts from infants 75 seconds after they stopped. The infants were declared dead of heart failure, even as their hearts, in new bodies, resumed ticking.

    Is this wrong? We like to think that moral lines are fixed and clear: My heart is mine, not yours, and you can't have it till I'm dead. But in medicine, lines move. "Dead" means irreversibly stopped, and stoppages are increasingly reversible. And when life support ends, says one bioethicist, "not using viable organs wastes precious life-saving resources" and "costs the lives of other babies." Failure to take body parts looks like lethal negligence.

    How can we get more organs? By redefining death. First we coined "brain death," which let us take organs from people on ventilators. Then we proposed organ retrieval even if non-conscious brain functions persisted. Now we have "donation after cardiac death," the rule applied in Denver, which permits harvesting based on heart, rather than brain, stoppage.

    But stoppage is complicated. There's no "moment" of death. Some transplant surgeons wait five minutes after the last heartbeat; others wait two. The Denver team waited 75 seconds, reasoning that no heart is known to have self-restarted after 60 seconds. Why push the envelope? Because every second counts. Mark Boucek, the doctor who led the Denver team, says that waiting even 75 seconds makes organs less useful.

    So how can death be declared based on irreversible heart stoppage when the plan is to restart that heart in a new body? Boucek offers two answers. First, even if the heart resumes pumping in a new body, it couldn't have done so in the old one. (That used to be true, but today, hearts can be restarted by external stimulation well after two or even five minutes.) Second, Boucek says the heart is dead because the baby's parents have decided not to permit resuscitation. In other words, each family decides when its loved one is dead. In a commentary attached to the Denver report, another ethicist proposes extending this idea -- letting each family decide not just whether to resuscitate but also at what point organs can be harvested. Brain death? Cardiac death? Persistent vegetative state? Death is whatever you say it is.

    Robert Truog, an ethicist who supports the Denver protocol, says this redefinition of death has gone too far. Let's accept that we're taking organs from living people and causing death in the process, he argues. This is ethical as long as the patient has "devastating neurologic injury" and has provided, through advance directive or a surrogate, informed consent to be terminated this way. We already let surrogates authorize removal of life support, he notes. Why not treat donations similarly? Traditional safeguards, such as the separation of the transplant team from the patient's medical team, will prevent abuse. And the public will accept the new policy since surveys suggest we're not hung up on whether the donor is dead.

    But down that road lies even greater uncertainty. How devastating does the injury have to be? If death is vulnerable to redefinition, isn't "devastating" even more so? The same can be asked of "futility," the standard used by the Denver team to select donors. Is it safe to base lethal decisions on the ebb and flow of public opinion, particularly when the same surveys show confusion about death standards? And can termination decisions really be insulated from pressure to donate? Even if each family makes its own choice, aren't we loosening standards for termination precisely to get more organs?

    Modern medicine has brought us tremendous power. Boundaries such as death, heart stoppage and ownership of organs have guided our moral thinking because they seemed fixed in nature. Now we've unmoored them. I'm a registered donor because I believe in the gift of life and think that the job of providing organs falls to each of us. So does the job of deciding when we can rightly take them.


    William Saletan is Slate's national correspondent.

    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    An Ode to Fall

    I love fall the most. I love how the days become crisp as an apple, the trees turn a fiery shade of red, and everyone busts out the wool and knee high socks. The air hangs heavy with moisture, the vines heavy with grapes and squash, and my heart sings with happiness. Bonfires, caramel apples, hayrides and rubber boots. Muddy roads, piles of leaves clogging the drains, the smell of must and a soft grey sky.

    Some people love the snow white winters, or the springs that renew us and give us hope, or the ultimate yang of a hot summer day bursting with activity and heart. But you can have them, for I love the fall. Give me the quiet inward spiraling and the settling in for the long haul. Give me the renewal and rebirth that this season promises, an internal renewal that asks me to look deep in my own darkness and assess my heart. I will answer that call, corn and squash in hand, wool socks on my feet, prayers spilling from my heart to the fiery trees to the soggy ground to the ever changing sky.

    Tuesday, September 09, 2008

    We Like the Green*

    *Green as in eco-friendly, not necessarily money.

    After signing out of my Yahoo mail today, Yahoo kindly pointed out a few articles of interest for me to peruse. Usually, they are not very interesting. Today, however, one of the articles was titled "Five Amazing Green Cities" and lo, was that a photo of Portland attached to it?

    It was.

    According to this article, good ol' Portland Oregon is one of the Five Amazing Green Cities in the world because we've been a model of sustainable practices for years and years, even before it was popular. They cited Waterfront Park, which runs along the west bank of the Willamette River and used to be a 6-lane freeway. (Now the freeway is on the other side of the river, which apparently is more eco-friendly.) They mentioned our huge amounts of green space, and our urban growth boundary which has kept Portland from becoming a giant ugly sprawl like some other major PNW cities to the north. (But don't worry, other PNW cities, politicians and developers have been weakening the urban growth boundary for years now, so soon we can have ugly McMansions and cookie-cutter housing developments like you!)

    Portland is the only US city to have made the list. Other cities included Vancouver, Canada, Malmo, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark. Pretty cool. Way to go, Portland. *pats Portland on back*

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Notes To Self at the Portland Airport on a Sunday Evening While Watching the Women's Beach Volleyball Olympic Match Against China

    1. Those women's beach volleyball uniforms are like a bra and panties.
    2. In fact, their Olympic uniform panties cover less than my actual panties.
    3. Airports are like people observation playgrounds.
    4. Especially if you like watching people freak out. On their kids.
    5. I mean, these women are some serious eye candy in their tiny panties and shiny sweaty hard bodies.
    6. I don't think I ever realised how much eye candy the summer Olympics are. I mean, swimmers? HELLO. THOSE MEN ARE HOT.
    7. Speaking of hot men, why do the men's beach volleyball uniforms suck so bad? Seriously disappointed.
    8. And speaking of men, all these women athletes have such androgynous bodies.
    9. And speaking of androgynous, the person who made my bratwurst? Can't tell if s/he is taking the female hormones, or is just That Gay.
    10. I mean, bitch might have gotten her boobies.
    11. And speaking of John Hughes, those new JCPenney commercials with all those kids re-enacting scenes from The Breakfast Club? BAD. Those kid actors have no idea what they're doing.
    12. Watching the Olympics just serves to remind me that I Am So Not Athletic.
    13. But I was a kick-ass field hockey player!
    14. It was easy to be a kick-ass field hockey player on my high school team because I played defense and our offense was so good I often didn't have much to do.
    15. Seriously. Who made these uniforms?
    (The match finishes and I wander over to my gate, where I discover that my flight has been delayed by about 90 minutes.)
    16. People watching, even at airports, gets boring after one hour.
    17. If, due to a delayed flight or overzealous airport arrival, it is important to have a good soundtrack to accompany your people watching experience.
    18. Today's soundtrack provided by The Black Keys.
    19. Muttering middle aged men crouched down on the floor next to you screwing with their bag and wiping their face are creepy. Creepy.
    20. People who feel compelled to yell into their cell phones suck.
    21. Taking notes while people watching is really entertaining.
    22. Why do some women insist on traveling in 4 inch heels? They look so sad hobbling through the airport as if their bag weighed 5,000 pounds.
    26. Holy crap the rise on that man's pants is so high you could mistake them for overalls, daaaamn.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    Friday, August 15, 2008

    Countdown to Wedding Extravaganza

    The list of things I need to get done or help my sister get done before her wedding in 8 days grows longer by the minute. The emails between my sister, my dad, and me are flying fast and furious over the magical lines. The forwards of such emails to the stooges (who are also coming to the wedding) (thank god) are almost as numerous, usually with side commentary from me that says: "please help me. They are crazy."

    I leave on Sunday and will return a little more than a week later with a brother in law and probably a serious hangover (emotionally if not physically).

    Seriously though. I love my sister and am looking forward to her wedding, and I love Mike and think they are a great match. She really isn't much of a bridezilla or assigning me crazy impossible tasks. I am her big sister and want her to have the best wedding ever. And she wants me to enjoy being her MOH (aka bride doula) and that's why she invited the stooges to come. She says the three of us are like a tripod, which is much sweeter than saying we are like the three stooges, however more truthful that may be. I get dibs on Larry.

    Anyhoots, have a wonderful week and I promise to share stories and photos when I get back!

    Saturday, August 09, 2008

    Half-Blood Prince!

    Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay. I know it is two in the morning and that I am half asleep on the couch, but! I just watched the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince trailer!! SO EXCITED, SO EXCITED!!!!

    Go watch it too, then come back and tell me what you think!


    Tuesday, August 05, 2008

    I Will Surely Regret This

    I regret that I am about to do this. I do not like her, I do not like her being famous for no good reason, but I do like this spoof. I can't believe I like this spoof. I can't believe I want to share this with you.

    See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

    Note: please don't see more videos of Paris Hilton; don't encourage her fame as I have. Do as I say, not as I do, please.

    Sunday, August 03, 2008

    11. make a pie from berries I've picked that morning

    Berry season is in full force here with the blueberries, marionberries, and boysenberries in peak season. Blackberries and huckleberries are just around the corner and raspberries are finishing up. This is a good time to be an Oregonian.

    This is also a good time to bake a pie from berries I've picked that morning.

    A couple of years ago I made RLB's fresh blueberry pie and it was soo good, and pretty easy. I am having a blueberry moment these days, trying to eat as many of them as I can, so I thought I oughta try baking that pie again.

    Thursday I drove myself out to Sauvie Island, which is a 20-30 min trip to the Northwest of Portland. The drive out was pleasant and exciting, as the weather was beautiful and my hands were eager. I wanted to U-pick as many blueberries as I could stand, as I can't seem to get enough of those little blue guys right now.

    Sauvie Island is a little island nestled in the Columbia River just outside of Portland, however it couldn't be more different. The island is primarily farm and wildlife refuges. There is no gas station on the island, and only a tiny little market for food. Houseboats line the Multnomah Channel that separates the island from the Oregon mainland. Eagles and hawks soar overhead every now and then, and heron fish on the shores of the lakes and river. It is an idyllic, bucolic retreat from city life.

    To be sure, Portland is surrounded by farms and bucolic ideations no matter which direction you go, but there's something special about Sauvie Island. I'm not sure what it is, maybe it is the fact that it is an island. I sure do like islands.

    My favorite farm to visit when I'm on Sauvie Island is Kruger's Farm. They have lots of U-pick berries and, in the fall, pumpkins. They host summer concerts every Thursday night complete with hayrides, food and drink, and beautiful scenery. In October they put on one heck of a hoe-down, when you can take a nighttime hayride out to the pumpkin patch, run around their corn maze in the dark, warm up by their huge blazing bonfire, and dance with your friends and sweeties inside the barn-like store.

    At Kruger's Farm I took my ambitious load of empty tubs out to the blueberry patch. The patch this year is located on the other side of the bank of trees behind the store; a nice little walk past the gazebo lawn where the summer concerts are held, and just down a ways from their gorgeous old oak trees where people get married.

    The blueberry bushes were well berried; there were still plenty of unripe berries for those of you who still want to go. Blueberries are so easy to pick--if they aren't ripe they aren't coming off the bush. All I needed to do was hold my tub under a cluster of berries and sort of roll them around in my hand; the ripe and juicy berries would fall off and roll down my palm into my waiting bucket. I was able to pick almost 3 pounds in about an hour. Nice!

    By that time, I was sweaty and hungry, and quite satisfied with my day's pickings. So I walked back to the store, where I bought some green beans (grown on the farm) and an ice cream sandwich (not grown on the farm). As I ate my treat I eyed their sunflowers, which were available for u-pick, and decided to leave them be. Then I drove myself back into town to make pie.

    The pie took a little bit of drama to come together, which you can read about on the other blog. I look forward to the day when pie making becomes as easy for me as cake baking. I know there is a real art and intuitive feel to pie dough that comes with practice, patience, and time. I am willing to keep trying, as the reward can be so sweet.

    I had a good deal of leftover berries after the pie was made. I ate handfuls of them at a time, every time I was in the kitchen. I swirled them into my morning oatmeal. I snacked on them with chocolate chips. I sure do love them blue little berries.

    Last night, four friends (including myself) converged in my living room for an evening of catching up on news and happenings, disco dancing, wine drinking, and berry eating. We polished off the last of the blueberries with Gloria Gaynor and a perfumed Sauternes. It was a delicious feeling, sharing the berries I had picked with my friends as we toasted our friendship and shaped our future dreams.

    Sweet fruit indeed.

    fresh blueberry pile

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    3. camp at the coast and 10. go to a petting zoo

    Two weekends ago I suddenly realised that I had precious little time left to go camping before I go back on call. See, I leave a week early for my sister's wedding, which means I leave in three weeks. Camping spots on the Oregon coast can be hard to find during the summer months; most people start reserving their spots 3 months ahead of time. So in order to find a spot so late in the game, I knew I had to pretty much jump at any chance I got. And there it was, a little opening in the campground schedule between Wednesday and Friday of last week. I looked at my schedule, and it was go. Hooray for not working 40 hour work weeks!

    to the south, no sun
    cape lookout at low tide

    The beach was lovely and beachy--albeit a little overcast and chilly--so on Thursday I took a side trip into Tillamook to visit the cheese factory and go to the petting zoo!

    I learned two things about myself while I was in town:

    1. Holy crap, I love animals!


    2. Holy crap, I love cheese!

    I actually spent a good deal of time out at the petting zoo, which is on the property of the Blue Heron Cheese store. I chatted with Llary and Llester, the two llamas I fed. (Those are the names I call them; I don't know what they call each other.) I chatted with the two ponies for quite some time and almost sang them the russian children's song about the pony who wants to be a horse. (It took me a while to remember it.) I watched the pig wallow in the mud, and laughed at the guinea fowl as they puttered about and chirped. I giggled when a rooster crowed, another rooster crowed in response, and then a sheep half-heartedly bleated for effect. (cock a doodle doo! COCK A DOODLE DOO!!!! bah.) Holy crap, I exclaimed to the world, I LOVE ANIMALS!

    chewing and observing
    everyone, this is llary

    Then I went to the Tillamook Cheese factory, bought some ice cream, and watched the cheese packers. So much cheese! So much automation! I became entranced with the rhythm of the process; I found it very soothing. I suppose if it was my job to deal with cheese packing day in and out, I would probably find the rhythm really boring after a while. But for me, as an accompaniment to ice cream eating, it was really great.

    oh my gosh--CHEESE!
    the rhythm is gonna get you

    Then I was back out at the beach, where I walked up and down the shore, read Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, people watched, ocean watched, and generally enjoyed a very relaxing and even slightly boring afternoon.

    Harry Potter, year one: I was amazed at all the clues/themes she began in the first book that would eventually play out in book 7. I mean, the wand choosing the wizard concept, Hagrid mentioning he didn't think Voldemort was alive enough to be considered dead, rumours of dragons in Gringott's and how nobody has successfully robbed Gringotts, the introduction of Griphook, how Harry understood--way back then, even though he's angry about it in book 7--that Dumbledore was just giving them enough help for them to figure out things on their own...stuff like that. Kinda blows my mind, how far ahead she was thinking.

    The beach. The animals. The cheese. All good times.

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    we saved ginny weasley from the basilisk

    yay! joelf and i saw harry and the potters tonight--what a great show. math the band opened for them and they were out of control crazy awesome.

    another band that opened for them was uncle monsterface--a live band with sock puppets! here's a photo of me and joelf with uncle monsterface:


    i don't have to whine this year!

    Saturday, July 19, 2008

    20 Baby Products Great for Traumatizing Your Child

    Great article from Cracked.com. Click on the whoopee cushion to read. Have some laughs and order the Metallica lullabies for you or a loved one.

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008

    The Teeth

    Holy crap, this is funny.
    lotht and found: what’th in the bockth?

    POSTED ON Friday, July 11, 2008 AT 08:47 by saint cupcake

    are you or is someone you know wandering around without teeth? have you or this someone you know spent anytime in or around the parking lot outside of saint cupcake nw? have you or did someone you know lose some teeth? if you have answered yes to most of these questions, than we might have your teeth.
    To find out what the tooth owner's last meal might have been, and learn about the other things people have left there (including a $10,000 check (!), go to St Cupcake's blog.

    Aside: I just came back from a lovely weekend in Carmel and Carmel Valley with my sister and 8 of her friends. It was her bachelorette weekend, and it was actually fairly tame (and I am glad)! Carmel is a lovely town, and if it wasn't so freakin expensive, I would be moving there by the end of the year.

    Okay, go read about the teeth.

    Tuesday, July 08, 2008

    Monday, July 07, 2008

    Hey AMA, Don't Do It

    Don't know if this guy is for real or not, but a well crafted letter in any case.

    June 23, 2008

    Douglas H. Kirkpatrick, MD
    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
    PO Box 96920
    Washington, DC 20090-2188

    Dear Sir:
    I am a practicing OB/ GYN in southern California and Fellow of ACOG and recently was informed by midwife colleagues of your recommendation and encouragement for the AMA to lobby Congress for a law banning out of hospital birth. Funny that I had to hear of this decision from outside sources and was never approached by my college to see how I or my local colleagues felt about it. I have grave concerns regarding my organization taking such a stand. I think we are all agreed that ACOG has a statement regarding patients' rights to informed consent and informed refusal. Yet, it seems with every decision our organization moves further away from that basic tenet. ACOG's little "guideline" paper on VBAC in 2004 where the word readily was changed to immediately has had the chilling effect of doing away with VBAC options at hundreds if not more hospitals. Not due to patient safety, or the ideal of giving true informed consent but really, let's be honest, to fear of litigation. I have seen how patients have become counseled by obstetricians at facilities where VBAC has been banned. They are clearly given a skewed view of the risks of VBAC but rarely told of the risks of multiple surgeries. If you think this is untrue you are, sadly, out of touch with real clinical medicine.

    As to out of hospital birthing, please give me the courtesy of an explanation as to the data you used and the process by which an organization which is supposed to represent me came to this conclusion. Any statement saying that it is as simple as patient safety and that one-size fits all hospital birth under the "obstetric model" of practice should be applied to all patients is, putting it nicely, not really in line with what best serves all our patients. In many instances, hospitals are not safe, certainly not nurturing and have a far worse track record for disasters than home birth. Even when emergency help is nearby this is true. The focus of all of us in medicine should be on reigning in trial lawyers and tort reform and lobbying Congress for that. The best interest of the college members and the patients we serve would be for my organization to spend its time and energy on something that has true benefit. Removing choices from well-informed patients and caring doctors and midwives is wholly un-American.

    So please send me detailed information on how ACOG decided outlawing home birth was a wise thing to do. You must have scientific data to take such a drastic stand. Please make it available to me so that I may share it with like-minded colleagues. I would also like to know the process by which this came to pass. Who first raised this issue and why? What committee reviewed all the data and did its due diligence in interviewing those of us with long-standing experience in backing midwives who perform out of hospital births. There must be a fine, non-confidential paper trail you can share with your members. Specific names of committee member who voted for this would be enlightening and I am requesting this information. I would like to know the background and expertise regarding out of hospital birth for each member who had a hand in the decision to go to the AMA.

    We live in an odd era where once something is said or recommended by a legitimate organization such as ACOG it has deep ramifications never intended such as becoming fodder for trial lawyers trying to squeeze the lifeblood and dignity out of your members. Or forcing women to travel hundreds of miles in labor to find a supportive facility. Or even worse, to have them arrive in a VBAC banned hospital and refuse surgery. Can this be the best we can do for our patients? Remember, your VBAC statement was meant to be only a recommendation but quickly became the rule by which hospital administrators, risk managers and anesthesia departments of smaller hospital banned this option for thousands of women. An option, that in proper hands, was the safe and accepted standard of care for 30 years. In fact, you still have an ACOG VBAC brochure that recommends this option! For those of us working at smaller hospitals where VBAC was banned due to lack of emergency help (anesthesia, OR crews, etc.) there is a big question that has perplexed us that no administrator seems to be willing or able to answer. That question is: "If a hospital cannot handle an emergency c/section for VBACs, and most emergency are for fetal bradycardia, hemorrhage (ie. abruption) or shoulder dystocia not for ruptured uteri, then how can they do obstetrics at all?" For they seem to still be able to have a maternity ward without in house anesthesia. Will someday ACOG, in their great wisdom but seeming disconnect from reality, make a "recommendation" that little hospitals stop providing obstetric services? Will this better serve women and their communities throughout America?

    I am frightened and angered by what you have done in my name. Now I ask you to defend your position in encouraging the AMA to lobby Congress for another restriction on the freedom of choice that belongs to women and their families. Those choices include midwifery and the right to have the most beautiful and life changing event occur wherever best fits their desire. Midwives are well trained and required to have obstetrical backup. They have very special relationships with their patients and want the very best outcomes for them. They do not need me or you to police them. We have a habit in our country over the past 40 years of thinking we can legislate out stupidity. All that has done is erode the individual freedoms that belong, by birthright, to each of us. I would hope you trust your Fellows to know their specialty, their colleagues, and what is best for the patient as an individual. These decisions do not belong to politicians or faceless committees. You should have more faith in your members to give balanced informed consent. Again, my recommendation to you is to put all your considerable energy into changing our legal malpractice system. Those of us actually practicing medicine and caring for patients know this to be the greatest threat to the mission and responsibility we have chosen to undertake.

    I look forward to your response and possibly the beginning of a meaningful dialogue.

    Stuart J. Fischbein, MD FACOG
    Medical Advisor, Birth Action Coalition

    Monday, June 30, 2008

    Weekend Escapades, and a Little Rant.

    Joelf's family threw a big shindig in Lincoln City this weekend, and I was invited to tag along.

    Here's our view of the ocean. I wanted to TP the castle house there, just for the fun of it. Unfortunately, instead of getting drunk and rowdy I got slightly buzzed and sleepy. So the house remained unscathed.

    the house we wanted to TP

    The shindig was to celebrate the recent nuptuals of Scarlett and Hunter Sims, who were married in New Orleans on May 30th. Since many of the friends and family of Scarlett's mom's side (that would be Joelf's sister) live in Washington and Montana, they decided to throw a reception up here. Dawn, mother of the bride (and Joelf's sister), asked me to bake a guitar-shaped cake. There will more about that on the other blog, but here is Scarlett and Hunter politely admiring the cake.

    scarlett and hunter kindly admire the cake

    What nice kids.

    The Grants know how to throw a party. There were 3 courses to their casual buffet! Check out the sandwich and salad course:


    That's Spazzy McGee on the right.

    Lots and lots of people were there. It was a little overwhelming to me; I get shy around large groups of people I don't know. Heck, even if I know them I can get shy. So I took a little walk on the beach, which was right across the street from us:

    little oregon waves

    Man I love the ocean. I need to find a way to get some property on the beach, quick. I'd be willing to continue to rent in Portland if I knew I had a home on the ocean. I would be there all the time!

    I heard that it was 100 degrees in Portland and I am very pleased that I missed it all. I am no good once the mercury gets above 82 degrees. Out on the coast we had beautiful sunny days with a light breeze. It was hard to leave, but I did.

    On the way back to Portland I stopped by Willamette University, where I did my undergrad. So did the Stooges, Raiuchka, and Brains.

    Most of my classes were in this building (the social sciences):

    i also lived in this building

    And this was my favorite corner of the library. There is a long row of comfy chairs facing out the windows overlooking the Mill Stream and I would grab my book or boring academic periodical and sit there and read...inevitably the study session would end in a nice nap.

    my favorite corner of the library

    Man it was hot out! I was all sweaty and gross, so I stopped beneath the star trees for a rest and to smell the perfumed air.

    the star trees!

    The star trees are 5 giant sequoias that are planted in a pentagon shape, so that when you look through the top, you see a star. It smells so nice and redwoody in there. Many times at night the hippies would be under the trees playing their african drums and toking up. This was also a favorite make-out spot. If I ever had the urge to get married in Salem, this would be the place.

    I hopped back in the car and got back on the road. I had a date to keep with my friend Annmarie. We were going to the 2pm showing of a new documentary called Orgasmic Birth.

    Now before you roll your eyes and dismiss this as hippie fodder, follow the link and watch the trailer. I have seen births like these, people. I know it is possible. I am a doula because I want ALL women to have a chance to experience childbirth as something wonderful, empowering, and liberating. What makes these women different from all the rest? These women believe in themselves, they believe their partners are going to give them excellent support, they believe in their caregivers, and they have made the educated decision, based on research both experiential and science-based, that if they are low-risk, 95% of the time a homebirth is safe.

    I'm just saying. I am so tired of watching women give away their bodies, their journey, their rights, and sometimes even their dignity to a system of medicine that, when it comes to childbirth, is unneccesary and out dated. I mean, why would a perfectly healthy woman with a normal pregnancy choose to have a surgeon, an OB, attend their birth? Do you know how many Labor and Delivery nurses say to me, I've never seen a natural birth before? Why would a woman think someone like that would be equipped to take care of them?

    As women, we don't even know. We have no idea that we have let somebody else take from us potentially the most empowering experience we could ever have. And to me, that is beyond tragic.

    Sunday, June 22, 2008

    My Life, On South Park

    This is hilarious. This is me and my friends in high school. On South Park. I mean, the kid is wearing purple creepers! Mine were blue suede. In a different clip, the kids are at Denny's, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, talking about death and non-conformity. We totally did that. All the time. I'm not kidding.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2008

    19. grow a little herb garden in my windowsill

    herb boxes, originally uploaded by jensteele.

    well, i realized that the windowsill is pretty shady, so i am leaving them downstairs in the yard where they'll get at least afternoon/evening sun.

    we've got: catnip, lemon verbena, cilantro, italian parsley, thyme, chives, basil and (in its own pot) peppermint. yippee!

    Friday, June 13, 2008

    The Day of Reckoning

    Sunday September 16, 2007: the day of reckoning, in which the Stooges participate in Bike to the Future: a 28 mile bike ride through Portland, OR

    Cookie had somehow been on the Oregon Bike email list for a year or two. She finally bought a very cute cruiser the spring before and had since been itching to do one the rides OR Bike puts on. They create/host such rides as the naked bike ride, a taco tour, and this ride called Bike to the Future.

    Somehow she roped me into doing the "relatively flat" bike ride with her, promising me that even though it was 28 miles OMG!!! there were lots of interactive stops with refreshments and it was about sustainable building and living and fun!

    Then she miraculously guilted Joelf into coming with us. I'm not even sure how that happened.

    The Beginning: a reality check and a downhill rush

    Early Sunday morning we found ourselves with 3 bikes, 3 maps, 1 bike helmet, 1 bottle of water, 1 bottle of OJ, 1 flask of gin, 1 pack of cigarettes, and 1 pair of oxblood 8 hole doc martens. (I couldn't find my running shoes.)

    And, incredulously, we were off. We couldn't believe it. Cookie's husband couldn't believe it (he wisely declined the ride). NO ONE could believe that we were really going to do a 28 mile bike ride.

    Least of all, me. I assumed we would poop out somewhere around mile 10 and go get breakfast.

    Joelf hadn't really ever bicycled before. As a child, he had a gravel driveway and his mom wouldn't let them bike in the streets. So he never really got into it as a kid, or ever. Until Sunday!

    Here's the map of the bike ride:

    When I saw the map, I said, "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE SHITTING ME."

    The red apple in the bottom right hand corner was the beginning, and the end.

    The first leg of the trip was a nice downhill glide to the Willamette River. By the time we got to the riverfront...

    ...my butt was already hurting. Joelf's too.

    However, the ride along the riverfront was really fun, and scenic as well!

    We then biked past the Rose Garden Arena, and into the Mississippi area.

    From the Mississippi neighborhood through the Overlook neighborhood: evil hills, gorgeous views, and love on two wheels

    For those of you who don't know, there is a seriously evil mini mountain at the beginning of Mississippi Avenue. Which we were supposed to bike up.

    Yeah, you know we walked.

    After biking down Mississippi Ave for a little bit with a bus breathing down our backs, we hooked a left on Skidmore and made our way towards the Overlook area. This guy with a bright yellow safety vest caught up with us and told us he was the rear mechanic for the ride and we were the last stragglers. He said he'd bike ahead and then double back to see how we were doing.

    In the lovely Overlook area we passed a bike dude and a cute girl on a cruiser chatting along, and Joelf overheard the guy exclaiming how fateful it was that the two of them just happened to meet on the bike tour...ah! love on two wheels.

    We continued to bike along Willamette Blvd which afforded some spectacular views of the westside industrial district as well as Forest Park, the Willamette, and downtown Portland. Really nice!

    After two hours we made it to the first stop, Cathedral Park, which is located underneath the east end of the St. John's Bridge--the northernmost bridge in Portland and also the coolest.

    Destination #1: Cathedral Park

    Here we abandoned our bikes, helped ourselves to the hosted water, chocolate, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Cookie made a small gin and OJ "to take the edge off" and we contemplated exactly how much of this freaking bike tour we were going to do. I was ready to call it good and go get breakfast. Joelf's ass was killing him, as was mine, and since we had biked a good 11 miles or so, which is more than any of us had ever biked or walked or ran before, it seemed a good time to stop.

    But OH NO. We HAD to keep going.

    The Part That Almost Sucked The Worst: no judgment, please

    We huffed our bikes up the steep hill away from the river and continued riding. The rear mechanic passed us again as we continued through the North Portland neighborhoods. Cookie lit up a cigarette. Every time a "serious" road biker person in their spandex racing outfits passed us on their bikes, Joelf would mutter after them, "don't judge me." I was getting really tired. It felt like it was going to rain. I kept checking the map to see where we were, because I was so thoroughly turned around and lost that I couldn't get my bearings. We came upon a 7-11 and Cookie took a detour to buy beef jerky and Doritos. We turned a corner and there was Mr. Yellow Jacket, waiting for us to show up. Once he saw us, he told us we didn't have much further to go until we hit the next stop, the New Columbia Housing, which perked us up considerably.

    Destination #2: The New Columbia Housing

    The New Columbia Housing is a new mixed housing development that strives to build community across socioeconomic lines. There is a large park and playground in the center of the development, a library branch, elementary school, and grocery store all built adjacent or nearby the central park. The builders made as many eco-conscious decisions as possible. There are youth and senior programs in a main building/gymnasium. It is a great idea, and I hope it succeeds.

    We declined a tour of one of the dwellings, loaded up on water, chocolate, and fruit and decided to get going. I made another PBJ for the road and off we went.

    The Downhill Slide: biking without pedaling is awesome

    I wish I knew how many miles we had come. It felt like 5,000, but was probably closer to 16. That last leg between Cathedral Park and the housing development was slightly uphill, which killed me. I would rather take a few seriously steep hills than a gentle, long, insidious incline.

    Luckily, most of the leg between the housing development and the third stop was slightly downhill. We coasted along, enjoying the neighborhoods, Cookie occasionally smoking a cigarette and nipping at her gin and OJ. Joelf took off his sweatshirt and made a little pillow for his sore bum. This kept slipping so every few blocks he would have to stop and readjust. Cookie was kind enough to stop and wait with him, but I didn't want to stop coasting. It felt so nice to have the wind whip through my hair without me huffing and puffing to make it happen!

    We crossed a street into a familiar neighborhood and I (almost literally) ran into a friend of mine! She was on her way to Mount Hood, so we hurriedly exchanged greetings and then off we went. Cookie and Joelf caught up with me as I was catching up with my friend, so off the three of us went.

    Since I was familiar with this neighborhood, I knew we were getting really close to our next destination. Buoyed by this knowledge I egged Cookie and Joelf on--we were almost there! And thus almost done! Kind of!

    Destination #3: The Columbia Slough Watershed and Witaker Ponds

    Destination #3, the Columbia Slough Watershed and Witaker Ponds, was at the bottom of this fun little hill. And there, nestled amongst the shipping yards and industrial zone near the Portland airport, was this neat wooded area with a big pond in which lived a family of beavers. Wetland birds frequented the area. If you worked hard enough, you could almost tune out the big semis trundling down Columbia Blvd just a few blocks away. It was real nice.

    We dropped our bikes, grabbed some chocolate and water, and I made another sandwich. Over on the edge of the pond was a gazebo with some picnic tables; we flopped ourselves on these as we refueled. There were ducks on the pond, and I envied them and their natural ability to fly. We had to huff and puff on bikes just to catch a small echoing moment of their grace.

    We tried to stay as long as we could, still debating how much of this crazy ride we were going to actually do. When Mr. Yellow Jacket started giving us the stink-eye, we gathered our bikes and headed on out.

    As I glared menacingly at the damn hill we now had to bike up, this van pulled up next to us and someone inside yelled out, "hey, do you WANT A RIDE?" Startled, we looked over to see a couple families that were doing the ride with us sitting comfortably inside, and Mr Yellow Jacket WAS DRIVING. Cheaters! Scoundrels!

    So we yelled back, "NO THANKS! We're FINE!"

    Famous last words.

    The Worst Part of The Ride, and Maybe of My Life: insidious uphill torment

    After watching the van disappear out of sight, we walked our bikes up the hill, across the busy intersection, over the overpass, and hopped back on to ride up 42nd Ave. This part was hellish. It was more than slightly uphill, there were no bike lanes, lots of traffic, and children running across the road. I kept up a mantra so that I wouldn't fall over and have a seizure: "...just keep biking. Don't stop biking. Make circles. Just make circles. Keep breathing. Keep biking. Circles. Kee--HEY WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING, JESUS! I ALMOST HIT YOU!! STUPID KID! ...circles. Circles...."

    I had no idea how far behind me Cookie and Joelf were, and I knew if looked behind me to find them I would hit a kid, fall in the street, and get run over by a car. So I kept my head down, and made circles.

    Eventually, after maybe an eternity, we turned off the main road onto blessedly quiet residential streets. And we weren't kidding about the quiet part. Throughout the first 2/3 of the ride, we would pass, and be passed by, other riders on the route. But during this stretch of will-breaking torture, we didn't meet another biker. There weren't even people out in their yards. It was eerily quiet.

    Although we had made it off the busy road and were back in the residential streets, we were still slowly climbing upwards. Then it started drizzling. I started to think about ways to get out of this situation. I started mapping bus lines, trying to decide the easiest way home. I started thinking of people we could call to come pick us, or me, up. I was trying to remember if I had any cash at all in my wallet. I tried to calculate how far we were from the end, and how many downhill spurts we were going to get. I huffed. I puffed. I didn't blow any houses down. I couldn't stop pedaling for fear that if I did, my legs would break off. My butt hurt. My legs hurt. My shoulders hurt. We were still going slowly, insidiously uphill. I hated my bike. I didn't hate Cookie, but I didn't want to talk to her, unless it was to demand that she call her husband to pick us up. I told myself, if it starts raining harder, I'm going home. I told myself, if it gets even more uphill, I'm going home. If Cookie or Joelf mention going home, I'm TOTALLY going home. Someone mention going home!

    The End of the Worst Part Ever: Joelf starts to cheerlead

    Eventually we hit the end of the terribly long incline and with a short coast down to a very busy intersection, we crossed Sandy Blvd and made it into a very cute little neighborhood.

    I realized that we weren't too far off from being close to my apartment, and that even though we had more than halfway accomplished our goal, we could just as well screw the bike ride and take hot baths while eating hot fudge sundaes at home. I tried to think about how many up hills there were between where we were and the apartment, and I came up with 2. One of which was very very nasty. I was trapped! I couldn't bike home and I didn't want to go on! Oh the humanity!!

    Joelf began to put on bursts of speed, encouraging us to keep going as we were so near to being done. "Come on," he would cry, "we're ALMOST DONE!!!!" Cookie and I would lean into our bikes, demanding more output from our bodies, and off we sped.

    The path mercifully veered away from what could have been another long uphill haul, and we biked on, the excitement of being nearly done propelling us forward through the drizzle and the protests of our poor bursting muscles.

    OH NO, A HILL: laughing our way out of defeat in Laurelhurst

    After we crossed 39th Ave (a slightly dangerous task--the cars were going fast in both directions and not necessarily paying attention) the road ran considerably upward. In my head I was dropping to my knees and crying in slow motion "Nooooooooooooooooo!" But Joelf partially hopped, partially fell off his bike and I followed suit. Cookie insisted on keeping on her bike, and she lasted maybe 30 more feet before getting off too. Joelf kept our spirits up, and as I looked around I knew we were so close to being finished that to stop now would be ridiculous. So we kept pushing our bikes up the hill, in one of the swankier neighborhoods in Portland.

    About this time we ran into several couples and families on the same bike tour. Nice to see you! We're almost done! Woo-hoo!!

    The End: we're almost done, WE'RE ALMOST DONE

    At this point I took over as cheerleader and powered ahead yelling, "WE'RE ALMOST DONE! WE'RE ALMOST DONE! COME ON!!!"

    As we arrived back at Sunnyside Environmental Middle School (destination #4), I was afraid to stop biking. Would I collapse? Would I need to walk off major leg cramps? Would I burst into a heavy sweat? Would I have a heart attack? Would my legs finally give out and I need to be carried into the auditorium?

    I got off my bike gingerly, and walked awkwardly and stiffly into the auditorium. Laughing Planet was giving away free burritos, and I think there was beer. I remember laying down on the floor for a bit. I think some of the students wanted to give us a tour. All I remember is laying down on the floor and dreaming of hot fudge sundaes.

    Cookie's husband came to pick us up and he was very impressed we finished. So were we.

    I was sore for a couple of days, and had sores for at least a week (Doc Martens are NOT good for a 28 mile bike ride). But the sense of accomplishment! The triumph over the "relatively flat" landscape of Portland! The camaraderie of our shared experience, and knowing that I would have given up without them! Was it worth it?

    Heck yeah!

    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    in the spirit of andrea....

    35 things to do before i turn 36

    i can't even remember how i found andrea's blog...but what a great idea...

    1. take a dance class
    2. learn a musical instrument
    3. camp at the coast (check!)
    4. take a road trip to a state i've never been to
    5. vacation in hawaii
    6. start a savings account
    7. get another pair of danskos
    8. develop all the lingering film i've saved up
    9. put some art up on my bedroom walls
    10. go to a petting zoo (check!)
    11. make a pie from berries i've picked that morning (check!)
    12. eat vegetables every day (or at least every other day)
    13. write letters (real letters, with pen and paper, sent with a stamp)
    14. maybe get health insurance for myself
    15. maybe get malpractice insurance for my business
    16. so that i could get hospital privileges
    17. and maybe get on an insurance panel, even though i HATE insurance panels
    17a. and to cover to cost of billing insurance i'd raise my prices
    17b. essentially so that those who do not have insurance will pay more so as to offset the losses of those whose insurance will pay me $40 for a one hour treatment
    17c. did i mention that i HATE insurance panels? THEY SUCK ASS.
    18. eat at higgins in the restaurant, not the bar
    19. grow a little herb garden in my windowsill (check!)
    20. finish knitting projects (i'm not saying i have to finish ALL the projects i have started...just SOME)
    21. watch my sister get married (easy one, i know) (check!)
    22. NOT catch the bouquet at my sister's wedding (check!)
    23. go for a hike in the gorge
    24. take a cake decorating class
    25. see a big stadium concert
    26. see a show at the crystal ballroom (check!)
    27. get some sex...more than once...
    28. eat a pint of mint galactica coconut bliss for dinner while lazing in the hammock on a warm summer's eve
    29. go snowshoeing on mt hood
    30. mentor a level-two birthing from within class
    31. play around with my art supplies
    32. clean up my storage closet
    33. make creme brulee and use the torch!
    34. get a tattoo
    35. be thankful for all that i have done and experienced, and for all that is to come, every day

    Friday, May 09, 2008


    I've had a few FAQs in the last month, and I'd like to address them here, in case any of you were going to ask me the same thing.

    Q: Is it weird that your younger sister is getting married and trying to get pregnant before you?

    A: I don't know, IS it weird?

    She does everything before me, anyway. I think the only things I did before her were: be born, walk, talk (questionable), go to college. Everything else, she did first. So this just follows our sisterly pattern.

    Q: So....you're just an acupuncturist and a doula? And you make enough money???

    A: Yeah, people, I do.

    Just because I hold office hours for 2.5 days a week doesn't mean I am a total slacker living off of the government's dole. And just because you may work 90 hours a week doesn't make you more productive, or mean that you are "doing it right." It does make you more sick, and therefore more likely you'll be calling me for a treatment. So don't start getting ideas about cutting back on work. I need your poor lifestyle choices to pay my groceries.

    Q: So do you have kids of your own?

    A: No, just two cats.

    But don't let that stop you from trusting me to be a good support for you or your wife or your daughter when push comes to shove. (Good pun!) Don't let that stop you from thinking that I can't treat your pregnancy symptoms or help your body kick into labor. Don't let that fool you into thinking I don't know what I am doing, I am not qualified to be a doula, or you are better at my job than me. Don't think that a doula who has kids is going to be a better doula--she might not be. She might just keep expecting you to have the same birth she did, or she might be using you to help her deal with her own birth trauma. Who knows. But immediately writing me off for not having kids? Lame.

    Thursday, May 01, 2008

    The Late Late Show!

    Oh god, Craig Ferguson and Ewan McGregor...this skit is so ridiculous. How I love these two.

    Monday, April 21, 2008

    Babble Fish

    I have been craving a german dish called Milchreis lately. It is a specific kind of rice, that you cook for about 20 minutes in milk. You end up with a soft, starchy, rice pudding-like substance that is a little sweet, and really comforting. The family I worked for would eat it with jarred sour cherries and a little sugar, for lunch. Those were really good lunches.

    The thing is, the rice you buy is literally called "Milchreis." So what kind of rice is it? How can I recreate this dish?

    I did a google search for "milk rice" and came up with recipes for rice pudding, an asian milk rice dish cooked with coconut milk, and lots of websites yakking about rice milk. So I googled "Milchreis" and hit german recipe gold! One of the websites talks about the particular type of rice kernel that is the Milchreis, which I would like to understand, as it may give me a hint as to a good substitute.

    But...the german! When the website got all technical about the type of grain, I was certainly lost in translation. So I got Babel Fish to help me out, and it did. But it also made some very entertaining translations:
    Milk rice (English Rice pudding, franz. Riz outer lait, ital. Riso aluminium slat, splinter. Arroz con leche) is used mainly for sweet foods. One can serve and e.g. with sugar, zimt, cream or Kirschkompott arrange it warmly or coldly. Milk rice is a polished and more polished up to 5.2 mm long round grain rice, which originates like the Risotto rice from Italy. Milk rice will not only faster, but becomes also softer than Risotto rice. The special at the milk rice is the fact that the reiskoerner deliver very much strength when cooking and the consistency thereby particularly saemig and firm becomes. Although milk rice peeled and white is, it contains protein and potassium, which are responsible for the adjustment of the water regime in the body. In addition it is cholesterinfrei, glow-free and sodium-poor. However the darker sorts rice of more contents materials possess.
    My favorite mistranslation? It is a toss up between "Riso aluminum slat, splinter." and "In addition it is cholesterinfrei, glow-free and sodium-poor."

    So, I just have to find some glow-free, polished and more polished long round grain rice from Italy. I bet my local grocery store sells that!

    Saturday, March 29, 2008

    EVEN BETTER Procrastination Tool

    Okay, okay. That Shoot The Frog game? Fun. Entertaining. Weird.

    I found something even better! It is based on those Dance Dance Revolution games (which are good cardio) but in this version the only thing getting a workout would be your fingers. (By the way, if you live in Portland, OR, you can play the Dance Dance Revolution, and other fascinating Japanese videogames at the Avalon Theatre on Belmont.)

    But back to this game: go play! It's fun! It challenges your hand-eye coordination! And musicality! And it's better than taxes!

    Crazy Frog Remix (be sure to turn your sound on, it helps)

    Sunday, March 23, 2008

    Happy Easter, People

    I grew up in a not-very-religious household, despite the fact that my mother is a Philippino Catholic (different than say, Italian Catholics or American Catholics). My dad is emphatically not much for religion, so Easter was really just an excuse to receive stuffed bunnies and chocolate nested in shredded pastel plastic. My sister and I attended Sunday school for many years, so even though we were taught the real meaning of Easter, that meaning was only talked about at Sunday school. At our public elementary school, Easter was very secular and celebrated along with things like Chinese New Years and the Japanese Spring Blossom Festival. Interestingly, I don't remember Passover mentioned at all.

    My dad carried the Easter basket tradition all the way through college, when I finally had to ask him to stop sending me stuffed rabbits every year for Easter. I was 21, people, and I had four stuffed rabbits on my bed, which were constantly being thrown on the floor so my boyfriend and I could engage in our own rabbit-like behavior. My dad was a little bummed that I didn't want stuffed rabbits anymore.

    Now my parents send me a card and if I'm lucky, a twenty and a little chocolate.

    So I have been stashing chocolate around the apartment since I've been on my sugar fast. There's a bag of Cadbury Mini Egges in the freezer, and they are my FAVORITE. Joelf gave me a little Easter basket which I've had to hide under my bed. I even found a little Valentine's chocolate yesterday when I was cleaning up the living room. I am surrounded by chocolate. Eventually I will surrender to its smooth, melty, chocolaty goodness. I certainly hope that I will be merely jumping off the wagon for a minute, not falling off completely.

    On a different note, I decided yesterday to rent a bunch of movies and curl up in front of the television for a bit. I picked up four movies and as the servatron was checking me out, he looked at my choices and exclaimed, "wow, somebody's kids are sure lucky!"
    Sigh. "Oh no," I said, "these are for me."
    "Yeah, but be sure to watch Enchanted with your kids. That one is great."
    Sigh. "No, I don't have kids."
    "You DON'T?"
    "No, I just like kid movies."

    (To be fair, I rented Enchanted, Ratatouille, Dan in Real Life, and Sicko. But he could have canned the incredulity, especially since he was a little teenaged sci fi geek. Like he can talk!)

    Anyhoots, Happy Easter and Chocolate, blogfriends!

    Friday, March 21, 2008

    Procrastination Tool

    I mean, why do my taxes when I can do this:

    Shoot the Crazy Frog Mini Game

    I can get him as far as 91.5 (measured by the top of his head). How about you?

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    Happy St Hoo-hah's Day, Plus the Benefits of Being 34, Single, and Childless

    This day is right up there with the 4th of July in my mind. This is when it is not safe to venture anywhere near a bar for fear of stupid drunk frat boys and stupid drunk sorority cheerleaders screaming and yelling about nothing important, groping each other and throwing up in the back alley. I think a bunch of bars downtown set up some huge tent thing so that even more drinking and yelling may occur.


    On a brighter note, I had a fabulous weekend. It all began with a wonderful dinner on Friday night with the sassy fiery Zetta. We have been slowly becoming friends over the last several years or so, and I am constantly delighted to learn more about her and who she is. Her sparky fire incites my sparky fire, and together we have laughed over grossly inappropriate things (which always seems to be a bonding thing for me) and commiserated over hearts and people and things missed. We have ranted about people we used to know and crazy shit in the world today. Needless to say, dinner with her was fudging fantastic.

    I caught wind of a way to get $10 tickets for Portland Center Stage's productions of Twelfth Night and The Beard of Avon, so I snatched up two front row seats for both shows. How awesome is that! So Joelf and I spent Saturday afternoon and evening at the theater. How fancy! We also grabbed a quick sushi dinner between shows at the nearby sushi go-round, and while the food was mediocre at best (I mean, how fresh can the food be, when it spends who knows how long going around the restaurant on a conveyor belt?) the people watching was prime. While I do not love the food of the sushi go-round, the experience is always awesome.

    Afterwards, we decided we looked too fabulous to go right home, so we looked for a bar in the Pearl to be fabulous in. We ended up at this place called district, where the bar was dark, the music was loud, and the patrons looking for sex. There were middle aged businessmen, slightly younger looking foreign businessmen, 20 something drunk blondies dancing with everybody who was standing, stout muscled gay men, several closeted gay men with their "girlfriends," and even what we suspect was a high class escort with her john. It was such an intriguing place that we stayed for two drinks just to keep watching the shenanigans. Go Portland, go. (And by the way--go, reader, go to their website--it is ridiculous and over the top. Just like their clientèle.)

    Sunday Joelf and I walked down the hill to get some tea and read my guilty pleasure, Entertainment Weekly. Really, though, EW isn't a gossip rag or a magazine about makeup and shopping, so I have nothing to feel guilty about. The funny part about me reading EW is that I don't really watch TV, yet I know an awful lot about them TV shows anyway. Mostly though, EW makes me regret not having access to BBC America.

    Right before the coffee shop we chanced upon a realtor putting up her open signs and so we followed her into a new loft live-work building and she showed us around the units for sale. They are your typical concrete box type lofts with the very high ceilings, wall of windows, and upstairs mezzanine where your platform bed would go. As trite as I may seem about them, there is something very appealing to me about loft style living. Maybe because to me it seems so City, so young and up and coming and adult and hip. Maybe because it seems to me the epitomy of single, or at least no-kid, living. It certainly would be much different than this leaky-windowed 1920's apartment that I occupy now. And I would OWN it. That is SO adult and grown up.

    After tea and trudging back up the hill I had to hurry up and get ready for Cirque du Soleil! For Christmas I gave the Stooges (plus husband) tickets to the show, and I had just about an hour to get ready. The show was really great, very beautiful and fanciful like all Cirque shows tend to be. This one wasn't my favorite show, but I wasn't bored either.

    Afterwards the Stooges went out for a simple fish and chips meal. It was nice to catch up; Cookie had been low with the flu so we hadn't seen her much lately. I love them Stooges.

    I realised that being in my 30's and single and childless affords me many opportunities to get out and do stuff on a regular basis and that I owe it to myself to take advantage of that. Maybe it's because 35 is rapidly approaching and I am mildly upset about it. Maybe it's because I've watched too much Sex and the City lately, or maybe it's because I am a little bitter and jaded about my prospects for love right now. Maybe it's because I have a little extra money to spare/spend, which I haven't had for several months. Maybe it's because spring is on its way, the days are getting longer and the flowers are beginning to bloom. It could be all of these things and more, but whatever the reason, who cares. Carpe diem!

    Monday, March 03, 2008

    What Tarot Card I am, version 2008

    You are The Lovers

    Motive, power, and action, arising from Inspiration and Impulse.

    The Lovers represents intuition and inspiration. Very often a choice needs to be made.

    Originally, this card was called just LOVE. And that's actually more apt than "Lovers." Love follows in this sequence of growth and maturity. And, coming after the Emperor, who is about control, it is a radical change in perspective. LOVE is a force that makes you choose and decide for reasons you often can't understand; it makes you surrender control to a higher power. And that is what this card is all about. Finding something or someone who is so much a part of yourself, so perfectly attuned to you and you to them, that you cannot, dare not resist. This card indicates that the you have or will come across a person, career, challenge or thing that you will fall in love with. You will know instinctively that you must have this, even if it means diverging from your chosen path. No matter the difficulties, without it you will never be complete.

    What Tarot Card are You?
    Take the Test to Find Out.

    Late Night Shenanigans

    I really need to go to sleep. If I stay up much longer I'll lose my window of sleepiness and end up awake until 6 am. Not. Necessary.

    BUT, I was tripping through my blog's past and I found the Gizoogle Transizlatin Post.

    So I gizoogled my blog. Here are a few highlights:

    Weed Smokin' But Tha Cakes

    evil cakes lady's blog fo' all tha gangsta shiznit in her brain


    I was at an off tha hook birth this chillin' ya dig?....The epidural played havoc wit her baby's heartbeat (decels with my forty-fo' mag! panic!--the nurse didn't kizzy she was steppin' ta 2nd stage where decels happen quite frequently as tha baby gets smooshed n shoved into tha birth canal). She neva felt an urge ta push or even tha pressure sensation mizzost bitchez fizzle wizzle they have an epidural , ya feel me?....

    Which she dizzay beautifully, awesizzle despite herself....I love it when that happens so i can get mah pimp on. I mean, rhymin' bitchez do that is whizzat I do this job for . You'se a flea and I'm the big dogg.

    But hizzle hannah, I am exhausted. I wizzy ta W-to-tha-izzork...I mean, mah last treatment was a shiatsu n I swear I almost nodded off wizzle I was steppin' on her biznack fo' sheezy. Seriously, people.

    ...My mizzle? Meatloaf wit mac n cheese . Im a bad boy wit a lotta hos.

    tha evil cakes lady wrote this at 6:03 PM Links ta this P-to-tha-izzost


    Friday, February 29, 2008


    I was home over the weekend for my sister's engagement party and to help her do wedding stuff. As the Maid of Honor (MOH) and Someone Who Cooks, I got to advise her on her kitchen registry. Registering for gifts is like shopping, only other people will foot the bill. Me likey.

    I realised that being the MOH is a lot like being a doula. The bride, like a mom in labor, is a female going through a big and life changing transition. She may yell, cry, scream, and bite. She will act irrationally even though to herself she feels perfectly rational. She may be demanding. She may also be gracious, stronger than she imagined, and willing to roll with the punches, especially if she's got a good MOH at her side. A good MOH will stand by her bride when the parents are freaking out about money, the flower person is freaking out about the heat wilting the arrangements, her irrational friends are demanding special attention, and everyone else thinks she is going nutjob crazy. The MOH agrees to do the bride's bidding, protects the bride's wedding plans, and is the heavy when shit hits the fan during the actual event. The MOH always assures the bride that she is coping beautifully, except when she is not and it is the MOH's job to snap the bride out of her self indulgent mood and get moving.

    At first I was completely overwhelmed to be my sister's MOH since I had never been a MOH before--but now that I see the parallels between my job and being the MOH, no problem!


    I was at an awesome birth this morning. Second time mom, who in her first birth got an epidural right as she was opening to 10 cm. The epidural played havoc with her baby's heartbeat (decels! panic!--the nurse didn't know she was moving to 2nd stage where decels happen quite frequently as the baby gets smooshed and shoved into the birth canal). She never felt an urge to push or even the pressure sensation most women feel when they have an epidural. So this time she really wanted to give birth sans medication, and really experience the pushing sensations.

    Which she did, beautifully, awesomely, despite herself. She just wasn't sure she really could do it, but with a lot of encouragement, belief and support from her whole birth team she dug deep within herself and found a way to do it. I love it when that happens. I mean, witnessing women do that is what I do this job for.

    But holy hannah, I am exhausted. I went to work and thankfully my schedule was tightly packed so that I didn't get sufficient downtime to realise how freaking tired I am. I mean, my last treatment was a shiatsu and I swear I almost nodded off when I was working on her back. Seriously, people.

    I am looking forward to tomorrow, when I might change out of my pjs sometime in the late afternoon/early evening to go grocery shopping. My menu? Meatloaf with mac and cheese. Hooray for downtime!