Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day Two Hundred and Nineteen, P.S.

I forgot to post Buddy's picture! Unfortunately, posting pictures is one of the SERIOUS weak points of this blog site, and once they're all set up and in order, it's almost impossible to get a new one in. So here's Buddy in his Very Own Post:

Day Two Hundred and Nineteen

tulip fields and Mt. Hood

Twelve down, eighty-nine to go! Today I took the kids to the tulip festival in Woodburn (Item #25). Our only regrets were that we ate before we came since we didn't realize they had yummy food options at the festival, and that we didn't allow about twice as much time. It was a lovely trip, and I think it would be a good annual tradition.

"Black" tulips fascinate me.

Boo blends right in. :)

Boo snapped this one of me in the most spectacular purple tulips I've ever seen. I want to buy a few hundred of these and plant them.

All I was really trying to demonstrate was that the tulips were as big as my outspread hand - I was pleased when I discovered later that the little ring I had on today was turned so you could read the word "HOPE" on it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day Two Hundred and Sixteen

Well, THAT was fun!

Last week I finished Item #95 - try five local restaurants I've never been to, and here they are:

9/28/2010 - The Grind, reviewed very favorably here, earlier in this project. I still get hot chocolate there at least once a week, and I've gone back again for the chicken salad sandwiches.

11/27/2010 - The Sassy Onion, which I visited with my friend Terri. I really must go back, preferably with Terri because I really like talking to her. The words "cheese", "grilled" and "fresh" feature prominently in their menu, which is right up my alley. Especially the "cheese" part.

2/4/2010 - Chipotle Grill, which I visited with my friend Heather. We talked for hours, enjoyed extremely good (and surprisingly environmentally responsible) Mexican food, and solved all the problems of the world. Well, maybe not ALL of them, but we had a darn good time!

2/19/2010 - Cascade Baking Co., reviewed not quite so favorably here. I keep meaning to go back and buy just a plain loaf of bread and see if I like it better when it's not toasted to death.

4/18/2010 - The Wild Pear, which I sort of visited many years ago, but it was in a different location and looked totally different and I'm not actually sure it's the same menu, so I'm counting this as a new restaurant to me. My friend Emily and I sat at a table by the window and talked for the best part of two hours, and didn't leave until we realized that a) our parking meters were running out, and b) it might be nice of us to vacate our completely primo spot for the lunch crowd. The staff never made a peep about us staying so long, which was quite nice of them. I'll definitely be going back to this one!

Darn ... I should've said I wanted to try TEN new restaurants.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day Two Hundred and Twelve

Another one bites the dust! Literally, in this case, if you count rich black potting soil as dust.

Years ago, I bought a rose in a pot at a fair at Bush's Pasture Park, a 90-acre oasis just south of downtown. The entire property belonged to one family in the 1870's, and the original home, barn, and greenhouse are still beautifully maintained. The fair included handcrafts, live music, and food, and outside the barn (now an art gallery) the grounds staff had a selection of plants grown from cuttings of the hundreds of plants in the park. Many of the plants there are "period plants", and this one had a particularly interesting history. The original rose bush had been on the property for many decades, and it had come from a cutting of a bush in the garden of one of the royal estates in England.

I bought it for a little more than I'd intended to spend, planted it in the back yard, and really truly meant to plant other pretty things around it instead of letting the weeds bury it. Unfortunately, good intentions appear to make better diabolical paving stones than rose fertilizer.

Twelve years later, it has been mowed over twice, rescued into a pot, moved to a new house, ignored for years, frozen, scorched, eaten by bugs, and attacked by a rogue blackberry bush, and it finally sent its roots out the bottom of the pot in desperation. It persists in living, and today I decided that it needed a better home (Item #94).

Here it is, before I got it detached from the corner of the yard where I'd abandoned the poor thing:

I gently extricated it from the ground beneath the pot, detangled it from the encroaching stickery bush next to it, and carefully eased it under the low-hanging oak branch at the edge of the yard. It thanked me for my pains by attacking my head. The thorns got badly tangled in my hair, and I eventually had to take my French braids completely out and put my hair in a ponytail instead.

I hauled it to the back porch where I had the planter (rescued from a neighbor who was going to throw it out last year) and the bags of dirt needed to give it a second chance at life (purchased this afternoon from the exceptionally helpful people at Guentner's Gardens). I started out using a little shovel to get the planter prepared, but the truth is that for a project like this (i.e. one that doesn't involve pokey weeds), I just like getting my hands in there. So I ditched the gloves and shovel and played with dirt. Lovely, lovely dirt ...

There we go - all settled in, roots cared for as per instructions, and I'm holding it steady for the next round of dirt.

Oh dear ... my fingers look a little Gollum-ish. "MY rose ... it's mine, all mine ... my precioussssss..."

And there we go! All settled, watered, new dirt on top, situated so it can get some sun but have shade in the afternoon. It looks a little wilty and shell-shocked, which isn't too surprising given all the attention after years of neglect, but I'm hoping it will survive the move.

Come on, little plant, live ... you can do it!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day Two Hundred and One

Today I am 20% of the way into this project, and I had a thought that made me pause for a moment.

What would my home look like if my only possessions were things I truly needed or truly wanted?

This means there would be nothing in my house that was grown-out-of, broken and probably not fixable, or an unnecessary duplicate.

Goodbye to all the clothes that might (but probably won't) be fashionable again some day.

Goodbye to all the tapes I haven't listened to in ten years and won't buy on CD.

Speaking of which, goodbye to all the CDs I only keep because I feel I should like that music (but I really don't).

And goodbye to all the clothes that have a weird neckline, don't look the way I thought they would with those pants, need alterations I can't give them, turned out to be the wrong shade of blue, make my butt look big, or which (let's be honest here) I will never get aforementioned butt back into even if I diet and exercise religiously for the next five years.

Goodbye to all the half-burned candles that smelled funny.

Goodbye to the books I will never read again, and to all the ones I might read once but could check out from the library.

Goodbye to all the paperwork that has served its purpose and now just hogs space.

Goodbye and good riddance to all of the bottles of scented hand lotion and body wash that I never really liked, but still kept so I could use them rather than waste them. Because when I stop and think about it, is it really so much better to spend months (or years) rubbing them into my skin rather than pouring them into the garbage, recycling the containers, and having the drawer space back? My mom said once, "Life's too short to use bad soap." She's right.

Goodbye to all the clothes that need mending - if I mend them, they can GO AWAY.

Goodbye to all the papers that need sorting - if I sort them, they can GO AWAY.

Goodbye to all the baby equipment that needs cleaning - if I clean them, they can GO AWAY.

Goodbye to all the magazines I'll never read, the weird canned food I'll never eat, the movies I'll never watch, the serving dishes I'll never use, and the puzzles with pictures that I never liked in the first place and certainly wouldn't like if I had to stare at them for a week while I worked them.

Goodbye to everything I keep because somebody gave it to me and I wouldn't want to make them feel bad, even though they've never been to my house and probably forgot that they gave it to me at all. Throwing out the odd-looking heart-shaped pin my piano student gave me does not, in fact, mean that I am throwing out my student.

Goodbye to everything I keep because it might be useful some day. If I haven't used it in the last ten years, I'd rather buy a new one if I need it.

Goodbye to everything I keep that would cost an unreasonable amount of time, money, or energy to use.

Goodbye to everything that lives rent-free in my house because of my laziness, guilt, or greed.

I bet if I did that, I'd have more room for my teacups.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day Two Hundred

One of my current projects is Item #68, to reduce my teacup collection and store and/or display it properly. I never really set out to collect teacups, but I like tea and china and all things tea-related, so it wasn't terribly surprising that I ended up with quite a lot of teacups. My grandmother offered me several of her cup-and-saucer sets when she moved from the large family home to a much smaller apartment, and I was happy to take them in. The little English tea shop downtown (now closed, much to my dismay) had a few sets that begged to come home with me, a missionary friend brought back a couple from Moscow, and after twenty years of this, I discovered that I now collected teacups.

Some I'll keep forever - the lovely Dutch china in blue-and-white, the gold-accented Russian set, the pale pink rose-patterned set from my grandma (who still wears tiny pink roses in her hair whenever they're in bloom), and the set with tiny violets that I admired for five years before finally buying them. But I have far more than necessary for even a fairly serious tea habit, and it's time for some of them to find new homes. A few are displayed on a wooden shelf, the ones I use the most are in the cupboard (in stacks, I know, that's terrible), but the rest are in a cardboard box and in grave danger of being smashed all to bits if anything knocks into them.

This one was the first to go, not because I don't like it, but because Grandma gave me two:

My sister lost her home to a wildfire in 2007, and a lifetime's worth of belongings were reduced to ashes. A few teacups survived the fierce heat, their paint bubbled and scorched, and one or two were nearly untouched. Since she has nothing left of the family heirlooms that had been passed down to her, I thought some of Grandma's teacups could join the hardy survivors on the display shelf in her kitchen. I've sent one a month for the last two months, and as soon as she gets settled from the 1000-mile move she's packing for as I write, I'll send the next one to her new address.

I am finding that I like getting rid of things.

I like it even more when the things find new homes with people who will love them.

And if the person in question is somebody I love, well, that's pretty much perfect.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day One Hundred and Ninety-Eight

That's one more down for Item #78 (make 20 items of clothing for the kids)! My daughter (whom I think I'll call Boo for short, which is a LONG story involving Charlie Brown and baboons) picked out the material herself, and at first I just laughed because it was one more instance of her skipping over the sweet little floral calicoes and making a beeline for the sixties-inspired geometric prints.

Then I started sewing and it was not so funny any more. I am not so good at zippers, and this one was no exception. I managed to avoid pulling it out and having to start over, but only by doing it VERY slowly and carefully, and double-checking what I was doing at every step of the way. I am also not so good at bias tape, and I was less than enthused to discover that Boo's eleventh-hour design change (two ruffles, no sleeves) would require me to finish the arm holes with bias tape. And see that little flared set of ruffles? Somewhere in the second hour of trying to sew it on correctly, I had to stop and seriously consider whether or not was a sin to say, even in my head, "I hate this #%*$! Easter dress."

It finally went on straight, disaster was averted, and some time around 10:30 p.m. the night before Easter, I sewed the last stitch and hung the finished dress in her room so she could wear it in the morning. I also was ruefully reminded once again of my long-standing tendency to procrastinate, my perennial underestimation of the amount of time it takes to sew on a ruffle, and my (once again) unfounded skepticism regarding Boo's fashion sense.

After all that, it's a #%*$! good thing she liked it.