Entries in bento box - black strawberry (28)


signs that it's time to go back to bed and try again tomorrow

but the day wasn't all bad, thanks to a rare snow fallYou put your bra on inside out, wondering all the while why it's so hard to get on, and spend the entire day feeling like Something Is Not Quite Right.

The breakfast that you could've sworn you packed does not, in fact, exist.

You wonder what that annoying clicking sound is as you drive to work, only to realize that it's the turn signal that you forgot to turn off three exits ago.

You repeatedly enter your debit card pin as your computer password, getting increasingly irritated at someone in IT for no good reason.

Every attempt at drinking water from your water bottle has resulted in water dribbling down the front of your shirt and caused you to check for a hole in an insulated stainless steel container instead of, you know, your head.

My life, ladies and gentlemen.

lunch, black strawberry:

  • salmon cake
  • pumpkin seeds
  • green beens sauteed in sesame oil, with black and white sesame seeds
  • peas
  • carrot sticks
  • candies made by Chef Sal: nougat (with dried cherries and pistachios), chocolate caramels, and mango gelees

father-daughter time

a peek of sunlight on a hidden watterfall and pool at the Japanese GardenMy dad was here for a few days last week for a short but very nice visit. He and Mo are staying at Heceta Head this month doing tours of the lighthouse there, so he came up to spend a few days.

We had such a nice time! He arrived with spectacular timing, just as I was driving up to the house on Tuesday (I went into the office for a few hours for an important meeting) and got a chance to see Sal for a bit before he had to head to work. We visited while running some errands -- which included a salt cellar refill at The Meadow, eliciting the comment, "Who knew there were so many kinds of salt?"...hee! -- and stopped for lunch at Little Big Burger, where he got to try the oh-so-delicious fries with truffle oil.

We celebrated his birthday belatedly with dinner at the school (Dad got to have ling cod for the first time), finally rolling out of there (almost literally) stuffed and pleasantly sleepy. I inflicted our new memory foam mattress topper on him that night, as well. I'd bought it with the intention to make the guest bed a bit more luxurious, but didn't get it ordered enough in advance to give it a chance to air out the vile chemically smell that the manufacturer assured me would dissipate in 24 to 72 hours. Thankfully, a combination of good food, poor olefactory function, and sheer exhaustion made the smell absolutely unnoticeable for Dad, and he reported a very good night's sleep the next morning. So, score!

We spent Wednesday at the Japanese Garden, something I'd wanted to share with him for some time, so I was glad to cross it off the list at last. You know, I've been there many times, at different times of the year, and there really isn't a bad time to visit. And the rain we'd had the day before held off all day, making for a pleasant meander through the different paths and hideaways.

Father-daughter bentos! Mine is in the Lunchbot Duo, his is in the French bistro two-tier. Leftovers, mostly, although we did do molded eggs. Unfortunately, I didn't boil them along enough so they were a bit mangled and too soft to hold the mold shapes.We ate a late lunch nearby at the Rose Garden. Lunch was the bentos we'd packed earlier, comprised of random leftovers -- though you know the magic of bento turns random leftovers into lunchtime largesse. Yes, Dad very gamely agreed to try his hand at packing a bento. No, I did not twist his arm, shut up. (His folly, you see, was expressing interest in my bento lunches after seeing pictures posted here. Everyone else knows not to do this, lest they be cornered with a a show-and-tell of all my bento gear, but he hasn't had an opportunity to learn that so he was like the crippled wildebeast on the veldt that all the other wildebeasts leave behind when the lions show up. He didn't stand a chance, really.)

He was a good sport about staying up way past his usual bed time to see Sal when he got home, and we talked each other's legs off about everything from politics to publishing, grandkids and grandcats, and everything in between. Always hard to say goodbye, but we were sure grateful to get to spend some time together.

lunch, black strawberry:

  • lemon-herb roasted chicken, risotto with mushrooms and bacon
  • green salad (romaine, mushrooms, tomato, olives, cheese, ham) with balsamic dressing on the side
  • yogurt-covered pretzels
  • dried mango
  • dark chocolate
  • dried cherries
  • orange juice in the drink bottle because I have been sick as a dog with a head cold since Thursday night, and I am mainlining Vitamin C liek whoa

daytrippin' at cape disappointment

overlook @ Beard's HollowAnother weekend and we decided it was time for another daytrip. So Sunday, we got up earlier than usual and headed west to Cape Disappointment.

Such a misleading name! It's a gorgeous state park, covering a fairly sizeable area of the southwestern tip of Washington, which makes it a great place to spend a whole day. There are two lighthouses -- each accessible only by a half mile hike -- and trails and beach fronts and overlooks and even a Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. Even if you didn't set foot out of your vehicle (which would be a shame), the drive alone is beautiful.

I packed us each a bento, which we got to enjoy high atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific. That is something I will never tire of, being able to eat my lunch right there, watching the ocean. The ocean, you guys! That will never stop being amazing to me.

We had to leave earlier than we would've liked to get back in time for our neighborhood potluck (so fun!), but I there might have to be a weekend in Astoria in our near future so we can spend more of the day there.

(more pictures of our trip to come when I get a chance to upload them)


Sunday's picnic, Sal -- blue bunny & moons:

  • Mediterranean grilled chicken
  • orzo salad (orzo, tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta, mint)
  • celery and carrot sticks
  • apple slices and honey peanut butter for dipping

Sunday's picnic, Brittney -- black strawberry:

  • Mediterranean grilled chicken
  • tabbouleh
  • celery and carrot ticks
  • apple slices and honey peanut butter for dipping

today's breakfast, matryoshka:

  • mini blueberry pancakes
  • peach slices

today's lunch, French bistro:

  • Mediterranean grilled chicken
  • tabbouleh
  • celery and carrot sticks
  • peach and apricots slices

a tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning

At about a quarter to five this morning, Sal and I were woken from a dead sleep by the sound of something crashing on top of the house. Nothing actually did crash on top of the house, but instead an extremely close and especially loud thunderclap, but it certainly sounded like it. In fact, it set off all the car alarms on the street.

Admittedly, thunder and lightning are a rare occurrence here. Once a summer, maybe. But it's not as if I've been away from Wyoming so long that I've forgotten how loud thunder is. This was one of those rare types of thunder that just kind of sneaks up on you, the meteorological equivalent of someone jumping out at you from a doorway and shouting "Boo!"

After we recovered from the heart attack, I finally laid down again and closed my eyes. A minute or so later, a brilliant flash of white blue behind my eyelids and then another booming crash immediately following. Let me repeat that: I saw the lightning flash with my eyes closed, in a room where there's no direct line of sight to a window. That is some primeval shit right there.

lunch, black strawberry:

  • pad Thai with chicken
  • peas
  • carrot sticks
  • fresh raspberries from our garden


title taken from The Tempest, obviously


happy birthday, sally!

TODAY IS SALLY'S BIRTHDAY!! Be sure to wish him a good one today if you get the opportunity. He plays it cool, but he loves to get happy birthday wishes in any form. I have a very full and meaty post about the festivities to mark the occasion, but it will have to wait until tomorrow. Be sure to tune in, though, because there will be pictures. Lots of them.

lunch, black strawberry:

  • two mini frittatas -- mushroom, onion, spinach (no cheese); I made a half dozen of these last month to use up some odds and ends while simultaneously building a bento stash, which came in handy last night when I had no time to put something together for lunch today
  • snap peas, carrots, and steamed broccoli, with two tiny radishes
  • mini blueberry pancakes -- more from the bento stash, made by Chef Salvatore with those fresh frozen blueberries from last summer
  • Pink Lady apple

apparently, not low maintenance enough

I worked on a presentation I have to do Monday basically all day yesterday, and I do mean all day. As in, from the time I got up to the time I went to bed, with a few breaks sprinkled throughout for an errand, zoning out with Tumblr for a bit, a few games of the new Angry Birds, and some kitty cuddling. BUT! I am also triumphant, because despite the long-ass work day, I still managed to A) make a decent dinner and B) pack a delicious little lunch as a result. Behold, for I am multi-talented.

Also, one of the pieces I wrote for this week's Prompt has prompted me (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?) to look for a local landscaping company to come in and get the yard whipped into shape. Because the spring that's been delayed by, like, three months thanks to the 77 straight weeks of cold, wet weather appears to be exploding into existence in the space of approximately 6.432 days. Which means that the winterizing work we didn't do on the yard last fall has now come back to haunt us liek whoa, and I simply cannot take it any more. Looking out my windows to my wonderful yard should not cripple me with guilt. So perhaps if we splurge on a one-time infusion of professional help, we'll magically be converted to grown-ups once again and resume caring for our low-maintenance yard on a more regular basis. THIS IS A FOOLPROOF PLAN I THINK WE CAN ALL AGREE.

lunch, black strawberry:

  • chicken teriyaki meatball
  • rapini and caramelized onions sauteed with just a smidge of stir fry sauce
  • short grain brown rice
  • blood orange halves and kiwi slices
  • dark chocolate covered raisins

the glamorous life i don't lead

taken from a lookout above Cape DisappointmentBack from vacation and leaping right back into the fray. I made some decent progress on my task list, although not as far as I would've liked. The bags and boxes of papers that needed to be gone through have all been sorted and filed (or tossed), but my big ambitious plan to also get our budget tracker up-to-date with the last seventy gajillion months of financial data downsized by significant degrees over the first couple of days, so that by Wednesday evening I was all, "RESPONSIBILITY WHAT IS THAT." Sigh. Being a grown up is hard. But! I did mainline S1 of Boomtown (yes, again) while I worked and watched the BSG mini-series and first couple of episodes for the first time in years, so at least the most important items on my list got crossed off.

one of the beaches at Fort Stevens, looking out across the mouth of the Columbia toward the Washington CoastThursday, I took a day trip to the Coast, Astoria, Ft. Stevens State Park, and up the Washington Coast a bit to Cape Disappointment. It was gray and dark and wet the whole day, which doesn't bother me but did lend a very definite sense of moody atmosphere to the whole affair. The rest of my vacation I spent playing in the studio making a big mess with art supplies, and then all day Sunday writing. Not exactly the most glamorous vacation ever, but a welcome respite nonetheless.

I also indulged in a new bento box! Well, boxes (she says sheepishly). I finally broke down and bought a Lunchbot at New Seasons after more than a year of resisting the temptation, as well as a cool new glass drinking bottle with a silicon sleeve for good measure. Impulse buy? Never heard of it. Anyway, you can see the drink bottle in both of the pictures below, and I used my new box for today's lunch.  (I'll have it added to the Bento Gear listing shortly.)

And then because I was on a streak, apparently, I finally also ordered a couple of Shinzi Katoh boxes I'd been eying forever and a day, mainly because there were originally four boxes I wanted, but two of them had sold out in the months that I'd been gazing longingly but never purchased, so I figured sometimes, delayed gratification can go too far. And since I was saying to hell with my rigid rule about no more new boxes anyway, I'm about this close to also buying a few others on a different site that I've lusted after for, like, years. Because when my self-restraint finally crumbles, it crumbles in spectacular fashion.

I actually had two bentos yesterday since I had Prompt in the evening, but forgot to take a picture of my dinner and then by the time I got home was too tired to write up and post my lunch. So today you get two, two, TWO bentos in one.

yesterday's lunch, black strawberry:

  • chicken apple spice sausage
  • broccolette
  • mini creamer potatoes with strips of gouda
  • Rancho Royale apple slices
  • chocolates handmade by Sal

today's lunch, orange Lunchbot

  • ham and gouda in sundried tomato wraps
  • carrot sticks and snap peas
  • Pink Lady apple slices

and the anchorperson on tv goes la de da de da de diddy diddy da

the opening act for Saturday's concert, a group called Mountain Man; they were absolutely phenomenal

(Yes, that is the opening line of the chorus of "16 Military Wives" and yes, it will be relevant later.)

I have the worst headache this morning. I think my brain is melting from all the fabulousness of the weekend. Totally worth it.

Friday, Sister and I met at my office for a Girls' Night. My office is not-quite-halfway, and its proximity to various restaurants and shops makes it a good meeting point for these evenings. I showed her around my office, then took her to George's Giant Hamburger, my stomping grounds for workday lunches with Kurt, ProcrastiGirl, and K back in the day. ProcrastiGirl and I still make the occasional pilgrimage, but it's just not the same since Kurt moved away.

Anyway, I was excited to introduce Sister to the George's love, which she duly appreciated. Unlike Sal, who was unimpressed the one time I took him there. Sister and I determined that he is clearly cracked in the head.

We walked it off by browsing through Michael's, doing our best to quell the art supply wants despite the enticing discounts and generally solving the problems of the world while we were at it. As one does. Then it was a nightcap of sorts with a trip to Peachwave for a frozen yogurt toppings bar bonanza, where we decided that pomegranate frozen yogurt and chocolate sauce aren't the best combination, but pretty much everything else is. We lost track of time talking and laughing and crying (in a good way) and finally said our goodbyes well past her usual bed time.

Sal spent Saturday at the Expo Center judging desserts for a high school cooking competition so I spent my day mostly in the studio making a grand mess with every art supply I own while I waited for Sal to get home and then for The Decemberists concert later that night.

And you guys. YOU GUYS. Okay, I'm biased, I admit. I love them utterly, it's true. And I have seen them in concert repeatedly, including not even six months ago when they played MusicFest NW. And every time, they are A.MAZ.ING. So I am predisposed to swoon over them, I can admit it.

"Down By the Water", from their latest albumHowever. Saturday's concert was, hands down, my favorite of any time I've seen them. We had seats in the balcony and were even closer than we were at Pioneer Courthouse Square. The Schnitz is a great venue anyway, and showcased them perfectly. It was a sold out show, of course, and they have such a diverse and dedicated fanbase that the energy is electric and they feed off that well. They played most of the "The King Is Dead" (which I got for my birthday from Sally), as well as a nice selection from the rest of their discography (set list at the end of this post).

"The Mariner's Revenge". Live. O. M. G.But the best part? OMG YOU GUYS THE BEST PART. The encore. Okay, so they made us really wait for the encore, like I thought people might start rioting, the cheering and chanting was so loud. And then finally Colin comes out just by himself and does a sweet acoustic rendition of "Red Right Ankle", and Jenny popped out just long enough to do the keyboard bit. And then he sort of left the stage and the lights went down like that was all they were going to do. AND THEN. AND THEN. They all came out, and they're all clustered right there in the front of the stage instead of taking positions at the keyboard and drum kit and everything, and Colin says that this next song requires a bit of participation (which we'd already done on other songs), and I turned to Sal and squealed, "OMG MARINER'S REVENGE" and then Colin said, "You'll need to sound like you've been eaten by a whale" AND THE CROWD WENT COMPLETELY APESHIT.

They put that song on hiatus for live shows sometime during the tour for The Crane Wife, and Sal and I were starting to despair that we'd ever get to see it live. AND THEN WE DID AND IT WAS OUTRAGEOUSLY FABULOUS AND OMG I MIGHT HAVE DIED REPEATEDLY FROM JOY. Greatest concert experience ever*, Y/Y? IN CONCLUSION THE DECEMBERISTS HAVE MY UNDYING DEVOTION FOREVER AND EVER AMEN.

*WITH ONE GLARING EXCEPTION. And seriously, this is a lesson on "What Not To Do At A Concert Lest the Person Behind You Have A Smartphone And A Website". There was this woman sitting in front of me, you see. Now, you should understand that there's some sort of law of the Universe that because I am short, I am forever doomed at any venue -- whether it's a concert, a movie, a play, whatever -- to be seated or stand behind the tall person, or the kid who stands in the seat, or the moron who doesn't take off their hat, or the chick/dude who has teased their hair ten feet above their head. Sal and I will usually switch seats, although even this doesn't always solve the problem -- the person will move, too, or all of a sudden the person sitting next to them will decide to kneel in their seat or some other sort of fuckery.

Anyway, the woman sitting in front of me was a little taller than average but not a lot, and since the balcony is stadium seating, it shouldn't have presented a problem. Shouldn't have. However. This woman was apparently desperate to participate in the concert and demonstrate just how truly into it she was because she kept leaning forward in her seat, thus screwing up the entire eyeline/angle purpose of stadium seating, AND, rocking spasmodically left to right for Every. Fucking. Song. so I couldn't even just lean to one side to see around her. Her companions seemed to be mildly horrified by her behavior and her husband appeared to ask her to settle down repeatedly, but she was all, "I'm in the groooove."

I persevered, however, and managed to enjoy the show despite these perturbances. Not content to somewhat detract from the concert experience for everyone around her, though, she spent the second half of the show intermittently raising her freakishly long tentacle arms above her head and clapping OUT OF TIME with the music in a motion that spanned the chair widths on either side of her. Still, I managed not to rip her tentacle arms off and beat her with them.

my view of the stage when Tentacle Arms stood up for the first half of "16 Military Wives"And then. The first cords of "16 Military Wives" started up and she...stood up and dancing like a brain damaged jellyfish. She is clearly blocking my view and is the only person in our entire section standing up**, and the entire time, I'm wondering to myself why she isn't bleeding to death from the daggers I have stared into her back.

**I love dancing at a concert as much as anyone, but when it's a seated venue, you expect that you're going to spend at least part of the concert with your butt in the seat. Sure, you'll be rocking out, but unless most of the crowd stands up, you do your rocking out WITH YOUR BUTT IN THE SEAT.

She did finally get the hint that the rest of the section (or balcony or crowd, for that matter) wasn't going to take her lead and she sat down. But there was a moment, right when they were getting going on "Mariner's Revenge", when she acted like she was going to stand up again and I said, "Stay down". I don't think she heard me, but I was ready to pitch a hissy if she made any motion to stand up. Because if she had in any way blocked my view of the stage during the song I've been waiting literally years to see live? Oh yes, there would have been a throwdown. Thankfully, she kept her inconsiderate ass in her seat and her tentacle arms mostly in check and no one had to die.

lunch, black strawberries

  • panko-breaded chicken breast, steamed broccoli, carrot sticks
  • Bosc pear, with dried cherries and cashews as gap fillers
  • yogurt-covered raisins

Set list:

  • California One / Youth and Beauty Brigade
  • Calamity Song
  • Rox in the Box
  • Los Angeles, I'm Yours
  • The Crane Wife 3
  • The Sporting Life (with a bit of "This Charming Man" by The Smiths, which I had to look up because I couldn't remember where it was from)
  • January Hymn
  • Won't Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)
  • The Rake's Song
  • Don't Carry It All
  • Down By The Water
  • Rise to Me
  • 16 Military Wives (with an audience participation bit from "Black Water" by the Doobie Brothers)
  • This Is Why We Fight

1st Encore:

  • Red Right Ankle (acoustic with Colin Meloy and Jenny Conlee for the keyboard bit)
  • The Mariner's Revenge Song

2nd Encore:

  • June Hymn

not a bad life, all in all

We managed to be surprisingly productive in spite of ourselves this weekend. We woke up late Saturday morning not really wanting to do the things on our to-do list, but decided we'd work for an hour, just an hour, and call it good. Two hours later, the dishes were done and half the laundry was folded. Hey, you take your victories where you can get them.

It was a beautiful, beautiful day and not wanting to miss out on the first sunny day in more than a week, we decided to knock another thing off our list by making a trip to Portland Nursery to get replacement pots for the two shrubs on our front porch. See? We can be downright efficient when we have half a mind to be.

Portland Nursery, fortuitously enough, was having a sale on all their pots and we got an additional discount on one of the pots we chose that had a chip in the rim. Easy peasy. We found a new restaurant in the area to try for an early supper, and spent the last hours of the day snuggled up in a cozy pub, with a view out the window, a pint (for him), and a tasty meal. I love our life.

lunch, black strawberry box:

  • stir fry -- beef, kale, spinach, carrots, red pepper, onion, broccoli, special sauce
  • half jasmine rice, half short grain brown rice
  • satsuma orange halves
  • Rancho Royale apple chunk
  • cashews and yogurt covered raisins

scenes from an art store and other paint-related adventures

Proof that we totally weren't kidding about the Pepto-Bismol thing.Less than a week until vacation, holy crap! So much to get done, but I'm so excited that the OMG CRUSHING WEIGHT OF IT ALL isn't even stressing me out. Well not much, anyway. And poor Sal...well, he's just got his head down, plowing through this final week and then I expect he'll reward himself with one of his bigger bottles of homemade beer.

I've got another update posted on the work we did two years ago -- this time, the painting in the library. Yep, we finally, finally exchange the heinous pink for a radically different -- radically awesome -- color.

Also, the Lord of the Rings wins all the things.

lunch, black strawberry:

  • two molded eggs, both the star AND the heart
  • roasted yam
  • celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins
  • satsumas and pomegranate seeds as gap fillers

Following an appointment downtown last night, I took a detour to an art store nearby that I like. As I was browsing, a woman came in and asked the clerk at the counter for advice. Her husband wants to become a painter, she says, but he's never painted before. She wants to get him paints and brushes for Christmas, but isn't sure what to get. Acrylics? Oils? Watercolors?

After some discussion, the clerk helps her figure out that the type of painting her husband wants to try isn't watercolors; more back and forth and she finally settles on acrylics (easier to clean, recommends the clerk). He shows her to a nice starter package that includes a good set of paints in a nice wooden case that can hold 9"x11" canvases. She wants everything her husband needs to get started, so the clerk smartly loads her up with gel medium, gesso, brushes, canvases, palette knife, and an easel. Dude is gonna be set.

The whole time, I'm quietly amused as I listen to the conversation (they were loud, I wasn't eavesdropping), imagining the husband and his newfound passion for painting. I'm thinking how sweet that his wife wants to encourage this new interest and what a nice Christmas gift he's getting under the tree this year. And I can't help but wonder: just what has prompted the sudden desire to be a painter?

I'm behind her at the checkout counter so while the clerk is adding things up, I motion toward all the supplies and say, "That will make a really nice gift. I'm sure your husband will be thrilled." She smiles and agrees, saying that he's always been hard to shop for so it's nice to finally have something really special to get him. I take the opportunity to ask my question: "So what prompted his interest?"

She grimaces, then laughs a little. "Well you know, they've been showing that guy on PBS again, and I think my husband just got inspired to give it a try."

"Oh, Bob Ross? I'll bet he's inspired a lot of people like your husband. That's pretty cool."

"Yeah, but if he starts talking about 'happy little trees', I'm having him committed."


know when to fold 'em

We had a guy come yesterday to take measurements for doors to the attic eave closets so he can give us an estimate. There comes a time during renovation when you just have to call in the professionals, whether it's because you don't have the time for a particular project or you don't have the expertise. In this case, it's a combination of both. It's been five years since we finished the attic and we simply aren't going to get those damn doors done ourselves.

Of course, the danger with calling in the professionals is if they do a good job, it's tempting to just hand over your entire To Do list and a blank check....

breakfast, cute animals sidecar:

  • oatmeal
  • raisins
  • pears cooked with brown sugar and cinnamon in the mini sidecar (to be mixed in with the oatmeal and raisins)

lunch, black strawberry:

  • sushi using carrot and cucumber strips
  • shrimp sauteed with a bit of butter, sea salt, and fresh garlic on a bed of wilted kale salad (After the shrimp was done, I deglazed the pan with a little clam juice and then tossed some fresh kale in there to soak up the flavors for a nice little wilted salad.)
  • grapes and green string beans with a fan of leftover carrot strips for a little garnish
  • half a molded (and purple dyed) egg -- it came out lopsided when I molded it, and it was a tad too small so it didn't mold very well...c'est la vie

bento catch up

Dad and Mo were here this weekend for a visit on their way to the coast, so it was nice to see them for a bit.  We had simply stunning weather while they were here, though it's been freakishly humid. But beautiful and warm so we can't complain, really.

I did pack a bento for yesterday but ended up staying home, so it became a sick-day-work-from-home bento instead of an office bento. So we have two days' of bentos here:

Monday lunch, blue bunny & moons box:

  • carrot sticks and flowers, lemon drop and cherry tomatoes
  • basil chicken sausage and Dubliner cheese (under the carrot flowers)
  • Gala apple slices
  • Reliance grapes
  • macadamia nuts

Tuesday lunch, black strawberry box:

  • green beans & caramelized onions (underneath)
  • smoked sausages
  • mashed potatoes
  • Reliance grapes
  • cheddar bunny crackers
  • cashews

Even though we got our fruit bin delivery last week, we've already devoured it -- only some grapes left! So I'm a little low on fruit to add, and of course didn't think of the twenty billion pounds of fresh-picked blueberries and blackberries in our freezer. D'oh! Actually, I should make some pie....


ahoy, mateys!

Sunday be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, the finest holiday o' the year!

If yer lookin' to buckle yer swashes, heave to the starboard side fer the 5th Annual Portland Pirate Festival! Ye olde festival be this weekend in me own port-of-call, Cathedral Park (under ye olde St. Johns Bridge). Bring all yer landlubbin' mateys fer a weekend o' singin' sea shanties, plunderin' fer treasure, and drinkin' down the best grog o' the Seven Seas. Thar be lots more swashbucklin fer the whole crew (even the littlest scalawags) and ye can even shiver yer timbers with an actual ship-to-shore cannon battle! Hope to see ye thar, ye scurvy dogs...ARRRR!

[BTW: Having trouble accessing our site the last few days? Have you been getting an error when you try it during the day, and then it'll work later in the day/evening? Yeah, I don't know what's up with that but I'm trying to sort it out. In the meantime, please bear with me and keep checking back...we're still here, I promise!]

I haven't been posting pictures of breakfasts lately since I've ended up eating them in meetings a lot recently, and get enough grief about my "fancy meals" as it is without snapping pics of my food with everyone sitting there at the conference table. (Well, grief isn't the right word. There sure is a lot of interest whenever I open my bento boxes, though. One coworker even comes into my office for the unveiling each day...I think she'll be purchasing her first box any day now. Muwhahahahahaha....)

breakfast, cute animals sidecar:

  • heart molded egg -- well mangled egg, really...the shell broke while I was boiling it and I had trouble getting the shell off when I was peeling it, so
  • apple slices -- no idea of the variety...Chris and Nolan picked apples at one of the old public apple trees on Sauvie Island and included them in this week's shares as a treat
  • cashews and raisins

lunch, black strawberry:

  • star molded egg
  • smoked sausages
  • rainbow carrots
  • cherry and lemon drop tomatoes
  • apple slices
  • maple smoked cheddar
  • cashews and dark chocolate raisins

Yesterday was overcast all day like it would be for rain, but there was none and the air was heavy and muggy. It finally started sprinkling a bit late in the afternoon, and by early evening, was steady. And then last night...oh, last night. Steady and heavy, but the air so incredibly temperate and fresh that I had every window in the house thrown open as far as it would go. This, this is the weather I love the best, in the season I love the best. I baked chocolate chip cookies and sat at the kitchen table with the door open to the back porch, listening to the sound of the rain in the trees while I worked on my art journal.

It should come as a surprise to no one that I'm a water sign.


not really sure where the week went

I've been gearing up for a big work project, which necessitated doing four training presentations in two days (Friday and Monday). Meanwhile, other projects demanded attention, too, including some number crunching for this morning's shareholder's meeting, a longish (but productive!) executive work session last week, and a spate of conference calls brought about by some weird confluence of planet alignment. And then the usual end-of-month data analysis that marches ever onward no matter what other things are on my plate.

Things at home aren't much quieter. We have about a summer's worth of projects to try to cram into the upcoming weekend -- we were supposed to start on our to do list last weekend, but neither of us felt like doing anything so we...didn't. I did some writing (not much...I ended up getting distracted by other diversions, which is generally a sign that I'm kind of blocked) and Sal brewed another batch of beer. We watched some movies and relaxed a whole lot, and that's pretty much it. So a productive weekend, I say, even if our to do list doesn't reflect it.

More importantly than all of that, however, we received news of a death in Sal's family on Monday, and that has understandably been our focus for the last couple of days. He'll be heading out of town for the funeral and to spend a couple of days with family (wishing I could go, too, but it's just not in the cards, unfortunately) so we're getting things together for him to be gone for that.

Everything taken together has meant that the smaller, daily tasks of life have fallen to the wayside. Things like grocery shopping, for instance. Or in our case, grocery ordering. We have a crazy amount of beautiful and delicious produce, but pretty much nothing else, especially now that I've cleaned out the fridge for today's lunch. Sigh. And of course the weather's turned cooler and we've had a spot of rain -- autumn is definitely in the air -- so I'm feeling all nesty and cozy, wanting to make rustic casseroles and big pots of thick soups and to bake nutty cakey things.

lunch, black strawberry:

  • ham and lettuce wraps on picks
  • molded egg with carrot and cucumber as gap fillers
  • tomato wedge
  • orange sections
  • dark chocolate covered raisins

It's a testament to just how pathetic our cupboards are at the moment that I have two cups of raisins in my lunch instead of one. I'm just completely out of everything I would use for gap fillers, from berries to dried fruits to nuts to granola...even peas, for pete's sake! I'm never out of peas. I mean, it's meant a double-chocolate day so I'm not going to complain about that, obviously, but it doesn't make a very well-rounded lunch (and there are more gaps than I'd like overall). At least it doesn't have that weird greenish cast that the last few pictures have had. Must remember not to snap a pic directly under the fluorescent in my office....

This will be rectified tonight, however! Tomorrow will be a very long day at the office, necessitating lunch AND dinner bentos, as well as a snack sidecar. Possibly even two! (It's going to be a very late night.) Eep! Which means I must stop by New Seasons today at some point for at least a few things if I'm giong to get through tomorrow with my sanity. Wil I manage it? Tune in tomorrow to find out....

I still need to get the pictures and write-up posted about our wonderful family weekend, especially since Sister was so kind to send me pics before she left for vacation. And of course I haven't posted about our trip to Mt. St. Helens in July during our vacation, which included many lovely pics, as well. Y'know, because I already wasn't feel enough like a slacker....


on letting our inner child out once in awhile

I had an ice cream cone for dinner last night. That's it. Just a two-scoop-chocolate-mousse-strawberry-ice-cream-on-a-chocolate-dipped-waffle-cone dinner.

It was that kind of day.

(I also ended up eating a ginormous salad at about 1:30 in the morning, because wtf I don't even know.) There's something to be said for having an ice cream cone for dinner, because who didn't dream of that when they were a kid? I figure we all gotta let that kid out once awhile, otherwise crazy shit happens, like wearing your bunny slippers as a hat or buying a Michael Bolton CD.

None of that has anything to do with today's lunch, other than I was up until two in the morning and this is just a random collection of things. They just happen to look pretty and be insanely healthy because we have a weekly CSA and our fridge is overflowing with gorgeous produce. So...yay?

lunch, black strawberry

  • mini salad of red leaf and green lettuces, cherry tomatoes, cucumber (cut into pretty shapes...haven't done that in awhile!)
  • boiled egg halves (sadly, not molded)
  • provider (green) and royal burgundy string beans
  • fresh basil
  • sausages (underneath everything)
  • blueberries
  • Marcona almonds
  • dark chocolate covered raisins
  • homemade sweet vinaigrette
  • sea salt

there's an old-fashioned countrified theme running through this weekend

This weekend was such a jam-packed weekend that I had to spend Monday recuperating! Actually, I wish that were true, because I really could've used yesterday to recuperate, but instead, had a massive, time-crunchy project that needed to be done and in fact necessitated working from home to finish it. So yay! working from home but boo! working, period.

And although I could've used the evening to rest -- and it was a fine, fine evening for sitting out on the back patio -- I was all responsible and shit and folded the approximately seventy gajillion baskets of laundry that somehow multiplied like rabbits when I wasn't looking. Well, that and Sally is laundry ninja and stays on top of the washing/drying, so one has to be totally kung-fu to keep up with him.

Which meant another lunch packed at late o'clock last night, lots of terrific produce to pick from but no proteins and/or starches/carbs. Well, none that would magically cook themselves, anyway. I resorted to my freezer stash of mini organic sausages -- like li'l smokies, except you know, not evil and full of poisons -- and called it a wash on the starch-y/carb-y goodness.

lunch, black strawberry:

  • mini-sausages, broccolini (from our garden!), and cherry tomatoes on a bed of butter leaf lettuce and romaine, with a bit of dressing to make a wee salad
  • grapes and strawberries with blueberries as gap fillers, and the last little pieces of chocolate cookie from breakfast

Also, not pictured, sadly, my breakfast. It was tasty and looked so nice (using the Paris slimline), but I ended up eating it in my morning meeting and forgot to bring my phone with me to snap a pic. But it was yummy:

  • nectarine-cherry galette that Sally made for dinner Saturday night, bits of chocolate cookie leftover from the batch he made for my company picnic on Friday -- SHUT UP THAT IS TOTALLY A HEALTHY BREAKFAST IT HAS FRUIT OKAY
  • cherries, grapes, and strawberries with blueberries as gap fillers

click to see the full galleryIt's been a busy, busy few days. Friday was my company's picnic, held at Oaks Amusement Park. It's this wonderful old-fashioned (and historic) amusement park right on the Willamette with picnic areas all around and the original dance pavilion at its center. We had just gorgeous weather and I took a short stroll to snap some pics from the riverbank and through the park.

Later that evening, I had a dinner invitation with the lovely and erudite DarkEm, who kept dinner simple but elegant and was ever so willing to squee with me over my new phone (DROID X BABY WOOT WOOT). Conversation stretched into the late evening hours, as they are wont to do in her company, and it was an altogether pleasant evening that I didn't want to end.

Saturday, we had a friend coming over for dinner, which meant whipping our poor neglected house into shape and then concocting some wondrous meal to ooh and ahh over. Well, Sal concocted, I did the grunt work of staying on top of dishes. It was a warmish afternoon, but at least that made it perfect for sitting out on the patio for dinner.

The menu Sal came up with was a green salad with a homemade vinaigrette, then a main course of slow-grilled lemon-garlic chicken, parmesan polenta, and cherry tomatoes, and a yummy galette, which of course makes an appearance in today's bento. You can see pictures in his Homemade Masterpieces gallery (though sadly, minus the galette, which we forgot to take a picture of. But it was delicious!)

Late Sunday afternoon was reserved for a wedding of one of Sal's students. He seems to make a real impact on a lot of his students so we often get invites for special events, which we try to attend when we can because it's such a special honor. This was the first wedding invite he's gotten, though, so it was even more important that we go.

The wedding was down in the Canby/Hubbard area, about an hour's drive from the house, at an old homestead smack in the middle of hops fields. They couldn't have asked for more gorgeous weather -- clear blue sky, warm (okay, hot, but not unbearably so), and no wind (not that we get a lot of that anyway).

The wedding theme itself was really sweet, an old-timey country fair sort of idea, and they had some really neat ideas like a candy buffet for guests with lots of old fashioned candies in big glass jars, canned preserves for wedding favors, a cotton candy machine, and lemonade served in mason jars. Dinner was ribs and grilled chicken and all the usual things you'd find at an outdoor country affair, and there was even cotton candy later. Simple and summery and very clever.
















The bride was Sal's student and she made the wedding cake herself, so of course there was the requisite discussion with her before the cake was served to discuss technique and whatnot. It looked beautiful and tasted great, so she must've done something right. And of course her chef instructor was pretty proud. :)

We got home and collapsed, but it was a good weekend, full of fun. Between all the time spent eating outside, enjoying the company of friends and reminders of bygone days, we had good reminders to be mindful of these days, to take a moment and enjoy it as it's happening and not let it all pass by in a blur. This is summer, this right here, and we got a full-on dose of it this weekend to remind us.


fruity goodness and developer badness

Making up for yesterday's wee bit o' decadence with fruit, fruit, and more fruit. Froooooooot! (Actually, the fruit bin arrived last night and holy crap! We have a lot of fruit to eat up! I see smoothies in our future for a late night treat.)


  • Oregon! strawberries
  • blueberries
  • Rainier cherries
  • grapes


  • stir fry -- red kale, Italian lacinato kale, French sorrell, Swiss chard, turnips, onion, garlic, lemongrass, bamboo shoots, peanuts, carrots, beef, special sauce
  • jasmine rice
  • Oregon! strawberries and Rainier cherries with blueberries and grapes as gap fillers

In house-related news...we lost the fight against Douchebag Developer. It didn't come as a surprise -- this time around was even more of a long-shot than last time, which is really saying something, and the fight was less organized this time around. Which isn't anyone's fault -- there just wasn't much of anything to get a toehold on to dispute. Still a disappointment, though. I would've loved to have someone buy that little house and fix it up. What a shame.

So instead, it's going to get razed to the ground and in its place will be 8 townhomes with one of those shitty central driveways that craptastic developers put in and everyone swears will allow even the biggest gas-guzzling behemoth to navigate into and out of, but which will do nothing but ensure that said behemoths will be parking on the street. To say nothing of the view the building will be blocking, nor this developer's horrible record of half-assed construction that takes so long to sell that units sit empty forever, and then when they do sell eventually (or become rentals), end up in defect litigation.

I'm still boggled that he's pushing a development in the current market. And one of his typically crappy developments, at that. What a douchebag. But I guess once they're built and sold, we'll finally be rid of him and his douchebaggery and won't have to sit in the same room with his stupid smirk ever again.


be nice to your neighborhood geek, she works hard for you

Meetings right from the start this morning, almost to noon, and I have about 20 minutes to bolt down my lunch before the Corporate IT guys arrive for the weekend's Technological Extravaganza. On top of working this weekend AND the projected 80 degree weather we're supposed to have Saturday and Sunday, I think I'm coming down with the bug that went through our office like a bad wind. I had the scratchy throat thing yesterday that never went away, and the scratch is now firmly lodged in my throat today. Joy. It's going to be a loooong night, and a loooong weekend, y'all. Which is why my Big Box O'Fruit is making me inordinately happy today.

pink Natural Lunch box:

  • banana
  • Pink Lady apple slices
  • nectarine quarters
  • blueberries for gap fillers

black strawberry box:

  • Thai peanut chicken
  • hard boiled egg (LOVE those farm fresh eggs every week!)
  • dill & vinegar potato salad
  • nectarine slices
  • strawberry slices
  • yogurt raisins


We switched our organics bin to fruit only for the summer now that the CSA has started, so there's a ton of yummy fruit to eat up, hence the all-fruit breakfast today. And tonight is the trip to the CSA, which I can tell already is going to be a high point in my week this summer.

pink strawberry sidecar (breakfast):

  • strawberries
  • Rainier cherries
  • blueberries





black strawberry box (lunch):

  • grilled Thai peanut chicken (leftover from the skewers we did Saturday night)
  • vinegar and dill potato salad
  • Rainier cherries & blueberries
  • celery sticks
  • mango
  • honey peanut butter for dipping
  • dark chocolate and yogurt covered raisins

long day ahead

Work on a major Tech Project will keep me here late, so I made sure to pack myself a good hearty breakfast and lunch. But no snack, because I will use that as my cue and excuse to get out at a relatively reasonable time; when my tumbly gets grumbly, I'll assert that it's time for me to go lest I eat their faces off.

Breakfast -- cute animals sidecar

  • herb & cheese bagel -- I love these bagels like nobody's business, but they're always sold out at New Seasons when I think to look for them
  • plain yogurt with a dollop of strawberry jam in the mini-sidecar

Lunch -- black strawberry box:

  • homemade spicy meatballs on a salad of mixed greens, with turnip pieces and radish slices (dressing in a small condiment container underneath)
  • honey-roasted sweet potatoes
  • Rainier cherries & celery sticks
  • honey peanut butter for dipping; yogurt and dark-chocolate covered raisins