Entries in bento box - lunchbot duo (20)


give us this day, our daily bread

We returned Sunday from a 4 day trip to northern Washington, where Sal attended a work-related conference and I tagged along, because hey, why not. More specificially, he attended Kneading Conference West, the purpose of which is "to inspire and educate novice and professional bakers, grain growers, millers, wheat breeders, wood-fired oven enthusiasts, food entrepreneurs, food writers, and anyone who loves to eat hand-crafted breads."

So basically, three straight days of talking about bread, literally morning, noon, and night, and Sal could not have been happier if he had been baked right into a loaf of artisan bread. He was so gleeful at the end of every day that he probably could've powered the entire city of Las Vegas with his excitement. And now there is talk of milling our own flour and (finally) building that earth oven we've been talking about for years.

While he spent his days at the conference, I spent my days writing and exploring the area around Mount Vernon. The last time we were there was with the Albino and Mr. T for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, (hence the picture up top). Even without the fields of rainbow flowers, the area is actually quite lovely and the little downtown area is also very charming. On one of my driveabouts, I ended at Bay View State Park, and another, discovered a really great park on a hillside overlooking the valley and enjoyed a wee picnic of cheeses and crackers while reading a book. Not quite the excitement of a conference about bread and baking, perhaps, but a lovely few days of R&R. I can do with a little less excitement at the moment, anyway.

Super behind on bento postings, but here are the last few. The rest are on the daily bento page, as always. (I just realized that I've had pretty much the same lunch for the last several meals. Hmmm, perhaps time to change things up.

9/6 lunch, Lunchbot Duo

  • herb roasted turkey breast
  • steamed broccoli
  • Jazz apple slices
  • cucumber slices
  • carrot sticks
  • strawberry
  • sunflower seeds

9/6 snacks, Lunchbot Pico

  • Jazz apple slices, cashews (morning snack)
  • hardboiled egg, carrot sticks, cucumber slices (afternoon snack)

9/10 lunch, pink Natural Lunch

  • herb roasted turkey breast
  • steamed broccoli
  • carrot sticks
  • pear slices

9/18 lunch, origami squares

  • herb roasted turkey breast
  • steamed broccoli
  • carrot sticks
  • Honeycrisp apple slices
  • dried cherries

in which i let my inner fandom nerd off the chain

Lunch first, then geekery...

lunch, Lunchbot Duo:

  • Thai peanut chicken (grilled on skewers)
  • couscous with caramelized onions, green beans, and sesame seeds
  • sugar snap peas
  • cherries
  • raspberries (from our yard!)
  • chocolate-covered candied almonds**

**Okay, so this is pretty much the best thing ever, made by Sal, of course. They're almonds that have been roasted with a caramelized coating, cooled, then rolled in dark chocolate cocoa powder. They're totally cracktastic, and no matter how big the batch, it never lasts long.

On to the squee! This is a quick rundown of all of the non-TV geekery in which I have engaged in the last few months, and my ratings thereof:


  • The Hunger Games: A -- Loved it, despite the changes. When the countdown started in the arena, I damn near had a panic attack of OH NO THEY'RE REALLY GOING TO DO THIS NOW I AM NOT READY.
  • Cabin in the Woods: A-  -- So thoroughly and hilariously Jossian that there was no way I wasn't going to enjoy this. Plus, Chris Hemsworth, freshly post-George Kirk, so cute. And Topher!
  • AVENGERS OMG: A -- Who would have ever thougt that the Hulk would steal the show? I have never cared about the Hulk in any incarnation ever. Holy crap, Bruce Banner, you win the universe. (Thank you, Mark Ruffalo.) Plus, Bruce Banner and Tony Stark as nerdy genius buddy cops! Being all science-y and stuff! And Natasha and Maria Hill, not objectified or fridged! And Thor, Thor, Thor, Thor, Thor! (WHAT THE HELL CHRIS HEMSWORTH YOU ARE NOT EVEN REAL YOU ARE A PHOTOSHOPPED VERSION OF A HUMAN MALE.) And again, Joss' fingerprints were everywhere (for good and bad). Speaking of Joss, I had one GIGANTIC issue with this movie, the same one that someone else already tackled much better than I could have, so go read that instead.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman: B -- Kristen Stewart cannot act for shit, and there were some plot gaps that were ridiculously lol-worthy, but it was fun and pretty and also Chris Hemsworth, which is all that needs to be said, really.

(It was a seriously Chris Hemsworth-y run, there. Thank you, movie people, for the 1-2-3 punch of hotness.)

  • Brave: A++++++++++ -- OMG I LOVE EVERYTHING THIS MOVIE CHOOSES TO BE. A central character who's a girl! With agency! Who saves herself! And a mom who isn't evil! Or dead! And a story about a mother and daughter and how that relationship is complicated and hard and wonderful and also did I mention this story is set in Scotland and also that every detail of this movie was made specifically for me?
  • The Amazing Spiderman: B+ -- Wasn't expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. I have no particular loyalty to the previous franchise, but was kind of mystified about why they were rebooting so soon. But wow, that was fun. I see from various reports that there was a lot of butchery done to the script due to studio politics stuff behind-the-scenes, which would explain some big gaps that I was wondering about, as well as the lull in the middle. But despite those problems, I still enjoyed it more than the Tobey MacGuire version, which I didn't not like, so my reaction was a surprise.


  • Waaay back in May, ProcrastiGirl and I saw Snow Patrol in concert, and I died of ecstasy. I was maybe 20 feet from Gary Lightbody. He was just, you know, there, right up there, just being adorable and Irish and amazing. And Nathan and Johnny and Tom and Pablo, all of them just kicking ass like it's a regular thing that normal people do, which it totally is not. And I heard my all-time favorite, favorite song* live, and they played for 2 hours and came out for 2 encores, and Gary's voice was gorgeous from start to finish, and everyone who said they are incredible live was so totally right. Setlist:  "Berlin (Remix)", "Hands Open", "Take Back The City", "I'll Never Let Go", "Run", "Hands Open", "This Isn't Everything You Are", "Crack the Shutters", "New York", "Set the Fire to the Third Bar", "Shut Your Eyes", "Chasing Cars", "Chocolate", "You're All I Have", "Called Out in the Dark", "Fallen Empires", Encores: "Lifening", "Just Say Yes"

*Arguably. I have so many favorites, it's like picking a favorite kid. But "Run" appears in almost every playlist I make, so.

I also just finished reading The House of Leaves, so my cult-pop geek cred is restored. Wow, that book was like putting your brain in a blender and hitting puree.  I haven't worked so hard to read a text since my engineering days (I'm looking at you, Differential Equations II). I know I probably didn't even catch half the embedded codes and riddles and cannot wrap my brain around the idea that a single person wrote that book. Mind officially blown.


we are human beings, not human doings

contemplations on life, the universe, and everything, from under the apple tree on a perfect summer eveningAutumn is my season, but I seem to develop amnesia about summer. I enjoy summer, too, but I tend to remember the hot days and sweaty nights more than I do the heartachingly gorgeous days of just-the-right temperature, maybe a lilt of breeze to make the windchimes sing a little, a bit of smoke from the coals in the grill, and a whole day to just be. Perhaps I forget so I can have the joy of rediscovery every year, a gift to myself that reminds me about blessing and peace and abundance. A reminder about my cup, so full.

Our long vacation endI come home from the beach each time with rocks and shells stashed in pockets. I tuck them around the yard in little collections like this, under fern fronds and other secret green places to remind me of the ocean. Sal calls them Bitty Vignettes.ed with the holiday last week, but I've been determined to carry over a piece of it into my every day. Trying to leave the office earlier than I have been lately, spending time on the patio and the front porch and the back porch, reading for a bit during the daylight instead of only at bedtime. Setting aside some daily burdens for another day, trimming that to-do list to the essentials, and then trimming some more.

We've been spending our weekend days in a similar routine: breakfast on the back porch, our weekend NPR shows in the background, cats demanding scritches behind the ears and good morning wake-up snuggles. Then to the patio at some point for most of the day, and to the front porch sometime after dinner to enjoy the last sunlight turning the bridge gold, and to the back porch when the bugs finally drive us to the protection of screens. We read, we sketch, we write, we grill, we talk, we putter in the yard, we sit idly by. Such a luxury in lives that are harried and hurried, too much of both. It's good, all this just being time.

I always think of summer as the season of going and doing, and I love going and doing. But there are also the lazy days, the sit-back-and-enjoy days, the I-think-I'll-take-a-nap-in-the-shade days. I needed the reminder.

lunch, Lunchbot Duo:

  • Thai peanut chicken (grilled on skewers)
  • fried rice
  • carrot sticks
  • sesame green beans
  • cherries

random friday!


Totally unintentionally. One of the catalysts for posting has been my bento pics, but my work computer has suddenly developed some bizarro error thing that's been preventing me from posting pics. So even though I write my posts the night before, I haven't been able to get my pictures uploaded when I'm at work, and haven't been able to figure out what the hell the issue is, and apparently those two things were insurmountable obstacles or something.

But! I cannot continue having bento pics stack up or I will just never get caught up (hahahahaha hello every house project update since approximately forever). And in the interest of getting caught up, I also have a ridiculous number of saved tabs in my browser that's becoming a serious impediment to being totally unproductive on the internet. Which means: Random Friday! Haven't done one of these in awhile.

Love Story, Twitter Style -- "Actor and comedian John Fugelsang shares the remarkable story of how his parents...a monk and a nun...met, fell in love, and went on to raise a family. Told in Tweets and photos."

Hobbes and Bacon -- A comic imagining of Calvin and Hobbes, in which Calvin has grown up, married the much-hate Susie, had a daughter, named her Bacon, and introduced her to his beloved Hobbes. Hijinks (and nostalgic tears) ensue.

Fan letter to a weatherman -- A child writes a letter to his favorite meteorologist, and proceeds to win the internet. "More awesome than a monkey wearing a tuxedo made out of bacon." Took the words out of my mouth, kid.

6 Things Rich People Need to Stop Saying -- Seriously. Have these people never heard of the French Revolution?

Educating Tomorrow's Culinarians -- Lovely little article in a local foodie publication about OCI (where Sal teaches), their philosophy, and their commitment to their students and the community.

via Nichelle Nichols' tweet...that's right, Uhura has a Twitter account because she is a total bamfI know I already reblogged this on Tumblr but whatever, its inherent awesomeness requires posting everywhere, all the time. YOU GUYS THIS IS A THING THAT HAPPENED AND EXISTS IN THE UNIVERSE. The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES was visited by UHURA OF THE STARSHIP ENTERPRISE and they stood in the Oval Office talking about Thomas Jefferson and Captain Kirk and and then they posed for the cameras and gave the Vulcan hand signal and that will never ever ever stop being ridiculously adorable. President Obama is our Nerd-in-Chief, amirite?


3/20/12 lunch, pink Natural Lunch:

  • herb roasted turkey breast
  • roasted smashed parsnips
  • roasted brussel sprouts tossed in balsamic vinegar
  • Pink Lady apple slices


3/22/12 lunch, lunchbots duo:

  • herb roasted turkey breast, red leaf lettuce, dill Havarti in sun-dried tomato wraps
  • broccoli
  • baby carrots
  • dried cherries
  • sunflower seeds



3/26/12 lunch, Ms. Bento:

  • creamy vegetable soup made by Chef Salvatore (potatoes, carrots, broccoli, string beans, onions, garlic, parsley, Jerusalem artichokes, thyme)
  • turkey breast and dill Havarti in sun-dried tomato wraps
  • raw pumpkin seeds
  • kiwi halves
  • almonds and dark chocolate covered raisins

reports of my demise are only slightly exaggerated

I hadn't intended to be away so long, but then Hall House was collectively bombed with the ebola virus and both Sal and I have been occupied with, you know, not expiring from collapsed lungs or whatever. I haven't had any appetite while I've been sick, so no bentos, either, and thanks to the ebola eating my brain, I'm a little fuzzy on what exactly has transpired in the last few weeks so I don't even have a lot to report that doesn't involve phlegm, Nyquil, and chicken soup. (Except to say that before he succumbed to the Virus From Hell, Sal did make me the most absolutely astoundingly awesome and incredible chicken soup I have ever ever ever eaten ever in the history of the universe. So there's that.)

I did have a lovely birthday at home with family the weekend before last and spent last weekend on a self-imposed writing retreat, so there's been some fun mixed in. And despite still feeling far less than 100%, Sal managed to make a few stops along the Zwickelmania tour, proving that not even pending death will keep him away from good beer.

lunch, Lunchbot Duo:

  • spicy meatsa balls
  • steamed broccoli
  • peas and carrots
  • Murcott tangerine
  • raw pumpkin seeds

Also, this was my lunch from 2/2/12, but I had trouble getting the picture to load that day and then got sick, so here you go:

lunch, Lunchbot Duo:

  • smoked sausages
  • boiled egg
  • roasted root veggies (chiogga beets and parsnips with caramelized onions and garlic)
  • steamed broccoli
  • Anjou pear
  • sunflower seeds

and then we said "open", and everyone went bananas

Whew! We have officially survived the week of All The Things and are now on Day 2 of our Winterfest Vacation, aka Two Glorious Weeks (And A Few Days) Of Not Working Dammit.

The week of crazydom was not without its fun, however. Friday was the long-awaited holiday party at my office, and you will perhaps be a little surprised that a company party could be described as "long-awaited", and in some years past, I would agree with you, but this year...oh this year, I have a story to tell.

Way back in August, the Executive Team decided to "go big" for the end of the year party in recognition of everyone's hard work. We upped the party planning committee's budget for food, drinks, and decorations. We also decided to do swag bags, since our company has never really had products with our name and logo on them before. The swag bags would include a reusable shopping bag, a really nice insulated steel coffee tumbler, an insulated steel 1 liter thermos, chocolate bars with our logo imprinted, and polo-style shirts with our logo embroidered.

But that was only the start.

We usually have a raffle drawing every year for prizes (usually gift cards), but we wanted the prizes to be really big this year and for everyone to go home with something great. We couldn't send everyone home with a big screen tv or anything, but we could make the raffle prizes pretty spectacular and then surprise everyone who didn't win with something awesome, too. And when I say "spectacular", I mean it: 2 iPod Touches, an XBox Kinect (w/an NCAA Football game and the Michael Jackson Experience game), 2 Kindle Fires, 2 16x zoom cameras, an HP laptop, an iPad, 2 Kitchenaid Professional stand mixers, and a 50" plasma screen TV. For the remainder, the committee was given a list for shopping for the surprise gifts so they would know what we meant when we said "awesome": cameras, iPod nanos, Garmins, Kindle Touches, Wiis, Keurig coffee makers, cookware sets, and a food processor. (The Executive Team was in charge of the big gifts, so that even the committee didn't know what they were.)

So the committee has been on a series of shopping sprees for everything on their list for the last two months, increasingly running out of room as our storage unit. Space became even more of a problem for the raffle items, since we couldn't even let the committee members see those. At the end of the Executive Retreat on Tuesday, we assembled all the swag bags, then had to cram them all amongst our cars' trunks. But it was coming together and we were downright gleeful about what was about to come at the end of the week.

The committee worked their tails off all week getting the conference room decorated for the party (last year was the first time we did it at the office, and they made it look really terrific; this year, they outdid themselves). Wednesday, the committee and the Executive Team wrapped the surprise gifts, hiding things inside other boxes so nothing could be guessed. We stacked them all up along the far wall of the conference room, and I'm pretty sure that when everyone filed in at the start of the party, they assumed the prettily-wrapped stack of boxes were just for decoration to hide the IT station that runs the projector and sound system in the conference room. Little did they know....

The raffle gifts were set up on tables at the front but covered with cloths when everyone came in, with the swag bags all lined up underneath the tables. Once everyone was seated, we welcomed them to the party, took care of housekeeping (party schedule, turn off cell phones, etc.), then showed them the contents of the swag bag that they would be getting at the end of the party. We then announced how the raffle would work -- everyone got a ticket, which they would place in a bag in front of whatever item they wanted to try to win, and we would draw from that bag for that item.

And then the fun began. We slowly revealed each item. The iPod Touches were first and got a surprised gasp, and it just kept escalating. By the time we got to the iPad, the room was a constant buzz, and when we showed the TV, everyone flipped out.

After everyone had a chance to mingle and put in their tickets, it was time to eat, followed by a fun Mad Libs style game at each table. And then it was time for the main event.

The raffle items were a huge, huge hit. As terrific as the raffle was, however, the best was yet to come. "But wait! There's more!" we said. Pointing to the pile of boxes in the back that most everyone assumed were just for show, we told them that the they were in fact not for show, and that we would draw all the tickets of those who hadn't won, and when their name was called, to go pick one out of the pile. There were only two rules: don't shake any of the boxes, and don't open them until we tell you to.

Getting through the remainder of the names took awhile, and I think everyone assumed that whatever was in the boxes would be something okay, but nothing nearly as great as the raffle items. Maybe another swag item, or a set of knives, something like that. Nonetheless, everyone was still having fun.

Once everyone had their items, we gave them the go to open their boxes, and the next two minutes were the best two minutes of chaos pretty much ever. You know what it's like when kids are allowed to just go berzerk on Christmas morning and open packages all at once, and it's just a flurry of patterned paper and exclamations and noise and excitement? Now imagine that in a room full of adults who weren't expecting it at all, and who had enjoyed a glass (or two) of wine and beer, and you will have an inkling of what it was like for that two minutes.

It didn't matter that they weren't all iPads or stand mixers. They were nice gifts that no one was expecting and in many cases, wouldn't necessarily buy for themselves but really wanted. We encouraged people to trade if they got something that wasn't as useful, and by the time everyone left, I think they all ended up with something they were glad for. I tried to talk to as many as I could to find out if they had fun and to hear their individual story about whatever gift they got. For several, it was going to make a difference for an otherwise tough holiday -- a Wii for kids who wanted one but wouldn't have gotten one otherwise, or an avid reader who was struggling with sight issues but couldn't justify a Kindle, or a new set of cookpans to replace the mismatched set that were older than I am. A laptop that would make it possible to work from home, an iPod nano for someone who wanted but didn't own an iAnything (exact quote), a camera for someone who could now take nice pictures of the new grandbaby.

There's nothing I love more than giving gifts, except perhaps giving them to someone who really needed that little boost of magic and hope and joy. I've been blessed with some really wonderful gifts in my life, but nothing is ever quite as fulfilling as being able to do that for someone else. And Friday afternoon was some of the most fun I've had in quite some time.

Best. Company Party. Ever.


As you can imagine, the week was so busy that I'm behind on posting bentos, so there's some catching up to be done here:

Tuesday's lunch, Paris slimline:

  • shrimp sauteed with garlic, toasted sesame seeds for garnish
  • kale sauteed with garlic and caramelized onions (wow, lots of garlic today)
  • brown rice
  • sunflower seeds
  • carrot sticks and steamed broccoli
  • satsuma sections

Wednesday's lunch, Lunchbot Duo:

  • boiled egg,
  • shrimp sauteed with garlic, toasted sesame seeds for garnish
  • garlic butter dipping sauce in the little cup
  • kale sauteed with garlic and caramelized onions
  • brown rice underneath everything
  • apple slices
  • carrots and celery
  • sunflower seeds

Thursday's lunch, Fit 'n Fresh:

  • romaine lettuce
  • boiled egg
  • carrots, celery, radishes
  • apple slices, mandarin
  • sesame seeds

apples, pears, and a recipe from chef salvatore

Part 2 about our weekend, continuing from yesterday... And yes, there is a recipe from Sal at the bottom of this post.

We waved goodbye to Sister and Guy Sunday morning, then Sal headed off to the school to prepare for a cooking demonstration at the Portland Nursery Apple (and Pear) Tasting. You may remember from last year's post that this event is like a birthday party for autumn, and I really have no better way to describe it.

I arrived at the festival just in time to watch Sal set up for his demonstration. It's held in a busy area of the festival where there are vendors selling gourmet homemade caramels and other delectables that make your mouth water, and where you will be amazed at how many people will line up for a free taste of freshly brewed hard cider. The demonstrations are an informal setup with hay bales for seating, which means there may or may not be anyone sitting there to watch when you start. I'll admit I was a little worried that he wouldn't have anyone sitting down to watch and was tempted to go round people up to ensure he had an audience. He'd stayed late Friday night making 80 samples of the pear coffee cake with streusel he was demonstrating, and I didn't want him to be up there all alone. "People, there's a real live chef over there making a fantastic dessert and handing out free samples! Come, come see the magic happen! He's even sharing the recipe he invented! This will be the best thing you eat all day, I promise!"

I needn't have worried. The elderly lady who wandered up while he was getting his trays set up was soon joined by a few couples standing at the back of the seating area, arms crossed, and then familes, and then some older gentlemen, and within two or three minutes all the hay bales were packed and there was a genuine crowd watching him talk about pears and the wonders of cardamom and the amazing alchemy that transforms heavy cream when you whip it very patiently.

Sal @ last year's demonstrationHe's so, so good at what he does and I never fail to be impressed every time I watch him at work, sharing his passion in his charming, inviting style, easygoing and welcoming to people that might be intimidated by talking to a real live pastry chef. Somehow, he managed to field questions despite the background noise, cut d'Anjou pears into perfectly even slices with a knife sharp enough to amputate fingers, and talk about the differences between pastry flour and cake flour, all while turning cream, sugar, vanilla, and spices into a beautiful cinnamon creme chantilly (a flavored type of French whipped cream). And then proceed to pipe it out into a decorative dollop on 80 samples right there with everyone watching.

The samples disappeared in minutes. As did the 50 copies of the recipe he had out for people to take. Several people came back two, three, four times. A few brought back companions standing in other lines saying, "OMG YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS." Many people said they don't really care for coffee cake, but this was amazing and did it really count as coffee cake because it was delicious and how was that possible? Many more asked where he taught and did they have a restaurant and was dessert served there? Were his desserts served there? I even talked to one lady and told her all about the school and the restaurant and how she totally needed to go there, like, nowish.

(And so now your mouth is watering, and you're wondering if it's really that good, so we have supplied you with the recipe at the bottom of this post for that coffee cake that transformed a random group of strangers into fawning gourmands in five minutes flat.)

(see all the pictures from last year's festival here)

Culinary awesomeness now complete, we made our way to the "Buy the Bag" part of the festival, where you walk amongst ginormous bins of apples and pears of a million different varieties you didn't even know existed, filling a bag (or more likely, bags) with as many apples and pears as you think you can possibly eat and it's all the same price, $0.99/lb. There are pears that are good for poaching and for baking and for sauteing, and apples that are best for pies and others that hold up well paired with meat and still others that store for a really long time, and many varieties of both that are perfect just for eating no matter whether you prefer juicy, tart, sweet, firm, crisp, mellow, flavorful, or any combination of all of those qualities and more.

And you will buy half a dozen a dozen dozens many pounds of both apples and pears and decide to skip dinner altogether so you can just gorge on apples and pears, which will sound like a mighty fine idea until about 2 AM, when the stomache to end all stomaches has you sitting upright in bed and second guessing whether the apples and pears were really that good. They were, but you might possibly be a bit more judicious about how many you eat in a single sitting next time. Which totally didn't happen to us, I'm just saying, you know, it could possibly happen to some hypothetical people who were a bit caught up in all the apple and pear excitement of the moment and let their gluttony get the best of them.

lunch, Lunchbot Duo:

  • smoked sausages
  • corn on the cob
  • steamed broccoli
  • Yukon gold potato (so sweet and buttery it needs no butter or salt)
  • Starkcrimson pear
  • yogurt-covered pretzels
  • dark chocolate-covered raisins


Chef Salvatore's Spiced Pear Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel
Yield: 1 ea. filled coffeecake

6 oz.        Butter
7 1/2 oz.  Sugar
1/2 tsp.    Salt

3 ea.        Eggs
2 tsp.       Vanilla Extract

8 oz.        Pastry Flour    
3/4 tsp.    Baking Soda    
3/4 tsp.    Baking Powder
1/2 tsp.    Cardamom, ground
1 tsp.       Cinnamon, ground

1 1/2 C    Sour Cream

1 ea.        Ripe pear, cored and sliced into ½-inch sections

Cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla in small portions, scraping between additions. Sift dry ingredients together and add to mixture in three additions with the sour cream in two.

Spray and flour a bundt cake pan. Spread half of the batter into the pan, arrange sliced pears. Next, spread about 1/2 C of streusel (see below) on top of the fruit. Spread the remaining batter on top, then a final 1/2 C of streusel on top. Bake at 350 degrees. Check at 45 minutes with a skewer. When the skewer comes out clean, cool and depan.

Pecan Streusel
Yield: approx. 1 Cup

2 oz.        Pecans, chopped
1 1/2 oz.  AP Flour
2 oz.        Brown Sugar
1oz.         Butter, melted
1/4 tsp.   Cinnamon, ground

Mix ingredients together lightly, breaking it up with your fingers to make a coarse meal.


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

post-it perfectionist

North Head Lighthouse @ Cape DisappointmentOn the advice of a friend, I assigned myself the task last week of letting myself make mistakes.

I mean, obviously I make mistakes all the time, because I'm A) human, and B) not perfect. Duh. I am biologically wired, however, to try to be perfect at everything, and only years and years of tamping down that dictatorial little personality streak like a 1980s South American despot has made it possible for me to be okay with just being okay. Hooray for maturity!

However. When I am under a lot of pressure and facing mounting tasks with unforgiving deadlines and high expectations, my inner dictator seizes the opportunity for a military coup of the State of Brittney. I'm in the midst of just that sort of period at the moment, in which work and website business pressures are combining to make me twitch a bit with the effort not to Be The Best At Everything by trying to accomplish all my responsibilities at once. Hence the advice of a friend for a little radical reverse psychology, to not just not be perfect, but to actually let the mistakes happen.

She may secretly be trying to kill me.

Last week, I was at the office late, trying to get out the door but with three separate piles that each needed to go to three separate people, and three separate post-its to be written. It's a good thing I was in the office alone, because as I was rewriting each of those notes, I had to bust out laughing at myself. Yes, you read that right:  I was rewriting post-its. As in, I had done a first draft, edited for mistakes and clarity, then rewritten them so that they would read well and fit nicely on the selected post-it size.

I, um, may have some work to do on this not-being-a-perfectionist thing.

(Yeah, the picture above has nothing to do with anything, I just love it. The pics from our daytrip to Cape Disappointment are posted, by the way, as promised.)

breakfast, Lunchbot Pico:

  • oatmeal (with butter & maple syrup in the condiment containers), not yet cooked
  • raisins, to mix in the oatmeal
  • peach slices

lunch, Lunchbot Duo:

  • Sal's Amazingly Wondrous Wings (the very last of the batch made on Saturday)
  • wee potatoes
  • celery sticks
  • carrot sticks
  • tomato
  • dark chocolate and dried cherries

sure of you

I have a lifelong friend. Literally, lifelong. As in, the only people who have known me longer are my family.

I first met her in kindergarten. She has only a vague recollection of knowing each other then, but I remember our first meeting very clearly, in the basement playground (where we were sent for recess when the weather was too bad to be let outside). We became the sort of best friends that can only happen in kindergarten, which is to say playing together at recess, except when we didn't.

I moved to a different school at the end of that year, the first of what would be several moves to several different schools. She moved, too, so that we were ships in the night until we finally crossed paths again in fifth grade when we both landed at the same school for the first semester. Then it was another move for me, and another move back, ensuring that in the seven years of elementary school, we never had a complete school year together.

The summer before our freshman year, the year when it really, really helps to have a familiar face amongst the scary crowds of upperclassman, she moved far, far away, all the way to the other side of the state. Somehow, we managed to maintain our friendship with only letters and the occasional visit when she was in town. Other friendships fell away and new ones started up, and we weren't always so consistent in our correspondence, but by some divine blessing, we stayed in touch.

The same summer I happened to be working as a nanny, she moved to the same town where I was working. We were the only people our age we knew there, and by then we had the benefits of drivers' licenses and actual things to do, which meant a summer of adventures and hilarity, the kind of inside jokes that become a secret language. But the summer ended, and I had to leave her behind to a new school for her senior year, and I have rarely felt so badly for leaving someone behind as I did then.

In the years that followed, we had years together and years apart. We went to the same college and she helped me get a job where she worked. I later had a chance to return the favor. We commiserated over classes and relationships and job woes and all the other travails of being in those difficult stages of adulthood when you still feel like life is just going to pass you by.

But life most definitely did not pass us by.  Marriages, houses, careers, families.... And always, the constant move, from this apartment to that one, this college town to that one, this state to that one. Moving has been a constant for us both, but throughout it all, this friendship has been the constant, the important thing that remained no matter where we were in relation to each other or anything else.

Earlier this week, her daughter started kindergarten. A difficult time for any parent, yet my friend has steered through this transition with the wise and gentle grace that makes her such an inspiration. As we talked about it recently, we both laughed and marveled at how long our friendship has lasted, despite everything. She said that despite all the bittersweetness of sending her beloved daughter off for the first day of school, one of the thoughts that consoled her was that perhaps her own daughter would be meeting her lifelong friend. She could not, she said, hope for anything more blessed than that.

A few days ago, a care package arrived on my doorstep. Inside, there were all the necessary tools of the first day of kindergarten: markers and crayons, colored pencils and watercolors, glue in my favorite color and a pretty notebook with page after page of tantalizing lined paper just begging for my most innermost thoughts to fill them up.

"Happy Friend-iversary!" the card said. Signed, my lifelong friend.


Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes Piglet?"
"Nothing" said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. I just wanted to be sure of you."
                    -- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner



lunch, Lunchbot Duo:

  • sausages
  • cucumbers
  • green beans
  • tomato
  • apricot
  • pluot slices
  • Babybel cheese
  • cashews and dried cherries

pulling a cat's teeth is like poking a bear with a stick

Hobbes goes in for dental work first thing tomorrow morning, which has the dual benefits of being super expensive and really pissing him off. He'll feel pretty blech when he first gets home, but we fully expect retaliation once he feels well enough to start destroying something.

Poor guy has to have at least one tooth pulled and some treatment for his gums (he has early signs of peridontal disease), so he'll get lots of comforting and coddling. Both from us, and from Smaug, who ensures that he has the cleanest ears the vet has ever seen. Then he should be back to his ornery self within a few days.

In the office today to do a presentation this morning, so had to throw something together last night. We're set for produce, but as you can see, my protein and grain options are, ahem, lacking. I really need to put on my big kid pants and just get some shopping done instead of bemoaning the end of New Seasons' delivery.  Although I hear rumors they may put in a store here in St. Johns, so keep your fingers crossed for me....

lunch, Lunchbots Duo:

  • hard boiled egg (notably, unmolded)
  • carrots
  • peas
  • cucumber
  • cherries
  • blueberries
  • dark chocolate covered raisins


Fresh, homegrown raspberries, picked at midnight. This is how you know someone loves you, even after 15 years.Yesterday marked fifteen years that we've been married.

Fifteen years of anything is an accomplishment, and fifteen years of marriage is a major one, but fifteen years since Sal and Brittney became a "we" and an "us" and a "them" has felt like the blink of a second and infinity at the same time, both in the best ways possible.

In fifteen years, you can:

  • Complete an earthly rotation 5,479 times.
  • Watch The Lord of the Rings Special Extended Edition trilogy on DVD non-stop 11,565 times.
  • Drive from Portland to the Oregon Coast and back 45,658 times.
  • Brew 21,916 batches of beer.
  • Spend 10,958 hours writing.
  • Write seven and a half books with a 251,062 word count. Unless you're me, in which case you will write one book with a 251,062 word count and then spend the same amount of time you spent writing it trying to figure out how to reduce it by 20%.
  • Vote in four presidential elections. And seriously consider Canadian citizenship after two of them.
  • Pack 3,900 bento lunches for work.
  • Be halfway through your 30-year mortgage.
  • Log 104,101 miles commuting to and from work on your bike.
  • Celebrate 30 birthdays for two exceptionally long-lived cats.
  • Create 390 weekly art journal pages.
  • Say "I love you" 65,748 times.

lunch, Lunchbots Duo:

  • hardboiled egg
  • wee red potatoes
  • steamed broccoli
  • carrot sticks (with more underneath the silicone cups)
  • honey peanut butter for the carrots
  • fresh-picked raspberries from the bushes in our garden

god forbid i ever run into nathan fillion

another new box, but this one isn't really my faultSo here's a little story about how the internet is awesome.

In a neat timing of coincidence, I received an email from the founder(!) of Lunchbots on the same day I did my bento presentation at work. She was writing to tell me that she liked the lunches I'd put together using the Lunchbot Duo and wondered if they could post one of the pics on their Facebook page.

I may have squealed in nerdy delight.

It was kind of like running into a celebrity at the coffee shop. Not even a really huge celebrity, but just someone you recognize and like. And then you're standing there waiting for your hot chocolate with whipped cream (SHUT UP I LIKE HOT CHOCOLATE OKAY) and you're thinking, "Holy crap, that's...!" but you don't want to be one of those total losers who gets all stupid at any brush with fame, so you try to affect a totally chill attitude and you're all, "...'sup, dude?", but inside you're all, "OMGOMGOMG". You know, like that.

So I waited to email (I hadn't even posted my pictures from that day yet, which happened to feature the Lunchbot as part of the demonstration) and thanked her for asking and said yes of course and that it wasn't really necessary to send me a box but if she really really wanted to, here was my mailing address. Hee. And then two of my lunches* appeared on the Lunchbots Facebook page and I was sort-of internet famous for a day and thus the circle of life was complete.

(*That description of the food isn't quite right. I think what she's calling tofu is actually roasted red garnet yams, cut into flower shapes, and those aren't wontons, they're gyoza, which means it also wasn't a vegetarian bento. But she was right that it was delicious :)

So that is the story of how I acquired my second Lunchbot, the Pico, which is the same as the Duo except smaller (350 mL instead of 500 mL).

I had a very pretty breakfast this morning featuring the Pico, but like a moron forgot to take a picture. So here, have a picture of the two Lunchbots together.breakfast, Lunchbot Pico:

  • oatmeal (once I've prepared it, it'll go back in that side with everything mixed in); little salt container tucked in the side for the egg
  • dried cranberries with a small vial of maple syrup underneath
  • not-very-molded egg half
  • cantaloupe, braeburn apple slices, red grapes

lunch, Lunchbot Duo:

  • smashed roasted sweet potatoes
  • smoked sausages
  • another not-very-molded egg with peas as gap fillers
  • cantaloupe, braeburn apple slices, red grapes

all this time in her city, and I'm finally going to meet her

I'm headed to an SFWA event tonight which will include Ursula K. LeGuin speaking about writing, books, genre literature, and, I imagine, whatever else she darn well pleases. As the kids say today, I am excite!

I read The Earthsea Trilogy when I was, like, ten, and if I could locate the boxed set I had (stole borrowed inherited from my dad), I'd take it with me to be signed. Sadly, I suspect that it was lost in a move at some point. But I can still picture that set, and still remember discovering it on a weekend when I was looking for something new to read and browsing his bookcase. I came to a lot of books that way, now that I think about it....

breakfast, cute animals sidecar:

  • oatmeal
  • smidge of butter
  • maple syrup
  • raisins

lunch, Lunchbots Duo:

  • half sandwich -- pepper roasted turkey with mustard on sourdough
  • string cheese pieces as gap fillers
  • lettuce for the sandwich lining the box
  • Braeburn apple half
  • celery sticks and carrot pieces

the sheer force of sky and the cold magnet earth

this is what the first(!) 80 degree day of an extremely cold, wet, and gray year looks likeFriday was so glorious that as soon as the workday was over (which ends early on Fridays because our company is the greatest), I jetted to a little hideaway place of mine with a book and a late afternoon lunchish/snackish bento (see below). This little spot is tucked into a niche of the Columbia River, in a place where there an island splits the river in half. I sneak out there every few weeks if the weather's nice and I've got a good book going.

taken a month and a half ago, back when the river was high at the time, but nowhere near as high as it is now; and randomly, a pirate ship that just sailed pastThe river is super high right now. Past flood stage, actually, though not currently threatening anything and no worry that it will before it finally starts to die back in a few weeks. Very thankful for that, obviously, since it seems so many others haven't been as lucky in other parts of the country. Still, it was amazing to be out there and see how noticeably different it was from the last time I was there just two or three weeks ago.

We spent Saturday with Sister, Guy, and the Fabulous Miss M at their house, us girls knocking about in the gorgeous weather while the boys brewed. Then later time spent together, just together. And food, of course, because that is what we do best. Mouthwateringly grilled steaks, with grilled asparagus and a special treat of a creamy mushroom sauce for the steak thanks to the morels that Guy picked up at the farmers' market and Sal's handy skill with cream, stock, and exquisite fungi. And later, sampling of the very special French artisan chocolates they'd bought in Montana months ago and saved just to share with us. That's love, people.

sometimes snapping a pic of Miss M is like trying to capture wind in a bottleThe weather held most of the day yesterday, but today is back to overcast and intermittent rain, but at least it's stayed a little warmer than it was. Although now that our yard has had a taste of sun and warmth, the weedy chaos is threatening to explode into overgrown catastrophe. We really need to get out there and get the place whipped into shape, but with so few nice days this spring, it's ever so much easier to go for a bike ride or ensconce onself on the porch swing with a book. Which explains why our yard is in the state it's in, and we're no closer to having it done. Sigh.

lunchish/snackish bento from Friday, Lunchbot Duo:

  • parmesan breaded chicken breast pieces on my new picks
  • string cheese
  • carrot and celery sticks
  • raspberries

sweet treat from Friday, matryoshka:

  • honey roasted mixed nuts
  • two chocolate chunk & sea salt cookies

lunch today, laptop lunch:

  • salad greens -- red leaf lettuce, spinach, sprinkling of green onion
  • salad fixins -- carrots, snap peas, radishes, celery
  • a bit of naan
  • chicken sauteed with a bit of salt, pepper, and fresh ginger (leftover from the gyoza adventure a few weeks ago)
  • raisins and honey roasted mixed nuts for the salad
  • dark chocolate covered raisins in the little condiment container
  • on the side: Sal's homemade vinaigrette


title taken from "The Lightning Strike: Daybreak" by Snow Patrol


a charm from the sky seems to hallow us there

Today and yesterday are big anniversaries in our lives. Today marks 21 years since Sal and I first started dating, which...is still boggling to me every time I think about it. How is that even possible? Holy crap. We've been together for well over half our lives. Incomprehensible! It's like trying to wrap your head around the concept of super massive black holes or chaos theory or why Justin Bieber is popular.

And yesterday marked our 9 year house-iversary! Happy House-iversary, Hall House! How far you've come and how much you've changed. You were in need of more help than we initially realized, but you've been a bigger reward than we ever could've imagined. (Except for that whole water line incident. Let's not do that again, kay?) Thank you for being a castle and a sanctuary and a house of dreams.

breakfast, bento color mini green:

  • mini frittatas -- mushroom, onion, spinach
  • mini blueberry pancakes
  • raspberries

lunch, Lunchbot Duo:

  • 4-color raddiatore (tomato, carrot, spinach, regular) tossed with a bit of oil, herbs, and salt
  • asparagus sauteed with mushrooms and caramelized onions
  • red garnet yam patties*
  • pepperoni -- the last from our visit to Dick's Brewing
  • corn
  • raspberries

*This is a new invention. Although someone probably thought of it long before I did.  So new to me, I guess. Anyway, I had some leftover roasted yams from last week so I mashed them up and mixed them with a little maple syrup, them put them in a lightly oiled pan (to keep them from sticking) on high heat. The result? To die for.

title taken from John Howard Payne's "Home, Sweet Home"


never underestimate my ability to overdo it on a project

SO TODAY I DID A ONE HOUR PRESENTATION ABOUT ALL THINGS BENTO AND IT WAS KIND OF THE BEST THING EVER. As in, lots of people showed up, and everyone was enthusiastic, and I had plenty to fill the time. Srsly, I had a PowerPoint presentation and two picture slideshows and visual aids and food samples and a handout and a live demonstration. I AM A MONUMENTAL DORK OKAY.

Sal and I made fifty gajillion gyoza (which entailed us being up ridiculously late for the last two nights) and he also made the sauce stuff that goes with them, both of which were a huge hit with everyone. Oh, and he made bento-sized chocolate chip cookies, which I handed out at the end, just to cement the ranking as the best bento presentation ever done at my workplace in the whole history of forever. That's a pretty competitive field, if you didn't know.

Oh, and I got to do a show and tell about my bento boxes! Making my inner kindergartener positively giddy. I may no longer feel the need to bore random visitors with all the intricacies of single-tier versus two-tier, and the challenges of the round and square versus rectangular boxes. You all can breathe a sigh of relief now.

But because I am both A) a masochist, and B) crazy, I even packed a bento box right there in front of everyone. Which...I mean, I planned all along to do that, but because I am all about preparation, I had also planned to practice the night before to ensure prevent any unexpected mishaps. However, helping to cook up seven dozen gyoza in the wee hours of the morning will mean that you don't have time to practice packing your bento box to ensure doing it live won't result in embarrassment. Yet, despite my lack of preparation, I plunged recklessly ahead. AND! I even let the group choose which bento box I'd pack, just to add an extra degree of difficulty. BECAUSE I THINK WE CAN ALL AGREE I AM TOTALLY ABOUT LIVING ON THE EDGE. Thankfully, even that potential disaster turned out well, and I managed to prove that you can indeed pack a pretty and delicious and healthy compact lunch in no time at all.

And so now, I have a bunch of coworkers who are all talking about bento boxes and egg molds and there's talk of everyone going in on an order together to save on international shipping and it was totally fun and great! And also a lot of work! And I'm never doing it again because I am way too lazy! So it's a good thing it was pretty much the awesomest!

lunch, Lunchbot Duo:

  • sushi rice
  • asparagus sauteed with green onions and mushrooms (which I unintentionally hid completely underneath the asparagus)
  • roasted red garnet yam shapes
  • two gyoza (stuffed with pork (seasoned with soy sauce, ponzu, and other things I've forgotten), green onion, ginger, garlic, cabbage)
  • steamed broccoli, corn (mostly hidden under the gyoza), and peas
  • fresh mango and cherries

clearly, i've lost my mind

And so anyway, because I obviously don't have enough to do, I decided to host a presentation for my coworkers to talk about bento. As in, I voluntarily decided to prepare and give a presentation about my lunchtime pastime for the people I work with. WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY BRAIN. Srsly, brain, give a girl a chance to just be a lazy sod for awhile.

This is actually an idea I've been knocking around for quite awhile, and then thought about for another while, and then came up with a plan and thought about that for awhile, and then finally decided to just go ahead and do it. See, I now have a small group of coworkers who attend the unveiling of my lunches each day (if they're around and I don't go to the park to eat) like some kind of weird but fun Hollywood event. I'm constantly getting questions about my lunches -- even though I don't eat in the kitchen -- and enough people have expressed interest in trying it themselves that it just seemed like it could be a fun idea that people might find useful.

I sent out an initial email last night just to gauge the interest before committing to anything. I've had 17 responses. That's about a third of the company. Holy crap, you guys.

So I've set a date (three weeks from tomorrow; I am crazy) and planning has begun. Seriously, there's going to be a PowerPoint and everything. This is what happens when I'm left to my own devices.

lunch, lunchbot duo:

  • my totally awesome potato salad (potatoes, vinegar, oil, salt, dill)
  • snap peas
  • molded -- and dyed! -- egg
  • murcott tangerine
  • broccoli as gap filler

special snack, cute animals sidecar:

  • another molded -- and dyed! -- egg (although it apparently didn't mold long enough, since it's lost most of its star shape since I first did it last night)
  • murcott tangerine
  • Sally's very delicious angel food cake

furry little terrorists

Our cats are going to be the death of us.

They're now 15 years old with no signs of slowing down. The only sign that they're getting older is that they've gotten increasingly needy and demanding, particularly in the last couple of years. Since Hobbes' earlier troubles with urinary tract infections a few years ago, he's learned the power of peeing ouside the box and now wields it like a weapon. Smaug has decided to become assertive in her later years, and has developed a particularly evil one-two punch of strategic peeing (heating vents) and yowling at just the right frequency to curdle both blood and milk. For hours.

Like good parents, we thought perhaps they're trying to tell us something is wrong. But vet visits thus far have yielded little. They're both ridiculously healthy -- which...I mean, obviously we're happy since neither of us can contemplate life without them...okay, one of us can't contemplate life without them -- and with the exception of the usual signs of geriatric(!) cats, tests come up clean. They eat fine and as long as they are the center of attention for the full length of time they deem necessary, are perfectly behaved.

Any change in routine or schedule is likely to result in a destruction of property of some kind, the severity depending on the length of time we're gone, how close it is to feeding time, and probably whether or not Mercury is in retrograde. For example: anything made of paper left out where Hobbes can get to it is inevitably going to suffer shredding when he's displeased about whatever. The morning I came downstairs a half hour later than usual, I was greeted by Smaug's last vet bill in a million itty bitty pieces all over the dining room floor. When I refused to let them into the studio while I was writing, I came out to find the stack of user manuals for appliances that had been temporarily stacked on the credenza now pushed on the floor, their corners systematically chewed and mangled. When Smaug decided that the canned food she'd been eating for four years suddenly wasn't up to snuff, suddenly peeing along the living room baseboard became the the new fun activity of the moment.

And the list of things that cannot be left out unattended continues to grow: blankets, pillows, clothing, shoes, fabric of any kind, loose rugs, plastic bags, dish rags/towels, loose papers, plants, glasses with any liquid, food of any kind (including dishes not completely clean of any food residue), bags, purses, anything that rolls, or magnets. And probably something else I'm forgetting.

To say that they dictate in our household would be an understatement so large it would have its own gravitational field.

lunch, lunchbot duo:

  • maple rosemary chicken breast
  • glazed sweet potatoes
  • steamed broccoli
  • orange sections

snack, matryoshka:

  • molded egg
  • carrots with peanut butter for dipping
  • orange sections
  • 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