Entries in this wonderful life (43)


st. johns appreciation post

our little market square hosts the St. Johns Farmers' Market until mid-OctoberSeriously, our neighborhood is the greatest. Sometimes I wonder how we got to be so lucky to live here.

We looked at 42 houses before we found The One, and we were looking long and hard at the neighborhood for each, not just the house. Which is to say, we did our legwork, no question. But there was a sizeable amount of luck and faith and hope, involved, too. Driving through the little downtown area of St. Johns then was deceptive -- many storefronts were empty and what was there wasn't promising. The houses ranged from well-kept to rundown. It was the Charlie Brown Christmas tree of Portland.

But there was promise there. The downtown had a community feel despite the vacancies, and it was clear that many people had lived here a long time, and were proud of it. There was a police station and a fire house right there by the bridge, and a post office just a block past that, and a terrific library with original woodwork and stately old fixtures. There were wonderful parks and some great little shops and places to eat (granted, just a few). And then there was the house, and the bridge, and that view.

Saturday, after a trek out to Forest Grove for a vintage crafts fair (that turned out to be less "crafts" and more "stuff"), we stopped in our little downtown to check out a few of the newest shops we hadn't made it to yet. Barrel, a new wine and beer shop, was opening, so of course we had to be there for that. Right next door was Etcetera, a wonderful little home decor shop that will give me another place for gift shopping along with the already fabulous Salty Teacup. And right around the corner (past Grammy and Nonna's Toys, where we're always able to find something just right for the Fabulous Miss M), we had a chance to stop in at Olive and Vine for the first time since they opened. Salts and tea and olive oil and vinegars and spices, oh my.

Both of us now laden with shopping bags in each hand, we didn't dare cross the street to St. John's Booksellers, since we can never get out of that place without at least one book apiece (and our tottering to-read pile is already borderline hazardous). We had our options of Thai Cottage for dinner, or Anna Banana's, or James John Cafe, or Girasole, or John Street Cafe, or Signal Station Pizza, or could have bought ingredients to make it ourselves at Proper Eats Market. Afterward, we could've caught the latest release at the St. Johns Cinema (for less than one of of those big movie houses, and the option for pizza and beer to boot!), or a summer release for half the price at St. Johns Pub. Cakes and cookies from Tulip Pastry, cat food and litter from Tres Bone, bikes and supplies from Weir Cyclery, photography-anything from Blue Moon Camera, clothes for Sal at The Man's Shop...all of these and more are just blocks from our house in our neighborhood's little downtown.

From haircuts to freshly roasted coffee beans, our neighborhood has it all, and as we headed home, I had to pinch myself yet again at how lucky we are to live here.

lunch, Ms. Bento:

  • roasted butternut squash soup
  • broccoli and hard boiled egg
  • carrots and celery (with the leaves left on)
  • Starkcrimson pear with cashews as gap fillers

breakfast/snack, cute animals sidecar:

  • Starkcrimson pear
  • kiwi
  • walnuts

the chef speaks, and i swoon

Chef Salvatore, as represented in chocolate by one of his studentsOCI recently posted a video of an interview with Sal about the Advanced Baking & Pastry class he teaches. Watching him in action is such a thrill -- he's so knowledgeable and authoritative and assured, but also congenial and fun. He really is a natural. No wonder he's so popular. (And chocolate or no, he's pretty easy on the eyes, eh?)



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
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