Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fröhliches Weihnachten

Memories from a German-Oregonian Christmas

I am 3,000 miles away from the only home I have ever known. Sunshine and thunderstorms. Spiky-legged cockroaches. Spanish moss. My partner of 7 years is gone. He ran back to a stale comfort of well-worn days and familiar ghosts. I am soft and unknown here, but somehow love is pouring into my life and I cannot stop smiling.

Afloat on champagne and hash, I spent the snow kissed sunset crafting a raw Christmas Eve feast for a house full of beer blushed faces. When night fell, we marveled at the exquisite bounty before us, piled high in hand painted Polish stoneware my friend has been collecting for years.

Later with bellies brimming, we drank elderberry cocktails and sang in starlight.

Succulents, saxifrages, and dwarf conifers hibernate in greenhouses, awaiting the charmed warmth of spring that will tease out their lusty flowers. A bonsai tree, strung with lights, was given space to nurse a mountain of socks so lovingly wrapped by my mother. Santa paper. Snowmen. Plastic bows.

The wild turkeys, fat and free, love compost in the morning. I followed their tracks through the powdered snow.


Friday, December 19, 2008


Most of these were shot from the 10th floor of my boyfriend's apartment building (which is one of the only high-rises in the city) so you can see north Eugene, Skinner Butte, and the Coburg Hills at sunrise after the very first snow of winter.

I am in love.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Anatomy of a coral polyp

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

flattery will get you everywhere

The sunlit sky has turned smoky and cool nights are transforming trees into rainbowed confetti bombs. Black pavement and cars and bushes are blanketed with crinkly stars. Icy breezes pluck the treetops and color swirls to the ground with the grace of butterflies. Summer has smoldered into an autumnal kaleidoscope.

I arrived at work bundled in my green corduroy jacket, bark brown scarf, and a vanilla cream hat perfectly melted into my sandy blond curls. A lovely coworker greeted me with a wide eyed smile and said in her purring German accent, "You look so beautiful today...just like one of my goats!"

Best compliment ever.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Lost in the Woods

For three sticky summer days each year, the Oregon Country Fair transforms the forest into the state's fourth largest city. The people are transformed too...

Fairgoers wore elaborate costumes or nothing at all. Old gray women and very young girls painted flowers on their breasts and danced carefree in the sunshine. Men became purring tigers and bug eyed butterflies, robots and unicorns.

I walked the looping dirt trails for hours, dodging impromptu parades and spiked dragon tails. Two old men in kilts, with long black beards braided into octopus tentacles, offered magical herbs from a small carved box to anyone who mistakenly wandered under their tree shade. The purple suited ghost of Jimi Hendrix, guitar in hand, called me "foxy lady" both times our paths crossed, and an ice-cream gooed baby fell in love with my glowing pink tights. Without fear, the little smiling monster escaped his parents to come touch them...several times. I saw no one I knew, but met no strangers.

By midday the sun had boiled my brain to a fine custard. Desperate for relief, I removed my shoes and sat on the dusty ground. A treehugging logger spoke about his life in the forest and the struggle for sustainable harvesting. He learned to listen to trees. To sit with them quietly. To taste their bark. "People love life. People love people. People want progress for themselves and for others. For their world. But, people are not necessary for life to continue on this planet. The trees...the trees are. We are simply ornaments."

I looked up into the spiderwebbed branches shading my head. Cool breezes drifted past and gently touched dripping emerald leaves. They glittered like a rippling lake. Among them green apple buds dangled threateningly, growing heavy with sour juice. A nesting robin clasped a white flower in her beak. It appeared delicate as a snowflake against her rust red breast. I closed my stinging eyes and floated.

At 7pm crew members joined hands and made a sweep of all 280 wooded acres. I took a crowed bus back to Eugene. There were no seats left, so I stood during the 40 minute ride. My body was black with mud. My crusted nose and dirt filled sinuses longed for a hot shower and my aching muscles for a soft clean bed. The real festival begins at sundown. With the public gone for the night, fair vendors and artists camp on site in wooden structures that look like grounded treehouses. The music and other psychedelic goodies flow until morning. Next year I'll hide in a tree until the stars twinkle.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gluten-free Veganliciousness

I found these pictures from before our plunge into gluten freedom. Once upon a time, I made many of these tasty Tofurky sandwiches with Vegenaise, deli mustard, tomatoes, onions, pickles, cucumber slices, bell peppers, Vegan Gourmet cheddar, and crispy sprouts piled high on toasty sprouted grain bread. Yum!



Now I make them with Amy's Bistro veggie burgers and rice tortillas, instead of Tofurky slices and bread. So delicious!

I was intimidated by the idea of eating vegan and gluten-free at first, but it has been a fun exploration and not at all as difficult or restricting as anticipated. I never realized how much of my diet was wheat based - literally every meal - until I gave it up.

A fresh baguette from the local organic bakery is a rare treat now, saved for good olive oil and smoked sea salt.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pineapple Glazed Tofu Spring Rolls

The excellent farmers markets and health food stores in town have inspired me to cook like crazy. I've been a passionate food nerd since childhood, so exploring the gastronomical landscape of my new home es muy divertido!


This week at the market I grabbed more french breakfast radishes, red butter leaf lettuce, sweet rainbow mini-peppers, carrots, basil, and mint - which of course sparked an unstoppable craving for spring rolls!

I marinated the tofu in wheat-free tamari, pineapple juice, dark agave, grated ginger, fresh garlic, and raw apple cider vinegar, then pan fried it in fragrant virgin coconut oil (oh my god, amazing!).


I need to work on my rolling technique. I've made these a hundred times before and never can get them nice and tight. Whatevs. They're super delicious and that's what really matters, right?


Oh, and a chili peanut sauce for dipping. Yum!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


are unbelievable...




Saturday, June 7, 2008

Spring Panang

For years I tried to create a Thai style curry to smile about. I hunted down every powder or paste collecting dust on the store shelves with hope that this could finally be the ONE. Sadly, these lifeless and uninspired blends always managed to disappoint. I was prepared to improvise, but no matter how much fresh ginger I grated, garlic I pressed, or lime juice I squeezed, the finished dishes turned out bland and hot. I was cursed. Nothing could satisfy my desire for fresh kafir scented coconut cream, galangal earthiness, and perfect chili spice. Eventually, the heartbreak of failure forced me to abandon the pursuit and I left curry making to the pros.

That is, until I found this at the NW Veg Fest...


Check out the ingredients!


This amazingly delicious paste is made by a Thai couple in Portland. They also make green, yellow, red, and Massamun.

I was excited to try it out, so I made a trip to the Saturday Farmers' Market in Eugene (which is huge and happens to be the oldest in the country) to sample some of this spring's treasures.


I decided to use baby bok choy, sweet red peppers, yellow onion, tofu, kale and collard florets, pineapple chunks, bamboo shoots, zucchini, basil, mint, and French radishes.


If you ever find kale or collard green florets BUY EVERY BUNCH. You will fall in love.


This was so good, I almost cried. I can't wait to try the other pastes.


Some dreams do come true.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall...

Little seeds of shame and fear and competition were planted in our baby girl brains with every image they fed us. Now we claim the tools of oppression as tools of harmless girly fun.

Our continued participation in and defense of the beauty industry worries me. Women should be free to play with identity, beauty, and modification of their own bodies in whatever way they choose. I don't see any need to defend or preserve a corporate hyper-femininity that only limits women's exploration of the feminine spectrum. Beyond the industry's societal mindfuck, there are concerns like slave labor, the tons and tons of unnecessary waste it produces every day, and animal testing torture. Indulging in a system of capitalist patriarchal oppression for "our own pleasure" or "girly fun" is not feminist reclaiming. It's not even freedom to choose it for ourselves if we simply adhere, but never imagine or pose new challenges.

We'd rather play the games we know - woman against woman, woman against self.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Chef's Choice

The Pizza Research Institute is a dream. It is love in a box, inspiring desire and delight. It is fearless vegetarian pie deliciousness.


PRI is 100% vegetarian, makes fresh honey lemonade, and hand paints each pizza box. The L shaped dining room glows with low warm lighting and bouncing dub tunes. A semi-private elevator shaft booth complete with a funky chandelier hides in the back.

I haven't yet mustered the strength to order anything other than the Chef's Choice Vegan and this is why...


An herbed crust with red sauce, smoky tofu ricotta, fresh spinach, onions, black olives, broccoli, roasted eggplant, mushrooms, roasted herbed red potatoes, green pepper, curried cauliflower, sweet yellow corn, snow peas, peaches, and cranberry jam.

Whoa! So amazing.

I must force myself to order the P3 (pesto, pear, and potato) next time. I hear it is mighty tasty.

Friday, April 4, 2008

It's fun to have a baby niece!

This is Dylan Riley the flowerhead...




Film Critic...


and cabaret star BUBBLES!


Jen melts my brain into magic...


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

Feminist Bookstore

Okay, I'll admit that I'm a bit partial to Carrie Brownstein, but this is great...



Ancient "devil frog" may have eaten baby dinosaurs

I want to make friends with a Beelzebufo!


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Clinton and Obama...more of the same

Examining Clinton & Obama’s Stances on the Subprime Mortgage Crisis, Universal Healthcare, Privatizing Social Security and Nuclear Energy

Watch the video HERE.

Wow. The most "progressive" (barf) candidates the Democrats can muster are in the pockets of big Nuke.

I miss Edwards and Kucinich.

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