Monthly Archives: December 2008

Back from Portland, where I had nearly no internet

In the past, when I’ve gone home to Portland, I’ve had the opportunity to while away hour upon hour, gazing at the internet on my trusty laptop, thanks to my parents’ abundant wireless connection. However, in November, my parents moved to a new house and set themselves up with an internet system that works perfectly for their stationary PC’s but doesn’t permit my loyal MacBook a pathway to the World Wide Web. So the week I spent at their place was far less connected than I am typically accustomed and personal blogging did not happen (I still managed to squeak out a few Slashfood posts).

Despite the dearth of internet, I had a wonderful time while in Portland. There was an unprecedented amount of snow on the ground, the most the city has seen since the winter of 1968 and so many of my plans for fun outings and shopping trips were curtailed (Bob’s Red Mill, I’ll just have to get out to your store next time).

My sister rolled into town on December 23rd, driving up from Shasta the day before another huge storm hit. Church was cancelled on Christmas Eve because of the snow and so we stayed at home and sang Christmas carols together instead. Here’s a little video clip of Raina and Mo singing Blue Christmas (with some back-up from my mom in the kitchen).


Engagement ring(s) on hand

So Scott and I got engaged tonight. It wasn’t a surprise for me, because I designed the ring and I’ve never been particularly good with surprises. We made it official in the courtyard at City Hall, in the glow of the Christmas lights. Despite the lack of proposal ambush, we are both still totally delighted.

I’ve never been a girl who has dreamed about what her wedding was going to be like, but I’ve always been excited about the prospect of the engagement ring (what can I say, I like jewelry). What I finally decided to go with is the ring(s) you see above. I was inspired by this ring on Etsy and really liked the idea of a set of stacking rings for the engagement/wedding situation. However, the way it’s turned out, I’m wondering if it wouldn’t just be better to use the second ring with the two diamonds as the wedding band. For the time being, I’m wearing both of them together, to see if I can’t make this dream of a two-part engagement ring a reality.

One of the cooler parts of the ring(s) is that the diamonds all belonged to my grandmother. She was something of a jewelry collector and so the smaller diamonds were once a pair of small stud earrings and the larger diamond is one half of another pair of diamond earrings that my grandfather bought her about 25 years ago. It’s nice to know that she had some part in this very significant jewelry. I know she would have loved these rings.

A long-ish update in payment for blog neglect

Sunday afternoon, my cousin Melissa called from Los Angeles to check in. Within the first couple minutes of our conversation, she said, “You know, I used to feel so in touch with your life because of your blog. But you hardly update anymore.” What she said is true, I’m not writing here as much as I used to. That is mostly because I spend so much of my life writing these days (my past selves would be so thrilled to know that this particular reality was forthcoming, especially in the days when I was desperate to find a way to escape administrative drudgery and support myself via the written word). So here’s an update of what’s been happening, written early enough in the day that I’m not yet weary of the computer screen.


Scott and I got a Christmas tree about a week and a half ago. It’s the first Christmas tree I’ve had as an independent adult and it’s been a fun thing to put together. There were some initial tensions when we first were stringing lights, and Scott had accused me of being a little bossy when it comes to ornament placement (which is probably an accurate accusation), but once we got over those initial bumps, the tree has been a delightful thing. I’ve also enjoyed getting to use all the vintage glass ornaments I cherry picked from Walla Walla thrift stores during college, as well as the ones that my mom would give me each year.

For those of you starting families, giving your children an ornament a year is a wonderful tradition to start. From the time we were babies, my mom gave my sister and me an ornament each year, with the plan in mind that by the time we were adults, we’d have enough to decorate our own trees. As kids, we loved seeing our boxes of baubles each December (if you’re doing this for multiple kids and you get them matching ornaments, make sure to discreetly mark them so that there’s no fighting about which belongs to whom. Many of mine have tiny ‘M’s’ inscribed on hidden spots with black sharpie). However, I don’t think that she imagined it would take me until my 29th year for me to get my own tree.

If you’re interested, you can see more pictures of the tree here.


Scott and I already exchanged Christmas presents this year. We’re not going to be together on December 25th (I leave for Portland on December 21st and he heads to Virginia to be with his mom on the 24th) and neither of us is particularly good at waiting. He gave me a very spiffy, super wide angle lens for my camera that took the picture you see above. For so long, I’ve primarily lived with a fixed width 50 mm lens on my camera, so the amount of the world I can now see through this new lens is jarringly awesome. I got him a watch, so that when I ask him what time it is, he won’t just offer me a bare wrist (it wasn’t an entirely selfish move, as it was also what he asked for).


Speaking of Scott and me, we celebrated our one year anniversary last week. We’ve now been friends for three and a half years and together as something far more than friends for a year. It’s been a really good year. I will be forever grateful that we made the leap from friendship to partnership.

Spicy Sweet Roasted Nuts (peanuts and cashews)

In other news, I’ve been blogging like a cooking/writing machine over at Slashfood. For December, I’m doing a feature in which I post a recipe for an edible gift every day of the month. Half way through the month, I’ve only missed one day (I have never claimed to be perfect). Yesterday, I posted a recipe for some Spicy Sweet Roasted Nuts that uses butter, maple syrup, rosemary and cayenne to create a highly addictive, giftable snack. Some of my other favorites so far this month have been my dad’s Pancake Mix, Lemon Curd (inspired by gifts my cousin Lolly used to send out) and Rosemary Scented Salt (cause it’s easy).

That’s essentially the current round up. I’m looking forward to my week in Portland, despite the fact that neither Bonnie (the dog) nor Dinky (the cat) are there to greet me anymore. My mom and I have big plans to hit The Bins (Goodwill Outlet Store) and the Bob’s Red Mill Store and I’m hoping to finish a few books.

How’s everyone else doing these days?

Being sick and feeling guilty

I had grand plans to head into December well-rested and ready to take on the balance of 2008 with energy and motivation. Instead, on Sunday evening, my head started to fill up with goo and I spent most of the week in a cold-induced fog. Thanksfully, my ability to breathe through my nose returned this morning, along with my sense of smell and an expanded capacity to recognize. My oatmeal tasted like oatmeal today, which was a huge improvement over the papier mâché I choked down yesterday. Sadly, the raisins continue to register as slightly metallic.

One of the things that came up for me (in a emotional sense) during this cold, was the amount of guilt I have around being sick and missing obligations. When I was growing up, I often pretended to be sick in order to have a break from the social demands and discomfort of elementary and middle school. My parents knew that most of my colds, sore throats and upset stomachs were the result of my insecurity and propensity to be the most picked-on kid in the class and so they allowed me the bulk of my “sick” days. However, despite a talent for convincing my body to be sick on cue, I knew that staying out of the classroom wasn’t entirely necessary and so I carried around a little bit of guit about it.

As the years went on, school started to get better and I found I didn’t need to stay away like I had before. However, that sense of guilt about staying home when sick (even when I really and truly was ill) stuck with me. I’ve found in recent years that I’ve felt a need to be given permission to be sick, dragging myself into jobs when I’m near-catatonic in the hopes that someone else will recognize my ailment and say, “Oh you poor girl. You should go home and take care of yourself.” I needed permission from an outside party to be sick and take care of myself.

I’m beyond the worst of that now. I recognize when I’m sick and I do everyone I work with a favor by staying home (no one wants Typhoid Marisa sitting next to them in a poorly ventilated office). However, traces of that guilt still remain and they cropped up like a mofo this time around, despite the fact that I could hardly breathe and my brain ceased functioning sometime Sunday night, only picking back up around 3 pm yesterday afternoon.

I don’t have a solution to this issue (although I do believe that it goes hand in hand with my feeling that I’m never working hard enough or doing a good enough job at my place of employment), but like most juicy internal hang-ups, recognition is always the first step, so I’m putting it out there. Does anyone else react like this when they’re sick? How have you dealt with it?