Category Archives: life

A SAD Story

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Related video: Denis Leary, he’s an asshole. Probably not a SAD one, though.

It is November, and the days have

shifted solidly into the favor of Our Watery Overlords, who will reign for the next six to seven months. There’s been a lot of forlorn sighs here in the land that is Port, a lot of dreary gazing out of windows and amazed observations of the ever-earlier sunset. Myself, I welcome the invasion of gray. All the more excuse to hole up on my couch with five cups of coffee and Netflixed cop shows.

But Emmy, you say! What about that fierce plague of the Pacific Northwest, Seasonal Affective Disorder? Yes, it’s true, at least DOZENS of Portlanders every year are reduced to sleepy, carb-stuffing lumps as a result of our rainy climate. It’s one of the MAJOR RISKS of living in Oregon.*

Now, I am not one to call bull pucky on mental health issues, but this girl grew up in a town notorious for its fog and she’s never attributed her sleepiness and love of starchy foods to anything other than being a bit of a flake. Though I do often wish I could hibernate like a bear (“It’s like, you eat a bunch of food, hunker down for a long-ass nap, and when you wake up the sun is shining and you’re thin again!”) I’ve come to accept the fact that the earth is still spinning during winter, even if my little section of it is more often tilted away from its glorious sun. As Mr. Leary says, “Sweetheart, that’s just Winter.” (WARNING: Taking life advice from Denis Leary may lead to assholishness and advanced Catholicism, and is generally not recommended)

SO REJOICE! I am here to offer you my tried and true solutions to the SAD monkey that may or may not be on your back. Because even though the sky is dreary and the wind is sharp, your ass has got to get to your goddamn job or you gonna get fired.

Solution #1: Denial

Man up. Don’t even think about it. Just get out of bed and put your damn pants on. Don’t think about the fact that it was dark when you got up, it’s dark all day at work, and it’ll be dark when you leave to go home. Don’t think about the wet piles of arboreal detritus lining the streets and slicking the sidewalks every time you step outside. And ESPECIALLY don’t think about your mounting utility bills and the precious minutes of your life wasted in waiting for your car to warm up.

Solution #2: Give in to commercialism

You guys, how can you not get excited over SWEATER WEATHER?! And fuzzy slippers, and flannel PJ pants, and even, lord help me, Ugg boots. Now’s the time to kick up your shearling-lined heels and give in to all the cheesy, Old Navy Commercial-like cliches of fall and winter. Drink spiced apple cider. Buy reindeer-printed sleep sets for your loved ones. Wear one of the 5,274 scarves you knitted but keep in the back corner of your closet because you actually suck at knitting. And always, always have a bottle of red wine handy. Which leads us to…

Solution #3: Pencil in your vices

Fuck the gym. I say start your day with coffee, end it with a drink, and fill in the hours between with delicious food. November may be the month of rain, but it is also the month of Thanksgiving, an ENTIRE HOLIDAY dedicated to eating (and also the mass fucking over of native people, to be fair). Give in to tryptophan, people! It’s awesome!

What I’m saying is, approach these things not with the sucking dread of a life ruled by weather patterns, but with seasonal joy and merriment. This morning, for example, I decided to sleep as long as humanly possible. That was on my mental to-do list for the day. When I go into work tomorrow and my coworkers ask what I did on my weekend, I will tell them “absolutely nothing,” and you bet your sweet bippy they’ll all be jealous. The point is to choose to do the things that you want to do, whatever they may be. If you want to go hang out with friends, fine. If you want to lie in bed reading romance novels, that’s fine too. We all have our obligations, the things we have to do to keep our life running. But in my free time I’m not gonna angst over the fact that it’s so coooold and saaaaad to go outside and do the things I don’t actually want to do because it’s so cold and fucking sad. Which, by the way, is not a bad philosophy to adhere to at any time of year. So there.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a butternut squash and a glass of chardonnay.

*The other one being death by sparkly vampires. Also known as twoooo wuvvvv.

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I Like Butts And Stuff.

October is NaBloWriMo,

also known as the month of frivolous blog posts. So while I am a huge procrastinator and was all, “Oh! One of my favorite blogs, Use Real Butter, is updating EVERY SINGLE DAY. Huzzah!”, my sister and dispenser of common sense Yean dropped a little “why are you reading other people’s blogs instead of updating yours?” on me. DAMN HER SHE IS RIGHT.

Actually a lot has been going on here at my Crappy Apartment. First of all, I no longer live in it! Yean and I have moved to a bigger, fuglier place in a less cute neighborhood but on a cuter block. The thing it really has going for it is that it has two bedrooms, which is an improvement, let me tell you. I thought I would miss the nice hardwood floors of my one-bedroom, the apartment that represented freedom and possibly an optimistic estimate of my take home pay when I first got it. But you know what I don’t miss? Hearing someone CLOMP ALL OVER THE FUCKING PLACE every damn morning. I am a very light sleeper. Very.

Also I have a new and somewhat confusing work schedule, and between that and the moving I’ve spent the past week running errands, worrying about an errand I have to run, or lying awake at night thinking about all the errands I ran that day.

And I have not been cooking because we didn’t want to buy a bunch of food just to have to pack it all up in a week. So it’s been take out and tuna melts round these parts, and while those things are tasty to me they are not necessarily compelling reading. And the new place, and the moving and the work…crap’s going down, is what I’m saying. So obviously I would not have time to do something like NaBloWriMo! Besides it is already the fourth! And haven’t I done NaNoWriMo in years past, starting with strong intentions only to fail miserably by week two?

So I am not doing that, but I am writing more. I’m writing very, very small and silly things, but I am writing them. And that’s that. Today I bring you no great thoughts, but I do bring a picture. Of Goliath.

Goliath is a very large…I want to say goose, because he’s always hanging with the geese. Here you can see his mighty ‘tocks. I want to emphasize his sheer size, here. Have you seen a goose, like a normal goose? They’re pretty big, huh? Could give a small child a run for their money? Goliath dwarfs them. He lords over them. They are the Danny DeVito th his Arnold Schwarzenegger. Somehow Goliath won the genetic lottery, and he was granted superior size and a neck waddle to attract only the finest ladies.

When the geese are in town he’s usually hanging with his bitches at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, so the $3 admission fee is worth it even when the flowers stop blooming. The first time Yean and I saw him he was nearly blocking a path to a nice little bridge, in a big group of geese and ducks around this old lady throwing seed. We were all, “bitch, don’t throw that shit in the path! People gotta walk through!” Or at least that’s what we tried to convey with our eyes.

I think the best part about Goliath, aside from his massive size, is that about a week after I put that picture on my Flickr page I got this comment:

Excellent !

This would be great for the
Birds & Animals Butt Shots the Animal Bums the Animal Bums from around the World and the Animal Butts

Check us out

THERE ARE FOUR SEPARATE GROUPS FOR BUTTS.

I shit you not.

(ba-dum-ching!)

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Portland’s Japanese Gardens: Totally Like That One Anime

So the other touristy thing we did last week was hit up the Japanese Gardens, also in Washington Park right across the street from the Rose Gardens. It was a gray and gloomy morning, aka the perfect Portland morning, aka the perfect weather in which to wander a dense, mossy, slightly ethereal garden. I’m the last person to buy into the idea that Asian automatically equals exotic and mysterious, but this place was bananas, even when filled with old people with cameras. Somehow the rainy Pacific Northwest weather and rolling greenery of the southwest hills really go well with classic Japanese garden design. Even Portland’s shabby downtown looked shiny from up there.

From the parking lot there’s a shuttle that takes you up the hill to the entrance, or you can be a real man and walk the 0.2 miles through the pretty gate and up a nicely maintained path. We took the path, because we’re not wusses. Also we couldn’t pass up a photo opportunity.

Well, maybe that last one is just me.

I should point out that the path climbs the side of a hill, directly across from which is a steep cliff covered entirely in ferns. We’re talking ferns for days. Fernapalooza. Big damn ferns. I’m from the coast and even I was all, “holy shit! ferns!”

Neither Yean nor I have ever been there, despite living in Portland for quite a while now. I’m really not sure why. Well, actually I’m pretty sure I know why, and it MAY HAVE something to do with the eight dollar entrance fee. Which is not that bad! It’s just I am very broke, and also cheap. Because of being broke. But that eight bucks actually seems pretty low when you enter the gardens and see how immaculately groomed everything is, from the lobey trees to the carefully hidden and appropriately mossy stone figures strewn about the sides of the paths. Even the railings are decorative, one of which was a waist-high wall with a tiny roof on top. A roof! For a wall! So cute!

There was also cool shit like this rock garden. I really wanted to rake the gravel, y’all. I wonder how many two year olds, running around without the supervision of their hands-off hippie parents, launch themselves into this baby and mess it up. There wasn’t even a wall on the front of it. It was tempting.

This little birdy was, like POSING on this fountain while I fought with an old dude over the best position to get a shot. Also there was a fountain kinda like this one, but huge. It would make that clacking noise every few minutes as the bottom section filled with water and tipped into the pond, which we kept hearing but never saw. I’m not ashamed to say I made Yean and Mom stand there while I waited for it to tip because I’d only ever seen it in anime and was fascinated. “I think it’s, like, symbolic.” I said. “Yeah,” Yean said, “Symbolic of a commercial break.”

Anyway, it tipped and it was awesome and it’s possible I watched too much anime as a kid.

I really liked the natural garden area, which was this hilly little area with tiny streams and steps and paths cutting across it. It was way too dark to get good pictures, but it was like being in another word. The ground had a thick layer of moss on it, and there were little statues and tiny trees all around. I felt a little big and clumsy, and also concerned for the many old people carefully picking their way across the slick stone. We sat down on a bench and just stared for a bit, oblivious to the fact that fifty feet away, on the other side of a fence, cyclists in spandex were zooming down the road. In the middle of a hectic week, it was nice to have that quiet moment.

Also there was a nice reedy koi pond area, which we didn’t stick around for long because there was this ratty white dude with BO and a ponytail mansplaining to his companions about the history of pet koi. I’d like to say this annoyed me but really there’s nothing I love more than giving the “wtf?” look to a total stranger, walking ten feet away and turning to Yean all, “CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT DOUCHE?”

That’s just how I roll.

Then we went to the taco truck by my house. That’s also how I roll.

Portland Japanese Gardens
611 SW Kingston, Portland, Oregon 9720
10 am – 7 pm tues – sun
noon – 7 pm mon
(503) 223-1321

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Call Your Mother

Mommy was in town last week.

Some people don’t like the word “mommy.” Some people, I’d even say, are sickened by it. But I feel all right using the word at 24 because a) it’s not that unusual in Asian families, b) I’m pretty comfortable with my level of independence from my mother, and c) If I stopped now, I’d break my mother’s heart. Well, that’s not fair. My mom’s a hearty sort of woman; I’m sure she’d understand. But to me, she’s Mommy. I can refer to her as “my Mom” to other people, but on the rare occasion when I get to see her, she’s Mommy. Name: Mommy. Occupation: Mom. She also has a real name and occupation, but look at her. She’s just so dang cute.

Such a Mommy.

So the first thing we did, of course, was take her to Mother’s Bistro, a restaurant in downtown Portland. I hate that I like this place so much. It’s big, it’s in the middle of the city, and you can always see the chefs taking a smoke break when you’re waiting for a table. I hate that. I had a teacher in school who refused to enter Jake’s Grill downtown for this same reason. But the food at Mother’s is so, so good. The egg dishes are gorgeous. The biscuits and gravy is rich and meaty. And they make an eggs benedict that jiggles like an angel’s boobies. I don’t even care about the nicotine-sucking cooks (like RIGHT OUTSIDE THE DOOR). They make a bangin’ hollandaise.

I have to try very, very hard not to get biscuits and gravy every time. Or eggs benedict. But I’m also in love with this stuffed fritata, which is essentially an omelet with broiled cheese on top.

The next day, we went to the Rose Gardens in Washington Park. I’ve actually never been before, despite the fact that I used to live one MAX stop away from it.

I took a lot of pictures. A LOT. And it was very bright, so I couldn’t quite see what I was doing. But some of them came out okay! Actually, most of them. I guess you can’t go wrong with pretty roses.

Let me tell you, that place is huge. If it wasn’t for the fact that we’d just gone to the Japanese gardens and at that point were severely hungry, I could’ve wandered around for hours. Did you know there’s a Julia Child rose?

And a Karl Lagerfeld one?

All in all it was a nice way to spend the afternoon. And it felt fitting. Roses for Mommy, because she’s awesome. Even though she’s not fond of receiving flowers, and also I think it’s illegal to bring Oregon plants into California. As I am writing this she’s just called my sister and told her that she’s home safe, even though she couldn’t sleep in her hotel last night because the woman in the room next door was making loud sex noises.

That’s my Mommy. I miss her already.

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What is Going On Here?

jank window

Is it:

a) A drunk window

b) The result of my rage-induced smashing rampage

c) A sign that you should always open all windows and blinds when doing a move-in walkthrough, even if it’s December and oh god why is it snowing this is fucking Portland

I’ll also note that his is as far as that window opens. On days of extreme melting heat I’ve had good results with propping it up with a big plastic spoon. Also the blind slats don’t open; if you want light you’ve gotta pull the whole dang thing up.

Anyway, my lapse in blogging can be (mostly) blamed on a series of house-related mishaps. First my sewing machine broke down spectacularly and couldn’t be resuscitated, despite half an hour of me fiddling with it while shouting passive aggressive remarks at my poor sister. Finally I wandered into the kitchen, knees bruised from kneeling in front of the bobbin case. “The sewing machine fucked me.” I announced. The next day we bought a new one, which you can see in the picture. It works amazingly, though I’m still getting used to the idea of not having to stop every five minutes to untangle the bobbin.

Also there was an incident regarding ink stains in the tub which is still too painful to talk about. And then there were the ants. So many ants. I think ants get poo-pooed when it comes to pest control horror stories. Sure they’re easy to kill and they don’t carry the plague, but it’s still pretty creepy to realize there are hundreds of tiny creatures wandering around my house. First they came one or two, under the front door or through my bedroom window. It’s fine, every apartment has a couple ants.

Then one night I came home from work and they were THERE. In the kitchen. “ANTS!” I yelled, pointing at the floor. They were making a little march up and down the front of the stove, aka “crumb central.” Yean started yanking them up with a wad of duct tape. It was bad. Every time we’d clear the floor, ten minutes later there’d be more.  Eventually we ran duct tape sticky side up around the stove and the entrance of the kitchen to try and keep them from escaping. Yean took a picture for posterity:

taped off stovetaped kitchen

Other things the ants tried to eat include my gross bakery shoes and my laundry pile. Also they were definitely coming from the front door, which Yean discovered one day when she went to vacuum up some spiderwebs behind the TV and found a little pile of ant carcasses. Those spiders were fat and happy.

Anyway, what all this has taught me is that I’m a disgusting human and I live in a shit hole, hardwood floors notwithstanding. We finally killed the ants using the one-two punch of ant traps and delicious poisonous spray. And cleaning. So much cleaning. But look! Look at the results of my ant paranoia!

cleankitchen0002

It smells nice too.

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