Monday links

Sometimes I am unobservant. Sunflowers don’t track the sun across the sky! They mostly face east. Via Pam Rentz.

More deets about Post-Apocalyptic Little Women. The girls aren’t Marmee’s? WHERE IS MARMEE.

Though I find it sad, and I don’t necessarily agree that Schultz should have done what Watterson did, I agree with this run-down of Peanuts over the years. I’m glad the early collections were part of my childhood, at garage sales and my dad’s office. How Snoopy Killed Peanuts. Via Jeff.

Flügtag Freudenschade

I have an irrational dislike of Red Bull’s Flügtag event. I even have a trunked story (that will probably never be published for other reasons) where I air these feelings:

“Hey,” I say suddenly. “If we go over the Hawthorne Bridge, we can see Flügtag. They started setting up yesterday.”
“What?”
“It means Flying Day.” Dennis makes an impatient noise like he shouldn’t even have to say he already knows this, and I roll my eyes but he doesn’t see me. “People build giant sculptures and try to fly them off a big ramp over the river. Down by the waterfront.”
“Flügtag was an air show disaster,” Dennis says. “At a base in Germany in the eighties. Seventy-some people were killed.”
“God, Whitman. How do you even know that?”
He shrugs again. We’ve come down Clay Street to the riverfront and start climbing along the bike path that leads to the bridge. A couple of cyclists zip past. We reach the bridge’s crest and I can see the Flügtag machines below us. There’s a big toaster, a fish, and some airplaney things.
“Cool!”
“They won’t fly,” Dennis says.
“Well, some of them. But–”
“None of them.”
“You don’t know that.”
“I’m an engineer,” Dennis says like it’s a fatal disease.
“Well…well, the bumblebee flies anyway,” I announce, and stomp ahead of him. But the closer I get, the more, I don’t know, corporate it looks. Sponsorship signs all over, and those giant black towers of speakers. Dennis is right. They’re not even trying. The flying machines are going to tumble right off the end of the ramp as people watch from the beer tent. People suck.

Hence my UNATTRACTIVE GLEE today when Red Bull completely failed to keep the river clear for traffic, the Portland Spirit plowed through clueless spectators, and the Coast Guard shut it all down. BYE!

bus stop

bus stop with homemade purple bench, water fountain, and raspberry canes
This is the second-closest bus stop to my house. Don’t you think the owners/tenants must be lovely people? They provide not only a bench but a water fountain and fresh raspberries! There are more raspberry canes planted in the square of dirt around the bus stop sign.

The first-closest bus stop to my house features a mini Australian Shepherd whose human successfully trained him not to bark at the people waiting right outside his fence, so that’s pretty impressive too.

foliage

wall of foliage

hiding from Google Street View

I’ve been hearing this sound like maybe a tree bough is rubbing against the house, intermittently when a breeze picks up. I went outside and tried to spot where it might be, but the shrubbery and spiderwebs got the better of me. I decided it would be better to get up on the roof and look for it from above, so that’s what I did Saturday morning.

I hauled loppers up there with me, and a sweatshirt to kneel on because the shingle was already painfully hot. There were four or five big trees encroaching on the roof in various places. One bay tree, two maples, plus some hazelnut and walnut all threaded together with clematis vine. And a cedar that’s maybe getting ideas.

I snipped and lopped and heaped the branches on the roof until I’d made enough progress that maybe the roof won’t be such an ideal freeway interchange for rodents– my other objective. Then there was the problem of where to throw it all off the roof– in most places, it would get caught in other greenery long before hitting the ground. I pretty much pitched half of it down from above the back door, and half of it down from above the front entrance to the porch. (Later when Sanguinity went to cut it up, there was way too much for the yard debris bin, so a big pile is waiting for next week.)

I liked the diagonal view across my block from the roof– all the other roofs plus antennae and outbuildings and a jumble of fences, like a Miyazaki cityscape.

Of course, the sound I’d been worrying about is still there, exactly the same as before.

Delta

pink rose

backyard rose

Sanguinity and I caught the bus to happy hour at The Delta after work yesterday. They’re in a sweet spot lately. After the incredible early nineties (oh, the biscuits, oh, the breakfasts, but the cook would literally sit and read a book until he felt like cooking), they got really popular, and dropped some of the best things off their menu, and better not even think about going there on weekends. Now when I say I’m going to the Delta, my co-workers look puzzled and say, “oh, is that on…Mississippi?” It’s still doing fine, they just have time to do things right again. When the waitress overheard that it was my birthday, she brought house-made ice cream and a cookie. We were so full for the walk home and the rest of the night.

serving suggestion

I actually followed the serving suggestion off a Triscuit box. (We have mint growing out back.)box of Reduced Fat Triscuits with picture of cottage cheese, peas, and mint on a triscuit

It was good despite not looking as styled as the photo. Then I finished off the bag of frozen peas by adding them to mac and cheese.


Asali Solomon’s Disgruntled is funny and sad and a coming-of-age novel, but I worry it will fall through the genre cracks because it follows its protagonist, Kenya, from age eight to twenty, and so isn’t sold as YA.


Naomi Shihab Nye’s The Turtle of Oman is slow in a wonderful way. You can get a sense of it from her hilarious-in-parts interview with Roger Sutton. My favorite part was a camping trip in the desert that felt, and feels, eternal.

What to Put on French Fries

Sanguinity over-browned some roux while making creamed spinach and decided to start over. Later she turned the browned batch into Sauce Espagnole, and we rediscovered how wonderful our 1975 edition of Joy of Cooking is:

Legion are the children of this mother-sauce, and only the cook’s clumsiness or lack of ingenuity need convert them into the changelings we lump together as “gravy.”

Graaaaaavy.

Basil

Basil the standard poodle
This is Basil, the standard poodle next door. Sanguinity and I spent the week taking care of him and his kitty. Basil’s interests include playing ball and not being alone. <3 <3 <3

Once, years ago, in a job interview (with people I didn’t like) when asked, “what’s the next thing you’re working on?” I said: “A biography of the trees in Karstula, my grandfather’s village.” That did the trick, the lights went out in their eyes. Boy do I know my trees.

Stephen Kuusisto