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A day is not wasted if a cake is baked

a homemade pineapple upside down cake; photo has a red filter

Sometime in the past year or two Sanguinity saw a large jar of maraschino cherries. Her heart leapt with joy at the thought of having so many, so we bought the jar. Also, we said we could make pineapple upside-down cake at some point. The cherries sat in the top of the cupboard for a long time, but at some point we did also buy a can of pineapple rings to sit there with them.

Sometime in the past week or two Sang made an agar jasmine dessert from a packet– much like the opaque white jello-y dessert that dim sum places have. It was tasty. The picture showed it served with canned fruit cocktail, so we opened the jar of cherries. Once the remaining cherries were in the fridge and vulnerable to snacking, the clock was ticking on the upside-down cake.

Today was cake day! It is so sweet that the cherries are the tart part.

I took a terrible photo with my phone and while I was trying to improve it via LunaPic, which I quite like for my simple photo-editing needs but which does not seem to have a one-button “improve this photo” option, I accidentally saved a filtered-red copy over the original. I did in fact make this cake in an ordinary kitchen and not a photo darkroom.

morning bike commute notes and Monday Magpie

morning bike commute notes:
I was cyclist #498 westbound at Tilikum Crossing– usually I’m a half hour earlier and in the 500s. It’s a shame, because it’s a beautiful morning with a touch of frost and more than a touch of sunshine.
today’s theme: people unexpectedly in suits, like, while jogging (not just to the bus stop), or with a backpack.

Monday Magpie:
ahahaha, Gifaanisqatsi

First of December

At this convergence of the death of 41 and World AIDS Day, Bob Rafsky’s Bury Me Furiously curse is on my mind.

I pulled out the first sentence for each month in this blog for the traditional First Line Meme, but many are unsatisfyingly memes themselves, or the title of a book I already wrote about, and so on. So here are facts, updates, or other riffs on them instead. I was silent in February, April, and November.

  • Number of books currently checked out from the library: 97. Currently reading: All You Can Ever Know, by Nicole Chung. Also due back within a week and not renewable– I may or may not get to them: Geek Out: A Collection of Trans and Genderqueer Romance; My Year In the Middle; The Perfection of the Paper Clip: Curious Tales of Invention, Accidental Genius, and Stationery Obsession.
  • I just asked Sanguinity if we need our “it’s getting dark” walk now. It is a few minutes after four p.m. I generally need to get out under the sky second thing in the morning (after coffee & internet) for mental health; Sang can go later in the day, but doesn’t like to witness the gloom gathering in the  house.
  • I maintained once-a-week bike commuting in November. I get off work early on Wednesdays, so I can have a ride home that’s not in the dark. Soon the mornings will require supplemental lighting. When I bought my helmet I was between two sizes and went with the larger one; now I’m glad because the hood of my thin hoodie fits underneath, keeping rain off the back of my neck and warming my ears.
  • Logging my mileage on foot at Dailymile has become quite spotty– I don’t like having one more thing to fiddle with online. But I still want to keep track for the Million Mile Ultra, at least until I complete the 10,000-mile fun run (it will be a few years). So maybe….paper? Also, I was poking around the NaNo forums, and Dunx has logged a million words over the years!
  • language_escapes alerted me to The Claudia Kishi Club, a documentary in progress now raising funds on Kickstarter.
  • Most recent convenience-store purchase: sugar wafers, because they were 99 cents and everything else was $1.29 or more.
  • I daydream about painting a lot, but hardly ever do it.

Monday Magpie: Mike Mulligan edition

woodcut illustration of boy with Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

[text: Robert was quite sure that Mike was his best friend. And because he loved Mike so very much Robert thought that the whole library had been built as a house for Mike. He always called the library “Mike’s house.” He never said, “I’m going to the library.” He always said, “I’m going to Mike’s house.”]

This is a page from Julia Sauer’s Mike’s House, published fifteen years after Virginia Lee Burton’s Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and fourteen years before Ramona Quimby asked how Mike Mulligan goes to the bathroom while he is digging the cellar for the town hall. I ran across Mike’s House at the university library– I liked Sauer’s Fog Magic as a kid and wanted to check out The Light at Tern Rock.

Mike Mulligan’s fame and longevity blow me away. There’s not even a note in Mike’s House explaining that Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel is a real book or giving the author’s name. Mike Mulligan just is. And once you know the story, he continues to live, unnamed, in the news:

Seattle construction-crane operators cope with stress, no bathrooms
“He says the most common question people have is how he goes to the bathroom up there.”

The bizarre secret of London’s buried diggers
“The difficulty is in getting the digger out again. To construct a no-expense-spared new basement, the digger has to go so deep into the London earth that it is unable to drive out again. What could be done?” (The reality is less cheery than Dick Berkenbush’s solution.)


You know what else has longevity? Don’t Stop Believin’. This Boomwhacker version has been in my head for days since I ran across it at TYWKIWDBI. I watched it all the way through on a difficult news day and felt better, that people do stuff like this, work on it until they can do it off book in one take.

Friday Five-plus-one, Inktober Edition

I did the first few days of Inktober, on 4×6 index cards with non-photo blue pencil and Sharpie.

ink drawing of a cracked egg

poison

ink drawing of a leaf floating on water

tranquil

ink drawing of a roasted carrot against a black background

roasted

ink drawing of a wooden alphabet block

spell

ink drawing of a chicken with scaly legs

chicken

ink drawing of a dog drooling. Shows only the wet parts of a dog.

drooling

 

Wednesday reading

Just finished: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Takemori. This was right up my alley! The pleasures of commodification, a simple life, how performative and imitative social life can feel. I like the cover, too.

cover of Convenience Store Woman, aqua and pink with a rice ball made to look like a woman's head

Currently reading: rereading E.L. Konigsburg’s The View From Saturday.

Next up: going on vacation with some books written under pseudonyms by authors I love! The first two Crooked Rock Urban Indian Center romances by Pamela Sanderson (aka Pam Rentz)– the third one just came out in ebook and paperback’s coming soon. And Rain Mitchell’s, aka Stephen McCauley’s, Tales From the Yoga Studio.

silver idyll

On our anniversary last Monday, I worked in the daytime and Sang taught in the evening. It was Thursday that we finally got around to walking down the street to the Delta Cafe to celebrate.

I love the Delta’s cocktail menu. This time the lavender-and-vanilla Pink Lady called to me. I ordered it without considering whether it went well with deep-fried catfish bites and okra. It did not. I didn’t care.

The music was 100% Aretha Franklin.

We had a tipsy, romantic walk back to the house. The air was clearing out after several days of wildfire smoke. At home a new episode of Elementary was waiting for us.

Reading Wednesday: Seesaw Girl

illustration by Kelly Murphy of a girl on a Korean seesaw and standing behind a wall

Illustration by Kelly Murphy

Recently read: Linda Sue Park’s first novel, Seesaw Girl (1999), about a girl named Jade in a wealthy family in 17th-century Seoul. The book does such a beautiful job balancing Jade’s very constrained societal role (girls don’t read or write, they never go outside the walls of the family compound until they marry and move to their husband’s home, and then never come back except maybe for a parent’s funeral. And even wealthy women spend a lot of time on laundry) and giving her enough autonomy to make her story at least somewhat satisfying to a contemporary reader accustomed to spunky girl protagonists. She didn’t bust out but she didn’t buckle under either. Delicate work!

The seesaw comes on the scene quite late in the book, and was my introduction to Korean-style seesaws. I think I read in an interview somewhere that Linda Sue Park had one in the backyard for her own kids!

Fan Service

battered old-style metal fan with Portland State College ID tag

Not sure why this fan showed up in my office this morning, but PSU hasn’t been Portland State College since 1969.

Monday Magpie: kidlit edition

Mary Anne, Dawn, Kristy, Stacy, and Claudia in front of a wooden fence, with text "Stoneybrook Revisited: A Baby-Sitters Club Fan Film"

A Baby-Sitters Club web mini-series (six parts of about five minutes each– oh wait, the last one is a “Super Special” and is 10 minutes, hee!) set ten years after the books ended. My fondness for it is mostly sentimental, but the last 15 seconds did make me laugh out loud.

Book cover and movie poster for The Hate U Give

Interview with Debra Cartwright on her cover illustration for The Hate U Give and the colorism evident in the movie poster version.