A Hill of Beans

So now that it’s over, I can admit that I’ve been living without a coffee grinder for some time. I had one model that broke enough times that I stopped replacing it, and then someone gave me one that wasn’t a milling model and I imagine I don’t have to spell this out explicitly, but I didn’t use it much. Basically, I just asked people to grind it for me at the shop.

Of course, over time that becomes a bit inflexible, and you get the inevitable feeling that some regulatory body is getting ready to kick you out of Portland for violating the sanctity of coffee culture. Also, places get crowded around here, and sometimes you don’t want to wait around for the grinding process. You just want to grab the bag and get home and fortify yourself for the day ahead.

Consequently, I decided recently to correct my condition. Unfortunately, burr grinders have grown substantially while I was away, and seem to all be kind of hideous. Look, I know that image isn’t everything, but nobody is going to think “A bit like Michael Caine, really” about your morning routine when you’ve got this monstrosity thundering away on your kitchen counter.

Luckily I was able to find a charming Japanese hand-powered model which saves me from the twin humiliations of shattered beans and giant clunky appliances. Thank goodness some people are still concerned with ameliorating the brutality of the morning.

Catching Up

Feeling overwhelmed by how many events have occurred of late, I have composed some haiku to keep things simple.

Whoa! School done ’til fall.
I won teacher of the year:
Just look at my pen–

Some people are truly pros.
Robyn, I salute you.

Nuptial trip to coast:
Performed my sister’s wedding.
Also, first mudslide.

Remarkable heat.
Took Dutch friends to see roses.
Look at where we live!

Miserable floor!
And a miserable me.
In the end, I won.

Before the Dawn

So it’s almost certainly the case that the general scene inside the house is worse than it has ever been. We have dismantled the cabinets around the Flair enough to be pretty sure that we know how we are going to pull it out, but that is as far as we have gotten.

We started by moving a bunch of stuff around, and picking various exotic but under-used items for disposal (which was a pungent and colorful experience). This left Yoshi some room to be unbelievably adorable.


It also exposed the stove’s truly magnificent outlet. If you can’t tell from the image, it’s made out of ceramic


We spent a lot of time trying to figure out if and where the stove was attached.


It turned out the key was to knock out the top front of the cabinet below the stove, which exposed a couple of screws. So now the damn thing is just kind of floating on top of that cabinet waiting to get lugged to. . . somewhere?

Repetition is a Form of Delicious

I hate making lunch for work. I especially hate thinking about what I might make for lunch for work. Now I know some classy people who live in the city who just head out around lunch and pick up some tasty snacks from the local falafel/Norweigan Soul Food/taco food cart, but in teacherland we get thirty minutes, bell to bell. Not a chance of getting lunch to go. Also in teacherland we are pretty broke.

For my first year and a half of teaching at Molalla, every day (and I mean every day) I brought pita bread with a little hummus, feta, and avocado in it. It was great! Until I reached the day where I swore I could never eat it again. I rounded out the year with greek yogurt, honey and a banana.

I am a creature of habits.

Year three: salami, Tillamook sharp cheddar or pepperjack, crackers, and grapes.

Year four: crackers and peanut butter. Honestly, years four and five are a little blurry. In those years, I was in a classroom where flies would congregate on me and my desk anytime food was around. I’m sure I ate something.

Year six, first year at Silverton: Hummus, crackers, and a string cheese. Not very ambitious, I’ll admit, but having chai from our student-run cafe delivered — yep, every day — really dulled my appetite.

This year I have found the perfect lunch. I have rediscovered apples, which I love, but only if they are very cold and freshly cut. Because I am a little spoiled (certainly for teacherland) I have a mini-fridge in my art supply room. So some dreams do come true.

photo 1

An apple, and a generous slather of peanut butter on a rice cake. Ta da!

I know, people eat this all the time. But what you don’t understand is what infinite variety of apples we have available, especially in Silverton and surrounds. I am not here to question the primacy of the Honeycrisp, oh no, but have you sampled the Kiku?? TheOpal???

I have.

Eyes of the House’s Soul?

So we got some new windows on Friday. April, as it does here, has turned bitter again, so we’ll have some time to see if they serve better than the previous ones. So far we haven’t been able to evaluate, as they are always open to let out the toxic off-gassing which is still pretty grim.

Yoshi, as might be expected, was profoundly traumatized. He spent much of the day inside one of our bedroom credenzas with the door all the way shut. Unfortunately for him, two of the windows that needed replacing were upstairs, so I put him in the bathroom where he did a really remarkable job of stuffing himself under the vanity that holds the sink. This is also where he spent a lot of the time when the roof got replaced and is something of a last resort. He has been trying extra-hard to get into the basement all weekend. I think he feels like it’s the last place in the house safe from the incursions of strangers, and he’s pretty upset that he’s not allowed to access it.

At any rate, here’s a picture of the yard through the new office window. The louvers were charming, but they aren’t exactly right for the environment.


On the Rocks

As Joaquin noted, we had a rich and varied mini-vacation at the coast.


In case you needed more evidence, here is a photo of J taking a photo.

For me, the real revelatory part of this particular jaunt was climbing on rocks.


I am sadly not as sure of foot as J, so I usually refuse to climb up and around the rocky area at the south end of the beach where we stay in Yachats. But it was so pretty, and dry, and it felt very romantic and, well, adventurous.


I have long boasted about the beauty of the rocks on the Oregon coast, the south coast in particular. By this I usually refer to the smaller, handholdable rocks with such seductive gradients of color and texture. I must give credit, however, to the large rocks and the craggy breaks between them. They are beautiful too.



So while our trip out on Christmas was nice, it was a little hectic, so we needed a supplementary trip to Ocean Haven. The weather was shocking good, probably the best it has ever been when we were out there. We did an uncharacteristic amount of walking around, and also worked on the site, which is still waiting to see how things fall out.

Here we are at the beach in Lincoln City on our way down. As it was spring break weekend there were like 8 million driftwood fires on the beach. It was kind of gross.


This strangely moving image speaks to man’s inhumanity to man.


The weather was good in the way normal people mean the weather is when they say it’s good. In a concession to those normal people, we spent more time on Sunday walking around than hunkering down in our room. I’d like to say that I hated it, but it was a lot of fun.

Here is Hazel wandering in a verdant woodland.


Here is some extra verdancy.




Here is a majestic culvert.


Here is Hazel getting ready to tell us who lives in the middle of the earth in the land of Shire.



We ended up at the highest point on the Oregon coast.


Even after all that, we found time to walk along the beach in front of Ocean Haven later in the day.







This dead crab speaks to man’s inhumanity to man.