Saturday, May 31, 2008

A parenting strategy I can get behind.

"Sometimes I think the only way to deal with turbocharged kids is to give them even more sugar and lock them in a room with a TV set. As I know zilch about kids, this is my first (and last) means of coping, and it seem to work just fine."

-Hey Nostradamus!, Douglas Coupland

Monday, May 26, 2008

Reflections from the Highway

There were three things that I noticed time and time again while driving up the Oregon Coast Highway.

1) Espresso. Everywhere served espresso. Gas stations had giant "espresso" signs. And there were all these little shacks serving espresso. We're talking the size of a small bedroom or large bathroom. Just randomly up and down the highway. Serving espresso.

2) Signs selling things and liquor. We saw:
a) Gifts and Liquor
b) Pharamacy and Liquor
c) Herbal Apothocary and Liquor

3) Tsunami Zone! We must have entered and exited more than a dozen Tsunami warning zones. You are driving along and all of a sudden you at risk of death from a giant tidal wave! And then, 10 miles down the road, the risk passes. Only to re-emerge 15 miles later. Although the further North we go the more prepared they were. On top of the Tsunami Zone signs they had arrows pointing in the direction of Tsunami escape routes. Maybe you had to be there.

Run Little Man, Run!

Day 11 - Seaside

1) Cannon Beach
2) Oregon's Oldest Kite Store
3) The espresso cafe that had a memory book - that I wrote in and drew in - and which served me a cinnamon bun with "the works" (which was a combination of icing and rasperberries - and yes - it was delicious)
4) Mo's famous chowder! (which seriously, wasn't all the good)
5) A woman in Mo's chowder with the world's worst behaved "helper dog" ever! Not to be completely uncharitable, but either she bought a helper dog vest for her regular dog, or the helper dog training school has a lot to answer for.
6) Wine Tasting at the Yummy Wine Bar (whose name was seriously "Yummy Wine Bar")

Day 10 - Seaside

1) Blue Heron Smoked Cheese and Petting Zoo
2) Tillamook Cheese
3) "There's a van parked in front of your room. It belongs to Tim. It's broken and it's been there for a while"
4) On the boardwalk
5) Kites and Kites and more Kites
6) Playing checkers in the Seasdide Coffeehouse
7) Dinner in Astoria at T. Paul's Cafe - serving dinner for the past 9 years on a two burner gas stove.
8) Ordering White Zinfedel and being told it was a "wussy wine"
9) "Eat well, laugh often, love much"

Sunday, May 25, 2008

This week in Books

Roots - Alex Haley
This book was really good. As I was reading it I really enjoyed it. But for whatever reason, after I finished it, it didn't seem as good in retrospect. My favourite part was definetely the first 200 hundred pages when the main character is still in Africa. It made me want to read fiction/non-fiction about Africa and learn about a wide variety of communities exist - both today and historically.

The autobiography of Malcolm X
- Alex Haley, as told to by Malcolm X
This book was phenomenal. Seriously. I really really enjoyed it. It opened my eyes to a whole new dimension of African American thought, filled in many historical gaps in my knowledge, and more than that, was just a really compelling read of an exceptional individual. I am not usually one for biographies, so I really enjoyed getting an insight into the development of the thought of a truly influential man.

Blood Letting and Miracle Cures - Vincent Lam
This book won the Giller Prize in 2006 (I think) and it was widely thought to be deserving of a place on the short list, but as I recall, was a surprise winner. This book was great. I love fiction about doctors and hospitals, something that is so fascinating, but an occupation that I have neither the desire nor the aptitude to be a part of. Yet so crucial to modern human life. This book did a fabulous job of really getting into the minds of medical professionals throughout their careers and examined so many aspects of the human condition. The other thing I like about medicine is that it is so seemlessly multicultural, which is also reflected in the book. Four Stars!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tips for Healthy Living

This morning at Starbucks I could not help but overhear a seventy-something woman talking to a man who I deduced to be her seventy-something boyfriend about tips for healthy eating. Let me share them with you.

1) When at a buffet do not overeat.
2) Eat vegetables, but avoid potatoes.
3) Replace mayonnaise with salad dressing
4) If you are going to eat peanut butter you might as well eat rat poison.
5) Salt is spelled D-E-A-T-H, DEATH!

At this point I was pretty much eavesdropping, but then the subject turned from healthy eating, at which point I decided that enough was enough, to stop judging, and return to my work.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Day Nine - Lincoln City

1) Newport Rogue Brewery
2) Newport Aquarium
3) Big Purple Octopus
4) Otters!
5) A Viking pointing the way to our hotel (the Nordic Inn)
6) Beach as far as the eye can see
7) Having our feet in the Ocean off the coast of Oregon
8) The BlackFish Cafe - Oregon's best Chowder

Day Eight - Redwoods!

1) Lunch at applebees (do not recommend)
2) Banana Slug
3) Puppy Dog!
4) The hostel had a food dehydrator
5) Our first Seastacks and Monoliths!
6) "When you ride alone you ride with Bin Laden"
7) Tall Trees! Tall Trees! Tall Trees!
8) A very tall tree, which was once destined to become a dance floor (although clearly it was saved because we saw it)
9) Driving through a drive through tree!
10) Standing in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California
11) Running away from the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California (it was very cold)

Day Seven - San Francisco

1) Vignette: On the ferry to Alcatraz there was a little girl (about 2 or 3) who was crying on the second level of the ferry. As we made our way down to the first level while disembarking there was a little boy crying (who was about 3). When the little boy's parents saw the little girl crying, a big smile broke out over the mom's face who said to her son about the little girl "she could be your girlfriend" followed by "I'm glad you are not the only one". Yeah. Super cute.
2)"Machine Gun" Kelly
3) The officer's families lived on the island of Alcatraz, with the prisoners, and even had bowling alleys (plural) on the island where the kids of the prison guards would play.
4) Walking up and down Chinatown streets looking for the fortune cookie factory (which we finally found and took pictures of the ladies making fortune cookies!)
5) Union Square Overload
6) Cable Car!
7) The charming cable car operator's colourful language (many many "shits" and one "mother fucker")
8) Yummy Ice Cream Cookie Sundae
9) Buying chocolates for the women at work even though (as Devin pointed out) "you don't work there anymore)
10) Exploritorium!
12) Super cute and trendy Marina District
13) Dinner with small girls, old ladies and duck confit on the world's most heated patio
14) Watching the Sharks versus Dallas at the Irish Pub and when the Sharks won the bartender said to Devin "you wanted them to win right?" to which Devin replied "not really, I'm from Calgary"

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Day Six - San Francisco

1) Mission District and Murals and Real Life
2) Tartine bakery and croque monsieur and lemon tarts and bread pudding and hipsters
3) Golden Gate Park
4) Bison
5) AIDS memorial garden
6) Butterflies and Orchids
7) Sausilito
8) A disappointing ice cream sundae (to be rectified on day seven by an ice cream sundae at Ghirardelli)
9) 5 cases of coke - buy 2 get 3 free!

Day Five - San Francisco

1) Ghirardelli Square
2) Phantom of the Opera Music Boxes
3) A very busy cruise ship terminal
4) Chowder in a San Francisco Sour Dough bread bowl
5) Sealions - so many many sealions
6) Telegraph Hill - super pretty flowers - walking up and up and up
7) Lombard Street - walking (still up)
8) "Don't take pictures of children"
9) Bridge may fall in earthquakes - do not congregate in groups
10) Kama cupcakes
11) Fresh halibut - cooked in three packs of butter
12) Sunburn. Oh so sunburned.
13) Saltwater Taffy

Day Four - Driving

1) 10 hours of driving
2) Mount Shasta - greatest mountain ever!!
3) Rolling hills and wildflowers
4) While driving on the highway seeing a truck with a giant trailor with giant words painted on the side reading "Jesus Christ is Lord, Not a Swear Word" and not that this isn't true, but seeing it driving down the highway on the side of a truck in giant letters is another thing entirely.
5) Pho for dinner

Day Three - Portland

1) Cubano Coffee
2) Saturday Market (also on Sunday's)
3) Seeing the fork ring lost by Jenny from All Eyes on Jenny (I would link to the photo if my internet wasn't being slow)
4) Jewerelly made out of bottlecaps
5) Eating Lebanese food on the grass (and getting Lebanese food all over my jeans and the grass)
6) Me joking about Devin having a beer and elephant ear for lunch - and then a random lady saying "I am having a beer and elephant ear for lunch"
7) Dogs being wheeled around in a wagon
8) The Hawthorne District
9) Crazy Uphill drive to the Portland Zoo
10) Amazing Black Bears and Elephants
11) Single Moms and pregnant teens
12) Liz is scared of bats and Devin is not too fond of bugs
13) Buying cupcakes for later - and then eating cupcakes later
14) Trying to go to a pub for dinner - being thwarted and then having the best thai food ever!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Day Two - Portland

1) Walk to Pioneer Square to take touristy pictures
2) Walk to Chinatown - featuring many homeless people and a very large Adult Bookstore next to the Chinatown welcome gate.
3) Powell's book - One entire square city block of book store
4) Hot Dogs in Pioneer Square for lunch
5) Nordstroms - where I wanted to buy Devin a $130 Burberry tie. Sadly, that was not in the budget. And Devin isn't into being pretentious just for the heck of it like me :)
6) Ben & Jerry's
7) Saint Cupcake
8) Hanging out on 21st and 23rd - so many little shops with so many random things
9) Moonstruck Chocolate
10) Jake's Crawfish est. 1892
11) Devin eating a Crawfish boil (I will never order a crawfish boil - I most definetly do not have the patience)
12) Annex Bar in the Triangle Building's Underground Crypt with cool mosiac tiles, ruby beer and waitresses with style

Day One - Portland

As some of you may know, last week Devin and I returned from a fabulous holiday on the West Coast of the United States of America. I am going to blog about some of the highlights. I am doing this mainly for myself - as a written record of the trip - and the fact that you wonderful people will get to read it is only a secondary benefit.

1) The American border guard to Devin "how well do you know her?" "What does she do?"
2) Lunch at Jack in the Box (only in America)
3) Attending the launch of the Bridgeport Brewery launch of the new Strumptown Tart beer (including a signing by the model of the Bridgetown Brewery new Strumptown Tart Beer Model herself).
4) Making a run to Rite-Aid for contact solution while waiting to be sat for dinner at the Bridgetown Brewery which was unusually busy due to the launch of the new Strumptown Tart Beer Launch.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Road Triping and Gender Differences

May 2007
Liz: Oh my goodness this is so beautiful - look at the tree!
Alex: Oh my god, I know, it's amazing!
Liz: This is one of the coolest things ever!
Alex: Can you believe how amazing this is?
Liz: It is so amazing!!

May 2008
Liz: Oh my goodness this is so beautiful - look at this tree!!
Liz: Isn't this one of the most amazing things ever?
Devin: It's a tree.
Liz: But look how big and beautiful it is.
Devin: It's a tree.
Liz: I love you.
Devin: I know.
Liz: I was talking to the tree.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Since I haven't posted in a while I am going to give a rundown of all the films I have seen lately (to be followed later this week by all the books I have read lately).

August Rush
Starring Keri Russell and Jonathan Ryhs Meyers and some random cute kid.
Verdict: I love Keri Russell. I think she is beautiful. However. I talked through this whole movie and I NEVER talk through movies. I would not recommend. I would also not warn against.

Starring Keri Russell and Billy from Six Feet Under, now seen on Law and Order
For my thoughts on Keri Russell see above. This movie was great. The plot developments were somewhat predicable. But I will excuse this because the message was all lovely and heartwarming. The movie was also written and directed by Adrienne Shelly and I always like to see strong female filmmakers in Hollywood. In conclusion, it was fun to watch and I would recommend it on a night where you would enjoy a lovely movie about women, life, love and hope.

Lars and the Real Girl
Starring Ryan Gosling and Emily Mortimer
This movie was really great. If you like quirky, somewhat unexpected movies totally see it. That being said, it is totally the kind of movie that some people will hate, think is weird and totally not get. It is all awkward and makes you feel all awkward and turn to your viewing companion and say "what? oh my god? seriously?" Maybe not a great first date movie. Unless you want to test your date - in which case a great first date movie.

The Laramie Project
Starring: many many famous and nonfamous people
This film, which is also a play, is a compilation of actors playing the roles of real people using the real people's words, at the time of the brutal murder of Matthew Sheppard in Laramie, Wyoming who was killed because he was gay. It is the story of individuals, but more the story of a town. The message is that Laramie is not a place where something like this happens, but something like this did happen, so clearly Laramie is a place where this does happen. This movie was excellent. It was powerful. It was thought-provoking. It was moving. It was a movie that everyone, young and old, hip and sqare, male and female should rent. Seriously. Four stars.