Saturday, March 31, 2007


So here are a few of the recipes that were shared at MNO last week. My sweet tooth says try the Scotcharoodies - sooo awesome! (Are those legible? Let me know -)

And here is my dish & recipe. I made the filling the day before (b/c it has to cool for at least an hour before being used). I made the dough at 5:45, rolled it out and started cutting circles at 6:10. With Paul's help, I finished cutting filling, folding, & crimping the pockets shut by 6:30. They came out of the oven at 7:05, and I got the party at 7:15. Not too bad...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Busy Little Bee

Gma Pat's Salad, originally uploaded by apkoski.

Aside from a coffee run and a walk with a friend, most of my day was spent in the kitchen yesterday.

I made:

- brownies that weren't good enough to share
- Chocolate Ginger Cookies that I did share
-a dinner entree sample that I also shared, at a BabyBootCamp mom's night out recipe exchange (and after sampling all of their entree & recipes, I've determined that I have a decidedly different idea of what is 'quick' and 'easy' for parents with young children to cook!). I made "Camel Pockets" from this guy's book.
- the famous no knead bread start
- Grandma Patterson's cauliflower salad, pictured.

I have to digress and say a few words about Grandma's salads. I think I loved them all as a kid, and remember having at least one to choose from at every family gathering; vegetable marinades, jello with sprite and fruit molds, jello with vegetables, fruit salads, cold spaghetti, 4-bean, that one with peas, bacon, and white dressing... what am I forgetting?

I also spent some time in Grace's kitchen yesterday:

... and in Danielle's for MNO (forgot the dang camera).
... and then again in my kitchen (Paul helped!):


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Us

It slipped by, the demarcation of the move that gave way to starting this Blog, narrowly missing Katrina, finding our first home, and assimilating ourselves into a different way of life, community, and friendships. Two years, one month, and a day ago, we completed our 6-day trek from here to here. It was a long, interesting, uncomfortable trip. All 2,600 miles of it. Visible in the pictures above (which are not in chronological order), we traveled through LA, TX, OK, KS, CO, WY, UT, & OR, a-la Google Maps guidelines.

For the first 2 months in town, we stayed in an apartment in inner NE Portland, supplemented by the Gov't (so you, lucky readers). I was never so bored - going from working 40 hrs./week to no work at all. To boot, all our belongings less clothes & toiletries were locked up in a warehouse in WA.
Luckily, we were 2 blocks from Trimet Fareless Square, so W. downtown was free and easy to get to. We didn't know how good we had it! I did some exploring, but mostly got lost downtown (half the maps are rotated 90 degrees, so N/S was actually E/W). I remember taking a jog around the waterfront (on one of those rare, non-hailing days) on one of those early days, and seeing a city work truck on which the "r" had been scratched off to read, "Potland, a city that works." Fun times.
We're happy to be settled now. If its anything like my last 3 moves, in two more years this should feel like home (yes, I assimilate s-l-o-w)!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Up, Up, Up.....

pot kettle boil, originally uploaded by apkoski.

- as in Wake Up (echoing in sync with those terrible repetitious question-marked meows at my bedside at 4:30 am)! I know, you're saying, "6:45 really isn't that early." That's just when I start making coffee.
I guess I could plug practically any musically-inspired quote into this pic. It's a black square, nearly a blank slate. This is my kitchen early Monday morning before daylight. This coming weekend would be the one when the time normally changes, but dubya made it happen 2 weekends ago (in order to reduce our energy use - by .1% of 1%, or something like that) . I'm really enjoying the light evenings, but waking up is a bitch, especially to that alarm clock.

No matter, its Spring Break! Woooo!! Its unfortunate that I have to share it with those pesky primary/secondary school kids, but what'cha gonna do? I've been trying to treat the week like a break, doing some extra sewing, taking naps, watch the MTV Spring Break show (so it really feels like SB), and baking/cooking some fun stuff - like brownies & my newest recipe: mung bean salad. Paul & I are also entertaining the idea of taking a hike, either in the Gorge or St. Helens (??). Any recommendations?

I'm trying to be a good girl, too. My thesis data gathering is on hold until I get 'permission' (human subjects approval), so in the mean time I'm trying to get the Lit. Review done. I put myself on the "Paragraph-A-Day" plan: sit down and write one paragraph each day. Its nice, not overwhelming, but I need a sponsor. Yesterday I wrote 2 sentences.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Update

Early Start, originally uploaded by apkoski.

Over the last 2 weeks, I've had an involuntary break from sewing, first to get my act together for my thesis, and then for my mom's visit. This and Wednesday morning, I did get some stitching done. This pic is of part of the kitchen project, which may be finally coming to a close. That's a good thing, as Martha would say. Other rooms need attention too.

Speaking of school, Spring Break is here! Tuesday I had my Proposal Meeting, and am approved to move forward. I'm planning to start collecting data as soon as my Human Subjects comes back next month, and then defend in late June/early July. I think it's weird that people plan whole studies and pretty much know what is going to happen. It's almost like cheating. I can't say with extreme confidence that I know what my results will say, which seems to freak my adviser out. Whatever. And before you start spelling out h-y-p-o-t-h-e-s-i-s in your comment, I know, I know It ain't true 'till we determine it's true, and even then it's still not truth ("even gravity is a theory," says Paul). Still, I think researchers try to "cheat" a bit in a preemptive, if I may, face-saving maneuver. Anyway...

Doesn't Mr. G. look pissed off? That's because I took him to the vet yesterday. He has a case of kitty acne, evident by the itchy flaky black bits falling off his chin. Kitty acne seems to be one of those medical mysteries, like ulcers in humans (until recently, I think - except for mine, another story). Possible causes/diagnoses of kitty acne: fungal, dirty pores/dirty food dishes, stress-induced, contracted from other kitties, or flea-related. Possible treatments: antibiotics, infection shampoo, flea drops, washing kitty dishes, or the contents of a teenager's medicine cabinet (Stridex & B. Peroxide). We're administering the former 2 twice daily.
I hate taking the poor dude to the vet. First, he always pukes either on the way there or on the way home (though this time was extra-special - puked to & foamed at the MOUTH from. That was freaky.) Anyway, he also wails like a baby, and enjoys being treated like a baby - likes to be held and offered a finger to suckle. He growls at the vet & assistant. It's just no fun. wAAAAA!

Oh, check out these napkins. A friend gave us a set of these beautiful things plus place mats back from Guatemala for helping out with her cats. After using them for the first time a couple weeks ago, I started rinsing a stain out of one (in cold water), and look what happened! The one on the left was rinsed, the right one was not. I'm about to try heat setting the color, but is there anything else I could try? I'd love to salvage the rest of the pile.

One more note - Paul & I will be DVR'ing this Discovery Channel show

- A

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Week in Review

Yesterday, due to car trouble, we escorted my Mom back to the airport via Trimet ("what an adventure," she said). We had a nice week! Mom & I spent a bunch of time outside moving dirt, digging the new bed, and shopping at the Nursery. The new compost/mulch is going to go far - like into our friends' and neighbors' yards after we've filled every nook & cranny of ours. That thar is a 'unit' of dirt, which appears to equivocate 2-4 cu. yd.
We've moved about half the pile so far. Just add vegetation...

Oh, and Paul has us beat on most dirt moved in 30 minutes - think he did 11 loads to my 4...

We planted lettuce, spinach, herbs, Stepables, day lilies, but still figuring out the best spots for the pussy willow, midnight blue rose, dahlia, gladiolas, and corokia cotoneaster (& pic).
Can't wait to host our first garden party (smashing good time, dahlings)!

Paul took Friday off, so that afternoon we all took the 19 downtown and walked around. We strolled to and through the riverfront park. Did the tourist thing, took pictures of stuff & each other.
We crossed the Steel Bridge.
Hiked up to Burgerville for a Chocolate Hazelnut Milkshake, a biennial treat. Then took the Max back downtown to Pioneer Square where enjoyed some some sun & watched people. Caught the 19 home and made our favorite pizza. Gluttonous.
Spent other parts of the week taking field trips to the RW&B Thrift (liked it -though no dressing rooms), JoAnn, and Freddies, sharing You Tube & Blog favorites, dining out on foods that are harder to find in IA, and sifting through the fabric & notions out of my grandma Pat's attic and my mom's suitcase (heavy!).
My Faves:

Good week. Now back to reality - I have a proposal meeting for my Thesis this week, and then comes Spring Break! I work too hard.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Cognitive Dissonance

In daily life, I am a health and fitness professional; duties encompass establishing myself as a role model and a teacher of good health/exercise practices.

Friday @ the store ~

Paul: "Did you get chocolate chips?"
Me: "Yep!" (proud that he put them on the list.)
Paul: "Mmmmm, cookies."
Mom: "I thought you were out of cocoa powder?"
Paul & I: "We are."
Mom: "Oh....?"
Me: "Mmmmm, brownies!"

- A

* Oh, and I'm still working on the garden photos. It's really hard to take pictures with dirty, muddy hands!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wine, please!

Whew! Mom's in town, so my gardening rate has doubled. We got a good start today - got several good looking plants & bulbs from the Nursery, received a gob of compost, and almost finished digging out the new bed. Related pictures tomorrow!

- A

Monday, March 12, 2007

Pear Patch

Pear patch, originally uploaded by apkoski.

Technically speaking, I guess a pear patch would probably have to be constituted of 11 or more pears (2 is a pair, 3 is a cluster, 4 is a group, and you know the rest, right?).

My mom is visiting us from Iowa this week. Among other things, we may find ourselves gardening, shopping, sewing, and/or antiquing. We can pretty much do what we want, since the weather is really shaping up. Last time she visited it was almost 100 degrees outside!

This weekend and today, I'm attempting to tidy up the guest room, which also happens to be where I do my crafting. I framed a brown burlap quadrilateral and propped it up on the shelf in the guest/craft room sometime last year, thinking that working at near-eye level to a 'blank canvas' would eventually motivate me to stitch something to it. I pushed it off, convincing myself that there was artistry in undisturbed, framed burlap. Well, there's nothing like a house guest deadline to motivate inspiration! Atop the fabric shelf are also 3 wool felt plush pears in peach, orange, and red. I figured a green pear might be a nice addition. (Unfortunately the light has been poor lately, so the photographed greens aren't quite right - maybe I can re-photo it sometime this week).

Back in the frame it goes, and I'm one step closer to preparing for my mom's arrival!


Tuesday, March 06, 2007


New Generation, originally uploaded by apkoski.

I just finished patchworking over the stripe in the kitchen towels on the right. I did the same with the ones on the left back in ought 5, though the towel came from the Depot.
Comparing the two got me wondering... can things evolve in reverse? I mean, can it get worse as time goes by? Not that I think that my towels are an example of such a phenomenon. They are organization is so... intelligent (I am pleased). Wait, I'm sorry. What about Charles Darwin? Regarding his theory, we are assuming that there is no possible way that the construction of latter kitchen towels have regressed in comparison with the former kitchen towels. I'd like to agree, but I don't know if an idea or a vision can be held to the same standard as a cellular being. Oh well. I like 'em.

Another thing I've been working with: invisible thread. It's like fishing line, and it sure beats searching for the spool cap every 5th minute! I see it used a lot when I'm out trolling for inspiration in the Home section of Anthropologie. Their aprons are very inspirational, by the way. On top of that, I stumbled upon more apron inspiration yesterday. Ready to tackle the next one. :)

- A

Sunday, March 04, 2007

If you Build it

Ready to Go, originally uploaded by apkoski.

Today we had the first good sunny day (all day) since President's Day Saturday. It was wonderful! While it spurred our neighbors on to take a dying tree down to its little nub, it inspired Paul and I to build - with wood - and hammers, etc.!
I made a trellis with the goals of it fitting in the 70 x 112" opening that is our front porch, and using up as much of the wood leftover from our Arbergola build last summer. Check, and check.
I just finished it a couple hours ago, and its such a monster that I'm a little afraid to hang it just yet. That's right, hang it. It'll be a seasonal trellis; up during climbing vine season, and down during the rest. Any suggestions on what to grow up it? (an annual, receiving full sun from noon to 5 pm-ish, can get sufficient water - if I water it).
Paul put together 2 wonderful Adirondack Chairs in half the time it took me to do the trellis, not counting the hardware run. They were a Christmas gift from my Mom & John - I know you were hoping we'd put them together over the holiday break, but we didn't want them to turn moldy green before we ever got to use them. The chairs are a clean palate, or ready to go minus a cup holder, depending on who you ask.

On the Verge

Spring, Sprang..., originally uploaded by apkoski.

This winter has been nice and relatively routine: the weather, school, work, cleaning, meal plans, running, holidays. It was comfortable, though I felt like I was in limbo most of the time - between fall and spring.
But now everything around me seems like its at the precipice of a tipping point. Honestly, it must be! I've been in a holding pattern for quite some time, (all winter, in fact); waiting for my thesis research to get off the ground (and therefore waiting to graduate this spring), waiting to hear about another part-time (but big potential) job, waiting to hear updates of my Grandma's declining health, waiting to sew with that surge of original creativity, and waiting to get out and garden & teach outdoor BBC. A few things on that list are beginning to turn, and I just hope that they're a sign that things are moving again!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Lots of potential

Lots of potential, originally uploaded by apkoski.

"But you sure have a lot of potential." Keep working hard.
That's what they say to people who just fall short on a job offer, team try-out, or a bad first attempt at a recipe. That's what I say about this apron. By the end of the ordeal, I was cringing a little, short of the ric-rac. By then I was wishing for a racy little number, maybe more lace or more leg. Maybe I'll like it better when I'm older...
But hey, I got to experiment with piecing and using my new cutting wheel/mat. Oh, glorious straight lines!