Tuesday, March 15, 2016

You Can't Take This Guy From Me

It's hard to believe sometimes, but 21 years have now gone by since my nephew Morgan made his début on this plane of existence. A few days ago he successfully defended his thesis in some arcane aspect of mathematics/computer science theory, a few days from now we'll have sushi for lunch together, and then he'll dress up as the God of Calamity and take part in Seattle's Sakura-Con with his friends Kyle, Alex, Callie, and Allison, all of whom I had the pleasure of meeting last month in Corvallis. I don't see Morgan as much as I used to when he was younger, when I used to take him out for sushi - wasabi is best introduced to a child before he reaches the age of 3, I find - or some other ethnic cuisine, or we'd go play silly nickel games at Wunderland, or just hang out and play word games or mess around in the kitchen. I'm looking forward to doing more of that over the next year while he's finishing his accelerated Master's program at Oregon State and before he heads out for PhD work at whatever university is lucky enough to get him on their roster, ready to spend his days pondering chaos theory. Ganbatte kudasai Mr. M - I love you. Happy birthday and many more!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

La Vie Engloutie

Walking on the Willamette waterfront, March 4.

One of the pieces that I used to attempt occasionally, back in my early high school days when I'd spend hours practicing the piano, is Claude Debussy's La cathédrale engloutie. I don't have the time to devote to music that I used to, though perhaps that will change in the future. Right now I'm submerged in a very enjoyable daily life, but one that's so routine - out the door by 7am, at work all day, home by 7pm, an evening here or there out with friends or at an arts event, weekends spent freelancing or procrastinating relaxing or visiting family in Sunriver Gresham Corvallis - that they don't seem worth blogging about, or I never find the time to download the pictures and talk about it.

Snowshoeing on top of 100 inches of snow at Mt. Bachelor, January 18

It hasn't helped that my computer has slowed down to a speed that ENIAC would mock, so messing about with photo editors and blogging platforms hasn't been as much fun as usual. But I'm getting closer to buying a new one, which I hope will usher in a new era of productivity. Watch this space.

Pastels and paleo in SE Portland's Sunnyside neighborhood, February 27.

I've been enjoying Portland, whether that's wandering around familiar or new areas, or hanging out downtown. There are enough new places to eat that I'm constantly tempted to spend money on dinners out, but end up cooking at home more often than not. Previously-existing and newly-discovered dietary restrictions make eating out in a lot of places challenging, though I was pleased to see a good percentage of the Portland Dining Month offerings are reasonably gluten- and dairy-free (the savvy restaurateurs anticipating questions from people like me, probably).

Often more tempting is the wide range of fresh fish, vegetables, local grass-fed meat, and generally good-quality ingredients I can get at places like Flying Fish on Hawthorne, where I stopped on my way home yesterday to buy a pound of fresh smelt, so fresh that they breathed an air of the ocean when I opened the package, a clean briny whiff of the Pacific, where I still have not dipped my toes since I got back to Oregon, something that must soon change.

After gutting and cleaning the fishy fishy fish, I tossed them in rice flour and a bit of salt and deep-fried them in small batches in Quyen's wok, keeping them warm in the oven until they were all done. Quyen was busy putting together a sauce gribiche of sorts (mayonnaise, capers, cornichons, parsley, lemon juice - probably more of a sauce tartare, actually) and a salad with the greens I bought at Kruger's Farm, conveniently next to Flying Fish. She steamed cauliflower and tossed it with more lemon and parsley, and we had a feast. I made a sandwich from a few of the fish with the leftover salad and a little sauce for lunch today, and the rest of the leftovers are now marinating with minced spring onions, lemon juice, and parsley. I've got a chicken to roast and some beef to stew, and am looking forward to spending time in the kitchen this weekend, especially now that the weather has turned rainy again. I'm glad I got down to see the cherry blossoms on the waterfront when I did; some of the trees might be a bit ragged after the front that's slowly moving into the metro area right now.

Hana ni arashi.