I Did Something Horrible to My Toe

Okay, I just had my second-most-bizarre injury yet. WARNING: GRAPHIC TOE STUFF.
 
So I was walking across the dining room and got my big toe caught in the hem of my pajama pant bottom, bending my toe in and causing me to put all my weight on that poor, folded big toe, resulting in a giant CRACK sound.
 
It was weirdly painless, but I could tell something terrible had happened. After determining that I could move said toe, I decided to try to walk it off. I was then that a thin thread of blood appeared at the base of my toenail, and in a burst of horror, I realized the CRACK sound was me snapping my toenail at the base!
 
Then the stinging started. Then shock set in. I sat on chair, trying not to faint/barf while Sid and Scott brought me ibuprofen, warm wet washcloths, cold wet washcloths, a bowl, a band-aid, and eventually a cold pack.
 
I’m steady now and can hobble around, but super dreading losing my toenail. I’ve never done that before–I’ve never been a sports-type of person. What’s next? Ooh, I’m gonna barf.
Oh–in case you’re curious, my first-most-bizarre injury happened when I was 11. I stepped on a wooden toothpick and it went through my foot and you could see it on both sides. I think I almost barfed then, too.
 

Happy Monday! Oh My God That Baby

img_0224Happy Monday! On a Monday! What the what? I’m sure you’re tired of hearing this, but the last two weeks have been totally nuts. Here’s a brief rundown of what I’ve been up to:

GeekCraft Expo Seattle has been announced for December 10 and 11 at the Seattle Center (Facebook event)! This is very exciting for me, because GeekCraft Expo PDX was so successful and so fun. It’s also pretty nerve wracking, because I don’t know Seattle as well as I do Portland, so I’m feeling the pressure to get the word out. So far the response from exhibitors has been fantastic . . . I just don’t want to get overconfident.

The Doubleclicks are part of the Portland Mercury‘s The Undisputable Geniuses Of Comedy show September 16–and then embark on a California tour with Lucia Fasano, with stops in Santa Clara, Oakland, Burbank, and West Hollywood. Then, get ready for the Lucia Fasano CD Release Party with The Doubleclicks & More October 15 at Books with Pictures!

You can hear The Doubleclicks and Lucia Fasano on Geek in the City, a delightful podcast hosted by Aaron Duran.

Whew! Then, it was Rose City Comic Con this weekend, which means we had a ton of comics creators and other friends pouring into town. It was dinner party city here, which was a lot of fun for me, but so much work. Here are the recipes I used:

Dinner Party #1: We had Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá over, with Diana Schutz and Bob Schreck.

I was super prepared for this dinner party, so everything went smoothly. Everyone even wanted coffee with dessert, so I could feel like a real-life grownup and use the little coffee cups and saucers that came with my wedding china. Yes!

Dinner Party #2: Team Hellboy

Whenever I feed Mike Mignola, I have this crazy urge to serve him tentacles, which is what brought me to paella. Although this recipe didn’t include squid, so–ah well. This menu was also great because one of our guests is gluten free. I wasn’t quite as well prepared for this dinner, because I clogged our sink with potato skins (never again! I promise!) so my husband had to take everything out of the cabinet and work under there for half an hour to save my irresponsible self.

Rose City went well. I always have a small freakout before dealing with the public, even when (and sometimes especially when) it’s packed with people I know, or at least know of. But I talked to all the crafters, caught up with some pals, and even scored a Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men t-shirt.

But Elisabeth, you’re probably wondering, what’s with the “That Baby” title? What’s with the picture at the top of this post?

The other thing keeping me so busy is my about-to-turn-two bundle of snuggles and destruction, Sarah. She got hold of a red Sharpie (damn you Scott Allie and your editor’s trove of red pens!) and covered our couch in permanent ink in less than two minutes. Like, I was cooking, I realized she had gone very quiet, I went into the parlor, and . . . oh my god. This was the day of the Hellboy party, so I had to quickly turn the cushions over and give myself a hard mental shake. Fortunately, it’s an 11-year-old couch, and I had already scheduled a cleaning for it the next day (didn’t help the Sharpie, but the rest looks 100% better), but . . . still! I may try rubbing alcohol and see what I can do.

Whew! I got tired just typing this, so maybe I need iron or something. How was your week? Any magical Sharpie-removal tips to share? Help!

Yes You Do Have Time for Breakfast: Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothie

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Yummy Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothie!

Breakfast, according to the popular saying, is the most important meal of the day. I ask: why does it have to be so early? When I am sleepy? While I used to take that extra 20 minutes for sleep, with two kids and a husband to feed, I no longer have that option. So I try to find quick, healthy (ish), filling breakfasts like this Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothie!

I had to make this smoothie a few times. My first couple of efforts weren’t banana-y enough, and I like a really thick smoothie (thin ones kind of gross me out). But I made this for my husband and I this week and . . . I finally got it!

Packed full of protein, fiber, calcium, multiple vitamins and nutrients and (let’s not hide from this) fat, this is a full, satisfying meal that is absolutely delicious! And it takes about 60 seconds to make. So without further ado:

Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothie

Serves 2
You Need:

3 frozen bananas, cut into chunks
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky, your choice)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup ice cubes

Place everything in a blender and blend! Pour into two pint glasses and garnish with additional cinnamon, if desired. Drink!

You can, of course, omit the cow’s milk and yogurt and replace them with almond or soy milk; leave out the honey if your milk is sweetened.

Who’s going to try it? Do you have a quick, tasty breakfast to recommend? Post below!

Happy Wednesday! GeekCraft Expo Seattle and Food Porn

Snickers Cake

Oooh . . . Snickers!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Hope you’re having a good week. Those with kids probably sent them off for the first day of school (*sniff*), but in any case, the last day of August always feels like the end of summer to me, even if it isn’t technically (that would be September 21).

But no worries. There’s tons of fun stuff happening this fall, in addition to Halloween! And Thanksgiving! Here we go:

Geekery

The Doubleclicks, Portland’s beloved folk-geek sister band, is everywhere this September: Dragon*Con in Atlanta 9/4, as a guest of nerd podcast supreme Geek in the City 9/7, in Portland for Rose City Comic Con and at Dante’s 9/10, then at the Portland Mercury‘s “The Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy” show at Revolution Hall 9/16–plus “Snakes on the Radio” tour dates in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Get the Doubleclicks’ tour schedule!

For many of these shows they’ll be pairing up with actor/comedian/musician Lucia Fasano, who Kickstarted her debut album, “Radio Silence,” through Doubleclicks Records, the band’s new record label! Not only did it fund in one day, but with seven days to go, it’s 187% funded!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/luciafasano/lucia-fasanos-debut-album-radio-silence/widget/video.html

The Doubleclicks are no slouches: they recently posted an amazing cover of Hamilton‘s “History Has Its Eyes on You.”

Remember GeekCraft Expo PDX, the amazing craft fair featuring handmade geeky goods by local artisans? Come on, I posted about it constantly. Well, we’re proud to announce that we’ll be debuting GeekCraft Expo Seattle December 10 and 11 at the Seattle Center! Right now we’re looking for amazing exhibitors to submit their applications by November 18.

The Portland show was incredible–as someone who has worked a lot of comic book conventions, I was blown away by the quality and originality of the crafts. Plus, the show is free to the public and family friendly. What’s not to like?

Speaking of comic book conventions, Portland’s Rose City Comic Con is next week! It’s been so exciting to see this show grow . . . and grow over the past few years. It’s an excellent show with some pretty high-profile guests this week–John Cusack, Stan Lee, Denise Crosby–and it showcases the best of the comics scene, so go!

I’m especially excited because with the influx of awesome comic book creators to Portland, we’re hosting back-to-back dinner parties, and going to some fun events as well. A multiple Eisner-winning creator actually contacted my husband to “reserve” a dinner at our table, so I was very flattered.

Finally, a shoutout to my husband, Scott Allie: the final issue of his series with creator Mike Mignola, Abe Sapien, is out today. I got a chance to read Abe Sapien #36 early, and all I can say is it’s a fitting end–and beginning?–for one of Hellboy’s most interesting characters. If you don’t have a local comic shop, order Abe Sapien #36 from TFAW!

Food Porn

But Elisabeth, where’s the food porn? Oh my goodness, readers. I made the best cake yesterday. It was my brother’s birthday, and every year, he gives me a birthday cake challenge. I’ve done a peanut butter cookie dough cake, a chocolate malt cake, and a 100 Grand cake, but the Snickers cake by Brown Eyed Baker he chose this year was the best. So fun to make: salted caramel sauce! Nougat filling! But damn, it was delicious. Here’s another pic:

Snickers2

So what are you up to? Post below!

Last Gasp of Summer

summer vacation Slurpees

Slurpees yesterday before we went to the pool–proof that we had fun (and sugar).

It’s the last day of summer, and I’ve been struggling holding back tears all week because I am that mom/stepmom/nanny (seriously, I cried when I was 19 and my 6-year-old charge went off to first grade–sorry Allie). Yes, Sid is entering middle school, and I am gripped by panic and guilt.

Did I use our summer productively? Did we have enough fun? Did I enrich Sid and Sarah’s lives and brains with culture, and challenges, and new experiences? Well . . . if watching Bob’s Burgers counts, the answer is a resounding yes.

summer canteloupes

All that work for two . . . two canteloupes that smelled better than they tasted. The anticlimactic flavor of summer (don’t even ask about the tomatoes).

In all seriousness, yes, we went to the zoo and on vacation, and swimming, and to the library every week for Tiny Tots. Sarah and Sid completed their summer reading challenges today (Sid read a lot of Archie). We watered the garden (occasionally) and made a ginger bug to make our own lemonade soda (turns out Sid does not like the taste of ginger), but mostly, it just feels like summer went by too quickly. Sid had at least five weeks of summer camps, and a huge chunk of my day is still taken up with Sarah’s naps and freelance projects (one big reason this blog has been slow).

But this summer is over, and we have a limited number of summers, and really, we might not have one like this again. Sid is 11, he needs less supervision and wants more independence, and that is a natural thing, a great thing. But man–right now I just want to capture this summer and keep it, fill the last few hours with everything wonderful and lovely and memorable and special.

I think this means more Slurpees.

Burn Baby Burn

We passed a milestone as parents this past weekend: first trip to the emergency room with Sarah, who got second degree burns on her palms after trying to climb some metal bars at the playground on a 93-degree day (we at first thought it was the slide, but retraced her steps and realized the real culprit). It was shocking and scary and frustrating, but I also felt a new, completely unexpected feeling: detachment.

Sarah will be two in September. Now, two is an age I’ve heard about ad nauseam: Ah, the terrible twos! Followed by the extremely annoying term threenager (apparently three-year-olds are total bitches). But I have a question: why does no one talk about the super-injury-prone age of one?

At 22 months, Sarah can walk, run, and climb just well enough to be constantly covered with bruises and scratches. She understands us well enough, but can only communicate the very simplest ideas: she wants maa–her word for milk–she wants to go to the pool, or, denied that, she plaintively asks, Baaa?–her word for bath.

She has no idea of the most basic dangers. During our trip to Wyoming, we did a mad dash to urgent care because she placed her hands in a door jamb and got her fingers pinched. I was holding her at the time and heard a cracking sound that lodged in my throat. I panicked as she cried, handing her over to Scott and wringing my hands and wailing as others gave her ice and looked for urgent care locations. I struggled to pull it together, finally bundling her into the car, naked in a diaper, and riding with her into town.

While we returned with her clothed and shod (I at least brought clothes with me) and a verdict of parental overreaction (it was the wood that cracked, not her little fingers, she was fine), I was ashamed of my extreme distress. After all, I’m Sarah’s parent: I’m supposed to be calming her and getting her to safety, not falling apart.

Compared to the finger pinch, the burns on her hands were much more gruesome–giant, angry blisters destroying her tiny little palms. It was the sort of injury you see and wonder, Will that leave a scar? But I did manage to hold it together, sitting with her in the back seat of the car while Scott drove us to the hospital. I thought about her little fingers in Wyoming and pushed my panic down, smiling and telling her that everything would be just fine, we were going to the doctor right now to make everything all better.

Weirdly enough, it worked like a charm. Sarah calmed down and laughed while we sang our ABCs together (her new favorite song). And the more I talked to her, the more I believed that everything would be fine. I stopped looking at her burns as a scary injury, or an indictment of my parental skills, and saw it as an accident that we were going to treat as quickly anas possible.

In the days after her grand ordeal, Sarah has done the following: tipped over in her tiny deck chair onto a brick patio, tumbled down the back porch steps, banged her head (while goofing around) into a wooden stair, and rammed her head into a wall (again, while goofing around). Today, she tripped during a visit to Sid’s new middle school and hit the floor.

And while I cringe at every tumble–and try to watch her ever-more carefully, I swear–I’ve noticed that new steel in my nerves as she hurls herself into my arms, crying Mommy! and I murmur, I’m sorry, everything will be okay. Because I am the parent. And I am going to buy that silly baby a helmet.

Last Gasp of Summer: Free Things to Do in Portland

Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden at Grant Park

The Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden at Grant Park in Portland. How have I never been here?!? From left: Ribsy, Ramona, and Henry.

I don’t mean to stress you out, but there’s only four more weeks of summer. Summer vacation, that is. At least, school starts for Sid August 29 (what the heck happened to school beginning after Labor Day?) and with our final weeks flashing before my eyes, I realized I needed to make a list. Of course. So here’s my curated list of free things to do in Portland this August.

Fountains

On a hot summer day, there’s nothing better than getting blasted by Portland’s fountains! This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I think the best ones are here:

Downtown Portland

Salmon Street Springs
Waterfront Park, Naito Parkway at SW Salmon
The classic. Large, right on the waterfront, plenty of firepower (waterpower?).

SalmonSprings

Sid and his friend Ernie enjoying Salmon Springs Fountain last summer!

Ira Keller Forecourt Fountain
Keller Fountain Park, between SW 3rd & 4th Ave, Market & Clay
The large concrete structures make this a fun one. I got in trouble in the third grade on a Bible study field trip by walking through one of the waterfalls, fully clothed. In retrospect, I would have been in much more trouble if I had been naked, right?

Teachers Fountain
Director Park, SW Yamhill & Park Ave
This is a new park and fountain. Not a lot of excitement, but great for toddlers and small children. Also good for foot soaking. Near Nordstrom.

SE Portland

The Rose Petal
Stark Street Island Park, SE 106th & Stark
I have never been here, and I cannot help but wonder what SE Portland did to be denied any close-in fountains. Am I missing something?

NE Portland

Grant Park Fountain
NE 33rd Ave & US Grant Pl
This is also the location of the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden–and they’re part of the fountain! I will be going here immediately.

Holladay Park Fountain
Holladay Park, NE 11th & Multnomah
I have not personally been here, but the Portland Parks & Recreation site says, “The fountain has programmable nozzles and valves on several plumbing loops to create a playful atmosphere of surprise trajectories and timing sequences.”

Woodlawn City Park
NE 13th Ave & Dekum St
I played at this park with Sid during the first year of Trek in the Park (in 2009!). Four-year-old Sid highly recommended the water feature.

NW Portland

Jamison Square Fountain
Jamison Square, between NW Kearney & Johnson, and NW 10th & 11th Avenues
Extremely popular, was near a good ice cream place last time I visited.

N Portland

Dawson Park Fountain
Dawson Park, N. Stanton & Williams
I don’t wanna wait–for our lives to be over . . .

McCoy Park Fountain
McCoy Park, N. Trenton & Newman Ave

Suburbs

Beaverton City Fountain Park
12500 SW 4th St, Beaverton, OR 97005
Oh, this fountain is a lot of fun. The streams of water are so high! Plus it’s right across the street from the library.

Lake at the Commons Interactive Fountain
8325 SW Nyberg St, Tualatin, OR 97062
Full disclosure–I grew up in Tualatin, and they built the Tualatin Commons–referred to by my brother and me as the “fake lake”–while we were in high school, closing a major road and screwing up traffic. All for a lake you were not allowed to swim in, ringed by restaurants that would open with great aplomb and then slowly wither on the vine, quickly replaced with other venues that would soon do the same, mostly because–they closed the damn road and no one could see them while driving by! Ahem. The fountain was still pretty fun. Also, I think the wine bar finally stuck.

Tualatin Commons Fountain

Tualatin Commons Fountain. The only good picture I could find (from Wikimapia) was apparently taken on a cold, rainy day. Typical!

Movies

I’ve always loved the idea of Portland’s free movies in the park. Movies under the stars, where I can cuddle up to my husband and bring a lavish picnic! I think I’ve been to exactly two, and one was an accident. But I am determined to go at least once this summer. Depending on the location (either public park or private business), there’s usually pre-movie entertainment, and the films start at dusk (around 9 pm).

Here’s the full schedule from Thrillist, with my picks below.

August 3:
Office Space
Pix Patisserie / Bar Vivant (2225 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214)
This isn’t exactly free, as you will not be able to resist Pix’s exquisite desserts or excellent selection of wine. Mike Judge’s genius ode to passive-aggressive (leading to aggressive-aggressive) ins and outs office life, starring Ron Livingston. Opens at 7 pm; movie starts at dusk.

August 6:
The Goonies
Wilkes Park (NE 154th & Beech)
You’re not too cool for this movie. Go see the source material for Netflix’s Stranger Things. Opens at 6:30 pm; movie starts at dusk.

August 14:
Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens
April Hill Park (SW 58th & Miles)
I’m going to this one, by hook or by crook! Opens at 6:30 pm; movie starts at dusk.

August 18:
Jaws
Elizabeth Caruthers Park (SW Moody & Gaines)
True story: I lived on Martha’s Vineyard, where this movie was filmed, for several years. Pretty much every middle-aged denizen of the Rock was an extra in this movie! Opens at 6:30 pm; movie starts at dusk.

August 20:
Best in Show
Sewallcrest Park (SE 31st & Market)
This movie gives me life! If for some reason you haven’t seen it, click the title for the trailer (I linked to all the trailers in the titles). Opens at 6:30 pm; movie starts at dusk.

August 31:
Rocky
Pix Patisserie / Bar Vivant (2225 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214)
ADRIAN! Opens at 7 pm; movie starts at dusk.

Multnomah County Library Locations and Events

I renewed my relationship last year with the Multnomah County Library last year after almost 20 years, and I’m so glad I did! There are 20 branches in the Portland area, and they’re all full of wonderful things for you–and the vast majority are free.

Did you know that you can put a hold on any book, DVD, or most any other library material online, and they will deliver it to your local branch? It’s amazing. Do that.

There’s still time to complete your Summer Reading game board, open to babies, children, and teens! There’s even a Bingo version for adults. Win prizes and read amazing books for free!

The storytimes at the library are wonderful–much better than the weak “singalong” class I paid for through Portland Parks & Recreation. There are events for babies, toddlers, young children, and families!

Want to brush up on your computer skills or get tech help with a device? Get it for free at the Multnomah County Library’s computer and technology classes.

Need your resume polished? The library has you covered.

Other events (and I’m just scratching the surface): arts and crafts classes that include making seed balls and an “all-you-can-make” art bar, book clubs, citizenship classes, and lectures and author talks that include a one-hour cheese class, a talk on Vanport, earthquake preparedness, Etsy basics, free-range poetry, and much more!

There are literally dozens of other fascinating events at the Multnomah County Library, see all of their events here!

Phew! I feel much more in control of my life with this list. What other free things have I forgotten? Post them below!