Archive for July, 2008

Wednesday, July 23

I had to get up early today to make it over to our label printer for press checks.  I was dragging, for sure.  I don’t like early morning anything, except for when a Bardo moment happens and I write a great poem or some excellent prose.  No, there was no Bardo here.  Just me cursing the alarm, even if it is a Zen chime, and fighting tired eyes that were refusing to open.  I barely made it into the shower.  And I lingered longer than I should have, which made me rush through the rest of my morning to get out the door in time.  It was going to be a long day.  Really.  I had a dinner to go to at 8:30 p.m., so, yeah, I’d be pulling about a 15.5 hour day.

I got a tall Cinnamon Dolce Latte at Starbuck’s and the nice barrista gave me a coupon for a complimentary tall iced latte.  Cool.

When I got to the office I checked e-mail and got some work in before heading out to the winery to prep for our big event tomorrow.  Part of the staff was busy cleaning the place – it looked amazing!  I cleaned out the hurricane lamps and votive candles, and I pulled out the wine and organized it so that we’d have an easy start tomorrow.  Things seemed to be moving along well.  We were a tired lot, but we were in good spirits about the way the place was turning around, even with the challenges of construction and all.

Several hours later, and yawning like crazy, I left the winery to drive back to the office in downtown Newberg.  On my way, I passed the same usual grassy field, dried, cut and yellowed, and noticed the same wily coyote I had seen a couple of weeks ago.  I knew it was the same creature – I recognized his sly smile, thin, arched back with fur that seemed to grow upstream rather than downstream, all rough, wild and callicky.  He looked me in the eye again.  So direct was he!  I wondered if there was significance to meeting this coyote twice.  I imagined this coyote was a kind of muse.

Back at the office I worked on some more administrative things for the event.  I got some other work done, as well.  Mostly, I had to wait around for 8:30 to come up, waiting for my dinner appointment.

My boss and I met with the visiting chef and his three-man crew at Painted Lady in Newberg.  I had the gazpacho topped with shrimp.  Then, I had the pan seared steelhead.  My boss ordered a few bottles of local wines, beginning with a rose.  We had a Riesling and then a lovely Pinot.  My dinner was guaranteed gluten free, was was assuring to me.


After, I took the crew of chefs to Lumpy’s in Dundee for a round of bourbon and pool.  It was a fun evening with a cool group of Seattle chefs.  I was pleased to make new friends.



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Tuesday, July 22

This morning I woke up at 8:00 a.m. well rested.  I noticed the spare bathroom toilet leak was getting worse and dripping in two places.  I put a towel down to soak up the mess and emptied out the stainless steel bowl I put under the pipe to collect the other dripping area.  This was now getting really annoying.

I smeared an invigorating mint and clay facial mask while I got myself together.  Downstairs, I heated up a gluten-free blueberry muffin while I started caring for the orchids.  I took them out of the plastic, still in their terra cotta pots, and, per the instructions I received by a very energetic and knowledgable plant and floral department rep at Trader Joes, I drizzled water over the roots and into the dirt, not too much but enough to dampen the soil thoroughly.  I kept the plants out of direct sun.  And I even talked to them this morning because they were so pretty and inspired me. 

I drove to work with lots of purpose and joy for the kind of work I’ve been doing, the event planning.  Coming fresh out of a meeting with the event production company, my thoughts were dancing with smooth river stones, beautiful metalics and orchids.

I worked a long day and didn’t leave until 7:00 p.m.  I had been painting the names of our dinner guests onto the large, smooth river stones.  They looked really lovely.

When I got home, I was relieved the property management finally sent someone over to fix the leaky toilet.  I changed and walked over to the gym.  I walked hard for thirty minutes while talking to my mother.  There’s nothing like multi-tasking!

I knew I was going to need my energy for the next several days of IPNC and dinners out.  I would have to be careful with my gluten intake and be sure to choose wisely what I would eat.  It was going to be a challenge!

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Monday, July 21

I dashed off to an industry meeting first thing in the morning, to which only two of us showed up.  It was a quick and thorough meeting. 

I did a lot of event planning today and the day seemed to fly by.  By 2:00 p.m. my colleague and I left for Portland to meet up with our account manager at West Coast Event Productions.  We ordered all of the table settings and dressings.  It was very exciting and fun.  We selected some amazing pieces that were going to create elegant, lovely dining tables for our pre-IPNC wine dinner event.  Two hours later, we left and I was on a mission to stop by the Trader Joe’s in Lake Oswego in search of the perfect orchids for our floral scheme.

I drove to Lake Oswego and arrived at the Trader Joe’s by 5:30 p.m. and was assisted by a very friendly and knowledgable woman who helped me pick out the orchid plants and instructed me on how to care for them and prepare them for our event.  Basically, I was going to cut the flowers and lay them in the centers of the tables, placed between smaller, scattered smooth river stones.  It was going to be gorgeous.

I got home and went to the gym for a good forty-minute run.  I was feeling pretty good.  I thought about how much I loved the event planning part of my job, how I loved creating memorable, elegant experiences.  I held that joy inside and tried to harness it and feel great about my strengths, my skills and my work.

I worked on revising the first chapter of my novel.  I worked on shaping the natural speaking voice of my main character.  I was focused, but could only produce about 4 pages worth of edits.  This was going to be a long, arduous process.  But one worth the effort.  I fully believe when I finish this round of revisions, the book will be ready for an agent and publisher.  This gave me great hope and satisfaction.

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Sunday, July 20

I slept in, which was lovely.  I stripped down my bed and put in a load of laundry.  I emptied the dishwasher and then read some.

I drove to Sherwood to the Target to look for some decorations for the pre-IPNC wine dinner.  I found some large, flat river stones that I’m going to use in place of place cards.  I picked up a couple of metallic gold paint pens to write names down on the river stones.  And then I bought some smaller river stones to place loose on the tables.

From Target I drove to the Mt. Tabor neighborhood for some much needed yoga at my favorite studio, Yoga Union.  I went to the 3:30 Hot Flow class, which means the studio was hot like Bikram, and the movements were really challenging.  This afternoon’s focus was on the shoulders.  It was a  great overall body workout, but a nice, strengthening shoulder flow.  I sweat like crazy.  And…I was distracted by a very cute, muscular twenty-something man. 

Mid-way through the class he took off his shirt, and at first I kept trying to look away.  I kept telling myself to focus!  But I couldn’t stop peeking.  It was like a train wreck, only beautiful.  He was astonishing!  I felt like a voyeur as I continued to glance at his perfect muscles as they rippled and hardened with each challenging yoga pose.  I watched the sweat glisten on his body and, for a moment, I wanted to be the sweat glistening on his body!  I had to cool off – only it was 96 degrees in the studio!  The good news was that, after being in a fog for over two years, I realized that I wasn’t angry, sad or afraid of men anymore – if it’s fair to put my feelings into that light.  The good news was that all of those negative thoughts were out of my system, and in a good, healthy yoga class I found my romantic prana.  And it made me smile.  Blush, too.  It was an awakening.

After my class I took a cold shower in the locker room.  I scrubbed my hair clean, and used an exfoliating wash cloth to slough off the dead skin cells.  I felt clean and renewed after my hard and invigorating workout.  I drove down to the Pearl District and met Kerry for dinner at Bay 13.  I was in the mood for sushi.  The highlight was their Manhattan with the luscious amarone cherry.  It’s one of the best Manhattans in town.  I also had the Bay 13 sushi roll with wheat-free tamari sauce. 

We were seated outside on the loungey sofas with a view of the 24 Hour Fitness gym.  We kept gawking at all of the cute men walking in and out.  We called Susan and convinced her to meet us out.  We were, after all, celebrating Summer Sundays.  I came up with this concept back when we had an unusually hot spell in May.  It was the Sunday of that weekend that we convened at Clyde Common and drank bubbles and I declared it the start of Summer Sundays – when we’d meet for good food, good cocktails, good wine and no worries bout the fading weekend.  The thought was to launch the work week on a good note with an enjoyable Summer Sunday.  It was kind of like a Jimmy Buffet concept, really.

So, tonight was no exception.  Susan met us for dinner.  The weather was great and there were so many attractive men to look at in this neighborhood – a perfect combination for this group of sassy, free spirited women! 

After Bay 13, we walked along 13th Street toward Powell’s at the other end of the Pearl.  We went to Mio Gelato and ordered our favorite summer treat.  I had a small cup with one scoop of Mascarpone and one scoop of Cioccolato gelato.  It was divine.  We wandered through Powell’s and just loved being in the company of so many books.  I didn’t buy anything, as I forgot my book list that I created at Summer Fishtrap.

I got home and was really content.  My energy is good.  I feel good – balanced and really happy.  I could write that good things are to come.  But, that’s life.  You get good times and bad times cycling in and out of your days.  I went through a bad patch with my accident and my current financial stress.  But, I really do feel good things coming – both on the literary front and in the places in my heart.

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Saturday, July 19

I got up, ate some fresh cantaloupe and headed over to Kadel’s Auto Repair to get stuff out of my car.  It was hard to see my Goldie Hawn left behind in an auto body shop.  The damage was about $3000, not including labor.  I would have to report the figure to the DMV, as it is Oregon law to report any accident damage starting at $1500. 

Kadels was right by Washington Square Mall, so I did the irresponsible thing and headed over for some retail therapy.  I picked up a few cute summer shirts and a dress.  Everything was on sale, so I felt good about that.  On my way home, I caught up with my sister on the phone.  She mentioned that our brother was going through a rough time and might call off his engagement. 


I got home and hung up my new stuff, made healthy nachos for a late lunch, then began working on edits for my novel, following my first writer’s group meeting on Wednesday.  I ran the dishwasher and played with India and Capri, working out some clumping on Capri’s back.  Her fur practically turns into dread locks, only short and uneven.


I talked to my mom for a bit, mostly to check in on my brother.  I talked to him briefly, long enough to be there for him as he shared that he was, in fact, going to break off the engagement at 8:00 p.m., east coast time.  I could hear the turmoil in his voice.  He loved her.  He just couldn’t go through with the wedding and marriage.  I think he knew, in his heart and in his gut, that she didn’t love him the way he loved her.


My stomach was in knots.  At 4:45 I was watching Rocky II (which might be my favorite Rocky movie – I mean, it was called ‘The Rematch of the Century’!!) and he was well into his fight with Apollo Creed, getting a beating to the face, and all I could think about was the emotional beating my brother was about to endure.  He was heading over to his fiance’s house, right as I was watching the movie, and he was going to call off the wedding, end his engagement, end his relationship with a woman who has been directing the course of his life for the past year.  He has been pained over this for weeks, but the trials of looking for a place to live and dealing with the ongoing fighting, well, he realized they were not compatible and that things were not good.  I knew this was a very difficult decision for my brother.  And it pained me to know what he was going through.  My stomach was in terrible knots.


Finally, after Rocky II was over, I got on the phone and called my mom’s cell.  I was so worried about him.  My mom said to check in tomorrow.


I eventually changed and drove over to Bridgeport Village to meet the girls.  We got tickets for the 7:50 show of Mamma Mia.  We were initially going to grab noodles at Zao, but we were a bit behind schedule, so we went into a Mediterranean place near the movie theater.  I had a gyro without the bread, served with basmati rice, tomato, lemon and a cucumber salad on the side.  It was actually pretty delicious.  We got our food to go, to hasten the eating process, and found a wall to sit on with enough space to scarf down our food quickly.  Just as we were getting settled, I saw one of best friends from high school, Melanie, who has been living in Tualatin for a few years now.  We were very close in high school.  I had been meaning to reach out to her a number of times.  I met her husband, who seemed very nice.  I gave her my card and mentioned we should meet up with two other classmates who live out here.


The movie was…interesting.  As far as I’m concerned, Madame Meryl Streep can do no wrong.  I loved her in this role.  And can she sing!  She played the role of Donna, more than slightly over the top, but that was the charm.   The whole movie was over the top.  But the Grecian island setting was dreamy and fantastical, and the production reminded me a bit of Xanadu.  The music was entertaining, but at times seemed awkward.  Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth were wonderful, though their singing was on that awkward scale.  Donna’s best friends Rosie and Tanya (portrayed by Julie Walters and Christine Baranski) were a delight.  All of the scenes with these three fun-loving ladies made the film.  Often raunchy, goofy and downright hilarious, their scenes and musical numbers were the most entertaining. 

And, it should be noted the young woman who portrayed Donna’s daughter, Sophie, portrayed by Amanda Seyfried, was phenomenal.  This was probably her break-out performance.  She looked like a mermaid through out the film!  All in all, Mamma Mia was luminous and fun.  By the end, we were out of our seats clapping, dancing and singing along to “Dancing Queen” and other final numbers.


After the movie, we walked over to Tutto Bene for some gelato.  I had a small cup of one scoop coconut and one scoop chocolate.  Delicioso!  It was getting cool out, so I had a small decaf cappuccino.  Susan, Kerry and I gabbed about dating, per usual.  We had some good laughs. 


I got home to a couple of love starved cats.  We snuggled on the sofa watching a repeat episode of SNL, with Christopher Walken as the guest host.  This was the episode when he was reading off of the cue cards to a point that it was a distraction.  Oh well.  I decided not to stay up for the whole show, and gathered up the kitties to turn in.  I was re-reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, an engaging and entertaining guilty pleasure.

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Friday, July 18

I had a bunch of meetings today, but they were marketing focused.  I have a lot on my plate, but it’s all good stuff.  I spent much of the day planning for the pre-IPNC dinner.  I am excited about it.  I love planning dinners and doing the décor, putting the flowers together, just being creative and trying to create a memorable experience.

I had to pick up lunch today, because I forgot to get turkey breast lunchmeat.  So, I went to Panderia in Newberg for three corn tortilla tacos with carne asado and a side of rice and beans.  It was amazing.  I just love authentic, fresh Mexican food.  And I’m 99% sure it’s gluten-free.

In the afternoon my co-worker and I walked over to Coffee Cottage for iced lattes.  I had a raspberry white chocolate latte, more dessert than an afternoon pick-me-up.  Oh well.  Nothing like a sugar rush.

I left work later than I hoped and headed for downtown Portland.  I was meeting Kerry, Shirley and Susan at Park Kitchen in the Park Blocks to celebrate Kerry’s 35th birthday.  We started with a round of delicious cocktails served up by our friend, and bartender extraordinaire, Jamie.  I had an herbaceous cocktail with a floating pear peel.  Kerry brought pink bubbly, which we had once we got a table outside.  Our friend Shelby met us at the table.

I ate a lovely cold cucumber soup with almond, shrimp and Thai spice flavor.    I then had lamb tartare with mint and chick pea hummus.  I was still hungry. Shirley and I selected a bottle of 2002 St. Joseph.  I ordered the roasted duck and split it with Shelby.


After dinner, we walked over to Ten-01 and found our friend, and sommelier extraordinaire, Erica Landon, outside sipping on some Gevrey Chambertin and Chambolle Musigny with her boyfriend and friends.  We grabbed the café table next to them and ordered a bottle of Ennio Morricone Moscato d’Asti and dessert.  I split the crème brule.  It was the perfect end to a perfectly lovely evening.

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Thursday, July 17

This morning I drove straight to the winery for a meeting regarding a holiday catalog that I’ll be working on.  As I left the winery, I noticed an animal moving in the field next to me, out a ways.  It was a coyote.  This was the first coyote I had ever seen!

It was small, lone and looked young.  I parked in the middle of Calkins Lane and just watched this inquisitive creature search for prey.  He had a sly grin on his face, which was actually kind of cute.  He was kind of thin.  We made eye contact.  He kept looking my way, then was distracted at once and curved his back while he pounced on dried out, yellowed, straw-like heaps of grass.  A minivan was behind me, quickly approaching.  I wanted to continue to watch this curious creature, but I had to get back to the downtown office.  I hoped that the coyote wasn’t hungry or struggling to eat.  I hoped he had succeeded with his hunt.

I spent the rest of my day working on elements of our pre-IPNC wine dinner.  I flipped through a great book my co-worker brought in for me to look at on table decorations.  I came up with a design scheme that will be quite lovely. 

I learned today that some of the Thai food I had been eating had soy sauce!  It was a rude awakening that I wasn’t following my gluten-free diet close enough.  I had a spicy shrimp salad today for lunch that was guaranteed gluten-free.  I was making mistakes with Mexican food, as well.  I am really working hard to be more diligent about my diet.


After work, I drove to a paint your own pottery shop in old town Sherwood.  It was a quaint little spot.  My co-worker planned a girl’s night of painting pottery.  I found a cool ceramic wine cooler and painted a fun bug design, with a dragonfly, a butterfly and a bee, zooming over a quote about writing, by William Butler Yeats, in a green script paint.  I made it for Kerry’s 35th birthday, which was today.  It’s a little hokie, but made from the heart.  I can’t wait to see how it turns out.  It will be ready next week.

It was actually very therapeutic to paint pottery this evening.  I forgot about my latest stresses and woes.  You get focused and caught in the creative moment.  I really enjoyed myself.  Next time, a margarita might be in order!


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