Our new family addition


Meet our newest family member, Ubuntu. After over a month of searching for a rescue dog the stars aligned last weekend and we happened upon a wonderful no-kill shelter called Family Dogs New Life. We don’t know much about her history but we connected right away. She needs to gain 5 pounds and learn some manners but she is sweet and is trying really hard to figure out how to belong in our house and figure out what we expect of her. She’s very loving and wants to be friends with anything that moves (people, dogs, cats, bikes). She has no signs of aggression and I’m so happy to have a dog and help out a shelter, since with the economy shelters are filling up and turning away animals. There are so many dogs that need good homes that are in shelters I don’t know why everyone doesn’t support them. They were so generous there, in addition to the vet trip, we got a free month of pet insurance, a 6 week good manners obedience class, a bag of treats and toys (which she only cares about the food) and a coupon book that includes a free 10lb bag of food. She’s already learning sit, down and stay and our biggest challenge is teaching her to walk next to us instead of pulling on the leash. But I understand that there’s a lot to smell and see that’s new.

We live 4 blocks from a dog store with treats in bulk and friendly staff that she is quickly becoming friends with. I have a handful of the Dog Whisperer’s books on hold at the library so I can understand her psychology and we can communicate better, although she’s doing much better than we anticipated, since she was a stray. I think she’s a ridgeback mix but I guess she can be anything, shepard, great dane, greyhound. But ridgebacks are actually a mix of all those breeds. Regardless, she’s cute and sweet and learning fast. I feel lucky that we live in such a dog friendly city. Once it warms up we can take her to bars and cafes since dogs are welcome in the outside seating areas. We have joined the Portland dog-owning ranks! You can see Matt’s blog for his version of the story.

Oh and we named her Ubuntu, which is a Zulu concept that basically is defined as humanity, or a positive aspect of community in that we are who we are because of those around us. And of course it’s a computer operating system that runs on Linux (which is what we run our computer on). So it sounds nice, has a beautiful meaning and is just nerdy enough to entertain Matt.

Happy Thanksgiving

Most of Matt’s family was off with other family this holiday, so we chose to have a small Thanksgiving in our unfurnished house in progress.  Luckily, Matt’s parents brought us our dining room table that we got in Seattle and we all fit comfortably at that table along with two of our friends who moved to Portland around the same time we did.  I made apple-sage seitan sausages, a wild mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, shredded brussel sprouts with candied nuts and salad with pomegranate seeds.  Our friends brought an amazing beautiful dessert from Pix Patisserie, which is only a few blocks from our house.  They do gorgeous and tasty French desserts.  Everyone helped in the kitchen and we ate and ate and ate.  And played some euchre.  And ate some more.

It was a fun, relaxing day followed by a full day of work blowing insulation into our  uninsulated attic and 4 (5?) trips to Home Depot.  I think the insulation will make a difference in electric bills this winter.  It doesn’t get that cold in the winter compared to CT snowstorms and wind chill factors, but it’s cold enough to need heat and it feels good to check that big goal off our list.  Hooray for my father in law who knows about insulation and did most of the dirty dusty work.  It was nice to have my in-laws stay for a few days and visit and even though we were doing house projects during the day, we had time to play cards and visit the brewpub down the street.

Homeowners, again!

After two months (or more?) of house hunting, close calls and many negotiations over 3 different offers, we now are the proud owners of a house. We both really like it, it feels really big but we plan to rent out the basement to someone who hopefully doesn’t like to cook (so I don’t have to share). The location is great, we can easily walk to restaurants and bars, especially our new favorite brewpub. It’s got a reasonably sized yard that will soon enough contain a vegetable garden. It feels good to be out of the studio apartment and have some space. This house has plenty of small projects to keep us busy and a guest room for friends and family to visit. Hint, hint.

Connecticut Wedding


In September we flew back to CT to see one of my friends from college get married. They lucked out with the weather, lots of rain the day before and after, but the day-of was slightly overcast with pockets of sun. It was perfect, since it was an outside wedding by the beach. The ceremony was very personal and sweet and they had a lot of nice touches. After the ceremony they handed out rocks and we all threw them into the ocean with our well wishes for the couple. I even saw a few people from UConn that I hadn’t seen since I graduated.

We spent about a week in CT, visiting various family and friends and enjoying the northeast woods by taking a few hikes. It was a pretty low-key trip and we were able to spend some quality time with friends and family we hadn’t seen in a few years. Thanks to everyone who shuttled us around and let us sleep in your homes. My maternal grandma is turning 93 this year, so it was good to see her and play some cards and chat. We also got to see a good friend’s baby who is now walking, talking and using the potty. She was in love with Matt and thought it was funny he took a nap She was a newborn at our wedding, so it was a shock to see her so big so quick. I guess I really have been married for 2 years!

Vegan Potluck

Chocolate Mousse Marshmallow Pie

Whoever has a low opinion of vegan desserts is crazy. I think the majority of vegans have a serious sweet tooth and developing awesome desserts is part of the initiation. Luckily for me and my blood sugar, there was plenty of savory food to eat as well. Matt and I went to a PPK vegan potluck last week and stuffed ourselves to the point of passing out (Matt). While Matt was napping, I learned a new game called Jungle Speed. It’s sort of like a group Spit with more focus and you match shapes and colors. It involves reaching for this wooden totem that inevitably results in scratching someone or hitting them. It was fun.

Ready to eat

I wasn’t sure what to expect, having never been to a vegan potluck in a park before. We went to Laurelhurst Park, which reminds me of the treed duck pond part of Central Park. There were picnic tables and we set up an immense spread. The photo was taken by a friend, as I forgot my camera that day. Imagine the spread times 3, the picnic table was full by the time everyone arrived. There were about 20 people there and the food ranged from blackberry bbq gluten ribs to variations on potato salads, pasta salads and tempeh empanadas with a spicy sauce. I made a wheatberry salad with apples and mint and it came out good. I’ve been trying to use different grains lately, as I’ve just been eating a lot of bread (well, it’s free…and delicious). What else? A pasta bake with almond cheeze and sauce, tempeh kale concoction, plum torte, apple torte, the marshmallow madness pie, peach bbq tempeh, chocolate strawberry cookies, a tofu olive spread and I’m sure a bunch of other dishes I can’t remember but my belly enjoyed. I sucessfully tried a little bit of everything, which equalled 3 platefuls. Everyone was friendly and nice (oh, Portland) and we enjoyed the day. Someone even drove down from Seattle for the potluck and brought Mighty-O donuts (yum), proving just how good the food and company was. I can’t wait for the next one!