Friday, September 25, 2009

A new job, a new life(style)

So I got good news yesterday. This past week I've been interviewing for a fancy new job, and I found out that it's being offered to me! Hooray! Huzzah! Much celebrating!

The job is at the Indigo, a brand new high-rise building right downtown. There's so much stuff to say about it that I don't know where to start! Here are a few of the main points.

Cool things:
  • It's a Leasing Consultant job. Which means that I'll be convincing people that they want to move into this building so that I may keep my job and earn bonuses.
  • I get to live there. Yup, it comes with an apartment allowance, so Jesse and I will be packing up and moving downtown!
  • The building is awesome. It's built by Gerding Edlen, a company that focuses on eco-friendly, sustainable development, so the building uses 100% sustainable green power, has windmills on top, rainwater harvesting, solar heating, and is scheduled to get Platinum LEED status. Impressive.
  • I'll be on salary, plus the living allowance, plus bonuses when I rent. Meaning we'll actually be able to save money, which just feels amazing!

Other thoughts:
  • I have to work weekends with this job. Not a big deal, but since I've been working every weekend for the past year, I was kind of hoping to switch that up. I'll still do 40 hours a week, and get two days off during the week, but weekends are pretty much booked.
  • The building is in the Pearl. It's kind of the fancy, ritzy, perhaps even "yuppie" district of downtown. I'm super excited about the job and the building, but I'm not sure how I'll fit into that area and lifestyle. It's not something I would have said fits Jesse and I, but I'm interested to see if we can still make the are our own.
  • I'm going to need to buy some more "professional" clothes. I scrape by, but my wardrobe is definitely lacking. Shopping trip, anyone??
  • I'm worried that our craigslist-found, eclectic mix of furniture and stuff will look totally riduculous in such a clean, modern, apartment.
  • I'm just a tad bit nervous. It's one thing to go into an interview and say "I can totally do this job." But now I actually have to prove it! It's a challenge that get me excited and nervous, all rolled into one.

Stylish windmills atop the Indigo

So, there it is! A new phase of life. That's all I know about it so far, but since I start on Monday, hopefully we can figure out when we'll be moving and what unit, and all that! So very exciting! Updates to come!

(pictures from the Indigo blog)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pears and the things we did with them

We were in Hood River for Labor Day, and bought a whole box of Red Bosch pears from a little orchard stand. Ever since, we've been figuring out what to do with them, besides just munching them straight. I love it when the pear is just ripe--not too mushy. We've recently been interested in canning and preserving, so some pears were already slated for that.

Here's a few things we've done with our pears:

Pears, cheese, and white wine. This cheese was aged gouda, recommended by the nice grocery lady. She was spot on--it was delicious! Please notice how many pears are on the octopus plate. Oh, yes. We are dorks.

Pear Ginger Preserves--a recipe from the Ball Canning and Preserving book, with pears (of course), fresh ginger, lime juice, and zest. Yummy!

Pear Butter--smooth and buttery, yet so full of pears!

I have to admit that Jesse is the master here. As much as I'd like to take credit, I tend to only get in the way and cause tense words to be said when I put dirty spoons on recently cleaned cutting boards. I like to think I helped, but really, it's Jesse who scrupulously sterilizes the jars, measures ingredients, and watches for the perfect gelling point. I just stand around and enjoy the smell. Then mention how much hard work this all takes.
I like to say "We made this." But when I'm smearing the butter on a piece of toast, then tasting the peary goodness, I don't really care who made it. It's just delicious.

We have a few more left, still, and it's a close call whether they'll be made into something like this, or just eaten up for breakfast. A perfect fall treat!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, H.G. Wells

I've had a little romance with science fiction ever since I was young. I'm not a scientist by any means, but I love the alternate possiblities, the fantastic places, even the social commentary it gives.

While it's drastically different from popular science fiction today, the works of H.G. Wells kickstarted the genre and gave it many of it's themes, from Martians attacking Earth and time travels to invisible men.

Wells is often named, with Jules Verne, as a "father of science fiction." His books are rooted in the scientific belief of the time, but go on to tell readers the possibilities of what science can do: a theme which runs true in much of science fiction today.

I've read a few of his books, and while they definitely have that "old" and "Victorian" feel, perhaps even "dusty" or "dry," the stories he writes are still gripping and enjoyable. Maybe that's why they've been re-made and re-hashed in radio, films, plays, and every other medium since he wrote them around the turn of the century.

I love how a good idea, or a gripping story, can be recycled so often. Take War of the Worlds, for instance. First published in 1898, it tells the story of Martians attacking Earth. Sound familiar? Not only the basic theme, but the story itself has been re-told, most recently by a terrible movie with Tom Cruise in it. Read the book, trust me. In 1938 Orson Welles put on a radio version of the story (Wells-Welles. Creepy.), in the form of real-time news broadcasts, which freaked out most of it's audience, many of whom believed Martians were actually attacking. This cracks me up, but it really pissed off a lot of people at the time. Oops.

Other favorites of mine are The Invisible Man, and The Time Traveler, where he popularized the idea of time travel, and even coined the phrase "time machine." You may have seen cheap entertaining remakes, but again, read the real things! The details he puts in when he describes the time machine, or what he saw there, is amazing.

Wells would be 143 today. He would have lived to see many of his predictions about the future come true, such as trains and cars contributing to a more disparate society, greater sexual freedom, and the existence of a European Union. Of course, he also thought submarines were impossible. But still. He was a pretty smart guy. Give him some credit and read his books.

But only if you like science fiction.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Etsy Wish List Day

Sometimes I like to browse on Etsy just to look at the pretty things I can't (or shouldn't) buy. I found this today:

This Bejeweled Bee Necklace looks so gilded and pretty--I can imagine it looking very good with several of my shirts. It would add a little whimsy to an otherwise boring day, it seems, to carry around a bee with you.
Too bad my paycheck is already spoken for...

This embroidered note is pretty darn cute. Sometimes I see things and think "I could totally make that," but then again, when someone else has put so much time and love in, why bother re-creating it? I'd rather just buy it from them! It seems like this would be such a cute little gift for anyone. And then to visit later and see it hanging on a special little hook, and know you gave it to them...aww...

Actually, this isn't on a wish list for me, because Jesse has this shirt. It was part of a "new shirt package" we bought him awhile ago. I love it because it looks like a big paint splatter, but then you look closer and see that wait! It's Europe! Then you feel clever for figuring it out. Bonus clever points for naming each country. I haven't tried, which lets me feel superior for thinking that I could do it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Slice of Sweden in Portland

I've never been to Sweden. The closest I've come, like many people, is Ikea, which is overwhelming and impressive in it's clean lines and organizational mastery.

But recently I've stepped beyond Ikea to discover that one of my favorite little nooks of this city is a Swedish restaurant called Broder ("brother" in Swedish). Purveyor of all things Scandinavian, this itty bitty place has the modernity and class you might expect, with amazingly good food. It also has "WC" on the bathroom door, which just makes me happy.

I constantly beg Jesse to take me there for brunch, to get a good helping of aebleskivers (puffy little Danish pancakes) or pytti i panna (hash with potatoes and eggs).

One of the best things about the meal, in my opinion, is that it comes on individual wooden boards, with little frying pans for the eggs, and little bowls for the jam. It satisfies my "cute" longing while being superbly functional. And when you finish every bite, you get the feeling that you're quite satisfied. You've eaten just enough food--any more or less would have been catastrophic. But another look at the menu and you know you have to come back, at least just to try the Swedish meatballs with lingonberry jam, or the Breakfast Bord (brown bread, soft-boiled egg, gravlax, sauteed greens, hard and soft cheese, fruit compote, lingonberry, yogurt and honey).

Top the meal off with hot coffee, and you're ready for the day!
Broder is on the corner of SE 16th and Clinton, and is open for breakfast and lunch. Meals are about $9-11. Happiness (or at least immense satisfaction) is guaranteed.

(Top and bottom picture from Broder.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

I've Made A Dress

So I pulled out my sewing machine (well, the one I'm borrowing from my mother-in-law), grabbed a free pattern, and made myself a shiny new dress!

The pattern is called the Maryy, from the Burda Style website. It's just a cute sundress pattern, and it's labeled as novice, which may have been what attracted me. I've sewn a few things earlier this summer, but I still wouldn't say I'm any good. I figured this was a good one to practice on.

The fabric is also from my mother-in-law: she had a huge bin of leftovers that she wouldn't use, so I dug through and found this.

The sewing went okay. I sewed things on backwards, and on the wrong side a few times, so my trusty seam ripper came in very handy. My biggest problem was that I think I chose a size too big, so then I tried to to make it smaller, but that just made things go wonky when I put the zipper in. But it's not too noticeable. My attempt at making it smaller succeeded a little too much, though, since now it's a bit tight around the bust! But it's not uncomfortable.

We're experiencing a bit of a summer revival right now, with temperatures back in the 90s, so I finished the dress at the perfect time. I wore it all Thursday, and felt very summer picnicky as we walked up Belmont to a coffeeshop.

I'm already dreaming of what's next. I can't afford to go crazy buying fabric, though, so I'm planning remakes on a couple clothes I never wear. Hmm...we'll see.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Year Has Gone By

Look at me, I started a blog then forgot about it for a whole year! I guess life got busy! Here's a couple things I've been busy with in the last year:

In December, I got engaged to my best friend ever, which has hugely impacted the last year. It led to hours of scouring wedding blogs and pictures, planning our perfect shindig. It also led to hours of hating wedding blogs, which all insist that you must follow traditions, spend buckets of money, and do everything "just right" to have a decent wedding. We went a different route, which was fun and exhausting!

We got a kitty and named her Suki. She's a little crazy sometimes, but she makes up for it by making cute cooing/purring sounds and snuggling with us at night.
In an effort to make more of our own food, Jesse and I have started a fling with canning and pickling. This was our first try: pickled asparagus. It actually came out quite tasty! Our second try, dill pickles, was a complete failure, but we're not giving up. Next up is pear butter. I'll keep you updated.
On August 2nd, 2009, we became Jesse and Katrina Emery, The Married Couple. It was a wonderful day filled with our favorite people, food, and music, and I've never been happier in my life. Now we're busy adjusting to married life, which has the biggest impact in our finances, and getting used to using the words "husband" and "wife."
Now I'm just busy practicing life: that day-to-day thing that gets us all so befuddled sometimes. I'm hanging out with my dear friends Nat and Andrea, who moved here in June and play amazing music, I'm still exploring Portland by bike and mouth (restaurant-hopping), and I've just pulled out my sewing machine again with big aspirations. Good things are ahead, and updates will come.
Thanks for reading.

a little ridiculous, old-school, and oh so stylish