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Sunday, January 27, 2008

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last night we celebrated kristen's 28th birthday by attempting to eat 28 desserts. alas, we only managed to east 12 between the four of us, so now we have a week's worth of desserts stretched out before us. later that night sven took us to scratchpdx, which kristen & todd quite liked.

edited to add picture: 28 desserts is a lot!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

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it's the 35th anniversary of roe vs wade. i'll be donating $35 to planned parenthood to help them protect, promote & provide access to sexual & reproductive health care.

last week i volunteered at the planned parenthood annual luncheon so i could hear cecile richards speak. she says portland is the city that shows the rest of the country what's possible: we're building new clinics in more rural areas of oregon, we've defeated a parental notification bill (twice!), we offer birth control & emergency contraception online, we just passed a bill that requires insurers to cover birth control if they cover other prescriptions, and we offer free hpv vaccinations for people under 18. that's really good, especially compared to some states (i'm looking at you, colorado, with your spousal consent law!).

of course, all is not well. we still don't have a law requiring pharmacists to dispense legal medication like birth control or emergency contraception, we have protesters at the mlk site, and there were protesters at this event, too. last year we didn't have any, and this year we had 3 with signs and the giant van circling the block with pictures of bloody fetuses pasted on it. nationally, sex education is still largely abstinence-based and this year the supreme court denied a medical procedure ostensibly to protect women from something they might potentially regret. globally, federal aid is still contingent on the "gag rule": not mentioning contraception or abortion options to people who very much need it.

and then there's this: men who claim they've had abortions. to be clear, men cannot have abortions because men cannot be pregnant. "post-abortion traumatic syndrome" is completely fabricated: yes, some people do feel regret, but that's true for plastic surgery, buying a home and getting a puppy, and nobody's banning those things. this general "abortion hurts women (and menz!)" movement drives me mad because the supposed solution is to ban abortions rather than changing the circumstances and climate surrounding abortion. these are the same people who are making abortion "traumatic" in the first place! If you don't want the trauma, STOP MAKING IT TRAUMATIC!

Monday, January 21, 2008

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today is nina's last day at casa de powell butte. jennifer's found a house and so i'm taking her back "home." we've had nina here since may so it'll be weird to return her, but at least we aren't losing another cat via death. :) toby will really miss her, though.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

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i want to start an astronomy blog, but i'm afraid i won't be able to keep it up. part of it's the portland weather: how many times can you write, "i really wanted to go outside tonight but it's raining"? even in good weather my shallow knowledge of the sky would make my entries similar: "hey, i saw orion again tonight."

i really love the night sky but i am surprised by really dumb stuff: hey, look, cassiopeia is in the nw instead of the ne tonight! i can recognize a lot of constellations now, but there's a big section past sagittarius that's a complete mystery to me. i ran into that issue tonight: i was looking for comet tuttle which is in cetus, but i can't recognize cetus, nor pices which is its closest zodiac neighbor. i had to fire up stellarium and determine it was on the same plane as sirius but in the sw instead of the se. and even then i couldn't find it. nor could i spot comet holmes, which i know is dimmer now than when we last saw it in november, but i thought we'd still be able to see its fluffy spot by algol.

plus, i only have a pair of binoculars rather than a serious rig w/ a camera (admittedly, a rather nice set as a present from sven some years back), so what images could i share? would anyone read a text-only blog by a very amateur astronomer?

i want to write an astronomy blog that's poetic w/ beautiful pictures, knowledgeable despite my ignorance, and frequently updated despite the rain. perhaps i would call it "the frustrated astronomer" or "the optomistic astronomer" or sven's choice, "the unrequited astronomer." but then, i need another blog to write like i need a hole in my hand.

Friday, January 04, 2008

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as long as we're on the subject of making tasty treats, i also made these sweet potato cupcakes for toby's birthday: wow! best use of sweet potatoes ever! i got some in my veggie delivery and was wondering what i was going to do with them. it was a huge batch, though.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

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happy new year! it's nice to start off with a new foodstuff. :)

i finally tried making the no-knead bread and i gotta say, it's as good as the hype. i'm a lazy, imprecise baker, so i'm thrilled this bread is drop-dead simple & very forgiving: you combine flour, water, salt & yeast (i just used a packet that had been sitting in our refrigerator for god know how long), let it sit on the counter for at least 12 hours (that's all i could stand), fold it in on itself, wait another 2 hours, and pop it into a very hot oven in a pre-warmed container. it took me a while to get to this because we don't have an enameled casserole, cast iron pot or dutch oven, much less a 5-quart one, which is what the recipe recommends. but then i saw you could do it in a pyrex bowl, and we have plenty of those!

i did this while i was waiting for dawn this morning, which is my new year's tradition. i started the process in the afternoon which meant it was ready to be attended to around 3:30 this morning. but if you start one in the evening, it'll be almost ready by the time you get up in the morning!

i halved the recipe because ordinarily we're not big bread eaters and i was afraid our 1.5 quart pyrex bowl would be too small for a full-sized loaf (which it probably was, but i'm pleased it was just the right size for this loaf). it smelled heavenly and it slipped out of the bowl easily. the hardest part was waiting for it to cool, so i went for my new year's walk at dawn and had two slices when i got back. delicious!