The forty-five degree angle, that is. I've (yet again) done away with the forty-five degree angle layout of our apartment. History shows I go back and forth a lot on this whole angle arrangement thing. The deciding factor that tipped the scales in favor of the current set-up? Truth be told, it's more comfortable for two people to view the television screen while sitting on the sofa if the sofa is perpendicular to the television rather than if the sofa is on a forty-five degree angle. When the sofa is on a forty-five degree angle, one person gets the prime viewing corner and the other one cranes her neck to get a good view (note my use of a gender-specific pronoun there). This winter, we've been watching our fair share of movies along with the entire run of Arrested Development on dvd. With more television viewing than usual going on, you're damn straight the sofa is facing the screen head on. And the rest of the furniture falls into place around it. Yes, I just admitted that the television played the pivotal role in deciding how I arranged the apartment this time around. More of the keeping it real, people. So, here's the grid we've got going on now:
And there's more apartment fussing in the works. An office/studio nook will (hopefully) soon be transformed into an office/library nook. Might this mean away with the sulu-design work table? Such suspense!
provided me with images that were perfect for Original Intent posts. I came home from that walk, uploaded the images, and then wrote the following blog post:
I know I recently mentioned that I might do more Original Intent posts. As it turns out, though, I'm enjoying the photo-taking part of the project right now, but I'm not so excited by the jewelry-making part. A couple weeks ago, I asked what worked for you in the past year. One thing that worked for me was easing up on self-imposed obligations. The Original Intent project can feel like one of those obligations if I let it. So for now, I'll continue to enjoy taking photos. And I might stash a few away until I'm feeling motivated, not obligated, to create jewelry pairings for them.
I saved the above post and thought about it a while before publishing it. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized something. Some of the obligations that I self-impose are worth imposing. Sometimes I don't feel like working out, but when I feel that way I usually I make myself work out anyhow, and I've never once regretted making myself do it. I have, though, regretted a few times when I haven't made myself do it. That goes for lots of other little obligations (not all of them, but lots of them) that I self-impose - there's often enough payoff that comes from them that they're worth doing. I realized the Original Intent project might fall into the category of self-imposed-obligations-that-have-worthwhile-payoff. So I forced myself to start working on jewelry pairings for the photos that I took and I immediately realized that it wasn't the making of the jewelry that was holding me back at all. The jewelry making actually came easily. I realized instead that it was the next step - the step in which I photograph and edit the photos of the jewelry using a software program that I'm not comfortable with - that was holding me back. Once I figured that out, I asked Barry for the help I needed, I digested as much of that help as I could (technology and I aren't the best of friends, you know), and I worked on the jewelry photos. What I'd chalked up to lack of creative inspiration was actually intimidation. I'm intimidated by many things computer-related, and I was letting that get in the way of my Original Intent project. My self-imposed Original Intent project. Which I'm glad I self-imposed. Because now I know a little more about our photo-editing software. And I've got a week's worth of Original Intent posts to share with you. Finally.
We've only been to Oso twice, but Barry and I are getting hooked on the place. It's part bar, part bottle shop, and part market. There are cases full of bottled beers to choose from as well as a few good beers on tap. They've got a huge wine selection. The walls are lined with goodies like salts, mustards, chocolates, and cheeses for sale. And the food they serve is delicious. We've had tasty, inventive sandwiches for lunch and treats like chorizo-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates with blue cheese and honey for snacks. The owners and staff are friendly and knowledgeable. The huge windows offer great views of Portland's skyline across the Morrison Bridge. And it's a couple blocks away from Grand Marketplace. It's the perfect place to spend some time on a Sunday afternoon. Maybe one of our favorite places to do so.
A super friendly owner. Cute gift and home items. Several great jewelry lines. Location and hours that make it easy for me to get there. And Pip's Original Doughnuts right next door. It's shaping up to be a perfect fit.
Spelling out sound effects is hard, but hopefully you get the intended effect of that title. It's to let you know how much that little sliver of unpainted kitchen wall creeps me out all the time. I wake up to a view of the kitchen while laying in bed from about this angle every day, and every day it kills me. As if it's not bad enough that it's there in the first place, the fact that the line of paint isn't parallel with the side of the refrigerator just adds insult to injury. When I painted the kitchen several months back, I took the lazy way out and didn't pull the refrigerator out of it's nook to paint behind it. Some of you may be surprised at that knowing me and my tendencies, but honestly I sometimes really do like to take the lazy way out of things. In this case, though, the result was an eyesore (right, Cheryl... you saw this in person and were shocked that I'd live with that white strip, no?). Today I finally dealt with it.
Much better. There was a big bonus to the little project, although getting rid of that white strip was satisfying enough. I got to clean underneath the refrigerator, which I haven't done in the three years we've lived in this place. In a moment of let's be real, people, I give you this:
That's all cleaned up now. Raise your hand if you know how amazing that feels.
The original Broder is one of my favorite spots in Portland for breakfast or lunch (we've never made it there for dinner, but I bet it's pretty darn good for that, too). Comforting food, a beautiful interior, friendly staff - it's a little gem of a neighborhood restaurant. But it's not in our neighborhood. So we were psyched about the opening of Broder Nord... within walking distance from our apartment. This weekend, we had a tasty lunch of sandwiches and pickled sides and beers followed by pastries and coffees - we were hungry! It was all delicious. There are lots of new restaurants in Portland that we're excited to try out, but I can say already that Broder Nord is going to be in our regular rotation.
We had baked eggs again for breakfast this weekend. This time, I cracked them over broccoli and chicken sausage and topped them with a sprinkling of Parmesan and bread crumbs. All of those ingredients were leftovers from dinner the night before, which I served over a bowl of penne.
I mention this because at the start of this new year, I've been thinking back on 2013 - what worked and what didn't. One thing that worked really well for me was the advice in Tamar Alder's An Everlasting Meal to roast an ovenful of different vegetables once a week. I ended up doing this rather faithfully for most of the last year*, using the vegetables in various meals throughout the week. This practice was time saving, it made after-work meal preparations stress-free, it cut down on my trips to the grocery store, and it meant that most nights we ate rather healthy meals. I did, however, get into ruts with the meals I'd make around the vegetables I'd roasted. Some version of that penne dish is dinner at least once a week at our place. We have our fair share of rice or polenta with roasted vegetables. And eggs with veggies show up for breakfast and dinner with some regularity. I'm looking to expand my repertoire a bit by playing around with spices and grains that aren't my usual go-tos.
So... what worked for you in 2013? What habits are you keeping around? What are you tweaking?
*While I started out the vegetable roasting practice by filling the entire oven with vegetables once a week, I found there were a few drawbacks to roasting so many vegetables every seven days. First, having lots of vegetables in the oven at once made it very steamy... so steamy that the vegetables didn't brown the way I like them to. Some of the vegetables ended up a little mushy. Also, by the time some of the vegetables sat in the refrigerator for six days, they ended up being not so enticing. I roast fewer vegetables at a time now, and do it every four or five days. Works for me.