Archive for April, 2011

Cristina of the Wolves

Posted in Uncategorized on April 30, 2011 by Cristina

Chipped a tooth two weeks ago eating yogurt with a spoon; a simple act turned harmful in the hands of this clumsy lady. I finally had my dentist appointment this morning to get it smoothed down and was a bit nervous since my last visit ended with me leaving feeling like a mutant. The hygienist had exclaimed that my canine teeth were soooo long and sharp then called over Mr. Dentist, “Fulano, come take a look at her teeth, I’ve never seen canines like this.” Oh geeez, please please say you’ve seen worse! Mr. Dentist agreed, unique indeed. I just laid there lamenting the evidence of my evolutionary ancestry and thinking about how perfect my American friends’ teeth are. Growing up, friends with braces and regular cleanings stared at my mom’s gold tooth, no fair. I wish my teeth looked a little more like this:

And a little less like Ricky Gervais-wolf baby:

After she fixed the chipped incisor today, Ms. Dentist asked if I wanted the canines filed down as well. I thought about it for a bit and declined because aesthetic reasons don’t trump the need for animal traits that I’m preserving for emergency situations. One of my favorite childhood books, Julie of the Wolves, tells the story of an indigenous Alaskan girl who, lost in the winter tundra, learns how to communicate and live with a pack of wolves (a fantasy of mine, because tyrant parents and Texas will do that to a 12 yr old girl). Therefore, these freakish teeth are staying in case I need to go to town on some raw flesh. I have military Arctic Survival Training under my belt, so who wants to go camping in the tundra? I’ll bring the floss… you know, because I promised I’d start.

Fireball

Posted in Uncategorized on April 16, 2011 by Cristina

That thing in the sky is not burning over this fine city and it’s making me doubt my longevity here. Last week Portland got one day of sunshine and heads nearly exploded. A picnic in the rose-less rose garden followed by happy hour drinks reminded us that our planet revolves around SOMEthing. The sun’s been so absent lately, that this picture looks photoshopped to me:

Basking in this glory for a day then returning to gray on gray is too hard. I thought I was emotionally stronger than this, but I might not be. I’ve been doing stupid things like looking up the Portland 10-day forecast (mid-50s, cartoon rain drops) then other random cities that have 10 little yellow circles in a row with mid-80s temperatures. Too sad. More patient friends assure me that mid-80s/fireball cities are where the shallower, striped-shirt people flock to, that we’re better off here. I really hope that’s true because if not, I’ll be tempted to do this soon:

When I first moved here, I had a sense of humor about the rain, but it’s wearing on my nerves now. I don’t want to go somewhere else, I just really want the fireball to burn through those clouds.

Bleah!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 13, 2011 by Cristina

I made a terrible soup tonight because I’m a bad cook. The goal was to make something tasty and use up random stuff in the fridge but potatoes, cream, tomato sauce, half-frozen celery, poblano & bell peppers and romano cheese were NOT a good mix. Surprise to me! Maybe the problem was the overzealous combination of ingredients or maybe that they were as fresh as my cat’s breath. Whatever the reason, my product was not tasty. My crappy kitchen skills are embarrassing considering a) my age b) my family’s cooking and c) the many people in my life who are either pro or gifted amateurs. This is par for the presentation among these folk:

These people can fashion gourmet meals out of canned seafood and Sriracha sauce over a campfire! Being sub-par makes me sad. The good news is that my failure today was a meal for one and the bad news is that I have leftovers. I will eat them because just like the soup, I, too, am gross. Until I polish these skills, I’ll console myself with something I am rad at: food faces! Behold!

If you’re a yuppie & you know it, clap your hands

Posted in Uncategorized on April 10, 2011 by Cristina

My neighborhood is strange. Last night this scene developed: Russian and non-russian white folk shaking it to an Irish jig during a Japan fundraiser, all next door to an ‘African dance party.’ Sounds deceivingly diverse but somehow, it doesn’t feel that harmonious. This part of town features a lot of lower-income Portlanders and among them, a rising number of condo dwellers. The effects are mostly ok, but sometimes annoying. When I hear Expensive Clogs white lady in front of me at the store complain to the cashier, “Ugh, this neighborhood’s getting too GENtrified! It’s TErrible!”… it makes me want to do this:

She’s purchasing $9 balls of mozzarella di bufala and Tunisian harissa spread. That store wouldn’t be selling your precious buffalo mozzarella if there weren’t a bunch of other rich people buying it. So here are a few options:
1. realize you’re part of the problem & the only solution is you leaving. OR
2. stop taking advantage of the results of said gentrification. OR
3. shut the F up with your hypocritical comments and eat your balls!
I won’t lie, I’m young, urban, and some-may-say professional and have killed my fair share of air plants. But I don’t bitch about the inevitable urban shifts in cities that are vibrantly-changing. I’ll just keep listening to gypsy music under the guise of a charity event and boycott the only bar that serves my favorite beer on tap because it’s full of striped shirt dudes.

Versus

Posted in Uncategorized on April 8, 2011 by Cristina

The parentals’ first visit to my Portland home was a struggle and they’re hinting at round two. I fear that the clashes between My reality vs. Their expectations might repeat. A few examples.

Problem: Drinking out of jars.
Them: “You can’t afford to buy a set of glassware? This is barbaric!”
Me: “They still work! See? You’re totally drinking right now!”

Problem: 1920s building.
Them: “This place is so run down, it needs to be renovated.”
Me: “It’s called vintage.”

Problem: Aluminum foil too thin.
Them: “Why is this so flimsy?! Stop buying cheap stuff!”
Me: “It’s recycled, actually costs a little more.”

Problem: Dish soap not bubbly enough.
Them: “This stuff doesn’t work, stop skimping on important things! Cleanliness is priceless!” (or something like that… I’m translating here)
Me: “It’s earth friendly and again, costs a little more.”

Problem: Painting features a black man and an avocado in the sky.
Them: “Scoff*scoff*scoff* What’s this crazy thing?”
Me: “It’s art… that friend who you really like painted it.” Serenity now.

Problem: I invite brave friends for a french toast brunch.
Them: “Heading out to grab something from the bakery.”
Me 10 minutes later: “Whaaa?! Why did you just buy ten croissants?!?”

Problem: Cat.
Them: “This thing is really fat and only has one eye.”
Me: “He’s happy. Just pet him and you’ll fall in love.” Awkward petting.

Problem: Dull knives.
Them: “How do you cut anything with these?”
Me: “I don’t know.” I guess my barbaric teeth are sharp enough.

So they bought me a knife sharpener. And a mixer and an immersion blender and more. It baffles them that my house is voluntarily low tech: no TV, no microwave, no wireless internet, no electric coffee stirrer because I drink black coffee and would use a goddamn spoon if I didn’t! They won’t be satisfied until my house looks like this:

While I understand that they have good intentions, my parents just fail to see the beauty of a minimalist lifestyle, likely due to experience with communist-enforced minimalism. Until they come to terms with my retro (read: neanderthal) lifestyle, I’ll need to practice meditation techniques in preparation for their upcoming creative criticisms.

Liam the lamb

Posted in Uncategorized on April 5, 2011 by Cristina


I’ve used this kid photo before but it’s too good not to use again after a conversation I had with my mom yesterday. Easter’s coming up and it’s a pretty big deal, so when we were catching up, mom’s biggest news wasn’t that dad found another job (which he did, yey), no… it was that she secured a lamb for Easter. Get ready for more meat sadness. In hopes of having this be the most delicious meal ever, she found a Romanian guy in Phoenix who sold her an innocent thing, still suckling on its momma. She visited this milk lamb to see that he was sufficiently young and tender, not the kind that you normally find in American stores that’s been eating grain and running around toughening its muscles. He heads to the gallows on April 22. Tear. This dedication to choosing the right farm animal is the polar opposite of Portlandia’s sensitive people wanting to meet Collin the chicken:

At least Liam (as I’ve dubbed him) is also local and organic and dare I say, probably heavenly-tasting, eek. Thoughts of returning to vegetarianism are swirling in my head. Upon re-evaluation of the childhood photo above, it seems that my mom may not be holding the lamb so I can pet it, but perhaps restraining it from moving too much and ruining dinner.

Fancy FAIL

Posted in Uncategorized on April 4, 2011 by Cristina

There’s something about the equation for fanciness that I just can’t seem to balance correctly. Last night some ladies got their glamour on and came to my house for what were supposed to be fancy cocktails. Not so much. I should have known I was out of my league when I ordered the bourbon at a local liquor store and mispronounced it; I said “bullet” and the shop woman corrected me with the French “Bulleit!” Uh-huh, I don’t speak French but I suppose the 1830s frontier people in Kentucky did. In preparation for the party, I put this stuff in the freezer along with all the other deliciousness, oops. I guess I know more about bullets than bourbon. After watching a forgiving friend warm it up under the tap, I now know better.
I’ve even managed to de-fancify a nice thing with which I actually AM familiar. My mom asked for gift ideas from her visit to Paris and not wanting to receive a crushed velvet scarf, I said paté. She upped the fancy and got grosser foie gras but that didn’t stop me from snacking on it late-night drunken-style. Ew. I vaguely remember fumbling with the can opener and when I saw the carnage the next day, I felt ashamed and full of guilt for that poor duck having been force-fed in vain.

These examples of fucking up fanciness are akin to raping Jackie O. I’m sorry, that was inappropriate. This is why I shouldn’t have nice things.