New bike and monocle

I bought a bike today! I did already have a bike, but it wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do. Maybe the tires were just flat and I couldn’t figure out the gears. I had been bitching about it for a while now, so I decided to get serious about finding a bike that I could potentially ride far on.

You know how you go to the hardware store and they ask you for the specifications on what you are looking for, and although you kinda knew already, you end up just stuttering and walk out empty handed? Well this was happening to me at bike shops. I have been to most of the bike shops in Portland over the past month. I finally gave myself an ultimatum today. I put my credit card in my pocket and ran to Sellwood. It was a 6 mile run, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to make the run back, the only solution would be to get a bike.

I have commitment issues. It took me nearly a year to buy a couch, and I still wonder if I got the best one. Anyway, my system worked. There was really only one bike in the shop that would work for me, and it is awesome! It doesn’t even have a brand, they said some British guy custom assembled it from really good (European) parts, then he shipped it here and consigned it. I have no idea why he didn’t then ride the bike, or why he shipped it here, or why he was so short. The story barely makes sense, but I like the outcome. The bike-selling-man said that people will totally “nerd-out” when they see my bike. Ah, I just called it my bike. 

So about the monocle, this part of the story really isn’t very interesting. But both pair of my glasses have broken and I just wear them anyway. I need a set of tiny tools.

And now you know everything that is happening in my life.

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Community Garden

I’ve had a community garden plot on NW 23rd and Kearney for a few years now. I’ve mostly done a horrible job at tending it, but I like to casually mention my garden in conversation. “Oh you’re having a kid? Enough about you, I have tomatoes.”

Somehow my friend Greg convinced me that I should give him partial ownership of my garden plot. It was a pretty good idea, because he showed up for our work party with wine and snacks. We ripped out all of the old plants and reestablished the property line with bricks.

We started some lettuce, beans, and nusturtiums. I think we’ll add in some kale, and starts from Uncle Stan later on in the season.

Between you, me, and the internets, Greg came up with a brilliant idea to have a secret, in-ground compartment where we hide stashes of wine and candles so that we can show up at night and impress our dates. We’re still working out the logistics of this. Clearly, Greg understands what this garden is all about.

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I have two working sewing machines now!

Ingrid sent a little man over to my house to fix my old sewing machines. Now BOTH of them work. It’s like magic. Watch out, world. 

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Rio was awesome.

In February 2011, I took a magical trip with a couple lovely ladies on the fantastic island of Naoshima in the Inland Sea of Japan. It was my last weekend in Japan, and I had put off this trip because I was busy preparing to move.

It was a perfect weekend with some very dear girlfriends who all lived in the Kansai area. The tiny island is barely inhabited, so years ago, the island got some sort of grant to bring notable artists in to create installations in abandoned buildings. For about $20, you get a pass to go tour all of them. Crazy shit. We stayed in a yurt on a quiet beach, rented bikes and wandered from one exhibit to the next, ending at a huge underground (literally) gallery, where we had a near-private viewing of Monet.

We ended the weekend saying, “Where are we going to go next February?” Which of course, I assumed no one would take seriously.

Some time this fall, I got a message from Gabby, who plainly stated that our trip this year would be to Brazil. I must admit, I had to pull up the wikipedia page on Brazil to figure out what sort of place it was. We would all be flying in from different places, and would meet for five days.

It was a perfect trip. Despite the 17 hour flight to get there, it was a lovely time, with such great girls. I’m going to post pictures now, as I’m running out of time.

We danced in the Samba parade, which was nuts. One of the dance schools had some extra costumes, which we agreed to take sight unseen. Little did we know, we were dancing in the parade as these Portuguese grandmothers wearing trays of cakes.

People in Brazil are so nice. This law enforcement officer agreed to be in a picture with me. I told him it was my birthday (because it really was). The picture below is what the beach looks like. We made some friends with the hippest group of siblings that I’ve met, since my own, of course. They are all in a band together, which is pretty neat.

Okay, that’s all for now.

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2011 Wrap-Up

I am going to copy Ingrid’s idea and chronicle the highlights of 2011 for you. Sorry I haven’t been writing. There is no excuse.

January 2011

Last January I was wrapping up my time in Japan. I spent two transformative years living near the beach in Kobe, Japan and teaching at a university. Today I was cleaning out my closet and found a silk blouse I made out of discarded kimono remnants. Seeing the muted orange and grey pattern made me remember how the silk would stick to my skin in the humidity. I would often race down the hill to jump in the ocean before work in the morning, just to have a moment of relief. I remember how my mom came to see me in the peak of the summer and we wandered through the narrow streets of Kyoto looking for the bundles of fabric tied up with pieces of string that were always sitting outside of the kimono shops. I’m selfishly relieved that no one else wondered what stories those pieces of kimono would tell us about the world they saw.

My goodbye parties were so touching that I almost didn’t leave.


I returned to Portland in February. Waking up in Ingrid and Brad’s basement felt like Christmas every day. I would wander upstairs to see all sorts of delightful people eating breakfast, and I knew that the next day I would wake up and they would still be there. I spent the month catching up with friends and walking kids to school. Or dressing up in pirate wear for my nephew’s third birthday party.

I discreetly celebrated my own birthday as well. Uncle Rick had an amazing cake made for Tuyen and myself, as we share a birthday.


I could finally move into my apartment on King’s Hill. I remember jumping up and down (literally) because I couldn’t touch the ceiling even if I tried.


I spent an absurd amount of time socializing in the spring. None of these people held it against me that I left.


I got mono.


The early summer in Portland tends to be a time of great disappointment. The weather teases with glimpses of sun followed shortly thereafter with flash floods. This June though, was magical. I tried to wear as little clothing as often as possible, which was made easier because I was an active part of a running club which shared my goals. One of the highlights in June was the annual Toga hash, where hundred of us dressed in home-made togas and ran through the streets of Portland, stopping only to dance in the streets and drink beer. It was a beautiful day.

I ran into my friend Kevin at the end of the day. He wasn’t participating in the festivities.


I spent July failing to get a job. I wasn’t too distressed by it though. I joined an indoor soccer club where I got in the way of my teammates. Sometimes I got in the way of my opponents. Our team was better looking than most of the other teams. We didn’t win.

The loss of my grandmother was quite poignant. Her passing seemed to have reignited the bond that the Parmeter family shares. Spending time at my grandmother’s house in her final days, I remember helping address my cousin’s wedding invitations. It is nice to know that I’ll spend my entire life with such lovely people as my family.


As I was headed to Coos Bay for a weekend of running and camping, I got a call about a job I had applied for months prior. They were finally ready to interview me.


Alas! I had a job writing training and professional development materials for the second largest privately held company in Oregon. The transition to working again was challenging, and working a desk job/corporate thing was new to me. I work with amazing people though, which is wonderful.

I’m actually only pretending to work in this picture.


October was a hard month. I’m glad it’s over.


I celebrated the first Thanksgiving with my family since 2008. I love holidays!


December was great. I was finally figuring out how to do my job, and continuing to develop my friendships. I took a quick jaunt over to Hawaii with a girlfriend. This is the only picture I took, and I have no idea who this guy is.

I’m excited about what 2012 holds. Sometimes I stop and think about what I was doing a year ago, and I can’t even believe where I’m at right now, and how I never could have predicted what I would be doing a year into the future. I’ll keep you updated.

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Pictures of food

A friend of mine is transitioning to a vegetarian diet for her health, and I love talking about food, so I volunteered to help her with this new way of eating. I decided I would put this info on my blog in the hopes that someone out there will finally appreciate the pictures I take of my food.

For the last few months, I’ve been eating a lot more fat and fewer carbs as I’ve learned more about how poorly our bodies handle sugar. I’m not very strict about it, as I can easily get talked into beer and ice cream, but I try to eat well about 90% of the time. Below I’ll chronicle three days worth of meals. I tend to have coffee with whole milk a couple times a day, and eat snacks like cheese and apples.

Day 1 Breakfast

I seem to remember having leftover enchilada filling this day, so I put it over an egg and served it with half an avocado and a salad. It was a memorable breakfast.


This is an epic salad, as you can see. I tossed in blueberries, apples, walnuts, and some broiled slices of squash.


I made this dinner one night when a friend was coming over. The salad was covered with almonds and apples, and I made some breaded zucchini and miso soup. My miso soup generally has about 4 ingredients: water, miso paste, tofu, and seaweed or green onions. The aioli is vegan mayo, garlic, lemon juice, and salt/pepper.

Day 2 Breakfast

This is my breakfast. Kinda always. I heat up the pan with olive oil and toss in some random veggies and an egg or two, then put a lid on it. Delightful.


This is generally lunch. Either a salad or a stir fry, as I pack my lunch for work. I really put all sorts of weird stuff on my salads, and they are generally just tossed with olive oil and balsamic, but you can get fancy with dressings if you like. This is a great NYT video about the perfect vinaigrette.


I’m just guessing that this dinner was followed by half of a watermelon or something. But it’s brilliant nonetheless. I call this my fake caprese. It’s soft tofu, avocado, tomato, and basil dressed with olive oil, balsamic, and salt/pepper. So good.

Day 3 Breakfast

Sometimes I have miso soup for breakfast.



This was a fantastic stir fry of tofu, kale, mushrooms, and broccoli. I pan fried those items with soy sauce, sesame oil, and siracha sauce. I remember this being particularly good.

So there you have it. It’s pretty interesting to do a periodic dietary analysis and see what you should be eating more of. You can put everything you eat in a day into this site and it’ll tell you where you are getting nutrients from and such.

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This is the post about my couch.

So Uncle Rick decided we should all post something new to our blogs, which is funny because he hasn’t written anything for 16 months. But, Uncle Rick, you should totally post the recipe for that fabulous curried squash you made for Thanksgiving.

I haven’t written in a couple months. Sorry. Consider this my warm-up blog post. I’m learning that 40 hours are so many hours. It’s remarkable you all do it. Once I find a wealthy man to support me, I’ll write on here a lot more.

My big news is that I have a couch now. It’s like the most adult thing I’ve ever purchased. I suppose that I bought a couch in Japan, but it was so small that it barely counted.

Now that I have a couch, I do everything on it. I’m writing from my couch now. This morning, it was where breakfast was served.

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I got jobbed!

Hey everyone! (does anyone read this anymore?) I became employed! I’ll start working on Monday in a position that is an excellent fit for me. I’ll be doing Instructional Design, which is basically writing materials for whatever internal training needs a large company might have. My coworkers seem like really nice people also, which gives me a good feeling about it all.

It’s funny, since I found out that I got the job, I’ve been frantically trying to complete every project that I have ever started. I’m also trying to have my life totally organized, as though the world is about to enter apocalypse or something. I’ve heard that pregnant women do this before having a kid, they want everything to be perfect.

Recently I’ve also fallen into this mindset like, “This is the last time I’ll ever go to the gym,” or “This will be the last time I meet friends for happy hour,” I think I’m so intimidated by the idea of having an office job that I forget that I’ll have a couple hours free in the evenings (with any luck). People have been reminding me that I used to have a job, and I managed to have a social life as well. I suppose I didn’t really count that as a job, just like I don’t count being fabulous as a job, or being a pisces. I suppose that I just have to figure out how to meld this new career into what I “do”.

Dear readers, please tell me how you do it. I am open to advice or words of wisdom.

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This is like the best thing I’ve ever made

I accidentally made the most delicious thing ever. I had to take a picture. “Wait, Anne,” you say, “How did you know this was the best thing ever at the point when you took this picture of uneaten food?”

“Well,” I would answer, “It was so good that I made another serving just like it so that I could take a picture for you”. I was merely utilizing some leftover enchilada filling that I had made out of chopped onions, konnyaku, and enchilada sauce. I put an egg in there and used the Japanese method of steaming the egg, by just putting a lid on the pan and allowing moisture to cook it.

In other news, I’ve been working on several house projects recently. Mostly lighting. I’ll have ya’ll over sometime to check it out.

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Raw Food Night

Last week I hosted a raw food potluck at my house. It came about after speaking with a few friends about raw food, and how we were intrigued and curious to see if we could make stuff taste as good as Blossoming Lotus. A potluck seemed like a good place to start.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, the raw food movement is based on the idea that heating foods above about 110 degrees starts to kill the nutrients and enzymes. I don’t think I would make the switch to 100% raw foodism myself, but I do think that we should all be eating a lot more raw fruits and vegetables.

If you plan on trying out your own raw food night, you should invite my friend Niaz over. She is a fabulous cook and adventurous eater. I like to keep these people in my life. She made a fantastic raw pasta out of spiralized zucchini tossed in a pesto of pureed basil, garlic, walnuts, and olive oil. It was truly brilliant.

My friend Tess made a really great coleslaw out of sliced apples and carrots. She dressed it with “just some random stuff”, which I think included some lemon juice and oil, maybe salt and pepper. My dish had a lot of character, but fell short in all other ways. I was trying to make a Korean style lettuce wrap, but it ended up being impossible to eat. I seasoned sliced mushrooms in my take on Korean marinade (soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, brown sugar, orange juice, and siracha sauce) then wrapped them up with vegetables. Really only great in theory. I decided what I’ll do differently next time.

Dessert was more of a success. I blended blackberries with frozen bananas and almond milk in a mixer. It was like a little berry smoothie. Next time I’ll run the berry pulp through a sieve before adding the bananas, because it was quite seedy. Strawberries might have been good too. 


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