Friday, July 9, 2010

Some Like It Hot

The past two days in Portland have been 100 degrees. I hear other people complaining about the weather, but I don't have any problem with it. I spent the entire last summer in Terlingua, Texas, surprisingly content in the face of 110-plus degree temperatures every single day for three months. In fact, if the weather was always this hot in Portland I wouldn't ever consider moving! (Though if it was always this hot and sunny the population would probably be quadruple what it is now.)The thing I find so fascinating about the onset of hot weather in the Pacific Northwest is the sudden appearance of skin. Specifically, women in sundresses. Granted, their newly exposed limbs are white and pale, but to see the proliferation of girls, women, mothers, daughters, grandmas, whatever age, in paper-thin cotton frocks with spaghetti straps and hemlines above the knee...well let's just say it's not how they look, but how they carry themselves, and it's inspiring. I met an editor friend for coffee today at Crema and as I sat there at our sidewalk table I watched an assortment of women walk past in Really Cute Dresses. It was not their dress styles that caught my attention but the bounce in their steps, the smiles on their faces, their faces tipped up toward the sun (and not scowling and hunkering down against the usual rain). I overheard a 60-something-year-old women at the next table telling her friend how the summer weather inspired her to buy the new flowered mini-skirt she was wearing. "It was only $15 at Twill, and it's stretchy," the gray haired woman explained, twirling around like a high school cheerleader. Regardless of the sweat dripping down their backs and the lack of air conditioning, I have never seen people in Portland this happy. Forget pie, it's sun that equals happiness! As for me, I'm going to enjoy the heat while it lasts. I'm so optimistic that I've dragged my own sundress collection out of storage, laundered and ironed each one, and dug my sunglasses out from the back of the drawer. According to the weather forecast, the sun will shine for five more days. Less than the shelf-life of an apple pie, but long enough I won't have to repeat outfits. Long enough to heat up my bones and turn my skin the color of pie crust.

Bake me, baby, bake.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Apple Pie on the 4th of July

Forget fireworks, sparklers, BBQs or even S'mores. This Fourth of July was all about pie! More accurately, it was about escaping the city to spare Team Terrier the terror of all those celebratory explosions. After attending a small, impromptu barbeque on July 3, and seeing my dogs cower with fear as the neighbor kids set off bottle rockets, I returned home and promptly called my friend Marty Rudolph who owns a 20-acre retreat on the northeast flanks of Mount Hood. No matter that it was 10PM, I had an urgent request: "Marty, can I come up tomorrow and spend the night?" Luckily her answer was prompt and enthusiastic:"YES!"Marty and I share the same birthday, June 14, and since our plans to celebrate together last month were dashed by my bronchitis we celebrated our belated birthdays instead of Independence Day on the 4th. Though considering we are both strong-willed single women, I guess you could say we were celebrating our Independence Day as well. How much more independent can you get than having built your own house by hand on 20 acres?! Marty is 64, with not only the spirit of but the hot body of a 30-year-old. She is elegant and sophisticated, yet rugged. She as comfortable in a little black dress as she is driving her tractor or chopping wood. I can only hope to have her energy and self-reliance when I'm 64.

I had promised her a birthday pie and I delivered. Apple, to be precise. We ate pie for dessert (after a gorgeous meal of grilled salmon and roasted potatoes) and we ate pie for breakfast. And though the pie was baked just the way I like it (not too heavy on the cinnamon, apples slightly crisp) it tasted even better eaten in the fresh air, straight out of the pie plate, sitting in the morning sun after soaking in the hot tub, while gazing out at blue skies and the impressive view of Oregon's iconic snow-covered volcano.

Oh, and the dogs were in heaven too. While Marty and I ate pie in the sun, they ran around her wildflower-filled meadow digging up mole holes. They were clearly grateful for being spared the pyrotechics and instead the only "noise" they endured was the wind blowing through the pine trees and the occasional "Yum, mmmm," comments uttered between bites. Who needs fireworks when you have 20 acres of nature, a Gemini soul sister, and pie.