Monthly Archives: July 2010


These photos hold so much energy for me, still.

Doesn’t that grotto look like a place where really magical things could transpire?

We stumbled upon this grotto buried deep in the Ubud rainforest, sunken deep into the ground, at a place called the ‘monkey forest,’ where thousands of monkeys roamed around, occasionally attacking overeager tourists who bought bundles of bananas from hawkers outside. Personally I was terrified of the monkeys, but I loved watching them from a safe distance. I really felt like I was wandering a lost world populated by chattering animals and silent statuary, rust stained ponds and emerald moss pathways.

[Monkey on a monkey!!!!! Delicious.]

Isn’t she so beautiful and hypnotic? I am the worst dancer in the world but I loved watching her hyper graceful movements.


The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied.  It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.


Oh my. Bali. BALI! This first set of photos I took right after we checked into our hotel, the Uma Ubud. The photos simply don’t do it justice — this hotel was so serene, romantic, and elegant. It was remarkable. Every morning, I wandered down to Uma’s outdoor dining area and ordered their fresh museli, which was soaked in milk and dotted with passion fruit seeds and strawberries. I thought of you, Sasha, while furtively trying to figure out how to make it on my own.


Two great things happened to me yesterday: Four pounds of Oregon Lambert cherries and In the Mood for Love at the Portland Art Museum. Nothing could have prepared me for the sweet intensity of a Pacific Northwest cherry. Some varieties are three times the size of a “normal” grocery store cherry — they are monster truck cherries the size of unripe figs or baby nectarines. They are the size of walnuts or ice cubes. They are magnificent and almost aggressively sweet, and amazingly cheap at the Farmer’s Market — about $3/lb.


My mom recently bought a scanner and surprised me this morning by emailing me amazing old photos from my childhood. I love my mom’s thick braid and my tiny ones and the field dotted with tangerine-colored poppies. The last photo is of me with my childhood best friend — but how amazing is my vegetable bikini! I remember being obsessed with that thing. If it fit me, I would still wear it today!

Happy happy happy Sunday. It’s finally getting HOT as hell in Oregon. Finally.



More Singapore Botanic Garden flowers (and croissant and club sandwich, both of which were surprisingly tasty and my only non-Asian food of the trip). My only comfort now is being so far from so much beauty is that Portland has the best roses in the entire world.

Part one of flowers here.


The Singapore Botanic Gardens is without a doubt one of the best places in the world. I’ve been — and loved — a lot of botanical gardens in the States, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Ithaca and Berkeley, but this one is so far in a league of its own it’s insane. I took hundreds of photos, so this post will be broken into two parts.

The layout is so beautiful and easy to navigate and there are so many special little zones, like the romantic orchid gardens, the indoor “cool” forest, a cute children’s garden, a restaurant I wish I had the money to afford, an outdoor concert hall, super cool outdoor bathrooms, and the bromeliad garden (pineapples!). It was like an intensely fragrant zoo without any animals. Also, it’s free. Best thing in Singapore.


Black pepper crab and chili crab are two of Singapore’s most iconic dishes, and while you can certainly buy crab at any cheap food hawker stall, we did it the super swanky way, at the waterfront Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant. We showed up without a reservation (mistake) but promised to be fast and were seated anyway and feasted like kings for less than an hour. The pepper crab was clearly the highlight of the evening — overzealous crab cracking resulted in stray shells shooting across our table like bullets and narrowly missing the back of a lady’s head at an adjacent table, oops — but I also loved the salt-crusted whole fish, fried seafood noodles, and buttery wilted greens. I did NOT care for the strange, sweet baby squid, which were crunchy and insect-like.




I mean… really. This album is so perfect it hurts. ‘Solar Bridge’ was one of my favorites of 2008, but ‘Does It Look Like I’m Here’ is just so warm and open and safe.  I listen to ‘Double Helix’ and feel so bummed that I didn’t have this band when I was in middle school and desperately obsessed with Pink Floyd, because it is sooo Pink Floyd.

Also, perfect album art.


As exciting and life-changing as Singaporean food has been for me, I also have to admit that after all of the gluttony and decadence it’s been nice to return to my “boring” food like roasted potatoes, black bean salads and flash-fried kale. Also, Oregon cherries in mid-July. But the one dish that I will continue to pine for is Singapore’s iconic fish head curry, which I had to have only in Little India.

I happily ate the steaming, ochre-hued heaps of the poached red snapper surrounded by its halo of spicy tamarind and coriander-spiked broth. Thrown right onto a waxy banana leaf and eaten with fragrant basmati rice, the curry effortlessly managed to stay the centerpiece of the meal despite being crowded by table side competitors chana masala, tandoori chicken, garlic naan, and pickled vegetables. We also got an insane deep-fried fish fillet dish that came wrapped in those banana leap pouches you see above, coddled in a thick tomato paste and ground-up spices and hot peppers, but it was nothing compared to the tender morsel of snapper cheek that completed my meal.