A blank page. I always compose offline, probably because when I started this blog, we were living in Mauritania and the internet connection was far from reliable. I can’t break the habit, and I don’t even try.

However, I do keep all my blog posts in one word document. Or I did anyway, before my computer crashed last week.

It was quite the week. We learned that our car is basically done for—it is repairable but old, and so we have decided it’s not worth the price of the repairs. In home news my computer crashed on Thursday. We reinstalled Windows and got it running, just. We bought our copy of Office (including Outlook and Word) in England and lost it in Morocco, so I am currently using free versions—Mozilla Thunderbird and something called Open Office, which is pretty much identical to Word and claims to be thoroughly compatible. So far so good. I have been having lots of “fun” reinstalling pdf readers and flash players and printer drivers and all the things that you don’t want to have to take the time to deal with.

I also have a new file for my blog posts. Hence the temporarily-blank page. What font do you prefer when using word, or in this case Open Office, documents? I’m using Calibri at 11. I also like Trebuchet. (after much trial and error, I think I have managed to make it readable. I’m now using Cambria at 14. Sigh)

Last Saturday, to make up for the disappointment of our lack of a California vacation, we got up around noon (we had gotten in about 3) and took the kids for a big breakfast in NW Portland. In order to show you pics, I have had to download a whole new program and learn how to use it. Yes, I am angling for sympathy, thank you.

I don’t remember what everyone else had, but I had a bacon, asparagus, and herbed chevre omelette. Insert blissful sigh here. Our waiter thought we were tourists. It was kind of fun. In fact, we totally played tourists for the day, wandering round our own city, me taking pictures.

Then we went downtown. It was a gorgeous day.

I spotted a signpost for Casablanca in Pioneer Square in downtown Portland, and sighed again for what I’d lost. Elliot and I also had a discussion about how much we hated Casa, and shouldn’t there be a sign for Rabat or Meknes instead? And what about Nouakchott?

Afterwards, to complete our tour of Portland, we went for frozen yogurt on Hawthorne Street. I love Hawthorne. There you will see people old and young, tourist and native, hipsters wearing outfits and the generic middle-aged in black t-shirts and jeans. On a bright sunny day, I saw a young woman with 50s-style hair, makeup (including bright red lipstick!), and cats-eye glasses. Her summery dress was also straight out of the 1950s. And her bare arms, legs and neck were covered in tattoos! It was a most distinctive look, and I admired it greatly. “It’s like a gift she gives the world,” I told Donn.

I didn’t get a pic of her but I did photograph this individual playing a hammered dulcimer, which it turns out I don’t know how to spell. (I mean, I do now, thanks. You don’t need to tell me.)

And we ended up at Powells. I was pleased to find that even though I have a stack of books awaiting me, there’s still more I want. That’s good, right?

What’s Ilsa been up to lately?
Babysitting. At my house, it seems, which means I get roped into holding babies.

Picking strawberries for me.

And painting. Yes, that is my dining room table. No, we don’t use it much these days. And no, we don’t have any other table. Things have been a mite casual this week round here. She’s painting this.

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