Apple Picking in Portland and Everything You Wanted to Know About My Menstrual Flow but Were Afraid to Ask

We have three couches. They have all been peed on. At the end of the day, when the kids are in bed and I have complete freedom to choose for myself what I want to do, I choose to sit, hunch-backed on one of these urine couches and look at my phone for three hours. I read all the things re: the election that facebook has to offer me (I’m obsessed, completely) and I look at pictures of bathrooms on pinterest. Sometimes Andy and I will watch something on television. But that’s it, that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m choosing to do this stuff instead of writing blog posts and making shopping lists and cooking interesting meals and writing thank you notes that are now more than a month over due. I can blame part of this ennui on our nine day trip to Portland, when I was on 24/7 childcare duty and also had an endless stomach bug and had no hope of being productive. But we’ve been back for 11 days and I still haven’t done anything. Aside from looking at my phone and coughing up a lot of sputum, cuz something else is wrong with me. Isn’t sputum the worst word you’ve ever heard? Or in my case, read? I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that word, and I don’t know if you say spoo-tum or spuh-tum. I’m gonna pick spoo. I feel completely worn out and apathetic and also kind of disgusted with myself for not doing anything. But then, last night, I felt like my old self again. Still the sputum, but I made a legitimate dinner that was not the endless parade of sandwiches and quesadillas we’ve been eating, I water-colored a cake topper for my sister, and I made food for a party, and I said, I’m back, baby! And shit y’all, I’m writing this blog post, so I’m officially unstoppable.

Things that have happened in the 20 days since my last blog post:

1) I dragged myself to the gynocologist (the word gynocologist is your cue to skip this paragraph if you don’t want to hear about vaginas. The un-fun aspect of vaginas) and got myself some super potent birth control.  Not for the birth-controlling part (because Andy has kindly seen to that in the manner that necessitated him spending an intimate weekend with a bag of frozen, thawed, and refrozen corn niblets) but for the period-controlling part. My periods are the fucking worst. Everybody says that, but I feel like mine really are and I win and get to complain the most. For the last year, they have been 12 days long. 5 light days, and then 2-3 unbelievably heavy days where I fill up the stupid diva cup every two hours and have to wear and change overnight pads at the same time, even though the diva cup says it holds one ounce and that’s how much most women bleed during their entire period! Rage. If I don’t empty it every two hours the thing starts to slide out of my body and it is the scariest feeling, when you’re at the grocery store with two little kids and a cup full of blood could spill from your vagina at any moment. Anyway, after I make it through those days I have another 5 light days. The whole thing is terrible. And in August, for the second time this year, I’ve had back-to-back periods, where I do all of this, and then get a week off, and then start all over again. I don’t like to intervene with my body’s natural processes. I want to believe it can sort this shit out by itself. But enough is enough. I’m on day five of my super-hormone-packed high dose birth control in an effort to get this shit in line. I have been warned that I might be an insane person for the next month or two. Hold on to your fucking hat.

The other exciting development is that we have mostly successfully gotten the kids to sleep together in their bed so Andy and I can be like real-life married people and sleep in the same bed again. I’ve been sleeping in the master bedroom with George since he was born, and Andy has been sleeping in Henry’s bed with Henry, because he didn’t want to sleep alone. Both kids were really happy with this arrangement and both Andy and I were really not. So we talked about it with them and went for it. Sometimes they both sleep through the night and we don’t have to do anything. Sometimes George wakes up and wants to cuddle for an hour before he falls back asleep. Sometimes I wake up suddenly to find Henry sitting in the rocking chair right next to my face, in the very spot where I put my glasses after reading election shit on facebook until 1 AM, because he would like a drink of water and wants to know if that’s okay. It’s been pretty great though. And it’s been really fun to listen to the kids talk to each other in the morning, while Andy and I are still in bed. The other day, I overheard Henry, pointing to something on the counter, ask George “Who did that?” George said, “Mama. The question is, where is mama?”

Also I caught a possum in a live trap and put it in the back of my Prius and drove it to a park and released it near a dumpster.

Here’s what we ate three weeks ago. In Portland.



Westmoreland Park Nature-Based Play Area. Helen taught Henry to do this punk rock pose when she cut his hair into a faux hawk and now it’s the only way he’ll take a picture. This park is good. Too good. The kids stayed there for four hours and would’ve stayed longer if we didn’t remind them that we had to eat and sleep and live our lives.


Trader Joe’s Haunted House Kit. Gingerbread (or in this case, chocolate) houses are one of those things that are a good idea in theory and pretty miserable in practice. The icing in this kit was an abject failure. The thing fell apart over and over again until we mixed up an egg white with powdered sugar and used that instead. Meanwhile, the kids stole long ragged gulps of icing from the bags and became progressively more and more insane.


Kiyokawa Family Orchards. I’ve wanted to take the kids apple picking for forever. I did it once in college, in my roommate Julia’s hometown of Nashua, New Hampshire, and thought it was the most magical thing. We were the only ones in the orchard, and we saw the sun set over the surrounding hills that were covered with red, orange, and yellow trees. We made pies and drank spicy hot chocolate and slept in her beautiful old home and I wanted to do it again, so so much. I researched options for picking apples in Texas, but it doesn’t have the same appeal. Apples are only grown in the middle of nowhere, and are ripe and ready to pick for approximately 4 days in the middle of August. No thanks. Stupid Texas. Anyway, we made it to Portland in the very heart of honeycrisp season, my favorite apple. We drove along the Columbia river for about two hours, and stepped out of the car into this magical orchard. We picked more apples than we could possibly eat in the first ten minutes we were there and then wandered around a bit. We all loved it. I don’t know why Henry’s looking at George like that.


I made it to the line to weigh and purchase our apples right after a busload full of senior citizens did, so I had time to take a couple dozen pictures of the apples in my wagon.


Grilled Cauliflower with Chimichurri, Salmon Rilletes with Grilled Focaccia, Fried Brussels Sprouts with Brown Sugar and Bacon Marmalade at Solstice. On the plane ride to Portland I sat next to a neat scientist lady who does cancer research and also knew of the best place to eat in the Hood River Valley. The cauliflower was largely raw and not great, but everything else was outrageous.


George contemplates his peanut butter pizza. I ate some of this too, in between bites of salmon rilletes, and really liked it.


Vanilla Gelato with Lemon Zest at Cicci Gelato. Scientist lady told me we had to stop by this gelato shop, which is next to Solstice, and I’m so glad we did. The gelato was spectacular, and the guy who sold it to us was too. There was no one else in line, so he came out of the cart when we were done eating and told the kids to look under the cart. Someone had kicked a soccer ball under there, so Henry crawled under and retrieved it, and then this guy played soccer with the kids for half an hour while we talked to him about Italy and gardening. It was neat.


The majesty of this view was only moderately diminished by the discarded used condom we had to walk around to get to the water’s edge. Did people have sex right there on those pointy rocks? One of the great unanswered questions.


Enchiladas Suizas at Rocio’s. This is a really shitty picture, I’m sorry. This place is hipster and adorable inside, and the food was pretty good too. But they said they had agua frescas and then brought us club soda with a smashed up raspberry in the bottom and I don’t know what went wrong there.


Berry Crisp. Speaking of raspberries. The produce in Oregon puts our Texas stuff to shame. The strawberries were so soft and sweet! The ones I get are big and dense and sour. The raspberries and blueberries too- a huge difference. In spite of that, we weren’t eating these berries quickly enough, so I made a fruit crisp.


Chili. My parents were so good to us. My dad made us fried eggs and toast for breakfast and my mom cooked us dinner. They read stories to the boys and were endlessly patient about all the jumping on the furniture and spilling of drinks. My kids spill so many drinks, you guys. My dad likes to drink crystal light, which comes in little packets that you pour into plastic water bottles and shake up (does everyone know this but me?). The kids were instantly enamored. It’s like a science experiment every time you want a drink. You get to pour powder into liquid, shake it up, the thing changes color and then you magically end up with a sugary sweet drink. They also loved the plastic water bottles, which they could not resist squeezing to hear the crunchy crackly plastic sound, and which resulted in washing and rewashing the tablecloth from all the spills until I did the unthinkable and said they couldn’t have any more crystal light. Also, my mom’s chili is delicious.


Butter Croissants with Strawberry Jam and Brie at La Provence. Come on! Look at that tiny piece of brie that comes with a croissant! Both the jam and the croissant were tremendous.


Henry picked a lemon tart and ate the whole thing. George picked a vampire cookie and ate enough to stain his mouth black and then left the rest in a crumbled pile in his car seat.


My parents got a new car while we were there. We went with them to the car dealership and took a lot of drinks out of the mini fridge and then left.


Look at my adorable mom!


OMSI. The kids loved getting to spend time with their cousin Jack, who is utterly delightful and so kind to the boys. He also turned us on to the Septimus Heap series, which we have been devouring.

Sand Belly. George does this exact thing anytime he comes into close contact with a pile of sand. It was quite the hit among the cadre of parents milling around the sand box.


I love this.


Baked Potato Soup. I don’t remember anything noteworthy about this day to share with you, but I had to make mention of how extraordinary this soup is. It’s one of my mom’s specialties and is creamy AF. She just learned what AF meant so I threw that in there for her. It is really creamy though.


Apple Crunch Pie. I got that stomach bug/flu/whatever the day we went apple picking and felt sick and tired for basically the rest of the trip, but I did pull myself together long enough to make an apple pie with my mom’s recipe and the newtown pippin apples we picked ourselves.


It’s just the best apple pie.


Potstickers, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Orange Flavored Beef from Hunan Pearl. George was furious with me during this meal, for reasons I still don’t understand. He yelled at me in response to any question I asked him. What would you like to drink? NOTHING! Wait. A SPECIAL DRINK! WHERE’S MY SPECIAL DRINK?! I DO WANT AN EGGROLL! I DON’T WANT THAT CHICKEN. ACTUALLY I DO WANT THAT CHICKEN. And on and on. It has sort of continued since that moment. I remember, of course, that age 3-4.5 was pretty rough with Henry and all signs point to George following in his brother’s footsteps.

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Back to the nature-based play area for more sand belly opportunities!


Lemony Cheese Blintzes, Latkes, Apples and Jam. I made Rosh Hashanah dinner. Henry ate the outside of one blintz and then burst into tears because he missed Papa. Also he got my stomach bug which sent me down a dark path of imagining all the various scenarios that could take place on a four hour flight home with two children with GI distress.

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The kids loved reading books with Grandpa too. This book, The Digging-est Dog, is unfathomably dark. This dog has seen some shit, you guys.


Bestest Banana Bread. I ruined this by taking it out of the oven too early. That’s just what I do with quick breads. I ruin them.


Tomato and Olive Salad. Isn’t it pretty?


My Mom’s Beef Stew. She doesn’t normally serve this on egg noodles, but without them Henry wouldn’t have eaten anything in the bowl.


We got home and put our underwear on our heads.

And now we’re all caught up! I did a thing! Now I’m gonna go sit on a urine-stained couch and read some facebook.


6 thoughts on “Apple Picking in Portland and Everything You Wanted to Know About My Menstrual Flow but Were Afraid to Ask

  1. Gangie October 17, 2016 / 6:54 am

    I feel sad about your urine stained couches. I was so happy to see a new post and as always loved it. You’re back baby!

    • arielleclementine October 18, 2016 / 2:50 pm

      Haha! Thanks mama! The new slipcovers still look good! It’s just the secret knowledge that they’ve been peed on that eats at me.

  2. Elaine October 17, 2016 / 11:58 pm

    As long as the culprit didn’t ruin anyone else’s sofa during your travels, it/could be worse. I could tell you some family history sometime. Sorry you’re dealing with all of this. When I was almost ready for menopause, I bled for eight weeks. The hormones from the OB slowed it down, but it didn’t stop until I took Chinese herbs from my acupuncture doctor.

    • arielleclementine October 18, 2016 / 2:52 pm

      Thankfully no sofas were ruined, but George did pee on the seat on the airplane. It was one of those faux-leather types so wiped up easily at least. I’d love to hear your family’s pee stories! Really good to know about the Chinese medicine! As it happens, I’m taking some pills I got from the acupuncturist for my upper respiratory infection. Guess I should have mentioned my bleeding problem too.

  3. Martha November 1, 2016 / 3:28 am

    I love reading your blog even (especially) when you overshare. And now I want to visit your parents and go apple picking too.

    • arielleclementine November 16, 2016 / 6:13 am

      Ha! This is much appreciated! My parents would be over the moon to have you!

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