Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"Forget love. Try good manners." - Vivi*

Really, people. If you are going to make plans to meet someone for a date, said day comes along, and you decide not to go, if you are unable to make it, don't just not show up. Send some excuse, at least. Here are some reasonable options, any one of which would have not made me ever want to meet you again, but would have worked at least as an excuse. Thankfully I was waiting at a bookstore, and lost track of time reading Milosz, which would have made me late to said date, but I would never just not show up. How rude!

Some excuses that could be valid:

"I got hit by a bus and broke my right leg."

"I have food poisoning and am puking my guts out every 2 minutes."

"My car was stolen and I am writing a police report."

Of course, the only way these would be acceptable is if someone actually CALLED AND SAID THEM. Manners, people, what happened to manners? I'm going to start giving out free copies of the Guide to Excuciatingly Correct Behavior.

*from Divine Secrets, Rebecca Wells

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

post-christmas g-chats

johnny v: dilbert

evs: is never drinking again.

bickle: ♫ I give a Flock.

van ant: iced in at xmas

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

where's santa?

if you're curious, the NORAD folks are tracking him and I think they'll even respond to your e-mail.

Happy Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

which power do you want?

If I were a hero, I think i'd like the poison deal maya's got, but it might not be a good idea for me to have that kind of power.

Monday, December 22, 2008

hair washing g-chats

doesn't recommend accidentally washing your hair with the hotel's small bottle of body lotion.

♫ requests that you not let her fall

i give a Flock

stole link from kristin, very funny: 12 things to throw at bush

Sunday, December 21, 2008

a day in the life of a saturday seattle snowstorm

8 am: Wake up to meet Bethany by 9. Because of snow, take #48, which for once in its life is blessedly on time, to Judkins Park. Walk up Massachusetts, wind up park and hill to 31st in Mt. Baker, plowing through snow uphill. Going uphill in the snow is excellent exercise, by the way.

9 am: Wake up the girls at the Mt. Baker house, which has the most beautiful views of the city, ever. Also fall in love with the wood paneling in the dining room. Trust me, you need to see it. It's the stuff that people used to craft 100 years ago. It's gorgeous. Have tea with the Mt. Baker house girls, who are all lovely. Dream about making Beecher's Homemade Mac n' Cheese.

11 am: Tromp over to see Liv at Sweet and Savory, which is entirely worthy of its review in November's Seattle magazine, and in Viv's blog. It's lovely in decor and smells, and I want to stay for a long while. But it's going to snow. Bethany drops me off at the corner of Madison and 23rd, and I run into the Safeway - well, actually, I don't run, I walk. Carefully, on the ice - to find people thinking the apocolypse is coming and they need to buy 800 lbs. of everything they might possibly need in the coming snowy days. I get some Beecher's Cheddar, and Gruyere, which might be my favorite cheese in the world at the moment.

2 p.m. Make Beecher's Mac n Cheese. 1/2 the recipe, because let's be honest, I don't need a whole pan.

3 p.m. Start making bread and put it to rise. Make some broccoli, since I want to eat something green with my mac n' cheese. Eat broccoli, mac n' cheese, and sigh happily.

4 p.m. Liv calls and says she might ski over. But it's started snowing now, and it will be dark. We nix the idea.

4:30 pm. Brush butter on top of bread before about to put in oven and watch it deflate a little. Very sad. Must let it rise a bit more. It does so.

6 pm. Take bread out of the over. Marvel at how beautifully it turned out after all. Thankful.

7 pm. Make a batch of lemon drop cookies and a batch of the best brownies in the world. I freeze them. Also freeze 1/2 the bread, since Dri left already for Christmas and there is no one else to eat it.

8 pm. Laugh at Will Ferrell in Elf, on CBS, which is the only station coming in with my little rabbit ears.

10 pm. Laugh at Must Love Dogs. John Cusack essentially reprises Lloyd Dobler here, but it's oh so sweet and also funny. The zingy one-liners are enough to send me happily off to sleep with only one glance outside at the falling snow. It's been a while since there's been a good romantic comedy out. I wouldn't say MLD is Grant/Hepburn/Tracy worthy, but it's a notch above the recent idiocies.

Friday, December 19, 2008

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Seattle shuts down during snowstorms, but I cannot bear being inside for hours and hours and hours.

So I walk downtown from my house, meandering down on Union, then Seneca. I tell people waiting at bus stops that the #2 bus is not coming, that parts of Union have been cordoned off. People are so hopeful in Seattle, I hate being the bearer of bad news. I haven't been in a department store in months, but I find myself wandering around Macy's. I test out some Black Pearl eyeshadow. I try on about 13 coats and drool over the Michael Kors dresses that I certainly don't need. I have some soup and sit in the window, reading the first essay in Best American Travel Writing 08. This is a book I want to savor, so I am reading each essay one at a time, like eating a good chocolate once a week. I'm hoping to drag it all out til February at least. I pass the line for Santa, which is stretched out for a block. But people are patient and happy in the cold, smiling and greeting folks who pass by.

The bus does not appear to be running, so I brace myself for the walk back up the hill and do so. It only takes me a bit longer to get home than it did to go down.

"Did you just blow a kiss at me?" - CCL*

There are some things that should be given context, and some that should not. This one probably should, but will remain mostly contextless in this blog. You can feel free to imagine how it occurred, at the end of a 105 minute weekly staff meeting.

*CCL is, to put it mildly, a harried, crazy person who needs about 8 years of sabbaticals. That is me being nice.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

if i were going to buy more boots

i would buy the ugg kona boots, which i have been obsessed with for approximately 27 hours. or the surfcat ones.

i went boot-shopping with BeCs before she left for Germany, and we both found some...I love these new boots: they are cool-looking, I could wear them horse-back riding if I wanted, and i can walk for miles in them. I've worn them about 60 times since I bought them. But they are NOT warm. And it is FREEZING outside.

But I don't really need ugg kona boots, since I just bought some boots two months ago. The fact that I don't need them is not preventing me from constantly checking ebay to see if there's any chance they're up there for under $100.00.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"finally tracked you down, can you move your car?"

this was asked of me by a super nice security guard at the UW ER late Monday night, after having parked illegally for about 7 hours right out front. he tracked me down in room 6, where I was hanging out with a friend who needed to be there, trying to make her laugh and distract her from the fact she needed to be in the ER.

I learned a few things about the emergency room during my visit.

here's some tips:

1) go to UW. they're all so nice. I mean, really, really, really nice. from the nurses to the security guards to the residents and docs...everyone was stellar. and I parked her car illegally for 7 hours, and they came to find me and ask me nicely to move. how nice are they? super nice.

2) have a book. for the long periods of boredom when your friend is taken to wherever before coming back to the room. I had Water for Elephants, and this is a good one to have along.

3) going to the ER involves long periods of boredom interspersed with short superspeedy periods of humming activity. during the long periods of boredom, it helps to have jokes. and coffee. there is a roaming coffee cart in the hospital, and it is nice.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

all you need at a party is...

a black person?

Racewire had this posted last week, off of gawker. it's disturbing on many levels. thoughts?

Monday, December 15, 2008

coffeehouse is the coolest event ever

and i am consistently amazed at how many amazing talents people have. Also consistently humbled, that folks would share their amazing talent so freely.

seriously, check out the playlist. people were fantastic, and I can't wait for the next one, jan 10th!

Friday, December 12, 2008

coffeehouse commercial

if you need a preview of tomorrow night's coffeehouse, here's what happened last time.

it was awesome.

tomorrow will be awesome too.

Dri and Gretzky are performing a very special number, as are several others. It will not be recorded for posterity, you must be there in person to see it!



Thursday, December 11, 2008

monday, monday, monday

First of all, I'd like to point out to Steve Jobs that taking an interview while on vacation with his family means one is not on vacation with their family. (I was googling "Monday Meetings" to see what would come up.)

Second of all, I can't stand Monday meetings. I think they're pretty awful. For a multitude of reasons. Mostly this week I didn't have coffee or breakfast before attending a series of 3 meetings, which is really not the meetings' fault. Let's be honest, I should have eaten something and then I would have been less cranky. Or at least more productive.

Here's some helpful meeting tips, in case you missed my first round of complaints about meetings a while ago.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

if I were being proposed to at the sea

i would hope this didn't happen. but I will never be 4'11 and 93 pounds. Ever. Even if I get the dreaded shrinks like the Twits. This might help me remain bouyant.

Also, I'd just like to point out that not only is this a tragedy, he broke the 1/2 +7 rule. I'm disturbed by that, too.

As well as the fact that they met online. People, really, can anybody give me some hope that people don't just meet online anymore? Anyone?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

singing g-chats


You. Are. Welcome.


Take a deep breath, America. Your skies are safe now that TSA has confiscated my deadly terrorist hair products.


♫ thinks: there's a time to stay and a time to rock 'n roll

is busy. You may be interrupting.

Monday, December 8, 2008

"it's very important to have crushes" - Alec Greven, aged 9

This kid could help a lot of guys I know.

seriously, you gotta watch the interview. He's hilarious.

and probably in 20 years he will be in some elected office with of course, the perfect female on his arm.

Friday, December 5, 2008

other people's children

"Rainer Beach needs to be closed and consolidated. If the kids in these gangs can't learn to go to school and be civil like normal human beings, let the justice system deal with it. You can't maintain a school system that falters under the pressure of maintaining gang territory. Let the heavy hammer of the law fall and regain some order. " BothellMom, comment on 12/04 article in the Seattle Times.

Dear Bothell Mom,

You seem to have overwhelming confidence in the justice system to transform kids who have been under-served for their entire lives into productive members of society. Yeah, let's put all the kids we're scared of into jail, that'll work wonders.

I am not convinced that the best way to transform an at-risk student into a productive citizen is by incarcerating them.

Perhaps you know something I don't?

Your general attitude reeks of a refusal to see the "kids in these gangs" as what they are - kids, young human beings who are trying to survive the best way they know how. And they certainly aren't someone else's problem to write off, to say, oh, that's just another young black kid again, shooting themselves or someone else up.

John Donne said it better than I ever could: "No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."



Wednesday, December 3, 2008

a picture's worth a thousand words

or something like that.

but if you need an image, google's got 'em: LIFE photo archive, hosted by Google.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

g-chat sins

johhny v:

"Mother Nature makes wine, brewers make beer": New Yorker.

I had no idea: 7 deadly sins


Most annoying/awesome gift ever

election withdrawls? vote 3 times per email address per day and help the north texas food bank get a truckload of tuna!!! (our guy is in 4th place!)

why is it 60 degrees?

"You like Phil Collins?"
"I've got two ears and a heart, don't I?"

Monday, December 1, 2008

new maths

one of the coolest things about my job is that I get to learn a lot all the time.

for example, I recently got to spend some time with the Everyday Math curriculum and people who know it far better than I do.

this is what I learned: a new way of doing math. and it is cool. maybe you already know this, but just in case you don't, I will share the partial sum equations process for addition with you. It was my favorite.

Example Problem:

579 + 285 =

What you do is go left to right, like in reading. this makes sense, right? And you start by adding the hundreds, then the tens, then the ones. This way kids get a sense that that 5 actually means 500s, it's not just a 5.

So you add the hundreds: 500 + 200 = 700

Then you add the tens: 70 + 80 = 150

Then you add the ones: 9 +5 = 14.

And then you add it all together: 700 + 150 + 14 = 864.

Okay, let's try it again, just in case you're confused.

347 + 928 =

Hundreds: 300 + 900 = 1200
Tens: 40 + 20 = 60
Ones: 7 + 8 = 15

1200 + 60 + 15 = 1375.

Isn't that awesome? I love it!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

and also there's this

if you need to laugh a bit. Again from Dri. She has a great sense of humor.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

if I were to fall asleep watching pride and prejudice,

this would be my view...thanks dri!

Monday, November 24, 2008

my favorite curse word

is well known to those who know me best.

a little history:

I grew up in a house where the words "shut up" were considered mortally offensive. This being the case, you can imagine what a curse word might evoke from my lovely parental unit. Since I never wanted the delightful sensation of having my mouth washed out with soap, I avoided saying curse words. My brother, not so much.

anyway, a few years ago I moved to baltimore. Which is known for many fair and foul things. one of them is the artful use of a good curse word. Also, I lived with sij at this point, and while sij is quite honestly the most genuinely sweet person I have ever met, she also has a mouth like a sailor. sij grew up in a house where it was okay to swear, as long as you weren't swearing at people.

(you can say "shit," for example, but not call someone, "You shit." I think this is a nice distinction, myself, and one i follow. one must have a code, after all.)

so under sij's tutelage - I still haven't mastered the fuck a duck expression in quite the same way she shoots it off - I acquired a nice range of words and expressions that would not be appropriate in front of first-graders.

And my favorite word of all turns out to be the word that a lot of people find most offensive: Fuck. Honestly, it just comes flying off my tongue.

so ingrid sent me this comic from xkcd the other week, and i keep pulling it up and laughing. I laugh at the other comics randall munroe writes, too (you should go check them all out) but this one makes me smile every time.

N.B. I actually hate it when people say "shut up." It drives me crazy, and when I had students, it was never allowed in my classroom. Mom would be proud.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

there's coffee, and then there's coffee

the best thing about work last Wednesday was that I took a sip of coffee and noticed two things:

1) Arthur didn't make it. His general rule is to dump about a cup of grounds in for every 3 cups of water. I have pointed out that this makes for more of an espresso like sludgey sort of drink, but it doesn't stop a lifetime of his coffee-making habits. Also, he is always the first one here, so he makes it by default.

2) It was beautiful. Mellow, smooth, and delightful to drink. This was good coffee.

Turns out one of my co-workers stopped at Caffe Umbria last night and bought some coffee to share with us. The Terra Sana blend. Oh my word, it's delightful.

I was very thankful. Sometimes it is the simple things.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Do you have any designs on those bananas?"


It is really fun to live with someone who also likes to cook, but it is important to ask before using potential ingredients.

Also, it is fun to live with people who share recipes. I don't understand those people who hoard recipes. What's wrong with them? Don't they know good food is meant to be shared?

Dri gave me an awesome recipe for her aunt's banana bread. I added chopped walnuts directly to the batter, and I layered chocolate chips in the middle, because I didn't want them to be throughout the bread, just in one nice chocolate stripe. It is delightful. In this, as in most things, butter is always better.

Dri's Aunt's Banana Bread

3/4 cup butter
cup sugar
2 eggs
1 egg white
3 bananas
3 Tbs lemon juice
3/4 cup oat bran
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda

Mix butter and sugar til fluffy. Add eggs/white one at a time, beating well. Mash bananas with lemon juice and stir them gently into butter/sugar/egg mix. Mix dry ingredients together and fold gently into rest of batter.

Pour into greased pan, shake pan on counter to get air bubbles out, and bake at 350 for one hour.

If you like, add some chopped walnuts or a layer of chocolate chips, or both. Oh, and I also added an extra banana, because we had 4 going brown, and I didn't want to leave one lonely banana in the fruit basket.

Friday, November 21, 2008

friday educational thoughts from glaeser

Sometimes Harvard has good ideas.

Like these.

I think the educational system in the United States would be largely improved by these four factors:

1) High Teacher Quality
2) High Quality of School Leadership
3) High Expectations for Students
4) A Way for those High Quality Teachers to Not Work 100 hours a week, maybe just 60.

I don't really know how the last one works yet, I haven't figured it out. I'm not teaching right now in large part because I don't see it as sustainable. It's simply not possible for me to work 80 hours a week consistently, and as the system is set up right now, I think this is what good teaching requires, especially in places where students are coming in behind their peers. And I have to believe that there are ways to make this possible, that we could live in a place where our teachers don't have to spend every waking moment thinking about their classroom. But it will take hard work, not just on the part of teachers.

Also, I think Michelle Rhee is awesome, and doing amazing work.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

why you should all run immediately to theo chocolates

um, I have given theo chocolates rave reviews to everyone i know, and i keep giving it as gifts, and I decided any future chocolate purchases I make will be from there, for a multitude of reasons, including:

1) it's damn good chocolate
2) they KNOW the farmers who are selling them cocoa beans and are doing their best to ensure good chocolate without slave trade or poor working conditions for people
3) they are here in Seattle, and every dollar supporting local economy is helpful, peeps.
4) did I mention how it's really good chocolate?

April pointed this out yesterday, and I immediately forwarded it to my bro. I mean, why do brain and DNA research if you can do chocolate research? for real?

Go take a tour at theo and you'll be converted, I swear.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

if I were Abigail Adams

I would have gone to Paris sooner to see my husband.

Other than that, she was pretty amazing, as is Laura Linney's portrayal of her in HBO' s recent John Adams.

When visiting the White House, under construction by slaves, she comments: "This is built on the backs of slaves. What good can come of it?"

The whole series is pretty phenomenal if you're interested in the time period at all, and doesn't flinch from how messy it was for the men trying to revolt against King George.

It didn't delve deeply into the issue of slavery, although there were a few places it's mentioned - Jefferson and Sally Hemmings, for example. The series doesn't address the issue of Native Americans at all, and I wondered how intentional that was. I wonder if Thomas Jefferson and John Adams thought of Natives at all.

Alexander Hamilton is portrayed as a greedy slimeball by Rufus Sewall, who in a side note, I've only seen as greedy slimeball characters. Is he doing this on purpose or typecast? Hamilton's insistence that how a country gets credit is by getting into debt reminded me of P.J.'s rant against the system we've set up in the U.S., that in order to have credit, you must have debt. Adams doesn't like the idea either, and the compromises he is willing to make are always portrayed as a way to benefit the common good of the United States.

And lastly, for much of his Presidency, Adams is trying to keep peace with France while his advisors are clamoring for him to worry about the citizens of French heritage being spies.

We have not come so very far, I think.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

i miss the sonics

Much has been written about the loss and leaving of our sonics, in better prose than mine.

Suffice to say, I grew up going to games with my dad, and I miss them. The Thunder? What kind of name is that? Also, if you google "seattle supersonics" the first thing that comes up is the new OKC Thunder page. Which makes me want to vomit and cry.

Brent Barry wrote a poem he shared with Sports Illustrated about the loss.

Here's what I love, peeps - poetry, like love, covers over a multitude of sins. A former Sonics player so grieved he wrote a poem? And someone published it? You might argue about its qualitiy, but this is what I love about poetry -there is space to share our stories, our sadness and our loss, in ways that other people relate to or not. It's the best form of community-building I know. Other than sharing food, of course. But seriously, have potlucks and poetry parties, and the world would be a better place.

Monday, November 17, 2008

here's what you missed at coffeehouse this weekend

it was great. the soup was the best, as were najee's political opinions. one day I'm voting for him for president.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Are you growing some rust in that pan?" - Dri

In childhood, I was known for experimenting with food. Not tasting experiments, but scientific ones. What would happen if I combined some milk and peanut butter and green beans and shook it all up and let it sit for two days? (Turns out it smells pretty funny after a while.)

I baked bread the other day and did the trick where you also put a pan full of boiling water in the oven, it helps the loaf stay moist while it bakes. And then I forgot to take the water pan out, so I was growing some lovely rusty bits in the oven for a couple days.

They're all washed away now, but it did make me think of food technology, what a great field it is and how fun it would be to combine milk and peanut butter for a living.

Friday, November 14, 2008

one more reason to love bill and melinda

even though they're doing work our systems should be:

Attention to Higher Ed.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context..." Eliel Saarinen

"We were reading the same book but on different pages."

- 25 year old student on the #2 bus, describing why things didn't work out with her boyfriend

BeC's theory is that in order to have a successful relationship - wait, I really just wanted to write "in order to form a more perfect union." But decided not to.

Anyway, BeC has this theory I am expounding on today, so that 1) I can tell her I analyzed a theory she worked on and 2) I'm in that kind of mood.

BeC thinks relationships require

1) chemistry
2) timing
3) context

And I think what the girl was getting at, albeit in an unoriginal manner, was the context piece of things.

Obviously - well, maybe this isn't obvious. In fact, in much of the world historically and even today, long-term partnerships are more pragmatic than romantic. Which I think is true, you can make something work with probably just about anyone if you had to. But I still believe in chemistry. Anyway, if chemistry's there but say one person's about to move to deep Alaska and not ever talk to anyone again, this might not work out - the timing piece, where say if she had met him 6 months previously and clicked, she might not have decided to move. And then there comes context.

Context (Noun): (from Webster's)


Middle English, weaving together of words, from Latin contextus connection of words, coherence, from contexere to weave together, from com- + texere to weave
circa 1568

1 : the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning

2 : the interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs: environment, setting

If you've got chemistry right, and timing right, and then each get the other's context, and in fact can start contextualizing together, I think it might work. I've been 2 for 3 of these categories in every relationship thus far, but I'm pretty hopeful it could happen. Well, I'm not really, but I think it's possible in theory.

BeC, any thoughts?

Speaking of context, Eliel Saarinen was a Finnish architect, and I'm not sure I'm a fan of his style.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

g-chat tootsie roll

evs: eats Tootsie Rolls for breakfast.


wishes she could drink beer during the day instead of obscene amounts of coffee.

cab: raccoon in my attic

taft: NOT handling her business. oops!

rosie: eating cookie batter out of a jar in my pjs. wow.

st: my dad rocks

k8: my coworker was supposed to get her braces off last week, but asked the dentist if she could keep them on until after halloween so that she could pull off a more successful Ugly Betty costume. that is committment.


the first two days will be taken up by discussions on God's love and loving one's neighbour: Rome hosts Vatican Muslim summit.

lkt: put an american flag in her classroom.

"The tuba player is normally a stocky, bearded guy whose hobby is plumbing...

...The only member of the orchestra who bowls over 250 and gets his deer every year and changes his own oil. In his locker downstairs, he keeps a pair of lederhosen for free-lance jobs. Anyway, there's only one tuba in the bunch and he's it."

Garrison Keillor, from A Young Lutheran's Guide to the Orchestra

When I think of things I loved in my childhood, there's a big bearded guy playing a tuba on a bench in the middle of the Center grounds. The lights near the Fountain soften the darkness, and I follow my dad's long legs into the arena while the tuba strains follow us into the game.

I'll forever associate those tuba sounds with the game of basketball, which I could watch anytime, anyplace. Kids, professionals, pick-up games, doesn't matter who or where. I love watching the swirl of the ball sailing across the court, a perfect pass, a hard-fought basket. I love that it lets individuals shine but only works well if all team members play in sync. I love how fast it is, and fierce, and graceful.

I grew up tagging after my dad and brothers to Sonics games. First at the kingdome, then the Coliseum, then the Tacoma Dome, then at the Key. And every time, there'd be Ed the tuba man, playing his repertoire of tuba songs. I hear Kevin Callaboro announcing plays, I hear fans cheering for Payton. I hear the sound of sneakers against the court, the basketball hitting the backboard, and before and after it all, I hear the strains of tuba music lingering.

Kathleen Norris remarked in Dakota that she lived in a place where one person's death still matters, that the community was impacted by even just one person's leaving.

I'm glad the media is covering his death, that in this city, his life mattered.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"anyone have nail polish?"

"You can also use superglue." -Cherie

The old nylon trick: When a run starts, put nail polish on it. Apparently superglue also works, but I wondered if it might stick to your skin and cause undue stress upon removal.

I generally try to do my best to avoid situations where nylons would be considered a necessity because I think they were invented to be an instrument of torture.

Question of the day: Who really does wear nylons anymore? I mean nylons, people, not cool purple tights or fishnet stockings, but actual, tan, nylons. Anyone? Anyone?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life. - Sophia Loren

I'm not so hot at taking risks.

I'm very good at assessing a situation and determining the best course of action given the circumstances and intended outcome. This would probably make me a good actuary. Hmm, maybe in my next career.

But this isn't really risk-taking. This is logical and critical thought. Not leaping into the unknown with arms wide open.

And I'm thinking about this because:

1) I was reminded recently of Alexie's great line: "the dream he needed most was the dream that frightened him more."

2) at lunch a couple weeks ago, baer said, "Gretzky, you need to take some risks."

And I agreed.

In theory, anyway.

Not entirely in practicality.

But it did get me thinking about imagination and creating and how taking risks are bound up in these things.

I'm probably never going to pull a BeCky and move around the world, butI think I might try an experiment like Scandrette suggests...mine might not look like anything they do in San Francisco, but I wonder what would happen if I experimented in taking risks. Hmm, i have to think more about what this might look like in actuality.

More to come.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing...

...not alone for himself, but for every tide-water dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget Sound to San Diego” - Jack London

I am in San Diego for work. To get to where I need to be in the morning, I walk 1 mile on the beach while the sun shines and people walk past smiling and saying hello. It is lovely.

Tonight I ate dinner at Bahia Don Bravo's, courtesy of a yelp recommendation, and I might eat there every time I need a meal - it's the best shrimp burrito I've had in my life. Honestly. Amazing. And they were uber-friendly. As is everyone here. Also, they're beautiful. Seriously, there's tons of lovely people here (and conservative - walking along the boardwalk, there were tons of mccain/palin signs up. Which makes me wonder about the correlation between beauty, conservative-ness, wealth, and sun. Anyway.)

At the local grocery store, I was at one point surrounded by 5 attractive eligible men, one of whom asked for my number. I swear, where are there 5 men at once grocery shopping in seattle? Does that happen there? I don't think it does.

And I thought I'd be multi-tasking by getting raspberry fig newton bars, which can serve double-duty as both cookie and breakfast item, right? But I meant to get the Paul Newman ones, and ended up with Barbara's. I am not a fan, which I am surprised about because I love the puffins. I might bring them home because they're wheat-free and Dri might like them, but i don't think I'm eating anymore. Which I am sad about because I wanted a cookie.

But I'm pretty sure the sun will help me get over it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

"the worst thing that could happen now...

...would be for us to go back to sleep; to allow the cool poise of Obama’s prose to lull us into slumber like the cool on the underside of the pillow. For in the light of day, when fully awake, it becomes impossible not to see the incompleteness of the task so far.

So let us begin."

Tim Wise, from "Good and Now Back to Work: Avoiding Both Cynicism and Overconfidence in the Age of Obama" at Racialicious, yesterday morning.

And from Brian Walsh, questions of empire:

"So here’s the question. How will an Obama presidency break with the imperial pretense of not just the Bush/Reagan dynasty, but with the imperial pretense of America herself. Can you be a President of the United States of America and not be imperial? Or to put the question in terms of this website, can Obama remix the American empire?"

- from "Barack Obama: A Post-Imperial Presidency?", at Empire Remixed (Thanks to Eliacin for passing on!)

and courtesy of Steve, via the Guardian Online:

"Much as Africans are inebriated by the idea of an Obama triumph, the greater challenge is to think profoundly about the lesson of this fascinating episode in American history. We need a new direction in politics far more than the Americans do." - Africans Drunk on Obama, C. Don Adinuba

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

reporting from chicago....

are my friends myndi and charlie, who were there last night.

Myndi writes:

Well, history was made! Can you believe it????

I don't know about you, but I am still in disbelief. Charlie and I keep repeating to each other, "Obama is our president! Obama is our president!" It truly hasn't sunk in yet.

Here's a breakdown of what we experienced last night...

We started the night at the Emerald Loop with a group of friends for dinner and drinks. The place was packed to the gills, everyone decked out in Obama gear. They had CNN on big screens and we began to get fired up. After dinner we walked over to the park in a ball of nerves, arm in arm. I can't explain to you how many people were descending on the park. What you didn't see on CNN were the 900,000 plus people on the other side of the park crowded around huge screens. They divided the group between ticketed people and non-ticketed people. The line of ticketed people stretched down 14 blocks of Michigan Ave. We got in at the end of the line and moved through the line for an hour and half. Everyone was so excited, so happy. People from apartment windows yelled down results of states as they came in.

Then we got into the park. We ran down to join all of the people you saw on CNN. It quickly filled in after that. As we settled in, they announced his win in Virginia, and then quickly after that they projected him the winner of California, then the president of the United States. At that moment the park went crazzzzzzyyyyyyyy. Just as you would expect, strangers hugged, jumped up and down, kissed. It was like New Years Eve in Times Square only bigger and more emotional.

We then said the pledge of allegiance, a preacher came out and gave a prayer, and then this beautiful woman sang the national anthem without any music behind her. About when she hit the line, "land of the free", I completely lost it. Like really lost it. I started to sob and could not stop. They then showed this really awesome video that summed everything up. The video was set to one of my favorite songs by The National, Fake Empire. I can't explain how much I cried. I could not stop crying. All the emotion from this election just poured out. Cried through the entire video.

Then Obama took the stage. It was a great speech, although Charlie and I both talked about how we were worried throughout it that something would happen to him. There were three helicopters circling the park and you could see snipers on the tops of every building.

After the speech, we headed out of the park with everyone else. If you know Chicago, imagine Michigan Avenue being completely shutdown. We filled the streets and walked down the street. It was a parade of people in tears, cheering, laughing. They are saying a million people filled the streets and walked together.

That about sums it up. What an incredible day for all of us, no matter where you were last night, you will always hold it in your heart.

This video best sums up what we experienced last night. It's a little blurry and we had a better view of Obama than this guy, but it will give you a feeling of the crowd. You'll get to see clips of the video we saw that made me sob like a big baby. Let the video load all the way before you play it.

After you watch that, check out this one to see the crowd we were in as we streamed out of the park. More people than I have ever seen in my life.

Much love from Chicago!

does it pass the rocking chair test? -rockmaster

i think this is a good question to ask after election day. i mean, really, when I'm 80, who will I have wished I voted for?

one of my friends said this the other day when talking about needing a career change, and I didn't think much about it until I found this blog, courtesy of jenny crusie's argh ink. Which i find to be the most amusing blog on perhaps the entire blogosphere.

anyway, she highlighted margaret and helen, and I just about fell off my seat laughing.

when I am 82 in my rocking chair, I hope I'm still giving the world what for like they are.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

down to the wire

thanks to zach for posting this. i know, i know, it's north carolina, but still. and I know i haven't written anything on the wire in a while. it's because I've got a beautiful piece coming out soon about carver's character growth over the five seasons....shit, now I said that, I've got to write it.

go vote, peeps.

Monday, November 3, 2008

"Did I ever tell you about your grandmother?" and other weekend events

This weekend I went with some of my family to see the baby meerkats at the Point Defiance Zoo, which is a great zoo for several reasons.

1) My dad's friends worked on the buildings, and they changed the entrance so you can see the mountains and water, and it's lovely.

2) You can see everything in 2-3 hours if you wanted to. Not too much, not too little. Good amount.

3) They have presentations and feedings ALL THE TIME. Every exhibit we went to, there was something happening.

4) You can touch a starfish and watch it eat a mussel. It's pretty damn cool - the starfish grabs it, opens it, sends its stomach out to eat it, and then pulls it all back in.

5) The meerkats are awesome...

(John Brown, AP File)

After the zoo, we baked three batches of Christmas cookies. I'm the mixer, Siri's the details/cookie formation, and Mom's the dishwasher. It worked really well. Mormor used to start baking right about now, and freeze batches until Christmas, so by December she'd have about 18 different kinds of cookies. I don't know if we'll make it to 18, but Mom's pretty focused on getting a bunch of batches made.

And then grandpa asked me how the young men were treating me. I told him a homeless guy with two teeth asked me out at the bus stop the other day. He said I obviously had to work on my swishing:

"Did I ever tell you about your grandmother? She had a marvelous behind. Swished. Oklahoma swish, they called it. You had to watch that swish."

- Grandpa

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Gretzky: "what'd you find out about nader?"

LP: "That you'd marry him sight unseen."

It is true that I said I would marry Ralph Nader, mostly because I admire people who get things done and who want to make the world a better place.

It's highly unlikely I'd ever be in a position to marry him, but I'd consider it.

He does break the 1/2 + 7 rule, though, so LT would probably counsel against it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

"Y'all be nice to that pum-kin" - Man outside of 22nd and Madison Safeway

Dri and I were walking home carrying the pumpkin that would be Dri's first ever carving attempt, and this lovely elderly gentleman hanging outside of the Safeway told us to be nice to the pumpkin.

Which does raise the question, can people be cruel to pumpkins?

In any case, Dri carved a lovely fern on the pumpkin and also made yummy toasted pumpkin seeds while I moved the bookshelves for the 18th time, and ate Tillamook chocolate peanut butter ice cream. Which is the best flavor, just in case you didn't know.

Friday, October 31, 2008

"You can borrow "how to get a date worth keeping" if you want."

On Wednesday, one of my friends said someone just gave him How to Get a Date Worth Keeping. He also generously offered to let me borrow it when he was done.

I said that was okay, I think I'd be okay without it.

My problem isn't really getting a date. I can get them, actually. It's just...well, people keep telling me my expectations are too high. Which I don't think is true, actually. BeC's the only one who says they're not, because she says everyone told her that, too, and she refused to listen and now of course she's followed her heart to Germany, all because she's madly in love with this German guy. Whew. See what true love could do? I don't want to be madly in love if it means leaving Seattle.

For now, I'm just enjoying the campaign, and not taking anything too seriously.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

g-chat love wednesday

april: ♫ i miss beer cubes

k8: ♫ it is a rosie thomas kind of the sweet hopeful sense, not the sad i'll-be-alone-foreverr-but-it's-okay sense.


meg: Get out and campaign for Obama this week!

shannon: my office has Sarah Palin on our policy mailing list.... hm

evs: loves it when sororities of over 100 girls require their members to attend the TFA info session.

if I weren't being invisible, my g-chat status would say:

i love literacy. specifically, I love comprehension strategies: activiating prior knowledge, predictions, visualizing, connections, and summarizing. Also, people who teach kids how to read using these strategies are AWESOME.

I know that's long, but it's all so true.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"he said he imagined he was a barnacle. that's the kind of animal he imagined he would be."

Said by the woman sitting next to me, about a friend of hers, before we listened tonight to Paul Theroux at Seattle Central Library, hosted by the great Elliott Bay Book Co.

She was hilarious. So was P.T. He's fascinating stuff.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

g-chat in a tree


the following windows are open on my computer: FNS, Census, NAL, TXHAHSD


74.8% Texans consume fruits and vegetables less than 5 times a day


well that was that and this is this.




know the facts


check your facts

"If you want to start throwing fire bombs, you don't send out the fluffy bunny to do it."


"maybe you can date a nice berkley boy and yall can live in a tree together" Marcie, on my love life.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

what would wendy do?

not the wendy as in peter pan and wendy, the wendy kopp wendy.

for all tfa-ers, this is hilarious. thanks lkt!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

if you live in Washington and have not registered to vote,

please do so here so that you can vote in the presidential election.


And here's the obnoxious teacher lecture, in case you are unmotivated to do this: Please remember that voting is a privilege and that not everyone in the world has the right to go to the polls. Also please remember that in recent history not everyone in our country had the privilege of voting and participating in our democracy. So exercise your rights as citizens, folks, and vote!

Also, if you need more information about voting, candidates, etc, check out Vote Smart.

Friday, October 3, 2008

k8: "keep your pants on" remains the best line I can think of...

Today's topic, hotly debated, is what is the best line to tell someone you're not going to sleep with them.

Recently a friend asked if there was a theology of physical intimacy and my response was that it depended on who you asked.

Since then, we've debated how you tell someone, thanks, but no thanks.

K8 is really good at plans:

K8: I recommend coming up with a list of all the ways you can say "keep your pants on"...that way IF you need/want to, you can activate the plan.

G: the plan? what plan? i don't have a fucking plan.

G: (two minutes later.)...that was funny.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

"it'll be a while til we know if she was reagan-esque or gidget goes to washington"

~ one of the white guys dissecting the debate of Biden and Palin., me and my palin bingo card are going with gidget, buddy.

wondering what to do during tonight's debate?

play Palin Bingo. Thanks Meg!

Also, I wanted to run away to Jamaica today. I'd still like to do that, but Meg told me her mom says when you are having moments of hating your life, you should write down 5 things you are grateful for.

So today, mine are:

1) good friends who make me laugh over gmail
2) arthur made really good coffee this morning
3) friends who come over to dinner and play the drums with their kids
4) the orange mural outside my window: it's a bright spot in this morning's dreariness
5) the right to vote

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

if i were obsessed with polls

i would check this obsessively. (Thanks Collinator!)

Monday, September 29, 2008

g-chat status updates

Johhny v: corporate absurdity #586: There is a security door on my floor that requires me to badge in to get to the closest restroom. Anyone can easily out-smart this door by going down one set of stairs, walk 10 feet, and then walk up a different set of stairs... and voila! you pop out on the other side of our stalwart security door. ugh.

Evs: "If one student chooses to do math problems instead of drugs, I have been a success."

K8: "my niece caught her first fish and insisted on kissing it before releasing it. hilarious."

and also:

"corn refiners: get your crappy misrepresented HFCS adds out of parenting magazine and off my tv."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

i think my search for the perfect chai

has ended.

I found it yesterday, after deciding I wanted to continue a tradition I started in Baltimore - supporting local business and get good coffee every Friday morning. It's like getting a treat for going to work on Friday...Sometimes I would pick it up and sometimes my carpool buddy would pick it up...either way, it was delightful.

Sometimes it's the simple things.

So yesterday I walked to Katy's, where I've only had the mocha and a regular coffee, both of which were good. Katy's bright red and yellow surroundings, along with Megan Myers's paintings, are delightful. I ordered chai hesitantly, because so many places screw up my favorite drink.

But Katy's chai was like drinking heaven in a cup. The milk was steamed perfectly, there wasn't too much foam, it wasn't too sweet but also not too spicy. Perfection.

Friday, September 26, 2008

speaking of the revolution....

Miss Evans asked me the other day my feelings about the current state of politics in our country, and then proceeded to tell me why she's reading The Revolution and writing in Ron Paul. She might have sold me on him, actually. Well, I'm thinking about it anyway.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

k8: "I wonder about his version of the story."

gretzky: "I wonder that about a lot of men."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I wouldn’t date a drummer, they’re too crazy....MWWTRA

MWWTRA*: …they’re a party waiting to happen, a little too much energy, you can't keep track of them.

Guitarists are way too into themselves, too self-focused…Same with vocalists.

Bass players, they’re funny. They kind of do their own thing, and they’re cool. Witty. Go for the bass player.

These are all totally stereotypical generalizations that could be untrue. It’s just most of the time, they’re true.

GRETZKY: What about keyboarders?

MWWTRA: Keyboarders are usually gay. But if they’re not, too much drama.

*musician who wishes to remain anonymous

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

if i were to get my tongue pierced,

this would happen to me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

please tax the millionaires

One more reason I'm voting for Obama.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"the revolution will not be right back after a message about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people..." - Gil Scott-Heron

Rhonda Thomason wrote a great piece in the new Teaching Tolerance mag, and I'm excerpting some here. But you can, and should, read the whole thing. I wish for all of us who are involved in growing children to keep our hearts open with imagination.

I want a revolution of hope....

Imagine such a revolution.

Imagine an educational system in which educators invoke standards of compassion, empathy, action and reason as they question the deep regularities that suppress achievement.

Imagine the power of educators valuing dissent and affirming what students can achieve rather than magnifying what they can't.

Imagine educators giving ourselves permission to be vulnerable learners acknowledging that our judgment might be biased. Imagine us inviting troubling, courageous conversations that have the power to move us beyond our confidence and challenge our own assumptions and biases.

Imagine listening deeply to parents and students willing to help us get to know the "inside" of their experiences. Imagine unveiling ingrained stereotypes in order to create communities of belonging, abundance and trust.

Imagine competent educators who deserve and command autonomy and respect — and then use it to create classrooms of equality and sharing where all students find their cultures reflected in the stories teachers tell, the languages they speak, and the facts textbooks reveal.

Monday, September 15, 2008

"i think his optometrist is funny" - Chad

Went to see Burn After Reading last night. ST didn’t think it was as good as other Coen brothers films (also note ST's hilarious "death of a kippah salesman" background), and I’d have to agree, but there were hilarious moments. Brad Pitt’s character alone was worth watching the movie for. Also, the guy who played in this amazing movie, The Visitor

about drums, immigration, and our screwed-up-systems, Richard Jenkins, is so in love with Frances McDormand that it’s sweet and painful and heartbreaking. It was very odd to watch George Clooney be a tramp, really kind of vomit-inducing, but I did laugh a great deal.

After the movie, though, I felt sad. Every relationship was screwed up....Was there even one good one? I don’t think there was. Not very hope-giving for a girl looking for a good kiss from a good guy this year. (I think that was my New Year's Resolution. If I had one.) And then everyone kept dying. Fun while it lasted, but very few redeeming factors - I wouldn't watch it with mom.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

if I were a robber

I would definitely use spices and sausage in my stealing plans.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"This has been a complete waste of Monday morning" - Utahraptor

Furthering the dinosaur comics sent to me by K8 theme, Ryan North is hilarious. Check out his latest comic. Yet more incentive to move to Toronto. As if Sij and Dave weren't enough. I think my favorite part of the website is:


This can be tricky! You want to be friendly, but you don't want to come on too strong. My best advice is to carefully observe others, and to relax!

How true, and also hilarious. I'm a fan.

Monday, September 8, 2008

"i'll love you that way they taught me" - christopher

yesterday I went to a wedding in the woods. in the cedar river watershed, more precisely. There are bears that live here, and the river, and lots of other creatures, and we had to drive up a 4 mile windy gravelly stretch of road, which doesn't sound like a lot, but actually is a long way to go when you are in the backseat of the car feeling nautious from going to sleep late after a jam-packed Friday and Saturday, making artichoke dip at midnight and then waking up early to get to said wedding in the middle of the forest and not eating breakfast because you are too busy detrmining what the fuck to wear to a wedding in the woods that you will have to hike to.

but all that fell away once we got there, because it was simply perfect to hike up the forest, listening to the water and the sound of our footsteps up the hill, with moss and sticks and leaves underfoot. And then Tiffany and Christopher sang a song they wrote, and welcomed us, and Emiko sang, and Clare, too, and Jake's dad offered a blessing and the vows were beautiful.

I'm generally against writing one's own vows, because I've heard too many "I will love you forever" lines and all that kind of crap that I guess is supposed to be poetic but really comes out mushy and meaningless. I mean, for real, what good is "I will love you forever" when cancer comes to call? I think the whole in sickness and in health is in there for a reason.

Anyway, their vows were perfect. Real, substantial, and I guess romantic too. It was a fitting way to end summer and start the fall, with new beginnings and new lives joined together.

And now it's sunny out my window. Hope's creeping back, chasing away some shadows of grief. The mosquito who planted himself outside on my window pane is saying good morning, and Big Mike limps across 23rd while an old woman leans on her cane down the sidewalk.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

if I were a monk

this would happen to me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"i think economists sometimes argue...." - carly fiorina

i can't believe carly fiorina just opened the RNC. Well, I can. But I thought she was so cool! And I still do think she is cool, I'm just sad she's supporting McCain.

Friday, August 29, 2008

"those who say it's just happy talk..." - Obama

Getting goosebumps yesterday hearing Obama's DNC speech, I caught this phrase about happy talk and it reminded me of another one from the Narnia books, I think from Puddlegum in the Silver Chair...

"Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things - trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow..."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

“Nobody’s asked why there’s a barbecue grill in your kitchen?” – Arthur

A couple weeks ago I borrowed a Weber grill from Arthur, and I put it in our kitchen since the backyard isn’t fenced and I didn’t want his grill to get stolen off the porch. It fits very snugly in between the garbage can and recycling, and then the shelves with coffee mugs and wine glasses.

I guess most visitors don’t think it’s weird that there’s a grill in the kitchen. Or they think it’s impolite to ask why it’s there, which seems silly. I’d think at least one of them would point out that it might not be a good idea to grill indoors.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"I can't really put you down but I'm not really picking you up." - Ms. T

This is Ms. T's paraphrase of what those guys are saying, the ones who want all the benefits of dating without actually calling it dating. Which works for a few weeks, but all I'm sayin' is after 6 months if they haven't figured it out, it's time to move on.

There seem to be several of these men around some of my friends at the moment, and I want to hand out Cindy Chupack's Male Friend Moratorium chapter to them, or burst into Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings' How Long Do I Have to Wait for You?

I mean, really. Man up. Quit dilly-dallying and don't be wishy-washy. What's so hard about asking a girl out to coffee? It's not like she wants to permanently attach herself to your side, people. For real.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"If you can't make it good, make it big and paint it orange." - an old girlfriend of Andrew Taylor's

There's an interesting mural by john osgood going up right outside my office window, and there's much debate about it among my co-workers... As Arthur says, great works of art are often polarizing, people either love 'em or hate 'em. I'm not sure it's a great work of art, or that the building is a great work of architecture, but I am a huge fan of the orange. It's a bright spot on gloomy days, and it makes me laugh hysterically that the Parnell's Mini Mart and Lotto Sign is right below it. There's also some community debate about it. It does add something to the neighborhood.

I really hope they're not finished, though. Particularly with the bird trying to be a fish. Or is it a fish trying to be a bird?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

why some meetings are useful

Discussing The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger’s performance for approximately 18 minutes of an 80 minute meeting.

Cherie: "He wore the makeup home and everything. Like Jack did, when he was the Joker. Jack warned him."

Arthur: "Jack’s never been the same. Good lesson for all of us: don’t take work home with you."

Btw, I'm not going to see The Dark Knight. It looks too scary. And my imagination doesn't need anymore dark creepy things in it. I've still got too many dark creepy things left over from watching Jaws when I was a kid.

Monday, August 18, 2008

historical perspectives

Grandpa: “I wouldn’t vote for her because naturally you don’t want a woman in charge of things.”

Mom: (stifling a groan) Dad, would you vote for one of your granddaughters?

Grandpa: Oh, I’d vote for my granddaughters even if they were members of the Communist party.

Friday, August 15, 2008

why I want to be j.c. when I grow up (not Jesus)

I have only ever written one e-mail to an author in my life. Aside from 4th grade writing assignments.

It was to Ellen Shanman, who is adorable. Her first book made me realize some important things about myself. Isn't that the greatest thing about fiction? That a character can influence how the reader thinks about themselves? And maybe even change some things in their life? (And also it was really cool that I wrote her, because she wrote me back! She is good people.)

But when I read Jennifer Crusie's blog this week, I had to write her a letter:

Dear Jennifer Crusie,

Please don't stop blogging. Sometimes people are stupid and make stupid comments, but you shouldn't read them. Just keep writing.



P.S. The only reason I'd advocate for you to stop blogging is if it would give you more time to write with Bob, because those two books you've done so far are the most hilarious books I've ever read in my life, and the world would be a better place with more Lucies and Agneses.

P.S. 2 Bob doesn't think you should stop either. His opinion should probably count more than mine since I am merely a reader and he is actually a partner in crime.

Jennifer Crusie is cool for many reasons, but two good ones are:


"Really, I think the secret to getting a life is to just concentrate on enjoying the people in the one you already have. And to stop scheduling every damn minute with research and meetings. Today was completely worthless from a professional standpoint but my mental health is in the stratosphere. Along with my credit card debt. Still, good mental health is priceless, so no regrets." - 3/27/08 , arghink


"I feel strongly that anybody who evaluates the rest of the people in the world by how closely their attitudes and statements agree with her worldview is in danger of structuring a life much like the Alberto Gonzales Justice Department. We don’t learn from the people who agree with us, we learn from the people who make us say, “Wait a minute,” and that learning goes both ways. I learn a lot from the critics who intelligently analyze my books and find them wanting; I’ve also learned a lot from the people who have thoughfully and calmly disagreed with me on this blog. Haven’t learned a thing from the shriekers and condemners, though. " - 8/13/08 , arghink

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"With my sunglasses on, I'm Jack Nicholson. Without them, I'm fat and 60. " - Jack Nicholson

I reluctantly set aside my book, got out of my favorite papasan chair, and shuttered the shades last night after the sun went down. And immediately stepped backwards onto my favorite CVS sunglasses from Toronto, dark red and sexy, with little fake diamond sparklers at the corner. The resounding curse was loud enough for Becky to peek her head in and ask what was wrong, upon which I mournfully moaned I'd stepped on about the 18th pair of sunglasses and broken them. Actually, only one of the ear thingamabobs broke, so technically I could still wear them. Or I could superglue or tape them up.

But neither of these options seems like a good idea.

I think I've broken every pair of sunglasses I've ever owned since becoming a teenager. This is why I do not spend large amounts of money on sunglasses. I tried buying a nice pair once, and promptly stepped on them while visiting Texas. Not really a good place to lose sunglasses. After that I decided the most I'd spend on them would be $10.00, since I'm guaranteed to break them.

This is sort of like how I only get the free phone with my cell phone plan, because it's guaranteed to be dropped into some kind of liquid and permanently damaged at some point.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"If the churches took half the money that they was making and gave it back to the community, we'd be all right" - Tupac

There's been a lot of press on gangs/youth violence lately ~ Seattle's had more than its fair share of killings this year.

Today's article in the PI is interesting, to say the least. (Thanks for the link Kirk!)

There's a couple area nonprofits working to target gang involved youth, but their funding is dicey, and the City isn't too keen on supporting them - I've heard from various sources it's not fiscally responsible to throw money after 17 year olds who've dropped out of school and of life, it takes too much money to go after them. The City is more likely to fund Early Learning stuff. Great, I say. Early learning's awesome. But the reality is there are 17 year old kids who need supports, and while I'm not an advocate of throwing pearls before swine, I am an advocate of funding community based programs that reach kids, no matter where they're at. (Check out the Human Services Coalition's budget recs. by the way, since the City is facing a big shortfall.)

Maybe King County will find money in the budget for gang prevention, although their shortfall is going to be larger than Seattle's this year.

On Monday, folks are invited to the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission to help develop a community strategy for gang prevention in the region. Anyone interested can register at brown paper tickets.

Monday, August 11, 2008

What's with all the death? - Gretzky

Welcome to life. - BeC

There’s been a lot of death going around. A week and a half ago it was a little boy with cancer. The past few days it's been Solzhenitsyn, Bernie Mac, Isaac Hayes, and Mahmoud Darwish.

One of the homeless men in the park, Big Mike, is limping painfully up the hill towards Parnell's. His normal stride is smooth and easy, long legs rambling over the sidewalk. And there's an ambulance wailing down the street outside my window.

A woman asked the cloud: please enfold my loved one
My clothes are soaked with his blood
If you shall not be rain, my love
Be trees
Saturated with fertility, be trees
And if you shall not be trees, my love
Be a stone
Saturated with humidity, be a stone
And if you shall not be a stone, my love
Be a moon
In the loved one’s dream, be a moon
So said a woman to her son
In his funeral

Mahmoud Darwish, from A State of Siege

Of course, to paraphrase Dante, in the midst of death, there’s life going on all over, too. Friends got married this weekend, and we had a good time at Coffeehouse Saturday night.

I'm thinking about Falstaff today, about Hal, and Shakespeare's vision of death and what it means. And how our culture views death, its finality. I'm thinking a lot about how to live in light of our imminent departures, and I'm again reminded of Barbara Kingsolver's words from Animal Dreams, about what she wants - well, about what Hallie wants, in her letters to Codi:

I don't expect to see perfection before I die. Lord, if I did, I would have stuck my head in the oven back in Tucson, after hearing the stories of some of those refugees...What keeps you going isn't some fine destination but just the road you're on, and the fact that you knew how to drive...You keep your eyes open, you see this damned to hell world you got born into, and you ask yourself, "What life can I live that will let me breath in and out and love somebody or something and not run off screaming into the woods?" (224)

...You ask why I'm not afraid of loving and losing, and that's my answer. Wars and elections are both too big and too small to matter in the long run. The daily work - that goes on, it adds up. It goes into the groun, into crops, into children's bellies and their bright eyes. Good things don't get lost. Codi, here's what I decided: the very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right under its roof. What I want is so simple I almost can't say it: elementary kindness. Enough to eat, enough to go around. The possibility that kids might grow up to be neither the destroyers nor the destroyed. That's about it...Right now I'm living in that hope, running down its hallway and touching the walls on both sides. I can't tell you how good it feels. I wish you knew.

And also I've been listening a lot to my darling Kate Rusby, who says "I don’t really have long term plans apart from continuing to make the music we want to for as long as we can. You never know what’s going to happen so you just have to work hard and be good to people and hope life treats you well. " Here's hoping she does a North American tour at some point.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"It's not weird, actually, that you can't find it, because you don't remember the title." - Cab

Cab left for Pittsburgh three weeks ago, on towards future greatness in the international development world. She is amazing, and I miss her. I had a 100 calorie popcorn bag at 3 p.m. today and thought of her, because like clockwork, Cab would pop those mini-bags and make the office smell like an amusement park, if ever so briefly. Here are more reasons why Cab is cool:


She gave me the Between Boyfriends book to read and it was hilarious.


Gretzky: "He doesn't know what he wants."
Cab: "We've heard that before. Next."


The exercise balls we bounce around on in our cubicles.
Cab: "This is the shit we need pictures of."


Action in Save Darfur.


Gretzky: "I didn't think you liked me."
Cab: "I get that a lot."


She runs marathons every other week. Not quite that much, but almost. She is strong.


She makes sitting through meetings bearable. This is not a skill most of the world has. I wish she'd bottle it up and sell it to the rest of the people I have to meet with.


Karaoking to Mama Mia! in January.


I spilled barbecue all over myself on a first date. Classy, right?

Resulting in the funniest quote ever from Cherie: "Maybe he was thinking, 'Ooh, I wanna sop her up with a biscuit!'"

A text from Cab at midnight: "Ooh, I wanna sop her up with a biscuit!"


And one of two best Cab quotings ever, from Miranda:

Cab: "There are no mixed messages."

the other best Cab quoting ever:

"'Save it for Oprah, honey' - that's right, from Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. Don't be a hater."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"it's sarcastic Wednesday!" - hoops and yoyo

OMG I am in love with hoops and yoyo. Maybe hoops just a little more. But they could both come live at my house.

It started last week when Cherie sent me a sarcastic Wednesday card, which you should view. Then it became a semi-obsession, especially since I needed to laugh this weekend. And I started watching hoops and yoyo cards a LOT. But also trying not to watch too many so I could savor the ones that are there.

I'd really love to meet the creative genius/es behind hoops and yoyo. I bet they are AWESOME.

Monday, August 4, 2008

"what a beautiful piece of heartache / this has all turned out to be... " - Over the Rhine

There is not much to be said on the day of a child's funeral.

At least, nothing that means much.

I was listening to Over the Rhine last night, and they come close, but still so far away.

And I was thinking of some Barbara Kingsolver words from Animal Dreams. I think I've quoted them before, but they're so real and right. Someone is talking to Codi, I think it's Doc Homer, but I can't remember who..anyway, they say:

"Why do you suppose the poets talk about hearts? When they discuss emotional damage? The tissue of hearts is as tough as a shoe. Did you ever sew a heart? The seat of human emotion should be the liver. That would be the appropriate metaphor: we don't hold love in our hearts, we hold it in our liver."

I understood exactly. Once in the ER, I saw a woman who'd been stabbed everywhere, most severely in the liver. It's an organ with the consistency of layer upon layer of wet kleenex. Every attempt at repair just opens new holes that tear and bleed. You try to close the wound with fresh wounds and you try and try and don't give up til there's nothing left.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

don't greet your boss with "how the fuck are you today?" and things of this nature...g's paraphrase of what dave said.

When there is great sadness, I want to do something. Wash every dish in the cupboard, cook people meals, vacuum, scrub the bathroom floor, anything, anything, anything, anything as long as it means I don't have to sit still with the sadness.

K8's brother-in-law is one of the best people I have ever had the privilege of meeting, and I'm going to quote his e-mail to K8, because it's just one of the best things I've read, in terms of advice in times of grief... Also, he calls and says "I'm not going to tell you to have a good day," because he knows it's not going to be a good day.

People like this are invaluable. They are the ones who make the world go round, by simply living out what it means to be a friend. Offering people soup, telling them you love them, sitting down with them and calling them even if they can't talk back to you. These people remind me that the world does keep on turning, that somewhere in the world there is still goodness, and that there is still much to live for.

Dave's E-mail:

1 little bit of advice from somebody not comatose such as yourself. As your mind is so totally filled with thoughts of the little guy or filled with other thoughts to keep your mind off the little guy…………It is soooooo easy for people to let their guard down in times of trauma, I am sure you are catchin my drift……All this to say please be deliberate in everything for a while i.e stopping at stop lights and stop signs, looking over your shoulder before you change lanes, safe following distance,don't step on the soap in the shower, open doors before you go through them, don't greet your boss with "How the Fuck are YOU today" and other things of this nature that could cause you harm.

I love you.

Be extra safe.

P.S. I think that people named Dave must be really amazing, because the ones I know are all people who blow me away.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

according to the map...

from national geographic's february 07 issue (Thanks k8 and Strangemaps), there are more single men in seattle than in baltimore. I'm wondering why I've dated far less here than there. unless there's been some sort of mass exodus within a year.

In other news, my friend ST's start up made the Israel National News. And also Dave Barry's blog. How cool is that?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shirley Temple's back,

reincarnated in my hair...I decided two months ago to grow it out, and the painful process is being helped along by my curling iron, which gives me deliciously bouncy curls. I look like I'm about 10 and can burst into "good ship lollipop" at any point in time.

Speaking of hair, there's a hilarious article about beards from the seattle weekly blogs...I've never seen my dad without his beard in his life, and occassionally all of us siblings will petition him to shave it off for some momentous occassion. He alsways refuses.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I ain't nobody's baby ~ Sharon Jones...

and the Dap Kings, who are AMAZING, played at the Zoo last night. That's right, the zoo. It's a great venue. Here's a bit of what you missed, although this is not the full band version and you should go play around on Youtube right now and listen to how great the Dap Kings all are. I'm in love with Sugarman. Honestly.

I could listen to them forever.

Also, Marc Broussard opened, and while he was slightly overdressed for Seattle, in a cute sort of Southern gentleman kind of way, his voice was seductively raspy, and his lyrics good and honest. He does sound a lot better in person than in other media, just a tip.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Why do you think people are questioning traditional ways of doing church? A.K.A. I have the coolest friends EVER.

K8's on the front page of relevant magazine, in their video section, from an interview at the Church Basement Roadshow... Good answer, k8! Johhny V also makes an appearance. Go Journey!

Friday, July 25, 2008

and another thing: watermelon kegs for summertime

K8 says we should do this when she comes into town, and I might have to agree with her. Drinks with watermelon sound fantasticly like summer, either way. And it's almost happy hour time, folks.

"The trouble with the rat race is..."

This might be the coolest way rats are helpful on our planet EVER. (thanks for the link, Johnny V!)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"How ya doin'? I just moved from San Diego, I'm lonely. I need a snowflake." - Man in '94 Buick, probably in his 50's or 60's...

I put a dress on this morning and regretted it when I looked outside at the gloomy gray sky (it’s July people, July!!!), but I was late for work so threw on a sweatshirt and long raincoat before running out the door to make sure I’d have enough time to walk to work….Made me think about the time BeCs was riding the bus and someone told her, “You’re homeless, I can tell,” because she was wearing so many layers. That’s what I thought I looked like this morning, a homeless woman. Honestly. Who wears three layers in July?

I was noticing a lovely clothesline with freshly washed clothes hanging off it, remembering how my grandmother never owned a clothes dryer, and how the smell of her clothes was simply divine, when a Buick billowing blue-gray exhaust drove past and stopped. I figured the driver would ask for directions. He didn't. The first words out of his mouth were the quote above, and it took me a second to realize snowflake meant “white girl.” I smiled, said thanks for the offer, and kept walking to work. I'm trying to be open to what the universe is sending me, but I can't break the 1/2 + 7 rule.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Hand me my purse, will you darling? A girl can't read that sort of thing without her lipstick." - Holly Golightly

And I said what about "Breakfast at Tiffany's?
She said, "I think I remember the film,
And as I recall, I think, we both kinda liked it."
And I said, "Well, that's the one thing we've got."

- Deep Blue Something

Audrey Hepburn is a classic. Favorite quotes from Breakfast at Tiffany's are below:

You know those days when you get the mean reds?

Paul: Mean reds? You mean like the blues?

Holly: No, the blues are different. The blues are when you're getting fatter or its been raining too long but you're just sad that's all. Oh, but the mean reds are terrible. You're suddenly afraid and you don't even know why. Well, anyways,when I get the mean read the only good things to do is jump in a cab and go over to Tiffany's. It calms me down right away. So quiet and respectable nothing bad could ever happen to you there. If I ever found a place like Tiffany's, oh well, I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name!


It should take you 4 seconds to get from here to that door. I'll give you two.


I didn't want Jose to think I was the kind of girl to lose her key, so I had 26 of them made.


She's a phony, but she's a real phony.


You know what's wrong with you, Miss Whoever-You-Are? You're chicken. You've got no guts. You're afraid to stick out your chin and say, 'Okay, life's a fact.' People do fall in love. People do belong to each other. Because that's the only chance anybody's got for real happiness. You call yourself a free spirit, a wild thing, yet you're terrified that somebody's gonna put you in a cage. Well, baby, you're already in a cage and you built it yourself. And it's not bound on the east by Somali land or on the west by Tulip, Texas. It's wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you're always going to end up running into yourself.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Pop Quiz: Why are you still single?

And now it's time for a little weekend humor.

Favorite Question at Parties: Why are you still single?

2nd Favorite Question at Parties: Do you have any prospects?

( I really am not bitter about this question, I laugh at it, but honestly, I get this one a lot. My reply is of course, yes, half the world is guys and I love them all, but....if you can keep yourself from asking this question, you will get major points in the friend basket. )

So in order to answer these lovely questioners, I went to take a quiz on Tickle, which is actually a site that caused two of my friends to marry each other. No joke. I'm against online dating, or i would try it.

According to Tickle's test, I am still single because I don't want to commit to anyone. I already knew about my fear of commitment, so this isn't surprising, but I was surprised to see it come up on the test as the reason. Makes me wonder what other reasons there are. You should take the test and let me know what you get.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

All the Pretty Little Horses (Hush-a-bye) - Traditional American Folk

This is Thomas, wrapped up in a quilt K8 made with love. I remember visiting K8 a couple years ago as she pieced the design together, and her stitching it, worrying it wouldn't be done on time, and hoping with all the hope you have when a new baby comes into the world. We are happy he was here for a little bit, but mostly sad right now since he is drifting away from us.

I've had the Weepies in my head today, the one about taking comfort wherever you can, and it's not been very terribly comforting, but it's what I've got today:

Comfort (from A Bird Flies Out, Deb Talan)

When everyone has gone to sleep and you are wide awake
there's no one left to tell your troubles to.
Just an hour ago, you listened to their voices
lilting like a river over underground
and the light from downstairs came up soft like daybreak
dimly as the heartache of a lonely child.
If you can't remember a better timeyou can have mine, little one.
In days to come when your heart feels undone
may you always find an open hand
and take comfort wherever you can.
And oh, it's a strange place.
And oh, everyone with a different face
but just like you thought when you stopped here to linger
we're only as separate as your little fingers.
So cry, why not? we all do
then turn to one you love
and smile a smile that lights up all the room.
Follow your dreams in through every out-door
it seems that's what we're here for.
And when you can't remember a better time
you can have mine, little one.
In days to come when your heart feels undone
may you always find an open hand
and take comfort, there is comfort.
Take comfort wherever you can, you can, you can.