Thursday, January 31, 2008

"I'd like a Happy Greek please." - Gretzky

“For here or to go?” – Anne

If only ordering a date was as easy as ordering dinner at one of our favorite Greek restaurants, where I imagine a happy Greek could walk out of the kitchen and into a seat at my table...

Waitress: What would you like?

Gretzky: I’ll take a sense of humor with a job, please, with a dash of passion for something on the side.

How much do we think this would run me?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dave: Maybe we should set Gretz up with Ben.

Sij: Yeah, cause she’s in Seattle and he’s in Toronto.

Dave: Concessions can be made. Can't we discuss this?

I was sitting in a bar last summer with Sij, Angela, and John the week before Tiffany and Brendan's wedding. Sij leaned over and said, "Would you marry us?"

I thought the beer had gone to her head for a minute and asked if she was serious. She said I was the closest thing to a pastor she knew.

I pointed out that going to church occasionally does not make one an ordained minister and there are probably lots of people more qualified than I. Then I said yes, but ask Dave what he thinks. Really, how many opportunities can one have to marry people? Especially people you think are fantastic for each other.

So she asked Dave, and it turns out they wanted me to marry them. I learned the Universal Life Church will ordain just about anyone. I sent an e-mail requesting ordination, and four weeks later got a certificate that says I can marry people.

I'm somewhat nervous about this. I don't generally like making speeches longer than four minutes. Two minutes is even better if one has to get up and say something.

I don't think Dave would mind if I did it in two minutes, but probably I need to be a bit more lengthy and give some good details about their relationship and why I think they're awesome and how perfect they are for each other and all that. They're pretty great, so it won't be hard to come up with things to say. I'm more worried about what to wear. It's going to be Toronto in July, outside, which will be nice but condusive to heat and humidity, which means sweating and gross. This is probably shallow, but seriously, it's so much easier for men. They can throw a shirt and tie on and they're good. What should a female wear to marry people?

Anyway, one condition for marrying them is that they invite all their single male friends to the wedding, but Sij asked if I cared about quality, which I took as a sign not to get my hopes up too much. She did say Ben was newly single this weekend, but considering the distance factor, I give it a 1 in 1000 chance of happening.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"A meeting moves at the speed of the slowest mind in the room -

In other words, all but one participant will be bored, all but one mind underused."

- Dale Dauten

That pretty much says it all for my day. Is that cynical? Any tips for how to move meetings along would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, January 28, 2008

"It all matters. I know we thought it didn't, but it does." - Carver, Episode 54.

I'm not sure about comparing David Simon and Ed Burns to Dostoevsky, but Carver's lines from last night did remind me of some of Zosima's words in the Brothers Karamazov:

From Book II, Chapter 2: "The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love...."

Speaking of love, I'm in love with Carver these days. I never would've thought this in Season One, not even in Seasons Two and Three, but he's showing some integrity these days. Gives me some hope.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

"sometimes the night was beautiful" - rich mullins

Rich Mullins
might be my favorite theologian of all time. His words so often capture what I understand about theology at this point. I'm not willing to say much emphatically about doctrines, laws and all that jazz, but what I am willing to say about faith comes pretty close to this:

Sometimes the night was beautiful
Sometimes the sky was so far away
sometimes it seemed to stoop so close,
you could touch it but your heart would break
Sometimes the morning came too soon
sometimes the day could be so hot
there was so much work left to do,
but so much You'd already done

Sometimes I think of Abraham,
how one star he saw had been lit for me
He was a stranger in this land,
and I am that no less than he
And on this road to righteousness,
sometimes the climb can be so steep
I may falter in my steps,
but never beyond Your reach

"Step by Step" The World As Best As I Remember It, vol 1

Saturday, January 26, 2008

“Be still my heart” – Homer

(either Homer or the Postal Service, depending on your time frame)

We knew H&M was coming to UVillage, but it’s coming to THREE places in Seattle. This could be the most exciting thing since the Olympic Sculpture Park opening. Seriously. They’re that good.

Friday, January 25, 2008

“What do you want?” – Mom, Vincent, loads of others…

Martha Grimes has perfected the art of the mystery. I could walk past her characters in the street, have a conversation, reach some understandings. Melrose Plant would win the Oscar for Best Supporting Role if they gave them out for novels. I adore him.

And Jury – Jury makes me think. When someone in Grimes’ latest novel, Dust, asks Jury what he wants most out of life, his response is “Solace.”

“Remember that great film with Bette Davis, All About Eve? There’s a scene after the scheming Eve steals Margo’s role through trickery and then gets this magnificent review. Margo is of course effing and blinding all over the place. And crying. Her director rushes into her house, puts his arms around her, and says, ‘I ran all the way.’” Jury smiled. “That’s what I want."

She just sat there looking at him and saying nothing.

"Life is just too bloody hard. You lose too many things. ‘I ran all the way.’” Jury smiled bleakly. “Solace.”

Thursday, January 24, 2008

“i thought about you the day steven died…” j m mcmillan

Alison: “Steven owes me $140.”

Kait: “Yeah, he’s gonna owe me some money too.”

Patty Griffin’s Goodbye came on soft and mournful this morning. I changed the CD to avoid the sadness, but the song still hung around. Her voice does that, lingers in your ear like someone giggling whispered secrets in the girls’ bathroom.

The weirdest about death is that people go away but they’re still here somehow. I wonder if this is how the whole thing with ghosts got started, that people wanted their dead back in some way, even if they aren’t fully alive. That somehow you can still hold onto them in some small way. Retail therapy doesn’t really do the trick like a ghost might.

Kait wishes April’s thoughts could have been Steven’s eulogy instead of the one that was given at his funeral. The text was "To live is Christ, to die is gain." Perhaps not one of the pastor's finer moments, considering the whole suicide angle.

Most eulogies don’t capture the dead well, anyway. Sometimes there’ll be a funny story, a line that makes us smile, a memory of how real they were just a short time ago. But it doesn't really tell you everything, the important things, the parts you loved.

My clearest memory of Steven is of him sitting in the chair at Kait’s apartment two summers ago in front of the green wall after we ate chicken marabella, which Kait made up the recipe for since she couldn’t find it and Corina wasn’t answering her phone. You mix up some olive oil and spices and olives and prunes, and you actually get a nice sauce. A lovely one, worthy of serving at some fancy-schmancy restaurant. I remember laughing at something Kait said while eating dinner. I remember savoring the last bite of chicken over the rice, and how Kait said before Steven got there, “I’m not just serving rice because Steven’s Asian. It's the only carbohydrate I have.” I remember how I made some off the cuff remark about something and how Steven disagreed with me gently, in a way that made me re-think my position. I remember laughing and talking and drinking wine that night. Mostly I remember we had a good time.

And the craigslist debaucles, those were all because of Steven, really. That's probably a story for another time, except it is important to know my craigslist matchmaking career was started by Steven.

But my eulogy for Steven is that memory of laughing and eating and enjoying time with friends. Really, what more can you want out of life, in the end?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

“The best thing is at night, to look through the windows when they’re all lit up.” – Mary Beth

Tonight I was walking Molly with Erica. We were about to walk past the house with all the lights. This house is a cute little tucked-away rambler with various colored lights up all year round. There’s a blue sting of lights above the garage, pink flamingos in the yard, a picket fence, a meandering porch, and a bright yellow Nissan truck parallel parked in front. And at night, when you can see inside, you can tell the rooms are brightly colored. Tonight Erica clutched my arm, burst out laughing, and asked, “Do you see that?” I looked left to see a gangly 17 year old kid smack dab in the middle of the living room bay window, playing steel guitar like his life depended on it. Like a crazy modern art picture, with the bright red living room walls, the kid looking straight at us. We caught his eye and he did one of those teenage ducking things you do when you’re a teenager and embarrassed about being yourself.

We stopped walking and started stumbling, laughing, and we wanted to go back and peek in the window, but were afraid it'd be too embarassing for the kid. Of course, when your home has pink flamingos in the yard, probably you're used to it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"You should blog about how good I am at Friends." - Princess Consuela

Princess Consuela is on my quiz team, and it was dark when we finished quiz night. So on our way to our respective cars, Princess Consuela graciously offered to drive me to my car after our disappointing loss, even though she rocked the "Friends" category. (6th place!) I was only a block away, so I said no thanks, but it was good of her to offer and made me thankful I have good friends who also have good manners.

This reminded me of my last three dates.

The last three dates I’ve been on, it has been dark when I have left said date’s meeting place. It is perfectly legitimate to hold a date at an hour when it isn’t light outside. But at the end of the night, sometimes your date’s car is parked in a location far away from yours. A reasonable, prudent girl (me, for example) won’t take offense when you offer to walk her to her car. This actually could be considered polite. In some scenarios, when both parties are parked far away, in opposite directions from the meeting place, you might offer to drive this reasonable girl to her car and she would most likely accept your offer. For heaven’s sake, wait until she gets in her car before driving off. When you deposit her on the street next to her car and zoom off like the devil’s chasing you, she is left alone in the dark, fumbling for her keys, trying desperately to open the driver’s side door. She wonders, Was I really that bad?

Monday, January 21, 2008

"There is another world, but it is in this one." - W.B. Yeats

This is the epigraph for Sherman Alexie's latest, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. Like most of Alexie’s work, it’s funny and heartbreaking all in one breath. It’s also a young adult novel, so it’s a fast, but full read.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

"That's my pastor, fucker." - Bob

Kait lives in Texas. In Dallas, no less. Not even Austin or San Antonio, but Dallas.

Anyway, Kait’s part of a community in Dallas whose pastor happens to be a woman named Danielle. Danielle is awesome.

Kait’s friend Bob, who is also part of Journey, was somewhere Danielle was too, and she passed by the table Bob was sitting at. A guy at the table asked Bob, “Who was that?”

Bob: “My pastor.”

Guy: “No, who was that?” (Points to Danielle.)

Bob: “My pastor.”

Guy: “No, that woman…who was that woman?”

Bob: “My pastor.”

Guy: “No, the woman?”

Bob: “That’s my pastor, fucker. I’ll take truth anywhere I can get it, and if I get to listen to truth coming out of the mouth of a woman, I’m gonna be there every Sunday.”

Amen, Bob.

Friday, January 18, 2008

"it is well..."

My friend Suzanne has loved to sing since she was little. I knew this, because I grew up hearing her sing a lot. Her mom Joan loved to sing too, but I don’t think I ever knew that until tonight. Joan died of cancer last Thursday.

At her memorial service tonight, a nurse who works at Valley spoke. He'd spent a lot of time with Joan when she was in the hospital these last few weeks. He mentioned that before going back home over the holidays, Joan and Malcolm told him to tell his parents thank you for lending him to care for her. Tonight he said, “thank you, Malcolm, for lending Joan to me.”

And Suzanne, who loves to sing, sang beautifully.

Sometimes, like Bubs says, there’s a thin line between here and heaven.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

"I even see the dog, that's how fucked up I still am. I see a man walking his German shepherd and I see our god damn poodle.” - Charlie Fineman

There’s already been three deaths this year of folks I knew, grew up with, or loved. Considering we’re only three weeks into the year, I’m wondering about the state of things to come for 2008. Is it gonna be one a week from here on out? Am I going to spend every Friday at funerals? Also, why Friday? When I hit the bucket, I’m telling you right now, if they hold a Friday night service for me, there better be some good beer, games – trivia would be awesome - and lots of laughter going on.

Somebody asked me today how I was, and I said I was fine.

You know when people really ask, and really want to know, if you’re okay? And how amazing it is when folks really mean that, and actually want to hear how you feel? There’s so few people in the world like that, who truly listen. Or maybe not so few people, but all of us have such a hard time slowing down enough to actually hear what other folks are saying. Walker Percy says it so much better in the Moviegoer: “I have discovered that most people have no one to talk to, no one, that is, who really wants to listen. When it does at last dawn on a man that you really want to hear about his business, the look that comes over his face is something to see.”

I love these people, people who mean what they say. They make it okay for a little bit. On my way home I got really sad. So I took Molly for a walk, put on some Ray Charles, and made homemade mashed potato for dinner. (Just one potato, but with real butter and milk and some chives. But can you really say mashed potatoes if you only used one potato?) There’s nothing like mashed potatoes for comfort.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"I want some fucking romance." - E, last Wednesday

I don’t have any resolutions this year, but I do have a couple goals. One of them is simple enough. I want a kiss. A good one. Not from a moron or some random guy. Someone good. And let's be honest, it’d be nice if it were before December.

I might make t-shirts. Green, with the above quote in nice, fancy calligraphy script you can only read if you're standing at most a foot away. It might be a good advertisement. It also could go horribly, but you never know until you try.

further conversations on dating. well, actually, on not dating.

In which Sage explains why she yet again avoided telling Mike she liked him at a party. (In her defense, they’ve been friends for the past 3 years, and she doesn’t want to rock the boat.)

Gretzky: Did you tell Mike you’re madly in love with him?

Sage: No, it’s never gonna happen.

Gretzky: Sage!

Sage: We went out afterwards…

Gretzky: By we, do you mean you and Mike?

Sage: Yes…

Gretzky: So the problem was?

Sage: I couldn’t say it! I don’t know what to do..

Gretzky: About what?

Sage: I’m waiting for the concert to make a move, after that I won’t have to see him for 3 weeks.

Gretzky: Sounds like you really like him, if you don't want to see him.

Sage: I am a scaredy cat…And I want Mr. Right, not Mr. Right Now. Well, I wouldn’t mind Mr. Right Now, let’s be honest…

Monday, January 14, 2008

the truth is really I'm scared/ Not scared of the truth/...

But just scared of the length you'll go to fight it – Saul Williams, Act III, Scene 2 (Shakespeare)

Last night I just about pulled the car over in disbelief when Saul Williams’ cover of U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday came on the radio….It’s on his new album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust, which Trent Raznor produced. Apparently the video premieres tomorrow. Knowing Saul’s work, it should be fascinating stuff…he’s an awesome poet. If only we had a Nuyorican in Seattle.

Also, can someone please tell me where Omar’s at? I miss him.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

“You know, he’s put on 30 or 40 pounds since he got here.” – Celia, 67, on Mike Holmgren

I had dinner last night on Mercer Island with four lovely ladies in their 60s and 70s. Mary Beth made an amazing dinner that included melt-in-your-mouth vegetables. (Cut a butternut squash into chunkcs, cut up a couple beets and onions, drizzle with olive oil, bake at 350 for 45 minutes. It's like eating candy. Except it's good for you.) Celia brought her own blackberry manischewitz, and the rest of us had wine. Conversation ranged from how Borracchini’s is the best Italian bakery in Seattle (Remo lives on the island and is a good Catholic according to Tinker...) to the history of salt. They are also Seahawk fans and enjoy spotting Holmgren at the island QFC. They hope he stays in Seattle, but think his wife might have a couple things to say about this.

During the 4th quarter of yesterday’s game, I was at the Trader Joe’s on Madison, and they were broadcasting the game overhead. One more reason why we love TJ’s. The checker who rang up my groceries was an unabashed Brett Favre fan, crowing about the victory so close at hand (at this point there were 3 minutes left in the game) and I almost walked to another checkout. Who admits, during a hometown game, that they like the other teams’ quarterback? I hate agreeing with Rick Reilly, but I think we’re too nice about this stuff in Seattle. I mean, I’m not advocating shaking the life out of the checker, but I don’t think it should be socially acceptable for him to admit he’s a Favre fan without some dire consequences. A public hanging would suffice. Of course, then I would have to give myself slacker fan consequences, since I was running errands and not watching the game.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

"You need to carry a baseball bat." William, 83 and ¾

My grandfather came into the city this week and took me out to lunch.*

A well-known drug distribution hangout-place (Really, I watch the Wire and don’t know what these spots are called?) is kitty-corner from my office. On the way back from lunch, dropping me off at work, Granp mentioned the baseball bat. He says people won’t mess around with a woman carrying a baseball bat.

I don’t think I’ll be testing his theory. I figure if someone really wants to mug me, they can have what I’ve got. Since I’m not entering into any sort of business arrangements with the guys on the corner, I probably don’t need to worry too much about the necessity of a baseball bat, which realistically wouldn’t protect me much from a knife or a gun anyways.

I say hi to the guys selling illegal stuff as I walk by every day. The other day one told me my hair was a pretty color. I said thanks and he hit the crosswalk button for me. It was a pleasant enough exchange I suppose.

It’s fascinating, how what one person calls a bad neighborhood is another person’s lovely home. I’ve heard countless times in my office, “don’t be alone here at night, don’t walk to your car late by yourself,” etc., etc., etc….But my friend Bethany lives 3 blocks away, and our friend Claire lives up the street from her, and Shai lives 6 blocks over and loves it.

So I thought I’d look at the crime stats, the murder ones. Just for comparison of the two cities I love most, Baltimore has had 2 murders so far this year, and last year had a total of 282. (One more reason to love Baltimore: Anna Ditkoff’s Murder Ink .)

Seattle has also had 2 this year that I could find. One in the lower Rainier Valley: A 14 year old boy was killed yesterday on Rose Street. And on Jan. 3rd, a 17 year old boy was killed in Lower Queen Anne.

It took me a while to find this info, let me tell you…does the Times even have a crime section? If you look at the online headings, it’s not an option. What does this fall under, exactly? Local news? I mean, we’ve got a Seahawks blog but no crime blog? What is this about?

The SPD has this lovely page tracking crime stats. But its most recent stats are from October 2007.

Then I found Seattle Crime Blog, but its murder section actually seems to have more info on crimes involving Seattleites in other places – Amanda Knox in Italy for example.

I think Laura Onstot needs to do a Murder Ink-like column for Seattle Weekly. She’s done a couple good pieces on crime issues recently.

*N.B.: the hi spot is fantastic. Granp says the sausage alone is worth waking up before noon. He’s normally a 2 p.m. riser.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

"I like long walks on the beach..." Camille

Said shortly before lunch today while introducing herself to our audience.

Courtney’s response: “Who doesn’t like long walks on the beach?...Well, actually, I have a friend who hates sand.”

Courtney and I wrote a kick-ass script for our presentation today. I think we might have a future in L.A. Well, probably not with the Writer's Strike and all, but it's fun to find good people you can write with. Here's to good collaborations.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

"Just for the halibut."

Say it out loud.

This is a favorite of E’s parents, along with other punny sayings like “have a ferry good ferry ride.” I swear, it’s really funny in person.

But in honor of the Wire’s last and final season, I’d like to point out five -well, maybe seven - key things just for the halibut:

1) Slate reprinted the interview they did with David Simon last season.
2) They also had fun with reviews/anticipation/concerns of this season.
3) David Simon responded to Ubiquitous Marketing’s comments on the Wire, which Slate also added to their dialogue.
4) Salon’s best interview with David Simon.
5) Laura Miller’s excellent reasons why The Wire is the best show on television.

Have I convinced you yet?

Wait, there's more.

6) Sudhir Venkatesh's NY Times Freakonomics article today: What do Real Thugs Think of the Wire?

And I almost forgot our favorite local tv/movie critic:

7) New Yorker Profile of David Simon....

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

"The worst crime is faking it." Kurt Cobain

I felt like a fraud today. I gave some strategic planning advice to two people older and more experienced than myself. It was good advice, but I thought, really? You know this already, right? I mean, you're done this twenty years and you run a successful program....I came back to the office and asked Shai if she ever felt like she was making stuff up as she went along and pretending to have it all together. She said all the time and couldn't I tell, and I felt marginally better.

Then Sam said she pretended too. Based on my poll of two people, I decided that most people probably are faking it in some capacity.

Monday, January 7, 2008

"The bigger the lie, the more they believe." - Bunk Moreland

Oh, Bunk. Perhaps the most honest one of all...I’m not a fan of Steve Earle’s cover of Way Down, but I liked pretty much everything else about the Season 5 Wire premiere last night...I am slightly worried about how they’re gonna tie up all loose ends together in 9 more hours. Also, I want Omar. Where’s he at? Please bring him back soon.

If you need more convincing as to why you should watch The Wire, a portrayal of Baltimore's decay and survival (but really, of any post-industrialist american city), here’s thoughts from the Bmore Sun on creator David Simon’s methods:

"I think his answer is to tell the truth," said Deirdre Lovejoy, who plays Asst. State's Atty. Rhonda Pearlman. "He would never admit this in a million years, but the optimism comes through telling the truth. Because unless you had some deep-seated desire to illuminate the human condition and potentially affect some kind of change, you would not write this."

This is why I love the Wire, why the memory of Baltimore stays with me like a first love. In all its despair and hopelessness, there is a brutal honesty that refuses to paint the human condition as anything more or anything less than it is. There's a courage about that honesty that's strangely and profoundly moving.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

"This is my depressed stance...

...When you're depressed, it makes a lot of difference how you stand. The worst thing you can do is straighten up and hold your head high because then you'll start to feel better. If you're going to get any joy out of being depressed, you've got to stand like this."
- Charlie Brown

Remedy for disasters, or just for life on any given day:

-3 chick flicks in a row
-4 Friends
-Vast quantities of bread, chocolate, and oranges
-1 Seahawks team winning
-8 hours of sleep
-Some of N.T. Wright’s thoughts on what we’re longing for
-Glorious anticipation of the Wire premiere tonight @ 9 p.m.

Mix all, shake well.

Note: The friends are the key ingredients here.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

a nike issue

Diane Court: I have this theory of convergence, that good things always happen with bad things. I know you have to deal with them at the same time, but I just don't know why they have to happen at the same time. I just wish I could work out some schedule. - Say Anything

So it’s five days into the New Year, new stuff and lots of good things happening….This morning woke to a message from a friend about another friend’s suicide. They found him yesterday. And this morning, in the midst of a very good, productive meeting, learned of a friend’s mother, killed in a car accident this morning.

Sigh. In the midst of life we are in death....good things happening with bad all in the mix...

And what do we do with it, this is the question.

I know one thing: we don’t have time to fuck around. Life’s too short. People die. So whatever it is you do to make the world a better place, do it. Large or small, in whatever way you’ve got going on. Just do it.

Friday, January 4, 2008

"exactly how much will have to burn...."

Saw this at work today and thought about another posting seen recently on next Rosie Thomas' latest song in my head: we have so much farther to go....

Thursday, January 3, 2008

"You know how they say spiders are more afraid of you than you are of them? That’s how guys are.." P.J.

The whole dating thing continues to elude me. I thought by this point in my life I would have figured it out, but I'm still mystified by exactly how it all works. Especially after conversations like the following, which really did take place a couple weeks ago.

Setting: December afternoon. Katherine's apartment living room. The Christmas lights are blinking through the window, and we're discussing the possibility of Katherine watching Christmas ships from Golden Gardens at the bonfire with a nice guy who's asked her on a second date. She's nervous.

I don’t want to go out with him. My stomach turns over and I get too nervous and I don’t know what to say. I’m canceling. Watching the Christmas ships is too romantic for a second date. I’m canceling.

Gretzky: You have to give this guy a second chance. He’s polite, smart, has a job, has good friends, and called mid-week to tell you he had a good time with you. I think he’s a good candidate for a second date.

Katherine: We’ll be on the beach and I won’t know what to say and I’ll have to walk in the sand and it’ll get in my shoes and…

Gretzky: He’s picking you up in 15 minutes. This is not a good time to cancel. And it’s not romantic to go on the beach and watch the ships. There’ll be 8 billion people there, and you’ll smell like smoke from the bonfire.

Katherine: I’m too nervous.

Everybody’s nervous. It’s what happens when you go on a date. It’s okay. It’s normal. You’re supposed to be nervous. That means it’s going well.

After conversations like this I wonder how people ever start dating in the first place...

(Katherine called me afterwards to say that he was nice but there were no sparks. I told her to give him another shot, because butterflies in the stomach could be a spark-like quality...Also because I have a soft spot for nice shy guys who have a hard time getting the nerve to ask a girl out in the first place. But seriously, if you're one of those nice quiet guys reading this, ask her. She might say yes.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

"Imagination is more important than knowledge...."

…For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.

- Albert Einstein

One of my top 50 songs is She Don’t Like Roses, by Christine Kane. (You can hear it on the Putamayo collection American Folk). But what’s even better about Christine Kane is that she blogs. Last year she wrote about giving up New Year’s Resolutions and picking a word for the year instead. This resonated with me because the last time I tried to keep any sort of new year’s resolution it lasted all of 5 minutes. Maybe 7. It must have resonated with others, too, because she wrote about it again a couple days ago.

Basically the idea is that instead of picking something to do as a resolution, you pick a word to focus on for the year. Examples: Hope. Courage. Kindness. Adventure. Deliberateness. Joy. Integrity. Generosity. And so on and so forth…There’s so many options, really, but probably if you think about which word would be good to focus on for you, it will come to you.

Last year, I read her idea and instantly knew my word for 2007: courage. It just jumped out at me last December. This whole year, I’ve been walking with the idea of courage. Actually, this fall it morphed into “moxie,” which I like a lot. It has a more earthy feel to it than courage, seems to be a little closer to what I mean, or what I needed to do this year. Some people who know me might think this is a surprising choice, because I do a very good job pretending to be brave in just about everything. But I wanted to not pretend anymore, and actually do things that scared me a little bit. So I did. And I’ve been surprised at how far a very little dose of guts will take you.

All of December, I’ve been thinking about my word for 2008. Several have come to mind. I thought about hope. I thought about peace-making. We need so many more peace-makers in the world, and I think I should be one of them. And then Kait found her word, and Erica did too, and I wondered, like that little bird in the children’s story who goes around asking people if they’re his mother, if I would ever find my word. I pored over the list of possibilities and nothing leaped out. So I put it on the back burner for a week or so to percolate….

Then I re-read this NYTimes article that I’ve probably posted a jillion times, about inventors who are creating things that people actually find useful. And I’ve been reading a bunch of Shane Claiborne’s stuff on community, and my word came: imagination.

We live in a world with tons of ideas swirling around, so much information that should make life easier, and yet so many fragmentations and disconnections. We have more opportunities to be in community than ever before and yet are increasingly isolated and lonely…

In the education community, we’ve boiled down school requirements to reading and doing math at high levels but don’t think about instilling a love for language in our kids or a sense of curiosity about what makes the world work. The thing is, kids have that, when they get here, that sense of wonder. Then we grown-ups conspire to drill it out of them. And I want mine back.

So my word for 2008 is imagination.

spamming in the new year roeder style

jason roeder is funny.


for those of you who get spam in your inboxes, jason roeder is funny.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ty: "I think this is a really bad idea."

G: Maybe if you say it for the 8th time...

Ty: I think this is a really bad idea.

Said at about 12:01 this morning, when Ty's housemates decided to celebrate the New Year by taking their Christmas tree outside, digging a hole in the ground, plopping the Christmas tree in it, and setting it on fire. Mostly I think this was due to alcoholic influence, although when I got there around 7, they weren't drunk yet and talked about this as if this were a perfectly rational thing to do.

Since I have never had to dispose of a Christmas tree, I don't know proper etiquette for doing so, but I'm fairly sure that most people don't take theirs in the backyard and light it on fire. At least they had a hose around. Smokey would not have been happy, but thankfully nothing extraneous (like the wooden fence about five feet away) was burned in the Christmas tree flame-a-thon...

And I was reminded of this great spot yesterday by a fellow fan, so I need to include it in my best of list from yesterday....

Best Coffee Shop with a View

I hesitate to put this one on here because it's not usually crowded, which adds to its appeal, but the Canal St. Cafe in Fremont has decent coffee, a lovely porch, free wifi, and at night you can look out over the water and lights and it's fabulous....