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.