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.