Thursday, December 28, 2006

Random thoughts

You ever notice sometimes when you are eating in a distinctively "ethnic" restaurant but the music/atmosphere doesn't match? Tonight we dined at one of our regular haunts Sam's Sushi in Ballard where we enjoyed the Beginner Sushi plate and Tofu Udon to the digestive-friendly tunes of Smooth Jazz. There have been similar experiences at Thai and Indian restaurants in this city and somehow a mismatch in the atmosphere & food takes away from the authenticity of the experience. Maybe it's just me.

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I have come to notice that there is a fine line between an interesting diary blog and a indulgent blathering of self-importance. I think a lot of blogs fall into the latter category and it pains me because I can see how one can slide into it. I know my entries have been sort of light lately. Things have been going on. Things at work (which is an off limits topic on this blog) and things personally which I will get to, if not tomorrow then by the weekend.
Readers, the reason I blog is simply to practice writing with a little performance pressure and to give something back to you: A nugget of information/observation and maybe a laugh if I can swing it. If you ever feel I'm not delivering, let me know and I'll try to do better.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dude, where's my Christmas?

(I meant to post this last night but had no connectivity at Dad's place.)

Merry Christmas to you!
Ken is napping on the adjacent couch while Dad and Austin have gone to my cousin Larry’s Christmas Day dinner. I find myself battling a monster head cold and pondering the meaning of Christmas. I can’t help but notice how this could be any other night of the year except for all the boxes and bags strewn about the living room floor and that Burgerville is closed today.

Since I was raised observing Christmas from a secular point of view, the birth of Jesus and the religious aspect fell away, leaving more symbolic associations with the holiday. The small details became super important: a fresh tree for the smell, certain Christmas decorations displayed in a specific place every year, eating pizzelles and satsumas throughout December and going to Christmas Eve dinner at my Grandmother’s house to eat weird Italian food—all garnished by either pickles, olives or mandarin oranges. [My mother has taken over the dinner since my grandmother’s passing and while the garnishes are gone, there is always an “experimental” vegetable or hors d’ oeuvre somewhere on the table.]

Its funny how as a kid, I thought the pageantry and magic of this season would somehow erase all the disappointments in the year preceding it. The sheer build up to this day whipped me into a frenzy, because—at least until 8th grade—what I lacked in number of friends, the number of presents under the tree consoled me. (All of that changed once I had a high school boyfriend of course. Then only his present mattered.)

So what comes to mind when you think of the holidays and the word “expectation”? (Groan.) Everyone has a story about something that didn’t go as planned or someone who failed to live up to what they “should” have done. Rarely if ever, do expectations measure up to reality and that’s why I hate them. I’ve noticed holidays (and weddings) are times where hidden emotions and issues, explode onto center stage. For instance, 7 or 8 Christmases ago, my mother wanted my brother and me to show up at her house around 11 am and I guess we didn’t get there until 2 pm. She was so upset which made me angry because neither my brother nor I realized the time was firm but really we were struggling to meet the “expectations” of our father and blended family who we promised to visit with as well. Mom’s strong reaction surprised me but my own resentment about having to run all over the place on Christmas Day surprised me more. Why couldn’t we just have one family and be in one location all day long? (See, not a Christmas issue.) After that, I have always made it very clear about schedules during the holidays.

And now, since marrying Ken there is the inclusion of all new traditions, ideals and... expectations.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dixie Chicks: +1 more fan

We just got back from seeing the Dixie Chicks Documentary. Damn.

For the record, I have never been a fan of country music or the people who predominantly embrace it. This documentary showed the infamous moment that Natalie Maines said she was ashamed that the President was from Texas. The ensuing firestorm of hate and rejection from their once adoring fans captured in this documentary became ironic and ignorant with today's hindsight. The way the majority of the country audience turned their backs on such a beloved and popular group in 2003 after stating a quasi-joke/opinion can only be described as deeply chilling. The Dixie Chicks may have lost some of their fans but good riddance. I'm sure they didn't mean to stumble out into a political stage or become the poster children for the First Amendment but how they handled it impressed me immensely.

Count yourselves another fan.

The Meaning of Grateful

For some reason, the Pacific NW was the lucky recipient of not one but two major catastrophic storm fronts in the last 30 days. While Ken and I were lucky to sustain no property damage or loss of power with this latest one, many of our friends, neighbors and fellow NW citizens were not so fortunate. There is lots being said in the Seattle Times about how dire this has affected the area. Especially with sub-freezing temperatures at night and many with no electricity still after 3 days, people have resorted to bbqing inside or running generators which has now lead to a rash of carbon monoxide poisoning. Aye!

It's always humbling to me to realize how dependant we are on energy and "civilized" life. Even when we went camping with the Vaslows, we had the comfort of a heated cabin and hot showers among many other things. These events are good reminders to be thankful for what conveniences we do enjoy.

Tangent: But there is a form of infrastructure upon which I've become most dependant on as the days pass. It pains me to think of a time before it's existence in my life. So let's take a moment to all thank God and/or the Universe for the Internet.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Goodbye 70's

On an almost daily basis, Ken and I debate the "would-still-have-married-you-but-you'll-need-work-in-this-area" character flaw concerning my lack of knowledge and rememberance about the music of the seventies. I only endured 6 of its years while Ken spent his impressionable youth (ages 2-12) savoring Carly Simon, The Carpenters, The Bee Gees, Captain & Tennille, Carol King, Olivia Newton-John and the Stylistics. Right now he's "educating me" by playing a selection of 70's tunes on Rhapsody while I write this.

Due soley to my father's LP collection, I do know Seals and Croft, The Doobie Brothers, Chuck Mangione, George Benson and Cat Stevens from that era. But I don't get much credit for knowing these artists because Ken doesn't think highly of them.

I think over all the decades of the 20th century, the 70's represented that awkward stage in life where you're between things. Can't quite commit to an ideology, can't quite cooridinate a wardrobe and can't quite use colors pleasant to the eye to decorate with.

I don't think I should be held responsible for stepping out of the seventies at age 6 with an unrefined palate for the likes of the musical "genius" that emerged from that decade. As a result, I'm constantly being told how young & naive I am when it comes to music. "It's as if you were born in 1980..." he'll say. Well I might as well have been.

It's true, I am a child of the 80's--the greatest decade ever. Seriously, who doesn't wax nostalgic about the decade that brought so many great cultural icons to the fore. That period of time launched the meteoric careers of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, U2 and my all time favorite, Depeche Mode.

And Depeche Mode, dear reader, has been one constant and necessary thing in my life since riding the bus to school and hearing "Strangelove" on the radio in 1988 for the first time. Those were the days.


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"You started off funny then you got all righteous toward the end."

"Oh you mean kinda like you?"

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Happy Day of the Ninja!

As you all know, my official occupation is "Corporate Ninja" and today we celebrate all Ninja-kind with Day of the Ninja. See the video below for a historical enlightening about the Day of the Ninja.



Also if you would like to know how clever the Ninja are in general, go to www.askaninja.com.

Episodes you must see first:
Ask a Ninja: "Ninja Omnibus"
Ask a Ninja: "Pirates of the Caribbean"
Ask a Ninja: "Ninja Colds"

Enjoy!

(Many thanks to Keith for the enlightenment.)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Dear Sir, I am not stupid.

Charly is a long-time friend of Ken's and a music teacher in Arizona. With his permission, I am publishing his well-handled and ultimately hilarious coorespondence with a scam artist as a cautionary tale to the rest of us. The lesson: when people on the Internet ask you for money, make them sorry they ever contacted you.

Read the full account HERE. (in PDF format)


For a PDF reader, go here.