Sunday, October 30, 2011

Please, Thank you, You're Welcome

Just in time for Halloween when complete strangers are handing candy to your children.  Now what do we say?

The foibles of parents can create blind spots for kids and even as a parent when you want to provide broad, correct and useful guidance--sometimes you can't get out of your own way to see that you are biased.  Case in point: niceties.

Please, Thank you, You're Welcome.  Are they necessary to get you what you want in life?  Yes.  Are they what civilized, enlightened people say to one another?  Yes.  Do they expend extra energy & time to say and sometimes smack of formality and expose weakness?  Yes.  Back in college, when I was learning to direct television programs and television news especially--there was no "please."  There were short, barked commands and then magically stuff got done.  I loved that because my dad was right, I was put on this planet to boss people around.  Well someone has to do it.

In raising a 2-year-old, economy of words has worked fine especially since she's just learning to talk.  She'd say with escalating panic:
"Where monkey, where monkey?" "Here," I say as I automatically hand the stuffed animal to her.
"Want raisins!"and I hand her the box, as she snatches it and runs away.
"More milk!" and I simply hand her the cup.
She expressed what she wanted/needed, I understood, I fulfilled.  This is my life.

But perhaps I've been programmed to give and simply accept orders because that is "what Kali would do."  (WWKD?) When Sidney was able to start putting correct nouns and verbs together a few months ago, we were absolutely thrilled.  If it was an acceptable action or desire, we just did it.  We didn't put any emphasis on niceties because it would just complicate matters.  This is not to say that I didn't use niceties ever.  I did and do.  If she does something I ask or gives me something, I thank her and God knows I ask her to do things with "please" and then employ a mountain of patience that I didn't know I possessed.  I have never said "please" so much nor waited so long as she decides she wants to come over and put her shoes on.  But I digress.

A few weeks ago, one of our toddler friends was visiting us with his parents.  His most excellent manners became immediately self-evident when he said "thank you" every time he received something.  Ken and I were impressed and a little alarmed.  Sidney is 2 months older than him with a firm vocabulary but this polite behavior does not happen.  Ken was all concerned, "We need to work on this!"

The final straw was a week ago at preschool co-op when after inhaling her first helping of grapes, dry cereal and cut strawberries, Sidney proclaimed, "More gwapes! More gwapes!" To which my response was to just reach for the spoon and start dumping more grapes on her napkin.  As soon as I started doing that, a mom who was right next to me looked at Sidney and said in a saccharinely sweet sing-song, smack down voice, "What's the magic word?"  I froze.  Oh snap--Sidney (and I) just got "pwned" by another mom.  It burns, it burns!

So here we are in "nicety bootcamp" where even I am having to remember that every exchange, every request, every action probably requires one of these things to be said.  But Sidney is on to us and now will roll through the list hoping that one of them works "peese-tankoo-welcome?"  That's my girl, efficiency at it's best.

(Also posted on Sidney's Page and

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Trick or Treating in Seattle

I recently complied a list of trick-or-treating spots around the Puget Sound area and tried to push North, East, West and South for a more inclusive set of events.

Be sure to check it out on Red Tricycle HERE.

Everyone have a fun, safe and bountiful Halloween!

Sidney from Halloween 2010 during the Ballard/Market Street Trick-or-Treat event.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Symphony Rules 2

Last week, Ken and I went to the Symphony and saw the new music director/principal conductor Ludovic Morlot.  As I mentioned in my prior post about the Symphony, he is 37, and his influence can already be felt, despite the fact we attended the Sonic Evolution program in which we expecting a whole different type of crowd. The program paid homage to Kurt Cobain, Quincy Jones and Jimi Hendrix then featured a KEXP darling called Hey Marseilles with the backing of the orchestra so the audience skewed way younger than I have ever seen it.  And the energy was electrifying.  To have people our age and younger all around us was a rare treat at the symphony.
But another rare experience was having 3 living composers provide works that were debuted in front of a live audience and then have them come up on stage and take bows.  That was how the masters in the Classical music collective did it, I guess.  But let me be honest: modern composers have such a plight not to be derivative of the masters, push the symphonic construct to the edge and be distinct.  It's a tall order when you consider a lot of brilliant, listenable music already exists in 2011.  So they create musical landscapes that are layered, discordant and unique--only as far as no one with musical education has thought to put these certain sounds together.  Excuse my vulgarness, but the three pieces--especially the Jimi Hendrix and the Kurt Cobain tributes--seemed like musical masturbation.  Formless, self-indulgent and not nearly as satisfying as the real thing.  Still, it is a triumph to have new blood, new attendees, new interest and new music filling Benaroya Hall.  Hey Marseilles, amply backed by the full orchestra, was breath-taking even if it might be a bit unorthodox.  Despite my opinion though, I fully support Maestro Morlot for taking chances and making the old new again.  I look forward to more that will probably test my comfort level and expectations.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

F**king Tea!

As my 500th post, why not?
I can't begin to explain how much I love this video. Yes I am a tea drinker.
(Language NSFW obviously--so put your headphones on)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Highlights of the 5th Year of Evidently...

Topics are all over the map for this roundup but in retrospect, it was a great year with lots of surprises and experiences. Splitting my time between Sidney's Blog, Evidently and filled up my writer's cup. But distractions like Facebook and Twitter proved too tempting for some of my more impulsive rants and splintered my focus a bit. I hope to work on that this year.

Issues & Current Events
4/2011 Financial Literacy Month: Resource Roundup (Info you can use)
4/2011 Living in one of the Whitest Cities (Portland & Seattle, #1 and #5)
9/2011 WDS Tries to Take Over the World (Dental Insurance coup d'etat)

Thoughts on Art & Entertainment
10/2010 Battlestar Galactica Exhibit @ EMP (BSG up close and personal)
4/2011 The Symphony (It has rules, even if you don’t know them)
10/2011 Music Recommendations (There are albums & there are ALBUMS)

Fame & the Famous
10/2010 Alan Wilder (Teenage Dreams and Techno music)
10/2010 Dave Matthews (Carry your rewards card to avoid detection)
1/2011 In Memoriam: Jack LaLanne (Inspirational but not much taller)
4/2011 Internet impersonation and insta-fame (Daily Show, my photo & lies)
9/2011 Radio Ga-ga (Parenting lessons by way of internet scam baiting)
9/2011 Ken written up in the Financial Times (Ken talks to the British)

Parenting Stuff
1/2011 Febrile Seizure (Scariest s**t ever)
6/2011 Immunize (I believe in science and so should you.  Yeah, I said it.)
9/2011 Favorite Toys for 2 year olds (Need gift ideas?)
9/2011 Yoga Momma (Best Mom-only activity)
9/2011 Domestic Enemies of Prius Mom (Mommyland represent!)
9/2011 HFM Disease (More catchy than Lady Gaga)

10/2010 Wenatchee (Scratchy Wenatchee--we love you)
10/2010 Flat Stanley (Have Stanley will travel)
5/2011 Ohio (Where “real” Americans live and my friend Anne)
6/2011 Victoria Part 1 & Part 2 (First time away from the child)
8/2011 Alberta Canada: Arrival, Banff, Orange Cup (Breathtaking)

Grab Bag
1/2011 New Roof part 1 & part 2 (And you thought tuck pointing was bad...)
6/2011 Embarrassing Personal Stories--Gifts (Making excuses)
7/2011 Angela & Jaime: Wedding & Honeymoon sendoff (Happily ever...)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Letter to Sidney for her 2nd Birthday

I just received the 2010-2011 "baby book" that I make from Sidney's blog where I have the year's worth of entries and photos printed into a physical book so that we can thumb through and viscerally experience it in trying to be like other crafty, scrap-booking moms.  I have no gift for scrap-booking so this is as good as it gets.  But in looking through it, I reread this entry and wanted to share it on my own blog. Originally, I had posted this on 9/12/2011 a few days after Sidney's 2nd birthday.  This letter-form was inspired by and her monthly/yearly letters to her daughters which capture milestones, current events and thoughts in that particular time.


Dear Sidney,
You just turned 2 and none of us can believe it.  You are so much a little girl and so less a baby that I think we now believe all those sage parents who advised us to cherish every moment of your young life because it floats away.  But I'll be honest, I love this age on you.  Nothing gets by you and I'm sure you pick up a lot more of our adult conversations than you let on.  Your vocabulary and ability to mimic sounds has exploded.  I credit your father with his diligent (yet exhaustive) work with you on your annunciation.  I am prone to correct you but let things go by because I figure you'll get it eventually and for one aspect of your upbringing, I will not be the hard-ass. 

Ugh, there I go using adult language again.  Speaking of which, your father is bound to throw some at me when he hears about this: while he was on his run today, I was flipping through some online photos about the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  (That will be something we'll explain to you later.) You were completely engrossed in a puzzle or something which is why I thought I could get away with looking at them.  Suddenly I landed on a photo of a person falling from one of the towers.  I must have made a noise because you looked over and immediately said, "That man outside building."  Did I mention *nothing* gets by you?  Yes, I am a bad mommy for even having those pictures in your eye-line.  But I just said, "Yes and one day I'll tell you more about it."  You seemed unfazed and returned to your puzzle.  I realized right then that this parenting thing, as your cognition and understanding improves, is going to be such a balancing act.  Because for all the brutality and horror in the world there is also beauty and light and magic.  It's important to me that you gradually understand that all of it exists in the world. 

You yourself are such a source of pure joy and delight. I know that you are only 2 but I can sense that you are funny, fearless and empathetic.  I see how you have embraced going to family swim times with you Dad and by proxy overcome your fear of showering or being in a shower.  You give your PEPS friends hugs and ask about them when they are not around.  Your infatuation with orange cup, yellow marker, your plastic dinos, monkey man, Baby Paul, certain puzzle pieces and the story of Ping the Duck fascinates and frustrates us--especially when we can't find an item you NEED right that moment.  But mostly the fact you're forming attachments to things and people let's us peek at the buds of your personality.  The things we care about say a great deal about who we are. 

Your birthday party this past weekend was combined with our Summer BBQ event this year.  We tried to keep it on the smaller side because we did all the food this year, instead of a potluck.  It was still a good-sized crowd and I think 12-13 of your little friends (plus their parents) were here.  That's a lot of kids running around YOUR house, playing with YOUR toys and generally reeking havoc.   But you seemed to feed off the energy of all the people and enjoy being social.  Maybe you will grow up to love parties (uh-oh).  I'm really glad we got to celebrate up in Seattle this year with the friends you see the most as well as having your Portland-area grandparents on hand.  But mostly I'm glad your Daddy was here (and not hiking the Grand Canyon) to light your candle, play with you on the lawn and see how much fun you had as we celebrated you. 

I could go on and on but I have to get to bed.  Your Grandma Cindy took some amazing pictures of the day which I will post tomorrow and for that I am truly thankful for those memories.  Happy Birthday once again.  We love you and look forward to another year of wonderment with you.

Much love,

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thoughts on Occupy Wall Street

In this movement of Occupy Wall Street, I have seen some succinct, articulate, informative and stunning fury come forth.  Here are two such articles.

1. From Daily Kos, a compassionate, intelligent open letter by Max Udargo to a guy who considers himself part of the "53% who pay federal taxes and have told people to stop complaining."

2. From Josh Brown, a riveting essay aired on Marketplace Money (NPR).  He was a former Wall Street Broker who is siding with the demonstrators and providing context from inside Wall Street of exactly how very badly all this has gone down.

UPDATE: Also another great piece that goes with these two about how Generation X is simply over it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Evidently Blog Turns 5

It's hard to believe but this blog is now 5 years old.  I started it back in 2006 because many of my then co-workers were blogging and I thought I should too.  But I wasn't sure if I would have enough to say.  More than anything it got me writing again on a regular basis--an exercise that still confounds and delights me.

Thanks to those of you who read this blog.  It is an exciting responsibility to have this outlet and platform to tell my stories and truths.  Highlights from the year are coming soon.  And I swear it won't take a year to compile this time.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Favorite Album on the iPod, in the car, in my head: "Brothers" by Black Keys

Very rarely do I ever enjoy an entire album of music. As most things in life, I am discerning, specific, picky.  Just like when eating, I leave a little something on the plate as to not over-indulge and say not everything made the cut.  And along those lines, you can't honestly expect a collection of 14 songs on one album to ALL be good.

On her latest album, Ms. Lady Gaga whom I adore has songs on her album that upon sounding the first 3 notes get the >> button.  (But NOT "Government Hooker".  I love that song.)  "Bad Kids", "Highway Unicorn", "Fashion of His Love," "Heavy Metal Lover"---are a pass.

Even for Depeche Mode, my most favorite band in the world, I have grown to love Violator as an album instead of the collection of good and okay songs I had initially thought it to be.  But that took years.  Years.  Perhaps Black Celebration which is arguably recognized by most fans as their best effort is their quintessential "album".  But it doesn't keep you gripped from song to song with emotional tension begging for resolve.   A collection of good songs for sure but definitely lacking urgency.

And how about the Killers?  I found their Day and Age album to be a great package: jaunty yet with a little menacing, completely listenable from end to end, upbeat with moments of reflection and great for road trips.   And all the while just slightly out of my vocal range to Ken's chagrin.  (I like to sing in the car.)

But then there was the Black Keys' album called Brothers.  Upon my first listen to this CD, my god...  It's so cliche to say "it spoke to me."  But it really did.  The emotional tenor, jaunty beats, soulful tone throughout, the flow from one song to the next and aural surprises like use of a harpsichord, kazoo and the human voice as sound effects. The singer pours his heart out about longing, searching, proclaiming, sinning, coveting, taking revenge in a way that cuts through the trite bulls**t of a lot of music on the radio these days.  I know this was released back in May 2010 but I just heard it in August of this year.  Nevertheless, I am listening to it constantly as it came out a week ago.  If a certain David Purnell ever returns to fair Seattle, we shall have to reunite the Basement band and celebrate with a Black Keys Medley.  Oh yes it will be done.

Dr. Seuss = naming genius

It could just be me but having read Dr. Seuss books (multiple) times per day for several months, I can't help but notice the nonsense words he penned years ago have since become everyday tech words or names of tech companies.  Why is that?

Dr. Seuss was the master of rhyme and his love of language and the unusual continue to delight generations of children.  Some people look into a library science degree online when they also love books and want to learn more about how to bring great books into children's lives.