Wednesday, December 21, 2005

We Were Speaking of Belief...*

"Mom, is that Jesus?"

Sophie points to the large crucifix at the front of the church where we're sitting and waiting for the beginning of the choral program. We're here to listen to the Northwest Boychoir perform "A Festival of Lessons and Carols," a concert patterned after the Christmas Eve observance at King's College in Cambridge, England.

And as should be clear by Sophie's uncertainty about the iconography she sees prominently displayed, our focus is on the music, not the message. Although Stephen and I are both from Christian backgrounds, neither of has chosen to continue on that path; if one felt the need to label us, "agnostic leaning toward pagan” would come pretty close.

This being the case, our kids have had very little exposure to organized religion of any sort. For them, a church is a place you go to hear Nathan sing in a recital (as he had earlier in the day, with the early prep level of the choir), or a place that houses a daycare center. Pretty windows, high ceilings, good acoustics. They know that there are folk called “Christians” and others called “Jews” and “Muslims” and “Pagans” but thus far they have only the vaguest notion of what it means to be a member of those communities.

Sophie's question is simple enough, so I follow suit with the simple answer. "Yes, it is."

Then Nathan chimes in. "Uhhh... why is he on that wood thing?"

Thanks boyo. So much for simple.

So it begins in earnest, the complicated process of discussing religion, faith, and ritual with the kids. I've both anticipated and dreaded its approach; this is where having a strong belief system to start from would be helpful, I think, in framing the conversation. But, instead, like any good secular liberal, I made my way that night after the concert to Amazon and ordered a few books that I think will be helpful in getting us started.

I want the kids to have a good understanding of what different people believe, and how those beliefs affect others around them, politically and socially. I want to give them the vocabulary and the histories, make sure they understand the major players and the major events, the differences and similarities. And if they find a belief system that resonates with them, that they want to explore in a more emotional/spiritual way, we’ll follow that path where it leads.

Even (or maybe especially) if it leads here.

*Major props to anyone who knows the title's obscure reference without googling!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Point, counterpoint

After that really uplifting post on Wednesday, I come back now with words that appeared in my inbox this morning. From today's Writer's Almanac, the amazing Allen Ginsberg explains how love has weight too. That's a good thing to remember, isn't it? What interesting synchronicities life puts in our path.

I heard Mr. Ginsberg do a reading once at Michigan, lo these many years ago and I treasure that I had the opportunity to even be in the same room with him. Granted, it was Hill Auditorium and he was a small speck on the stage from my vantage point in the balcony, but still his presence was palpable.

by Allen Ginsberg

The weight of the world
is love.
Under the burden
of solitude,
under the burden
of dissatisfaction

the weight,
the weight we carry
is love.

Who can deny?
In dreams
it touches
the body,
in thought
a miracle,
in imagination
till born
in human—

looks out of the heart
burning with purity-
for the burden of life
is love,
but we carry the weight
and so must rest
in the arms of love
at last,
must rest in the arms
of love.

No rest
without love,
no sleep
without dreams
of love—
be mad or chill
obsessed with angels
or machines,
the final wish
is love
—cannot be bitter,
cannot deny,
cannot withhold
if denied:

the weight is too heavy

—must give
for no return
as thought
is given
in solitude
in all the excellence
of its excess.

The warm bodies
shine together
in the darkness,
the hand moves
to the center
of the flesh,
the skin trembles
in happiness
and the soul comes
joyful to the eye—

yes, yes,
that's what
I wanted,
I always wanted,
I always wanted,
to return
to the body
where I was born.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Weight of Hate

I couldn't help wondering this morning, while angrily turning off the radio so I didn't have to listen the Idiot in the White House try to justify his illegal and immoral war, how it must feel to KNOW that millions of people loathe you.

Most of us go through life knowing that we are loved by friends and family, suspecting that we are disliked by a few misguided souls, and acknowledging that we are otherwise anonymous and unremarked upon by the vast majority of humanity. Bush, on the other hand, wakes every morning and must know - even though he might try to ignore it - that he is hated and actively wished ill by people all over the world.

How could a normal, emotionally healthy, non-evil person even get out of bed in the morning with that kind of spiritual burden?

Friday, December 09, 2005

OH! The cuteness!

Otter Pup
Originally uploaded by monagrrl.
I love otters.

Like Hermione, if I could summon my patronus, it would certainly be an otter. Like Seregil, if I could transform into a creature that reveals my true inner self, it would be an otter. If I lived in Lyra's universe and had a daemon, it would be... well, you get the picture.

Sea... river... doesn't matter. I think they're the some of the coolest little animals on the planet.

So I just had to share this heart-meltingly sweet photo of the otter pup just born to Lootas at the Seattle Aquarium. I think it's time for a trip down there to check the little guy out in person.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I Resemble That Remark

Ah, it all falls into place. I'm clearly afflicted with N.A.D.D. - Nerd Attention Deficiency Disorder.

To wit: right now I have two browser windows open with 9 tabs between them (in which I'm monitoring e-mail, news, and two online communities), I'm IM'ing with 4 people, and listening to a podcast of They Might Be Giants playing at KEXP... and this is just on one computer. On my second computer, I'm on IRC with a co-worker, responding to e-mail, editing web pages, and reading a couple of articles.

And, as evidenced by the fact that you're reading this... I'm blogging about it.

Whew. That article, plus the one I talk about here sum up, to a T, how I live and work.

Monday, December 05, 2005


After the Nutcracker
Originally uploaded by monagrrl.
Oh yeah, baby. We got it, in spades.

Last weekend, our family attended not one, but TWO theatah events. On Saturday, we took in the Seattle Children's Theatre production of "Sleeping Beauty." It was wonderfully done - the sets, the singing, the acting... just fantastic (as girlie is fond of saying).

Then, On Sunday, we saw the Nutcracker together for the first time. Not knowing whether the kids (read: the son) would enjoy the ballet, we went the less expensive route and attended a (very good!) performance by the Olympic Ballet Theatre rather than the fancier and spendier Pacific Northwest Ballet.

We needn't have worried. Though boyo did admit that some parts were boring, he liked it on the whole and wants to go again next year. Ms. Thang was completely and utterly enthralled. She sat almost completely still through the performance, eyes riveted to the stage, and then clapped wildly when the times for clapping came.

It's interesting to think how different their childhood experiences have been (and will continue to be) than mine were. Each year they see several plays, attend concerts and baseball games, visit museums and the zoo and the aquarium. All of these things are easily accessible, one of the benefits of living in a city of Seattle's size.

Contrast this with my childhood growing up in a small town. I remember how exciting it was when we went on class field trips to one of the bigger cities nearby (Battle Creek, Lansing, or Kalamazoo) to see the occasional performance (the only one I remember specifically was El Sombrero De Tres Picos, "The Three-Cornered Hat" - bless Mrs. Malovey, my Spanish teacher) or visit museums or the zoo.

My grandparents did take me to concerts (old-time country music, natch), and we did have a movie theater (The Main - one screen, and you get what you get) but that was really the extent of my cultural access. Mine was not a theatre-going family, despite the fact that my hometown boasts one of the oldest in Michigan.

(Which brings up a minor digression. Tibbets Opera House is a beautiful theatre that was built in 1882. Thanks to its summer theatre program it was named by USA Today "one of the ten great places to see the lights way off Broadway." How cool is that? Not that I ever saw any professional productions there, but still.)

Sometimes I wonder... will my kids, by virtue of the abundance of opportunities they have, miss out on experiencing these things as special? Will they take it all for granted and eventually find it boring? Maybe, though I really hope not (and I'll do my job and remind them, frequently and with much vigor, how lucky they are).

Instead, my wish for them is that it will open up artistic worlds and possibilites that they can choose to know and dwell in where I was only an occasional visitor.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Rudolph on the brain

It must be December. I encountered not one, not two, not three... but FOUR mentions of Rudolph today in various contexts. From a topic on my Detroit Tigers discussion group (Rudolph's Dad : Insensitive Jerk or Egocentric Prick?) to this must-read sent to me by my husband

Sixteen Serious Questions Raised By "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer"

it's all reindeer, all the time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


So here we are, the very last day of November.

That in itself is a little scary. One month left and we close the books on another year. Which, on second thought, isn't a bad thing at all, as it means we're one year closer to ridding ourself of the embarrassment in the White House. Yay us!

But more specifically, as of this posting I've managed to make my KBloWriMo goal of at least one post per day for the whole month. They haven't all been prizeworthy works of genius, but by GOD I did it. Yay me!

Lest you think I just plan to use this post to pat myself on the back for actually posting, including no real content - oh no!

Things that happened today, Wednesday November 30th, 2005:

  • Sandy and I telecommuted together at my place. This is cool, as we usually do it at her house. It was nice to host, though I need to get some of that sweet coffee creamer stuff instead of making her bring her own next time.
  • Nathan got his first fillings and took it totally in stride, even though he had to get a shot. We celebrated with sushi.
  • I discovered podcasting. Whee! Though "discovered" isn't exactly the word, as both Jer and William had been telling me for months that I needed to check into some of the podcasts out there. Now that I have, it can be said that all the cool kids are officially doing it. Comment with suggestions of favourite podcasts, please!
  • I got back to my yoga class after 2 weeks away and found it delicious.
  • I received a very complimentary note about this very blog that still has me smiling.
So now I declare November officially over and officially good. Yay November!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

When You're Right...

Hats off to my dear friend Anastasia who has been saying to me, for at least a year now, "YOU MUST GO SEE THE BILLS!"

Finally they came to Seattle.

I saw The Bills.

I LOVED The Bills.

What is it about me and Canadian boy bands? Now, The Bills are no Früvous (oh god, oh god - will the pain ever stop? will the longing ever cease? will the hiatus ever end?), but they're spectacular in their own right. Take some folk, celtic, jazz, gypsy, bluegrass, rock, classical - I'm sure I'm forgetting a genre or two - and add 5 incredible musicians with enough energy to light up a cold and drizzly Tuesday night in Seattle. That's The Bills.

Only one thing disappointed me. Not one of them was actually named Bill. Go figure.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Good morning, starshine

As little as I love walking out of my house at 6:15 a.m., there are perks that come along every so often. Like this morning: stepping out on my frost-bedecked porch to see a fingernail moon hanging in the southeast, flanked by Jupiter and Saturn in a completely cloudless sky. Wow.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I have lost one of my diamond earrings, the ones Stephen surprised me with for Christmas not quite 4 years ago, the only jewelry I regularly wear aside from my wedding ring that is worth more than sentimental value, the earrings that I'm fairly constantly checking to make sure I haven't lost. I can't remember when my last compulsive checking was, but between then and 30 minutes ago, it disappeared without so much as a tug of the earlobe. Could be at home, could be in either car, could be at Sandy's or at Target.

Stupid Target. The loss is probably karma-related for going there. I thought twice, I really did, because of their asinine policy which allows their pharmacists to choose whether or not their personal ethics will allow them to dispense the morning after pill. I had a long discussion with Anne about it before heading out, and I reasoned that as I do pretty well buying blue, this is one store I'm willing to continue to shop at even though I don't approve of everything they do. Gah.

All of a sudden, a day which was going pretty well has been reduced to me feeling like complete and utter shit.

I am simply undeserving of nice things.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


I've been soaked and scrubbed, mudworted and massaged, detoxed and dry-roasted. I'm now smooth, moist, and oh-so-relaxed. Did I mention gratitude the other day? Today I'm completely FULL of the gratitude.

After a day of fun in the mountains which included a trip to Snoqualmie Falls, a woodsy geo-cache adventure, lunch at Twede's Cafe (of Twin Peaks fame), a snowball fight, an unsuccessful attempt to find this scenic overlook, and a lovely chicken piccata dinner cooked by my dear husband, Anne and I headed out to Olympus Spa for an evening of pampering and girl time.

It was every bit as great as I've heard from friends who have gone before. The full-body scrub is something I think I need to experience monthly. No, really. Seattle friends who are reading (um, well... as long as you're female) - you want to go? Call me. I'm there.

But the best part, by far, was having some uninterrupted talk-time with Anne. How I love you, internet, for bringing such wonderful people into my life!

At the same time, how sad that teleporters have not yet been invented, so that far away friends could be not quite so far away. Come on, physics folk - get busy!

Friday, November 25, 2005

So Pretty! For ME!

Thanks to Keet for this beautiful drawing. I love it so very much.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she offerred up 25 drawings to the first 25 people who donated at least $25 or the equivalent to an anti-hunger or anti-poverty charity of our choice. Since then, she's been working on these Doodles for Charity.

Not only are they all fabulous, but they're each personalized for the recipient; mine is Pachamama, the Incan incarnation of Mother Earth, chosen because of my dream and impending trip to Peru.

Go take a look at all of them, and if you're a LiveJournal denizen, watch for them as user icons.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


I am home now, and I am full, sated with food and drink. Full also to the brim with the love and companionship of family and friends. It's been a wonderful day, begun with parades and cinnamon rolls, culminating in several lovely hours spent eating and laughing with some of my favourite people on earth.

I am so lucky to have all that I do. Though sometimes I get caught up worrying about all those things I feel I lack in my life (*coughiPodVideocough*), it's great to have this day dedicated to gratitude (and to eating turkey) to remind me that - when it comes down to it - I have all the important stuff right here.

What more is there to say, except - of course - Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Have Faith, Gabrielle

While I was cleaning the kitchen this morning in preparation for our Thanksgiving weekend guest, I came across the old wooden shower curtain rod waiting to be recycled.

Please don't ask why it was in the kitchen - that is NOT the point.

Anyway, as I held it, I couldn't help thinking what a great fighting staff it would make. Since the kids were upstairs where they couldn't see me (and get any ideas that would lead to the breaking of lamps), I made a few thrust! parry! ho! moves and was overwhelmed by the desire to actually learn to fight with one.

I wish I understood why I never want to develop skills that could actually benefit me in today's world. Nope, I want to learn dead or not-widely-spoken languages (Gaelic, Welsh, Lithuanian) or to fight with swords and staffs (oh and maybe those cool Sai Gabrielle learns to fight with in the last couple of seasons. Yeah. those would rock.).

I think it's definitely time to get the Xena DVDs and start watching from the beginning.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Brand New '64 Dodge
- Greg Brown

Money comes out of Dad's billfold.
Hankies come out of Mom's purse.
The engine hardly makes a sound
even when you put it in reverse.
It's got a push-button transmission,hardtop convertible, 4-door.
It's November of '63
and the brand new Dodge is a '64.

And we're rolling slow down Main Street -
the asphalt and gravel crunch.
Church is finally over
and we're going to have our Sunday lunch.
And then I will play football
with my buddies down in park.
Later I'll dream about my girlfriend
as I lie alone in the dark.

She's got short red hair and blue eyes
and her swimsuit's also blue
and her little brother is retarded,
but Jesus loves him, too.
And Jesus loves our president,
even though he is a Catholic.
There's a lot for a boy to think about
as he walks along the railroad tracks.

And my sister won't get carsick
'cause we're going only half a mile
and the car still has that new car smell
and dad looks like he might smile
and the world is big and full of Autumn
and I'm hungry as can be
and we're in our brand new '64 Dodge
November of '63

Monday, November 21, 2005

Notes To Self

It's only 8:40 a.m. and I have a couple. Looks like it might be that kind of day.

1. It helps to focus on the physics of the splatter, admiring the pattern made by the coffee that exploded out of the cup you just dropped, rather than the big uncomfortable wet spot on the back of your leg. You'll swear less.

2. Please remember that a) the side curtain is open and b) the neighbours have people working on their house before coming out of the basement with no pants on (having put them in the washer so the coffee didn't stain them). Complete strangers don't need to see you in your underwear.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

No Rest for the Restless

Oy. Sundays are supposed to be lazy, aren't they? Perhaps I will see that, one day, but this Sunday I worked it and worked it good. Put together a couple pieces of furniture (oh, IKEA, how *could* you short me two screws?), cleaned, shopped, cooked, did laundry, wrote (er, attempted to, at least) refrained from selling the kids... thank goodness that Stephen got home an hour ago from his weekend in Boston. I honestly don't see how single parents do it, though I guess if you don't have a choice you just do what you need to.

Now is the time for resting. My brain is mushy and spitting out the blah blah blah.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A Night of Music

This evening Sandy and I went to see a Tracy Grammer and Jim Henry concert. Unbelievably, though I've been in Seattle for nearly 6 years now, it was the first Seattle Folklore Society show that I can recall going to.

It was a great set, and Sandy enjoyed it as much as I knew she would. The set list was interesting in that there are some songs that I've become accustomed to hearing Tracy play, Dave Carter "classics" as it were, that she didn't include... "Gentle Arms of Eden" and "Mother I Climbed" among them.

While I was disappointed not to hear them as they are some of my favourites (and the ones I'm listening to, now, after the show), it makes me think that it's part of Tracy's process of discovering how to move forward in her career, not become simply a Dave Carter tribute show. I love her version of "Pancho and Lefty" and Slaid Cleaves' "Key Chain." And damn, but she has the loveliest voice.

Tracy and Jim have good stage chemistry together, but I can't help thinking, throughout their performance, how difficult it has to be to fill that role and to stand in that spot. Jim sings Dave's parts in many of the songs, plays the guitar and mandolin beautifully, but there is always a third presence onstage - not that it's a bad thing, but it's there. For those who know how much was lost with Dave's death, I wonder if seeing Tracy perform will ever NOT be accompanied by a wistful sadness, a reflection on how short and unpredictable our time on this earth is.

One thing I can say with certainty - that I only got to see Dave and Tracy play together once, and never in an imtimate venue (the one time was at Falcon Ridge Folk Fest, 2001), is one of my biggest musical regrets.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Verdict




The movie was so very very very good. So VERY good. I turned to my friend William about halfway through and said "I want this move to never end." I loved it. I loved the story (yes, a LOT was cut, but what was left in was just what should have been), the casting (Krum! Cho! Fleur! Voldemort!), the effects (the Hungarian Horntail and the Mermaids were spectacular), and - of course - the Weasleys.

Fred and George, forevah, man. I'm just a Weasley girl, through and through.

T Minus 3 hours

... and counting, until I get to see The Goblet of Fire. WHEE! I'll report back, but don't expect me to be among those whose panties get bunched because Hermione wears pink. I think she looks just fine in the colour and, as the mother of a girl whose room is painted two different shades of it, there's NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT! Mostly am looking forward to some Weaslies and my first glimpse of Voldemort.

Did I mention WHEE!?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Words That Bring the Tears

We had a lovely family evening; Thursdays are the nights we normally eat out, and our restaurant of choice is frequently Rositas, a yummy and uber-family friendly Mexican restaurant where we're on a first-name basis with a number of the staff. Sophie was full of chat and questions, Nathan and Stephen played table football, and I downed my margarita in no time flat. What's not to love?

Bedtime though, did have its drama, but not due to any family strife. No, Jack, Laura's beloved dog (On The Shores of Silver Lake) died, and Sophie wept the loud and bitter tears. I will say that the girl comes by it honestly; my tears were silent, but still they were there.

After I got her to calm down a little, I explained that she and I have what my friend Bonnie once referred to as "big feelings" and that she could probably look forward to a life time of crying at books, movies, dolphin shows, musical performances, parades, and particularly poignant Hallmark commercials (I do! I care enough to send the very best!).

But one thing I'm sure of: there is no WAY we're going to be reading Where the Red Fern Grows anytime soon.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Howard Dean! (grumble, unelectabe my *ass*, woulda shoulda coulda...)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Can I Be On the List? Please? Pleeeeaaassee?!?!?

I'm not talking about the Santa's "nice" list - I'm certain I'm already there, thankyouverymuch. (And, as a side note, I hear that Santa is bringing nice girls new 60GB video iPods this year - sweet!)

No, the list I'm aiming to get on is the one that McCarthyist fuckwit Bill O'Reilly (AKA BOR - isn't that appropriate?) promises to publish of those of us on the internets who were a wee tad offended that he called for an Al Qaeda attack on San Francisco.
Some far left internet smear sites have launched a campaign to get me fired over my point of view. I believe they do this on a daily basis. This time the theme is O’Reilly is encouraging terrorist attacks. Unbelievably stupid. Not unusual with these guttersnipes.

I’m glad the smear sites made a big deal out of it. Now we can all know who was with the anti-military internet crowd. We’ll post the names of all who support the smear merchants on So check with us.

I just hope that he links to my blog, so I can watch the hit count go through the roof. Actually, I'm pretty sure that BOR has already visited; he's certainly one of those pervs who gets here by googling "writhing" in hopes of finding good girl-on-loofah pron. Note: If you're not BOR and got here by googling "writhing" - welcome! No naughty photos yet, but lots of really entertaining writing... stay and read for awhile; you can always masturbate later.

In his column today, my friend (well, not really, but I'd love him to be - e-mail me, dude!) Mark Morford says that we should look to BOR as a cautionary example of what we don't want to be, that we can always feel good about ourselves because at least we're not him. He also says "it is up to us to merely look at him like Shiva looks at a sea slug -- i.e., a moment of compassion for his regrettable incarnation -- and then laugh and shake our heads and move the hell on."

A-freakin-men. The man is beneath contempt, a boil on the arse of society. Karma is a bitch though, and his next incarnation will surely pay. Which gets me wondering... how awful would one have to be in a past life to have come back as Bill O'FalafelReilly?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005




Note to self: Regardless of how much you are accomplishing, how cool you think it will be to wake up in the morning to see the fruits of your labour, GO TO BED AT A DECENT TIME! You're getting too old to try to get by on 5 hours of sleep, and you WILL pay for it the next morning.

I'm just going to put my head down for a moment now. Go on about your business. Nothing to see here.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Sweet Smell of Avoidance

Cleaning is such the perfect activity when one is procrastinating for all one is worth, is it not? Yes, yes. I have an article I could be writing, but instead I have thoroughly cleaned and organized the living and dining rooms (to the point of rearranging DVDs and moving a bunch of kid books and stuff up to their rooms). I have also cleaned my computer desktop, caught up on logging my sales tax receipts (yes, I am a freak, thank you very much), and updated Quicken in preparation for balancing my checkbook (every month, to the penny - freak!).

The article isn't due tomorrow or anything, but it's starting to niggle at the back of my brain, giving me the feeling that the Sword of Damocles is, if not right over my head, at least right outside the front door waiting to get me when I walk through.

It's all good though. Because in the next two weeks I will manage not only to get the article done - on time! - but also to get the guest room painted and set up for our Thanksgiving guest, pay all my bills, blog, find an Incredibles poster on eBay for the kids, schedule several holiday activities, see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and floss every single day.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Promised Photos

Okay, okay. I wanted to wait until it was ALL done but honestly that could take a few more weeks, all the little things like, oh, re-hanging doors and getting all the fixtures changed and putting final coats on trim and touching things up and... and...

This is how it looks now... and there are a few before photos (from when we first looked at the house when it was on the market) scattered in. Normally I'm not at all into painting wood, but it was SO dark up there and the kids were weirded out by all the knotholes that looked like "eyes." It's lighter and brighter and all theirs.

Click the staircase to go to the photo set.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Poems & Prayers & Promises

Just in a John Denver-y kind of mood. His music is one of my guilty pleasures, kind of like Anastasia has her Neil Diamond-y thing. This is probably my favourite of his songs, even if he does use that oh-so-not-PC-term "old lady." Eh, it was the seventies and he was stoned. Would that times were still so mellow!

I’ve been lately thinking
About my life’s time
All the things I’ve done
And how it’s been
And I can’t help believing
In my own mind
I know I’m gonna hate to see it end

I’ve seen a lot of sunshine
Slept out in the rain
Spent a night or two all on my own
I’ve known my lady’s pleasures
Had myself some friends
And spent a time or two in my own home

And I have to say it now
It’s been a good life all in all
It’s really fine
To have a chance to hang around
And lie there by the fire
And watch the evening tire
While all my friends and my old lady
Sit and pass the pipe around

And talk of poems and prayers and promises
And things that we believe in
How sweet it is to love someone
How right it is to care
How long it’s been since yesterday
And what about tomorrow
And what about our dreams
And all the memories we share

The days they pass so quickly now
Nights are seldom long
And time around me whispers when it’s cold
The changes somehow frighten me
Still I have to smile
It turns me on to think of growing old
For though my life’s been good to me
There’s still so much to do
So many things my mind has never known
I’d like to raise a family
I’d like to sail away
And dance across the mountains on the moon

I have to say it now
It’s been a good life all in all
It’s really fine
To have the chance to hang around
And lie there by the fire
And watch the evening tire
While all my friends and my old lady
Sit and pass the pipe around

And talk of poems and prayers and promises
And things that we believe in
How sweet it is to love someone
How right it is to care
How long it’s been since yesterday
What about tomorrow
What about our dreams
And all the memories we share

Friday, November 11, 2005


It's hard to believe but it's true - our children are - right now - upstairs going to sleep in their very own beds in their very own rooms. The work isn't completely done as there are still dozens of little finishing touches I'll be making for months probably, but the kids are happy with it and most of their stuff migrated up today.

Nathan has been ready since the end of the summer when he spent 3 weeks sleeping up there in what was then the guest room (moving down only when we started painting). We weren't so sure about Sophie; if you asked, she said she was ready, but between being on a different floor from us and never having had her own space since... well... birth, we weren't completely sure.

No worries. She was thrilled to get into bed, turned her lights low until they looked like stars (they're halogen spotlights on a dimmer so she can bring them down to a glow), kissed us goodnight and that was that.

Tomorrow we go look for desks, under-bed storage containers, and a table with comfy chairs for their hallway sitting area. And then I take pictures. Patience.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I'll Take Mine Black, Please

Iowa Woman Finds Dead Turtle in Coffee

November 10,2005 | AINSWORTH, Iowa -- Marjorie Morris just wanted to pour coffee into a canister. What she found in the package of freeze-dried coffee left her shell-shocked.

Morris, 77, of Ainsworth, found a dead baby turtle in the 2-pound package of Folgers coffee last Sunday.

First thought: Thank god I live in Seattle, where our coffee is both plentiful and turtle-free!

Next thought: Folgers? GAH! The turtle actually probably made it taste better.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What Dreams May Come

Sometimes it takes a big ole kick in the pants from your subconscious to get it into gear, does it not?

I've always been a dreamer. I don't mean in the starry-eyed romantic sense (although... well... that too). I mean literally - I dream often and vividly and I am frequently able to remember my dreams for more that 3 minutes after I wake up. I keep a dream journal, on and off, and luckily have captured some of the really cool ones so that all it takes is a reading through to bring it all rushing back.

This one was a morning dream, begun after the alarm had come and gone and finished about the time my youngest crawled into bed for some warmth and cuddles. The dream itself couldn't have been longer than 30 minutes, but it grabbed me and still hasn't let go.

It was simple, and devastatingly sad. Jer, my best friend of nearly 20 years, died. I'm not sure how - it was quick, unexpected. And nobody told me. When I found out I flew down to Peru, where he lives half of the time with his partner José, and where he had been when it happened, where his service had been held without me. I let myself into his house and looked through his things, trying to find something I could take with me to hold and remember, sobbing sobbing. I looked through his clothes and could still smell him, and I looked through photos, finding some he had taken of me when I wasn't paying attention. José wasn't there so I called him and told him how sorry I was - sorry for his pain, and sorry that I hadn't made it down to meet him, and to see them together while Jer was still around. All the time bereft, wracked with sobs, on my knees, filled with guilt.

When I got out of bed, the first thing I told Stephen, after detailing the dream, was that I was going to Peru in the spring. Jer has wanted me to - I've wanted to - for a long time, but the timing has never been right, the money has never been there, I've had commitments here, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

But there's only so much time, and we don't know how much that "so much" is, do we? We have the now, and if we're lucky the next moment and the next. And as much as we might want to deny it, as hard as we try to push it away - those moments are finite.

There's no time like the present. And there's no excuse that stands any scrutiny that I haven't met the man my best friend loves and shares his life with.

So yes. Peru! In March. I can't wait.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

In the "Things Could Always Be Worse" category

Doesn't it suck, when you're only a week from harvesting the wheat that will pay for the house you bought on credit and give you enough money to buy new boots, when a cloud of grasshoppers descends and destroys your whole crop?

Man. I hate that.

Yup, we're reading the Little House series at bedtime with the kids now, and we've made it to Plum Creek where Laura has crossed paths with, and leech-slapped, Nellie Oleson. Oh, the memories!

Note to self: Add Little House DVDs to Amazon wish list. L'il half-pint, here we come.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

"Our country is at war and our government has the obligation to protect the American people," Bush said. "Any activity we conduct is within the law. We do not torture."

I guess it all depends on what this administration's definitions of "law" and "torture" are.

Oh, and then there's this, when asked about the Plame investigation:

"We take this investigation very seriously and we'll continue to cooperate during the investigation," he said.

God, I'm ashamed.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

This 'n That

Well damned if the kind weather gods didn't listen and give us a lovely day of sun and blue sky and light breezes to dry up some of the wet. Still cold, but cold without rain is completely tolerable. I wish I had the same kind of pull with the benevolent lotto gods. (And just in case I do, pleasepleaseplease nice deities of the big money, I will certainly play this Wednesday.)

Ah, coincidence. It's a funny thing. I finished the novel Broken For You last night and was talking to a friend about how much I had liked it, at the same time noting that you have to accept that the resolution involves some mighty big coincidences. Then, before falling asleep I read through the book's acknowledgements and got hit between the eyes with my very own coincidence when I came across the name of a good friend of mine among the thanked. Stranger even was that I had seen this friend earlier in the evening and almost brought up that I was reading a book I was sure she would love. I'm glad I didn't though - it was more fun this way.

I'm feeling very content tonight. It was just an incredibly pleasant Sunday, and I accomplished much: watching Nathan's soccer game, painting, grocery shopping, putting together a photo album for Sophie's soccer coach, raking, visiting with friends, cleaning fish tanks, and more painting. My sweetie is home from his trip, kids are sleeping, and life is good.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Rain Rain Go Away

Today was the kind of day that those who don't know much about Seattle think is typical. It started raining early this morning, and hasn't stopped, hasn't even let up a little bit. It's a steady, drenching downpour with no end in sight. And it's cold. And it's gloomy.

"But you chose to live in Seattle and everyone knows it rains there all the time," says our clueless fictional antagonist, "what are you complaining about?"

The thing is - this kind of rain isn't at all typical. The kind of rain we get most often here is a light drizzle, oftentimes not even enough to bother with an umbrella over. In fact, Stephen and I complain endlessly while watching Grey's Anatomy, much as we love the show, because they have it raining like this all the time, throwing in some lovely thunderstorms for good measure.

So yeah - I do get grumpy when we get this kind of weather, just like I would were I living someplace that didn't have the rep for rain that we do. Bring back my sweet drizzle, oh weather gods. A sunbreak would be all that and a bag of chips.

Luckily, the kids and I (Stephen is away on a business trip this weekend) had a plan that was perfect for rainy day weather - a trip to the Northwest Puppet Center. It's one of the arts venues that I adore in this city, and it's right in our neighbourhood. We saw a lovely performance of Raven and the Box of Daylight which was just the antidote for such a gloomy, dark day.

Friday, November 04, 2005

I'll Drink to That

Damn, this is clever, and quite funny.

Carlton Draught Big Ad

And here you'll get some behind-the-scenes of how it was done.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Out Damned Spot!

I am sure, though I can't exactly picture it right now, that there will be a day sometime soon when I can't find any paint blotches on me, hidden behind an elbow or on the bottom of a foot or nestled against my scalp. It's going on 6 weeks since we started our upstairs painting project and I am SO sick of it that I probably won't go up there for weeks after we finish and get the kids moved in.

But I do have to say - I think it's looking damn good. After the new carpet is laid next week I'll be able to tell whether it's simply paint blindness or whether I truly like it. At the very least it's bright and colourful and clean. Photos to come.

And whatever will I do with all the extra time on my hands after I finish this project? Why, take an online Lithuanian class, of course!

I've always wanted to study the language, knowing only a little bit from hearing my dad's side of the family speak it. Although UW offers undergrad courses in it (which thrills me no end), they're taught during the day so I've been unable to make the scheduling work. But, as I found today, there is an experimental online course, absolutely free for the taking. It's a good start, I think.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Give 'Em Hell, Harry!

Did you SEE what happened yesterday? Our Democratic Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid, thunked Felonius Frist right between the eyes and called for a closed Senate session to discuss the intel used to justify the Iraq war, and why there has so far been no investigation into the Bush administration's role in manipulating that intel. My god, what a breath of fresh air, and an indication that there are Dems in Congress who are still capable of fighting back.

After receiving an e-mail from my good friend Howard Dean (oh how I still love that man), I immediately sent off a contribution to the DNC and a letter of thanks to Senator Reid; I encourage you to do the same, if you can.

Kinda makes this bleak anniversary a little bit easier to take. 3 more years, my friends, unless Bush's lies - damnable lies! - catch him the way Nixon's caught him.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Requisite Halloween Cuteness

Darth and the Littlest Ghost
Originally uploaded by monagrrl.
Another night of sugar and revelry has come and gone with much success and more candy than any pair of children needs. We got a wee bit damp but stayed reasonably warm and had a great time tromping up and down the hills in our neighbourhood with a pack of good friends.

It took Nathan only 1/2 hour to ditch the helmet (the eyes kept fogging up) and the gloves (he couldn't grab the candy very well). At which point he declared himself the Boy in Black. Uh-huh. Sophie's costume, on the other hand, held up very well and got lots of comments as to its originality which boggled my mind. Nobody wants to be a sheet-bedecked ghost anymore, apparently. Go figure.

Though undocumented photographically, I'll report that I was dressed as a bird flu victim - grey-faced with dark circles painted around my eyes. If only I had had a rubber chicken to carry around, it would have been the most awesome costume ever.

Crazy, but not that crazy (yet)

You've heard of NaNoWriMo, yes? It's a yearly event where, all over the world, people attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. That's roughly 1700 words per day, unless you're a procrastinator like me and leave it til the last week, then attempt 7,000/day and end up so weakening your body and mind that, like writers of the last century, you die of TB at a young age.

Yeah, that last sentence, plus the fact that I don't really have a solid idea for a 50K word novel, pretty much explains why I won't be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. But, in honour of the event, and as a way to kick my blogging ass into gear, I've created a November writing event just for me. KBloWriMo - Kristina's Blog Writing Month.

Each day I'll be here writing... something. Maybe even a couple somethings! (Hey, if you don't have starry-eyed optimism at the beginning of a project, you're sunk before you even begin, right?) By the end of the month, my hope is that the daily writing habit will be entrenched, never to disappear again. Right?

So. Let the blogging begin! Feel free to join in (on your own blog, of course), if the inspiration hits. And finally, good luck to my friends who *are* participating in NaNoWriMo this year. May your ideas flow and your fingers remain nimble and uncramped.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Pass the Popcorn

DeLay Will Likely Be Booked This Week

October 17,2005 | AUSTIN, Texas -- Rep. Tom DeLay will likely be booked in a Texas county jail this week despite attempts by his attorneys to bypass the fingerprinting and mug shot process.

Hard not to smile when you read that, isn't it? Let's hope that it's but one of many Republican perp walks we'll be seeing in the coming weeks. Oh, Scooter? Turdblossom? Senator Martha? Hear that knock at the door... it's for you! Beyond that... no, no. I dare not even hope.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Puff the Magic Dragon is the most depressing song ever written. That poor fucking dragon.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Limits of Language

I have a lot to say, really I do. I'm just not finding the words to say it. Next week I'll catch up on our vacation and the new school year and the rainy start of soccer season. But, of course, that all seems so self-involved and mundane, and it is in the face of what has happened in this country, the shame and anger I feel. So today, a day of remembrance, I'll just link to two people who have said about recent events what I'm feeling, better than I possibly could right now.

Here's What Gets Me

A Letter to All Who Voted for George W. Bush from Michael Moore

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Dangling Conversation

Me: Hey, I have an idea!

Stephen: Um. Okay. Can you give me a second to move into fetal position before you tell me?

Yes I am on a bit of a "let's change our lives in profound and potentially expensive ways" kick, why do you ask?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Knowing My Limits

I don't care how difficult the job market is or might become in the future, I can tell you one thing for sure.

No matter what the pay and benefits, no matter that I could see the world (kinda), learn a new language, and be surrounded by potentially hunky men in naval uniforms.

Even though it's a given that one should never say never about anything, I'm going to put my foot down, plant my flag and prepare to died on this particular hill.

I will never and by that I mean never ever apply for work on a Russian submarine.

Just say niet.

Friday, July 22, 2005

A World of Pure Imagination

After finishing up our reading of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last week, and with their expressed desire to see the Johnny Depp version of the movie sometime soon, I thought it important that the kids see the Gene Wilder version first. So tonight we watched, and I was transported back to my own childhood with them. It had been... damn, I don't know HOW long since I had seen it last.

What a great movie... although the opening chocolate montage nearly did me in. My mouth was literally watering, and it took all the willpower I possess not to break into the chocolate chips that - even now, hours later - call to me from the kitchen with their wicked siren song.

And how I love Gene Wilder. Adore. The. Man. The only other actor that compares to him on my pure love meter is Dick Van Dyke. I tell you - when those two pass on, I might not be able to get out of bed for a few weeks.

But I digress.

What I loved most about tonight was that my kids wanted to watch the whole movie again, immediately. When that wasn't possible (it was already nearly 9 o'clock and a chapter of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator awaited), what scene did they choose to see, when the option was offerred up? Yup. The scary boat speeding through the tunnel with disturbing images scene.

How cool is that? I have freaky freaky kids.

Thursday, July 14, 2005



Tomorrow at 11:59 p.m, William and I will be at Barnes and Noble queued up to buy our copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. As of this post, that is only 39ish hours away. Is it possible for one to die of anticipatory excitement?

If so, I might not actually see midnight.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Is It Me You're Looking For?

Boy it's dusty in here.

So perhaps you've noticed I've been on a bit of a blogbreak. I probably should have mentioned that I wouldn't be around for awhile, but honestly I had no idea it was coming. Let's call it a mini-breakdown, that wasn't really a breakdown at all... I just let most communication come to a screeching halt. Maybe I just didn't have anything I wanted to say. Maybe I was just lazy. My own personal June Gloom.

For nearly a month now I just haven't felt like writing, either in the blogverse or e-mail, and I also haven't kept up with the blogs I like lately (I have lots to catch up on). Apologies all 'round. But I think that the break has been good for me. I'm feeling ready to jump back into it.

So what have I been doing?

  • I took a week off and Stephen and I worked on the house. We now have new baseboard and a lovely green room that is sans all traces of icky wallpaper. And now there is just so much MORE I want to do.

  • I missed (and am still missing and am preparing to miss) my travelling friends... one in Africa (home tomorrow!), one in Hawaii (home Friday!), one in New York (home in a couple of weeks!), and one heading off to Amsterdam (home on the 17th and promising me a birthday visit).

  • I worked my tail off (including evenings and vacation days) to push some work out by the required deadline and felt pretty good about it. I might not love my job, but I like the folks I work with and I'll do most anything to come through as needed in the clutch.

  • I watched the Tigers and Mariners slide away from the brink of respectability as they both hit long, painful losing streaks. Oh, the pain.

  • I finished 3 books and am cruising through another right now and in doing so remembered that I love to read. Love. It. I need to make sure I make time for it, just as I need to make time for writing here, no matter what.

  • I thought about what I want to be when I grow up. I know, what's new? But I also made a baby step, put some energy out there, pink bubbled an idea and set it free to see whether anything might come of it.

There was more, certainly. And there are quite a few half-started-but-never-finished blog posts and even more half-thought-but-never-written-down ideas that may someday see the light of day in some form. Or they may not. Life moves so fast.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Nathan on Nathan

With permission, here is what Nathan wrote to introduce himself to his Day Camp leaders this summer. It was a form letter with blanks to fill in; the italicized portions are his.

A Letter To My Group Leader

Date June 8, 2005

Dear Group Leader,

My name is Nathan. My friends call me Nate and Nathan. I will be in 2nd grade at school in the fall. I have 0 brothers, ages __, and 1 sisters, ages 5. When I am not in school, I like to play baseball, sketch Nature, sketch Spiderman, read and play Gameboy. But I don't like to sit around doing nothing. I am good at math, baseball and reading. I am coming to YMCA Day Camp Sand Point because I want to learn more about camping. At Day Camp Sand Point I want to have fun, make new friends, and help each other, but I don't think I would like to sit around doing nothing. I get along with friends that are happy, listin, help each other, and are in a good mood. Last summer I went camping, went to a rodeo, went river rafting, and a folk festival.

Other things you should know about me are I am 7 years old, I live on ** Ave, I am kind, I am honest, I like to sing, and I have 2 cats and 3 fish.

Camper's Signature: Nathan

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Somewhere In My Youth or Childhood

... I must have done something good.

You might remember this post from around the holiday season, where I gave praise to whomever turned in a bag of Christmas gifts that I left on the bus. Well, once again I have to send a big old 'thank you' out to the person who found my... get this... Metro Flexpass (basically a yearlong free ticket to ride the bus that my company provides as an incentive to take mass transit rather than driving) along with my office keycard.

Folks, if you were to buy a comparable pass, it would cost nearly $1600. And yet... there it sits at the lost and found waiting for me to go get it. I'm cashing in some good karma points from somewhere down the line, and I'm very very grateful.

Monday, June 06, 2005

More Me

I've decided to branch out a bit... check out Metroblogging Seattle today for my first post. Short but sweet. I've committed to posting there at least thrice weekly, but it will be erratic so you'll just have to hit the site every day. Seattle locals should be doing so anyhow... lots of fun info about our city.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Happy Birthday, Boy!

But don't underestimate me...
I'm seven years tall
and all I need is a cape and a mask
so I can fly outta here
I can fly

- Eddie From Ohio

Seven (!) years ago today my life changed forever. I still remember the first morning I woke up in my own bed, my now empty tummy lying like an entity unto itself next to me. At first it felt like it might be any other morning, but then I heard the fruit of my loins stirring in his bassinet at the end of the bed. And I thought...

"What have I done, and is there any way I can get out of it?!?"

Not my proudest moment, that.

Luckily, it got better. My "NOT A NORMAL BABY!" has grown into a sweet, beautiful and smart little boy who wants to grow up to be a professional baseball player or a singer - at least today.

So much more to write, but I feel incapable of making much sense - too sleepy. Nathan had 4 boys over for a birthday slumber party last night... as would be expected, there wasn't much slumbering. They went to bed around 10:30 and were up and at 'em by 5:30. We survived 'em. Barely.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Heaven On A Stem

Oh my oh my. It's that time of year and I am sitting here savoring the first Rainier cherries of the season. We discovered these at Pike Place Market not long after moving to Seattle; like any good pusher of addictive substances, the market vendors used the "first one's free!" tactic which resulted in us walking out with a couple pounds and a lifelong yen.

I can't fully express how achingly we look forward to their brief appearance every year (they're only available for about two months - late May thru middish July). Blackberries are as brief and delectable a treat, but in August they're readily available all over town free for the picking (ah, the Pacific Northwest - even our weeds bear fruit!) so they don't have quite the same cachet as these delicate and beautiful blobs of sweetness.

What a fabulous weekend this is turning out to be.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Editorial Mea Culpa

So. Eddie Albert died yesterday. He was in his late 90's so there's not a lot of room for much sadness... the man had a good long life and passed on peacefully. But hearing of his death reminded me about how I have always confused Eddie Albert the actor and Eddy Arnold, the country-western singer that I remember fondly from my youth. So fondly, in fact, that I mentioned him last year in a post on his 96th birthday.

Wait a minute.

Sure enough... I messed them up last year. It was Eddie Albert's birthday that got me all nostalgiac about Eddy Arnold. Mr. Arnold is, as of this reporting, still alive and turned only 87 on his birthday last week. Geez.

Consider this my Dan Rather moment. So very very sorry. Will you ever trust me again?

Friday, May 27, 2005

The Heat is On

I know I shouldn't complain. Really I do. And yet, I will.

Yesterday the temperature reached the upper 80s. Today we're going to hit 90.

Degrees Fahrenheit.

Dear Capricious Weather Deities,

Perhaps you haven't noticed the date, but this weekend is Memorial Day in the Pacific Northwest. Traditionally, on this weekend, you provide us with rain and 50ish degrees, ruining any and all camping plans. Sometimes you bless us with 60s and sunbreaks. Every so often you look on us with great favour and give 70s and clear skies. All of these are acceptable, O Great Ones.

So I have a question as we swelter in our non-air-conditioned homes while the bright orb shines down mercilessly causing our eyes to burn and our throats to parch... have we done something horrific to offend you, or are you simply having a great laugh at our expense? If the former, what can we do to atone? If the latter... ha fucking ha.

Love you. Mean it.

Suffering in Seattle

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Robert, We Hardly Knew Ye

Today we bid a sad farewell to Robert, Nathan's betta fish and first proprietary pet. Although Robert was a member of our family for only six short weeks, we had become accustomed to his cheerful presence, and he will be sorely missed.

Named in honour of Nathan's baseball coach, Robert was light-blue and full of fishy vigor. During his short life, he enjoyed swimming, hiding in his fake-plant forest, and building bubble nests.

Goodbyes were said at a simple service in our backyard where we buried him (with some food and a hollow bone in which he might hide in his piscine afterlife) under the dogwood tree; his final resting place is marked by a lovely stone that Nathan picked out.

While many bitter tears were shed, we all agreed that we were happy that Robert spent his final days being cared for and loved by Nathan... for what better fate could any fish wish?

In addition to his human family, Robert is survived by his roommate (though not his tankmate!) Lucille, Sophie's bright-blue transsexual betta. She asks that in lieu of cards or flowers, donations be made in Robert's name to "Nathan and Sophie's Disneyland Fund."

Requiescat in pace, petit piscis.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Here Comes The Sun... I Mean Rain... I Mean...

I love this.

You know that saying... "Don't like the weather in {insert city}? Just wait 5 minutes." Yeah. For the last three days it's been literally true here.

Sun, rain, downpour, wind, sun, hail, thunder, lightning, downpour, drizzle, clouds, sun, rainbow, drizzle, downpour, sun.

And that's all before noon.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Umpire Strikes Back

The year is 1984 and I'm a freshman at Coldwater High School. Then, as now, a hopeless romantic. Then, not-so-much as now, quite shy and unsure of myself.

The class is typing with Mrs. Jacoby. Not keyboarding, as a similar class would be called today. Typing. On IBM Selectrics, and a few spankin' new Wheelwriters.

The boy is quiet, with dark hair. He's a junior and he looks great in flannel shirts. He's on the wrestling team. I'm fairly certain I never say one word to him, but oh how I admire him from afar. I write his name, as anonymous lovesick girls do. I dream about him. I steal glances in class, look for him in the hallways and at lunch, take the long way to class so that I can pass by his locker. I'm a good-intentioned, non-threatening stalker.

On Valentine's Day, I send him a carnation. Of course I don't sign my name, only "Your Secret Admirer." (Yes, I am a cliche.) A very few of my girlfriends share my secret. I don't see him receive the flower, but I see him with it later and wonder if he thinks he knows who sent it... though of course he doesn't, or he's wrong. I never ever say a word.

He graduates, the crush passes, life moves on. I don't even know that I remember these things.

Until today. When, at the beginning of the Tiger's game, the announcer mentions that brothers Tim and Bill Welke are umpiring. Wait... Bill Welke? The boy?

Yup. He and his eldest brother are both MLB umpires and they're working on the same crew this year. The home series against Tampa Bay was the first that they've worked together in Michigan.

What a funny, random life. And where the hell has 20 years gone?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Ch- Ch- changes

Okay, one small one that you'll notice if you post (or want to read) comments.... when you click on the comments link, it won't go to a new page, but instead will show them in-line. To hide the comments, click on that link again. Voila! Thanks to Protected Static for the idea and how-to link.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Painful Things*

*Where the pain is of a relatively minor sort, nothing like losing a limb or the election of a chimp as leader of the free world.

My piano is being tuned right now. My god. It is the most annoying thing ever. My ears might just bleed.

The Yankees swept the Mariners. Today's game was particularly bad... 13-9. I mean... if you can't win a game with your offense producing 9 runs, you just don't deserve to win. And being swept is bad enough but this was by the Yankees who have SUCKED, much to my everlovin' delight, until this series. Their sucking was sweet enough to override the sucking of the Mariners and the inconsistency of the Tigers. So now the Mariners still suck, the Tigers are still inconsistent, and the Yankees have won 5 in a row. If this continues, I might be done with baseball.

I have a ball wedged between the chair and my low back. Must I pay for poor weeding body mechanics forever? I need to win the lottery so I can have massage every other day for the rest of my life. I'm sure that would take care of it.

I will likely never win the lottery.

Monday, May 09, 2005

K's Index Plus Commentary - May 9, 2005

Days since last blog post: 14
Blog drafts begun in that time: 2
Times (per day) guilt pangs were felt from lack of blogging: 81

I wish I could say my hiatus was prompted by some grand series of events (especially ones that involved coming into large sums of money which required frequent visits with lawyers and investment professionals), but really I just got out of the habit. And, extreme creature of habit that I am, it's been very hard to break the inertia of not posting. Plus I figure that if I post sporadically, it'll keep you coming back, desperately hitting reload to get your Lively fix, not sure whether there'll be 3 posts in a month or 3 in a day. Keep 'em guessing, I always say!

Now, here are the rest of the stats, compiled since my last post.

Visits from out-of-town friends: 3
Ms. Anastasia spent 4 very fun and busy days visiting from Ventura. There was eating and music and talking and weeding and shivering and did I mention more eating? The visit culminated in a night of uncontrollable laughter like I haven't had in a while. Thanks, schnooks, though I honestly could have lived without the finger-licking story. AUGH! And last Saturday night I had dinner with my invisible Harry Potter friends, Anne and Abby - or as I described them to my DDN (Diaper-Dropping Neighbours...more on that later) "friends from my online book group" - who were visiting from the UK. Don't worry - we kept our wands hidden in public so as not to startle the Muggles.

Piercings contemplated: 1
Piercings obtained: 0

I'm not entirely sure why I think I might want to get a nose piercing, but I think I might. It's all Anastasia's fault, actually, as she said during her visit "Let's go get a piercing done!" Alas (or not) we ran out of time, but I'm still thinking about it. I'm also thinking that I'm a 35-year-old mother of two and I'm wondering if it will look cool or just look like I'm desperately trying to look cool... and there's nothing less cool than that. Opinions?

Concerts attended: 4
One thing that we've had to adjust to in moving to Seattle is the fact that - and stop me if you already know this - we're way the fuck out here at the edge of the Continental US. No, really. Passing through Seattle isn't something that's done mistakenly, it's not a waypoint between anyplace except Portland and Vancouver (and beyond that maybe Homer, Alaska). Consequently, we get fewer opportunities to see the musicians from back east whom we love, and who used to pass through Columbus fairly frequently as they criss-crossed the country on their low-budget tours. So when the last weekend of April provided us with The Perfect Storm of performers coming through, what could we do except go out 4 nights in a row? First was Redbird, followed by Shawn Mullins, then Ellis Paul and finally Girlyman. By the end I was exhausted but musically sated... at least until Eddie From Ohio visits next month.

Crushes developed: 3
Two were on musicians - Kris Delmhorst (and not just because we spell our names the same) and Ty Greenstein of Girlyman (even moreso after reading her bio). The third is on Mary Grace, the teller at the U District Key Bank branch who always waits on me. All are so cute that it almost hurts, and Mary Grace has a nose ring. Hmm.

Games lost by Nathan's baseball team: 2
This is of blogworthy note only because of my reactions to the losses. Both were hard-fought close games, one even went into extra innings. Outwardly, I was all "Great games.. good to lose some, teaches good lessons, keeps you humble... all about having fun... blahdy blah blah." My inner dialogue, however sounded more like "Grumble grumble... stupid opposing coach... stupid umpire... stupid other team... hate losing... why? why? why?" And yes. I do realize that these are 7- and 8-year-old boys playing a GAME of absolutely no import. But - and this is another realization that might only be news to me - I'm a smidge partisan (if smidge means a LOT). I hate to lose. I root strongly for my side and take losing very hard whether it's in politics or sports. Not necessarily pretty, but true.

Teeth lost: 1
By Nathan, not me. It's his second (the other front bottom one) and "lost" isn't quite the right word. "Ripped from his mouth by his own impatient hand" would describe the process better. I can definitely say that he's much braver than I was as a child; mine pretty much had to fall out with minor wiggling. So another gold dollar for boy, and another memento for me. On that note, I'm beginning to wonder where the cut-off between "sentimental" and "creepy" is when it comes to keeping your kids' baby teeth. Two? Five? Ten? All of them? Or is any number kosher as long as you don't make a necklace and matching earrings out of them?

Episodes of ER watched: 6
I'm a very sporadic TV watcher; when I get busy, weeks can go by without turning it on in the evenings. But my good friend TiVo knows that eventually I will come back to my flickering friend and he saves the things he knows I'd like to watch. Since the end of April was SO full, last week was spent doing as little as humanly possible beyond watching a boatload of TV. In addition to catching up with ER and Sex in the City re-runs, I also watched about 8 episodes of The Daily Show and 3 of Joey. Yeah, sue me - Joey makes me laugh and I'm looking forward to the 4 that still await my attention. How YOU doin?

Monday, April 25, 2005

Weekend Observations

In no particular order.

I am blessed beyond reason with wonderful friendships. Old ones, new ones - they're all making my heart a very full place these days. A big 'Thank you!' to the Universe for 'em all.

I love watching my boy play baseball. Nathan had a great game on Saturday. During one at-bat he was down to his last pitch (they get 6). He fouled off 4 pitches to stay alive (including one that bounced before it got to the plate), then got a hit and made it to first (scoring a run later in the inning). Later, playing second base, he caught a line drive and made an out. He was SO proud of himself and it made me unspeakably happy to watch him savor his sucess.

There is a downside to not watching local news. While I know the name and party affiliation of Seattle's mayor (Greg Nickels, D), the picture of him I've had in my mind was that of Columbus' former mayor (Greg Lashutka, R). This became clear to me when I met Mayor Nickels yesterday and realized that I wouldn't have known him if he had knocked on my front door to borrow sugar. For someone who considers herself fairly politically aware, it was quite embarrassing and I'm thankful a least that I didn't ask him what he did for a living.

I like U2 again. Not that I ever particularly disliked them, but now I'm back in the midst of the U2 love.

Baseball games postponed due to snow annoy me. A lot. But less so when they happen in Detroit than they would were they to happen in Seattle.

At 5, Sophie has apparently entered pre-adolescence And if it's any indication of what the full-blown thing will look like, we are TOAST. This weekend, my girl bounced between content, loving pixie and pissed-off, fire-breathing, hellchild. Luckily, cuddling and chocolate worked pretty well to coax her back from the dark side. She's obviously her mother's daughter, in that respect.

I look damn good in turquoise and lime green flower print shirts. Who wouldda thunk it?

Ow. Weeding on a nice day is a good thing. Kneeling to do said weeding is a good thing. Bending over to weed... not so good, and will result in an incredibly sore lower back. Note to self: you are not as young as you once were and you need to take proper care of your body. You don't ever want to deal with the consequences of non-compliance again. Ever.

Dancing is a freakin' lot of fun even if my groove thing is out of shape. I need more dancing. Come on, Seattle - who's with me?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Music and Mortality

I was wasting a bit of time tonight, browsing in the Apple music store. You know - typing in the names of artists I like to see what's available, have they done anything new, stuff like that. On the Natalie Merchant page, my eye was drawn to the box containing iMixes... song mixes created and published by Apple music store customers.

I knew when I saw it what it would be, and still I clicked on it: Mom's Final Mix. Created for someone's mom who died awaiting a liver transplant. It hit me in the gut, still lingers with me. And it got me thinking... I wonder what music my kids will remember me by?

Certainly there will be some Moxy Früvous in the mix. Hopefully something from their "Finally Back From Fucking Hiatus Tour '24." Beyond that, it's hard to tell. If luck and fate go my way, there's a lot of music between then and now, new artists to discover, new styles, new songs to make up my own words to (and to embarrass the kids by whilst singing them). And while right now their tastes in music are heavily influenced by mine and Stephen's, I really look forward to the time when the tables are turned and the kids bring new stuff to us.

Though I do have to admit - I had my first old fogey tantrum a few weeks ago. At Seattle Center's Center House, there's a stage that on the weekends always has some performance or another going on. This particular Sunday, there were several groups of kids coming on and dancing - all different styles and routines. Some of it was enjoyable, neat costumes, nicely choreographed. But way too much of it was blonde white teenaged girls dressed in black hoodies and track pants, trying to look all cool and hip-hoppy. Really they just looked silly and their routines were boring and unimaginative.

"You call that dancing? What is that crap?" I was overheard to say, not bothering to hide my disgust. Yep. It's the old "You kids and your music... now back in my day..." cliche. Eek. But honestly. I have nothing against newfangled music and dancing as long as it's GOOD.

Please please PLEASE may my kids know the difference.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

A Memeing I Will Go!

Passed on to me by fellow NFJ Lora.

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
Man. This is a tough one. Can I be a series? Of course I can! There's no book meme police to stop me... ha! I'll take the Harry Potter septology, assuming we can avoid that dystopian world for at least long enough to allow J.K. Rowling to complete the final book It might not be high art, but it's a damn good story I'd want to preserve for future generations.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Of course! Certainly too many to count. The one that pops to mind right now is Ranger from Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum mystery series. Yum-my. Oh, and Mona from Tales of the City.

The last book you bought is:
It was three, and I bought them after browsing for a lovely hour at Half-Price Books on date night with my husband. (Yes. Dinner and a bookstore. That is why I love him so. Well, that and he takes the kids to baseball practice when it's cold and rainy so I don't have to. What's not to love?)

The last book you read:
Notes of a Baseball Dreamer by Robert Mayer. Chicken soup for a baseball lover's soul. (Damn. Can you believe that there actually IS a Chicken Soup for the Baseball Fan's Soul? Pernicious series, that.) It made me laugh and cry and rejoice at my luck that I was born a baseball fan.

What are you currently reading?
Game Time: A Baseball Companion by baseball writer Roger Angell. It's a collection of essays written over the last 40 years plus some new ones. Good stuff.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:
Only Five?!?!? EEK! Okay, I'll answer, but my list will probably change tomorrow.

  • Ulysses by James Joyce. I badly want to read it, start to finish, some Bloomsday. It almost happened once, in college, but we fizzled out around 11pm. If I were away from all distractions it would be my golden opportunity. Yes I said yes I will Yes.
  • Mama Day by Gloria Naylor. Because it's one of my favourite books of all time. Family, love, magic... oooh. I think I need to re-read it right NOW.
  • Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella. Because I would sorely miss baseball, and this is one of the best baseball books of all time.
  • The Collected poems of Robert Frost. Depending on how long I was stranded on said island, I could not only memorize his poetry, but also set it all to music in different genres... Folky Frost, Gangsta Frost, Classical Frost, Jazzy Frost... what possibilities!
  • Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. Because, even on a deserted island, I'm sure that KFKD (K-Fucked) would be playing in my head and it would be great to have her there to remind me to turn it off.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why:
Anastasia because she's the first person I thought of and I loves her, Stephanie because she likes lists and this is a listy kind of thing, and Terrilyn because I'd love to hear what she's reading.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Tale of the Tooth

Nathan lost his first tooth on Sunday and I am now an unwilling captive of his gap-toothed smile and oh-so-slight sibilance. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm unable to stay mad or say no when he flashes the grin my way. The worst part is that he knows it - senses my weakness like blood in the water - and uses his advantage mercilessly.

Both of his bottom teeth have been loose for awhile, but not the hanging-by-a thread, twisty-in-the-socket kind of loose. Just wiggly with no indication that it would be any less than a few weeks or a few months even before the tooth fairy would come a-knockin.

So what changed? Well, in one of those increasingly common moments where the boy ignored my "do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do" mantra, he decided to try to remove a paper wristband with his teeth. (Strangely enough, I was doing the same thing with his sister's wristband in a different room at the time.) One of the loose teeth decided it wasn't up for the fight and out it popped. A bit of blood but no pain - and one VERY excited and frustratingly cute boy smiling at me as I emerged from the bathroom with a paper towel to staunch the flow.

The tooth fairy obligingly took the itty bitty thing and left a shiny Sacajawea dollar in the pocket of his tooth prince pillow. She was kind enough to leave the tooth for me as a memento of the occasion.

Now Nathan is ready to be free of #2 and begged me to tie a string to the other loose one to yank it out. I assured him that it's too soon... the string trick only works when the tooth is ready.

"Okay, mom. That's what my friends at YMCA said too."

Ah, I see. I'm the second opinion now. I nod and smile, and watch the milestones pass so quickly that I don't dare blink.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

What's The Buzz?

I've done a lot of massage this week - more than in quite a while - and it's been very good. The more I do the more confidence I have in my touch, in trusting my intuition as I zero in on trouble spots on which to work.

Imagine my suprise and delight when, while working on a client yesterday, I started to feel a buzzing in my fingers as I sank down for some deep frictions along her spine. I've always envied those bodyworkers who are able to tune in physically, not just intuitively, to the body's vibrations, and who can identify areas of imbalance by registering a physical sensation of movement or heat. So my immediate thought was It's happening! My hands are opening!

A second later, the true source of the buzzing became evident and I chuckled at myself. My client had fallen asleep and was snoring gently... so quietly at first that I couldn't hear her, but could feel the vibration through her back as I pressed in, much as you might feel a cat purr before you hear it.

Although I will cop to slight disappointment that there's a non-woowoo explanation for my experience, I don't feel too badly... a sleeping client is to a massage therapist as compliments are to a chef.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Girlie Turns 5

Happy birthday wishes for Ms. Thang, born 5 years ago today! I know that all parents say this, but it really is hard to believe that the time has flown by so quickly. From babe in arms to independent ballet-dancin', t-ball-hittin', GameGirl-playin', brother-chasin', kitty-lovin', chocolate cake-eatin', Kindergarten-bound big girl.

I count my blessings every single day.

Friday, April 01, 2005

A Pope By Any Other Name

I have to admit that I'm bummin' about the Pope today.

Now, stop, I'm serious. I'll be the first to admit that the Roman Catholic Church and I have absolutely nothing in common and in fact I loathe and actively fight against many of its tenets; all the same, the impending death of the only Pope I can remember is making me very sad.

I actually remember when Pope John Paul II was elected after the death of John Paul I whose tenure lasted only 33 days. I was 9 and I remember that my grandmothers (both Catholic though neither practicing) were fans of the youngish Holy Father. That he was Polish, and of Lithuanian descent on his mother's side, made it even that much cooler.

Seeing photos of him today as a young man floored me - I had forgotten how vibrant and charismatic he was. The years and his illness took such a toll that it's been difficult to look at him for a long time now. Twenty-six years from there to here. So much has changed.

Sometime soon, perhaps today or tomorrow, John Paul II will once again be called, three times, by his birth name: Karol Józef Wojtyla. When he doesn't answer, an era will end and yet another link to my childhood will be gone.

I wish him peace on his journey.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Geekin and Gigglin

Okay, so it's no "you goat bastard", but still... I just discovered that if you google for "geek giggle" (with or without the quotataion marks), I'm the first result. That amuses me no end.

Now say that 10 times fast: Google for geek giggle. Google for geek giggle. Cuckoo for cocoa puffs.


Me, Quiet

I've got a Friday deadline and my brain seems to have turned to mush. Complete sentences that make sense? I think not!

So here's some really nice eye candy that you can lose yourself in for awhile. Maybe I'll have regained the ability to communicate effectively in my native tongue by the time you pry yourself loose.


Friday, March 25, 2005

The Bunny, The Bunny, Whoa I Love The Bunny

Ah, Easter is almost here. I have to admit that I'm a big fan of the holiday, even though for me it has always been a completely secular, yay! it's spring celebration. The Christians can have their resurrected saviour as long as I can get in on the bunnies, the egg hunt (and egg-breaking contest), the chocolate and - oh, baby! - the Peeps.

Tomorrow we'll dye eggs and although this year our artistry is destined to be courtesy of Paas, I've been decided that next year we're going try to dye some of them the traditional Lithuanian way. (Yes. We Lithuanians take our Easter eggs seriously. Wanna make something of it?) Growing up, I loved how my bobute always dyed her eggs with onion peels, turning them a beautiful reddish-brown. I think it would be very cool pass on this bit of their heritage to the kidlets.

Then, on Sunday morning before we start searching for the eggs (and counting to make sure we don't end up with any smelly forgotten surprises in a week!) we'll find out what lovely scene the Easter bunny has left for us... every year he gathers up all the stuffed bunnies in the house and organizes an activity. Then, when we stumble out bleary-eyed in the morning, we catch them (though of course they freeze as soon as we show up). One year it was a tea party, another year they spent their animate time doing jigsaw puzzles. This year - who knows?

I just hope they remember to start the coffee.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


So it occurred to me this morning... why bother to think of anything interesting to post when I can simply change my template, publish, and voila - it's almost like having new content! Writing is really overrated anyhow.

So what do you think? Keep it or keep looking?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Sour Grapes

I'm not sure how it worked out that I spent an hour and 15 minutes outside yesterday at Nathan's baseball practice, shivering pathetically under overcast skies with cold winds gusting, while today Stephen will be enjoying a calm, sunny 55 degree afternoon t-ball practice with Sophie. That's just poor planning on my part.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Riddle Me This

Okay. Just imagine the scene. A woman lies in her bed in a persistent vegetative state. She has no higher cortical function, is unable to think, to feel, to react. Dozens of doctors have examined her and agreed... there is no possibility of recovery. As she is unable to chew and swallow, the only thing keeping her alive is a feeding tube inserted in her stomach.

Her love and partner of six years cannot bear to let her go, feels that there is still some consciousness there, believes strongly that any chance, however slim, for recovery of brain function should be given by leaving the tube in place.

Her parents feel differently. They feel it's time to let go, that their daughter would not want to continue "living" in such a way. They ask the doctors to remove the feeding tube, make her as comfortable as possible and put her fate truly in god's hands.

After a lengthy court battle and the direct intervention of Congress and the President... oh wait just a second. There is no court battle. There is no uproar, no outcry, no "our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life". The feeding tube is removed, and in two weeks, the woman breathes her last.

The difference between my hypothetical roles-reversed case and that the one we just can't get away from today? In my story, the parents are legal next-of-kin and have the right to determine treatment... the loving partner is a woman, their 6-year "marriage" one in name only, not legally recognized by the courts or medical establishment.

My story wouldn't even register a small blip on the national radar, unless it was to highlight how fucking unfair our marriage laws are. It's pretty straightforward - when no living will has been prepared, one's legal next-of-kin determines treatment unless there are weird extenuating circumstances (like say it was the next-of-kin who caused the condition and who just the week before taken out a huge life insurance policy). And when you marry someone, unless you make other legal arrangements your spouse becomes that person, for better or for worse.

So what about that much-touted "sanctity of marriage" bullshit? When Congress moves to remove one of the most basic rights conferred by that little piece of paper, what does it say about their TRUE motivation behind denying gay and lesbian couples legal recognition of their unions? They don't give a damn about "protecting marriage," whatever the hell meaning that could possibly have anyway, coming from a body that includes these shining examples.

No, what they care about is legally imposing their tiny and warped definition of "family" on the rest of us. And now that they've decided it's okay to create legislation that targets the rights of ONE citizen of this country (mind-boggling as that is), who's to say that the next bill they pass won't be aimed at me? Or at you?

The stomach-turning hypocrisy of the Schiavo case is almost too much to bear. I woke up this morning feeling more than ever that we're all living in the most dystopian novel ever written, one that has jumped the shark so many times that she shark has finally just given the fuck up and gone home.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

When The Going Gets Tough

... the tough take a bath. Well maybe that's not the way ALL the tough deal, but it's definitely my preferred mode.

The number and duration of baths I take in a given week is directly proportional to the amount of anxiety/stress I'm feeling. Sometimes I will go for a month or more without pulling out the back pillow and lavender salts. This week I think I hit five, and not one of them lasted less than 30 minutes.

A large part of bathing's appeal is that it makes me settle and slow down... when I'm overextended to the point of feeling like the proverbial deer-in-headlights, I tend to pace aimlessly through the house, accomplishing nothing beyond tripping over and grumping at the cat and/or kids who follow me from room to room. Getting into the tub forces me to stop moving, gives me the time to collect my thoughts and plan, or read, or - as often as not - doze.

One time, while in my short-lived English grad student phase, I actually sat in the bathtub and wrote a term paper that was making me crazy - my powerbook resting on the toilet, my arms and hands dry, reaching over, and the rest of me submerged. Yes, it was a small bathroom, and yes I know that water and electricity don't mix but I was careful and it's not like I was balancing the powerbook on my knees or anything. Thankfully I was also living alone, so there are no photos to document the event.

Yup. I like-a the bath. The bath she is good. And if we're ever able to do the upstairs renovation that we dream of, I will have a large soaking tub in the master bathroom with wide tiled ledges to hold candles and teacups and reading materials. Who knows, I may go the way of Brian Wilson and just stay there for months a time, having food and more books brought as needed - though I'd also have to find a way to safely and comfortably use my iBook.

I'd get pretty pruney, but it would be a small price to pay.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Amazing Internets

There is coincidence and then there is fucking boggle and right now I'm dealing with the latter. In fact, if I didn't know better, I'd say that it's proof positive that I am the center of the Universe. I might just be the new Kevin Bacon and from here out all the degrees of separation are measured from me.

Let me try to explain - and to get the full effect, you'll need to follow the white rabbit my links. I'm minding my own business, doing my several times daily surfing of flickr and blogs I like to read. First, I hit flickr. One of my friends had recently posted a very cute and very geeky photo of himself in 1971.

Then, I start on the blogs, and I hit Protected Static. It's a fun political/geeky/ranty blog written by a friend here in Seattle. He's updated - yay! - and this is the post. You'll notice at the bottom that he's added the category tags "geek" and "politics."

Now, always being on the lookout for cool things I might add to my own blog, ways of connecting and categorizing, I click the "geek" link to see what happens. What I expected was a list of all his blog postings tagged in the geek category.


I nearly fell out of my chair. I mean - what are the chances?

(I've linked to a screen shot, because there's a reasonable chance that the Technorati "Geek" tag page will have changed by the time you see it; the highlighted photo is the most recently uploaded flickr photo tagged as such.)

So I ask - cosmic coincidence? Or a blip in the Matrix?

Knock knock, Neo.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

A Good Day

It was a very good day today, I'm happy to report. Yesterday - not so much. But today more than made up for it.

I got a new computer at work (but got to keep my old hard drive so I didn't have to set everything up again - yay!). While waiting for said computer, I had time to organize a bazillion things and make a bazillion to do lists and I even got some of the to do's crossed off already. Plus I cleaned my office and cleaned out my purse and backpack. Then, since I was still waiting, I went trolling for office supplies. I now have a stapler as well as a new computer. Not this stapler sadly, but a stapler nonetheless.

Then, I discovered that I'm the mother of a cover girl. I'm fairly certain the modeling and movie offers will start pouring in any day.

The afternoon brought news that said cover girl's best friend is moving to our neighbourhood - to our STREET even, just 15 blocks up - in two weeks. This reduces ferrying time for playdates from 30 minutes to 5.

Finally, as it was St. Patrick's Day, we decided to celebrate in style (though not in a traditional fashion) at our new favourite restaurant. If only they had had pints of Guinness, it would have been perfect. Sushi Go Braugh!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Be Aware The Ides of March

This morning a nice guy talked to me on the escalator on the way up from the bus tunnel. Nothing major, just chit-chat:

"Ready for the workday?"
"Got cold last night didn't it?"
"You have a good one today."

It put me in a great mood, making that tiny quick connection with another person, a fellower traveler in this life who needed to be at work, like me, by 7 a.m. I found out that he had arrived only last night from Dallas, and shared with him that my husband had just gotten back from there after a weekend business trip. At the top of the escalator, we said goodbye and went in separate directions, but the smile stayed on my face and my step was a little springier than it would have been otherwise.

And it only happened because my iPod battery had run down so I wasn't plugged in - I was open to the world, looking, apparently, approachable.

How many of these small connections do I miss everyday on my commute while I'm either listening to music or reading? How many opportunities do I let go by to reach out to someone else just to say good morning, or hey, nice weather we're having?

Last Sunday, while on a solo shopping trip to Trader Joe's I had a similar revelation. I was waiting for the cashier to finish ringing up my purchases and found I had an opportunity to just look around at the other shoppers, take in their faces, eavesdrop briefly on their conversations. I noticed what people were wearing, what moods they were in, how they felt about the person they were with. In that moment of zen lasting no more than a minute, my internal life just dropped away as I became an acute observer and participant in the larger community.

I know that community is always there on the periphery but so often when I'm out it's with the kids and my attention is on them: making sure they're behaving, keeping them safe, answering a seemingly endless number and variety of questions. There are days when I'm so focused on tending to my life and my brood that I wouldn't be able to tell you if I passed my best friend while hurrying down the street. No wonder we all feel so crazy and disconnected sometimes... we often are.

So I'm going to take these two occasions as a sign from the Universe that I need to turn my gaze outward. For the rest of the week I'm going to make an effort to continue to notice, to reach out, to stay fully in the stream rather than holding myself outside and apart. When I'm out in the world, I'm going to be IN it, looking at faces, saying hello, being approachable. A little experiment in awareness, if you will, to test whether a small shift in my behaviour might make some larger ripples. Maybe I'll be the one to put a smile on a fellow traveler's face with nothing more than a smile and "you ready for the workday?"