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?"

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Seattle Springiness

Originally uploaded by monagrrl.
What lovlier a sight could I have chosen for my first blog photo? This was taken yesterday, late afternoon, of the magnolia tree in front of our house. The blossoms are just starting to open.

Come visit, my dear friends in colder climes! This week the air here is warm and the sweet smell of blooming flowers is inescapable. We have no snow, no slush, no cold feet. Birds twitter happily. Daylight reigns from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Kids are playing baseball. Cafes have opened their windows. And see that guest room at the top of the stairs? It has your name on it.

If you'd like to see more photos of spring flowers and other schtuff, click your heels three times... erm... I mean, click on the photo. It'll take you to Flickr. But before you do, I feel the need to mention that it's a very addictive site. You have been warned.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Feel the Numa

Well damn. Colour me late on this particular internet fad (and thanks to Terry for forwarding it on where all my other virtual friends have failed me!), but today I am BOPPING in my seat and grinning like a fool watching a funny geeky boy from New Jersey lip-synching and doing his Numa Numa dance.

I'm not completely sure why this video clip makes me so happy. Certainly the song is catchy as all hell and thanks to the wonder that is the Apple music store, it is now in heavy rotation in our household (Stephen - I'm so very sorry). But it's more than just the fun of some silly Europop. There's joy that bubbles up when I watch it - I can feel it flow out into my arms and legs until it's nearly impossible to contain and I'm chair dancing along with him.

I love watching this guy get swept up in the music, letting it move through him. It's earnest and genuine, and he's having a lot of fun while also giving an impressively hilarious performance. He reminds me of my friends - hell, he reminds me of ME, or the me I would love to be if I had it in me to put myself out there and perform. How many times do I stand at the bus stop listening to my iPod and it's all I can do not to sing at the top of my lungs and break out in riotous arm-waving, head-thrashing, booty-shaking dance. I have this fantasy. I don't do it though... well, at least I haven't done it yet. I'm afraid that instead of amusing anyone I would probably scare them instead. People acting crazy on or near busses get a bad rap - go figure.

Sadly, although Gary (that's his name) has made a lot of people happy with his video, he's not very happy about it himself. Stupid stories like this article in the New York Times, just don't get it, making an issue of his size and basically branding him as "a pudgy guy" who has humiliated himself on the internet. Is it any wonder he's gone into seclusion and wants it to all go away? It makes me furious.

I hope he comes to realize one day that we're laughing at him but not at HIM. Gary. Dude - thank you. We need the funny and the laughter right now and you're a damn fine performer. Take the opportunity, run with it, and don't look back.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?

The Brainstem Song
Sung by Pinky and The Brain to the tune of Camptown Races

Pinky: And now, the parts of the brain, performed by The Brain!

Brain: Ye-e-s!

Brain: Neo-cortex, frontal lobe
Pinky: Brainstem! Brainstem!
Brain: Hippocampus, neural node
Right hemisphere.

Brain: Pons and cortex visual
Pinky: Brainstem! Brainstem!
Brain: Sylvian fissure, pineal
Left hemisphere.

Brain: Cerebellum left!
Cerebellum right!
Synapse, hypothalamus
Striatum, dendrite.

Brain: Axon fibers, matter gray
Pinky: Brainstem! Brainstem!
Brain: Central tegmental pathway
Temporal lobe.

Brain: White core matter, forebrain, skull
Pinky: Brainstem! Brainstem!
Brain: Central fissure, cord spinal

Brain: Pia mater!
Menengeal vein!
Medulla oblongata and lobe limbic
Pinky: Naaarf!

Brain: That ought to keep the little squirts happy. Ye-e-s!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Some of the This and Some of the That

It's been a week, it has. We've passed into March like a like a fleecy bouncy lamb ("L-l-l-isa. I thought you l-l-l-loved me. L-l-l-loved me!")** so I know there are certainly dark and liony days ahead. But for now I'm enjoying the warmer temperatures (trying NOT to look ahead at the forecast that promises 60s and maybe even 70 by early next week), and revelling in the wonderful springy sights and smells that my walks around the neighbourhood and to and from the bus stop are kind enough to provide.

Last Sunday the family and I headed off to the International District for a cool little mini-adventure based on a recent episode of Postcards From Buster. Yes, this is the cartoon series that our got Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings' old lady panties in a bunch because one episode dared to show a lesbian family in Vermont. I know, I know - whenever you mix lesbians and maple syrup unspeakable horrors result<rolls eyes>. Anyhow, I work in the ID and am very familiar with many of the places they showed, including Uwajimaya, the grocery store and food court that is directly across the street from my office, so we had a lot of fun watching the episode and felt an in-person trip was in order.

We ate in the food court, pilgrimaged to Pokemon and Hello Kitty sections of the store, and then set out to find a geocache in the nearby Waterfall Park. We did find the cache (yay Stephen!) and also found another pair of geocachers who were visiting from California and passed on Rattles the travelbug to us. We're hoping to send her on her way this weekend. By the way - if you're not yet hip on geocaching... check out the links. It's a very cool geeky treasure hunt and the perfect reason to buy that GPS you've been wanting. Thanks to Jenn for turning us onto it!

Nathan started a new adventure this week - he had his first two sessions in the early prep class for the Northwest Boychoir. It's an activity that came out of the blue - he saw the call for auditions on a flyer that came home from school and decided that he'd like to give it a try. A nicely-performed rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" later, and he got the call. If it's something he enjoys and stays with for a while, it will give him a good musical education and plenty of performance and travel opportunities. We shall see, but so far so good... this week they're starting with solfege (I KNEW that getting the kids hooked on The Sound of Music would come in handy!), and his homework is to memorize the 7 hand signals for the basic scale. Who knew there were hand signals?

On the Sophie front, we're in the planning stages for her 5th birthday party <falls over> which is less than a month away. After last year's combined swim party extravaganza that almost did me in, I was very clear that henceforth we are doing separate and much smaller parties for the kids. So now we're trying to decide whom (read: how many) to invite and where and what we're going to do. This causes me no end of stress as I attmempt the fine line between trying to have few enough people so that we're not overwhelmed and enough people so that nobody's feelings get hurt that they didn't get invited and so-and-so did. Any cool ideas for fun party activities for 5-year-olds would be greatly appreciated. We're hoping to do it outside, but the weather this time of year is so unpredictable that whatever the plan it has to be mobile and not so messy that it will ruin the dining room floor.

And that's it. Other than the fact that I had/have an eye thing going on which is requiring me to have my contacts out for a few days and wear my glasses. That would be fine if my prescription was accurate - which, or course, it's not. Nothing is quite in focus for me today which is a great metaphor for something that I'm too busy to think about right now.

**Props to the first person to identify the quote!