Friday, August 31, 2007

One More Time

JP's post about Britney Spears' new song made me think of my favorite Britney Spears song. Of course, I particularly like it when not performed by Britney Spears, but that's just being picky.

Dig this:



"Hit Me, Baby, One More Time" Travis

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No Doubt You'll Be Happy to Know That...

...even thought this has been the 5th coolest Seattle summer on record, the grapes are ripening and I have plenty. Just not as many as last year.

...The Child finished her papers. She's got a little tweaking to do, but she'll be turning them in on time and she'll be able to enjoy a pleasant, stress free 3 day weekend.

...today is my last day at the Little Job. Praisalluia! I think Judy and I are going to have a celebratory cocktail afterwards.

...The Spouse has the day off. He volunteered to cook dinner, since I have to work. He also gets to keep the kitchen tidy and monitor The Child. Tee. It seemed very fitting this morning that I was the one getting up to go to work and he was the one still in bed. Good little househusband.

...I am not going to write a memorial on the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana's death. I'm still trying to figure out why I cried for 4 days back then.

...it was supposed to rain last night but it didn't. It's cool and beautiful this morning. There's a children's moon behind a ruffle of clouds and one tiny bird singing somewhere near The Neighbor's house.

...there is one ripe tomato in the garden.

...my coffee tastes awesome.

...I'm actually going to have time to play videos in The Club this weekend.

...the superfantastic sartorial genius Tim Gunn has a new show premiering next week. Thanks for the heads up, Monica. I love The Gunn.

...my kitchen smells of coffee and apples.

Have a great day, puppies.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Things I Don't Do Anymore

1) Delude myself into thinking that the week before school starts I will get The Child (and myself) back on a "school night" schedule or likewise, kid myself into thinking that the return to school will signal a return to "normal".

School starts on Tuesday. Preparations have been made. The Child has all her school supplies, the necessary bits for her uniform and has read all her summer books. I have scheduled the annual Bloody Marys with ChouChou. That's as ready as we're gonna get. It's probably as ready as we need to get.

There is a smidge of trouble on the horizon, a teeny cloud that could either blow right off or gather into a bank of thundering trouble. The Child has 3 reports to write. She could have been done with at least 2 of them by now but she's been more or less left to her own devises for the last 3 weeks and let's just say that she's not made writing a priority. I do not judge her for her procrastination for lo, she got that gene from me. But she's had a whole languorous summer before here and the merest bit of daily effort could have put her in a much better position than she is right now.

I could feel bad about the fact that I wasn't here for 3 weeks to nag her to do her work but 2) I don't nag her about school. It's not my job anymore. There was a time when I took her success in school as seriously as if it were my own. In fact, I guess I kinda thought it was. You know, if she's turning in her assignments on time and writing swell papers and passing tests then it must prove what a great mom I am. But especially since the dyslexia diagnosis, I've learned to back way off on all this. Of course I want her to be successful but I also want her to want it. And frankly, if she doesn't care, then why should I?

No. Really.

My caring about how well she does in school or how well she applies herself or all that stuff won't change a lick. It won't.

Of course, while I can't make her care, I can give her consequences. Starting the last year of middle school already behind does not appear to have any weight with her. Not going out with The Boyfriend on Saturday if they aren't done might. And she's already been told that going out this weekend is not an option if the work isn't finished. Further, if by the end of the weekend she still hasn't managed to finish, well then, she's not going to do any extracurriculars fall trimester, either. Bollocks to that.

I was just talking to Nicole and we were lamenting the stupidity of kids. Really. We were both procrastinators too, but we were the sort of kids that could pull it off in the 11th hour. And even now we regret the ways that such procrastination short-changed our experiences; imagine the things we could have learned had we actually troubled to apply ourselves.

And The Child...the thing about this that is so maddening to me is that she's a smart kid. She says she's no good at math, for example, that she hates it. But the times when she troubled to study for tests in math she got As. Hello? She tells herself that school is hard and certainly it is challenging for someone with dyslexia. But it's not impossible. And the reality is that people with dyslexia often tend to be really intelligent, geniuses sometimes. I wouldn't say The Child is a genius, but she's far from stupid or incompetent. Yeah, she has to work harder than someone who isn't dyslexic but that's not a bad thing. It's not like she has to slave for hours just to get a passing grade. She could soooooo do this. Problem is, I'm not the one who has to believe that.

Anyway, she's working right now. Not happily, but she's working. And I? Well, I have every intention of enjoying this day off. I'm going to fiddle about with bits of things that have been neglected in these last weeks so that at least one of us will have the feeling of starting the new year fresh. Maybe my sterling example will inspire The Child.

Or not.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Madonna and Child

'Nuff said.

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"Have You Seen the Pictures of My Nephew?" she asked, insufferable in her pride.

I realize I had nothing to do with this and nor am I actually related in a "let me know if you need a kidney" sort of way but ding dong, this whole baby Charlie thing is just too good to not blather about.



SCG is family. She found us when she was fresh to Seattle and we gave her a table to sit at when going home to California wasn't an option. Her very own mother has more than once thanked us for being SCG's support system. When she started dating her Prince she insisted that we meet him...not just because she had a new beau but because, you know, we kinda had to approve. (We so did...but if he hadn't been good enough for her she would have heard about it). And through the 13 years that we've known her there've been lots of laughter and sad tears and happy tears and killer Mexican food and prayer and all the sorts of things that bond people inextricably to each other.

Her Prince was a part of our circle before they even married. And now they've brought a baby into the world and into our circle and it's just been a really long time since there was a baby in our circle. 6 years, in fact.

(Never really thought about this before but there isn't a very high rate of breeding in our circle. Too bad, because there really should be so many more people like us).

(I kid).

Anyway, blather blather. I love me some babies, especially when they come from one of my best friends ever. Especially when I know that he is going to grow up knowing who we are and spending as much time with us as if we were his actual kin. And I know that he is going to love me more than any of his other aunties because he already told me so. Also, he is absolutely mesmerized by me. See?




It is such a hopeful thing when a baby enters the world. Especially when, you know, it was all intentional and desired. And yeah, those of us who've been there know it ain't all wispy hair and sweet milk breath and baby kisses. But these early days are all about the wonderment of it all.

And even though we understand all the processes involved in forming a human, there is still, simply, something miraculous about looking at a brand-new one, examining all the perfect little bits and the teeny tiny fingernails and being washed over by hope. Here is yet another chance to get this whole human adventure thing more right than wrong. Here is someone who can grow up to choose light over darkness, do some good in the world. He might grow up to be a scientist or an artist, a reformer or a philanthropist. Or maybe he'll be a guy with a 9-5 job who lives each day with integrity and a thought for others, who will marry someone similarly inclined and have a beautiful baby who will be yet another chance for goodness and light and love in the world. And it is always amazing to me that such big thoughts and futures and dreams can be represented by something that can't yet hold up its own head.

This is me, resisting the urge to sing "The Circle of Life". You're welcome.

Anyway, the best part of today is knowing that as soon as I leave work I get to go back to the hospital to kiss my baby on his head some more. Yay!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cue the Oxytocin

Oxytocin. The hormone secreted when a humanoid sees a little baby something. The thing that makes you - however jaded, cynical, tired - go "aaaahhhhhh" when you see a baby something. You know, something like this:


What? I was born under George Bush? That gives me gas.This one is for Monica.Ladies and gentlemen, Master Charles Maurice.Auntie is superfantastically proud. Just in case you didn't know.

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Oh My Yord

A friend sent this to me today...

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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Caffeine Hobbled Happy Dances, Part Deux

I am very pleased to announced that the lovely and vivacious Seattle Coffee Girl was safely delivered yesterday of a son. And I was all ready to tell you his name but then thought, wait, she might not want me to do that. So let's call him Master Bean for now. I didn't get any birthday photos as I managed to leave my camera in the car and didn't feel like schlepping all the way back to level C of the hospital parking garage once I realized my idiocy.

Anyway, as is the way of fresh new perfect babies, the world just brightened up and seemed a smidge more hopeful yesterday. And when I finally held him in my arms and whispered oh so lovingly to him that Alberto Gonzales wasn't AG anymore he smiled. And I know it was a smile and not gas because I know these things. Shut up.

Right, so yesterday afternoon was comprised of a whole lot of waiting around with 412 members of The Prince's family, which wasn't as awkward as it could have been since I met them all at the wedding last September but after a while I was, indeed, feeling somewhat interloperish. And that's when I realized that I was possibly more bummed than previously realized about the whole not-being-a-the-doula-because-she's-having-a-c-section thing. Certainly, I would have had something to do besides sit and smile while the tribe talked about all these people and things I didn't know. Don't get me wrong. They are lovely people. Still.

Anyway, 'round about 5, a very beaming Prince, whose feet were in fact not touching the floor, formally presented Master Bean to us, all nearly 9 pounds of him. And after a 3 minute flurry of oohing, aahing and hugging, they whisked away and we sat again for another, lord, 2 hours? waiting to see the family in the post-op room. Why so long? Because once they were allowed to receive visitors, this gigantic tribe of people started trooping in in little knots of 2s and 4s. And I couldn't very well muscle in ahead of freshly minted grandparents and aunts and uncles with a "if things had gone to plan I'd've already been in there so back off chumps" sort of thing. So, lacking credentials and bloodlines, I waited until last.

The good news? Stina and Dave had arrived and since they didn't have credentials or bloodlines either, we waited together in the cheap seats and that was superfantasically good. Kept me from chewing off my own arm and everything.

But it was all as it should have been because, though I say it, we were just saving the best for last. We might not be blood but we are family and besides, we were the ones with champagne (good move, Stina). I held that blessed little baby, f-i-n-a-l-l-y, and told him how beautiful he is and how much Auntie loves him and all about the AG (when he smiled) and I even stroked his little head and told him it was OK when that mean old nurse came in and pricked his wittle foot for a stupid old blood test.

We drank champagne.

We said an Our Father.

We welcomed him into the world.

And me without my camera.

I'm taking The Child to meet Master Bean this afternoon when I get off work. I will get him to pose for me then.

happy dance happy dance happy dance happy dance hap-stupid hot coffee-py dance happy !

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Monday, August 27, 2007

It's Hard to Drink Coffee When You're Doing a Happy Dance

Here' s your hat, Alberto. Don't let the door hit you on your way out.

Thus endeth one of the, no, make that the most horrifying chapter in the history of the US Justice department. Now maybe we can find our way back to those principles upon which this nation were founded.

Rumor has it Michael Chertoff is to be nominated to the position. I think I'd like that. He seems to play clean-up on Bush's sorry-arsed team. He managed to tidy up after Michael "Heckuva Job" Brown sat on his thumbs during the Katrina debacle 2 years ago. I wouldn't mind seeing what he could do with the Justice department. Lord knows he won't be worse than Gonzales and he'll pretty much have an imperative to, if not clean house, at least dust and sweep the foyer.

I mixed a baseball metaphor with a housekeeping one. Sorry.

That's it for now, puppies. Busy day, what with working and babies being born and trying to make sure The Child is working on her book reports while she's here and I'm there. That'll be fun.

Yesterday we went down to Dame Judi and Sean's for a little family soiree. I have pictures and will try to write about that later. Unless something else exciting happens. Like Dick Cheney being indicted or something.

Thanks for stopping by anyway.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

ARGHHHH!

I hate when this happens.

Our home server shut itself off. And no amount of button pushing on my part will change that. And The Spouse is in a class all day. And after that he's going to be a complete geek and go to some geekfest and try to hear Wil Wheaton give the key note address at said geekfest. Wil Wheaton is funny. I'm sure The Spouse will have a lovely time. But all this means that he won't be accessible by phone all day and he won't be home until later tonight so I have to live without my email all day.

Why is my Internet working? I don't know. I don't question the gifts the universe bestows upon me.

But you know how I hate to be without my email. On the plus side, it also means I can't open Quicken so I don't have to do any book-keeping today, on this, my superfantastic day off.

Yesterday I officially became a short-timer. Nothing horrible happened. I just really, really don't want to stay at the Little Job. I know the organization does really important work and Judy has assured me that I've made a contribution in my time there but it is such a "can't see the forest for the trees" kind of gig. I work all day and feel like I didn't get anything done because there is always so much more to do. That just isn't a satisfying scenario. I like having something tangible to show for my efforts. I'm selfish like that.

Hey, in really good news, it looks like I dodged a bullet. You may remember that The Child asked to play soccer this year. I've resisted every year of her elementary life for the simple and tres selfish reason that I don't want to spend every weekend of the autumn standing in the rain watching soccer. But I figured I'd toss her a bone this last year so she signed up. Only it appears that there isn't an 8th grade team. Whoo to the hoo! Maybe, if stupid ol' Bad Coach isn't involved, she can play volleyball this year.

On the other hand, she's really more of a music/theater kid than a jock anyway. And the music guy approached me this summer, asking if I'd be willing to have him do some training with her. He's already teaching her guitar and he wants to work on vocal stuff with her, too. I said "sure" because I knew she'd love it. Well, it turns out that his motives aren't entirely unselfish; he wants her to be a cantor for school Masses. How cool is that?

I sang a lot as a kid. My sibs and I had a little singing group and we used to do "special music" at church. ("Special music" was what they called it when anyone outside of the choir performed songs for the congregation"). When we started I was in, like, 4th grade or something so we were all pretty little. We kept it up all through our growing up (how "Sound of Music", right?) and in high school I was in the youth choir at church. Sometimes I had solos. It was always just beyond nerve-making. I did it, but it made me sick-to-my-stomach nervous every single time.

I don't mind singing in front of people. Jamming around a campfire? Fine. Singing karaoke after dinner? Sure. Just don't take me to a karaoke bar. I couldn't get drunk enough to make that work. In a nice, safe setting I'm all over it but I don't sing for strangers anymore.

The Child on the other hand is completely fearless in this regard. She might get the random butterfly right before showtime but put a mike in her hands and she's over it. I think singing for Mass will be superfantastic for her. And I also think that being able to sing well is something that will serve her and bring her joy long after the allure of soccer is past.

Now I have to go pick up my little songbird and do some grocery shopping so that I can enjoy the rest of my day off.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday Bits

The Child is coming with me to work today for just a bit. SCG is picking her up and taking her off to be a little almost-mama helper. The clock is ticking down on impending motherhood and SCG has some things she wants to get done before that.

I was going to be SCG's doula until her OB declared (a week ago) that the baby is looking to be about 10 pounds now (with a due date of Sept. 2). The doc said the odds were real high that she could labor and labor and labor and ultimately need to have a C-section. So they've gone ahead and scheduled it for Monday. That means I won't be doing doula duty but I'll get to be with her in the recovery room. Yeah, I'm kinda disappointed but we're all a little relieved that there won't be any frantic 3am "we're in labor" calls. All nice and tidy and on the calendar. If you gotta do it, you gotta.

It all seems a little unreal. We've know SCG since she was in college; she and The Spouse were in the same RCIA class, back when The Child was just a wee bit. She became a beloved part of our little community and we've walked with her through all sorts of "growing up" sorts of experiences...losing a parent, graduating, getting a "real" job, meeting and marrying her Prince. Now she's going to be a mommy and I can hardly stand it! I can't wait to meet the little beggar and pinch his wittle wittle cheeks!

In other news, I think I mentioned that The Spouse is making a movie next month, a little short written by the fabulous Iwanski. We had a rehearsal last night. It's coming together but I'm still not off book. I just don't have any time to work on my lines right now. Fortunately, I'm sleeping with the director so he's cutting me some slack.

I was the lead in every student body play from 5th-8th grade. I loved, loved, loved acting. And I was, though I say it myself, not half bad at it. But I didn't have much drive or competitive spirit. Once I got to high school, I couldn't bring myself to go out for big roles. What if I didn't get it? (I realize that is a very sad little statement...fear of rejection kept me from doing something I really enjoyed. But I was not a child possessed of enormous confidence. So there you go. And that's why Meryl Streep is famous and I'm not.)

I was in the chorus of "Finian's Rainbow" my freshman year and played Annie, the nervous housemaid, in "Life with Father" my junior year. I actually won the Best Supporting Actress award for that portrayal. (See, no small parts, only small actors). But the acting bug had pretty much fled by college. Although I dated some actors. That was enough drama for me.

Anyhoo, point is, I'm excited to get in front of the lights again, after all these years.

And now, all of a sudden, I find thoughts of work and all that I need to do today crowding into my head, leaving no room for bloggy observations. Let me tell you something: I am very grateful that this Little Job came along when it did, for many reasons. But I will be soooooo glad when I'm done. It's so nice to make a little bit of money while clarifying that no, working in an office is not even remotely what I want to be doing at this time in my life. It's nice to have that confirmed.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Seattle Ink

As many of you know, my 50th birthday is approaching. This is NOT a bad thing.


A) No way I look 50. (50 is the new 40).


2) No way I act/think "old".


3) I am really superfantastically happy with my life, my marriage, my kid, my path.


But still.


50 is, I don't know, kinda huge. It's a big round number that symbolizes a whole frak of a lot. (Which I'll probably muse on over the next few weeks). But the point is, when I celebrate this auspicious occasion and after the daube pot is empty and the champagne corks are swept away and the guests have gone, I kinda want something to show for it.


When The Child was turning 10, I thought about getting some ink. Now, this was a very radical thought. I don't have any objection to tats. Sometimes, when I'm surfing channels and see a few minutes of "Miami Ink", I even think they're pretty cool. But then I flash on myself at 90, in some nice little nursing home run by Benedictines, and I think that there is no way some minimum wage lackey should have to bath my sorry old arse AND have to look at what used to be a tattoo of a rose on said arse.


But the milestone of her birth approached and I was thinking it and mentioned it to a friend at a wedding. He said, "Oh. Honey. Please. Diamonds are forever".


Well, I didn't get diamonds when The Child turned 10 but I didn't get any ink, either.


The other night, in one of my post-Battlestar, pre-Sex and the City, channel surfing moments I caught an episode of "LA Ink", the spin-off of aforementioned "Miami Ink" and all of a sudden I thought, "Dang. Some ink. A tattoo of the Eiffel Tower. Right here!" (I said to myself, pointing to myself's right hip).


I told The Spouse. Who basically said, "Honey, you're going to be 50. Do what you want".


And I started thinking, "Yeah. I could do it now and it would be all healed by my birthday and by the time of my party I'll have lost the 6 pounds I gained in frakking Chicago and I can wear something just superfantastically amazing, with a midriff reveal and there I'll be, all 50 and crap and sportin' a tat of the Eiffel Tower". Huzzah.


So the other day I mentioned it to The Child. Who replied, "Oh. Mom. Are you serious? A tattoo? Oh, no, no, no. Do you have any idea how much those things hurt? And what if you change your mind? It really, really hurts to have them removed".


And in that moment I knew. I'm turning 50. I'm so getting some diamonds.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Why I Am both the Worst and the Best Mother in the World

Last night The Child went to play at a friend's house. Right before she was to be home she called and asked if said friend could come home with her and spend the night.

There was no way this was going to happen. First of all, she's not allowed to have friends over when I'm not here. (There are a couple of exceptions to this, but the point is moo). Second, the friend in question is a) significantly younger, 2) exceedingly strong willed and 3) a bit naughty. The two of them fight like siblings from time to time and Friend has more than once gotten The Child in trouble because she wouldn't listen when The Child told her they couldn't/shouldn't do something.

The Child begged. "Pul-eeeze, Mom. I swear we'll be fine. It'll be like I'm babysitting her".

"No. You can't babysit friends who don't listen to you".

Friend, yelling into the phone, "I promise promise promise we'll behave. And I'll love you for ever and ever and ever".

No.

No.

No.

In her defense, Friend's mom is doing an internship and the poor kid has to get up at 5 am and be in childcare all day. But that's not really my problem. There have been a couple times this summer when she has spent the night and stayed here all the next day. But I was home. Now I'm not. End of story.

The begging and deal making and promises continued until, yes I did, I told her to get home and hung up on her.

And she called back. (Seriously, I can't even come up with a metaphor for the tenacity of my kid when she's like this. A dog with a bone is more compliant).

Another "No, get home". Sheesh.

She came home in a door slamming fury. Whatever. Like that sort of behavior would get me to change my intractable mind. She would occasionally come into the kitchen to get something, mostly, I think, a pretext for displaying to me how thoroughly disgusted she was with me and how much she hated me. Her very aura screamed "worst mother in the world".

She mellowed some by dinner time. (Who wouldn't over a good juicy burger in an onion bun and a delicious stone fruit salad)? Then, a little more meekly, she asked why Friend couldn't come over when I have allowed B or J to be there.

"Because B and J are older and I trust them".

"But you can trust Friend".

Well, no. I can't. Which I explained. And then she started to cry. And that's when it hit me. (I'm slow on the uptake but I manage to get there eventually). The kid was bored out of her frakking mind. And a little lonely.

"You're getting bored being home alone, aren't you?"

She cried some more and nodded her head, big tears rolling down her cheeks. (It takes a lot for her to muster tears, btw. Always has). "I tried to play board games with the puppies today but it didn't work," she wailed. Oh, that pesky no-opposable-thumbs thing.

So I apologized to her for the timing of this job. I told her that I was sorry there wasn't more notice because then I might have been able to make some arrangements that would have left her a bit more occupied. Then I mentioned that Judy had said I could bring her in to the office.
She brightened immediately. "Tomorrow!" she said.

Between you and me, I think she's going to be even more bored there than she would be at home. No TV. No puppies. It's not like, as I explained in great detail, I'll be able to play with her. "But I'll be with you," she said. "I'm just tired of being by myself".

I must be a working mom now. I feel guilty.

It's not bone crushing guilt. I know this is temporary. And I know that in the main The Child is not being harmed by having to hang out by herself. I also know that in a couple of years having the house to herself of a summer's day will be a luxury beyond telling. But we're not there yet. And let's face it, this whole "working mom" thing, which sounds so good on paper, is as much a challenge and a change for her as it is for me. I've always been around. Now, all of a sudden, I'm not. Yeah, that Joni Mitchell "you don't know what you've got till it's gone" lyric is embedding itself on my brain. Just as I'm having to learn how to manage work and home and writing, she's having to adjust to the reality that while a working mom may mean more money and eventually the possession of the Holy Grail (a cell phone), having a working mom also means that mom isn't necessarily going to be available all the time in the ways she's used to. Welcome to the real world, sweetie.

The Child was ever so organized last night: taking a shower and laying out clothes and packing things for the office. Judy has at least one project for her to do today and I can think of a few things as well. Child labor, baby. Work it. But the point is that she is excited and a little relieved to have a break. And I expect, after one day of being slightly bored at the office she'll be more than happy to be bored at home for a few days.

I told The Spouse last night that these 3 weeks are like boot camp. It's a big adjustment and I'm just exhausted come dinner time. I'm grateful for the experience, grateful that this came when it did and that I can learn some of this balancing stuff in a temporary situation. I trust that it will serve us all well when all those clients start flooding in when I start my business. (They're going to flood in, right?) Balancing work and home, that's one piece. Balancing work and home and family, yet another.

Hi. This is me. Juggling. On a wire. Thank heaven for the net.

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I'll Bet At Least One of You Saw This Coming

This has been a long time coming. The honor had been bestowed in my heart long, long ago. Likely around the time of the Great Cheese Bet of '06. And then, when his blog went dark shortly thereafter, I mourned. Not only because I was going to miss his clever wit, gifted writing style and sharp political analysis but also because no blog means no pictures and no pictures means no Photoshop and no Photoshop means, well, you know what it means.

So it is with great joy that I celebrate the return of the Lex to Blogtopia by formally inducting him and his lovely bride*, Lady Lex, into the venerable Exalted Order of the Koihead. So much more charming than a wedge of plastic cheese, don'tcha think?


And the little koi look like they're smooching. I think that's almost as adorable as Lex and his Lady.

* Only the 3rd such couple to be so honored, including me and The Spouse, which you sorta have to do since I made this whole thing up in the first place.

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My New Theme Song

Because every girl should have a theme song.

Fetch me my Jimmy Choo flip flops. Hysterical.

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Well, That's Just Crazy

Saturday evening it started to rain. I wasn't aware of this, ensconced as I was with The Child and a second viewing of HSMII (I missed some stuff during the live blog). I went outside to retrieve something from the garage and was gob-smacked by a perfect summer rain. I just stood on the front steps for a bit and took it in.

The rain was falling very gently, settling the August dust. The scent was wet earth with top notes of lavender, rose and mint with just a hint of damp cement.

On Sunday morning it was still raining, harder now. There was no wind so the rain was falling straight down, something we don't often see. It was a good, loud, grape-plumping, puddle-making summer rain. It had cleared by the afternoon, when we walked to a housewarming party, and was still clear when I went downtown to fetch The Neighbor from the ferry.

Now it's raining again. As a native Northwesterner, I love me some rain. Between the months of October and June it can rain as much as it likes. But there is something about rain in August that makes me feel like summer is ending and I don't like that. I'm not ready. There are still things to grill, fruit tarts to make and a handful of tomatoes on the (disappointingly unproductive vines) that need to ripen. No, sir, I don't like it. Even though I know September will likely be a spectacular month (because it usually is the most beautiful of the summer here), I'm not feeling this rain just now. Although I suppose it will make it easier for The Child to curl up with her last book report book. But still.

Stupid global warming.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

High School Musical II:Live Blog

10:00pm
And now we're wrapping it up with a rock and roll style number called "All for One". How do the girls all know the words and dance moves?

Final thoughts:

Spouse: I liked it.

Jane: I saw growth in the characters and I saw experience in their eyes and I feel like I'm a better person. I just wish I'd been in that movie.

Molly: It's basically INcredible and when they do it on Broadway, I am coming and throwing things on the stage which may be inappropriate.

Child: Speechless. It's the best one yet.

(The Spouse and I don't necessarily think that but it wasn't dialed in and they obviously put effort into it. On the other hand, the whole Troy/Gabby breaking up thing did get to at least 50% of the crowd. Very dramatic in a classic musical sort of way).

I certainly can think of worse ways to spend a Friday evening.

9:58pm
Excellent. "Every Day"...big number during which, of course, Troy and Gabriella get back together.

And when it was all over, we were finally rewarded with the big Kiss. Then a 2nd. Then a 3rd. There was a lot of screaming.

9:44pm

Big finish, big talent show scene. We're almost done. I'm going to totally immerse myself in the fabulousness of the finale and then I'll be back to recap. Because the crickets care.

9:40pm
"Bet on It"...Troy's big "I'm such a tool and I've lost everything I care about just to get a big schmantzy scholarship so maybe I'd better pull my head out of my arse and stand up for myself" song.

Molly finds his dance moves a bit contrived.

It's totally working for Jane and The Child. Well, until he sang to his reflection in a pool. Yeah, that was bad.

He's redeeming himself in this last verse. Kinda "Footloose".

Molly: "Horrendous".

Jane: "Horrendously fabulous".

9:35pm

"I've Got to Go My Own Way": major drama and devastation: Gabriella breaks up with Troy. Totally awesome song.

And Jane is totally bawling.

9:25pm

Chad just gave Troy a blistering what for.

Troy showed up to rehearse with Sharpay, to a tarted up version of "You Are the Music in Me". She had a big puffy pink tulle train thing hanging off the back of her short skirt. I said, "She's got pink stuff hanging off her butt".

"Tulle" replied The Child.

"Yes, he is a tool," said The Spouse, who, since the baseball number is totally on board.

Also, we actually got our first literal reference to "Grease". I'm so right about everything.

The Child: "I need to see some sort of action between some sort of couple sooner or later".

I'm looking into boarding schools.

9:11pm
"I Don't Dance"...The Spouse is over his "meh"...we've got singing and dancing during a baseball game. (National League rules...no designated hitter). This is a great number.

More to the point, Sharpay's brother, Ryan, who's been dissed by S once to often, is poised to help the employees develop a number for the big club talent show. Sharpay has basically coerced Troy to sing with her. Who do we think will win?

Seriously, this baseball number is hot.

9:02pm

Sharpay dumps a bucket of pink golf balls in front of new golf pro Troy. "Nice balls," he says.

Nieces laughed in a way that they should be ashamed of. I'll speak to them later.

Also, Troy is totally being bought by Sharpay's parents and so far he's totally clueless. In fact, he just rudely told his best friend, "I ordered Swiss on my burger". The gang is on to him. We're so heading into the big climactic conflicty moment thing.


8:54pm

The Spouse says, "Meh". Then we all yelled at him because he missed at least 2 big numbers. Hello. Shut up and watch the movie, dude.

Jane: I'm feeling the start of something new with Troy and I.

Molly: I'm pretty sure that Ashley Tisdale is the meanest girl in the world. And Corbin Blue's hair is amazing.

(She doesn't think someone can play mean as well as Tisdale is without having some serious evil of her own. The adults disagree).

Child: I'm feeling the start of something new with Corbin and I.

8:50pM
Massive manipulation by Sharpay results in Troy being an hour late for a date with Gabbie. But all is well, what with her not being the least bit jealous or possessive. Ahhh...a moonlight swim...frolicking...he moves in for a kiss....ARGH!!!! (say all the girls). Gabriella gets busted for being in the pool (off limits to employees). She's got 2 strikes now. Of course, Troy doesn't get in trouble. In fact, he just got a promotion.

Crap! $500/week plus tips. I want that gig.

The Child is upset. We've just entered our 2nd commercial break. She thinks that's too many.

8:43pm
Sharpay is wearing a tiara while golfing. Right frakking on!

8:41pm

Sharpay's code name: Golden Throat.

Ryan's code name: Jazz Square

Just had another big number, "The Music in Me", which I will likely subject you to tomorrow. Big duet between Troy and Gabbie. (No one else calls her that, but I do). It was hot. The audience was fawning.

And I wonder, a) am I doing this right? and 2) where is Sling? He was bringing beer.

8:28pm
The Crowd Reacts

Jane: Love. It. Troy Bolton makes me ovulate.

Molly: Why isn't my life a musical? And Troy Bolton makes me ovulate.

Child: What does ovulate mean?

8:21pm
Twenty minutes in and we're already on our 3rd musical number. "Fabulous"...a little Busby Berkeley style number wherein Sharpay reveals the depths of her shallowness and now "Work It Out", as the rest of the cast guts up for their menial summer jobs.

Here's the deal so far: Sharpay's parents own the country club. She arranges for Troy to be hired. But Troy would only take the job if all his friends got jobs, too. Because that's how it works in the real world. (Wait...musical theatuh...Perfect!) Sharpay wants the manager to make everyone else miserable so they'll quit...leaving Troy all to herself. Yeah, that's gonna happen.

Troy just threw grapes in Gabriella's face. It was cute. Ooh, she's down on the green... he picks her up...they are about to kiss and someone turns on the irrigation.

Does it ruin the moment? Well, there's no kissing but they dance in the sprinklers.

Cute.


8:10pm

The opening number ("What Time is It") was great...beginning where we left off, musically speaking...with a big song and dance number that involved the entire school celebrating the arrival of summer vacation.

Ooh, Troy just gave Gabriella a beautiful necklace. They've tried to kiss. Twice.

I hate when that happens.

At least they are holding hands.

Ooh, the first complication reveals itself...Sharpay is not down with the whole Gabriella/Troy thing. Scheming biatch alert!

8:00pm

The countdown is over. Picture it: 3 screaming girls. We open on a clock, counting down to 2 pm. And no, I am not going to give you a play by play. I'll be back at the first commercial.

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Pre-Game Show

The niece are here. It wasn't easy. Niece 1, Jane Austen, had her car die at Starbucks. In Kirkland. East of here. Niece 2, the raving Molly, got as far as Renton, south of here, when her folks' car overheated.

So Sis and BIL waited for their car to cool down while I went to fetch Jane. They had arrived at our place by the time we returned. (Hi, I averaged 10mph on 520...you Seattleites will appreciate that). Then, fabulous parents that they are, they drove to Kirkland to see if they could get Jane's car running. They did. They should be here any minute.

We've stuffed our faces with pizza and now we're watching HSMI...just to get in the mood.

This is so frakking exciting.

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What Time is It? Summertime!

Last night The Child left the television on when she went to bed. That was ok, I was going in there to watch a little "Battlestar Galactica" anyway. The Disney Channel was running "High School Musical", prepartory to getting all the kiddies psyched up for the premiere of HSMII (as the cool kids are calling it...you know, you have to be able to text it, right?
>
OMG! HSMII! 2nite! LLTA.


Those cats at Disney are nothing if not promoters. It wasn't enough to run the movie. Dig: they had a countdown clock in the corner of the screen. LMAO.



If you look closely at the reflection in the screen you'll see the detritus from the paper chains The Child is making to swag the ceiling. She's already hung a banner and every HSM poster she owns. The family room looks like Tiger Beat threw up.

But please be clear, The Spouse and I, while perhaps not exactly giddy, are looking forward to this, too. Sure, we're way more concerned than The Child that Disney phoned this one in and it won't be as good as the first (although, it must be noted that they took something like a year and a half to make it so that's a hopeful sign). But we liked the first one. We really did. And we're hoping we'll like II as well. I'm so excited, in fact, that I've decided to attempt something new. I'm going to live blog HSMII. Yes, I am. Why not? It'll be hot.

I was reading an article in Slate on HSM, which I can't trouble to link to because I'm in a hurry here, that was ever so snarky about all the pretty kids who were singing and dancing and not having sex or getting drunk or doing drugs and how completely unrealistic and stupid it was to imagine a situation where the biggest problem in high school is being a jock who wants to sing.

I think that was to miss the point entirely. A) I happen to have it on good authority that not every kid in America between the ages of 12 and 18 are having sex and doing drugs when they aren't getting drunk. 2) Giving that demographic a fun, uncomplicated story with the message that you have to be yourself, accompanied by decent tunes and fab choreography is not a bad thing. Hell, I know a grownup or two who could use the occasional reminder that following your bliss and using your gifts is a good idea. 3) Sometimes, just sometimes, Mr. or Ms. Snarky McSnarkerson, it's OK to just have some good, clean fun. And based upon the response to the first movie (one of the nieces who can't wait to watch tonight is 21 for frak's sake) good, clean fun can even be cool. Dig.

'K, so it premiers at 8pm (that would be PDT) so if you need a laugh around then, you can come back here for the live blog. Or just read it all tomorrow. Or, you know, skip it all together.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

That's Better

Before





After

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Achoo!

I slept in this morning. Until 8:15. It was sweet.

Today will be spent taking care of householdish things which have gone begging since I reentered the work force. (We're going to have a family meeting about this, Mumsie having realized that the hold SAHM-I'll-do-it-all-because-I'm-here-to-do-it formula is no longer practical nor equitable).

I will also, hopefully, be working on the content for the website that needs to be built for the new business, as my goal is to launch after Labor Day. It's all terribly exciting.

And then, of course, there is much to be done for what will be, as Uncle JP put it, a national holiday in our home tomorrow. Banners are being prepared, the menu is planned. I'm charged with scaring up some appropriate party favors. Nieces must be gathered. A certain 13 year old someone has been waiting forever for this moment to arrive: the premiere of High School Musical II. * I wonder if she'll even be able to sleep tonight.

Enough. I have many precious hours ahead and must make the most of them. It's a manageable list but I need to get going. Also, I am currently contemplating the supreme irony of starting an organizing business when my own desk looks like this:



I should do something about that, don'tcha think?

* I'm excited, too. Shut up.

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In His Own Words

I realize that many of you have seen this, either over at Lex's or Red's. But last night it was forwarded to me again by 2 other people and I thought, really, this needs to be seen by everyone. So here it is:



The video apparently came from an interview with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. You do well to remember that Dick Cheney served as Bush 41's Secretary of Defense from '89-'03. In other words, he was to 41 what Rumsfeld was to 43. That's right. One of the key guys is deciding to take our soldiers to Kuwait and to NOT invade Iraq. The fact that he says exactly what my cadre of commie-pinko unpatriotic liberal goldarn hippies have been saying is, well, amusing. Except, you know, for all the people who have died so far. He actually used the "q" word.

So the question is: did Cheney say these things in '94 because he truly understood the conditions in Iraq and wisely advised 41 to not invade Iraq lest it cause more trouble than it was worth? Because obviously, if he really meant it, one would be tempted to inquire why, all conditions being equal 9 years later, he all of a sudden thought that somehow it would work now. Or could it be that he was saying all of these very sensible things because in 1994 President Clinton was in office and the old guard was taking heat for not having "finished the job" in Iraq. Which would make this video nothing more than another classic example of Cheney saying whatever he needs to say to cover his arse.

Either way, he obviously got the analysis right. Prophetically right, it would seem. Did I hear someone mutter "war criminal" just now? Oh. That was me.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Movie Review: The Things I Do For Love: Mr. and Mrs. Smith


My opinion of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie is well-documented. Consequently, my desire to see "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" was up there with my desire to keep pet spiders.

The Spouse, however, is a lovely man and sometimes spending time with him trumps things like my vow to boycott all things Brangelina. Plus, I thought, it would be an interesting intellectual exercise to see if I could watch and review a movie with pure journalistic objectivity.

I began poorly, visibly wincing and making little "ick" noises. The Spouse paused the movie (I believe the opening credits were still rolling) and sweetly asked, "Would you feel better if you were wearing your Team Aniston shirt?"

I donned it and yes, it helped. My loyalties affirmed, I gutted up to watch.

The premise is well known. 2 professional killers meet and marry, each thinking the other has a regular job. 5 or 6 years into the marriage they are in counseling, bored with each other, still keeping their big secret. They end up being hired by their respective employers to do the same job, managing to bollocks it and leaving the target alive. Then, because apparently this is how it works in the assassin business, they are to eliminate each other with extreme prejudice.

They have lived together for 5-6 years without copping to each other's profession but now they figure it out with blinding quickness and just as quickly and without so much as a "hey nonny nonny" set out to kill each other. Things explode.

The movie is full of chic style. It is beautifully shot, stylishly set. Jane and John Smith are beautiful people, with perfect hair, teeth, bodies and clothes. They live in a beautiful house with a well-manicured lawn. There is a faint noir-ish quality to all this, stylized and perfect. But get passed the nice drapes and the perfectly appointed this and that and you don't have much. Problem is, there's not much sense that the director, Dough Liman, intended any of these trappings as some sort of "too good to be true" symbol for the paucity of their lives or their marriage.

Brad Pitt is one of the comedic geniuses of this generation Seriously, he has a very low-key but spot on sense of timing and this movie is, first and foremost, a comedy. A grown-up, stylish comedy, but a comedy. Pitt is a master of subtle humor. And Jolie? Well, she's a skank, a ho and strikes me as terribly self-important. I hate her. But the witch can act. Her timing and manner are perfectly suited to the tone of the film. She can do more with a twitch of her (big fat stupid fake) pouty lips than many actresses can do with their entire body. The two actors are perfectly suited to their roles. Unfortunately, both of them are capable of far more range than this film allows them.

There is a very disappointing shallowness to this movie. It is neither as funny or as dramatically complex as the premise suggests it could be. Think, for example, of "Grosse Point Blank", the John Cusak film wherein an assassin returns home for his high school reunion and attempts to reconcile with his old sweetheart. The internal conflict of a hired assassin, who's job fundamentally is to have no feelings, coming to terms with his demons and finding a way to embrace life? Hey. That's comedy, people. It's also drama.

"Mr and Mrs. Smith" doesn't explore much of anything. It fails because there is, ultimately, no conflict. The screenwriter, Simon Kinberg, neither ramps up the comedy nor delves into the motivations. The fact that these 2 characters would blithely begin trying to eliminate the other, without so much as a "well, it is too bad but it must be done" is simply unbelievable. There is no suggestion that it is the big lie between them that is causing their problems. Any moral conflict about being an assassin? Nah, not so much. It is the failure to mine the rich resources of the premise that ultimately lead to making "Mr. and Mrs. smith" nothing more than an excuse to put 2 beautiful people in really nice clothes and make them shoot at each other.

The resolution of the film? Well, honestly, I fell asleep during the big shootout scene. I was, by then, rather bored with the whole thing. The bad news is, when I woke up The Spouse filled me in on the ending and basically, I didn't miss much. It ended as I suspected it would and that was that.

There's plenty of room in moviemaking for sheer fluff. This movie would definitely fall into that category. Unfortunately, it isn't fluffy enough. Even cotton candy requires some heat and air to create it's structure. This movie is more like a soap bubble, pretty when it catches the light but once it pops, there's no evidence it even existed except, possibly, for a sticky residue. (Which in this case would be the fact that the whole enterprise ended up having real life implications. The breakup of the Pitt-Aniston marriage is, it turns out, the real drama in this story).

Vince Vaughn is terribly funny as Pitt's best friend. Somehow, in all the kerfuffle about the Brangelina affair, I never noted that Vaughn was in this film. I found that terribly ironic. And musing on that fact was more engaging than most of the movie.

This is a movie that disappoints because it had the potential to be so much more. I wish the story and the execution had lived up to the hype. Pitt and Jolie are both very good actors, far more capable of depth than this movie asks of them. I wish they had been able to really pull out all the stops and deliver some passion and pathos in between the zippy yet forgettable repartee. In the end, it was a big, fat "meh" of a movie.

You can take this with a big grain of salt, but here's proof that my personal feelings weren't in the way. If you took this script and shot it in exactly the same way only casting 2 people I really like, say, Ewan McGregor and Julia Roberts, it still would have been a disappointment. All form, no substance. I hate when that happens.

The Film Czarina gives "Mr. and Mrs. Jones" 2 ½ Koihead out of 5. And she's probably being generous.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

A Minor Adjustment

Now that we've all weighed in on the good riddance of Karl Rove, let's talk about me for a moment.

First of all, it appears the commute issue is going to be ok. I have figured out a very nifty route and, if the first business day of this nonsense is any indication, so has just about everyone else. Which also means that I just bought myself an extra 30 minutes in the morning.

People heeded warnings, planned ahead, stuffed what few commuter trains we have and generally managed without major tie-ups of any sort. Frankly, I'm surprised. And I couldn't help but wonder if maybe when all this is over some of those folks mght not stay on the trains instead of climbing into their cars again.

Although, before I start waxing to Al Gorian, please note that I was driving my car and not using public transportation, nor would I use public transportation to get to this particular job because "public transportation" in Seattle doesn't approach meaning what it means in a place like Chicago which has trains that run, all the time, in varoius directions, etc. etc. etc.

Oh, I'm quite sure that you in Chicago and NY and SF and London and Paris and other sensible cities with some sort of subway/elevated/tram/train system would regaled me with a ton of stories about how your system isn't all that great/convenient/etc. And all I would say in answer to that is, "You have no idea what you're talking about".

But instead of boring you with the paucities of our "mass transit" (and oh, those are some air quotes just dripping with sticky sarcasm so watch your shoes) I would like to celebrate a mass transit system that I am very fond of. Today we celebrate the trains of Chicago.










Funny you-had-to-be-there story: after we left the dinner party we, Buck and the Iwanski-party-of-four took the train back downtown. This was very, very civilized and cosmopolitan. Late night, a bit more wine indulged than would be reasonable if one were driving a car, but no matter. We walked a very civilized number of blocks to the nearest train station and waited for very little time before the train arrived. A train which deposited us another very civilized number of blocks from home. This is how it is supposed to work. Anyhoo, I was quite full of joie de vie and "Chicago is the coolest city evah" and still flushed with the general excitement of being in the presence of greatness and I said, as we waited for the train, "Hey, everybody! Act like you're waiting for the train so I can take a picture!"





See? Casual.

On another note: working is hard.

(I said that with a really whiny baby voice, in case you couldn't tell).

I realize that there will be little sympathy coming from this hard-working crowd. And I don't want any. Chasing after a kid/keeping a house/volunteering/blahblahblahblahblahblah is certainly work and all that hooha. Balancing that and persuing avocations while actually engaged however briefly in a vocation: not easy. You knew that. I knew it, intellectually. Now the reality is kicking my arse.


Part of the challenge quite frankly has nothing to do with balancing things and everything to do with the fact that I have a tremendous amount to accomplish in a mere 3 weeks. And atop the organizing I am, by title, the Assistant to the Interim Director, which means admin-y stuff like letters and answering phones and all that sort of office-y stuff. And I find myself trying to walk a very thin line between learning enough to do an effective job without immersing myself in the work because I'm outie at the end of the month. Which is all to say that my brain hurt yesterday. Not a headache, a head hurt.

Also, and I know this sounds like whining but really I'm not, afternoon has never been my optimal time of day. I get home during the lowest bit of my energy cycle, or whatever you kids are calling it these days. For the next few weeks I must figure out how to regard the work I need to do for my real life (writing content for a website, updating the food blog, tending to family matters that require actual brain cells, etc.) without thumb-sucking and drooling.

Here's a picture of a man on the train in Chicago:


Hee.

I was thankful to come home to a very clean kitchen, courtesy of The Child, who took it upon herself to hand wash all the dishes that were not cleaned by the less than stellar performance of the dishwasher (again), and a clean Dog, again courtesy of The Child. She seems to be owning this latchkey kid thing with a fair amount of apblomb at the moment. I expect she'll be bored out of her mind by the end of the month but for now she's managing beautifully and I'm very proud of her.

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Monday Morning Happy Dance

First of all, this getting up early enough to blog about something meaningful is harder than I thought.

Somewhere in Omaha someone just said, "See?"

But secondly, nothing I have to say is any where near as important as the news that this century's greatest patriot, that paragon of virtue, Karl Rove, has decided to leave politics. Greater minds than mine will have more to say about this in time, I am sure.

But even as I lay in that fragile place between waking and sleeping, vaguely hearing NPR as it wafted toward me from The Spouse's side of the bed, I heard the news, in the dim of 5:30am PDT, and I lifted my head and uttered something along the lines of "Tee!"

It is my contention that Karl Rove was a very, very bad man who did many, many bad things. He showed a blatant disregard for the Constitution and the very principles upon which this nation was founded and he did so for no better reason than arrogance and hubris. I truly believe that a lot of what he thinks he got away with was done with the spirit of a naughty little boy who tries something just to see if he'll get caught.

Well, so far, he has dodged an indictment and has timed his resignation so as to not leave in the midst of a scandal or a lost election, thereby creating the illusion that he's leaving on his own for his own purposes. And what do I know? Maybe he really is.

But I know this: what's left of our justice system may yet come for him. If not that, history will not treat him with kindness. And someday he will have to answer for what he's done. Maybe now, more likely later. But there will be a reckoning. To have the sort of genius he is reported to have and use it for ill instead of good? That, my friends, is my idea of sin.

So Karl Rove leaves the White House and, reportedly, politics. And while I know there are plenty of evil-doers still left in the administration and all that, Rove's resignation is a good thing. A very good thing.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Looky Who Came to My Party!!!!

I had removed a fresh okra poppers from the deep fryer when JP came back from a beer run. And look who stopped by. I'm feeling very sentimental today, kids. JP! Stop bogarting the poppers!

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Super Important Announcement!!!!

Today is my blogoversary!!!

No kidding. 2 years. 1200 posts. And you.

The last thing I expected out of this Bloggery experience was a community. A rich, diverse, interesting, terribly amusing community of creative people who would make me laugh and think and laugh some more. I didn't expect to find the kind of support you have offered over these 2 years, on all sorts of levels. I certainly didn't expect any of you to become "real". The fact that I have gained some really spectacular friends from this little adventure is nothing short of a miracle to me. And of course, I also scored some very delicious cheese.

Yes, Blogtopia is a wonderful place and I'm so glad I found this little Craftsman style bungalow with the wraparound porch in this little corner of the 'hood. I couldn't have found lovelier, kinder, more generous neighbors. I've made a big applesauce cake to celebrate, so come on over. And look! Music and circus people.

Love you. Mean it.

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Forgot to Mention

Yesterday I saw a man walking a ferret. He was wearing cut offs and white socks with black shoes (shudder). The man, silly, not the ferret. The ferret was naked.

It was just cool because sometimes I forget to notice the quirky and the fabulous as it roams around me. Yesterday I paid attention and I was rewarded with a man walking a ferret.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

A Brief Update

The road craziness doesn't start until tonight so I actually got to the job site early this morning. Who knows what it will be like come Monday? Good news is that they're pretty flexible so depending on how things go I may even be able to change my hours to like 10-3 or something.

The job is going to be fine. It's a non-profit that acts as a resource for folks who are living with (or love people who are living with) mental illness. Fortunately, when I answer the phone I can refer the callers to someone in the outfit who knows what the frak they are talking about. My real task is to...wait for it...organize their office and systems. Gee. I think I can do that. I told the Boss Lady (I think I'll address Judy that way on Monday. It will probably freak her out.) that I'm going to use her as a reference for the new biz. The folks I'm working with all seem to be super nice and there's a little pub within walking distance that makes a rocking good southwest chicken salad. Judy bought me lunch today. That's how I know.

But most days I expect I'll be eating at my desk, trying to move through the mountains of mystery files and such that are crowding drawers and cupboards. Maybe systematize the computer folders. Like that. I can say that the 5 hours flew by. Lots to do.

The Child and The Dog were both very happy to see me when I got home and The Child had completed the first draft of her second book report, which meant that she didn't spend the entire time I was gone staring at the television.

So there you go. Thanks for all your well wishes and such. You really are just the nicest.

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This is a Test. This is Only a Test.

When The Spouse came in this morning to kiss me goodbye he inquired as to why my alarm had gone off.

"I have to work today".

"Yeah, but it's only 6".

"I have to try and blog before I leave".

"Ah".

I've been all over JP's back about managing blogging and work; now I have to put my typing where my mouth is. How am I doing so far?

You know what's going to be tough? Not reading comments until this afternoon. That's one of my favorite parts of blogging, seeing what y'all come up with and responding. Sometimes the funniest and most interesting stuff comes in the comments section. Witty banter and all that. I'm going to so miss not seeing it until later. But I must be a grownup. And maybe Judy will let me check from work. Maybe.

Meanwhile, there's something I've been wanting to tell you but I had to wait until I'd talked about it with The Spouse first. Which I did last night (wearing pearls and having cocktails, by the by. See? True to my word). I'm thinking of starting my own business. As a...wait for it...personal organizer.

It all started a few weeks ago when I mentioned helping Stina. The response from some of you really got me thinking. This is totally something I could do for money. Totally. Start up costs would be negligible (and hello? all of a sudden I have this temporary gig to pay for them). The Hat, because she's amazing like that, has developed a swell logo for me. The enthusiasm I've received from the few people I've told has been terrific.

It was so interesting because in the months since The Job That Sounded Perfect on Paper I've been trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. (Besides a writer). Part of my problem was that I'm just too old to get a job Job and be happy. If I'm going to alter the way our family operates and keep my hand in at what I'm passionate about I don't want my soul to be sapped by some stupid thing just for the money. And I didn't have a clue what that looked like. I was pretty much searching the shrubbery for a burning bush, some directional marker that would set me on the path toward IT. Which, btw, was not forthcoming for months and months. (This journey started in February, for crying out loud).

And then, there it was. A bush. It wasn't a big bush but it was burning quite brightly and the voice that came from the bush said, "Dude, you could totally do this".

I still have one or two ducks to line up but they are small and docile ducks. The other fowl have quite literally fallen into place. Like the timing is right, or something. (The Hat insists this is a sign from the universe that I'm on the right path. I think she's right). So there you go. I hope to go public in September.

So more on that later.

Now I have to get dressed and wend my circuitous way to the Little Job. The Child slept over at a friend's last night so she won't be home until later. (She feels so grown up having a key to let herself in). We're going to have Chicago dogs for dinner tonight. Yum. Life is good.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Obligatory Jet Photos

The Spouse took all the groovy Blue Angel pictures. You can see them here.

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Thursday Tosh

Thanks for all your good wishes yesterday about what I am now calling the Little Job. It's not that big a deal, really, given the money and the hours but it accomplishes a few things, not the least of which is effectively ending my summer as of tomorrow. But I realize that 99.9% of you work full-time and have 2 weeks, maybe, of summer anyway so whining about that would probably not warrant any sympathy. So I won't.

Pamelamama left a comment celebrating "worthwhile work". I don't know that this qualifies. It's hardly my dream job. The more I think about it, my dream job is building a miniature replica of all the sets for "Battlestar Gallactica" and selling tickets so people can come see my little tiny Play-doh® Laura Roslin and Bill Adama. So I'm looking at this as seed money for that project.




Here's something else I haven't mentioned yet:

A few weeks ago Seattle Coffee Girl asked if I would be her doula when Buffy comes. Of course I said "yes". One of my dearest friends was with The Spouse and I when I brought forth The Child and I swear it wouldn't have been accomplished without her. There's just something about having another woman there, whose been through it and knows you well, to make the job just a little easier. Plus, I'll have the privilege of being one of the first people ever to see the little beggar and that's exciting to me.

I should point out that the use of the word little in this instance is ironic. He looks to weigh about 9 pounds already and her due date is September 2. Can you say "inducing"? "Yes, miss, I'll have a gin and tonic and would you bring a Castor oil on ice for my friend here?"

It's all terribly exciting. It's been a long time since our circle had a baby around and he stands to become one of the most fawned over babies in history. Do keep her in your thoughts and prayers, won't you?




People were grumpy in my house last night. That was lame.

Here's what a typical evening looks like. The Child is usually off playing or zoned out in front of the TV. I'm usually in front of the computer. The Spouse comes home. We say "hi". Then he gets in front of the computer. And sometimes, sure, the greetings are a bit more effusive than "hi" but we all stay in our separate little areas until it's time for dinner and I don't know but I'm thinking that isn't optimal.

When we first got back from France, years and years and years ago, we adopted the concept of apertif, having a nice leisurely drink, a little nibble of something and some polite decompression conversation when The Spouse came home. Then he'd be left to further down time while I got dinner ready. That was nice. And we totally got out of the habit because frankly, our culture doesn't really support that sort of thing. We're really just not a "take some time and have a leisurely anything" sort of culture.

Hurry up and get out the door. Hurry up and work. Hurry up and take a break but hurry back because there's work to do. Hurry up and cook dinner and eat it in 10 minutes because I have homework/a meeting/a TV show at 8. Oh! Look at the time! I'd better hurry up and get to bed.

Our family doesn't even really operate at such a frantic pace most of the time but that "hurry up" thing is still at play somehow anyway. I'm feeling a serious need to don some pearls and greet The Spouse with a nice dry martini when he gets home tonight. May sound a little June Clever but Ward and June had it going on.




And finally, this song has, for no particular reason, been on my mind for days.





"It's My Life" Talk Talk




Now I have to go put baking soda on The Child's foot. She's sporting her second yellow jacket sting of the summer and she's not happy.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Well, Ain't That a Pip

I just got off the phone with my lovely friend, Judy, who I met when I was volunteering for Senator Cantwell. Judy was the volunteer coordinator when I started. I like Judy very much, she's a very interesting, charming woman.

Right. So the reason she called today was because she's interim director for a non-profit agency and she needs a part-time office manager for a few weeks and would I be interested?

So there you go.

It's just a 3 week gig, from 9 to 2, 4 days a week, through the end of the month. This means The Child is going to be on her own for most of the rest of the summer, which is fine. She actually thrives on that sort of responsibility. I'm sure it will all work out. Judy also knows of some other commitments I have and she's just so thrilled that I said "yes" that she's completely accommodating.

Judy actually wanted me to start today, but that was a little much. So my first day will be Friday. I found myself getting a little fluttery, which seemed silly because I can totally do the job. But then I realized why. It's nothing to do with the job and everything to do with karma slapping me upside the head.

Read this.

That's right. Starting on Friday, the DOT is shutting down a major section of I-5 through the city, all lanes, to do road work. I repeat, all lanes. During commuting hours. For 3 weeks. (And yes, you read that right: our totally brilliant mayor has suggested that people should just work from home or use the wireless at Starbucks. Because, you know, everyone in Seattle has a white collar job and a laptop. What a putz).

The point, my friends, is that while in conversations this weekend with people who are going to be severely impacted by the lack of a freeway and the gigantic tie-ups that will inevitably ensue on all the side streets, I was Perky McPerkison about the fact that none of this would affect me. Oh, I wasn't exactly gloating or anything, but I sure was grateful that this particular headache would pass me by.

Then I get a job. Starting Friday. In the north end of town. I live in the south end. Do we see the problem now? I have been wracking my brains for the last 15 minutes trying to think of alternate routes and every one of them is going to be impacted by the closure.

So now, instead of spending the next 2 days organizing the things I need to organize so I can be out of the house 4 days a week, I have to build a Viper and lay in a supply of tylium.

Rats.

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