Tuesday, October 03, 2006

happy birthday ...

Tomorrow is my birthday. Two years ago I made a pledge to do something new and daring each month. Call it mid-life crisis, call it I needed to “find myself” the bottom line was that I felt I had created a life which was too planned, too cautious, and lacking in those memorable experiences which make life – life.

Looking back on year one is like looking back on ones adolescence. I took many risks (some smart, some not so smart), I tried on different personas, I seriously pursued moving to another country, I lost 20+ lbs, I went on exotic vacations, I never said “I wish I had ...” I did. For me it was like the storybook year in college where you abandon the dreams of your parents for your own dreams and create your own reality in the process.

Halfway through my “live each day as if it’s your last” experiment I fell in love. One morning you wake up and get on a plane to seek a new adventure. The next morning you wake up and realize you’ve found something better than a new adventure, you’ve found a part of your life.

This past year I’ve learned that life can be its own adventure. In the midst of buying our first house, planning our wedding, and expanding our family (with a wonderful puppy) I’ve discovered that it is not the type of risks I take but the way I approach each day that determines if I am “living.”

So, as a gift to myself today and a reminder for myself in the days to come, here is a list of the life lessons these past two years have provide to me.

1) The people in my life are gifts. Treat them with respect, love and above all kindness.
2) Falling in-love happens everyday not just once. Take time to fall in-love over and over again.
3) There is nothing that has to get done that is more important than acting on points #1 and #2.
4) The outdoors is a wonderful place.
5) Dreams and expectations are different things. Dreams can be achieved – expectations rarely are.
6) Strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you – he just might be your husband someday.
7) Feeling lonely has nothing to do with the number of people around you. And, while we are at it, neither does being alone.
8) What you fear is worse than reality.
9) It’s ok to admit and even celebrate fault.
10) Life is unexpected so don’t even try to predict the road it will take. Travel each day with an eye to learning something new and never forget to thank those around you for sharing in the experience.

I am a very lucky person. I have wonderful friends and family. I have an amazing partner whose love I am humbled by and through which I have received more joy and happiness in my life than I knew possible. And, I am blessed to have had an opportunity to learn to appreciate life.

In this new year, I will continue my life experiment. With any luck I will continue to learn to appreciate each moment.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

advice from a 4 year old - food

I received the following note from my mom today on my niece's developing culinary skills.


Rawnie and I cooked today for the library bake sale.

Rawnie wanted to make a red licorice pie....that means make a shell and puting pulled apart licorice inside as the filling. I'm not sure the recipe is a winner, I am sending it home with her rather than entering it in the bake sale.

Talk with you soon.


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

1000 other places and Chinese food...

In searching the web for a unique solution for leftover Chinese food I landed on the web site 43 things. Here you can log on and post your goals. The fun (or strange) hook is that 43 things will and then match your goal with the other goals in the data base and give you comparisons. So say someone has a goal of not reheating Chinese food in the microwave. Other people with the same goal might also have the goal of experiencing an earthquake. (I'm not sure what the connection is there.)

Anyhow, in another area on the site there is a compilation on the destinations the "43 things" users want to visit ....

The world wants to go to...Broadway Musée Rodin Dildo International Spy Museum Vanuatu Bahia Abruzzo New York City Machu Picchu Blarney Castle Funkytown Calabria NY Chocolate Show Puerto Vallarta Bratislava Camiguin Rome Beverly Hills Galliano Island Elephant Kingdom Brussels Rwanda Gobi Desert Juneau Brisbane Carmel München

I think I might need to add Funkytown to my list of 1000 places.

Unfortunately, I still have no unique solution on how to resolve the issue of the leftover Chinese food.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

at 20 you get cake ...

When I was a kid it seemed as though there were milestones to be celebrated every year. The obvious ones; graduation, getting your driver's license, learning to ride a bike, etc… were something to look forward to and provided a sense of accomplishment and completion that propelled life forward. Which leads me to this sorry-looking-not-quite-fresh from the DQ piece of ice cream cake melting before me.

A colleague came by this afternoon and offered me a piece of her ice-cream cake. Not one to pass up a mid-afternoon sugar high I reached towards the tray and asked her what we were celebrating. “I’ve been here for 20 years and they got me an ice-cream cake,” she said. “Wow, 20 years!” I replied “How Great!” I said as her words, “I’ve been here for 20 years and they got me an ice-cream cake” rang in my head. My boss, having heard the conversation came in shortly after the gal she left. “Just shoot me,” he instructed.

Now juxtapose this moment with an email I received this morning from a bright-eyed college student studying organizational development. As part of his research he and his team would like to know:
1) What is the management style of my company
2) What are our the organizational values
3) And, what controls are used to monitor / appraise employee behavior

I am considering replying “at 20 years you get ice-cream cake.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

they say it's your birthday ....

To the man who has asked to be surprised for his birthday .... (opps spaces make a difference)




Thursday, May 18, 2006

Freeing the Radicals

Yesterday I received my Doctor Hydrogen Water - Healthy Stick & Beauty Mist kit. I think it is important to state that I did not buy or request this anti-aging solution. It was given to my by a customer from Singapore. Not one to let science get in the way of a good beauty product, I decided to activate the Healthy Stick and see what happened.

Step 1 - Read the manual. As the manual was written in Singelish this was especially entertaining.

First things first, the manual explains the benefits of Doctor Hydrogen Water.

The claim is that by adding hydrogen to your water (by infusing a stick made of metal magnesium and rock) you can effectively eliminate free radicals from your body.

And, how did free radicals get into your body in the first place? Free radicals are generated by inhaling oxygen, stress, ultraviolet rays etc...

What do free radicals do? Free radicals cause extensive oxidative damage to our body which bring about aging. Bad Free Radicals Bad!

There are many cautionary messages included in the pamphlet. Most relate to not swallowing the Healthy Stick. Apparently a problem for people who are seeking to eliminate free radicals.

Step 2 - throw caution to the wind and put Healthy Stick in bottle of water (making a mental note not to swallow it later), shake vigorously for 2 minutes and then wait for 20 minutes.

Step 3 - Drink the water.

It has now been 2 hours since I became infused with the Hydrogen Water. Other then a bit of a stomach ache, I don't see any major difference.

I will keep an open mind over the next few days and let you know if I am able to free the radicals.

Monday, May 15, 2006

a meal together ...

We made Paella for dinner on Saturday night - YUM! It was great to be able to host a family dinner and I can't wait to do it again! (Plus I got a new Paella pan out of the deal - I think next time we'll make Chinese. I need a new Wok)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Jane his wife ....

I have finally arrived at the era of the Jetson's! No, I don't have an oven that automatically pops out dinner. But, I do have the next best thing .... a laptop computer with a wireless internet connection that pops out recipes right there on my kitchen counter. Yes, it is true, I am the envy of the cooks up and down my street.

Another great use for the kitchen computer is to be able to search food blogs. Which leads me to this great find, the intelligent spoon. The intelligent spoon is designed "to taste your lousy cooking and suggest improvements." The spoon is equipped with sensors that measure temperature, acidity, salinity, and viscosity. The information can then be used to advise the cook on how to make corrections. As Rachel Ray would say " How cool is that!?"

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

a place at the table ...

“I’ve moved to a new table.” My grandmother declared during a past visit. “I had been sitting with Betty and Earl but Betty couldn’t hear and Earl never said anything so it just wasn’t any fun at all.” At 93 her desire for robust conversation at the dinner table had not lessened. My earliest memories are of the family table, children and grandchildren packed in like sardines in the narrow breakfast room that served as the gathering place for all of our meals. Fourteen people and at least twenty-eight simultaneous conversations. This is the way my grandmother liked it.

At the home where she moved after my grandfather passed away, there was a large dinning room with tables of four dispersed throughout. Before she moved in, she and I had eaten at one of these small tables to test the food but more importantly to test the conversation. “Seems like a pretty lively crowd,” she observed during this meal. My grandmother went on to share with me that as a child she had moved frequently and had always been able to make new friends. She reassured us both that these early skills would serve her well in making new friends in her new “home.”

With each visit it seemed that my grandmother was once again becoming the life of the party. The past decade had been one of isolation. Living on the farm with my grandfather, socializing only at the weekly funerals of friends and family. With lively conversation, new friends and a social calendar that would make a socialite dizzy she was again becoming the invincible strong-willed women I had grown up with.

“You see,” my grandmother continued. “There was an opening at the Park’s table yesterday so I went right over and sat down. You can’t wait on these types of things.” My boyfriend and I looked at each other amused, knowing full well what had caused this “opening” at a table and impressed by the manner in which my grandmother had seized this opportunity.

On the drive home we laughed about my Grandmother’s spunk, her scheming to get the best place in the dinning room, the “bookie” who came by to collect on her bet, the poker buddies who warned us of my Grandmother’s skill at the table. We commented to each other that we hoped we would be as active as my Grandmother at 93 and corrected ourselves to say that we hoped we could be that active today.

Since our last visit my Grandmother has reached another transition point in her life. Not as spry as she was at 92 the time has come to move again, this time into a home where she can receive more assistance. I worry. I worry about her health, her spirit, the company she will find in the dinning room, the stress in moving yet again into a new environment.

When I was ten my grandmother grabbed my hand as we walked across the street. Totally insulted at her lack of faith in my ability to cross on my own, I immediately went to my father to complain. My father tried to reason that maybe she needed help crossing the street and that is why she had grabbed my hand. At ten, I believed that she was perfectly able to perform that task on her own and continued to pout.

As my family prepares to help my grandmother move, I think I finally understand a little bit about why she took my hand that day. It may have seemed like an empty street to me. A challenge to my independence. But to her it was a transition point in my life. By placing my hand in hers she was assured that we would both be safe on the other side.

1000 places to see before you die - #8

Cuzco, Peru. After three years I am finally getting my pictures from my trip to Machu Picchu scanned. Machu Picchu is an amazing place which will ultimately be at the top of my list of places to see. But, Cuzco with its high deserts and incredible cloud formations deserves a place on the list all its own.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

keeping up the blog ...

Friend: You haven't blogged in a long time.

Me: When was the last time you looked at my blog?

Friend: About a month ago and it seemed to me that you had slowed down.

Me: So, past performance is indicative of the current state of things?

Friend: Well no. But, your life seems to be going well. You have the painting thing. Work is getting really busy. You're cooking dinner. And well, none of that seems to me to be interesting enough to blog about.

Me: So, you haven't been on my blog for over a month?

Friend: No, but I will now.

Too bad it will just be our conversation that has been posted.

Monday, March 20, 2006

book titles

One of the hazards of my job is that I often think of how to market something before I think how that "something" will be created.

The last few days I have been thinking a lot about my imaginary book. Or, more accruately, I have been thinking about the title:

"we were perfect then"

Now, that I have put it out into the universe, maybe I can start thinking about getting back to my notes.

spring has sprung

It is the first day of spring and it is beautiful! So, pack up the Walatrin and head outside.

Ten things to do this spring (before the rain starts again):

1 - Fly a kite in Gasworks Park
2- Go for a bike ride on the Burke Gillman
3 - Hike Tiger Mountain
4 - Take a drive to see the Tulips
5 - Read a book outside on the porch
6 - Buy flowers at the farmer's market
7 - Rollerblade around Greenlake
8 - Have lunch at an outside cafe
9 - Go to the Zoo
10 - Open all the windows and let the fresh scent of Jasmin and Honeysuckle spill through the house.

Friday, March 17, 2006

1000 places I haven't seen

Turns out I have yet to see 90% of the world.


create your own visited countries map

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

things I did not know ...

Every once and awhile you will hear a bit of information in passing and think nothing of it until a few days later you hear the same thing from a different source and then yet again and again. In these instances I tend to think that this is obviously information the universe feels it necessary I have.

For example, I did not know that there was a secret menu for In-N-Out Burger. I was first informed of this fact during a trip to Santa Barbara last week. Then quite unexpectedly it came up again in a conversation I was having with some Panamanian fellows in Mexico City. Finally today, I ran across a post on my favorite food magazine's website Chow which not only links to another site which shows the foods available on the secret menu but also to a site which features a man who ordered a 100x100.

I am not sure why the universe feels I need this information. But perhaps this is a sign that we should all buy stock in burgers.

Friday, February 24, 2006

your name is not Jack!

Ok - this is the last post for the day ....

I understand the rationale for sending call centers overseas. I have no problem with this service and am happy to talk to whomever is able to take my call.

BUT .... when you use a name that is not your name and, when you hesitate in giving your name because you can't remember the name you are using for the day it starts to destroy my trust in the conversation I am having with you and more specifically my trust in the company you represent.

I don't care what your name is ... but let's both be honest here. Your name is not Jack!

Whoever came up with this idea of changing the names to better appeal to an American consumer should be fired. This is a bad idea that does nothing to hide the fact that these jobs are being sent out of the country and at the same time puts into question the honesty and intergrity of the organization.

Ok , I am off my soap box at least until I have to call the soap box customer service line and talk with Bob.

advice from a 4 year old

Last night my friend Kira shared the following advice:

"When you wake up in the morning you should go to the bathroom and then go back to bed."

Words to live by.

Danny and Annie

Danny and Annie have become a symbol of NPR's StoryCorps project. Their first visit to the StoryCorps van resulted in a charming tale of their first meeting and the love which has flourished over the past 27 years. Last month Danny was diagnosed with cancer. This morning I heard their latest entry into StoryCorps and felt tears come to my eyes as I listened to Danny talk of the love he had for his wife and the love he hoped she would find after he was gone. Life is not always peaches and cream. Sometimes we find the pit. But through it all it is valuable to remember that the relationships we have are gifts to be cherished. Check out Danny and Annie’s story on NPR.org

1000 places to see before you die - #7

It was a cold drive into work today. My little car slipped as I maneuvered through the icy curves, and I wondered aloud if the sprinkling of snow on the sidewalks constituted enough reason to call it a snow day. Then, as I was reaching the climax of psyching myself up enough to call it a day and head back home I saw Lake Washington with Mt. Rainer off in the distance. Ahh yes, this is why I love living in Seattle. Sure it rains a lot. And, yes the multitude of grey days drain the life right out of me. But, every once in a while you head over the hill and are treated with a view with the power to wipe out the memory of all the rainy days that proceeded.

So, here we go …. In my list of 1000 places to see before you die #7 – Seattle, WA.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

best is not best anymore

I think I have read most of the popular management fables -" Who moved the cheese", "Fish", "Radical Leap", "How to take the obviously and make it into millions", etc… What continues to astound me (aside from how much money has been invested in me personally reading these books) is why as adults we have not yet learned how to play well together.

Initially I thought as children we did play well together in groups and those skills somehow diminished as we moved into these strange corporate worlds. Then it occurred to me that no, people are people and those who were willing to share the red crayon are still willing to share the red crayon and those who were not are not.

My latest foray into the self-help management section was the Five Dysfunctions of a Team which can be basically boiled down to one – COMPETITION. Perhaps that is my own competitive nature, perhaps that is because we as a culture like to WIN WIN WIN!!!! (this Olympics not withstanding.) Not once have I ever been taught that collaboration is better then winning. Although I understand that it can lead to winning. But, even in your traditional sports team scenarios there is always one person who wins more, the all-star, the most valuable, the water boy. So is that really colloboration if you are the all-star or is it getting other people to support you in winning?

It seems that as a nation we are trying to embrace a world economy through collaboration vs. our usual competition. I certainly can see the theoretical benefits of being able to utilize varying skills and resources to achieve an overarching global goal but the question remains how? How do we redefine the “est” as a key motivator? How do we change Biggest, Brightest, Best into something that does not reflect the inherent comparison?

A friend of mine recently sent an email that said “you don’t have to be the best, just do your best.”

There are many things I do in my life for enjoyment and not to be the "best." These are things we usually classify as "things I do for myself." I think I would like to take the idea of "things I do for myself" and spread that through all aspects of my life. Perhaps by applying the forgiveness of imperfection into work we can parlay a very self-centered idea into true collaboration.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

where is the love?


(1) Love may be beautiful, love may be bliss
But I only slept with you, because I was pissed.

(2) I thought that I could love no other
Until, that is, I met your brother.

(3) Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you.
But the roses are wilting, the violets are dead, the sugar bowl's empty and
so is your head.

(4) Of loving beauty you float with grace
If only you could hide your face.

(5) Kind, intelligent, loving and hot;
This describes everything you are not.

(6) I want to feel your sweet embrace
But don't take that paper bag off of your face.

(7) I love your smile, your face, and your eyes -
Damn, I'm good at telling lies!

(8) My darling, my lover, my beautiful wife:
Marrying you screwed up my life.

(9) I see your face when I am dreaming.
That's why I always wake up screaming.

(10) My love, you take my breath away.
What have you stepped in to smell this way?

(11) My feelings for you no words can tell,
Except for maybe "go to hell".

(12) What inspired this amorous rhyme?
Two parts vodka, one part lime.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

7 x 7

This post is the result of what I think may be the latest metamorphosis of a chain letter. Alas, I am a sucker for questions so here it goes:

1. Seven things to do before I die
1) Travel to every continent. 2) Write a memoir (not in the same vein as a million little pieces.) 3) Work for a charitable organization. 4) Dance the Tango. 5) Create amazing art. 6) Learn to speak a foreign language fluently. 7) Live in a home where I can watch the sunset.

2. Seven things I cannot do
1) Bungee jump. 2) Swim a mile (although I hope to learn). 3) Not have my family as a priority. 4) Tell a lie or keep a good secret. 5) Give up coffee. 6) Not laugh at life. 7) List 7 things, life is full of too many possibilities and there’s not much that is impossible.

3. Seven things that attract me to [Seattle]
1) The man who sings in the morning. 2) The city. 3)The mountains. 4) The water. 5) The friends. 6) The proximity to an international airport. 7) The food.

4. Seven things I say most often
1) Awesome. 2) Too Cool. 3) You know (or you know what I mean). 4) Too Funny. 5) That’s ridiculous. 6) Oh my god. 7) Geez.

5. Seven books (or series) that I love
1)To Kill a Mockingbird. 2) Anna Karenina (the book I am most likely to reread multiple times). 3) Grimm’s Fairytales. 4) Nickel and Dimed 5) Collier’s Encyclopedia (I loved these books growing up like I love the internet now) 6) Chick lit 7) E=MC2.

6.Seven movies that I watch over and over again (or would if I had the time)
1) Breakfast Club. 2) Terms of Endearment (always makes me cry.) 3) White Christmas. 4) The Full Monty (always makes me laugh). 5) The Graduate or almost anything with Dustin Hoffman except Ishtar and Outbreak. 6) Gross Pointe Blank. 7) Same time next year.

7. Seven people I want to join in, too.
This is where I always get stuck in the “chain letter” process. Everyone I know who blogs has already completed the chain. So, to my friends who don’t blog (Lynette, Denise, Syd, etc…) Start bloging and have this be your first entry. : )

Monday, January 16, 2006

three things and a good steak

I once had a conversation in which the question was asked "if you found yourself in an empty apartment what three things could you not do with out?" or put another way " what three things would you require to survive happily in an empty apartment?" The apartment element was crucial to the conversation since it allowed for the assumption that heat, pluming and electricity were available.

Most people answered with the usual "cocktail party approved" response; favorite music, books, a television perhaps. For me it came down to these three things:

A bed - while I am not opposed to sleeping on the floor I find that a mattress plays a big part in my attitude toward life in the morning.

A shower - again feeding into the fact that I am not a morning person and like my rituals.

and (drum roll please) ...

Internet Access!!!!!

This may not seem like an obvious choice however, I believe that everything you want can be found on the internet if you are willing to search. For example:

With the internet you can
be entertained
read your favorite book
buy furniture for your home
listen to music
communicate with friends and family
the list goes on and on ....

And, as of last night, I am now convinced that you can also eat off of the internet. Enter Omaha Steak Company

Last night we had steaks which were absolutely delicious. They were tender, full of flavor and delivered to my front door! Amazing.

Now, I wonder if I can find someone to clean my refrigerator on the internet? I will let you know what I find.