Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Local Coffee Haunt Closing...Update

This is a little thing and as I just said in another blog, I need to quit worrying about these things, but like a glass (or a few) of wine on the weekend, I NEED my morning coffee. I can't seem to make it strong enough at home, not like Carla could at any rate. Carla made a delectable iced coffee to which I am solidly addicted year 'round.

I have been sick for the last three days. Two days ago I didn't even get out of bed until I had to pick my children up from school. When I got up and tried to put something presentable on, I realized that I needed coffee and I was too damn sick to make it myself. Let me preface this by saying that, for better of for worse, I live in a neighborhood where people generally look nice when they go out in public. Because my coffee place is closed, I am now on this sick day forced to go to Tully's where all of the pretty people congregate like bikini clad beach beauties around a resort swimming pool.

It is 2:00 in the afternoon, I am thinking that I can scuttle in to Tully's and back out and nobody will notice that I am wearing pajama bottoms (a teenage habit that I do, on a good day, despise) and creaky old Birkenstocks with uncombed hair, sleep encrusted face, and dog bad breath. The good thing is that there was nobody that I actually knew in Tully's, there was, however, a plethora of beautiful people-all of whom I hope to never see again. This may be asking too much as it is mostly folks from the neighborhood who hang out there.

I go to all of this effort, looking like something the cat drug in to boot, and the coffee is not good. My drink wasn't made correctly and it was expensive. It was a whole dollar more than what I am used to paying and it wasn't even good. This sucks!

At this point I realize that I am either going to have to break my addictive habit or get used to drinking the bad coffee that I make at home. Until then I am going to bitch and moan about my favorite little neighborhood place closing down until it is out of my system.

This New Year...a BIG Why?

Is it just me or is there a funk in the air. O.K. so my house isn't worth more than a bag of chips and there is the rumor and the start of layoffs at my husband's company, my work hours have been cut, but it isn't just the sour economy that has got me down. Now, a Pollyanna I am not, but I am also not a natrually depressed person. I decided to take stock of my last month, the first month of the New Year and I realized that given what has happened during these last 30 days, it is no wonder that I am not in the highest of spirits and find myself asking..Why? Why? do all of these things have to happen.

A thirty-five year old mother of two dies suddenly in her sleep, a mother at my childrens' school is diagnosed with late stage breast cancer, yet another friend's husband has been layed off and she finds herself suddenly the only breadwinner in the family and her job not all that secure, bankruptcy and foreclosure looms on a once secure horizon, a family loses their three-year-old son to cancer, a friend tries to take his own life, a woman in my neighborhood succeeds in doing so, someone has walked out on his family, and another is contemplating it...these are the stories of my last thirty days. In light of all that is happening around me, my problems don't seem that big. Despite the economy, we are doing better than most, my children are healthy, and we have no plans to try and sell our house anytime soon.

Maybe it is that I am middle-aged. I have now officially lived long enough to have bad things happen around me, things that I used to hear my parents talk about when they were my age. I think that I have always resisted growing up and now I am really, for the last time, being forced to. These are not problems that can be solved overnight, if at all. If I am going to be there for the people in my life who really need me I can't afford to give in to my own petty depressories.

Cheers to the new year, may it only get better!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

I saw this movie today. I was a bit reluctant after all of the "hype," but I have to say that it has taken its proper place as one of my favorite movies of all time. There is something in it for everyone, action/adventure, drama, romance...The best part for me, at least, was that it didn't present India as a Hollywood image. India is a country that is near and dear to my heart. I have only visited it once, but look forward to returning when my children are older. It is all here in this movie, the beautiful, the bad, the ugly, and the great. India is many things and it would be fair to warn people that some of the ugliness will be hard for Americans to tolerate. I say this based on the conversation of the women seated behind me. They were "horrified" and did not count this movie as one of the best that they had ever seen. I guess that is an appropriate reaction for people who want to view the world through their own cutural lense, but it wasn't mine, so I will count this viewing as a great experience and a wonderful story.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Male and Female Brains are Different REALLY?

I kind of have to say "duh" to this one. In exploring blogger recently, I have run across some postings in which people seem surprised that a researcher would be suggesting brain differences between men and women. I thought that the notion that male and female brains were the same went out with the 1970's. The only person that I have heard purport that this research is still in fashion is Rush Limbaugh (I am forced to listen to him whenever I am at my parents house, it is not my personal choice). Other theories have quietly gone by the wayside as bad science, like eugenics programs which thankfully died a merciful death in the 1950's. The far right seems to have not caught up with recent science, however, and continues to trot out bad theories that have been put to rest decades ago.

Even the most cursory view of research on the internet is enough to convince even a casual observer that any theory stating that the brains of men and women are the same has long since been put out to pasture. If you don't believe me, here are a few links that you can check out for yourself:




Feminism today isn't about proving that men and women think and act the same. It is about the fair and equal treatment of women, especially in the workforce and legal system. The brains of men and women are indeed very different. Science is able to prove this more readily now due to the advent of such nifty inventions as Magnetic Resonance Imaging and a willingness to study babies. Even a decade ago, babies considered to be useless to the scientific process, were rarely studied. Research on brain and behavior in babies is invaluable as social and environmental factors have not yet affected behavior. For more information on the world of baby research:

How much longer will people remain surprised at the brain differences between men and women? In what ways will these differences be used to better keep women in their place?

"Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings," Cheris Kramarae

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Local Coffee Haunt...Closing

It is with great sadness that I post this entry. We have a small coffee "hut" in our neighborhood and I just found out that they are closing. The best thing about this coffee hut is the barrista, Carla. Not only does she make great coffee, she is always ready to talk about local and world events, her grandchild, my children... just about anything. She is a real touchstone for our neighborhood. I have heard that Starbucks will be opening a coffee bar where the hut once stood. This saddens me even more as I live in an area where gentrification is the norm and the coffee hut was one thing that was eccentric and communal. I have been getting my coffee there for almost a decade. I guess that change must come, I am saddened by the communal loss that will come with it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

First They Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892-1984)

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,habe ich geschwiegen;ich war ja kein Kommunist.
Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten,habe ich geschwiegen;ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.
Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,habe ich nicht protestiert;ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.
Als sie die Juden holten,habe ich geschwiegen;ich war ja kein Jude.
Als sie mich holten,gab es keinen mehr, der protestieren konnte.

When the Nazis came for the communists,I remained silent;I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,I remained silent;I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,I did not speak out;I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,I remained silent;I was not a Jew.
When they came for me,there was no one left to speak out.

For a New Citizen of These United States, by Li-Young Lee, (1957-)

Forgive me for thinking I saw
the irregular postage stamp of death;
a black mothe the size of my left
thumbnail is all I've trapped in the damask.
There is no need for alarm. And

there is no need for sadness, if
the rain at the window now reminds you
of nothing; not even of that
parlor, long like a nave, where cloud-shadow,
continually confused the light. In flight,
leaf-throng and, later, soldiers and
flags deepened those windows to submarine.

But you don't remember, I know,
so I won't mention that house where Chung hid,
Lin wizened, you languished, and Ming-
Ming hush-hushed us with small song. And since you
don't recall the missionary
bells chiming the hour, or those words whose sounds
alone exhaust the heart-garden,
heaven, amen-I'll mention none of it.

After all, it was just our life,
merely years in a book of years. It was
1960, and we stood with
the other families on a crowded
railroad platform. The trains came, then
the rains, and then we got separated.
And in the interval between
familiar faces, events occurred, which
one of us faithfully pencilled
in a day-book bound by a rubber band.

But birds, as you say, fly forward.
So I won't show you letters and the shawl
I've so meaninglessly preserved.
And I won't hum along, if you don't , when
our mothers sing Nights in Shanghai.
I won't, each Spring, each time I smell lilac,
recall my mohter, patinently
stitiching money inside my coat lining
if you don't remember your mother
preparing for your own escape,

After all, it was only our
life, our life and its forgetting.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Harold and Maude

This remains my favorite movie of all time. I just love the contradictions, he is young and hates life, she is old and in love with it, what she views as a free for all, he views as stealing, his mother wants him to settle down, he wants to settle for an old woman, his uncle preaches war, and he can only see peace. Cat Stevens was still normal, so the soundtrack is great, circa 1971. I love this movie. It is rated in the top 46 for humor. It is in the top one as my favorite.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Burning Snow by, Myself

“We shouldn’t be here,” Debbie leaned close and whispered into Ivan’s ear. “It feels so clandestine, so wrong, “ Debbie laughed wickedly as she shrugged out of her faux fur jacket, scarf, and gloves. Ivan reached forward to smooth down her hair that sprung up when Debbie snapped off her cap. “Champagne my darling,” Ivan handed her a flute of sparkling champagne. “My, my do you get paid to drink on the job?” “This bottle was just going to waste sitting in the back of my refrigerator, I guess that I was just looking for a special occasion to open it.” Debbie raised her eyebrows at Ivan as she took a sip, “And this is special because??” “Because the economy sucks, I don’t know if I will meet my commission this year, and I have to sit in this damn office all day because I am the only broker with an SUV and thus the only one who could make it to work on a snow day.” “That doesn’t sound special.” “Maybe I just wanted to share it with you.” Ivan grabbed Debbie around the waist and planted a hard kiss on her mouth. “Just a minute, just a minute, this romance in the work place stuff is new to me. What if someone I know or you know stops by today and wants to see a lot?” Ivan grinned lasciviously before grabbing her again and kissing her on the neck. He started undoing the buttons of Debbie’s blouse. “There is no school today, everyone is home with their little ones. Who would risk life and limb to come in today and tour vacant lots that they can’t even see?” Debbie gently moved Ivan’s hand away from her blouse. She took another sip of champagne as she raucously pirouetted around the show room.

Ivan watched, amused. This love affair was everything he could have hoped for. It helped that Debbie was married like him. Ivan had vowed long ago to quit having affairs with single women, they all ended up wanted more than he was willing or able to give. Outside the snow continued to fall in graceful sheets across the empty housing development. Ivan didn’t want to look at the empty lots for long. Only one lot out of thirty had sold. Prior to this economic downturn, Ivan had hoped that the sales from this development would be enough to carry him for the next couple of years. Enough of the negativity now, Ivan told himself. Flashing his newly whitened teeth, he advanced confidently towards Debbie and took her in his arms. She smelled of designer perfume and all things perfect. Like an old married couple, they stood, arms and waists entwined, sipping champagne and watching the crisp snow fall from the grey sky. Ivan started kissing Debbie’s ear, slowly this time, working his way down her neck. She responded, draining her flute of champagne and returning his kisses. “Oh look, a family.” There they were, a happy family of four, sledding on the hill outside of Debbie and Ivan’s love nest. Debbie laughed loudly, one of the children turned and peered intently through the showroom office window. “It looks like we have an audience,” Ivan joked. Ivan and Debbie waved at the child who scampered quickly back to the sledding hill. Ivan took Debbie’s hand and led her into the back room of the small building, a storage area of sorts for real estate signs and building supplies.

“Oh you shouldn’t have!” Debbie exclaimed when she saw the two sleeping bags and fluffy pillows laid out on the floor. She laid down on the soft bedding and pulled Ivan on top of her. As it always had been, their lovemaking quickly became passionate, Debbie could feel the heat, like fire, scorching her naked body. Debbie felt delirious, she thought she saw a shadow outside the window. Ivan’s body was like fire on top of her. She arched and tried to shake free. The shadow in the window came closer. A fist broke the glass. Debbie felt like she was suffocating. She tried in vain to move Ivan. He was passed out, dead to the world. Debbie felt dizzy and unbalanced, what was in that champagne? The flames where coming closer, invading their love sanctuary. Debbie grabbed a sleeping bag to cover her naked body. She stumbled as she lurched towards the broken window, her one chance to reach safety. Sirens sounded in the distance. The shadow become more distinct, through her blurred vision. It was a woman wearing a huge ski parka. A fur trimmed hood surrounded her unrecognizable face. Like the grim reaper, she beckoned Debbie to come through the broken window. Debbie felt the glass cutting into her bare feet. She twisted and turned her sleeping bag covered body through the window frame. The parka-clad woman pulled her through the last part. “There is someone else inside,” Debbie whispered as she fell into the snow. She looked up, but the woman was gone. That was how the firefighters found her, partially covered, surrounded by blood, face down in the snow.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Knowing Your Age

As I head deeper into middle age I am more aware of the fact that I carry a mental-physical age around in my head that is not the age that I am. I used to hear of this notion, that people "stopped" at a certain age and I didn't understand it. Now that I am getting older, I understand it perfectly. I would put my mental-physical age at about 25. Sometimes I am shocked to look in the mirror and see what is reflected back at me. The face isn't too troublesome, but the full body look is downright depressing. It is not the body of the 25 year-old me and I am doubtful that I will ever see that body on myself again. Now don't get me wrong, I don't look "bad." In fact maybe I actually look good...for MY AGE. That's the clincher, when I was younger I could look "good" period, no disclaimer added.

I don't mean to be vain, but carrying around a mental-physical age that is decrepant from your real age has its drawbacks. For example, I can't just up and leave my job, confident that I will be able to get a new one. When I was 25 I had confidence and I wasn't used to disappointment, so I didn't anticipate it. Also my mind was sharper back then and I interviewed better than I would now. Now I am more blunt, not as idealistic, and mostly I am just plain tired and unable to utilize any emtional bandwidth towards shoveling bullshit in the professional realm and this makes searching for a new job ever so complicated. I don't like to shop, not that I ever really loved it, but I used to be able to cruise into a store, pull something off the rack in my size and style, and expect it to fit without ever tying it on. When I was younger, this strategy worked about 99% of the time. Now, even if a shop for a couple of hours and try everything on, I can still return home empty handed 99% of the time. Then there is the whole ma'am thing, I am still not used to it and it has been happening for years now. Sometimes I give short pause and look around a bit, is that "Here you are ma'am" or "Excuse me ma'am" really meant for me! This is particularly bothersome when it is said by a good looking young man who may actually be young enough to be my son.

It is good for me to write about this. This is the first step on a long psychological progression in which I will slowly match my mental-physical age with my true age and cease to give myself heart failure when I look in a full-length mirror. My other choice is to carry on with the rest of my life thinking and acting like a twentysomething while looking like an ageing fool.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Crazy Drivers

I was almost hit by a crazy driver tonight. While I am not thankful for this scary moment, I am thankful that the brakes in my car work so well. It is a dark and very rainy night here in the Seattle area, it is also windy. I was driving five children (my three and an additional two) to an event in this nasty weather and trying to be extra cautious. A car pulled out of a parking lot on my left, crossed two lanes of traffic, entered the median turn lane and began accelerating, using the median turn lane as a merge lane (like you would do when merging to get on the freeway). I was parallel to the car when this started and I thought that surely the fool would stop, seeing as how I had the right of way and was right beside them in plain view (there was enough of a distance to put me far out of any blind spot). But, no, the turn lane came to an end and the fool starting to merge right into my car! I was shaken, but not hit, rattled, but no one was hurt.

A few weeks ago I read a blog entry on my friend Snowflake's blog, she and her mother were hit by a drunk driver at around lunch time one day. Thankfully no one was badly injured. In my case I don't know if the person that I had to contend with was drunk or stupid. In the end if there is a serious accident, does it really matter? This got me thinking about all of the near misses on the roadways every day. It also got me thinking about cars and drivers and how it is amazing that there aren't more accidents. When all is said and done, it is truly a miracle that most of us get from one destination to another in our cars without getting hit by a drunkard or an idiot. I am thankful tonight for good brakes, a quick reaction, and a near miss being a miss.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dance, Dance, Dance

All three of my girls take ballet. One of my daughters in particular has recently been inspired by this dancer, Lindsi Dec, a principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet. Who knows, maybe this well be one of my kids in the future (not likely if they have inherited my coordination and balance or lack thereof).

Monday, January 5, 2009

Polar Bear Swim 2009

The bold, the brave, or the very foolish-I can't decide. New Year's "Polar Bears" Lake Wenatchee 2009.

Alicia Keys and Jack White - 007 Quantum of Solace osong

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Years Resolutions

I have never been one for making "resolutions" I prefer to call them "goals" maybe that is just another name for resolution in disguse. It just seems to me that goals are more obtainable than resolutions. When I mentally make a resolution it is usually something quite impossible for me to obtain such as, "I will be a nicer person." Almost immediately after making such a resolution I find myself on the road with an idiot driver and the "nicer person" no longer exits. It is sad that it takes that little to make me not nice. To my credit, I am trying to get better. Driving with kids in the car is a great anecdote for any foul words that might otherwise come out of my mouth.

Back to the resolutions and goals thing, when I make a goal it is usually something that I can actually do like, learn how to blog. That was a goal that I set for myself last January and here I am, a year later, happily blogging away. Goals seem to be more doable, I just need the steps, I don't have to try and put the energy into changing some great personal failing within myself. That would take longer than one year to tackle and may even take a lifetime. So for this year I have set some goals, humble as they may be. Some are short-term and some are long-term. I don't know if I will get to them all, but the list has been created with trying in mind, so here they are:

1) Try to enjoy my children more.
2) Find time to write more so that I can get better at it.
3) Plan a unique family vacation.
4) Make sure that my oldest daughter gets to go to the local humane society camp this summer (I miss the deadline every year).
5) Visit more local wineries (my main goal being Maison de Padgett in Zillah, WA, very interesting wines and ports, can't wait to try more)!
6) Make a small career transition, something needs to change and it needs to happen this year.
7) Continue to work out on a regular basis for both my mental and physical well-being.
8) Listen to that voice inside my head when a friend is calling out for help, but trying to pretend that she isn't.
9) Remember that all things have a season and that there is a time and purpose to all things under heaven.
10) Stop fighting my hair, it is what it is and I can't do a damn thing about it!

Happy 2009!!!