Archive for January, 2008

30
Jan
08

litter bug

Today, I witnessed something that made me very angry.  I was stopped at a stoplight on Denny Way when a car ahead of me opened their passenger door and set a soda can on the road. The light turned green and they proceeded to drive off. Seriously? I still can’t believe I saw it. It’s bad enough they didn’t recycle the can; but to just litter it in broad daylight.  Have they no shame? I hope they slice their finger off the next time they open a pop can.   

Since I’m on the topic of littering, I’d like to bring up another pet peeve of mine. It is not ok to throw your cigarette butts on the ground; you are littering. Please stop doing it.  Every year, an estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered wordwide. Not only is it visually unappealing, it’s also very toxic. The cigarette butts are washed into the storm drains and into our water system where they quickly release their Arsenic, Acetone, Lead, Formaldehyde, Toluene, Butane, Cadmium, Ammonia and Benzene. This is the same water we drink. The same water that our fish and marine life live in. And the same water that your kids swim in at the beach.  Stop being lazy, trashy and irresponsible and find a garbage can.

30
Jan
08

scrapbooking

I always have great intentions to scrapbook, but never make time for it. This is the most unique and beautiful scrapbook I have ever seen. Great job Stephanie!

29
Jan
08

get your mind out of the gutter

Last weekend, my sister (age 23) and my step dad (age 44) had an interesting encounter. I thought I’d share their story.

My mom was out of town and so they went out to have a couple drinks and keep each other company. This is not uncommon. If you live on Bainbridge Island, you’ve probably seen them at The Harbor Pub with their backgammon board – drinking and playing a friendly game.

Last Friday night, they decided to mix it up and bring SORRY along with the backgammon board (you remember that board game right?). It’s an unusual combination I’ll admit, but that’s what they decided on. The Harbor Pub was too crowded, so they decided to try somewhere else. They ended up at a little Mexican restaurant called La Cantina where they ordered drinks and began the competition. While they were there, patrons stopped by their table commenting on the games and rooting on their favorite player. Everyone was a tinge jealous that they hadn’t thought to bring a game too. What a great idea; so much fun!

A couple hours later, a woman approached the table and was ecstatic to see that Stan (I call my sister Stan) and John were playing SORRY. She explained that she used to play this with her late husband frequently; they loved SORRY. She stood there and observed for an unusually long time – a little awkward for Stan and John, but whatever. Soon, she starts rooting for Stan like they were BFF. Finally, she decides it’s time to leave says, “Good luck honey; I hope you win. A little friendly competition is always good. And don’t worry if you don’t win. The best part about losing is the makeup sex.”

Ew, ew, ew (nothing against you John). Why can’t a young woman be out in public with an older man without everyone assuming they are a couple? Ladies, I know you can relate – you’re at lunch with your dad or boss and older women are giving you stink-eye left and right because they think you’re a gold digger and he’s a pervert.

Pull it together people and get your mind out of the gutter. Platonic and familial relationships still exist. Don’t be so quick to judge.

27
Jan
08

today, i’m thankful for…

Today I’m thankful for…

  •  Stacy and Andre. They allow me to treat their home like a restaurant and laundry mat. I’m thankful for their friendship and generosity.
  • My old pal Janelle who brought wine and tulips last night. Old friends are important and I’m thankful that we’ve kept close.
  • A quick call from my sis to tell me I was being ridiculous. I’m thankful for her sincerity and honesty.
  • 10 cups of coffee, a yummy brunch and three hours of conversation with Shelby. I miss seeing her every day, but I’m thankful we were able to catch up this morning in Ballard.
  • My temperamental friend, the sun, who was gracious enough to make an appearance in Seattle today. I’m thankful for her rays and cheery disposition.
  • My boyfriend who told me today that I make him proud. I’m thankful for his constant support and words of encouragement.

24
Jan
08

claiming the cougs

I didn’t go to Washington State University and I didn’t go to the University of Washington. So technically, I’m not a Cougar nor am I Husky. For the record, I’m actually a Torero; I went to the University of San Diego (I know, lame mascot).

I don’t hate the Huskies or anything crazy like that; many of my close friends are Huskies. In fact, until a couple years ago I was completely neutral on the topic. But there have been a few turning points, and I’m no longer neutral.

The first whammy against UW occurred when they stopped their Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) with Washington Community Colleges. This program guarantees transferred credits and enrollment at any state university for residents completing their associate’s degree and earning a 2.75 GPA at a Washington Community College. It’s an important program for students who can’t afford a 4-year university. UW discontinued the DTA in 2004 and they are the only state university in Washington that has eliminated this program. They claimed it was due to over-enrollment so instead of increasing the GPA requirement, they eliminated the program all together. They would rather enroll students who will pay tuition for 4-5 years. This decision was socially irresponsible and it discriminates against low-income and minority students.

The second whammy against UW was their recent request for $150 million from King County taxpayers to renovate their stadium. This request is ludicrous. Why would we spend public funds on this? Traditionally, university stadiums have not been funded by taxes. Why start now? Can’t think of anything better to do with $150 million? Uh, I don’t think so. WSU is currently undergoing a similar renovation to their football stadium. The Martin Stadium renovation is estimated at $70 million and is being funded by student fees, extra fees on tickets, donations and income from leases on new suites and premium suites. The way it should be.

The last whammy against UW isn’t actually a whammy against UW, but rather a bonus for WSU. I admire the camaraderie and solidarity that I see between Coug fans. WSU has half the enrollment of UW – so naturally they are going to have fewer fans – but their fans are fierce! Cougs are hardcore fans for life. It probably has to do with being stuck in Pullman for years with nothing else to do. There is something about rooting for the underdog that makes me embrace WSU.

And so, I’m publicly claiming the Cougs!

22
Jan
08

sushi scare

Oh no. A recent test in NYC concluded that fresh tuna has dangerously high levels of mercury. It’s so high, that the FDA could take legal action to remove bluefin tuna from the market.

This is the announcement I’ve been dreading. I knew it was coming; it was only inevitable after the warning on canned tuna. This is very scary for those of us who eat sushi on a regular basis. Tekka maki and spicy tuna rolls are amongst my favorites.

22
Jan
08

two accomplishments

Great News! Today my blog was added to CitizenRain under their “scene” section and I also hit a new record views. Thanks for reading and commenting!

21
Jan
08

buy local

I’m sure you’ve heard all of the talk and debate about how far our food travels, buying locally and supporting local farmers. I won’t pretend to be an expert, because I’m not. But I went to Pike Place Market on Sunday and purchased everything that I possibly could for our dinner that night. The market was bustling with tourists and locals alike.  Everyone was marveling at the vibrant produce and fresh seafood. I left with a bag full of groceries and a smile on my face.

While I don’t have the time or the money to ‘buy local” everyday, it was delicious and made me appreciate our dinner even more. This summer, I hope to check out the local Farmers Markets in Ballard, Fremont and Magnolia.   

Derek took a few pictures while we were there.

produce

21
Jan
08

loss and life

Saturday – Part One

Saturday morning Derek and I found out that a friend had passed away. While it wasn’t unexpected, it certainly wasn’t expected. Is it ever expected?  To expect it, would be to accept it. And despite my brain’s attempts to warn me, I wasn’t able to force my heart to follow. And so it came as a surprise; as all deaths do.   

He had been sick for a very long time. Three months ago he made a decision to stop taking his medication.  At first, I didn’t understand his decision.  I wanted him to hold on. Keep trying. Cling to his life. But then he sent out an email explaining it. And now I understand. His quality of life had reached an unacceptable low. He was tired of fighting for a body that would never heal. Tired of hospital stays and blood counts. Tired of waiting for test results.  Finally, he is able to rest.

It is grossly unfair and my heart goes out to his family.  I’m deeply sorry for their loss.

 Saturday – Part Two

Saturday afternoon, we made the trek to Steilacoom to catch the Anderson Island ferry for my great uncle’s 80th surprise birthday party.  I don’t know this uncle very well, but my mom’s family made it a priority to be there. So I went. 

As we pulled up to the ferry terminal, it quickly became apparent that something was not right. The ferry was docked, but it was being blocked by a stopped train.  We got out of the car to investigate and we learned that a man had committed suicide 30 minutes earlier. He had sat down on the tracks and the train engineer could not stop the train in time.  Police and Amtrak officials bolted around the crime scene. Passengers inside the train were on their feet, restless. The body was still lying on the ground near the tracks – it was covered by a black tarp.  It was surreal; I felt like I was watching a scene out of a movie. 

 Saturday – Part Three

We finally arrived at the surprise party. It was an amazing turnout; at least 125 people came to celebrate with our 80 year-old Uncle Dick. He was remarkable. He greeted everyone by name. He laughed. He told stories. He was thrilled to be surrounded by so many of his friends and family.

When it was time sing the birthday song, Uncle Dick made a quick impromptu speech.  He thanked everyone for coming and recognized his children for organizing the surprise party. Then he said something that put my day in perspective and helped to renew my focus.  He said, “This community center usually only sees a crowd this big when there is a funeral. I’m deeply thankful and extremely blessed that all of you came out here while I’m still around to enjoy you. To celebrate my life rather than to mourn my death.  While it is important we recognize the dead, it’s just as important to celebrate the living. I love you all!”

At that point, his kids drove-up in his birthday present – a brand new tractor. He was elated.

17
Jan
08

eating for a cause

Today for lunch, a co-worker introduced me to a Seattle restaurant called FareStart. I hadn’t heard of it. The food was delicious, the service was spot-on, and the atmosphere was enjoyable.  The best part? You’re eating for a worthy cause.  

FareStart is an organization that provides job training and placement for homeless and disadvantaged people in our region.  The goal is to provide people with the knowledge and experience to live a self-sufficient life working in the food service industry. FareStart’s Adult program is 16 weeks of hands-on culinary training and classroom instruction, preparing graduates for jobs in the food industry. FareStart provides for each student’s housing, transportation, and medical needs, and students also receive assistance with goal setting, crisis management, life skills and job placement.  More than 85% of FareStart graduates are employed within 90 days of graduation. 

This is a wonderful program.  It empowers people to take control of their lives and provides them with the skills to do so.  Please check it out and support this organization; you won’t be sorry – plus the food is yummy.    

16
Jan
08

tired of Oprah

I know I’m going to get a lot of hate mail for this, but it must be said.  I am so tired of Oprah.  Isn’t everyone Oprahed-out yet? She’s on TV, satellite radio, movies, magazines, books…the list goes on and on. Everywhere you turn, there she is. Today, I heard she will be getting her own TV network called OWN.  Perfect; just what we need. 

My biggest problem with Oprah is that she gives advice on topics in which she has no experience or authority.  She frequently preaches about marriage and relationships, but has never been married. In fact, she’s been in and out of a relationship with an alleged unfaithful womanizer for years.  She often lectures about parenting and “America’s youth”, yet she has no children of her own.  No relevant experience. She gives advice on weight loss but has struggled with her own weight for years.   

On her show, she pretends to be level-headed and down to earth.  Ha – she is an imposter! This is a woman who takes her private jet from Chicago to California to get her eyebrows waxed. A woman who has fried chicken flown in from Seattle to Chicago.  A woman with a solid gold toilet.  A woman who hosts a “Legends Ball” and mandates that guests wear black or white, while she shows up in red.  She has lost touch with reality and can’t relate to the average person.   

The worst part is that Oprah has started a cult. Her fans follow her blindly. If she says she likes Spanx, stores immediately sell out. When she recommends a book, it becomes a bestseller.  She starts having Dr. Phil on her show, and now that idiot is famous. I honestly believe that if she announced she started snorting pancake mix, her fans would quickly follow and pancake mix would become impossible to find.  

I’m not belittling her success; she has worked hard and has done well for herself.  Do I respect her as a business woman? Yes. Am I impressed that she has built an empire out of nothing? Yes. Do I admire her ranking as one of the richest women in the world? Yes.  Am I tired of hearing about her? YES.

14
Jan
08

all in an apple pie

One of my favorite (and most embarrassing) rituals after a long night of drinking is a trip to McDonald’s for chicken nuggies.  Despite my hundreds of attempts to forgo the nuggies, I always end up there – usually in a cab.  I know it’s gross and I wouldn’t do it sober, but I can’t stay away from the nuggies when I’ve been drinking. It’s pretty standard for me to start thinking about and anticipating the nuggies around midnight.

Saturday, after a long night of drinking in Ballard, I found myself sitting in the drive-thru with my friend and sister.  We ordered and were anxiously awaiting our nuggies while we recapped the highlights of the night.  When we pulled up to the window, they handed us our food and informed us that the car in front of us had treated us to apple pies. Nuggies and apple pies – SCORE! We didn’t know the car in front of us, in fact we didn’t even notice what color it was. It was such an unexpected surprise. If you are out there reading this post, thank you for the pies; they were delicious.

The next day I started thinking about it more.  We should have bought pies for the car behind us. At the time I was too excited and too tipsy; it didn’t even occur to me.  I’ve been feeling badly about it and the only way to redeem myself is to pay it forward to an unsuspecting Seattleite. Stay tuned!

13
Jan
08

blame it on the rain

I have been particularly affected by the winter gloom lately. Last week was miserable. It was rainy, cold, windy and dark. Puddles, drizzle, sweaters and red noses followed me everywhere. On top of this, Derek returned to school and I’ve been feeling incredibly lonesome for him.  Double whammy.

Every year I fall into the same trap. I expect winter to be over after the holidays.  It’s a trick.  For those of you who are familiar with Seattle weather, you know that this will last well into April. It’s not the rain that bothers me; it’s the lack of sunlight.  Between the short days and the constant cloud cover, Seattleites can go weeks without seeing the sun.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Pacific Northwest and I’m fully aware that all of this rain feeds the lush, fresh, clean city that I adore.  So, I understand it’s for a good cause.  And in the end, it all works out because Seattle has beautiful summers. Do you think we would appreciate them as much if we didn’t endure nine months of gloom and gray? If we didn’t EARN them?

But I digress, back to this week. The weather and darkness really had me down in the dumps.  I wanted to cave-out in my apartment, curled up with a blanket all week (which is fine to do occasionally, but probably not advisable for four months). Just when I had given up all hope, Seattle redeemed herself.  Today (Sunday) was so gorgeous. The sky was blue, the sun was bright, and the air was crisp.  Finally!

My advice for getting through the rest of the winter: 1) Appreciate and make the most of the days when we have sun.  2) Try to remember that summer WILL return, it always does. 3) And lastly, be sure to schedule a vacation somewhere warm in February or March – trust me. 

10
Jan
08

happy birthday mom

Today is my mom’s birthday; can you guess how old she is? I bet you can’t!

Ten tidbits about my mom:

10. Two years ago she decided that she didn’t like her name, so she made everyone call her Kat for two weeks. It didn’t stick, but it was really funny.

9. She is one of the most physically fit people I know. She works out all the time. You should see the guns on that woman! Actually, she’s also a certified personal trainer. She took weekend classes in her “spare time”.

8. She gives great book recommendations. There has only been one that I didn’t like and I think we all know what that was.

7. She LOVES Mariah Carey’s Christmas CD.

6. When she actually finds the time to mosaic – she creates intricate mirrors, bistro tables, candle holders, etc. I wish she would make more time for this.

5. Every spring she treats Kristen and me to a girls weekend – so we can warm up and see the sun. I love this tradition and look forward to it every year.

4. If you spend an afternoon with her, you are likely to hear one of these phrases come flying out of her mouth: Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. Adios MF. Do you think I just fell off the turnip truck? That’s just asinine! Are you out of your mind? 

3. My mom is a hard worker; she succeeds at anything she sets out to do.

2. When we were growing up, she didn’t make the common mistake of trying to be our friend. She was always the mom. Now that I’m an adult, we are friends.

1. Adjectives to describe her: supportive, successful, assertive, affectionate, generous, witty. I hope some of her mom-qualities will rub off on me so that someday I’m all these things to my children.

Happy Birthday Big Mama – hope you are having a great day! I can’t wait to celebrate with you.

And Go Seahawks!

mom-and-me.jpg

09
Jan
08

let’s get physical

Derek recently stumbled across a website that tells you the #1 song in the US on the day you were born. FUN, right? Derek entered his birthday and his #1 was “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. I immediately start reading into this; it makes perfect sense. Those of you who know Derek know he’s a go-getter, he’s slightly competitive, he’s upbeat and has a lot of energy. It’s perfect.

 

At this point, I can hardly wait to hear what my #1 is. I’m certain it will be a legendary song. A song that people will appreciate for generations. A song that will provide insight and meaning into my personality. A song that shaped the person I am today.

 

Boy, was I wrong. My song was “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John. I have to admit, I was really disappointed (nothing personal Olivia). What could this possibly infer about my personality? Lame. But, being the optimist that I am, I checked to see my #1 the day I turned 18 – maybe this would be more representative of me. After all, turning 18 is the beginning of adulthood. This #1 was bound to be better.

 

Nope, wrong again. “Baby one more time” by Britney Spears. Lame. Lame. Lame. At this point, I’m over it. Clearly Derek just lucked out. Then I started thinking about the similarities between the two songs. Both songs are centered around men. The lyrics plead with men to give them what they need. They are obsessive and slightly neurotic. This isn’t me! And then it dawned on me. Britney Spears is my age. Sure enough, her #1 was “Physical” too. I guess it does work – just not for me.

07
Jan
08

confession

I am officially infatuated with checking my blog stats. I think my coworkers would agree that it has become obsessive – I like to give them updates of my stats at least two times a day. I know it’s pointless and borderline neurotic but I love seeing the wordpress daily graph climb to new heights. WordPress allows you to see how many views you have, but unfortunately you can’t see who is viewing your blog.  It’s probably better that way.

I’m sure that the excitement will eventually wear off, but for right now it’s very exciting. Please keep viewing and commenting! I will post as often as possible to ensure fresh content.

07
Jan
08

five-day work week

I would like to know who I can thank for implementing the five-day work week. Were they stark-raving mad? They really thought five days of working and two days off sounded like a good idea? Now we’re stuck with them. There is no way we can change it now; we’re in too deep.  When are we supposed to do our chores? When are we supposed to pursue our personal projects and goals? Why not four-day work weeks? That seems much more reasonable to me. THANKS A LOT!

07
Jan
08

bill gates

This video was shown at CES this morning during Bill Gate’s keynote. It stars himself, Brian Williams, Steve Ballmer, Matthew McConaughey, Robbie Bach, Jay-Z, Bono, Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Jon Stewart, Kevin Turner, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Al Gore, Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie. It’s kinda funny.

06
Jan
08

a twist on first dances

This video made me laugh; I wish I would have thought of this!

06
Jan
08

introducing…sunday

If you had asked me four years ago what my least favorite day of the week was, without hesitation I would have said Sunday.  Like most college students, Sunday meant nursing a fierce hangover and trying to ignore the realization that the weekend was over. Despite my repeated good intentions to spread my homework throughout the weekend, I never could bring myself to accomplish much on Friday or Saturday.  Thus, when Sunday snuck up, I knew I would be studying late into the night.  If you’ve ever been in college, you know what I’m talking about.

Being the perfectionist I was (and still am), I put unnecessary pressure on myself to have perfect grades.  I constantly was plagued by a self-inflicted nagging bug that resided in the back of head. I should be doing my homework right now. I should be studying for that test. I should go to the library.  Unless I was on break, I never felt fully relaxed.  There was always something I should have been doing. Sunday was the bug’s favorite day.

Now that I’m out of school, I’ve managed to stomp out that nasty bug and I’ve acquired a whole new appreciation for Sundays. My new Sundays consist of a lazy morning, a walk in the market, a Seahawks game and perhaps a nap. A new recipe. Lots of reading. A g&t.  A cup of tea.  A bbq.  A game of bocce ball. I have reclaimed my Sundays and now they are my favorite day of the week (well, after Fridays of course)!




a blog for anyone, but mostly for me.