Tuesday, July 31, 2012

TP, thy chain has been yanked

In response to my last post of some stellar videos I got this reply ;

Anonymous said...
Good blog post, nice efforts. It couldn't appear to have been penned any better. Reading this article piece of writing reminds me about my old boss! He usually kept babbling about this. I will email this post to him. Pretty confident he will probably have a high-quality read. Appreciate your posting!
It is not clear to me if this was someone who is trying to be funny, sarcastic, mean or didn't actually read the post.  

The tone is nice, but the wording sounds like there should be a sales pitch or even an announcement that the commenter has some money in an account left by his uncle and he needs my help to get it out. "reading this article piece of writing" and "probably have a high-quality read" are the tipping points for me.  No one actually talks like that. 

Clearly, this doesn't matter.  I was reading this morning about the massive power outages in India and wondering how long it would take for trouble in that area of the world to impact our insulated daily life.  The idea of a whole country (or even 'just' 2/3 of it) being without power is the plot of a horror movie, or a doomed NBC tv show.   In those scenarios a gaggle of young people and perhaps Nicolas Cage set out to save the world.  Images of sports stadiums overgrown with vegetation aka Sleeping Beauty come to mind.  In reality, those areas are so typically devoid of greenery that they might simply be locked and avoided.  

In the summer, a sustained outage might be livable - if there was water, but I recall a long stretch without power in December of 2006, which according to my records was actually only 7 days - even though it has ballooned in tp folklore to a 10 day odyssey.  To repeat that event would be brutal.  It was cold, all the food went bad, it was DARK and thank heaven for friends in different neighborhoods with power so that the laundry situation was bearable.  Imagine an entire city in clothes that need ironing.  HORROR.

Monday, July 30, 2012


The Seattle Center Dale Chihuly exhibit.  Narrated (quietly) by me, but not expertly "there are yellow things, with red things coming out of it"  Things is the term that all experienced and engaging art critics use to describe what they see.

And, grammy in the kayak

"  Hello Dinner!"

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I'm getting about 3 comments a day from various spammers.  One in particular caught my eye because it is in Russian.  I was curious, so I translated it.  I'm not sure they totally understand the art of the 'sell', but I'm in!

We invite you to the social financial network MMM-2012 SP Mavrodi.
MMM-2011 has successfully worked with in January 2011, that is 18 months.
Now there is an opportunity to be at the forefront of a new project MMM-2012
especially for those who regretted that had not previously joined the MMM-2011.
We often put off things for later, start hunting tomorrow zarabatvat money, sports,
all procrastinate and put off, as here, the time flies, pyramid lives had entered, had received
profit, just sit down and think about whether you are ready to change their lives towards financial independence?
To be independent from the authorities, crises and vykidonov officials. Make up your mind.
And so.
There is a demand deposit of 30% per month and deposits of up to 75% per month.
Save more! Entered into our cell, and investing in a month, get 55% a month!
Terms check with your foreman after registration.
Every man for himself even decide whether or not to join the MMM-2012, it is your choice.
MMM-2012 is a pyramid scheme, founded on the social relationships of people, there is no single point of
funds are distributed among the participants. We have a lot!


I'm not sure what is worse, Putin or almost spotting this man's putin? What You Looking At?

Sally Ride and a genuine question

So, at the young age of 61 the first woman in space, Sally Ride died.  She was part of my youth and watching her break that barrier was important.  Of course at the time, I didn't know that it was remarkable and that she was doing something no woman had done (or been allowed to do) before.  To me, she was unique because she was on the news.  No one had told me that I couldn't do something because I was a girl.  She was a pioneer and a hero.  She was a champion for education and especially for girls in science. That's a hard sale these days.

Her obituary is causing some ripples because it ends with a simple statement that she leaves behind Tam Soandso, her partner of 27 years. She was GAY and we didn't know it. Gasp.

Some folks are up in arms that she was in the closet and did the gay community a disservice by not outing herself. I totally disagree.

Even though I think our society is served well by knowing that the gay community serves beside us in everything we do, I don't think that everyone who is gay has a responsibility to offer themselves up as a spokesperson.  Ms. Ride's calling was her family and education.  These are honorable causes.  From what I've read it sounds like her family and friends knew she was a lesbian.  That isn't closeted.  Sure, she didn't invite the media and the American people into her bedroom, but she also didn't advocate in the public sphere her stance on lots of issues.

I had a bit of a back and forth on a friends web page on this topic and I gracefully bowed out. I said that I understood where he was coming from but that everyone should have a choice to be vocal or not.  Then I let him have the last word.  After all, he was the one who felt betrayed and I'm just a soon to be middle aged, married lady.

I think our modern American world has lots of progress to make regarding our homosexual neighbors.  I understand that for some folks they may not know anyone who is gay (or don't know they know them) and they have been educated that being homosexual is a sin.  That carries a lot of weight for folks who use sin as a marker for how to live their lives.  Many people are adamant that GOD is calling this a sin.

I don't pretend to know what GOD says or thinks.  We have a nice little book that tells us what some men say GOD said or thought, but many of the items contained within that book are out of date in our modern world and are not followed to the letter by these folks either.  (I've mentioned this before.)  I can only do what in my heart feels like the right thing.

Sorry, I'm on a religious tangent and I wanted to go somewhere else.   My thought process of late has been trying to formulate a question to pose to the world at large about same-gender marriage that goes something like this:

The Washington State law (and upcoming ref 74) regarding same-sex unions does not require any church or religious organization to perform same-sex unions.  Therefore they are allowed to opt out of participating in these unions and can express their beliefs for their congregants anyway they like.

If we take religious arguments, the bible, and God off the table for reasons to oppose same-sex unions, what are the other arguments against it?

I'm interested in hearing a non-religious based answer.  I like religion, I enjoy participating in church and I am not trying to discount that some people feel adamantly that God is against this.  However, we don't limit the rights of others because they don't belong to our church, any church, or heavens to pete don't believe in church at all.   We do inflict Christmas on non-believers but Rudolf is so cute.. you know they like it.

I doubt I'm ever going to change the mind of anyone, but I am interested in hearing a genuine argument that isn't based on religion - especially in a country founded on religious freedom.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Oh my it has been a busy week.

Last Friday we gathered up our picnic supplies and went to see the Beach Boys perform live at the Chateau St. Michelle winery.  It was a fun summer evening.

The next morning we were up bright and early to have breakfast with friends and then head to the bridal shower of one of the many millions of cousins on Jason's side of the family.   It was a nice event with hilarious games.  The first was a team event where two folks working silently and with only one hand each had to wrap a package at the direction of a 'caller'.  My team creamed the competition, mostly because Marty (the Boeing Exec) and I (the control freak) simply ignored our caller and wrapped up our muffin tin, measuring cups and spatulas into a "pretty" package.   Our supply kit didn't contain a pair of scissors like everyone else's, which I think may have worked to our advantage.    Ripping the paper was much faster than cutting it.

The weather was great and cousin Teresa brought her bouncy house swimming pool and Lucy played outside all day.  She stopped to eat for a brief moment but had a blast stomping around in the pool.  Thankfully there weren't too many bigger kids as they would have made the pool part more dangerous as they slid down the inflatable slides.

We got home around 6pm and had to wake Lucy up to get her inside, feed her dinner and do a bath.  She them conked out.

She was still dragging a bit Sunday and was a quiet angel during church. She took a 2 1/2  nap and was fresh and fun for our dinner guests Sunday night.

Monday it was a get up and get moving kind of day.  I had a 9:00 flight to San Jose. Jason was on solo daddy duty until Wednesday night and thankfully Lucy did not get sick or set the house on fire this time.  She is trouble.  Being away is fun and I get a lot of work done while I'm there but home is better.

Although, the Northern California Firefigher Olympics were being held at my hotel.  MAN CANDY EVERYWHERE!!!   The pool area was converted into a large pool party with a generous bar, a band and lots of beefy boys (and girls.)  It's a pretty impressive event with these heroes competing in everything from surfing to cycling, baseball, power lifting, climbing, running and of course getting away from the crazy lady traveling on business.  Sorry, no photos.

I arrived hope Wednesday night and was up again bright and early Thursday to don my bestest business gear for a regional meeting at Microsoft.  (Swanky digs!)  Once the meeting was over I was on a 2 hour conference call then took some lost time to meet the bride from the above party at Macy's to help her register.

When we were done it was off to Issaquah for the Summer concert events at Pine Lake Park.  It was Lucy's first summer concert and she did really well, even though we kept her up well beyond her latest bedtime of 7:30.

Today, mom arrives for a weekend of family fun.  Hopefully the rain will stop as we are planning on heading up to Anacortes to do a little boating.  It doesn't have to be 80, but not raining would be ideal.

After this weekend I think I might curl up into a ball and sleep for a week.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Word Verification Feature

After a couple mild mentions of displeasure over the use of the word verification feature on the comments section of this blog, I have removed it.  I too find having to interpret non-words to validate that I am a human and not some robot posting ads for penis enlargement or moving companies very irritating.

I still use "Comment Moderation" which allows me to review and approve any incoming comment before it is posted.  I don't mind reviewing the massive influx of comments to my blog.  (The word massive is sarcasm.)

Today I rejected a comment from someone selling Louis Vuitton on their very reputable and 100% legitimate website.  Funny thing though they left their comment on a blog post from 2009.  I'm not sure how effective this brand of spam marketing is.  I only have nine subscribers to the blog and while I'm sure there are hundreds more who read this regularly who haven't subscribed I doubt that anyone but me ever takes the time to reread my witty and meaningful posts.

Because of the comment, I did go to see what the blog post was about.  Generally, these spam advertisers find some key word in the blog that relates to what they are selling.  For example, when I posted a video of the cutest child in the entire world moving our furniture through our kitchen and called it "Moving Day" I received comments from a moving company in Cincinnati.  The words matched, but the context did not.   This particular post was about my anxiety over the wedding guest list.  There were no references to upscale leather goods for trendy ladies who like European brands.

I read the post and then had a laugh over what I think is probably the best comment ever left on one of my blog posts.  Sure you could argue that Peter's Raccoon Friend is also not human and shouldn't be allowed to leave comments, but I think PRF is brilliant and witty.  I miss that little furry bastard and those wonderful comments.  My guess is that either PRF got married and is too busy in a happy union to invent dark and sarcastic replies to the blog, or I'm boring as shit now that all I ever talk about is that damned kid.  Either way, in honor of a wonderful moment in this blog I invite you to skim the blog and then enjoy Peter's Raccoon Friend in all of his finest.  Best Comment Ever

"Swim" time

Monday, July 09, 2012

A huge mess

Lucy and I were hanging out on the front porch "playing with bubbles."  She wouldn't let me hold the bubble gun and then fixated on the tub with the bubble solution.

Let the zany antics of a 16 month old ensue.


the tile
We are investing in our new(ish) house by giving the kitchen a snazzy upgrade.  Our builder grade tile 'granite' counter tops will be replaced with this pretty quartz and the 'perfectly fine' but off center and (frankly) boring back splash will be replaced with a custom designed tile treatment.

The counter tops will be dramatic, the colors are hard to see in this picture but the quartz has a dark overall appearance, with blue, cream and clear bits.  It has sparkle and we think it will be very dramatic.

To keep from turning our kitchen into a modern marvel and to blend with the existing cabinets, which are perfection and the wall color we have chosen a cream subway tile.  To zip up the back splash we will be doing a band around the perimeter of one tile of the elongated stainless tile, then three strips of that organic looking 'stone' and then topped with another band of the stainless.

the counter top material

The band will be topped with the subway tile and where there are edges that are transitions to drywall, such as where they don't meet an upper cabinet, the subway tile will have a bull-nose edge for a nice transition.

Our builder kitchen has pretty thick tile as the back splash and where it "ends" it is an ugly transition.  The bull-nose effect will make it look far more polished and high end.

We've seen a few other kitchens in the neighborhood and while our plan is to live in this house for the long haul we do think that the change will help at re-sale time.

The process of designing a new look is daunting, especially when there are two people to please, but with the help of the tile specialist it only took about an hour and a half to narrow down the selection that she pulled and then design the layout.

Of course we selected our counter top surface first.  We were originally looking at granite, as that is THE material that everyone expects, but we were drawn to the depth and sparkle of the quartz.  Honestly, when Jason first said quartz I was thinking of a terrible 70's looking material, but the stuff we looked at was very impressive.   Unlike granite we won't have to seal it and unlike marble we don't have to worry about stains.

I hope I love it as much when it is installed as I do with the sample.    The installation was supposed to start today, but a delay with one of the materials has pushed us back and due to vacations and business travel we aren't scheduled to start until August 20th.   Feel free to invite us over for dinner that week.  We'll be without a kitchen for 7 days.

There will be pictures of the before, during and after - once there is an after.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Other exciting baby stuff

Lucy is pacifier free!  We were worried that she would set her room on fire when the pacifier wasn't presented at bedtime, but alas she simply rolled over and went to sleep.

No fan fair, no tears, no drama.

All that worrying and planning on how to deal with it, for nothing.  Silly parents.

Here's her saying "banana"

Happy 4th of July

Lucy & her dad at the park

Holding the 4th of July on a Wednesday kind of sucks for those of us who are hoarding our vacation time.

We didn't have anything spectacular planned so our day was mostly about hanging out.  We celebrated by feasting on all the American meats we could work into mealtimes.  Fresh bacon with our eggs and hash browns started our day.  I bought 'sale' bacon and it was fine, but I'm not a fan of thin bacon.  I want to have to gnaw at it.  However, unless something really flips off the deep end, all bacon is worthy of cooking and eating.

While Lucy took her 2 1/2 hour nap (yeah!!!!) Jas and I dined on a fabulous lunch of all-beef angus hot dogs.  I don't know if the angus part makes them any better for you, but every once in a while a good dog is an enjoyable meal.  Unlike the $1.50 dogs at Costco the homemade dog does not 'repeat' on me.  Thank you for a burp free afternoon.

Much much later in our day after Lucy retired to her cozy room to sleep through the fireworks Jason and I pulled out the grill and had burgers. 

The weather turned out to be stunning so we spent time outside playing.  We explored a nearby park that has a toddler sized climbing structure and slides as well as the big kid structure.  Our girl could have lived her whole life without seeing the toddler structure, as the call of the 5 foot high drops and twisty slides were too much for her to resist.  Thankfully they make these things big enough for a mommy to climb as well.  We were on hyper-life safety alert, but giving her clearance to explore.  She has her own way of doing things and it is clear that she does NOT want help with everything.  Sometimes, when you get too close she pulls away with a full body jerk.   I know it's all part of her growing up and I don't mind because she reaches for help when she needs it and I'm happy to be the steady hand she expects.

Later in the afternoon we pulled out the sprinkler and Lucy happily ran in and out of the water until she was literally blue.  You know its a good day when you go from your swimsuit to your princess pajamas. 

We knew we were going to miss the fireworks and didn't really mind.  Lucy needs her beauty sleep.  However, we have a nearby neighbor who put on a show and It looked like the big fireworks to us.  I'm sure this guy spent well over $1000 on explosives, it was very impressive.  

We did get to watch a great show the night before at Emerald Downs.  My friend Lori hosts an event there for her clients.  She rents a private view room and sponsors a rather tasty buffet dinner.  We finagled an invitation to the event for Doug & Chelsey using the excuse that they are nice people, but it also turns out that Doug is now working with the spouse person of one of Lori's clients.  Small world.    Tuesday after work we carpooled to Auburn to hang out.  The event was nice, the boys enjoyed the horse racing.  I enjoyed their company and chatting it up with some of my former MegaBankers whom Lori and I know.

The Emerald Downs 3rd of July day is very well attended by non-party people too and the reason is they have a superb fireworks show.  Not only were we there, but Jason's cousin Teresa and two of her adult children and their special someones.  Heck it was a party.  Once the last race was over, and the buffet safely cleaned up we headed outside and met up with the family.    I love the fireworks in Long Beach but these were pretty great, and unlike shows where the fireworks have to be seen for miles away this show seemed to be kind of low and right over our heads.  They also did a remarkable job of using all of the center of the track.  Not only were there the fireworks in the air, but they periodically would create a wall of fireworks filling the space of the center arena.  The only negative was they had to play that damned Lee Greenwood song.   I know I'm supposed to well up with pride and shoot my guns in the air when I hear it: "I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free."   Mostly, though it feels like propaganda.  I swell with national pride when I see families together, acts of kindness and stunning sarcasm that is executed flawlessly. Lee Greenwood kind of makes me want to stick daggers in my ears.

On that note, Happy Birthday America!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Pictures of Lucy

I've got your ear!

My new camper chair


Cousin J!

looking a bit rugged after a day at school

Water play!

Grace under fire

I imagine last week was super awkward on the set of the Today show.  Rumors were flying around the tv universe that Ann Curry was about to get the boot (and the rumors were true) but there she sat on the anchor couch with a smile on her face.  Her hands seemed to be clutching each other with a firm grip, but I can't say if it was a sign of HER stress or if it just resonated with me because it is MY way of centering myself when things feel askew.

Personally, I think Ann Curry is a great journalist.  She's not hard and biting but asks smart questions and seems like a warm person.  One of the talking heads on another network said they thought she was about to get the boot because she was 'too empathetic'.  Dang... too much empathy in the news industry, seems to me that there is a total void of empathy and her having some is a certifiable miracle.  

It is hard to see someone you admire go through such a public humiliation.  Clearly, NBC sees the value of Ann Curry as her (reported) request to be freed from her contract was not honored and she's still on staff with NBC.  Maybe they didn't want to get their clocks cleaned by a morning show with Katie and Ann on a different network.   It looked like dirty pool to leak to the media that Ann was on her way out and then ask her to sit there and smile for a week while they worked out the details.

This morning, when the Today show came on it felt wrong.  Because it is a holiday week the "B" team was on deck so the transition will be soft, but as much as I missed Katie Couric in that role, I'll miss Ann Curry more.  I hope to see her often and doing more "real" journalism and I hope she loves it.

It can't be fulfilling to interview the leader of Israel one day and then have to sit down across from Kim Kardashian and ask her to be relevant.  Don't get me started on KK - that chick has a baby voice that makes me want to jab her in the neck and I'm not a hostile person.  That girl is everywhere in the media and I don't see the value.  Heck, she doesn't even use her "celebrity" to promote a charity, or advocate for others...she's just there.   My guess is that all the divorce stuff will take longer to negotiate than the 72 days she was with her husband before announcing the divorce.  

So, back to Ann. She's a northwest girl and she's someone I would happily invite over for dinner.  Gosh, I'd even drag out the cloth napkins.

Hang in there Ann!  You are an awesome role model.