Friday, June 30, 2006


I'm not going any where interesting this year. Instead of traveling I'll be paying off my periodontist (have I mentioned this yet?). So, I look forward to mini-holidays. This weekend comes to mind: Tuesday is the 4th of July, Independence Day. It's a paid holiday at work, plus our office will be closed on Monday. Since I'm not hoarding my vacation days for a tropical destination, I've opted to take Monday as paid personal time. Four days off, two paid for...not bad.

In addition, I'm taking care of some lovely American Eskimo dogs in Burien for the next couple of weeks - kind of a mini-holiday - a holiday made more festive by the presence of a Jacuzzi. Ahhh, warm sweet water on my aching knees...I'm really looking forward to it.

But what of this Independence Day? In Seattle it will be the second one in a row with no rain, thereby skewing the average of rainy Independence Days... But I wonder - would we have been better off as a colony of Great Britain? Would the terrorists be more sympathetic to us as country not exactly oppressed, but not big and independent and belligerant and bullying? Would we be more polite, like our neighbors to the north? Would we feel more a part of the community of the world? I feel as an individual, part of the global community, I think my travels and studies helped in this, but I don't feel like my country is a part of the global community. It feels more like we are the global overlord (or the wannabe overlord).

We can't change history (though it can be re-written) and I don't want to - except for maybe that part where our current President lied to us and pre-emptively invaded another country in order to "liberate" it. Do you wonder if liberation would've been sweeter for Iraqis if they'd been allowed to do it themselves? Is liberation by the dominant global power just another form of subjugation? These are just things I think about and questions I ask myself. Do you think that history in ten, twenty, fifty, or one hundred years will look back favorably on George W. Bush and the Iraq war, or will it be a dark spot in our textbooks - a time of shame, a mistake, something for which our children's children will be apologizing.

Just some thoughts. Enjoy your sweet independence today, Tuesday, every day. And don't play with fireworks!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

6/28 HAIKU

Ikea sale now
requires a trip to Renton
Cheap Swedish design!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


1. Finish writing my current book
2. Write the book I've been thinking about for 25 years
3. Go to Italy, Spain & Cuba
4. Bicycle across the USA and take the train back
5. Refinish my dresser
6. Become a full time writer (or part time writer that gets paid really well!)
7. Kayak in the San Juan Islands and the St. Mary's & Amelia Rivers at Amelia Island
8. Get another tattoo
9. Spend more time with my brothers & sister
10. Do something that will make a difference (what is that thing?)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


It’s that amazing time of year when fruits are abundant. I walk into the market and the sweet, heady aroma fills me up and deactivates all sense of practicality in me. I buy way too much to ever eat it all by myself, and I can’t stand to let it go to waste… So it’s pie time, or, cobbler time.

I used to make pies all the time. I actively researched and worked on perfecting my crust. When I saw my friend Michael Lee at parties, I’d hog his time, mining his expertise on the flakey pastry. He always showed up at these parties with a pie or two, and they were magnificent. I longed to make a pie as good. Eventually, I did.

I still make pies for Thanks-giving and other special occasions, but in the summer-time, when my fruit is ripening faster than I can manage, I make a cobbler. My cobbler-making phase came about due to poor planning. I was going to a dinner and promised a pie for dessert, but I ran out of time. Not that a pie takes that long, it just takes longer than a cobbler. I got on-line, looked up a recipe on Epicurious and was pulling my first Peach Cobbler out of the oven in 45 minutes. It was a hit. I was a hit. What more could you want?

Yesterday in Seattle we broke the record for heat – it was in the upper 90’s. This will not seem so bad to those who live in the desert, as I used to – but when you’re acclimated to the warmest days hovering around 80°…well, it was hot. But the peaches were pungent – it was time for cobbler!

Friday, June 23, 2006


Have you checked out your local roller derby yet? Yes. I said Roller Derby. However, this is not your grandma's roller derby. In the last few years the derby has experienced a resurgence in popularity. Cities all across the U.S. have started leagues. In Seattle we have the Rat City Roller Girls with monthly bouts in a hanger at Magnuson Park. This year at Bumbershoot (on Saturday) there will be an exhibition bout at the Key Arena with guest teams from around the country.

Our league in Seattle skates a flat track and the action is fast and furious. The first time I went it took the entire evening for me to start seeing strategy and nuance. There is so much going on! The girls fall often or get pushed in to the crash zone where the fans on the floor try to protect themselves from skate wheels. Uniforms for the teams seem to be a suggestion; all the girls have modified and embellished theirs.

It's a family style event - you see people of all ages, from kids to grand-parents. There is live music prior to the main event, mascots (can we talk?) urging the fans to cheer for their favorites, score keepers, mistresses of punishment, MC's, a sideline reporter, medical staff, half time entertainment, and always, a unique rendition of our national anthem. In general, it's a freak show. It's local. It's grassroots. It's fun. Dude. Check it out.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

6/22 HAIKU

Grapefruit, tequila
Refreshing margarita
Salud Y salud!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I read this poem this morning and had to share. David R., thanks for the book.

We who are
your closest friends
feel the time
has come to tell you
that every Thursday
we have been meeting,
as a group,
to devise ways
to keep you
in perpetual uncertainty
discontent and
by neither loving you
as much as you want
no cutting you adrift.
Your analyst is
in on it,
plus your boyfriend
and your ex-husband;
and we have pledged
to disappoint you
as long as you need us.
In announcing our
we realize we have
placed in your hands
a possible antidote
against uncertainty
indeed against ourselves.
But since our Thursday nights
have brought us
to a community
of purpose
rare in itself
with you as
the natural center,
we feel hopeful you
will continue to make unreasonable
demands for affection
if not as a consequence
of your disastrous personality
then for the good of the collective.

Phillip Lopate

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Summer is my favorite season. Always has been. Summer. The word evokes carefree days, tree climbing, warm evenings and longer twilights. Endless days at the beach – sand in my hair, salt crusted on my skin, sunburned arms, the smell of Coppertone – body surfing, boogie-boarding, floating on my back; blue blue sky above and no horizon until I find the shore and see the sand stone cliffs with sage and cactus and aloe clinging to the edges. The sound of waves crashing, seagulls calling, kids running with beach-towel capes. Reading for hours in my beach chair, dozing off eventually and dreaming the story – not knowing where I am when I first wake up.

I long for those days. Days of youth when school was my job and summer was my life. I live in a city now – one surrounded by water but with very few saltwater beaches. And no waves. Lake Union, Lake Washington, Greenlake, the Ship Canal, Elliott Bay, Puget Sound – not a wave to be found. No time to ride them either. The water is too damn cold anyway. Not that I’m complaining – it’s a beautiful place and I love living here. If we’re lucky, we get a good summer too. Clear skies, sunshine, not too much rain.

Still. I long for a beach that stretches for miles; and months for the beach and I to become acquainted.

Monday, June 19, 2006


I normally don’t agree with the concept of delayed gratification. It’s a little too Calvinistic, too Puritan, too Salem-gone-awry for me. I like to enjoy the fruits of my labor as soon as possible. If it takes too long I might start to think the payoff isn’t really worth it. I want to read only the books that really appeal to me – if I get 100 pages in and if it hasn’t grabbed me, I want to put it down and be guilt-free. I like to paint walls – what a feeling of accomplishment: There it is in front of me – a beautiful wall, cantaloupe colored, white trim – fresh&clean!

There is one area though in which I like to delay a bit… Lotto results. I have a ticket, it could be worth several million, the drawing is Friday night… But I leave the ticket on my desk at work, and all through the weekend I can dream of what it will be like when I check the results Monday morning and find I’ve won… Will I quit my job immediately? How will I tell Juls & Alan? (With whom I have a 14-year standing agreement – whoever wins, splits with the others.) Call them? Wait till the evening and tell them in person? What will we do first? How fast can I get a real estate agent to show me houses? Should I go to Thailand or Spain? Cuba or India?

Yes, I like to delay a little bit and dream a lot. You can imagine my disappointment then, when I arrived at my office this morning, and couldn’t find my Lotto ticket!

Thursday, June 15, 2006


He flew down the sidewalk, his skateboard invisible beneath the ankle deep leaves. He couldn’t see the bumps or cracks, but he wasn’t worried – he had slick new wheels.

The leaves whispered dryly as they lifted and floated – sighed as they settled back down. As if his passing did no more than stir a heavy ground fog. A couple walked towards him. With the slightest shifting of his weight and a subtle tilting of his hips, he deftly slid past them.

Without provocation, a wind began to blow in from the north. Within minutes this fine Autumn day began to grow teeth. The leaves blew up in circular patterns – sometimes rising above him. He pulled his knitted cap lower over his ears and pumped a few times with his left leg. Building up speed as the decline increased, he rolled into the street at the next driveway, turned the corner and hopped off at the Java Jive.

With his skateboard under his arm he staggered in and wailed, “Dude, pull me something strong and creamy! We’re gonna need cajones today.”


Last night was fab-u-lous! I went to an artists reception at a local production company. They have an employee who is their curator and every few months they hang the work of local artists. They have a reception with food and wine and invite all their clients and friends of the artists. My friend George showed his recent work, so I got an invitation.

Having heard descriptions of the processes George went through, and stories of his late nights at the studio, it was so cool to see the work framed and hung on walls. They were truly amazing pieces and if I wasn’t in the process of paying off my periodontal bill right now I would have purchased at least one piece. At least one piece of George’s work…and at least one piece of each of the other two artists who were also showing work. What an excess of talent! It was truly inspirational to my artist inside – made me just itch to create something!

Check out the local talent in your area.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Is Time On Our Side?

How can a week that started so slowly, get so busy?
That’s it. That’s all I have time for.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I am on a mission to restore the correct use of these words. The biggest usage abusers appear to be TV news people. They should know better – or their writers should. The misuse of this word has been an insidious process that only seems to get worse as time goes by. Hence, my quest to correct the clueless. Care to join me?

Fewer applies to individual, countable things
Fewer refers to number
Fewer means not as many

Less applies to general amounts
Less refers to quantity
Less means not as much


Sue had less time to finish and worked fewer hours than John.
(time can’t be counted, hours can)

Fewer flowers bloomed this year and there was less color in the garden.
(flowers can be counted, color can’t)

There were fewer snow days at school this year.
Measuring 18”, there was less snow than predicted from this storm.
(days can be counted, snow can’t be counted)

They had less arguments as their marriage matured. WRONG
They had fewer arguments as their marriage matured. RIGHT

Less people are going to the movies these days. WRONG
Fewer people are going to the movies these days. RIGHT

Monday, June 12, 2006


This morning during a brief lull at work, George whipped out the "Seattle @ Home" section of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer so we could peruse and discuss the merits of the "10 Things We Couldn't Live Without" column (brought to us by Robin Daly and Christian Ursino. Who are they? you might ask...Hell if I know!) So, we decided to make our own lists… these are supposed to reflect tastes for things at home, but of course we stray; and, along with straying, we exceed our limits...

12 Things I Can’t Live Without

1. Blood Pressure Medicine
2. Clinique’s Moisture Surge Extra Thirsty Skin Relief
3. Music
4. My Laptop and Internet Access
5. Books
6. My Down Comforter
7. Kitchenaide mixer – Tangerine
8. Color on the Walls
9. Original Art
10. Britta water filter
11. NPR
12. Bath oils, Bath salts, Bath bombs

And along with exceeding our limits we must, in contrast, voice what we do not care for...

10 Things I Could Live Without

1. Hummers, Escalades, Suburbans and all other excessively large and obnoxious SUVs
2. Leaf blowers
3. Vertical Blinds
4. Dried flower/basket décor
5. Fake Plants
6. Plastic Furniture Covers
7. Plug-in room fresheners and all other such stuff, esp. Fabreeze
8. Chairs that sit too low
9. Shiny plush carpet
10. Shadowboxes (I am so over them)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

This Page is in progress. My intention is to ruminate and write on subjects both serious and funny, truth and fiction. Check back in to see what's up.