Thursday, January 30, 2014

Last week I heard stamps were going up 1 cent over the weekend.

Naturally, I stockpiled.

It's Y2K for the snail-mailers.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Deadline in 6 hours and counting. 

Let the 75th Annual Acid Reflux Games begin!  (And may the coffee be ever in your favor)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Woa Woa Woa - Are we really only 22 days in to 2014?!  It has felt like so much more time has passed already. I think this year is going to hold a lot, without feeling too busy.

Full without Frenzy, that will be my 2014. I think it could be yours too.

PS - My sister has one more semester to complete before she is a Third Year Law Student.  Hells yeah!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."  
Martin Luther King, Jr. 

It is so easy to make "I will never" lists based off of one's experiences with the actions of others.  I made a few recently.  And while I'm sure when I get to where they are currently standing, my feet will get stuck in the same mud. But in the meantime, I'm going to write in my journal why I want to do something different.  I'm going to tell a few people around me who I think will be honest with me in 5 years when I start doing the same. But then, after I've written it down, vented and prompted and hoped  to safeguard myself from the inevitable "someday" - it's time to look at how I'm measuring up today.

A similar process had lead me to evaluate how I converse.  I used to think I was a pretty good conversationalist. You could drop me on a couch next to a drunk gay man by the end, we'd be friends.  Equally entertained.  Equally respected.  Friends.  You could bring me to a house party where I knew 3 people and I'd have new jokes and drinks and phone numbers as I closed the door goodnight.

But either I was wrong then, or I've just fallen into the comfort of talking about myself too much, for too long.  It's easy when you have exciting stuff happening - first, everyone is asking over and over and over again, "You just graduated?! What are you going to do next?"  Then it's about your first job, your broken dreams, broken hearts, new dreams, new starts.  You get used to the same questions. The same answers.  The same conversations over and over.   And it's easy - you can ask many of these questions from most friends and strangers alike.  Soon, you forget how to be a conversationalist.  You lose the skill of interesting questions.  You might even lose the habit of asking questions all together, as I have.

It's not that I mean to.  I don't think I'm self-obsessed.  I'm genuinely curious about people and their lives.  I know some of the most exciting young adults - running their own businesses, chasing dreams, traveling, having hilarious and amazing first dates and freak accidents.  But, I just forget to ask them now.  Other people ask, them, or me.  I listen when they talk.  I answer when they ask.

But I'm sick of the same conversations.

I'm sick of walking away realizing, "I didn't ask them how their day was."

And while I know Martin Luther King Jr had a lot more in mind when he penned those words and the danger of perishing together as fools - I'd hate to never learn to really live well with others and perish as a fool, repeating the same conversations over and over, never learning how to draw change and inspiration out of the ones I love.

One of the most incredible feelings is an exhilarating conversation with a like-minded person who sees it all differently - where neither try too hard to drive or stuff the creature into some pre-conceived and pre-desired destination. Co-creating a conversation, two people dropping in all the unique items they brought along and grabbing out what catches their fancy. Together shaping something unexpected, discovering right there on the spot, watching it arrive and take form. Trying to keep up, not with each other, but with this third thing that's feeding off of their minds. Dear God - that feeling makes me feel the blood in my toes!

I'm going to work on conversing. I will have something worthwhile to say and I will seek better answers with better questions. I'll have an answer for the hope that lies within me, and a question for the inspiration hiding with you.

“With how many things are we on the brink of becoming acquainted, if cowardice or carelessness did not restrain our inquiries.” 
― Mary ShelleyFrankenstein

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

I've been going a bit nuts over books lately.  It's probably something about the weather.  Dreary Seattle gray and cold temperatures that make me spend weekends refusing to step outside.  Or, it is the changing of years - hitting one goal and setting a more ambitious one.  It could just be me getting older and deciding I should be living my life the way I say I'd like to be.  I should stop looking back with nostalgia on childhood weekends spent cuddled up by a fire, racing from page 1 to 10 to end. I should reteach myself that discipline.  Force distractions and business away from my head every now and then.  And life has never been more busy.  I mean it. Two worlds of friends.  Two families.  Two heads with ideas and dreams and goals and exhaustion.  THREE 'houses' needing fixing, furnishing and filling (or emptying more truthfully!).

But a midst that, both John and I find ourselves more inspired to read than ever.  And boy have I been feeling inspired!  "Brunch" with Esther simply implies a quick trip to the bookstore, inevitably next door or down the street from the chosen cafe.  And two books later, I was on my way home.  Two days later and I'm trekking straight up Madison to the Central Library to pick up my 10 pounds of books on hold. I can't even clip Wellington shut on my way back down hill - and that's having already left my current read and Moleskine in my work desk at lunch. I'm going to have to take shifts bringing them home over the next three days.

And this is being added to multiple other books that found their way to my shelf, closet, dresser or floor over the past month. I don't really even have a bookshelf right now.  There is a tiny one in John's office (officially called, "The Room with the Chair") on which I keep quietly slipping more and more in little right angle piles.  Last night I just gave in and made a "decorative" stack against the wall of the livingroom.  There are three under the coffee table.  Two under the end table. A straight plastic tub of 30 in the "workshop."

And I haven't unpacked my bookshelf at my old apartment yet.
It's just sitting there, full.  With small stacks on the floor on either side.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

My most thrilling thought this morning:   
Hey, the recycling bins are all empty!! 

Life has turned around a bit.  Just knowing this is the week the trash, compost AND recycling all get picked up is enough to make me very, very happy.  Other things I'm awaiting excitedly?  March. When we can prune the hedge and re-seed the lawn. I kid you not.  I already put both on my calendar and I look at it each day to see how much closer it has become. But I'm practicing being happy with what has already become and not what someday will - so I'm celebrating the recycling!  The bin has already become empty. 

And tonight, we can all refill it. Goodbye rows of Christmas boxes, bags and bottles.  Good riddance!

I'll be watching for the Northern Lights tonight! 

by Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Northerners thawing out from a bitter freeze may get rewarded with shimmering northern lights the next couple days.
Federal space weather forecaster Joe Kunches said the sun shot out a strong solar flare late Tuesday, which should arrive at Earth early Thursday. It should shake up Earth's magnetic field and expand the Aurora Borealis south, possibly as far south as Colorado and central Illinois. He said best viewing would probably be Thursday evening, weather permitting.
The University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute predicts much of Canada and the northern fringes of the U.S. should see the northern lights. Seattle, Chicago, Boston and Cleveland might see the shimmering colors low on the horizon.
The solar storm is already diverting airline flights around the poles and may disrupt GPS devices Thursday.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

"PHILADELPHIA — The perfect crime is far easier to pull off when nobody is watching.

So on a night nearly 43 years ago, while Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier bludgeoned each other over 15 rounds in a televised title bout viewed by millions around the world, burglars took a lock pick and a crowbar and broke into a Federal Bureau of Investigation office in a suburb of Philadelphia, making off with nearly every document inside.
They were never caught, and the stolen documents that they mailed anonymously to newspaper reporters were the first trickle of what would become a flood of revelations about extensive spying and dirty-tricks operations by the F.B.I. against dissident groups...
...The burglars had, until now, maintained a vow of silence about their roles in the operation. They were content in knowing that their actions had dealt the first significant blow to an institution that had amassed enormous power and prestige during J. Edgar Hoover’s lengthy tenure as director."

Read the full article on the final revealing of the 1971 burglars on the New York Times, here
Most traditions come from your childhood.  It's how you've always done things, whether or not you remember why you all started.  One of our favorite family traditions for Christmas is new though.  Well, "new" by lifelong standards.  A couple days after Christmas the whole family packs into cars and heads to a new bookstore.  We disperse and spend time quietly wandering our chosen aisles, genres and authors.  Each of us is allowed to add one book to the stack Dad will be carrying to the checkout.  Of course, we are a family of book lovers and so we each line up behind him with the other book or two we just couldn't eliminate. ;)

This year, I decided to pick out a cook book.  Sitting in bed with a cup of coffee on a weekend morning, reading through the recipes and drooling over the lovely photos has become one of my most relaxing past times.

When one of my sisters (ahem, Kristin) saw I was getting a cookbook for my "Christmas Book" - she made some sort of reference to how she actually cooks from hers and should probably get one too.  I concede, I sit and look through my books far more often than I actually cook from them, but here is evidence, early on, I sometimes cook the recipes too.

This was delicious.  But beware, the Plenty cookbook does not give you "prep time/ cook time" in any collected spots.  All the little 10-15 minute parts for this recipe added up to over 2 hours... thankfully everyone at the Maple Leaf house are used to late dinners.  

In 2014, I'm going to cook more.  And I'm going to cook better.  As a way to care.

Friday, January 03, 2014

I'm working on my New Year's resolutions just like the rest of you.  So far, I want to read 25 books,  get more sleep, and work stretching into my daily routine.  When I say "daily routine" - I mean, create a daily routine, because I haven't had one for a few years now.  It's the same ol' annual resolution middle classers the world over make - live a healthier life.  But as I get older, it seems more and more important.  Take care of myself, today.  Take care of the ones I love, today.  Take care of my home, today. Tend to our dreams, today.  I think that very well might be my mantra for this year. Take care and tend, today.  Because today is what we have, and if last year taught me something, it is that tomorrow has no guarantee - but our best chance at it, is to care for today.