Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It's Gonna Be a Short Month

So, have I told you my new plan? Six months off. No I'm serious! SIX! This was a big decision for me, so I sort-of wanted someone to protest, you know. Make the argument that I should really be more practical, tell me what to worry about, encourage fiscal responsibility...Yeah, no one has had any interest in that so far. Everyone says... That's so great!

... and it is. So great that it's hard to believe. Which is why I felt so happy last night when I realized that today I was finally going to really feel like an unemployed person. Susan was getting ready to start her work week, and I was getting ready to spend the day at the coffee shop reading Bringing the Devil To His Knees for my writing group. I've been spending so much time at that place that I'm thinking about writing a captivity narrative about it.

I do have other favorite places though, like the one pictured above. Ah, Le Pichet. I'll take a Lillet blanc and the oysters on the half shell please!

The sad part is that I won't be spending much time there in March. Today I realized that all the travel I've booked means that I will only be in Seattle for seven days in March. The rest of March? Globe trotting!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

What Happens When You Give a One-Year-Old Sugar

One of the social events I managed to make it to this week was Rhone's first birthday. Remember the post with him in the rainbow blankie I knit? That was one of my first entries here. He was super cute doing the cupcake-mushed-into-my-face look that is the style amongst birthday boys his age.

Today, I feel a little like he looks in this photo because my manuscript submission is finally posted at my writing group's web site now. This was a tough one, and the twenty meager pages I submitted are not my best, but the good news is that working on the manuscript this time was more of a holistic thing. I'm starting to get a feel for how things might progress and the pieces are starting to have a more solid-feeling order than ever before. It's hard to submit those changes, since usually they involve taking 5 page chunks and moving them around to see how they fit together, which would mean people are reading the same sentences as they've read before, just in different places.

Tonight we're off to see Josh Ritter at the Showbox, and then I have a couple days where I can take it easy before I leave on a jet plane for Pt Reyes.

Hope you had a great weekend Allison! Love you and can't wait to see you!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Down To The Wire

So, it's been a good week. Almost a full week of freedom! Kind-of. The truth is, this week I've been a slave to my own expectations and bad work habits. Over the weekend I was talking to a friend about the traumatic experience of playing Dorothy in the school production of The Wizard of Oz when I was in third grade. That experience cured me forever of thinking that I might want to be an actress. You know what the problem was? The weighty burden of having to memorize all those lines. And you know what the problem with memorization is? You don't know for sure whether you've really done it or not! Totally scary for a third grader who's about to stand up in front of an auditorium full of people.

This week has been like that for me a little bit. That's the thing with the novel. I can move things around on the page, I can add words even, but I can't always tell if I've made things any better with revision, or if the new stuff is any good, or whether it goes with the old stuff at all. I can't always tell for myself if there's a THERE there. My next deadline is tomorrow, so I've been sitting behind my new laptop a lot, drinking my pretty lattes and reading the comments my great writing group wrote on my last submission, and hoping that wherever this novel is going, I'll get there with it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Well, This Is a Little Sad But It's All I've Got

So, I had a great weekend. Yes, lots of driving, Seattle to Portland, Portland to Manzanita, Manzanita to Portland, Portland to Seattle. But that's good thinking time. So I got a lot of good thinking done, which led to the purchase you made today, four tickets to see Willie, Merle and Ray March 22nd. Life is short. Which meants that this weekend, there was no time for photos. Oops!

More soon! But maybe not until after my writing deadline on Friday.


I am a Snowmobile Widow

So it snowed last week. A big old Valentine's Day prezzie for all the people who love the white and fluffy. I am one of those people. Euge is one of those people.

But instead of spending my weekend riding all over the mountain, I spent it curled up on the sofa. Watching movies. Or reading. And I did some yoga. And some laundry. And I cooked some delicious chicken.

Why, oh why do you ask? Why wasn't I shushing down the mountain? Carving and riding and joyfully swooping through the several feet of new snow?

Because there was enough snow for my darling husband to get out his bright yellow snowmobile and go ripping around the countryside with his fellow-snowmobiling buddies like some sort of backwoods gang.

I got two hours on the mountain. Two hours! Ay me.

At least when it gets warmer and the snowmobiling is done I will have spring skiing. Bright sunny weather! Big mooshy piles of mashed-potato snow!

At least that's what I kept telling myself all day Saturday and Sunday. And Monday.

And the movies were good. Bringing Up Baby, Dinner at Eight, Stage Door, Libeled Lady, ahem, My Super Ex-Girlfriend....

Okay, maybe My Super Ex-Girlfriend wasn't so good... But the New York Real Estate Porn aspect of it was pretty satisfying. Everybody has a ginormous loft to themselves! Where are these huge affordable apartments?

Anyways, next weekend I am in Arizona with Mom and Grandma and Euge will have the house for himself and his boys to get all the snowmobiling out of their system. And hopefully someone will drink the Heinekens (egh) that have been clogging up our fridge.

I will be watching the Oscars! And shopping for antiques!

And - I'm just guessing here - watching more girlie movies.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Thank You and Good Night!

Aw Ali, you are sweet! I'm off to the Oregon Coast for 3 nights, so no blogging for me, but believe me, I'll be back with plenty of posts soon! I have to do something to avoid that manuscript, after all...


You are free! Yay!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Hair Loves Dana's Hair More Than Dana's Hair Loves My Hair

You all remember Dana, right? The poet with the good hair and the cute butt? She's worth remembering. There are other non-shallow things to remember about her, like the fact that she co-hosts the excellent Poetry Thursday, has the kind of organizational skills that make me feel organized just talking to her, and has the kind of infectious love of language that makes you feel all itchy. Don't freak out though, it's not the germy kind of itchy, it's that kind you feel in your bones, like you're a kid who's growing so fast that your joints itch. The kind of itchy that makes you want to do something. Like run a mile or write a poem.* With Dana, it really does all come back to poetry, and I love that. How many people do you know who exude poetry like it's a perfume? I know one.

So, Dana and I finally got together to play last weekend. We went to Third Place Books and ate mac and cheese at the Honey Bear Bakery while we caught up. Dana is one of those people who really gives you her undivided attention, so of course she knew exactly what parts of my life to ask about and then listened patiently as I filled her in on all the post-ranch happenings. One small illustration of the aforementioned organizational skills is the fact that when it came time for her to catch me up, she had a four-point list of the items she wanted to discuss. Loved that.

I had a great Valentine's Day, what with the phone call from you, Ali, my Winnie the Pooh card from dad and the ridiculously indulgent dinner of oysters, champagne and chocolate that Kirstin spoiled me with. But the favorite thing I got in writing was what I like to think of as my valentine from Dana - a valentine to my hair!

* or check for lice. no, I'm kidding, really, I swear Dana, Idid not give you lice!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

For You, for Valentines Day, My Love!

Look I got you some sweet flowers! Don't the hyacinth smell like spring? Don't the tulips make you want to drive up to LaConner and go dancing naked in the field by moonlight?

Well, it's not time for spring yet! We need more snow - so stop thinking about spring!

I also decided to make something special - just for you.... can you guess from the ingredients what it is?

That's right! A delicious cheesecake!

Mmmmm... can't you just smell it? I can!

As soon as you come over, you can have a big old slice of cheesecake and you can smell the sweet hyacith to your heart's content!

Sorry - I didn't buy a card because I didn't want to buy into the crass commercialization of this holiest of holy holidays.

Just remember - I heart you!

Happy Valentine's Day!

"This Ain't Honky Tonk!"

... but oh it was good! Saw Merle and Neko at the Paramount last night. What a study in contrasts that crowd was. In the ladies' room I kept wanting to take photos of the shoes. I had my black boots on, then there were all the Chucks (when did everyone start wearing Chucks again anyway? It's like an epidemic here in Seattle), some cowboy boots, and best of all, the gold lame sandals on the feet of the woman who was wearing the buckskin suede jacket with the fringe. That would have been a GFY entry for sure.

Neko was amazing, she's such a pro, and when she sang the start of I Wish I Was the Moon, I felt like she was wringing out my insides like a wet washcloth. Where we were sitting, three rows from the front, we were definitely outnumbered by Merle fans, one of whom supplied the quote for my title today. I'm not going to hold the fact that this guy was wearing a greasy leather jacket against him, nor will I pass judgement on the dyed black comb-over-ish hairdo, but I do hold it against him that he didn't appreciate Tacoma's own Neko. How can you not love that voice? When she sings a capella it sounds like there's a whole string section coming from inside her. She's incredible.

Merle is a legend, and we were thrilled to see him too. I loved hearing that deep smokey voice sing "so-called so-cial security" (don't know why but I love that line) in person, and I ate it up when he brought his wife up front to sing Jackson with him, even if I didn't quite get the way they petered out at the end. Truth be told though, at the end of it all, I was missing my all-time favorite legend, Willie and started to scheme about how I might get a chance to see him again...

Hey, March at Radio City Music Hall? Hmm...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

What You Come Home To

my front door

Ah, the realization of a dream. That's excellent Allison. Since you couldn't be a singing dentist (this was her childhood aspiration people, for real) you can at least eat at Benihana.

Lately I've also been thinking about the realization of a dream. Home with a capitol H has been on my mind a lot. I felt at home at the ranch, more at home than any other place that wasn't actually mine. I think a big part of this was that it was a place that was entrusted to me, I was told it was a place that meant a lot to Pam and to the other creatures who live there and was asked to care for it. We all know that I am no great housekeeper, and I think Pam would say lots of nice things about me, but none of them would be "I have never seen my place that clean!" and that's fine. But the truth is that I did take better care of that place than I take of my own.

I like to blame this on being out all the time, on having too many other more fun things to do than clean, and I do think this is the philosophy we were raised with, don't you? But while I was away, I missed my place even more than I missed being out and about in Seattle. I missed my view (the Queen's View, don't you know?) and all the things I've collected over the past 20 years. I missed just being at Home. Your home should be, I think, like your wedding, a place where you can look around and say "All of this is here because of me, all of this is for me!". At your wedding, the important part was the people, and you had a Hogwarts Hall full of people who were all there for you, together for the first time in your life, and maybe the only time, which is part of what made it so special. At home, I look around and the "all of this is here for me!" statement is about my possessions. We all know that things should not be as important to us as people are, but possessions, the way you and I do possessions, are all about dreams, whether it's a dream of some day knitting socks for every single person I love, the dream of the perfect Audrey Hepburn outfit, or of long letters written by hand on creamy paper, or dreams that have already come true and are now memories, like the Polaroid Wall with it's dreams of birthdays and bartenders, babies and tender brutes. Full of all these things, my apartment is both the container for the dream, and evidence of many many dreams realized.

I have only four days of work left, and then after a quick long weekend at the beach, it's just me at home. I've already got so many field trips in mind, ferry rides and oysters and movies in the middle of the day. But my favorite dream for this time off is that I will spend some time taking care of this little apartment as though it were a place that's special to someone else. After a while, maybe I'll be able to let myself in on the secret that that someone else is me.

Friday, February 09, 2007

But you haven’t had fun ‘til you’ve had lunch at Benihana!

See, aren't I having fun?

Lest you think that all I do is work and ski, I have made an effort this week to expand my social calendar. So much so that I haven’t yet seen this weeks episode of Veronica Mars… so keep your comments on that to yo’self lady!

Wednesday night I went to Sala with Tamara and a HK. You remember my climbing ladies. Right? HK is preggers with her first baby and as cute as ever!

Tamara is havig a very successful freelance writing career – including a blog about her own precocious baby, Sophie, on the website if Cookie Magazine, you know… The magazine for hip parents.

We had tapas… which were okay. No Boqueria, but okay nonetheless. Of course, tapas without wine is kind of sad, but somehow we persevered.

Thursday I went out to dinner at Freemans with my friends Kim, Jen, and Holly. You remember them from the wedding? There’s nothing like being out to dinner with three chicks who are at least 4 inches taller and twenty pounds lighter than you! Hee, I do love them.

Freemans was funny. I think you’d like it. It’s at the end of an alley on the Lower East Side and has a very rural Victorian New England feel about it. At least that's the idea, I think.

And all the waiters are dressed like they think they are Vermont lumberjacks from the 1880’s. Big moustaches and all. And, of course, the hipsters who come in are all sporting stovepipe pants and full bushy beards.

This city cracks me up.

Today was my friend Patty’s birthday. Since Patty is a work friend we all went out to lunch. To Benihana.

Doesn't Patty look excited!

Ah, what an experience.

Now, I don’t know if you remember the Benihana that used to be up on Broadway. Heck, it may even still be on Broadway… but I walked past it about a billion times and, I can tell you, I always secretly wanted to go there.


But this was my first Benihana experience and it was fun.

First Margaret gave Patty and Michael a little tutorial in “How to properly fold your chopstick wrapper into a chopstick stand”

It took them a bit of effort to meet her exacting standards. I, on the other hand, learned the trick from her long ago. Mine wasn’t as perfect as hers, but I think it looked pretty good.

Then our chef came out and introduced himself to us. His name was Roy. I don’t think he was Japanese. And his knife seems kind of small.

Then the slicing and flipping and pepper shaking commenced. There was food flipped into his chef’s hat, there was an onion volcano.

Need I say more?

The food was even pretty good. But, really the satisfaction lies in the realization of a dream.

Finally, I have eaten at Benihana. Just not in Rocky’s Special Room.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

All You Have To Do

I just love this picture of me and Rachel

I know it's a little hard to believe you are going to get another post about the Portland girls' trip, but you are. I keep wanting to talk about how great it was, and in order to do that, I have to figure out what made it so great, and sometimes when I'm figuring things out, that involves a bunch of talking. It involves a lot of meandering thought, like I'm working through the emotional equivalent of a math problem. If you've been reading this blog for a while, really reading it, that will make sense to you. Remember the long post with the photo of Wolf Creek Pass? From the day I went to Durango?

So, about Portland. What is it that made me love that trip so much that I feel compelled to give you one last post about it? It could have been...

... just Portland. The cuteness, the good restaurants, the quirkiness, the shopping. It could have been...

... the Vodkatini, which was accompanied by my new Scorpio ring (why isn't every day the weekend? I want to wear the Scorpio ring every day!!), which was accompanied by dozens of tiny sweet Kumamoto oysters (making good progress on my goals!).

Or maybe it was...
.. the guy at Dante's, with the chaps and the lasso? No. Not him. So maybe...

... the PBR tall boy? Eh, I don't think so. The truth is, it was...

... the beautiful women. They're good, aren't they? We lived it up in Portland, with the good hotel room, the oysters, the fancy cocktails, the sunglasses at breakfast... but the best part about it all was that we really didn't need any of those things to have fun. The minute we got on the road we were having fun. Even when I spilled an entire latte all over Kirstin's brand new car, soaking my jeans and leaving me coatless for the weekend. I changed in the bathroom at a gas station on 99 while Rachel cleaned up the back seat with those blue paper towels they give you for your windshield, and we were still having fun.

Okay, at least I was.

Kirstin and Rachel made fun seem simple. All you need to do to have fun with them is show up. Show up and dance - even if you're in the car. I'm telling you. MJB!


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

And I designed their wedding invitation

When you get married in New York, there is one major major element that you have literally no control over.

Whether or not your announcement ends up in the New York Times.

Now Eugene and I did okay.

Upper-left-hand corner on the second page, with our picture and an extended post. This is supposed to be the second most important location. I blame our success on the excellent photo that Karl had taken of us at Crista's wedding... and the fact that I practically wrote the announcement for them when I submitted.

We are a pretty colorful story. I definitely toned it down out of respect for the delicate sensibilities of the Gray Lady's readership.

It was pretty cool. People from work who I don't even know accosted me in the hallways to congratulate me. And Glamour actually called to see if Eugene and his perfect bald head would model for them. No joke!

What is the best announcement, you might ask? Though if you are female and have read the Sunday NY Times Style Section, I am betting that you know.

The Vows column. Where some intrepid reporter actually attends your wedding interviews your friends and family and writes about the whole thing for ladies everywhere to swoon over.

The couple who were the subject of this week's Vows column are friends of my friend Dana. And I designed their wedding invitation. I take a little offense that it is not mentioned, so I have reproduced it here, for you to see. Since all the details were published, I don't think that I am invading their privacy.

The design was meant to seem both asian and indian. But not too asian or indian. And not too precious. And not too fussy. But not too minimalist. Frannie knows what she likes, I tell you!

I just thought that you should know. I am sure that the wedding invitation design had something to do with their selection. Which would make me 2-0 for submissions to the Announcements Section that I have been involved with.

Not that I am counting or anything. That would be pretentious.

I should point out that this used to be my favorite blog. Until he stopped writing, that is. Thank the little baby buddah that he didn't start writing until months after our announcement appeared...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

How Not To Get Nervous For a Job Interview

SOS! All hands on deck! We got called out! One of our readers is losing patience with us! Okay, Tonya, this one is for you.

Luckily for the blog, I took the day off today. Ah, the Tuesday off! Taking a random weekday off feels like the most decadent thing ever. You know that Gwen Stefani song? Luxurious!

I started with coffee with Lisa R. Lisa may not realize it yet, but she is going to see me through my unemployed phase. We're going to be ladies of leisure together! Lisa, aren't you excited? Aren't I the person you've been waiting for? Can't you see it now? Lunch at Le Pichet! Amateur manicures! Afternoon matinees! God, it's going to be good.

After coffee, I got my hair cut for the first time since November of 2005. You would think that would rate it's own blog entry (we have been known to devote blog entries to even more frivolous topics) but the truth is, unless you are Kirstin, who was dying to chop off my damaged ends last weekend, you wouldn't know it had been cut unless I told you.

After the haircut, it was time for shopping. Barney's was first. Always go to the most expensive store first! It's important to set the bar high when you have limited closet space. Plus! Better to have a Barney's bag at Banana Republic than a Banana Republic bag at Barney's, right? Really, though, better not to go to Banana Republic, if you can go to Barney's. Bought a new suit there, and three Marc Jacobs tops at plus a little sweater and some other cute things at Anthropologie.

Bored yet? I wasn't. I was in heaven. It was just fun to walk around downtown, smell all the fancy candles, and have the nice lady at Barney's pat some fancy cream around my delicate eye area. Once you look at the picture on Lisa's blog, you'll understand why I was so excited about the fancy cream.

My final stop of the day was a late lunch with this guy.

Yeeks! Isn't he yummy? You know I don't love babies indiscriminately. I love only the cutest. Ugly babies need not apply. Which is why I loved Liam. One of the first photos of Liam that I saw was of him flipping off his dad, then when I met him in person, he was wearing a onesie that said "Lock up your daughters". He looks serious, but this little man is full of sass. Just like his parents, Jason and Lisa. Check out this little family:

I'm kinda' crazy about the whole package. Did you know that Lisa and Jason have been together for 17 years? Outrageous. I think they even still like at each other. Looking at them, I could almost think the whole marriage/kid thing might be kinda' fun.

You know, if I wasn't the kind of girl who wants to be able to quit my job AND buy $50 candles at Barney's all in the same week. Lisa R, my new partner in unemployed crime, am I right? Hee!

Oh, and WRT Veronica? Did they really have to make LoVe get back together and break up AGAIN? This is getting tiresome. Jeesh.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I'm Not Done With This Yet

The Portland trip, that is. Kirstin sent me email this week saying that she was having withdrawals from her girls, and I have been too.
It was Kirstin's birthday on Tuesday. Pimp mama up above is 36. Hard to believe. We've been friends for more than 20 years now, and no one can break me down like Kirstin can. Seriously, she's that friend who sort-of looks into your soul and digs around with a grapefruit spoon trying to get at the heart of things. Sometimes she's dead on, and when she is, I have to throw up my hands and admit that I should just give in and do what she's telling me to. "Don't be such a toughie!" is one of the things she likes to say to me. She's all about the vulnerability, all about the love. I don't think there's anyone else more likely to well up with tears of sympathy when I tell her about something I'm suffering through (though Regan might be close) and if I never saw Kirstin again in my life, I would never forget the feel of her soft hand petting mine while she says "Aw, sweetie!". That's a classic Kirstin moment.
She's also one of those friends, like Susan, who has been there for just about everything that has happened to me since I was 14 years old. Lots of time she was actually physically there, but if she wasn't, she heard about it all later. I was there when she married Mark and for her son's birth, and I wouldn't have missed either for the world.
There are a lot of other reasons why I love her, and why I will be hot-footing it out of my board meeting tomorrow afternoon to give her a big hug and a happy birthday, but some of those reasons are secrets. It's good to have a friend who will keep your secrets, who has seen you in every state of duress and undress and drunkenness and never ever makes you question for a minute whether she will still love you the next day. In fact, Kirstin's the sort of person who might just love you more.