Friday, December 30, 2005

2006 - 2

Two days to go before 2006, and I'm thinking about what to do in the new year.

1. Jana posed an interesting question: Where would you go if you only had $1000 (for 2) and 2 weeks to vacation? I chose the Oregon Coast or several days in Vegas by the pool (if it's warm). She chose Santa Fe or a snowy mountain resort. Ray chose cruising the internet (big surprise) and finding some killer leave-tomorrow type travel deals. Based on this conversation, we are (I think) going to block out 2 weeks later in the year and not buy tickets anywhere until the day before, then just pack and leave. Doesn't that sound like the best plan ever? And economical to boot!

2. I have got to do something about my name. I've been using 2 different names for the last 6 months, and more often than that all 3 names. This is getting confusing. For example if I use all three, which sounds kinda like Rebecca Fanning Turban, then people look at me funny and say things like "What does that mean?" or "Are you does that work?" or "Hee hee ha...ehem" or "Is that all one word" or "Interesting...what's its etymology?" At work, I'm sometimes Rebecca F-Turban, which sounds and looks like a description more than a name. At school, they won't let me use 3 names, so I'm just Rebecca Turban, which sounds like someone else. On lots of other stuff I'm Rebecca Fanning, which is nice and familiar, but I do want to add on my married name too. When I call someone from work, it's an even split between using one name, the other, or both. It's a minor inconvenience I suppose, but it also seems ridiculous. Everyone else I know had this worked out before they got married. Me, I still can't get it straight. I'd like to figure this one out and start the year off on the, make that least confusing foot.

3. One of the best Christmas presents I've ever received is what my family got us this year: money to use on the garden. We spent some time during summer cleaning the beds in the front yard out, but everything is still pretty overgrown. The backyard is nice, but the main planting area is chiefly used as a possum lavatory, we suspect. I've already called a landscaping friend of a friend to come do a yard consultation and plan, and then we'll hire a service to dig, pull, rip and haul away. It's gonna be great. I'm gonna take before and after pictures.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Mary and Frosty

The Untold Christmas Story

Monday, December 26, 2005

December 24, 2005

(This is what I meant to post on Christmas Eve, 'cept our internet was down.)

Our neighborhood taco truck served free tacos, burritos and tortas today between 11 am and 4 pm. Also, Jana arrives stateside in just 3 short days. These may seem like unrelated items, but I can't think of anyone who appreciates good, authentic Mexican food more than Jana.

Woohooo...Feliz Navidad!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas almost here

I'm not a big Christmas person. I like buying presents for people and watching them open them up, and I like hearing some good live medieval/classical music at a place with nice acoustics, but those are the highlights for me. Like I said before, Thanksgiving is more my thing.

But then came Robo Sapien. It's this cool remote control robot that I'm giving my nephews, and I can't wait to watch them open it! I'm hoping they let me play with it, but I'm not holding my breath. I tried telling Ray that I want one for myself for Christmas, but he doesn't think I'll play with it more than the first day or two. I think he is wrong.

On another note, I watched Serenity on DVD last night. Surprise...the story was cohesive! It was way better than the jumble I experienced last weekend. I really liked it...good story, good script, just enough humor and drama. And there were only a few moments where I had to ask, "What did he just say?"

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bad hearing

I've been thinking about my hearing lately. We saw Serenity over the weekend, and I may as well been watching it in another language. The theatre had a less than optimal sound system, and the distortion made the movie nearly inaudible for me. Ray didn't have this experience, which leads me to believe that yes, I do have some kind of issue with my hearing. This is why I've grown to dislike parties more and more over the years. If there's background noise, I can't understand people a lot of the time.

What I did hear during the movie was stuff like this:

Captain: We'll blurd de frmuson on the kafgen in runnion fwenj hour.
Woman: But that will probably cauf the dregee to plinf urn munofoson.
Captain: Are you kidding? That seminkin strat will doofle bledty morf home.

I made Ray tell me the whole story later. The woman who I thought was the princess...she was really a hooker. The whole thing about the planet with the skeletons, that was at the root of several other plot points. I'd like to see this movie for real as I think I might like it. The version of the story I made up in my head while watching it was only moderately amusing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Done done done

I am so frickin' glad that is over. Test 1 - linguistics - was relatively easy and actually kinda fun. I think I did just fine on that test. Test 2 - anatomy and physiology - was downright evil. It crossed my mind to just make a pretty pattern out of my scantron form. It just really didn't matter that I studied all weekend. I've taken out my agressions: Ray bought a gingerbread man for me, which I ate it when I got home, ripping its head off as if it was Professor B. What an evil man. I think his first intent was to bring the curve down by a good bit with this test.

So now what? I have 3 blissful weeks to work my 20 hours/week job and not much else. But oh, there's lots to do!

Put up Christmas decorations (done as of last night)
Start and finish Christmas cards.
Get prints of wedding photos.
Paint the bedroom.
See friends.
See movies.
Oh! Start and finish my Christmas shopping.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

28 hours to go

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Today at Ladro...

The Wiccans are here with their laptops. They have long, wavy hair and wear woolly black cloaky things. One is writing a pagan fantasy novel, loosely based on the Mists of Avalon, and the other is working on a memoir for her mother. One of them works in finance, a middle manager for bank card services, and the other one works as an office manager for an insurance company, but is considering studying naturopathy, or at least ear candling.

A woman just came in with her husband. She's probably 60, with dark designer flared-leg jeans, black heeled boots, a white fur jacket, and bright red leather gloves (nice touch). She's hip, except for her jewelry and hair which are better suited to someone else in her peer group. They just got done looking at a waterfront house, and they're trying to decide about making an offer. She ordered rhubarb pie with her coffee. He's eating most of it as she's watching her figure.

Ah ha, Chris Martin. His look-alike just walked in...also in expensive jeans, and a navy blue velveteen sport coat over a vintage button-up. I swear this guy has an accent. Ooops...nope.

Too good...woman came in carrying her dog, who's the one wearing the designer quilted coat with white fur lining and hood. It's a Boston Terrier I think.

There're playing old Pearl Jam...10.

I've got to study for finals.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


Does anyone who's been in Seattle a really long time remember Kelly's French Dip in Montlake? Cafe Lago occupies its space now, or at least it was right around that part of 24th Ave E. My grandpa used to take my mom and I there every Wednesday for lunch when I was 4-5 years old. It was one of his favorite spots, and he and Kelly were buddies. Kelly was not only the owner but the roast beef chef in the back. He was a big man with glasses, as I recall, and that summed up my grandpa pretty well too.

What about Herfy's? It's probably well-known enough to be a Seattle food icon of yesteryear. We used to go to the one in the U. District on 50th, where my parents would order my plain hamburger, nothing on it please. The last real Herfy's I was aware of was in Bellingham, and I'm not sure it's still there. There's still a Herfy's in Georgetown, but it doesn't look anything like the old burger joints. Guess I'll have to go try it to find out.

We also used to frequent Shakey's Pizza on the Ave on Friday nights. It had a cool loft seating area, and video games that we liked to watch but weren't allowed to play. It seemed like it took ages for the pizza to get done, and meanwhile my mom would keep reminding me to drink my root beer slowly so I would have some for when the pizza came. I don't think any Shakey's exist anymore.

My first boyfriend and I used to get fish and chips at the stand outside of Ivar's Salmon House. The Salmon House is pretty much a Seattle institution, so it hasn't gone anywhere. Will need to revisit that food memory sometime soon.

The worst Seattle food memory is of Dag's Beefy Boys, which I renamed Dag's Barfy Boys. I only remember going there once, to the one on Aurora by Seattle Center, and I think they were having a power outage or something because the place was freezing and my burger tasted...well, barfy. Don't think we ever went back there, and now, ho-ho, it's gone.

Here's a nice Seattle eats article from 1999, when every newspaper was documenting everything about the 20th Century.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A scrapbook for food

Today's Thanksgiving meal was one for the record books. This was the first time that I honestly wanted to repeat the whole meal even though I was stuffed. I've never been that big on the traditional T-day menu, but now I'm a fan.

Honey-brined herb roasted turkey
Corn bread stuffing
Acorn squash stuffed with apple and raisin
Wilted spinach
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Brussel sprouts with pancetta
Sweet potato bake
Potato pancakes
Green salad with orange and pecan
Homemade bread
served with Beaujolais Nouveau
Apple and pumpkin pies
served with spiked nog and coffee

Oooeeee. I'm gonna pass out. Good job Ray, Mel, Caben, Mike.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Thanksgiving is Thursday. It's the day when you're suppose to be thankful for stuff. Today I am in a less than thankful mood.

- Mony continues to spray randomly in the house. It is trying my last nerve. Since we've tried everything, I'm picking up some kitty valium tomorrow. How can one cat be so loving and cuddly while we're home, and then spray the dog's bed when we're out? (Nope, not a urinary tract infection, but likely senility.)
- My car seems to be leaking coolant or something, plus some of the little heating/cooling lights keep flashing at me. It is overdue for a tune-up.
- Ray's starting a new company, which is cool, but in the multi-faceted stressful stages right now.
- Sammy has figured out how to get up on the stool that leads to the chair that leads to the table where Ramon's food sits. I figured this out since Mony's food bowl was on the floor and his place mat was spotless.
- Several friends are experiencing various levels of bad times right now.
- I haven't been swimming in a week and a half.

On the flip side:

- We are healthy, with a roof and heat and food in the fridge and fantastic friends and family.
- We are fortunate in many ways even when I'm not swimming and Ray's not getting a paycheck.
- We're hosting Thanksgiving dinner for friends. Ray's doing most of the cooking. I just upped the pie count to 3 so we have enough for everyone. It'll be a great time.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Classic Punk, Nouveau Punk

Based on actual hairstyles seen this week.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Groan if you must

I have a massive grant due tomorrow, which I started today, and it's made me realize how predictable my language is when I'm pressed for time. Words I should never ever use...ever...again:


Ewh. This isn't even all of them.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

If Harriet Miers gets a blog, then this guy needs one too

Hunting Season Opens for Mythical Creature

By KARL RITTER, Associated Press Writer
Fri Nov 11,12:35 AM ET

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - A mythical monster, believed by some to have lived for hundreds of years in the murky depths of a Swedish lake, is now fair game for hunters — if they can find it. Authorities have agreed to lift its endangered species protection.

Hundreds of people claim to have spotted a large serpent-like creature in Lake Storsjon in the northwestern province of Jamtland, and in 1986 the regional council put it on a list of endangered animals.

But a government watchdog challenged the decision, saying such protection was hardly necessary for a creature whose existence has not been proven.

The regional council agreed to remove the listing this month, but declined to rule out that a monster lives in the 300-foot deep lake.

"It exists, inasmuch as it lives in the minds of people," the council's chief legal adviser Peter Lif said about the purported beast. "But I guess we'll have to agree that it cannot be proved scientifically, and then it should not be listed as an endangered species."

The so-called Storsjo monster was first mentioned in print in 1635. Hundreds of sightings have been reported since then. Some people describe the creature as a snakelike animal with a dog's head and fins on its neck. But no clear image of it has been captured on camera.

Storsjo monster aficionados said lifting the endangered species protection was a mistake, and appeared insulted by the decision.

"We are not fanatics," said Christer Berko, of the Storsjo monster association. "We see this as very interesting phenomenon that we unfortunately have not been able to document."

Friday, November 11, 2005


This was going to be a really depressing post.

We found a great little dog as we were walking Sammy late last night. Huckle (that's what he looked like to me) loved Sammy, which is how we were able to entice him home with us. Since it was too late to do anything about him, we fed him a little and made him a bed in the kitchen. He was clearly used to more personal sleeping arrangements, so he eventually ended up in the bedroom. He was cute, friendly, springy (all night) and apparently young. Sammy really liked him. The cats were pissed.

This morning I went to the vet to see if he was chipped. No luck. I stopped at a few groomers in the area, and no one recognized him (though I got a pretty fair idea of the competition between West Seattle groomers based on where they thought he'd been groomed). I made up some notices and copied off 100. I was sick thinking about how frantic his owners must be, and even sicker thinking about taking him to the animal shelter. Although it gave him the best chance of being reunited with his owner, the whole 3 day time limit makes me ill. But we clearly couldn't keep him either.

After spending about an hour driving around, posting signs, and feeling more certain that the wind and sideways rain would get to the signs before Huckle's owner, I was about to give up and go home. Ray called to say that a guy Mike saw the signs, and believed the dog must have escaped right after he and his son had gotten home from a funeral last night. They live just 2 short blocks away.

I pulled up in front of the house a few minutes later, and Mike came charging out. He was beyond relieved. Mike had just gotten done copying off signs of his own when he saw the one I posted. We laughed that we could've had this whole thing straightened out earlier had we just run into each other at Staples.

Anyway, Huckle (his real name is Romeo) made me realize that as chaotic as our household is, the delicate pet balance is just about right.

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Movie list

I am sick of ion channels and ditransitive verbs. I'd rather think about movies. Specifically, there are so many good movies out and coming out, I'm concerned that some will drop off the list, and it'll be forever (okay, at least a few months) 'til I can see them on DVD. But by that time there'll be more good movies in the theaters, and I'll get further behind on the older stuff, not to mention all those AFI Top 100 titles I've yet to see. (Why am I in school when I should be catching up on movies?)

Lists always give me some (misplaced) peace of mind:

1. Good Night, and Good Luck (DONE)
(It's always good to start a list with something you can immediately check off.)
2. Serenity
3. March of the Penguins
4. Elizabethtown
5. New Wallace & Gromit
6. Rent
7. Pride and Prejudice
8. New Harry Potter
9. A History of Violence
10. The Johnny Cash Movie
11. Proof
12. Capote
13. Memoirs of a Geisha
14. Narnia
15. The Ice Harvest

Geez, there are a few more even...just can't remember them. There are also a few movies that have probably gone to DVD already, and were supposedly no good, but I'd still like to see them, including The Brothers Grimm and The Island.

Good study break

We saw Good Night, and Good Luck last night. Great movie, though a thoroughly depressing commentary on how very little we've learned since the McCarthy era. George Clooney did a fantastic job directing, and the guy who played Edward R. Murrow, David Strathairn, was stellar. I smell Oscar-worthiness. (Speaking of smells, you could almost smell the cigarettes and whiskey while watching this flick.)

Back to the books...two tests this week.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

New record

Whopping 131 trick-or-treaters last night, beating last year's total of 122 (or so)!

This year's trend...wearing your backpack in the front so you can carry loads of candy, hands-free.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Spooky orange graveyard

Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Lex Talionis

Ray's webcomic debut/preview: "This is just a soft launch..."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Smells and tastes

Do you ever have a vivid memory pop up when you smell something? I get a specific feeling and memory when I smell Big Red gum, which my very first boyfriend used to chew continuously. I also get it, though it's not as strong a reaction, when I smell swimming pool chlorine, which reminds me of lots of good times as a kid.

I don't think I've had this experience with taste until yesterday, when we bought this Rice Dream fake ice cream...Vanilla Ginger Snap Chai or something like that. As soon as I put it in my mouth I had a strong memory of a book I liked as a kid. It was a Sesame Street scratch-n-sniff book, and this ice cream tasted just like Cookie Monster's cookie smelled. It brought back some of the sensations of being 7 or whatever age I was at the time I had this book...among them, I really liked that smell and remember wanting to taste it, but alas, cardboard doesn't carry flavor well.

Someone should come up with a scrapbook for smells and tastes. I think it's a better way to recall good memories than photos.

On a wholly different note:

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Real or fake?

Yesterday the Hugo House held an inquiry called "Real/Fake - Examining the intersection of fiction and real life." We went to about 1/2 of the day's events, including a panel (two notable slam poets, a famous blogger, a 'zinester, a tech professor/activist) that somehow got off topic and spent most of their time talking about their writing and activism. One question posed to the panelists: Who are your influences (in terms of writing/spoken word as forays into the political)? One of the panelist mentioned J.T. LeRoy, a young (he was 19 when he published his first book), homeless, cross-dressing prostitute, junkie, unbelievable abuse-survivor, and brilliant writer.

The panel continued, still never really coming back to the Real/Fake thing, which I found irritating. During the Q&A portion, someone from the audience said he had recently heard that J.T. LeRoy is not who he claims to be, but instead a woman in her late 30s who created him, and fooled a lot of people in the last decade...literary critics, publishers, celebrities, and the New York Times, among others. He asked the panelist to respond: "Hmmm...really. I'll have to check that out" was basically all she said. Isn't this exactly what this panel is suppose to be talking about!?!

I haven't read J.T. LeRoy, but looked him up once we got home. Two articles have been printed within the last week or two about the possible hoax by a woman named Laura Albert, supposedly one of LeRoy's closest friends and mentors. Both journalists assert that Albert is LeRoy, with some convincing evidence. I won't go into all the details -- short version (Washington Post) and long version (New York Magazine) -- but my question is: how does one feel when a thing or person they've believed in is a hoax?

1) Outrage. I can understand how people could be believe in someone for so long, read about his experience and feel some of his pain only to find out that he doesn't exist. No one likes that I've-been-had-by-a-chump feeling. The writer has played on the emotions of the reader to make a buck and/or gain attention/notoriety.

2) Indifference. It doesn't matter if J.T. LeRoy is real or not...the stories are compelling, brilliant, and shed light on the plight of many homeless/transgender/abuse surviving/heroin using teenagers like the character. What's "real" anyway...J.T. LeRoy may very well be a real part of his creator. Aren't we all amalgums of fiction anyway?

3) Admiration. So maybe I wouldn't have pulled a stunt like this (or even had the brains to come up with it), but what a brilliant ruse! So many writers are aching to get published, and this one found a way to make herself so compelling that the agents and publishers couldn't help but read her work. It helps that she's a fine storyteller too, though the story surrounding the writer is way more interesting.

If I had read and been attached to LeRoy, I think I would feel a combination of these. While pulling the wool in this way is low, these are apparently stories worth telling by this particular teller, real or fake. It's hard to say what the motivation is, but if it's getting the story told, then Albert (or whomever) has done a damn fine job of it, albeit in a slimey and incredibly fascinating way. Ten bucks says a movie is in the works.

(And speaking of movies, the recent The Heart is Deceitful of All Things is based on a LeRoy book.)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Monday, October 10, 2005

Blog as fridge

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Test on Wednesday

Better Studying Thru MSPaint

Saturday, October 8, 2005

I Love Lucy...ever heard of it?

I went to a departmental picnic last night at school, and we played that ice breaker game where you have some famous person's name stuck on your back and everyone helps you figure out who it is. Anyway, I talked to someone who didn't know who Lucille Ball was. A few other people had never heard of George Burns. I realize that some of the undergrads there were born in the mid-80s, but still! These are icons, people...please familiarize yourselves with classic television!

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Good reads

I wanted to write a post about Jana leaving for Amsterdam for 3 months, but that seems too sad, especially as I missed talking to her this weekend before they left today. Sigh.

Instead of that pity-party:

The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
This is a wonderful, old-style thriller, set in 1930s and 40s Barcelona and Paris. Though predictable in places, it's a fun, gripping mystery with some romantic elements that transported me to the dark, foggy, cobbley streets of some distinguished old Eurpoean cities. Actually, since we having our own cobbley-streeted experience while I was reading this book, I found myself confused when I was pulled out of the story. Where I am? Milan, 2005 or Barcelona, 1946? I lent this one to Jana for her trip. Sigh.

An Italian in America
by Beppe Severgnini
No vacation with Ray is complete without buying books. By the time we got to Milan, we had a crisis on our hands. Ray had read all but one thing he'd brought with him (I think he was saving it for an emergency situation, i.e. plane ride home). Since we hadn't been in town large enough to have a bookstore with books in our native tongue, we scouted out a bookstore within a few hours after arriving in Milan. While Ray browsed and restocked, I picked this one up, flipped through it, couldn't put it down, so we added it to the stack. It's an easy and funny (though dated) read about the author's year in the US...mostly light-hearted comparisons of Italian and American culture. It was really fun to read while we were in the midst of experiencing these differences: for instance, why don't we get water or soda pop served with ice? I will certainly look for other titles by Severgnini (whose name I am still trying to pronounce without sounding everything out).

The Annotated Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen, David Shapard
Got this for my birthday...good call! It is really fun to reread the story with all these little explanatory tidbits by someone who has researched the period as well as the novel and authoress. The annotater can point out meanings and allusions in the dialogue similar to watching the Yankees with someone who keeps track, obsessed with baseball stats. All of the added notes are making the story last loads longer. Three cheers for P&P in triple overtime with the bases loaded! Now if I can only make it last for 3 months...

Saturday, October 1, 2005


1. One of Varenna's Marys.
2. The cemetary, Varenna.
3. Old rusted bicycle at a Monterosso beach.
4. The bull at Vittorio Emmanuelle Galleria in Milano. Spin on his testicles for good luck.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


I'm having trouble uploading images (is it me or is it jetlag?), so for now...

1. Varenna from our hotel
2. The castle at Aymavilles, from whence Ray's pop's family came (not the castle specifically...)
3. An alleyway in Monterosso, or somewhere in the Cinque Terre
4. From the rooftop of Il Duomo, Milano

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sto come un papa!

I feel like a pope (i.e. happy)! (Don't ask me why this is a pope-ular expression - ha - but it is.)

We're in Monterosso, the northern most Terre of the Cinque. We hiked between Monterosso and Vernazza today, the next Terre, and weren't sure what to expect. There are plenty of apparently German tourists/hikers here, and we've seen them head off to the trail equiped with steel-toed, shank-soled boots, trekking poles, and enough khaki for the desert. Could it really be that hard of a hike, we wondered.

We headed out this morning, after reading the hike was "tough." I was a little nervous when we started in my all-terrain sandals, and Ray in his hipster/practical tennis shoes. Maybe those hikers knew something we didn't. Along the way we ran into other Americans (tank tops, New Balance running shoes), more Germans (boots, poles, etc.), and some Italians (soccer balls). The first part of the trail was pretty much steps uphill, through terraced vineyards and lemon groves. Stunning. We broke a sweat, but it wasn't that rigorous. Eventually the trail leveled out into some more reasonable ups and downs, and we ran across more people. My favorite was the tour group of middle-aged Janapese women, decked out in street clothes, some with shopping bags and low heels. They were having a great time...sans poles!

Anyway, a worthwhile hike, with some incredible views! Perfetto!

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Federal Way of the Alps (???)

So, before we got to Aosta, we couldn't find much info on the town. We wondered if it was some bland, lifeless community that wouldn't have much to offer us except some family history. We were right, and wrong.

Aosta is a weird combo of newer cement apartment buildings, mining industries, and some ancient and crumbling Roman ruins. It's incredibly ugly, yet the central square and surrounding streets are fun to explore and seem to be geared toward the jet set. We've heard almost no English...seems like half the place is Italian, French, Swiss and German tourists. People always address us first in German.

We did get some family history filled in for Ray's father's side of the family, but a lot more questions were raised. Did the officials at Ellis Island really really screw things up 100 years ago? Why was a mother travelling alone with her 5 children? Where is the current family name? We've found another family name lots of places, but why did it change when this branch of the family emmigrated? Such a mystery.

Can't wait to get to Nicaragua and explore the other side of his family. And then maybe back to Hoxne, Suffolk to look up my kinfolk. So many trips to take, so little time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Il dolce far niente

The sweetness of doing nothing...

We've been busy with a lot of nothing, and walking up and down to do it. Right now we're in Varenna, town set on a steep hillside coming up from Lago di Como. Tomorrow we'll head to Aosta, then later the Cinque Terre, then Milano.

I've been reminded how many great ideas pop up once I'm far far from home, and I'd like to figure out how to channel the mental fertility that comes from nothing-time when at home. Some epiphanies so far range from the goodness of cheese and honey together, that Ramon was a duck in a former life, and the beginnings of an art project that involve Lago di Como beach glass and photos of the Virgin Mary. Still mulling on that one.

(Ray just chatted with some guys that were from Kirkland and Redmond. Funny.)

Speaking of Ray...he just uploaded some photos.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Airing out

That last post was annoying, so I'm moving it from the top of the page with something else. How about some photos.

First, some gypsies in Barlad, Romania. There's a fascinating documentary about the migration and cultural history of Gypsies called Lacho Drom. It's hard to come by, but really worth watching.

Next, my glasses. I wanted to get them in orange, but that wasn't very practical.

Third, a kick-ass Orthodox nun, who I think did a stint as the Romanian Church Lady for a season or two.

Ah, my ring. I love it, though I've learned it's hard to get tiny bits of mango cleaned out of it.

And last, a fine Donny and Marie movie. I think I was 7 when it came out and while I didn't see it in the theater, I did buy the book through the Scholastic Book Club. Whatta read.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

3, 2, 1

I started my new part-time grantwriting job last week. Though I'm superstitious about making any summary judgments in general, I will go out on a limb and say that it seems meant to be for me in several ways. It's a civil rights/social justice organization that I worked for years ago, and after watching the awful Katrina response unfold ("some combination of incompetence and indifference") this week, it is the right place, for the right cause, and at the right time for everything else going on in my day-to-day.

On day 3, we had the monthly staff meeting. It was great: my new coworkers are committed, cohesive, and have damn fine taste in caterers. (Our lunch included some amazing melt-in-your-mouth chicken, gumbo, and corn bread like none I've ever had. I don't recall staff meetings like this from before!)

Since I have a new job, I'm wrapping up at the pet food store...2 days to go! I have to admit that the "fun student gig" has run its course. Another reason my new job seems meant to be.

And, there is just 1 work week in between me and Lake Como and some real relaxation.

I feel incredibly lucky.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

It's pie!

Amazing what one can accomplish when one is suppose to be cleaning the garage.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Help me Martha

I'm trying to clean up the garage before we leave for our trip to Italy, and I am truly stumped on some of this. What the hell do you do with perfectly usable stuff, or things that have borderline sentimental value, that doesn't seem to belong anywhere at all?

Suggestions welcome.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Only two weeks

It seems impossible, but only two weeks have passed since these flowers were standing next to a large ice sculpture. The flowers have wilted and the ice sculpture has melted, predictably. Wilted and Melted should not also described the entity they heralded.

I guess flowers and ice don't stand up well to flames...

Monday, August 15, 2005


About a year ago I walked up and down Pike and took pictures. I used to drive up this street every morning, from 1st to Boren, and I was always intrigued with how the street changed in those 8 or so blocks. On my last birthday, I took the day off and drove downtown as usual, except this time I parked and walked up Pike, taking pictures along the way. It's kinda a photo essay of the street.

This one is my favorite...between 1st and 2nd Avenues. It's the most exciting block in that there's a fair combination of junkies and tourists mixed in together.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

By request: Ramon

Really? This is a first. Here he is, in his favorite pose...

To fully appreciate The Mons, one must linger on his most prominent feature: his yelling apparatus...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

RIP: Aug 2003 - Mar 2005

I've had this new blog for several months, but somehow I really miss my old blog. "Rebecca's Anytime Pancakes" represented 1.5 years of silly keyboard puttering. None of what I wrote held any real value or importance, but somehow life's minutiae becomes a comforting personal history.

Since that content is probably gone forever, I'll pay homage by summing up some of the old posts:

The "War on Terror" is a ridiculous slogan
My former neighbors and their divorce
Snow day in Seattle
The revenge of the tent caterpillars
Party/costume recaps
List of 50 things I'd like to accomplish
Cashing large, expired check
Stories from the commute
Paint selections for my office
Trips to UK, Romania, Nebraska, Hawaii, Victoria
Britta in utero
Selling house, buying condo
About donors

Hotel rooftop in Barlad, Romania. Lots of adorable communist-era concrete structures. September, 2003.

I visited some donors who were as awkward and uncomfortable as the furniture that pervaded their monstrous cold house. Spring 2004.

A rodeo taking place near the site of the family reunion. June, 2004

Hawaii! This one is from somewhere outside of Kona on the Big Island. We tooled around the island with Ray's dad. August, 2004

New floor in my new condo. August, 2004.

Darth Mahler in Victoria. September, 2004.

Jack-o-lantern. October, 2004

This photo wasn't in the old blog, but they're the cool cowboy boots I got from Ray for Christmas. Rock on John Fluevog. December, 2004.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Being "the boy"

Somehow I have always selected men who are better housewives than I. Ray is in Washington DC yucking it up with some feds, and I'm here at home. My jeans are in a pile on the dining room floor. There are dirty glasses...everywhere. The entire Lord of the Rings DVD collection is spread atop several living room surfaces. I reused a plate for dinner. I've had a good go of eating crap for 36 hours straight. My damp towel from the pool is sitting on the floor next to the washing machine. There are various types of sandals strewn from one end of the house to another.

Ray, I promise me 'n the house will be back to normal by tomorrow night.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Boc boc boc

The "cougars" next door are imitating angry poultry today. No lie.

Monday, July 18, 2005

From the annals of pet supply retail

Some favorite quotes from the pet food store:

"Is tuna a fish or a shellfish?"

"What are all these toys? Are they for dogs or for kids?"

And today's favorite:

Disdainfully: "I'm not coming back here. It's too hot and it's making me want to vomit." (Thanks've been in here for 10 minutes, and I've been here for 5 hours...)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Bus poem

So a friend of a friend (not Edward Applebee) had a poem accepted to this year's round of bus poetry. Since I've become a somewhat faithful bus rider, I've been looking for it.

A few days ago, I noticed a really swell poem. I liked it so much I dug out a pen and paper to jot it down. Then I noticed it was by this very friend of a friend! Here it'll like it...thanks Joe.

Conversations with my heart
by Joe Walker

hey bullet dodger
swooning cliff diver
genius in a jumpsuit
Your chute's on backwards.

Let's disassemble
this lantern
toss out the pieces
hold the lighted wick

Let's work on this poem together
every day
risen and steady
like it has no end

Saturday, July 9, 2005

The secret to studying

It's way easier to study when I can draw pictures.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005


I have free afternoon today to study, and I'm not getting much done as the kids next door sound like a pack of cougars. Loud cougars. Every time they exclaim, I jump out of my seat thinking that a baby giraffe or gazelle has just met its maker. I can't figure out what they're doing over there that would warrant such vocal strains. I've gotta put on some Led Zepplin or Brahms or something and drown them out. I don't think that mellow J. Ralph study music is gonna overpower these guys.

Monday, July 4, 2005


Got results back from my first test: 4.0 or 102% (100% + 1 bonus question)!!!!!!!!

This is a good sign as I just registered for my physiology class this fall which I also need to ace.
Note: I had to come back to this post to say that I don't plan on often touting my school accomplishments, as it was seriously annoying when people used to do this in...well, a long time ago. That said, I fear that if I actually publish the previous disclaimer, then it will jinx future grades, and I will never have a reason to write a hooorah post. Thankfully, these two statements cancel themselves out, and I'd say my chances for good grades are okay once again. I could keep going, but I won't.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

My Life So Far

One piece of bus poetry, written by a 6 or 8-year-old, goes like this:

My Life So Far

I have eight pets.

So I was thinking about my version of this little poem:

My Life So Far

I have had 4 pets.
I have had 15 bestish friends good enough to listen to my secrets & minutiae.
I have one spousal unit who has promised to listen to my secrets & minutiae ad infinitum.
I collect pieces of paper from colleges and universities.
I have 2 spare tires, one of which can be used on my car.
I like water.
I have many many place to see.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Now wait just a minute

I thought "til death do you part"
would also include me getting into
the Ray Secret Ingredient Society.

Apparently membership remains
at an exclusive 1.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Pet culture clash

After observing the H Family Pets and the P Family Pet living in the same space, it's become really obviously that they all need to take some cultural diversity sensitivity training. For instance...

H Family Pets (HFP) recognize food as anything going in anyone's mouth, no matter who's consuming it or what it is. For some members of HFP, food can also be substances coming out of various other places or found random in the yard or the garbage. Food is something that HFP always desire and will employ various innovative tactics to obtain. Persistence is expected, though not often rewarded.

P Family Pets (PFP) recognize food as some of what is in the appropriate PFP food container, though often this changes, and is found no longer acceptable. Food also includes prosciutto, select Canadian bacon, moist smoked salmon and specific "cat treats," i.e. thinly veiled fish food. Food is desired only some of the time, and persistence is unnecessary.

HFP want to be where humans are, and when possible, on top of them. Reassurance and physical closeness is always a goal. HFP often like to be near other HFP, but not necessarily PFP. HFP greet each other by one-sided butt sniffing and occasional nose-licking.

PFP some times like to be with people, but often are just as interested as being in a closet, on a chair, or in an inactive washing machine. PFP are nervous about HFP and don't seek them out.

It is acceptable and encouraged to frequently demand things. Whining, talking, "yelling," licking, barking and chewing are all appropriate ways to demand attention, food, change in scenery at any time of the day. It is also to appropriate to engage in these activities if you are just bored. HTP generally want what others have, not just food-wise, but also space-wise. Some HTP will go to great lengths to get exclusive use of other's things, perch on the porch, or paper in use.

PFP will ask for things at certain times of the day. For example, PFP will request food when humans are awake and beginning to start their daily activities. PFP has no interest in HFP food, activities or whereabouts. PFP are proficient at seeking help when none is necessary...walking past HFP, getting down off the roof, etc.

One of HFP primary sports is to go inside and outside. No matter the length of stay on one side of the door or the other, it's desirable to be on the other side of the door nearly every time it opens. It is also optimal to make humans get up and open the door as frequently as possible.

Favorite toys are heavily damaged and smelly stuffed animals.

PFP go outside about once a day, for several hours. PFP's favorite toys include hands and other areas of exposed skin.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I keep coming across blog topics, but none of them are really interesting enough to write or read about more than a sentence or two. Maybe it'd be more interesting to squish them all together in a story. Or maybe not, but I'm doing it anyway.

Once upon a time (ha)...I was heading to the social security office, when I realized I didn't have all the paperwork I needed for my errand. Since I was near Trader Joe's, I went in and picked up some things instead. I thought about getting some dark chocolate to keep on hand for chocolate cravings. I don't like dark chocolate that much, so I figured I would be able to resist it, but then realized that was a bad idea as I probably wouldn't resist it as much as think, and it was probably safer to just get it on a situation-critical, as-needed (or "Just In Time" as they say at my old job, where they're BIG on jargon) basis. I stuck with the apple juice, dried apples and lightly salted dry roasted peanuts.

My next stop was the pool, where I contemplated the wait-people Ray and I see so often that they have nicknames. There's The Brad, the waiter who reminds me of my friend/stylist Bradley as he's got a fun, quirky sense of humor and can make great 80s allusions. At the same joint, The Cowboy, the short guy with the cowboy boots who is both friendly and surly, especially when you change your mind about what you want (that never happens!). On Monday night, we visited The Pirate, who looks like a man of the high seas, sans eye patch. He complimented me on my lemonade order (?). Then there's all the people at the coffee shop...Cartoon Guy, Heidi, and The Dumb Girl. I wish we could've had nicknames for the people at the tortas place a few blocks away, but they closed up more than a year ago, before we got motivated enough to get there...bummer.

On the way home I thought about how much I like school so far, and how I hope I don't look old enough to be anybody's mother (I couldn't be anyway, could I?...not really). There are a number of people in both my classes that are my age or older, though we are easily outnumbered by the 20-year-olds (", y'know, um, it's like, so I'm kinda confused, y'know...") I'm thinking about all of this when suddenly a gigantic spider suddenly appears in front of my right eye. I swat him away and try not to swerve off the arterial on which I'm driving about 45. I look frantically for him and he's nowhere to be found. Did he drop down from the ceiling, or worse, out of my hair? Finally I spot him as I'm wondering if I should be looking for a spider while I'm still going 45, especially as I have no health insurance for several more days since my insurance transition got totally fubared. He's actually not gigantic, but about the size of a dime, and a nice camel color. Regardless of his chic shade of brown, he's still a spider. I feel around for an old magazine in the back seat, find one, and get him to crawl onto it (still driving 45) and throw the magazine to the other side of the car. I hope he died in the fall, since I don't want to touch that magazine again.


Whew...well that was a completely spastic, jumbled non-story.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Water: a mood altering substance

I am a complete nutter.

Yesterday I went to the 5 pm lap swim. As usual, it was busier than other times of the day. I got in the "medium" lane with 3 other people in it. It was miserable. Two of the people had absolutely no clue about lane never stopping at the wall to let faster swimmers by, and not standing to the side of the lane when resting so others can turn properly. There was no way anyone in this lane was swimming at a medium pace. I don't even know exactly what one woman was doing, stroke-wise. Anyway, I spent about 20 minute trying to get a workout without hurting someone or being completely mean. I finally moved to another lane when one cleared out a bit, but it was too late...I was cranky and tense for the rest of the evening.

On the other end of the mood spectrum, I finally went to the club nearby to see about membership. I had a price in mind I was willing to pay, and was completely prepared to play hardball. The problem was...the pool was gorgeous: it was nearly empty, well-kept, had very nice, wave-retarding lane lines, and is available for lap swimming any time. The sales guy said that usually no more than one person occupies a lane, if that. Gulp. I had to really work to not drool all over the place.

Anyway, I signed up for 15 months for less that what I pay per month at the public pool. I have been a happy happy girl all day!

Should I be worried about such mood swings over friggin' swimming?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Vegas reading

When I wasn't floating down the fake river, I did lots of poolside reading:

Persuasion by Jane Austen: Good, predictable but totally enjoyable.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon: Also good story about an autistic teenager solving a neighborhood mystery.
The Washingtonienne by Jessica Cutler: the "novel" inspired by the well-known blog of the same name about the wild rendezvous of a congressional staff assistant, her peeps, and a presidential appointee or two.

Ray read The Washingtonienne and also The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon, which I'd like to read soon. Set in the near-future, it's also a story about an autistic man who is offered a "cure" to become "normal." It won some awards.

Ray also read The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition. I don't think I'm going to read that one.

The best thing in Vegas

The best part of our trip, aside from it being our honeymoon, and going to see Cirque du Soleil's "O", was the Lazy River at Mandalay Bay. I got good and pruny each and every day. Posted by Hello