Friday, August 30, 2002

T. G. I. Friday Five

More about clothes. I'm just not into them these days. But, here goes...

1. What's your favorite piece of clothing that you currently own? A black mid-weight "wicking" shirt that I pull over everything.

2. What piece of clothing do you most want to acquire? Honestly, a new pair of running shoes. I plan on buying some ASAP. Other than that, a light brown suede jacket would be pretty cool. I've also realized that I do need some new blue jeans.

3. What piece of clothing can you not bring yourself to get rid of? Why? My high school letter jacket. I had always wanted one, so when I finally got mine it was the only jacket I wore in high school. I've never worn it since, and I never will again, but I won't get rid of it.

4. What piece of clothing do you look your best in? Chinese dress. (This was in an earlier Friday Five.)

5. What has been your biggest fashion accident? It was almost the time that I wore long underwear beneath a skirt when it was a 2 week fad to wear leggings under skirts, but fortunately my mom wouldn't let me leave the house like that. All of 7th grade was a fashion accident: trying unsuccessfully to dress fashionably. I learned my lesson there, however, and have never tried to be fashionable since.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

It's official: I've reached spinsterhood

I'm single, rapidly approaching age 30, and I'm telling tales about my cat. This is not going to be a frequent point of discussion, but since there was such nice interest in my new companion, I thought I'd provide an update of the First Night Home.

I picked Eowyn up right as the clinic was closing yesterday afternoon. She didn't look as zombie-like as the cat who left as I arrived, but she was still pretty out of it. When we arrived home, she stumbled around my bedroom (her home for the next week while she's recovering and we're painting the hallway), sniffing everything, looking out the window, inspecting and then circling around again. She finally settled down in the closet where she proceeded to glower for a while. At some point she relocated, though, and was under the bed when I left for work this morning. I don't think she ate or drank anything, but she did find and use the litter box. I guess the first evening was as successful as it could be considering the circumstances.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Everyone in Vests... I mean: Everyone bloggin' 'bout shopping for clothes

It's Back to School time of year, and even though I'm not a student, I feel the familiar urge to buy pencils, crayons, and new clothes.

Actually, nix the clothes. I was inspired to blog by the aforelinked (new word?) posts, but I hate clothes shopping. I don't like most shopping (unless it's overseas, particularly for rugs, Purrrrsians please*) and having to try on clothes is particularly painful. After kitting up for my REI adventure, I'm awash in quick dry T's, shorts, zip-off pants, and fleece, and have decided that the Northwest camping look is the one I'm going to sport for a while: comfy, neutral, and ready for any adventure, urban (I live in Seattle where khakis are formal, after all) or outdoors. I just wish I could wear my Teva's to work, but with our production environment, I really shouldn't wear open toes (like I would get a pedicure anyway).

In my last conversation with my parents we discussed school supplies (as you could see from my last Friday Five, my mom is still going back to school this August). My dad was once again complaining about his miserable childhood with the new detail about how he had to go with the 8 crayon box, and I am still appreciative of the fact that I got a new set of the 64 colour box every year (I was sooo spoiled). This is something that seems to cross generations: we all still are happy or resentful of how many crayons we had as children. Note to parents: it seems to be worth the extra $ (how much can it be?) on the better crayon set for your kids, as it will save much therapy and resentment years down the line.

* For rug afficiandos, I've linked Nain, Tabriz, and Qum rugs: the first two being wool and silks like those that I own and the last being the all silk one that will be my next purchase, although I don't want a floral, which is displayed.
Alaska is a beautiful state. You should visit and take pictures.

Or just look at mine... The website with pictures from my Alaskan vacation is up! More photos will be added in the upcoming weeks, but there's a good selection on the site.

Monday, August 26, 2002

Where did the weekend go?

Last weekend was one of the few "free weekends" I've had this summer: no houseguests, no travel, no big events. So I expected it to be lazy, with plenty of time to do nothing. That never seemed to happen, however. I remember looking at my watch yesterday at 5 pm, and wondered when that lazy weekend was going to start. I guess the non-lazy weekend was worth it, though, becuase I now have the following:

- A freshly painted, warm and sunny bathroom (I had a lot of help)
- A 21 mile run at a 9:15 pace under my belt
- Slightly less tired eyes
- A completed book club book
- A new companion who will come home tonight: a female feline named Eowyn (yes, I'm a geek)
- A fridge full of food for the week
- Supplies for the new companion

How long until Friday?
Uh-oh - I'm a control freak!

Although I didn't really need this quiz from Kris to tell me that. I particularly liked the question about how you order in a restaurant. Remember how Meg Ryan's character in When Harry Met Sally ordered food? I resemble that. It's all about knowing what you like and asking for it.

Friday, August 23, 2002

It's Friday, so here's 5

1. What is your current occupation? Is this what you chose to be doing at this point in your life? Why or why not? I am a senior operations analyst for a financial services complany. The "what you chose to be doing" phrasology is interesting. I do enjoy the nature of my job (consulting, coaching, project management, analysis and problem solving), I like my co-workers, I make good money, I live in the city that I love, and it's a terrific company to work for with innovative leaders who believe in treating their associates well. I'm learning a lot about business and the corporate world, and have learned that I don't want to work in a corporation, especially a financial services company. This company, however, has been a gateway to involvement in community service work and will help me finance my education to prepare for my next career. (Next question)

2. If time/talent/money were no object, what would your dream occupation be? Right now, my plan is to work in Public Health. I think I'm interested in the policy side of things, or perhaps consulting: conduct analysis to identify key issues and how to address them. As goofy as this sounds, I want to make the world a better place through my work. I don't want to work in a job where the bottom line is making a profit.

3. What did/do your parents do for a living? Has this had any influence on your career choices? My dad is career military (he's still a Naval officer after almost 35 years) and my mom is an elementary school librarian. My parents' careers have definitely influenced my choices. I was in the Navy for 5 years; my dad is the one who suggested the ROTC scholarship to pay for school (although he advocated going Air Force). Both of my parents love their jobs, so I seek to have that kind of happiness with my work. Both of them are supported by the government and tax dollars as well, which has probably influenced my political views (tax and spend liberal). Both of my parents work to support the "higher goals" of their jobs: to make the world safer, and to teach children a love of reading and learning, with the ability to conduct research. Never have they worked for the paycheck or to make the company more profitable. That, I think, has greatly influenced how I want to work and what kind of role I want to play in society as a professional.

4. Have you ever had to choose between having a career and having a family? No. I used to think about it a lot when I was in high school and college (should I be a doctor, what happens when I have kids, etc), but now, I'm not really sure I ever want children, and if I did, I would figure out a way to make that work with whatever job I have.

5. In your opinion, what is the easiest job in the world? What is the hardest? Why? No clue. Some days it feels like everyone I work with has an easier job than I do, but I think we all think that. Mine is harder because of its ambiguity, but this same ambiguity allows me to slack off a little more than people who have to hit hard numerical objectives. If you've seen the movie About a Boy, the Hugh Grant character had a pretty easy job (living off of his inheritance), but I don't think that's too realistic. Nursing is a very hard job, I think, particularly when they work with terminally ill children. Being a politician would be a pretty hard job, because you would have to determine whether you should compromise your values for the better good of those you serve.

Thursday, August 22, 2002


I have never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I saw the movie years ago and found it entertaining (I'll watch just about anything with Donald Sutherland in it). When the TV version came out, I figured it would go the way of every other TV program based on a movie. As I heard about it more, I didn't get the channel it was on. I think I do now, but it really seems too late, and I don't get the appeal. Except for the fact that I can't go anywhere on the web without running into the show and those who love it.

Just about every weblog I read is written by a huge fan. The occasional Buffy post / link / conversation seems to be a requirement of this medium. Several write as if it's a guilty little secret that they can share with others.

Well, I'm looking for any other non-Buffy-watchers to come out of the closet and share in my non-secret. Is there anyone else who doesn't love this show?

I'm a little bit Geek and a little more Freak

I'm 57% freak!!

Again, quiz from Ms. B.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Baby talk

At work I sit in a small version of what my friend Glenn referred to as a veal fattening pen (cubicles). Despite the 5 foot tall cube walls, you can hear other people's conversations; or if not the content of the conversation, certainly the tone. It's funny how you can instantly tell by tone of voice and body language when someone is speaking to a significant other. Of the 4 people surrounding my desk, one got married last month, and one is getting married this weekend. Lots of soft-spoken, breathy conversations hunched over the phone happening this summer.

This seems to be the summer of the wedding. Last summer everyone was pregnant, this summer, everyone's getting married (but not the same pool of people).

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Only 1/3?

You are 33% geek
You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.

Normal: Tell our geek we need him to work this weekend.

You [to Geek]: We need more than that, Scotty. You'll have to stay until you can squeeze more outta them engines!

Geek [to You]: I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain, but we need more dilithium crystals!

You [to Normal]: He wants to know if he gets overtime.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at

Sometimes quizzes are right on. This one thanks to Brigita.
Just like Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club...

... I sit with the contents of my purse spread before me. According to Kristen, the average woman's bag contains 25 items. Let's see how I compare:

1) Wallet (WA drivers liscence, debit/ATM card, personal VISA, corporate MasterCard, reserve military ID, Jamba Juice punch card, insurance card, business cards, REI member card, cash)
2) Palm pilot
3) Nail clippers (do you feel less safe knowing that I've carried these through dozens of airport scanners?)
4) Passport (in case I need to flee the country at said airports)
5) Stamps
6) Mobile phone
7) Sunglasses
8) Work ID card (with new "core values" attachment)
9) Chequebook
10) Eyeglass case
11) Ear plugs (2 pairs for some reason)
12) Lip goop (also 2: vaseline and chapstick)
13) Hair elastic
14) Chewing gum
15) Matches
16) First aid kit (contains Bandaids, Neosporin, Tylenol, ibubrofen, supplements, etc)
17) Contact rewetting drops
18) Hand lotion

After over 10 years of living without a purse (backpack, pockets, or bust), I bought a small bag about 18 months ago. It is small, so the contents are extremely consistent, with the occasional extra receipt, barrette, or (in special circumstances) disposable camera.

The tote bag I tote back and forth to work, however, is an entirely different story. I have to check it every few weeks to ensure that I don't have a lost child or something living in there...
And now back to our regularly scheduled bloggage...

My writing pace has really slacked off these past few weeks (along with my running) due to several factors:

Weeklong vacation in Alaska
Work stuff
More work stuff
Friend in town for summer going back to school
Miny holiday
Under the weather-ness
More houseguests
Still more work stuff

As of today, however, the houseguests have returned home, my housemate has traveled to CA, and I left work promptly at 5 (with only moderate guillt).

So let the bloggage begin!!

(Note: with the exception of not feeling well, all of those "distractions" were very welcome. I'm very thankful for my terrific family, friends, and job.)

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Impress your family, astonish your friends, indulge your cravings...

I've been inspired to post the famous Ritz-peanut-butter-chocolate cookie/candy recipe due to my and Max's recent posts about fried/dipped sticky sweet snacks and the fact that I've been eating Ritz crackers that someone's left out all morning. These look very impressive, although they're actually very easy to make. I suppose if one had to entertain kids, making these might be a fun activity. So, without further ado:

Better than Reeces Cookie / Candy Things

- Spread peanut butter between 2 Ritz crackers (creamy works best, but I have used crunchy, too: trickier, but just as tasty)
- Repeat many many times (like a dozen or so)
- Melt chocolate* (you can use the kind specifically meant for candy or do what I do and melt chocolate chips; I throw in a little parafin, too)
- Dip cracker sandwiches in chocolate
- Cool on wax paper
- Refriderate until firm
- Eat one to see how it tastes
- Eat another one for quality control
- Eat that one where the chocolate got kinda messed up

* I use semi-sweet and white chocolate. I think I prefer white chocolate ones, but usually have to have one of each to remember. :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

And I thought California was a haven for health nuts...

News flash from NPR this morning: deep fried Twinkies will be served at the California State Fair next week, answering the questions: what junk food will they think to deep fry next and why do Americans have obesity issues.

(Particularly relevent after last evening's dinner conversation about deep fried candy bars)

Monday, August 12, 2002

I walk the earth like Cain from Kung Fu

I couldn't resist this quiz from Kris:

:: how jedi are you? ::

Sunday, August 11, 2002

I'm back!

I had a fabulous week in Alaska. It's an amazing place, and I had a great group and guides to see it with. For anyone planning a vacation, I highly recommend REI Adventures. Everyone on the trip was friendly, interesting, well-traveled, outdoorsey, etc. The trip was extremely well-organized without being overly controlling.

I'm not feeling especially bloggy today (perhaps due to the excesses of yesterday: 18+ mile run followed by 9 holes of beer golf), but in the next week or so, our group will have a web page with pictures and comments about the trip. Here, however, are a few highlights:

- I saw orcas, humpback whales, glaciers, puffins, porpoise, bald eagles, salmon jumping up a waterfall, a moose, and too many mosquitoes and black flies
- I didn't see a bear, but did hear one snuffling around my tent one night
- I hiked, mountain biked, canoed, kayaked, and rafted
- An admitted non-camper, I spent 5 nights in sleeping bags and went 3 days without a shower, and survived smiling
- While white-water rafting, I (for the second time) managed to be in the only boat that flipped (but it wasn't my fault this time)
- I became a member of the Skilak Swim Team by swimming in a glacier-fed lake
- I made a lot of new friends

So the only question remains, what's the next adventure?

Friday, August 02, 2002

Alaska, here I come!!!

I'm off, early tomorrow morning, for a week adventure to Alaska! It's an REI multisport adventure, and looks like tons of fun. I thought it was very reasonably priced for all that it includes (gear, meals, transportation, etc), but then I realized how they make up their profit. I've been on two massive REI shopping expeditions this past week, spending more than what 1/3 of the trip is worth! I now have tons of wicking clothes, however, which I know will get plenty of usage. The problem with REI is that you go into the store to buy one thing, like a Nalgene bottle, and end up with a new fleece, another running hat, a few pairs of hiking socks, and $100 dollars later you leave, wondering how you spent that much on a water bottle...

Anyway, I won't have access to any of the modern conveniences (mobile phone, internet, running water) for a week, so have a great week!
The Friday Five

1. What is your lineage? Where are your ancestors from? All approximate: 5/16 German, 1/4 Irish, 1/4 British (English & Welsh, perhaps some Scot), 1/8 Norweigan, 1/16 Italian

2. Of those countries, which would you most like to visit? Germany. I took German in high school. All the German is from my mother's side, but my dad lived in Germany for a few years as a kid, so both he and my maternal grandfather can speak the language.

3. Which would you least like to visit? Why? I would love to visit them all!

4. Do you do anything during the year to celebrate or recognize your heritage? I drink a lot of beer and eat pickled herring every chance I get (I'm not kidding). As all of my great-grandparents were born in the US, and the nationalities are pretty blended, my family doesn't have too many traditions from a country of origin. My grandmother does make her mother-in-law's stolen recipe for Christmas every year. That's about all that I can think of.

5. Who were the first ancestors to move to your present country (parents, grandparents, etc)? I had a relative immigrate some time in the 1700's, through whom I could qualify for the DAR. His name, I'm sorry to say, was Snodgrass.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

I ride to work with Hitler

A coworker of mine has posted on his cube an old WWII cartoon of a driver with a phantom Adolf Hitler in his passenger seat with the slogan "When you ride ALONE you ride with Hitler. Join a Car-Sharing Club TODAY!"

I live in the city of Seattle, just north of downtown. I work 25 miles south of this city, just off of "the I-5." [Random aside: As someone not from Southern California, I always get a kick out of hearing someone say "the" I-5 or "the" I-405. You never hear anyone say "the" I-95 (except for Sheryl Crow, who has obviously lived in LA too long).]

Anyway, despite an active corporate carpool program and the fact that there are almost a dozen co-workers who live within a 2 mile radius of my house (including the owner of the aforementioned cartoon), I do not carpool. I feel very guilty about this fact. The problem is that these car poolers keep a very strict 9 to 5 (or in their case 7 to 4 with an hour lunch) schedule. I do not. They like the fact that the carpool forces them to leave, thus supporting their "work / life balance." They say that it makes them work more efficiently. I do not work efficiently (if you haven't yet figured that out by the bloggage that occurs during normal working hours). Even if it weren't for blogs, I would be inefficient. They also say that if push comes to shove, they can, and do, take work home. I don't take work home. Part of this is due to principle: work is for work, home is for not-work. Part of this is the fact that I know myself. It took me over 2 years in college to figure out that I could not study in my dorm room and needed libraries and study groups. Every time I have ever tried to take work home, it has sat in a bag making me feel guilty, not getting done. I stay at work until I'm done, then go home. So here I am at my desk, 2 hours after the carpoolers have gone home, having arrived a little before them.

Like other cities, Seattle has a good bus system. I have taken the bus around town several times, when I am familiar with the route and have plenty of time to get where I'm going. I have taken the bus to and from the airport a lot. It works great, and you can't beat the price tag ($1.25 during non-peak hours), but what would be a 20 minute drive is more like an hour trip, what with the waiting, tranferring, and humping luggage. My commute right now, driving against the traffic, takes about 40 minutes each way. That adds about an hour and a half to my work day. Bussing might be possible, but I'm not willing to spend 3 hours a day commuting.

Seattle is an extremely bike friendly city. Growing up in Virginia, it would have never occured to me to ride my bike anywhere past the age of 12. In college I would wait almost an hour on the weekends for the bus that would take me the 1.5 miles across campus (what was I thinking!). When I lived in Newport RI, I had a friend who would bike the 3 mile trip to work, and we all thought she was nuts (she went to school in California, after all). When I moved to Seattle (for the first time), however, I bought my first bike since I was a kid and started commuting to work on it.

I love commuting by bike. I fully subscribe to the line in the movie Singles "life just looks better from a bicycle." It does. Just riding through the streets of town, you see more interesting people and things than you would notice from a car, or could get to on foot. It's exercise that you don't even realize (except when you're climbing hills) you're getting. When I lived in Seattle and commuted by bike, I did all of my traveling by bike: errands, movies, bars, etc. (You can drink a little more, in my opinion, before cycling home than you can before driving home). There is the slight downside of arriving at your destination sweaty, but there are ways to addess that issue.

Do I need to explain why I don't commute to work now?

I don't really bike my errands anymore, either. I live on the top of a steep hill, and I've been a little too intimidated by the return trip to venture out on bike much.

So, for now, Hitler is my passenger. One of these days I'm really going to find a better way. Maybe a job downtown...

Updated 8/1 with links, thanks to Kris
Chapter IV: A New Addiction

The seemingly nice, but truly evil woman who works at the office cafeteria has started making her own flour tortilla chips. They are horribly tasty and very addictive. They are also extremely unhealthy (I am sure) and sold in very large bags. For the third day in a row I've bought a bag to eat with a salad and for three days in a row I've eaten more than I intended and felt disgusting afterwards.