Friday, November 29, 2002

Husband Material

Kris recently linked Mia's funny and touching "requirements for a husband." I think that I used to have a list like this. Now all I'm really looking for (not that I'm even looking) is shared values and honesty, but I put my spin on a few of Mia's items, just for kicks:

Mia: 6. Know what I eat and do not eat.
She refers specifically to not forcing her to eat things that she doesn’t like.

Tricia: Likes to eat, and tries new things.
I'm one of those people who forces people to eat things that they don't like. Not things that people are philosophically against (like vegetarians and meat) or are alergic / sensitive to, but those that I think could be developed tastes or that the person has an unreasonable prejudice against. Like the way I try to trick Jeff into eating cranberries or mayonaise. It's worked a few times. He'll like cranberries yet!

Mia: 14. Manners, manners, manners.

Tricia: Manners, manners, manners.

Mia: 20. If I crave butter-pecan ice cream for dinner, shut up about it unless you want a bite.

Just add “or want another beer” after the ice cream bit and you’ve got it.

Mia: 22. Must be able to spell most commonly used words in the English language.

Tricia: Must be able to speak like a literate person.
I don’t care (obviously) about spelling and don’t think that good spelling is any indicator of intelligence. If anything, it’s an indicator of attention-to-detail; attention to a detail that I don’t care about. Grammar, on the other hand, I think expresses one’s literacy. We all make the occasional “I or me,” “who or whom” mistake, and dangle our prepositions precipitously, but if he doesn’t know the difference between good and well, then he’ll be well on his way to being good without me.

Mia: 27. My husband will know how to dance.

Tricia: My husband will be willing to dance.
I don’t care how well or that he knows how to waltz (although a pre-nuptial lesson or two would probably be good idea). I just want him to see my tapping foot and join me in making a fool of myself on the dance floor.

Do Bloody Mary's work for food hangovers, too?

We had a great Thanksgiving yesterday spent cooking, eating, sitting on the couch watching football and favorite TV shows, and more cooking and eating and drinking. I did get a little run in, too, so it wasn't a complete day of food.

Now, what everyone wants to know: how we cooked the turkey and how it turned out. Despite ambitious plans, we neither brined nor grilled the bird. The only recipies that we could find for grilling were for charcoal grills, not gas grills, and we weren't sure how to translate the recipe. As for brining, after reading (on Thursday morning) what Joy had to say about brining and the fact that it doesn't work for self-basting turkeys, I realized that my 'lil Butterball had already been basking in corporate-injected saline, and didn't need another salty bath. I then, however, went on to read Joy, and found that high-heat roasting was a close second to brining to get a juicy bird. It worked great, producing juicy meat, a beautiful brown bird, and very flavorful colorful drippings to add to the giblet gravy. Everything else turned out delicious as well. Our only experiment was with dessert. Jeff made a pumpkin-pecan pie from Martha's November magazine, which was great. Who knew he had such a hand for pastry?

Coming soon: pictures of the preparations and final products.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Gobble, gobble

The menu is planned, the bird is defrosting in the fridge, the shopping is done, but we haven't yet decided how we're cooking the bird. Jeff and I are agreed that we'll brine again this year, but my enthusiasm for grilling the turkey is not shared by the master griller. Add to that the fact that while we have a turkey and all the fixings, we didn't buy what we'd need to prepare the turkey (i.e. coarse salt for the brine, wood chips if we grill, string for trussing, etc). And after years of being very content with the cranberry sauce from the can (we experimented with dozens of hand cooked varieties in my family before deciding that we all just prefered the canned jelly), I've started thinking about cooking up cranberry chutney (recipe from Julia just looks too good to miss). I'd be the only one eating it, by the way, as my dining partner stubbornly refuses to eat cranberries (unless tricked; not possible next to a turkey on Thanksgiving). I'm thinking that we'll stay simple this year (no grilling, no chutney), if only to avoid the craziness of Wednesday-before-Thanksgiving-grocery-store-madness.

Stay tuned for updates on the final decisions, perhaps with pictures of the feast and roast beast.

Monday, November 25, 2002

Trail Note

I went for my first run after my post-marathon hiatus on Saturday. I ran the slightly-less-than-4 mile loop around the top of my hill. I felt alright, just a little tired and a little fatter in my "running parts" than I was a month ago. I was sore on Sunday, though. It's been a long time since I've been sore from a short run (but, then again, it's been a long time since I've taken 4+ weeks off from running). I'm going to try to run ~ 3 times/week, ramping up to run the Vancouver half marathon in February. Now I need to find that time in my work calendar again.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Where's Doc when you need him?

My family is doing something I never thought possible of us this January: we're taking a family Disney cruise (sponsored by the grandparents). Family trips in my youth were always driving trips to see relatives, and most vacation days were typically spent around the house doing projects. We never had family ski trips to Vale or beach trips to the Bahamas. But now we're cruising. I'm not sure how my dad will get through 3 days with his inlaws and nothing to do. I anticipate that he and I will spend a lot of time at the bar. Don't get me wrong; I'm pretty excited about this event. I love doing nothing and really enjoy spending time with my family. (My dad loves his inlaws as well, but there have been, well, tensions.) As I visit my grandparents in Florida annually anyway, this is a great way to do it, and I'm not paying (well, other than that potentially large bar tab).

What is scary, however, is that there have been more recent outbreaks of the Norwalk virus on cruise ships. A Disney cruise ship, no less. I remember hearing about this on Alaskan cruises a few months ago; I can't believe that it's now happening in Florida and WITH DISNEY! They are supposed to represent the epitome of safe vacationing. I don't think that this news will make a difference in our plans, but now we get to spend the entire time worrying about getting sick.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Happy Birthday

Thanks to all who wished me a happy day. I turned 30 on Monday. The secret was leaked today at work. Not that it was a secret, I just never really advertised the fact. My crafty colleague, Jeff (no, not that Jeff) who turned 30 himself in May, realized that it was past time for me to turn the 30 corner, and all wished me a belated happy birthday. My dad was in town tonight on business, so we had a great 3rd birthday dinner at the best sushi place in Seattle (I'd venture to say the best sushi place outside of Japan, but those in San Fran and Honolulu could put up a good fight).

On a tougher note, this was year-end appraisal week at work. Receiving my appraisal went pretty well (much better than last year's painful experience), but delivering appraisals to those who report(ed) to me was much more difficult. I have found that writing, defending, and delivering others' appraisals is a more immediate indication of my performance as a manager than my manager's assessment of how I have performed. I thought that after running a nuclear power plant and driving an aircraft carrier, nothing at a civilian job could ever stress me out, but I was wrong. Being a manager and worrying about how my actions could determine another's fate is always stressful, no matter if it only means the difference between a 3.5% "merit increase" (raise) or a 6% one. The appraisal that I delivered this afternoon left the recipient in tears, to the point that she had to leave halfway through to collect herself. I never thought that I would be the dry-eyed one, trying to reassure an upset person that the numbers on the page weren't a real indicator of her value and worth.

I had a friend once say that it's harder to be the "dumper" than the "dumpee" in a relationship. I'm usually the dumpee in these situations, so never really understood that sentiment. I think, however, that I understand that a little better right now.

My friend Jeff is the new manager of the aforementioned person, and so sat in on the appraisal delivery this afternoon. It was great having him there, if only for moral support to confirm that I was doing the right thing. As he left the office today, he stopped by and said "good job today.. and (slighly satirically) have a happy birthday."

It's good having friends at work.

I bit my tongue last night so hard that it bled. I was eating pizza with folks from work and must have been too distracted to avoid my tongue with my teeth? Anyway, this morning it has a little swollen sore bit, which is very annoying. Almost like a paper cut.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Films in Five
(continuing from Max the rip-off of this fun idea of a film review in 5 words)

Harry Potter: Just like the book. Again.

8 Mile: Needed more rap, less brittney

Monday, November 18, 2002

Birthday Blues

After watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on Saturday, I wanted to revisit the world of Hogworts and pulled out the 3rd book in the series to re-read. Every Harry Potter book begins on Harry's birthday, and quite a big deal is made out of the fact that his muggle family ignores the day. When Harry makes wizard friends, it's very important to him when they remember and celebrate the day.

Birthdays were very important when I was a kid. In the morning before school, I'd open the cards that my extended family sent me. I'd always dress up, usually in clothes that were birthday gifts that I hadn't been allowed to wear until it was actually my birthday. As a little kid, Mom would make brownies or cupcakes for me to share with the class. That night, I'd open presents from my parents and sister and we'd all go out to dinner at the restaurant of my choice. On the weekend, I'd have a birthday party with cake, favorite foods, friends, and more presents. It was a day when lots of people celebrated me.

Then I went to college. I was very shy in school, and didn't have a lot of close friends. I don't think that anyone really knew that it was my birthday freshman year. Senior year was my 21st and very disappointing. My best friend was sick, others had to study, and so I went with a few acquaintances to the college bar to get my free drink and then went home. My best birthday since those halcyon childhood days was two years ago. It was a Saturday, I ran my first marathon, and my family and a few friends came out to cheer me on. My parents and sister had driven down to Richmond from D.C., and so we could hang out, open gifts, eat cake, and celebrate the day. I successfully completed a lifetime goal, and spent the day with those I cared about most, which was very special.

I find myself getting blue on birthdays. I don't mind getting older; I am firmly convinced that I'm improving with age. I don't wish that I had done more or had more; I’m happy with where I am and what I have done. I certainly don't want cake and presents; I can get those for myself. I guess I just have a hard time reconciling the reality of birthdays as a grown up with the expectations of a child. I sulk because I don't get a parade. Silly.

It's nice, however, when people take the time to celebrate that you have been born and let you know that they're glad that you're here.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Long, long ago, in a land not too far away...

... I posted to this site. Sorry for the reference, but it has been a fantasy movie filled weekend. I caught the new Harry Potter movie yesterday, which lived up to (although did not exceed) expectations. What did exceed expectations was the LOTR preview. Amazing on the huge Cinerama screen. Only one month (from tomorrow) that it opens!

It's been a very service-oriented week for me. My involvement in the United Way Community Council has heated up with site visits to some of the organizations that have applied for venture funds. I traveled all over South King County this week, learning about what groups want to do about the issues of at-risk youth, domestic violence, and non-English speaking populations. Every cause has been so worthy; as government and private funding sources dry up, the need out there just gets greater. A vicious cycle.

On Thursday night, I attended an auction to benefit the March of Dimes, sponsored by my company. I'd never been at an auction before. Bidding is frighteningly exciting. I only bidded for (and won) one item, an outdoor package which includes snowshoe, cross-country ski, and kayak rentals, tickets for an outdoor music festival, and a night at a lodge at Mt. Rainier. I'm glad that this item was early in the auction; I bought it for the listed value. By the end of the evening people were paying over 4 times what the items were worth!

Speaking of Mt. Rainier, it was out in full force on Friday, and looks much snowier than the last time it appeared over our city. Not much longer until I can get that snowboard out on the slopes! Today I went mountain biking for the first time (other than the one ride in Alaska) since I've moved back to Washington. After 6 months of great weather, I have to wait until November to go for a ride. It wasn't too bad today, however. Considering that it actually has started raining this month, the trail wasn't too muddy and the weather was dry.

Add to the movie and the ride some quality MSCL viewing and dinner with friends (later tonight), and not a bad way to spend a weekend.

Monday, November 11, 2002

It's not all like the Giving Tree

Like many others of my generation, I loved Shel Silverstein's work as a kid. The boa constrictor poem / song is probably one of his more famous favorites. After following a link from Metafilter (that I followed from Kris' site), however, I was surprised to read this follow-up to the hit he wrote for Johnny Cash.

Clever, but oh, so disturbing.
Happy Veteran's Day

To those family and friends who have served their country in the military, and those who have sacrificed while their loved ones have served.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

I won't beat around the Bush(es)

Got this from a friend. Tee hee.
Speaking of sketchy investments..

.. I finally received My So Called Life DVD set on Friday! I paid for this set about 6 months ago from what I worried might be a slightly dubious source. I was fully prepared to not receive the DVD's, but figured it was worth the risk. A few weeks ago a received an email that the DVD's were about to be shipped, followed by this letter:

Dear Patricia,

The purpose of this note is to update customers of the My So-Called Life DVD set. There are numerous customer service problems with my former client, Many of you are not yet aware of these issues. This is to ensure you are informed of the situation, and are made aware of the alternatives available to you.

On October 16, 2002 I pulled my company, Dry Grass Partners, out of the MSCL DVD project to protest's mistreatment of customers and overall project mishandling. My primary concern is that hundreds upon hundreds of customers have been double or triple-billed since July 2002. In the vast majority of cases, has not yet refunded their customers' money. On October 17, 2002, sent out a newsletter ( ) stating, "MSCL.COM does not recommend doing business with AnotherUniverse."


AnotherUniverse is no longer the exclusive retailer, and to that end the newsletter had also included a list of other internet retailers ( ) selling the DVD Box Set (without bonus disc and lunchbox) for an effective price range of $60-$70. Additionally, many customers are not aware of the fact that AnotherUniverse is not shipping the lunch box or bonus disc along with the DVDs (they are promising to send the extras at a later date). I have long argued that they should mention this on their site, to allow potential new customers to make an informed decision. Alas, their wording has not reflected this change yet.


Finally, many MSCL DVD customers have written to me to ask me why I removed myself from the project, or simply to ask me for help in obtaining a response to their customer service requests to AnotherUniverse.

I withdrew from the project because I cannot work with a company that I do not trust and which, throughout the project, has had a history of mistreating vendors and customers.


However, although I have withdrawn support for the retailer, I am committed to remaining engaged in this project until all overcharged customers receive a refund. I am obliged to ask you to PLEASE do the following.


Even if you have previously attempted to submit your request by phone or email, it is EXTREMELY important that you submit your request to Please do so, especially if you requested a double bill correction or an order cancellation. Those submissions are automatically logged, and (unlike an email or phone memo) a customer service representative cannot misplace it.

NOTE: If you previously filled out the customer service form, there is no need to do it again for the same complaint. However, if you have a different complaint to report, please fill out the form again.

My company will continue to pressure Another Universe until all customers receive the necessary credits to their accounts. However, please understand that we are not sending this email on behalf of AnotherUniverse. Only they can take the appropriate actions to correct order problems or process refunds. Additionally, once you have submitted a problem to the URL, will occasionally email surveys to find out if the problems are being addressed and to coordinate efforts to obtain refunds.

Jason Rosenfeld
Dry Grass Partners, LLC

The letter then goes on to say what the lawyer will do to help those victims of the MSCL scandal. To the best of my knowledge, I got what I paid for, but this letter was a bit disturbing.

Anyway, it's cool to be able to watch the entire season!

UPDATE 11/21 I've encluded the entire text of the letter.
Now we're cooking with gas!

No, wait, 1 over that. Now I'm driving with cooking oil!

Yup, that's right. I just purchased my first tankful of bio-diesel yesterday. It's all vegetable oil and "greenhouse neutral" meaning that the plants used to generate the oil consumed more carbon dioxide than is being emitted from my little Jetta. I hope that my car doesn't smell permanently of french fries. The process of getting this fuel is a little sketchy. I had to phone "Dr. Dan" and set up an account (a check for the first 40 gallons). Dr. Dan operates out of a rented garage in Ballard, with his trucks full of alternative fuel and pamphlets outside. I'll be able to drop by and use my key to open up his pickup and start the motor for the pump that enables me to get my fuel. There is a house with 8 cats next door. (We watched them while waiting for Dr. Dan to return from lunch yesterday). It's a colorful neighborhood.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

And yet MORE politics! Happy Weekend (not Friday here any more).

1. Did you vote in your last elections? Yup. Had to vote for that monorail, Mr. McDermitt, and against the anti-tax initiatives

2. Do you know who your elected representatives are? Mostly.

3. Have you ever contacted an elected representative? If so, what was it about? I did via automatic ACLU alerts that a friend of mine forwards to me about protesting anti-homosexual legislation. I intended to write in about my desire for no war in Iraq, but never did.

4. Have you ever participated in a demonstration? No. I was too scared too while in the Navy, and never seem to know when they are now.

5. Have you ever volunteered in an election? What was the result? When I was a senior in high school, taking goverment class, we had to volunteer in a campaign, so I passed out literature and spent a few hours in a phone bank. It was a VA gubanutorial (sp??) race, fall of '89. I think the guy I wanted to win lost. Probably the beginning of the reign of Republican govenors of VA, but I don't remember. I was too young to vote.

No questions about the first election ever voted in. For me, it was for Clinton in '92 via absentee. Since I turned 18 in college (Freshman year, after the election) and was subsequently in the Navy, I only voted absentee until 1999. I then voted for the first time in a voters booth in Seattle. I voted against Tim Eyman's first initiative (it passed, but was later determined to be unconstitutional; hopefully this happens this time too).

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Hey, he's not naked!

Surfing through Max's site, I found my way to the Taste-o-Meter. The quesitons are a bit goofy (not really testing your food knowledge), but fun.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Today's Special: 50 % More!

It took me 50% longer to get to work this morning due to drivers who have forgotten how to drive in the rain. You think they'd be used to it by now. At least it's raining! :)

My cat, Eowyn, weighs 50% more than she did when she arrived at my home! She was way too skinny before, but looks like I'm going to have to watch what I feed her.

I'm feeling like I weigh 50% more than I'd like to as well. Swimming just doesn't have the same impact as marathon training. Today, I am officially restarting (for real this time) Weight Watchers. There are several women doing this at the office, so hopefully that will help keep me on track.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002


I'm sorry for the profanity, but that's what I've been yelling at every preliminary election result I've seen. Nationally, the Republicans are taking the House and Senate. Look for at least 2 years of deficit spending on war, alienating our former allies (why can't I spell this easy word), and driving us further into recession. Locally, look for more tax decreases, more traffic, less public transportation, and less public services. Dammit!!
Sun sun, go away, come again some other day, little Tricia wants to play..

.. in the snow, that is. I was encouraged to wake up to a damp morning, but now the sun is back out. It's November in Seattle. It should be raining right now! (and last week and next week and the week after that and the week after that)

This October was the driest one on record. It's not a drought, yet. That's what everyone keeps saying: yet. The infamous Port Townsend paper mill has cut back shifts due to the low reservour levels, salmon can't swim upstream because of low river levels, and if this keeps up, I won't have good snowboarding snow! (Gotta have my priorities in order) My board is, as we speak, getting tuned up to be ready to go!

Monday, November 04, 2002

The Ultimate in Reality TV

While hiking up Mt. Si on Saturday, Jeff and I found inspiration for a new reality television show as we watched a couple carrying a small child down the mountain. This was a pretty challenging day hike: 3400 ft elevation gain in the 4 miles up, but was much easier without the handicap of trying to navigate it with a whining, screaming, squirming child. Thus the idea was born:


Give a non-parent a family of kids for the weekend. You have to take care of them, keeping them happy, healthy, and clean. There is no television allowed, unless you complete a challenge successfully, and then you might get a video as a reward. The challenge might be something like being able to all eat a meal in a nice restaurant without getting kicked out. This is all being filmed, of course.

The next step up is "Housewife."

Same premis as above, but now you have to take care of a spouse as well: not just mac 'n cheese for dinner, your spouse expects gormet meals. The spouse has a higher standard of home cleanliness, and you better not forget those clothes at the dry-cleaners. You better look good yourself when spouse gets home, meal on the table, kids cleaned and fed, and do it on a budget.

It's like Mr. Mom, but real, and much harder than Survivor.
A Home Theatre in the Suburbs?

Perhaps this is old news, but I just found (via this place) out that everyone's famous TS designer has a web page! What I love is that he has a page for fan sites, and it's just a request for fan sites. Next, you'll be able to buy him a latte every time you visit the site.

Friday, November 01, 2002

Politics Wednesday, Religion today.

Guess I should move on to sex for the weekend and we'll have all the not-for-polite-dining topics covered. This is pretty dangerous stuff. I don't usually talk about religion, because it can offend people in the most fundamental way. And, I have fairly unconventional views.

Anyway, Happy Friday!

1. Were you raised in a particular religious faith? No. My mom grew up as a Christian Scientist, but left the religion after college because she couldn't believe in all of its doctrine. My dad is a non-practicing Epicopalian. Very non-practicing. My mom started going to a Unitarian church after I had graduated from college and is very happy there. She always felt bad about not taking my sister and me to church as kids and wishes she had found this church a long time ago.

2. Do you still practice that faith? Why or why not? I practiced the non-faith that I grew up with for a long time. This past year, however, I've started going to the Unitarian church nearest my house. Okay, I didn't go all summer and early fall, becuase Sunday mornings were spent on long training runs. My mom's very happy about it. I'm really enjoying it as well. It's great to be with a group of people who are intelligent, liberal, and politically active. The great thing about the church is that it believes that everyone must take his/her own spiritual journey, no matter where that might take you. It's okay that I'm not a Christian, and it would be equally okay if I were.

3. What do you think happens after death? Nothing. I'm not really sure, actually. Reincarnation makes the most logical sense to me and is the most comforting, but I don't think that what happens after death would be logical or comforting. I like the idea of reincarnation because it means that you can continue the journey of figuring out how to live life. When I was on my Alaskan trip this summer, one of my friends described our 23 year old guide as "an old soul." Not because he acted like an old guy, he was very young and enthusiastic, but because he was so secure and grounded and enthusiastic about life. Meeting people who seem to have figured things out a little better than others of us seems to show that maybe there is a chance to play this game of life more times and get better each time.

4. What is your favorite religious ritual (participating in or just observing)? Music: participating in, and just listening. The music program at the church I go to is fabulous. They have an amazing choir (must be professional), as well as frequent solos and musicians (there was a tenor sax last Sunday; amazing). I also love singing together. I sang in chorus in junior high, and I've forgotten how much I enjoyed it.

5. Do you believe people are basically good? Yes, I do. That's a strong reason that I don't believe in Christianity. I don't believe in original sin. I don't think that anyone needed to die for our sins. I don't think we need a church telling us what is right or wrong. I think we need coaches to help us to listen to ourselves, and we'll do good.