Thursday, January 29, 2004

World Traveler? Not.

create your own visited country map
or write about it on the open travel guide

Fun link found by Kris. I like how a brief day trip to Canton makes it look as if I've walked the Great Wall.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Voting your Neighbor's Conscience

Matthew Baldwin was funny and brilliant today (as usual) in his blog regarding voting for the "electable" candidate. He cleverly expressed a similar viewpoint to one I heard in an essay on ATC on Friday, one that inspired me to clap and holler in the car on the rainy drive home from work. I agree that this is the time to vote your conscience. We don't need to be political analysts, guessing who the "masses" will vote for. We should vote for the best candidate, the one whom each of us feels will best represent our views.

And yet, I recall the 2000 election and can't help but wonder what would have happened if some of those who voted for Ralph Nader really thought about electability.

But still, wasn't Nader good for the Democratic Party? Was the Green Party partly responsible for the more liberal field of Democratic contenders this winter? Hasn't Dean's practice of leading from the left empowered the other candidates to be less wary of the "L" word?

Should we sacrifice an election now and then for the future good of the party? Is it better to have more polarized candidates, or ones who are almost indistingishable because they are compromising too much to capture the votes of the many while satisfying the few?

Have I mentioned that I'm loving this election year? It's good to be an American.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Notes from a Monday

- If Jeff has had his coffee and the cat has had her breakfast before my feet have touched the floor, I know that I've slept late
- Even if the Jamba coldbuster doesn't live up to its name, it still makes for a tasty breakfast
- I miss the (long-ago) days when snow meant sleeping in and then going for a sled
- I miss the (not-so-long-ago) days when snow across the country didn't impact my job
- One of these days I might figure out that I need to un-press the headphones button when I pick up my phone handset
- Is it coincidence that I always seem to brown bag at work when everyone else goes out to lunch and go out to lunch when everyone else brown bags, or am I just a very unpopular lunch mate? Do I really care?
- Does the dentist really think that I'd be flattered by a compliment about my oral hygene?
- I really like my dentist
- I'm really glad that it's not 5 degrees and icy here
- My muscles are getting more sore and not less as the day goes on
- There must be a reason that most snowboarders seem to be under 30
- I seem to have an unreasonable craving for sweets and dark colored drinks after visiting the dentist
- Is it okay to eat "champagne chocolates" at the office?
- Mmm... champagne chocolates are good
- But are they better than the hazelnut kind?
- I know that I've stayed at work too late when I don't go below 60 on I-5 driving home
- The only thing better than getting home to a warm house, purring cat, and sympathetic boyfriend is getting home to a warm house, purring cat, and sympathetic boyfriend cooking szechwan tofu and rice.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Speaking of MIA....

I'm not entirely sure what's up with the lack of posting lately. Work has been very busy; we had an interesting week at the house from a job hunt perspective; and, and, anyway here are a few things occupying my attention of late:

The Presidential Race:
I had forgotten how much I love this process. Driving home at night listening to ATC, I can't get enough of the commentary about the Democratic contenders and the President's campaign rhetoric. I'd forgotten how I stayed up until 2 in the morning election night 2000, glued to the TV waiting to find out who would win, and then sitting on pins and needles the next month, debating with everyone I knew about the situation until the winner was declared. I need to find a second news media, however, since while I love the NPR commentary, I really need to know what these guys look like before voting.

RR/RW Challenge: The Gauntlet was a little lame as far as challenges go, but I'm very excited about Inferno. Thanks to Brigita and the folks at TMFT for setting up a league; my team's picked (Generic Name) and ready to go.

The Summer Olympics: I'm not that excited yet, but it's coming, and I'll be watching.

Work: Yes, work. I’ve actually been enjoying work recently, and have (for really the first time that I can remember) been doing well. I may actually look forward to the performance management process this year.

Taxes: I hate doing them, but with an even bigger house payment in 2003 than 2002, the return should be pretty sweet.

Gotta love these Leap Years.

Sunday, January 18, 2004


The site formerly known as Eat, Drink, and Be Married appears to be on permanent hiatus. I miss Suzanne's updates on life, love, and eating in Seattle. Hopefully they will return, perhaps with another name or format.
Trail Note

Saturday: 10 mile run. I was quite nervous about this one, as I'd done very little (one 3. 5 mile run, one mile swim, one hour walk) since last weekend's 9 mile run. With 3 weeks to go before the half, however, it was now or never. Surprisingly, the run went well. I ran along the Burke Gilman trail, which isn't the most interesting route (especially after logging so many miles on it during last year's marathon training), but it's flat and I can time my miles since they're marked on the trail. I was averaging just under a 9-minute mile pace, which is quite good for a training run. My knees did bug me for the last couple of miles, but nothing too bad (except while climbing the stairs up to the Freemont Bridge). Afterwards I felt very tired and have been hungry all weekend.

Sunday: 10 mile bike ride. This was my first ride since a short mountain bike ride in October. I've lent my hybrid to my sister to use for commuting to UW, and still haven't added a 3rd front gear to my road bike, so rode the mountain bike to be sure that I could get up hills. I guess using clip-in petals is like all other aspects of riding a bike; I didn't forget. We rode through Freemont to Ballard, crossed the locks, and then circled Discovery Park in Magnolia. It's always a great ride, and felt pretty good. I even made it (very very slowly) up The Hill without having to stop or walk the bike at all. I'm always very reluctant to ride on days like this (cold, rainy), but once we got going I had a great time.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Mistress of the Obvious

Conversation while driving south on the viaduct today:

Me: Wow, look at Rainier today.
Jeff: Wow.
Me: It looks just like a volcano!
Me: Okay, well I guess it is a volcano.

Note: the mountain was shrouded by clouds at the top, so it looked like it had blown its lid much more recently that it has.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Would Harvard classify you as a bigot?

Tests on this site indicated that I have a slight bias against black people (very common for white people) and that I strongly associate females with science (very uncommon). Very interesting...

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Reason # 2 to avoid public hot tubs

Amodium AD's latest ads (shown on MTV during the weekends' RR/RW challenge marathon): geeky guy, 2 hot ladies in a hot tub; they motion him over to join him, he has to escape to the bathroom. Eew.
Reason # 79 to not smoke

Avoid looking like Coral on last night's final challenge on the Gauntlet. I know that everything's harder at 10,000 ft, but smoker's cough can't help.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

New for 04

Thanks to Jeff for all of his help while I updated my template, particularly for creating the script that randomizes the pictures!

New resolutions for aught four:
Eat a piece of fruit a day
Do strength work at least 10 times a month; goal is 3 times a week

I wasn't going to have any, but might as well jump on the reformation bandwagon.

A couple co-workers of mine just started the South Beach diet. Countless others are starting countless other diets, some low carb, others low fat, some are cutting out sugar, other alcohol, still others meat. The recent mad cow scare has led some to stop eating beef, at least ground beef (if Fast Food Nation hadn’t already scared them out their hamburgers). We all want to be healthy, but it seems like there is nothing that one can safely (and/or sveltly) enjoy eating these days.

Alton Brown (of the Food Network's Good Eats) was on NPR Friday, and was asked what is safe to eat these days with the follow-up: what was he eating for dinner? He didn't know what was for dinner, it could be anything. Alton is omniverous. He stated that moderation and variety was the key to his diet, and that no one could go too wrong if one didn't eat too much or too often of anything.

Makes sense to me. Eating is an important part of my life, and I feel deprived if there is anything that is off-limits (and I have found that I don’t respond well to this feeling).

So this said, I’ve had some pretty great eats this weekend. My new favorite pub (and I love a good pub) is the Jolly Roger Taproom in Ballard. It’s small and smoke free, and on Friday night at 7 pm was crowded, but there was still room at the bar for 2. It's an offshoot of Maritime Pacific Brewery, so of course the beer is terrific (we had the Imperial Pale Ale) and their onion rings can't be beat. The rest of the menu looks tasty, but since I don't think I could ever go there and not get the onion rings, I'm not sure that I'll have room to try much more.

Saturday night we made pizza. I should really say that Jeff made pizza as he bought the ingredients, made the dough, prepared the toppings, and cooked the pizza, but I did assemble one of the two pies that we made. It was absolutely amazing, with fresh pesto, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and lots o' cheese. I could literally live on this stuff.

Since I still had a tiny bit of room left, today I made white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. I had to follow sweet with a little salt, so sampled Tim's ketchup flavored potato chips. Not bad. Won't compete with the salt 'n vinegar variety, but not bad.

Wow. Full now.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Trail Note

After 2 days off (I just can't seem to drag myself to that gym), Jeff and I went for a 9 mile run today. I was a little nervous about it - this is the farthest I've gone in almost a year - but it went well. My knees hurt a bit for the last mile or so, but not too bad, and not too early on in the run. We had perfect weather, about 50 degrees and partly cloudy. I might be able to finish that half (4 weeks from tomorrow!) after all.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Giving Back

Why am I still working at my non-dream corporate job exactly 4 years later? One of the reasons is that it enables me to do this.
My Heart will Go On in Vegas, Baby

Last night as Jeff was telling me that his parents have opted not to go to Vegas for their upcoming vacation, it came to light that both of our fathers are Celine Dion fans. This surprised me. I've known about my dad's penchant for divas for a while, but I thought that this was a trait perculiar to him.

So this raised the question in my mind: who comprises Celine Dion's fan base? Married men in their 50's? French Canadians? Leo DiCaprio fans?

Next question: why am I worrying about this? (other than the fact that if there were to be a Vegas trip in our future, I don't want to be the one accompanying my dad to the Celine Dion show)

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Trail Note

With the half marathon 4 1/2 weeks away, I suppose that I should start getting serious about running. I was surprisingly good the week of Christmas (logged 25 miles), but my January milage to date has been fairly poor. Last week I only ran 3 times for a total of 16 miles (5, 7, and 4 mile runs) than had a slack weekend (felt like a cold might be coming on, then was tired from trip on Sunday and a long day at the office on Monday).

With yesterday's snow and the fact that I was attached to the phone all day working from home (literally, the headset was on from 7 am to 5 pm with about an hour break) I feared that I would go 4 days in a row without running or any workout. Treading carefully to the grocery store at the end of the day, however, I saw a someone running through the streets and was motivated to get home and put my running shoes on. I ran the 3.5 miles around my hill and saw several fellow runners, but more sledders and snowboarders enjoying the snow and the steep roads. I stopped for a moment at the top of Queen Anne Drive to watch the extreme sledders and the cops in a standoff - today I heard that video of that street and those playing on it was shown on the news all day, and that there was at least one injury. Anyway, there is something about the light at night in the snow; the air just glows. Everything was quiet and peaceful and I felt great (3 days off will do that to you, I guess).

This morning I was advised to come in a little late, so took the opportunity to get out for another run. This morning felt like running through a slurpee; much less fun than last night, and a little slower for the same route, but I felt good afterwards.

One of these days I suppose I'll have to actually use that gym membership and get on a treadmill. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the elements.

Monday, January 05, 2004


Back home yesterday.
Back at work today.
Back online tonight (well, really started looking around yesterday).

My Christmas holiday with my family in Virginia ended up being a little longer and less merry than I had planned. My grandfather went into the hospital on the 24th (his and my grandmother's 60th wedding anniversary). The trip dramatically changed after that, and I spent a good deal of the next week or so at the hospital. As of last night, he was still holding on, barely.

My grandfather lived his life as well as anyone I've known. He was in the Navy in WWII, and has great stories about his experiences, most memorable about being a boat office at Normandy. After the war he worked in Manhattan as an executive headhunter, and can always tell a tale about an interesting character from those days. He retired at age 57 to move to Florida full time and fish. He began a second career writing about fishing in the local paper and sporting and fishing journals. He was one of the founders of a program that takes underprivileged kids out to teach them to fish and enjoy a day on the water. He and my grandmother made "happily ever after" look like a reality, not just a myth. He knew that he'd had a good run, and was able to tie up all loose ends in the last few months after realizing that the cancer was terminal.

While sad and painful and exhausting, those days spent with him and my family were actually very special. We told a lot of stories, cried, laughed, and spent more time together than I've spent with them in a very long time. It made me examine a lot about how I want to live, and how I want to die.

I'm glad to be home, and after a little rest, am looking forward to jumping into the New Year.