Thursday, September 30, 2010

the source of today's happiness

this guy comes tomorrow...

For a whopping 46 hours, but I'm super excited because it is the last time he's coming before the wedding....which means, we are meeting with the officiant, going to see the Mariners, and going to a friend's wedding on a cruise around Seattle.  I'm a little freaked out because I am giving the welcome speech and introduction explaining the Baha'i marriage ceremony.  If you have had experience giving those talks, let me know.

But freaked out or not....i get to be with Adam :)  Crazy pic huh?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rooeinday---aka becoming an "Citizen" as an adult

My dear friend Rooein came to the US about 12 years ago. He went to school here, worked, then graduated from law school. He learned all of our strange slang (although some of still eludes him) and eats all of our strange food. And this past week, Roo became one of us.  He bought himself an american flag tie and got all sworn in. We threw a proper BBQ with flags and lots of Apple Pie (although Celeste's homemade one was by far the best) since that's what US folks eat.

It left me thinking about it means to be a citizen of a country. Strangely, whenever i hear the word "citizen" i think i'm in some futuristic sci-fi move rather than real life. Obviously, i struggle pretty hard with this concept because in general i like to see myself as a "world citizen"--although i recognize the power my little blue passport yeilds. I grew up singing songs that started "i'm proud to be an american, where at least i know i'm free...." that honored our military. I'm not sure if it was because we lived in a state wtih a strong military presence, because my father's side were military, or because i was just honestly more patriotic as a kid--but i loved that song. I still know all the words. I don't think i know all the words to the national anthem, however.

Speaking of things i don't know, and luckily don't have to. Roo had to past some test about our history i guarentee you i cannot pass---nor can probably 75% of US Citizens. I think it is stuff you learn in high school---and of course, i went to high school in Canada. 

So, tell me what it means to you to be a citizen of a country...what kinds of responsibilities/privileges/letdowns come with that?

Friday, September 24, 2010

...just dance

my girls, with their hands up in the air

i remember the first time we danced. the memory comes in flashes like an old movie created from stills. it was hot and humid outside and the airconditioner wasn't making the club any cooler. i smirked when you asked me to dance. i was a 5 night a week bar star back then--and a beat snob. i was caught offguard when you found the beat and then found me within it. dancing with you was effortless. it was the only thing that was ever effortless between us.

the film pans to static and then back into focus. i'm reaching to take the outstretched hand of D one of my three best friends. There are few people in the world i love to dance with more than this beautiful man who is always late. We are standing outside in an atrium/indoor garden area in a swanky club by Durham standards. By DC standards, it's still a dive. The air outside is cool--it must be early fall. There are fairy lights. We spin easily to a slow salsa beat and laugh. It's been the same since we were sixteen. Dance, laugh, drink horrible coffee at Waffle House for hours, dance somemore in the living room.  The next time we dance will be my wedding.

Static again. I'm 13. There's a stage and a huge crowd and the rest of Workshop is getting ready to go on. I have no idea where i am other than somewhere in BC, Canada. The music cues and the adrenaline takes over. At the end, i have no idea if i got the steps right. It doesn't matter. People's eyes are welling with tears from this dance racism being a learned behavior. For the first time, I realize the power of dance to move souls.

More static. It's the middle east and a friend is teaching a salsa class. I haven't been before--I've been boycotting dance because i miss D and i'm not willing to go to the place in my heart dance holds. I'm scared i'll feel empty without it. People are counting--trying to make the music conform to the steps. It's painful. The movie in a movie of my life flashes to learning to dance years before and the sage advice--feel the beat in your soul before you move--rushes through me. The dance snob in me flares again. I smile at the instructor/friend and say--don't count, just turn me...inhaling the music and following him. He looks surprised as i do the step the rest are still counting out. Granted, i've been doing this for a decade longer than they have but I still. It's about the beat not the steps, I mutter.

The last few days have been a struggle. i feel like i have been forcing the steps of my life rather than letting them flow with the harmonious beat that lies under. I'm trying to hold still long enough to feel it flow again before i move.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Office....mine.

today, for reasons i still don't get, rather than hit delete on a training requirements email that didn't apply to a lot of people, they started hitting "reply to all" to say take me off the list. After the first, oh, 30, you would have thought everyone would figure it out. The the next 30 were people saying "stop hitting reply to all" by hitting reply to all themselves. This afternoon, after the next shift started their own version, someone who shall remain nameless to protect the AWESOME!! sent this bad boy out:


Training is REQUIRED for the use of Outlook, Webmail, and Other Email Clients with Advanced Reply All Functionality, going live on September 26, 1996.

Click on this link to be directed to the Web based training: "How many people the email address 'CIS Users' includes and why you cannot be removed from it" or click on the "Check the 'To:' and 'Cc:' fields before sending" Go-live icon on CHILD (main page of CHILD right hand side).

Drop-in Hands-On Practice Sessions for Not Replying All when Aggravated by Reply-All issues will be offered this week: M,W,F from 7 AM - 4:30 PM and Tu,Th, from 7 AM - 6:30 PM in room W3745.

Thank you

Email Support and Reply-All Compliance Team

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

a girl can dream right....

Sometimes...i like to imagine that if i blinked my eyes or clicked my Rocket Dog shoes three times i could end up one of these places below. the interesting thing is that everywhere i dream of has water and mountains--maybe that bodes well for Anchorage after all.

in the south Pacific in Bora Bora

in the north of Chile near San Pedro de Atacama

in the Alps

Where do you dream of being when you close your eyes?

Monday, September 20, 2010

a week ago....i left Anchorage

A week ago, i was in Anchorage. It feels like way longer than that. A couple great things happened.
  1. I saw a moose. Actually, two mooses. A mama and a baby in Kincaid Park.
  2. We stopped by a farmer's market with amazing produce
  3. We went on a beautiful nature walk out in Eagle River and saw some salmon. The trail i wanted to go on was closed because the bears were eating the salmon by the river and do not like to be distrubed at meal time.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Alaskan September part III--and an aside

The aside first, because it seems more appropriate. I have gotten entirely too emotionally invested in this show: Covert Affairs. The season finale was on Tuesday and I have anxiously been worrying about the fate of one of the characters since. The real issue is simpler. If i don't quit the panic attack, its going to be a VERY long 8 months before i get to find out WTF happened.  If you too share emotional bonds with non-existent TV characters and know how to make it stop...please I beg you, comment and tell me how.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled discussion of my trip to AK. Juneau was the last stop on the Crossett Tour. We had a great turn out for the meetings:

Juneau is the home (in the my heart lives here in the grandios sense of the word) of my girl Layli. I often think of her when i am here. To me Juneau seems frozen in a weird haunted sense. Isolated with no roads.  To Layli it is a never ending adventure of red onesies and outdoor love.
I do love me some glacier though....and also this visitor's center :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September in AK Part II

We caught the evening flight to Sitka. This plane was fuller than the first--i guess other people would rather not fly at 6 am, too. All they serve is either orange juice or water as the flight is too short. The captain came on, announced we had reached our cruising altitude and would remain here for the next 4 minutes, so he would turn the seatbelt sign off in case a bathroom run was needed. Hundreds in 4 minutes--right.

Sitka is a beautiful town. It is located on the west side of Baranof Island on the Pacific. It was settled by the Tlingit peoples and they were "joined" by the Russians right around 1800. We stayed at the Sitka Hotel in downtown (which has spotty internet for anyone who googled that and got here). The view when i went to sleep was dreary but lovely:
The clouds wrap around the mountains like a protective smoke screen, it was quiet and peaceful. When I woke up, it was a different story. In the night, a couple of cruise ships, probably the same ones we were in Ketchikan with, turned up in Sitka. All of a sudden, my stellar view became lame.

And thus the little town of Sitka had its population jump by a 1/3 overnight. 3,500 folks descended on the town to shop and take pictures of the Russian church the heart of town has developed around. When they all departed at about 2pm, all the shops closed and the quiet descended.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Saxman (aka September in AK part 1)

Last week was an annual business trip to SE Alaska. This time, we went to visit a grantee in Saxman (a predominantly native alaskan village outside Ketchikan). They have an amazing totem park among other cool here are a few shots:
These are two of the totems from the park. Cruise ships often bring their people here as a day trip place. One of the historical places is the Cheif's former house. The architectural style was called "balloon" which means that the frame goes from ceiling to floor. Recently, the City of Saxman nominated (and earned for it) the title of most endangered building in SE Alaska. As you can see, because of the frame set-up, the whole building is leaning right on over and will soon fall. Outside the house is this strange modern art kind of totem pole--with eagles on branches. It sits next to a 1700s Russian cannon.

Inside the Community Center is lots of lovely artwork:

Here is a detail from the one on the left:

Monday, September 13, 2010

hard copy books

Adam and I both love fact we have already filled three bookshelves in the Anchorage apartment and will need more. I imagine we will have one of those amazing libraries eventually, with that old book smell and a leather chair with soft throw over it, you know, with low lighting that is especially perfect for snowy days.  Anyways, my dad sent these quotes about books....which deserve a larger audience.

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. ~P.J. O'Rourke

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. ~Groucho Marx

A dirty book is rarely dusty. ~Author Unknown

Lord! when you sell a man a book you don't sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night - there's all heaven and earth in a book, a real book. ~Christopher Morley

The smallest bookstore still contains more ideas of worth than have been presented in the entire history of television. ~Andrew Ross

There is a wonder in reading Braille that the sighted will never know: to touch words and have them touch you back. ~Jim Fiebig

There are books so alive that you're always afraid that while you weren't reading, the book has gone and changed, has shifted like a river; while you went on living, it went on living too, and like a river moved on and moved away. No one has stepped twice into the same river. But did anyone ever step twice into the same book? ~Marina Tsvetaeva

A house without books is like a room without windows. ~Heinrich Mann

Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes. ~John LeCarre

Never judge a book by its movie. ~J.W. Eagan

You may have tangible wealth untold; Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be -
I had a mother who read to me. ~Strickland Gillilan (Thanks, Laurel)

He who lends a book is an idiot. He who returns the book is more of an idiot. ~Arabic Proverb

O for a Booke and a shdie nooke, eyther in-a-doore or out; With the grene leaves whisp'ring overhede, or the Streete cryes all about. Where I maie Reade all at my ease, both of the Newe and Olde; For a jollie goode Booke whereon to looke is better to me than Golde.~John Wilson

'Tis the good reader that makes the good book; in every book he finds passages which seem confidences or asides hidden from all else and unmistakenly meant for his ear; the profit of books is according to the sensibility of the reader; the profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until it is discovered by an equal mind and heart. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude, 1870

The time to read is any time: no apparatus, no appointment of time and place, is necessary. It is the only art which can be practised at any hour of the day or night, whenever the time and inclination comes, that is your time for reading; in joy or sorrow, health or illness. ~Holbrook Jackson

Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. ~Arnold Lobel

There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love. ~Christopher Morley

Friday, September 3, 2010

Kseniya Simonova - Sand Animation (Україна має талант / Ukraine's Got Ta...

I know this is an oldie but goody from 2009...but it's incredible to me and i wanted to share.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

blackhole of bloggingness

I got sucked into some kind of weird blackhole where nothinng i wanted to say would come out on the screen. It all got garbled into some kind of jibberish that was indiscernable even to me. Long story short, I'm gearing up for the annual work trip to Ketchikan, Sitka and Juneau, Alaska next week. It is a whirlwind three day trip where we hold advisory board meetings for the Crossett Fund (, an endowed fund that provides grant money for children's health care projects in SE Alaska. This year, i have every intention of taking both my digi cam and my manual film camera to shoot with. Here's a photo from last year:
I'm super excited. There are a couple reasons:
  1. i love sitka.
  2. i love seeing the tangible aspects of my work.
  3. i get to fly to anchorage to spend a long weekend with adam after.