Sunday, January 29, 2006

the invitation

The Invitation
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams,
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own,
without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own,
if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic,
or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself;
if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.

I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day,
and if you can source your life from God's presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine,
and still stand on the edge of a lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon, "Yes"!

It doesn't interest me to know where you live, how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair,
weary and bruised to the bone,
and do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn't interest me who you are, how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself,
and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Friday, January 27, 2006

disquiet and quiet

I'm wrestling with some turmoil lately, deciding if I should break the window. That is, when I should... . It consumes my time and saps my energy. Hence, the recent silence of the blog. And the continuing silence.

No more for today, other than a salute to the ephemeral. The team we've been rooting for for years made it to the SuperBowl this year. Yet despite an amazing record, a determined coach, and a host of talented players, they get dissed by the football establishment. During the Carolina game last week, it was painful to watch the bias against our Seahawks by the commentators, during the game and between quarters, despite the fact that we decimated the Panthers.

On the other hand, we, as faithful and long-time fans, continue to believe. In fact, we have temporarily renamed our cat, Milo. He is now Milofa. Here's to proving the critics all wrong (again). Go 'hawks!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

20 questions (actually 64)

Instead of sending this via email as par usual (although it is something I do rarely), I'm blogging this list of things to answer about myself, and hoping all my friends and family will do the same. Will you answer the questions? Where will you put the answers? In an email to me? In the Comments section here? On your own blog? Hey, would you create a blog if you didn't have one, just to be able to answer these questions?

Ponder that, and these, now.

1. What time did you get up this morning? After Ted showered, about 4:20am. I wanted to (and did) get to work early today.

2. Diamonds or pearls? I'd have to say diamonds, but unusually shaped ones. I like non-traditional pearls, too (pink, black, seed-shaped, etc.).

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? "Chicken Little." Wait, no, it was "Rent."

4. What is your favorite TV show? This doesn't specify past or present. Present, "Monk" and "House." Tony Shalhoub and Hugh Laurie are genius. "Bones," too. Re-runs, "Frasier." A not-too-old classic. I'll admit to guilty pleasures like "Lost" and "American Idol," too. I'm not ashamed.

5. What did you have for breakfast? Quaker Oats Cinnamon Roll oatmeal, two clementines, skim milk. Sound familiar?

6. What is your middle name? Ann.

7. What is your favorite food? This is a tricky question. Does it refer to a single food or an entree-type dish? Something from a great restaurant or comfort food? In any event, it depends. I'm a sucker for hummus and pita bread. Chicken Mushroom Magic is always good. Sometimes, a perfectly ripe bunch of grapes is heaven. Salmon in nearly any form.

8. What foods do you dislike? Not fond of anything so spicy it literally burns my mouth. Anything intentionally consumed even though it's bitter. Foods that have turned against me in my old age (onions, corn, blueberries). I adore blueberries. Sad.

9. Your favorite Potato chip? I'm not a potato chip fan. If I had to choose a salty snack in lieu of potato chips, it would be either Kirkland Signature (Costco) Rice Crackers (seriously yummy) or Tostidos Hint of Lime Corn Chips (lime... what a great idea).

10. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Fiona Apple "Extraordinary Machine."

11. What kind of car do you drive? The Boom Box (Scion xB).

14 Favorite drink? I rarely have mixed drinks. Last time was probably seven years ago, and it would have been a Tangeray & Tonic.

15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would it be? Got to go to Australia in 2004 and Hawaii in 2005. Alaska is on the calendar for 2006. Hope to do Europe (Ireland, Scotland, England, Spain, France, etc.) sometime in not-too-distant future. Don't know if there will be a chance to go to Africa but maybe someday.

16.What color is your bathroom? Boring beige like everything else in a rented apartment.

17. Favorite brand of clothing? We Be Bop. Famous designers don't make clothes that fit me. Too bad because I spend money on clothes!

18. Where would you retire? Seattle (ahhhhhh...).

19 Favorite time of day? Late night. Although I love sunrises, I see precious few of them.

21. Favorite sport to watch? I believe that I am contractually obligated (via my marriage vows) to say Seattle Seahawks' football! Actually, I really like watching hockey and (don't laugh) curling. I'll get my quadriennial fix watching the games
in Torino next month
. Woo-hoo, curling!

22. Who do you least expect to send this back? Not applicable, as I'm not emailing it directly to anyone.

23. Person you expect to send it back first? See answer to #22.

24. What laundry detergent do you use? Kirkland Signature Clout (Costco).

25. Coke or Pepsi? Fresca. My favorite for years and years. I don't drink brown stuff (Hi Rina!).

26. Are you a morning person or night owl? Definitely night owl.

27. What size shoe do you wear? 8½ wiiiiiiddddddde, not that anyone makes good, attractive, comfortable, flat shoes in nice styles and good colors in this size. I used to have a great shoe collection. Now, they're all darkly colored shoes that bear a
frightening resemblance to
orthopedic Oxfords. I need chiffon lemon yellow leather flats with studs and rhinestones over the toes! Multi-colored sequin covered black cotton China slippers! Kelly green suede Peter Pan shoes with pointy toes and a big flap folded over the top! I miss fun and colorful shoes! Sorry. I digress.

28. Do you have pets? Yes! Why doesn't this question ask what kind of pets and what their names are? I'm going to answer anyway! Four cats -- Milo, Sadie, Flannery, and Chester. There!

29. Any new and exciting news to tell everyone? Not particularly. Sorry to disappoint.

30. What (who) did you want to be when you were little? Concert pianist.

31. Favorite Candy Bar? Reese's Peanut Butter Cup (not technically a bar, but I think this answer still qualifies).

32. What are the different jobs you have had in your life? Babysitter, retail cashier, retail department manager, bank microfiche-r, cafeteria deli sandwich maker, house cleaner, pool cleaner, porch painter, video store clerk, office receptionist, DJ (radio and club), radio station music director and general manager, record store manager, magazine music critic, college admissions counselor, database clerk, telemarketer (3½ weeks, and I quit over the phone), promotions and public relations manager, office manager, regional administrative manager, help desk technician, help desk manager, website developer, training manager, conference planning manager, freelance desktop publisher and resume consultant. Hmmm... did I miss anything?

33. Favorite season? Autumn, but each season has its good parts.

34. Nicknames you've had? Kel, Kelly-Bell, Bits (Hi again Pur-Rina/Kibbles!), Sissy (a brotherly nickname that did not emerge until adulthood, oddly enough)

35. Piercings: Five and a half. Two in my left ear, three in my right. I attempted to pierce a fourth in the right myself, but wasn't wholly successfully. Wore five tiny silver hoops for years. Took them out a long time ago and, with the exception of annual company holiday party, I no longer wear earrings at all. But the holes are still open.

36. Eye color: Hazel with gold starbursts around my pupils. They look particularly green if my clothes are green.

37. Ever been to Africa? See answer to question #15.

38. Ever been toilet papering? No. I so completely don't see the point.

39. Love someone so much it made you cry? Heavens, yes.

40. Been in a car accident? Unfortunately, yes.

41. What's a question no one has ever asked you? "Why don't you throw caution to the wind and follow your dreams?" My family and friends are far too practical, methinks.

42. Favorite day of the week? Thursday. I'm usually very productive, and the weekend is in view.

43. Favorite restaurant? OK, this is another vague question. Favorite restaurant local to my current home? Independent or chain? And for what type of restaurant need? OK, now I'm just being a pain. Some of my favorites that immediately come to mind are the Third Floor Fish Cafe in Kirkland, Washington; JaK's Steakhouse in Issaquah, Washington; Aria, Chicago, Illinois; Amerigo, in Norwalk, Connecticut; Telluride in Stamford, Connecticut; The Kingston 1686 House in Kingston, New Hampshire.

44. Favorite flower? Too many to list just one. Color! Fragrance! Buds of joy!

45. Favorite ice cream? Ben & Jerry's "One Sweet Whirled," although I don't think I can use that anymore seeing as they discontinued it. POUT! Their "Oatmeal Cookie Chunk" is pretty fabulous. And Friendly's Peppermint Stick ice cream rocks for the holidays.

46. Disney or Warner Brothers? Disney, particularly in the originally short-lived, then apparently ill-fated, but now saved collaboration with Pixar.

47. Favorite fast food restaurant? OK, NOW they get specific about the type of restaurant (see question #43 rant). I miss BurgerMaster in/around Seattle. It wasn't as fast as the gawdawful Mickey D's, but the quality burger was amazing. The closest thing in Connecticut is Duchess, and although their burgers are pretty good, they make a mean chef salad that I love. In a pinch, Wendy's broccoli and cheese baked potato is very fast yet comfort-foody.

48. What color is your bedroom carpet? The same light blue-ish/gray that covers the floors in every room of this rented apartment (see question #16) except the kitchen and bathrooms.

49. How many times did you fail your driver's test? Passed first time out, although I did fail driver's ed once because I didn't do the homework. How sad is that?!?

50. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail? I didn't get this via email.

51. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Costco.

52. What do you do most often when you are bored? Surf the web.

53. Bedtime? Don't have one. I'm usually up until around 12:30am, but sometimes (and oddly, on Fridays), I'll be in bed before 11:00pm.

54. Last person you went to dinner with? Ted, Thursday night at Outback in Wilton.

55. Ford or Chevy? This is a trick question, like #25. My answer is Toyota. If forced to choose between Ford and Chevy, I'd pick Jaguar.

56. What are you listening to right now? "We Belong Together" by Gavin DeGraw. Funny, one of the reviewers on iTunes emphasized that Gavin had written this song way before Mariah Carey's song of the same title. But when I first heard the title, I thought of Pat Benatar (although admittedly, that song is titled "We Belong"). There I go, dating myself again.

57. What is your favorite color? I love lots of colors together, especially jewel tones. For individual color, I'd have to go with purple.

58. Lake, Ocean or River? Any body of water, although I feel very connected to lakes.

59. How many tattoos do you have? None (spinning needles full of ink ripping through skin... not my idea of a good time).

60. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Is there a reason I should have an opinion on this question?

61. How many people are you sending this email to? Again, not an email. How many people will read it? Heaven only knows.

62. Favorite cocktail? The modern (and some would say imposter) Margarita (because I like it frozen). Lots of salt and lime. With Mexican food. OK, I am so completely not original. On a related note, has anyone else noticed that Gwenyth Paltrow's daughter is one letter away from being a trendy cocktail?

63. Red or white wine? For years, I stuck to white, but recently, I've embraced reds. Bear in mind that I have wine approximately once every two months. So I'm hardly a connoisseur.

64. Republican or Democrat? Independent (ref. #25, #55). Life is not an either-or proposition.

I started this list on Thursday night, hence the answer to #1 (I slept in until 6:10am today). But I haven't had the chance to finish it until now. It's Sunday morning. It snowed last night, and because it's Sunday morning, nobody has plowed anything. My list for the day includes breakfast at Wilton Diner with Ted, a pedicure at Elizabeth Arden, a visit to the car dealership to sign papers for Ted's new car, and work at my office.

Unfortunately, despite a Seahawks victory last night, I woke up this morning sick. Sore throat, can't talk, upset stomach. What I'd really like to do today is crank the heat, wrap up in a blanket and a couple cats, watch DVDs, and sip tea. But no rest for the weary, so off I go.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

sometimes a song

Once, I had a lot of time to dedicate to music. I played the piano (and a few other instruments less seriously). I participated in bands and choruses and ensembles. I bought records and spent hours on end listening to them, reading the liner notes, and finding or making a connection between the musicians' lives and my own. There were a great many songs that seemed to talk about my life.

Adulthood arrived (shudder), and jobs and responsibilities reduced the amount of time I could spend on music. Although still a significant part of my life, it could no longer be something I did nothing but. Much of my listening was relegated to the background -- desk radio, clock radio, kitchen radio. The car was one of the few places where I could really concentrate on music. And it's been in the car that I've still been able to selectively delve deep into some of it.

Recently, one album I can't get out of is Fiona Apple's "Extraordinary Machine." I was completely captured by her first album, "Tidal," when it was released nearly ten years ago. She writes amazing and unusual songs, and has a haunting voice. Although I love every single song on this new album, one has emerged as a metaphor for my life. It's called "Window."
I was staring out the window
The whole time he was talking to me
It was a filthy pane of glass
I couldn't get a clear view
And as he went on and on,
It wasn't the outside world I could see
- Just the filthy pane that
I was looking through

So I had to break the window
It just had to be
Better that I break the window,
Than him, or her, or me

I was never focused on just one thing
My eyes got fixed when my mind got so
It may look like I'm concentrated on
A very clear view
But I'm as good as asleep
I bet you didn't know
But take the lot of it away
If you do

I had to break the window
It just had to be
Better that I break the window
Than him, or her, or me.
I had to break the window
It just had to be (it was in my way)
Better that I break the window
Than forget what I had to say
Or miss what I should see

Because, the fact being that,
Whatever is in front of me, is coloring my view
So I can't see what I'm seeing, in fact,
I only see what I'm looking through.

So again, I've done the right thing
I was never worried about that
The answer's always been in clear view
But even when the window's clean
I still can't see, for the fact
That when it's clean, it's so clear
I can't tell what I'm looking through

So I had to break the window
It just had to be
Better that I break the window
Than him, or her, or me
I had to break the window
It just had to be (it was in my way)
Better that I break the window
Than forget what I had to say
Or miss what I should see


You know how interpretation can be. Some people will have absolutely no idea how this song applies to me. Others who know me well, and on whom I hoist too many of my woes, may just see what I mean.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

a sign of things to come

I woke up at 3:39am on a Saturday to go to work. I'm already showered and ready to go. The next four months are going to be a trip.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

mad at the sun

My desk faces four very large windows. I love having windows in my office. I understand why people try so hard to get offices when this is one of the benefits.

I've had to adapt somewhat as the afternoon sun blazes a trail from left to right. There are curtains I can draw, but for some inexplicable reason, they've been fashioned from extremely loose weave linen. So their effectiveness is blocking out glare is limited.

Usually, I can rearrange myself in such a way as to be behind one of the window frames with just enough width to cast a shadow on my eyes. Sure, I have to slowly move as the sun does, but it's no big deal. Today, however, perhaps because of a combination of crankiness and weather, I can't get a handle on the sun situation.

There are fluffy, misshapen clouds being blown about at such a high rate of speed that the sun has effectively become a strobe light. It shines, it hides, it shines, it hides, it shines, it hides. Because of the thin edges of the clouds, it's not so drastic as a light being turned on and off. It's a dimming and brightening. It shines, it hides, it shines, it hides. I have work to do, and it's a terrible distraction. I'm too impatient for the sun's playful antics today.

i'll keep him

My wonderful husband showed up at my office yesterday with the biggest bouquet of flowers I've ever seen. Roses, lilies, gerber daisies, snapdragons, asters, baby's breath, eucalyptus leaves, and many others I can't name. It sits majestically atop my lateral file cabinet and infuses the air with a deep floral aroma. Mmmmm.

His card read:
When you look into the mirror
on your birthday,
I want you to see
the face I see
whenever I look at you.
I want you to see
eyes that sparkle
with love and intelligence
and maybe a few
mischievous thoughts.
I want you to see
a smile that's contagious,
that gets even better
with a few extra laugh lines
here and there.
I want you to see
someone so loved
that there will never be
enough time to tell you
how much.

I had a good birthday.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

the big four oh

Your Birthdate: January 4

You have an extraordinary character - moral, responsible, and disciplined.
Your sincerely and honesty shine through in almost every situation.
Driven and focused, you rarely let your emotions get the better of you.
You're level headed and rational. People count on your to look at things objectively.

Your strength: Your unwavering loyalty and ethics

Your weakness: Your rock solid stubbornness

Your power color: Navy blue

Your power symbol: Shield

Your power month: April

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

a fresh layer of snow

Isn't it interesting that the turn of a calendar can make everything seem possible? People wouldn't make resolutions if they didn't genuinely think, even for a little while, that they would be capable of achieving them. What is it about a new year that infuses this kind of optimism?

It snowed on New Year's Day, just enough to add to the illusion that the world was pretty and full of possibilities. Enough to cover the unappealing bits and to smooth out the rough patches. Enough to give light and shimmer and hope where it was dark and dull.

Although I long ago stopped making the universal kind of resolutions, I admit that I do spend more time thinking at the December/January junction. It's a dedicated contemplation of the future, tinged with a review of the past. It often makes me cry. This year, it is accompanied by a visit to my old friend, the Goals List.

Comprised of three sections, the Goals List is a pie-in-the-sky enumeration of the things I'd like to achieve within the next year, five years, and 20 years. Spend more time helping my parents. Go on more dates with my husband. Learn to speak Spanish. Vacation in Europe. It smacks of resolution but it's more like the foundation of a plan. Regular reviews of the Goals List provide motivation and reminder, realization of the importance of any individual goal (and subsequent removal or revision of goals), and validation when a goal is achieved. The past few years, no such list existed. I accomplished things, but haphazardly and on the fly.

This year, I decide which snow to shovel, where to make snow angels, and how high to build snowmen. This year, I'm taking advantage of the new snow.