Saturday, April 30, 2011

Today's the day

Happy 11 Year Anniversary, Jer!

Here is what I told Internet about us on April 30, 2000:

I've spent a lot of time documenting in the last few years. With a few clicks you can get to know me, you can read the highlights, find my favorite color (blue), get some insight on a stranger... But I don't share everything. The last 24 hours have been crazy. It's like freshmen year again.

I don't want to jinx anything...don't want to mess it up.

One day at a time. No expectations. Let's see if I can handle that.

I realize I'm being a diary tease. Just let me have this for me for a little while.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A conversation with the dentist

I salute all of you who rise at 6am, daily. This morning I had to do it myself to get to my dentist appointment. I slept shallowly, waking every couple of hours to check the alarm. It reminded me of when we were on vacation and I was desperately afraid we'd miss our train, so I just laid in bed all night and stared at the ceiling.

Boo hoo, Christy. So you had to wake up. Bah.

Anyway. The cleaning went fine, thank you for asking. It was X-ray time and when the dentist came in to interpret the results we had this exchange.

Me: (Opens mouth.) Ahhhhh.

Dentist draws on one of my teeth with a blue pen. Hands me a mirror. He's made this suggestion before; I see it coming.

Dentist: If you like... I can file this one tooth down so it's level with the others. The way you bite... it's wearing unevenly.

Me: How long would it take?

Dentist: A minute. It won't hurt.

Me: You've made this suggestion before.

Dentist: (Shrugs.) I think it'll look better.

Me: Okay. You've worn me down like you're gonna wear down my teeth. (I laugh because I think I'm hilarious.)

Dentist blinks at me... He finishes the grinding, hands me a mirror.

Me: That looks great! Thank you so much. I wonder if my husband will notice.

Dentist: Oh, he won't notice. He's a man. They don't notice.

Me: He will when I bite him.

More blinking.

Dentist: (removes his gloves, addresses the hygienist) No charge for this.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Collective Brain is Brainy, Plus Rejection

In a quest to find movies where musical-based jubilation saves the day, I'd like to thank the following generous contributors: Dan, Becky Book, Headspace, and Green Dragon.

Later Dan shared TV Tropes's page The Power of Rock, but I'm proud to say using our crack critical thinking skills, we came up with a couple they don't have.

I consider this a satisfying collaboration. I think we should do more. Any other topics of interest for unleashing The Collective Brain?

So tonight is my second first writing class; the subject is science fiction and fantasy. My inclination is usually to start in this genre, but then somehow it wanders off into a cross between weird fiction and horror. (Think Haruki Murakami crossed with Shirley Jackson crossed with Lovecraft.) Then I get discouraged when I try to find a place to submit the work. (Ignore the fact I'm not quite good enough yet; it'll come.)

I'm not trying to be a downer here, but this would be a good time to address the rejection side of my writing. In the next few days I expect another one. And just because I expect it, it doesn't mean it won't throw me into a mini-funk. I know the important thing to remember is you can't stop writing and submitting just because one situation isn't a good fit. You've got to be a professional and divorce yourself from feelings.

I'm a robot. Beep, beep.

One day I was feeling particularly weak and whining (a teeny bit) to Jer.

He said, "Wow, so you've submitted a lot in the last couple of months, right?"

"Yeah," I said. "Tons. I just keeping getting rejected."

"So, like 50?"

"50?" I fiddled with the zipper on my jacket. "Oh, no. Not 50."

"25 then? At least 25?"

"Not exactly..."

"How much would you say you've submitted?"

"Um. Four. But at least 3 times each. I've kept a spreadsheet."

He blinked. "So, you're expecting to get published after 12 tries? When people who've been doing this for years can't even get published?"

At this point in the conversation I did something befitting my maturity. I stuck out my tongue.

And that is my story of why life is totally unfair. This story's subtitle is: Unrealistic Expectations for Fun and Profit.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Defeated by Song

Updated 4/25, 3:15pm, you guys are so smart! I've updated this post with all the great suggestions in the comments.

Movies where the villain is defeated by singing and/or clapping:

  • Ghostbusters II (Crowd sings Auld Lang Syne)
  • Peter Pan (Everyone in the world chants "I do believe in fairies, I do, I do. And clapping. Lots of clapping.)
I'm sure there was an animated movie or two where singing was a critical component of the final beatdown, but let's not count those.

I tried Googling "defeated by clapping." No luck.

Can you think of any? This is important work we're doing.

Updated to include movies from the comments:

  • Elf (Santa's sleigh flies away from the Central Park rangers because the crowd sings Santa Claus Is Coming to Town) -- Thanks, Dan!
  • Mars Attacks (music makes the martians heads explode) -- Thanks, Becky Book!
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (there is a big musical battle, where Scott's band are playing against another band, and their music becomes two beasts that duel for supremacy.) -- Thanks, Headspace!
  • Zulu (There, when the Zulu forces advance, doing their battle-chant for the final assualt, the tiny British contingent defending against them start singing in defiance, thanks to some of them being in a Welsh choir!) -- Thanks, Headspace!
  • Blues Brothers (The money they earn from their final performance saves their orphanage from going bust!) -- Thanks, Headspace!
  • Amadeus (Salieri is constantly being defeated by the brilliance of Mozart's music, especially in that scene where Mozart improves Salieri's welcome march!) -- Thanks, Headspace! (Christy's Note: One of my favorite movies!
  • Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny (The band sings the best song in the world, to defeat the evil demon!) -- Thanks, Headspace!

Updated to include movies that are also billed as musicals, where song is key to the climactic scene:

  • Moulin Rouge (It is full of dancing and singing and I know there is a big musical number at the end where the bad guy is basically defeated.) -- Thanks, Green Dragon!
  • The Sound of Music (The Von Trapps sing Eidelweiss in front of the Nazi leaders at the end, and all the audience behind them join in!) -- Thanks, Headspace!
  • Cabaret (The songs the MC sings that subtly mock the Nazis. Pretty tenuous though...) -- Thanks, Headspace!

Updated to include movies that are not strictly dance movies, but where dance is a key component in saving the day:

  • Footloose
  • Dirty Dancing
  • West Side Story (Not a music/singing one, but as their fights are choreographed, could count as one where dancing defeated the bad guy!) -- Thanks, Headspace!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lawn tending makes me growly

Dear Dog Owner who Keeps Leaving Their Dog's Crap on the Lawn I am Diligently Trying to Reseed and Reestablish:

You are a jerk. I would tell you in person except I suspect you only allow your dog to stealth-crap in the dead of night. You are the worst kind of ninja.

I strongly disagree with your pet ownership methods and am trying hard not to wish bad things upon you. But sir/madam, you strain the limits of compassion. Clean up your own damn mess.

- Me

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I spit on my finger and wiped off the picture

When I was in school and bored in class, I used to make a series of dots on my desktop with a pen. Then I'd let go -- by that I mean any attempt at control, preconception, whathaveyou -- and connect the dots.

Then I would sit still and figure out what I'd drawn.

Every time I found I'd drawn something. Something recognizable. A movie star's face, a specific plant, an armoir... It didn't matter how crazily I stabbed at the desk, how random the pattern. The lines always made a picture.

Every time I started, I doubted the end result would yield a thing. I had no faith.

I proved myself wrong every time.

Now instead of looking for patterns in random dots, I look for patterns in the shower tile, in the popcorn ceiling. I see faces, wishing I could draw them and share them. If I could just copy the tilt of that woman's neck, the muzzle of the lion, the witch on her broom, you might see the world the way I see it.

But what good is that.

Still, I try.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Seahorses grab things with their tails

Today would have been a good day to bring my camera. The sky was blue, the sun high in that same blue sky, and the clouds fluffy and generous. I met Jer for lunch at a downtown van (Tom Waits's lesser known opus) and we ate our Spam Sliders overlooking the Sculpture Park.

At 1:20pm, I waved goodbye to Jer and left for the aquarium, where I needed to use my Groupon by tomorrow. So I did.

Have you ever just... stared at a seahorse? Like, really stared? Dude, they're weird.

So I eye-devoured the seahorse and the ghost jellyfish, I touched a starfish and an anemone (gently and with one finger). Then I gawked at a giant octopus, some otters, a seal, relaxed in an underwater dome, and enjoyed the heck out of a golden tufted puffin.

Eventually I was home again -- because you can't stare at seahorses forever -- and I mowed, seeded, and fertilized the lawn. I also strapped spiky shoes to my feet and walked around to (half-assedly) aerate it. I fell over far fewer times this year than last year.

Due to my lack of injuries (knock on wood) and my ceremonial leaving of the house, I dub today a success.

This is post 1501.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Modest Proposal, Jerry Springer-Style

It's good to know I'm not the first person to Google, "Why do people go on Jerry Springer?"

The consensus seems to be they're paid.

You could say blogging is a distant cousin to this kind of entertainment. Both present a warped view of reality -- you're never sure if your narrator is reliable. Both encourage audience participation -- some even trash talking. Both thrive on drama. But maybe blogging is more like soap operas. Complicated characters doing crazy things obsessed with sharing.

Too bad all the soap operas have been canceled. Viva la blogs!

No disrespect to fellow bloggers. Hell, I've been doing this for 15 years. (Note: I should not have done the math.)

My life is too sedate for you. Maybe I should invent a new character arc or plot twist to keep you entertained.

By the way, in a surprise twist I have just decided to leave Seattle and travel the world in support of my new travel/pornographic film series, "Jennie Italia Does Italia on the Cheap." Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I regret to inform you 'kerfaffle' is not a word

I check the news channel every morning to see what new way the world is ending. If it's just the typical kerfaffle, I'm free to start my day. So far so good.

Yesterday involved a modicum of stress. I returned to school (which is like, totally why I used the word modicum in a sentence). I packed my messenger bag with a notebook, three pens, a blue SIGG bottle filled with water, my phone, wallet, and a GPS.

Here I must wax on about the GPS, or as I like to call it, one of our best purchases ever. Shortly after moving to Seattle, and needing to print out directions from Google Maps or MapQuest or RandMcNally whenever we left the house, Jer and I realized Seattle is a funny place. Rarely can you go somewhere and return via the same route. Freeway entrances are not the same as exits. Streets run one-way when you least expect it. Roundabouts are strategically inserted to mix you up. Whee!

So, having grown up in southern California, where most communities are planned and streets are gridlike and predictable, we invested in a GPS and haven't looked back. I love that little rectangle of road savvy.

The new Bellevue Community College North Campus wasn't hard to find. It involved (as expected) crossing the 520 floating bridge, which means I will need to buy a toll pass sooner than I thought, though tolling has been delayed until June so I might get away with not having one. Class ends June 1.

It's a writing class; short stories are the subject. I have never taken a class like this. I took a writing workshop once. The less said about that the better. I took quite a few playwriting classes and loved every one of those. But prose? Never. It's exciting and scary.

I enrolled in a second writing class, which starts in two weeks.

I don't expect to talk about the classes much. For once I will try to focus on the end result instead of the process. (Less talk, more writing!) I think this experience will be good for me. It's great to be present in a room where everyone wants the same thing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Free Scotch in the Sky

Someday I will own a phone that snaps pictures. In that glorious future I will provide you with impromptu illustrated entries of all my amazing adventures.

Today is not that day. Today we will use the pictures of the mind.

On Monday I finally walked around Green Lake. Why is that a big deal? Because I've been thinking about it since December. It helped that the weather was beautiful and I'd just purchased a deeply discounted Helly Hansen long-sleeved moisture wicking shirt at TJ Maxx. You know, to make me feel the part.

Who has two thumbs and likes to pretend she's an athlete?

Me. I thought you'd guess that. It was easy.

On Tuesday, the day formerly known as yesterday, I got all gussied up, took the bus downtown, met Jer, and we ate dinner at the excellent Buenos Aires Grill in honor of Restaurant Week. I had the beef empanada, skirt steak, and chocolate cheesecake. It was perfect. I asked our server for a Malbec recommendation (red wine) and he supplied us with a couple of really wonderful glasses. I stuck with the one glass because...

From 2nd and Virginia, we drove to 5th and Columbia and entered Columbia Tower. To get to the 75th floor and partake in the Columbia Tower Club, one must ride an elevator to the lobby, one to the 40th floor, and another to the "Members Only" floor.

All this is to say, last night Glenfiddich sponsored a "Cask of Dreams" event, to promote pioneering spirit, their "one day you will" campaign, and their excellent single malts. We debarked the elevator, signed model releases, and then were free to enjoy the bird's eye views of downtown Seattle, free cocktails, small bites, and Scotch samples (Glenfiddich 12, 15, and 18 year, carried around on a silver tray).

The room was packed with mingling, dram drinking, Scotch appreciating connoisseurs. A short speech was made by the sponsor, and then a cask was rolled into the center of the room and placed on a short pedestal. Guests were handed Sharpies and asked to write their dream on the cask. I wrote, "One day I will drink Scotch in Scotland!"

For the record, dreams are not at all like wishes. If I tell you my dream, it can still come true, unlike those unreliable, wishy-washy wishes.

I believe there's still time to register your dream at and enter to win a prize.

This time I chose to share a relatively safe dream because I'm fairly certain I can achieve it. All I covet is a gentleman's dram quaffed in the whisky soaked burgh of Dufftown.

Ever notice how just one letter separates dram and dream? Ah, synchronicity.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Goings on and new adventures

Since the last post I:
  • Watched "Fan Boys," "Somewhere in Time," a remake of "The Fog," "Top Gear," and caught up on season 3 of "Fringe." (Could "Fringe" be any better? Wow.)
  • Registered for two writing classes through the continuing education program at Bellevue Community College. The first one starts this week.
  • Ate a fantastic meal at "Stumbling Goat Bar and Bistro," for Seattle Restaurant Week, 3 courses for $28. I had the Duck Liver Terrine, Winter Truffle Risotto, and Carrot Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake and some incredible cocktails.
  • Went for a walk with Jer at Matthews Beach. The outer paths were muddy, we saw a Woodpecker knocking his beak against a lightpost, and the lake water was clear to the bottom.
  • Drank with friends at Liberty Bar in Capitol Hill. (This happened before the last post but still deserves a mention. Excellent and inventive cocktails, some involving fire.)
  • Mowed the lawn.
  • Yelled at the cats to quit sharpening their claws on the furniture. Times a billion.
  • Wrote a bulleted list. Hi.
This week's schedule promises adventure, mostly because it promises leaving the house. If all goes according to plan, tomorrow night we'll be attending the Seattle Glenfiddich Cask of Dreams event and eating another fancy dinner as part of Restaurant Week.

I've made an effort to schedule events this month because -- as I think I've mentioned -- it's our 11 year anniversary. And I will use any excuse to spread out a good celebration.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


I am making the Creamy Lemon Pie from the Weight Watchers weekly. My hands smell like lemon, from zesting and squeezing.

I bet I am the only one who crushed their cinnamon graham crackers with a bottle of Bloody Mary mix.


Sometimes there are bad days. There may be no earthly reason for it, but they happen. It's not vogue to talk about. Putting into words the feeling that you're bobbing in a sea of angry.

But I'll try.

You are in an ocean, just past the sandbar. Your feet dangle in weightlessness. Your arms move in long, slow circles to keep yourself upright. It's so cold the tips of your fingers grow numb. Water sputters from your mouth, and when you swallow you taste salt and grit.

A wave washes overhead. You tumble. Struggle to open your eyes. They sting. Beneath the surface, all you can make out is whorls and swirls of brown and grey. For a few seconds it's not clear which way is up, but somehow you manage to pull free, right yourself, and pump your legs to freedom.

Then it's past.

A few minutes later, another wave washes overhead.

I should mention. As you submerge, you can't even remember what it's like to be dry and warm. There is only a sense of sinking and ice and darkness. (No perspective, see?)

I hope this isn't as boring as if I'm describing a dream. Extended metaphors can be so dreadful.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


From March 15 to May 8, Pacific Science Center is hosting "Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination." I'm happy to share I finally reserved tickets yesterday, and we will be going on our anniversary.

Because nothing says romance like simulating the jump to lightspeed in a full-size replica of the Millennium Falcon cockpit.

Hallmark needs to make that card.

In honor of a successful transaction -- the online ticketing site is sloooooow -- we watched the original "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope." Not the newly remastered, scene adding, messed with version. I'm talking the original here. Dimly lit and full of static. We kicked it old-school.

You get the point.

So that happened. Then today I realized Seattle Restaurant Week is coming up -- 3 courses for $28 -- so I made reservations at Stumbling Goat Bistro, which I've been wanting to try.

We've been in a restaurant rut lately. My fault mostly. I usually request we go somewhere I can figure out the points values easily. Or I know they have grilled chicken on the menu. Last night we ate at Chipotle, where I can get a chicken burrito bowl smothered in pico de gallo, corn-chili salsa, and lettuce. Other times we go to Wendy's, where I know I can order the Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich and small cup of chili.

Last night it was either Chipotle or boil spaghetti, and my heart just wasn't in it.

And that's the news today.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Weight Loss Mesa

The internet has a lot more "how to" exercise clips than the last time I looked. I ended up watching a 3 minute video on arm toning, tried a couple of the exercises, and now my anterior deltoids are totally slamming!

By slamming I mean sore.

Having recently started back at the gym, it's been frustrating to look at the scale. Last week I mentioned I was hoping to lose a pound; I didn't. This is precisely why you're not supposed to focus on the number on the scale, you're supposed to focus on your measurements - how your clothes fit.

After two weeks of tracking everyday and going to the gym, the scale was up a half pound and I'm down a pants size.

At the WW meeting I picked up a pamphlet on weight loss plateaus. On the back page it mentioned (the possibility) that resistance training might build muscle at the same time you lose fat and cause a plateau. But the sentence was worded so it sounded like a remote chance.

Every single time this happens to me. I hit this weight and stay there until I get bored and gain. The difference this time is I have the support and weekly reminder that I'm a part of Weight Watchers.

If I go back and look at my food log, it's true I wasn't an angel. However I had enough points for all the "bad" choices. Unfortunately that doesn't wrench you from a plateau. (I prefer the word mesa since I grew up on one.)

So until the scale catches up to my body I'll have to be a bit more strict. That means no booze or very little booze, and not using all my activity points.

Stupid anterior deltoids causing trouble.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Clean slate

Today is the first day of April; this blows my mind. What the heck did I do in March?

I filed our taxes. And... the other 741 hours?

I received more rejections. I stopped caring about Weight Watchers and then started again. I caught up on "The Biggest Loser." Cut coupons, grocery shopped, socialized, made vague pronouncements about maybe someday soon looking for work possibly, bought new pants, redeemed enough box codes to get a free Lean Cuisine lunch bag (finally!) ...

Important, goal-driven type stuff.

Okay so I did manage to close my old bank account and open accounts with a credit union. I also rolled my 401(k) over to Vanguard. And I already mentioned the taxes.

So to sum up, in all areas unrelated to personal finance, March was a big fat fail.

It's a new month. Clean slate. What do I want to accomplish?

  • Stick with WW.
  • Write. Finish. Submit. (Complete first draft of writing project, add 10,000 words to longer story word count, write a ten-minute play)
  • Make money. (Amount privately defined)

Nice and easy. All you have to do is shut up and do it, you big baby.