Friday, February 27, 2009

The Almost

The word "almost" gets a bad rap. I remember my grandma saying, "Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades", to which I would reply, " And probably atomic bombs, too", which would get me the evil eye and possibly a smack upside the head.
However, I've learned that "almost" is actually a good thing. You can take the attitude about almost being equiv
alent to failure and stick it in the recycle bin. If given the choice between doing something "almost" and not doing it at all, I'll take "almost", almost every time. Almost means you tried, and maybe learned something in the process. Almost means you are that much closer to getting it right.
I had an "almost" this morning. It was the last morning of my yoga immersion, which also means no more getting up at 30 minutes to dawn, at least until I feel a need to do it again.
Yoga is about balance...the body and the min
d. Balance is not one of my strong suits, especially when it comes to balance poses. I tend to fall over, which is funny to watch when I'm attempting tree pose. I always have to keep from yelling "Tiiiimber!" as I lose what small bit of dignity I may have had. Thank the Great Mother for a sense of humor.
Aubrey, our instructor, had us doing the side plank pose this morning. Side plank, when correctly done, looks like this:I have never, ever been able to do side plank pose. Not even leaning against the wall, which is my trick for tree, half moon, etc. Face plant is inevitable.
But this morning was different. Without the wall behind me, I opted to try a modified side plank, leaning on my forearm. It's an "almost". I used one leg as a kind of kickstand, and then moved it into place next to the other leg.
By gum, it worked! I was shaky, and maybe lasted only thirty seconds. But I definitely did an "almost" side plank. Aubrey noticed and ran over to congratulate me, whereupon I crashed to the floor, breathing "Mother of...".

I'm going to keep trying, because it almost felt great!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

As much as I consider myself a music aficionado, I am woefully out of touch with the current music scene. This is made even more ridiculous considering I work in the midst of some of the finest music writers on the West Coast. However, I DO read what's being written. I have been getting quite an education, recently, on the state of hip-hop in Seattle. I'm not buying much music, but boy, I can talk your eyebrows off about it.

Artificial intellectualism notwithstanding, I recently bought an album. Seriously, I haven't purchased music in months. I can't even tell you who recommended the album. I might have even seen it on (shudder) television. It doesn't matter. There is a great, rollicking, rocking song on this album and I want to share it with you. Here is a link to a version of it, via YouTube:

For me, it's one of those that will make me dance no matter where I am or what I'm doing. It's a great song to bounce you away from the Pit of Despair, if you're hovering near there. Sometimes we need a song like that to remind us of the joy as well as the pain of living.

"Keep bringin' it the rest of your life..."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

By Your Leave

A wise man named Tom Browning once taught me an important lesson: Nobody "makes" you mad. It's your choice to get mad. People like to press buttons, and get reactions. I'm seriously guilty of this, but I'm approaching it from another angle, so bear with me...
The key word here is "choice". We all have choices. They start the moment we choose to open our eyes in the morning. When someone says something to provoke, it's your choice to react. You could stop and think, "Why did he/she do that?" Many times however, we choose so quickly that it doesn't even seem like a choice. It may even be a choice you made long ago to react in that way every time a similar situation arises, so of course it doesn't seem like you thought about it.
I've been reading a little bit about a couple in the news. I think they're R&B singers. They had a fight, I guess, and he struck her. What gets me is the comments I've read about it: She "made" him mad, so he hit her. She deserved it.
Let me say this: NO. She said something, or did something, and his "choice" was to get angry. His choice was to strike her. He didn't have to get angry, he didn't have to hit her. He could have asked for a time out, or left the room. He could have tried to talk about the situation. She did not MAKE him do anything. She is not responsible for his emotions, just like you are not responsible for mine. Nobody, but nobody, deserves being hit, either. Even if it doesn't hurt much, it's a shock to the system.

I am basically a happy person. I choose it. You can call me "Pollyanna" and all other kinds of names. Fine. But this may be the only life I get, and I want to enjoy it all I can. That means being happy, because I've found I get a lot farther with a smile than with a sneer. It hasn't always been the case, and I've had people blame me for "making" them mad. ("I wouldn't hit you if you wouldn't make me mad!") I don't take it anymore.

But let's get along to today's reason to celebrate: I'm a happy person. Things can happen that are entirely out of my control, but I try not to blame others. Not always easy. People who are supposed to be helpful are not, often through no fault of their own.
Today was n
ot one of those instances. I was having trouble with a credit card. It was coming up declined, even though I paid the bill just last week. I called the number for customer service, and got a lovely lady named Ms. Harris. She told me what the problem was, got the card reinstated, and told me about her son and daughter. She was happy to have a pleasant customer to speak with, and I was happy to be that customer. We could have spent all day talking on the phone. When we finished, I asked to speak to her supervisor. I'm sure these folks hear complaints all the time. We all complain about bad customer service, but I wanted to talk to someone about GOOD customer service.
I was connected to her supervisor, and told him how courteous, how pleasant, and how helpful she had been. How I wanted to make sure she was recognized for her good work. I think he was a bit startled. But I've worked with the public. We tend to forget we're talking to other human beings, whether in New Delhi or Delaware. I appreciate when someone treats me as such, and I know she did, too.
I didn't "make" her happy. She was already that way. What I did was to choose to deepen that happiness a little, by adding my own. Come on in! The happiness is fine.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cold Rain & Snow

Today's weather report from Seattle is also the title of a Grateful Dead song. If the song doesn't make you feel bad, this climate just might!
Still, I've very little room to complain, especially when I've stood outside the tent city, Nickelsville, waiting for my bus. I might have been cold and damp, but I
have a house to go home to. My source of heat is not based in a trash barrel. Just something to consider....
It began snowing/raining while I was having lunch. I had a craving after watching Anthony Bourdain last night, and knew that I could fulfill it in the University district, where I transfer from the 48 to the 70 on the way to an appointment.
Ah, Tony, you are such a bad boy, talking about food porn. All I could think about last night was your yen, which quick
ly became mine. And the weather was perfect for it!
This, if you don't already know, is pho (say, "fuh"). It is to Vietnamese grandmothers what chicken soup is to Jewish bubbes. It is hot and filling and soothing. It comes with condiments to add: jalapeno peppers, basil leaves, bean sprouts, lime and a hot pepper sauce that'll definitely cure what ails you.

My favorite restaurant for pho is Than Brothers. It's not a fancy place, and not expensive. The bowl in the photo ran me five dollars plus change, and that's the small size. The extra large looks like you could bathe an infant and your dog in it. I wouldn't try that, though. Ruins the taste.
Walk in the door, and someone brusquely asks how many of you there are. If you're alone, as I was, they sit you at a communal table in the middle of the room. You barely have a chance to take off your coat before you're asked if you're ready to order. Luckily, the menu is kind of limited; all pho, different kinds of meat. I confess, I've never tried it with tripe. Bleah. Anthony Bourdain would never give me a second glance.
Quickly, a plate arrives with your condiments, and wonder of wonders: a cream puff. The story is that one of the brothers has a wife who was trained in French pastry, and they offered the cream puffs, gratis, to help the business. They are GOOD. So good, I asked my husband, Mark, for them instead of cake for my birthday one year. The filling, a cross between custard and cream, is perfect.

And then the pho... a steaming bowl of goodness. When I looked up for the first time after inhaling about half my bowl, I saw it was snowing...and raining, at the same time. Students from the university hustled by, cringing with cold.
Me? I just smiled. I'd be out in it soon enough, but with the power of pho. Yum.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Jumping On The Bandwagon: Random Things

It seems like everyone's been listing about themselves recently. So in the interest of getting to know me better (Cue song from "The King and I"), here's mine...

Random Things About Me

1. Even though I live in Seattle, I prefer tea over coffee.

2. My secret artistic fantasy is to live in Venice and apprentice to become a maskmaker.

3. My religious background is Roman Catholic and Jehovah's Witness. More the former than the latter.

4. The name of my house is "La Casita Arancia", in honor of Frida Kahlo.
And yes, it is both small and orange.

5. My favorite flower is lilac.

6. I'm a late life Deadhead. My first show was Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR, in August, 1993.

7. I trained to be a pastry cook.

8. When I was six, I tried to run away from home to become Tina Louise.

9. Someday, I'd like to go to Rio for Carnival.

10. The first ceremony I ever "birthed" was a vow renewal for my friends Jen and Tom.

Now, are you ready to tell me 10 random things about yourself? I'd love to know...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Kendyl Linn-Sanchez, Girl Reporter

Hot New Real Estate Selling Point: Proximity to Baranof
Posted today at 4:20 pm by Damon Agnos
Greenwood has a lot to offer prospective homebuyers—quiet streets, parks, coffee shops, and, of course, a certain on-the-rocks, pirate-themed, stiff-drink-serving, karaoke diner/dive.

Thanks to SW superstar receptionist Kendyl Linn-Sanchez for the tip and photo.

Brenda Starr has nothing on me! I was out walking in my neighborhood when I saw the above flyer. I snapped a photo with my mobile and showed it to the Weekly's managing editor and our writing fellow. They loved it, especially our editor, who is an aficionado of such places.

Secretly, I've wanted to make a contribution to the paper ever since I began working there in November of '07, but never told anyone, because I was "just" the receptionist. But evidently, a SUPERSTAR receptionist!

Monday, February 2, 2009


Today was a day of decompression. I spent a lot of time getting prepared for my first craft fair, so much that the event itself could have been a letdown. But I was prepared for that, too.
It was a slow day...simply not a lot of people. The more seasoned artisans faulted the Superbowl. Everyone was, presumably, at a party before the game.
It didn't matter to me, though I will admit to having set a monetary goal that I didn't reach. I had three customers plus two trades with other artists, and I made back the money I paid for entering the fair. Good enough for my first day out.

What I had not prepared for was the level of exhaustion I felt afterward. Utterly pooped! I was in bed by nine p.m. (with extra good reason; I started a yoga immersion series this morning at 6), after a GINORMOUS dinner of Indian food, and one glass of wine once I was home to stay.
It wasn't easy getting up early. However, it was even easier to fall under the spell of horizontality again!
I treated myself to a swim in the afternoon, then a chai with my dear friend Jenna at a coffeehouse where we basked in the buttery afternoon light and talked.
Even now, I am tired; but tomorrow, it's back on the horse. Things to do, people to see. The big hurdle is behind me, and a new, artistic path lies in front of me. I wonder what will happen...