Friday, March 30, 2007

LOVE LOVE LOVE this music ...

A few years back I discovered Pink Martini - a group that mixes many styles of music, from jazz to Latin to Japanese to - well, whatever the hell they come across. I immediately fell in love with them. They're based in Portland, Oregon (always a good thing) and have earned a big world-wide fan base. Scott and I got the chance to see them last summer at Chateau Ste. Michelle near Seattle - it was an amazing concert. Of course, that was in part due to the fact that it was a winery ... so we enjoyed food and wine during the concert. But it's really an experience to watch them perform. Amazing pianist, amazing instrumentalists (an old friend of mine has toured/recorded with them playing cello), and one of the most gorgeous singers in existence. Yes, I referred to a female as gorgeous - how can you blame me?? Look at those eyes! And legs!! (In a look-but-don't-touch sorta way ... )

A little over 4 minutes long - I think this was taken from an appearance on an Italian TV show. But me like - me like long time.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

And now a word from our sponsor ...

I mentioned in a previous post that my partner Scott is a general manager for Linens N Things. This weekend (Friday 3/30 - Sunday 4/1) is their semi-annual Friends and Family sale. With a coupon, you can save 25% off your entire purchase - including sale items. Including all things Nate Berkus. Quite the deal, no?

If you don't know Linens N Things, check out their website. Personally (and with only a small amount of bias), I like them a LOT better than Bed Bath & Beyond. Just my opinion ...

If anyone would like to take advantage of this sale, Scott has authorized me to e-mail you a coupon that you can print out and use at any Linens N Things store in the country! Leave a comment or send me an e-mail and I will e-mail you a coupon in either PDF or JPG format (let me know if you have a preference).

We now return you to your previously scheduled life.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Be All That You Can Be

This is just unbelievable.

Really. Just when I think no act of hatred can make my jaw hit the floor again, someone just has to top it.

This story is about an e-mail exchange between an Army recruiter and a man whom the recruiter found on a job-hunting website. The man is gay, and replied to the recruiter informing her of his opinion of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy (one of the stupidest things I've ever heard of, BTW) and his subsequent opinion of the U.S. military.

And this recruiter - this representative of the military - using her government-supplied military e-mail - sent some of the most hateful, bigoted, racist bile imaginable.

I'm sure, as the post suggests, that the man sent some not-so-pretty e-mails as well. But that's not the point. At all. He was speaking for himself, while she was speaking on behalf of the government and the military.

At the risk of speaking out of turn and not knowing all the details, there seems to be enough evidence here to kick her ass to the curb. And I hope this gets all kinds of media attention.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Sushi Party

Yep, we did it. We ate sushi. Raw fish and stuff.

Thank god for sake and wine.

We headed to Chinatown (I mean, The International District) in the afternoon for ingredients to bring with to dinner. In a coffee/tea shop on the corner, there was a goth doll party going on. Seriously:

We went to the mondo Asian supermarket called Uwajimaya. I swear it is always packed to the gills, no matter what day or time it is. We decided we were pretty hungry, so we ate in their food court (so much cooler than a traditional mall food court) ... here's Scott waiting for his miso:

Scott took a picture of me as we were heading towards the cashier. (He calls this place "Hoochie Mama". It's close enough):

Later, we headed out to Sammamish (east of Seattle, about a half-hour drive to our friends' gorgeous suburban home). We haven't seen them for a few months - so for the first time, we got to meet Baby Maya, not quite five months old (here with Mama Cathy):

Cathy and her husband John had a "sushi island" set up in the kitchen where we all put out the ingredients we had brought, and then we took turns putting together sushi rolls to share. This is what Sushi Island looked like:

Every time we go to their house, we meet new people. Our new friends James and Betty:

Cathy made the first round - Scott and Cathy about to dig in:

Daddy John took Maya for a while:

Scott's turn:

This is NOT easy to do:

Cathy trying to help us newbies:

Matterdays trying to make his eventually tragic entry to the sushi fest:

Maya with Daddy John:

And finally - Sophie the Wonder Dog (probably the calmest, sweetest dog we know - other than our own pup Stoli):

We ate ahi (tuna), eel, tilapia, and drank LOTS of sake. And, we're both alive and not in gastric distress today. A good thing.

Honestly, I'm not craving any raw food today. We're thinking those grilled steak burritos I've mentioned before.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Scott and Peepers' Excellent Adventure

My partner Scott had an eventful Friday morning ...

Scott is the general manager of the Linens N Things store in this article (the one who was interviewed but not quoted). Peepers is the duck.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Perhaps a weekly theme is appearing ...

The latest Google search to find my blog:

“skye blu bestiality”

What the hell have I been writing???

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Work work work work work ...

When I started this blog, since I wasn't working, I was able to spend more time looking for - and considering - subjects to post about.

But as we all know, since work takes up so much of our lives, it's hard to keep it going during the normal crazy work week. Obviously, I've fallen into that abyss. After such a long vacation from the working world, it's hard to get back into the mode of working full-time, spending my days off doing household chores (which I've been HORRIBLE at lately) and still trying to maintain a semi-interesting blog. Although, I've noticed that I get more readership and comments from what I consider to be mundane posts than from the opinionated, politically- and socially-oriented posts I write. So I'm guessing y'all are more interested in my life than in my overstated opinions. Point taken. Few people want to read my long-winded rants, and prefer to read about more personal items. Not an issue - I'm still discovering my place in the blog world.

So what's been going in in Matterdays' world recently?


I honestly do like the job I'm doing right now. There are obstacles - the fact that I'm only a "temporary" employee for at least the next five months, the fact that my department has been so overwhelmed/understaffed/turned-over for so long that we're in a reactionary, working-by-the-seat-of-our pants mode 24/7, the ongoing fact that the higher-ups tend to take no notice or interest in the overwhelming day-to-day operations that we need to do and demand huge time- and resource-commanding projects (unknown to us until they're demanded) and want them done, oh, yesterday. Those are some big issues to me. But does anyone really want to read about the huge Medicare project I worked on for over a week (which didn't lead to the results the Board of Directors wanted to hear)? Or of the banging-my-head-on-my-desk issues I'm facing with the non-profit foundation of the clinic (which I'm supposed to be taking over from a financial statement front) where I have to face the misunderstandings that have been going on for months before I arrived? Or of my own shortcomings that I'm seeing in some projects that the management wanted to be solved and "made to go away" once some unknown warm body arrived on the scene?

So ... I'm still in negotiations with the firm I used to work for, for a management position they want me to return to do. Am I really qualified? If I returned, would I face the same obstacles that plagued me in my prior position with the firm? Are they expecting things I can't accomplish? Has the culture and hierarchy really changed enough to keep me happy there? They know from my past performance what I can do ... but am I being realistic when I'm considering returning to that world, and thinking I'll actually make a difference?

Is Matterdays just having a bad week and needs something to boost his confidence? Hell, yes.

I'm meeting with the controller and assistant controller from my old firm on Friday for lunch. We're supposed to talk about the "particulars" of my potential return to that company. Like before, I've never been in this position, so I'm not quite sure what to expect. Supposedly, all the members of the management team (including the CFO, who's out of town) are "delighted" to hear that I'm considering going back to work there. But, this time I'm meeting with not only the controller, but the manager who was my boss for the seven years I was there. I'm nervous, to be honest. I'm not sure that she could truly see me as an equal, a member of the core team and management of the department. The controller, whom I had lunch with the other week, I know will respect and accept me in this new role ... but I'm just so unsure about everyone else. I'm uneasy about this upcoming meeting, and I'm trying to think of every possible thing I might have to encounter and answer to. And, on the other hand, I'm trying to keep not only my self-confidence, but the idea that they are courting me, and that it's actually up to them to convince me to return, and not the other way around.


On a completely unrelated note - Scott and I are going to a "sushi party" at the house of some great friends this weekend. We're all supposed to bring our "favorites" for making sushi together. I don't think that I've ever really EATEN sushi. Does anyone have some ideas for what to bring that's really tasty? I was thinking some salmon, some cooked (cold) shrimp, some avocado and some cucumber ... but does anyone have some great ideas?

Off to bed ...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Being part Irish on my Moms side, I have a soft spot for even the Americanized version of celebrating St. Patrick's Day. I miss living in Chicago and experiencing the overdone "wearing o' the green" that takes place there. One of my favorite (although not entirely environmentally-friendly) traditions there is the green dye that is added to the Chicago River around the holiday:

No, this picture is not retouched. Yes, it really is that green. Americanized vs. Irish? Absotively. But ya gotta love it.

I started cooking our corned beef at 7:30 this morning in the crockpot (on low heat for 10 - 12 hours), with Harp lager added to the cooking water. Soon I'll add the bay leaf, and later on I'll add garlic cloves, carrots and onion to the broth. Shortly before dinner, I'll cook the champ (green onion mashed potatoes) and peas. I forgot to get soda bread (and I don't bake) so I'm off to Safeway soon (in the pouring rain, no less). I know, this isn't a traditional or authentic Irish holiday meal (it's more a daily comfort food to them), but I'm Irish-American, not born on the auld sod (yeah, there's Scottish history in my family too, although mostly by marriage). Our leprechaun night-light is in place in the kitchen, and I'll throw on a green Polo shirt before Scott gets home from work.

Now all I need is a "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" apron and I'll be as tacky as can be ...

The response from Lake Wobegon

I did not receive a personal reply from Garrison Keillor regarding my previous post - but he did have this to say on his A Prairie Home Companion website (I know, I'm quoting the entire post, but I hope that he wouldn't mind and won't come after me for copyright infringement):

Ordinarily I don't like to use this space to talk about my newspaper column but the most recent column aroused such angry reactions that I thought I should reply. The column was done tongue-in-cheek, always a risky thing, and was meant to be funny, another risky thing these days, and two sentences about gay people lit a fire in some readers and sent them racing to their computers to fire off some jagged e-mails. That's okay. But the underlying cause of the trouble is rather simple.
I live in a small world — the world of entertainment, musicians, writers — in which gayness is as common as having brown eyes. Ever since I was in college, gay men and women have been friends, associates, heroes, adversaries, and in that small world, we talk openly and we kid each other and think nothing of it. But in the larger world, gayness is controversial. In almost every state, gay marriage would be voted down if put on a ballot. Gay men and women have been targeted by the right wing as a hot-button issue. And so gay people out in the larger world feel besieged to some degree. In the small world I live in, they feel accepted and cherished as individuals, but in the larger world they may feel like Types. My column spoke as we would speak in my small world and it was read by people in the larger world and thus the misunderstanding. And for that, I am sorry. Gay people who set out to be parents can be just as good parents as anybody else, and they know that, and so do I.

Mr. Keillor doesn't tend to apologize for anything he says, so I didn't expect to have a tearful, heart-wrenching apology issued. He did, however, say he was sorry in his own small-town way. As for me, I accept his apology.

How people find me ...

Once in a while I'll notice that people come across my blog via Google searches. I can usually figure out how these searches reveal my blog, but this one has me stumped:

"cheat father time lie steal lie in each others arms wedding"

What's more disturbing? That this query lead to me, or that someone Googled this?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

And that's the news from Lake Wobegon ...

I've been such a long-time fan of Garrison Keillor and A Praire Home Companion. Whenever Scott and I have a weekend off together, it's always a part of our day. Like my friend CondoBlogger, we know the Powdered Milk Biscuits song, the Ketchup Advisory Board commercials, the Guy Noir premise. And Garrison has always seemed to be such an open-minded, progressive, "live and let live" guy. I was disappointed to read this today.

Not knowing any other way to contact him, I posted a letter on his Prairie Home Companion site. I'll let y'all know if I get a reply.

I'm quite sad that I won't be able to enjoy one of my most favorite weekend NPR shows the same way again.

Here's the text of my letter (yea, I'm long-winded):

Dear Mr. Keillor,

I do know that this forum isn't the proper one to address your current editorial on, but I'm not sure of any other way to contact you.

I have been an undyingly loyal listener to A Prairie Home Companion for many years. When I was younger (I started listening to your show when I was in college), I was surprised at how much I enjoyed a radio show that hailed and exemplified a "bygone era". As I've matured, I've come to love the era that you so often espouse - of simplicity, of reverence to family and hometown, of being good to others and accepting that not everyone else is the same as you and your family. I realize, of course, that the "Lake Wobegon" ideal and its' simplicity and nostalgia are nostalgia indeed, and more a wish for simpler times than a truthful depiction of one's childhood as it honestly was. But still, the honest longing for home that has long been a part of your theme has always been comforting to me, and the mere sound of your voice in any part of your radio program has made me smile.

I was disappointed to read your "Stating the Obvious" editorial today on I'm aware that perhaps my powers of satirical observation may be at a low point lately, but I'm pretty sure I missed the direct point of your essay and was stung only by the parts that were hurtful to me. I do agree that parenting and family should center on the children (with regard only to shaping, molding, teaching, guiding and loving them - NOT spoiling the child or placing their importance above the rest of society), and that anyone who has a child should do so only with the express knowledge that they now need to devote their lives to developing this child into a human being even more wonderful to the world than they themselves are. That is the joy and the responsibility of parenthood - to make sure that your child is not only well-cared for, but is raised in such a responsible manner that they reflect better on you than you did on your own parents; to ensure that your child is a good, decent, thoughtful and responsible human being.

So how does one raise such a relevant and important child? From your editorial, apparently it is first and foremost guided by being raised in a family of heterosexual ("mixed gender") parents, monogamous and long-lasting in their betrothal. Is that really the answer? Are most children so lucky to be in such a wonderfully nostalgic environment? Are there any children in the world who may have parents with different pasts, previous spouses, perhaps other children from those spouses, but who are still loved and cared for and guided as carefully as children in an Ozzie and Harriet abode? Are there children who, for one reason or another, are raised by a single parent, who receive the same love and guidance and discipline and societal shaping? Are there, dare we think, children adopted by loving, nurturing couples who might otherwise be unable to have children, but who devote their lives to the wholesome upbringing of a beloved child, one whom they have fought desperately to be able to love and guide through life? Is it, in some small way, possible that a monogamous and loving couple, who have carefully chosen to take on such an enormous responsibility and devote themselves to a child, may be a homosexual couple?

Does this mean they are bad people, bad parents, unworthy of being a part of a family because they may actually be forced by U.S. law to hyphenate their last names?

Of course, you were being satirical. You were writing tongue-in-cheek, showing that the words which you wrote were not real, were non-sensical, were ridiculous in their ignorance. Surely you were joking when you wrote that:

"The country has come to accept stereotypical gay men -- sardonic fellows with fussy hair who live in over-decorated apartments with a striped sofa and a small weird dog and who worship campy performers and go in for flamboyance now and then themselves. If they want to be accepted as couples and daddies, however, the flamboyance may have to be brought under control. Parents are supposed to stand in back and not wear chartreuse pants and black polka-dot shirts. That's for the kids. It's their show."

Of course, you didn't mean to pigeonhole all gay men (or women). I know, deep down, that you couldn't possibly be referring to my partner Scott and I, who wear Dockers and solid-color shirts and get up early each day to work and pay taxes and come home to our fairly blandly-decorated house and feed our quite large and muscular Weimaraner dogs and pay our bills and eat low-maintenance casseroles and haven't gone out to eat in ages and don't know the hip restaurants and clubs even though we're on the young side of middle-age. If we had children, if we were allowed to be married, our lives would be pretty much the same as now, albeit messier. We still wouldn't own chartreuse pants or black polka-dotted shirts or have a fussily-decorated anything in our home. We'd still be good law-abiding American citizens with a mortgage and bills to pay and looking forward to short family vacations to the coast that we save up for all year. We'd love our children, and they would be the center of our lives, and we'd pay dearly for that responsibility and gift with every fiber of our beings.

Of course, the thrust of your editorial was not about gay people, or gay marriage. However, for those of us who have somehow missed the obvious satire of your piece, please be aware that you have actually done some harm and caused some hurt, something which I am sure you have never intended to do. I am sure that you know that a loving, same-sex couple is quite capable of raising a loving, well-adjusted child. My partner and I would love to be welcomed into a school to read to them of cowboys and adventures and yell “whoopi-ti-yi-yo” just as you did, in a funny voice, making them laugh and make the whinnies and clip-clop noises.

I think they’d be better children for having met us. And I wouldn’t need to be paid.



Seattle, Washington

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I LOVE mimes!

Okay, not really. But I've loved this video of "mime-syncing" Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn" for a while.

And now I came across a new live version (thanks to little.yellow.different) where the "mime" is performing along with Natalie (about four minutes - and if you've seen and like the original video linked above, you'll love most of the last minute or so). It makes me smile.


Monday, March 12, 2007

March 12 of 12

This snuck up on me this month - I guess because I'm working now ...

Here is my March 12 of 12. My pictures don't start until mid-afternoon; my camera battery was dead so I recharged it last night, but then couldn't find it this morning - so no work pics. But I've been having a lot of pain in my shoulder for the past few weeks, which for some reason was REALLY bad today, so I left work early and got a few pictures in.

Once I got home, I took a quick run to Safeway for food for dinner - boneless pork chops, asparagus (on sale!) and pasta:

It's spring (almost) in Seattle, it's been rainy, the back yard is muddy ... so there are muddy paw prints in the dining room (you can't see them too well in this picture - although you CAN see what looks like a spot where one of our beloved pets peed ... now who did that???):

Which leads to a picture of one of our smartest investments - The Bissell ProHeat 2X Carpet Cleaner:

Did you know that we have two cats? Most people don't ... Kasha is a "special needs" kitty who pretty much hides in the bathroom closet. But she made a welcome appearance here:

I went and bought TurboTax software (which is SO cool) yesterday to do my taxes - I've used this for years, it guides you through every type of income and deduction and checks for errors before you file electronically with the IRS, and lets you set up a direct deposit for your refund (or payment). I actually filed my return yesterday, but got confirmation today that it was accepted by the IRS and that my refund will be in my account on the 23rd! Yay! So here's a picture of the documents I had to get together:

I also bought a new iPod case - clear plastic with a brushed-metal face. It's really not scratched up like it looks here, that's some dust and a few scratches on the iPod (it's Scott's old one that he gave to me when he updated) - but the flash showed every imperfection:

To prove spring is coming - a planter on our front walk:

And crocus blooming at the base of a Japanese Maple by the front steps:

A Daphne starting to bloom by the side of the house - they are VERY fragrant, so they're below a window in the living room so that when it's warm enough to open the window, the scent wafts through:

Forsythia blooming in the back yard:

A not-so flattering picture of Yours Truly, as I'm going through my e-mail (I can't remember the last picture taken of me that I though was flattering ... ):

And finally, in the spirit of the "Green" theme for March, a close-up of the moss on our upper deck ... we're REALY hoping to rebuild the deck this year:

Happy March 12 of 12!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Meeting

So, I met my old accounting manager yesterday ... (and yes, I do realize that I start a lot of posts with "So ... " - I guess I tend to write the way I talk).

Thanks for everyones' input about where to meet - I did send her an e-mail with two choices and she picked the brewpub. Agreed, the conversation was more important than the food, but I wanted to show that I was being sensitive to her likes/dislikes, and gave options that would be best for having a discussion. (We both had steak frites topped with a bleu cheese sauce ... mmm ... ).

The position that they want to replace is an Accounting Manager position that replaced me when I left (I wasn't an Accounting Manager at the time, but they've made some changes). When I left, the management core team was pretty set in their ways, and while the firm as a whole was totally into changing with the markets, the Accounting department had remained status quo for quite some time. I explained, quite bluntly, why I and other star players had left - no room for growth or advancement, a reluctance of the core team to trust others enough to let go of some management responsibilities to clear their plates for more important non-operational duties, a tendency to micro-manage their staff to within an inch of everyone's lives - which all came from top down - the CFO set the model. I figured I had nothing to lose with being so blunt, and she whole-heartedly agreed, nodding and smiling with every word I said. I told her that, in my view, the people who had been there the longest were the ones that were adamantly resistant to change, who were perfectly happy performing the same tasks day in and day out ad infitum. And again, she completely agreed. To be honest, if the other manager had contacted me, I wouldn't have been so ready to meet with that manager or to be so honest; the one I met with is now a principal in the firm and the controller, and has always been incredibly respected by me (which I also told her).

Now, the role she wants to replace the current accounting manager with will be different - a new position really, reporting solely to her (the controller) and redesigned as a whole. The CFO has let go of a lot of her day-to-day operations meddling, and the managers (controller and assistant controller) have hired numerous new positions in the year that I've been gone - a tax attorney, two project analysts, an additional accounts payable position. They seem to truly be open to change and progress - finally. The position I would take over would be less of the position I left, and more true management. They want me to oversee and build the accounts payable team, including having the authority to cut out any "dead weight" and restructure the department to meet the strengths of the staff they want to keep, rather than maintaining them in their traditional and time-honored roles. They want someone who will look at the Big Picture and say, "Why are we doing it this way?", and implement change. They want someone who will look at all policies and procedures, challenge them, and come up with new and improved ideas to meet the changing world of the firm, the industry, and the world. How freaking exciting is that??? When I told her (before knowing what she was looking to do with this role) about my strengths as I now know them, how I'm energized by training/mentoring/guiding my staff, constantly challenging the status quo, and building a communal effort that empowers all staff to share their ideas and strengths AND weaknesses with a willingness to adapt, she broke into a huge smile and said "THAT'S WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR!!!!!"

I know the firm. I know the people. I know the good and the bad. She assured me that the things I feared in returning are looking better, that I'd have more authority and ownership of the role than I was given before. She assured me that the whole structure of the entire administrative team is less top-down and more democratic. She said my salary requirement is in the range she's willing to pay.

It was very, very positive. When we parted, I said I had a lot to think about, and was very intrigued by the offer, but would get back to her next week about the next step.

So now comes the hard part. I have to think about the big picture, and the details. Am I considering this position purely due to the comfort level (already knowing the firm, the industry, the people, the systems in place)? If I were looking at all of this from an outsider's point of view, would my interest level be different? Is that good or bad? Am I being idealistic - is it possible I would return and be met with the same brick walls I met in the past, regardless of the changes being promised (and that have already happened in my absence)? Will I meet the same reluctance to trust the next level of management (which would be me) and willingness to advance and promote my position? Would I truly be going back as an equal (or close) to the people who used to be my superiors? Can they handle that? Can I?

I know this is my decision, and mine alone. But - if any of you have any feedback, please, please share. As I said before, I've not been in this position at any other time. I have to balance the opportunity in front of me with the opportunities at my current job (learning a new industry, being well-respected and admired even in the first three weeks - but still being a temporary employee for the next 5 months at least).

Oh - and speaking of "when it rains, it pours" ... my manager at my current job sent me an e-mail yesterday morning about a financial analyst position that's opened with the clinic in the insurance/claims group. She gave me the information with mixed feelings as she wants to hire me in my current role with her group, but wants me to decide, not her.

A few weeks ago, I would have killed to be in this position! Now, it's exciting, and ego-boosting, but quite overwhelming ...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Input needed - where to meet & eat?

On Friday, I'm meeting one of my former managers (who is now the controller) of the firm I worked for over a year ago, and had been working for for seven years. She called me asking if I'd be interested in returning to that firm in an Accounting Manager role. We've set a time to meet near my current job for lunch to discuss what she's offering, more detail as to why I left, what I'm looking for, etc. Honestly, this is the first time I've ever been in such a position - where I'm more or less in control of the situation and being "courted", so to speak. I told her I'd figure out a place to meet for lunch, and I'm trying to come up with the right place. The neighborhood I'm working in is a little sketchy, but pretty hip, part of the "gayborhood" in Seattle (well, being a liberal Left Coast city, they're ALL pretty much gayborhoods anymore). Most of the places I know are more take-out/grab your food and go back to your desk kinda places. But she's very VERY cool and is looking forward to meeting me there.

Scott and I are not big into going out - we're homebodies and have favorite restaurants that are in other neighborhoods on the rare occasion that we go out to eat. So while I know the neighborhood, I don't really know the good places to go. And while the meal itself is secondary to the conversation we'll be having, I still want the location to leave a good taste in her mouth even though I have limited knowledge of the restaurants (no pun intended - or was it?).

So my choices are (in order of proximity to my office):
  1. A nice-looking sit-down Thai place (I'm not big on Thai food, but I can live) that's right next door to my office, which no one I've talked to has eaten at but the one review I've been able to find online says it's pretty decent - and seems to be a good atmosphere for actually having a conversation while eating)
  2. A brew pub that has a good reputation for food and may still be semi-private for talking, and reflects the neighborhood pretty well (hip but not overly-alternative) - but might be too noisy?
  3. A quasi-Mexican restaurant a few blocks farther away (part of a newish hotel) that others have recommended but doesn't have stellar reviews, and probably not an over-crowded lunch place

So ... will the place I choose to meet have a huge impact on the discussion? If the food or service isn't great will that reflect poorly on me?

I'm leaning toward # 1 or #2. I thought I'd shoot her an e-mail in the morning asking her preference, but I'm guessing she'll say "whichever you'd like!". Any opinions? Of course, we want to talk more than anything, so I guess I shouldn't plan on having my mouth filled with the GREAT burgers the brew pub has ...

Of course, the (interim) CFO at the company I'm working for sent out an e-mail this afternoon telling everyone that the clinic is buying the department pizza on Friday, so not to bring our lunches - so maybe I can have a few slices of pizza before meeting her and the food won't be of any consequence to me ... (hey, if I'm being courted with food, I should make it my advantage, no?).

I know this seems like a silly thing to ask about, but like I said this is new to me and am just curious what anyone has to say ... I'm in a good position here but I'm nervous ...

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Answer to my Four Truths and a Lie

So here's my story:

I once convinced someone that I was starring in the musical "Miss Saigon" by singing a duet from said musical with a friend - in public

True. We were spending a weekend in Chicago before one of my grad school roommates (Ellen) moved back to Philadelphia. We were dressed up, going from fancy hotel bar to fancy hotel bar ("one and done"-ing), and we were befriended by a rather drunk guy who was in town on a business trip. We decided to have a little fun with him and said we were from out of town, too - starring in the touring production of "Miss Saigon". So on Michigan Avenue, in front of the John Hancock building, we sang some duet (I think it was "The Last Night of the World"). Ellen is one of my opera-singer friends, with a gorgeous mezzo-soprano voice, so as long as I held my own underneath her part, we sounded convincing. Even though Ellen doesn't look REMOTELY Asian ...

I have played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a soloist

True. My senior year in high school I competed in a young performer's competition, and the finalists would perform with the Chicago Symphony on a live PBS telecast. I didn't make it into the finals, but I was a semi-finalist and got to perform with the orchestra for the judges.

I was a manager of a McDonald's restaurant

True. Not the general manager - but I was an assistant manager. When I was in grad school, my rehearsals were all in the late afternoon or evening, so I needed to work as early in the day as possible - so McDonald's it was. I used to go to work at 5 a.m. (3 a.m. once I was a manager) and work eight hours by 1 p.m., then go to classes and rehearsals and get home around 9-10 p.m. There's NO WAY I could ever do that now, and actually I'm surprised I could do it then. I was there for about 2 1/2 years and was a manager within the first year or so.

I have thrown a frozen margarita at a woman in front of my boss

FALSE. I'm too nice and reserved. But there IS a grain of truth to this - I was waiting tables and accidently dumped a frozen strawberry margarita off of the tray and down a woman's back, with my boss standing ten feet away. After her initial scream and jumping to her feet, she actually started laughing hysterically - she wasn't mad at all. Of course I apologized profusely and comped her dinner.

I have ridden a camel in Egypt

True. The summer after I graduated from high school, I went on a three-week trip abroad - England, France, Italy, Greece, and a week-long Mediterranean cruise stopping in Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and a couple of the Greek Islands (Rhodes and Patmos). While in Egypt, we rode camels for about a mile to the base of the Great Pyramids. It's a very touristy thing to do, but how can you pass that up???

So TheBuxStopHere and Sue are the winners!!!! Oh ... I hadn't thought of any prizes ... what do you two want?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Four truths and a lie ...

The current meme going around ... I list five things about me, four are true and one is a lie. Y'all let me know which one you think is a lie, and I'll let you know later. (I'm planning on Monday, if that's fair).

Here goes - guess the lie about me:
  1. I once convinced someone that I was starring in the musical "Miss Saigon" by singing a duet from said musical with a friend - in public
  2. I have played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a soloist
  3. I was a manager of a McDonald's restaurant
  4. I have thrown a frozen margarita at a woman in front of my boss
  5. I have ridden a camel in Egypt

So, do you think you know anything about me?

Where Matterdays grew up

I had mentioned in a previous post that I was going to look through some pictures, both old and not so old, of my hometown.

This is the house we lived in when I was born - 921 Ventura Drive. My parents both grew up in Oak Park, just west of Chicago, and lived in my Dad's house in Westchester until 1964. They decided to move a little farther from the city, and Palatine was a just-developing suburb at the time - still a small farm town. The new subdivisions were surrounded by farms and horse trails. It's quite a bit different now.

We moved to this house, 471 Warwick Road (just a few blocks away), when I was eleven months old - it's the only home I knew growing up. My middle brother still lives there while we figure out what to do with it, since my Dad passed away in October 2005.

This is the "cut-through" about two blocks from the house, which leads to the bike trail and is the way I walked or rode my bike to elementary school and high school.

Willow Wood Park, just a few blocks in the other direction, where we would go play from time to time. There's a big soccer field and baseball diamond behind the trees, and a swimming pool that I've never been to (my parents didn't think they needed to spend the money on a community park pass, so we only went swimming when we went to our lake house in northwest Illinois at Apple Canyon Lake).

(The Lake House)

Palatine High School, home of the Pirates. This school had more students than the college I went to. It's right next to the elementary school I attended.

I was a member of the Marching Pirates (Drum Major my senior year); this picture is from my junior year - yeah, just TRY and find me:

A couple of pics of the 'hood:

There wasn't much of a "downtown" area - it never really grew, so in typical suburban fashion all of the stores were in strip malls. But here's the train that connected us to Chicago and the rest of the northwest suburbs:

I never realized how nice my home and neighborhood and hometown were until I went away to college. Even now everytime I visit, I'm amazed by how fortunate I was, and how HUGE our house was!

That's all the pictures for this post. I found a few pics of my Dad while I was looking for these, but that will be its' own post.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Breathe from your hoo-hoo ...

No, I do not have a "hoo-hoo" fetish. Gay here. Honestly. Card-carrying homo member.

But THIS is too funny to pass up. It's about three minutes long - and the last few seconds are quite funny. And it's Ellen Degeneres' show. Gay gay gay.

Don't forget to use YOUR hoo-hoo/hoo-ha/nom du jour.

Cool warm-fuzzy post (is that redundant?)

From my friend Scott in Iowa ... a nice feel-good story. Don't anyone tell me that karma doesn't exist ...