Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Glory of Love

Sometimes, love is in the most mundane, everyday things.

From the "A Prairie Home Companion" website (bear with me, please, and actually read this):

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I was making a batch of wild rice soup, which at one point brought the kids running. "What is it?" they asked. Soup, I replied. "No, the SMELL," they said. Oh... it must be the wild rice, I told them. Wild rice, as you must know, has its own musky scent. If you boiled the bark of oak trees I imagine it would smell about the same. It's an acquired smell. Like seaweed is an acquired taste. You eat enough of it and you find yourself liking it. Same with horehound candy and buffalo meat. "It doesn't smell like rice," they said. "It smells like hamster turds." And that's when I sent them out to shovel the driveway.

Mr. Sundberg heard everything. He was home for the weekend and sitting at the table working on the crossword puzzles he'd left behind while he was in Ohio last week. "It doesn't smell like hamster turds," he said. "It smells like earth," he said. "And I like it. What else are we having?" I told him I was thinking blueberry muffins. "I'll help," he said. He got up and refilled his coffee and hoisted himself up onto the counter. He held the bowl in his lap while I measured out the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. A cloud of flour rose up as he mixed. Hang on, I told him and poured in the milk, eggs and oil. Okay, now. And as he mixed, the Geezers or the Jug Band or whatever they're called played, "That's the story of, that's the glory of love" and I opened the fridge and stuck my finger in the Jell-O I'd made. It's Mr. Sundberg's favorite. A plain old bowl of red Jell-O. Raspberry is number one, but cherry or strawberry will do. It's been a thing with us. Whenever we argue or he's gone for longer than usual or I do something silly that makes him a little bit angry, I whip up some red Jell-O and write "I Really Don't Think You're Pigheaded" or "I'm Sorry I Shrunk Your Favorite Wool Sweater" or simply "I Love You" on a Post-It note and slap it on the bowl and I find him later on, sitting on the couch with the bowl and a spoon and a smile on his face. One time I added a little vodka for fun, to see how it would all set up. Let's just say Mr. Sundberg woke up the next morning with a red mustache and a headache to beat the band.

"Now what?" he asked. "Can I dump it into the paper things?" Not yet, I said, and emptied the cup of blueberries into the bowl. So he mixed and I tasted the soup and set the table. I watched him scoop the muffin batter into the paper cups. "Am I doing it right?" he asked, and dropped a big blob of batter onto his shoe. Looks good to me, I said. And that's when I felt this great urge to hug him. And I did. "Did you know that Mark Twain married a woman named 'Olivia'?" he asked. "She was smart. She helped him edit Innocents Abroad."

Mr. Keillor said, just then, that he's made a resolution to do more duets, happy or sad. What a sweet thing, I thought. Just the way to go. A duet. And he and Prudence sang together and I thought maybe Mr. Sundberg and I should cook together more often. I would pour it all in and he would stir. Our elbows would touch now and then or we'd bump into each other and it would be not a dance or a duet and it might take some practice but we would be together. It seems The Story of Love is about making muffins and paying bills and it not mattering so much who scraped the car while parking it in the garage. The car is dented and that's that and let's move on.

I ended up making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids. "Your dad made the muffins," I told them so they ate 'em up and told Mr. Sundberg he should be a chef in Paris. I got out the red Jell-O and everyone clapped and when dinner was over Mr. Sundberg said, "That was the best meal I've had in a long time" and I smiled at him. Not because his lips were bright red or his shirt was stained with blueberries. I smiled because we get along and because, when I told him I dented the car, he asked if I'd been hurt and when I said no he said, "Well, then." And I smiled because he does crossword puzzles and knows things I don't. What I know and he doesn't is that there's a case of red Jell-O under the sink in the laundry room. A Valentine's Day present. And won't he be surprised.

Tonight, on our 11th anniversary, after dinner at our favorite local restaurant, Scott gave me a box of red Jell-O.

It doesn't matter who dinged the car.

I've never gotten a better gift.

Happy Anniversary

Eleven years today. Lucky me.

Happy Anniversary, Scooter.

(Sheraton Keahou Bay, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, June 2006)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

High Camp

And high camp it was. On a bluff overlooking Puget Sound. Dogs got along. Weather was good yesterday. Epic rain today for the trip home.

Friday, August 22, 2008


My life this week:
  • My stomach's been upset since Tuesday. I think it's the flu (and I haven't taken well enough care of Matterdays to shake it) - and stress.
  • Deadlines are looming - which makes being sick even worse. I stayed home today, and felt horrible all day; partly from being sick, partly from not being at work.
  • Scott is on vacation through next week. This weekend is our annual neighborhood camping trip, so he headed up to Fort Ebey on Whidbey Island yesterday. I'm heading up tomorrow morning with Kali. It should be a relaxing vacation weekend for us, but all I can think of is what I'm not getting done by going. I guess laundry and housecleaning will have to wait. And I'm not looking forward to the ferry ride with an upset stomach.
  • I feel like I'm neglecting the few friends that I have. I need to spend more time with them.
  • Our eleventh anniversary is this week. Yay us.
  • I haven't eaten since Wednesday night. I have a frozen dinner in the oven right now. Mr. Microwave died. I wanted to replace it with an over-the-stove version so that we'd have some counter space, but we found out that some idiot, when remodelling our kitchen probably 20 years ago, placed the cabinets too low. Grrrr.
  • I'm hungry. 25 more minutes. Wait - it's GOOD that I'm hungry.
  • Scott doesn't have cell phone reception up at the island, so other than a quick voice mail from each of us, we haven't talked since Thursday morning. I miss him. I feel a little lost. I don't even like it when he closes at work, so this is sad for me.
  • The dogs have been fighting a lot lately. I think they fought before Scott left, because Kali is limping. I have a sick feeling that they're going to fight over the weekend. I think I'd better bring bandages. We'll be in the middle of nowhere.
  • I'm going to eat dinner now and go to bed early.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

But Forget My Fate

One of the most perfect arias ever written ... "When I Am Laid In Earth" from Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. Jessye Norman being all diva-ish.

When I am laid in earth
May my wrongs create
No trouble in thy breast

Remember me!
But ah!
Forget my fate!

It's The End Of The Summer As We Know It ... And I Feel Fine.

When I decided to move out here, I had never been to the Pacific Northwest (PNW). My first visit here was in November 1995, to find an apartment for my roommate and I. It rained the whole four days I was here.

When we made it out here in mid-December (after driving for five days) - it was pouring. Everyone said it never rained that hard here. Really. It doesn't.

After 13 years here ... I believe them. It's actually incredibly beautiful for most of the year. When it does rain, it's kind of a gentle, misty drizzle. We have our "rainy season" that usually starts in November, but really it's not so different from the snowy season that I grew up with in Chicago - except not as cold. So, wet - instead of something you can sled and ski in and say "oohh, how pretty". Just gray and damp.

The past day or two have reminded me that fall is coming, and not too far away. It's been cooler (after 95-degree heat last week) and cloudier, and the rains have come, at least a preview. I've noticed that the garden spiders are bigger and are building webs everywhere - to snare food to fatten them up and lay their eggs before the winter. That's always the sign to me that summer is ending. Breathtakingly large webs of rain-laden spider silk, with a big stunning spider perched smack-dab in the middle. (Yes, I am considering spiders to be gorgeous as I get older - I STILL don't want them to touch me, of course). Soon, all we'll be able to find at the nurseries are row upon row of chrysanthemums in autumn hues ... which always makes our shoulders droop the first time we see them, but we accept it and scoop up pot after pot ...

I'm not ready for summer to be over yet. And it's not. We have a camping trip this weekend with the rest of the neighborhood ... I'll head up a few days after Scott (he's on vacation starting tomorrow), and play with dogs and kids (and Scott) and look over the bluff at the Sound and go hiking and build bonfires and watch the barges and cruise ships go by and drink a lot with our neighbors in the dark (well, and in the light) and smell like woodsmoke and bug spray and lie with Scott in a sleeping bag with a little over 200 pounds of dog next to/mostly on us in a tent, and eat dehydrated camp food for lunches and snacks and get together for big friendly feasts at breakfast and dinner and play badminton with the kids and remember that life is more this than that.

So don't take my grouchy video of our rainy day too seriously. There's some summer left in the old girl yet.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Peace Train

Images of Tehran, Iran, from my friend Chris. As I commented on his site, I can't believe how much this looks like Vancouver, British Columbia. Not that this makes it a better place than it already was, but it makes you realize that it's really not as foreign and different from what we know than you think.

(Sorry, I'm not smart enough to embed the video here, so y'all have to click on the link).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday Morning Meme

From my cousin Jo ...

1. Do you like blue cheese? Yes yes yes
2. Have you ever smoked heroin? No
3. Do you own a gun? No
4. What flavor do you add to your drink at Sonic? Never been. There are no Sonics near Seattle.
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Yes
6. What do you think of hot dogs? I love Chicago Style
7. Favorite Christmas movie? “A Christmas Story”
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Orange juice
9. Can you do push ups? Yes. I should do more, though
10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? My titanium/Koa wood ring which matches Scott’s
11. Favorite hobby? Hobby? Hmmm. Gardening I guess.
12. Do you have A.D.D.? Not at all
13. What's one trait you dislike about yourself? Impatience
14. Middle name? James
15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment: I need a vacation. What time is the dog’s vet appointment? It’s really warm in here.
16. Name 3 things you bought yesterday: A chicken burrito. Lemonade. A parking sticker.
17. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Wine, water, vodka. Not together.
18. Current worry? Too long a list. I’m a big worrier.
19. Current hate right now? No hate here.
20. Favorite place to be? On a beach
21. How did you bring in the New Year? Made a nice dinner and went to bed right after midnight
22. Where would you like to go? Iceland
23. Name three people who will complete this: I doubt anyone will – but feel free
24. Do you own slippers? Yes – I wear them all the time in the winter
25. What shirt are you wearing? Plain white t-shirt
26. What year would you go back in time to? 1940’s-50’s
29. Would you be a pirate? No
30. What songs do you sing in the shower? Mostly Italian arias
31. Favorite girl's name: Meredith
32. Favorite boy's name: James
33. What's in your pocket right now? Nothing
34. Last thing that made you laugh? Wow – I can’t remember. I’m sure I laughed yesterday though.
35. Best Halloween costume? That I’ve worn? Janet Leigh from the shower scene in “Psycho”
36. Worst injury you've ever had? Five-stitches in the back of my head after a snowball fight and slipping on ice, hitting my head on a window frame.
37. Do you love where you live? I love our house, our neighbors and the city. Wouldn’t mind a safer neighborhood.
38. How many TVs do you have in your house? Two. We haven’t even turned the second one on in probably a year or two.
39. Who is your loudest friend? Cece. Not really a “friend" – she’s our CFO. But she’s the first person who comes to mind when I think “loud”.
40. How many dogs do you have? Three
41. Does someone have a crush on you? I think it’s past the crush stage after almost 11 years
42. What is your favorite book(s)? “The Sheltering Sky” by Paul Bowles
43. What is your favorite candy? I’m really not into candy
44. Favorite Sports Team? Chicago Cubs. You can’t grow up a Cubs fan and have any other answer.
45. Your favorite meal: Hmmm. I don’t have just one answer for that.
46. What were you doing 12 AM last night? Snoring – just ask Scott
47. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? I am so freaking glad it’s Saturday

Friday, August 15, 2008


A few tidbits about MatterLife:
  • I made an offer to our best candidate for our open position. She accepted on the spot. Matterdays happy.
  • It's an internal hire, which involves a lot of tact. She won't be available full-time until well after the position is vacant, although she's trying to make herself available for some training in the interim.
  • This is good, because she has NO accounting experience. It would take an entire post to explain why she still seems to be the perfect person for the job.
  • Our firm has to start producing full-fledged quarterly financial statements, which we haven't done in years, since we are a privately-held company. This is going to be hectic. Basically, fiscal year-end four times a year. Ugh. I wish I was paid overtime.
  • Seattle's electrical company almost blacked-out the entire downtown area today. Three of the six main transformers were shut down for maintenace. Two others went out during that time. We had to shut down all unnessary electrical equipment. Apparently everything was being drastically drained due to the record-breaking heat we're having. Why did the city shut down half of it's downtown-core transformers during record-breaking heat???? Way too used to temperate weather here, we are.
  • Scott is closing tonight. I'm very hungry. I don't cook for just myself. I'm very hungry. Did I say I'm very hungry?
  • Our record-breaking heat meant about 92 degrees today. Being from Chicago, I scoff at this. Still, I'm sticking to my chair as I type this, and I'm a tad uncomfortable. 13 years in Seattle has adapted me to the weather-wimpiness that is the Pacific Northwest. Tomorrow is supposed to be even hotter. I'm thinking of throwing some boxer-briefs in the freezer tonight.

And how are y'all???

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

August 12 of 12

Time again for 12 of 12, and thanks to Chad for developing this oh so cool way of sharing our days each month.

Hectic day, so no pics from work ... but I left work early because Scott and I attended a Tuesday (yes, Tuesday) wedding this evening in Issaquah. So, without intending to, I have a love/marriage/tradition/hope theme this month. And the couple that got married are the most beautiful, wonderful, deserving people. So let's take a little trip, shall we?

4:29 p.m. The wedding is at 5:00. It's 20 or so miles away. Think we'll make it?

4:44 p.m. Almost to Issaquah ... luckily traffic is light.

4:53 p.m. Joe Jetta saved the day. And I was wearing heavy shoes. Made it in time.

4:55 p.m. One rarely wears a suit in Seattle. Matterdays likes wearing suits. And a cute pink tie that one of my team members bought me for Christmas last year.

5:02 p.m. The groom looks a tad nervous.

5:28 p.m. The beautiful bride is given away.

5:45 p.m. I love this picture. They were both so emotional during their vows. The bride sweetly brushed away a tear off of the groom's cheek.

5:51 p.m. You may now kiss your bride. Applause.

6:10 p.m. The bride walks through the reception hall. Radiant.

6:17 p.m. The Hall - simple and very cool.

7:02 p.m. The bride's shoes. Somehow, I love them.

7:29 p.m. The First Dance. Of many, many, many dances.

As cynical as I tend to be about ... well, everything, I am one of those mushy types who tears up a bit at weddings. I hope that their life together is long and happy and more than either of them ever even imagined wishing for.

Lynette and Joel, Love and The Best Of Everything To You Always.

And that's my 12 of 12.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Where the Hell is Matterdays?

I know I haven't posted anything substantial lately ... so just a brief update to what's been going on, if anyone's interested:
  • I have to replace someone on my team - she's moving back to her hometown of San Diego due to personal reasons. She's going to be hard to replace - great attitude and personality, willing to take on anything, very intelligent. We're gonna miss her a lot. She let me know over a month ago, so we've been looking for a good candidate ever since.
  • The hiring process has not been going smoothly. We had over 60 responses to our ad - and that was whittled down to seven possibilities. After initial phone screens, that was whittled down to four. Two of those were a pretty immediate "NO" (one we think would end up going postal, one complained that in her current job she had to work with old people - including "two thirty-year-old guys" - THAT went over well with me - her potential BOSS. Oh, and when we asked her what was some area where she needed to improve, she said that she tends to work too fast and isn't very accurate. Umm, this is an accounting position, princess ...) One seemed incredible, but after her reference checks I'd be taking a big risk in hiring her. And then there was one.
  • I'm making an offer to the "one" tomorrow. I'm very excited.
  • Scott and I ran errands on Saturday. I DESPERATELY need some new work clothes. At the last minute I realized I'm shorter on cash than I thought. Have to wait until next weekend. Then I opened the utility bills. Ugh. Maybe I can wait another paycheck or two ...
  • We came home and it was POURING rain. I haven't seen rain like that since last winter. Like, monsoon rain. One second outside and you're clothes are soaked through to the skin. We needed it, though. And (I can't believe I'm saying this), it made me miss fall and winter. Something about lighting candles in the house and making comfort foods.
  • I made a HUGE mistake in checking my work e-mail from home tonight. Something nasty has hit the fan that I THOUGHT was nipped in the bud oh, six months ago. It deals with an East Coast office who thinks they deserve everything on a silver platter whenever they snap their self-important fingers. It now involves our CFO, who wants to meet with me and the rest of our accounting managers tomorrow. I'm gonna fight this one to the death, but I have NEVER left a "fight to the death" meeting with her without feeling as big as an ant. One fried under a magnifying glass held by an evil, sadistic child.
  • My last set of contact lenses are gone - one ended up with a tear in it. I've been wearing my glasses every day for a month. Which means I can't wear my sunglasses. And as much as I love my glasses, I look like a geek when I wear them constantly. Bleah. I need to set aside the time (and money) to get to the eye doctor.
  • I'm hungry. I want to go out somewhere and have someone wait on me.
  • It's pretty out. I think I'll go outside and take some pictures.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Keep Young And Beautiful ... Oh, And Racist

This is all kinds of offensive today - although it was pure entertainment back when it was produced:

C'est Si Bon

Scott and I have seen Miss Eartha Kitt a few times at Jazz Alley here in Seattle ... absolutely amazing. She is 81 years old this year, and still wears dresses slit up to there and above - and does it well. She purrs like a kitten (a dangerous one), and Scott and I have been the object of her affection at more than one performance as we sat at the foot of the stage.

Love this song ...

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Before and After

I realized that I don't really have any good pictures of The Giant Laurel Hedge That Nearly Consumed 24th Avenue - but this picture of Scott putting up Halloween decorations last year does show said hedge in the background:

Mind you - The Hedge has grown quite a bit since then. Taller than me (I'm six foot two-ish), probably a good ten feet wide, obscuring half the neighbor's porch and most of the sidewalk in front of our homes. Sometimes at night, you could hear it growl ... hungry for morning glory vines and Doritos bags and brown-paper-wrapped Colt 45 containers fed by those passing by on their way from the liquor store down the street.

But by the end of the day Thursday - The Hedge was silenced. Forever.

Or was it?

"The greatest trick the Hedge ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist ...

... and like that ... he's gone."

(Name the movie, kids!)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Night Out 2008

Tonight was National Night Out, where neighbors get out and reconnect with each other and meet neighbors that they don't know and become more unified in the fight against violence and crime. This is more important in some neighborhoods than in others ... in our neighborhood, it's increasingly more important each day. Some days we're lucky to not get shot at.

I wish I had more pictures ... we talked and hugged with long-time friends/neighbors, met many new ones, and enjoyed just having a night out with everyone. We turned on our sprinklers so the kids could run through them (it was almost 90 degrees today - yeesh!), had a tres cool potluck, had a tall-ladder fire truck come by (a neighbor is a fireman) ... it was just a great way to talk with people we usually just wave at on our way to and from work.

Setting up - this year it was right in front of our house.

Greetin' and eatin'.

I thought the fire truck was for the kids ... but I believe Errett was trying to prove something. You could not pay Matterdays enough to perform such foolishness.

Did anyone else do something for Night Out?