Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Week's Worth of Halloween - Two.

Matterpics

The latest addition to our yard:

Hunter is fascinated by the outdoors:


A maple in the backyard:


Kali waiting for a treat:

A new candle Scott gave me for my birthday:



I think the "normal" Hummers are silly:

Heading up 23rd Avenue:

Driving by the University of Washington's Husky Stadium - we didn't realize there was a game this late today:


Pretty tree in a park in the Sandpoint neighborhood:




The boat launch at Warren G. Magnusson Park. There used to be a sculpture nearby called the Sound Garden, which inspired the name of the Seattle grunge band Soundgarden:

Us taking a walk by Lake Washington:


A bench in the park:

Dried grasses:




I think we'll pass on the beach today:

For some reason, I loved this rusty old truck:


Picking pumpkins:

Buses lined up by the stadium for the post-game commuters:


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How would you feel?

A big question that we always ask ourselves where I work is, "What is the right thing to do here?"

If you are voting on this issue where you live, think about it.

Do the right thing.

(Thanks, Todd)

October 22, 1967

My parents had a television set ("console") that looked just like this.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Why, More Each Day, I Will Never Vote Republican.

I grew up in a very white, homogeneous, upper-middle-class suburb of Chicago.

We didn't know anyone of a different race. The few other kids in school who weren't white were ... well, different. Not bad, but not us. We always figured they had their own friends, their own activities, their own lives. Different from ours. But we weren't all that curious. They weren't the same as us.

My family, like most others there, was Republican. I didn't have the slightest idea what that meant, but I figured I was a Republican, too.

It's funny now, thinking back to racist comments my oldest brother made once, how my Mom was so angry with him. We absolutely were not raised to be racist - but, knowing nothing else, I didn't understand why she would be upset that he talked about the differences between us and, well ... them. Those other people who had their own lives far removed from us, who didn't know anything about us, either.


In my adult life, I realized that my beliefs and ideals more closely aligned with the Democratic party. And, even more so, that I agreed with liberal ideals. But it's been in the last eight years that I've realized that I could never, EVER vote Republican. Because contrary to the party that my parents believed in, the GOP has swerved away from its' core ideals to the extreme right-wing, ultra-conservative, narrow-minded stereotype of what is the complete opposite of me.

This video epitomizes why I will never, ever, EVER vote Republican ... you can say this is the fringe, the extremists, the uneducated masses, the over-the-top right wing that isn't a true measure of the GOP. But increasingly, this has become the public persona of that party, and the current administration and hopeful candidates are doing nothing to stop that. It is ignorance, and hatred, racism, and egocentricism - and just plain stupidity. This is what I will always, ALWAYS vote against:



Saturday, October 18, 2008

Groovy tunes.

I can't remember where I found this guy's name this morning, but I'm totally getting into his funky earlier-Stevie-Wonderish sound - Jamie Lidell:



Friday, October 17, 2008

Why I'm Voting For Obama. AKA, Why I Love Scott.

Scott wrote this response to a family-member's e-mail about the Presidential election and the candidates. Some great points to notice:


Since you asked, here are the reasons I support Barack Obama.



· Opposed the war with Iraq from the start, even when it was unpopular.

· Is committed to opening bids for military contracts and procurements rather than handing them to crony companies.

· Has promised to better the conditions of veterans. This includes:

· Allowing All Veterans Back into the VA: One of Obama's first acts will be reversing the 2003 ban on enrolling modest-income veterans, which has denied care to a million veterans.

· Fully Fund VA Medical Care: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will fully fund the VA so it has all the resources it needs to serve the veterans who need it, when they need it. Obama and Biden will establish a world-class VA Planning Division to avoid future budget shortfalls.

· Improve Mental Health Treatment: Obama has pledged he will improve mental health care at every stage of military service. They will recruit more health professionals, improve screening, offer more support to families and make PTSD benefits claims fairer.

· Eliminate Income Taxes for Seniors Making Less than $50,000

· Supports stem cell research

· Would require “Sunlight before Signing.” Obama has said he will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days

· Obama and Biden will nullify the Bush attempts to make the timely release of presidential records more difficult.

· No political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration.

· Believes the gays and lesbian committed should be allowed the same legal rights as straight couples, even though he does not support my right to marry, he believes we should have rights as a couple.

· Would expand hate crimes to include vicious attacks against gays.

· Would Provide Universal Health Care and Lower Health Costs. Believes it should be mandatory that all children should be insured. Would not tax my employer-paid insurance as McCain would do.

· Create a Universal Mortgage Credit: The current mortgage interest deduction excludes nearly two-thirds of Americans who do not itemize their taxes. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will ensure that anyone with a mortgage, not just the well-off, can take advantage of this tax incentive for homeownership by creating a universal mortgage credit. This 10 percent credit will benefit an additional 10 million homeowners, the majority of whom earn less than $50,000 per year. Non-itemizers will be eligible for this refundable credit, which will provide the average recipient with approximately $500 per year in tax savings.

· Mandate Accurate Loan Disclosure to decrease predatory lending

· Obama has introduced and passed bipartisan legislation that would require more disclosure and transparency for special-interest earmarks.

· Obama has said he will give the Treasury Department the tools it needs to stop the abuse of tax shelters and offshore tax havens and help close the $350 billion tax gap between taxes owed and taxes paid.

· Does not make light of going to war. “Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran” is not funny.

· Obama Knows Spain is an American ally and that it is not in the same hemisphere as South America

· He Supports the Millennium Development.

· Realizes that the office of Vice President is part of the Executive branch of government.

· He has a Commitment to Fiscal Responsibility: Barack Obama will pay for his $50 - $65 billion health care reform effort by rolling back the Bush tax cuts for Americans earning more than $250,000 per year and retaining the estate tax at its 2009 level.

· Reform Corporate Bankruptcy Laws to Protect Workers, Seniors and Retirees

· Require Full Disclosure of Company Pension Investments

· Would Provide Cheaper Prescription Drugs: Our seniors pay the highest prices in the world for brand-name drugs. To lower drug costs, Obama and Biden will allow the federal government to negotiate for lower drug prices for the Medicare program, just as it does to lower prices for our veterans. They also support allowing seniors to import safe prescription drugs from overseas, and will prevent pharmaceutical companies from blocking cheap and safe generic drugs from the market.

· Restore Scientific Integrity to the White House: Good policy in Washington depends on sound advice from the nation's scientists and engineers and decision-making based on the needs of all Americans. Obama and Biden will restore the basic principle that government decisions should be based on the best-available, scientifically-valid evidence and not on the ideological predispositions of agency officials or political appointees. What President Bush has done is nothing less than disgraceful.

· Obama supports Roe V. Wade, though I don’t agree with abortion, I don’t think it should be illegal. The next president will determine how the Supreme Court tilts.

· Obama has definitely taken the high road in this campaign, not lying, making attacks against opponent’s family members, does not continue to repeat misleading or inaccurate information just because it’s a good sound bite. Why would McCain say he’s going to suspend campaigning so he could rush to Washington to announce his leadership on the bail-out bill that went bust, all-the-while, his campaign ads plaid almost as much as Sarah’s “Bridge to Nowhere” line.

· My candidate respects women and his wife. Barack would never call his wife the “C” word (how could any man call his wife this word???) or trollop because she makes a comment about his hair thinning. I have true issues with this and that he was cheating on his first wife after she waited patiently for him to return from Viet Nam. McCain even laughed when at a meeting, a supporter asked him, “How will we beat the bitch (referring to Hillary Clinton)?”

· Obama seems cool and very methodical. I trust his finger on the button and no it would only be as a last resort. I DON’T trust that McCain could keep his cool when needed. And God Forbid he should die in office, I DON’T trust Sarah with the button. I don’t even want her to know where the button is. This leads me to my last point. Biden would make a fine president, even with the things his family has done. I’m not voting for them. Sarah Palin, in my opinion (not even going into her family) would make a terrible president. I would rank her better than Cheney or Agnew, but not as na├»ve as Quayle. Could she be president on day 2?

· Obama is the least like George W Bush and Biden the least like Cheney. This country needs a different course. Voting with the president 90% of the time doesn’t make you a maverick…It makes you a carbon copy. Something has to change or this country won’t recover.

· What I truly fear, is that the anger stirred at the Palin’s rallies. Her saying that Obama “pals around with terrorists” is just plain ugly and is met with frightening cheers from the audience, including “KILL HIM.” Can you imagine what would happen in this country, if someone caught up in this fervor carries this out??? Don’t say I’m paranoid. The last three high profile assassinations in this country, JFK, RFK and MLK, Jr. have a lot in common with Barack Obama. Georgia Representative, John Lewis called the McCain campaign out on this fear and hate mongering. He said, “"What I am seeing reminds me of too much of another destructive period in American history," Lewis said in a statement released to FOX News.”Senator McCain and Governor Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama." McCain was still twisting these words last night in the debate saying John Lewis was calling him a segregationalist.” Not so. I’ve read the text where he said this on Fox. Lewis is simply calling for the McCain/Palin team to stop fanning these dangerous flames.

· And lastly, Senator Obama inspires the hope I have in this country, not playing to the country’s fears as his contender and the current president has done. Watching last night’s debates, it was disturbing to see how McCain still brought up ACORN and Ayers. Obama could have brought up The Keating Five, Rick Davis’ connection to Fannie and Freddie, William Timmons’ (the Washington lobbyist who John McCain has named to head his presidential transition team, aided an influence effort on behalf of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to ease international sanctions against his regime.), Todd Palin’s membership in the Alaska Independence Party, Pastor Muthee, or even attacking McCain’s choice of VP. Obama didn’t even mention Palin’s verdict of abusing her power as governor. McCain had no trouble going after Biden.

So, there you have it. Why I am voting for Barack Obama and why I believe he will lead us in the right direction. I have hope.

Touche.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

October 12 of 12

Thanks to Chad for the 12 of 12 phenomenon. Today was a boring Sunday ... I'm coming down with a cold, and ended up doing, well, nothing. The chores will have to be done over the next few days.


Scott has started decorating for Halloween. A new friend using the facilities:




Heating water for tea. (I SWEAR I just cleaned that stove yesterday!)





The heat was too much for this cup. I guess I'll have orange juice instead.





Hunter likes sitting on the coffee table:





Scott has to work open to close today - he's not happy:





The backyard and pond - fall is definitely here:





The trees are changing colors:





Chrysanthemums on the front porch:





More Halloween decorations - no, it's not real:





Watching over the front yard:



The trees are more colorful over on 23rd Avenue:

The sunday paper:



That's it, kids. Happy 12 of 12!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Taking Care Of Your Neighbors

Last night, a few houses on our block - and the reflector signs on the traffic circle by our house - got tagged. This pisses us off like crazy. The tags don't seem to be from any known local gangs, just random crap. It's just some people being disrespectful, ignorant, petty and childish. But it really hurts, to have someone deface your property for no known reason.

One of the houses tagged is right across the street from us. Two women in their 80's live there. Their house is modest, but always well cared for, with a neat lawn, carefully-groomed rose bushes, and small pots of geraniums on the porch.



It broke our hearts when one of the women said that she was worried she had been targeted for her race. She and her housemate are black - and while the neighborhood as a whole is a historically black section of Seattle, our block is sometimes called "the white block" by people passing by. We reassured her that their house was not targeted for any reason at all, that there were at least two other houses tagged on the block at random, and that it was a good thing Scott hadn't seen who it was or he woulda knocked their blocks off. She smiled at that.



We ran down to Lowe's and got some GoofOff and rags and a wire brush drill attachment. Then, with our neighbor George, we got to work. We scrubbed and sprayed and buffed for an hour or two. George's kids and some other of the neighbor kids came out and scrubbed with us. Finally, it was looking a little better.





While I was cleaning the reflectors at the traffic circle, a thuggish-looking guy drove by and said "That won't last, man". I said I guess I'd just come out and clean it every time it happened. But as we were all scrubbing our neighbor's garage, a young black woman (I only mention her race because of our neighbor's fear that the graffiti may have been racially motivated) walked by and mentioned how horrible it was that this house had been tagged, but how great it was that we were helping out by cleaning it up.

And that's what we told our neighbor. We need to watch out for each other. They aren't capable of getting out there and scrubbing graffiti off of their walls, but we are. You do what you can to take care of the people around you. Not because we expect them to do something for us, but because we're all in this together. When someone shows disrespect for our neighbors, they show disrespect for us, and we stand together and do what needs to be done.

After we were done, and had hosed down the driveway and promised to come back to re-paint the garage door if it needed it, our neighbor thanked us and wished us a blessed day. We knew that had already happened.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Get in line.

If This Is Important To Anyone, Please Stop Reading My Blog.

You have got to be fucking kidding me.

People are all panties-in-a-bunch that Sarah Palin's Newsweek cover wasn't retouched.

WHAT WHAT WHAT?????

Excuse my obvious anger and WTF-ness, but WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM?!?!?!?!?!?!?

I will cut my regular long-winded rant short and simply say: If you are voting for someone based TO ANY EXTENT on their physical appearance - or how it is portrayed in a NEWS MAGAZINE - than I do not care to have any further discussions with you.

Oh, and please do not bother voting. Please.


(And yes, I'm fully aware that I have just stomped all over my usual "I want to hear from every opinion" ideal - but this is just way over the top. Too much. My tolerance is GONE).

And everyone, be very glad that I didn't even get started on this crap.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Waiting.



I snapped this picture of Kitty this morning, right after Scott left for work. She was immediately waiting for him to come home. She didn't know what else to do ... so she sat and stared at the door, not knowing or even thinking of what she could do other than to wait for the door to open again.






Work has been rough lately. I don't know that I can do it. I seriously think I'm the wrong person for this job. I feel like I'm waiting for something, just as Kitty is. I'm waiting for that one thing to happen, that one good, magical thing that shows me I've been doing the right thing. That I've been working toward the right goal, that things are looking up.

I went back to work for this company a year and a half ago, into a completely new role. One I knew absolutely nothing about. They enticed me to come back, saying that this team needed help, needed someone like me, needed change. Needed my personality, my style, my perserverance.

I haven't been able to make that change. And I realize, more than ever, that I don't know how. And that I have a lot of fear.

My boss and my co-managers are very supportive of me, telling me I've been doing a great job, acknowledging what I have done, letting me go in any direction that I want, helping to guide me. I've been a big proponent of "baby steps", of trying to emphasize that "two steps forward and one step back" is still a step forward. But I don't think I believe that anymore. I feel like there have been a lot of steps to the side ... not forward.

In the past year, I've had to replace two of my team members. One who retired, another who moved back to California. Their replacements have been two of the most incredible hires that could have happened.

Now, I'm looking at having to replace another one (shhh - this isn't quite public knowledge yet). This is a team of six people, including myself. My biggest struggle is with two team members who have been there the longest, who are irreplacable in so many ways, but who are also inflexible and, to be honest, bitter old women. But they have so much knowledge, so much history, so very much more experience in this particular field than I do, that I'm afraid to lose them. I don't know enough about this role to be able to confidently replace them.

I guess that's the whole point. I'm afraid. Afraid that whatever I do is going to be a mistake, and could honestly cause some huge financial issues for this company.

So much of my job is transactional, rather than strategic. I'm constantly busy doing "things", trying to help everyone get the job done, trying to just function, getting the huge piles of never-ending paperwork processed, keeping us functioning day to day. I have big picture, transformational things that I want to do, but can never get to. I think I've taken on more than I am capable of doing.

And so I wait ... wait for something good to happen, wait for the right combination of people and opportunities to make it all take place, wait for the "ah-ha" moment where I finally get to slide in and save the world.

And I guess I'm waiting to finally realize that I, unlike Kitty, have opposable thumbs ... that I can open the door myself, and make it happen.


Now if only I was comfortable being as much of a bitch as she is ...

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Greatest Of These Is Love.

At the risk of becoming a video blogger, I give you this.

It's really quite a simple message. Very easy to grasp, I think.

I hope more people do so.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Wednesday, October 01, 2008