Tuesday, December 30, 2008

hehehe....

Sunday, December 28, 2008

and this is why JibJab is awesome

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday, December 15, 2008

Are your cats old enough?

http://www.poe-news.com/forums/sp.php?pi=1001895601

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Berlitz Language Commercial

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Almost busiest time of the year!

One of the truly joyous aspects of working at a company whose primary function is retail sales is the Christmas holiday season. Since this is the busiest time of year, and since this Christmas is combined with a once in a century economic meltdown worldwide, the department in which I work is going to be doubly inundated.

Which brings me to my main problem - my intellectual "eyes bigger than my stomach" problem. Because you see, I thought I could handle a full time job and a full time school load. And I have. But just barely, and starting next week, there is mandatory overtime scheduled.

It's going to be fun.

So, to anyone out there who wants to write me an email or talk to me in any way, shape or form - I am likely to send Christmas cards as a way to decompress, but that's probably about it in the way of communication for the next 5-6 weeks.

Did I mention it's going to be fun!?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

YESS!!!!

I am in such a fabulous mood. I was cautiously optimistic before the election, and I am SO HAPPY that Obama won by such a huge electoral margin. That's a very clear mandate, unlike just having Florida or Ohio deciding the election.

Today, I'm more proud to be an American than I ever have before as an adult.

Don't worry, I'm sure it'll wear off soon. ;)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Funny definitions

Definitions:
Communism: you have two cows. The government takes both and gives you the milk.

Socialism: You have two cows. You give one to your neighbor.

Fascism: You have two cows. The government takes both and sells the milk.

Nazism: You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

Bureaucracy: You have two cows. The government takes both, shoots one, then pours the milk down the drain.

Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

Not precisely correct, but made me smile. I'm completely on tenterhooks for the next two days. I'm wearing my Obama/Biden t-shirt and hoping the undecideds who don't know how to use their new voting technology don't screw it up for the rest of us. Two more days and no more political ads! Woo-hoo!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Max and Sisi

They are named for Maximilian I and Kaiserin Elisabeth (Sisi) of Austria. Ha.... big surprise... :)

Max's mannerisms remind me a lot of Caesar, but Sisi's "cattiness" is totally Caesar. :)

Sisi is laying down in the picture. :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Dark Knight

Make sure you watch until he checks out. Note the music. :D

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Birthday!

Although the highlight of today was my dental appointment (no cavities - woo-hoo!), it has still been a very nice birthday.

I'm looking forward to my mac'n'cheese and strawberry angel food cake for dinner (which I am not making, K. is) and to our trip to the San Juans this weekend, up to Friday Harbor.

One could have a worse birthday. :) Hope y'all are having as good of a day as I am!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Leadership Retreat

This weekend, I had the lovely experience of participating in a leadership retreat for my Leadership class (imagine that...) at Seattle U. I only thought I was going to die once, so that's good.


This thing, called the 'Wall' - a highly imaginative name - was the hardest exercise all weekend. We all had to get over this wall using ONLY our human resources, meaning each other. Some of us, the more athletic ones, needed only two people - one to push them up, one to pull them up at the top, one guy only needed one on the ground and he pulled himself up no problem. I, however, needed four from the outset, two on bottom and two up top, and I still almost panicked. Gotta say, not my fave part of the weekend.

Still, I learned a lot and got a lot more accomplished than I ever thought my clumsy, non-athletic self would get accomplished.


For example, I got up four rungs on this ladder, being pulled up while simultaneously pulling myself up and swinging my leg up and around the ladder rung. My team, however, got up five rungs - we just weren't able to get me - the third member of the team - all the way up to the fifth rung. Still, I'm pretty proud of how high we got.

I'm still sore. And I'll be bruised for a good two weeks in some places. Those harnesses? Not really so much fun. I'm glad I got this class out of the way first.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Veep Debate

Monday, September 29, 2008

777.68

Is how much the DOW dropped today.

Pardon me if what keeps going through my head are a few rotating phrases: "the sky is falling, the sky is falling!" "seven hundred billion WHAT?!?" "George Bush said it was going to cost less than that ungodly sum? well sign me up!"

I'm just glad I don't have much money in my 401(k) at this point. I'm in a mutual fund anyway, so I probably didn't lose much overall. But still.

I am also glad that I bank with USBank, one of whose directors in charge of deciding whether they should get involved in sub-prime mortgages said, "I don't understand these" and so it's currently the most stable bank in America.

I'm also glad I don't work for a company whose sole function is financial services. The stock of my company dropped only $2 today, which is fine by me.

But yeah. Henny Penny.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Christ in me

Unfortunately, it appears that this video has been removed. So sorry, because it was HILARIOUS.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hurricane Ridge

I went up to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains with my mom last Saturday (this picture being one of the results:


This is "pre-burn." You see, I frequently forget to use sunscreen here at home, as there aren't all that many days in the year to get burned in Seattle, and the vast majority of the year, it's overcast or raining and I'm inside working at a computer. So in general, sunscreen is not entirely necessary.

Cut to the part where I'm hiking up an open hill with lots of sun - sans sunscreen - for the better part of 2-3 hours.

My shoulders look like the bottom of one of those dry lake beds - all cracked and flaky with deep breaks where the lack of moisture has split the mud into tiny islands. Except it's my skin, and it's itchy and gross.

It's no more than I deserve, I've read all the stuff about wearing sunscreen daily, etc - but at least I had a fabulous time with my mom and finally got outside. :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tony Blair on the Daily Show

To see this, go to www.thedailyshow.com.

Jon Stewart dedicated more than 15 minutes of his 21 or so minute show to the interview with Tony Blair. They went over the ground you'd expect them to - the Iraq war, 9/11, international terrorism, and so on, and while I've heard much of the same rationale before, I think I have a great deal more respect for Tony Blair as a result of this interview than I had before. He actually seemed to take Stewart's questions seriously and attempt to answer them as best he could without sounding like a jerk about it. Clearly, they disagreed on nearly every major point, but it was civil and respectful.

I just can't imagine George Bush doing that. I can imagine him, however, making that irritating smirk he always makes after making a statement about something that to him seems breathtakingly obvious and you're just a stupid moron for not understanding something that's so utterly clear to him. I can't imagine at all George Bush engaging in a reasonable, measured conversation in which his opponent disagrees with him entirely without resorting to his usual tactics of asserting that his opposition is just completely wrong-headed and is going to destroy the United States by allowing the terrorists to win.

So good for you, Tony Blair, for going on the Daily Show. More than that, good for you for being a decent human being about it, even if I do disagree with the way you chose to involve your country in my country's greatest mistake in recent history. And good for the Daily Show for keeping what matters in the news and always treating every guest - of whatever persuasion - with the same sense of humor and humanity.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

future suicide bomber

I just read this article on msnbc... it's hard to imagine a situation in which the intelligence could be so wrong as to bomb the life out of a large wedding party.

Iraq:
Confirmed US dead: 4151
Confirmed US injured: 30,000
Estimated Iraqi dead: 1,033,000 (as of August 2007) acc to Opinion Research Business survey

Afghanistan:
Confirmed US dead: 582
Estimated Afghani dead: 2700

World Trade Center attacks: 2974

I don't think this math adds up very well.

And I think I might want to join up and fight against anyone who bombed the life out of my future spouse and entire extended family.

Monday, September 01, 2008

dry drowning

I read recently about the case of a boy who died of 'dry drowning.' Essentially, he got enough water in his lungs to start the shutdown of the lungs but not enough for anyone to really notice anything was amiss, other than a general lack of energy and lassitude. Poor kid took a nap and never woke up.

My job is slowly dry drowning me. Just enough at a time that I don't storm out cursing all of them to perdition, but still drowning me, nonetheless. My job should be done by 2.5 people (the .5 working half in German inquiries, half in other organizations) and right now, there's just me. What I remind myself is that I have extraordinary job security (compared to many in the American workforce at the moment) and that the job itself is interesting enough to ignore a lot of the unhappiness that comes attached to being overworked and undercompensated. I wonder how long I'll be able to continue to convince myself of that....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Aquarium and Underground

Totally awesome fish at the aquarium:

Largest octopus in the world.... while sleeping:


The Seattle "underground" looking up:


Seattle was originally built on tide flats, thus making flushing the toilet rather hazardous at high tide:

Friday, August 08, 2008

And... a list

Because I'm a follower. I'm good at following. And there have been entirely too many pictures up on my blog lately.

Things I have been good at:
  • Music - started violin at 5, flute at 9, Baritone at 11, piano at 13, trombone at 16 and French Horn at 17. I have officially stopped starting new instruments. Too much effort. I've always been able to sing fairly well, but I probably wouldn't get very far on American Idol - not enough of a diva.
  • Cooking and baking - both of which I find relaxing, which my friends have, on occasion, found convenient. :)
  • Organizing - this may sound silly, but I can create a kick-butt filing system, complete with color-coding and neatly printed labels that is both intuitive and efficient.
  • Languages - I admit that I am lazy and haven't always done the vocab memorization that I ought to have, but I can learn the basics of a language - any language - very quickly. Getting to the more advanced concepts usually took more effort, which was where I hit my wall, not because I have a problem with language, but because I am inherently lazy.
  • Writing papers - I once wrote a 26 or so page paper in 24 hours. And it didn't suck. Getting through grad school would have been a lot harder if I weren't good at stringing words together.

Things I have been bad at:
  • Getting things done on time - I am quite possibly one of the biggest procrastinators you'll ever meet. I almost always get things done; it's just usually right under the wire or late.
  • Swimming - I can't swim. I understand the concept, I spent the better part of two months in the pool every day, but I used one of those kid's training boards the whole time. Water and I just don't get along.
  • Balancing my bank account - now that I have built in overdraft protection, I'm safe. But I know that my overdraft fees supported my bank for years. The one I disliked most was the $5 check the park service waited five months to cash. Exactly when I had only $3.50 or so in my checking account.
  • Personal relationships - I can't help it; I don't like people as a general rule. So I generally find it most convenient to stick with the people I know.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Meatrix

http://www.themeatrix1.com/

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Flora - Butschart Gardens, Victoria



Day out at the beach




Friday, July 18, 2008

Seattle Day Out











Lily's Birthday Party





Tuesday, July 01, 2008

My beautiful sweet kitty

Caesar was run over by a car last Saturday and was buried by the people who hit him so I'll never see him again. They saw our "Lost Cat" sign and called today.

He was a beautiful, sweet cat and he got me through a lot of hard times. I'm glad I have so many pictures of him to remember him by.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

epiphany

I had never donated to a political campaign before in my life - and I wouldn't have donated to Barack Obama's either, except that a t-shirt was promised with a minimum donation. I like t-shirts. So I donated... and donated again, and now I have two t-shirts.

I have also eschewed Starbuck's entirely. Tully's has compostable cups and sleeves, and recyclable lids, plus they serve fair-trade espresso. Also, a childhood friend works at the Tully's near where I work. So, this morning, I bought my usual non-fat latte from Tully's (which is delicious, btw - Starbucks, you and your burnt espresso can bite me).

As I was walking to my job working for a West coast e-commerce company, wearing my newest Obama t-shirt and sipping my non-fat latte, I had an epiphany.

I am a West-coast, latte-drinking elitist.

Sweet!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Back to work....

So, I worked from May 19th (when I got back from Austria) every day until this last Thursday. Then I took Friday and Saturday (my usual weekend) off. It was wondrous. I was pretty exhausted, so I didn't end up doing much, but it was lovely not to be working.

Now, I'm back. And with a bigger and badder backlog than ever. The only good thing is that I write/read/hear German all day long. My inquiries come in via fax, email and voicemail, so I actually transcribe messages in German. Reminds me of dictation in German class. :)

I also got my totally awesome painted ceramics back. They look incredible! Unfortunately, I can't post them until they are given as gifts, otherwise, that would ruin the surprise. :) But it was a lot of fun.

Hope everyone enjoyed their weekends!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cute baby!

From our trip to the Dancing Paint studio on Bainbridge Island on Memorial Day:



Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

My Memorial Day weekend began like most - I cursed my alarm clock as I awoke at 6am to get ready for work. Work was interesting, because it was Memorial Day and we had maybe quarter staffing for the holiday. I ended up with too much work, missed my ferry and had to take the next one, which made me miss my ride, but it all worked out, cause I just walked and met my ride at our destination.

Destination: Dancing Brush (or Paint, or Paintbrush, whatever it's called now) on Bainbridge Island. I decided on making a birthday giftie - a painted Green Man (Froud) on a large serving platter - and it took three hours to paint. Then, I realized I might have just enough time to do a mug I brought with me, and painted mod style poppies on it (Thanks to M. for the design inspiration!).

After that, I got food at Central Market (yum!) with M., and we watched three episodes of Flight of the Conchords, which was totally sweet. I love those guys - so hilarious. I know they hate being called British/English, but their humor vibe is totally Monty Python with music.

My evening ended with a trip to McCloud's with my friend J. to sing some karaoke. I decided to really go for it, and sing "Uninvited" by Alanis Morissette, a song I hadn't ever done before, and totally nailed it, so that's always a fun adrenaline rush.

Finally back to my apartment at 1am to go to sleep and be rested for my 12 hour day at work (today).

All in all, I'd say an excellent holiday. :)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Coming home tomorrow!

I have had a simply wonderful time here in Austria. I hung out with friends, took lots of pictures with my new camera, and went shopping, ate good food, lazed about in the backyard.... essentially everything that I have to work to make time for at home.

Here are my favorite pictures from my trip: Schloss Belvedere, Ruine Aggstein, Stift Melk, St. Stephen's Cathedral interior, and part of the fountain at the Parlament.






Monday, May 12, 2008

Austria

I am currently enjoying a short (9 days) vacation in Austria, which you can see documented in great detail with my new camera on my flickr page. :D

It was a spur of the moment decision in January, and now I'm so thankful I decided to go. It was a great break from my schedule - constant working, essentially - and my schedule when I get back - constant working.

For now, I'm going to fully enjoy the remainder of my vacation, and I hope you all are doing well! Here is my favorite picture I've taken on this trip thus far:

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Myanmar Aid - Donations

As some of you know, my friend Michael Shirk has been living and working in Yangon, Myanmar since 2005 as a band director. He is currently there, helping the Red Cross distribute food and water, bags of rice, and clean water in Yangon. Because of the lack of volunteers, and the difficulties imposed by the Burmese government upon granting visas to aid workers makes the support of those already in the country that much more imperative. The first UN Aid plane arrived in Myanmar only today. The Burmese government has stated it will accept international aid, but it will be distributed by the government - the corrupt military junta that has been in power since 1962. US officials believe the death toll may reach 100,000.

Because of the difficulties imposed on aid organizations in getting aid into the country, I am depositing money in his bank account via Paypal to use for direct relief efforts in Yangon. Mike currently has cash in the country, but due to Myanmar's infrastructure, it is difficult to send money of any sort in. This deposit will either repay his personal investment, or if it is possible to do so, his mother may be able to wire transfer the money to Myanmar when services are more restored. Every little bit helps in a country where people scrape by on less than $2/day and rice currently costs $40/bag.

Please let me know if you would like to help donate to his efforts in Yangon or if you would like further clarification. I will forward the information to him and his mother and give information on how to send funds via Paypal.

As always, your good wishes and prayers are also appreciated.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ballerina


I commissioned a painting a few months back from my wonderful friend Michelle, mainly because I love her work and I'd been talking about how I'd actually commission something when I had a good job, and finally I got a good job, so... painting!

Here's the finished product, and it's absolutely wonderful! If you want to see the progression of the painting, go to her blog, or to see more examples of her work, go to her etsy site!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Death Cab for Cutie

yes, I know they're bad pictures. That's what you get when you buy a cameraphone for $50, with $30 off and a $50 rebate.


Monday, April 14, 2008

working...

I have decided to declare hibernation for the foreseeable future.

Here I am at work, at 6:20 in the morning, and I was here until 9:20 last night. So any of you who have any interest in seeing or talking to me - wait until my one day off a week. ha!

Lucky for me, I actually like my job and actually get paid for all the time I put in, otherwise I wouldn't be putting it in. :) This week, I will be trained in the remaining orgs that I have not been trained in yet, and will start training to be a law enforcement liaison. When someone gets a subpoena for records, I would be one of the people contacted. Cool thing is, I'll be doing that for Germany, so I'll get to putter around in German all the time. Doesn't matter how dull the job actually is when you make it all in German or French - the inherent interest level virtually skyrockets.

I am very much looking forward to my ten days off next month when I travel to Austria again. I can't wait to stuff myself with yummy kaesekrainer and schnitzelsemmel and gelato... mmm.... *happy sigh*

Back to work!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

iWorld

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sunday, April 06, 2008

goings on....

It's been a busy last few weeks, and mainly because I'm working. A lot. But in the times I have not been working, I have been doing fun and amazing things! ha.... or not. I did go see Cabaret at the 5th Avenue Theatre yesterday though, and it was fantastic. I really, really loved it. And now I keep singing "Cabaret" and "Maybe This Time" in my head. I also went to the Spaghetti Factory afterwards with this guy:


and had some actually pretty tasty house wine (Chianti). All in all, an excellent "weekend" (one day off, as usual), and now I feel much more ready to face my upcoming six day week. :)