Dad and Kay got here yesterday afternoon and we headed over to Alexandra's Going Away Party. Today we went to Central Market (more fun than it sounds) and later went to Pike Market and took the ferry to Bainbridge Island. Dad's friend Arne, who I remember from Las Vegas (since I was ten!) was visiting Seattle with his wife and son, so we spent some time with them as well.
Tomorrow we're heading to Chateau St. Michelle winery with Jon and Amy - more later.

Dad and Kay get here tomorrow sometime. They have been driving all over the USA visiting all the people whom they owed visits. Meaning - this is a month+ long trip for them. (I commend the fact that they can even still speak to each other.)
Also meaning - this is the first time my Dad has ever visited me.
(Well okay he was in my wedding in London, Ontario... but that was my wedding and that was ten years ago.)
They are actually staying with us - sleeping on our squeaky old futon. They may stay until Wednesday.
That's a lot of days!
Of course it's no longer 60
and sunny and beautiful like last week. Now it's back to Seattle in February - 50 and dark and rainy.
Tomorrow night is Alexandra's going away party. We met Kolja and Alexandra 18 months ago at Fernanda's Going Away party (and look! Fernanda came back!). Although Kolja found a job with a new architecture firm so he can stay a while longer, Alexandra has a three-month internship to fullfill in Barcelona, so she's outta here. She will be back to pick up Kolja in August.
Sean and I have become quite adapted to having them around and I know we are both going to be very sad.
Instead of getting all sappy on you guys, I should be cleaning up for Dad & Kay's visit. (Anyone have a leaf blower I can borrow? It would make cleaning a lot faster.)
OH! I get my hair cut today.

And so continues the construction around my house - starting at 7:30 am.
Our cousin Jason called this morning from a bus out in nowhere. His Dad died of a heart attack. I didn't know what to say. In all these decades, we had never heard any mention of Jason having a father.
He sounded exhausted.
In the middle of all this, Neumo's is having it's grand opening and Jason's knee-deep in the planning of these shows. It's one of those situations where you feel this physical pull to help someone, but there's nothing you can do.
....Last night Sean and I finally concluded that my computer is screwed.
We had this grandiose idea that we would replace one harddrive with another then upgrade and presto magicko and nope. I lost all of my Outlook contacts* and all of my software. I am bitter and Sean's upset and it's a mess. As you can see, I got Photoshop 6.0 (I had 7.0**) and Dreamweaver MX back, but the contacts... oh man. Hundreds. Birthdays. E-mails. Calendar appointments. Hey Chris @ Candy Critic? When are you on the Food Network again? It was in my calendar.

Hey look! Boulders! I was just thinkin' what my front yard needs is two trucks dumping tons and tons of boulders onto my street and look! It worked! Here they are! And I'm peeling my cats down from the ceiling! I won't be getting the mail today.
Speaking of mail, I got a Frankenstein mix CD from Cyndi yesterday - if any of you need a copy of the Barbie Song by Aqua you just let me know - cuz I have it now.
And Estella? Your package? Oh my god I was rushing to get the phone to call you and... no contacts. (grrrr.) So call me.
Estella sent me three books and a CD that was titled "Inappropriate" or something (I dunno - it's in my car now). I immediately left to go to this community meeting for the new Northgate Community center (I'm an architecture nerd) and popped that CD in, and found myself bitchslapped with an onslaught of SnoopDogg into "Whenever I Call You Friend" into Phil Collins and it just got more and more painful. By the time I heard a song that resembled the Indigo Girls (I can't be certain, thankfully) I vowed, outloud, "PAYBACK!" Then I put it back on Kenny Loggins and Stevie Nicks and sang all of the words. Again.
Let me just warn all of you - you think you can surprise me with stinky songs? We listen to Seventeen by Winger and Livewire by Motley Crue (I'm too lazy to look up umlauts) and Walkin in the Rain by Neil Sedaka and AEIOU Sometimes Y by EBN-OZN on a regular basis. I do not cower to Billy Ocean. Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch do no illicit a giggle. I STILL love Bell Biv Devoe. Sean is Justified. I could go on.
Oh yes. We can exchange CD's alright. Maybe I'll make a CD list for all of us to follow and they'll all be embarrassing.
Hey yeah I think I will.
*Anyone who sent me their address for the Frankenstein mix CD, please send it again.
** Got it? Or 8.0/CS? Wanna do sharesies?
Completely off topic, but I'm not sure how I feel about the new Modest Mouse song being on the radio all the time. What's scariest, I think, is that it sounds like it belongs there. I like the song except sometimes it sounds like Talking Heads and I get my decades confused.
Have I been sniffing paint? This entry is all over the place.
Oh! P.S! Congratulations Matthew!

I took a lot of pictures this weekend, including my new fridge. Okay, it's the same fridge, but Heather and I collaged it so it looked like my last fridge (finally). There's other stuff too, but...
My computer is in parts. We had this grandiose idea that Sean would re-build it with these whoop-dee-doo parts and it would be spanky, but then some problems occurred and the usual comedy ensued, and... I don't have a computer right now.
But I do have some pictures on my server from last week to hold you over.
This is what is looks like down the street from our house. Well, actually, across the street from our house (since we're on the corner). The city is doing this big neighborhood improvement and the project ends at our intersection. So instead of the benefits of this project, we get the noise and the mess and they leave behind mud and our torn up from yard and my neighbors get this beautiful new street. I'm not complaining too much though - I still love our new ditch. Below is the finished project.
It ends up looking like this. The road is curved to keep traffic slow. The mailboxes are those "apartment type" that have eight mailboxes clumped together "creating a sense of community" which actually means the postal workers can get even lazier (we have issues with our postal service). All of the new landscaping is from native plants and trees. Each house has a few choices of how they want the front of their house arranged - i.e. how many parking spaces and driveway access. They also get to choose which plants they like.
It is a HUGE improvement.
This is what it looks like in the process. Here you see a giant bulldozer in front of my house (which was a bunch of pipes for a few months before that), Joe's truck, a couple heaps of dirt across the street, and about ten employees vehicles parked randomly around my house. We get our mail only if the bulldozer is in use (and not parked there).
Saw two movies this weekend. American Splendor, which just didn't do it for me, and The Secret Lives of Dentists, which was good, but depressing.

Where I talk about my cats too much

See his tongue sticking out?
I had a great moment yesterday, taking Jalen to the vet (what you say?!??). Carkeek Park Veterinary Clinic has a new veterinarian - Dr. Anna Esser. As soon as she walked in and found Jalen cowering under my chair, she sat down and spoke to him, beckoning him over to her lap.
And it worked.
We discussed his numerous problems (he was feral, he's old, he's a lemon) and she just kept petting him as he snuggled into her. She did his whole exam sitting on the floor like this, holding him and talking to him, and he purred through the whole thing. For like 20 minutes.
She discussed options with me, and new things we could try, and she cut his claws (front and back). And I learned something.
You know how Jalen couldn't retract his claws? Well she looks at his back claws she noticed how dirty they were and said "You have old man claws!" and proceeded to scrape all that gack off of his claws with her fingernails.
While he purred.
Anyway, that could have been keeping his claws from being able to retract.
Claw gack. Who knew?
She's my hero. (Oh! And she's German!)
Jalen is now on antihistamines for his respiratory problems and he got a steroid shot for his itchiness. And he was properly snuggled.
Any of you in Seattle with a cat, I recommend her.
To make it fair to the other cats, I am adding Dominique and Hobbes in their Yin and Yang sleeping position. If I spent enough time on this, I could even get the dots right - the white scruff of Dommie's neck and Hobbes' ears. But I won't. Because that would be scary of me.
Yesterday I went to Target and got needed items for the house and AND! that Isaac Mizrahi spring trench coat they show in the Target commercial (a woman opens her coat to show the dots inside and the dots continue to the second half of the screen - only mine is black with black dots). It was $35 and I'm thrilled. And you should be too! You know how many times you've seen me on here with that worn out dumpy yellow/orange coat? Too many!
I would just like to close this entry by saying that Greg Ryan is going to the ballet tonight. Bwaaaa haa haa! He's so married!

Last night was our CD exchange that I mentioned. That's us on the right at Murphy's pub (see the stacks of CD's)
I thought I'd show you my final list:
Is from the last CD you purchased: "There There" - Radiohead
Is labeled blues or "the blues": "Couldn't Stand the Weather" - Stevie Ray Vaughn
Gets you going in the morning:
"The New" - Interpol
Is romantic:
"Shoot a 45" - 764-HERO
Is one of the first you remember hearing: "Layla" - Derek & the Dominos
You discovered from a film: "Talk Show Host" - Radiohead (Romeo + Juliet)
Is from your favorite band or artist: "Touch You Touch You" - Hot Hot Heat
Is from a band or artist that you don't really like except for this song: "She's My Baby" - Traveling Wilburys ("She's got - the best - butt - in the neighborhoooooooood")
Is a lullabye: "We Float" - PJ Harvey (I couldn't find "Dover Beach" by the Bangles)
Makes you laugh: "Agenda Suicide" - The Faint
Is a really good cover version: "Stand by Me" - John Lennon
Reminds you of school days: "The Killing Moon" - Echo & the Bunnymen
From an artist that you are embarrassed to admit you like: "Scream" - Michael & Janet Jackson
FUNKY!: "Beercan" - Beck
For those quiet rainy nights: "Broke" - Modest Mouse
No matter when you hear it, it makes you feel good: "If Only" - Queens Of The Stone Age
With the word "Look" in the title: (didn't have enough space so I skipped this one)
From a member of the Dead Rocker's Society: "Bang a Gong" - Power Station (Robert Palmer AND drummer Tony Thompson)
Is your favorite Elvis song: "Accidents Will Happen" - Elvis Costello & the Attractions (I cheated)
Weird mix, I know, but if any of y'all want a copy, just let me know.
Here's Hobbes - outside - by our front door. Hobbes isn't allowed outside except for one thing - to help me bury dead fish or frogs (I appreciate his "animalness" at this time because I feel so guilty burying an animal - and he always seems to understand what's going on and doesn't take off).
This picture was taken last night.
Yep. One of the little cory fish died.
It was just fine since we had it - happily nibbling away on the rocks at the bottom of the tank and zipping up and down. It was the smallest of the three. Too much stress? Tank too big? I don't know. Last night I saw his tiny body floating in the top corner of the tank (no bites or scratches or anything).
Sean is very sad - the cories were his choices.
Hey on that same note - Sean's boss Kraig came back early from a Kinko's manager meeting in...Colorado? because one of the managers at the meeting - who's in her thirties - said "I don't feel so well" then dropped dead. They don't know why yet.

Jon came over and cooked dinner for Sean (sausage - eeww) and hung out with us. I was grounded all day with cramps, so I was quiet and grumpy.
Sunday Jon, Amy, Marc, Dawn and I went to see Station Agent and I loved it. I highly recommend it - and it should be on video soon (we saw it at one of those second-run cheap theaters).
I'm going to miss the Blogger Meetup this month because I'm doing a CD exchange organized by Sally. The requirements for the exchange are here.

Why I Love Weekends

Snuggling with my cats

Getting new fish!!!

Adjusting to the temperature - 30 minutes

Four glass catfish now!

Happy tank

See that glowing blob? It's a cory!

The new guys meeting the big guy
We got two little glass catfish, three tiny chubby green corys (coreys? cories?), and three of those pink striped fish you see on the left (sorry it's blurry - they swim constantly). These pink striped fish are what we used to have four of, but over the years we've lost three. The last remaining one was instantly swimming with them as if he knew they were "his own" even though they are half his size. The glass catfish are swimming together and wiggling whiskers with each other. The cory fish immediately started eating the rocks at the bottom. They are too tiny to get a good picture of. Our tank is happy again.

I took this picture to show you, yet again, how beautiful it's been outside lately.
This is Barrett, planning director for the Port Gamble S'Klallam tribe, and author of "Bigfoots I Have Known", of which I have an autographed copy. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt in February in Seattle, so I just had to take a picture. He's standing on our deck at JA.
Friday night Heather came over, and she and Sean made dinner for Brandy and Dawn's visit. Dawn just moved here from Chicago, so Brandy came out with her to help with the move (transporting cats, mainly).
It was great to finally meet Brandy, since I've been a fan of her work for quite a while. It's also fun to have Dawn as a new friend in Seattle to show around.
We talked a lot.
Sean and I have no plans for Valentine's Day, which is fine by me. I'll probably do my annual celebration by going to Walgreen's tomorrow to buy some half-price chocolate.

Question posted here on my garden page. Thanks.


It was 60 degrees!
The sky was so blue, and the day was so beautiful, I wasn't sure you'd believe me, so I took a picture. This is where I work. On that post in the center of the picture is a seagull.
Alexandra asked us to all join her for a night of bowling at the Garage, and since it's her last month in the States, we all have to be nice to her. So we went. Actually it was quite fun for a Wednesday night - I even missed West Wing for it. And that says a lot. Matt bowled the best at 163. It was his night to shine.
After bowling we walked to the Satellite Room for 2-for-1 burgers. Pictures below are all scrambled up because I'm tired...

Anne, Alexandra, Me

Jon, X, Kolja, Anne


Us at the Satellite

Emily, Matt, Brian, Liz

Monica & Noah

Late night

Jan, X, Fernanda

Sean, Kolja, Chris

Emily & Me
P.S. Welcome to America, Jan!

Here we are at my Mary Kay Rager. Meredith, Sara, Me, and Alexandra got all hussied up on a Monday night. Because we could.
I actually purchased lipstick called "Juicy Peach". Any of you who know me personally will know that just seems wrong. Sean did a great job complimenting everyone even though he's a color-blind man.
Meredith and Sara brought lox and brie (and capers! eew!) with crusty bread, and I made Alexandra's pasta. (Now go make it for dinner tonight - it's easy.)
After seeing Robert Randolph & The Family Band at the Grammys (I'd never heard of them before) I decided to buy this for my Dad and I to share (re: I'm copying it for me). Anyone else know this band? I'm curious...
Shout out to Styro for the Monkey Valentine's Day card. Sweeeeeet.


Clockwise: Alison, (Rashmi), Lauren, Todd, Chris
Marc & Sarah, William, Me & Sean
Friday us JAs went to Zao for lunch to welcome Lauren to the group. That night I tried FIVE different video stores before I finally found Lost in Translation, and Sean and I made a night of it. I'm sorry to say: I didn't like it that much. Sure, Bill Murray was great, but he's almost always great. Also, there wasn't enough happening for me. I think that Rushmore is a work of genius, therefore I didn't think that this was Murray's best work. Yes, it was good. But it wasn't amazing, like so many people led me to believe.
Sean agreed.
I also rented Spellbound and loved it. It was so well documented. I recommend it.
This weekend I read my book for book club, and we had our gathering tonight. The book was just okay. Next month will be The Master and Margarita (read the reviews!).
So about the Grammys - I only caught the last half - and I must say: George Clinton's Parliament is a spaceship wreck enough, thank you, without the addition of Earth, Wind, and Fire AND Outkast AND Robert Randolph's band AND Samuel Jackson all on stage with other random people with umbrellas, face chains, and violins all repeating "We love the funk - we gotta have that funk" ad nauseum.
Oh hey thanks, I feel better now.
Tomorrow night I'm having a Mary Kay party at my house. Yes, I'm serious. No, I'm not taking it seriously. We're going to do up our faces like tramps and take pictures. I'm so excited.

I made Sean a yellow bundt cake with chocolate frosting and it looks like a giant donut.


• About a hundred years ago, my Dad and Kay sent me some work to do for their site. I will do it someday. I will.
• I just finished work for Sarah that took two weeks longer than it should have.
• I submitted shelving options to my boss and it took two weeks and a day-long trip to IKEA, but it's done.
• The new laundry room shelf is painted and ready to install. We started this in December. One shelf.
• I made an appointment to get my hair cut by Robert Hass on the 26th and I haven't had my hair cut since before Thanksgiving. So this is a big thing.
Sally bought me lunch today in Fremont. I appreciate it.
Dad & Kay get here the end of this month. My Dad hasn't visited me since my wedding ten years ago.

A building in Fremont
See, kids, this is why I posted about sour cream. I'm working, looking for a full-time job, sleeping off-and-on through vivid dreams, watching TV, and not much else. If you want interesting news, visit Dooce's baby - she's here!
02-03-04 Today I'm heading over to IKEA to find the perfect shelving for work, as I can't seem to figure it out with just the catalog. Later tonight we visit the Germans, which makes me sad, because Alexandra moves back to Germany at the end of this month.
And now - to the sour cream: this week I finally got tired of opening so many sour cream containers just to have some sour cream. No, I'm not a sour cream junkie, it's just that the leftover containers are great for storage, and I got a bit carried away with leaving said leftovers in the fridge.
So you could all experience the mystery that I did, I decided to see if you could tell which sour cream is actually sour cream. Roll over each sour cream to see if you guessed right!

Pages and pages of gratuitous Janet Jackson boob shots (especially the ninth page). Because I'm here for you. (Thanks, Sally)


Cashing in our change...

to buy exceptional groceries
A few of you have noticed that my site's been a bit quiet the past week. Don't worry - I'm still here - it's just a bit of the Winter Doldrums, as my Mom put it.
Sean and I hit some hard times upon returning from our vacation, and we made some errors with our banking. We thought I got paid Friday, so we lived on the edge and took care of things that we needed to - including some larger-than-usual payments on our credit cards. Then we found out, Friday morning, that I wasn't getting paid until Monday, and that's when we got hit. As in negative bank balances and bank overdraft charges hit.
Since last Friday, we survived on change from our trustworthy change jar.

Bon appetit!
It wasn't all bad. By living cheap, we stayed home and took care of some housework, and Saturday Jon and Amy invited us over for dinner, so we got a free meal there (and it was lasagna!).
I questioned whether or not to post this, because there are too many negative blogs out there. But really, we're fine. We just messed up, and I need a full-time job so bad it hurts. But we have a warm home and Kraft dinner, and sometimes that will just have to do.
Also last week, I got to work and felt an abnormal breeze - because the butt of my pants ripped. This was a pair of pants that actually fit me, which I was able to wear to work. Since gaining so much weight last fall, my wardrobe has become quite minimal, and those pants ripping made me want to cry. Stupid, I know, there are worse things in the world. But it was another one of those "Something's got to change" moments. I went home and threw them into the garbage and just stared at them. And I didn't cry.
So, there's the end of January. Here's to a new month.