Monday, June 22, 2009

when tragedy befalls you

I don't follow many celebrity trends. I get most of my news about tanorexics, infidelity, children stuck inside of culverts and the beagles that rescue them from whatever magazines are strewn around the gym. The Kate and Jon Gosselin saga is revolting yet like any good slowdown on the freeway, always a bummer at the end when its all for naught.

Yup, it's her hair. Her stylist should be shot and their collection of 80's new wave music removed from their possession.

Well, maybe not her hair per se, but all that it represents -- the money they accepted, the tummy tucks, the hair plugs and the house. They paid a price in the lack of privacy they had to endure, but they knew what they were getting into when they signed that contract. Who loses in the deal?

Not you and me. The Gosselin's will live in reruns and we will pick apart all the episodes to see what the tipping point was in their relationship - Jon forgot to put the cap back on the toothpaste, a kid lost his shoe, and they were late to school, the crusts were not cut off the sandwiches. Who knows.

The kids lose out. They were prostituted by their parents for their personal gain and they had absolutely no say in any of it. What three year old is benefiting from mommy's new hair (a life of its own) or endless tanning salon love fests? They lost a precious part of their childhood by having cameras shoved in their faces and every move recorded. Worst of all, they lost their family as they knew it.

I know some will argue that unhappy parents make for crappy childhoods, but one must wonder if they had just gone quietly and raised their brood without corporate sponsorship and cameras, whether life would have been better.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

time out

I started moving at 0530 this morning -- dog, garden, ppatch (5 hours), house, friends and all the time my mind was organizing all that needed to be done.

The first true day of summer and I'm worrying about folding laundry, bill paying and what to have for dinner.

I let it all go. We went and got take out. The laundry can wait, the bills are not due yet, the evening light was marvelous. We ate cherries off the tree, white alpine strawberries off the plant, picked raspberries by twilight and marveled at all we have.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of a series of killer work weeks. Its just grind, grind, grind until the end of the fiscal year. I have been planning, projecting and trying to organize myself and others so that we're not pulling out our hair the last two weeks of September. I let that all go this weekend and I'll be happy to tackle it tomorrow, in a new light.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

As lame as it is, I am going to revamp the blog soon. I need a new banner, new links and a new look. Why do I bother? God knows, but I am going to do it. I still think I have something interesting to say on occasion.

Tonight I went to my first tweet up. Good times. I was excited to meet the man behind @Alaskaair's tweets. He has been very helpful. As I am starting to look at the idea of tweeting and location based services - it all is done for research. ;) I even won an all expenses paid trip to the flight simulator -- I may give it to TH, who knows.

Montana and VAF2009 was fun. Glad to be home. Many things going on, mostly all good.

For those who have asked or are going to ask. Yes, I am following the information coming out of Iran, but honestly, other than being amazed at how information is flowing via social networking and bluetooth technology, I'm staying out of this one. What you see in Tehran is not indicative of all of the country, much like our little hamlet of solstice loving/hemp wearing/ canvas bag carrying represents the heartbeat of America.

Oh yeah, I have succumbed to facebook, so sue me. I'm on there once a day unless I am walking the dog. Check me out.

Snoring bassets are not resting bassets


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

home truths

someone has to marry the cable guy
someone always ends up in the middle seat on the plane
the pedicure you skip intersects with your need to wear sandals
rhubarb invariably peaks before the local strawberries, ditto for figs and raspberries

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

dear Sun and hot weather,

Go away, I'm hot and bothered and I could do with some gloom without having to leave the state.



Monday, June 01, 2009

I am still reeling over the loss of the Air France flight from Rio to Paris.

All those souls and with not a trace.

I take flying for granted and mostly my safety while flying. I believe that short of some smaller podunk third world airlines that I have experienced, most pilots and mechanics do a pretty excellent jobof making sure things are fine before we take off and land. In fact, sometimes all I care about is that fact that we take off and land safely. I can do without the warmed nuts, the beverages and the movie. I'm not a nervous flier, but I am a cautious flier. I wear real shoes on the plane, natural fibers, pay attention to the safety announcements and take them seriously. If I have reservations about flying -- I won't. I have walked off of flights that I just felt uneasy about. Blessedly, no issues have occurred after my departure, but I have to sleep with own phobias and concerns and they are already battling for airtime in my over subscribed brain.

I cannot even imagine what its like to get up in the morning in Paris excited to see your family or friend who was flying back from Rio today and tell you all about their trip or a colleague who was coming to Paris for a meeting. I cannot even imagine turning on the news or going to the airport to see the words on the monitor that tell you to go see agent about flight status.

Heart stopping and breaking.

However, what are we to do? Stop flying, stop dreaming, stop commerce, stop tourism and stop living because you have a one in a million chance that your life my end over the ocean? I guess you could stop living, because for me, that is what it would be like.

God rest their souls.

Monday, May 25, 2009

over the moon

I am in love with a five day old little boy -- I never thought I would be so fiercely in love with a baby. I am not a baby person, per se. But my little nephew has stolen my heart - honestly and truly.

Other than that, I turned my brain off of work like things at 5:45 pm on Friday and all weekend I did not let data management, sensitivity tests and location services intrude into my weekend of gardening, sunning, dog walking, baby cuddling and just relaxing.

TH is out to sea == I wish her smooth sailing and good science. Both things are key to to having a cruise go by quickly.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Today would have been better if I hadn't even tried to get out of bed.


Tomorrow has got to be better or I'm really screwed.

Monday, May 11, 2009

In case you are wondering, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I have been hurtling my
body through the air hither and yon and trying to make sense of it all.

Milan, Paris, Brussels with entirely too much time spent in JFK.

Yeah, it'll end soon.

I have had lots of time to think.

Sometimes thinking is good.

Sometimes thinking is bad.

In this case, the bad outweighs the good and I have a lot to mull through.

TH has been a good sport these last few weeks. She even tolerated sitting through Andrew Bird with me in Brussels. She's the best.

No sign of L/LM-P. I have many variations on my niece/nephew's name, but alas, the secret should be revealed sooner than later.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

This afternoon I sat between my parents and grieved the loss of smart, beautiful woman who died much too young and suffered greatly. How hard it must be to bury your child, your sister, your best friend 0r your partner. How hard it is to watch your mother and father trembling with tears for the memory of a little girl they watched grow up and get married. How frustrating it is to feel like there was absolutely nothing you could have done to stop her suffering? How hard is it to feel guilty because today you felt the sun on your face and breathed in the sharp scent of pear blossoms -- something she can no longer experience.

We have now lost two of our childhood cadre. We blessedly have no war dead, no drug overdoses, nor horrific accidents to take away young lives, but to illness - sudden and chronic. Within our small group, the loss seems even larger and deeper. Death and illness sucks the lifeblood out of families and relationships. It is hard to watch and harder to go through.

As our parents age, these afternoons are fast becoming a common part of our lives. This past year, we have lost husbands, fathers and grandfathers. Losing someone who still had a long life to lead for some reason just seems so unfair. There is so much more to experience - both good and bad. M. seemed to pack as much good in as her body would allow, that was her gift.

Today was hard.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Talladegha Nights and a diet coke are all I'm good for tonight.

However, circumstances did not allow for such sloth.

I managed to do three loads of laundry, make a dinner that featured three food groups and walk the dog before collapsing. It has been a long day.

shake and bake baby, shake and bake

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hmm. I missed a day.

I had three witty and deep things to discuss, but at this late hour I will just say.

Crap, I am getting old and my body aches from use and disuse.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

I had a day, a good one, but I am now beyond tired. This cough is getting old and so is the Pepcid AC moments brought on by coughing.

At least I know where the easter basset is hiding the eggs.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Knackered, completely and utterly brain dead from the past week. It appears to be no end in sight.

Off to immerse myself in the life of Judith Jones, she's back in New York with Julia and Paul Child.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

I can't really talk about growing up today, because I don't feel like I did a lot of grown up things other than schlep the dog to the groomer, deal with an increasingly mundane workload (soon to change), gardening way past dark, and spending money for things that seem intangible like car insurance and what not.

It seems like more and more people my age are playing games and removing themselves from reality. Let's face it reality these days can suck.
I am all for escaping, but honestly, it just doesn't seem that you should bowl until your taxes are done and the dishwasher is emptied. I know that a lot of people think I am a crumudgeon and cannot relax but when I add up the amount of stuff I do in the day there never appears to be time to relax.

Flying to Hong Kong for dim sum does NOT count.

How do you do it? How do you turn off your guilt gene and take "wii and me" time?

Off for a walk with you know who...

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Sophisticated tastes

This evening I burned the shit out of my finger attempting to make butterscotch tapioca. A younger me would have recoiled at either of those words, but the mature older me loves warm tapioca right out of the pan before it gels up. Afterwards it is just okay, not great.

I have no idea why growing up I was repulsed by tapioca. I think it was the boxed stuff made by Jell-O that didn't solidified into uneven yellow chunks.

TH is a big fan of the 'oica. Milk, a bit of sugar, an egg and couple of tablespoons of tapioca, a bit of vanilla and some patience and judicious stirring can lead to a dish that in no way resembles the chunky stuff you tried to feed the dog under the table.

Butterscotch is another story. The idea of eating something that color with no real taste other than sweet has never swayed me. Once I realized that caramel is the equivalent to the butter of the Scots I stopped hating it and am learning to embrace it.

My foray into mixing the two of the together this evening using Fanny Farmer's recipe (no egg?) was not a rousing success. I ended up with a scant amount of pudding, a throbbing finger, leftover caramel for a tarte tatin and the realization that I continue to grown up.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Leafs of faith


Today we started in earnest to get the vegetable garden ready for the planting season. It is a division of labor -- TH works hard to schlep compost, plastic, build beds, while I clean out the long season plot of old asparagus stalks, pruning raspberry canes that reach to the heavens and relocating errant strawberry plants.

Every year, I pull up 100s of columbine plants and raspberry canes. They are both plants where a little goes a long way. I can't say that I am the most sentimental gardener. I used to be until I realized a tiny cosmos seedling in May becomes a 6 foot monster with a stem the diameter of a corn stalk in October and broadcasting seeds hither and yon.

Every year as I turn over the soil, I say a prayer that this year will be better than last. That I will have patience and sustained enthusiasm for the entire season, not just for the easy part -- the planting.

I mumble to myself thanks for the ability to bend, stretch and reach over rows to weed pain free. To use my hands and fingers nimbly to drop seeds in holes that hopefully will yield a carrot, turnip or beet.

I also retain the faith that in a week when I return, I will see a bright green stripe of sprouting seeds with telltale leaf patterns that tell me if I have planted carrots or kohlrabi.

Go plant something, take a chance.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

sunday wrap up

dog, gym, parents, brunch, garden shopping, nap, garden clean up, nap, grumpy, garden assessment, dog walking, dinner, dog walking

can you see a trend?

Saturday, April 04, 2009

more than a feeling

Today I spent the afternoon with my childhood cadre -- those who are still here -- both in the 'hood and on earth. We celebrated the impending birth of my first niece/nephew. Blessedly no games were played - just the normal oohing and aahing of the myriad of teeny tiny green/yellow and gender neutral clothing. This not finding out the sex thing of the kid is both really cool and really irritating at the same time.

Suffice it to say, baby will probably never want to wear the color green again after the first six months of its life.

I talked to S at length about the children's table and wondering as we all sit with our mothers and aunts and long time friends of our parents -- both how lucky we are to still be friends, but also how we still feel like we're the kids.

Yeah, we'd rather sit giggling about Donny Osmond than discuss how that salad was made.

nm a little bit country

Friday, April 03, 2009

Arguing a point, and as usual not winning

My mom knew before I was born I was to be a girl. She had a name picked out and everyone was excited that soon N would be born. Perish the thought that I would have been a boy, non?

There was no ultrasounds, no blood tests, no nothing. My mom just felt like she was going to have a girl. It is a 50/50 chance thing. She picked the right side of the coin.

I always wondered what it would be like to be a male child, they are treated so differently. Those societal strictures can really put a damper on what you end up doing with your life.

Suffice it to say, its been a long windy road that brings me where I am today.

This week has aged me by at least a month if not more.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

growing up

on the way up

Don't worry Mony. I am not going anywhere. I just wanted to make sure I had made my contributionfor April 2009 's NaBloPoMo. This month's theme is "growing up".

I can't say I've been very good at it. I seem to exist in a perpetual state of immaturity. Even in my 40's I wish I could sit at the kid's table at Thanksgiving and sometimes shy away from conversations that involve adult topics. However, overall I think I did a pretty good job of growing up. This month you'll hear all of it - someone of it mudane, some deep and some of it sort of funny and pathetic. Growing up as a half generation from the oil refineries, carpet looms and high plains of the motherland in a country where Middle Easterners are portrayed as the bad guys made growing up hard to swallow at times. It also gives one pause for thought.

Hold on though, it should be good.

The above picture was taken this weekend, in Paris where I decided to wrestle between my adult mature self and my not so mature free wheeling self and go on a quest for DEQMs. It wasn't all that bad really money wise and time wise or on my body. In the long run, I will still be able to retire before I'm 65 and be able to say that I was once young and foolish enough to fly to Paris to buy macarons and easter eggs. Yes, I think I will be okay.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April 1st

This space for rent. Be back later.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Today's flying time

The airport teems with benzoyl peroxide, bad tattoos and pillows.

The Board Room was the same.

I managed to leave my ipod ear buds at home and just paid 30 bucks for a pair of headphones, which kills me because I have a pair of shures at home.

I think I will leave these in my bag.

When did travel become so technical and connected? I will admit that my parents and TH appreciate the text or email that I have arrived safely wherever I am. However, it can be tempting to check in with you all and the 9 to 6 to keep on top of it. I guess I have the power to turn it off, but do I have the will?

I had to bring my ipod charger because it failed to charge -it seems that I managed to not set the pod into the cradle correctly. I probably won't even listen to it, but it serves as a security shield from my seat opponent should they try to enlist me in a vertical marketing scheme.

So, one more piece of plastic, wires and chips to lug hither and yon.

I should turn this thing off--after I call TH and check in at home. Hearing her voice is the most important pre-flight check.


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Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Quick one here...

My dear Z's husband Anth is currently undergoing a heart transplant, they knew the procedure was inevitable, but the need came far too soon.

Please send your healing powers towards Pittsburgh for all three of them - Z, Anth and Ev.

We also send prayers for the family and soul of the heart donor.

If you have not ever thought of signing your organ donor card -- please reconsider the life you save could be the one of your fellow blogger.


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Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I seem to be welcoming these days.


I have been a bad correspondent, for all sorts of reasons. Nothing too deep and meaningful is stopping me, just life and the drudgery of being on the computer at home. I am beginning to loathe it.

We had a nice time in Paris -- the weather cooperated, food was awesome, walking was outstanding and shopping was not too stressful. I was happy to come back non-stop and go right to WORK--at least I didn't suffer from jet lag.

Other than that, things are normally staid and dreadfully dull around here. The more I try to bring order into my world, the faster it crumbles. Right now I am staring at a pile of papers that I keep on meaning to organize and just can't get it together.

Oh, did I tell you that I have my first half marathon of the season in less than two weeks? Yikes.

The longer days make me happy -- I cook in kitchen full of sunlight and pray for the first favas to appear. The raspberries all need pruning, the violets are all up, the daphne smells divine and I have two pots full of lettuce to plant this weekend.

A new year is just around the corner.


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Le parfum du souvenir

I am a double scent girl -- annick goutal's l'eau de hadrien with jo malone's grapefruit. It hardly ever changes, citrus and clean is my thing.

However, the smell of the park hyatt vendome is one that I cannot get out of my mind. In a way, I resent the reality that the world comes in white tea, kiwi, vanilla and sandalwood scents. I abhor the use of dryer sheets and scented laundry detergent that assault us on dog walks. However, the signature scent at the PHV always makes me crazy in a good way. It is musky and deluxe, which really makes no sense unless you are exposed to it. When I am feeling down, I use the shampoo to remind myself of good times in Paris.

Better than a plastic eiffel tower.

Mlle nm a votre service
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Friday, February 27, 2009

Paradise can be created with buckwheat flour, eggs, water and a bit of caramel au buerre sale.

Quite tired now...
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Thursday, February 26, 2009

On the day of ....

So we had snow -- what a way to start the day, magical yet vexing.

Lucky for me, a seat opened up out of LA, so I get to experience LA and the various and sundry irritations involved with transiting through a 3rd world airport.

There is something comforting about flying into a landscape with which you are familiar. The grid of the valley, the getty as hill town, sinuous Wilshire from the ocean through Tehrangeles and to Beverly Hills. For such a planned and deliberate landscape, the vast green spaces are a comfort.

I will admit that I promised four different sets of friends and relations that I would come down and visit. It looks great from the air but I am not sure that it all can be taken in one week, let alone a week.

Baby steps.

We're off...
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

free samples - wine at the market2
I am avoiding doing anything I need to do.

Why is the 90210 back on the air again? Didn't they kill off half the characters?

Yeah, I'm avoiding doing minor things like packing, writing checks, straightening up.

Things that I should have no problem doing, but for some reason I am suffering from
a great case of ennui.

Tomorrow I will be flying to Paris. Really. I'm not quite sure what I will do once I get there - I believe there will be eating, walking, photo taking and a stroll or two around the Tuileries.

I'll be back in five days. Keep the home fires burning.


Thursday, February 19, 2009


Originally uploaded by flora and flying

Thursday seemed to vanish. Days seem to either drag on forever or
whiz by. Sometimes I wish I could just slow things down enough so that I could either savor a sunny dog walk or make sure I could leave work with an empty desk.

Today I could have stayed at work until 10pm and still not complete the tasks I had laid out for the day.

No, I did not bite off more than I could chew -- the world handed me more crap that had to be dealt with now.

Well, at least the laundry is done.

Tomorrow also will be nice, good thing the weather craps out on the weekend. I wasn't really planning on leaving my office.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Originally uploaded by flora and flying

Bribery will get you somewhere.

Tired and behind as usual. Not looking forward to the end of the week as I think I'll be working most of the weekend in order to feel like the following very short week is deserved.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Originally uploaded by flora and flying

Yeah, it was sunny and warm. I am loving February, a month I typically despise.

Lunch has been confirmed at Robuchon. I love a hotel with a decent concierge -- one you can email on a regular basis to get these things straightened out or arranged. I especially like one that you can hand a package to (prepaid of course) and it will be mailed for you.

I sometimes I think that I appreciate these things more than the actual city. I also realize that when traveling I don't like surprises.

More on that later.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

I'm thinking tis better to stop blogging and keep on taking pictures.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

back and gone

I am back from Hawaii -- fabulous b&b, no show tunes, just plain old fashioned amazing hospitality and great weather and avoiding Kona is the best thing you can do, trust me.

We're home for three days and then back off to MCI for my brother's wedding.

I cannot wait to see my extended family and meet the rest of J's family.

Should be a fun weekend of beef and what not, including cupcake deliveries and fusing Persian and American wedding customs.

I am looking forward to my eighteen days of staying in the state before leaving again.

Other than that, spring is coming and that gives me some more hope.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Again, nothing of note.

My brain is on vacation for the next four days. I'm sure by Saturday my body will follow.

No, let's be serious. It may be as early as Friday morning.

I cannot torture you too much with pictures of papayas from the interwebs, so you will just have to be patient.

Really. I promise to come back refreshed, recharged and with something witty to say.

Try at least to check out my flickr stream. I have been having deep thoughts there, just ask Mony.



Sunday, January 25, 2009


I have nothing to say of note. When I went back and read my live journal postings from 2007 I realized two things -- I have more to say there than here and two -- the more things change, the more they stay the same.

On the horizon --- five glorious days in Paradise. We're staying in two gay b&bs that came with great accolades, but my greatest fear is that there will be show tunes belted out randomly and card games and you know how I feel about that.
Oh yeah, after that there is that wedding thingie going on. I have dresses (note plural) and shout outs to B and TH who kindly gave thumbs up or down and Miss C. for finding which ended up being a great resource for this P shaped body --note the Beth Chapmanesque bobs.

Now, if only my new Choos will get here in time, I'm good to go.

nm ready for anything in a medium heel, light on the dressing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Today I was quoted in print.


I am glad I didn't say anything stupid.

It has been a really long week and because of it, I'm leaving early and going back to work.

I can't wait.

I did laugh my ass off with Yassi, drink way too much with Lori and finally meet the not so angry Joseph Stains, Tanner T. and their lovely apes.

I also gave two posters, one stressful talk and moderated two sessions, answered a few questions about assessing land use and land cover change, made some interesting contacts and ate way too much.

Yeah, my breasts are heaving and I'm okay with it. I can start exercising again and eating better to deflate the girls, but you can't capture laughter, hanging at the Valley HO! and gustoing mucho with the Stains with such ease.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

thursday suckitude

all that is left
Today sucked for various and sundry reasons, but overall when you think about Darfur, Gaza and the state of the economy, its a nano sucking day that really only affects me and those who hear me roar.

I'm wishing I could retrieve back the last three weeks, skipping the holidays and getting my brain back to normal. It feels like the last few months have been a foggy conglomeration of bits and bobs that slowed my brain down to molasses.

Well, short of being a short tempered cranky type A, I'm feeling better and sharp.

Now if I could only go to the gym.

Maybe next week or the week after. We'll see.

I'm off to pack for Phoenix. I have one poster session, one talk and two sessions to moderate. My sessions will be over on Tuesday and I can relax for the rest of the week. We have a taco truck excursion on Tuesday and some catching up with one of my best friends this weekend.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Hey, is this thing on?

Its twelfth night here. I am about to take down the tree. TH is somewhere on the border of LA and MS tonight. She went to the Waffle House known for its hash browns. Color me jealous -- locally produced pasta with sun dried tomato pesto sometimes just doesn't hit the spot the way hash browns and eggs do.

I would have probably taken the tree down earlier than twelfth night this year. Frankly, I was over Christmas this year by say, Christmas. I think it may have been cabin fever, the inability to get the dog and the fact that everyone felt that money was tight and that Christmas couldn't be the same without the usual plethora of presents.

Honestly, I think it was just the weather and the anxiety produced by the monotony of snow.
nary a cloud

On Sunday night, it snowed again. Lovely, lovely snow. We went out to dinner at a higher elevation and by the time we emerged, there was about three inches on the ground, we managed to get home okay. We even took the dog for a romp. We even lost power. Our neighbors created some awesome snow people in a short period of time. You know the best part -- it was gone by the time I went to work. That is the snow I love.

So, snow. Why do you care? I don't really. I just want to share.

Oh my resolutions. More of the same.

This year I am participating in a cool photo project. Come visit my ordinarily dull existence.


Friday, January 02, 2009



I started out the year with the stomach flu. It has improved drastically since.

more later.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Travel year in review -- in pictures

Travel year in review.

Miles flown --- 91K.
Miles flown on average the last seven years -- 150K.

Not bad, not good, but just enough.
Miles redeemed for awards --- 260K
Money saved by redeeming -- 30K

Best trip -- Southern France in March - landscape, food, company, weather
A trip I would rather not repeat - a six hour delay to Kauai in February which basically sucked the life blood out of a short trip
Most memorable trip - Greenland, as if.

Best Hotel stay -- Versailles - March - Marie Antoinette's sheep! Versailles by myself!
Second best -- Four Seasons Lanai - The Lodge -- croquet anyone?
Third Best -- Camp Eqi - facing the glacier - Greenland - glacier, glacier, glacier?

One that we would never wish to repeat -- November, Westin Seattle
Another one -- The Youth Hostel - Ilulissat Greenland

Best Flight -- BA F to London, CPH and back - definitely worth the price of admission
Crap Flight -- Hmm, let me count the ways --- waiting for Air Iceland Nuuk - Rekyavik, Seattle to Lihue with major delays, anything over two hours that wasn't in seat 1A.

Best food experiences -- too many here - New Orleans, lurchery breakfasts, Ducasse in France, Roman trattorias, anything that involved a ripe papaya, anything at home or with friends

Trips planned for 2009 -- nothing major so far -- babies, weddings, work, economy and what not.

Butte, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Boulder, Berkeley, Portland, Kailua-Kona, and Lanai are pretty much happening. Oh yeah, Paris at the end of February, thanks TH!

So, what are your favorite trips or travel experiences of 2008?

nm holder of various pieces of plastic that make me feel entitled

Sunday, December 28, 2008

All it takes is emptying your kitchen to do a remodeling job to realize that there are things you haven't seen in 17 years, but they have such sentimental value that you can't bear to get rid of them.

What do you do?

I guess you move them forward and enjoy them.

I will be drinking from venetian glass purchased in Rome ca. 1995 and supping on
plates from the 1930's and worth a mint for the next few months. Yesterday, I relived trips numerous trips to Italy; my last serious relationship and the ensuing breakup spending spree; TH's father's lovely Christmas gifts; cafe au lait bowls purchased in France and wrapping the Portmeirion pottery I purchased piece by piece as a starving student and brought back in my luggage from London.

Ernest is back, ringing, I have a pizza in the oven, TH has lamb chops from Oxboro to supp on.

Life, though packed in boxes and stacked in the main floor bathroom , is good.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008


height of decadence

I can't say it enough.

May your days be cheery and bright.

TH and I spent the day making sure my parents had yogurt, bread and ham. The ham is something that is new to them. We'll see if we can get to it tomorrow. The plan is to meet at their house and try and do something festive with some friends and family.

If only the weather would cooperate.

Last night, a few of us gathered to feast. Bravely our guests trudged through rutted streets with varied tire gauges. It was a good and needed thing. Everyone had tired of their walls, their spouses and their freezers, we all needed a break.

Today driving around felt like we were taking a land rover through the Kalahari. I have never really had an appreciation for AWD until this week. Tonight, with all the water on top of the slush and ice proved to be challenging, but doable.

My parents have felt completely trapped this past week. I'm not sure if its lacking the confidence and sure footedness of their youth or twelve years in the 92037 that have made them so timid. All my mom wanted to do today was to go Christmas shopping and to see others excited. All her paranoid daughter could anticipate was her slipping on the slush in the parking lot or on the variable yet, urbanely planned slick surfaces of the pedestrianized retail experience.

As the weather abates, I will try and take her out, braving the crazed post-Christmas shoppers, but only if its dry and over 42 degrees.

Its been hard to watch the be cooped up, at least my mom has a sense of humor about the whole thing. My dad, as much as he's happy to be with his kids etc., misses the warmth of Southern California. I remind him of the wildfires, the smog and republicans and he nods and then sighs at the weather map.

At least he's regained his appreciation of polarfleece jackets and my mom has two new down vests on order, they are de rigeur for this climate.

According to the Norad reports, Santa just stopped by the 98105. I better wrap this up and make sure the milk is at a temperature to his liking. Things are a bit difficult since we removed the wood stove. He leaves his presents on the front porch and I better check that the dog gate is pulled back, I wouldn't want him to trip and hurt himself.

nm happier this holiday than many others

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

arrested delivery

Happy Christmas to me.

December 22, 2008 05:56:00 AM REDMOND WA US Arrival Scan
December 19, 2008 06:30:00 PM REDMOND WA US Arrival Scan
December 18, 2008 05:53:00 AM REDMOND WA US Arrival Scan
December 18, 2008 04:27:00 AM REDMOND WA US Arrival Scan
December 18, 2008 03:53:00 AM SEATTLE WA US Departure Scan
December 18, 2008 12:46:00 AM SEATTLE WA US Arrival Scan
December 17, 2008 06:36:00 PM PORTLAND OR US Departure Scan
December 17, 2008 03:04:00 PM PORTLAND OR US Arrival Scan
December 16, 2008 10:50:00 PM SPARKS NV US Departure Scan
December 16, 2008 05:00:02 PM US Shipment has left seller facility and
is in transit
December 16, 2008 04:33:00 PM SPARKS NV US Shipment received by carrier

On truck, returned to truck, never to be seen again.

On the other hand, I used B&N pick up in store option for later. Much more satisfying.

Local retailers are doing great thanks to the shit weather. A toy store and some twee furniture stores are the closest to us, so very little use to either of us. Maybe if we needed a recovered empire style chair or legos.

Alas and alack, I burned TH's croissants.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I have lots of very important things to say, but really, it is getting too late and I'm tired.

I have very little motivation to do the things that I need to feel like the holidays are complete. I have a few presents to wrap and those last minute things are not going to be here by Wednesday. I guess we'll be having 12 nights of giving chez nm.

So, after dinner we created the first of four things I have committed to make for Christmas. One recipe I followed to the T and the other I hacked.

Both look mighty tasty.

I'm waiting for sexy whipping pictures to upload to flickr.

Be patient.

Tomorrow is a work day, the roads are treacherous, but we're still to report in.

Should be tons of fun.

nm slip sliding away

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday wrap up

Cabin fever sets in
U vill for sheer entertainment and exercise
Green chile stew thanks to N, M and I
Eggy crumpets for breakfast a al Kerri
lots of snow shoveling
Incredible levels of sloth all around
Remembrances of last year's rudolph ramble in the same amount of snow and 16 F!
Negotiations for the release of Ernest for technology
Wondering if the snow will ever abate
Realizing that tomorrow is an adult snow day, but there are piles of work to be done
Wishing and hoping that friends make it home wherever that is
Stay warm and dry people

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Friday, December 19, 2008

A snowstorm paralyzes Seattle, however at our local grocery store yogurt cups, milk and string cheese is still on the shelves.

Have my friends' kids moved onto goat cheese, hummous, pita and beer?

I sit here with a nice cold courtesy oh the TH, a dentist appointment at 9 am, lunch at a lovely restaurant that I fear has a windy road or major hill as obstacles and a crap load of work to do.

Ernest is three mountain passes with traction devices required and a wind storm to contend with. Hold tight bud, you may be spending Xmas with your bio family.

Yeah, I am whining.

I have plenty of food, electricity, a warm house, clothing, the ability to drive a AWD vehicle if I choose to. I also have great restaurants and local diversions if I get really get bored.

Others are not so lucky. The merchants who had a crap last weekend because of the snow, those who have to be at work or do not have the option of telecommuting, or those who can't get adequate amounts of food or shelter..

Reach out to your circle of friends -- wait go even further and check with your neighbors and see if everyone is okay. Sweep or shovel past your house if you need a diversion, it is the neighborly thing to do.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Right where was I?

London, Brussels, selective amnesia about flying through JFK, flight delays, work issues while traveling and football hooligans on my Eurostar train.

Honestly, why can't I remember the good things ....

Staying at Tigh Gadhar and the love of the lurcher, meeting RedSnapper, TH finally meeting the SUMDs and Kerri, Pat and Brian.
A lovely short ride to Oxford and a nice visit with Heather. These are precious moments dear ones.
Watching the elegantly dressed entering the Dorchester, the Hilton and other lovely hotels on Park Lane on our way to our own hotel.
A nice suite waiting for us at the Park Lane with a view of St. James Park.
Finally finding dinner at a old favorite after being skunked at three places on Thursday night.
Provisioning for Christmas and having a great time doing it, before the crowds really started.
Walking from Park Lane to Westbourne Grove to lunch and walking by my brief childhood home.
Window shopping at the posh shops.
Buying my future niece/nephew their first bear (nom, nom, nom).
Dinner with the aunties - always a pleasure.
Realizing that in 2 and a half hours one can be in Brussels from London.
Chocolate shopping in Brussels.
Finding a new and cheap restaurant in Brussels that does not involve moules and frites.
The Galleries St. Hubert in all its glory.
Napping on the way home.
Seeing a childhood friend at JFK.
Knowing that our house was taken care of by our amazing neighbors who protected our plants from the exceedingly cold weather.

I'm happy to be home, no jet lag, back in the swing of things even at work -- probably more out of fear of deadlines than anything. No travel for two weeks and then it seems every two weeks after that for the next three months. As much as I try, it doesn't seem to abate -- weddings, vacation, work trips are part of the package. I am just learning to roll with the punches here.

As for the festive period -- We have a tree, lights, cookies, a pudding, egg nog, cards to write and something to be joyful about.

We hope to pick up the boy this weekend, cross your fingers the weather improves or we may not see him until after Christmas.


Friday, December 12, 2008


Christmas provisioning
Lunch at Hereford Road
Wandering around Westbourne grove
Dinner with the aunties
Chavs on the tube
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Thursday, December 11, 2008


Eggy crumpets
Fast train
Moules and fish pie
Catching up
Slow ride into london
Walking around window shopping
Skunked for dinner
Suitable substitution realized
Sleep not happening
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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

When did travel become so bleah?

We have a nearly four hour layover in Chicago. Its really no big deal, but the last time I flew through Chicago was in January.

Its the first time I have flown on American since I self demoted to their mid tier. I am even putting these miles on my Alaska account to save me a flight in vain later this month.

For someone who used to calculate their status mileage to the last mile, things have changed.

With fewer expectations, I am less likely to be disappointed.

It will be the first time in over a year I have seen my aunties and TH's auntie. You don't get these chances all the time so we take them when we can.

We are also travelling in a time when the dollar is stronger. Fear not, I will not be hitting the boutiques on New Bond Street or Avenue Louise, but we are endeavouring to use cash we have on hand instead of paying international fees on our credit cards.

I will post as I can, don't get too excited. I am planning on hitting hamley's for a present for our new arrival and for me that is one of the coolest things that I get to do this year!

Lots of deicing going on here -- cross your fingers


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Monday, December 08, 2008

Hi bye

Leaving, busy, busy, busy.

See you all from somewhere else if I get packing done.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


I need a pedicure.

Long day, emergency meeting with emergency managers, much driving, good conversations, good lecture, good dinner.

I'm pooped.

I cannot fathom that this time next week I'll be in London.

JK -- do some groundwork for me. I'm sorry that we are not there at the same time, pish posh on work travel restrictions.



Tuesday, December 02, 2008


JK wants me to spend some dosh to keep the economy going and make sure she can retire. While her job is not tied to the manufacturing sector or retail, she wants me to help her retirement account by making the consumer confidence index soar and make you all buy more stocks.


Imagine if we had this conversation last year.

I took her up on the challenge. I bought a new tv (first one in 25 years), some cables for the tv, two dvds, some dog food, a few Christmas odds and bobs and groceries. That alone wiped me out...not so much financially, but mentally.

Tonight I plopped my credit card down three times to buy gifts. Really peeps, I should have gone to the cash machine and taken out the cash, it would have made it more real. I don't think I would have spent any more or less, I just would have felt it sooner.

I was emailing a girlfriend today who bemoaned not having any money -- on one level she doesn't have the expendable income she had before, but on the other hand she drives a nice car and lives in a pretty magnificent house and has seen no cut in pay.

How long before her kids realize that things are not so hot out there?

I remember the recession of early 80s. For the first time my parents really cut things back. We turned the heat down in our house and bundled into one room (our rec room) for eating, showering and hanging out. My mom would get up and make dinner with a coat on and honestly, it was pretty pathetic if you think about it. We lived a very affluent lifestyle, but my parents were worried about high heat bills and not spending more than we needed to. To this day, I would rather put on a sweater than turn the heat up past 60 degrees.

While I'm hoping this downturn doesn't last too long and do worry about my friends who small businesses, I am hoping that a few kids out there will not walk past a penny, learn to put on a sweater and squeeze the last bit of toothpaste out of the tube from now on.

Monday, December 01, 2008

heart stopping

Jaw dropping -all in a days work.

The market needs some mood stabilizers. We need to get our heads out of asses, our troops out of Iraq and Bush should just resign right now.

pissed and no where done with it


Sunday, November 30, 2008


Thank goodness for the end of the month.

Nothing to say.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Seven channels of television and nothing to watch.

Just saying.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

To ponder

I thought that a 40 in television would be puny. A 32 inch is ginormous in the space deemed appropiate for its entry into the house with no microwave. So alas back to the local purveyor of such goods to find a suitable substitute for such a luxury.

Just so you all know in the brave new world of consumer durables batteries are included but the 200 dollars worth of cables, gold plated hookup cables are not.

Nm causing citibank early detection fraud office some grief today
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Thursday, November 27, 2008


The yearly post, skip if you don't like sap.

My mom is healthy and disease free.
My father continues to thrive and drive my mother nuts.
My brother has found his dear soul mate and we cannot be more pleased to add her to the family.
Babies have entered our lives from every angle and are healthy and thriving and bring us hope.
Ernest continues to make us laugh.
My legs have taken me at least a thousand miles this year and that is a feat into itself.
TH remains my anchor and for that I am thankful.
We still have a roof over our heads, money in the bank and the freedom to travel.
The people spoke, voted and listened with their minds and their hearts and picked a new president.
My friends remain true, happy and always there when I need them and I would do the same for them.
I have connected with childhood friends and that makes me very happy.
My parents are nearby and while they do not need me, I am thrilled to have them within the same neighborhood.
I wake up every morning realizing that I am alive, healthy and living a life that I made for myself without a gun to my head or social stricture that narrowly defines my role.

For all this and more I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vive la republique!

Two things to note -- Banana Republic has marked a crap load of merchandise including coats and denim 40 percent off, how stimulating.

It is astoundingly easy to find seat availability to Paris in early March. Too late for sales, but timed just right with the end of the Brussels chocolate.

Okay, four things. I really will start blogging via the computer soon. I am so freaking tired when I get home the last thing I want to do is stare at a screen.

Fourth -- Friday marks the beginning of march of the Christmas cookie love fest. 15 or so batches lovingly made in the next week. Yikes.

Must dash, fifi requires my attention.

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Monday, November 24, 2008


Work buy dog walks sunny dahlia lounge joan baez bliss

Night night
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday wrap up

roman rooftops
sun, brunch, laugh, nap, visit, dinner, collapse

Really, that was it. Much deserved, much appreciated.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The grocery store the weekend before Thanksgiving is not for sissies.

Just sayin'

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Friday, November 21, 2008


summer seems so far away

Am I the only person in the world that has not heard of Twilight?

Am I the only person in the world that does not understand the draw of Radiohead?

Am I the only person in the world that believes that one should make gravy the day before Thanksgiving?

Okay, now that is off my chest, I'm bidding you all good night. Tomorrow should be a long day and I'm ready to nod off.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

i need to take some more pictures
Today in my first meeting of the day we were talking about social networking application in relation to projects that my organization uses for public outreach. Not only blogs, but facebook, youtube and twitter. Imagine -- updating your twitter to tell your constituent/data users that there is a new cruise's worth of bottle data available for their viewing or that you have updated the most recent model runs with last year's climatologies reanalyzed the way a MBA massaged the derivative markets in the last five years.

In some cases, I'm seeing amazing uses for some of these outlets. As long as you don't get sucked into them as a vortex that causes you amnesia and makes you forget why you started looking on the tubes of the internets in the first place. My guess is not to search the latest site for some library or API you might need to make the widget work better. ;)

Sending a text message about an update to a forecast might get more attention than the 100th reply all that is sent to a large newsgroup that should have just been addressed to the original poster. Linking with someone on and then recommending some connection who might have skills you need is also useful. I'm not a big facebook fan, but I'm sure there must be some reason that you would have a facebook page featuring marine protected areas, but I'm not sure quite why.

Hey, these days nothing shocks me.

signing off the tubes, they are filling with smoke as we speak.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good things

A seven pound box of jules destrooper biscuits and cote d'or goodies from Antwerp via Berkeley arriving on your doorstep.

Waking up at 4 am to pill a sleepy dog and have you TH offer to do it.

A chocolate cake with mocha buttercream frosting and a glass of cold milk.

Finding a dress three months before a wedding that all your friends and your mother agree on.

Having your basset sit on you feet while snoring quietly.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

persimmon solo

I have nothing witty to say today. I'm putting off canning quince preserves, making turkey stock and ironing a bunch of shirts.

It must have been all that sunshine that alluded us yesterday and showed up today to taunt us.

I was more than happy to come home at lunch and take the dog for a walk. I wanted so badly to find a sun patch and lounge for an hour. I did take my sweet time getting back -- running a few errands along the way to postpone the afternoon in front of this infernal machine.

In the fall and winter, I marvel at the kids I see walking to school in their shorts. We take advantage of even the weakest sun here in the 98105 to absorb any vitamin D. Today I did the same --- skirt with bare legs -- it appears that those hours sitting and reading in Lanai revived the little tan I procured this summer. I will milk it and enjoy it while I can because jeans and slacks are soon on the way.

I did draw the line at footwear. I have retired my flip flops until the temperature reaches 70 degrees, I do have my standards.

I am currently plotting another trip to Kauai. I'm not sure when (probably in mid April) and not at a resort, but maybe where there were old Plantation cottages with croquet grounds. All sorts of new and restrictive frequent flyer rules go into effect soon and I want to make sure that I get all my tickets in a row before I lose my favorite award redemptions.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

squash redux 2

Erm, I have consumer lust.

I am trying to contain it.

I may have to succumb.

Well, only with free shipping and another 300 dollars off and all that other good stuff and after I review my spending plan for the next quarter.

TH and I watched a bunch of movies when we were in Lanai. Really, there is absolutely nothing do there after the sun sets other than go to dinner or play canasta. I fell in love with a tv. I, who rarely watches any tv, but is now impressed with the clarity of Matt Damon's sweaty pecs on a 42" LCD HD tv.

Listen, I didn't even turn the puppy on to see what the regular stations looked like, I just want to watch Flight of the Conchords in living color.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

fall bulbs, cyclamen II

Today was an amazingly sunny and warm day, the kind that makes you check the calendar to really make sure it is the middle of November. Sixty degrees means gardening in short-sleeves, laundry that dries on the line, and prolonged bulb planting sessions that don't make your knees ache.

TH and I ran errands this morning -getting ready for Thanksgiving feasts and the days between those feasts. We purchased cranberries, potatoes, celery, carrots, brussel sprouts and chanterelles to be used for stuffing, dressings and chutneys. Blackberries, rhubarb, raspberries picked from the garden will be used for desserts. Hubbard squash and apple sauce will also appear on the table, whether I like them or not, they are standard fare and every year they disappear.

This year, our family has a lot to be thankful for -- marriages to happen, new life added to the family and more on the way, good health for all of us and hope, even among all the bad economic news that things are going to improve.

The next few weeks are going to be hectic. Work is ramping up with new projects, TH is swamped, yet more travel and the holidays are creeping up. I cannot believe how fast the year has gone by at times.

I hope things can slow down enough tomorrow that I can savor every moment in the warming autumn sun.


Friday, November 14, 2008

recession, what recession?

I will admit that we're all a bit on the edge about the economy. I hope this is what is contributing to my eight tums a day habit.

If you were to walk into a hip Seattle eatery on a Thursday night, you would be hard pressed to believe that we're in trouble peeps.

A couple of weeks ago, I ate at Poppy, Jerry Traunfeld's new place. While the food was good, the service was atrocious, the setting bland and cheap looking and the meal was expensive. The place was packed with hipsters galore and they just keep on coming.

Allen Wong's in Honolulu -- packed.

Barolo last night - at 8:30 -- packed, so packed that we came in and turned right back out and went to the Dahlia Lounge instead and still had to wait.

Tonight (I know, this is bad) , we got to Pair at 5:20 pm. We were one of the first people seated - by 6 pm, the resto was 3/4 full, by the time we left --7:30 pm it was packed.

None of these places would be considered inexpensive and my guess is that most of the people eating didn't save up their pennies for a once a month splurge. These are regular restaurant goers and they are still going in droves.

Maybe its because some of us are seeing the recession differently... I'm not so much hurt on a day to day level, but all the money we have carefully put away is dwindling away. Its not a bad place to be in comparison to many others. However, at times I feel guilty as heck for not staying home and eating rice and beans.

For some, grabbing dinner out is just sustenance and fuel. I believe these days, some of us are going out to dine finely only to be reassured by seeing others out enjoying a meal and not so much drowning our sorrows, but shoving them to the side to enjoy a fennel salad or a perfectly cooked veal chop and enjoy being entertained and being entertaining.

vip diner --

Thursday, November 13, 2008

getting better rice grain by rice grain

Dang, I'm tired.

4 am dog stomach coating sessions are really overrated.

The patient is much better.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nothing sucks more than trying to figure out what is wrong with your
tiny dog
This seriously sucks, but his grandmere has provided him with freshly poached chicken breast and we are being good dog moms and holding his paw

Poor ernest
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

15 minutes home and
laundry has started
Bag unpacked
Bag put away
Sick Dog walked
Mail sorted
Rice started for sick dog

Vacation is really

a. Over
b. Overrated
c. All of the above
d. None of the above
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Eternity --- five hours in Lahaina without wheels nor a need for a maui tee shirt.

So happy to be back in Lanai where TH and I were treated to a croquet lesson. Sweet.

Tomorrow we schelp back home.

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Here today

Gone to Maui

Lahaina to be more specific
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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Croquet with mai tai
Too many people by pool (can't drink at beach)
Bournes 1 and 2 watched

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Friday, November 07, 2008

We are in Lanai surrounded by pine trees and wild turkeys with nary a palm tree nor grass skirt in sight.

The middle of the island is lovely and cool. Approximately 15 degrees cooler than the beach.

I could get used to this.

Tomorrow we head to the beach and then siesta up at the lodge. The Lanai farmers market should be fun and so will walking around the very cute Lanai City.

Later taters
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Diamond head
Sherwood forest
Corner room with views of ocean and diamond head
Alan Wong tasting menu
A mild breeze lulls one to sleep
Aloha sweet dreams
Tomorrow lanai
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes you did

All I have to say is this restored my faith in America.

This is one of the happiest days of my life.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

who let the freaks out

This thread in particular.

Other than that, I am particularly looking forward to a large cup of hot chocolate and cookies and some sort of sleep aid tomorrow night.

If you haven't for some insane reason voted yet, for shits sake, if you don't tomorrow, I will be really pissed, even if you vote a completely republican ticket.

I am seriously amazed that in this day and age, people still just don't vote.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sunday wrap up

Dog park
Hanging with homies
Dutiful avoidiance of leaf raking and bulb planting
Dvd watching
Quince jam making
Lazy blackberry blogging
Good night
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Saturday, November 01, 2008

as far as the eye could see

Today is the beginning of NaBloPoMo. Really. I

Even with my desire to drink mai-tais and pretend that the last few months of this wretched back biting hideous makes you feel dirty campaign to pick our next commander-in-chief didn't unfold the way it has.


When we contemplated going away for a few days in November, I considered leaving on election day because well, we would be over the Pacific with absolutely no clue as to what happened for five lovely hours. Then I realized that that would drive me batty. In 2000, we thought we had it in the bag and lost it due to dirty Floridian politics and the election went on forever. It was not a happy time for us, Jacques was deathly ill and we were scared for our lives. We also missed nearly of a week of a ten day vacation to Italy to visit our friends and do some touring. The whole time we were in a haze. Every time we would think something would seem resolved, something else would hurtle us backwards. By the time we got to Rome -- via three I kid you not changes to our tickets (keeping our upgrades the whole way) and a detour to Milan we were nervous wrecks.

This time, it seems that we are nervous wrecks without a sick animal.

So, this Tuesday, I will tele-work so that I can get some uninterrupted writing time. I will shut off wireless so that I do not obsess. I will go to class at 6 pm as usual. What is my waiting around listening to NPR and do other that make me even more anxiety ridden? Our television is black and white, so this whole blue/red thing is not happening for us. I am definitely an aural person these days.

Again, I do not believe anything is sewn up until I see the newspaper headlines that are going to make me scream from the rooftops and cry with joy because we may actually regain a few civil rights and give this country some hope and glory that it desperately needs.

Don't you think so as well?

On Thursday, around 9:40 am, I am planning on drinking my first of many mai-tais -- ushering in good times for a few days in the sunshine and hopefully for the next four years.

If you get what you want -- election-wise what are you planning on doing?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Know someone who is being a bit waffley this election season or just complacent, or just not thinking their vote counts.

Well, get thee to this site and send them a little love note, with apologies to Ernest.

He already voted.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Saturday
I can't say it any better again.

The economy is still in the crapper. I went to the Vill today to pick up something from the pharmacy and decided to wander around. H&M was empty, lucky, Red Mango, Lucy, the Coach store and Victoria Secret, even the freaking Apple Store.

Fear not peeps, I did not go on a spending spree, I just noticed this as I walking by.

Well, okay, I bought a sweater at H&M, seventeen little 'droids on the sales floor and one could not be bothered to help me. I think I'll stick to catalog shopping and Nordstrom, in one case, I don't have to worry about being polite to the sales person. In the other case, I may actually get some customer service.

Gosh, if H&M is what is going to be the first step up the retail ladder to working in some small boutique in Belltown, managing a banana stand or an internship at Lucky Brands, these 'droids have got to learn a thing or two about personal interactions with their customers wielding cash.

nm would you like a belt to go with your hat?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Today I sat with childhood friends to support our incumbent governor and hear Al Gore discuss climate change and how far we need to go to change our lifestyles, our way of thinking and our dependence on fossil fuels. He is a great speaker, and while preaching to a choir of already fiercely democratic voters, I'm sure he enlightened more than one member of the packed room.

Gore also acknowledged a group of scientists that I am affiliated with who are assessing climate change impacts in the Arctic and others who work down the hall from me thatlook at how anthropogenic CO2 affects ocean acidification. My friend who accompanied me to this event, actually did some of this sampling off the West Coast.

Wouldn't it be cool to have your work highlighted?

It was wonderful to listen to a former vice president who understands the impacts of climate change, sea level rise, and necessity for better monitoring and assessment of these problems. Imagine life with a vice president who supports independence on foreign oil by doing more damage to the the Arctic Ecosystem and our near shore environments. I shudder and think and pray that it won't ever happen.

Imagine what we could do if we could start researching alternatives to fossil fuel- algae and other biofuels. We would be integrating biologists, chemists and engineers towards a greater good while solving some basic research issues.

Today I filled my tank up with gas that was under three dollars a gallon. Does the decrease in the price of gas mean that we'll continue our love affair with our car? Does this mean that we'll stop doing the practical and healthy things we have been easing into the last few months -- the carpooling, bike riding, and errand combining? Does this mean that you will get back behind the wheel of your SUV and drive for the sake of driving because dammit you can?

God I hope not.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

giving up/giving in

things from the market

Yesterday I had my lawn mowed and edged for the season. I held off for the whole year, but finally decided it needed doing. Now my lawn looks like it had a bikini wax, the normal, modest kind. Visualize it yourselves.

I hired the dog walker that takes care of Nicki, my neighbor's dog when he's out of town and Ernest's friend, Finnegan. Why? Because I just can't handle leaving work in the middle of the day. For some reason it breaks up my day to no end and Lord knows I am having a hard enough time focusing. So, when TH is gone, Ernest gets to hang with his homies and I get a break.

Giving in -- I am seriously reading too much news of the day and the news is giving me hives.

Giving up - reading too much news. I hate hives.

Larry David says it best.

The weekend is supposed to be sunny and beautiful. Other than dog walking, some distance walking if I can get it in and oven cleaning, I am going to try and put the long season garden to bed and soak in the sun. There is nothing I can do about my attractive thigh high tan before I go to Lanai, but at least my heart and soul can turn off the news and get back to basics.

over and out squeaking all the way

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

S is for Socialist

Happy saturday!


Honestly, this election makes me want to take three showers a day. I will be so happy when its over and we can focus our blogosphere on more important things like how to stretch a can of chicken noodle soup to last two meals and what it really means to be green.

As I tweeted earlier, every investment banker in the world can rot in hell.

God, I am so happy I have a job that is not dependent on the economy per se. I suspect that us scourges on the system (civil servants) will not see a COLA or a merit increase for the next four years. I see less travel and more videoconferencing. I see myself cringe when I see the bill for my professional society dues that I have to pay before I can justly chair or organize sessions in good faith.

I see some hard times past the two years some economists believe the "recession" is going to last. I see some hard choices that some of us are going to have to make. We are super lucky that we are blessed with a home, good jobs, no debt and some semblance of a dwindling nest egg.

I just hope this time we learn from this history that we are making.

If you have a few minutes while waiting for America's top model goes to rehab to come on - read Margaret Atwood's piece on the credit crisis and then turn off the boob tube or the laptop and go read a book.

nm which does not stand for neiman marcus

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A few things.

TJ's hors d'oeuvres for dinner are not a bad thing. Paired with a salad, its downright healthy.

I'm too bushed to cook. I am too scrimy to eat out, so its fridge clean out, pantry clean out and milk, lettuce, a few fun things and what is left at home is fair game. Today the Ernmeister hurked bile at 515 and things got fun after that, dog walk, gym, work, dog park, work, visiting the parentals, class, grocery store and more walks.

So, now I sit here, watching 30 rock on my friend's portable dvd player while trying to catch up on work. I am giving it three episodes and its curtains for me.

Boring here.

Oh, wait, if you are curious -- here is an amazing list of newspaper editorial endorsements -- the breadth and range of newspapers that have endorsed Senator Obama is amazing.

Other than that, I have signed up for the Seattle Half Marathon - I am looking to beat my split at Portland by 10 minutes. I better get cracking. I need to get some mileage in this weekend.

nm pro american and west of everything

Monday, October 20, 2008

blinding me with science

right before dinner, monday night

TH is in Iceland all week. She returns for about five hours and then turns around and goes right back out to Boulder. I am happy for her, she's getting some very deserved recognition for her work -- merging science, history and mapping along with her tireless efforts to explain to scientists that eventually all of this stuff needs to be explained to policy makers.

We call that dumbing down.

This year myself and a few of my colleagues on the other side of the country are looking to develop a workshop that will highlight some of these issues at our large annual meeting. We are trying to figure out the best way to do this -- teach people about how to use mapping technology for decision support. A lot of these folks have spent their careers developing programs and products to this for their own niche area which gives them the results they want. What we're trying to integrate is how all this works with the entire world -- not just a static image. We collect terrabytes of climate information daily that goes into huge models and gets churned, analyzed, reanalyzed, refitted, filtered, archived and visualized to predict climate variances or hazard assessment. How this fits in with our constantly changing world -- cities morph, road networks evolve, coastlines shift and all this information requires refreshing at a faster rate than most home grown programs can handle. It seems like the faster we pedal to figure out the best way to do something, something new comes up and changes the whole show.

I like it, most of the time.

I often wonder why I didn't pursue my second career that I spent three hard years in studio and the archives and returned to science. Maybe it was a comfort thing, maybe it was my lack of self confidence at designing master planned communities. I think the tools I picked up along the way -- project management, planning principles, some semblance of design theory along with the beginnings of a GIS background made me a better and more rounded researcher. If I had stayed in my job, I would have probably ended up a JAVA programmer writing code for one-off projects that may seen the light after the final report was written. I may have left my comfortable existence and gone to work for one, two or seven dot coms and made a ton of money to lose it all again.

Yeah, I'm a scientist. I can't help it. I am curious, I want answers and that is not a bad way to approach the world.

It has taken me ten years to become comfortable with this. I no longer pretend that this is just another break in my life and I'll find something that will make me astoundingly happy. I may complain at times, but every little blip I see a time series, every map we create that shows a level of risk and every discussion that engages policy wonks with scientists and has both parties coming out learning something new makes me realize that step by step, the things I do make some sort of difference.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hey JOE!


I spent the debate listening to McCain snivel and snort (note to self: call bro to ask him to analyze McCain's snort), twittering and replying to a long OMNI post on flyertalk.

I believe my presidential pick will occur and I for one and many of my friends and family will hug, scream and believe that we may have a chance for a better America.

Now I'm worried about our own gubernatorial race. Its so close. My focus and money is going towards keeping Christine Gregoire in office. She's done a good job so far and I would like her to do the same for the next four years. I just wish she was more willing to either retaliate to Rossi or just campaign dammit.

How about you? What are you doing to keep your local elected officials elected or new one's to fill their place.

nm the scientist

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

little one

Ernest's stomach has been punky for the last day. He's happy to do almost anything include eat, but clearly that is not agreeing with him. The vet examined him and said it was either something he tangled with (roast of beef?) or something that is going around the neighborhood -- a virus of sorts. He's seen lots of dogs with the same sort of symptoms.

Nothing is harder than denying your dog his dinner and doling out meager rations of white rice and chicken breast every four hours in hopes it will stay down.

Anytime he gets sick, I worry. I did not give birth to him, but I still feel like I have known him since his early weeks of life. To me, he is still perfect -- with very few things that could possibly go wrong with him at his young age. To see him feeling under the weather kills me. To have him look at me accusingly as I try to eat my dinner is even worse than death.

Its been almost 90 minutes since his 1/2 cup of rice and .5 oz of chicken breast. Here's to hoping it will stay down for the next 270 minutes. If not, its going to be a long night of Ernest, myself and the couch.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Um, I have stopped caring about the economy.

It only costs me 61 dollars to fill my tank every 10 days.

I have only now reduced my losses to half of my yearly salary (give or take), in the latest economic downturn! Everything is still okay! We are winning wars everywhere, the surge is working, people are happy with the dollar meal menu choices at McDonalds, Dancing with the Stars is still a big hit, and 90210 is back on the air. Long live the 80s, long live consumerism!

As for my money, after all, I'm whining about me. It should only take me five years to get it back if I want it in cash and still maintain a decent lifestyle of occasional travel, clothing purchases and new tires. I know my income did not decrease by 25-40%, but honestly, it just makes me not want to spend a penny unless I absolutely have to.

The brighter side -- we're all paying more attention to what the hell is going on with our money, right?

nm ready to keel haul an investment banker into shark infested waters

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Awesome 13.1 split
Slow second half
Not bad overall time
One blister
One lost toenail
3 cheers for TH and ernest who not only waited in the rain to cheer me on and tolerated my bitchy whiny obsession for the last two weeks

I am taking the week off from energetic persuits.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Estimated finish time

Underestimate and be surprised

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Is it o.k to want to hurl because you are scared out of your pants?

I'm so afraid that I will not finish this marathon tomorrow in time.

I'm afraid I can't make the distance.

I'm afraid that I'm going to lose at least one toenail on the course.

I'm afraid of failing.

At least the weather prognostication is for a few sprinkles and then overcast,so I'm not going to either overheat or get uncomfortably wet.


26 miles are easy, the last .2 will kill me.

Friday, October 03, 2008

wooden arrows galore - or I have nothing of note to say at the moment

Taken verbatim, only the names have been changed to protect the one innocent:

(11:18:29 AM) T_half: so wall street just got a 700B reward for fucking up
(11:19:49 AM) yo_naz: yup, and i may be able to retire before i am 89.
(11:20:02 AM) yo_naz: so what, there are 119 billion in ear marks in the new bill.
(11:20:11 AM) yo_naz: you want everything to go in the toilet?
(11:20:18 AM) T_half: politics as suual
(11:20:22 AM) T_half: usual that is
(11:20:44 AM) T_half: am not convinced that everything would go in the toilet if bill wasn't passed.
(11:20:57 AM) T_half: but we always need corporate socialism
(11:21:13 AM) T_half: we will be paying for this and the invasion of Iraq for the rest of our lives
(11:21:56 AM) T_half: i want the tradeoff to be a whomping excess profits tax - but that will never happen. look at the fricking oil companies
(11:22:22 AM) yo_naz: I personally think that every single non breeding individual who has no debt should get
a 5000 deduction this year for paying taxes that help the breeding non complying foreclosing 2008
car buying tivo and dish owning costco going 40K in credit card debt that will also be bailed
out later this year.
(11:22:42 AM) yo_naz: oh wait, another 500 dollar deduction for not
owning a storage unit.
(11:26:46 AM) T_half: i like that
(11:27:57 AM) yo_naz: Yah!
(11:28:04 AM) yo_naz: I'm going to have to blog that.