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Monday, February 21, 2011

The Wider the Generation Gap....

....The more job security I have:

+ I support 4 people who collectively hold 2 MDs, 2 PhDs, an MHP, published hundreds of papers, and are leading experts in the fields. However, volume control during a conference call appears to be the stumper of their careers. It’s why they keep me around. 

+ On a regular basis I “wow” my boss with my computer “expertise”. I think he likes to find ways to stump me.  Recently he had a burn on the screen that can usually be remedied with a screen refresh or just restarting the computer.  The screen refresh wasn’t working so I told him to restart before he goes home.  The next day he calls me into his office and excitedly gestures to the screen.  “Look! It’s still there!” he exclaims so triumphantly satisfied with himself.  I ask, “Did you restart your computer?”  With a sheepish guilty look as if being scolded by his mother, “Well, no.”  When I asked him why not, equally as guilty, he responds, “I do not know how to turn it back on.”

I'm not the one with a PhD/MD but I can turn a computer on. That's why they keep me around.

+ Our new Windows 7 phone have a new fancy voice recognition program so that you can voice activate dial, search, etc.  However when English isn’t your first language the search function gets confused.  For example, when you say Jose, its hears, “Hot Sex.”  No joke. 


I will forever remember the smell of her cigarette mixed with the aroma of her make up and perfume.  I’ll remember the many conversations we’d have outside on the porch will she’s tap her cigarette ashes into the top of an empty 7 Up can and then look over, give a sly smile and a wink.  I’ll always remember her seemingly infinite supply of Oreo cookie, gum drops, dum dums and peppermint candies.  She savored chicken bones (the candy) and regular trips to Seattle’s international district for dim sum where she and my grandfather met at a dance hall in the 1940s.    

As a self-declared beautician, taught me how to put make up for the first time.  She taught me the importance of nail care, facials, skin care and made me promise I’d never smoke (like she did for 65+ years) as it was a nasty habit (also true). My shopping-gene was surely a gift from her as we could shop for hours and only stop because the stores were closing.  She made the best banana cream and lemon meringue pie which I have still yet to master.

Sister and I spent a couple summers in Alaska where Grandma called home for 30+ years.  We painted birdhouses and watched for eagles. Like any good grandmother, she let us eat whatever we wanted including those delicious brown sugar and cinnamon pop tarts that were banded from our house, but staple for breakfast at grandma’s house. Her toy poodles Nikki and Sassy kept her constant company and she always made sure Grandpa had his supply of Michelob and pistachios to last the Alaskan winters.

She also most kind and generous person will to give away whatever she owned.  She was concerned about the well-being of others and would go beyond expectation to serve those around her.

She was an infinite pool of wisdom and when you thought she was being serious, her crystal clear blue eyes would look right through you and she say, “Marry for money.” And with a wink and head nod, you knew she meant it. And you’d both laugh hysterically knowing she truly believed it but how ridiculous it sounded.  We’d joke and laugh. We were friends.  I’m pretty sure she’s the first person I ever heard swear, I can’t prove it but it seems about right.

She lived the life of seven feisty women. She was no saint but she was true and essence of survival and compassion.   She had a smoker’s voice and laugh and a mother of 5, wife to a few, friend and confidant to many.

Age wreaked havoc on her body.  Arthritis had turned her master seamstress hands into knobby crooked extensions of her body that made it very difficult to do the things she loves like crochet, sew and cook. She survived cancer, an array of broken bones, pancreatic issues.  She was a survivor of her time and station in life from being a seamstress as a way to feed her family to boutique owner to as a way to pass the time as ship captain’s wife.

The last time I saw my grandma in August of 2009 where she knew her mind was going but would still have moments of lucidity where my grandma who I knew and love was fully present. We’d sit next to each other, she’s hold my hand and share the gumdrop jar like it was as normal as breathing.  Whenever I saw her we’d joke how I was getting taller and she was getting shorter. We’d shower each other with compliments of who was more beautiful. 

In the last few years of her life when she thought her end was coming close, she used to joke that the Lord was just torturing her here as He wasn’t ready to have her Home yet.  That she wasn’t done cause trouble here on earth, or more accurately the Lord wasn’t ready for her to come home to cause more trouble in Heaven. 

My heart is fleetingly saddened by her passing but I know, without hesitation that when she arrives at the pearly gates they will be opened wide and she welcomed by the loving arms that have gone on before her.  Without pain, without heartache, free from the confines of her deteriorated body and into the presence of the Lord she believed so strongly in.

Grandmas I believe are comforters, friends, confidants, secret keepers, and cheerleaders.  Grandma D was just that, and so much more. 

The sun is shining here today and I know the warmth it brings today is her spirit, the shadow of her kindness and comfort on her hugs from above. Until we share gumdrops again, you’ll be missed.

May 17, 1928 - February 18, 2011

Date Night

It’s not very often I get taken out on a date.  (You're shocked, I can tell.) However few, I have been on some pretty great dates. 
Saturday night was one for the history books. Because I love surprises, I asked him to keep it a secret.  So, in three parts, I give you a pretty great date: 

Stage 1 - Elliot Bay Books
Elliot Bay books is Seattle largest independent bookseller that recently relocated from Pioneer Square to Capitol Hill.  It is also a place that makes my heart pitter-patter and light-up with excitement. I tried to contain my excitement we arrive in a effort to not play the crazy-card too early.

He planned an activity where we were to find the following 5 books:

1.)    Our favorite book from childhood (The BFG)
2.)    Our favorite book from our teenage years (Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry)
3.)    A book that changed our lives (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
4.)    A book we could read over and over again (The Great Gatsby)
5.)    A book we want to read (How to choose? Really?)

We divided and conquered and reconvened to talk about our selections.  A dreamboat, a book store, and book talk; the evening was off to a great start.

Stage 2: Dinner at Serafina

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I’ve got some things on my mind.  Such as the following:   
  • The definition of counter-productive: Eating chocolate while cutting an apple. Also, walking and eating chocolate.
  • I am constantly on a quest for the perfect deodorant. I found it.  Life is complete. 
  • Things we don’t get in our building: Heat, AT&T cell phone reception (which will be great for our new phones) and radio reception. 
  • Sometimes I love country music more than any other genre. Which makes me ask: who wants to go Sugarland with Sarah Bareilles on July 18th with me? 
  • I have a giant picture window at my desk and it make sunny day’s like today amazing. Plus the days are getting longer which doesn’t make me want to crawl into bed at 3:30.
  • Last Saturday was the first last Saturday of the month in January I haven’t had to work in 4 years.
  • Adding to the list of Things That Are Impossible: Getting a Venezuelan citizen into the UK. Absolutely Impossible. 
  • Adding to the list of Things That Are Possible: Getting a Venezuelan citizen into Turkey. Not only possible but way easy.
  • Turns out “telephony” is a word.  For a second I thought they were making cuss up. 
Those thoughts are only tertiary behind the state of the world and how to cure HIV/AIDS.


Conversation of the Morning:

PB:  so I don’t know if you've seen the new Rihanna S&M video...but there’s a large scene with an asian shirtless guy tied up on a mattress and she's taunting him…why yes, that would be James the model I dated this summer
Me: shut. up.
PB: Yep, he actually gets a lot of camera time
PB sends link, I click on link
Me: hmmm, I might have to watch that at home seeing as there is a parent advisory on it....
PB: lol, wait hold on, no it’s not that bad
Me: ....the title is S&M…..
PB: lol, well….
Me: Jenn Chan, I cannot watch a video named S&M with your half naked ex-dater in work.

We live in different worlds. Obviously. 

Conversation of the Afternoon

After dialing in to a conference call:

SBB:  Who’s on the call?
Me: Mike, David, Sara
SBB:  Ahhh geez, I have to write this down; I can’t remember these gringo names
Me: Maybe you don’t want to say that on speaker phone during the conference call (presses mute button)
SBB:  Eyes get real big. Hand over mouth.

We both laugh. 

My Night

E:  Hey, are you at work…?
E: of course you are, it’s 4:30…
Me: Yeah, what’s up?
E: Well, I’m in Bellevue.
M: Ok..
E: ummmm....can you come get me?
Me: (Silence…..wait for it)
E: I got arrested.
Me:  (erupt into laughter)…oh sorry.

Thus followed as series of phone calls to find someone who can drive a manual transmission, AND was available to go to Bellevue at the last minute during rush hour traffic AND get me home because I walked to work that morning and was without a car .  Through small miracles and the goodness of one SR, in less than 2.5 hours all were home, safe and sound.

That was my night.