Saturday, November 24, 2012


When Facebook becomes a frenzy of "Things I'm Thankful For" in the month of November, I pull back.  Not because I'm against posting those things on Facebook - I've often posted about things I'm thankful for on FB, but for some reason the posts during November feel forced and insincere.

For me personally, posting like that in November almost diminishes the level of true gratitude I feel for the blessings in my life.

In every publication of the magazine Real Simple, there is a Thoughts page at the front with a quote for the month.  The December 2012 quote was

It is a miracle if you can find true friends, and it is a miracle if you have enough food to eat, and it is a miracle if you get to spend your days and evenings doing whatever it is you like to do, and the holiday season - like all other seasons - is a good time not only to tell stories of miracles, but to think about the miracles in your own life, and to be grateful for them.
~Lemony Snicket "The Lump of Coal"

I can rarely make it through that quote without crying.  One thing that really stuck out to me about the quote was it's focus on friendship.  I've been blessed beyond measure with some of the most wonderful friends. I also feel the quote sums up so beautifully that all of the blessings in life truly are miracles.  Every happiness, comfort and companion in my life could just as easily not be a reality.  How could a Facebook post, or even this blog, do justice in conveying my gratitude?  I cut the quote out of the magazine and framed it with the picture above.  It's a picture taken at my 30th birthday dinner.  While it doesn't include all of my dearest friends, it does include all of my friends that went with me to see Spring Awakening on stage in January 2011.  I think the combination of friendship, celebration, eating at one of my favorite restaurants (Dragonfish!) and the theatre connection make it a great match for the quote.  The frame will probably stay out all year, but I'll feature it prominently in my holiday decorations.

It's basically taking what others might post on Facebook and displaying it in my home as a visual, every day reminder of the miracles in my life.

Monday, November 12, 2012


My weekends have been crazy busy!  Here's a quick run down of what's been happening.

Last weekend I helped Beth pack her kitchen in preparation for her move to LA.  We had a mob that night in Tacoma (I know, so far!) so I brought all of my stuff to get ready there so we could carpool from her place.  Sara came over and then Jared and Janette came and picked us up.  We sang Wicked all the way there, which was perfect, because Beth and I had wanted another round of singing Wicked in the car before her move, but hadn't been able to find a time to do it.

The mob was a success - a swanky black tie fundraiser - so fancy!  It opened with a Lindy piece that Jared and I danced in for just a little bit at the end.  Shhh...don't tell - we didn't actually Lindy, we did...I think East Coast swing.  Not too shabby for learning it two nights prior in my living room - it even ended in a dip!

With Jen and Beth at the Tacoma Black & White Mob

The next day we had a ladies brunch - a chance for Christine to share her engagement story and our last "official" brunch before Beth's move.   That night Sara and I surprised Jared by going to one of his dance company performances.  It was fun to see a full one hour program and they even had some new routines that we hadn't seen before.  I'd show you some pictures, but we learned something weird about my phone.  Apparently (and supposedly this is common with cell phones) it takes a series of photos and then stitches them together for the best quality.  This resulted the THUMBNAIL version of my photos showing one thing...but then when you open the photo it's something different.  Oh, I guess I can show you one photo - it's super blurry though...

Splinter Performance - Jared Flying

The photo above (which I didn't bother to edit in any way so pardon the color) is the thumbnail.  If you open the file...he's almost landed.  Seriously.  Think about that for a second.  You HAVE the photo Phone!!!  Why won't you give it to me!?!?!?  So sad...

This weekend was also packed.  Friday night AJP went to go see the Microsoft Theater Troupe's production of Hello Dolly!  You didn't know Microsoft had a Theater Troupe??? neither. :-)  Getting there (to the Microsoft campus is Redmond - why are we traveling internationally so much!?) was hilarious.  Thank goodness we gave ourselves plenty of time because we definitely had trouble locating the correct garage that would lead us to the "Building 31 Cafeteria." There was a lot of laughing, which is pretty standard for us.  We had 5 friends in the show, and actually during the show I realized I knew the sister of one of the other cast members - they all did a GREAT job!

Saturday was a day with Lindsay!  We've been trying to find a date to see the King Tutankhamun exhibit at the Pacific Science Center since...ummm...June?  When I bought the tickets for her birthday.  We had a great day running around downtown, Seattle Center, and the museum.  We had a little bit of time to explore the rest of the Science Center before going into the King Tut building, and we had a lot of fun taking pictures in the butterfly house!


The exhibit was great - apparently it's the last stop for this artifact tour before it all goes back to Egypt...I think "forever."  My favorite ancient artifacts are objects of everyday life and there were a few items like that in the exhibit - like a bed.  I thought it was interesting to learn that there were attempts (by the ancient Egyptians) to erase King Tut from history, and here he is, the most well known of all of the pharaohs.

Sunday was the engagement brunch for Byron and Christine! Tasty and joyous - it's was the perfect kick off to what will be a year of celebrating.

Kingfish Cafe

Now I'm attempting to stop my apartment from being nominated for the next season of Hoarders.  I'm not really sure how it ends up in such shambles when I'm never here!  My place needs to be organized and ready for Christmas before Thanksgiving (a first for me).  I really think the whole holiday season will run more smoothly if that happens.

By the way...Jared is on to me.  He asked if my fake blog was a real blog.  I responded with an explanation of how I've never been successful at journaling or blogging my whole life - basically dodging the question without actually saying I didn't have a blog.  So Jared...when you read this blog some day, here is my apology to you: I'm very sorry I lied by omission - I hope you can forgive me!

Friday, November 9, 2012


Pizza box art by Byron - Explanation of photo far below

I don't love a good debate, so when it comes to politics, I have my opinions, but I have no desire to argue with anyone about them or convince everyone that I'm right.  I tend to say "I'm not political" but in truth it's more that I'm just quiet about my politics.  I'll set that aside for this post, in honor of the election earlier this week, but my intent is for this post mostly focus on what I witnessed this election rather than how I voted.

The right to vote...

A month before the election I posted the following on Facebook:

My Facebook page stays pretty non-political, 
but as we are a month out from the next presidential election, 
I'd like to encourage everyone to consider voting.

How ever you vote, and whether or not you do, 
please take a moment to be grateful 
for living in a country where you have that choice.

Yes, while I'm incredibly grateful that I am able to vote, it is equally important that I have the choice to vote if I wish.  I never really thought about that until the 2008 election when a friend of mine was being lectured by someone else because she said she wasn't voting.  That's when I recognized the value of that choice.

The act of voting...

In Washington we vote by mail.  It's brilliant.  It makes me a little nostalgic when I think of the voting stations set up at my elementary school, and I still tear up when I heard stories about people waiting in line for hours to vote, but...they really shouldn't have to wait in line for hours!  It's 2012!  (That said, I'm totally against moving to online voting!)  The only downside to our mail in system is that our ballots can be POSTMARKED until 8pm on election day, which means it can take several days for ballots to received, verified and counted.

The weight of your voice...

It's no secret, Washington is true blue state.  I have friends who feel like their votes don't count because our electoral votes will end up being cast as Democratic.  Right now, in Washington...that may be the case, but your vote IS still important.  This year we saw some CLOSE races across the country, and we're seeing the demographics of our voters shift.  Truly, anything is possible.  You certainly have the right not to vote, but I hope your choice isn't based on the belief that your vote doesn't matter.  In Washington, we're still counting ballots, and for some of our races every vote DEFINITELY counts.

The crowd awaits...

I've never gone "out" on election night - until this year.  Being "not very political," I can't stand watching political coverage.  I hate the hashing and rehashing of statistics, projections, and the blah, blah, blah of it all.  It was the promise of pizza with friends that lured me to a restaurant on Tuesday night, where I sat with my back to the tv.  "You can tell me when something exciting happens," I told my friends.  It turns out, they didn't have to tell me - the ENTIRE restaurant did.  With cheers and shouts and clapping and booing.  The energy was incredible.  At 8:30 I tweeted "First time I've ever watched election results in public-it's definitely more fun this way. Especially when you're winning :-) #Election2012"

Oh, Team Pizza?  Team Pizza is a long running joke between Byron and me.  It's actually sports related - from when we went for pizza one Sunday and when the waiter approached us he listed off two team names as a question (as in, which team are you rooting for).  We stared at him blankly for a second before saying "Um...we're here for pizza...?"  That's what we get for eating in sports bars.  Luckily, Team Pizza lent itself very well to election night - jokes about food were definitely all over social media that day.

Being in that restaurant looked and felt like when people gather somewhere to watch sports (or so I've heard...I've never really done that), but I didn't really appreciate the magnitude of the election until today - a few days later.  All of those people - the country, and on some level - the world were watching the results just as attentively as they (not I) would watch any sporting event...but what we were witnessing was so much greater than ANY game.  It was the result of the actions of the entire country as a whole - whether or not you voted.  It was more REAL than any newsroom, headquarters or rally could convey.  While our system isn't perfect, election day is truly representative of the beauty of our system at work.

The results are in...

I don't think I need to tell you who won the presidency.  I'm sure you have that figured out.  But depending on where you live, you may or may not have heard about Referendum 74 - a bill in Washington State allowing same sex couples to marry.

I've already said I'm not here to fight [with anyone on my secret blog], but I will say that the only "real" arguments I've heard against Ref 74 always come back to religion, and this bill, as written, does not force any religion to recognize same sex marriage.  What it does is keep a healthy separation of church and state while allowing consenting, loving individuals of the same gender the equal rights and securities of marriage that I am allowed as a heterosexual.  I absolutely respect the right of each religion to choose what they are willing to recognize as a marriage within their church, but I feel it is a disgrace to tell two adults that they can not legally be married based on their gender.

I hope that in my lifetime we will say "Remember back when our gay friends weren't allowed to marry everywhere in this country?  We've come so far!"  At least I know I can look forward to telling my children about the day we voted for marriage equality in Washington State and won.

The celebration continues...

By the time we were done eating dinner, most news sources had projected that Obama would be re-elected, but Ohio still hadn't been called.  Things were looking positive (for Obama and Ref 74 - despite less than half of the votes being counted in Washington State) and we knew by Twitter and Facebook that people were beginning to gather at 10th & Pike in our neighborhood to celebrate.  Since we were already out and about, we decided to check it out.  What a scene!  I'm so grateful that I was able to witness the 1000+ people taking over the streets that evening.  Roads blocked off, music playing, people dancing, people singing, champagne being sprayed everywhere - it was insanity.  In a good way.  Christine, Sara and I borrowed some signs for a quick pic...

Photo by Byron

...and we spend the night wandering around - enjoying and participating in all of the merriment.  Thanks to my backup phone charger, by the end of the night I had one of the last functioning cell phones on the hill and tried to snap as many pics as possible.  Unfortunately lighting wasn't ideal, but I did catch some decent (for phone) video footage.  I sorted through it that night and managed to piece together 7 or so clips into a little montage of the joyous highlights.  Knowing that it wouldn't be relevant if I didn't post it IMMEDIATELY - I stayed up and wrestled with iMovie.  Even though everything I create in that program is mostly by accident, I did manage to create and publish a short video on YouTube...

Shaky and blurry, it conveys the spirit of election night much better than any of my photos will be able to do.  My plan of going home after dinner and doing laundry that night didn't pan out, but instead I witnessed history in the making, and for that I am incredibly thankful.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Darling Halloween

This Halloween may be the only time in my adult life that I seriously put thought into my outfit.  Those who know me know that I'm not a huge fan of costuming.  In most cases I don't find it very fun, and I don't enjoy the time, energy, and money that goes in to the whole ordeal.

Enter Flash Mobbing...

As a result of flash mobbing, not only do I have costumes, but I have a costume TOTE.  I still remember that first piece...the poodle skirt for the Grease mob.  I knew it the start of long downward spiral into costuming.  As if flash mob attire didn't already have a list of considerations...once you add a costume component, it's amazing I'm able to put anything together.

Halloween 2011 was the first time we did a Halloween Mob.  There is a section of my neighborhood that goes ALL OUT for Halloween.  No, seriously - take whatever you just pictured...and then times it by 10.  It feels like you're walking onto a movie set.  Streets closed to traffic, fog machines, amplified sound, strobe lights, people everywhere, every house decorated, most with elaborate's amazing.  Even though I don't necessarily love Halloween - I couldn't shut up about how I loved EVERYTHING about the neighborhood that night.

We learned that the trick-or-treat crowd is an exceptional mob audience - dancing there was a blast!  This year we knew that we were going to mob on Halloween again, so at the "Last BBQ of the Summer," Sara, Jared, and I started discussing what out costumes would be for the mob.  (If it's not clear already, if there were no mob, I would not bother with a Halloween costume at all.)  We didn't necessarily set out to plan coordinating outfits, but at some point Sara asked "Are there any Disney trios that we could be?"

After my suggestion of the Three Fairies was shot down multiple times, I changed gears and said "What about Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, and Wendy?"  Somehow it all fell into place.  Jared MADE the majority of his outfit - the hat, the modifications of his top, his belt.  He's amazingly crafty.  Beth had a Tinker Bell costume that she had made last year that Sara was able to borrow.  By some miracle, I was able to find a woman on eBay who makes a variety of basic nightgowns - one of them was PERFECT for Wendy.  Perfect shoes were found at Payless, and my sash and hair bow were made out of blue tulle - which I already had on hand.

I'll say it - we were adorable!  Like I said, it's the first time I've ever really cared about a costume (as an adult) and it's certainly the first time I've put that much effort into coordinating.  The flash mob was a success - even though we reused our Summer Mob and danced to What Makes You Beautiful & Call Me Maybe - and the weather cooperated which allowed us to perform four times.

There's no official video but a few have popped up on YouTube.  This one doesn't include the Opening or the Call Me Maybe sections, but I like the angle because it was shot from someone's window or balcony.  Plus the people filming it sound excited that we're dancing - always a plus. :-)

We had a few little girls that jumped in and started dancing with us - they were awesome!  The highlight of my night was talking to the "lead" girl after one of the performances.  After giving her a high five she asked "Is this a JOB!?!" I told her it was more of a hobby. :-)  She had a few more questions about flash mobbing and then asked "Can *I* be a part of your hobby??"  I told her "I think you already are - you're dancing with us!!"  So cute!!

Then her friend started asking about my "rings" (we were wearing LED finger lights) and I told her they were from my friend Tinker Bell and that I should probably go find her and Peter Pan.  Jared walked up right then, and the moms asked if the two of us would pose with the girls for a photo.

I felt like I worked at Disneyland for five minutes - It was AMAZING!!!! :-D

How can we top it next year?

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