Sunday, December 31, 2006

My Superhero Personality

Your results:
You are Superman

You are mild-mannered, good, strong and you love to help others.

Both Sides Now

The end of yet another year bring a time of reflection about the past year and more. And a chance to think about the future from a slightly different angle. Tomorrow begins a whole new year and I wonder what is in store for me.

I recall a conversation with my sister several years ago when she shared with me that she has gone back throughout her life and defined each year with a single word or phrase to sum the activities, experiences and lessons learned for the year. As a result of that conversation I often do the same at the end of each year. I have yet to go back through my life and define the theme for each year but my theme's from the past few years are:

2002 - Cancer
2003 - Raw
2004 - Where do I go from here?
2005 - A new life

This has been an amazing year for me. I welcomed my first nephew into the world. I learned a tremendous amount about myself. I succeeded at work. I did very well in school. I have nurtured and loved those around me. I have seen the best in others. I have seen the worst in others. I have been hurt. I marked another year in a cancer free life. And I am a better person for it all.

I always thought that the song Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell was kinda stupid. I heard it again this fall and had a whole new appreciation for it. I have seen the world from both sides now and although I sometimes miss seeing it as a child, I appreciate the lessons that seeing it as an adult have taught me and realize that even with that knowledge every year brings surprises and changes that I really can't anticipate.

Tears and fears and feeling proud to say "I love you" right out loud,
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds, I've looked at life that way.
But now old friends are acting strange, they shake their heads, they say I've changed.
Something's lost but something's gained in living every day.

I've looked at life from both sides now,
From win and lose, and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall.
I really don't know life at all.

So now I head into 2007. I don't know how it will all end but I have a few things that I hope are big parts of 2007 including learning and growing at work, succeeding at school, spending time with friends that I adore, watching my nephew grow and taking it all one day at a time.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Top 10 Albums of 2006

My favorite radio station sponsors voting for "The Top 10 Albums" of the year. I voted for my favorites earlier this month and the results from the voting of KMTT listeners were announced last week. I decided to publish my own Top 10. After great deliberation and checking my iTunes statistics I have decided that my top 10 for 2006 is as follows:

#10 - St. Elsewhere
Gnarls Barkley

#9 - Live From The Mountain Music Lounge Vol 12
103.7 The Mountain Artists

#8 - Sing-a-longs & Lullabies for the film Curious George
Jack Johnson

#7 - I Sing the Body Holographic
New London Fire

#6 – Back to Bedlam
James Blunt

#5 - Eyes Open
Snow Patrol

#4 - Barenaked Ladies Are Me
Barenaked Ladies

#3 - Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat
Carbon Leaf

#2 - Eye To The Telescope
KT Tunstall

#1 - Dreaming Through the Noise
Vienna Teng

My Best Christmas

It's no surprise to anyone who knows me well that I absolutely love Christmas music. I am always adding to my collection and planning my annual Christmas CD. I have noted for the last few years that there seems to be one song that stands out and sums up exactly what I am feeling that season.

For this year that song would be The Best Christmas by Christopher Cross. The older I get the more I realize that Christmas changes. I used to be sad these changes, now I know that it's just part of life. There have been some major milestones that have marked major changes in Christmas for me including finding out the truth about Santa, divorce, moving miles away from home, marriages and new family traditions; and with these changes I have found myself remembering how things used to be (okay, now I really sound old) and missing "My Best Christmas."

When I took the time to really listen to this song this year it really touched my heart. I now know that many of my celebrations from the past that I remember fondly can be classified in the "Best" category, as well as present celebrations and those in future and all for different reasons.

It's hard to believe that the holiday season is winding down and is nearly over. I am not quite ready to let go and think that the tree and decorations will have to stay up until the first week of January, for sure! :-)

Lyrics for My Best Christmas by Christopher Cross

Now many many years ago
And still my heart recalls
The gifts beneath the Christmas tree
That stood so very tall
Papa singing Christmas songs
While Mama danced and smiled
That was my best Christmas
When I was just a child

We built a snowman in the park
We dressed him up so fine
We were young and life was fun
The world was yours and mine
Beneath the mistletoe we kissed
I whispered I love you
That was my best Christmas
When you said you loved me too

So let's sing Merry Christmas
And hang our Christmas star
A very Merry Christmas
The very best so far

We woke up to a mountain snow
The windows locked in ice
Miles from home no telephone
The earth lay frozen white
The radio played Christmas songs
That was my best Christmas
Snowed in all day with you

The city wore it's Christmas clothes
Carols filled the air
Girls and boys and shiny toys
Shoppers filled the squares
Candy canes hung from a cradle
Stocking hung by the door
That was my best Christmas
The year our child was born


Now many Christmas Days we've shared
And once again we are
Glad of those that still live close
And missing friends afar
So now well make our Christmas wish
And pray that it is heard
For every ones best Christmas
And Peace upon the earth


Ah Beer!

Storage tanks outside Pyramid Ale House in Seattle.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Soundtrack Of My Life

I am a huge fan of Soundtracks and I have always wondered what the songs I would put with the different chapters of my life should it ever become a movie. Well, I picked this up from a fellow blogger's site recently. I would like to give credit to said friend, but unfortunately I can't remember where I saw it, sorry. :-(

I followed the directions, I didn't cheat and the following is what I got with commentary from me in italics following some of the entries.


1. Open your music library
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool - first songs only

Opening Credits
Crossroads - Jim Brickman

Waking Up
Kinda Nice, I Like It - The Pretenders

First Day at School
Sase (Sassy) - George Winston
Sassy? Me? Okay, you're right.

Falling in Love
My Eyes Adored You - Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Well it wouldn't be the soundtrack of my life without Mizah Georgia.

Fight Song
American Baby - The Dave Matthews Band

Breaking Up
Lullabye for a Stormy Night - Vienna Teng
Very comforting song and fitting for a break-up scene.

I Grieve - Peter Gabriel
The week prior to Prom held some grieving for me!

Life is Good
Act Two: Take Chance On Me - Jenny Galloway/Nicolas Colicos - Mamma Mia Soundtrack

Mental Breakdown
Master Blaster (Jammin') - Stevie Wonder

An American Symphony (Mr. Holland's Opus) - The London Metropolitan Orchestra
Fitting unless they have me going in reverse.

I Love You - Sarah McLachlan

Getting Back Together
Mambo Italiano - Bette Midler
I have no idea how this fits.

Taking You Home - Don Henley
Kinda ironic that I picked this song for wedding #2.

Paying Dues
Manic Depression - Phil Brown
I don't think I have ever listened to this song.

The Night Before The War
Ribbon In The Sky - Stevie Wonder
So maybe my war is a war of love?

Final Battle
Toy Soldiers - Carbon Leaf

Moment of Triumph
Brothers On A Hotel Bed - Death Cab For Cutie

Death Scene
Boccherini Minuet - The Boston Pops

Funeral Song
Everything About It Is A Love Song - Paul Simon
Kinda of creepy when you listen to it with a funeral in mind.

End Credits
Carnival Town - Norah Jones

Suzy is 38 Today

Not a gray hair in sight, hard to believe. So it begs the question - is it colored?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

James Brown Remembered, Kinda...

With the passing on James Brown this week I have thought over and over about this old Eddie Murphy sketch from SNL. I am not a huge James Brown fan but this cracks me up, still. :-)

Monday, December 25, 2006

My Clever Mother

Humm... I wonder what's in here?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Crust remnants

Small squares of pie crust remain from the my top crust maker.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Fabulous Christmas Eve Eve

I had a fabulous day today. It's as if the stars all aligned in realization that I needed a perfect day to forget the stress that I faced this week. Between the *shit* at work, the weather, the traffic, the rush that is the holiday season and fighting off a cold I found myself in need of a day just like today.

I woke up early but then decided I needed more sleep so I rolled over and went back to sleep shortly thereafter and I ended up waking up at 9:20 a.m. I showered and dressed and organized myself for the day ahead.

After I sped through the Starbucks drive-thru to pick up my favorite holiday beverage my silver sleigh was headed full-speed towards holiday fun. I scored the prime parking spot at the mall (4 spots from the door) and I quickly picked up a few last minute holiday items.

After a few other holiday errands I stopped by David's Bridal to take a look at the dress I have to wear for a wedding in June 2007. I was nervous about the whole thing but to my surprise not only did they have the dress but they had it in my size and in the right color, so I tried it on and if fit perfectly, a little on the short side but perfect everywhere else. :-) Now for those of you that have been in weddings in the past you can agree with me that the dress never comes together that easily.

I then headed home to drop off my treasures. I grabbed my laundry and headed out again. I ran by the salon for a quick haircut and waxing and forty minutes later walked out with wet yet super curly hair. My hair is always super curly right after it's cut.

I then headed up to the top of the hill to the laundromat and started three loads of laundry. I walked across the street and picked up the last few groceries that I need to put together my contributions to Christmas dinner and walked back to throw my clothes into the dryer. Then it was off to Starbucks for a few minutes of relaxation with a perfect sandwich and a cup of coffee.

I folded my laundry packed it up and wasn't quite ready to go home so I decided since it was Christmas Eve Eve a trip through Candy Cane Lane was in order. Following my overdosed of holiday lights and a hug from Santa I was headed home.

My evening at home was perfect. I finished putting together the gift that I am most excited to give this year. I finished my wrapping, snacked on a frozen pizza, drank good wine, listened to Christmas music and spent 2 hours and 18 minutes on the phone with my best friend Jenna.

I am now ready to head to bed. I have my Christmas to-do list nearly complete, just a little bit of baking in the morning and it's all done.

It's almost here and I can hardly wait. Here is hoping that your Christmas Eve Eve was a fabulous one too.

Grandma's Turkey Sandwich at Starbucks

This is a fabulous sandwich complete with turkey, dressing, cranberry relish, mayo and lettuce. YUMMY!

Stuffing Mix

Don't want to make homemade stuffing because it's too much work? Apparently this holiday they have thought of everything and are selling pre-chopped veggies. :-)

New carts

I love the new mini carts at the grocery store.

Friday, December 22, 2006

What King of Gift Giver Are You?

You Are a Sentimental Gift Giver

Your gifts are warm, caring, and very personal.
You know that it's the thought that counts...
And you definitely put the most thought behind your gifts.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Best of Christmas Vacation

Just in case you haven't had a chance to watch Christmas Vacation yet, here is a video with the best lines from the movie. He, he, he... :-)

Happy Birthday Jenna!

Today is my best-friend Jenna's birthday! For the last 18 years I have been lucky enough to have her in my life. I can always count on her to listen to me and pick me up when I am down and celebrate with me when I am up. When I need a friend, even if I don't realize that I do, she is always there. I love that I can be cheesy and silly and totally myself with her.

So "Nena" on this anniversary of your birth I sent you tons of love and wish you the very best day ever. I hope that the coming year is filled with many dreams come true and thanks for everything you do for me!

My 12 Days of Christmas Gifts

WOW! Look at all the wonderful things I have to look forward to. :-)

For the twelve days of Christmas, your true love will send you:

Twelve street musicians drumming
Eleven candycanes a-sticking
Ten gymnasts a-leaping
Nine ladies singing
Eight goats a-milking
Seven rumballs a-drunkening
Six kittens a-meowing
Five golden necklaces
Four calling telemarketers
Three French tourists
Two starving Olsen twins
And a crazy homeless person in an apple tree

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What Is...

Today was a difficult day. Nothing seemed to go right and at the end all I can say is the quote that was repeated to me over and over again by several colleagues throughout the day.

"It is what it is."

Things that "is" include...

  • I hate cheap silverware.
  • I sincerely believe that the USPS tried to make sending mail "certified" as difficult as humanly possible.
  • I greatly dislike people who claim to be experts in things they know absolutely nothing about.
  • I value people that work hard and do what they say they will do.
  • Cameo apples are yummy!
  • I have a difficult time having respect for people who *know* how great they are.
  • I hate when people give me nicknames after knowing me 10 minutes. In my world, the right to give me a nicknames and/or call me by a nickname is earned.
  • Just because a movie has the word "Santa" or "Christmas" in the title does not ensure that it's worthwhile and sentimental.
  • I am tired.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Are You A Grinch?

You Are the Furthest Thing From Grinch

You love and live for the holidays. You even love the Grinch!
You're in the holiday spirit year round... because you're all about celebrating and giving.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Glowing Wine

An Italian dinner and a movie with my colleague and friend Laurie is exactly what I need tonight.

Which of Santa's Reindeer Am I?

You Are Prancer

You are the perfect reindeer, with perfect hooves and perfect flying form.

Why You're Naughty: Because you're Santa's pet, and you won't let anyone show you up.

Why You're Nice: You have the softest fur and the sweetest carrot breath.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Red Sunrise over Downtown

Mom always said, "Red skies at night sailors delight, red skies in morning sailors take warning." We don't need any more bad weather in Seattle so I am hoping this sunrise doesn't mean anything.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Heather thinks that there would be lovely on my front door. What do you think? She just wants me to be able to say that I have big balls!


A toast to SHOPPING!

Parrot Punch

A toast to us because no one else is drinking to us! :-)


A truck dressed for Christmas as Rudolph, I would love to see it all lit up.

Weather Damage

The roof peeled back on the roof of a building in Kent, near where I work. It is usually flat but you can see that there are huge gaps in the roof and the bent pieces stand nearly as tall as the men on the left side of the picture. Crazy wind!

Record Breaking Weather

My first 9 months in Seattle the weather was fairly mild/normal but since December of last year we have had several instances of extreme weather and have broken numerous records. And for the record, I am tired of record breaking weather.

First it was January. It rained nearly everyday and we were well on our way to breaking the *most consecutive days of rain* record but missed it when it failed to rain on day 29 and we needed 32 consecutive days for the record.

Then came July when we broke the record for the *warmest low temperature* day on July 22, 2006. The end of July was just miserable in general is was hot and muggy and all you could do was lay around and sweat.

Then came November. The beginning of the month was full of record rainfall and at the end we had snow, ice, lightening and thunder. It was crazy and when it was all over we had recorded the wettest month in 115 years (since they started keeping track) with a total of 15.63 inches.

I was really hoping for a *normal* December, but this week has been another week of extremes. We have had three storms all of which have have brought rain and wind. The worst was the storm that began mid-day yesterday. It started by dumping 2.17 inches of rain (setting a new record, the old was 1.24) and causing urban flooding and ended with a new record wind gust of 69 mph.

As a result of the storm 3 people are dead, so far. Two died when trees hit their cars and one woman actually drowned in her own basement.

Getting home last night was incredibly challenging. I-5 was flooded with excessive rain fall and was closed for a short time and then later one lane was opened. As a result of the game traffic and people choosing alternate routes Hwy 99 was a parking lot. In previous cases when I-5 and 99 are not an option I will go around the west side of Queen Anne hill but that wasn't an option has night due to a mudslide. Just prior to my arrival at home they announced that Mercer St. was closed because of 4 ft of water. I couldn't believe it and thought they were surely exaggerating on the radio until I saw it myself (pictured above, courtesy of the Seattle PI). This flooding is a mere 4 blocks from my house. I was super patient and finally after nearly 2 hours of traffic and trying different routes, I made it home. The lights flickered and everything rattled all evening long and in the end I was very lucky; I never lost power.

With daylight came the end of the storm and the race to clean-up. Over 1 million people in western Washington are without power and everyone has just begun to assess the damage. Many business and most schools are closed today. I sincerely hope that we can finish the year without setting any new records in the weather department.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm published

I am a huge fan of Wikipedia and use it as a reference tool almost daily. Last week when I was researching information for my posting on Bear Camp Road I noted that there was no Wikipedia article on Dewitt Finley, so I wrote one. It was really rough at the beginning and just two days later one of Wikipedia's finest had marked it for deletion. So, I cleaned it up a bit more but struggled to get the links to work. Then a wonderful Wikipedia user by the name of Crossmr came in and fixed the things that couldn't and it's perfect now. You can check out the article here.

I am going to continue to work on figuring out the coding etc and hopefully contribute some additional entries.

What Christmas Ornament Are You?

You Are a Tree

You love every part of the holidays, down to the candy canes and stockings. And you're goofy enough to put a Christmas tree ornament on your tree!

Idiot of the Day

My commute took 94 minutes this morning. I first encountered fallen trees at the junction of Hwy 99 and Hwy 599 and then I sat on I-5 on South Center hill for an eternity. It turns out that at 5:30 a.m. a truck carrying an oversize load hit an overpass at the top of the hill and partially destroyed an overpass. They had the freeway narrowed down to 2 lanes. I took this picture as I was getting closer to the overpass. When I passed underneath the overpass the highway was covered with little chunks of concrete. The truck was sitting on the right hand shoulder and the state police were inspecting it and talking to the driver as I passed.

One would think that this type of accident isn't likely to happen this day in age with signage and information plastered all over bridges and overpasses, but it did. Hence the Idiot of the Day award is given to the truck driver. Ugh!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Candy Cane Lane

One of the numerous brightly lit homes on this famous Seattle street.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired."
--Robert Frost

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Seattle among the worst?

I saw a story on the evening news Friday about a new book titled The Absolute Worst Places to Live in America by Dave Gilmartin. Two Washington cities, Aberdeen and Seattle, made the list. I have only driven through Aberdeen so I don’t feel that I am well versed enough to render a fair opinion. However, I have very strong feeling about Seattle. Gilmartin describes Seattle as overrated, overcast and overcaffeinated. I could agree on the overcaffeinated part especially on a day when I have spent several hours parked in a chair at Starbucks but Seattle is not overrated. I was immediately hot around the collar about the idea that this dip shit would write a book about the worst places in America and include Seattle in the same category as Barstow, CA, Camden, N.J. and Carson City, Skid Row, Los Angeles. That was until I found out that this guy is s 30-year-old New York advertising copywriter who was raised in South Jersey (talk about worst places in America) and admits to never setting foot in many of the cities and towns included in the book.

He goes on to say, “When one of your leading citizens rose to prominence for convincing people to pay $2.50 for a 50-cent cup of coffee, earning a modest, honest living loses quite a bit of appeal. The city begins to rot at the core. … Then there’s the price of housing. … Real people can’t afford to live in Seattle yet the biggest newspaper is so stunningly tone-deaf to the Aspenization that it published a how-to section on becoming emotionally attached to your new home.”

I am the first to admit that the housing prices in Seattle are astronomical but there are so many wonderful things about Seattle including the people, the coffee, the breweries, ferry boats, Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, the lakes, beautiful parks and beaches and the rain ensures that it's beautifully green everywhere!

Two additional Washington cities made the dishonorable mention list including Forks which the author described as a "festering wound of a town,” and Vancouver described as a “a run-down methamphetamine junkie haven.”

Let Gilmartin think what he wants. Those of us who love Seattle don't want to share the Emerald City with jerks like him anyway!

And in case you are curious about the other cities that made the list, here they are in alphabetical order: Aberdeen, Albuquerque, N.M., Allston, Mass., Atlantic City, N.J., Baltimore, Md., Barstow, Calif., Beloit, Wis., Birmingham, Ala., Camden, N.J., Campton, Ky., Carson City, Nev., Centralia, Penn., Cincinnati, Ohio, College Park, Ga., Cranston, R.I., Detroit, Mich., Dillon, S.C., Dodge City, Kan., El Paso, Texas, Fairbanks, Alaska, Fitchburg, Mass., Gary, Ind., Gatlinburg, Tenn., Glens Falls, N.Y., Granite City, Ill., Greeley, Colo., Greenville, Miss., Harrison, Ark., Helena, Mont., Houston, Texas, Jacksonville, Fla., Lake Placid, Fla., Lorain, Ohio, Manchester, N.H., Mitchell, S.D., Nampa, Idaho, North Platte, Neb., Philadelphia, Quartzsite, Ariz., Rock Springs, Wyo., Salt Lake City, Seattle, Skid Row, Los Angeles, Springfield, Mo., St. Cloud, Minn., Tulsa, Okla., Virginia Beach, Va., Washington, D.C., Yuba City, Calif.

My Elf Name

Your Elf Name Is...

Spicy Snow Bunny

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Just passed Steven's Pass on the way to Leavenworth.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The deadly history of Bear Camp Road

The water cooler story of the week seems to be the search and rescue of the Kim family. I was elated on Monday to hear about the rescue of part of the family and then devastated on Wednesday with the discovery of the body of James Kim.

I have had several discussions with friend and co-workers about the unfolding events and in one particular conversation we were recalling a story that we had both heard years ago about a man that had survived in his car for several months before finally dying of starvation. We both remembered details of the story but not the entire story. I did an initial google search and did not find anything. Today I was reading a follow-up story about the Kim family ordeal from the LA Times (article titled, Vandalized gate led family astray) and the final paragraph of the story contained the information that I had been looking for. I did a further google search and pieced together the following from multiple sources (see below).

Dewitt Finley, 56, a traveling salesman from Montana decided to travel over the Coast Range when headed from the Oregon coast to Grants Pass on November 14, 1995. Mr. Finley had spent most of his life in the Los Angeles area and was not accustomed to late-season driving in the mountains and did not have much knowledge about the outdoors. His pickup truck with camper kept sliding off the road, despite the 4-wheel drive, and he finally decided to stop on the shoulder and camp for the night. However the storm continued for 3 days and when it was finished the pickup truck was surrounded by six-feet of snow. Mr. Finley passed the time by checking days off his calendar and writing letters to his sons, his fiancee and his boss. According to the letters that were left behind in the truck, Finley decided to trust God for a rescue, waiting in his truck. He wrote, “I have no control over my life. It’s all in His hands. His will be done. Death here in another month or so, so He sends someone to save me. Yet knowing His will, I’m at peace and His grace will prevail. If I’m save to finish my life here, please know I’ll always be thankful to you and remain your servant. If not – I’ll see you in Glory.” The final date check off his calendar was January 19, 1996. His body was found in the cab of his pickup truck by teenagers in late May.

A poem titled “The End of DeWitt Finley” was written by Joseph Harrison and included in his book Someone Else’s Name. An except of the poem:

They found the salesman's body the following spring.
Something struck the observers about the scene
Of the man's death: there wasn't the slightest sign
Of struggle, anguish, or delirium,
No broken glass, no torn upholstery.
All seemed composed, contemplative, serene,
As poised as steady penmanship,
The thoughtful phrasing of his calm farewell,
His mild acceptance of his lonely end.

It wouldn't be correct to call it fate:
Rescue in the form of a ploughed road, remained
Throughout a makable hike away. And though
He didn't know this, did he want to know?
He wanted someone to come, that was the point.
Call it foolishness, or call it faith,
The patience to wait in silence for a sign
That life has something like meaning, and that yours
Has something like meaning, meaning that is yours.

The irony in this tale – The entire nine weeks Finley was waiting and praying, he was no more than a few hundred feet from a clear, paved road which was only a 16-mile walk to a store and safety.

It turns out that the Kim family and Finley were both stranded on Bear Camp Road near Merlin, Oregon. It is horribly sad that the road was not better closed off since it has now claimed 3 lives in the past 12 years. I hope that in the future is is better marked and blocked when impassable.

I am just glad that I was able to find some details on the Finley story, it was driving me nuts.

Links to sources:

Nothing Fails Like Prayer

Tough choices for stuck winter travelers

Christmas Meme

I was tagged by Don on this one. It took me a couple of days to complete it but I got it done. I would love to pass it along to a blogging friend but I have no friends that have blogs besides Don, so if you are randomly reading this entry and care to put up the baton, feel free.


Egg nog or hot chocolate?

Egg Nog! I have a great deal of difficulty this time of year keeping my consumption of Egg Nog lattes at a reasonable level. I like an occasional hot chocolate and my other holiday favorite is Peppermint Tea.

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa is a class act and he always wraps the gifts. When I was a child, along with the gifts he always left a handwritten note. I knew that the handwriting in the cards didn't belong to either of my parents and I was sure the notes were from Santa.

Colored lights on tree/house or white?

When I was a kid, we had the giant multi-colored bulbs on the tree (and only 4 - 6 strands of them). For the last 10 years we have used the clear twinkle lights and I am a firm believer in the policy that the more lights you have on the tree the better it is. This year the tree has 21 strands.

Do you hang mistletoe?
We always hung a gigantic ball of plastic mistletoe when I was a kid. When I moved to Oregon in the early 90's I learned that mistletoe grows in the trees there and saw real mistletoe for the first time and decided that plastic mistletoe is totally unacceptable. Then while working with the campus programming council I started a tradition of handing out small sprigs of mistletoe in the quad on campus to students passing by. I love mistletoe and like to have it as part of my decorating but only if it's real. I have thought about it this year but haven't purchased or hung any yet.

When do you put your decorations up?
Customarily Thanksgiving weekend because I am so excited that I can't wait.

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
There are a few side dishes that Mom always made for Christmas dinner when we were kids that I love including Baked Corn and Spinach casserole, I still love them but as an adult it's not so much the specific dishes that I look forward to as I do the experience of creating, preparing, serving and enjoying a meal with my loved ones.

Favorite holiday memory as a child?
Oh, where do I begin?

When I was about 7 years old I really wanted one of those music boxes with the ballerina inside that twirls around to the music when you open the lid. I didn't say anything about it. I didn't mention it to my parents, didn't mention it to Santa yet on Christmas morning my music box was waiting underneath the tree. I was at that age when I started to question the reality of Santa and that assured me of his authenticity for many more years.

My family performed at the family service on Christmas Eve in 1980 or 1981. My father had taught us the 4-part harmony to Glorious Kingdom and we worked on it daily for weeks. We never got all of our parts right at the same time (after all I think we were 9, 7 and 4 years old) which my father found unbelievably frustrating. When Christmas Eve rolled around we went to the front of the church and took our places. The presentation was perfect and at the finale the entire congregation clapped (the first time I had ever seen clapping at church). Every time I hear the song I get chills and my memory is flooded with love I felt that night.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
What do you mean the truth about Santa? ;-) I was eleven years old and was beginning to doubt but really wanted to keep believing. My mom told me the truth and then included me in the plans to ensure that my little brothers had a great Christmas.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
We begged every year but just could not convince our parents that opening a gift on Christmas Eve was a good idea. A few times in the last few years my mother has instructed that a package is to be opened on Christmas Eve and it's usually Christmas pj's or a Christmas sweater.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
With lots of lights! And plaid bows, ornaments and sparkly twirly things. I love my collection of ornaments which consist of ornaments that I have received to honor milestones or special events in my life and many that I have collected over the years. I always worry that I don't have enough but then have trouble finding places on the tree for all of them.

Snow! Love it or dread it?
Absolutely LOVE IT! The world looks so crisp and clean with a blanket of snow covering it. I love everything about playing in the snow. I love snow balls, snow angels, snow men, hats, mittens, coats and boots. With all that said, I am not so nuts about snow in Seattle. It was amazing to see the city covered in snow last month, but the "freak-out" attitude of my fellow Seattleite’s was more than annoying.

Can you ice skate?
I think I have put skates on my feet three times in my life. When I was younger (and shorter) falling on my butt on the ice wasn't so bad. I was 28 years old last time I went ice skating and it ended very, very badly. So although I enjoy the beauty of an ice rink covered in skaters, for me ice skating is truly a spectator sport.

Do you remember your favorite gift?
As a kid my favorite gifts were always the things that I had wanted very badly like the Cabbage Patch doll and a yellow terrycloth robe. The past few years my favorite gifts have been little things like my favorite coffee beans, framed photographs and jewelry. I also love the gifts that I deem extravagant (a.k.a. things that I would never buy for myself) like a set of new knives, an espresso maker and fancy sheets.

What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Making the season special for others; I try and donate some time or goods to a worthy cause and I also try to create experiences and share gifts with my family and friends that enrich their lives. I also make an effort to create time for myself to sit back and really take in everything around me. I treasure relaxing time, curled up on the couch with Christmas music on and only the Christmas tree lighting the room.

What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Christmas is all about the pie. I love pumpkin pie (homemade, of course) but I also love the homemade Egg Nog Pie that my Mom made for Christmas every year. In recent years it has been renamed *Custard Pie with lotsa rum* but regardless it's all good.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?
When I lived in
Salt Lake I used to spend some time alone after evening plans on Christmas Eve. I would sometimes walk around Temple Square or drive past the homes on "Christmas Street" one more time.

Since I have only spent one Christmas season in Seattle I don’t have any real traditions yet. But I like to spend an evening walking around downtown with all the lights shining brightly.

I also have a tradition that no one know about and I am not going to spill the beans here!

What tops your tree?
A beautiful lighted angel.

Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?
Hands down winner, giving gifts; I love watching someone open a gift that I have given them. Especially when it is something that I know they will love. I don't have a good poker face and get extremely nervous when opening gifts in front of others. I feel pressured that if my reaction to the gift isn't perfect that the giver will assume that I don't like it.

What is your favorite Christmas song?
As the self professed Queen of Christmas music that is a question that I have already given a great deal of thought to. I love "Sleigh Ride" especially versions by symphony orchestras. My all time favorite version would be by the Boston Pops with Arthur Fielder conducting.

Candy canes: yuck or yum?
I use them as part of my holiday decoration but haven't actually eaten one in years. I do like to melt them in a cup of tea to make peppermint tea.

Favorite Christmas movie?

It’s a Wonderful Life would be the overall winner for the lesson it teaches and it's sentimental, warm and fuzzy nature. But when I need a movie to crack me up and help me cope with the stress of the holiday season there is nothing like Christmas Vacation.

What do you leave for Santa?
Cookies and milk.

What kind of Christmas Tree am I?

You Are a Bright Christmas Tree

For you, the holidays are all about fun and seasonal favorites.
You are into all things Christmas, even if they're a little tacky.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Celebrity Look-alikes

I saw this on one of the blogs that I read on a daily basis and I was curious to see who I looked like. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the celebrities on my list. My #1 match was Christie Brinkley, nothing wrong with that! :-) If you want to see who you look like you can click on the block below and complete the process.

Worst Christmas Movie Ever!

After I finished studying last night I decided to watch a movie. I have recently added some holiday movies to my NetFlix queue and settled on Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure. I am a big fan of Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo and thought if this movie was even half as funny that it's predecessor that it wouldn't be too bad. Well I was wrong. This movie reaches a level of suckitude that I didn't think was possible. Nothing about it was good. Story - stupid, Writing - oh, so bad, Acting - bad, Special Effects - horrible, Jokes - not funny and over done. I wasted 83 minutes of my life watching this film, 83 minutes that I will never get back.

So take my advice and don't waste your time on this movie. But if you are trying to torture annoying family members or friends over the holiday season you may pop it in the DVD player and see how long it take to clear the living room. ;-)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My Christmas Stocking Quiz

Your Christmas Stocking Will Be Filled With Little Wrapped Presents

You've made Santa a very happy fellow this year.
Don't worry - what happens at the North Pole stays at the North Pole!

Foggy Morning

It was bright and sunny when I left my home in Seattle but the closer and closer I got to the beautiful Kent valley this morning the worse it got. It is amazing what a difference a few miles can make.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Don's Birthday Celebration

Celebrating with a favorite dessert.

Happy Birthday Don!

Today is Don's birthday. His 35th birthday to be exact! :-)

And since he was my first and my most reliable blog reader I couldn't let the day pass without a posting a greeting for him.

So, Don...

I hope that today is filled with many wonderful surprises and the coming year is one of the best you have ever had!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Technology Woes

I suffered from tremendous technical difficulties yesterday. I was forced to replace my cell phone battery (yes, again), yet even after hours of charging it died. I got repeated error messages from my wireless broadband service and the service kept insisting that I needed to generate a new IP address, this put quite a kink in my studying for my upcoming final examination. And, I had been trying to upload some posts to my website yet the Blogger website that I use to manage my website wasn't working properly. I was finally so frustrated that I gave up on it all.

My horoscope this morning said something about having a temper tantrum and I just blew it off, but when I still couldn't get my phone to charge or my wireless card to work reliably this morning, I became very, very, very, angry.

So after work I went to the Verizon store. I have teased many times over the past few weeks about how hard Verizon is working for me (totally tongue in cheek) but tonight (maybe because of my temper tantrum) they really did work for me.

I was greeted Chris, the same tech support guy that helped me on Sunday, and he immediately recognized me and started fixing the problem with my phone. While I was still explaining the problem in great detail he was pulling a brand new phone out and hooking it up. Once the phone was settled I addressed the wireless broadband problem with them. I explained my frustration with the service and it's general unreliability, he called the store manager over and they let me out of my contract. Which was huge relief. I had been disappointed by the service since I got it but felt trapped.

However, this left me with a problem, no access to the internet. I heard a couple of ads on the radio for Clearwire and noticed a kiosk at Pacific Place where I had parked my car. I stopped by to ask a few questions which were answered to my satisfaction and I took the plunge and signed up. Upon arriving home I set up the modem. It works perfectly, it's much faster than Verizon and I am happy!

Hopefully all of my technology woes are behind me, I get very grumpy when I am not able to connect to the world.

Quote of the day

“By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is noblest;
Second, by imitation, which is easiest;
and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Downtown Lights

The Macy's Star shines above Starbucks Coffee at Westlale Center.