Monthly Archives: May 2010

Now and Then

Is anyone else cursed with the inability to separate the term “now and then” from the 1995 movie of the same title?

I say this without an ounce of disdain because this movie was totally enthralling and watched repeatedly by my 11-year-old self.

The pre-teen drama.  The emotional scars of not yet having a chest.  The denim overalls (worn, regrettably, by both the girls and their adult counterparts).

The movie is about four 12-year-old girls who become best friends one summer and vow to always be there for each other.  Fast-forward twenty-five years and one of them is nine months preggo so they all show up.  Tears, flash-backs, and bad hair ensue.

Demi Moore is dark.  Melanie Griffith is vain.  Rosie O’Donnell is unattractive.  Rita Wilson is annoying.  You could say it’s some of their best work.

I bring this up because I’m feeling very “Now and Then” about one of my BFFs 25th birthdays (you can’t talk about long-term best friends without using cheesy acronyms).   Although we were never adolescents together, we certainly acted as though we were.

The three of us met in college as roommates in a women’s house at the UW.  I was 20, Lindsay was 21, and Annie was 19.  A snapshot to give you an idea of how far we’ve come (and how well traveled…this is in Oahu one year after meeting):

We’ve now been friends for nearly six years.  In the movie they’ve been friends for about 25, so they’ve got a few on us.  But hey, at least none of us grew up to look like Rosie O’Donnell.  I think that makes us winners.

And though we’ve never had a séance in a cemetery as we attempt to contact Dear Johnny, we have hosted outrageous dance parties, fit 13 people into a Jeep Cherokee, gone skinny dipping in Lake Washington (twice), run a half-marathon, stayed up all night with nothing but three bottles of two-buck-chuck before a 5AM flight…sorry I just lost myself in the buzz of our beehive of memories.  Or is that the buzz of the two-buck-chuck?  Nevermind.

Last Saturday night we celebrated Annie’s birthday in high style at Toulouse Petit in lower Queen Anne, and had a great time, as usual.  But it should be noted that there are definite differences between who we are now and who we were then.

We dressed up because there was never a reason not to, and we were out to prove we were hott.  Yes, two-T’s hott.

We dress up out of the knowledge that chances to dress up don’t happen twice a week anymore, and we’ve never been more aware of the fabulousness of our youth.

We’d order long islands, multiple shots of Jose, and anything pink.

We order champagne (Lindsay), a glass of wine (me), or a gin and tonic (Annie).

We’d scrounge for the cheapest happy hour and tailor our evenings to the clock of half-priced drinks.

We make the plans to our liking.  Damn the cost!

We were all single and ready to mingle.

I have been married 2.5 years, Annie has a boyfriend, and Lindsay is actively dating.

We were there for each other.

Still the case.


Filed under UpWORD (Beauty)

C U Soon

I am not proud of this, but I have my DVR set to record only two shows.

Brace yourself.

One is The Real Housewives of New York (gasp!).

The other is Oprah (shudder).

For inexplicable reasons, I’m actually more embarrassed to be associated with Oprah.  The Real Housewives series is the most fantastic reality show on television, and allows me to indulge in my “mid-week uptown apartment/weekend Hampton’s beach house” fantasy.  Of course, the women are despicable and immature, but that only serves to stroke my moral superiority. 

See?  It’s the best show on television!

Oprah on the other hand, makes me feel like a stay-at-home mom who has never heard of real news and has no connection with the outside world other than through this billionaire talk show host.  If I’m ever watching Oprah and Mike comes home from work, I’m instantly inclined to change the channel out of sheer humiliation.  It’s as if he’s just caught me singing into my hairbrush in front of the bathroom mirror.

One could understand my dilemma recently when Oprah started a “No Phone Zone” campaign in an effort to get people to stop texting and driving.  Ask anyone (especially Mike) and they will say that texting and driving is one of my biggest issues.  It’s about the only thing that turns me into a total policing mother around my spouse, friends and family. 

Driving drunk and texting behind the wheel are the exact same thing to me.  Texting might even be worse because your eyes aren’t even on the road.

But now that Oprah has championed the agenda and called it her own, I don’t want to say two words about it.  It makes me feel like one of those sycophantic Oprah worshippers who blindly take on issues just because Ms. O said to.

I just realized that I am insulting Oprah-lovers.  I am sorry.  Just remember the line between love and hate is incredibly thin; look at me DVRing her every day.  Such a hypocrite.

One may wonder why I bother to record her when I have such loathful feelings toward her.  It’s simple: the celebrities.  No one gets the interviews Oprah gets.  Who did Reille Hunter sit down with in her home?  Who does Bono visit when he comes to the States?   Who does Julia Roberts tell the sex of her unborn babies to?

My point exactly.

Luckily, Oprah is not the only one taking up the texting battle.  A far more genius anti-texting advertising campaign in Seattle is run by none other than a funeral home.

This is on the back of metro buses all across the Seattle area and I have one thing to say:  YES.

I love the shamelessness, the offensive nature.

But I also love that it makes its point painfully clear — your life is at stake.  It is not worth it to text and drive.

Whew.  I feel a lot better having said that completely apart from any Oprah influence. 

But I’m still going to watch her show today.


Filed under One WORD (Current Events)

Baby Face

In the last two weeks, I’ve had freakishly frequent comments from strangers about my age.  Or, more specifically, about what age they perceive me to be.

I haven’t shrunken six inches nor gotten a new haircut, and I don’t dress like I listen to Miley Cyrus.  So what gives?

Last Saturday my mother-in-love took me and my sister-in-loves for some manis/pedis.  As I sat down in the chair at Gene Juarez, a 60-year-old Russian woman stared back at me.  She had bleached hair, false eyelashes, and long acrylic nails.  That wasn’t charming, but her accent was: when she spoke, it sounded like, “I vant to luke at yore nals.”

Her first question for me: “Woo did you come here vith?”

“Oh, my mother-in-law, sitting right over there,” I said, pointing.  “She’s taking all her daughters out.”

“NO!” she gasped.  “No, no, no, dis is not posseebul.  You?  Mahhreed?  I thought you vere in high school.”

What do I say to that?  Am I insulted?  Flattered?

What people don’t realize is that when you’re in your twenties, you’re in a no-fly zone.  The air is still.  You’re not striving to be younger, you’re not striving to be older.  You just are where you are.

And I’m fully aware of the advantages of this position.  I know teens would kill to be in their twenties and those at middle-age would give up their 401Ks to revisit 25.

But there is another side to this position:  uncertainty.  I am not established.  At 26 I’m still trying to work in a professional career, attempting to be taken seriously.  I’m not searching for compliments on my wrinkle-free face.

In fact, the only reason I started wearing makeup was to be perceived as older, so those around me in cubicle-land wouldn’t treat me like their adolescent daughter.

Yesterday, as I was checking out of Trader Joes, the 70-year-old checker gave me my receipt, and then said, “Now, I didn’t check your ID for the wine you bought, but I just looked at you and realized I definitely should have.  But I see you’re wearing a wedding ring, so how young could you possibly be?  Basically what I’m saying is I have to know how old you are.”

Sigh.  This again.  The line of people behind me stared at attention.

“I’m 26,” I admitted.

“Well, miss, may I say you are doing 26 quite well,” he offered, as some sort of concession.

What does that even mean?  How can one not be looking well at 26?  If I were 46 and all this was happening, I’d be dancing my way across the parking lot with my groceries.

Which is why this bothers me, to some degree.  What people are basically trying to say is that I look like a teenager.  The worst example yet:

Last summer while on vacation with my family in Europe, Erin (older sister), Sam (younger sister) and Mike decided to go out to a club, which happened to be “18 and over.”  We didn’t bring our IDs because we didn’t think it was an issue.

As we’re all approaching the entrance, two bouncers look us up and down.  They wave Mike in.  Wave Erin in.  Wave Sam in.

They hold up their palms at me.  “Nope.  Sorry this is 18 and over,” one says to me.

I look behind him at my three stunned companions standing in the doorway.

“Are you serious?” I reply.  “I’m 25!  I’m MARRIED to that man.  It’s illegal in the states to be married unless you’re 18.”

“Unless you can show me ID, you can’t enter,” he says.

Sam is almost beside herself with joyful giggles that she, who is four years younger than me, is standing inside the club while I am outside getting harassed for looking 17.

He finally looks at me with pity.  He says, “Quick — what year were you born?!”

“1984!” I shout with an embarrassing amount of hope in my eyes.

“Fine,” he says, and waves me through.

I know, I know.  You’re going to bank this story and bring it up to me when I’m 45 and in the waiting room of the plastic surgery office.  Just promise me when you do, you’ll follow it up with “and you could STILL pass for 17.”  I won’t believe you, but post-op I’ll probably buy you a drink.


Filed under AwkWORD (Humor)

The First Anniversary Gift of Paper was Never More Appropriate

Words Become One turns one this Saturday, May 15, and I know what you’re thinking:  who cares?

The only reason you should care in the slightest is because many important things are turning one as well:

Seattle’s Quinn’s Pub, named one of the Top 50 new restaurants in the US by Travel + Leisure magazine.

Blakesley Sutter, pseudo-celebrity baby.

My little pink 8GB Zune that I got for $80 at a Microsoft employees sale…back when I was still an employee.

My cousin Amy and her husband Joel’s marriage — happy anniversary shout-out!

And while most of these things are growing and changing, so is WBO.  I am going to switch to a more frequent posting format (goodbye to our Wednesday lunch date, hello to random coffee dates), and I am going to do a redesign of the site as soon as I can find some pro bono HTML/C++ genius to do my dirty work (remember when I told you your computer science degree was lame?   I was totally kidding.  Can I buy you a drink?  Your hair has never looked better!).

I want to give myself a little more freedom, a little more wiggle room in this creative outlet.  I’ve been very strict in meeting my Wednesday deadline — I’ve only missed that deadline once in an entire year, and it was due to a canceled flight.

It’s been fantastic writing so consistently, but I’d love more variety in the length and frequency of posting.  Some shorter.  Some longer.  Some with just an image and a killer caption.  I know — it’s gonna get crazy in here!

The ogre of a risk in this change is failing to post at all.  I read friends’ and strangers’ blogs where posts are sometimes weeks or months between — a travesty in the blogosphere (I swore I would never use such geek-speak, but this is what happens after a year, people).  The fear of becoming one of those people makes me want to dip a quill pen into my own blood and scrawl my signature across a contract of consistency.  Hopefully Mike stops me before I get to that point.

So that is why I am risking being an impotent blogger; it’s worth it to see if I can become a sizzling blogger.  “She posted on a Monday at 2PM!?  Criz-azzy!”

Of course I would never do that.  That would mean I was blogging at work and only pink-slip-happy people blog at work.  Or about work.

Consider this my May Day gift to you: one less thing to do every Wednesday.  Now you can check on any other day ending with “Y” because you never know when a new post might appear.

Hang on to your hats, eager readers!


Filed under ForeWORD (Intro)

How to Run a Race

You never know where life’s lessons might pop up.

Take running a race, for instance.

Start line.  Finish line.  It’s the same everywhere.  But it’s what happens in-between that matters most.

Last weekend we ran our fourth Bloomsday race in Spokane, WA.  Mike’s sister, her husband and three kids live in Cheney, so we have made it an annual event to visit them and run the race together.

This year my father-in-law joined the ranks of the finishers.

He had me and Rachel (you may remember her from our Olympic adventures) as coaches and partners in making it across the finish line.

But just like in life, you do not go from Point A to Point B straightaway.  There are roadblocks.  Oddities.  Humors.

A few of life’s lessons, from Bloomsday 2010:

Rule #1:  Find a team for the journey.

Rule #2:  It’s not the beginning of the race that counts  (a direct quote from my grandfather, Roger Berger).

Rule #3:  Expect to encounter a few looney tunes.

Rule #4:  When all else fails, keep moving.

Rule #5:  If someone with an accordion and a banjo out of the back of a trailer wants to cheer you on, let them.

Rule #6:  Remember that you are only free to run your race because others are standing watch.

Rule #7:  If you’re going to dress as Raggedy Ann and Andy, go all out.

Rule #8:  It’s always acceptable to be inappropriate for a good cause.  Especially boobs.

Rule #9:  Obstacles are inevitable.  Keep going.

Rule #10:  Laugh in the face of adversity.  Or vultures.

Rule #11:  Don’t look down.

Rule #12:  Count all of the mile-markers as victories.

Running a race is a lot like life:  it’s hard, funny, long (if you’re lucky), and totally worth the sweat it takes to get there.

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Filed under One WORD (Current Events)