Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's not because I'm a Luddite

 It's interesting how people automatically assume that if you don't want to take part in some new type of technology, it's because you don't like  "change." Or that you are afraid to learn new things. Or that you're making some sort of political statement by not participating with the masses - a sort of  Luddite.

What if it's none of those reasons? What if it's more sentimental than all that? Maybe it's a deeply personal reason - something that pains you to the point of recoil. Like touching fire.

E.M. Forster prophetically explains, in his 1909 short story "The Machine Stops,"  why communicating through technology makes him sad - I couldn't have said it better myself. Here is a short excerpt from the story. The last paragraph hits me the hardest.
From E.M. Forster's "The Machine Stops" (1909)

The son Kuno is calling his mother Vashti via technology that projects images onto plates so they can see each other while they talk.

"Very well. Let us talk, I will isolate myself. I do not expect anything important will happen for the next five minutes-for I can give you fully five minutes, Kuno.

She touched the isolation knob, so that no one else could speak to her. Then she touched the lighting apparatus, and the little room was plunged into darkness.

"Be quick!" She called, her irritation returning. "Be quick, Kuno; here I am in the dark wasting my time."

But it was fully fifteen seconds before the round plate that she held in her hands began to glow. A faint blue light shot across it, darkening to purple, and presently she could see the image of her son, who lived on the other side of the earth, and he could see her.

"What is it, dearest boy? Be quick. Why could you not send it by pneumatic post?"

"Because I prefer saying such a thing. I want----"


"I want you to come and see me."

Vashti watched his face in the blue plate.

"But I can see you!" she exclaimed. "What more do you want?"

"I want to see you not through the Machine," said Kuno. "I want to speak to you not through the wearisome Machine."

"Oh, hush!" said his mother, vaguely shocked. "You mustn't say anything against the Machine."

"Why not?"

"One mustn't."

"You talk as if a god had made the Machine," cried the other.

"I believe that you pray to it when you are unhappy. Men made it, do not forget that. Great men, but men. The Machine is much, but it is not everything.

I see something like you in this plate, but I do not see you. I hear something like you through this telephone, but I do not hear you. That is why I want you to come. Pay me a visit, so that we can meet face to face, and talk about the hopes that are in my mind."

Based on personal experience, I feel the same way - I see something like you, but it's not you.

The last time I saw my dear mother-in-law, before the cancer won, was on Skype. It was Mother's Day and we wanted to say hi and tell her we loved her.

The volume wouldn't work -technical trouble. We could see each other but we couldn't hear her. We kept yelling, "Can you hear us?" She nodded yes but we still couldn't hear her. After several minutes of frustration and anger at the technology for not providing the service it promised, we got off the computer and called on the phone.

By this point, she was exhausted. Barely had the energy to talk on the phone. Conversation was light. Jason talked to her - I didn't get a chance.

I never saw her with her eyes open again. I never heard her voice again.

I remember that Skype session so vividly. Not in a good way. In a sad, desperate longing way. Her face was so confused and frustrated. A face on a screen with no words. Like a prison visit. No way to comfort her.

I wish I could erase this artificial image and replace it with the  last time I saw her in person. A version of her that was real.

It was many years ago, at her house. On a warm sunny July afternoon. All her family was there with her celebrating - a family reunion of sorts. She was vibrant and maintained that signature omnipotent gaze she always wore on her face. I could feel the love and happiness radiating from her. I wanted to be closer to her even if no words were exchanged. Her energy was radiant. She was smiling - tan with golden hair shining in the sun. Flip flops, shorts and a t-shirt. The real deal. That's the way I choose to remember her, but unfortunately I have this failed attempt at technology projecting unwanted images in my dreams. Artificial images that competes with real-life experience.

And that's why I don't Skype. It's not because I'm a  Luddite. It's because I promised myself that I wouldn't allow this to happen again. It's just too painful and the feeling sticks around forever.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Here is another beautiful song by Tori Amos. Seems appropriate with the changing seasons.

I imagine it as the point in a child's life where the parent tells them that they won't always be around and you have to decide who you are, make a stand and love yourself.

When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do

So much easier said than done.

"Winter" from Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos

Snow can wait
I forgot my mittens
Wipe my nose
Get my new boots on

I get a little warm in my heart
When I think of winter
I put my hand in my father's glove

I run off
Where the drifts get deeper
Sleeping beauty trips me with a frown
I hear a voice
"You must learn to stand up for yourself
Cause I can't always be around"

He says
When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses are still in bed
I tell you that I'll always want you near
You say that things change my dear

Boys get discovered as winter melts
Flowers competing for the sun
Years go by and I'm here still waiting
Withering where some snowman was

Mirror mirror where's the crystal palace
But I only can see myself
Skating around the truth who I am
But I know dad the ice is getting thin

When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses are still in bed
I tell you that I'll always want you near
You say that things change my dear

Hair is grey
And the fires are burning
So many dreams
On the shelf
You say I wanted you to be proud of me
I always wanted that myself

He says
When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses have gone ahead
I tell you that I'll always want you near
You say that things change
My dear

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Perfect Guide to Holiday Etiquette

With Thanksgiving only a day away, I thought it would be helpful to share some holiday etiquette tips  from zefrank..

First tip: Don't take this too seriously!

PS. I really like brussels sprouts!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

We're a lot like you. A little different.

This commercial for local insurance is so funny! Totally spot on!

If you've ever been to the beach in the NW you'd know that there really is a fine line between optimism and just plain crazy.

The line between "Hey the sun might come out," and "Hey that might be frost bite."

And I love Pemco's slogan -

We're a lot like you. A little different.

So true. That frisbee toss at the end makes me laugh every time!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

From the Farmers Market

Last Saturday we went to the Beaverton Farmers Market and found some really crazy veggies! This is the second to last market of the year and it always amazes me how different the "merchandise" selection is at the beginning of the season versus the end.

This market boasted ginormous root veggies like carrots (yellow, purple, orange) that were pert-near as big as my arm! There was a beet the size of my head!  I asked them "How do  you make them so big!?!?" and they replied, "Lots of cow poop. Love and cow poop." At least we know it's natural - ha!

We also scored the makings for kimchi - cabbage, carrots, leeks, ginger, onion.

But here's the real nuggets of goodness: Purple cauliflower and Romanesco.

I added it to my infamous Vegemato stew:

I love cooking with color and different types of veggies! YUM!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Power of Orange Knickers

Still obsessed with Tori Amos. Here's another beautiful song and video.

"The Power of Orange Knickers" from The Beekeeper (2005)

The power of orange knickers
The power of orange knickers
The power of orange knickers
Under my petticoat

The power of listening to what
You don't want me to know

Can somebody tell me now
who is this terrorist
Those girls that smile kindly
then rip your life to pieces?

Can somebody tell me now
am I alone with this?
This little pill in my hand
and with this secret kiss

Am I alone in this...

A matter of complication
When you become a twist
For their latest drink
As they're transitioning

Can somebody tell me now
who is this terrorist
This little pill in my hand
that keeps the pain living

Can somebody tell me now
a way out of this -
That sacred pipe of red stone
could blow me out of this kiss

Am I alone in this...

The power of orange knickers
The power of orange knickers
The power of orange knickers
Under my petticoat

The power of listening to what
You don't want me to know

Shame shame time to leave me now
Shame shame you've had your fun
Shame shame for letting me think that I would be the one

Can somebody tell me now
who is this terrorist
This little pill in my hand
or this secret kiss

Am I alone in this kiss
Am I alone in this kiss

Friday, November 09, 2012

Altar and Alter


1. An elevated place or structure before which religious ceremonies may be enacted or upon which sacrifices may be offered.

One year ago today, I lost the best furry friend a girl could ever ask for to Cancer. I have missed him so much. Now my special friend lives on a make-shift altar above my bathroom sink. He's in a little medal box with all his pals around him. I went with the Egyptian beliefs on death and burial and made sure that my guy would have all his special friends with him in the afterlife. Hippo, Shamis the sheep, baby Shrek, giraffe and more stand guard for him. Everyday as I brush my teeth, I say a few words to the Pooh and go on my way. I still miss him so much.

1. To change or make different; modify

For so many months after losing Clancy, I was so sad. I didn't want to get another dog just to fill the hole. I wanted to learn to live without him again so I could appreciate the value of companionship.  Then the right day came along and the right dog followed. Now we have Crash in our lives and it's hard to imagine it without him. Things have changed so much since the Pooh was with us - altered. But this little bundle of happiness has once again altered it all.

It's impossible to compare Clancy and Crash to each other. They are two completely different souls.

Clancy was an old soul - been around a thousand times. Wise. Knowing. Calm. Low maintenance. Set in his ways.

Crash is a new soul - this may be his first time around. He needs more attention because he had a ruff start being a stray with a handicap. He needs more time to learn things but he will get it. He can't see the squirrels so good and he runs kinda slow. But this guy LOVES. HARD. He puts that goofy face right in yours and mugs down like a teenager. Licking eyes, ears, neck ... he doesn't discriminate. And smiles. You can see the smile in his eyes and the concern he has that you love him as much as he loves you. But also like Clancy, he's set in his ways. A nice way to say stubborn. I like that they share one trait.

Clancy and Crash.

Altared and Altered.

Loved and Loved.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

New Running Regiment

With the onset of winter and those inevitable extra holiday pounds, I have created a new running regiment for myself. It's called:

If It Ain't Raining, Your Ass Better Be Running!!!

I've realized that winter really can make me blue and I miss going outside when the rains come, so I'm going to take action. More physical activity! At this point in my running life, I own all the cold/rainy weather running clothes I need, so I have NO reason not to run through the winter. I'm going to look for some local fun runs too.

Here's the stats from my run today. Looks like a mouse in a maze! 

I think these maps and stats are hilarious!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Catching some rays

The sun finally showed itself this morning after a long stint of rain. I opened the blinds and the sky was blue with no clouds in sight. Now that I've lived in the Pacific Northwest for 4 years, I understand what a special occasion it is when the sun makes an appearance! I put on my walking shoes, grabbed the camera and headed out to catch some rays.

Glad I went out when i did -- the clouds are big and billowy now. Sky is turning gray.

Like the unofficial state motto says "If you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes."

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


They're saying it's all going to come down to the turnout.

I hope everyone had the opportunity to early vote or mail in your vote (yay Oregon!) but if you didn't, today is the day to take one for your country and stand in line for a little while. Be a voice.

This is it. This is what it all comes down to...

Obama vs. Romney

Let's move forward (because the other option is absolutely frightening).

We should know who our new president is by the end of the day, but I don't think it will be that easy. I'm expecting shenanigans in this election -- the foreshadowing has been less than subtle.

Good luck - fingers crossed - And may the odds be ever in your favor!!