Saturday, January 3, 2009

Snow days make me writey.

A few days ago, it occurred to me that if I had stayed pregnant, Lucky and I would be expecting a baby in two and a half months. When I pointed that out to him, his reaction mirrored mine: head-shaking shock, followed by a brief hit of sadness, settling into wonder that holy crap, we are really doing this, it is very real.

2008 was quite the year for us. We won thirty-five hundred dollars in a manner that was so unlikely that it gets less and less believable with time, and when I relay the story to new listeners, I find myself expressing genuine shock along with them. That win precluded our trip to Japan, which I was reminiscing about just a few weeks ago. I was trapped in a boring conference session, and surreptitiously pawing through my bag to find ways to entertain myself while still looking professional and engaged. I pulled out my day-planner, and pretended that I was poring over my Very Important Engagements while I actually read through the travel journal I keep on our trips, and remembered the food and people and sights and excitement of that week.

After all that excitement, our spring settled down in March, and Lucky put his action-oriented self to work sorting out the steps in our path to parenthood. He plied me with sushi and good wine, and we found a great new apartment with a second bedroom that is ostentatiously for our extra stuff and Lucky's hockey gear, though absolutely no one is buying that crap. Our summer was full of speculation and excitement about the tiny bunch of cells turning into a baby in my tummy, which began its little life in June, only to end it sometime in early August. Time and good love from each other and our fabulous family and friends have healed up the rawness, and left us with the reassurance that our pieces do fit together as they should, and the solid conviction that we really, really want this.

In the fall, we were busy with work and sushi and wine, and highlights like by BFF finally moving her butt back to this time zone, omg, what took her so damn long? Gawd. The holiday season geared up as fast as it always does, and we've been caught up in the whirlwind of seeing people we should really see more often, hunting down perfect presents for friends and family, eating and cooking a whole lot, and sleeping-in like champs. We've always been good at the sleep-ins, but I think I had a record year for present-finding, and I'm unapologetically still on a high from cooking the turkey for Lucky's family's Christmas dinner, and doing it quite well, if I do say so myself. And I do. Often. When I'm not getting Lucky to say it for me.

We kicked off 2009 with an apartment full of our buddies, and if that night was any indication, this is going to be a good year. Of course, it could also be a long, drunk, loud year, but I'm just going to be choosy with my impressions and pick out the happiness and laughter as the aspects with staying power. I can't say I won't feel a pang on the day in March that was supposed to be my due date, but I can tell you that it won't be a simple pang. It's a pang that means a lot of things, and recalls quite the year. It also holds promises about quite the year to come.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

He has no home.

When I work late, I run into our office cleaning lady. I look forward to these encounters. Despite initial communication problems, we've learned that we speak the common language of BC Lions and Vancouver Canucks, and we've done just fine since then. This woman is hilarious. If you took my mother's dedication to the CFL, Lucky's loyalty to the Canucks, and threw that in the blender with a strange red dye job and an unidentifiable but kind of south asian accent, you'd get her. Or maybe she's actually spanish. I don't know.

At least once a week, I can count on a conversation through the stall door in the bathroom while she wipes down the counters, and I take care of my own business, if you will. I don't understand everything she says, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't get all of my responses, but we share "Geroy," and "Buck Pierce," and we lots of headshaking mutters about Mats Sundin. She never fails to crack up when I tell her that we just need to get the coaches on the phone and tell them how it should be.

Tonight, on my way out, I ran into her in the hall where she just might have been waiting for me. She was almost too excited to speak, but through a series of gestures at the radio that is always strapped to her cart, and eyes wide with anticipation, she let me know that she was very excited about tonight's season opener for the Canucks. She asked if I was going to watch the game, and I said "Of course!" not telling her that I would miss part of it for yoga. I want to stay on good terms with her. She's small, but fierce. In fact, her fierceness came out when I told her with mock indignation that Lucky had a ticket to tonight's game but hadn't given it to me. Either the "mock" part was lost in translation, or she didn't care. Eyes wide, head shaking: "Ohhhhh... no. You can't let him come home. He has no home."

Friday, October 3, 2008

You choose.

So, Hey! Hi! Right! I haven't updated in ages! Whoops. It's that thing I've said about self-inflicted pressure: when I've let it go this long, it really feels like I should be coming back with something momentous. Instead, I'm coming back to tell you about a cool way to part with your money.

This writer, Sarah Bunting, has a blog called Tomato Nation. She's a good writer. She's got an amusing advice column, a brilliant definition of feminism, and an account of September 11th that brings me to tears when I read it each year. Besides all that, she has motivated her readers to donate over $150,000 to low-income schools in the states over 4 years, all through a program called Donors Choose. As an amusing aside, she rewards the readers with things like this crazy tomato dance posted to youtube, but the real thrill of the drive comes from being part of something so big and hopeful.

This year, she's set a goal of $100,000 from October 1st to the 31st. Considering that we were past $29,000 on the third day, I think we're going to make it. I'm telling you about this not to guilt you into donating, but because I feel so good right now. I gave $20.00 to help a school teacher in Georgia buy blocks to teach her third graders about fractions. My Mom taught me the same way: with popsicle sticks and coloured cubes. As a kid for whom math just did not come naturally, those kinds of tools were key in helping me grow up without a fear of learning, and I'm so happy to pay that forward. These are American schools, and while I would have loved to donate to some Canadians, I got over the border divide when I read about classrooms that literally do not have crayons. No crayons. Seriously. I was also sorely tempted by a project that focused on teaching high school kids about world geography and current events, because goddamn, we need a generations of Americans that know their Iran from the Afghanistan.

I feel like I'm part of something big right now - something exciting, productive, and fast-moving. I know I won't feel nearly this charged when I cast my vote next Tuesday, but I will feel better, knowing that there are projects like this to choose to support. And knowing that those kid in Georgia got their blocks.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ninja Cat!

This blog is in danger of turning into my list of youtube favourites, but I could not resist sharing the love of the Ninja Cat. Ninja Cat knows that sneakiness is all in the head cock. Not like that, you dirty dirtface.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

When in drought, make a list.

In the last few days, my body has been waging the last battle of its campaign against me (dear God, let it be the last, and not just the latest) so I haven't felt like writing much, which makes me feel guilty, which makes me feel bad, so then I really don't feel like writing much. See that circle? And how it's vicious? Stupid circle. Since it's taken me so long to get my sorry butt moving, I figured a lame step was better than no step at all, so I'm going to go ahead and leech off of the fine work and actions of others by making a

List of Things That Make Me Happy Even When My Insides Hate Me.

1. The guy who walks down the block outside my office once a day singing Italian opera so loudly and so beautifully that I can hear him on the 5th floor.

2. My boss, who has been telling me for the last two years that he is going to hire said guy for my wedding/ anniversary/ birthday/ bat mitsvah and delivering said joke in his unchanging and possibly unintended deadpan style which is deader than any pan ever to walk the face of this earth, and then die.

3. People who shout thank-you's to their bus drivers as they disembark.

4. The recipe for chocolate chip peanutbutter marshmallow bananas that I'm planning to make on Friday.

5. This laughing baby.

6. My sister-in-law's recent engagement to a lovely young gentleman who makes her happy as a clam with OCD.

7. Successfully completing an epic and heartwrenching quest spanning many months and lady's clothing stores by finding the perfect grey cardigan last weekend, and making it mine.

8. The only bee in my bonnet.

Take that, uterus. Take that and suck it.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

How I freaked out Frontalot

Lucky and I spent last weekend at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle. For those of you who are not giant gaming nerds, let me explain that this is the annual expo put on by the Penny Arcade guys for gamers all over the west coast to come out and sample the goods of the massive gaming world, from table top games, to role playing, to consoles, and everything in between. It's also a time for gamers to get together and interact face to face, in the real world, and I have to admit that this anthropological gold mine of opportunities was part of the reason I was so excited to go.

So, this was kind of a big deal. A 58,000 nerds in downtown Seattle kind of big deal. Lucky's game was nominated as one of the PAX 10, which was a pretty big deal in itself. The Penny Arcade guys are cool, see, and they support indie gamers who struggle in the world of all those massive gaming companies taking up all the sweet spots in Wii Ware, and LiveArcade, and blah blah blah don't I sound like I know what I'm talking about? That there is what they call osmosis, friends. So anyway, 80 independent game companies submitted their games, and 10 were chosen as the PAX 10, to be displayed in the exhibition hall, alongside all that Halo and Rock Band and World of Warcraft juiciness. I tagged along with Lucky for those three exhausting and superfun days, and explained the gist of the game to approximately eleventy billion nerds per day. Not only did I get really good at showing people how to play the demo, but I gained an eye for discerning which guys could handle me striking up a conversation, and which would turn tail and dart into the crowd (omg, the crowds) at the interaction with a girl! who was real! and not in a pikachu costume! Seriously, this little pikachu girl who was bopping around? So cute.

I loved seeing Lucky in that environment, since there's never been another conference that I could go along to. It was great to meet some of his friends from that world, and I was proud in that embarrassingly squishy way to see him take questions on a panel with the other PAX 10 and be funny and informative and professional, all on way too little sleep. Did I mention that it was exhausting? Part of the reason we were so beat was because we forced ourselves to return to the Expo each night around 10:00 to go to the concerts. See, my nerdiness is more about books and music than games, so musicians who are well-read and sing or rap about nerdy things really turn my crank. One of my favourites is a guy considered to be the founding father of Nerdcore, MC Frontalot. I'll wait while you go check this out.

You're back? Awesome, no? And then I freaked him out.

I've been having really vivid dreams lately. Combine that with the fact that we went to bed on Friday night after the first day at PAX, submersed in all things nerdy all day, with me excited about seeing MC Frontalot's show the next night, and it shouldn't be a surprise that I had a really odd dream about him. In my dream, I went up to the little booth at the Expo where he was signing autographs and selling merch, only to find that he was not doing those things at all, so much as operating a jewellry consignment. On top of that, he didn't want my jewellry. He said it wouldn't sell. As you can imagine, I was displeased with the whole interaction. When I woke up in the morning, I told Lucky about it, along with the other dream I'd had about Barack Obama coming by our booth and admiring the game, but he was more amused by the Frontalot one, and said that I absolutely had to go tell him about it at the Expo that day. I wasn't sure, but I warmed up to the idea, thinking that Frontalot had to be a pretty open-minded guy with a good sense of humour, and that the least I could do was give a chuckle to a guy whose music I had enjoyed on many occasions.

So, I picked my moment, when there was no one at his booth, just him and his Mom staffing the table (Yes, I'm pretty sure that was his Mom selling merch with him. If that doesn't give you cred, I don't know what does. Although, you do have to wonder what she makes of the Pr0n Song when I can't even handle telling my Mom that our softball team is called Balls Deep.) I approached, and launched into the explanation and story I had rehearsed in my head, "Ok, so I'm not a crazed fan... but I do like your stuff... I mean, I have one album, that I bought, because piracy is bad, right? Yeah, so anyways, don't be freaked out, but I had this dream about you last night..." And I told him, and he laughed, but it was nervous laughter, and I don't think it was my imagination that he backed away just a bit. I totally freaked out Frontalot. That night, at the show, I had to wonder if it occurred to him that the weird girl with the jewellry issues might be in the crowd, watching. When he came by our booth the next day to briefly admire the game (so cool!) I wondered if he recognized me, but I was redeemed by the fact that he said the game looked awesome. So, I think Frontalot and I are ok. Now I can go dream about Jonathan Coulton.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Spalicious! Spatacular? Sorry. Both horrible.

So, Tuesday evening, I'm on my way home from work, and I am cranky. I'm thinking about writing in my blog, but I'm also thinking that my least favourite entries in other blogs are the ones where the writers complain about bad days. Unfortunately, I had mostly grumpy things to report: frustrating work stuff that I am too smart to write about here, the fact that I was trudging home in the rain because non-regular bus riders all crawl out of the woodwork and clog the buses on even slightly wet days (Seriously. Where do they come from?), all exacerbated by the fact that my hormones are STILL RAGING OH MY GOD. So: crap mood, not wanting to whine about it. That there? That wasn't whining, that was just background.

Anyhow, I get home, drop my crap, and start to dread heading back out into the rain to pick up dinner as planned. There's a message on the phone. I check it. It's from the awesome spa that I've been to a few times in the past few years. I think: "Hmm. This can't be bad." More background: my lovely mother-in-law gave me a gift certificate to said spa for my birthday last year. When I headed in six months later to redeem the gift, they told me that there was no such credit on file. I wracked my brain to sort out whether or not I had really spent it already, and I decided that it was unlikely, but possible. After getting numerous spa girls to check their records, and coming up short each time, I gave up, because really, what can you do? Anyways, back to the phone call. It seems that yet another spa girl (there are lots) was going through their pile of gift certificates, and found that there was an un-redeemed one for me from 2007. She wanted to let me know, and encourage me to come in and spend it. Well, hello awesome! The coolness of them reminding people to make use of services rather than just pocketing the payment mitigates the fact that they lost the gift in the first place. Also, the coolness of this turn of events overshadowed the grumpy day leading up to it, resulting in a happy Kat, and potential blog entry! All's well that ends with a Baltic sea salt rub, right? Right!