Friday, November 28, 2008

Star Wars Holiday Special... Live From Hell!

I'm attempting to make it through the rifftrax version of the Star Wars Holiday Special. My LORD, is it difficult! This is a punishingly bad horror of television. An abomination. If Paris Hilton directed the remake of Casablanca, starring the cast of Full House nude, it would be an Oscar worthy effort compared to this dreck.

The awful wookie family... the irritating and unfunny "holonet" that we somehow watch inside the show itself, like some meta-torture... Art Carney. It's just too much.

I'm so glad I didn't see this as an impressionable youngster. It would have forever tainted the joy of Star Wars for me.

I will hold fast to the original trilogy and cast out the evil of all superfluous Star Wars evil.

Black Friday and Fallout

We actually went out and shopped for the first time in our lives on the day after thanksgiving.

It caps a nice couple of days for us. We got the old apartment totally emptied, we had an awesome dinner over at Herc and Sarah's, complete with pie and mst3k.

So today we enjoyed the Seattle mist while we purchased practical gifts for school and work.

Okay, Jaime's was practical. Mine is simply a toy. But oh such a fun toy.

J got herself a new computer, replacing the old model. We basically rotate computers every five years, what with new software or features or whatever. The new macbooks are nice, and considering we use the computer ten times a day I don't mind getting one that really meets our needs.

The itouch, of course, is just a toy for me. Mostly it's for me while I wait in the car or by the bed with sleeping children.

Then me and the kids walked around Ballard with Herc and Sarah, not shopping but just looking at stores and getting ideas for Taviri's christmas presents. These we will actually wrap up and place under the tree, unlike ours which are in use immediately. The fun thing is Taviri loves the ultra low tech presents, the puppets and wooden "food" he makes on a cardboard stove. We try to encourage this; I guess our own technological excess won't be multiplied by the next generation, even if we do pass it on to some degree. I love that I spend a few hours a day playing puppet theater with him. (Although my hands are killing me; if I'm going to play puppets I'm going to do it well!)

I'm looking forward to christmas this year. Taviri is just getting a few simple gifts, Arkaedi will get something little, and me and J have ours already. It'll mostly be about being together and eating a huge feast prepared by J for our friends. Which is what holidays should always be about.

(Well, food at least. Everyone can get their own Jaime to cook for them, this one's mine!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day at Beach, with Rainier Looming

Another bizarrely perfect day today. Chilly, but great. I took the kids to Golden Gardens and we watched the trains. Well, me and Viri watched the trains, and Arkaedi was obsessed with the ocean. To the point of saying "WA! WA!" which is incredible interest from an 11 month old baby girl. This nice weather may actually carry me through the winter now. I can possibly hold out until May!

It got me thinking of what my friend texted me about being parents: our kids do get such a range of experiences, and it's great when we can really bring them something that expands their world. Living here, I have the opportunity for mountains, rivers, the ocean. In the natural environment alone there is a daily reminder of the beauty and power of life. I'll never forget my first time seeing the ocean. Due to geographic and financial circumstances it was tough to get there, but my kids can see it every day. Easy to take these kinds of things for granted, and we do. But it's wonderful to be reminded of these things.

After that we came home and Viri and I played puppet shows with Arkaedi. I really am enjoying this stage of my life immensely. I make some mistakes, I get irritated and fail my kids in little ways, true. But I still make sure they get a quality of life that is very good. They learn, play, and grow. I hope I am doing my part to guide them to their destiny.

One amazing aspect of this recent weather is that we get to see Mt. Rainier every day. It's incredible. I do wish they had kept the native name, Tacoma or Tahoma. I forget what it means. I think it's "One who comes here to loom menacingly over the horizon and make glaciers, and is all out of glaciers."

I may be mistaken. Still, having Tahoma standing watching you would be better than Rainier.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sausages, Springsteen, Arkaedi and an Aloe Plant

In the spirit of disjointed narratives everywhere, I bring you the Ulysses of blog posts.

Arkaedi, the girl who will not go to sleep before 11, hung out in my room late last night while the boy and mama slept. She enjoyed playing with my sparkling water bottle. Sparkling water is a big weakness of mine, after the strangest of starts.

Jaime and I traveled in Europe after I graduated college. We had an amazing time, possibly the greatest trip of our lives. The one odd thing was, everytime I ordered water I got sparkling water. I thought I got pretty good at saying, in various languages, no sparkling water. (Italian is goofy: no one can say "Acqua senza gas" and not feel ridiculous. Although it did teach me how to order vegan. "Senza frommagio" is invaluable.)

But the odd thing was, after days of this, I got to enjoy it. Now I love it. It has to be done right, of course. A little ice, a small thick glass. Like scotch. But done right, I love it.

My other guilty pleasure is tofurky's beer brats.
Even typing the sentence I feel dumber. (More dumb?) But it is a simple meal I delight to prepare. Fried in my cast iron, they are crisp and juicy, the perfect evening light meal. I partake gratefully before my chocolate and tea dessert. Another nightly pleasure I don't even feel guilty about anymore, since it is such a part of me. I'd just as soon feel guilty about having a pinky toe. Tea and chocolate are integral to my function as a person. (Which, come to think of it, makes them more important than my pinky. So, nevermind.)

The move is commencing to continue. Our plants are looking lovely in the new place. I can't describe the feel of this new place, but it is very cozy. Definitely a hobbit kind of house. The one quantifiable statement I can make is: I sleep really well here.

Though I was listening to Springsteen, there is nothing else about him here in this post.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Nature of People

"I have to speculate
That God Himself did make
us into corresponding shapes
like puzzle pieces."
-iron and wine, 'such great heights'

I'm hesitant to quote songs. But I really liked that line, and it fits into my recent thoughts on relationships and people. I've been disappointed lately in how things have worked out in certain relationships in my life, and that always leads to thoughts on regret of the past. I think a lot of people I have known, and the could have beens and might have beens there. And once I contemplate I see again that I was meant to be with Jaime. Every turn of my life she provides me with energy and perspective that I need, that other people in my life would have been (or have been) unable or unwilling to provide.

I wonder how many people also had this corresponding shape, and they didn't understand it until it was too late. Or never understood it. Not that I think I made some great leap; it was luck and fate as well as work. But it was work too, to know myself better, to listen to my heart and make a good choice. Good choices, really, because we choose it every day.

I wonder how differently my life would be if I hadn't chosen this path. I think I would be, as J often puts it, cold and hungry. I'd certainly not be the father and husband I am today. I see myself living under a bridge. Not a good thing; I'm scruffy enough WITH indoor plumbing.

Then again, I don't feel like I could be anywhere else. This is who I am, where I need to be.

I'm not sure where I'll be in ten years; I haven't really set up my life to be anywhere. I've spent a lot of energy being me, building my relationship with j, my friendships. I'm glad I did, it has served me well. I like who I am, which is what I wanted to be able to say years ago when I thought of my future self. I was in a position as a young man to see very little material gain, and I am thankful for that. It shaped my goals.

Seeing people who are desperate to look good, or have financial security, I understand again why I never sought those things. I'm content with the choices I have made, something I wished for myself when I was still a teenager in West-By-God.

I sought J, I sought my family, and I found them.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Seattle: Like a beautiful child...

For those who don't catch my lovely and talented colleague's blog little black star, this is a great video from the MST3k folks about the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle.

It's nice to see that the future has CONSTANT ORGAN MUSIC!

Seattle Day

Today was an amazing day. Lovely, cool but not cold. It's the kind of fall day that makes Seattle great. Don't talk to me in January, sure. But I love these nice fall days.

This time of year makes me want to buy a farm in Carnation. But then I'd miss the fun city aspects of Seattle. I'm not sure what it is about this city, but I went from hating it a lot to enjoying it a lot. Again don't talk to me in January. But for now...

I took the kids to the library, and to Ken's Market. I love that even in little corner markets here you can get organic food and hummus. They didn't have bulk teas though; I'm going to take Cathy's advice and check out Greenwood Market. At least I can walk there.

I think one reason I'm enjoying the city more is the change in myself over the past few months. Events that have occurred have made me less concerned with ideological differences and more interested in the present moment. I'm not offended by abstractions as easily. Despite problems with this place, it is a good city, with good food and nice people; it doesn't have to fit an image I construct in my mind.

Living in my current neighborhood helps with that. It's a family place, and fits well with the practical realities of my situation. This is where I am with my life, and I'm comfortable with that. I like working with kids, I like raising my kids. I'm not interested in creating my past or future anymore. I'm content with just being who I am, where I am. I've seen firsthand the dangers of living in one's imagination, and I am beginning to understand it now.

That reminds me of one of my favorite poems:

The Rain

All night the sound had
come back again,
and again falls
this quiet, persistent rain.

What am I to myself
that must be remembered,
insisted upon
so often? Is it

that never the ease,
even the hardness,
of rain falling
will have for me

something other than this,
something not so insistent—
am I to be locked in this
final uneasiness.

Love, if you love me,
lie next to me.
Be for me, like rain,
the getting out

of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-
lust of intentional indifference.
Be wet
with a decent happiness.

I'm not sure why, but that seems fitting.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Drug Companies: Evil, Sure. But now with new Dumb!

Boy I am not showing this to Jaime. She will not be happy.
Also I want to start a sxe band called Evil With New Dumb.

Exploring Greenwood

I have taken a little time to walk around today, with the kids in tow. Being able to walk to multiple coffee shops, the library, and several places offering me falafel is dangerous, certainly. But rewarding. I'm really impressed so far with how awesome Makeda Coffee is, and look forward to really taste testing some of their blends. The service was awesome, at least, which honestly is nine tenths of a Seattle coffeehouse-- you know the coffee will be decent.

My next task is to check out Ken's Market for healthy options. And tea. If it has tea then I am a returning customer. Good tea, that is. I need tea within walking distance. I take my beverages seriously. I'm guessing it has some decent options, once again this is Seattle and standards for beverages are pretty high.

Greenwood is shaping up to be a great place to live.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Straight Edge Merman!

I really cracked up at this hilarious article.

I don't know if sxe merman got me more or the casual "it takes place near lava fields."

My autobiography is now "It Took Place Near Lava Fields."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Viri's Bday

We had a nice little party here. Our first celebration in the new house, Taviri's Birthday!

Everyone stopped by and had cupcakes and wished Viri a happy 3rd. He enjoyed the attention.

Cathyjoel really outdid themselves spoiling our boy, as usual. He is well loved, certainly. I'm saving and documenting all of this so that when he grows up to rule the world he has some perspective. He has so far spent quite a long time at play with the puppet theater, repeatedly reminding me that "Puppet dinosaur comes in the door, Papa. Not the window." Will I ever learn?

The new place is starting to come together nicely. I love my little tea corner. Any place where I can have a separate shelf for tea is a winner in my book. Open shelving, if that is such a thing, is my new favorite design element.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Star Trek

The new Star Trek!
I am definitely getting in touch with my childhood nerd here. Very excited about this movie.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Greenwood Home

Technically, we live in Phinney Ridge. But Seattle Department of Neighborhoods be damned! I say Greenwood. Our place is a mess, but thanks to cathyjoel, tom and yolanda (and herc and sarah too yesterday) we are mostly moved.

I am exhausted now, but really excited about our new place. It is a combination hobbit-hole and sprawling play area. So the kids and I are pleased. Arkaedi already has been crawling circles around the place. It is laid out like a long tunnel with rooms off to each side, so she can go up and down the hall and explore each space to feel like she is really covering some ground.

When we get the place cleaned up I'll write more and publish pictures. Now I'd better work.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Impending Move

We're very not prepared for the move. But excited.

(Not sure if you can be 'very' not something, outside of 80s films. But nevertheless!)

Arkaedi is hitting keys as I type so blame the typos on her.

I'm anxious to get to Greenwood. And out of this place, honestly. It hasn't been a very nice living experience since we moved in. And now we have some unpleasant associations because of the recent roommate craziness. I'll be glad to be in a cool place with neighbors I like and trust.

Greenwood also has Neptune Coffee, vintage Western store, and vegetarian restaurants. It makes me appreciate Seattle, honestly. I'm so much more into Seattle when I have a comfortable place to live. I hated it when I started to get frustrated with my situation, because my instinct is to run. Not a totally unreasonable instinct, but not always the best solution. When I find a situation I like, suddenly I remember: progressive town, good food, coffee, cool weather. 3D Creature with Herc and Sarah! Cathyjoel and Gabri and Tom! Seattle is a pretty great place. I like the city, I think. I just need to get settled, if I can.

PS: President-elect Obama is the same age as the karate kid, Ralph Macchio. I am old.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Prop 8 Fallout

You know the world is crazy when I link to some mainstream talking head. But I can't get over this vote. I DO have a personal stake in this-- and I have even wondered about the legal institution of marriage for everyone myself. To me it didn't seem like a legal concern at one point. But that was before I had kids, and began to think about the consequences of illness and long term health problems of loved ones. We need a society in which people are prepared to care for their loved ones as best as possible, and have according rights.

I am sickened by the conservatives who make hate an issue of family. I hear people who are divorced, who don't take care of their families themselves weighing in on this. It's sad and alarming. Apparently you can be a divorced drug addict conservative and talk to me about family values. As someone who has been married almost fifteen years, I think there is a lot of weight to my statement that a family is about love and mutual support, not the genitals of the people involved. It's awful that some people who think of themselves as understanding the spirit think of the world in such concrete and materialist terms. But that's the US; material first, immature ideological ranting in place of the spiritual.

Hopefully people eventually grow up and my daughter and son can live in a world that cares less about what the genetic makeup of their dance partner is and more about how much they love and are loved in return.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Master On Sufism

One of the greatest moments in this is the Master's laugh. Such an amazing laugh. Every time I hear it, even on a recording, it is overwhelming.

I love also the moment he frowns at the camera. Such a great knowing look, as if asking the viewers what this guy is doing, asking about things for which there are no words. As Rumi said, "When I come to Love, I am ashamed of all I said of Love."

Seeing this reminds me of why this path is so perfect for me. The attraction to the Truth, seeking Love with every fiber of my being, and remembering to laugh at the intellectual self that tries to ask questions instead of being in the moment.

Happy Jaime Day

It's J's bday! And our anniversary. Dating, that is. Sixteen years. It sounds like a crazy number when I type it out like that. J is taking the evening to go out to the spa with her girlfriends and soak and relax. Which I imagine will be awesome.

I am always confused by the nature of time when I think of the years J and I have spent together. It seems like three or four lives strung together. This is the one with kids and money worries and serious consideration of an investment plan. I'm pretty sure the Ryan of ten years ago didn't think that way.

I'm enjoying my evening though, even with screaming children (Viri hurt himself somehow, he won't explain. Now he's pushing my chair away from the computer.) I like this stage of my life. I seriously want more kids, even, though j threatens to kick me if I get to close to her before graduation. (Now Arkaedi is screaming. Viri, "She bonked your head." I think he means 'her' but he hasn't got the hang of the pronouns yet.)

Now I hope I can get them to bed successfully with a minimum of fuss. And that j doesn't find out we ate baby carrots, newman-o's and potstickers for dinner. Happy anniversary to me!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Super Papa Day

Today was a day in which I did everything in a very Papa way. I called my own dad, even, and chatted about the kids. I watched a football game with Sarah and Herc, and even though Sarah's black magic caused our team to lose, it was still great fun. Then I helped both of my kids fall asleep so Jaime could study.

(I'm always tempted to say I put them to sleep. That sounds bad. Remind me to delete that from my vernacular. Along with Goddammit, that Viri has picked up from me. Bad habits surface with talking children...)

My littlest one is asleep now, looking like the smallest Jedi. It is amazing to me how much love I have for my children. Even the thought that someone could not be near their children is shocking to me. I had a few hours away from them, enjoying myself and watching football, and I still missed them. I had to relate a few stories about them to Herc and Sarah. I should have mentioned the awesome little Jedi pajamas.

The place we watched football today was an irish pub downtown, a fun little place. It made me want to listen to the Pogues, which I am currently doing.

And I should rush off and make a new cd for the car before the little Jedi wakes up and demands boobs and justice. In that order.

John Williams Tribute- A Cappella

I was all set up to hate this... but I can't. It's like the power of my childhood has overcome my desire to mock a man in a player shirt. I'm powerless to be sarcastic and cynical!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Careers and Futures

The intense feelings brought on by my family situation and the impending move have put me in a pensive state. I'm ready to start the next phase of my life, the next stage for my family. I'm busy working on my future. I am interested in continuing my acupuncture studies, but I also want to start a daycare. And I am trying to help J start her practice. It's a little insane. I have a dream in my mind that I can almost manifest.  I imagine a naturopathic practice integrated into an open school, with parent counseling and marriage counseling available on site.  I imagine a daycare drop off for parents to go for a treatment.  If only it could all flow together into a coherent concrete image to present to a funding source and say, "Here it is. This is a good thing, it will help people!"

Taviri got a fireman helmet today. I asked him what firemen did. He said they rode in fire trucks. I said, "Yes they do. Why do they ride in fire trucks?"
He paused. "To help people."

He's a great boy. And he's right. I think I have a plan for something that could help people. Build some relationships, prepare my community for the challenges of the future. Now it is my responsibility to manifest this dream and actually get to helping people. 

Saturday, November 1, 2008


A crazy night here. Crazier than I would have imagined possible for me, and my life. But here it is. Now I wonder how to deal with it, and move on. I worry greatly about people in my life now, who I have to get some distance from... I pray and hope that they will make it through this no more damaged than they already are. Well... inshallah... hide in a hole if you want. 

World of Tea

I am drinking a lot of black tea lately. Something about my life in the past year has required a large amount of black tea, and much less of my traditional green. I even have been more into the western tea culture, listening to classical music and enjoying the cup on a saucer, next to a spoon (useless for me, since I still can't bear the thought of sugar in tea)

Since Seattle is attempting to cast itself as the beverage capital of the world, including the famous coffee as well as various teas, I have a great opportunity to indulge. There was even a Northwest Tea Festival recently that I was able to attend. (Taviri enjoyed the "papa tea party" with me.)

I can see myself become a mad drinker, coffee in the morning with scones, tea and biscuits in the afternoon, green tea at night in simple cups over a game of go. A great time, certainly.  When I get settled in the new room a special corner will be set up, with my low table and various cups and pots for tea. I may even get up the motivation to install the espresso maker that my Shayhk gave me, if I'm feeling brave.


We signed the lease today for our new place.

Appropriately, on the first of the month, we're preparing for some big changes.  I am a little concerned about the commitment we're making, but I think it needs to be done.  We need our own place, with our space clearly defined. We've been living communally for a long time, and it has weakened me a bit. 

Now I'm sitting at Teahouse Kuan Yin, enjoying some Earl Grey and reading Basho.

"do not forget
 that in the thicket are
 plum blossoms"

I hope to use this blog to express some personal ideas and thoughts, since so much of my work lately has been professional.  Which is great; I feel like j and I are on track, planning our future with a clarity that we had never had.  Perhaps prematurely, I feel like we are were we want to be professionally. Strange and wonderful as it is, I think in sixteen years j and I have never been happier with our lives.  Clearly a lot of this is my own work on myself, being a darvish, and j's work on herself as a mother and healer. The confluence has made a great space for us to just be a couple.  

"with that moon
 i wish to paint glitter
 on the inn"

Since I am just beginning this blog, and moving to our new place, I should compose an opening poem myself.  Traditionally the first stanza of a poem sets the tone, prepares the author or authors to move forward and compose a longer poem as a celebration or contest. In that spirit I begin my newest journey, aged 32, father of two.

sweet sounds of life
morning smells through curtains
Love dwells