Thursday, April 30, 2009

Prom Tag!

A little while back, Liz posted a prom tag on her blog, and it was fun reading about her proms. At my high school, we had a Senior Ball, and a Junior Prom. We split out the dances, and while this is likely obvious, the Ball was just for Seniors and the Prom was just for Juniors; they were separate events on different nights. My Senior Ball was held at the San Francisco Gift Center, which is a gorgeous old warehouse. Funny, I later worked only a few blocks from there during the dotcom boom.

This picture is from my Senior Ball, and it's with my best friend, Tammy. We're still best friends! I am the one on the left:

I don't have a picture with my date, who was named Marc. Marc was a junior, so I went to both the Ball and the Prom my senior year. Woohoo! We broke up when I went off to college. Last I knew of Marc, he lived in LA and was working in either the music or film industry. We didn't stay close, and that's just fine with me.

So! What year do you think this picture is from?

DIG up your old Prom it and lets guess the date too...(if you really are that self-conscience and don't want us to know the date...maybe we can guess the decade?)
If you are married to your Prom date let us know!
If you are not...try to post a Prom picture of your Prom & a second picture of your husbands prom too...let us know where each of your Dates are now...and their relationship status!! (and of course YOU are way cuter than his Prom date!)
If you are Single...let us know where your Prom date is now!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Good Witch Goes to the Chiropractor

Yesterday, as I was face down on the chiropractor, I heard someone walk into the waiting area. Dr. Steve and I were chatting away about allergies and weird stuff that people tell him. And about gas. Anyway.

I can't see anything, really at all, other than the white towel on the table.

I hear a man's voice say, "Oh, and this is another person from Wicked, she's touring the gym. This is Kendra Kassebaum, she's the Good Witch."

To which I say to Dr Steve, "Can I put my head up now? I have to see this."

Sure enough, I lift my head up, and there's a pretty blond woman in the waiting area, shaking someone's hand. I wave, and she waves back. Dr Steve says something about how he enjoyed the show, other people are saying they're so excited about how well the show is doing and how its been sold out forever. She smiles and is chatty and seems to be genuinely delightful.

It's a little surreal, because honestly, I never expected to see any witches in the chiropractor's office. Wicked is one of my favorite books, ever. I had about one million questions to throw her way, but she was off to do "Wicked Yoga" and I was in the middle of being adjusted.

When I put my head back down, Dr Steve says, "Boy she's a lot shorter in person than I'd have thought." Which just made me laugh. Because, when you're 4'10" (like me), the Good Witch looked pretty tall. Definitely no munchkin.

And, here she is singing "Popular":

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Book Review: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I've been reading like crazy on the way in to work over the last couple of weeks. Most recently, I finished Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen, which was a great story.

Basically, the book starts in present time and we meet Jacob Jankowski as an old man, living in an assisted living facility. His mind has started to fade, it seems, and he often flashes back to a series of events that started in his last week of college. Jacob had been studying to become a vet, but his parents are killed in an accident, and he heads home unexpectedly. Unable to focus or concentrate, he winds up running out of his finals, and unexpectedly finds his way to the circus.

The author does a really amazing job of telling the story from Jacob's point of view. As a newcomer to the circus, he's quickly introduced to new lingo, new rules, and a new hierarchy of workers and performers. Jacob becomes the circus vet, caring for many animals, ranging from dogs to a great elephant named Rosie.

The story moves along, and we learn that in present day, a circus has pulled in to town, next door to the facility that Jacob lives in. His family has agreed to take him to see the show, and Jacob is excited to go.

We continue to flash back to Jacob's youth, and learn how he falls in love, how he begins to form bonds with other circus folks, and how he has a special friendship with Rosie the elephant.

I'll leave my review of the story there, because the ending is great, and I think it should be a surprise. I was really pleased with how the author chose to end the book.

I know I was really moved by the character of Jacob the old man. It's hard to read about older people who are living in assisted living, waiting for family to visit, and passing their days slowly. Jacob gets frustrated by things he used to enjoy, but no longer gets to eat, like crisp apples. The facility had taken to providing soft fruits for the residents.

I found myself saddened by Jacob's situation as an old man, and I really thought a lot about how we treat our elders in society now. In other generations, we would have taken older family members into our homes, and cared for them. Relationships amongst grandparents, grandchildren, children and maybe even great grandchildren would have been normal, a part of every day life. Instead, Jacob found that he had little to speak to his grandkids about because he did not know them well. Visitations were limited to a day at a time, once or twice a year. I was glad that Gruen addressed these topics. The ending is quite uplifting, so I encourage you all to give it a read.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Saturday: Underground Dining Club

I wanted to do something new and different For my sister's birthday, and so a few weeks before the big day in March, I started chatting people up for ideas. And listening for ideas. And finally, the perfect thing presented itself! A night out at a private dinner club, where the chef makes the meal for you as you sip on wine and hang out. My buddy Diana knew this guy, James, who she used to work with, and she and one of her friends had been to one of his events.

So for my sister's birthday, I signed us up for a dinner for four at "Cooking With James." James and I set up the plans via email, and finally we settled into a drool worthy menu of five courses, that included burrata salad, morel mushrooms on crostini, a carbonara dish, a braise of beef, and lastly a saffron panna cotta. Oh yeah, and wine, too. :)

We went, and it was amazing. First, James is a really interesting person and is very kind and welcoming. He showed us around his place, and then explained some of what his business is about, and a little about the dishes he'd be cooking for us. It was pretty exciting, since we certainly don't eat like that every day and it was fairly decadent.

Each course was tastier than the one before it. The burrata was delish, the beef was simply mind blowing, and the asparagus - I don't even have words for it. Truly a top ten meal of my life time.

What's delightful is that James seems to be making quite a name for himself, having been reviewed by Daily Candy on April 10, and noted on Craig Newmark (of Craigslist)'s blog on March 17. And, as a nod to James' Ad agency roots, he also has a lovely write up in AgencySpy from March 4 (not that I read such things). It's wonderful to see someone so in his element, doing awesome work, and getting much deserved recognition. He's definitely an inspiration.

I've been stalking James' blog because he posts pictures of all his dinner parties ... and don't you worry, I'll be happy to make the announcement here when the pictures of our dinner are up!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Cable Car Turn Around

After I left work today, I stopped by Anthropologie to do an exchange. The store is about four blocks from my office. Once I'd finished that, I headed off to BART so I could get home.

And I passed this site, the Cable Car turn around, which is always bustling with activity. From street performers, to shoppers, to lots of tourists, to the Cable Car operators, to commuters. And for some reason, I was instantly aware of how how amazing San Francisco is, how much I love this city, how excited I am to work downtown everyday and be a part of this scene. Here I was, just ending my week, nearly taking this site for granted. Instead, something went off in my head. I actually saw the tourists who were so excited to be in line for a Cable Car ride. I noticed the street performers. I took in the shoppers who were running between stores. For a moment, I was totally aware of my surroundings.

And, I found myself immensely grateful for the city, my job, and my life. It was a really great feeling.

On the evening commute

Friday Music: Friday I'm in Love

Ah, The Cure. My first memories of the band go back as far as when I was fourteen or so. My friend Margie and I would listen to the singles album (Standing on a Beach) again and again, and we knew all the words by heart. "Friday I'm in Love" is a newer song, and was released in 1992.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Abundance on a Wednesday

I was thinking a lot about abundance today, and I remembered some flowers I'd seen over the past couple of weeks. Tulips, full of oranges and yellows, with shining faces:

“It is not only my right and my privilege to walk in the abundance God has for me, it is my responsibility...just as it is my responsibility to live the rest of my truth.” - Jan Denise

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

I recently read "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini, the author of "The Kite Runner." I've read both works, and I think that "A Thousand Splendid Suns" may well be my favorite. It's truly hard to say.

The story centers on two women in Afghanistan, and stretches the last thirty years. Miriam is a "harami," illegitmate daughter of a cinema owner in the small town of Herat. She grows up with her mother in a small kolba, but delights in the visits from her father. She enjoys them so much that she eventually tries to go into Herat to find her father, as she has never visited his home.

I won't give away the plot, but Miriam moves to Kabul, and becomes the wife of Rasheed, a shoe maker and leather worker. Rasheed's first wife and son died, and there is a great sense of sadness surrounding this couple.

Later, we meet Laila, and her childhood friend, a boy named Tariq. Laila lives on the same street as Miriam and Rasheed, yet the families don't interact much early in the story.

War overtakes Afghanistan, and the story changes drastically. While the story had not been altogether peaceful before the war (there is much abuse in this story), the war divides families, makes people take actions they would never have done in "normal" circumstances.

Much like in "The Kite Runner," Hosseini paints vivid, stirring images for the reader. Both of the physical landscape, but also of people's inner worlds. We learn what moves them. We learn about love and friendship in new ways. Friends and family die, and new bonds are formed. Grief beyond that which I have known in this lifetime, plays out for some characters across a matter of moments.

What moved me the most was the friendship of Laila and Miriam. It is unexpected, and a relationship that was angst-ridden at first; these two women learn to love and respect each other in a difficult time and difficult place. Yet, in time they come to appreciate one another.

Are there any books you've read recently that moved you?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Father's Love: Team Hoyt

Over the New Years retreat, Father Rusty asked if we could play this video.

We played it after a set of small group sessions, and since each team seemed to stagger in separately, I got to see it six times. Each time, full tears streamed down my face. Each time, I was in awe of this father's love for his son.

Team Hoyt is made up of Dick (age 65) and Rick (age 47) Hoyt - the two entered their first race together because Rick wanted to participate in a charity run for local lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident in 1977. The video above is from a full IronMan race. And, here is their story from the IronMan:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday Music: Joe Purdy, Wash Away

I've liked this song for awhile now, there's something lovely and dreamy about it. When I thought about the lyrics, it seemed so appropriate to post it today, the day between Good Friday and Easter. How do we even begin to fathom the washing away of sins that happens with this great miracle? How do we fathom Anyone giving up everything he has for us? That's a whole lot of love to take in and soak up.

Wash Away, by Joe Purdy

I got troubles oh, but not today
Cause they're gonna wash away
They're gonna wash away

And I have sins Lord, but not today
Cause they're gonna wash away
They're gonna wash away

And I had friends oh, but not today
Cause they're done washed away
They're done washed away

And oh, I've been cryin'
And oh, I've been cryin'
And oh, no more cryin'
No, no more cryin' here

We get along Lord, but not today
Cause we gonna wash away
We gonna wash away

And I got troubles oh, but not today
Cause they gonna wash away
This old heart gonna take them away

Friday, April 10, 2009

Filling in the FOS Blanks

From my earlier musings around why probiotics made me all migrainey and sick feeling? um, a moment's worth of research on the ingredient FOS reveals:

FOS = Fructooligosaccharide

In other words, "The term oligosaccharide refers to a short chain of sugar molecules (in the case of FOS, fructose molecules)."

So, while I don't totally understand all these words (four years worth of Biblical Hebrew is not coming in handy here at all), I'm gonna take a beginner's guess and say that I think my problem with both FOS and HFCS is the fructose part.

Anyone with any kind of biochemical or biology type knowledge want to weigh in here? What's going on with the fructose in both these things? Why would they both have neurological ties?

There's an answer in here somewhere, but I just can't put together the pieces yet.

OK, Why Didn't I Know This: Migraines and Complex Sugars

Friends. First, Blessed Good Friday! I hope everyone is having a lovely day, and that if you are having to work (like me) that its going smoothly and you have time to reflect on the day at hand. I'd like to give a nod to Adam over at Where the Wind ... his post today, like I said in the comments ... Wow, just wow. It moved me. Please go read it :)

Now on to migraines and complex sugars, and the brave new world of possibly TMI. If you're joining me for the first time here, I have migraines.* I know for a fact that High Fructose Corn Syrup is a primary trigger, and that artificial sweeteners do a number on me. I gave up Nutrasweet about 10 years ago, at divinity school, when I had an inkling that it was causing my back to have ridiculous muscle spasms. I stopped drinking Diet Coke and cut out all Nutrasweet, and I haven't had a weirdo muscle spasm in my back since.

So, why in the world is it just today that I happened to search for more info around complex sugars and found out that, according to this article at Access Medication, that artificial sweeteners (especially aspartame, aka Nutrasweet) are known migraine triggers? Hrmpf. This makes good sense. I don't think my body can break down fake sweetners normally. I don't have any medical proof on this, but sometimes you just know things by observing reactions.

And the reason I was searching for this stuff again? Well, I started taking probiotics like three weeks ago. But then, after taking them, I started to get tired, feel gross, and then I started getting a higher frequency of migraines. I figured there was something going on, so I researched probiotics and found out that many include chickory, FOS and inulin, which are all complex sugars that can be difficult to break down.

Ugh! All that effort to avoid bad sugars and I discover I'm inadvertantly putting them into my system twice a day!

I guess the lesson learned here is that I really do need to stay vigilant about what I'm ingesting. It's not a matter of just assuming that the nice lady at the health food store understands the complexities of what it means when I say "I have migraines, will that vitamin/supplement be OK for me? " No, I need to understand what's in the thing I'm buying before I commit to taking it.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that I stopped taking the probiotic yesterday and already am starting to feel better today. What a relief. OK, now go have a lovely Friday and take good care of yourselves :)

*I'm not a doctor, and I don't even play one on TV. So, here's my caveat - don't take any of my advice and run with it on your own. I've gone to multiple doctors, including a couple of neurologists to diagnose me and help figure out my triggers. Please go seek out medical advice if you're getting headaches you don't understand, or if you're getting new kinds of headaches. This stuff can be serious, and should not be left to self-diagnosis based on blogger advice.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Oh, the Craziness of it All

Work has been crazy, in all sorts of ways. I'm finding that I'm spending longer hours, and still feeling like there's more to do when I leave each night. The end result? I like to come home and zonk out on the couch. Or, in the case of last night, Katey and I went out to an awkward dinner with a vendor. It was a totally sober event, yet truly it was one of the weirdest conversations I think either of us ever had with a more-or-less stranger. Really. To the point that when we recounted our story to our other co-worker (and famous drummer) Colby, he said he thought the guy was trying to hit on us both. Let's just say neither Katey nor I fell for the dude's shannigans, thankyouverymuch. We're too classy for that.

This last weekend was my birthday and it was great fun getting to see my friends at the birthday BBQ that my sister and her husband held for me. It was really nice getting to catch up with a bunch of my favorite people. On Sunday, my guy and I put together my parents' gift - a new book case for the living room! Hooray!

Me, right before I spit on a few of the cupcakes. You know, in a valiant effort to blow out the candles.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Music: Ring of Fire

The last few days have been nutso at work. Nuts, I tell you. It's been super busy, reminding me of the old dotcom days, well, except without dial up. There was something about the frenzied pace that made me sentimental for Johnny Cash. Back when I worked at Quokka, we'd fire up Johnny on Friday afternoons and go grab a beer.

So, in honor of those days gone by, a little Cash:

And, a little manhole cover that fascinates me every time I walk past it:
Have a great weekend :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New Discovery in Golden Gate Park!

This just in from the California Academy of Sciences:

Unprecedented Footage of Rarest Mammal Ever from Science in Action on Vimeo.

Happy April Fool's Day. Hope everyone had a good one :)