Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas was stressful.

RO has a sister with stage 4 cancer. Two days before Christmas she collapsed and was sent to the hospital. She has since recovered, but the family is very worried about her. RO and I visited her a couple times over the holidays.

We also took a Christmas morning hike around Cougar Mountain and by the Coal Creak falls with two of RO's Bear 411 friends.

Christmas evening we hung out at RO's sister's place.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The store... The store... It's doing ok. Not well enough to pay all our creditors, but enough for rent, utilities and few other bills. Better than the old location. But not enough for a pay check.

Not bad for being open three weeks.

Since we've opened, three stores in the mall have closed. It reminds us how hard the recession has hit small business and retail. RO and I hope that we can hold things together until things pick up. We are struggling. We have a few angry creditors. But we are holding on.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fun weekend.

Saturday evening was holiday party for my day job. They put on an excellent party this year. The space was interesting. They had decent entertainment. They had great service this year.

The service made a big difference. In the past, you had to wait in lines for drinks and food. This year waiters were constantly circulating through the crowd so I could spend all my time talking to my co-workers instead of waiting in line.

There was a henna artist at the party. RO had a henna dragon drawn on his head. It looks great.

After the work party, we went to J&J's Christmas party. We didn't arrive till late. Still, there where many people there. We had a good time chatting with everyone.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tuesday, Clem and Bates had the neighbors over for drinks. It was great to see them.

Bates kept the alcohol flowing. Too much so. RO and I were drinking scotch. Bates kept walking by and filling our glasses. We asked him to stop, but he responed, "Oh, I have a sure fire fix for hangovers. Just take two asprins while you are drinking!" Within minutes he returned with asprin for us.

RO and I both got sick. We both thew up before going to bed. No hangover though.

I'm too old to drink that much.

Monday, December 07, 2009

At my day job, Andie has quit. She probably wasn't fired. She was very smart about managing her money and she joined two years before I did; back when when Dot Com bubble was churning out new millionaires every day.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

RO has been working very long and hard at the store. I worry about him. I hope he can keep up the pace.

The store is getting better looking every day.

My day job-- an old co-work is having problems. He's been a marginal performer for years. This was fine in a good economy, but now that times are rough, the marginal are being pruned. He's had an offical warning from his manager. Technically he may have enough time to turn his performance around. In practice, this is the kiss of dead. He is fairly high up the ladder, past the stage where he is learning and well into the part of his career where he should be a consistently strong performer.

He's manager and I talked about this. I'm going to give him a "I heard something bad through the grape vine. I think it's in your best interests to find another job. Your boss cares for you and is pulling for you, but people who think otherwise are paying attention and speaking up."

Monday, November 30, 2009

Well, the store is open. Now we face the next major hurdle-- keeping it open. There are many challenges ahead of us. Opening sales are not strong. The mall hours are long.

But, the store looks great. And some of RO's friends and family are volunteering for the store until it takes off. It looks promising.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's Thanksgiving Day. RO, Matt, D and I have been at the store all day trying to get it ready for tomorrow. I'm not sure we'll make it. There is so much work to do.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I am thankful for my friends and my health.
It's Thanksgiving Day. RO, Matt, D and I have been at the store all day trying to get it ready for tomorrow. I'm not sure we'll make it. There is so much work to do.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

MA died.

MA was a local popular bear. Two nights ago he died of a heart attack.

The bear crowd that I know is hitting their mid 40's. Very few of them take their fitness seriously. They are bears and bears are over weight. I don't like thinking about it, but I know we will be hearing of more deaths in the future. It's that time of our life.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I don't like the new look. Out with the new. In with the old.

Today is RO's birthday. Happy Birthday RO. Love ya!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Some bad news. The hot water tank is leaking. It's a slow leak. We spotted it before it did too much damage. It's a bit unsettling. I know that dealing with the the occasional leak is part of the joys of home ownership. That said, it makes condo living more attractive.

The hot tub, which has been off for months, was repaired today. Last summer it started shutting off almost daily, flipping the GFI and setting off safety lights. We drained it and turned it off.

When summer ended we decided it was time to repair the tub. Finding a hot tub repair guy was difficult. The store that I bought the tub from is out of business. It took weeks of googling and calling around to find a repair guy who knew my line.

This guy wasn't great on followup. We first contacted him at the beginning of September. He stopped by once for an estimate and to collect a cheque for needed parts. After that he never returned our calls. RO finally got a hold of him about a week ago. He showed up today.

He said some of tbe safety sensors had started to leak and fail even though the hot tub was fine. This is common for older tubs. He also pointed out that the electrical on the hot tub was not professionally installed and that a lose ground wire was probably causing the hot tub to turn off often.

I didn't tell him that I did the electrical.

He replaced the sensors, cleaned up the electrical, installed a new lid and raised the hot tub six inches so that the lid would close properly.

And now the hot tub is heating up.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My cousin's suicide has caused much family fighting. Her death was strange. She crawled along the support scafolding on the underside of a small bridge. There she tied the rope to a girder, and then sliped a noose, with less then 12 inches of slack, around her neck.

Why kill yourself that way? The bridge is out of the way. There are plenty of trees and poles around that are much easier to get to and every bit as private.

Murder you say. Why kill that way? Make her climb along the scafolding underneath a bridge and hold still while you put a noose around her neck.

My cousins brothers and sisters and fighting with her husband. Each blaming the other.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nine years old. This blog is now nine years old. A gave the blog a new look as a gift.

It's strange to to skim over nine years of postings. People I thought would be great friends forever have come and gone. People I once had crushes on no longer matter. So much of what I've done is now just a distant memory.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Yesterday a cousin committed suicide. It's a little shock to the family. She hung herself from a bridge not too far from my parents' farm.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. She was always the black sheep. Arguably, her whole family was a little off kilter compaired to the rest of my cousins.

I don't remember much of her. I recall that while we were growing up, we didn't get along. We lost touch by the end of high school.

Friday, November 06, 2009

DR is an 80 year old woman that has been friends with RO for years. She was strong and indepenant. She volunteered for many things; the police, the Seattle Men's Choir, organizing farmers markets. She frequently helped out at our store.

But, in the last six months something has changed. She has problems remembering what she's been doing. She is frequently confused.

She has no children. Her nephew and her brother recently took her out of her apartment and put her in an old age home. She hates it. She's almost completely lost her Independence and has vowed to escape.

I'm don't see how this will end happily.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Mom and I drove along the Green River. This winter, the Green river may flood. The Howard Hanson dam, which controls the Green River water levels, is weak. To prevent the dam from bursting, they are letting out water as fast as they can. If we have too much rain this year (Army Corps of Engineers says a 1 or 4 chance) then the river will over flow its banks. Miles of sand bags are being setup along the river to contain the water.

There are *many* houses along the Green river.

I looked at some of the flood plain maps. For even a small flood, the old store would have been under about a foot of water.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mom is in town for a week. This time around she get's to see RO and I as we really are. Usually when mom flies to town, we clean up. RO will do a great job decorating her room. This time with are so swamped with work that we washed her sheets and made her bed, but that was about it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We want to open the new store on November 2.

While there is still much work to be done, the new store is starting to look like a real store. RO is working very hard to put everything together.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Today is the old store's last day. Tomorrow we close our doors to the public, pack things up and move them to the new store. Business has been steady but not overwhelming although we are having a small cocktail party in the evening. I'm sure things will pick up then.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I'm relaxing this weekend. It's the first weekend I've done so in over a month. The extra work time has been affecting my productivity-- even though I went to work last weekend, I spent much time goofing off.

At my day job, we are in the middle of a large re-org. And then the store-- it's in the middle of moving to new location. So much to do. So little time to do it.

I worry about RO. He is working even harder than I am. Every night he comes home exhausted and with a sore back. I try to make sure that he has a good dinner ready and that I rub his back at bed time. He's holding together well considering all the work he's doing.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

At the store, I destroyed a china display cabinet. RO was looking help getting the cabinet off the back of the truck. I went ahead and unbuckled the strapping that was holding the cabinet up. It was windy. The cabinet blew over and fell out of the truck. It scratched a car parked next to the truck on the way down.

I feel like crap and RO is angry with me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

RO is back from the Vegas Market. The poor guy is exhausted. I know it may sound funny, but shopping for a store is exhausting.

I'll try and cooking him a nice dinner tonight, and rub his back. I'm sure it will put him right to sleep.

Monday, September 14, 2009

RO is away shopping for the store for a week at the Vegas World Market. I miss him already.

We are moving our store. The "Move Sale" signs went up on Saturday. Of course we got a huge influx of customers. This is good to know. We probably won't have a cash flow problem for the next couple of months.

Monday, September 07, 2009

RO and I took a day trip to Olympia. RO's neice is opening a consignment store down there and RO wanted to take a look.

The space is big and they've done a good job setting it up. RO and his neice had a good chat. RO gave her much good advice about running a store. Retail is a lot of work and RO has much experience in this.

Afterwards we had dinner at an oyster house along the waterfront. The raw oysters were wonderful, but the fish was overcooked.

We headed back home, had a drink and then hit the sack.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Sandy is not handling he and Matt's breakup very well. As Matt moves out, reality is starting to set in. Matt is also heart broken, but he is handling it better. I think moving out has allowed him to move on a bit easier.

RO has been trying to help, but reconciliation attempts haven't panned out.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Every now and then I get a good-byte-email from someone who is leaving to spend more time with the family and isn't sure of their future plans just yet. I've wondered why someone would leave a decent job without a plan.

Yesterday, was the last day for the first guy I ever fired. Well, he turned it around and resigned before the firing came into effect, so technically he quit.

He sent around a good-bye-email saying that we as going to spend more time with his family and the he doesn't have future plans just yet. No I'm wondering about all the other unplanned goodbyes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Matt hast started paying rent and has set up a home office at our place. I guess he's going to be staying for a while.

His breakup with Sandy is transitioning from 'amicable' to 'sour.' For example, Matt has his eye on a new dog, a small toy-dog from a rescue shelter. While they were together Sandy prevented Matt from getting this new dog. This choice was not unreasonable as they already have two dogs and four cats.

Now that they are appart, Sandy sees Matt's decision to get a new dog as proof that Matt is not serious about getting together. He may be right.

Sandy thinks that RO and I support Matt's decsion to act in bad faith towards their relationship. This creats much bickering, texting, debating and speculation between Matt and Sandy. I'm trying to stay out of it, but RO gives his opinion, even though he is tired of doing so.

Every time Sandy texts me, I feel like I'm walking in a mine field. I have to answer his questions in very neutral Zen Koan's.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I got a promotion at my day job. It's a fairly important promotion. My title will change and new doors open to me.

I already see some of the changes. Even though my promotion has not been announced, the partners in the business are walking into my office and offering me career counseling.

The first lesson I've learned is that I have to become a "Puppet Master." and set up situations so that people make the choices that I want them to make.

Monday, August 17, 2009

RO now has a perscription for Xanax-- the store has been stressing him out and he needs help sleeping. Xanax strongly affects him, I guess it's a popular drug for a reason, by Sunday evening, he completly forgot about the day. He thought it was only Saturday evening and couldn't remember a thing we did on Sunday.

The store is facing new challenges. Our lease expired last March and we have been living on a month to month contract. We have a signed letter of intent to have a new lease, but have not yet received the lease from the land lord. Then, a representative from a leaseing company showed up and told us that he would soon put up "For Lease" banners. I suspect the landlords think they can get more money from another tenat and are hoping the letter-of-intent is dropped.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

RO has a new suspician about our roadside pooper. Clem & Bates are having sceptic problems right now and when RO mentioned the bag of shit to Clem, he very quickly changed the subject.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


We have our groceries delivered. The grocer has the groceries on our door step by 6am.

Monday morning was a bit different. When RO was leaving for work, he noticed a grocery bag from our grocer. It was full of something. He thought that perhaps the grocer made a mistake and forgot to bring one bag of our groceries to our door step.

He looked in the bag. It was full of shit and napkins.

We are not sure who or why someone would do this. We suspect that the Grocer's truck driver really had to go to the bathroom, so he used a grocery bag and then left it behind.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Matt is moving in with us for a few days. He and Sandy have split up, supposedly for good. He's moving out of the city, but needs a few days to collect his stuff.

Monday, August 03, 2009

We visited the bank this morning. There was very little they could do. Then they found I am a permanent resident and not a U.S. citizen. Suddenly there was nothing they could do.

I know RO will fight tooth and nail for more money. But, when I do the numbers, I don't see how that will happen. Even with a generously low interested rate, our monthly payments will be much larger than we can afford. To survive for more than six months, the store's sales need to triple. In the short term we can pull a few tricks that leave us deeper in debt and deplete our inventory. But fundamentally the store is running deep in the red and my paycheck is no longer enough to cover the difference.

I'm actually looking forward to bankruptcy. I could get my weekends back and RO could get a paying job. With a chapter 13 bankruptcy, I'd could keep the house (and the mortgages) as well as my 401K. We'd lose the business and everything I've put into it, but that's a big hole right now, a hole that's going to take years to fill in. Seven years of bankruptcy on my credit rating is starting to look mighty attractive.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

RO's brother in-law has cancer. Last January a cyst developed in his nose and kept growing. The doctor removed the cyst last week. Subsequent testing showed it was cancerous.

The brother-in-law will soon undergo chemo and radition treatment. I hope all goes well.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I drove home last night without the AC on, I opened up the sun roof and all the windows. We hit a record high of 103 yesterday and I wanted to feel it all. When I stuck my arm outside the window the air felt like it came from a hair dryer.

We went swimming against last night but didnt' stay as long. Mosquitoes came out after the sun set. It was still a very plesent evening. Thanks to the swimming, I'm sleeping well despite the heat.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

To stave off the heat, RO and I went to Kennydale Beach Park to swim, to have a light picnic and to watch the sun set.

What a great place. After the life guards left, the beach came alive. People kept showing up, mostly teenagers, but many families as well. You could hear laughter everywhere. Of course, the best part of swimming someplace without a life guard is that you can do whatever you want. Lots of people were swimming outside the buoyed off swimming area. People were jumping off the rails, playfully pushing each other off the dock, playing tag in the deep water, floating on air mattress and all those other officially unsafe, yet fun, activities.

The sunset was beautiful and broadly red. Then the sky turned a deep dark blue. Perfect for swimming.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Well... we're going to open a second store. It seams that we will be doing this by maxing out our credit cards, selectivly not paying bills and buying inventory on credit.

If we succeed, then good. If not, it will all be over before my 40th birthday.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We had dinner at Clem & Bates. They had interesting stories to tell.

Clem & Bates have an open relationship. One day while Bates was away, Clem took out an ad on Craigslist, including a below the waist nude shot.

A neighbor, a married woman, called Clem and asked "Did you take out an ad on Craigslist?" Clem tried to be vague and avoid the question. The neighbor continued "I recognize the linoleum on your bathroom floor. I know that's you!"

Boone put up a memorial for our dearly departed cat.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's been a busy couple of days. Where to start?

My cat is gone and probably dead.

My mother misplaced her passport and we had to go to the consulate.

RO and my mom got into an argument. My mother started to try cry.

First the cat; the last time we saw him was Friday. We noticed that he wasn't around on Saturday. Sunday we got worried and started looking. In a way I'm glad he's gone because he was a messy cat. On the flip side, I feel bad that i'm a little happy that he's gone.

My mother's passport; when my mom flew to Seattle, she accidentally grabbed my dad's passport. Even with the wrong passport she managed to talk her way into the U.S. But, she was given a stern warning that she had to exit with proper documentation. So Monday, Mom and I went to the Canadian Consulate to get the right paper work. It was relativly stress free, though we did end up waiting around for an hour while things were processed. I learnt that the Candian consulate has my and my brothers names and addresses all on file-- the asked my mother for this info to double check that it was really her.

And finally, RO made my mom cry. We were out for a walk through the Fremont Sunday Market. We were talking about my brother and his perpetual financial and woman problems. Mom my said something that could have been interpreted as RO was using me for my money to support the store. She really didn't mean it that way.

RO stewed on the comment for a while. Then on the way home they talked which escalated to an argument.

They have since made up and all is well. But, I don't like knowing that eventually RO will blow up at all my family and friends. In fact, I can't think of a single friend of mine that he hasn't got irritated with. Mind you, I shouldn't really single out my friends and family. RO has gotten in *very* heated arguments with many of his friends as well. It's his nature. Mostly he's a great man. But, he has his buttons.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

At work at work, I see people around me whose careers are underperforming; who are on the verge of being fired if they are junior, or being shuffled off to some harmless department if they are senior. But when I compare these people to me, I don't see that much of a difference. Yet somehow the powers that be trust me and give me great freedom to do whatever I want.

It's this freedom that let's me suceed-- I make as many mistakes, even more, than some of the troubled employees. But the freedom means that people mostly don't notice. If I was a problem employee and being managed for performance, then every mistake I made would become an issue to be delt with and provide a bit of data used to solidify negative judgements. Free from the eye of upper management, I get to clean up my mistakes before anyone notices. I come away looking clean.

I feel uncomfortable talking about this with my employees. As engineers they want firm objective standards for success. For me to suggest that how people judge them is just as important as the actual work they do, smacks of politics and subjectivity. It labels me as one of those managers who has lost touch with the work that needs to be done.

Yet, in an organization of quality people who have good judgement, what people think of you is a real measure of success.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's Kent Cornucopia Days-- the cities annual fair. There was a shooting at last year's Cornucopia. This year the security is greatly beefed up-- two cops on every corner.

Cornucopia always brings in many people to the store and that's good for sales. But the street fair it self, well, is nothing special. There are a few local crafts and artists, but the bulk of the stalls feel like they were filled by randomly picking vendors from the yellow pages-- gutter guards, health suppliments, temporary tatooes, beads, random churches, the list goes on.

I just got back from the parade. There were a lot of chear bands, dance bands and spirit troups this year. Lots of good moves.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Mom is in town for a couple of weeks. It's good to see her, though, when I picked her up, for the first time I noticed that she's getting old. Not too old, but no longer middle aged.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Tommy, you are welcome to spend some time with us during the winter rain.

I'm a bit sunburt right now. There are three beaches nearby, all within two miles of biking. We went to the northern most one for a dip. We usually don't go there. Now I remember why-- the water at this beach is full of weeds. The diving raft is covered with goose poop.

Still, it was nice to lay on the grass and soke up the sun.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

It's been a hecktic week, though this weekend is a long weekend. Friday RO and I dropped by Behr & Lucky's July 3 BBQ.

C6 was there. C6 had a heart attack about six months ago. They discovered that his heart is over large and not working well-- too many years of steroids and partying. He can no longer do cardio as his heart can't keep up. He is concidering a heart transplant.

Two couples at the BBQ are moving from Seattle to Phoenix. They didn't know each other before hand. But, both couples decided that they had enough of the winter rain and wanted year around sun.

RO and I spent Saturday at his sisters on the lake. The whole family was there. We boated, sat in the sun, chatted and drank. It was a pleasent day.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I'm halfway home from Oslo, stuck at the Newark Airport for a few hours, waiting for a connector to Seattle. I'm drinking coffee to help delay my bedtime. It may be noon in Seattle, but my body thinks it's nine p.m Oslo time. I've been up since seven am Oslo and I have another nine hours to go. Today will be a long day.

Thanks to a laptop, an mp3 player and a pair of noise reducing head phones, I can cocoon myself, listen to music and block out the world. All around me are weary travelers doing the same. Their diversions may be video games or or text messaging, but we are all using our gadgets to tune out, clustering around the power outlets while our devices recharge, but never going so far as to say 'Hi' to one another.

Who says we are social creatures? I think we are creatures that love to be entertained. Our gadgets are now more entertaining than our fellow men so society is being left behind. I have heard of the 'grass eaters' from Japan-- a new generation of young Japanese who don't date, don't engage in society, don't have career plans, they've seen their parents lives and don't want that. They don't want a nice place to live and all the creature comforts it offers. I don't think these grass eaters are unique to Japan. I see them in America all the time. Choosing to opt out by mindlessly entertaining themselves rather than becoming productive and involved.

We don't need that much to be happy. Once you have a good place to sleep, a good meal every now and then, a few good friends, a bit of entertainment and some clothes on your back, everything else is really not necessary. Yet American society has no place for this style of life. Our leaders and role models are most always financially successful. Yet the enticements for the grass eaters to join in-- work hard for 40 years, buy the latest creature comforts, retire someplace nice-- pale in comparison to doing what you want, when you want, with the people you want.

In the past the grass eaters would have loudly rebelled like the hippies of the sixties. What's different today is that they focus their energy into entertainment. Amusement as a surrogate for happiness. No rioting needed. Any squalid place can be a comfortable home when you can listen to music, play games and watch TV. And so, it's easier to drop out now than it ever was before.

The men's bathroom smells bad. Uncleaned outhouse bad. I would have left had nature not demanded I stay.

I've heard my first dead Michael Jackson joke. His will states his plastic parts are to be recycled into Lego so that children everywhere can continue to play with him.

When I heard that, I wanted to text it to my friends. Why text it? I didn't want to call my friends (For free) and tell them the joke. I wanted to text it and pay. More convenient and I wouldn't have to talk to them.

All afternoon a man has been shuttling people back and forth in a golf cart-- the elderly, crippled, parents with kids. The card doesn't emit a warning sound so ever few seconds he shouts "Beep! Beep!" What a great job.

I try out the noise cancelling headphones at an electronics store in the airport. They are pricey but very good. For a few hundred dollars I can block out virtually all noise around me. I also try on the My-Vu glasses that display a TV screen when you put them on. I'm not as impressed with these. The My-Vu screen may be in a pair of glasses, but they don't project a large screen. Instead it looks like a small screen a few feet in front of me. If that's all I get, then I may as well stick with my Zune as it is really is a small screen a few feet in front of me.

But, the My-Vu will improve. Just as blurry 50 inch projection screens have morphed into 50 inch LCD screens more clear than what you seen in a theater, one day, not too many years from now, I will be able to don unobtrusive goggles that display a clear wrap around image. How much will this lower our standard of living? What kind of hovel would I choose to live in if I knew that I could put on goggles and noise canceling head phones and be magically transported away? Grass Eaters already spend most of their free time at the computer and the screen. They really don't care about the kind of place they live in. It's an expense and not an investment. If the right goggles allow them to cut this expense, then they will do it.

Maybe there is a business opportunity here- a rooming house with high speed Internet access and laundry service.

My flight is leaving soon. I quickly get something to eat. I’m tempted to try Mc Donalds, I haven’t ate there in years, but the line is long. I look at the hot dogs at the place next door. They disgust me. I settle on a pizza place. One of the pizzas has greenery on it and I ask what it is. The server doesn't know so I settle on the sausage and pepperoni.

No table is free, but a single man sitting alone at a table for four. I ask him if I may sit there. He kind says yes. We proceed to ignore each other while we eat. Sometimes he smiles, but mostly his face is impassive.

The pizza slice is mediocre. And now I crave a home cooked meal, properly prepared with lots of veggies. I’m looking forward to home. I want to stare at my screens in my crappy office and listen to music on my premium speakers.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

When I say "Western" I don't mean wild-wild-American-west. I mean old style, Western European culture. I really shouldn't be suprized that Oslo is 'Western' After all, 100 years ago it was called Christiana, and the people are clinicly, genetically, definitivly white. By any standard it's one of many founts of Western Christian culture.

I'm surprized about Oslo because I'm nieve about Europe. I've been to the Netherlands to visit relatives, but not to the rest of Europe. I've always viewed it as that place we (North Americans) escaped from because Europe was too, poor, or domineering, or whatever. Yet now that I'm here, I see that those poor Eurpeans are really living a refined, maybe even better, version of my life.

After rebelling against European dominance, you'd think we'd create something unique and different. Tommy Boy may be living that life in the south, but me-- well-- Seattle is Olso with urban sprawl, bad public transit and a deeper recession.

It's all grand, like-- I'm still going to take you up on your invitation. I'd love to visit Greece.

I saw "The Scream" today. It kind of surpized me. It's just hanging in the Munchs Museum in the corner of a room. No fan fair. No special signage. It's behind a thick sheet of glass. From the side, the glare off the glass obscurs the view so I didn't realize what it was until I stood right next to it. I wasn't expecting to see it. Then I turned and there it was.

After Munchs Museam, I tried to do some shopping. I wanted to get something uniquely Norwegian for RO. But, the truth is I can anything Norwegian for much less back in the U.S. At the Norwegian sweat shop, the sweaters started at $300.00 and quickly worked their way up to $400.00 & $500.00! Online I can find nice looking Norwegian sweaters for $200.00.

I can't imagine spending $200.00 on a sweater, period.

I'm staying up late tonight to try and get a jump start on reajusting to Pacific Time. It's now 4am and very bright out.

In the evening I went to a small bar and chatted with the bartender. She complained that the Norwegians don't know how to party. They stoop so low as to close the bars at three a.m! Three a.m! At her home in Latvia, the bars never close. I didn't have heart to tell here that at my home the bars close at two a.m. Not that it matters, I'm in bed by ten.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I love Oslo in June. I won't go all the way and say that I love Oslo period-- I haven't been here in the winter and this place is expensive. But this trip has been wonderful. The city is beautiful. The people are friendly.

A pint of beer is 50 kroner which works out to a about US$7.50. A meal that's about $20.00 back in the U.S. is about $30.00 in Oslo.

But, I walk around with a feeling that I don't have to worry about anything. I haven't felt that in years. I don't have to worry about my safety. We accidentatly walked through the tough part of town, and everyone was still polite and respectful. Beggers nod and look away when you say 'No.' At work I didn't feel like I had to be 'on,' My coworkers were so friendly, so nice, that I felt like I was at home.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Last night we went to Vigeland Sculpture Park, a large park in Oslo that has hundreds of sculptures of naked people. It's all very tasteful, sometimes funnly, sometimes creapy, always beautiful.

At dinner afterwards a drunk norwegian came up to us and just started talking, making jokes about how we didn't smell and that he smelt bad. This is the second time we've had a drunk Norwegian just sit with us and start chatting. While it is uncomfortable to have a drunk sit with you uninvited, in some ways it's wonderful that Norwegians are so unpretentious.

We walked back to the hotel at 11pm at night. It was still light out. The streets were full of people. Apparently the longest days of the year are an unofficial holiday. It was good to see a city so alive with so many friendly people at eleven at night. If it was down town Seattle, the streets would be full of the homeless and the drunk.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I think I could live in Oslo; at least in the summer. Although, the locals tell me that the weather is unusually plesent right now and they also speak of long & dark winters.

I'm suprized how many homeless people are here. When I asked what they do in the winter I was told that they stay. The Oslo homeless are very hardy.

Norweigan food is everything I thought Norweigian food would be. Heavy on the cheese, herring and pickles. Light on fresh veggies.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Oslo is very far north. The days are long. Yesterday the sunset was at 10:44pm. This morning the sunrise at 3:54 Am. Even though the curtains are thick, there is a slight glow throughout the night.

I took sleeping pills and got six hours of sleep, so I should be ok today. However 9am Oslo is midnight Seattle. If jet lag hits then this will be a long day.
I am in Oslo. Google and Blogger have detected this. The blog spell check has switched to Norweigian and Google prompsts me "Google.no nå tilgjengelig på".

I'm taking lots of pics. I didn't bring along the right cable so I can't download them till I get back.

Oslo is a plesant city. Very walkable. Parts of it look very old. Parts of it have been retro fitted with clean modern architeture.

I am supprized with how Western it is; at least Oslo Central. Most everyone speaks English. If it wasn't for the Norwegian signs, you could convice me that I was in a smaller west coast city in North America.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm off to Norway for for work for a week. I'm kind of excited to get away from Seattle for a while, even though the trip is long (15 hours one way) and I must work hard and act professional the whole time.

RO wants me to bring him back something nice and distinctly Norwegian. This will be challenging. It can't be a nick-nack unless it's art. It can't be clothing unless it's not found in America. Ditto for liquors.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Over the weekend, Boone and Dave had a garden party. This was no ordinary garden since Dave is a Master Gardner.

I'm sure it's taken him hears, but Dave's garden is beautiful; full of a wide variety of healthy plants.

RO is now inspired and jealous. He wants to make our yard just as nice.

Monday, June 08, 2009

RO and I took a day trip to Westport. Westport is probably the nearest place to Seattle that is on the ocean proper. As such it gets a good chunk of tourist activity in the form of day trippers from Seattle.

What do I mean by "the ocean proper?" I mean that, while Seattle is on Puget Sound which is a large body of salt water, you can still see across it. The Puget Sound feels like a large lake. Which is nothing special for an in-lander like me.

The ocean proper means that I can look out over the water and see nothing but ocean on to the horizon. Although I've lived in Seattle for over ten years now. I still thrill when I see the ocean. I still feel compelled to touch its waters. The Pacific's waters are infinite. Seattle's are merely salty.

It's a two hour drive to Westport. The drive wasn't terribly scenic, but the traffic was fast. Westport is very small. Even though we didn't have a map and did no planning on where to go and what to see, the only difficulty we would run into was finding restrooms.

Westport; it's not a happy place. We felt a twinge of disappointment as we drove down along the waterfront. Many buildings are for sale. Others in disrepair. The cars parked along the street are older and rusting. We drove past a burt down restaurant.

After circleing around a few blocks and arguing about parking we got out and went for a walk. Despite the empty buildings, there are no shortage of gift shops and gallaries in Westport. We walk through a few of them. There are all so the same. T-shirts with funny slogans on them. Plastic danglies that clitter in the sun.

The kite store no longer sells kites.

The gallaries sell the the usual metal cut outs, hand made jewelry and paintings of pastoral scenes.

Why is every gift shop and gallery in America so similar? If there is one place where a small town can show off its locol color, it's at it's own gift shops and gallaries. Yet every small town gift shop and gallery I have ever been in looks like they order their products from the same catalog. "Funny saying shirts with your town name only $9.99 each. Metal artist who cuts fish out of steel $500.00 plus food and lodging. Buy one and get a hand-made-jewelry artist for free."

People worry that corporations and globalization are making us all so similar and creating a single global culture. I think the problem is deeper than that. Left to our own devices we learn from and become like the people around us. It's the communication and not the corporation. We see how other people live and work and instead of finding our own solution we think "Hey! I can do that." What's left is a world were originality is the exception. Where the tried and proven path is used over and over without asking "Is this too much?"

We came upon two baby seals as we walked along the ocean. No mother seal was around. I worried that they had been abandoned or their mother died. My worry was premature. Shortly a ranger came along and posted signs to stay away from the seals. He told us that mother seals often leave their babies on beaches while they go out hunting.

After our walk, we picked up some salmon and oysters at a local fish monger. It was all very fresh.

On the way home we stopped off at Aberdeen, the birth place of Kurt Cobain. This city too is not aging well. Stores are closing. Building are empty.

An antique store in Aberdeen has a Kurt Cobain department. Right next to the primitives and the nautical section.

Anacortes has a walk of fame, complete with stars in the sidewalk. The stars are each at leash 50 feet apart. On the list there is an NFL player, Gentle Ben author Walt Morey (though Wikipedia claims he's from neighboring Hoquiam) and silk screen artist. At that point we got back to where we parked our truck. Rather than learning the rest of the Aberdeen glitterati, we continued our trip home.

The oysters and salmon were amazingly fresh and tasty.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

We have a heat warning. it's only the beginning of June and Seattle WA is under a heat warning.

I like it.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Sunday's weather was beautiful. RO and I found the two hammocks that have been hidden in our house for years. We hung them up and relaxed all afternoon.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

It happens every year.

Out bedroom heats up when springs turns to summer. Sleeping under our winter comforter becomes too hot. RO and I will have a few sleepless nights.

I'll get out the cooler summer bedspread. RO will take one look at it and remark how ugly it is-- he couldn't possibly sleep well under something that doesn't look good. Besides, it's not the temperature that's causing the sleepless nights. It's stress, or back pain, or something.

I'll ask him to try it. Just for one night. I'll even change the bedspread myself, without his help. He'll relent and I'll put the summer bedspread on. I don't think it looks that bad, but I'm not an interior designer.

The next moring RO will tell me that he slept well and I'll feel smug about it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

For the first time in a long time, RO and I took two days off. Both days we worked around the house-- not hard but steady. We painted part of the back deck, weeded and worked in the gardens.

The front yard is starting to look great. RO has put a lot of time into it. I help, but mostly I stay out of his hair. It has to be done a certain way or else it's all wrong.

RO and I often argue about that theme. RO will want something pretty or nice. I'll want something more simple. Not that I don't appreciate pretty and nice things. It's just that something pretty takes more time, more money will need more maintenance. I'd rather have the time and money.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My ex, Brian, called out of the blue. He lives in Arizona now. He invited me down to spend time with him.

I haven't talked to Brian since 2004.

He sounds like he hasn't changed. He told me that he has to stay in AZ for 20 more days. It's part of the punishment for his most recent DUI.

Brian was trouble. But, I remember him fondly. He would move mountains for me. He was also constantly up to no good; fights, drinking and driving, shady businesses. Never a dull moment.

I rememeber him fondly and I will stay away.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I am 39 now. Clem commented that I was taking it very well. Apparently Clem was depressed for two years before he turned 40. The first year Clem had a brain fart, and didn't realize that he was only 38.

We had dinner at a local cafe. Then cake and drinks at home.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Satuday was L's 50th birthday. He looks good for 50, though he admitted he was given a face lift for his 45th birthday.

This was one of those events where I got to see many guys that I only see once or twice a year. I noticed that the guys I used to think of as young are now mature and the guys I used to think of as mature are now starting to look elderly-- gray hair on the face chest, sharp wrinkles on the face.

Saturday evening, Matt and Sandy came over for dinner. Sandy's monther has cancer and is very sick.

Earlier in the day RO noticed that the people we talk to are talking of death and disease more often than they used to. He wanted to forbid conversation about that. I told him that if you need to your friends from talking about death and disease, then you have the wrong friends.

Otherwise, it's been warm and sunny here Seattle. A very beautiful day. The front garden is starting to look great. I plugged in my lap top and worked in the shade.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Last night our neighbors, Clem & Bates, had the gays of Renton over for potluck. It's been too long since we've got together.

Everyone seems to be doing well. Most of us have been affected by the recession in some way, but everyone still has their jobs.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Beef in Briefs was over for dinner. He said that last time he had dinner out at a friends was two years ago at our house for my birthday.

He wasn't a complete shut in-- he visited his family regularly and has traveled a few times with old friends. But, mostly he enjoyed his time alone.

Now he wants to be more socialable again. Tommy, I'll introduce you to him then next time you are in town!

Monday, May 04, 2009

RO unintentionally killed the koi fish in the our pond. He feels very bad about it.

The pond has algae problems. RO bought a gallon of algae killer and poured it into the pond. Then he read the instructions. The pond only needed one cup of the algae killer.

Withing a few hours the fish were moving slowly and hanging out at the surface. By the end of the day some of the smaller fish died. Over night, racoons came and ate the rest.

RO has been beating himself up over this all morning.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Last night RO and I had an argument over cookies. This time the argument was different-- we weren't serious. Instead we were both shouting at top of our lungs with big grins on our faces over who was the most greedy with the cookies. Neither of us giving an inch. Both over acting.

I made a batch of cookies last night. Ten of them.

When it came time to serve them, I ate one off the cookie sheet and put another five on a plate. Then I got distracted by something, I'm not sure what. In the mean time RO saw six grease spots on the cookie sheet but only five cookies on the plate. So he concluded, rightly, that I ate a cookie without telling him.

So, he ate a cookie. Though I didn't know it at that time.

I brought the plate of five cookies to RO. We ate two each. He split the last cookie in two and ate the half. I offered him the last half, but he said "No thanks" So, I ate the last half.

That miffed RO. Apparently it was a test of my openness. Because I had a cookie before hand, I was supposed to tell him that the whole extra cookie was for RO only. I kind of rolled my eyes at that.

When I put the rest of the cookies away, I counted them again and I counted an extra missing cookie.

That's when the fun argument broke out.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

RO spends so much time gazing out into the yard that I joked that we are a threesome now-- RO, the garden and I.

At work, I think we have settled the move debate. Facilities sounds like they are going to quiet the noisy offices. Also, we found an arragment were the bulk of the team gets to have offices close to the people they work with every day.

There was one panicy moment. Early in the afternoon the office move coordinator ran to my office and asked "I really need you right now!" She explained that she had lost one of my offices and desperatly needed me to double check my head count.

After some double checking we found the lost office. It was assigned directly to the other lead, as opposed to me. So no harm, no foul.
An old friend, RB, stayed over last night.

RB has had one of those great lives. We met in University. After we graduated, he volunteered to build schools and start sanitation programs in South America. And that changed everything. he is now the directory for a charity in Central America that builds wells and latrines for small villages. He says that in his area within the past 10 years, 85% of the people now have access to pottable water as a result of thier work.

In the U.S. we take water and sewage for granted. Many goverment officials in Central America are corrput. The money and supplies needed for large public works projects are stolen or diverted. The way around it, the way to get clean water to the people, is to build one well or one latrine at a time, out of view of the governent, controlled and maintianed by the families that use them.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Last night we had dinner at J&J's. They are a local couple. Nice guys. One is an independant contractor in the Tech industry, the other sells kitchen at a hardware store.

Beef-in-Breefs lives with them. He's very quiet now. We used to have dinner with B-I-B at least once a month but then he went through a tumultuous relationship. After that he seams to be much more withdrawn. Almost a hermit. Maybe he has new friends. Maybe not. J&J say he spends most evenings in his room.
At my day job we are moving offices. The move map is constantly changing and the subject of much debate. While we are getting more space, the new space isn't as nice as the old. A dozen of the new offices are loud. Each of the leads is working hard to keep his or people away from the noise.

I see no fair way to solve this debate. If we share the loud offices then all teams will be spread thin and far apart. Everyone loses.

Monday, April 27, 2009

It was a quiet weekend.

Saturday evening, RO Boone and I went to a nice new restaurant that opened up near by.

Sunday RO and I worked on the yard. We pressure washed the deck and most of the side walks. However when RO was using the washer, he coiled the hose around till touched the hot engine. The hose melted there and sprung a leak.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The main problem cooking with stinging nettles is that they, duh, sting.

Last night after RO finished sauteing some nettles, I saw a piece of green sitting on the stove. I picked it up to through it in the garbage and felt a big jolt of pain in my thumb

The sharp pain quickly subsided, but even today there is still a low level prickling in my thumb.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Oh yeah... we ate stinging nettles yesterday. They pop up all over the place in the back yard. RO heard that you could use them as food so we gave them a try.

Stinging nettle tea is nice. It tastes like green tea with a little bit of a sweet after taste.

When you cook a nettle, it gets rid of the sting. When cooked it tastes much like spinach but a little thicker, a little more firm and little more texture.
So RO and I had a fight on Saturday night. We had been drinking, probably a bit too much. He stormed out of the house. We made up by next morning.

Sunday we went to Flower World. After that we worked in the yard, weeding, planting, watering, transplanting. Last winter was more cold then normal. It killed off or damaged a few of our bushes.

The yard is starting to look decent though.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Netflix is getting to know me. It thinks I like...
  • Critically Acclaimed Dark Gay & Lesbian movies.
  • Feel Good Independent Comedies
  • Visually Striking Cerebral Sci-Fi & Fantasy
  • Inspiring Dramas Based On Real Life.

At first it bugged me. I thought Netflix was pigeon holing me. Then after I thought about, I realized that it's right. I really do like those kind of movies.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


For weeks a cold has been going around the office. I've managed to avoid it until now. But, last night I came down with it.

Bleah. I have so much to do a work that I can't afford to be sick.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Busy weekend.

Friday night was Andrea's birthday. We went out to a little wine room to celebrate. We had a great time.

Saturday was spent at the store.

RO's sister invited us over for Easter dinner on Sunday. It was good to see every one.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Crasy Busy.

RO is contemplating moving the store. I large mall in a rich neighborhood has a good open space. It will take us some real bucks to move though and if we aren't successful, we will be in deep trouble.

That would be better than our current situation where we are slowly languishing. Not succeeding, not failing, just working way too hard to earn zero money.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The weather was wonderful this past weekend. We worked in the yard a bit, mowing the lawn for the first time, weeding, pruning and picking up the debris left over from the winter.

We also relaxed. Sat in the sun. Enjoyed the scent of the blooming flowers.

Saturday night we went out to CC's for bear night. We ran into a number of people that we hadn't seen in years. We left early, maybe 10:30pm and then ate at the IHOP.

Chain restaurants in Seattle are required to publish the calorie and fat counts on the menu. RO hates this. He regards it as an unnecessary intrusion of government into business. To show his displeasure, he ordered and ate the two most calorie loaded plates that he could find-- a large & fancy breakfast and a crepe dessert.

That upset his stomach. he didn't get sick, but he did regret his act of civil disobedience.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

David Sedaris worked again! Last night the audio book that I chose was only 6 hours. We both slept poorly for the last two hours.

RO is so happy. He has had three full nights of sleep in a row.

I'm going to try out different audio books. I'm an audible.com subscriber so I have many in my library. I've spotted about half a dozen books should work. The reader is a gentle speaker. The subject matter is interesting but not exciting. The material is in short self contained segments so even if you become interested you won't have to pay attention for long to see how it ends.

Listening to audio books at night makes sleeping a little more surreal. I briefly woke up last night. I remember listening to the part where Sedaris is in France with a group of people including a Muslim from Morocco who doesn't speak their language. They try to explain Easter the Muslim.

"The son of your father died on two morsels of wood. He went up stairs. Then he went down stairs. Then the rabbit of Easter gave candy to the children."

At that point they debate if it was a rabbit or a bell. Apparently in some parts of the world, an easter bell brings candy.

The poor Moroccan concludes that Easter is an insane holiday.

And then I fell asleep again.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

We've made one addition to our "insomnia management" plan.

RO regularly suffers from insomnia. He takes melatonin and Valerian which help. There are still nights where he is still up for 3 or 4 hours.

Now when we go to bed, we start playing a David Sedaris audio book. It's not that his books are boring cures for insomnia. He has a gentle voice and his writing is amusing but not exciting. Plus Sedaris only tells short stories and essays. So you never get so into it that you have to listen for hours. It's a great combination to calm your mind.

We've tried this before with "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand. It didn't work. RO become too interested in the story and it kept him up. Never mind that "The Fountainhead" is a 32 hour meditation on egotism, architecture and the evils of communism.

Monday, March 30, 2009

OK, this is the truth, while RO and I did go to the wedding event on Sunday evening, we spent all day in bed watching "America's Next Top Model. (Series 6)"

I was serious when I said that. We started watching at about 9am. We didn't get out of bed till 5pm. America's Next Top Model was on the whole time.

I feel gross saying that. I don't even like the show. I just didn't want to get out of bed. And it was on.
Sunday evening RO and I went to a 'wedding industry open house' at an country estate that you can rent.

We were invited because the owner of the estate bought the chandeliers from RO.

All things wedding were on display- photographers, caterers, musicians, models in gowns and tuxedos, bouquets, horses and carriages and a DJ. There were at least three Seattle Wedding magazines there taking photos for their wedding issues.

Seattle has its own wedding magazines. Not web sites. Not newspapers. Big, thick gorgeously photographed glossies. How weird is that? Seattle Metropolitan Wedding Magazine, East Side Wedding magazine and Seattle Bride Magazine.

Now that I think about it, it's really not that weird. They are probably catalogs for weddings tailored to a specific area.

We hung out for a while and said hello to the people we knew.
Ro and I saw Tom Rush on Saturday. Tom Rush is a folk guitarist and singer who was most populure during the early 70's. A customer was a big fan of Tom, so we went.

Tom Rush is very good. He is a great acoustic gutarist and a decent singer.

It seams to be Tom Rush's fate to be near famous-- a nitch artist with strong fan base, but never very popular. He knows famous people. He has played with famous people before they were famous. And while he earns a good living by performing, the venus he plays are out of the way pubs, coffee houses and school stages. Never the big stage in the big city.

He recorded Joni Mitchel's songs before Joni Mitchel was famous. When she was just getting started, he met her at a club in Detriot. He liked her songs and he needed some for his album. And so he become the first to record "The Circle Game."

I had fun.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Itsallgrandlike-- you need to start blogging again! It's been over a year.

Windows Live Hotmail

At my day job we essentially have a quota system for handing out bad reviews-- 10% of the employees must be given a bad review and they must either shape up or ship out.

I have a rather senior employee who is mostly a good guy. About once a year he makes a spectacular error that broadly affects the product. Things have been good for him for the past year. I've been working hard to sell upper managment that this guy isn't that bad. Everything looked OK.

Then, last week, he made another spectacular error that broadly affected the product. Sigh. I've been getting much feedback that he should be part of the 10% crowd. I hate that. They may be right but I have two concerns. One-- I'm becomming afraid of doing anything least I make a mistake. Two, I hate standing in judment over someone who is working hard and sticking his neck out.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The recession hits harder. TJ has lost her job.

Steven is low on cash.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm still working long hours. RO is working hard as well. RO mentioned that I've been a bit hard on him of late, I've called him a couple of in appropriate names-- loser, stupid.

I don't remember calling him those names, but it could have happened in a moment of anger. In life, I slowly feel as if I'm being cornered. Sometimes my only option is to lash out.

That still doesn't excuse it. Relationships deserve better than excuses.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

RO and I smoked pot last night. It was very relaxing.

And I threw up.

I'm not sure if the seafood we had was under cooked, or if I had too much wine, of if the pot just threw me off. Whatever it was, I threw up.

Aside from that it was a peaceful experience. Even the vomiting wasn't stressful. I was relaxed. I had to vomit. I did so in the toilet. Afterwards I was still relaxed.

Oh well.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Last night Bates & Clem had a spring party. I had fun. RO drank too much and is a touch hung over today.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Who are you? You found this web site by googling for a very old email address of mine. I no longer have access to that address. Please leave a comment.
RO picks up the energy around him. He is laid back when everyone around him is laid back. He is hyper and manic in a group of the same.

Usually in the morning, I get up at 6:30am while RO sleeps in until 7:00. He's barely out of bed by the time I leave for work.

This morning there was a small working emergency. I had to rush around to get ready. RO picks up this energy. He starts rushing around and doing things. He makes me breakfast and lunch! He gets everything ready for me!

This useful information. I should act panicky and rushed more often.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Last night was D's husband's birthday. To celebrate we went to see Legends in Concert, a tribute & impersonation show. The impersonators did Madona, Bruce Springsteen and Tina Turner.

They were very good. There was no lip syncing and the voices were spot on.

Tina Turner was performed by Cookie Watkins. She was fun. One of the guys with us was named 'Ike.' Cookie treated him appropriatly.

The show was at the Muckleshoot Casino. RO noticed that most of the customers were fat and smoked. He said "Shoot me if I ever become one of these people."

It was Wednesday night, in the middle of a recession at an older B list casino in the middle of no where. And yet the casino was crowded with fat people sitting around, smoking and playing slots.

The casino web site says they are looking for computer programmers. Maybe I should apply.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Whine and moan. Bitch and complain.

As I look over my writing of late, I see a lot of negativity. It really bugs me. Not everything in my life is bad. But lately, the things that affect me the most, haven't been positive.

In email, so often I see my response to "How have you been?" is "Overworked and not bankrupt yet!"

I've deliberately started to write more positively. Yet, I feel so fake when I do so.

So, am I depressive or am I in a rough patch?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

RO is having a very bad day. He's already tired from working six and seven days a week. Then we argued this morning about splitting the house cleaning.

And then a customer went to the store with for a five thousand dollar refund. It knocked the wind out of him.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oh Facebook.... This morning when I signed on, I saw the following from update from BCB, my brother...

'BCB went from being "it's complicated" to "single." '

I guess it was just a matter of time. Too bad they have kids.

Later on he wrote...

"wish i could say it was Ok.... its slowly coming apart.... shes moving out at the end of the month...."

Saturday, March 07, 2009

It's been a full week. RO and I have been working late every night.

Last night RO and I went to a down town gay bar and had drinks with a few friends. It was nice to see them.

We didn't stay out late. Some of our table left for a dance bar. The rest of us, RO and I included, went home. The joke was "Remember when you were young and you went to a bar there were always those old guys who just sat around and talked. Never circulating. Never cruising. Remember how you didn't bother to talk to them cause they didn't look fun; they went home early, skipped the dance clubs. Sometimes you'd call them trolls. Well... we're the old guys now."

Monday, March 02, 2009

Sunday, mom left for home. I think she's arrived. Her phone is busy so I can't double check.

On Saturday RO & I spent the full day with her. It was RO's first day off in months. We went to Leavenworth, a little tourist town, just on the other side of the mountains. We enjoyed the view of the mountains, some decent German food, many little tourist shops, good fudge and great cheese.

Friday, February 27, 2009

JS had a crush on me. Every few years someone will remind me of this. It happened again on Monday. I had lunch with a friend of a friend. The friend asked if I knew JS because JS had a crush on me.

I say "had a crush" because JS is dead. He was in a car crash in May of 2000. He left accident scene apparently uninjured. A few days later his spleen ruptured and killed him.

I never knew JS. I vaguely remember meeting him once. He hung out with what would eventually be my crowd.

Every now and then, one of his friends will say "Did you know JS? He really liked you." This continues nine years later.

It's strange to only know a dead man this way. It's strange to keep hearing of his affection so many years after his death. I don't know if I should be flattered. Maybe I'm just looking for an ego boost.

Anways. JS, I wish I knew you.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

So I had my review with the problem employee. He is weak with english so it took a while to get the message through to him. I know he eventually understood because he said "This is not good for me."

I don't feel great about this situation. This employee isn't terrible. However there is a new ruthlessness at work. The old A players are now B's, old B's are now C's and the old C's are being pushed out.

I try to convice myself that this is the right thing. Salaries are very high here and so are the standards. If you want to get paid the big bucks, a C level performance isn't acceptible.

My secret fear is that I wouldn't survive if I was hired on now. My career has had it's share of failure. My performance problems were hidden by two reorgs that took me away from managers who knew. Eventually I was handed two problems that no one else was interested in fixing. I probably had as many issues with my work as my employee has with his, but my issues were out of the light, no one was looking over my shoulder. So I could fix them quietly, under the radar, with no one around to form a poor opinion of me.

Then my manager quit and I was the only one who expressed interest in taking his place. The rest his history.
I am having a stressfull day. Today, I am supposed to start a performance-improvement-plan with one of my employees. This plan will probably result in the employee being terminated.

This morning, I had a regular one on one scheduled with the employee. I was fully prepared to deliver the hard talk. But then, I couldn't do it. The employee talkes alot and I couldn't get a word in edge wise. But, that's just an excuse.

This afternoon I've scheduled a more formal meeting with the employee. I think he knows what's up. His face dropped when I told him about the meeting.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tommy said "we all are getting to the age that friends are 'passing'..sometimes i think that life is shorter now..hearing that some one's ex has passed just brings it to the forefront"

In some ways I'd rather believe that 2009 is a rough year than believe that I am getting to the age where my friends sometimes pass away. Monday evening we had drinks with Clem and Bates. Clem mentioned that just three weeks ago, his old ex passed away in a car accident.

On one hand, everyone dies. We are in denial to believe other wise. On the other hand I like the people around me. I don't want to face the inevitable truth just yet.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Steven will be back in town for a few days. His ex-partner Erwin passed away so Steven is in town for the funeral.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Speaking of the devil, my middle brother is in the hospital. He has diverticulitis. He is going to be in the hospital for a few days.

Yesterday was the store's big anniversary sale. It was very successfull. We got a lot of much needed cash. Sales were down 30% over last year though.

Today, I am going to make some budget predicitons for the store. RO and I need to think about these numbers and make some hard decisions. At some point we'll have no inventory to run the store on. I'd like to know that date well in advance.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"well could lil brother be yearning for induction into the great society or
is it just bad decisions on the marriage front"

I'm fairly certain that this brother is not a closet case. This one is isn't so great at the people skills.

The brother and I have always butted heads. I think he has more raw intellectual horse power than I, but he is very impulsive, he has low interapersonal and interpersonal awareness and is not very proactive. Or, to loose the management speak, he is a show off and a jerk who doesn't realize how irritating he can be. He loves mouthing off to everyone so that they know he's the big dog.

Or maybe he's a rebel who pulls no punches, doesn't need to fit in, and tells it like it is.

He doesn't understand that even though he is smart, it doesn't automatcially mean that he should to go to the head of the line, that the world won't revolve around him. Other lesser people can still do a great job and still deserve some credit.

So, he has no problem finding women since he's comes accross as a strong man who takes charge and takes care of you. His girl friends think that he will change when they get married. They will 'fix' him. Tone him down. Make him a great husband.

Of course that never happens. You are who you are. Sometimes you can polish the rough edges off of someones personality. But mostly, unless that person wants to change, you get what you get.

Being married to a pull-no-punches-rebel-who-always-tells-you-like-it-is becomes tiresome after a while.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mom is in town. We caught up on the family gossip. Things are mostly well.

My father had a preventative MRI. Stroke and aneurysm run in his side of the family so the doctor wanted to peek deep inside his body.

My younger brother likes his new goverment job.

My middle brother is having marital problems. This brother is a long distanance truck driver who is away for weeks at a time. When he is away his wife will go out partying with new friends and get so drunk that she has to spend the night at their place.

My middle brother is on his third marriage.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

JT Said... "Slippery slope. Be careful!"

Tommy Boy said... "Hmmm....the Jury is still out on that one. Be careful."

RO kind of said the same thing when I first told him. He also responded "What if I told you that I wanted to do cocaine once a week?"

For me, pot and cocaine are very different drugs. pot is more like alcohol. If you use either too much, they both have long term side effects. But, if you use them in moderation then the side effects quickly go away after you stop.

As for pot is a gateway drug/slippery slope argument. I'm not convinced of that. Sometimes enough is enough.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Another dinner with Matt and Sandy. This time with RO at our place.

So, I want to start smoking pot. That may sound weird. I've been so anti-drug for most of my life. But, something has changed. I'm stressede out and RO and I can't take much time off this year. I need to relax. So, once a week, on a Friday or Saturday night, I'd like to smoke pot.

The idea bugs RO. He feels that this idea is his fault. That I wouldn't be this way if I hadn't got him involved with the store.

Sandy is all for it. He's going to set something up.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I had dinner with Matt and Sandy last night. It was good to see them again.

Matt and Sandy live in a small side street that has more houses than numbers. They live in house #392. Next to them is house #392A.

392A went into forclosure. Matt and Sandy have been getting many confused knocks on the door for people looking for 392A. They've put a big sign on their house explaining that, no, this house isn't the one being forclosed, it's the one next door.

392A sounds like a house of doom. In the past five years, two people have died in it and a previous home owner was arrested. Matt says it was for child molestation.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When it rains, it pours. Behr has lost his job.

Vic his home from the hospital and feeling better. They are still figuring out how to manage his MS.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Vic probably has MS. All the test results aren't back yet, but the signs don't look good.

One of the Chris's had a heart attack. One of his arteries had 100% blockage. Other arteries have significant blockage. The doctors have put a stint in. He's doing OK and is in recovery.

Down in TX, Steven has broke up with his boyfriend. There was much drama, including the now ex-boyfriend calling 911 and saying that he was being beaten up. The police showed up and determied it was a verble arguement. Steven is OK.

A number of friends showed up at Steven's home in Dallas and moved him out within a few hours.

Steven says he wants to stay single for a long time.

My crowd of friends is getting old. Maybe I'm getting old. Friends with new crippling diseases are popping up every year. I no longer care about gay drama. My perspecitive has changed. Sometimes shit happens. Sometimes we bring the shit uppon ourselves by not thinking ahead.

I'm feeling philosphical right now. I wrote a rant about how Chris and Steven have no one to blame but them selves and how many of problems are really our own fault. But, then I heard about Vic and it sucked the wind out of me.

When I look over everything that's wrong with the store right now, I see that as hard as the recession is on us, that I am also a victim of my own choices. About a year and a half ago, to help the store grow, we took on some extra debt. I didn't want it, but RO felt it was the right thing so I went through with it anways. I wish I had paid more attention to my doubts. I wish I had done more planning.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

My stitches are out. She said I'm a fast healer. The skin had grown over severl of my stiches making them hard to remove.

Friday, January 30, 2009

I got this email from Woofer...

Vic has been having endless pain since Christmas. There is some kind of obstruction/tumor on his spinal cord. It became apparent after a Chiropractor visit.

The pain medication has not really helped, and he is having trouble sleeping, etc.

2-days ago, it got so bad that BF took him to the hospital, and they gave him a shot that helped, unfortunately it would only work for a few hours, and the pain would flair up again.

Last night he had another attack. This time it put him on the floor convulsing, like he was having a seizure. He was having trouble breathing, and BF said his pulse and blood pressure was at a very dangerous level. He said Vic is very frightened, as things seem to be getting worse.

Vic is now in emergency at the hospital, and they are giving him round the clock attention.

The neurosurgeon will be doing more assessments and tests, and I suspect he will not be released until he has surgery to correct this situation.

I'm very scared because it is getting worse over the last few days.

Also the neurosurgeon told him and BF that this is a very complicated situation.

Just thought I would update you.
The Valerian/melatonin combo seams to work. It didn't work as well on the second and third nights, but it still worked. RO has had a lot of back pain lately. He'll wake up and take some ibuprofen at 3am in the morning. with the Valerian & melatonin he'll quickly fall back asleep instead of staying away for hours.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


For a while now I've been looking into and trying out various herbal sleep aids. Chamomile has zero effect on RO and I. Melatonine makes us drowsy, but the effect doesn't last all night. RO frequently wakes up at three or four in the morning even if he's on melatonine.

Last night RO and I took melatonine and valerian. The combination didn't have much effect on me, but RO slept like a baby. He slept so well that I thought he took a regular sleeping pill behind my back. RO denied doing so and said that he only took the valerian. He also said that for the first time in a long time he had a great sleep and that he felt normal.

I hope that last night wasn't a fluke. At least we have a plan.

Buy the way, valerian smells bad. When I first opened the bottle I thought it had spoiled. But, after googling it I learned the truth.; valerian literally smells like poop.

RO just called. He reiterated how great he feels today; that he slept for a full night and woke up feeling energetic. He is also hopes that the last night was not a fluke. That it was caused by the valerian and melatonine.

I guess we will find out tomorrow morning.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Last night was our the store's belated holiday open house and Christmas party. The bad weather in December forced us to move it to January.

It was an odd event. More customers showed up than friends, this meant RO had to 'on' all evening. People hung around till late then we had to clean up. RO and I didn't get to bed till 3:30am.

Then, when I wolk up at 7:30am, RO was already awake. He said he couldn't sleep. He's too stressed out.

RO has been suffering from insomnia for a long time. I'm almost angry with him, because accepts it, rather than deals with it. And the result makes his insomnia worse. For example, he doesn't worry about drinking coffee in the afternoon because he has insomnia and is going to be up for much of the night anyways.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Layoffs hit my day job today. I and my team are OK. For now we will stay together. But, the scent of blood is in the air.

The attitudes of my boss and his boss are distictly more agressive. Normally they push their managers to keep head count, even the maginal types, because the cost of getting a new employee is so high. But now it's a buyers market for employees and I hear things like "If so and so attrited, it wouldn't be held against you."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pretty! Now that I see the slice without the bandage, I feel very lucky that nothing worse happened. The cut could have easily been more deep.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I slipped off a ladder and slashed my arm on a hook. The cut is 25cm long. There are 11 stitches at the deepest part of the cut.

Oddly enough, the gash didn't hurt that much. I've had paper cuts that felt much worse. There also wasn't much blood. I was very lucky that the hook didn't go more deep, or open up any major veins.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Yesterday was busy.

The new neighbors had an open house. RO and I spend about an hour there and got to know them. They are very nice people.

After that it was off to the premier of RC's documentary. In 2006 RC was part of the crew for a team of cyclists who cycled across the U.S.A in just under 8 days. In the little spare time that he had, he filmed the team.

The documentary is very good. I don't know what his plans are for it. Maybe he'll publish it. Maybe he'll just sit on it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Many necessay choices can be cruel, depending on which side of the fence you are on.

We have laid off people at the store. We didn't want to. We had to. It was either that or we would start bouncing checks.

At my day job, they (we? as I am in manangment) are also reacting to the recession. It's a buyers market for talent. Quietly, we are encouraged to push out the weak performers and replace them with fresh, new blood. If someone quits, the manager looses that position. If someone is fired, then he can hire a replacement. The message is unspoken but clear.

Monday, January 12, 2009

RO and I worked the store this weekend. With less staff, I have to help out on the floor. Fortunately it was steady on both days.

Saturday night RO and I went to Steven's going away celebration. Afterwards, we ate at a fast food restaurant.

Some restaurants in WA are now required to publish the calorie counts on their menus. RO and I got into an huge argument about this. I'm fine with the calorie counts on the menus. RO is very angry about this. He views it as it's excessive government involvement in business. He also said that knowing the calorie counts ruined his experience at the restaurant.

He called me a Communist for tolerating this. I called him weak letting this information ruin his experience.

I kind of happy about the outcome of the argument as we managed to finish it off with neither of us storming off in a huff. We still don't agree with each other, but such is life.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

We had dinner with Steven last night. He's leaving for Dallas, his new home, on Thursday. His townhouse is empty, except for some stuff he's leaving behind. He's ready to go.

I'm not sure all will end up happily. Things aren't going well with the guy in Dallas that he's dating. The job he was supposed to have hasn't panned out. I don't think Steven will return to Seattle as a result of either, but I hope it forces him to deal with his mid-life crisis.

Much of our talk was a bit new-agey and philosphical. How each of us have our own life journies. How each of us must walk our own path. As much as we'd like we can't really change other people. This is as close as Steven is to dealing with his divorce from Vic. Steven would take Vic back in an instant, but Vic is too hurt to even contemplate that. Steven admits he made a bad. choice. That leaving Vic for a hot young thing was the stupidest thing he's done in his life. Steven regrets his actions. But, Vic can't forgive and forget.

Years ago I gave Vic and Steven a framed picture of the two holding hands on a moon lit beach. Steven doesn't want to bring it to Dallas. He also doesn't want to throw it out or give it to Vic. As far as Steven can tell, Vic has gotten rid of all pictures of the two of them. Steven asked me to take the picture back, to keep it safe.

Friday, January 09, 2009

It's all grand, like, where have you been? I still check your blog from time to time.

I was hoping to make a joke about the nice weather in Greece, but it appears to be cool and rainy in your neck of the woods.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

It's been flooding here. We've had heavy rain for days and it's brought about mud slides and over flowing levies.

So far I've been lucky. My house is half way up a gently sloaping, well treed hill, so it should be ok.

I know a few people (Earin and some of RO's relatives) whose houses are now flooded.

Several of my co-workers are trapped at home because all available roads are washed out.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Last night RO and I went to see the great classical guitarist, Sharon Isbin. Clem got some tickets to the event, so he gave us two.

She is very talented. But, for me, classical guitar is background music. Sitting there quietly, listening to guitar for two hours, is not something I'd ordinarily do.

The audience was very quiet. There were at least a thousand people there ye scarcely a peep was heard. You could hear it when someone shifted in their seat, or scratched themselves.

Monday, January 05, 2009

RO and I got another cat last night. It's a pound cat... a big, fat, female, declawed pound cat.

RO wanted to get a second cat as company for our existing cat. The old cat can be neurotic when left alone.

We went to a couple of animal shelters and interviewed(!) a half dozen cats before shettling on the big fat female. The big fat female is actually fairly active. I think her weight will come down since she will have much of opportunity for exercise at our house and we will watch her diet.

So far I am very happy with the big fat female. She is well trained. We only had to show her the litter box once for her to start using it. No messes. No accidents.

Last night as I lay on the sofa and listened to music, I said to RO, "We have two cats and are listening to jazz. How gay is that?"

RO said "What would we be doing if we were lesbians?"

"We'd be listening to Sarah Mclaughlan."

"With dogs."

Sunday, January 04, 2009

More random memories....

While I was waiting for dinner with my brother and sister-in-law, I started doodling. The restaurant covered the tables with paper and provided crayons for just that purpose.

My sister-in-law, who has a degree in psychology, remarked that my doodles were all enclosed, geometric and very structured. I said "Well, what if I draw a wave around it all?" and I proceeded to do so.

She looked at the wave. It looped around the whole doodle. The end of the wave met with the beginning. She remarked "Your wave loops back and encloses everything. The troughs touch the boxes in a very specific pattern. Even your waves are geometric and structured."

Fortunately, I don't believe in doodle psychology.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

I'm back from Toronto. Some random disconnected thoughts from the trip...

I saw many of my old college friends. They are all married with kids-- three or four kids in most cases. It's interesting how it has shaped their lives. Having kids makes you conservative and frugal. Not Conservative in the American polical sense, but conservative in the frugal, pragmatic, considered sense.

My friend Jeanette has a niece who is very similar to her in both looks and personality. The niece's mother, Jeanette's sister, now turns to Jeanette for answers. If the sister needs to know what kind of clothing the niece will like, what kind of tasks, or trips she will enjoy, or why the niece reacted so negativly to something, then the sister will call Jeanette and Jeanette will answer with scarey accuracy.

I am worried about my brother. He plays way too many video games and watches too much television. As a result, he is very fat-- well over three hundred pounds.

My friend Liam is doing well. His adopted son is almost old enough to leave alone with out a baby sitter.

Toronto is still booming. Huge condo complexes are going up everywhere. I miss it a bit, but I'm not ready to leave Seattle just yet.