Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Spooky Little Boy

I had celebrated Halloween only twice in the last 14 years.  The first time I bought a straw hat and a flannel shirt which I destroyed on purpose so I could be  the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz when that was our "Team Theme" at work. The year after that I dressed up for for The Pirates of Finzance.  We were Team Finance so that was our play on words.  Pretty lame, but it worked.  The highlight of that experience was my painted on 5 o'clock shadow.  Most people couldn't help but exclaim, "Susanna!  You forgot to shave today!" Other than that, all I've really ever done is hand out candy to the little dressed up children that came by trick-or-treating either at work or at my door.

This year was different.  I had my nephew Nicholas come in at my place of work, and I took him trick-or-treating.

Nicholas was dropped off at my place of work around 2:30 p.m.  I donned on his costume over his clothes.  He dressed up as the Ghostface character from the Scream movies.  It was a great costume with a very real-looking mask.  During the time he wore it, people asked to see the face under it.   However, because of how the mask was made, Nicholas couldn't breathe even though his parents cut a hole in the nose area.  Somewhere along the line the mask was abandoned, but that didn't take away from any of the fun.  The costume kept everyone guessing because it would have worked well as Darth Vader, a monk, or The Grim Reaper.  

We began with my team.  We did okay on the 7th floor, but the pickings were slim on the 3rd floor where most of my team sits.  They had their Halloween party the previous day.  We made it up and down each of the 10 floors in the building where I work, in no particular order.  Nicholas kept track of which floors we hit and which floors needed to be visited.  On his way he met a kid dressed up as a garbage can.  He commented on how real the costume looked, so real that he felt the need to use it to throw a used paper towel.  Thank goodness he didn't act on his thoughts!  

Nicholas did well with going up to people and saying "Trick or Treat" and then speaking to them if they asked him questions.  He ended each visit with his signature "Thanks".  Not "Thank you", but a quick "Thanks".  I had to keep reminding him to take only one piece of candy from each person he visited.  Most people told him he could have more than one, so at one point he told me "You're the only person who tells me to take just one.  Everyone wants me to have more!"  It didn't help that someone whose desk we stopped at actually came looking for us and gave him her entire stash of candy because she was leaving for the day.  

And so we went, stopping at each floor, his candy bag getting more and more filled.  During one elevator ride, someone told us we should make it a point to stop on the 10th floor.  He mentioned a Treasure Chest of candy there.  This is the floor where the Senior Leadership of our organization sits.  I told Nicholas that when we got there he really had to behave.  No running, no speaking in a loud voice.  Although he hadn't done either of those, I couldn't be careful enough.  When we got to the 10th floor, there was an executive meeting going on, but as we walked by, I could see everyone in the room look at Nicholas and smile.  We made our way around the floor while Nick stopped and each Executive Assistant's desk and collected candy.  Then we saw it, the Treasure Chest we had heard about.  It didn't have the little pieces of candy.  It had large candy bars and large bags of miscellaneous sweets that kids seem to go for.  We headed there.  Once we got to the Treasure Chest, we were told by the Executive Assistant that we needed to wait.  She then went and knocked on a door.  A Senior Vice President and two Regional Vice Presidents emerged.  All three of them wished Nicholas a Happy Halloween, then the Senior Vice President took a picture of him.  He then proceeded to suggest to Nick to pick a bag of candy that were little skulls that oozed blood when you bit on them.  That's the kind of place I work for, where Senior Leadership step out of meetings to make kids feel important.  Nicholas didn't realize the magnitude of this experience, but I definitely did.

When we were finally done visiting all floors, Nicholas sat at my desk with me and handed out candy to the other children who came by.  The children that came by were dressed as a cowboy, some super-heroes I didn't recognize, some Star Wars character, a fairy and a witch.  There was also a baby dressed as a pumpkin.  He couldn't stop staring at Nick.  Then there was the shy boy almost the same age as him.  Nicholas found it particularly interesting to meet someone who was so shy.  I'm not sure why that was.  Nick also met a couple of my friends at work.  This was great because it felt like my two separate worlds - work and personal - were coming together.  We had such a blast!  We left the office around 5:30 p.m.  Nicholas couldn't stop talking about his experience all the way home.  Once home, he continued to talk to his parents about all the things he did and all the fun he had.  It seemed that the candy didn't mean as much to him as the little "extras" that he managed to score, like a spider ring, an eerily real-looking mouse, and a book of stickers.  He also really enjoyed handing out candy to the kids. 

This was another "first" that I got a chance to enjoy with Nicholas.  Halloween looks very different when it is seen through a child's eyes.  To top it all, I got the tightest hug before I headed back home.  

Thank you, my doodlebug, for helping me experience so much fun through you.  

Happy Halloween everyone!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Should They Stay Or Should They Go?

This month's Readers Digest has an article aptly titled "Make it Stop!"  that lists 31 fads that they believe have to go.  As I read this article, I found myself either nodding my head in agreement or exclaiming "THANK YOU!" as I am known to do when I hear my thoughts expressed by someone else.  But to my own surprise, I found myself disagreeing with some of what I was reading.  Here's are my thoughts on some of the fads mentioned in the article, in no particular order.

ELASTIC WAISTBAND NATION:  I absolutely agree that we have turned into a bunch of slobs that have taken dressing down to a whole new low.  Now I don't necessarily believe we should all dress up to a level of discomfort for any  occasion, but I do believe there is some truth to what the "Pants On The Ground" guy had to say.  We need to get rid of those sweatpants with paint or bleach stains on them, the t-shirt with the tear that we think nobody will notice (trust me, we all see it!) and yes - please - Snuggies!  To quote the Carso Cressley who penned this part of the article, "Adults wearing fleece onsies?  What fresh new hell is this!"

GROUP PRIDE:  I'm not sure I am in full agreement with this fad, if it can be classified as such.  I don't have a problem with people breaking down their heritage (I'm one quarter Cherokke on my dad's side and Jewish, Samoan.....), nor do I have a problem with someone proclaiming themselves as a geek.  I applaud the fact that people have turned aound what was once a disdainful term and choose to wear their geekdom with pride.  As for Croning festivals (apparently for women turning 60, according to the article), I hope I am fortunate enough to live that long.  If I am, I will pull out all the stops to celebrate!

BOWWOW BLING:  Dressing up a dog is stupid.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I love my dog JackJack with all my heart, but he is a dog first.  As a matter of fact, that's all he is.  Dogs are not supposed to be dressed up in coordinating outfits as their owner.  They are not supposed be dressed up at all.  No doggie outfits, no puppy nail color for girl dogs, no nothing.  It does not mean you love them any less.  If a dog had a voice, they'd tell you how much they loathe being dressed up.  The next time you see a dressed up dog, look into their eyes.  When you look deep enough, you will see embarrassment and humiliation.

CALLER ID:  I am not sure I agree with this fad that the article puts down.  I love having the ability to screen calls.  I love that I don't have to listen to a telemarketer while they run their speil by me and choose not to hear me when I tell them I'm not interested.  According to the author, back in the day before Caller ID, you could answer the phone "And it's a stranger telling you something that totally changes your mood, your day, maybe your life."  I'm not sure what parallel universe the author may be residing in, but do you remember this ever happening while you inhabited the real world?  I don't.  The other thing I love about Caller ID is that if the call is from someone dear to me, I smile when I see their number show up and I carry that smile into my conversation with them.  The element of surprise still exists, only a few seconds sooner.  That's a convenience I can live with.

BEYOND ONE'S QUALIFICATION: Again, kudos to the author on nailing it. People honestly believe that they can walk into a management position with absolutely no experience relevant to the job. Wake up, wide-eyed and cluelessly delusional twentysomething!  Your parents may have raised you to believe that every little thing you do is magic, but the real world knows better.  The only people who hire just about anyone are those reality shows on MTV. 

HIPSTER WORDS:  Another fad that makes me want to raise my hands up heavenward and say Hallelujah.  I have always hated words that end in -ista, like the word Fashionista, as quoted in the article.  There are some words and sentences that are so overused you can almost predict their demise.  Remember "Been there, done that"?  How about "You had me at hello"?  Then there was "24-7-365".  Does this one sound familiar: "Whazzup", especially said the way they did in the Budweiser commercials?  Oh, and those two-word mash-ups that became hip when Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez got together.  Those make my head hurt.  Bennifer?  Really?  I think Lake Superior State University comes up with a list of Banished Words every year.  Please LSSU, if I never hear the word Frenemies again, it won't be soon enough for me!

THE DEMISE OF THE LAUGH TRACK:  The article wants the laugh track back in sitcoms.  I disagree with this one.  I don't need a laugh track to help me watch a sitcom.  I am perfectly capable of deciding whether something is funny or not.  Losing the laugh track has made me realize that it was no more than a distraction to begin with. 

HUH?:  The author has a problem with people saying this instead of the more polite "Pardon me" or "I'm sorry, I didn't hear what you said."  Actually this one doesn't bother me as much as the article says it should.  I don't mind someone asking me "Huh?" instead.  I can't stand a "What" thrown my direction in a biting or mean tone. 

THE SHAKY CAM: This phenomenon became popular with the movie "The Blair Witch Project" and has stayed with us much longer than we may have liked it to.  That's true at least for me.  Too much camera movement while the rest of my body is stationary makes me feel dizzy and nauseous.  I don't  like going to a movie and coming out feeling like I want to throw up.  The ticket prices do that to me all on their own. 

SHOULD I FLUSH?:  What if  there is an inconsiderate jerk talking on their cellphone in a public restroom?  Should I flush?  Yes you should.  We all should.  Every time.  You don't owe the schmuck any consideration.  Think about it, what better revenge than possibly creating a situation where they may have to explain the sound of a toilet flushing to the person at the other end of the conversation?

CHURLISH BEHAVIOR = $:  This fad definitely has  to go.  When did we go from being intolerant of bad behavior to accepting, then applauding and now rewarding it?  Eliot Spitzer is a co-anchor on a CNN talk show.  Eliot Spitzer.  This is the same sleazeball douchebag who had his wife stand by his side with a pained look of deep hurt on her face while he confessed his infidelity to the world.  I think that the glorification of misbehavior can be attributed to Reality TV and talk shows.  Bill O'Reilly can bully his guests.  Whoopi and Joy can walk off a set.  Professionalism can be tossed out the window.  A debate is no longer an intelligent exchange of  thought from two different sides of an issue but rather a shouting match of who can get the last word in.  It needs to stop.  The offenders need to be given a permanent time-out.

ANTIBACTERIAL AMERICA:  While I don't think this fad needs to disappear altogether, I do think we have become germophobes to an unhealthy level and to our own detriment.  We do need some germs to give our antibodies something to do.  If not, they become sluggish from non-use.  Also, while there is no scientific evidence of this, I do believe that in some cases there are certain allergies and diseases that are caused by antibodies fighting a person's own immune system.  Another thing I believe is that when we try to get rid of every germ and bacteria with bleach and antibacterial gel, the ones that that survive our obsession only generate organisms that are even harder to kill.  So when you are attacked by one of these super germs, it's like a punch between the eyes.  I am no scientist, but I honestly feel this way because my childhood illnesses come nowhere close in comparison to even a slight cold I may catch nowadays.

As for the rest of the nineteen fads listed in the article (I didn't count, but they said it was 31 and I've listed 12) I don't really have an opinion on them one way or the other.  I do have a list of fads of my own that I think should go.  But that's a different post for another time.  Uh oh, does that last sentence qualify as "Hipster Words"?  I hope not!

Friday, October 1, 2010

22 Blogs And Counting

This is my 22nd post since I first began blogging.  It's been about four months since I began my weekly posts.  Every week, I pull out a new canvas and set it up on the easel of my blog page.  I go deep into my mind and pull out colors of words which I paint into the sweeping brush-strokes of my thoughts.  I know I am neither an accomplished artist nor am I a prolific writer, but I love doing this.  And I thank the people who indulge me by reading what I write.  I thank people even more for the comments they leave me either here or on Facebook.  Feedback is always a good thing.

Here are some updates to some of my blogs.

Ginger's Mom found Barney, a 5 year old male Golden Retriever who was looking for a home.  They bonded instantly.  No dog will ever take Ginger's place in her Mom's heart, but Barney clearly helps fill the void left by Ginger's sudden passing. 

I still eat my cupcake sideways when I do eat one.

Hallelujah!  Fred Meyer in Issaquah actually fixed the stalls in the ladies room which helps make them easier to use.  They didn't move anything around, they just installed smaller toilet paper holders.  What a difference that makes!  I would like to think my Open Complaint contributed in some way, although that is very unlikely!

I got my behind back in gear and started blogging again and more regularly, thanks to Rachel.  She writes her own blog, rachel unplugged, which I love to read!

Family Guy still rocks!  In fact, there is more about this show that I will comment a few paragraphs down, which has to do with another blog post of mine.

With every cake I bake, I get closer to my commitment to go full time into the baking and confectionery business.  And with every step I take toward this goal, the less conundrums go through my head about  my abilities.  Baking is still, and will continue to always be, my therapy.  It's a tremendous boost to my confidence when I get a shout out from my uncle in his Facebook status!

I've had Ho Mok Talay at O'Char in Issaquah twice after the blog I wrote about it.  I still want to go there with both Rachel and with Ingrid St. Claire.  That will happen one of these days.  I hope.  I haven't been back to Sea Thai Restaurant in Seattle.  I have just added this on my list of things to do.

I still miss my Dad terribly.  That blog was one that generated the most number of comments.

JackJack is doing great.  He is such a happy dog!  He is definitely mellowing out as he grows older, but that doesn't stop him from loving life.  He is not a huge fan of Barney though, at least not yet.

I still love music and play the radio at work.  I have to comment on a couple of songs.  The first is a song called "Breakeven" by the Irish band The Script.  The song is so sad because it is about a broken relationship from which one of the people has moved on but the other can't let go.  I don't know if it's the lyrics or the voice of the person that sings it, but I can't help liking the song.  I have been there, but the song doesn't make me sad or make me cry.  I just really appreciate  how well the emotion behind the song has been captured into lyrics, tune and rendition.  The other song I have to comment on, and I'm sure you're not surprised, is "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey.  I actually found a version that I enjoy.  I'm sure it wouldn't surprise if I told you it was the Family Guy Karaoke version.  This is the only clip I could find to share, which unfortunately is a video capture of a television screen.  So that's my Family Guy additional reference from a few paragraphs above.

I am looking forward to my next trip to "Facing East" Restaurant.  It hasn't happened yet.  I'm wondering if any of my readers had a chance to go.  I'm still interested in going with anyone if they would like.  Yes Suganthi, I'm talking to you!

I continue to try out new recipes I find on the internet.  As a matter of fact, I have created a separate blog named My Kitchen Table, which I plan to update as and when I can.  The blogs there will be food-related, whether they are recipes, restaurant/food reviews, world cuisine, things like that.  Please feel free to visit, or even better, add yourself as a follower.

My doodlebug nephew Nicholas formally celebrated his birthday at Chuck E Cheese's in Lynnwood on September 18th.  He invited about 15 of his very loud, very rambunctious friends and they had a great time. 

I booked my tickets to see Wendy Liebman on October 23rd.  I can't wait!

People who talk/text and drive still bug the living heck out of me.

So there you are.  Consider yourself updated :-)

Thank you for reading.  Love and peace.