124 entries categorized "Holidays"

Rocking the Bruise Look today

One of the (dis?)advantages of being color-blind is that I tend to dress simply, in solid colors and materials that are easy to match—basically the adult version of Garanimals. I also favor darker colors in general, and a lot of navy, green, and blue in particular.

Today, then, I am an unintentional 6-foot freshly inflicted contusion:

  • Navy boxers
  • Black socks, shoes
  • Dark blue jeans, black belt
  • Navy tee under a black Henley
  • Navy hoodie under a black wool overcoat

This is the result of a few standard clothing items (I always wear black socks) mixed with random grabbing out of the dresser drawers and laundry basket.

Tomorrow I will probably happen to choose brown or green and so will switch to the Healing Bruise look on the holiday, because with the new year comes optimism, or something like that.


Merry Christmas

Normally I’d post a photo of this year’s Christmas tree with a count of the number of lights we installed (it was 2800 in recent years)—in fact by now that photo’s usually been posted for a few weeks. But this year we decided to observe the holiday in a pretty low-key manner.

No Christmas tree, for example—I’m sure our electric meter is pleased with that, no lights making it work overtime to track power consumption this month. We did lighter decorating with candles and some small lights, a lighted garland over the fireplace with our Christmas stockings. Also did some baking and we hosted a small group of family and friends at dinner on Christmas Eve, a tradition we started about 10 years ago to leave Christmas Day relaxing and uncluttered.

In that spirit, then:

Here’s to a warm and happy Christmas to you and yours, and the best wishes for the upcoming New Year and into the future.


Excellent points, well stated

My sister outdid herself with her most recent post. First two paragraphs:

As I sit here at the end of this day that is set to remember Martin Luther King, Jr. I find myself wondering what he would say to all of us if he were alive today. I think he would be disgusted. I think he would find the continuous spending of money that we don’t have to be irresponsible. I think he would point out that bailing out companies and banks only teaches children that they can spend what they don’t have.

So many of his speeches mentioned the future. Here we are in that future and while we have made many improvements, we have lost a lot. America has lost its pride. I don’t mean the pride of being an American. That is living strong. I mean basic pride in your work. Wanting to do a good job, just for the sake of doing a good job.

Run over and check out the rest. It’s well worth the read.


Definitely not pretty

“Mornings aren’t pretty”—truer words never spoken, though I didn’t sleep long enough to get a really grand case of bedhead. But I kinda feel like Mickey looks.

Definitely not pretty

And it can’t be purely coincidence that one French press = one giant coffee cup, right? No, it *must* be a greater statement of the proper order of the universe.


Happy new year :-)

Best wishes for 2011.

After the jump, photos from my balcony half a mile away from the Space Needle’s New Year fireworks show. Excellent weather this year, clear and cold with practically no wind—and the smoke from the fireworks moved west of the Needle so we had an unobstructed view of the whole show.

Continue reading "Happy new year :-)" »


Not quite the view we’ll have, but close

Fireworks explode from the Space Needle in 2009. (Photo by Jim Bates, The Seattle Times)

Friends and family joining me shortly for dinner and hanging out. At midnight we’ll crowd out onto my balcony to toast the new year and watch the Space Needle fireworks display from 6 blocks away.

It’s like living a postcard each year. :-)

Happy new year!

Photo by Jim Bates / Seattle Times, via article Space Needle’s fireworks to welcome new year


Bruises I can’t explain, and other bits about last week

Last week was good! Fairly normal work week, random signs of injury I can’t recall, absolutely smashing good weekend!

So then.

I think it must have been... Tuesday? Wednesday, actually, now that I think about it. Anyway, when I noticed on my right forearm a large(ish) bruised area, maybe two inches wide. Hurt a bit when I pressed on it, that first day, but the second day nothing but discoloration.

This is one of those bruises I cannot for the life of me figure out how I got. I don’t recall slamming my arm into furniture or bouncing hard off any walls. Nothing fell on me or hit me within the last 10 days, and I haven’t been in a physical fight in well over a year. The bruise’s shape gives no clue to its origin—there are no faint outlines of baseball stitching or backward sports-equipment logo typography embedded in my arm.

But the highlight of the week was a weekend jaunt to San Francisco with Katharine and Julie Anne to attend a live-album recording show by my favorite singer/songwriter, Vienna Teng, and her frequent collaborator (and producer of her last album, Inland Territory), Alex Wong.

Fantastic time. We had VIP tickets for the Sunday evening early show at The Independent, got us some face time with the musicians while they were doing their sound checks. Also I’ve a newly signed poster I need to get framed at some point. It was a fascinating crowd, too, all ages (21+ only) and just about every type of person you could imagine, all clearly fans of the music and really into the show.

No idea when the album comes out, but I’m hoping to hear my voice among the whoops and hollers from the crowd. Maybe it’ll list where each track was recorded as well so I won’t be one of those fools who says, “That’s me clapping first,” only to be told that song was taken from a recording made in New York, where I’ve never been.

San Francisco was lovely otherwise. We flew in Saturday morning, took BART from SFO to Powell Street Station, checked into our hotel with no fuss (our rooms were available even though check-in time was still 4+ hours away), and were out wandering the city a little after 10:30. Spent the afternoon at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, marveling at the planetarium show and chuckling at the penguins’ antics and bemused by the free-flying butterflies in the rainforest globe. Beautiful building, they pack a lot into a relatively small space, but it isn’t at all claustrophobic—the exhibit spaces are thoughtfully laid out with plenty of room for people to move around, and the exhibits themselves are an engaging mix of old (dioramas, animal enclosures, blocks of descriptive text on wall signs) and new (Surface-style computer-driven information about the California coast and such, an all-digital planetarium with a 75-foot projection dome, a state-of-the-art living roof, the works).

We flew home this morning, allowed an hour for bag check and security screening and barely made it onto the plane for the 09:20 departure—and, as it turned out, only because the TSA agents handling the lengthy security lines were canvassing the crowds for departure times 40 or so minutes away at any given time. The bag-check agent had claimed a 45– to 60-minute wait in security; if we hadn’t jumped the line at the TSA agent’s behest, we would have missed our flight, and we had a bit over 60 minutes from bag-check finish to our entry into the security line.

The flight back to Seattle was packed tight. The Alaska Airlines check-in kiosk had even asked us if we would be willing to accept booking on a later flight (with a travel voucher to be used in the future) because our flight was overbooked, and the crowding aboard clearly indicated it would be a busy travel day all around. I think we ended up among the last half-dozen or so passengers to board, which meant that my laptop bag flew home overhead row 18 while our seats were in rows 23 and 24 (in a 27-row 737-400, oh joy).

We did get to enjoy the log-sawing stylings of the Western Conference Champion snorer. This guy could go pro, probably get taken high in the second or late in the first round. He had snorted himself awake five times before the plane was even off the runway at SFO, and several times during the flight—each time, his rowmates would all flinch with the surprise of it.

Sometime during this flight I also noticed the couple of bruises on my right upper arm, a couple of little quarter-inch dark spots on my biceps.

Seems parts of me were beaten senseless over the last several days and I’ve no memory of it.

Anywho. Back home now, all is good and I have a two-day work week because of the Christmas holiday—we get both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off, for some reason I absolutely am not questioning aloud but still wonder about frequently. Bag is unpacked, cats won’t leave me alone, the wind is rattling my balcony door, and the weather forecast calls for rain and chance of snow tonight and tomorrow.

Just as things should be for December in Seattle. :-)

So how was your week?


For your holiday pleasure: Lighted boats on the weekend

Since we live in one of the more nautical corners of the planet, it’s almost considered mutinous not to watch a parade of brightly decorated boats every December. You have multiple chances to join in the salty holiday spirit this weekend.

View the full article on the Seattle Times site: Lighted boats will buoy up your holiday spirits


2600 in 6

Julie Anne’s Christmas tree, 2009Twenty-six strands of lights and the entire ornament collection all in six hours, to the accompaniment of the “Christmas favorites” iTunes playlist and a lovely dinner of Thanksgiving leftovers. Oh, and a brief pause to watch the lighting of the Westlake tree, the Space Needle, and the KING5 broadcast tower atop Queen Anne Hill.

Been a busy day!

2007 in IM status messages

After the jump, lists of the custom “available” and “away” status messages I used in iChat in 2007.

They made it easier to extract this info from iChat in Leopard. You can now choose “Edit Status Menu” from iChat’s buddy-list window, select the item(s) you want from the list(s), and use the Copy command to get a comma-separated text list. Only problem for me is I use commas in some of my statuses, so it’s not a simple search-and-replace function to get the list into a usable format, but it sure beats having to fire up Property List Editor and extract the list that way. Minor trade-offs, I suppose.

Anyway....

Continue reading "2007 in IM status messages" »


Merry Christmas. :-)

Season’s greetings, happy holidays, and all the other salutations of the time.

Quoted below, one of my all-time favorite songs, and it happens to have a Christmas relevance: The Atheist Christmas Carol by Vienna Teng.

Hear the song:

it’s the season of grace coming out of the void
where a man is saved by a voice in the distance
it’s the season of possible miracle cures
where hope is currency and death is not the last unknown
where time begins to fade
and age is welcome home

it’s the season of eyes meeting over the noise
and holding fast with sharp realization
it’s the season of cold making warmth a divine intervention
you are safe here you know now

don’t forget
don’t forget I love
I love
I love you

it’s the season of scars and of wounds in the heart
of feeling the full weight of our burdens
it’s the season of bowing our heads in the wind
and knowing we are not alone in fear
not alone in the dark

On Vox: QotD: My Current Top 10

According to Last.fm, though this doesn’t take into account my iPod listenings (I haven’t found a reliable way to ensure iPod play counts are reflected in Last.fm stats):

  1. Providence — The Fat Lady Sings
  2. Here’s Where the Story Ends — The Sundays
  3. What About Everything — Carbon Leaf
  4. Be Still — The Fat Lady Sings
  5. Gravy Train — The Fat Lady Sings
  6. Lonely Stranger — Eric Clapton
  7. The Boxer — Carbon Leaf
  8. Summertime — The Sundays
  9. How You’ve Grown — 10,000 Maniacs
  10. The Atheist Christmas Carol — Vienna Teng
  11. Songbirg — Fleetwood Mac
  12. Arc of a Diver — Steve Winwood
  13. Signe — Eric Clapton
  14. Twist — The Fat Lady Sings
  15. Never Going Back Again — Fleetwood Mac
  16. Arclight — The Fat Lady Sings

Sixteen items in my Top 10 list because of ties. A list in the style of TopFive.com’s Top 10 lists. ;-)

Answering:

What are your top 10 most-played songs currently?

Originally posted on donnunn.vox.com


Tuesday music

For most of the time I was home today, I had iTunes feeding my living-room and bedroom stereos via AirTunes. Makes for good audio distraction when I try to sleep in the afternoons on weekdays, I’ve found.

Tonight I thought, hey, I wonder how many songs played today, including while I was using my iPod at work this morning. So I created a Smart Playlist to show me all the songs played today, scrubbed the list through Excel to make the formatting prettier (all hail the CONCATENATE function), et voilà.

More than 12 hours of music, about half of which I slept through, listed in play order.

Song — Artist, Album

Continue reading "Tuesday music" »


On Vox: QotD: But It Tastes Good!

When I was a kid in Salt Lake City, we had Winder Dairy home delivery service for milk once a week. At the holidays we would order egg nog and chocolate milk and various other products specific to the holiday season. One of our big indicators for the holidays was when the Winder Dairy truck started leaving more than just the standard gallon-size bottles of milk behind and sometimes the deliveries would go from once a week to twice or even three times depending on what we were ordering.

I was a major fan of their chocolate milk. It was thick and rich and way too strong to be drunk straight from the bottle. I usually thinned it about 1:1 with regular milk and even though it was cold at the end of November and through December, it didn’t matter, because the yummy chocolate flavor warmed up the world.

So one year when we had a holiday party at the house, we kids were just floating around being inconspicuous (we were good at that) and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen because that’s where the chocolate milk was. Turns out it was also where the sweet pickles were, and so my meal that night consisted of miniature sweet pickles and chocolate milk.

Heavenly. I got a lot of weird looks when people wandered in to get more ice or whatever but I didn’t care. It was a flavor and texture and temperature combination that brought the entire holiday season into specific physical reality and it rocked my world.

Now of course the very idea of it makes me cringe a bit and I can’t think of anything weirder than that in the years since.

Answering:

What are your favorite weird food combinations?
Submitted by Dulce.

Originally posted on donnunn.vox.com


Songs grouped “Fave”

All of the songs in this playlist are tagged Fave using the Grouping field, another attempt to allow greater flexibility in my iTunes Smart Playlists.

These are favorites for many reasons. Some of them I like because they remind me of friends and family, or of good times over the last 20 years or so. Others I like simply for the songs themselves.

Listed in the order they’re shuffling through my headphones right now:

About music sharing

Music I’m willing to share is linked directly from this page. No link, no sharing—don’t email asking for files.

Song — Artist, Album

  1. Spirit Voices — Paul Simon, The Rhythm of the Saints
  2. Windmills — Toad the Wet Sprocket, Dulcinea
  3. Signe — Eric Clapton, Unplugged
  4. Always — Steve Winwood, One and Only Man (CD single)
  5. Here’s Where the Story Ends — The Sundays, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic
  6. Jezebel — 10,000 Maniacs, Our Time in Eden
  7. Homecoming (Walter’s Song) — Vienna Teng, Warm Strangers
  8. Snow — Grey Eye Glances, Eventide
  9. Wall of Silence — October Project, October Project
  10. Anna Rose — Vienna Teng, Warm Strangers

Continue reading "Songs grouped “Fave”" »


2006 in IM status messages

On the bandwagon of the “year in review” posts everyone seems to adore this time of year, I hereby present the full listing of status messages I used in iChat in 2006, in the order I originally entered them.

I like this time of year specifically because it’s so easy to fill dead air. :-)

Without further delay. . . .

Continue reading "2006 in IM status messages" »


Links for 2006-12-30


A wonderful holiday

We spent the holiday among family and friends.

Started Christmas Eve with our traditional holiday dinner. Mom, Katharine, and I spent much of the afternoon cooking, and our good friend Julie Anne joined us midafternoon to add another person to the kitchen entourage with her baked Brie appetizer and two kinds of pie. Our newer friends Dave and Jack joined us for dinner and we spent the evening reveling in the spirit of the season, telling our oldest stories and enjoying the good meal and chance to get to know everyone.

On Christmas Day, we made waffles with my new waffle iron (rocked utterly) and spent the late morning with gifts and coffee and a bit of reminiscing. In the afternoon we brought out Katharine’s game Mad Gab, an amusing (and sometimes incredibly difficult) game of nonsense phrases put together to sound like common words or sentences. You try to guess the actual word or sentence by sounding out the printed phrases, with sometimes comical results (see tagline).

We spent half an hour or so in the early evening trying to filter out and package the turkey stock we’d created overnight. Turns out it takes several containers to hold the fluid volume of a 12-quart stock pot. Seems plainly evident now but last night it was such a shock as we cast about trying to find just one more jar or canister or plastic container to fit the last of the stock for the ride back to Julie Anne’s kitchen.

Today brings the return to work, our return to normalcy somewhat. I’m working with Katharine tonight (we get just Christmas Day as a work holiday, even though everyone else has today off too), so I won’t be in the office until tomorrow, which is why I can be lounging around my townhouse in shorts and a T-shirt just before 09:00, making this web-site entry instead of freaking out about being late for work.

I hope your holiday brought the joy of family of friends and the warmth of togetherness similar to what we enjoyed. Merry Christmas. :-)


Friday-morning pre-holiday randomness

My drive to work took 28 minutes door-to-door. Absolutely no delays anywhere, exactly as I expected.

Now this is the way I like it.

My drive home—actually, into downtown Seattle, as I’m meeting family and friends for dinner—will likely take considerably longer as everyone tries to flee the city for their own holiday celebrations. I’ll be monitoring bridge traffic quite closely all afternoon.

:: • :: • :: • :: • :: • ::

Last night I carried a couple bags of trash out to the bins but they were full, so I carried the bags back to my garage for quick disposal after the apartment folks empty the bins into the big compactor.

When I got back into the kitchen a minute or so later, my left index finger was completely numbed out from the last knuckle to the tip. It’s an odd sensation—the tip of my finger feels about twice as large as it really is because the skin’s touch sensitivity is reduced so much.

No idea why it happened. No bruising or pain, just the numb feeling, and it goes away if I rub vigorously at the fingertip or while I’m typing with the repetitive striking of keys. But the numb sensation returns after a minute or so of inactivity.

:: • :: • :: • :: • :: • ::

Speaking of odd sensations:

Last night I pulled my car up to the front door when I arrived home. I had some groceries and I wanted to unload them through the front door directly into the dining room rather than trooping through the garage, up the stairs to the living room, down the corridor past the kitchen, and finally to the dining room.

I forgot I’d left the car out front until about two hours later, by which time I’d changed into my usual alone-at-home casual clothes, cotton shorts and a T-shirt. I was also barefoot because in the trash-bin trek earlier, I’d soaked the soles of my slippers, and they were drying in the garage.

So when I remembered about the car, I just walked outside in shorts and T-shirt, barefoot, and hopped across the (cold! wet!) lawn into the car for the quick drive around the building to the garage.

It’s weird to drive a car barefoot. I’m used to the thickness of my shoes and I nearly sent myself through the windshield twice when I stepped on the brake a bit too hard.

:: • :: • :: • :: • :: • ::

On my way to the grocery store last night, I managed a 6.4-mile stretch without a single stop for red lights on my old back-roads route home from the lab.

In the nearly two years I’ve lived in this area, I’ve never managed to make that stretch without stopping for at least two red lights. I was pleased.

:: • :: • :: • :: • :: • ::

Today promises to be fairly dead at work, which means it would normally be a good day to learn a lot of stuff. Except nothing much is happening, and since the best (for me) learning experiences happen with active projects, it’ll probably be a day of chatting with the three other workers on-site and the occasional allegedly high-priority problem report and a fair bit of coffee-drinkin’.

Also counting the seconds to the end of the shift. :-)

:: • :: • :: • :: • :: • ::

I thought I had a lot more to say today but it’s all dribbled out of me brane. Have a good weekend and a Merry Christmas.


Holiday trains

Holiday trains at Seattle Center Winterfest
Holiday trains at Seattle Center Winterfest
Seattle Center’s Winterfest in full swing with an extensive train set-up mimicking an 1880s town. Kids can take a guest-conductor turn for a $5 suggested donation.


Christmas meme

Got tagged for this one by my old friend Chris, so I’ll continue it and pass it on to Katharine (if she ever has a site of her own, or she can do it here if she likes) and to Julie Anne:

  1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?
    Hot chocolate. I like egg nog, but absurdly sparingly—it’s so rich, a single small glass is all I need to last me the entire season.
  2. Does Santa wrap presents or just place them under the tree?
    Wraps. Everything under the tree is wrapped no matter the source.
  3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
    When I was a kid, we had a riot of different colors and sizes of lights on our tree, including some of my all-time favorites, the bubble lights. Now, we use the small-bulb white strands and the effect is simply spectacular.

Continue reading "Christmas meme" »


Happy Thanksgiving. :-)

Katharine and I are enjoying the holiday at our friend Julie Anne’s house. A few other friends will be joining us later in the day, but right now we’re caffeinating over the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC.

I’d forgotten how weird these parades are, with the big staged musical numbers and the too-smiley performers and the network shilling its shows.

I broke the coffeemaker last night, so we’ve fallen back to Julie Anne’s espresso maker for our caffeine needs, and Martin Short is being funny (allegedly) as he narrates the parade-route presentation.

I remember now why I haven’t watched this parade since I was a kid!

:: • :: • :: • :: • ::

Happy holidays, everyone. May you enjoy the warmth of the season, the love of family and friends, and the joy of successes past and possibilities ahead.