Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Because It's Canada, Eh?

My husband is a Celtic music fanatic. He plays in a Celtic band and loves to listen to live music every chance he gets. Whenever we visit a new city, one of the first things he does is check out the closest Irish pub to see if there's a band playing.

This weekend we were in Vancouver, BC. On the drive in, he spotted a banner in a pub reading, "Live Irish Music, Nightly." He made note of the pub name and called them late that evening.

"Can you tell me who's playing tonight?" he asked.

"An yes," said the waitress. "It's the Canucks against the Canadiens."

Ah, Canada.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Body Remembers What It's Like...

I was driving down the street yesterday and saw two men putting up a chain link fence.

This isn't a very common occurrence where I live. Almost all of the fences in this area are wood. That's just the way it is. But where I grew up, in Colorado, trees don't grow naturally except along streams and rivers. It's just too arid. So chain link fences are everywhere.

And as I watched those men yesterday, I felt that fence. Down in my feet.

If you were a child in a chain link area, you know exactly what I'm talking about: The pinch-and-pressure of the metal on your keds-clad foot as you climbed up and over.

(You're feeling it now, aren't you?)

We used to have to climb the three-foot fence to the neighbor's semi-regularly to get the baseballs we'd blast over. (Don't be too impressed. Our yards were small.) At school we'd sometimes climb the six-foot fences, when nobody was watching. Just because we could. I can still remember that climb -- up and up and up, then grasp the top rail and carefully throw one leg over, and then figure out what to do with the other leg, and pry the foot out of the hole, which is harder when you're sitting on top than when you're climbing... And then the final decision: whether to climb down, or just jump.

(When your feet get bigger, as mine did early, climbing down becomes less of an option. And I can still remember the reverberations in my feet and legs after that five- or six-foot jumb.)

Tactile memories. Muscle memories. So different from visual or auditory memories. So much more like...reliving the experience, even when you haven't done it for twenty or thirty or even forty years.

Curious. What kinds of things does your body remember?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Words You Do Not Want to Hear From Your College Student

Add this to the list of words you do not want to hear from your college student:

"Yeah, some of the guys at the frat went out on the deck last night, but when they saw police with assault rifles there, they came back inside."


The story: There's been a fair amount of street crime recently, with college kids getting jumped and robbed on their way home late at night. They recently arrested three soldiers from an army base 30 miles south, but that apparently hasn't stopped the attacks.

Saturday night after midnight, three kids were walking home and got jumped. Two were beaten and robbed, one got away and called police on his cell.

The police came and the three criminals ran away and took refuge in a fraternity house across the street from my son's. Police surrounded the fraternity and made everybody inside come out with their hands up. The perpertrators were arrested without incident. The guys who were robbed were bruised but not seriously injured.

So... All's well that ends well. Unless you're viewing this through a parent's eyes.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I Cheat at FreeCell

I am addicted to FreeCell.

If you've ever played, you know what I'm talking about. It comes as part of the games packages with Windows, and it's kind of like solitaire. On steroids. A lot of thought and strategy required, and difficult to win consistently.

My win percentage is currently at 85%, after being stuck at 84% forever. I'm on a win streak of 31 games. (My record? Thirty-six.)

My internet has been very slow lately, which is not good for my FreeCell addiction. Every time my screen freezes up as something is loading (which probably takes ten seconds, but it seems like forever) I start playing FreeCell. Which has led to my current dilemma.

You see, I'm stuck. I'm in a game I can't win, unless I take back pretty much every single move I've made up to this point. (Which, is, btw, entirely legal in the Windows Vista version.)

So if I ever want to play again, I'm going to need to say, Yes, I lose, and end my win streak, and see my win percentage drop back to 84%. (Because it goes down so much faster than it goes up.)

Which is the right thing to do, of course. It's a matter of personal integrity. Plus I can't play again until I do it, and it's driving me insane.

But there's one little thing. I've discovered that if you have to reboot your computer, or if you get the Blue Screen O'Death and it shuts down automatically, it doesn't count as a loss. Seriously.

So if I shut down my computer, my win streak would continue and I'd be replaying game 32. Except not really.

Truly, a moral dilemma.

I am off after I post this to resign the game. Right now.

Or tonight. Or maybe tomorrow. And if the dreaded Blue Screen O'Death were to hit in the meantime? Well, golly. Things happen.

(You know I'm just kidding, right?)

(It sucks to have a conscience even when you play computer games against yourself.)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Spring's Teaser Week

Seattle is grey.

We all know that, right? It's tops in our stereotype book.

Well, actually, the stereotype is "rain," which isn't altogether accurate. A lot of cities get more rain, but they get it all at once, in downpours. We get it mostly in mists, over a period of nine months a year. Nine grey months.

Except that there is always a week in February where the sun shines. The temperature rises. People go outside.

I think of it as our "teaser week." The week where Spring is tantalizingly dangled in front of our noses before cruel fate snatches it back while exclaiming, "Haha! Just kidding! You have to wait till July!"

After you've lived here awhile, you get over the pain of having it snatched away again and just enjoy the teaser. Yesterday (when it was 50), I took the dog hiking. Today (when it was 57) I went roller blading.

It was glorious. I feel fantastic.

Tomorrow, it will be grey again. Friday, it will be pouring rain. But still we had these days, these days of teasing warmth and sunlight.

If you are from Seattle, it has to be enough.