Monday, August 29, 2005

Mr. Na's Choo Choo Fund

Mr. Na had his first lesson in economics this week. I think he may be the only three year-old I know who earns up to $.75 a day for doing simple chores around the house and keeping his Thomas the Tank underpants dry all day.

It really started out as an incentive to stay dry. Pa and I are frustrated with how close Mr. Na is from being 100% potty trained, yet still it's so far away. He mostly just lets it fly if he's too busy playing with his toys and unless we tell him to go to the potty every two hours or so, he won't go. So, by the end of the day, if he doesn't wet his pants, we make a big deal by giving him two quarters and follow him to the kitchen where he deposits them into his very own piggy bank. If, however, he wets his pants, we take him to the potty, bring in the piggy bank and remove one quarter for the deed.

So to hold Mr. Na's budding but still short attention span, rather than wait until he saved $20, we took him to the toy store on Saturday and allowed him to pick out a choo choo. He picked out Annie and Clarabel, plunked his piggy bank on the counter (Pa stealthily whipped out his credit card and pocketed the quarters for household redistribution).

The verdict? So far, so good. He's definitely understanding consequences, but I'm firmly convinced now that there is NOTHING anyone can do as a parent to speed up potty training. Kids master it in their own time. He hasn't worn diapers in the daytime in 9 months, but he still doesn't understand that there's a difference between not wanting to go pee and not having to go pee. Although I'm thankful, I just wonder why it was so easy for him to be bowel trained.

In any event, our economics lesson is a win-win. Mr. Na unpacks the silverware basket in the dishwasher every morning and he's learning responsibility and the value of money. We still have some kinks to work out, but over time, he may very well be making more than his mom!

Friday, August 26, 2005


We found out Thursday that Mr. Na's Pa needs to be here in the U.S. for a very important meeting at the same time he needs to be in Paris for a very important meeting. For some reason, the very important meeting in the U.S. is MUCH MORE important than the meeting in Paris--so the powers that be have asked him to stay home--at least until the very important meeting (which lasts for two days) is over, and then he can go to Paris. Not on September 2, as was planned, but by--oh, say the 7th or 8th--FIVE OR SIX DAYS LATER. He still needs to be in Italy by September 12.

This is very bad on several different levels: First off, Mr. Na, Pa and I have plane tickets to travel to Paris on September 2. Pa's work has offered to pay for any change fees associated with cancelling the trip, which is very generous. This means Mr. Na and I won't be going, which also means Pa and I would be apart on our anniversary.

So, no Paris for the Naster and me--at least not next week. I take comfort in knowing "We'll always have Paris..." NOT!

I ran 12 miles today and had to laugh at about mile six when "Hold On" by Yes came on my MP3 player. I suspect Chester, the midwestern brown squirrel, slipped that in unbeknownst to me. All things considered, though, it was an appropriate song for halfway through the run!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Let the countdown begin...

I really hate the term "girl power" and it grates on my nerves whenever I hear "you go girlfriend" but this morning, hearing it from someone as a means to motivate 5,000 women as they were about to embark on the Danskin Triathalon was kinda cool.

I dunno how I managed to roll out of bed at 6 a.m. to watch the start of the Danskin after running 11 miles yesterday--but I'm so glad I did. The moon was still bright over the Space Needle and the sun was just rising up over the Cascades as I parked a few blocks away from Lake Washington so I could bike in to cover as much ground as possible during the event.

At 7:10 a.m., friends and family members stood on the edge of the lake, cheering as wave upon wave of color-coded-capped swimmers lapped from the boat launch--half a mile out--and back. I was amazed by some of the women who chose not to wear spring suits as the water had to have been about 45 degrees.

Once they completed the swim, they ran across Lake Washington Boulevard to the bike station to ride 12 miles--from Genessee Park through the Mount Baker neighborhood and onto the Express Lanes of I-90 to Mercer Island.

I glanced at my watch when I saw the first runner make her way southbound on Lake Washington Boulevard. She arrived in less than one hour from the start of the race. Truly an inspiration.

The coolest thing about the race was that women of all ages, all shapes and all sizes competed. Whether it was just to finish the race, or to improve from last year's time, 5,000 women raced this morning in the 100th Danskin Triathalon.

You girls ROCK! See ya on the race course next year!

Friday, August 19, 2005

The last time I was at a listening party hosted by Capitol Records, I was an underage intern for the Media and Artist Relations department in Hollywood and it was for Eric Martin's I'm Only Fooling Myself--prior to his stint with Mr. Big.

Fast forward 18 years later--when, last night, not only was the listening party hosted on behalf of The Dandy Warhols, the drinks on the rooftop patio of the War Room were gratis, compliments of the band.

Not much has changed, though, in Capitol's style of industry parties--except maybe for a new generation of overworked and underpaid A&R reps (18 years ago, Tom Whalley was still an A&R guy, working on the U.S. launch of Crowded House). The tchotchkes were still lame (last night's was a Dandy Warhols disposable lighter for "Smoke It") and the band members were milling about--checking their watches to see what time they could escape without being in breech of contract.

Nonetheless, the crowd was intimate and the album is worth buying on 9/13 (although my husband was pretty underwhelmed). So for those of you headed into Portland tonight to catch up with the band at Masu, it'll be worth your while to come early to beat the rush and sip cocktails Dandystyle.

Photos from top to bottom: Yours truly (age 19) with Rodney Bingenheimer at some Capitol party; last night's parting gift; and Courtney Taylor-Taylor with Le Femme Monkita-Monkita.

Monday, August 15, 2005

I had a wonderful writing week--and I plodded through most of chapter four and actually wrote an open letter and submitted it to McSweeneys. It's a good one, hopefully they'll agree and publish it! If not, I'll just post it here once I hear from them.

I ran ten miles on Saturday--and did great--until I fell down my friend's basement steps and bruised the shit out of the top of my foot. She treated me to Cupcake Royale for pain and suffering, though, so I couldn't complain! I was going to run today but my foot is bothering me too much, so I'll swim today and try and run tomorrow.

Mr. Na's Pa took the GRE on Friday, scored an obnoxiously grand score on both the verbal and math; and now with tomorrow's deadline hanging over his head, last night, he was holed up in his office pulling an essay out of his ass in the Eleventh Hour so that he can submit his application for getting his Masters in Computational Linguistics. And what I've read so far, it rocks!

I bought Mr. Na Miroslav Sasek's This is Paris book and I think he loves it as much as I loved Sasek's This is Munich book when I was a child. He's pretty excited to sail the toy boats in the Jardin du Luxembourg and this will be the first city where he'll ride in the underground choo choos. Big fun!

So that's about it from me. I hope this coming week is as productive as the last. It doesn't look like I'll be completely finished editing my manuscript before my cousin arrives, but I'll let him fly home with at least the first half.

Au revoir for now!

Sunday, August 14, 2005


This just arrived in my inbox from the Dandys. I know where I'll be on Thursday:

Hey yeah.

We're going to have some cocktails next week in these cities near you.

9pm is the cocktail hour with our suitcases in tow.

monday 15th san diego cocktails - side bar

tuesday the 16th atwater village (LA) cocktails - bigfoot lodge

wednesday the 17th san francisco cocktails - otis bar

thursday the 18th seattle cocktails - war room

friday the 19th portland cocktails - masu

you'll likely need to be 21.

see you, rockers.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Mr. Na and the Blue Angels

Every first Thursday-Sunday in August, we're treated to the Blue Angels frolicking in the skies above Seattle. It's fun to go downtown during lunchtime to see and hear them practice for their part in Seafair as they put on quite a neat little show.

This year, I decided to take Mr. Na to Seafair on Lake Washington for a closer look.

I'm not a big Seafair Fan. My husband calls hydroplane races NASCAR on water and I tend to agree. So I knew, going in, I wasn't going to plunk down $25 to see a bunch of people wear inflatable hydroplane hats on their heads. Still, despite the fact that it took two hours to get there by bus, it was thrilling getting to the park in time for the airshow.

I love King County Metro's website for their awesome "Trip Planner" tool. All I needed to do was type in my address and the address to Genesee Park and it figured out the routes and times for the bus rides. So, our 9 mile trip, in reality, should have only taken 45 minutes and one bus transfer; but I made the grievous error of listening to the busdriver who, at the International District, asked those of us who were going to Seafair to come to the front of the bus. Upon doing so, he instructed us to get off at the next stop and walk to Safeco Field to catch the Seafair Shuttle.

"But wouldn't it be easier for us to be let out at S. Rainier at McClellan?" I asked.
"Well, either way--but these shuttles will take you directly to the grounds," he answered.

Figuring the bus driver would know better, I got off at the designated stop with Mr. Na in tow and looked southward, to Safeco Field--which was across the I-90 onramp, down a street that had no sidewalk, but a posted sign that read, "Pedestrians are prohibited on street." The only trail included a trek across a deserted parking lot, across train tracks, around the Qwest Stadium, and to the other side of Safeco Field. As we ambled down the scary street (thank God it was Sunday--no traffic), we were stopped at the train tracks for the world's longest train to pass. Mr. Na was ok with this; I was not. And it was straight out of a cartoon, too--because as soon as the end of the train was in sight, another train, coming from the opposite direction, whizzed past on the second set of tracks.

Twenty minutes later, we rounded Qwest and Safeco Fields only to find the queue for the Seafair Shuttle wrapped around Edgar Martinez Boulevard. To add insult to injury, the shuttle was $3; but there was no turning back, at this point--so we waited in line...and waited...and waited...

Packed like sardines, the bus crept up Columbian Way until it finally made its way to the grounds. We spread our picnic blanket out on the field and watched the Blue Angels dive, roll and zoom.

I gotta tell ya--my son has incredible patience for a three year-old. He was really, really good yesterday and looked at our botched outing as an adventure. And why wouldn't he? After all, an adventure involving bus rides, choo choos, baseball stadiums and the Blue Angels is the best kind. Next year, however, I think we'll just stay at home and once noontime rolls around, look up!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

I'm Gonna Tri

This week I made the decision to finally do a triathalon. Ok--not like the Ironman or anything--just the Danskin, which is much more realistic for me! What stopped me from wanting to do it in the past was not really thinking I was a strong swimmer (that and I really hate swimming in lakes). But over these past few weeks, I've been taking advantage of the olympic sized swimming pool at my gym and swimming 32 laps twice a week (32 laps = 1 mile). I'm still a little slow--about 1:15 minutes/lap--but like running, at least I'm pretty confident I can cover the distance.

Unfortunately my decision to do the Danskin is a bit too late for this year--seeing that the Seattle Danskin is in two weeks and registration closed way back in March; but this will at least give me enough time to train and have fun! I still plan on doing half of the Seattle Marathon this fall and maybe the Whidbey Island marathon next May. I ran a 9 miler today: down Stone Way to the Burke Gilman trail, around UW up to Ravenna Park, through the backside to Cowen Park, to Ravenna Avenue to the top of Greenlake; around the top of Greenlake, along 99 (Na and Pa drove past me on the way to lunch--lucky dogs!) back down to Greenlake Way/Stone Way.

I wish I had this much energy for my manuscript. I haven't picked it up at all this week, but once I'm done posting this entry, I'll open it up. I think my stalling is due, in part, to reading War and Rememberance. I'm somewhere toward the end--where two characters are in Terezin and as I'm reading, I keep thinking, " characters go through THAT" or "Dammit, I was gonna have them do THAT..." and so I feel like even though I had thought these elements through before even picking up Herman Wouk, I feel like I'm lifting ideas. Sigh!

I guess that's the price I pay for reading books similar to mine. I can't help it though, I love reading this stuff as much as I love writing about it.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Smoke It!

The Dandy Warhols new single "Smoke It" is now out. I heard it yesterday on KEXP and Rhapsody and it's--it's--it's...smokin! The new album Odditorium or Warlords of Mars is due out September 13--just in time for Na and I to return from gay Paree.

Incidentally, if you're a Dandys fan and you've yet to see DiG, what the hell's stoppin' ya? Admittedly, I really didn't know much about Brian Jonestown Massacre, but the documentary delves deep into the band's multiple implosions, fueled by Anton Newcombe, who's one crazy, but amazingly talented dude.

What I loved most, though, was the "You Were the Last High" video: a total homage to Duran Duran! Yeah, yeah, I'm a little slow, given that the video's been out forever--but it's not like I have oodles of free time to watch MTV2. I think the last time I had that much ample time, MTV was still cool (1982?)

Anyway, I have mixed emotions about missing the Dandys/BJM at Lollapalooza. On the one hand it would have been very cool to see them together; on the other hand, I don't think I'd have survived the stifling Chicago heat.

It'd be nice to see the Dandys again. I saw them at Bumbershoot in 2003 and it royally sucked. They were put in the worst possible venue at the Seattle Center and the accoustics were atrocious. Ah, well! Next time!