Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Happy BBW!

I know, I know--it's Wednesday, so I'm a little late in posting this; but ever since I helped pack up my cousin and send him back to the Fatherland, I've been freelancing for some food clients.

In any event, it's "Banned Books Week" and if you poke around on the website, you can find 100 of the Most Challenged Books according to different decades. I'm always amazed by what makes the list (and pleasantly surprised I've read most of 'em!)

Back to work for me! I'll leave you with a picture of a big ol' elk we saw while hiking in the Hoh Rain Forest this weekend.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Busy me!

This has been a very exciting week, largely due to the fact that my long lost cousin is here from Germany. Although I had EVERY intention of having my ENTIRE manuscript revised and ready for him to read, he is armed with the first five chapters and so far, he's given it two thumbs up. Phew! Not a bad review. Sure, sure there are a few aspects that need tweaking, but he's set me straight on a few issues (i.e. writing "relocation" not "deportation" and the fact that the Nazis would never have rounded anyone up on Christmas Eve...but that's me, always erring on the dramatic side!)

My cousin arrived here safely on Saturday, though he should have been here Friday night (he missed his connection from Toronto, no thanks to Air Canada). He loaded us up with a ten year supply of Milka chocolate which is pretty funny considering that Pa returned from Italy on Saturday and brought me a backpack loaded with Milka, too...I'm going to replace their spokescow if I attempt to devour the chocolate on my own (which, by the way, isn't THAT hard for me to do).

Let's see, for the most part, he's been doing the touristy stuff on his own. But on Sunday we went for a 40 minute run which took us through Fremont and on part of the Burke Gilman trail. This evening my cousin whipped up his specialty schnitzel which, I might add, is the best damn schnitzel I've ever had, hands down.

On Saturday, he and I are off to the Olympics to hike the Hoh River and Rain Forest, which, I hope, will be the highlight of his trip (well, that and seeing me of course!)

And how's Na throughout all this? Well, he scored himself not one but TWO soccer jerseys on Satuday: one being from Deutchland, of course and the other from Roma. Pa got to spend about 15 hours in Rome on his way home from his meeting--and even chose to stay awake all night to get as much in as he could. I have a feeling, though, he'll be back there again soon enough.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bush visits New Orleans

I gonna BBQ this sucker and have it with a hurricane at Pat O'Briens!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Happy Anniversary Chimpy!

Today marks a special day in the PaNaMa household. Six years ago, I looked into Pa's eyes (as best as I could because the sun was in my own) while I held his hands and said "I do." And while the day also marks the anniversary of our country's most devastating tragedy to date, Pa and I still manage to celebrate quietly, albeit indulgently.

We stayed here last night, which at one point had been made famous by David Lynch as its exterior was The Great Northern Hotel in Twin Peaks. I spent Saturday afternoon getting pampered (or marinated, as Pa calls it) in the Spa and then we ate dinner while watching a glorious sunset over the Olympics--the sky colored brightly in popscicle orange and azure.

Mr. Na spent the night with his Nana, but Pa picked him up this morning where we three ate the most gi-normous three-course breakfast. (Two of my three courses are in the fridge and will be consumed later in the day). Afterwards, we headed to the airport so Pa could catch his flight to Italy.

Hard to believe we've been married for six years and tomorrow will mark eight years to the day we met, when, oddly enough, he had just returned from Italy, Paris, Germany and Austria. We met at intermission during the one-man show Keuroac at the Velvet Elvis . Afterwards, mutual friends of ours were getting together at the Garage and he offered me a ride since my car was parked at Harbor Steps. As we drove to Capitol Hill, he turned his CD player on and out of the speakers rose the most horrid sound I had ever heard.

"What IS this crap?" I asked, as I curled up into a little ball on the passenger seat to ward off the offensive noise.

"It's Jovanotti," he replied.


"He's big in Italy."

"And David Hasselhoff is big in Germany," I thought.

On our next date, however, (which I guess was considered our first "official" date) I had a chance to peruse his CD collection at home, where I found a lot of R.E.M., INXS, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Peter Gabriel. The clincher was that I believed he might have been the only other person on the planet to own Material Issue's International Pop Overthrow. I pretty much knew--then and there--that our collections might blend nicely together.

But there's so much more that I love about this man I married. It'd be trite just to say, "Oh yeah--he's smart and funny"; but this is a guy who studies Natural Language Processing AS A HOBBY and once Dave Eggers found out he had written this, he said, "Dude, that was you? That was AWESOME!"

But deeper still, he's a man who inspires me every single day. He's so incredibly passionate and committed to everything he touches, it makes me tired just to watch him and at times all I can do is stand there in awe. I've seen him transform our house into the most beautiful home with his own hands. I've travelled across the world with him--from Australia to Paris, London, Prague, and Ukraine--where I watched him connect with a little boy that would soon become our son. I've mourned with him through the four gut wrenching years of infertility where he agonized over injecting me with drugs day after day and stood by my side through our losses.

It hasn't always been easy and we've had our share of fights that would make anyone recoil; but I wouldn't trade places with anyone in the world. Without him, there'd be no Aspen in Chains, Jazz Dog, Petrospectives, or Coney Dog Bowl. No one would be wondering, late at night, how credit unions made money. There'd be no Chester and Baby. And my three year-old son wouldn't be saying "That's comedy, Mom!" to my jokes.

As I write this, my husband is somewhere over the Atlantic--probably sleeping--though he may be developing another list. I hate when he travels without me (partly out of missing him and partly because I wanna go too!) but even more so today since it's our anniversary (and--yeah, the whole 9/11 thing kinda creeps me out too). But we had a great weekend and the best thing about his leaving is, as he tells me and Mr. Na, "Papa always comes back!"

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Mr. Na's First Day of Preschool

As the title implies, it was a big day for us. We began our little guy's school season by laying out his clothes the night before and doing a little early celebrating at Mix Ice Cream Bar.

I must've been a little too excited because I found myself asking him multiple times this morning if he was excited; but sensing my glee, he smiled and went along with it. When we arrived, 8 other beaming parents were waiting as if Mr. Willy Wonka himself was going to let us inside his factory. And at 9:30 on the dot, the doors were opened and we made a mad dash to the classroom, where the teacher greeted everyone with a smile. She showed each child their own cubby and accepted boxes of snacks from the eager-to-please, overachieving parents.

Mr. Na went straight for the toys and I hung back a little bit to make sure he wouldn't miss me when I left. I finally came up to him and gave him a kiss--letting him know I'd see him soon.

So what did Mama do from 9:30-12? It was a beautiful morning, so I went for a 4.5 mile run. I had time go home for a shower and out for a Mocha Frappuccino Light and then returned to school, where the 8 other parents were waiting to pick up their children. At 12 on the dot, the teacher opened the classroom door and Mr. Na ran up to me saying, "Mama!" followed by his new favorite question, "Can I play a little bit?"

His teacher told me he had a great day and is very well socialized (pat, pat, pat)!

Once on the playground outside, the questions began:
"So what did you do at school?"
"Did you play cars and trucks?"
"Did you make new friends?"
"What else?"
"I played with Play Doh."
"Did you have a snack?"
"What was it?"
"Crackers with peanut butter in them!"
"Mmmmmm, those are yummy!"
"Yeah, and I got a toothbrush!"
"You did? What color?"
"Oh cool!"

Speaking of school, I just found out my 22 year-old niece just got a scholarship to Smith College. I'm in absolute awe. She went from having such a rough and tumble childhood, to losing both her parents within two years, to dealing with lifelong Bipolar Disorder. I wish her the absolute best and only hope she follows in Sylvia Plath's academic footsteps!