Thursday, April 29, 2004

Tips from the World-Class Shopper

If Dallas had internet cafes, I'd have been regaling you with tales of Euless Arbor Daze, the Brave Combo 25th anniversary party at the Sons of Hermann Hall, and The Pioneer restaurant near Grand Prairie. But that was last weekend...

Today I'm shopping online, and I just wanted to remind folks that before you click "buy" on your favorite site, check one of the discount sites for a code that might get you a discount or free shipping. One way to find the discounts is to google the name of the store where you're shopping ("Eddie Bauer" "Nordstrom") and the word "discount."

Or you can search for the store on a site like Daily eDeals or ShoppersResource.com. Today, both had the code I needed for free standard shipping on my order. Worth bookmarking.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Betaille enjoys herself

Though Socks, the cat we lost last week, has been on our minds, I'm writing about Betaille. She's our 14-year-old Himalayan-Abyssinian, and one beautiful and intelligent cat. Betaille loves the outdoors, and she knows how to enjoy it. Having miraculously survived some years in a more urban neighborhood, she appreciates her "retirement" on a quiet, dead-end street in Sunset Hill, the far western end of Ballard above Shilshole marina. She heads outside at dawn. On crisp days, she installs herself on a little raised platform beneath our back stairs. Last fall I put up a large window that partially encloses her platform, sheltering her from the wind and rain but providing light and a nice view of the back garden. Now that the weather is warm, she heads immediately for her cedar park bench, where she stretches out and enjoys a view through the open gate from the backyard to the front yard and the house across the street. All day long she luxuriates there, watching the comings and goings of the neighbors (yet many of them tell me they've never seen her). By afternoon, when the sun gets hot, she enjoys the shade from the pear tree. There's a fountain on the back patio with fresh water, and when she wants food, she hops up the stairs and looks in the glass door to the kitchen until someone passes by, sees her, and feeds her. What a life!

In the evening, Betaille goes out and socializes with the other cats in the neighborhood. Her latest friend is another longhaired cat, all black, who Brady reports comes to visit her in the back yard. Cat curfew on our street is 10:30 p.m. Now that the nights are warm, Betaille hates to come in that early. She dances around at the foot of the stairs, looking back at the bushes were her friends lurk, and only repeated nagging, and a little tapping on a can of catfood, lure her into the house for the night.



Friday, April 09, 2004

The Friday Five

1. What do you do for a living?
I write about music, write marketing copy for a membership website, manage an egreetings website, plus edit and produce an online newsletter. In other words, I spend 50-plus hours a week sitting in front of a computer in my home office, plus fly down to California once a week for meetings at the company headquarters.

2. What do you like most about your job?
I discover new music, work with bright, talented, task-oriented people, and have a good deal of autonomy when it comes to structuring my work, solving problems, and making changes.

3. What do you like least about your job?
Long hours, especially evening work.

4. When you have a bad day at work it's usually because _____...
I'm called in at the last minute to help out on someone else's project.

5. What other career(s) are you interested in?
Reviewing (arts, music, books, culture, technology); feature writing. Pretty much anything that involves fulltime writing for a reputable publication or website that takes writing seriously and has professional assignment editors and copy editors.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Passover

I've reached that point where I've got so many tasks overdue that even the sense of urgency goes away. So, with the emails still dinging, and a chicken roasting, I've decided to blog.

Tonight is the first night of Passover. My family didn't celebrate Passover while I was growing up, but after my parents retired to Florida and became involved with the local temple, I got to attend seders at the home of their friends Janet and Lou. Lou had grown up in Boston in a household where Yiddish was spoken (he didn't learn English until he entered school) and at a time when nearly all Jews were Orthodox Jews. Janet and Lou hosted large Passover dinners, inviting friends from all over Florida and up North. The crowd for a typical Passover meal at their place included Holocaust survivors, professional gamblers, black sheep 30-somethings still looking for a real job, and everybody's spoiled grandchildren. By the time we arrived at 6 p.m., Lou and the men would be well into the Slivovitz and Janet was racing back and forth from the kitchen to the Florida room (where tables were set end-to-end for 20 people, plus Elijah). A hired maid, a Florida local who probably never heard of Passover before, was trying to help.

The Passover ritual, carried out before the meal, can last for a couple hours. The adults review the Jews' exodus from slavery in Egypt, give thanks for the protection of G-d, and involve the children in the story using songs and games. Since all you get to eat during the ritual is a little bit of matzoh cracker with various dips, and you consume a few glasses of wine, things can get a bit exuberant by the time the (well-cooked) dinner makes it to the table.

Concerns about the done-ness of the brisket fly through the air along with thanks to G-d; it's the quintessence of Jewish community life. One of my favorite episodes at Lou and Janets involved a tiny lizard that plummeted from the chandelier and, as guests shrieked, skittered down the table through various ceremonial foods until I was able to capture it in a napkin and usher it out the sliding glass doors into the humid night.

Since my first Passover seder at Janet and Lou's some 15 or so years ago, I've been to seders for big crowds; to a feminist seder at which the one male guest was a Christian from North Carolina; and to a couple of seders with just the two of us. Tonight it was just us and my mom. After experiencing Passover with Lou and Janet, it would be unthinkable for me to fail to celebrate Passover. And, in essence, that means that their seders accomplished their purpose--ensuring that the tradition would continue to be passed along.