Archive for January, 2008

January 27, 2008

600 Bucks From The Prez?

I can’t say I’m looking forward to the president sending along a check for 600 bucks. Not that I can’t find something to do with the cash, mind you – but – I’ve been thinking (and talking) about this with some of my friends, and here’s the deal:

  • I don’t think it will be effective.
  • The wrong people will get it.
  • The people who helped cause the mess aren’t paying their fair share.

Okay – so – this whole mess isn’t just about the sub prime mortgage crisis, but a lot of it is. And I think there are three kinds of players (four, actually) that are a part of that mess:

  1. Home buyers that took a risky loan and immediately did something stupid – new TV, new boat, expensive vacation. I’m not torn up about these folks.
  2. Home buyers that were took on a loan by a predator. Sure – they should have read the fine print and all -but – the mortgage business is exceptionally complicated. These folks were doing their level best – and they got screwed by those seeking only to bump their bonus package for the quarter.
  3. The predators themselves – and I think the blame ought to go pretty high up. Locally, WaMu might sell to another bank. And the CEO and the other high level staff – they stand to make a ton of money – and the worker bees are already being fired. I hate thinking that my tax dollars are headed out the door to help those who had little or no say in this – and the executives are going to line their pockets. This reminds me of the Savings and Loan scandal in the
  4. Home buyers that took a risky loan and then had a minor or major catastrophe – lost job, no health insurance, medical problem – and consequently lost their house, too. Ouch.

And at the end of the day – here’s the other piece that sticks in my craw. I mean – it’s bad enough that the perpetrators aren’t likely to be held accountable but – here in my corner:

  • I didn’t take a risky loan
  • I don’t over spend
  • I balance my home budget
  • I do my level best to treat people fairly, follow the rules, contribute to my community.

And my reward for all of that? Oh – there’s lots, to be sure. I like my work, I vacation like a rock star, I have a cozy condo and a terrific girl to go home to every day. And a waggle-y tailed dog, too.

And while I don’t expect to be rewarded for playing fair – it feels a little like I’m being punished – my taxes are likely going to fund a bail out, rather then bolstering education, a safety net, and so on.

I’m obviously a little frustrated. We’ll see what comes next.

January 27, 2008

Skiing In Utah

Puja and I were lucky enough to head to Utah (Eden, to be exact) to do some skiing. It was pretty great – – there were 8 of us, and we shared the flight, the rental car, the condo, the grocery bill – which made for a very affordable and very fun trip.

At our first stop for groceries, I noticed a book section – and I couldn’t help but notice a series of books right next to each other:

Moroni    Book funny 2

And the money shot, if you ask me (hard to see – cell phone picture):

Book funny 1  That’s right – a book about Cake, about Moroni, and about Scripture at the dinner table – all on the book aisle at the Ogden Grocery!

We skied at both Snow Basin and Powder Mountain – great snow, but very different. Powder Mountain (my favorite) is much less developed – small lodge, only one high speed lift and so on – but HUGE – 5,000 acres. It snowed on Sunday night – so when we hit the slopes on Monday we had 10 inches of powder just about everywhere, all day long!

Peekay   Laura  Karen

January 8, 2008

Secondary Trauma

Wow – something funky going on here in my world in the middle of a lot of goodness. Between the tail end of November and now – I’ve had no less than 7 friends/acquaintances let me know of a death in their circle. And yet in the midst of all of that – I’m healthy, I really like my job, I like where I live (and those with whom I live!), I have family in town, I vacation like a rock star . . .

And yet . . . Ouch. This hurts more than I expected. Maybe it’s because ever since my dad passed away, I mourn each death a little more particularly than I may have in the past. When dad went – it pretty radically changed my understanding of what it might feel like for someone else. Up until then, I’d had to guess a bit at what it was like. And while I’d like to think that I was sensitive and compassionate – well – I don’t know.

And it’s a tad more complicated because I’m mostly estranged from any formal religious or spiritual practice, too – and my (up until recently) connection with some local Catholic communities WERE comforting. They probably still are – but I’m at a cross roads there, too: I’m reluctant to engage on a local level when on a wider scale – that community isn’t doing the right thing for women, for social justice, for divorced people, for anyone in the GLBT community. The LOCAL community might be doing a great job – but – when I try to consider the "join locally / ignore globally" – I just don’t feel right about that either. I know it sounds like the baby and the bath water. And the irony is that much of my rectitude about compromising comes from a pretty stellar faith upbringing, which had the best of the Catholic community, served up mostly at the hands of the Jesuits at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose and at Seattle University.

In any case – no great answers. My heart aches for those 7 friends and their friends and family. And I’m a little more glum than normal, and haven’t found the right combination of exercise, quiet time, ritual and so on to make a next step. Odd to have that feeling of abundance in most areas and a well of sadness for these 7 all at the same time.

January 6, 2008

This Little Piggy Went To The Market

We’ve been shopping at Pike Place Market – and so far – we’ve discovered that we can get almost ALL of our groceries at the Market – it’s nice – local vendors, lots of local food – and – best of all – terrific interaction with the vendors.

Pork  Over at Ferro’s (Don and Joe’s was closed) they shaped their breakfast sausage into shape!

 

 

 

 

 

 

TDelight 1 And we spotted this sign which reminded us of our trip to Turkey, and our good friends Gary and Iffet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

And it seems like we come home with a smaller price tag than when we hit one of the big box stores – so – all is good. I’ll be doing some math to see how our grocery bill measures up – but I think we’re getting better stuff at the same price or better!

Tip: Arrive EARLY! As Mark at Sosio’s Produce says, "It’s our market before 10:00 and the tourist market after that!"

January 5, 2008

A Cold 2008

Yep – I didn’t escape 2007 without catching a cold. I keep telling myself that even though it materialized in 2008 – it’s really just the remnants of 2007. That means I can approach the rest of 2008 feeling like I’ve got a clean slate!

It is off to a good start – had some decent running already, have been to the snow for a bit of boarding (Yes, I wore the azz-padz, but I think I’m good enough that I no longer need them!) and my and my girl have a trip to Utah and to Hawaii planned. No complaints here!

January 1, 2008

A Year of Running

2007 was a pretty good year for running and other exercise – not as speedy as some of the years that have already passed – but pretty good. Some fun numbers:

I ran 568.75 miles, swam 83.681 yards (that seems high – better check the auto calc on that one!), rode 412 miles, and was in the gym for just about a day – 26 hours.

I ran 152 times, which is pretty good. Most of those were in the 3-4 mile range, save for a few that happened as I was getting ready for longer events – and I had some fun events in 2007!

  • Beat The Bridge (my annual race!) marked the first time in years that my brother and I were able to revisit this race after a 10 year hiatus. We finished in a very respectable time – top .06% overall, and .11% in our age group.
  • We also ran the Mountains to Sound relay race again – a 13.1 mile race for me. We lived up to our name and were faster than last year, each of us – but so was the rest of the field! Nevertheless – I finished at a 7.09 pace.
  • And I ran my first tri, along with my girl and some friends. I was faster in the swim than I expected, and slower everywhere else! That’s okay – it was my first one – and I’ll be back next year!
  • And Frank and I ran the Seattle Half as a training run – very cold that day – but we still finished in the top .21% overall – and that was just a training run.
  • I rounded out the year with a pair of holiday runs – the Jingle Bells Dash – where I finished in the top .03% overall (and .03% in my division – geez – I have a tough division!) and the 12K’s of Christmas – also a training run for me and Frank – and we finished that in the top .09% overall.

Pretty good. We’re gearing up for a marathon in 2008 – so we’ll see what the new year will bring!