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Holiday Letter 2009

Yes… it’s a Christmas letter. Why not?

2009 was a banner year for me. I started the year off by being treated to a trip to Tokyo with my wonderful boyfriend Matthew where we got to eat delicious food, see fantastic art, and navigate (and eventually sort of comprehend) the Tokyo subway system.



This year I also moved from my “home town” of San Jose to the quirky and always entertaining Santa Cruz. This town is such an interesting mix of college kids, burnt out hippies, zealots in every shape and size, and, of course, the tourists. Throw in the amazing new gamer/skeptic/geek friends I have made here and is it any wonder that I fit right in? Honestly, living a 20 minute walk from the beach is hard to beat.



I eventually got a job in the Santa Cruz area and was able to stop doing the 2 hour 20 minute commute (each way) over the hill every day. Not only does this mean more quality time with wonderful boyfriend Matthew, but I now proudly work for Big Bothers Big Sisters where I get to help make a positive difference in the lives of at risk and underprivileged kids. I couldn’t be happier with this employment transition!

And lastly, but seriously big, my short story collection Links was published this fall. (Available at www.amazon.com) This is my first book… but definitely not my last. I am already busy doing the research for my next project while still trying to maintain a social life, a gaming life, and my two blogs.




In other words… even though there were a few hiccups along the way, this year has been outstanding! I hope this letter finds you also enjoying the end of 2009 and I hope you are as optimistic and excited as I am to see what 2010 brings us! (In the works for me: Sharing an apartment with the wonderful boyfriend Matthew, A trip to London in the spring, and Helping a few dear friends get married!)

Remember, whatever you celebrate this time of year… do it with gumption and flair!

As always, warm thoughts and wishes for peace,


Palin is Nutty and Spock is a Mack Daddy.

Hello readers. I am alive, doing well, and just a bit busy with all that life currently has to offer. Things like a job that is both stimulating and at time overwhelming, fun new hobbies (folk dancing and knitting/crochet), the return to the gym, keeping up with my book club reading, trying to bargain my laptop out of imploding, and oh yes, spending quality time with The Maifan-San.

I have a whole long list of blog entries in the half written stage that will hopefully make their way to your computer screens in the not too distant future.

In the meantime, let us enjoy a bit of fun with the always-good-for-an-uncomfortable-laugh, Sarah Palin.

First, as I’m sure you know her book came out last month. No I haven’t read it. No, I am not planning on reviewing it unless I can get a free copy… I don’t really want to give tht woman any of my money. What I did find interesting was this display in one of our local book shops on the day that it came out.



If you can’t read it, they were giving away a small bag of nuts “Sarah Palin Just Plain Nuts” with each copy of the book.. Or if your stomach wouldn’t be able to handle the book, you could buy the nuts by themselves.

Brilliant marketing… and quite possibly the funniest thing I have seen at a bookshop in a while.

(The funniest thing I have seen at a grocery store would have to be this….



… I snapped that photo on November 3rd. Apparently some people –cakes?- were dismayed to learn that Halloween had already come and gone.)

Ahem, speaking of funny…

I have recently been watching the original Star Trek episodes online via CBS. They have them all posted, in order… which is really cool! My internet connection is not so cool so the process has been going slowly.

A few notes: to all of you who said that the whole Spock / Uhura romance in the most recent Star Trek movie was out of left field and didn’t make any sense… I invite you to go back and watch the first three episodes of ST-TOS. There was definitely something going on between the two of them.



“Tell me Mr. Spock,” she coos laying her head on her arms and gazing up at him, “Tell me about the moon on Vulcan.”

And… in a later scene he [plays some sort of stringed instrument an she dances around singing along….The shared moments of these two might not have led to something… but there are indeed overtones. So there.




And speaking of Star trek… William Shatner continues to be one of those people who never really ever go away. From Star Trek to Priceline to Boston Legal to mocking Sarah Palin… the guy is keeping himself in my personal list of “People you Simply Have to Watch”

Case in point:




Aye Sarah, stick to comedy… a lot of us already think you are pretty funny already.

(Is it just me or don’t you get the vibe tht she is going to be on some cable news –coughFOXcough channel in another 6 months with her own show…. A feat of fine that is fit to follow Glen Beck…..


Ok, all, that’s it for no. I’m off to do one of the 28 things on my To Do List…..

GoodBye via GoodWill

I took my wedding dress to GoodWill today.
In a trash bag
In the rain.

But I refuse to look at the situation through specs of symbolism. This, after all, is my real life and not the life of a character in one of my stories.

At least not yet.

I have been divorced for years now. I have moved four times since leaving my husband, (and yes I suppose that fact should be noted somewhere in black and white: I left him) and the dress in its hermetically sealed expensive white box has moved with me.

I kept meaning to get rid of it. But there were hesitations. At first I didn’t want the reminder of what I had been, what I had lost, what I was most afraid of. Later, I wasn’t sure what the protocol was… how long does one wait before disposing of something that had at one point, such sentimental value? Eventually, the box was in a closet (a series of closets to be more precise) and I just didn’t think of it.

It became like the bridesmaid dress I wore to my cousin’s wedding, the prom dress I wore in high school,… symbols of the past sure, but more accurately simply just dresses that I had worn, would never wear again, and couldn’t really pass on to any friends or family members.

In fact I would go months without remembering the dress’s existence and then while looking for a lost scarf, a forgotten pair of shoes, or during the preparations to move yet again I would find the box and vow to actually do something with it once and for all.

That usually ended up with me talking about doing something and then forgetting about it again… and in this way the dress and its gigantic box moved with me to an apartment in San Jose, a studio in downtown, a townhouse in Milpitas, and then finally to my quaint little nest here in Santa Cruz.

Until today. Today I pulled the step stool over and pulled the box down. I planned to grab my purse, hoist the thing on my shoulders and off we would go….

…. And then I found the mold.

The side of the box that had been against the wall was covered and the wall in the closet as well. This meant a few things. 1. I am going to have to call my complex and deal with the mess while also finding a place for my secret cat to live while all that happens and 2 I was going to have to open the box and make sure I wasn’t donating a ruined dress.

I hadn’t planned on opening the box. To be honest, I was a bit nervous. Was I going to suddenly turn into a puddle of misgivings? Was I going to be haunted by the yards of white satin? Was I going to randomly feel the urge to put it back on?

Thankfully no. The dress was fine, the box was ruined. The box therefore was taken to the dumpster and the dress was gently folded into a black trash bag (used solely for its size and not any deeper meaning) and then carried the five blocks to GoodWill slung over my back like a Santa bag.

Two more notes:

Making room in the closet is in part because The Maifan-San will be moving in with me in less than a month.

While I was walking to the GoodWill it started to rain, hard.

Again, I refuse to find symbolic meaning in any of this (mold included).

Really.

Really.

On a totally unrelated note, I have the overwhelming urge to cut and dye my hair.

Doing Good in the Name of Doing Good

It is December… official month of holiday fun.

I love this month… I love that my birthday is this month, I love that I get to see my family, I love that it is cold and dark but that the turning point of the season happens, I love that there are pretty twinkling lights and excuses to go shopping, I love that baking seems par for the course on December weekends, I love the music….

And I can get all that stuff without needing to really get into the religious aspects of the holiday.

The best part about this season for believers and non believers alike is the importance on family… and the importance of “good.”

Good: good wishes, good tidings, good deeds, good gifts….

Which brings me to my point. A lot of churches and other religious organizations use the holidays as a catalyst for giving, for community support, for charity. That’s fine… it makes perfect sense and I don’t begrudge them this at all.

I just wish that more of us in the secular community could separate the “holy” out of the holiday and do likewise. Without any prompting, I can list dozens of religious organizations that are helping the poor, the hungry, the children, the veterans,… If pressed for their secular equivalents, I can list.. well… fewer.

My point is that we have a great opportunity to help our community in this season. Whether we are religious and help in the name of our deity and our faith or if we are non religious and we extend help in the name of common decency and for the betterment of our world, we all have a chance to do good this winter season.

So, I encourage you, my readers of every faith and non faith alike to find a way to reach out to your community, to help, to encourage, to do some good.

An organization that is near and dear to my heart this season is Big Brothers Big Sisters. This organization helps low income children in many ways… the one-on-one mentoring that I am sure most of you know about, as well as facilitating after school programs in low income and high risk areas. These programs help kids have a safe place to study and socialize. By providing positive role models and giving encouragement to these kids and teens BBBS is making a positive difference in the future of its communities.

I have personally seen the amazing results that occur when a child is treated well, given opportunities, and helped along by a caring adult. A lot of charities this season will ask you help solve some big problems in our society… by helping BBBS you help our society avoid these future problems. Kids in the BBBS program are more likely to stay in school and avoid drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy, and gang activities.

In other words, BBBS is part of the solution and I for one am glad to donate to them this holiday season.



Won’t you join me?




If you want more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters, check out their site or ask me!

Evil of Carrots

Eating healthy is a good thing.

Bringing your own healthy foods, like a bag of carrots, to work is also a good thing.

Forgetting a bag of carrots in your desk drawer for a long weekend…. Not such a good thing.

In fact it was a dripping gooey rotten messy vomit smelling sort of thing when I pulled it out of the bottom drawer of my desk. It managed to spread its dripping gooey rotten vomit smelling chunky mess all over my legs, into my shoes, onto the carpet….

Not good at all.

I managed to not throw up and heaved the entire mess into the trash can. Then I set about madly wiping off everything in site and wishing desperately for the floor to open up and swallow me.

I had to go home and change. I had to go across the street and but Lysol and 409. I had to bring in scented candles.

And the smell persists.

The odor is subtle… but when the odor in question is eu de rotten vomit, subtle is still distracting and gross. We might have to get the carpet shampooed… which means besides making this one of the most embarrassing things to happen tome at work, also one of the more expensive. And it is a cost my little non profit organization probably can’t really afford.

Also… I think my shoes might be ruined beyond fixing… a wash and a night spent outside airing out and they still smell something rather horrible.

The lesson in all this should be “go out to lunch!” or “carrots are evil!” but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is “don’t leave things in your desk.”

Hmmm. Nope, I’m going to go with “carrots are evil” and on that note….




Happy December!