Monday, December 31, 2007
So instead of a best of me, I'd like to tell you why I read some of the blogs that I read in 2007. There are too many to mention, and many with absolutely engaging writing. There are a few that touch me in one way or another:
I read Otis because his writing has this intense impact on my intellect, my empathy, and my emotions. I re-read some of his "best of" posts. He has a way with images on paper - its almost sensual. I now have this fantasy that he takes me to a hotel room, blindfolds me, and reads his RapidEyeReality posts to me out loud. Gives me shivers. (Did I just say that out loud?)
I read Bam Bam because this man has the biggest heart in North America. He has reached out to me and the Dr. through all of this and I got the greatest pleasure meeting him and his lovely Pebbles in Vegas. You write from the heart and touch all those who know you.
I read Instant Tragedy because he alternately makes me laugh, makes me sad, and makes me want to hug him. He's the guy you want to know when you have a true tragedy; he will put his own tragedy aside to share a hug with you.
I read Drizz, just to see if he can find a new way to slip in a snide Green Bay or Wisconsin comment, with all of his Viking/Purple Jesus/Purple Love shtick. The Wisconsin Survivor thing did make me chuckle.
I read CC to ground myself in reality - he is honest, thoughtful, and has a heart of gold. He's kind of like our own personal spiritual guide in the blogosphere. And he's just a darn, nice guy. Look at that smile - how can you not love him?
I read Waffles just because I laugh every time I try to reconcile the pleasant, affable man I met in Vegas with this raving, cursing lunatic who fantasizes about random, hot women performing oral sex for him on his commute. Makes me wonder what he was really thinking . . .
I read Betty Underground more and more . . . as an old married woman, I'm long past the angst of relationships . . . but somehow, her voice sounds vaguely reminiscent of the 20-something year old inside of me, so many years ago . . . And she has a sex blog that is EXACTLY how I would write about sex. If I wrote about sex. Publicly. If it wouldn't give my husband a heart attack. Which it would.
I read Mrs. Otis. . . . and not just because I feel obligated to because I have random, intellectual fantasies about her husband. She just captures life, and mom-ness, and wife-ness in a very practical manner. And she's cute as a button.
And I read DrChako. Not just because I am married to him. Because he posts about things like he talks about them. And if he were here with me, these would be stories we share over dinner, before they become blog posts. So in this way, its kind of like he's here.
I read more . . . and one of my new year's resolution is to add to my blog roll for those of you I enjoy coming back to.
May tomorrow be the start of a great new year for you all.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
- Son#1: "Mom, if you had to be locked in a cage with someone, who would it be?"
- Wife: (Thinking this might be a trick question and keeping the "Hugh Jackman" answer to myself . . . ) "Uh . . . your Dad?" (Good answer, Wife) "Who would you be locked in a cage with, son?"
- Son #1: (Smirking) "Uh, she's a little older than me." (More smirking)
- Wife: "Would she, by chance, be dating Tito Ortiz?"
- Son #1: (Big smirk) "Uh, technically, they are engaged."
- Wife: (High fives son and laughs, but secretly thinks "Great. 10 year old son wants to date the "Queen of Porn")
- Son #1: "Mom, you ever notice how all our teams start with "S"? You know, Sonics, Seahawks . . ."
- Wife: "Well, the Mariners start with "M", son."
- Son #1: "Well, I meant football and basketball."
- Wife: "You weren't specific."
- Son #1: "You're right. I just don't like to be wrong. No one likes to be wrong."
Smart. Beautiful. Michelle.
Or this one.
You Like Michelle. Michelle Likes You.
Or these days, maybe this is more the truth.
Because Michelle is Complicated Enough.
Hope the rest of you have a good Christmas eve!
Sunday, December 23, 2007
I just got back from a short business trip. From start to finish, things could not have gone much better than if I'd planned it down to the minute, myself. Two flights took off on time and got in early. Weather cooperated - cold, but the sun shone each day. No stress. Got time to see some of the sights. Hotel was great. Had great meals. The company I kept was exactly the kind of company I like to keep. Kids were cheerful when I talked to them on the phone. "You're the best mom in the world." Even talked to the husband.
The sun set. And my plane landed. Seattle was cold, rainy, and dark. I arrived home to an empty house. The dogs seemed excited to see me, but really just needed a quick run out back. Then they proceeded to track wet, muddy pawprints all over my recently cleaned house.
The kids arrived home - I got one hug, then the fighting began. "He hit me." "He kicked me in the privates." "I don't want to eat there." "How come he always gets to pick."
The au pair arrived home. Son #1 had been beastly over the weekend, countering her "No, you can't stay at your friend's house" with "I hate you. You're the worst nanny in the world." Plus a bunch of screaming, door slamming, and other unpopular behavior. I understand where he gets his emotions and passions; I don't think I raised him to take it out on others. So now she's had it up to here with my family.
The holiday is not a saving grace either. We are only casual observers for this one, with Hanukkah having finished over a week ago. Normally, we are an introspective but happy little family unit, operating with little to no stress in our non-observant household, keeping each other company and enjoying the sheer lack of any responsibilities. But that is when the good Dr. is physically present. And I don't have a 5-year-old asking me why we don't have a Christmas tree every two days.
I even thought a bath would be a good mood enhancer. Except I didn't fill the tub high enough, so that after I turned on the jets, and was into my relaxation phase, the water level dipped below the front jet, creating this weird water turbulence, which caused the jets to spray me directly in the face. Relaxation is no longer possible at this point.
So what is a girl, in this state of mind, supposed to do? You turn to someone you love, and share with them, and they make it all better. Except someone I love is not here with me. Circumstance keeps me from that someone, and that someone from me. Tonight, after so many nights of being just fine, I am lonely.
I don't want my self-pity to overshadow people with real issues. After all, my husband sleeps alone in a trailer in the desert and goes to breakfast armed. Our good friend's baby just spent his first week of life in the NICU. Other people I love are struggling with big life choices that are of far more consequence that my dirty pets or irritating children. And I know I'm not the only person in the world who is lonely, or without the person they love.
I just wish bad nights came with a survival kit.
Come See the Softer Side of The Wife.
Stop! This The Wife is not Ready Yet!
Pure The Wife.
Just for the Taste of The Wife.
The Wife - It Looks Good on You.
Cuts The Wife Time in Half.
I Liked The The Wife So Much, I Bought The Company!
Have fun playing with it - I did
Thursday, December 20, 2007
So, how many could you take? Don't give me the "its a kid, for god's sake" nonsense. I am a mom. I have a 5 year old. Sometimes I want to beat him up. I don't. But sometimes I want to.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I did kickboxing class for an hour. I use the term "did" loosely - I was participating in some general movement that may or may not have resembled kickboxing. I have a friend that I've worked with who was an actual boxing champion in his country as a young man. I am sure he would agree that what I was doing probably didn't resemble any kind of "boxing" at all.
Then she made me do some strength training on the machines. I am certain I will be sore tomorrow. If not today. If not by the time I get out of the shower.
It would be easier, I think, if I was still 23. But I'm 39. What was I thinking?
PS - as if it wasn't enough to get my ass kicked in the gym today, I busted out of a MTT last night with pocket kings . . . I raised, got re-raised, got a caller behind the re-raiser . . . I went all in, and got called by both. The two monkeys had me outchipped and continued to bet into the pot - turns out the caller behind the re-raiser had 10-8 offsuit . . . and had paired his tens - but took the pot when the river brought another 10. WTF? Raise and re-raise, and your 10-8 OS is a keeper? Whatever. Guess that is no sillier than a 39 year old woman attending kickboxing class with her 23 year old au pair who is a personal trainer in her home country.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
But I digress. I remember a few hands . . . like telling our dealer I was going to regret folding my KJ to the Q-10-X on the flop. It was the right move – I had no pairs, only a couple over cards, a nine had been exposed, leaving me only 7 cards to make my straight, and Astin had put in a big bet, and got an all-in behind him before I had a chance to act. Astin took the pot with his Q-10, but the nine that fell on the river had me shaking my head. I remember thinking that DrChako would have been proud of me a few times for my appropriate aggression (used selectively, of course) – my big re-raise with only bottom pair, ace kicker, when I figured the original bet was only a continuation bet (Bayne laid down), or my big bet with only pocket fives into an ugly flop, which took it down. Or my AJ racing against Blinders KQ, and seeing him hit. I remember a few hands.
So if I don’t remember all the hands, what do I remember? The people. I remember meeting people I’d met before, people I’d chatted with over e-mail, online, on the phone. I remember meeting people I’ve never met. I remember meeting people my husband has met and told stories about. I remember meeting people who remembered him and just wanted to say “Hi” and let me know they were thinking of him. I remember the buzz in the air of shared stories of tournaments past, recent on-line tournaments, and the debauchery that has become legend. I remember putting faces and real names to these blog identities and finding out whether they looked like I imagined them to look. I remember being greeted like I was part of this big, slightly dysfunctional but happy family, just by association. I remember being greeted warmly by my newest friends, and already looking forward to our next meeting. I remember being touched by the thoughtfulness of people who took time to let me know they want my husband to return safely.
I didn’t get to meet everyone, or take pictures with everyone, but here is a pictorial of some of the people I remember (if you’re not in here, I either didn’t get time for a picture with you, or I have determined I was not so photogenic in the picture and refuse to have it published. Which could be all of them, technically . . . oh well. Next time, I owe you a hug. If you want one. I live with a Brazilian now – my capacity for hugging has increased exponentially, and it was already pretty high.).
So now, in no particular order . . . (and while the pictures are all mine, I would like to thank the camera man behind more than half of them . . . you know who you are and how you can always find my good side) . . .
Me, Al and Pauly (eat your heart out love - its me and the legends)
Me, and another legend (could he be any more adorable?)
Two of the sweetest people in Bedrock
And how could I not love a Packer fan from Bedrock
Bam Bam and Otis
A guitar in the making with Poker Peaker
The sweetheart behind the guitar (not me, sillies . . . Tragedy!)
Who knew you could find this kind, gentle soul at a poker table?
Getting a hug from the Rooster - who knew?
Voted most likely to have best hair (and I didn't think the scarf looked gay, but that's just me.)
Legendary Amy C
The man behind the kilt
Waffles (smiling, and not looking at my samba panties) - say no more
Friday, December 14, 2007
Fortunately, as men grow up, some of them actually come to realize they like boobs and brains. Or boobs and confidence. Or boobs and a good sense of humor. So when I finally got boobs, all of the other qualities were pretty well-developed and I had no problem getting dates with funny, smart, attractive men. But I still always struggled with the self-image.
Now I’m 39. The good Dr. and I have been married long enough that we’ve become accustomed to each other, so the 10 pounds I’d acquired after almost 13 years of marriage and 2 kids never seemed to bother him. Especially since we married for all the other right reasons. And I’m 5’8” – you can spread 10 pounds like peanut butter on a 5’8” frame without a hugely noticeable difference, particularly when fully dressed. But it bothered me. It wasn’t until I had those pounds that I realized how much I didn’t appreciate my body in college. I was in the best shape of my life, with not an ounce of unnecessary fat, a flat belly, and boobs that defied gravity.
Right before I came to Vegas, I had lost some weight. Partly from stress, partly from being sick, and partly from paying a little more attention to what I was eating. Certainly not exercise – I always have the best intentions, but haven’t done a darn thing in months. Well, years actually. Many years. Stepping on the scale before I went told me I was only 2 pounds away from my wedding weight. When I was very thin. And I could notice. I had hipbones again. I can feel a rib here and there. I have shoulder blades and collarbones. My clothes fit better. Looser. More comfortably. I felt like they looked better. And I found myself walking around with a different attitude. A little more confidence. I put on my jeans the day of the tournament, and I didn’t have to suck in my stomach. Yesterday, I wore a pencil thin black skirt suit and the waistband didn't cut into me at the end of the day. Today, my jeans are loose, and my stomach flat. And even dragging two kids in tow through the airport this morning, I’ve gotten a look or two.
It’s amazing how fragile a self-image can be. Or how little it takes to restore it.
It’s about time – DrChako’s been working out for over 3 months now and just sent me his most recent “after” picture. He’s looking pretty buff – he needs a hot wife to come home to.
Maybe tonight I’ll do a few extra sit ups.
I might be totally insane.
If I don't get a chance to post for a few days, bear with me. The family burden looms large. If I don't post by mid-next week, you'll know I'm in the asylum.
Pictures still to come from Vegas . . .
Have I told you all how much fun I had? And how I didn't feel insane last week?
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
First, another shout out to Drizz. Irish Jim was kind enough to let me know that Drizz was an even better sport that I thought - he wore the Packer shirt well into Sunday night. I'm not sure what his BAC was at that point (he's apparently still got bees buzzing in his head), but I appreciate that this true-blue Vikings fan can accept his lost bet with grace, humor, and style. What a honey. Although, come to think of it, he did get a free shirt.
Second, I just wanted to post the first picture of the event, which really isn't of the event at all. It's a representation of why this community of poker bloggers and their friends, raggedy as we all are from our multiple corners of the continent (or beyond) is really great. Whether you support the war or not, you read my husband's blog, support the fact that he's over there doing the job he was asked to do, whether that would be his preference or not, and welcomed me into your little fold like an old friend. I don't think I'll ever let DrChako come alone again!
So to Tragedy, for buying it and organizing it and getting it to Vegas, and to everyone else who put pen to this baby, I want to say . . .
Thanks. He and I will treasure this personal gift for a long time to come. You're a great group of people and maybe next time, we'll get him to play and sing a little something. Until then, I'll keep it safe for his return.
Monday, December 10, 2007
So other observations I had about the trip:
- Bam Bam and Pebbles are the sweetest folks on earth. 'Cept when Pebbles is leading the betting and someone raises her and makes her fold. I didn't see the cards, my gut told me she made the right decision by laying down (who knows). But it didn't stop the F-bomb from coming out of her mouth. They went through hell (and Cleveland) to get here, but it was great to meet you both. You are both are dolls in my book, and no one looks hotter than Bam Bam in a vintage Packer jersey! Ok, the fact that the first words out of his mouth when he saw me was "You're beautiful" didn't hurt the relationship either.
- Waffles was the big surprise. He didn't request a view of the samba panties (DrChako's first fear), I got multiple hugs, and I even got him to smile for a picture. And he said I was hot. (Ok, you notice a theme going here. I'm a 39-year old mother of two. Time is not on my side. Who doesn't like to hear that stuff? And who cares if he pretty much says that about every woman he's met?). And although I didn't get to play at his table any of the tournament, I never once heard him utter those horrible (but funny) phrases IT had on the Waffles commemorative coaster set. I personally think his bloggerly F-bombs are just to cover up the teddy bear inside. But don't tell him I said so.
- Can I re-emphasize how adorable Otis is? He won my heart when he sent my hubby that guitar. He had great recommendations coming from the rest of the crew. I love his writing style - its manly, and pokerly, yet thoughtful and insightful and personal. His hugs are warm and genuine. And I got a few. And pictures too. And I didn't see him fall down once. Once the table was down to 10, I had predicted the Rooster would win. He had been playing his A-game at my table, and still seemed to have it going on. When it got down to the final two, and they were pretty evenly matched, I have to be honest and say I wish Otis had won the race. If I decide to have a crush on anyone, he's a contender.
- CC is a great guy - he made a point to come find me, has checked my blog and the DrChako's since he left for Iraq, and made it a point to come say "hi" and give me a hug, numerous times. And I think he's got a couple old posts that explore the psychological side of poker and relationships and stuff that are pretty insightful. Good, genuine soul - pleased to meet you, friend.
- Falstaff needs to be given a medal for his patience in coordinating this stuff. Talk about trying to herd cats. More like herding dyslexic, autistic cats with multiple-personality disorders and drinking problems. Hats off to you, and you are more the man for proudly wearing a skirt. Gives great hugs, too - nice to know you.
- And to the best sport in the whole world - Drizz. You know, I was biased against you because your choice in football teams leaves something to be desired. Maybe Minnesota does that to you. But he is a genuinely nice guy, and wore the Packers t-shirt I got him not only for a picture (to be posted later), but also wore it in the IP sports book (at least as long as I was there). Glad to see you made the final table. Don't tell me if you burned the t-shirt later - Packer memorabilia is sacred in Wisconsin and can only be destroyed, like an American flag, with proper ceremony.
I'm sure I'll think of other things later, and pictures will come - but wanted to post some more thoughts on those I met.
PS: For the samba panties, I went with pink. The black ones and the red ones were cute, but they have all this lacy stuff all over them that would have probably irritated me for the 4 hours I played. I was thinking long-term and had to go with the comfort fabric. Like in poker, sometimes you bluff, and lie about your cards. But I appreciated Waffles and Buddy's guess at the "double zero".
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Tomorrow it's suits, and accounting, and homework, and family weddings . . .
Pauly did the first post, but for being the first gathering that I was a part of (and not just the accompaniment to the husband), I have to share my few highlights:
- Meeting invisible friends face to face and hugging them all.
- Seeing how a massive collective of loosely related people can all come together into something so organized that lasts SOOOOO long.
- Lasting 4 hours in this crazy thing when I don't play nearly as much poker as the rest of you. When it got time to do some pushing, Rooster took about half of my chip stack when he called my 5x raise (ok, I admit, it was a blind steal with a little suited paint), and then the flop gave him the nut straight. He was nice enough to show me. He checked it, but so did I, so the next bet had me mucking and the dealer sliding him my chips. At least he put the chips to good use. Congratulations are in order, dear. Oh, yeah, he kissed me too.
- Blinders took the last of my chips from me in a race - he'd built a nice stack and decided to push me with his KQ offsuit. I had AJ offsuit. King hit him, and I waved goodbye. But can't complain. At least he moneyed. If you have to lose, it somehow feels better to lose to someone who can make it to the money, than to just any random donkey.
- Tragedy made an excellent chaperone. Next time, hon, just remember if I have a chance to sleep late, I will ALWAYS take it. So if I'm not answering the phone, chances are I have a date with my pillow.
- I got to hug Otis. Who took second to the Rooster. Its funny to read Rooster's blog from a few days ago or so - its makes it sound like they'd be at the final table together. But best part was hugging this sweet soul who was so thoughtful to my hubby. Bless you, sweet man. And you're WAY cuter than your blog picture.
- Thanks to all for DrChako's guitar - he will love all my pictures, love all the stories, read your blogs voraciously, and wish he could have been there a hundred times, but he'll always have this guitar to commemorate.
Will post pictures another day.
To those still out there, enjoy. To the rest of you arriving back in reality, it was good to be part of it all.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
So far, I haven't done much besides:
- Think (note, think, not schedule) about what spa treatments I deserve
- Think (note, think, because I don't have time to do much play) about the tournament
- Start packing (so far, one pair of heels, a chemise ('cause I have to look cute sleeping by myself in that king size bed), and a pair of sunglasses. I think I probably need more clothes. But then, DrChako tried to go to Vegas with no pants before, so I'm sure I could manage.
- Launder all samba panties
- Finish wrapping Hanukkah presents
- Think about paying the bills
- Be a mom
I SOOOOOOO need this break. I apologize in advance if I seem like a woman who has not been out of the house in a long time. Feel like I'm in a perpetual insane asylum these days.
Watch out, crazy Wife, coming through!
See you in a few.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Is your money on black or red?
I'll spin the samba panty roulette wheel the day of the tournament . . . place your bets now.
Completely disrespectfully submitted,
PS: I realize my husband and father in law are reading this, I'm just doing it to get a psychological edge, guys . . . cool your jets.
As I drove to work, the Disneyland version of excitement turned into something a little more profound.
Stories of mudslides, and flooding, and road closures and hurricane force winds in Washington filled the news; at home, our bubble of life is a little damp, with some standing water in the yard, but the kids, the au pair and the dogs are all safe and protected. I am reminded that someone, somewhere is protecting the Chako family - natural disasters occur around us, but only seem to peripherally affect us. I'd love to keep it that way. For this, I am fortunate.
I spoke with my husband's grieving family. They are tired; they are sad. But they were all together, save for DrChako. And Uncle D is no longer in pain. For this, we are fortunate.
This morning, I had an e-mail from my good Dr., so while I am currently without spouse, today is another day where this is, thankfully, only a temporary situation. For this, I am fortunate.
As I drove closer to downtown Seattle, to prepare to start another day in corporate America, a giant rainbow spread over the city, with the sun shining behind me. A rainbow so big that rather than a traditional arc, the ends of the rainbow actually started to curve back under as is touched down in Elliot Bay. Now I may not be the most religious of people, but I am well-versed in the story of Noah in Genesis. The rainbow was God's covenant to never flood the earth again, as the story goes.
Maybe this was my little reminder that I'm pretty lucky, that someone or something is working overtime to take care of what matters to me, no matter how far across the globe they are spread, and that the only Tragedy in my life is one of my IIF's that I intend to make just a friend in a few days.
And if that wasn't enough, in my play money 3 table sit and go, I got pocket aces, got three people all in with me with pocket kings, pocket 3s, and some other random crap - and I won the hand with quads. Went on to win the tourney. I have some skills; may that luck follow me to Sin City.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Each of you have been so thoughtful of my husband in these past few months; think of him today, as he grieves, an ocean and more away, unable to be with family at this time through anything other than a sporadic call or e-mail.
I'm an accountant. Never claimed to be a writer. But I composed a poem for the family, a bit tongue in cheek ('cause that's how Uncle D would have liked it), but maybe a message we can all share. So for that old stockbroker we all knew and loved, or for those of you who need reminding about how precious life and love are, an excerpt from "Life's an Investment" . . .
Life’s an investment, its dividends, love;
Its total returns infinite, like the stars above.
But its trend line is crooked, it rises and it falls,
Unpredictable at best, the volatility appalls.
Sometimes the dip seems impossibly low,
And even the uptick can be impossibly slow.
But investing is long term, its goal far away;
You maximize your return, the longer you stay.
You rebalance your portfolio of loving and care,
You tend to your loved ones, through the bull and the bear.
But even a good investor has an exit strategy;
But unlike the stock market, life’s better you see -
For when it’s time for the investment to end,
It continues to pay dividends, in the memory of
Don't forget to tell someone you love them today.
Respectfully, and sadly, submitted,