Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving ponderings

Turkey in the oven,
Healthy family,
A lot of food in my house,
Nice home, filled with warmth and sufficient comforts,
Kindred spirits in my many friends,
Safety and security,
Good jobs, in a troubling economy,
Vitality and youth, in my body and spirit,
Inspiration, in the experiences I've had,
No financial burdens we can't handle,
Good fortune and good luck.

What are you thankful for?

On a holiday based around the simple theme of being grateful, I wish my husband, my children, my family, my dear friends, and all of my fellow creatures on this speck in the universe the blessings and good fortune you have earned.

All my love,

The Wife

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I have it.

Today, I was home for lunch, and we were all sitting around the table. I was opening mail and I opened a report from Son #1's school.

It was the results of some standardized writing assessment they had done, prior to the start of the school year. Weird kind of test that I've never seen before, completely subjective. Not the #2 pencil fill in the bubble kind you and I used to take when we were kids.

There is something a little wrong when you don't understand the scoring, to begin with. I have two degrees, one of them a Master's. When I finally figured it out, it wasn't good. In fact, he'd scored incredibly low, relative to his peers. In percentiles and normal distributions, we're talking "short-bus" range.

Now this is a kid who is articulate and verbal and witty and smart. His grades aren't what mine were at his age, but a solid range of As, Bs and Cs, nothing lower. Sure, he's got the attention span of a fruit fly with ADD sometimes, and he's frequently reprimanded in school for talking too much (wonder where that comes from . . . ), but never anything of this proportion.

Without hesitation, or pause, I went off. Chastised him at the table. Told him this wasn't what I expected. Started railing on how this wasn't acceptable.

I saw his shoulders drop a little, but he kept eating. The curtain of hair flopped further over his eyes, and he said nothing. Then I saw a tear trickle down one cheek.

I felt awful, and went over and apologized. Gave him a hug. Told him I only wanted the best for him, and that meant doing well in school. He nodded, swallowing hard on the bite of sandwich he had, and didn't speak. Finished his sandwich and went upstairs. I talked to him later in his room, too, and he let out his frustration a little more, but still, not much.

And then I got the guilt, again, as I drove home from grocery shopping. Do we expect to much of our kids? Do we put too much weight in standardized tests and grades? But if I don't do it, who will? How do I teach him that this is his introduction to life, where the tests aren't even standardized, and pass or fail means you have a job or you don't?

I'd love him to excel academically, like I did, but does he have to? Should I hold him to that standard, or something else? Is that standard still relevant anymore?

No one told me there'd be guilt.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Just rewards

At work, and in life, I'm the girl who puts her head down and gets it done, trusting that eventually the right people will notice. Do your best job, whatever you do, and good things will follow. Oh, I know, sometimes on this blog, I blabber on about the general hawesomeness of being the VP, etc. But its really to keep my hubby's ego in check. I practice a good deal of humility day-to-day. Really. (Well, not about my shoes . . . but everyone has to have a flaw, right?)

When I found out I was being laid off, earlier this year, I faltered, for a moment. But then I took the same approach I did in any job. Turned "job-searching" into my focus, and tried to do the best I could do. And think I did a pretty good job, if I do say so myself. I put the downside behind me, and tried to go about the process with grace and style. It did not go unnoticed.

So now, six months into the job, I'm trying to do my best, and its starting to get some notice. Today, one of the external audit partners (from my previous firm) was talking to me. She said "You're doing a really nice job so far . . . the coordinating partner and I were just talking about it the other day . . . and this is going to sound weird . . . but after we got done saying what a nice job you're doing . . . . we said "We (the previous firm) made a mistake" . . . "

I laughed. I'm glad someone finally noticed.

But its neither here nor there, at this point. In fact, as I sit working through my bonus allocations for my team, trying to make sure the money is distributed fairly, I realize I'm authorizing some bonuses that are bigger than some people make as a salary all year. And I am enjoying my job. And enjoying my new team. And I don't even know if I'll get a bonus this year, but it doesn't matter, because I'm working for a place where we're paying bonuses in one of the worst economies in forever. Imagine what happens when the economy is actually good?

Maybe I didn't position myself correctly in my previous firm. Or maybe, given the way its all working out, I did.

Just rewards. For mine, I am grateful.

Although, for a small second, when she said "We made a mistake", the bad girl wanted to say "Yeah you did - in your face!" But then I promised to take the bad girl shoe-shopping if she just kept her mouth shut, and we were good.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Monday, November 23, 2009

Purple Humiliation, In Style

I believe I started the challenge, back several years ago when I was certain the Packers could kick Viking ass naked on the frozen tundra, one hand tied behind their back, and after 40 days without beer and brats. So its only fair, after a few years of Drizz having to wear the green and gold, that I have to bear my own purple humiliation. The fact that it comes at the hands of the traitor who shall not be named right now (but who will likely be inducted into the Hall of Fame someday) is a little brutal. But I'm a woman of my word.
And I've decided to grin and bear it in as much style as I can muster.
  • Purple (suppress gag reflex) Favre jersey . . . Drizz assures me its on its way.
  • Purple earrings - check.
  • Purple lace trimmed tank - check.
  • Purple . . . uh . . . "unmentionables" (that I just mentioned, so maybe it's a misnomer) . . . check.
  • And for the final item ass-kicking purple accessory, courtesy of Ken P's $9.95 (plus and extra $.54 of my own money, after scrounging all of the clearance sales I could) . . . My feet will also be adorned in the excessively purple wonderfulness of "Simply Vera" by Vera Wang.

Viking drag queens everywhere - ENVY ME!!!!
Hope you all have your cameras ready . . . 17 more days!
Respectfully, and violetly (not violently) submitted,
The Wife

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Letter to a Friend

Dear Bella,

Hey, I know its been a while, and you've been all busy with that movie and your guys and all. I finally gave in and went to see it - even though all my friends said it was lame. But you're my friend. And besides, now that you're all famous, we don't get to talk so much, so I figured I'd see it and catch up with your life.

Girl, as your friend, I'm gonna be honest. You're a little messed up.

First of all, Edward is starting to confuse me. I've never seen a man so brooding, who never says anything. The way he left you? Girl, you should have totally dumped him and said "good riddance". Not sat around in your room sulking for months. I mean, seriously, he couldn't even come up with something lame like "its not you, its me" - he just took off. This is not good.

I know you have a thing for bad guys. Maybe since you're not having sex with the guy, it gets you all hot that simply going to his house is totally dangerous and stuff. I get the whole bad guy (well, bad family) thing. And I get that he's hot in kind of a mysterious creepy way that makes it seem like he's going to eat you every time he kisses you. I know, I know, I told you last time how hot that was . . . but now its just getting to be kind of weird.

I know he's all sparkly, but seriously, Bel . . . he could use a tan. And he really doesn't talk alot - how can you really know a guy who doesn't talk alot? So its not the sex, and its not the conversation - you can't get hung up on that whole immortality bit, can you?

The thing that really made me think you're losing it, though, girlfriend, is the whole Jacob thing. I mean, he's been hanging around you like a little puppy for years. And you don't pay him any attention until Edward leaves, and now suddenly its "Jacob, fix my bike" "Jacob, go to the movies with me" "Jacob, hang out with me" . . . you're giving him mixed signals and its just mean. Like why do you stand in his space like that, knowing you won't kiss him or anything? That's just cruel. He's sixteen. You know he's getting a little woody every time you just glance at him - standing in the zone is just being torturous. You know I wouldn't pooh-pooh a little flirtation now and then, but sheesh, Bella - you're just toying with him.

And really, that whole "I love you - but if you make me choose, its him" thing was just wrong. I know YOU know you love him in that "friend" way, but I've been around the block enough to know that guys can't love you in that "friend" way - so when he hears "love" he's hearing the "love-love" kind. So that was just like a big kick in the balls, right in front of Edward and everything. Kind of playing dirty Bella. Just sayin'.

Not that I'm saying you should go for Jacob. I mean, he's lookin' pretty buff these days - did you see his abs? I mean REALLY see them? Yeah, I know I sound like a cougar, but seriously. He's not the same little kid he was last time I saw him. But seriously Bel - he's A WEREWOLF!!! He could rip you apart!

I mean, why can't you just like the football captain, or the moody guitarist in your calculus class? Or Mike. Go for Mike. I know he's simple - but he's a nice kid. Why do you have to go for the guys who are secretly monsters? Not in the figurative sense - literally, these guys are monsters. They make horror movies about them. HELLO!!!!!

I'm telling you, guys who make you run off to Rome to find them, put you in danger with some ancient group of vampires, and who's family wants to eat you every time you get a paper cut are probably not a good long-term thing. I know he asked you to marry him, and maybe that seemed all romantic and stuff, but Bel - you're 18. You have a whole life ahead of you. He's 108 or something. I mean, I know he looks good for 108 and everything, but you come from different generations. Think about that. My mom and dad are only 14 years apart and even they have their differences.

You're a big girl. I can't force you to do anything. But as your friend, I'm just saying, you gotta stop jerking around poor Jacob. And the whole moody thing (you, and Edward) is starting to wear on people . . . I just don't want you to lose friends.

I still love you Bel . . . but I don't know if I can keep watching you do this to yourself.

Especially at $10.00 per show (popcorn excluded).

Love, your pal,

Mrs. Chako

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Accidental Companion

I'd intended to write this earlier, but time slips away. Then F-Train posted his airplane talker story, inspired from CK's tweet about airplane talkers, and I thought I'd totally get off my butt and steal the theme.

I'm used to airplane talkers. My mother is an airplane talker. I lived with my mother for over 18 years. I can live through nearly anything. Same way I deal with my kids droning on and on. Smile, nod your head, don't make direct eye contact.

This time, I inadvertently broke the third rule before I even got on the plane. He happened to be ahead of me in the security line - a head taller than the people around him, he caught my eye when the line snaked around the corner. He's one of those guys that looks directly at you, unashamed, with no concern for how you'll perceive him. In other circumstances, I would probably have thought he was attractive. But I was in my own head, and I looked away. Not in the mood to engage; saving my energy for my extended family.

I got on the plane, only to find a woman in my seat. It was one of the jets with the 2-3-2 configuration, and I had a window seat. She was in my seat - asked if I minded sitting in her seat - the aisle ahead. I didn't care. Seating really wasn't a high priority. I had other priorities. Like getting my one small carryon stowed.

The overheads were all different - and people had thrown things in willy-nilly. So I stood there, trying to rearrange everything like a big puzzle. That's when I found him behind me. Waiting. For the seat right next to me.

He was a big man. 6'4, probably 200 pounds. Lean though, dressed casually. He spoke when he sat down, a slight accent. Which explained why he seemed pained at my attempts to fit my luggage. I could hear him thinking "stupid American."

I sat down, pulling out my Blackberry. Sent a message to the nanny and kids. Message to the husband. A message to relatives. Confirming flight details. It was going to be a tight timetable and hard to coordinate around the wake.

The pilot came on . . . mechanical problem . . . indeterminate delay. I pulled out the phone, sending information off to relatives, trying to reconfigure the pick up and drop off plans. He was watching me the whole time. An odd look on his face which didn't make him look more attractive.

He commented about Americans' addiction to electronics - our cell phones, computer, etc. - that we couldn't wait to pull them out as soon as the pilot announced the delay. I thought about just ignoring him, but I started to lose it. Tried explaining that while he could interpret things however he wanted, it happened to be the only link I had at the moment as I was trying to help my family coordinate relatives from all over the country flying into Chicago for a funeral, while leaving my kids in the Bay Area with my nanny, getting ready for the new nanny coming in 3 days, and a husband still in Seattle. I started to get teary. And that must have softened his Euro disdain.

He started to talk, and I tried to calm down and recompose myself. He talked of life and death and philosophies. Got me talking about family. Talked about values and ethics and what we learn from others and teach to our own.

He was a Spaniard; independently wealthy through the accident of birth. His compensation for being orphaned at 5 was a legacy of property around Europe, which provided him enough income to travel, study, see the world, all with only few stops here and there to tend to his holdings. He held two degrees, spoke 5 languages fluently, lived in Cataluna near the French border, lisped his "s" sounds so that it sounded like he said "Franthistco". Spoke of his parents growing up under Franco, of European politics and policies that were only vague memories of some long-forgotten World Civ class in college.

Each conversation led from one philosophical journey to the next, at dizzying speed. I'm a smart girl, but my brain started to hurt. Religion, philosophers, philosophies, authors, musicians, dictators, governments, political parties . . . you name it, he covered it. Had me writing in a notebook at each suggestion, until I was exhausted.

At one point, as I rolled my shoulders, trying to shrug off an impending migraine caused by stress and grief, he mentioned he did yoga, and how much it helped his back pain. He reached up to touch my neck and back, pinpointing sore muscles and explaining how the yoga moves would relax and stretch the muscles, tracing the lines to demonstrate the movements. After 4 hours of talking, it didn't seem strange at all that this stranger was demonstrating yoga movements in the close confines of a plane, seated beside me practicing breathing exercises with me, touching my neck or my spine to demonstrate the perfect alignment.

I never got the impression he was hitting on me, though at one point he mentioned a past girlfriend . . . and her husband. Don't know if that was for my benefit or not, given our previous discussions about my children, husband and marital bliss. As if to say "well, if you are interested in extramarital affairs, I have had experience". But I didn't pick up that thread of conversation, and he was content to jump back into philosophy and death and materialism and socialism and a variety of other isms.

Six hours. 4 1/2 hours of flight, combined with more than an hour on the ground. 30 hours of liberal arts classes crammed into one eclectic conversation; the overriding Eurocentric arrogance and body odor excused only by the inadvertent relaxation benefits of the stretching, breathing, and accidental massage.

Grief and sorrow and death in the background for a short part of the day; and a strange tale to tell, as well.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Woe Is Me . . .

I just spent the first 30 minutes of my birthday trying to make sure the tax department wasn't going to lead us off a cliff in tomorrow's meeting . . . and chastising the treasury department for not letting me know that small changes % wise still equal big numbers when we are talking about invested assets . . .

Tell me its going to get better than this . . .

Respectfully submitted,

The (older and wiser) Wife

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Think They Write This Stuff Just For Me . . .

I'm either emotionally perfect, or emotionally easy. Not sure which. But I'll be the first to admit - I am a SUCKER for the romantic.

Always have been. Probably came from years of watching Disney princess movies and Days of Our Lives with Grandpa. Waiting on the farm for some prince to ride in on his white horse and sweep me off my feet. Took me quite a while to realize that in my small town, best I could expect was some guy LISTENING to Prince to ride in on his white USED MUSTANG (if he didn't need my Dad to pull him out of the ditch, first) and sweep the floor with his knuckles. If I wanted romance, I needed to get out of town and go make some myself.

Which is why I love a good romantic movie. Its a perfect escape. When I'm down here by myself, and the kids go to bed, I torture myself with romantic movies. Even when I know the setup, I still wait for it, watching the tension build, waiting for those little missed signals and crossed wires to finally all come together in that epic kiss.

Last night it was a rerun of Pretty Woman. You know, she doesn't kiss on the mouth, but then gives it up for Richard Gere. Yeah, I got sucked into the faux intimacy. AGAIN. Tonight, it was Made of Honor. The scene in the bar during her "bachelorette" party where she's selling kisses to the locals for money. (It's apparently a tradition - wish I'd known that - I could have PAID for my wedding) Patrick Dempsey (*sigh*), her best friend, is one of the last ones, and he says "this is all I have" and drops a few coins in her pot, and then gives her the kiss of a lifetime. And you can watch her face battling her instinct and her social expectations, but she gives in anyway, losing herself in the kiss. I was breathless, and I was just sitting here on the couch!

Give me a movie who can do that first kiss scene right - the ones that make you hold your breath, counting the seconds until their lips meet, feeling the air being pushed out of the space between them, wishing you could be there at the exact moment when your heart stops racing and pauses indefinitely and the bottom drops out of your stomach and . . .

. . . and then you realize its just a movie, and its you and a box of kleenexes and the couch pillow you've twisted up and have started biting and when its over you're going to be sleeping in the bed by yourself with the pillows around you and you're going to work in the morning where you likely won't kiss anyone at all . . . and certainly not Patrick Dempsey. *sigh*

When the movie finished, they advertised the upcoming John Cusack marathon in two weeks . . . when Dr Chako is in Chicago for a conference and I'm home alone again, watching romantic movies. I'm toast.

Dreaming of first kisses . . .

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Sunday, November 15, 2009

24 Days . . .

Somedays it seems like too long. Somedays, I realize how fast it will be here. And how glad I am that its on its way.

Four days of silliness, complete with hordes of people that 5 years ago I wouldn't have even guessed that I'd know, much less make the second weekend of December sacred. Especially given that it always falls in rodeo week in Las Vegas.

But as much as I love my new job, its time for a small break. And while we're making the best of this weird living apart situation, its not so much fun, and it will be nice to be together with friends. And life, in general has its structure - it will be good to have a long weekend that is specifically structured to be . . . well, as unstructured, or structured, as you wish it to be.

It's not the poker. It will be fun, and (excepting the tourney) I usually make money while I'm down there, but we've got a casino here, games with friends, and Bayne's got me hooked up with a local tourney.

It's not the food. I live in the Bay Area, with as much food variety and great restaurants as you can imagine, if your wallet can take it.

It's not the spas or the hotels . . . California is full of great spas and getaways.

It's the motley crew of people I can't wait to see. I think we're bringing most of our California crew down, including April and Bayne and Betty, if we talk nice to her. But even though I can see these guys whenever I want, its still fun to hang with them in Vegas.

The Canadians are coming. Bunches of them. But high on my list of priority hugs include Kat (hugs and smooches . . . no pictures allowed) and Bam Bam and Pebs. In fact, I need Bam Bam so bad the other day I emailed him, and we traded a few emails . . . but its a poor substitute for a real, honest to goodness, gut wrenching hug. I'm thinking arms and legs wrapped around this guy, if he can bear my weight. Kisses too. Only if Pebs approves, of course. Although it's Vegas - try and stop me, girlfriend.

I'm hoping to trade hugs (massages, hair drapes, etc.) with CK, lay some hand on Bad Blood's guns, give Otis three hugs - one for his recent loss, one for his gain (Dos) and one just because he's my original blogger crush. Maybe an extra, just to mark him for the other girls who try to move in on my hug action.

I need a big bear hug from Falstaff, and maybe a kiss or two (Suzy, too, if she's around). But I know if I kiss Falstaff, then Dr. Chako will be all jealous - and have to kiss Falstaff too. Can't wait to see the reigning Queen, the Princess herself, and Gracie and Pablo and Stb and F-Train. Waffles. Oh Captain, even without his better half. And what's Vegas without Al? Or Texas April, who's being a dear and organizing this mess.

Don't worry boys, I'm getting to you. Yeah, you know who you are.

Poker Peaker. It's like that scene in the Lion King where the one hyena says "Mufasa!" and the other one shivers and says breathlessly "Say it again . . . " and the first one says "Mufasa!" sending the other one into fits of shivers. Yeah, pretty much like that. Besides, I lost my Steel Panther virginity with him . . . (ok, maybe there were other people there too). Vegas isn't Vegas now without him. I'm telling you Otis, he's totally gaining ground.

And Drizz. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Well, not for the purple humiliation you'll make me live through, but after a few years, I guess fair is fair. I want you to know I'm going all the way for this. Really. If I'm going to do purple, I'm going to do it right. But I expect you to make it worth my while. I think a sufficient number of hugs and other affections will prime me appropriately for our little Sunday rendezvous.

I know this is only a smattering of people I will see and love while I'm there.

So Bellagio, here I come. Geisha bar, see you Thursday night. Friday night, I expect some mixed games, and then me and my best hair-metal band loving friends are going to pounce on the Steel Panther show in all of its Spandex glory. Saturday, I'll drag my butt out of bed and work hard to try to take a place at the final table, and whether I win or lose, I'll spend Saturday evening in silliness with whichever of you have the stamina to hang with me. I can't promise how early I can drag my tush out of bed on Sunday, but I'll be in the sports bar to pay up. My husband might be off riding bikes with Kat, but I'm sure one or more of you will entertain me.

24 days, my friends . . . 24 days.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friends Know When . . .

To reach out. Surprisingly so.

Sometimes all at the same time.

Last night, I was exhausted . . . its been a long two weeks at work, having to be mentally engaged nearly 24 hours a day. In addition to our normal year end close procedures, we just signed a $2.7 billion dollar acquisition deal (yeah, that's with a "b"). So you can imagine the craziness.

But then your friends come through. One with silly video forwards. One who loves to engage you in long-standing traditions of trading wit and wisdom. One who gives you all kinds of interesting questions to ponder. And my old stand-by Michael. Who always seems to know, after more than 10 years of friendship, that sometimes, I just need my own personal cheerleader on a night by myself to remind me that everything will work out in life just the way I need it to, the way it always has.

Topped off my by hubby sending me a story so ridiculous, I was still laughing when I went to bed.

Friends know when you need them.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Opposites are Hard

I was half listening. I was trying to finish a memo, respond to some last minute e-mails, and waiting for a call or text from the man, who's living the life of bachelorhood in Seattle this weekend. My 7 year old sprawled on the couch next to me as I typed.

"Opposites are hard," he proclaimed.

"Mmm-hmmm," I responded, typing.

"Yeah, like 'leaf'. 'Leaf' doesn't have an opposite." He rested his chin in his hand, pondering.

I looked up. "You're right, buddy. Like 'black and white' are easy opposites."

"Yeah!" he exclaimed. "Like night and day."

"Good example," I commented.

"Oh, and . . ." He paused, thinking hard. "You're hot then you're cold, you're yes then you're no, you're in then you're out, you're up then you're down, you're left than you're right [sic] it's black and it's white . . . "

I stopped and looked up. His face was very serious, waiting for my approval at his obvious score.

Should I tell him that Katy Perry called and wants her lyrics back?

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Friday, November 13, 2009

What If

I'd seen his work. Enjoyed it. Shared the same appreciation for performance art and the unique draw of watching people bring someone else's ideas to life before your eyes, in real time. Live. No editing. Limited special effects. Close enough to touch.

It was a warm fall day when I tried out for Ed's graduate directors project. Got the part. Spent every weekday evening with him for the next few weeks, as he coached me and the leading man. Stepping in to take over when Patrick wasn't quite getting it, trying to demonstrate his expectations . I loved those moments. He would get in my face for the scene with the near-kiss, and be totally in the moment, he lean body tense with the energy of a coiled spring. Only to snap out a second later, still holding onto my arm, to explain to Patrick what he needed to convey with his words, his eyes, his proximity. When he was passionate about his subject, he was articulate and poetic and inspiring and captivating. Patrick would listen to his words. I would watch Ed's mouth moving, wondering what it would be like to kiss him, catching whiffs of his cologne when he gestured.

Before I had a chance to find out, I got distracted by another member of the theater crowd, and started dating him. Only to find out later that his interest in me was piqued when Ed mentioned this new young business major who was really smart, had an interest in theater, and wore miniskirts even into October. Now the theater crowd, was a close crowd, and I saw them all at every function, including Ed. He'd come over with a smile, and a hug, and comment on how sad it was that I was taken. And I, in my naive loyalty, never thought to entertain any other notions. The flirtation continued like a pantomime of the real play in the shadows of the spotlight, and I still found myself watching his mouth and wondering, but never acting.

Months later, roles were reversed, and I was single and he was dating Carrie. She was blonde; prettier than me, bustier than me, and a liberal arts major. But every now and then, I'd catch him looking over. He'd wink, or glance at my legs and shake his head, smiling. Or when the talk turned to something outside of Carrie's intellectual preferences, he'd pull me back into the talk, knowing I could fill that space the way he needed. I was good and respected their relationship, though I wasn't sad when it was over. Except for the fact that by that time, I was back in another one myself, and anything we might have had became unspoken thoughts, just like before.

It may be a 20+-year old memory, twisted into more than it could ever have been because it never had a chance to have anything tarnish the expectation. But now and then, on nights like tonight, I am reminded of that strange pull, that human electro-magnetism that draws you to another person without regard to accepted social constructs or circumstances. Moth to flame. Trying to get as close to the beauty of the light and heat as you can without getting burned.

Maybe on odd nights, he's thinking the same. Maybe he's pining away. Then again, maybe he's got a pretty cool, tolerant spouse and two beautiful boys in a real life that's just to busy to give it anything more than a brief "what if . . . "

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I Like Winning

I booked one. 10th place at the final table in a tourney of 60 last night. Lots of hard core regulars in a monthly area game. Some pretty serious people. The kind who think about reading your eyes and posturing and stuff. A few of the guys who still come adorned in dark hoodies and hats and glasses and go in the tank for what seems like hours, thinking out loud like "I'm sure I've got you, but on the off chance that you draw to your overcards . . . . (heavy sigh) . . . I'm gonna give this one away and hope you didn't just waste a big bet there . . . " Meanwhile, you're actually hoping he calls your top pair with the backdoor straight draw, 'cause you know he's got doo-doo.

The Dr. got Ron (see previous tourney post) at his table. I didn't say anything, and when he busted out, I had him re-read my post. He was laughing at the consistency of Ron's pissy-ness from game to game. I'm just going to call him Ron Raincloud. I didn't keep up on DrChako, but after a few rebuys, he was out sometime in the second half.

I'm proud to say I didn't do anything except the standard double add on up front (the initial buy and the add on get you an extra 20% in chips if you do it before play starts), and the add on after the dinner break (which gets you double your original buy in for the same price - good value). Its a $50 buy in - $50 add on - $50 second add on, with unlimited rebuys before the dinner break. Easy for some to bust out and reach in their pocket - not this girl.

No surprise, I played conservatively. First hand, I had pocket Qs in the big blind and called a raise. Ace hit the board and his Ace-rag held up, though he checked the river, in respect of my play, thinking I had a bigger Ace kicker. So I started the tourney down, but chipped back up to a fair amount. One steal on my A-10 - I had top pair, and she was raising, but I got her to fold down with a check raise and an aggressive bet on the next hand. I was solid enough in my play that I even got one guy so confused, he only called my bet on the river, even though he'd made nut flush. I didn't see the flush come (it went runner-runner diamonds, and I hadn't put him on suited cards) and rightly figured that he had a low pair that wouldn't hold up to my pocket 7s. I was right, and when I bet the river, it confused him so much, I think he forgot he had the nut flush. The river did pair the board, but when someone pointed that out, he didn't even realize it had happened like that. Shame on us both for not paying attention, but if he hadn't been so shocked by my betting, I think he could have extracted more from me, because I correctly read his previous play and hadn't given any credit to a back door flush.

I won a couple more big hands, but spent a lot of time folding. But folding saved me and got me to the final table, especially when the blinds got big. And although they usually only pay 9 spots, they agreed to shave top prizes and pay 10th, so at that point, it was all upside and waiting my turn.

I chose to play when the other short stack was in the big blind, and I went all in (not quite 4x the blind). Giant chip stack to my left goes all in over top, and the other short stack is cringing. He's chewing his lip, and rolling his eyes . . . and finally lays down. Up until this point, I hadn't seen anything higher than 10-x in a number of hands, so I was feeling like I had to play the A-7 I had. Big stack flips over AK, and his K kicker holds for the A-high hand.

It was the right move, and I'm proud of my patience and careful play. Complete payback of my original buy-ins and add-ons, a full dinner and unlimited refreshments, and the wisdom you gain from playing more. Win-win-win.

Ready for Vegas!

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Time Passages

Really, it hasn't felt like "home" for some time now - I quickly acclimated to my new location, and with my stuff moved into the rental house and my kids and my dog around me on a regular basis, it feels like home.

So I haven't thought much about the house in Seattle for sometime now. Its a shell where my husband camps in between trips to see us. An insurance liability. An asset, and an obligation.

We signed the buyout agreement with my company this past week, and even then, I didn't get nostalgic. It was a business transaction which would free up what little equity we still have in this down market. One less thing to worry about. And the hubby's new pad is actually closer to the hospital, so easier in this transition. After tonight, he'd have everything moved into the new apartment and out of the house before he came down.

Then he sent me the picture, and I cried.

A door frame, scarred with two sets of multiple hash marks at varying intervals, a gap between them that was clearly closing.

Five years of time marked off. Five years of potty training, lost teeth, first girlfriends, first days of school, birthdays, holidays. Five years of critical measurements, like the day #2 became tall enough for the next series of rides at Disneyland, or the day #1 became taller than his aunt. Watching the top line of the bottom set racing to catch the bottom line of the top set, closing the gap between the boys, as the top line crept closer and closer to my own mark.

I cried.

We'll mark time other places, in other ways. Soon enough, I won't measure them at all. We'll mark time by driver's licenses, and graduations, and diplomas, and jobs, and weddings, and babies.

But tonight we left behind one consistent marker of the last five years of watching my babies make their journey into men.

I cried. But then, I'm a mother. I'm allowed.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Just a Word or Two


Conversations here and there in the past week have been making me ponder the power of words. They are amazing things. I can bury myself in a good book, even after I've read it twice before, when the words are right and each time it feels new. The right words in the right movie rip my heart out and leave me sobbing in the theater. The right words make me laugh until my stomach hurts and I'm crying from the effort of trying to catch my breath. The right words leave me analyzing for days, wondering if I missed a nuance.

But then, I'm a verbal person. I only need a few words to create images in my head. Feel things in my core. Kind of like scent to a dog - makes them giddy, makes them crazy, makes them relaxed - but any response is good, because it makes them feel alive.

Your words do that.

Your words make me laugh, to the point of being unable to explain why you're funny anymore. But it's ok - you're my private comedian.

Your words fooled me once, but you weren't smart enough to sound convincing a second time

Your words make me feel your people and your stories like they are my own.

Your words can make me feel like the most special girl in the world, like when you call me Princess.

Your words can sting, but only because they matter more than most. But it helps make me be what I am today.

Your words make me want to see through your eyes, live through your heart, and be your friend. Even go to Montana with you.

Your words can deceive me, like when you said you loved me because I was different than the other girls. Then dumped me for the other girl.

Your words make me want to hug you, even when your misplaced team affiliations threaten my affection for you weekly, each fall.

Your words chip away at a carefully constructed shell, leaving me vulnerable and exposed, even though I know you'll take the words away again, not realizing how empty it makes me feel.

Your words make me feel like I've made a difference to you, even when know one else knows why.

Your words leave me breathless and wanting more, even if its only more words.

You didn't need many words at all. Just "Beautiful" and "I love you M", and I had to love you back.

Your words make me curious, make me want to step a little closer to the edge. Just tell me you'll pull me back if I'm in danger.

Your words make me stop and think, because they come from the purest of human hearts.

Your words, with both of their meanings, makes me laugh, while my heart races, never sure of which reaction you're expecting, but hoping its both.

Your words leave me eternally in love, especially when you follow the "I love you" with "Mommy".

Your words set to music made me melt, a little. And eventually say "I do."

If you ever ask me "can I have a word with you?" . . . be sure the answer is likely "yes".

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife