Pursuing Excellence

excellentAs a government employee, succession planning is a common theme at my office; civil service is out of fashion, and we are what in HR circles is termed an “aging workforce.” What this means to me as the staff writer is that I spend a disconcerting amount of time writing death notices for our internal communications. I hate to say it, but we have boilerplate for this sort of thing. Continue reading


Book Report: Heliopolis

HeliopoliscoverIn preparation for Iceland Writers Retreat, I am reading at least one book by each of the featured authors before I go. Although it’s a bit weird to review a book by someone who is about to become your teacher, I read best when I know I have to report on it later, so here we are. While I was reading Iain Reid’s The Truth About Luck, I took the girls to the Central Library for a children’s film festival. Afterwards, I browsed fiction, keeping an eye on my oldest daughter as she moved among the homeless in the manga section nearby. I found Heliopolis by James Scudamore first. Continue reading

Book Report: The Truth About Luck

TruthAboutLuckCoverAfter I signed up for Iceland Writers Retreat, it occurred to me that I should probably be familiar with the writing of the featured authors who will be leading the workshops. That probably should have occurred to me before I committed, but if stories needn’t be linear, why should life be? At first I wasn’t going to blog about them, because if it’s awkward critiquing your friend’s book on the internet, how much worse would it be to criticize a future teacher? But I can’t read critically unless I know I’m going to have to type those thoughts later, so here goes. Continue reading

We Are All One – Family Dinner

Found here. Don't know who did this but it's awesome.

Don’t know who did this but it’s awesome.
Found here: http://www.jungleredwriters.com/2011/11/it-aint-norman-rockwell.html

A few years ago, I read a couple of books about the importance of family dinner. This is a tad ironic, because I can barely scramble eggs, which is one of many facts that handicapped me as a stay-at-home mom. Nevertheless, I read The Cleaner Plate Club and The Family Dinner and dutifully took notes. The Cleaner Plate Club was a down-to-earth read that recognized parents’ limitations while pointing out statistical correlations between children’s health, academic success, and family meal times. The Family Dinner, with its poetry samples and conversations starters, was more high concept (Laurie David doesn’t cook her own meals either). It emphasized the importance of breaking  bread together in building cohesion as a family unit. I lapped it up.

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Rigoletto at Seattle Opera

RigolettoCoverLa Bohéme has a special place in my heart, but Rigoletto is a better opera. Which explains why, at the end of the holidays when all I wanted was a regularly scheduled week, 2014 started out so packed with culture and art that one might call it glamorous. The week started with high concept cocktails and a loft show and culminated in opening night of Seattle Opera’s Rigoletto. Continue reading

You Me & Apollo Play in a Living Room

youmetooIt takes a lot to drag me out on a Tuesday night. But You Me & Apollo was up from Fort Collins for a Seattle Living Room Show. Plus, I’d already paid for the tickets.

Reluctantly, we left the girls with the babysitter and headed to Capitol Hill, where we happened upon Canon, which provided a much needed attitude adjustment. Continue reading

Canon Fodder


I won’t pretend I’ve never poured Southern Comfort into a McDonald’s milkshake. But Jameson and Glenlivet feature more prominently in my stories of college-era drinking than sickening concoctions. In those days, we would buy a bottle of the best whisky we could afford, and more bottles of something cheaper that we referred to as “cannon fodder” and saved for drinking after a strong buzz had dulled our palates.

Over time, we came to understand that there was a canon of cocktails, with nuanced variations and underground classics that paralleled the music world. Cannon fodder was replaced by classic cocktails and proper barware. Continue reading