Photo 365 – Day 120 – Surrounded By Angels

Grampa passed away today, but I know he’s in heaven surrounded by angels, that he’s finally free of the pain that plagued him on earth, and that he and Grama are together and he’ll never be lonely again. This photo is from Thanksgiving 2006, while Danielle and I were helping them decorate their Christmas tree.

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A little less snowflake, a little more sunshine.

Its another beautiful winter day in Seattle, of the sunny sparkly variety, as opposed to yesterday’s giant white flakes. The apocalyptic forecast from the drama-hungry tv news completely overvalued the little burp of winter that actually arrived, but the ensuing orange-alert freakout that swept Puget Sound kept nearly everyone home today. Most of the management at my office wimped out and cancelled any awesome holiday festivities that were planned for yesterday and today, postponing them halfway into January-slash-won’t-ever-happen, but I came to work today anyway on the off-chance a cool impromptu celebration happens with my fellow members of the skeleton crew. It’s also my last workday before I’m on vacation for 2 weeks so i wanted to make the most of any face-time I could get with people before I go off the grid. January will be really busy with career-related activity and I won’t have the luxury like I did today to wander through the halls sipping my coffee and extending Christmas wishes to my beloved comrades.

I hope any of you that venture outside of your homes today stay safe on the road, and I’d encourage the brave and well-equipped to do so and enjoy the spectacle of winter. The power and beauty of nature are truly breathtaking.

fire hydrant seattle pioneer square snow

23 more bankruptcy days until Christmas!

I know it’s hardly the year to be asking anyone for presents. I’m certainly not buying anything significant, and I don’t expect many of you are, either. But remember when you graduated from high school, and you sent graduation announcements to all your friends and family? And you set aside a couple and sent them to “dream guests” – the governor, the president, an NBA star, the father of the hottest girl in town (see, I’m amounting to something after all!) – knowing full well they’d never show up, but hoping they might send you a killer congratulatory gift? Well, that’s what I’m doing here – throwing my Christmas wishlist to the digital winds, hoping it lands at the feet of a kind benefactor whose ship has not been overturned by the rises and swells of recent economic seas.

With that, I present Brian’s Christmas Wishlist 2008. Yes, there are a few things still on there from last year, but if you people would just buy them for me then I’d be able to take them off, now wouldn’t I? Now, don’t go broke falling all over yourselves trying to please me… Christmas 2009 will be here sooner than you think. 🙂

Post-Christmas shopping time is here

Getting an email this morning from every company that’s every tried to sell me anything advertising their day-after-Christmas and last-few-days-of-the-year sales was a pretty good indicator that retailers are trying to push a few more dollars through the register in 2007. It must be working, too, because all-time-high online shopping volumes are apparently crippling even the stoutest of virtual brick houses:


I’ve been waiting for almost 30 minutes to get into virtual Macys and in internet time, that’s an eternity. Year-end sale or not, that’s poor technology management and a good way to lose customers to Nordstrom (whose site seems to be working fine).

This is how my week is going.

I’m not sure if the universe operates on some sort of yin/yang, good-luck/bad-luck cycle, or if I’m just only happy when it rains, but it seems like when I’m stretched to the limit that’s exactly when every little thing starts to go wrong and every molehill becomes a mountain. These are the kinds of things I’ve been dealing with this week, in the midst of trying to pack, buying a condo, getting ready to move, etc. I apologize for the lazy bullet-point format but that’s what my life has been reduced to in December – a series of lists. It’s really all I’m capable of at this point.

  • I can barely walk, apparently. I’ve been bumping things on other things, tripping over nothing, and otherwise banging myself up just trying to handle seemingly-harmless tasks. I hardly ever injure myself, but in the last two weeks I’ve hit my head on the closet door, closed my hand in a drawer, gouged my back on a shelf, knocked my forehead on the roof of my truck… I’ve become the world’s biggest klutz.
  • I lost my truck/house keys Monday morning. Or very nearly lost them. Last time I’d had them was Sunday afternoon, and Monday morning when it was time to leave for work, they were nowhere. I only have one key to the truck, so unless I found them it would become a giant steel paperweight. Picture my apartment, stacked chest-high with boxes, packing material strewn across the floor, wall-to-wall chaos with nothing in its usual place – this is the environment where I had presumably set my keys down. I tore through the place, opening sealed boxes, unpacking luggage… and nothing. Finally I retraced my last known steps with the keys – to the mailbox and back. I found them lying in my neighbor’s driveway, mere inches away from the gutter where the torrents of Seattle’s rainiest day in the past 50 years threatened them with a watery demise. My neighbor must have run over them as the keys are chewed up, but at least I found them. I was 98% percent to nervous breakdown.
  • I can’t seem to be on time for anything. I went to a meeting an hour early today. In my head, I was sure it was at 8am, and I half-jogged the 5 blocks to the other office building where it was held only to find I was alone in the conference room. Check my phone again: meeting is at 9. This meeting is at 9 every Wednesday and has been since April, but I was sure it was at eight. I was an hour early to my condo closing paperwork appointment yesterday because I seem to have lost all ability to estimate travel time; I spent the extra hour sitting across the street at Starbucks breathing into a paper bag.
  • As it turns out, my truck keys aren’t just chewed up a little. The keyfob is apparently slightly broken. I figured this out Tuesday afternoon when I walked the 5 blocks in the pouring rain to my parking lot and discovered I couldn’t unlock the doors. Some shouting and physical abuse temporarily revived it, but I’ve since been operating in constant fear that each press of a lock or unlock button may be the last one, leaving the truck permanently either dangerously unlocked or locked and immobilized. It’s something I would toss and turn about on a regular night, but this week it’s chewing me up. I really need my truck for the next couple weeks.
  • People keep wanting and/or needing things from me and I keep having to tell them no. It’s not like me to ever decline an invitation or defer to help someone out, and it makes me feel like a selfish, antisocial misanthrope. As I told Hannah yesterday during my massage, I’ve got a list (several lists, really) of things that have to be done this week, this weekend, next week, next weekend, before the 15th, before I leave town for Christmas… and if it’s not on my list, I can’t think about it. Moreover, if it doesn’t urgently need to be done before the 15th, it’s not making the list. The list is already so frighteningly long, complex and full of interdependencies that I can’t conceive it will ever be completed, so I’m having trouble looking beyond the 15th, either. Basically, I’m absorbed with this project. My apologies to anyone that’s trying to get or give anything else from or to me.
  • The weather. Maybe you’ve seen the underwater freeways and manholes-turned-fountains on the news. While I’ve so far escaped any massive flooding, I’m starting to worry it might snow while I’m trying to move; it’s already snowed in the city once this season, much earlier than it usually does here. Or worse – it might get suddenly cold again and freeze the city into a giant skating rink the day I pick up a uhaul truck. My moving help could all be stranded at home. My uhaul truck could get stuck at the bottom of the hill in the condo parking lot. I had hoped to do some outdoor things this past weekend – prune shrubs at the apartment, wash cars, pick up leaves – but 4 inches of wet snow on the ground and almost a foot of rain kept any of that from happening. I realize I’m the fool that is moving in December, but I had not expected it to be this bad.

Normally I wouldn’t lose sleep over these kinds of things – I’d turn them into humorous anecdotes and be done with them. But this week I’m on a deadline. And I hate slipping on deadlines.