April 22, 2004

Page 23, 5th Sentence

"Here is a comparison of the frequency of major crimes in the United States and Japan in 1996."

Confucius Lives Next Door

by T.R. Reid

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

Posted by karen at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2004

A Conundrum

Tonight Jed and I were witness to a scene that left us feeling like we should have or could have done more. But could we?

Our lack of any schedule has often left us wide awake late at night. We find the best way to deal with our nocturnal energy is to take walks. The space needle seems to be where we head most often. This was the case tonight.

Around midnight, we were seated near the fountain at the front entrance talking when we heard some rustling behind us. Two street kids came walking through the bushes and headed straight to the fountain which had just been shut off. At first, too absorbed in my own conversation, I thought that maybe they were bathing (yes, I realize now that was a dumb thing to think) but Jed pointed out that they were actually stealing the money.

Several minutes later an employee from the Space Needle saw what was going on and walked up to the fountain. The boys didn't realize anyone was there until he began to speak. He could have physically stopped them but instead chose to yell profanities at them for stealing money from children. (I again, foolishly assumed that money just went back to the Space Needle.)

The kids ran away with all their change. The man didn't chase them but he did shoot a lingering and disparaging look our way. I immediately felt guilty, like I had stolen from the fountain.

Should we have done something? We saw them walk up and we saw them begin stealing. We did nothing but continue on with our conversation.

After they ran away, I told Jed that I thought we should have done something. We both felt bad, but he pointed out that it was best to stay out of it. What could we have done? What if they had knives?

It is easy to offer a heroic or idealistic opinion to what you would have done if in the same situation, but is that always honest? It was easy for me to invision a grand chase, tackle, maybe a few punches or bites and then return the money to the fountain after the incident had passed. In reality, I can barely walk to the supermarket without whining and sweating, I love the pants I was wearing too much to risk ripping them in a tackle, I have never punched anyone and they were far too dirty to bite. During any sort of altercation, the change would have spilled everywhere and would I, all beaten and exhausted, really want to search through the grass at night for a few dollars worth of change?

Perhaps that is justification, but I am curious, what would you do?

Posted by karen at 02:10 AM | Comments (1)

April 16, 2004

Part Three: The Long Journey Home

Our trip to Connecticut seemed a little too long but also a little too short. We would have liked more home cooked dinners and time with the cat, but we were desperately needed back to Seattle to sleep and do a lot of nothing.

Our day started about three hours after it ended with Meghan waking us up to take us to the airport. She is the best friend; completely prepared for all our traveling needs. She had muffins ready for us to take for breakfast and a bottled water for me because she knows I like to fly with some water. We were up around 5:30am and saw the sunrise as we drove to the airport. Of course, it was the first day of our time in CT that the sun came out. We said goodbye to Meg, for me it was another goodbye to her. It sucked just as much the second time but I know our friendship doesn't end here.

For those of you who don't know me well, (and you don't really need to know me well to know this), morning does not agree with me. Needless to say, I took that out on poor Jed and his muffin.

Our plan was to fly to Baltimore and arrive at 9:30am and spend the bulk of the day with Jed's sister, Carrie and the new baby, Owen. Then we fly to Seattle with a layover in Vegas.

The flight to Baltimore began with Jed and I trying to avoid sitting near an obnoxious child. We flew Southwest, so we were able to choose our seats so we head as far away from all children as possible. Unfortunately, we were followed by extremely peppy guys in their thirties. These men had a conversation as follows (names are changed to protect my safety):

Jim: Well hello Joe! Would you like the paper?
Joe: No thankis Jim, you go ahead and read it first. I have a magazine.
Jim: Thanks Joe. Say, how about that UCONN team?
Joe: Yes, how about them Jim. They sure are incredible.

And so on...I never thought a 42 minute plane ride could feel so long.

We made it to Carrie's safe and sound and finally got to meet the little nephew....Owen! Man is he cute. Honestly, most babies are really ugly, but Owen is adorable and he has so much spunk. His hair is half mohawk, half bed head and he has this great stare. Jed had never held a baby before, which really surprised me. I just assumed at some point everyone has held a baby. Anyway, at first he was really, really stiff and knuckled while holding him. But then he got really comfortable and loved it. He was in love with Owen almost immediately, all of us were. This baby doesn't cry and he makes great little fists. He is a load of fun and we spent just about our entire afternoon with Carrie staring at Owen.

Carrie and her husband Sean drove us to the airport in their new hybrid toyota prius. It was the coolest vehicle ever. I want one, but will have to wait until I return to the US.

Our 4 and a half hour flight to Vegas seemed even longer than that. We were lucky to have the row to ourselves but unlucky that we had to suffer through that hideous movie Mona Lisa Smile. We flew into Vegas around 10:30pm and were so excited when we saw "the strip." Only, it wasn't the strip. It was just a lot of light. The actual strip was so cool. The runway was right next to it. I had no idea that the airport was so close to the city. I wanted to explore but knew we couldn't leave. Lucky for us, we could play the slots right there in the terminal. I won a whopping 25 cents! Jed probably won close to $10 but I think he had that hypnotic stare and involuntary crank reflex as he could not stop wasting it all away. It was great fun though. However, we had been up for nearly 24 hours and all I remember about the flight to Seattle was that I could hardly stay awake to chew my gum through the take off. I passed out on my food tray.

We made it back to Seattle at about 2:30am and were so happy to see the city. Now we just wait until our departure until May 12. We've been keeping busy though. Jed surprised me with tickets to an Ani DiFranco concert which was a blast as always. We spent Easter on Bainbridge Island due to the generosity and hospitality of some of our local friends. The weather has been warm and sunny so we have really been taking advantage of our time off to take walks down to the waterfront. Things have been great, but I can't wait to go to Japan. 27 days until the move....

Posted by karen at 02:59 AM | Comments (4)

April 12, 2004

Part Two: Borrington, Patheticut

On Wednesday, March 30, 2004 around 5pm we pulled into Jed's parents house in CT. It took five days and 3,004 miles. It actually turned out to be 3,000 miles exactly from the highway on-ramp in Seattle to the highway off-ramp in New Hartford. Though, it may have been less if we didn't screw up a couple of times.

Jed's aunt and uncle own The Old Riverton Inn and made a ravioli lasagna that Jed's parents picked up. Such a good idea. Any way to add cheese to something already ridiculously cheesy is a good idea. It felt so good to eat a cooked meal instead of gas station or hotel or fast food. It also felt good to stretch and lounge.

Elvis Bartakamous Scattergood meets Maggie. Our little kitten has never had to socialize with other animals before. He has always been good with people, but we figured he would be a little skittish around Jed's sister's cat. Maggie was a stray and I call her owl face for the obvious reason. She is so cute and sweet and was very patient while Taki hissed and growled and hid. She even played with his toys in an effort to get him to join her. It took until Sunday, but I guess nine days in cramped space is enough. He finally came out and explored a bit. He played with his toys and even played with Maggie through the door.

On Thursday, we relaxed around Jed's parents' house. It felt great. We did some of the same on Friday, though we did wake up to have lunch with Joe and Jay from Litco. It was wierd to be back to a place where we had already said our goodbyes. Since Jed had said his goodbye for Seattle, we had to explain 50,000 times what was going on with Japan. At least we have something to look forward to. Joe and Jay were a blast, as always, and we visited a great little lunch spot in Borrington where they still remembered Jed's order.

Friday night we had dinner with Jed's parents. We had dinner with them most nights and it was always so fun. Lots of laughter, usually at my expense, but it was a good time. They like to eat therefore I love them. Actually, I love them anyway. I thought Jed was as perfect as they get, but his parents are unbelievable. They are patient, nice and easy to talk to. Anyway, enough of my sappiness.

Saturday morning was my family's turn. In many ways, I wish I had left my goodbyes as they had been in February. I held my nephew as he was falling asleep, I had a great dinner with my sister-in-law and roles were reversed as my mom witnessed me have a massive panic attack when I ran out of room in my suitcases. However, I could not visit home without seeing everyone. We had a brunch and I was in a bad mood. Then my mom acted like Jed was invisible as she had to ask me to ask him everything. She wasn't mad at him or anything; she is just like that. Tommy, my nephew was fun, though Joey wanted to play by himself. My dad locked himself in the garage with the dog, my brother fell asleep, Joey knocked Tommy over when he tried to play with his plastic easter eggs, and the rest of us didn't do much of anything.

Saturday night, Jed and I met our friends Marc, his wife Meghan, Joe, his wife Nadine, and Jay for sushi. We were supposed to meet Chuck afterwards at his house, but in typical Chuck fashion he was not there when we arrived. We had to wait outside for a good ten minutes, watching the television he left on through his living room window. Finally he showed up and we played all 12 rounds of Scattergories. Then around midnight, when we were hungry again, Chuck cooked up some awesomely delicious Bertucci's, including my favorite dish which is no longer on the menu.

Sunday I spent my mom's life savings at WalMart. I hated every second in that stupid store but got a lot of great stuff. The night was mellow and Jed and I just relaxed and enjoyed the cat's newfound adventure.

Monday was the goodbye day. We went to visit Jed's grandparents where Jed entertained us on the keyboard and his grandfather opened up a bit on his time as a pilot in the war. They live in the most amazing community and though Jed and I are far from elderly (in age, not action) we want to live there. Mom, pack your bags cause that'll be where you go. :) It's better than living with me anyway. Jed's mom and I pigged out on jelly beans, I said goodbye to my parents and we enjoyed one last dinner with Jed's parents before heading out to my friends Meghan and Jesse's for the night.

Later that night, Meghan and Jesse picked us up. It felt amazing to see Meghan again. I miss hanging out with a girlfriend, but especially her. She is my favorite friend to be judgemental with. It is good to have someone who you can spew anything on your mind to. The UCONN men's basketball team won the championship and we laughed at the news blowing a celebratory bonfire way out of proportion. It was great to know that there is nothing better to report on. We got a total of three hours of sleep before we had to wake up at 5:30am for our flight to Baltimore.

It rained every day we were in Connecticut, which further reinforced our severe hatred for that stupid state.

So, this entry was extremely boring as I realize that we really didn't do much in CT. But I will still make you all suffer as the third (and final) installment will be our day in Baltimore with Jed's little nephew Owen and our flight home (via Vegas!!!)

One month from today and Jed and I will be on our way to humid Japan!!!

Posted by karen at 03:27 AM | Comments (2)

April 10, 2004

Part One: The Drive Home

I thought this might be a good time to recap our journey to CT since I have nothing to do here and that trip was unfortunately the most exciting thing to happen for me in a while. However, I know that I am long-winded, so I decided to break up the visit into digestable sections for your reading pleasure.

After a bet with Chris following a late night, Jed and I hurried to get out of the apartment by 4pm Sunday, March 28. It wasn't really too difficult, but we kept remembering things we wanted to bring. We left in plenty of time to win our $20 and fill up with a tank of gas.

Jed provides all the pictures on his website, so rather than repeat all that work you can just go there and have a look. We made it to Missoula, MT the first night. We had to smuggle the cat in since we chose a non pet friendly hotel. We had it down to a science though and it was no sweat. The cat was so good in the car and even better in the hotel.

Day two proved just as boring as Montana is huge and uneventful. We did, however, pass a sign for the Testicle Festival. I didn't get the details, but we laughed for a long time. The elevation changes proved difficult for our little angel to handle and he barfed in the back. We cleaned him up with a wet nap and gave him some lovin' and he slept the rest of the way. Then we saw what appeared to be a tornado. We aren't sure but that is what we would like to think. Then Jed got a ticket. Honestly, how can you NOT speed on the flattest roads on earth? We made it to Bismark, ND to another no pets allowed hotel.

Day three started really well because of the Starbucks located across the street from the hotel. It was very cold and snowing and windy though. We were ready to charge through and made it all the way to just outside the time zone change in South Bend, IN.

Day four sucked. It rained and my butt was really starting to hurt. We ended up in Clearfield, PA where our only food option was KFC, which made me sick. Pennsylvania remains my least favorite state. I have been to (I think) 41 states, so I believe I have a good basis for judging. I have never had fun in PA and the weather is never good and it is very boring and I just hate it. Oregon runs a close second for least favorite.

We arrived to CT on Wednesday and vowed not to do a road trip for a very long time.

Now.....a couple notes about the drive.

Let's discuss Jed's driving habits. For example, he likes to multitask. Our constant concern for the cat kept him partially turned towards him with one hand shoved back to pet him. Beautiful landscapes, sunsets and what we consider a tornado kept his other hand busy taking pictures. But regular pictures weren't good enough. Vidoes and 'artsy' photos that include thought and set up were his preference. You may wonder how he was able to drive. Simple. He used his legs. When one hand wasn't busy with the above tasks, he played with the iPod or the radio or thumbed through his CD collection to find the right music. But perhaps all these activities kept his speed down, because when he was fully focused on driving, he got a speeding ticket.

Now, before anyone accuses me of not helping, I want to explain my position during all this. Yes, I was the passenger. No, I didn't drive. Yes, I did sleep on occasion. Yes, I kept forgetting my one responsibility of locking all the doors when we got back in the car. Yes, I kept screwing up the directions. BUT, there are legitimate reasons for all these.

1) the car was packed so full that the seats were propping up all of our crap. Jed, having the height advantage, had the seat as far up as he could make it comfortable. The passenger seat accomodated my vertically challenged position in that it was almost as close to the dash as it could be. I could not reach the pedals in the drivers seat and Jed would not be able to fit in the passenger seat at all. Not to mention, we couldn't find a place for Jed's laptop bag or my suitcase sized purse, so they had to occupy the passenger floor which meant my feet couldn't go on the floor. I didn't mind but I would have put my feet on the dash anyway. I don't think Jed would have found it that comfortable.

2) Because Jed had to drive, he was exhausted by the time we got to the hotel. He had no problem acclamating to our new schedule. I, didn't have as easy of a time. I was often up until 3am reading or watching Nick at Nite. When we woke up at the god awful hour of 8am I was wiped out and needed sleep in the car. What else was I going to do? And to be fair, I didn't sleep that much.

3) I offered. I offered to do everything. I would pet the cat but he was stratigically placed so that I had to unbuckle to pet him. I wanted to take pictues but Jed insisted he do it. I offered to drive, but Jed was stubborn.

There was very little substance to this post, I realize. I tried to make it seem very exciting but it wasn't. Jed and I had a blast but I think it was because of the sheer insanity we experienced from about an hour into the trip and on. It wouldn't make for good writing.

Hope you could stand this.....stay tuned for the next installment which will feature ugly Borrington, Patheticut.

Posted by karen at 06:58 PM | Comments (1)