Archive for the ‘My Old Salon Blog’ Category.

Acceptance and Recovery

Guess I’ll crawl out of that casket.  I thank those of you who came by and am grateful for your support, but the paltry number of viewers, despite the funeral home’s efforts in offering free bratwurst (hmmm..) to passersby in the street, has been sobering in an Ebenezer-Scrooge kind of way.

I returned to Seattle last night on my usual Friday-night commute. leaving Milwaukee at 6 pm, layover in Minneapolis and arrival in Seattle at 11:30 or so.  I was upgraded on both legs, thanks to my Platinum status on Northwest, but I’ll be spending a lot more time in Coach this year after February.  You need to fly 75,000 miles to be Platinum, and I only made about 62,500.  That’s good enough for Gold, and I’ll catch my share of upgrades on off-day travel and sleepier routes, but not nearly as often on routes such as MSP-SEA, where you have to go mano-a-mano with mile-calloused road warriors.

I generally use a shared-ride shuttle service to go to and from SeaTac, instead of driving and parking, especially for these multi-day trips where the parking would be expensive and take a family vehicle out of service.  Late on Friday nights, though, it often costs me a half-hour to an hour waiting for a van to my neighborhood to cycle through.  That puts me home somewhere around 1 am.  On the plus side, I find the van rides convivial.  The drivers tend to try to generate conversation among the passengers, and you hear some good stories.

On the way to the airport last Sunday, for instance, I rode with a guy who was flying to Houston, by way of Cleveland, in order to pick up a car he’d bought on the internet from a little old lady.  He was planning to take about a month to drive back to Seattle, with stops in Las Vegas and several California cities.  I had to wonder, though, just what he’d find when he showed up to pick up his car.  A leap of faith, in any case.

On the way home last night, I had a driver who loved to hear himself talk  He went on & on about how he was “born and raised in Seattle”, and catalogued all manner of landmarks and historical events he’d brushed up against.  It got to the point where I expected him to say that he, Lewis & Clark and Chief Sealth all played on the same basketball team at the University of Washington.

Sometime during the ride, one of a pair of women got a cell phone call, and asked if the driver could deliver them to their hotel as the first stop.  It turned out that they had to come to town because their brother was gravely ill, and the call was advising of his imminent demise.  The driver instead asked me and another passenger if we minded if he took the women directly to the UW hospital.  Of course, neither of us objected, and we headed straight there.  The driver also said he’d take their luggage to their hotel and check them in on his return trip to the airport.

I dropped a nice tip on him when we finally got to my house.

Post-Traumatic Post

Turn Out The Lights…

I’m off to Milwaukee again today, and I guess my dash to the airport officially ends the holidays.  I took one last gaze at our tree, which I’m told will come down in my absence.  Before I leave the holidays for good, here’s a short photographic retrospective:

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The purple ornament has a white frosted “1949″ on the opposite side, and is a souvenir from my first Christmas, a little over two months after I was born.  the second is from a cool set of ornaments that we bought from the nearby (now departed) Fuji dimestore for one of our first Christmases here in Seattle.  The third (omen!) was a gift from my brother in 2002, the year our alma mater won its last National Championship, something we hope to repeat Monday night.

Here are a couple of houses in the neighborhood that went to extraordinary lengths to mark the holidays:

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OK, I guess I can move on to bowl season now, just in time.

(Posting delayed due to some “proxy server” issues at my client’s, which probably means they’re monitoring internet activity.)

‘007 A Little Shaky, Not Yet Stirring

Here’s the difference in the visage of the Stawamus Chief, the rock formation in Squamish that draws Mrs. Perils, our son and hundreds of rock climbers during the summer.  The photo on the right was taken as we were buying groceries just after our arrival last August, with Mrs. Perils nearly vibrating in anticipation.  The photo on the left, taken Saturday, well…it’s scenic from a distance.

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After a day of relative sloth on Saturday, our friends joined us Saturday night and we went up to the Whistler ski area to do some cross-country skiing.  I’ve only done cross-country one other time, in 1980 or so, so I wasn’t looking to be challenged.  As it turned out, the “country” was actually a series of flat, groomed tracks around the fairways of the Nicklaus North golf course.  As ungainly as I was skiing, I’m sure the course would have kicked my ass a lot more thoroughly if I’d been golfing it.

After turning in our ski gear, we stopped in Whistler Village for a bite of lunch and to try to hook up with other acquaintances that had been downhill skiing.  The village is very upscale, to the point of theme-park-ness, chock-a-block with shops, restaurants and watering holes.  Our friends knew of a reasonably-priced little sandwich shop nestled amid all this beautiful bounty and bountiful booty called Ingrid’s, and we snacked gratefully.

After the drive back to Squamish, we set about our New Year’s Eve festivities.  Our hostess, who always manages to generate a magical tsunami of great food for the hordes that turn up for meals there, set before us a feast of bouillabaisse, Dungeness crab and assorted side dishes. 

We had a great New Year’s Eve.  Hope you all did, too.

Which Way To The Beach?

We’re safely ensconsed in Squamish, BC, at the home of a friend.  So far, we’re the only ones here.  Our hosts will arrive tomorrow, and we’re told that “some others” will be here as well, perhaps as early as tonight.  Last summer when we came here for a weekend, there ended up being 18 people in the house.  Sharing one bathroom.  Somehow, it all worked out very amiably, with no fistfights or “accidents”.  Most of them weren’t nearly as old as we are, which probably helped.

The drive north started in sunshine and crystal-clear views of the Cascades and Mt. Baker (a volcano near the Canadian border).  As we approached the border, however, clouds rolled in, and by the time we crossed the Lion’s Gate Bridge to North Vancouver, it was raining steadily, and the raindrops, like popcorn, were trying to become snowflakes.

The last two times we’ve come up, we’ve been intrigued by a French-language radio station playing an eclectic brew of world music.  Mrs. Perils, who took four years of high-school French, has fun trying to catch some of the chatter and news-reading.  At one point in a newscast, we were able to discern “Geor-jay Boosh”, and Mrs. Perils immediately cried, “le BOO!  le HISSSSSS!”  I’m thinking that whatever Francophonyism she retains has its origins in PePe LePew cartoons, and not in Mrs. Jollay’s salon at PHS.

Another amusing thing from the drive: there’s a lot of construction on Hwy 99 between Vancouver and the Whistler ski area in anticipation of the 2010 Winter Olympics, and we passed a banner sign that exhorted, “Never Pass By an Unsafe Act.”  Immediately, I said, “Nope - we’ll join right in”  and Mrs. Perils followed with, “Who’s got the Mazola?”.  They’re not very picky about who they let in here, or we dissemble really well.

Otherwise, the drive was so different from the one in August, when Howe Sound sparkled its giddy welcome.  Today, it was gray, brooding and barely distinguishable from the clouds that enveloped it and the shadowy islands in its midst.

Our son has spent the last 4 days at Whistler with a friend and his extended family, and was headed back to Seattle today because he has to work the weekend.  We contacted him by phone as we got to Vancouver, hoping to catch him somewhere along the route we’d be travelling in opposite directions.  Turned out that he had left early, and stopped in Squamish to hike up the Chief and do some bouldering (a form of rock climbing).  We rendezvous’d at the Howe Sound Pub in Squamish and had a nice afternoon meal with him before parting company with the obligatory parental admonishments for safe driving, etc.

The kid told me not to bother going up to Whistler because it was super-crowded, the lift tickets were $80/day Canadian and parking was scarce, all due to the holiday weekend.  He said he had a good time skiing and staying in the village, but that I’d probably regret doing it as a day trip.  As you could probably tell from my prior post, it wouldn’t have taken much to dissuade me from skiing this weekend, and I think his comments were all I needed to demur.  We’ll see what the others coming in want to do - they are rock climbers (in the summer) and very active types, so I’m sure we’ll be outdoors doing something.

I want to put together an album of my favorite photos of 2006, so watch this space.

Skipping The Country

It’s been a short week of many distractions, as my clients are all going through various year-end processes, things they only do once a year, and getting a little panicky sometimes.  This translates to a lot of phone calls and software-tweaking.  Thank heavens for PCAnywhere and Remote Desktop, which let me beam in and fix something, or guide them to do it.

I think, however, that I’ve banked most of the fires, and we’ll be heading to Squamish, BC to bunk out with friends for most or all of the weekend.  We had a wonderful time there last August, but that was accompanied by soft, dulcet breezes.  Not sure what the recreational opportunities will be.  There are rumors of skiing at Whistler, but I haven’t skiied in at least 2 years, and never was any damn good at it.  Still, it’ll be nice to get away for a little change of scenery.

No Socks - But a Really Cool Toy

Hope you all had a great holiday weekend.  I found that having Christmas fall on Monday was like filing for an extension to file a tax return - I had two extra days to shop and otherwise get my act together.  I finished shopping Saturday, then on Sunday, we finally got our tree up.

We tend to roll out Christmas day at a pretty leisurely pace.  Since the rest of my side of the family is in the eastern time zone, there used to be a good chance they’d call and perhaps spill some important information before we’d even made our coffee and gotten limber enough to crawl on the floor to plug the tree in.  That’s not so likely now that children are grown, and seldom seen about the house on a weekend morning, and now that my brothers are, quite frankly, getting old.

I got many lovely gifts, including a gift certificate that will nudge us up to Orcas Island sometime, some nice wine, a favorite fruitcake.  One of them, however, perhaps the biggest one, presented a dilemma - an iPod video 80gb.  I unwrapped the packages - the player, the docking station, some accoutrement for car & travel - and was a little stunned.  I’ve never owned anything Apple, and only ever touched an iPod once or twice.  The unopened boxes almost hummed with mystery and temptation.  However, I already have an mp3 player with a 40gb drive (a Creative Zen Xtra) and I’ve been happy with it.  But…but…it doesn’t have a color display;  it doesn’t render video;  or photographs;  it’s 3 times as big as the iPod.  But..but..I need reading glasses to dial my cell phone - how much good will a 2.5 inch video screen do me?  I could get something really cool from Best Buy in exchange.

But…I kept looking at those boxes, and imagined opening them and being whisked into the main channel.  See, I’ve owned 2 mp3 players, the Creative and an Archos that died from poor construction and being French.  With both purchases, I considered the comparable iPod, and the value proposition, the significantly lower cost for more capacious players, won me over.  Then I’d go into Best Buy and see racks of cool doodads made just for the iPod;  I’d shop for music on iTunes and feel like a second-class citizen since I couldn’t get the tunes onto my mp3 player without burning a cd and then ripping it back.

So, about an hour after removing the wrapping paper and dithering, I caved to the seduction of the thing itself, and the legitimating ethos it would confer upon me, and opened the box.  I’ve been having a great time ever since.  I finally became privy to the secrets of the clickwheel.  And the color display is dazzling.  And iTunes now welcomes me like a Yale legacy instead of like a public-school poseur.  Life is good.



Whadda ya mean, it’s tomorrow?  Are the stores still open?

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Probably at LaSalle’s in downtown Toledo, ca 1955.  Santa’s really thinking about an ice-cold Stroh’s.  I’m not sure what I’d be asking for at that point, but I seem to be pretty involved in articulating my wishes .  Probably not a tie, though - how could you improve on that one (my mom probably made it.  She probably also made the suit - there was a coat and a hat that went with those pants.?

Ghosts of Christmases Past

Back in the day, back when it was just me, Mrs. Perils and the batshit crazy, cannibis-addled cat, Natasha, that we dragged out here from Bowling Green, Ohio when we moved here in 1974, we took to making our own Christmas cards.  Mrs. Perils is a gifted cartoonist, and we had some fun in the design and execution.

We started simple - pen & ink drawings that we would have Xeroxed, and that Mrs. Perils would then hand-color individually.  This one was from a time when we bicycled nearly everywhere we went, and was apparently from our pre-helmet days.  It has sort of a New Yorker quality to it, doncha think?  We wanted to place ourselves emphatically in our new city, co-opting its familiar iconography.  It bore the caption “Christmas is nearly upon us”:

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A few years later, we discovered color Xerox.  We also discovered ourselves possessed of a young boy-child, and I was conveying that maybe I hadn’t left Ohio and my OSU Marching Band roots entirely behind:

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This next one (I’m not sure these two are chronological) depicts an after-midnight sorta-Nordstrom’s display window replete with:

  • a flasher elf
  • a chainsaw-wielding elf
  • a slutty hooker elf reclining on a divan
  • a couch-potato elf being harangued by his harpy-elf mate
  • an elf Christmas tree festooned with fishhooks, hatchets, switchblades and a mousetrap

We were most certainly trying too hard to nudge ourselves toward the nether end of the Sacred/Profane scale.

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Mrs. Perils will tell you that I goaded her into subject matter that would not have occurred to her unbidden, but I submit that an evil and irredeemable genius (I love that in a woman) revels in the rendering of these details.

There are more of these around here somewhere.  I’ll scan & post them if I find them.

And In This Corner..

New posts at Wallingford Wanderings.  Soon, they’re going to discover that it’s my mind that wanders.