Monthly Archives: July 2008

this trip’s revelation

It seems every time I come home from VA there’s some revelation that suddenly dawns on me.  This time… nothing as life-altering as possibly not wanting children but a there were a couple of nuggets…
1) I really like airports.  I like watching people interact with each other… the farewell hugs and kisses, the reunion hugs and kisses.  I could totally see why hanging out an airport all day long could be fun.  You really do see quite a range of human emotion.  It’s interesting the conversations you overhear once you’re at the gate or on the plane — people working tediously up til the flight takes off, people anxious to get where they’re going, people expounding more farewells.  I especially love when there someone who was on the same long flight filled w/ crying babies, turbelence and long layovers– particularly the single parent of a young whiny child — waiting at baggage claim for what seems like a century before the damn thing even starts to move but upon seeing their better half, sometimes the kids they had to leave behind, every evidence of the grueling trip is erased from their faces.  It’s actually pretty sweet.  The whole experience is a great people-watcher experience.  I love it!
2)  It’s amazing to witness my niece and nephew learn and grow.  How extraordinary it must be as a parent to know you imparted that knowledge and primed that mind to receive new information and take shape.  My nephew who could barely furniture surf 6 mos ago was now running laps around the house.  My niece, just turned two, is talking and gabbing in TWO languages (three if you include her make believe chitter chatter).  I almost did a double-take when I heard her say to her baby sister in vietnamese something roughly translating to "hey sis, whatcha eating there?"  How does a two year old possess the vocabularly to be so breezy and casual in her speech?  It was the cutest thing!  It clearly wasn’t something she learned by rote (like her parents teaching her to respond with "2" when asked how old she was–they worked on it apparently for a couple weeks before the big day and it paid off esp. since she responded in the respective language you asked her — she’s a smart little chicky!). 
The younger ones are less the handfuls their older siblings were… I wonder if that’s because it just seems easier now that you’ve gone through it once already or if it’s just an innate adjustment to their environment that these young ones have learned knowing they’ll never successfully compete with their older siblings’ constant needy attention from their parents.  It’s the youngest ones who end up being more independent, you know.  😉
3)  These days everyone is so independent and typical gender roles are all blurry.  Men cook and change diapers.  Women work and fix cars.  We no longer have all those boxes that bind us to a certain set of things we can and can’t do by artificial rules society imprints on us from the second the doctor slips on that pink or blue hat over our heads after our grand entrance into the world.  Does that mean our reason for being together is more pure because we no longer have to rely on needing each other for the things that were once reserved for the opposite sex but instead choosing to be with someone we want in our lives not just someone we need?  Women no longer need to marry just so they can have money, a house and a secure future.  If that was the case, wouldn’t more marriages be successful and there be a lower divorce rate?  So why the high divorce rate?  Why is it that people are waiting longer to marry?  Why can’t the Spears sisters find everlasting love? 
Maybe all this independence, all these blurred gender roles, all this ability to fulfill our own needs means we finally have to figure out what we want and that’s always been much harder than knowing what we need.  Maybe that’s not it at all.  Maybe this new society we live in has created other needs we’re not aware of and as a result can’t find the right person to fill that need. 
Anywho… I finished reading Kiln People… great book!  Highly recommend it.  Not sure what’s next on the book list… maybe I’ll grab randomly from a bag.

It grows…

Just got back from Half Priced Books… I picked up about half my reading list but then found a few more.  That’s the problem w/ me and bookstores… I always walk out the door with something I didn’t plan to get.  And just being in the bookstore triggered the memory of a book I’d heard on NPR that I made a mental note I wanted to read.  Then driving home from the bookstore, NPR was broadcasting a lecture Richard Florida gave in Seattle about his new book and he mentioned the book "Stumbling on Happiness", which I’ve started and have yet to finish, so that should go on the list too.  Interestingly, I did bring it back to VA with me in the event I finished my other book early.  It happens to have a dollar bill as a bookmark and you’d think that getting that dollar bill back would be incentive to finish the book but it’s not.  Maybe I should start using 20’s as bookmarks.  =)
So, here’s my revised list:
  • Everything is Illuminated  (*)
  • Bartimaeus Trilogy  (*)
  • Twilight
  • Perfume Dreams
  • The Last Lecture
  • Dear First Lady: Letters to the White House
  • Kiln People  (*)
  • Catfish and Mandala
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife  (*)
  • Seeing Vietnam
  • Leave it to Psmith
  • Wild Nights
  • Stumbling on Happiness (*)
  • Monkey Bridge (*)
  • The Tapestries (*)
  • That’s 17 books in the next 6.5 months if I really do intend to read them all by the end of the year.  That would be 3 books a month practically… not sure I can swing that but I’m gonna try!

    Scratch two off the list…

    I just finished "Sense and Sensibility" right before my VA trip and I finished "A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain" on my trip.  I now need to buy the books on my list so I can continue.  I know I could probably just check it out from the library (and conveniently enough I’m sitting in front of one using its free wireless to get access to my reading list so I can then go buy the books), but when it comes to books, I like to buy.  There are probably only a dozen books I own that I’ve read more than once but for whatever reason, I really enjoy having a lot of books.  I probably won’t feel the same way the next time I have to move and find that I have tons of heavy boxes filled w/ books but oh well, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.
    Here’s what’s left on my list:
  • Everything is Illuminated
  • Bartimaeus Trilogy
  • Twilight
  • Perfume Dreams
  • The Last Lecture
  • Dear First Lady: Letters to the White House
  • Kiln People
  • Catfish and Mandala
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • Seeing Vietnam
  • Leave it to Psmith
  • Progress check on 2008 goals

    Well, it’s been 6 mos… how am I doing against my goals?
    1) Family & Friends
    I don’t call home any more often than I did before, but I’m committed to 2 visits back to Virginia plus a trip to Viet Nam w/ my parents, so I think that should count for something. =)
    Friends… spending good, quality time with my various friend circles here in Seattle.  Not doing such a great job w/ friends back East.  =(
    2) Non-profit work
    VNSF has pretty much become my second job.  I probably put in 10-30 hours a week and I haven’t grown tired of it yet!  The website this year has been my chief accomplishment.  I’m jazzed that we have an informative site that’s relative easy for anyone to update.  We even have a volunteer who has been trained and empowered to own certain pieces of content on the site.  Love it!  A close second would be the success of the Volleyball Tournament / Summer Picnic, which hopefully will be out-shadowed by the Annual Benefit Dinner on September 5th — save the date! 
    I’m learning a lot about fundraising, recruiting, and just tips on how to "work a room" and talk about VNSF.  Recruiting and just spreading awareness about the organization is TOUGH!  Beyond that, there’s morale of the organization that needs to be maintained.  I’m a naturally organized and analytical person and I tend to lead in that fashion.  However, one of the leadership styles I feel I need to learn to cultivate better is the emotional/social style of leadership.  I first need to understand what motivates/drives people and to use the leadership style best suited for that.  I fully expect it to take years and years for me to truly learn this skill and then years on top of that to apply it successfully.
    3) Entrepreneurship
    Given the economic climate, this has been put on hold.  A lot of my non-profit work is helping me build skills that I think will apply.  I also just need to focus my efforts and as I find my fulfillment and enjoyment rising in my volunteer work, I’m learning that maybe what I want to ultimately do is be a philanthropist.
    4) Me
    • Reading – I’ve compiled a list of reading based on recommendations from friends and ppl I’ve met.  I think it’s a good spread
    • Travel – planning to go to Viet Nam this year and I’m planning a trip w/ Myha for next year
    • Better physical shape – back to playing volleyball 3-5 days a week
    • Swim or Ski – no progress yet, but I still have 6 mos to go

    So far… I’m doing ok… not great, but ok.


    The only way to spend summer in Seattle…

    The last two weeks…
    Sat… beach vball tournament (~6hours)
    Tue… league volleyball (indoor)
    Thu… beach vball on alki (3 hrs)
    Fri … beach vball on alki (3 hrs)
    Sat… beach vball on alki (3 hrs — the day of the burn)
    Sun… lazy picnic & book club, then… beach vball on alki (2hrs)
    Tue… league volleyball (indoor)
    Wed… beach vball on alki (2.5 hrs — in lightning storm and rain)
    Fri … beach vball on alki (2.5 hrs — occasional fireworks)
    More vball tomorrow and sunday too!!  If the weather permits, you gotta take advantage!! 
    So… if you’re ever looking for me around 5-10pm… best bet is I’m on alki… headed to alki… or heading home from alki.  =)