Saturday, December 27, 2008

List Mania!

I saw this list on Mot’s blog and it got me thinking… so here goes:

8 TV Shows I Watch
Wow - this is a hard one, as I don’t follow any regular TV show. But here goes:
  • The Rockford Files (on DVD -- thanks, Dad and Mimi)
  • The News
  • America’s Funniest Home Videos (I can't help it, I love that Tom Bergeron!)
  • Boston Legal (only once this season, but it was the finale and Spader and Shatner were brilliant!)
  • The American Kennel Club Dog Show Best in Show show, or whatever it's called, starring J. Peterman, every year after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade (including this year, and we had to return to our hotel room at the Marquis in Times Square after attending the parade in person to see it, perhaps to the chagrin of my wife)
  • The occasional program I’ll stop at when clicking around (this could be anything, but usually it's something on History, Bio, or Discovery (William Shatner's Raw Nerve is a good one)
  • Movies on MGMHD, UniversalHD, et al.
  • The occasional 60’s or 70’s sitcom on TV Land when I find it (Andy Griffith a favorite)

I think that’s it for regular viewing - I‘ll add a new category:

More Shows I Wished I Watched

  • Pushing Daisies (saw it twice when it premiered, thought it clever… is it still on?)
  • 24 (saw it twice, both times at my sister’s house two or three years apart, including the two-hour TV movie last Thanksgiving week. And I loved it. What a great show -- tight writing, crisp direction…I could actually watch this if I want to give in to the TV demons)

8 Favorite Restaurants

  • El Gaucho (best room in Seattle)
  • Carmine’s (New York)
  • The Metropolitan Grill (oh my, is the porterhouse to die for)
  • Salty’s (named for a bald eagle that once nested outside the restaurant)
  • Lizard’s Thicket (when visiting South Carolina this is a MUST STOP, as there are no options for a “meat and three” in the Northwest)
  • Hyman’s (a regular stop when in Charleston, SC)
  • Duke’s (best chowder in town, though I have yet to run into Marty Crane)
  • Morton’s (Washington D.C., Chicago, Seattle: my first trip to Morton’s Seattle with my friend Ritter was last week, and we split a 24 oz. porter house, carved at our table -- the fillet side of the porterhouse was like cutting into a stick of butter. It was rich and succulent and spectacular!)

8 Things that Happened Today/Yesterday

  • Snow has turned to rain, and I am thankful
  • Christmas Day -- family, a great meal thanks to my wife, a happy child
  • NOTHING happened at work today, which is a happening unto itself
  • Saw some pictures of my new nephew, Boo
  • Received some love from my grandmother over the phone
  • My daughter hugged me and told me she loved me
  • Received Swedish meatballs (I could not find lunch as everything within a block of the office was closed except McDonald's and I passed on that, and I did not want to walk more than a block in the rain. When I returned to the office to report my failure, Cathy gave me a frozen Lean Cuisine, bless her!)
  • Received Christmas cards from Lori and Mike, Lorri and Dan, Uncle Ron and Aunt Cindy.

8 things I look forward to

  • The new year with great and exciting changes!
  • A flick with my friend Mike, who has been away for some weeks now caring for an ailing father
  • The Obama effect -- change for the better in unemployment, taxes, property values, Iraq, and a substantial rise in my positions in my brokerage account
  • A new bathroom upstairs
  • My daughter’s birthday
  • Snowmobiling next weekend -- Matt’s tuned up my sled and it’s time to break out the gear!
  • A family trip to British Columbia (my daughter now has her passport!)
  • Reading my wife’s novel

8 Things I Wish/Pray For

  • A full recovery for Mike’s dad
  • That my daughter is safe and happy
  • My grandmother, who has moved to a new assisted living home
  • The health and happiness of my new nephew, Boo
  • Comfort for the family of a coworker whose Dad passed away on Christmas Day
  • My families in South Carolina and Denver
  • Comfort for the poor and struggling
  • I hope my homeless friend, Pardion, is able to publish his book

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow Sunday

Several times my friend Dan and I have attended the last regular season Seahawks home game together. Today's game is extra special, as it not only brings Favre and the Jets to town but it is coach Holmgren's final home game in Seattle.

But not this game. Not today. We'll let our seats catch snowflakes.

I'm not planning on spending too much time away from the house today.

Last night, during the storm, my daughter's Christmas yard swine blew over and was completely covered by new snowfall. The only indication that it is there is an eerie pink glow emanating from the blanket of white snow.
I only hope the Ritters made it back to Ritterhaus last night through the swirling snow and wind.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


For the past several years my daughter has sought a yard display of some sort for the holidays. She had previously expressed interest in littering the lawn with tombstones for Halloween, an idea which I quickly vetoed. A Christmas display was more palatable, I told her, and she did not forget what she took from me back in October to be a promise.

Last weekend while we were shopping she took the liberty of creating an arrangement in the store aisle with the outdoor Christmas display items and announced that this would be our yard display. "I have cash, you have cash, together we'll get this stuff. I'll pay six dollars." She handed me two fives and asked for four ones back. "You pay the rest," she instructed.

When the goods were rung up at the register I had a Dave Ramsey moment but swallowed it for the sake of a child's Christmas.

My wife inquired as to what was in the boxes in the back of the rig.

"Yard displays."

I pointed out that our daughter did not elect for a traditional display, nor for a sacred one. "She wanted a pig," I said. "A Christmas pig."


A Briefing about November

November was such a busy month that when I blinked it was gone.
Mike and I enjoyed our annual film festival, something I look forward to almost as much as Seattle's International Film Festival. (Though this year due to time constraints and my travel schedule the events were somewhat abbreviated.)

But it was a good month, filled with adventures and some
good times, and remains an appropriate introduction to this present holiday season.

A trip to New York for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was memorable for many reasons: the restaurants, shows, comfortable accommodations and the parade itself.

Our daughter stayed with family while we were away, and I am told that a highlight of her time with relatives was a sleepover at her cousin Lindsay's.

And speaking of our daughter: following an exchange of letters and photographs, she made a date with an old friend, Darian, and the two (chaperoned by the kids' dads) decided to meet at the Woodland Park Zoo. The kids had a ball, and the dads spent their time running after the two lunatics.

We finished off November and the first day of December back in South Carolina for a few days with family before returning to the Pacific Northwest.

And now with December well under way, and the holidays upon us, we hope to create more memories.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

We took my daughter to her first symphonic concert on Friday night. She was resistant at first, recalling our disastrous outing to see the Transiberian Orchestra a few years back. But she said she was willing to try it. The evening also served as my first outing to the Seattle Pops as well, though I have seen performances at the hall.

Poor logistical planning on my part kept us from attending the Figgy Pudding Festival before the show, so we merely walked through it on the way to Beneroya Hall.

As it turned out the show was terrific and held enormous appeal for the kids. Conductor Marvin Hamlisch speaks to and interacts with his audience -- he is as much an entertainer as he is a conductor and great composer. Santa made an appearance and sang a couple of tunes (he's coming to town, you know!) And my daughter was partially won over.

Here is a review of the program, courtesy my seven-year-old:

The Seattle Pops: for a child it was pretty much okay, but it was long and we sat in the back row. And it did not snow in the back row, and I was disappointed. The best part was when Santa came, and Intermission, because I was hungry and I got to eat a chocolate mousse with a cookie on top. I liked Christmasy songs like “Winter Wonderland.” [The conductor] was famous and funny and I don’t think the Santa Claus was real. The conductor said he called him (Santa) but I don’t think anyone knows what Santa’s phone number is.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Forgetting One's Birthday

Something I have long feared about getting older: that birthdays will lose their magic.

I celebrated my birthday last week along with Ed Harris, Jon Stewart, Randy Newman and Judd Nelson. Anna Nichole Smith, I also learned, was born on the same year and day that I was.

We were in New York for the week while our daughter stayed with her grandparents. My wife wanted to go to Rockefeller Center to see Manilow (known in our home merely as 'Barry' or sometimes 'Barris') and just before he went on stage my daughter called me up on my cell phone and said, "Happy Birthday, Dad." And up to that moment the fact that it was my birthday had escaped both me and my wife.

Leave it to a seven-year-old to remember what's important. And leave it to a seven year old to bring a little excitement back into one's birthday by being the only one in the family to remember it.

(In their defense, pals Todd and Mike would chime in shortly thereafter with emailed birthday wishes of their own).

So here's a belated happy birthday wish to Dave's late-night buddy and bandleader Paul Shaffer!