Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I can always count on my sister to point out the hilarity in situations. Especially since this year, she's been climbing the ladder of hilarity as I slowly slip down. God, I'm so boring lately.

Anyhow, I was chatting away with her this morning, telling her about one of my students who I have since named Obnoxio. He's only 6, and I know, I know, it's not nice to make up mean nicknames for young children. But look dudes. This kid is just plain old obnoxious. He always has something to say! Like, for example...

Me: Beethoven was a famous composer (factual, inoffensive, why argue?)
Obnoxio: Well there were other famous composers too you know
Me: Yep, there sure are! Do you want to name some others?
Obnoxio: Well I know who they are but I don't really feel like saying their names right now

Here's another one...

Me: Sounds like you did some good practicing! (God, I'm complementing the kid!)
Obnoxio: Well, I played...I didn't practice, I played.

Come on!

So anyhow, I get a call from Obnoxio's dad today, about an hour before his lesson. The big news is that Obnoxio "threw up at the pool," so he can't have a lesson today. I text this to my sister, because I think it's funny and she texts back the following:

Karma's a bitch, obnoxio!

Hahaha. Mean nicknames for kids. Priceless.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


My dear friend Jenny lost her little brother yesterday. My heart is breaking thinking about her, thinking about my own little brother and the rest of my family. If you know Jenny, please send her as much love as you can right now. And if you'd like to get in touch with her, let me know.

Jason Kiyoshi Harada passed away July 28th, 2008 at his home in Bend. He was a 2000 graduate of Bend High School. Following high school he pursued a degree in Culinary Arts at COCC. He went on to work at several eateries in Portland and Bend, most recently at Summit Stage and Saloon.

Besides his love for cooking, he enjoyed music, theater, camping, hiking, video games and just hanging out with his friends. He will forever be remembered for his sense of humor, his warm heart and big bear hugs.

Jason is survived by his mother Sally Harada, and sister Jenny Harada, both of Bend, Oregon. He was preceded in death by his father, Dan Harada.

The memorial service will be held at Niswonger-Reynolds Funeral Chapel on Thursday July 31, 2008 at 4 p.m.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Family Story Three: Dad

In the early 90s, I remember watching my father and understanding that he was struggling. I was about 11 at the time, and I wasn't sure what he was struggling with, or why; I knew it had something to do with what was happening to his homeland, but that was about it. I just remember trying to be really quiet so he wouldn't have anything else to worry about, besides what was already obviously on his mind.

It's almost 20 years later, and things are different now. While everything seems harder and more confusing to me, he appears more relaxed, more peaceful. He naps on a lounge chair in the backyard, surrounded by flowers. He walks miles and miles each week without an iPod so he can enjoy the sounds around him in the forest preserve. And shortly after his 61st birthday, he bought himself this car:

One afternoon last month, he invited me to sit with him while he washed his car in the driveway, using the special hose attachment my mother had given him for father's day. I sat on the hood of my own car, watching, while he turned up the volume on the Bob Dylan CD in his stereo.

"These lyrics are really incredible," he says, referring to the song Mr. Tambourine Man. "Have you ever listened to the words?" I stare at him, marveling in the fact that he is even listening to the lyrics. And the fact that my father, the 62 year old Iraqi doctor, is listening to Bob Dylan at all.

My sister made him a mix CD of songs for "driving with the top down." I'll never forget the look on his face when he found out that Janis Joplin wrote a song called Mercedes Benz. "This is really the name of the song?" he asked with beautiful disbelief and excitement. He just couldn't believe there was a song named after his very own car...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'd Be Crabby Too

So on Wednesdays I go downtown to volunteer for NARAL because they rule. NARAL is located in one of those office buildings that have a billion other businesses in them, usually small businesses that only take up a 2 or 3 room office. In this particular building, however, the bottom floor is completely dedicated to a newish Madison restaurant: Mad City Crab House

If any of you have ever met me, or if you've seen the latest edition of Delicious Food on MySpace, you know how I feel about seafood. Sick. As I walked towards the building, I was hit with a pungent, stank, ten billion times more than unpleasant odor coming from The Crab House. STANK!!!!! The smell of crab filled the street. I frantically looked around to see if anybody else was as pissed off and offended as I was, but to no avail. Nobody cared!

Am I just overly sensitive in the olfactory sense? Is my hatred of seafood all in my head, exaggerated beyond what it really needs to be? I pondered these questions as I held my breath and hurried inside the building.

About an hour and a half later, I left the building, only to be welcomed by the same smell but stronger. Once again, I marveled in the fact that nobody else seemed to mind. That is, until I looked inside.

Never before have I seen such miserable looking employees. The faces on these individuals spoke volumes to me; long droopy faces, scrunched up noses, sad, sad awful! I pressed my face up to the window for several more seconds until the general crabbiness and misery, along with the now completely overpowering smell of crab, forced me on my way. I strolled towards my car, endlessly thankful for the fact that I get to teach piano lessons instead of standing around some stank-ass crab all day.

I don't think I could survive it. It's that awful.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Little Festival Called Burning Man

I'm gonna make it quick, because the picture really speaks for itself...

Genia and I were at the PDQ gas station on Johnson St. and there was a little red car that was in the shape of a giant telephone. It looked like this:

I kind of didn't know what to do, so I followed Genia's hysterical giggling and pulled up next to this brilliant car. As I covertly took a picture on my phone, Genia asked the guy basically what the eff was happening. He explained that the car made appearances in parades and festivals and things like that. This summer happened to be ending at "a little festival call Burning Man."

Jesus christ. For more information, check the link.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Excerpt from Chicago

To be continued at some point...

...It takes the cab 18 minutes to go three blocks. Sitting motionless on a bridge over the Chicago River, listening to the nauseating smooth jazz of WNUA 95.5, I watch the traffic light turn from green to red three times. All without moving. Although I feel like a crazy lady as I throw a ten dollar bill through the plastic divider window of the cab and jump out onto the Clark St bridge, there is no doubt in my mind that this needs to happen. Surrounded by yelling and honking, I start running and I'm not sure why. There's this part of me that needs to move and be off the bridge, back on regular ground. I weave my way through the city blocks, around throngs of families and cops directing traffic. I'm not completely sure where I'm supposed to go, but somehow I end up there three and a half minutes before the fireworks begin.

We watch the fireworks from the 22nd floor of a building overlooking Michigan Avenue and Millennium Park. People are cracking jokes, eating pizza, singing Journey; all the usual. I hear a voice half jokingly make a toast: "Here's to more fireworks and less firearms from now on." As as cheesy as it sounds, everybody's jokes and singing and talking fade out and an unofficial moment of silence falls upon us as the fireworks tumble down the sky and disappear into the water.

They looked like chandeliers made from gold glitter. And my knees are weak. All from a few fireworks and this goddamned city that I just can't shake...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Is That Something?

I am so brilliant tonight. I was sitting here on the couch and all of a sudden a word popped into my head...


How bout it. I should sell it to Burger King. Although writing it up here kind of feel stupid, since one of you brilliant geniuses will now most likely steal my amazing idea, patent the word, and sell it for millions. Well, go ahead. I'm lazy.

Another great thing I thought of once was...


That would be sold to the Olive Garden, by the way. So if you're interested, get on the ball.

This reminds me of this one time Emil was sitting at the computer in the basement of my parents' house. He was silent for about 20 minutes, obviously very focused on what he was doing. Very suddenly, he looks up at Sara and I and says "Hey guys. Tequila Mockingbird. Is that something?"