I am Karan from Olympia, WA. Almost every other name used here is a pseodonym pseudonim pseudonymn alias. The rest of it is true - mostly - and all of it is my own. Don't even think about taking any of it, unless of course, you want to pay me.

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  • The counter says that 3743350 have been flummelized, but I personally think it's all a big lie.

    om namay padmay om

    [ Thursday, April 10, 2014 ]

    My only absolute rule

    that actually gets followed at our house is (and it is worthy of bolding and all caps): NO SCREENS ARE ALLOWED AT THE DINING ROOM TABLE, except of course when we aren’t eating there.

    Between the microsecond when we lived here alone and everyone and then some came knocking and wanting in, this smart phone craze took hold and made everyone in the entire universe think that there was no life that existed without a nose to the phone. Everyone now is constantly texting, surfing and talking, all.the.frickin’.time. And many of these in the universe phone users don’t have just one screen to stare at, but a few...they have phones, they have tablets, they have laptops and even a few still have desktop computers. There is absolutely no self-denial in this arena and it has become my number one pet peeve and one that will turn me from a mild mannered grumbling Grinnie to a not so mild-mannered boiling mad bitchy Grinnie.

    Did you see how I was able to sneak in my cute grandmother name there (that would be Grinnie, not the other colorful words there)...so named by little Jay?

    Right after Rejjie returned home to bake little Jay before his birth, she sat down at the table, set with a hot steaming dinner, opened her phone and started receiving and sending texts.  Steam started flowing from my ears, my eyes turned glowy red and my own demonic voice graveled up and I demanded that she turn that thing off and that from that moment forward NO SCREENS ARE ALLOWED AT THE DINING ROOM TABLE, except of course when we aren’t eating there.

    I knew that if I didn’t nip this bud right there and then, it was all over and we’d end up having meals all staring down at a screen or two, never uttering one word to anyone not electronically invited to the table. Now whenever i see a screen even make an appearance, I remind the user that there are NO SCREENS ARE ALLOWED AT THE DINING ROOM TABLE, except of course when we aren’t eating there. I also mention that I just might have a Blendtec all ready for it. No one challenges this rule.  Ever.

    Sadly, I’d really like to see an I-Phone meet the Blendtec.

    Posted by karan on 04/10 at 10:48 AM
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    [ Tuesday, April 01, 2014 ]

    To the dad in my life, redeux

    I wrote this on Father’s Day, June 21, 2009, today I share it on the day of his death, a few days shy of 96 years.

    To the dad in my life and nope, I don’t mean Leonard although he is the best dad I could have possibly selected for my children.  The dad I wish to salute today is my father-in-law, Ralph.

    A quick biography: 

    Ralph is born in 1918, is the third of 6 children - a Montana son of a second generation pioneer woman and a railroad man.  His father’s family-man skills left much to be desired...or rather perhaps the more accurate way to portray him is that he spread himself too thin...with a wife and children at each end of the line.  His father’s lack of a full commitment in presence and financial support left Ralph and his family to struggle at times and when it became necessary to work just to bring food to the larder, Ralph and his brothers quit school and signed on with the railroad, the only employer in town.

    When he was about 18, his mother packed him a lunch with two sandwiches and a bottle of water, waved him good-bye and he boarded the train bound for California.  In his pocket, his life savings totalling $31.  His plan was to join a friend in Ventura and sell men’s shoes and suits in that tiny burg and I’ve seen a picture of him standing along side the surf line as he touches the Pacific Ocean for the first time.  Eventually he joined the war effort and spent his entire enlistment based in Sausalito, California.  Not bad duty if you ask me.  During that time, he tells a story about paying another airman $5 to cover his turn on duty so that he could go off base for a weekend job pushing a broom and earn $7.  It so happens that his broom pushing job was with a packaging company that offered him a job immediately upon his separation from military life.  It was also at that same company he would eventually meet the love of his life, Daisy, not coincidently, Leonard’s mom.

    Time passed, Ralph learned the business, started his own highly successful packaging company and with Daisy, raised three children.  By all accounts he was a strict dad but never did any of his children doubt his love of them.  I met Leonard in 1979 and was welcomed open-armed into his family.  It is the way of that family to collect and hold dear those that cross their paths.  I still feel very lucky to have become one of them.  When Daisy died in 1997, Ralph was devastated but actively worked through his grief.  It was during this time, that I grew to adore him and I think, if I can be so bold, he grew very fond of me.  I feel like rather than the woman his son married, I became another daughter to him and he became the father figure I missed in my own dad. Anyway, Ralph is 91 years old now.  He is starting to fail physically and I think his memory isn’t quite what it was earlier in his life.  (that statement there is pot calling kettle black) No matter, I love him much and I am more than willing to care for him when the time comes. 

    I am certain that never during his lifetime did he fail as son, brother, friend, father or grandfather.  Integrity is paramount in his book and even though he has enjoyed success in all walks of life, he remains modest and appreciative of all that has come his way.  If he were telling his own story, it would include funny little stories of his youth, how he met and courted Daisy plus side notes about what he considers to be personal failures.  He is much embarrassed by his lack of a high school diploma and no amount of reminding him of his accomplishments erases that “short-coming”.  He revels in the successes of his children, taking not one ounce of credit for the fine brood he begat or the integrity and example he’s provided and continues to provide.

    So to Ralph, the man who in all ways is my father too, thank you much for being in my life!

    Posted by karan on 04/01 at 12:30 PM
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    [ Tuesday, March 18, 2014 ]

    Departures

    It was very goodIt was very goodIt was very goodIt was very goodIt was very good

    No...I haven’t given up yet.  I just want to say you’ve got to see this movie, Departures. 

    It’s a softly quiet movie and really very wonderful. Departures has an official website link via Wikipedia here, but it might be a facial lotion site.  Instead, go to the Asian Wiki website for a nice synopsis.

    Departures follows an unemployed cellist named Daigo who moves with his wife back to his hometown to look for work and start over. He answers a classified ad entitled “Departures” thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency only to discover that the job is actually for a “Nokanshi or encoffineer, a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life.” It’s amusing to watch him as he learns the trade. He finds that he is employed in an “untouchable” sort of occupation and faces the consequences of that pressure. Daigo learns to take a certain pride in his work and begins to perfect the art of “Nokanshi,” acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the family of the departed. There is a lovely symmetry between his practice of Nokanshi and his cello that runs throughout the film.  It’s very moving. 

    It’s also in Japanese with English subtitles and has very beautiful cello music throughout.  The only complaint I had was Mika’s sometimes over-gooey eye making...I have the feeling that she sits before her mirror and practices her doe-eyeing...but sometimes she pulled it off so I was able to live with it. Otherwise the story is simple and the film is very pretty. I watched it via Netflix in three installments which surprisingly didn’t harm it’s impact on me...it stayed with me well enough to endure the 2 weeks it took to complete the viewing.

    It won the 81st Academy Awards: Best Foreign Language Film which is a big deal considering how many foreign language films get made each year and get all bunched into that one single category to compete against each other.

    Oh...there is one other complaint I have...no soundtrack seems to be available. grrrr

    Departures

    Posted by karan on 03/18 at 01:06 PM
    I'm No EbertPermalink

    [ Friday, February 28, 2014 ]

    Clamming

    I think I’ll go clamming this weekend. I’ll buy long rubber waders and a clamming shovel and get up at dawn and go out to the beach and freeze my ass off and dig and dig my version of supersonic speed to catch one of the little slimy critters and try not to cut off my toes in the process and then I’ll go home with 3 clams in my bucket with sand in every crevice and hole in my body. Or...I’ll go to the fish store and buy a whole bag of them for about $10. Or not. I don’t even like clams. Nevermind.

    Posted by karan on 02/28 at 10:25 AM
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    [ Wednesday, February 19, 2014 ]

    I think I knew it on some level but now that it’s personal, it pisses me off.

    I think I knew it on some level but now that it’s personal, it pisses me off...but getting old sucks.  It’s not the increasing creaks and groans.  It’s not the increasing need to make to do lists.  It’s actually the ever increasing dismissal showered on me by younger people. At first I thought it was a matter of heightened or maybe even excessive sensitivity to slights and glaze-overs when I talk to someone younger than me.  I began to notice that sales people increasingly overlook my polite conversation and sometimes even seem annoyed with me for my words.  I notice that when I volunteer, I am given chores instead of responsibilities and I notice, most sadly of all, that I am no longer considered as a valuable contributor to this world.

    This didn’t just start when I let my hair go to its natural silvery color...it’s been going on for as long as my face started drooping.  I kind of understand why folks look into lifting and tucking...although I WILL NOT DO THAT!

    There are some kindnesses showered on me because of my 58 years...for instance recently a young woman made an effort to help me take my suitcase out of the overhead bin on a plane...an effort I appreciated before I realized why she did it....hey...I’m not old! I do qualify for some of those old lady discounts which I’m glad to take until they started getting applied automatically.  I am certain that I’ll not get another job reflecting my training and experience and at best, if I need it, I’ll be looking at greeting at Walmart or sweeping floors at McDonalds. I don’t mind that kind of work...well I do but I’m not in a position to have to do it, thank god! But I don’t understand why all the respect I formerly enjoyed disappeared when my uterus dried up because if truth be told I put my uterus on hold a long long time ago.

    Posted by karan on 02/19 at 01:36 PM
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    [ Thursday, January 23, 2014 ]

    college is expensive

    My friend Shelley shared this Facebook post by Robert Reich. It reminded me of some quiet thoughts I’ve long kept to myself....and allowing for the recognition that college is proportionately much more expensive then ever… many students don’t engage in some obvious cost saving measures that were once considered to be expected “in the day” and know that I write this from first-hand experience in speaking with students.

    Students don’t/won’t share a bedroom. They don’t want to use a laundromat. Many “can’t” live without a car. A study abroad experience is a must have...etc.

    Now I’m not such an ogre to suggest that all needy students demand these things...just that I’ve had conversations with very needy students who have taken out student loans to avoid and benefit such privileges...and who have been incensed that I might suggest living more frugally to avoid the debt.  In my mind it’s a matter of living cheaper now or later...with loan payments that prevent car or home ownership.  Too often students seem not to believe that they live with less and keep an eye on the prize.

    There. I’ve said it aloud and yes...I know tuition and books are outrageously high costs.

    Posted by karan on 01/23 at 07:32 PM
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