Gene McTee, 1932-2005

Gay & I went to Tacoma this morning to attend the funeral service for Gene McTee, who died suddenly of a stroke last week at the age of 72. Gene’s wife of 50 years, Shirley, and my mom are cousins so we went to the service since my mom and dad couldn’t (they live in Florida). I had met them a few times while my parents were visiting Seattle the last few years and they attended our wedding last summer, which was the last time I saw Gene.

Gene, Shirley & Me

Nathalie Wood was Really Really Pretty

bctaAfter a string of real stinkers (we’re still arguing about who put Chasing Liberty on our Blockbuster queue), we’ve resumed my “Alice’s” film fest by seeing “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice” (a follow up to “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Any More”). Troy thought a wife-swapping (I say “husband-swapping”) movie was in poor taste so soon after our own wedding, but the movie less about swinging, than the emptiness in certain truth-telling in relationships, not just Bob & Carol’s but also Carol & Alice’s…. The most hilarious scene is the one with Ted & Alice in the bedroom trying to negotiate sex. It would be difficult to put my finger on another movie that highlighted more clearly the difference between men and women.

Beauty in War

desert foxOne of my relatives is in Iraq (I’m being vague because you really aren’t supposed to talk about where anyone in the military is or what they are doing, even though he is civilian, it seems safer). This is a picture of a fox he spies every day on his lunch walk. You can see the base airport in the background. He’ll only be there for a few months, and thanks to email and digital cameras he is still quite close to home. I’m really thankful for this picture (instead of the suicide bombing last week), because when I read the news and think of him, I can think of him on his walks, following the growth of this desert fox and her cubs.

Inaugural Boycott

In an effort to preserve our own sanity, we’ve instituted a voluntary 72 hour television boycott this week in an effort to prevent even a glimpse of a painful Bush sound bite. As a result, we also missed the, I’m assuming, under-covered protests as well. Great photos here and great signs make me proud we have a country founded on free speech. Four years seems like a mighty long time right now.


We went to Crow last night for dinner after visiting Internap‘s Open House at the Fisher Plaza. They have a very impressive facility.

The food at Crow was good but the wait staff was a bit on the surly side. Because we were late for our reservation, we had to sit at the food bar, which is pretty nice as you get to watch the chefs prepare your food. I had a braised duck and Gay had the lamb shank. Both were excellent. And the prices are moderate.

Assistant Debate Coach

I risked my life last weekend driving our High School Debate team to the Gonzaga University tournament in Spokane — I had never seen so many accidents on the Snoqualmie Pass. We made it in one piece, only to go 6-6 at the event. I was pretty disappointed, especially after all the driving and snow — did I mention it never stopped snowing while we were there? …8 inches on the ground by the time we left…I felt my anti-lock brakes for the first time in the 6 years I’ve owned the car, twice!

IMHO there were only 2 teams (Auburn & Mead) that are consistently better than ours at the tournament, so not even making it to Octa-finals is disappointing. The life of assistant coach is sort of rough in this sense. I’m not in class every day with them, and I’m not really the coach on “game day” either. Fact is, debate is a much more self-reliant sport because each team goes to their round while the coaches only rarely see their teams work, because the coaches are off in another round judging other coaches’ teams. It is now common place to divulge your decision at the end of a round and give oral critique, hopefully to help the kids learn how to get better right then, in a dialogue, rather than in whatever terse sentences you can squeeze onto a ballot in 5 minutes in between rounds (ballots that the kids won’t even seen for another week after the tournament). I think this system is good, but unfortunately it means I do most of my “coaching” on kids other than Vashon’s. And of course, every once in a while you run into sore losers that don’t want to be coached at all, like I did with the kid from Kuna who called me a “stupid bitch” when I gave him a loss — that earned him 0 speaker points.

I really like debate, and I really like our kids, but I hate all the weekends away for tournaments, and I think I feel sort of funny that my volunteering has less impact on our kids than others… I dunno.

I did run into an old teammate from my own high school debating days. Andre Cossette is now coaching our old team. It was really wonderful to catch up with him and find out about all our old pals….

The new office

IMG_2389.jpgIMG_2390.jpgOn Wednesday, the carpet installer came and 5 hours later, at 8pm, we could move into the office. So we did. Today I took some photos to get the daylight view. That’s Puget Sound outside the windows and through the trees, facing southeast. Mt. Rainier can’t be seen in the photo, but it’s visible today.

It’s a lot bigger than the old office, which was half the size, and there’s tons more light — which was our main goal. The original windows were tiny and only came down half the wall, so when you were sitting down, you stared at the wall and the sky and treetops. It was almost like an underground basement with windows at the ceiling. Natural light is a precious commodity in Seattle, so we wanted to maximize the amount of light we get since we spend the majority of our time in this room.

The windows were slightly darker than we would have liked, but we can look out the window with the sun shining directly in without blinds, which is nice. And we love the colors and the carpet. It really makes the rest of the house look drab (it’s mostly shades of beige). And the extra space is great, I can get up from my chair now without bumping the sleeping dogs.

If you have QuickTime, you can see a QuickTime 360º photo of the room. It’s not perfect, but it’s time-consuming to make these so that’s all I’m going to do. 🙂