Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Forever Fuls

To be honest, I have a hard time thinking of things I am THANKful for. But I can list endlessly things I am GRATEful for. What is that about?? I have no idea.

But that got me thinking about the -fuls...thankful, grateful, joyful, even sorrowful..and how their opposites aren't empties, are they?

It seems to me that unlike other feelings, or states of being, that once you are a -ful, it never really goes away. We don't loose our joys or our sorrows - although mine certainly get lost in the jumble. You don't feel nervous or giddy forever, but really, once a -ful feeling lodges in your heart, I don't think it ever comes out again. Pain may heal, but sorrow never really leaves. Happiness may fade, but a joyful moment is ours to treasure long after.

And now, the -ful words just look wrong and weird, because I have typed them too many times in a row. That's all for now - wishing you a -ful day (even the sorrowful kind - because eventually they'll become bittersweet).

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hunting and Gathering

Why is it that some people are avid collectors, and others could care less?
Why do some people need the newest, latest, greatest version - while others just want every version ever made?
Is it tied to some ancient, proto-human, pseudo-squirrel instinct from the days of cave living and ice-age survival? What does what we collect say about us?

I collect odd ball stuff.
Maps. Rocks and shells from places I have been (totally illegal and ungreen, I know). Two new ones: old cameras, and globes. Someday I hope to collect a few old typewriters - but I don't have room yet. They might all be gone by the time I can store them.

Tristan collects all kinds of things - he has a total collector's personality. He doesn't even look at the stuff he gets - just checks it off the list and adds it to the shelf, still wrapped in its packaging. On to the next item on the list. Which is really unrewarding as a parent paying for all those $20 Star Wars figurines...

Tristan collects: star wars stuff (any and all), tree house books, erasers, stuffed animals, squirrels (Pictures and stuffed animals, not the real thing. Although he would if he could). Nerf guns. Paper air planes (he keeps every one he has every made). Anything that comes in a series.

Ty collects: Disappointing Raider games (it's really quite a library now - looks like he is picking up another one as I type). Scrubs season dvds (which he gives to me as gifts, but they are really for him). Golf balls. Tools. Parts for the Z (which may or may not ever be installed). Sports equipment.

Sometimes you go about looking for these things, and sometimes they find you. If word leaks out that you are a fan of something, everyone seems to want to support your fondness. I used to have to hide my interests from my parents - who are gift-happy people - because once they knew I liked, say, wolves, every birthday card would have a wolf on it. I would get wolf books, wolf blankets, wolf figurines. Same with dolphins, Paris/France, and those Willow Tree figurines. Since I am only mildly afflicted with the collecting bug, most of my collections far exceed my interest in the subject. So I feel a little nervous outing my current collections...I still don't have room for those typewriters, or really many more globes.

Maybe I should start collecting storage units, or bookshelves. Or for that matter, laptops and cars. Dinners at good restaurants. Trips across the globe. If you have any extras, let me know - I am starting a collection.

Life is Good

We celebrated Ty's 30th birthday yesterday. We had over 20 dear friends come to Davis and sweat through a windless hot afternoon with us (a reminder that even if the second week of September is beautiful and breezy, fall doesn't really come to Davis until at least October!).

It's a little like a mini-wedding - everyone we love and want to catch up with, but so many people all at once we don't get to talk with anyone enough. But it was really exciting to have so many people with us at once - people from the last 10 (or more!) years of our lives - from family, school, college, post college, church, work...and all the spouses and kids (and strollers!) that have been added in over the years. It makes me a little weepy, I have to admit. I am sucker for a good picnic with friends.

We are really blessed to know an amazing bunch of people. I have been having this conversation a lot lately - that it's really hard to make good friends in the grown up world. We just don't have the opportunities to create the memories, trust, and intimate knowledge of each other that we had when we were younger - and that makes me so much more grateful for the friendships we have developed and held onto - however long distance - over the years. The friends we spent last evening with were all loving, supportive, fun people who have passions, great personalities, and good senses of humor to boot. We are really lucky to know you all.

Then this morning, we made it to church (amazing these days), and were overwhelmed (at least I was, still needing to introvert after all that community last night) by the dozens of people we wanted to say hello to on our way out. Given we were starving, we didn't stop for long, but I was reminded that humanity, after all, is pretty amazing. We know so many amazing people, and at church we often know them just enough to wish we knew them better. I will always hate the mob of people in the lobby as we leave, but now its dotted with faces that bring us joy and make me tempted to stay a few minutes (when I've had breakfast already).

In these pre-election days and all of their political commentary, and in the midst of the economic chaos and the struggles of so many countries, I have been pretty down on humanity. But this weekend reminded me there are really so many things to love about people. And we are really lucky to know so many people who are so lovable!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Birthday Post

Since my birthday is in the middle of the work week, I have nothing thoughtful to share.
But in typical me-fashion, I'll add a few tidbits: witty, deep, and random:

Witty - hmm. wait. Its still the middle of the week. wittiness between 8-5, m-f...instead I will tell you about a "get well card" that Ty bought this week that cracks us both up:
A cartoon guy is sitting in the middle of a brown river in a row boat. He says, this river sure stinks, and I can't find my paddle. of you may recieve this card someday. Hope it makes you laugh too, despite whatever shit creek you are floating in at the time.

Deep - I did have this revelation at around 1130pm on my last night of being 28: In business, the whole point is to do one thing over and over until you are so good and efficient at it, that people would rather pay you to do it than do it themselves. Given that I really love learning, puzzles, and challenges, the business world is ultimately never going to be able to satisfy me. Huh. Now what?

Random - I love flamenco. The music, the dance, and the great outfits. It's like tap on ecstasy in the Vogue dressing rooms..although that's probably an insulting analogy to make. Here is a great flamenco video - I don't know yet how to embed it so you'll have to paste the link, old-school style.

I like the opening shot where the women are reduced to sillouhettes, and then you see the colors and movements build up, and it moves to one central dancing figure in the end. Its like watching the sunrise. deep+random = two out of three....there are more insulting analogies I could make about flamenco, but that's for another post not in the middle of the week.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Nalgene - how the mighty have fallen

Nalgene was so big in the 90's. Nalgene's were invincible - you could run over them with a car! Amazing! I remember when their patent ran out and competitors could finally make the polycarbonate plastic bottles - it was huge!

And now, Nalgene's polycarbonate plastic (aka Lexan) has been linked to endocrine disruption and cancer. You might be able to run over them with your car, but you better not drink from them after a day rolling around in the car. This is driving a stake through the hearts of outdoorsy people across the globe. You can hear us collectively smacking our heads on the desktop of our dayjob cubicles. Of course, us outdoorsy folks could write off the potential health threats in the name of getting out there and being healthy in the natural world, but that's about as hypocrtical as driving our gas guzzling SUVs up the mountain to do it. Oh wait, we do that too...But in the name of health-consciousness, I am deeply pondering maybe someday giving up my bottle, maybe.

Of course, Sigg makes fun, colorful (but small and pricey) stainless steel bottles, and you can always pick up a super heavy original Thermos canteen at the local thrift store. But I think the kid in us still longs for the brightly colored plastic and the ridiculously large volume the Nalgene's touted, while weighing practically nothing.

So what to do with your indestructible but now useless Nalgene? Well, I have found the solution - make it a nightlight! Oh yes, this is by far my favorite techie invention of the decade, Nalgene-salvation perks aside. I am totally geeking out on this - too bad my Nalgene has the tiny drinking spout so the light won't fit!

Check it out, and repurpose your Nalgenes into a light that lasts forever! Of course, the neon glow may not strike you as the natural ambience you are seeking out in the wilderness, and in that case, I say donate it to your favorite scared-of-the-dark youngster. Or, keep drinking from it, and maybe someday you'll be the freakishly neon glowing light in the tent!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What does she do exactly?

Well, when I am not being a super mom, super wife, super homeowner, and super writer (I don't even qualify for that one), I am working at MAK Design+Build, a local green design-build remodeling firm. I am also a Certified Green Building Professional (professional what you ask? well, don't ask. Professional everything!)

Here is my staff profile, which tells you the tip of the iceberg of what I do around here:
Go to: THEN "We Are" THEN "The Team" THEN click on my photo.

Next check out the newsletter archive. Other than the first issue (which was more team collaborated) , I have put together all of them and written most of the articles. Our fantastic graphic guru, Phuong Nguyen of Melonhead Studios gets credit for making them look good - I just write the stories and pick the graphics - he makes it all come together and look snazzy for us.

Go to: THEN "We Do" THEN "Newsletter".

Also, I stage the photo shoots (and mostly decide what shots we take) with the technical help and good ideas of Dave Adams - our fantastic photographer. We have newer projects up at our new photo gallery at:

I "manage" (being a relative and constantly redefined verb at this company...) the marketing, green research and implementation, developing standard operating procedures, help with projects in design and construction, process new leads, and on and on. Many hats, one head.

So, if you have any green building questions, I am your go-to gal!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Stuffing Your Stocking (an email love story)

From December 2007, a little preface is in order:

Ty and I decided to use commuter mugs instead of paper cups when we go out for coffee. You know, integrity as a green building professional and all. I wanted to get him a mug for Christmas but he was very picky (Ty? Picky? No!) about which mugs would be acceptable for a Raider fan/ex rugby player to be seen holding. Never mind they would be filled with white chocolate mochas and whip cream – no one could actually see the foof inside.

Also of note: Ty had recently sworn off caffeine entirely and was a little bitter about it.

I have painstakingly re-pasted all of these in order so you can read down, not up.

-----Original Message-----

From: Juliana R. Tadano []

Sent: Friday, December 14, 2007 11:03 AM

To: Ty Tadano

Subject: RFI - stuffing your stocking

Dear Picky But Lovable Christmas Client,

Santa would like to bring you a new coffee mug for your stocking this

year. Santa respects that you would like as manly a mug as possible.

Can you please convey your manly factor on the following choices?

If none of these choices are appealing, please provide specifications

or models you would accept.

Santa also respects your thriftiness (although it has put you

dangerously close to getting on the naughty list at times) and so

would like a prompt response, as all of the choices below are on sale

this weekend only. :)


Chief Operating Elf

Department of Picky Clients

Disclaimer: For those clients who are caffeine impaired, offered mugs

may also hold decaffeinated coffee, tea, warm or cool water, gatorade,

or other beverage of choice. Please note that soda will cause cup and

client to spontaneously explode and should not be used with gift mugs.

On Dec 14, 2007 11:33 AM, Ty Tadano wrote:

Dear Chief Operating Elf,

As a direct employee of the jolly old, and all knowing, Mr. Santa

Claus, he should have told you that I am not fond of any mug that has

"Starbucks" prominently displayed on it. While I will likely continue

to be a patron of Starbucks, I do not like advertising for them.

Perhaps Mr. Clause is too busy to relay such details at this time of


However, my thriftiness, as you have noted, also makes me wonder why

Santa would want to purchase a new mug, when there is a nice, brand

new, stainless steel mug already residing in the Tadano cupboard.

Granted, it may have "Starbucks" on it, but the thriftiness usually

wins out over picky tendencies I may or may not have.

That all said, the Concord tumbler model is the most appealing to me.

Another related gift idea for picky clients such as myself would be a

stainless steel water bottle, with screw on/off cap. The "suck" type

lids are not favored.

Best of luck to you this Christmas season. I hope your picky clients

can loosen up a bit.


Client #1

-----Original Message-----

From: Juliana R. Tadano []

Sent: Friday, December 14, 2007 11:56 AM

To: Ty Tadano

Subject: Re: RFI - stuffing your stocking

We here at the North Pole love it when you sub-arctic folk think you

know more than us. It really ups the jolly level around here to laugh at you.

Said nice new mug in the Tadano cupboard was already rejected by yourself, and has been claimed by said Chief Operating Elf. Do not under any circumstances claim said mug for yourself. You are not worthy of it as you do not appreciate its niceness and tried to regift it - a felony offense here at the North Pole. That behavior did indeed land you on the Naughty List, and your recent delivery of just-because tulips is all that got you off that list and back into gift receiving status.

Secondly, ALL commuter mugs of any quality (ie. will not crack and break as photo mugs do) have someone's logo on them. The good news is the logo generally wears off - see Stainless Steel Eddie Bauer mug in your cupboard as evidence. If you want a gift with no brand name in this day and age, your lump of coal is waiting.

The mugs below were chosen based on: stainless steel is manly and

subtle. Double wall insulation works at keeping things warm/cold,

handles (where offered) provide help with bike trips to work, bottoms

fit in car cupholders, and the containers are not plastic or in 3 pieces which will come apart as your WYA mug did. Any mug lacking in logo is a)hard to find and b) shitty cheap and will fall apart.

We do offer a new waiver and right of responsibility form this year.

If you (or any other PBL Clients) wish to fill your own stocking, I can

forward this form which removes all responsibility and liability from

Santa and his associates for filling your stocking. In addition, you

agree to fill your stocking as long as there are children of influential age in your household or visiting on Christmas Day.

However, this is a one-time offer, and you cannot reinstate said

services once the contract is signed. In addition, by not signing said

contract, you agree to appreciate and utilize all gifts from this

Christmas forward without negativity, guilt trip, or ungratefulness.

You are permitted to give positive, gentle, and constructive feedback on stocking stuffers received or not received for future Christmas use

- if accompanied by a back rub, 10 compliments, and a box of good

chocolate. Santa and Associates reserve the right to still be pissed off and angry upon receipt of said advice.

Please let me know what you would like do this year in regards to the

Transfer of Stocking Stuffing Responsibility Form.

-COE, Dept. of PBLC's

On Dec 14, 2007 12:18 PM, Ty Tadano wrote:

Tempting, however, I do not wish to sign the transfer of stocking

stuffer responsibility form. Thanks for extending the offer though.

Very thoughtful of you.

Please note that the Concord Tumbler mug was the preferred style out of

the three sent.

I plan to obtain a beverage holder for my bike once the commute

increases, therefore, a traditional handle is not necessary. Also,

since I am no longer partaking of coffee, I may not be traveling with

the mug by bike at all. Of primary importance are manliness and the

ability to fit in a car cupholder. I agree that stainless steel is a

very manly finish in coffee mugs.

Thanks for your hard work up at the North pole this (and every) year. I think I am speaking for all my fellow PBLC's when I say that you are

much appreciated.

Client #1

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Juliana R. Tadano

Date: Dec 14, 2007 12:23 PM

Subject: Re: RFI - stuffing your stocking

To: Ty Tadano

Noted, noted, noted and noted.

You continue to be our most difficult, vexing, frustrating,

impossible, and lovable client, this year and every year.

I will now bang my elf head on my elf workbench in a most jolly way.


That Other Half of the Species…

This was started in Sept 2006 and never finished. But its still worth reading I think. But I am a bit biased...

That Other Half of the Species…

I find men endlessly entertaining…as much as I try to minimize the differences between the sexes (well, its not that I minimize the differences, I just tend to think that our shared humanity is much larger and more implicating than the differences based on hormones and genitalia)….anyhow, there are some things men do that I don’t understand!

Case in Point #1:

Last night over a birthday dinner, we played Apples to Apples. The game involves a judge, who chooses an adjective card, and the rest of the players, who offer a noun card for the judge to choose as the best fit for his adjective. For example, if your adjective card is “Explosive” the noun cards might include “Volcano,” “Chili,” “Rush Limbaugh,” “Exorcism,” and the random cards from folks who had nothing good to offer, like “Betsy Ross,” “Apples,” and “Milwaukee.” Whoever’s card is chosen by the judge gets a point, and a new round starts with a new judge and a new adjective card.

The problem is, for men, there are “trump cards.” Basically, no matter what the adjective, these cards represent something so revered in male culture that the card wins by default of being cool (where, in this case, cool means really nerdy in an 10 year old boy sort of way). The fact that there are trump cards alone says so much about men…but then, what qualifies as a trump card says so, so much more.

Last night’s trump cards included:


-The GodFather (which was never actually played, but was agreed upon as being THE trump card if it was indeed in the deck).

-Exorcism (beat my submission of “Tidal Wave” for “Refreshing” – I am disgruntled!)

To women, I would bet a large amount of money, Ninjas, The Godfather, and Exorcism mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. Okay, maybe they cause a little bit of annoyance, but that’s it. But to men, these are magic words. They conjure up another, forgotten world, where superman undies, cereal, video games, and smelly squishy things thrown at each other constituted the best in life.

So therefore, a good communal game of Apples to Apples (which is one of the few games I will play because its more about hilarity and wittiness than competition or embaressing antics) gets reduced to a boys club - where the grown men basically split off, grunt and giggle over horse heads in bed and black masks and throwing stars, and leave the game to go build a fort with "no girls allowed" painted on the outside.
Which I guess would be fine, except girls don't have trump cards. We are fair, we are relational. If we could, we would choose every card. Even the lame ones that don't fit - like "slippery" and "barbara thatcher". We spend all this time hemming and hawing over which cards we can legitimately discount without hurting anyone's feelings. Which makes us about as lame as the boys with their trump cards, now that I think about it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


They say dogs and their owners resemble each other – like an old married couple, perhaps, each picks up mannerisms of the other. (what does that say about all of the Lab owners out there? “I identify with a dog who is sweet but pretty stupid, obedient but slobbery, and just like everyone else’s dog”…)

So here is the selected (aka shorter) list on how I am like Tana. I am humble enough to say its an honor to resemble my dog, not the other way around.

-Tana loves squishy landing spots. Pillows, blankets, couches, beds. She doesn’t even sleep there, just enjoys the sensations. Right on with her owner.

-Tana is not graceful. She doesn’t know her size, her dimensions, or the power of her feet. She clomps and tromps and stumbles all over everyone.

-Tana loves Ty more than anyone in the world. She dotes on him and sits by the door waiting for him everyday at 5, looking out for him to pull up. I know this because I am waiting by the door too.

-She is incredibly honest. I have never known that dogs could be so honest. When she gets a hold of something she shouldn’t have, she brings it to me. She doesn’t drop it, exactly – she is not passionless…but she lets me know – hey mom, I found something I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t resist it, but I know you wouldn’t want me to have it, so I am bringing it to you, please help me do the right thing. I take it from her mouth easily, and throw it over the fence (or back in the laundry hamper). She is never sad. She doesn’t even watch it as I throw – she knows, she just wanted to enjoy the thrill of it for a moment. I wish I could do the same. I might be honest, but after I finish indulging, not before.

-She delights in the little things. A tuft of her own hair blown from a corner. A toilet paper roll. A cardboard box. A stinky sock (brought promptly to mom in confession). Getting to go in the front yard – all 10 feet of it.

-She loves a good nook. I think all dogs do – they create little caves or dens or crates under furniture. But a 70 lb dog trying to hide under my chair is hilarious. I get it though. When I was little, we had an under-stair closet that was the most fantastic hideout. I would go in there and read ghost stories – the one place secure enough to let my imagination run wild. My sister and I would make forts out of couch cushions, sheets, and the kitchen table and camp out in there. My home office is tucked into our hall closet. I worked in an Airstream trailer (aka tin can) for a year. I dig small spaces, even if my butt is sticking out.

-Oh for the love of peanut butter.

-Tana won’t give kisses on command, and I won’t make her. I don’t believe in kissing ass.

-She won’t do anything you tell her to, but she’ll do anything you ask her too.

-A lot of perfectly nice, good people are not dog people. A lot of perfectly nice, good people are not my kind of people either. Tana and I are both still confused about that one though. If we could have our way, everyone would be our kind of people. Silly them for missing out.

-Tana is an imp. She loves to run up to the mud hole, wait until we are watching, and then steps in. She waits until we are yelling at her to leave it, come, leave it, Tana!!!! Then she rolls in it. She revels in the rebellion, soaks up the mud and our anger, knowing she will be in trouble and not caring for a minute. She is always totally shocked at the cold water hose bath that follows. The injustice!

-She is egalitarian. She does not want to be dominant, but she doesn’t like submitting either. If she has to choose, she is more likely to sit out – to just lay down and stop playing. She wants everyone to be equals. Equal wrestlers, equal chaser and chasee, friends. She has found a few dogs who get this at the park – they are her favorites. Others are friendly but she is annoyed when they submit, or at others when they won’t leave her be for wanting to be dominant. So she just lays down and waits. She’d rather not play than be in a power struggle.

-She has a flair for the dramatic. She has a fantastic way of collapsing with a humph and a sigh on the floor. Of looking up at you forlornly from her paws. Of pawing and licking at the floor in mock insanity from her boredom. Of getting up to leave just as you sit down to play – she is so over you. Yeah, I might do that a little.


I am not much of a fan of miracles. I have witnessed one or two, and read about a lot. Maybe its my overzealous imagination, but they just don’t “wow” me like they should. Also, I think people waiting for miracles are missing the point.

But today is one of those glorious fall days – its still mid seventies outside but the leaves have turned and the sky has that gray quality that makes the sunlight a soft yellow. It feels foggy even though there is a blue sky. And something about fall feels so poignant to me that I am thinking about miracles today.

Here is the short list of what I find miraculous. I hope the list keeps growing, but any of these are enough to keep me impressed with the wonder in the world.

-forgiveness – hands down, without a doubt, the most miraculous and amazing thing on the planet.

-the planet – or rather, the exact combination of physics, chemistry, and geography that makes life on this planet possible

-conception – I know the birds and the bees part. But really, how does that process make life? The sperm gets in, and oila, baby.

-dying – one moment you are alive, the next you are not. We’ll never know what its like.

-that no one dies in the safeway parking lot – its madness in there!

-that two siblings can come from the same parents, live in the same house, and turn out so entirely different

-boyness and girlness (read Tomboy post)

-water – have you ever studied this stuff? It’s pretty special. It’s the only substance that expands when it freezes, instead of contracting. It has a super high heat quotient (how much heat it takes to which physical states). It has great surface tension. It refracts light. Its edible. The number of aspects that make our living state possible – as well as fun (puddles, snow cones, rainbows, bubble baths, swimming) – that are related to properties of water are amazing.

And that’s about it. Email me if you have something on your Miraculous List, I’d love to hear about it.

Well Then, Better to Clarify Than to Mislead You

I just want it on the record that I know the difference between then and than. You wouldn't know it reading some of my posts. If I weren't a year behind I'd go in and fix them, but I think you'd rather read new stuff.
Consider it a game- how many than/then mistakes can you find? And those spelling errors? Typos, not errors. I can spell anything. Try me. I just can't type your most basic words.

In fact, my husband said the other night, 'Thank God you can spell. I don't think I could ever be married to a woman who didn't spell as well as me." I'll let you unpack that statement...but I take a compliment whenever I can get one. Even when its grammatically incorrect...

So, bear with my typos and then/than moments. I promise, I am educated, just impatient. Think of it as a chance to hone your editing skills and we both win.

Checking In, Oops its 2008

Its um, been over a year since i updated this blog and far more than a year since I posted. That is not because I don't love my blog. I do.

Actually, Blogspot tried to upgrade me to a new version, and after I spent a week transferring everything over, the new version fried up and died, taking my access to both accounts with it.
After many hours researching and emailing the damn info people, I gave up.

So now apparently I am back (whoohoo) in the old version, which I liked better anyways.
The next two posts I wrote somewhere in 2007. Of course, I thought I could tell you when by looking at the last saved date. Then I went in, corrected typos while re-reading, and saved...thus loosing their original date. I love myself sometimes.

So, well, January 08 will look really productive compared to all of 2007. I don't think anyone has been holding their breath anyways. :)
Oh, and I am 28 now, in 2008. I was 26 in 2006. That's fun. Or it will be until 2010, then the fun is over.

PS. I love my friend Mel's blog so I am shameless posting it here.