Friday, July 13, 2012

Happy Comic-Con Friday!

Happy Friday!

It’s been a dream of mine to go to the San Diego Comic-Con for years now.  This is the weekend of 2012 Comic-Con and so, in true geek nature, I’ve been stalking all of my comic blogs to absorb every possible detail about what’s happening in the San Diego Convention Center.
This year, the hype is all over the map.  Dark Knight Rises comes out a week from today.  The Walking Dead comics and show.    Neil Gaiman announced that he’ll be writing a new Sandman book. Wreck-It Ralph.  The Avengers, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man…

Yes yes, it’s all geek speak.  But I think there is one thing that almost everyone can get on board with. 

Geeks in costume rock.

Image from here.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fourth (ish) of July Friday

This one feels hard to write.  Not because the Fourth of July is particularly sentimental or some such, but because SO MANY ideas came to me when I was on my way to work and “Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen started playing on my iPod.

Do I take the most appropriate (and frankly, super obvious) approach of talking about our history and all of the fore-fathery stuff?
Do I say something politely patriotic?


Do I talk about the things that I love most about what we have available to us here in the US?

In no particular order, and certainly not limited to these items below, this is what I love about the place I live.  And I recommend you absorb every single thing on the list.

Independence Day – The movie from the great year of 1996.  Take time to savor the scene right after Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum destroy the aliens when they strut across the Salt Flats in Nevada smoking cigars.
Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen – Just try and tell me this isn’t one of the best albums ever.  Actually don’t.  You’re entitled to your wrong opinion.
Captain America – Let’s be clear.  I’m talking about the comic book hero.  The movie was great and all, but Cap looks best in print.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – one of the loveliest books I ever read in my American Lit. class. 
Mark Twain and Walt Whitman – crazypants authors who shocked people at every opportunity.  Incidentally, July 4th is also Tom Sawyer Fence Painting Day.
Van Halen – What is more American than a band that has dramatic break ups, reunions, and really really loud drum solos?

Image from here.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Happy Above Ground Pool Friday

Do you remember above ground pools?  For those of you who still have one (or access to one) this won't be difficult.

When I was younger (read: grade school), my friend Maddie had an above ground pool.  One friend had a VERY dangerous trampoline that we would put a sprinkler under during the summer, but Maddie had the only pool.

The BEST game we'd play though, far better than Marco Polo or any of that was running laps around the edge of the pool to create a big whirlpool.  I’ll tell you, get 8 Girl Scouts committed to making a whirlpool and you’ll have one within seconds. 

After all, our motto was “Be prepared…” (to make unnecessary, semi-dangerous vortexes in an above ground pool). 

Once it got going, we'd let it carry us around the edges for a while, running into each other and the walls until someone bruised their shin, hit their head, or we got bored and hungry.

Of course, all of this whirling took place before the days of sunbathing while sipping an unhealthy amount Diet Pepsi instead of swimming.

Sadly, I think I’m too old (read: tall) now to enjoy an above ground pool.  I’m certainly too afraid of germs (and kids) to go anywhere near the actual water in the Salmon Street Fountain.  But I appreciate the bravery and joy that I see there all through our Portland summers.

Happy Friday all!

Images from here and here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy First Day of Summer Friday!

Wednesday was the first day of Summer!

I firmly believe that there are few better places to be in the summer than Portland.  Having spent big parts of my childhood in the Chicago suburbs where the humidity during the summers smashed you flat against the sidewalk, summer here always feels like a big, wonderful, blue sky-filled breath.

Now, admittedly, as I write this, it’s cloudy and kind of sad out, but Wednesday was 80ish degrees.

So I’m going to do some suggesting for all of us to take advantage of the UH-MAY-ZING things that happen in our lovely hometown (or adopted hometown, as the case may be).

Movies in the Park – which start next Friday
Trek in the Park – totally nerdy, but super funny and a great crowd attends
Shakespeare in the Park – this year it’s Hamlet, which is one of my least favorites of the Bard’s plays because he’s such a whiney fool, but still.
Brew Fest – 25th anniversary this year, which is kind of cool.  And usually the weather is lovely.
Concerts in the Park – Some of these are a little more my parents’ flavor, but you know.  probably lovely.
Sand in the City – The beach.  In the city.  And for a good cause.

Also, in general, the Portland Art Museum has free admission the fourth Friday of every month and there is a Farmers Market in NW Portland on Thursday afternoon evenings-ish.

Image from here.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy Father's Day Friday

It’s been ages since I put up a Friday post, so I’m happy to say I’m back!

This is my dad.

He’s pretty great.  Just like mom.
This upcoming Sunday is Father’s Day (or Grandfather’s Day, or Uncle’s Day, or Brother or Brother-in-Law, Foster Dad, Adopted Dad, or Significant Other, or Cousin, or Great Uncle, etc.)

Recently, my dad has decided to take up blacksmithing.  To be clear, my dad works for a software company.  He’s a geek (in a super cool, 3D modeling, computer game playing, sci fi watching, home theater building kind of way). 

What I’m say is this blacksmithing thing came as a big surprise to me (although, mom didn’t seem surprised at all).

Part of this new hobby is that he spends a lot of time talking about different types of hammers and trying to decide where in their backyard he would like to put his forge.

Let’s spend our weekends thanking them for putting up with all the years of eye rolling and embarrassed, exasperated shouts of “Daaaaaaad!  You’re embarrassing meeeeeee!”

(Like when they ask your friends whether they think the 3 pound or the 1 pound hammer is better.)

Happy Pride Weekend!

Happy Pride my lovelies!

Pride weekend in Portland is one of my favorite few days of the year.  And this year, so much exciting stuff is happening!

Between Obama finally deciding to be awesome and honest, and the fact that this year's Pride parade is at 100% capacity for the first time in a long time, it feels like things are finally headed in a truly positive direction.

To me, this feels like a big deal and a beautiful sign for so many of the people I care about.

Next step:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy First Day of June Friday!

Happy First day of June my Friday Friends!

Incidentally, today is also national Say Something Nice Day.  (and National Heimlich Maneuver Day, but that’s not really the tone I’m going for here).

So for all of you Friday Lovers, a little something nice:  THANK YOU for reading my silly entries, for responding, and for thinking the story about my mom was cute.

Image from here.

Friday, May 11, 2012

This is my mom.  She’s pretty great.
This upcoming Sunday is Mother’s Day (or Grandmother’s Day, or Aunt’s Day, or Sister or Sister-in-Law, Foster mom, Adopted Mom, or Significant Other, or Cousin, or Great Aunt, etc. whatever makes sense for your family).

In our family, Mother’s Day actually lasts the entire weekend. Which is lovely, and a little funny.  Those of you who have been anywhere near me during my birthday month, now understand why my birthday lasts much longer than a day.

Over the last few years, she has decided that instead of gifts, she wants to give and receive experiences.  I love this idea and so as I was preparing for the upcoming Mother’s Day weekend, I was looking forward to hearing about what we would be doing.  Spa day?  A day at Powell’s?  A trip to the beach maybe?
This year, we will be visiting the exotic, adventurous, and exclusive…
Mom’s Office.

My mom is a photo fanatic.  She has been working on a picture project for the last several years to collect, preserve, and share family photos. 

So Mother’s Weekend this year will be spent crowded around mom’s computer, sorting, editing, and otherwise fantastic-izing thousands of pictures.
Let’s wish them a happy day/weekend and thank them for putting up with the phase we went through when all we would do in pictures is stick out our tongues or give the thumbs up.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Happy 90's Music Friday!

Hello Friday Lovers!

Even though I was born in the 80’s, I am, without a doubt, a child of the 90’s.  My favorite color is flannel.  My favorite band will probably always be Third Eye Blind.  Secretly, I think Val Kilmer was a pretty good Batman.  And let’s be honest, the two best, most relatable movies ever are Reality Bites and 10 Things I Hate About You.

Recently, I’ve been back on a 90’s music kick. (ok, fine, I’m always on a 90’s music kick.  All the good music stopped in 2000).  And I have created the world’s greatest 90’s music playlist.  In the midst of clicking “add to on the go” a couple hundred times, I came across a few gems that I had to share with my Friday Friends.

Pick your favorites.  Watch.  Listen.  Enjoy.  And believe me when I tell you that your favorite Friday-er was the best flannel-and-torn-up-jeans wearer ever.

Peaches by the Presidents of the United States of America
No Rain by Blind Melon
Buddy Holly by Weezer
I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan
Wear Sunscreen by Baz Luhrmann

Image  from here

Friday, April 20, 2012

The End of 1000 Awesome Things Friday

Hi Friday Friends,

Yesterday, my favorite blog came to an end.  I’ve made references to it before in these emails, sent many of you specific entries that remind me of conversations we’ve had, and even spoken about it in Leadership Lunches. Over the course of four years, the author, Neil Pasricha, started here, on a mission to heal himself, and has ended up here.

1000 Awesome Things has had a hugely positive impact on my days.  I read it every day. 

Watching Neil’s Ted Talk about the 3 A’s of Awesome really got me as well.  It’s 17 minutes and worth every second. 

Watch it and be inspired to make every second of your time on earth really truly count by focusing on the small things that really matter and make us joyful. 

image from here.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy Titanic Friday

In April of 1997 I was 13 years old and, just like every other girl I knew, I was in love with the movie Titanic.  I can tell you with certainty, I saw it at least 6 times at our local theater.  Which means 3 things:

1) I somehow convinced someone’s parent to drive me to the theater 6 different times to see it (probably with my friend, Emma, who saw it 9 times)
2) I spent $27 on movie tickets ($4.50 X 6 = $27)
3) Clearly I knew the value of my allowance dollars.

In 2012, 3D movies cost $14 (if you’re luck)
X 6 showings (I’m not going 6 times, if I’ve learned anything in the last 15 years, it’s the value of my allowance dollars)
= $84!!!
Can you imagine?

I went to see Titanic in 3D last night after work.

And it was JUST AS EPIC AND AMAZING as I remember it being when it debuted in 1997.
Go.  Enjoy.  And know that my heart will go on.

Image from here.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Easter Friday

I know that Easter means a lot of different things to different people and families.  But today, I want to tell you about how it works for the Kross family.
I have had the same Easter basket since I was 6 months old.  My mom made it for me out of blue, pink, and white yarn.  That Easter basket has travelled with us from Illinois out to Oregon, moved between at least 4 houses, and is older than my brother.

So, every year, my mom pulls out the Easter baskets from her secret holiday stuff hiding place: my pastel macramé basket of joy, a stand in for my brother and his wife, and usually some additional basket for an orphan friend or two who joins my family for the holiday that year.  She fills them with that weird shredded green plasticky stuff, and anxiously waits for us to show that same excitment from 1989.  The best Easter baskets I ever had were filled with Reese's and Lego’s.  There are few greater gifts in the world and I'm grateful that this part of Easter hasn’t changed.

Now that my brother and I are grown, the big thing that has changed for my family is that Easter is a pretty casual holiday.  It no longer requires that I wear an ugly dress chosen by my grandmother but instead, I get to wear sweatpants while my dad makes "Easter Paella.”  A few years ago, Dad travelled to Spain on a business trip and of all the things that happened on that trip, Paella is the thing that stood out for him.

Happy Friday.  Happy Easter.  Happy Lego’s.  Happy Reese’s eggs.  And perhaps, if you’re lucky, happy Paella.

Image from here.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Sing-a-Long Friday

Today, my Friday Friends, I’d like to do some advocating.  I am advocating for Sing-alongs.
We live in a weird city (thank goodness).
Between Cinema 21 and the Hollywood Theatre, there are just about 10 million sing-alongs throughout the year.  You know,10 million-ish.
Last year, I went to a Mary Poppins sing-along.  Last weekend, I attended a Hedwig and the Angry Inch sing-along.  For my birthday last year, I went to a Rocky Horror Picture Show “sing-along.”
I’d never claim to be a good singer.  But two things I am good at is dressing up in silly costumes and “singing” really loudly without feeling embarrassed.

This is one of the big reasons I love living in Portland.  The fact that I own a pair of sequined heels essentially for sing-along type events is mostly normal here (again, ish), and for this I am grateful.

I recommend attending a sing-along at least once in the coming months.  More tend to be scheduled as we get closer to summer, but the wait is worth it.  And if you ever need a “singing” buddy, you know where to find me.

Image from here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Happy Spring in Oregon Friday

I am in a committed love/hate relationship with Spring in Oregon.  Earlier this week when I woke up and made my LONG journey to work, I drove along a street lined with happy little daffodils.
The morning after our angry slushy snow, those same daffodils just looked droopy and a little defeated.

The hate part of my relationship with Oregon can be summed up pretty easily:


The love part of my relationship with Spring in Oregon comes from the fact that you just can’t beat how green it is here.  We certainly are lucky in that way.  For me it does outweigh the yuck parts of winter and spring.  So, in the midst of the gray and the over abundance of precipitation, remember that very soon, we’ll see a whole lot more of this:

Happy Friday all!

Images from here and here and here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy Beware the Ides of March! Friday

During my Sophomore and Junior years of high school, I had the BEST English teacher.  Mr. West was strange and rebellious.  He played Pink Floyd for us on vinyl, had us write insults about each other on slips of paper and seal them in a jar he hung from the ceiling to “loom over” us for an entire semester. 

But the best thing about Mr. West was the fact that he went out of his way to scare the hell out of us.

When we read Moby Dick, he came to class for that entire unit wearing one white shoe, limping, and yelling at us like Captain Ahab.
The insults in a jar event was intended to teach us that we shouldn’t want to spread rumors about each other after we read The Crucible. (That one didn’t work though.  They may have “loomed,” but we were still 15)

Then there was the time that we read Julius Caesar when Mr. West started telling us to “Beware the Ides of March.” 
It wasn’t until we got to the part in the play when the soothsayer warns Caesar of his own impending death courtesy of his BFF, Brutus on March 15th (a.k.a. the Ides of March) that we really started to get nervous. 
As it turns out, the “bewaring” was just that we spent weeks being afraid of nothing, but it was admittedly pretty effective for the week leading up to the breathless moment when the bell rang and nothing happened on March 15th.

Happy Ides of March were yesterday Friday everyone!  I hope you bewore (? Bewared?) them.

Image from here.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Happy Oreo Friday!

On March 6th (Tuesday) the Oreo cookie turned 100 years old!  You can use the link below to read the real, “official,” version of the cookie’s history.
But let’s be honest.  The question that matters is: do you dunk or twist?
Personally, I’m a twister.  When I was a kid, my grandpa taught me how to twist Oreos apart and stick the two sides with the most frosting together to make one giant Awesome-eo.  I certainly inherited my sweet tooth from him.
Celebrate Oreo’s birthday with some serious milk-and-cookie indulgence.  Out of respect for such an important institution, I am officially giving you permission to break whatever cleanse/diet/no sugar thing you are currently working on.

Images from here and here.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy (fake) Spring Friday

About a week or so ago a couple of my co-workers were convinced that daylight savings time was happening that very weekend.  We had an entire debate about when spring starts and when we were going to “spring forward.  I think once we used The Google and realized that spring doesn’t actually start for several more weeks, there was a moment of blah.
I think we’re all craving some sun lately.  I know I’m ready for spring.  I would even go so far as to say that I’m going a little crazy for a some sun in the morning and some greenery on the trees.
So, instead, here, have a springing lamb (ha!  punny!).  Let’s hang in there for another 18 days.

Image from here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Pre-Leap Day Friday

It’s a Leap Year everyone.  On Wednesday, we are getting the “gift” of an extra 24 hours this year.  It sounds like something amazing and lovely and… gift-y.  But reeeeeeeeeally, it’s because when they made our calendar and broke it into 24 hour days and 365 of them in a year, it didn’t break down evenly, so every so often we have to make up for it with an extra day in order to avoid having our calendar “drift”.  Questionable math and planning skills I think.
It has me thinking about what I would like to do with an extra 24 hours.  I know that I should plan on doing something like this.  But if I’m honest, I’d rather play this videogame for hours with my roommate while we drink Diet Dr. Pepper and eat popcorn or Baked Ruffles.

Image from here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy Presidents' Day Friday

Really it’s Monday, I know, but this year I actually have something to say about Presidents’ Day.  Apparently, the holiday used to be only about George Washington but is now meant in some states to celebrate multiple presidents.  So I’m going with that definition.

I went to the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana for college.  I love my university.  I love being a Fighting Illini and I still bleed orange and blue.  U of I was big and noisy and full of Midwestern behaviors that are odd to me now.  Because Illinois is the “Land of Lincoln,” we had a lot of Lincoln-themed locations on campus.
The one that stands out the most though is Lincoln Hall on the Main Quad.  When you would walk in the front doors, there he was, his skinny, beardy face peering at you from in between a split staircase leading up to the main auditorium.
We took a lot of final exams in Lincoln Hall and would rub his nose for luck as we walked up the worn marble staircases into the auditorium.
Whether his nose was really good luck for us, I don’t know.  I must admit I am a bit superstitious, so I probably would have rubbed his nose anyway.
So for Presidents’ Day, I’d like to say: thank you, Mr. Lincoln, for helping me get solid grades on my Women’s Studies 200 and Survey of American Literature Pre World War I finals sophomore year!

Image from here.