Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Making Friends

I could not get to sleep last night, so please forgive me if I am out of sorts.

I talked to my mentee last night. She had her first interaction with life as a single parent yesterday and she was totally upset. She is really still a kid, and it is hard work taking care of a baby when all you want to do is hang out with your friends. It is obvious that she loves the child, but I think she is seeing the other side of having a child attached to you with all it's needs and wants for the next 18 years. I reminded her that she still has choices, but that she should get some sleep and think on it all a bit.

I have an awesome friend that I haven't seen much in the last 4 years. She has been in medical school and sometimes she has a tough time dealing with the stress of school, kids and life, so she withdraws from anything she doesn't have to do. That includes me most of the time. You might think that is harsh, but we've talked about it--talked about it before hand, actually. I miss my friend and there have been a few rough patches when it would have been nice to have someone to talk to and she wasn't available. I got used to it though, and I think it made me a stronger person, to learn another's boundaries and how to work through things on my own (that took a bit of work too, and I ran at the mouth to a couple of people that I shouldn't have at one point or another). We do still spend time together, but it is only about 4-6 times a year. Enough back story, to the point.

Last week, when I was sitting at Canal Street Coffee after my long bike ride, I looked around and found her in everything. I saw several women who looked like her, lithe and athletic, with long golden brown hair and big sunglasses. I felt her in the sunshine and the coolness of the shade. I heard her laughter as I watched other friends chatting over their lattes. The whole thing reminded me of when we were undergrads together, sitting in her front lawn watching the kids play ball or just sitting and talking. Of our bike rides to Magnuson and our swim practices at Meadowbrook. Our easy coexistance. That was before we were roommates, before our boyfriends, before our kids turned into teenagers.

I sent her a text that day, telling her that I miss her. I didn't hear back that day, but about a week later I got the sweetest voice mail that told me she is feeling the same. She is almost done with medical school and is working for a year before she starts her residency. I am looking forward to sitting on the lawn again, watching our teens have water fights and become friends like us, chatting about nothing and everything.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

No Apologies, Sorry

I have been quite slow on here lately. I would apologize, but I don't really feel that bad about it. I just have less of that "Internet addiction" than I used to--there are many more intriguing things to do than sit in front of the computer lately.

For instance, P-Patch! I prepared and planted last week. This year I am doing all seeds, since I am starting sooner and am really nervous that nothing will come up. My indoor starts are doing fine though and I shouldn't worry so much. I went to an auction recently for a private school and won a neat little wagon with off-road tires that was filled with fun gardening tools, plants, gloves and watering apparatuses that help immensely with the p-patch. And having gone to that auction, I can tell you that some people are not hurting from this recession. It was a little disturbing, really, to watch the amounts of money thrown at frivolous things. I would think it would be cheaper to raise tuition.

Another instance, Wedding! Sister M's wedding is in a few months and we went dress shopping again yesterday. I thought I already knew which dress I was going to get, but I changed my mind yesterday. It is similar to this:

Ignore the underfed model. In fact, I just ordered this one because it was on sale on the website and will get here by May 1st, which is still plenty of time to call and order the other one if it fits badly. It was fun hanging out with the girls yesterday, trying on dress after dress and eating conveyor belt sushi. I also spent money at IKEA and The Rack. Bad me.

It is nice having Sister M visit. Tonight we will have dinner with the Mom Family and Dr. T will get a dose of the drama that invariably happens over there. I will make sure to bring my crocheting so that when things get tense, I can escape a little... or go for a walk. That is good too.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Rambling all over town

This weekend I was down with a sore throat and sinus troubles, which I now think were allergies. I have tried various remedies for allergies over the years, but the side effects of the drugs is often worse than the allergies themselves. To me, anyway. So we stayed home the whole weekend, although The Boy and I did make it out for a walk on Sunday afternoon in the pretty pretty sun. We walked to the Bluff park in the Sunset Hill area of Ballard. We wandered and did one of my favorite things: look at the prices of local houses on the market. WhoooWee! $800,000 if you're lucky! One had the price reduced, but it had been over a million, so there you go.

Today I took The Boy back to BFD, then worked in the garden a bit. I had a cappucino made at home and drank it out in the yard--which is one of the nice things about living in a basement apartment; there is a yard. Around noon, I tootled on my bike around Greenlake to the U-District and went to volunteer. I was really sad to hear that one of our kids had been in a shooting over the weekend and was in the hospital. Everyone was pretty shook up and drop in was almost empty most of the time. I like the kid quite a bit--he always has something interesting to say and he seems like a good guy.

After drop in, I rode to Fremont along the Burke-Gilman Trail. That ride is so much more pleasant than being on the road. I got there about 4:30 and had some time to kill, so I sat at Canal Street Coffee and read. It was absolutely beautiful out and there were a lot of people sitting out at the porch tables in the sun or shade. Since I was still a little hot from my ride, I chose the shade. It was bliss, even when some strange guy came up and dissed my book of short stories by Stephen King (he hadn't read them) and told me that SK steals all his stuff from some guy named Theodore Sturgeon. I just looked at him straight on and said "Thanks for the tip." and went back to my book. I haven't read any SK for years, and when I did, it was mostly in middle and high school. I don't pretend that he is the end all/be all of writing, but these stories were good, if a little horror movie-esk, and I wasn't going to let some ...guy... tell me what to like. If he was trying to wow me with his mental powress, he really struck out.

For the next stage of my all day odessy, I locked my bike up and walked around Fremont, stopping at the library and checking my email, wandering up to the Troll then back around the streets until I made it to Blue C Sushi just in time to meet a friend for dinner. We spent more time than we had intended gabbing and eating happy hour food--happy hour was over at 7, and we had finished eating by then, but we sat in the bar for another hour and 45 minutes.

I left there, feeling giddy from all that socializing and was happy to find that my bike was still where I left it. I fumbled around, trying to remember how the bike light worked--glad that I brought it, since by 9pm it was dark out--and finally got back on the trail to Ballard. I thought I would catch a bus once I reached there, but I just kept on truckin' all the way home. And then I took advantage of another cool thing about my house--the hot tub. I have only used it twice, but it is nice to know it is there.

There you go, I don't write anything much for a week, and then I give you a narration of my day. Maybe next time I will have a nice story for you. Maybe...

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hope on the Financial Horizon

The Mayor's press release about the budget cuts is up on the Seattle Channel website. We didn't get to have to much information about what the proposals were for cuts at the library ahead of time, although the administration was welcoming ideas. Whatever they proposed, the Mayor gave some of it back and we are only having a furlough and some cuts to our capitol funds (building renovations, etc). Look for a week closure of all Seattle Public Libraries for a week this summer. We don't know when yet, but the last time we had a furlough, it was the 3rd week of August--historical low usage.

I could use an extra week off this summer, for sure. It will suck not to be able to take vacation pay, but at least I know now, so I can start socking away $50 here and $20 there.

I also heard on the radio yesterday that Washington State is thinking about providing a bridge loan to qualifying home buyers that would give them an advance on the home loan tax credit. This would give new home buyers money for a down payment. I would like to see this go through. I have just started saving towards a down payment recently, and it would be a few years before I have the 10% down. This would allow me buy a house (probably a condo) a lot sooner.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

A Little Later...

I am happy to see that Amazon is working to get the issue with ranking fixed, although it seems like they are doing so on a book by book basis. I find this whole thing mildly amusing, more than seditious and scandalous. I like shopping at Amazon, and while that might not be popular with others, I plan to continue. This article from the New York Times mirrors my thoughts pretty well. I hope this never happens again, but I know that history has a way of repeating itself. I have always thought of Amazon as a fairly progressive and open minded company, and I am sure that what happened here was the result of one person's bigotry, or some coding gone wrong. Their biggest mistake, in my mind, was not answering concerns of authors and the internet community fast enough. I am also still looking for some real statement from Amazon about this "glitch."

Ok, I found one.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

You'd think we were an evolved species

And then Amazon contributes to the censorship of literature:

I decided to take out the link, as such things don't need to be left up undefinitely, but you can still find it at Smart Bitches below.

Thanks to Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and SB Sarah for the movement.

Did you know that restricting access, ie. moving a book out of regular circulation or its usual collection, is a form of censorship? You deny access by making a book harder to find.


Upon getting El JoPe's first comment below, I decided to further look into this, and Amazon can't seem to decide what to say about it themselves. Earlier articles have an Amazon rep saying that it was done purposefully, while a newer article by the LA times claims it is a "glitch". Interesting. However, I don't feel it is a bad thing that so many are letting Amazon know how they feel about this issue. I shop there--even for my groceries lately--and I want to be able to feel good about it.

And that said, I guess I should include a link to the petition.

And here is an explanation by author Heather Corinna about why this hurts authors listing on Amazon:

It's not that the books are no longer listed. If you search for a book by title or author, you will still be able to find it.

Rather, it's that those of us with books that have been deranked no longer have our books in the bestselling book ranks, where they appeared before (and would still appear, as that is based on our sales) nor listing under the subject headings in lists for our subjects/genres.

So, unless someone is coming unto Amazon and looking for our book by title or author, they are unlikely to find it. That's a huge issue for authors -- especially those of us who are marginal in some way to begin with -- as often consumers browse those lists to find our books.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Dancing Around (The Subject)

So I am back, and I made it through 4 full days of work without going insane. It was difficult, but I did it. This was the first vacation I have had where I wasn't even tempted to check work email. I barely even thought about work. It was awesome. And nothing exploded while I was gone. I had the Google Maps class last night and it went swimmingly. People even showed up! The only bad thing was that I forgot to do a survey. Again. You would think those would be first on my brain, but somehow I always think "I should have had a survey" hours later when I contemplate the various ways that people could have found out about the program. You know what would have fixed this wondering???? A SURVEY!

And I am done with Twitter. I tried it, it bored me. It was nice to be able to update from the road without a computer, but in reality, I just don't have time for that horsepucky.

When I got back from vacation I had one day left to do with as I pleased--after I took The Boy up to school in BFD way early in the morning. What did I do with that day? Well, after my 4 hour nap, I read in the sun for an hour, sipping an iced coffee I made with my own spresso maker, the spent a couple of hours getting the p-patch ready. Weeded and fertilized and watered. Tomorrow I will go back and plant some corn, green onions, collards (we'll see which plantings win, inside or outside), then maybe I will get some volunteer time in--we have to do 8 hrs a year, which isn't very much unless you start in June and have to be done in October.

Before I left for vacation, I took pictures of a certain business of ill repute that was closed around a year ago and recently sprouted amazing amounts of graffiti. Please excuse me for feeling pride in something that I only took a picture of:

I told Dr. T that I was going to clean tonight, but now I just feel like curling up with my book. I don't even feel like eating dinner.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Twitter gone bad

So I had this great idea that I would sign up for Twitter and update along the road during our trip. So I did, and then I set it so that I could text in updates from my phone. I felt very smart, until I got to Portland and realized that I didn't have my phone. Then I felt very dumb.

We had lunch with friend Joanna in Portland. It was great, except that The Boy had forgotten his pen needles for his insulin pen at home, so we spent part of our lunch time trying to get Safeway to tell me what we needed to do to get them. He had already eaten some by that time and his blood sugar was going up. The pharmacy tech was very unhelpful until the end, when she finally told me they didn't even have them and we had to go to another store. I decided to let her off because she had a cold and seemed pretty miserable, but that interaction could have been so much easier.

We drove from there down to Coos Bay and stayed the night, managing not to do any more sight seeing than we could do from our car. We did go to a local restaurant for dinner and it was decent. They have a cute little strip there, but it was totally deserted at 8pm on a Monday. The Boy and I went swimming at the hotel pool--which we picked just for the pool. Nothing fancy, but it was clean and comfortable. It felt strange to just pull up at a hotel and pay full price for a room. It did cross my mind to pull out the computer, go on priceline and see if we could get a cheap rate before going in. But nah, live dangerously, I thought.

The next morning, we packed up and drove on to Nevada. The day was mostly clear and sunny. I wore my sunglasses! There was a sort of border crossing into California where they check you out for illegal fruit. He took one look at my store bought (amazon fresh) oranges and waived us through. It gave me some flashbacks to when I used to go into Canada to visit an ex-boyfriend (not ex then). This was much easier though.

We got to Carson City at 8pm. It is good to see Sister M and her fiance. We got a good nights sleep, slept in til after 10am, and am now taking advantage of the internets and the sunshine pouring in the window. It is so bright here it hurts my Seattle blighted eyes. I thought google was doing an April Fools joke when it said it was snowing in Seattle today, but friends' updates on facebook say otherwise.

So now that I found my phone (or more accurately, Dr. T found my phone) under the car seat, there will be twitter updates.

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