Monday, January 29, 2007

Don't Walk

I walked about eight miles this weekend--all the long walks I took with Chloe and the walking I did at the Seattle Center on Saturday. My friend and I thought the Seattle Travel Show might be a fun outing, so I took the bus up there for a couple of hours. Verdict? Meh. It's fun to dream but having that many vendors in one place was a little overwhelming.

I took plenty of glossy brochures and magazines to keep me dreaming, though. And entered every drawing I could find, which means my email spam filter will probably be working harder very soon. But it will all be worth it if I win $50,000!!!


Then after walking around all day Saturday I went rollerskating to celebrate a friend's completion of her Master's degree. She is now a Master, and I am still a Bachelor, or something. (Don't tell Mr. Thel!)

I do envy friends who have a firm idea of their career goals. I had a supervisor for a brief period last year (she didn't last long here but I still miss her) who was like that. She was very interested in my long-term goals and I just couldn't come up with anything very impressive for her. I'm not very specific in my head about what I want out of a career. I want to be competent at what I do; I want to feel like I'm making a difference in the world, even if indirectly; and I want my skills to be respected. What skills? I don't care. Whichever ones I'm using at the moment.

Anyway, rollerskating. I secretly dreaded it but forced myself to go anyway, and hey! it wasn't that bad. It was hilarious to be at a rollerskating rink again, 17-odd years after the rink in Hometown, OR closed for good. Are all rinks set up in exactly the same way, though, or was it just a crazy coincidence that the floor plan for this one was exactly the same as the one where I attended so many birthday parties in elementary school?

Mr. Thel turns out to be a rollerskating god. I should stop being surprised when the man busts out a new skill I didn't know about, and just accept that he is a Master Of All Things. I am unfortunately not a rollerskating goddess who can float around the rink with him, but I managed not to fall down at least.

I should really take up an activity that will make me learn how to inhabit my body more gracefully. Walking is good but perhaps, after doing it for almost 3 decades, it's time to move on to something more advanced.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Changing Tires

I had the delightful opportunity to change a tire for the first time on Thursday afternoon. I was on my way to get new tires for my car at that very minute, but the tire with the leak gave up too soon. It was a lot easier than I expected, frankly. That's good to know.

I drove to the tire store up north and walked with Chloe to the sublet house, had a snack and checked my email, and turned around to walk back to get the car. I didn't realize when I set out in the first place that the two are a mile and a half apart. So on top of the tire change, I got to walk three miles that evening. Oh, why bother whining, it wasn't raining and it's been too long since I did something like that.

Almost a week in the new house now. All the big stuff is in; there's a little bit of camping gear and miscellaneous things in the storage unit and at the sublet, but everything else is at the new place. A new couch will be delivered later this evening. I did my best to find a used one but in the end this one was cheap enough to justify one new purchase.

I made a list of all the companies I need to update my address with and it kind of bummed me out to see it stretch to a list of 15. And that doesn't even include the utilities I've already updated.

The rain stopped this morning so I took Chloe for a long walk around the new neighborhood. We strolled up to Beacon Ave and looked out over south Lake Washington. It's more residential than anywhere I've previously lived in Seattle. I'm used to being able to walk a few blocks to grab a coffee on a weekend morning, but so far I haven't located a cafe within short walking distance. There is a Polynesian Deli just down the street though, which intrigues me.

Despite having moved from one end of town to the other, I am still on the same bus route. Good old 48, trekking from Golden Gardens all the way down to Rainier Beach with my work somewhere in the middle. That's mighty convenient. Now if only there I can find a coffee shop tucked away somewhere down there amongst all the light rail construction.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I finished these just before last week's snowstorm:

I'll post the specs later; just wanted to prove that I'v managed to get some knitting in between all the home-buying, painting, moving, and unpacking.

Speaking of painting, we changed that yellow color in the living room to something we liked a bit better:

Now there are a bunch of boxes in the living room as we finish unpacking. But by this weekend they will have been replaced--with a new couch!

Heavy Duty Experiment: Chloe vs. Subway Sandwich

List of items from my vegetarian Subway sandwich that Chloe, upon being offered a tidbit of each, was willing to eat:
-Bread (with mayonnaise)
-Bell pepper

List of items from my vegetarian Subway sandwich that Chloe, upon being offered a tidbit of each, dropped unceremoniously on the floor with a "pleh" sound and a reproachful look at me:

List of items from my vegetarian Subway sandwich that Chloe would eat all day long every day if I let her:

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Good morning to you, too.

Nothing starts the day off right like stepping in a huge, soft pile of dog crap as you walk up to your workplace and then spending the first fifteen minutes of your morning trying to pick it all out of the crevices of your boot's sole.

Really, some people should not be allowed to have dogs. They should, in fact, have their dogs forcibly removed from their possession. Then they, these squeamish owners too grand to be bothered with stooping and removing waste like a dirty, common person, ought to be dragged outside, stripped naked, tied up, and smeared with dog shit, covered with it, absolutely encrusted with the warm reeking stickiness of it.

I say this as a dog owner, for crying out loud. It doesn't take a very high IQ to remember to tuck a bag into your pocket before you take the dog for a walk. In fact, leaving untouched a pile of your dog's excrement ought to be the signal that your IQ is too low for you to be trusted with a dog's care.

Sometimes you forget to grab a plastic bag on your way out the door. Or you realize the bag has a hole in it. Or you had a bag, used it appropriately, and then your dog decided to crap again before you got home. These things happen. I've been the unlucky one, unsuccessfully trying to run home to the yard with Chloe before she could drop her log. We were only a block away when she couldn't hold it anymore, poor thing, and I sympathize with the feeling of urgency. So I let her go--not that I could have stopped her by then--and we walked on home.

Know what I did then? I grabbed a bag and went back to pick up the steaming pile of dog shit. Wow, what a genius I must be.

Seriously, scoop the poop. I am not above temporarily befouling my hand in order to pick up your dog's hot mess and fling it at the back of your self-important little head.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, --- but the best is lost.

The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

by Edna St. Vincent Millay
The Buck in the Snow and Other Poems

Friday, January 05, 2007

Return of the Self-Absorption

Perhaps you would like to see pictures of my new abode.

If you would not like to do so, you can just click that "next blog" button up there to your right, or choose from the delightful options in the sidebar.


The living room:

The kitchen:

And look, it even has two of these little rooms upstairs. One of them looks out into a huge cedar tree, the other looks out across MLK:

Some of the rooms will be painted, perhaps as early as this weekend, and then the moving will commence!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


So I bought a house today. Got the keys and everything, boy howdy!

It's got three little bedrooms and two little bathrooms and a yard and everything. She ain't big--I know folks in condos that are bigger--but she's pretty, and she's solid, and she's home sweet home now.

Yeah, we're drinking champagne right now. Champagne that cost me five bucks at Safeway, but champagne nonetheless. And we're slugging it back straight outta the bottle, 'cause that's how we roll around here.

I gotta admit, it's a load off my mind to have that taken care of. Happy New Year, indeed.


I should make it an additional goal this year to learn HTML. I spent a couple of hours last night trying to switch to Blogger's new, "improved" version. I know just enough HTML to have wrestled this template into approximately the look I was going for a year or so ago. When I "upgraded" to the new Blogger, poof! All my customizations were gone. No more Haloscan comments, no more blogroll, no more personal picture at the top, just this blank, impersonal thing on the screen.

OK, I thought, I saved the old template; I'll just pick out the customized bits and add them into the new template. But no, that was beyond my limited skills. Blogger just kept telling me, "Whoa, your HTML is all fucked up, please make it better." (My paraphrase.) And, um, I had no idea how to do that. So I scraped the ridiculous thing off my screen and reverted to the old template. Who knows, though, how long Blogger will allow me to slide along with my familiar setup before they force everyone to "upgrade."

I originally logged in last night with the intent of writing about my friend and former co-worker, who is dying. It seemed he would not last the night and I wanted to dwell with him in my thoughts during the night. It's a poor sort of vigil, but it was the only thing I could do.

I sat and stared at the blank screen for a long time, thinking about him. I've often told the story of our first meeting and how he intimidated the hell out of me on my first day working here. We worked together for over four years before his health forced him into early retirement against his will; I quickly got over being intimidated by his sarcastic prickly bluster and learned to give back as good as I got from him. He studied theology before going into fundraising. He loved to lean back in his shoddy swivel chair and put on his "wise old man" face to talk authoritatively about religion and politics. He sent me a lot of good Dubya jokes.

So I thought about all these things last night, but rather than wring out the right words for him I spent the hours tinkering with the stupid blog template in a transparent inability to sit and confront the reality of his impending absence--denying, I suppose, the inevitability of it, as if by postponing the process of writing down my memories about him I could postpone the moment when his whole life passes into memory.

He lived through the night and I'm told he has awakened several times this morning. It's a ridiculously trite thing to say, but today my thoughts are constantly with him.

Wherever you are going, my friend, may your journey be easier.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I know I'm one of the last people to blog this stretched little map, but pinning it up here on my virtual wall may prove an effective incentive to actually, you know, fill in some of those blank states this year.

create your own personalized map of the USA

Monday, January 01, 2007


Yesterday a friend and I went to the zoo for the afternoon. She had a couple of free passes about to expire, and it was a lovely sunny day, so we wandered around.

We stopped to look at a tiger yowling and pacing in his rocky enclosure. A woman behind me spoke loudly to her friend.

"Oh, an Asian tiger, huh? Well, yeah, look at that...he does look kind of Asian. His eyes are even a little slanted."

I was torn between quietly going on my way, and turning to publicly mock the speaker. I went with option one, because I am timid and nonconfrontational, alas.

I don't know. I'm no genius, and I feel mean and petty when I think it, but sometimes I can't help thinking that some people are just...stupid.

Of course, that's a depressing way to start the year, so let me include a poem I found recently. I've enjoyed Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series for years, and I like this poem of hers too:

The Shortest Day
by Susan Cooper

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!