Friday, December 29, 2006

That's a blogging moment --or-- I couldn't make this stuff up --or-- Our Christmas with the family

We spent last weekend with our families in Portland, supposedly celebrating the holiday -- I guess these days, that means frenetically driving from house to house (three houses on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), church service to church service (three church services on Christmas Eve), so that each family would be happy and placated.

While it was extremely exhausting (we came home at 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning, and I worked a half-day. That night, I went to bed at 8 p.m. because I just couldn't stay awake any longer. You'd think I was jet-lagged.), the family drama was definitely kept to a minimum (hooray!!) so we are officially calling this holiday, our first holiday being married and visiting our families, a success.

There were some great, classic moments during the trip, though. Our two phrases for the weekend, which we would whisper in each others' ears whenever something happened that was so totally random or weird that we couldn't quite believe it, were, "I couldn't make this stuff up!" or "Well, that's a blogging moment."

Except, unfortunately, I know our families sometimes read our blogs, so as to avoid hurt feelings and the like, I'm just going to keep most of those moments to myself.

Not that they're bad, or that anything awful happened, our families just did things that are, well...I'm not really sure how to describe it. Funny? Hilarous. Random? Very. Quixotic? Extremely. Anyway, basically, it's just stuff that is so quintessentially our families, that we find hilarious and weird but that we probably shouldn't share here.

This is kind of part of what I alluded to after Thanksgiving: how I had all this stuff mulling around in my head about our families and such. We love them dearly, but since we've moved back from Maine, we've been struck by how very different we are than our families. That is part of why we found all this stuff that happened funny and random and strange.

Aaaanyway, enough philosophizing. Time for a hilarious blogging moment story, with pictures!

We had lugged almost all of our dirty laundry down to Portland with us, because we have to pay to do laundry and it gets expensive really quickly. Plus, I'm kind of a laundry snob, and I hate the machines in our building -- they are small, and don't wash well, and I can't adjust the settings or let things soak. So it's a pleasure to use the huge, multi-setting-ed washers at my mom's or Brett's parents' houses.

So anyway, we hauled like three huge suitcases full of dirty laundry down to Portland, which left next to no room in our bags for bringing back any Christmas presents.

We quickly realized on Christmas day that we were going to have a problem getting everything back to Seattle. Our families were extremely generous, and we got a bunch of great gifts.

One other relevant blogging moment I should mention before I go any further is about Brett's uncle. Somehow, through means by which he will not reveal, he gets a hold of a ton of Victoria's Secret merchandise -- clothes, pajamas, makeup, body lotion, although as far as we know he's never gotten the lingerie...or maybe he has and he's never offered.

Anyway, Brett's sisters and I spent about two hours on Christmas night with him throwing (literally, throwing -- he used to play baseball in his younger days) things at us out of seven huge cardboard boxes -- makeup (I got four nice sets of it), clothes (a jean jacket, four sweaters, two blouses), one lone pair of underwear, a robe, and a sweatsuit that says, "Very Sexy" across the butt and down one arm. (It's super cozy, although a little more, um, flaunting than I'm used to. I mean, I don't generally go around proclaiming that I am Very Sexy. But now I guess it's true, since the sparkly gold words on my butt will proclaim it for me, and if that doesn't say sexy, well, then I don't know what does.)

So not only were our gifts not going to fit in the bags we had brought, we were bound by only being able to bring one other bag on the bus on the way home. (Which, by the way, was also a blogging experience in and of itself. But I'm not going to go there today.)

Brett's dad said that he had a suitcase we could use. So he went to the basement or wherever and brought out a huge rolly suitcase.

"Oh, that will work perfectly," I thought.

That is, until I saw that the zipper was all effed up and that it only zipped from the top about halfway around.

I started packing everything into the suitcase, and realized that it would be just big enough to fit the rest of our clean clothes, as well as most of our Christmas presents and the numerous things from Victoria's Secret via Brett's uncle.

Brett's dad came out when I was about done and said he'd help us tape it up. He was out of duct tape, so he had found a roll of strapping tape to use instead.

The three of us -- Brett, his dad, and me -- started taping it, but Brett quickly snuck away to sit on the couch and laugh while snapping the photos below.

When I snapped at him because he was laughing and taking photos instead of helping, he just said, "Well, come on, Leen. I thought it would be a great blogging moment for you!"

And I had to admit, he was right.

Now, on to the good stuff, the pictures of the two of us trying to wrangle a 50-pound suitcase stuffed with all of our Christmas presents into submission with strapping tape.

(Please pardon my giant, peachy, [Very Sexy] self in these photos.) (Apparently, the Very Sexy suit just makes me loook Very Chubby.)

Brett always loves to be a smart-aleck, and when I ask him where something is, he'll respond, "If it was up your ass you'd know." Well, from the looks of this photo, it seems as though he would have been right had I asked him the location of the scissors.

Notice the dog, Dylan, in the lower right-hand corner? I'm sure he's thinking, "Dude, these humans are sooo weird. What are they doing with that tape?"

Here we are, almost done ghetto-ify-ing our suitcase. Good times.

(Epilogue: The tape held perfectly, all the way home.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

OMG, weather insanity

INSANITY.

I can't even describe it.

Gale-force winds with gusts nearly into the hurricaine-force range, water hitting the window behind me so hard that I could barley hear, water flowing into my work building like it's a sieve, the building rocking back and forth so much people feel seasick. (Don't worry; high-rises are supposed to rock so that they can absorb the stresses and pressures of wind and such. It's just really disconcerting when you are upstairs and you feel the building swaying.)

Crazy. CRAZY. This is seriously bizare. Thank goodness a friend is coming to pick me up so I don't have to go stand outside to wait for the bus in all of this.

Why can't we just have normal weather? Some gentle rain falling from gray skies...a few clouds...maybe a gust or two of wind about 15 mph...what happened to the Seattle weather I once knew?

Monday, December 04, 2006

busy, a plug, and lots of links

Work is crazy (two huge events this week, which are sucking my time and leaving me exhausted), life is crazy (we were supposed to have something every night this week, but because I stayed late at work tonight, [see above] I skipped out on Moped Monday).

Right now, I'm exhausted and I want to go to bed. But before I do, I want to give a quick plug for Brett. If any of you Seattle-ites are going to be around this Thursday evening, this Friday evening, or next Thursday evening, and you want something to do, come check out some of Brett's art!

This Thursday, he's going to have some work in a joint show with Brian Barber for the First Thursday artwalk. It will be held at the Artist Reformation Project, at First and Yesler in Pioneer Square.

This Friday, he's screening his 40 Feet of Bread movie with a bunch of other films at the Ravenna Third Place Books. The event starts at 6 p.m. and is sponsored by McSweeny's Wholphin. There will be free pizza and also lots of great movies!

Next Thursday, the 14th, he is giving a lecture (with our good friend Caleb) in conjunction with Upgrade! Seattle at the 911 Media Arts Center in Seattle.

You should come check them out! I am planning to get a group together for happy hour before the First Thursday event, so email me if you are interested!

I'm going to go get in bed now...

I have a big post based on our experience in Portland over Thanksgiving rumbling around in my head but I don't know when I'll have time to get to it. Hopefully soon.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

the irony is not lost on me.

How many times did I complain about the snow while we lived in Maine? Um, the answer to that would be ... a lot. Like here. And here. And here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here...

One of the biggest reasons we moved home to Seattle was because I hated, hated, hated the winters in Maine. Hated. The snow, the cold, the wet, never being warm...all of it.

Well, apparently God is playing a joke on me this week with the weather we've had. We had a decent amount of snow on Sunday night and Monday, enough to make Monday's commute home and Tuesday's commute to work nothing short of hellacious. All that snow melted and then froze over again, making today treacherous in terms of walking to/from the bus but otherwise not really that bad.

Of all the time I lived in the Pacific Northwest before, even in my years growing up in Portland, Oregon, I can't remember a time when it's snowed as much or been as cold as it has been here during the past several days.

(Aside: Ok, this is not that bad in terms of some of the snowstorms I've experienced, really. The ones in Maine were much worse. However, the key difference here is the lack of preparation on the part of the city, and the fact that no one seems to have heard of ice-melt, let alone think to use it.)

The weather people kept saying how we were supposed to get more today, and all day the sky had that gray, heavy look that seems to indicate snow is imminent. But it never snowed, even though it never broke 32 degrees. I kind of figured it was all a bunch of hype and that it wouldn't really snow.

Um. Yeah. I? Was very, very wrong.

I just took these photos outside our front door about 15 minutes ago. It is snowing so thick and fast...the snow is just piling up. The flakes are HUGE, really, the biggest I've ever seen. (I caught several on my tongue! FUN!)


Anyway, it's all supposed to freeze over tonight, which will make for an interesting commute in the morning. But in the meantime, Brett is calling me from bed, so I should go join him there since it's late and I'll probably wind up getting up early to try to catch an earlier bus.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

hi, my name's Kathleen...

...and, oh, yeah, I have a blog.

I can't believe it's almost been a month since I posted. I was talking to Brett the other night on the train, on our way back from our Thanksgiving trip to Portland (more about that later...lots of thoughts swimming around in my head about family, and loyalty, and becoming a grownup) and I was telling him about how I need to update my blog more.

It's hard, though, (I said) becuase I don't have time at work and don't feel right about doing it at work, and when I get home, either we usually have somewhere to be, I start making dinner, or Brett is on the computer and I don't get a chance to do anything but maybe if I am very very lucky check my email.

Anyway. All two of you who still check it will be, I am sure, shaking your heads and mumbling, "Excuses, excuses." Which, yes, true. Excuses.

I was emailing with a friend with whom I used to work at the newspaper in Maine, about being a writer and about how I really miss writing a lot more than I thought I would. She said this, "You're a writer, Kathleen, you always will be. Whether or not you get paid for it or are doing it everyday, you will always be a writer ... Keep writing, in whatever capacity you can. Make your blog your Gazette. I know its different because the pressure of employment isn't there, but in some way, it is your livelihood."

And she's right. I need to make this blog like my newspaper was to me in Maine. I need to write in here often. I need to hone my language, my vocabulary, my style.

So...I'm not going to make any vague promises to post more (because it's been done before and, well, just look how well that turned out. But I am going to say that I want to post more, and that I am going to work at building time into my schedule to post more, if for no other reason than to exercise my writing muscle, as it were.

Ok, I do need to get going -- so I'm sorry this is abrupt...but I'd rather it be abrupt and have a post there, I guess, than have it be the most beautifully-crafted entry I'd prefer to write.

Friday, November 03, 2006

updates, and thoughts on friendship

The people upstairs are gone, praise the Lord! They moved out on Wednesday and all has been quiet here since. I didn't wear my earplugs to bed Wednesday night or Thursday night and it was great.

Brett is in Portland this weekend, doing family-like things, so I am just hanging with the girls. Tonight, Marci and I went to Prost! and had some beer (I had the Drinken Acker Dukel and also the Optimator, both of which were heavenly, and both of which have combined to give me a verrry nice beery buzz) (yay beery buzz!) and a really great, really deep conversation about everything from marriage to God to sex to the devil to kids to art. It was awesome. We left with both of us saying that we need to hang out more. It's true, too. (We met Caleb and Marci in Maine, and they were our only Christian couple friends for a while, [our only friends period for a while] until they moved to Seattle. Brett and Caleb are really good friends, too. It's so great to be in the same city again, and so rare that wives and husbands would both get along really, really well. We need to take advantage of that.) Anyway, it felt really good to talk and to be understood and to be heard, and in turn, to listen and understand, on a deep level.

And, not only did Marci and I have a great talk, but I had another great talk (on the phone) tonight with one of my dearest friends, Daisy. It was just one of those conversations that flowed, which is how every conversation we have is, even if it's been months in between phone calls or visits. She is one of the only people in my life that I can share with on every single level. I'm so glad that we are friends. It still amazes me that we were just randomly (randomly! ha! It was sooo God) paired together as roommates back in the day.

Plus, tomorrow night, Bree and I are going to have a girly sleepover night! Woo hoo! I'm looking forward to that. Ice cream, cable tv, girly movies...yay. I need some fun!

I usually hate it when Brett goes out of town; I feel all lost and lonely and sad. Hoever, this time it's proving to be wonderful, at least so far, with all the female relationship-building that's going on. I feel really surrounded by female, Christian friendship through Marci and Daisy tonight...and that is such a wonderful and refreshing feeling. I feel very blessed to have these ladies in my life.

I missed this so much while we were in Maine. With the exception of Marci (who moved here to Seattle a little less than a year after we met) and Becca, I didn't have very many close friends in Maine. There were others who lived farther away from us, with whom I wanted to be closer but but because of our physical distance, I didn't get to see very often. I regret now that I didn't try harder to build those friendships.

Especially before we found Missio Dei, I didn't have girlfriends...and I missed that so very keenly the first couple of years we were there. I remember one time specifically, about nine months or so after we moved to Maine, probably just after Caleb and Marci moved to Seattle, where I saw two female acquaintances of ours who happened to be good friends hanging out together, and they were both just laughing, so hard, at something, just like I had once done with people like Bree and Daisy. And I just stood there and watched them laugh together, and felt so very lonely at that moment because I had no one to laugh like that with. So, of course, having that lonely experience behind me made tonight all the richer, and made me realize how much of a blessing (and necessity, at least for me) it is to have female friends who will listen and love and talk and laugh and tell it like it is.

What really wound up being a savior for me while I was in Maine was the Snarkies, especially one or two. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: when I didn't have any real, physical, female community, they were there, supporting, loving, challenging, and caring -- all of them. It still blows my mind that I know them, and that nearly three years later, the group is still active. It's so amazing, and such a blessing.

I also had a really great unburdening email conversation this week with C. It felt good to get it all out and to be able to say things I'd been thinking in secret for months, and to have those feelings validated and understood.

Anyway. I hadn't had a deep, in-person conversation like the two (two! how awesome is that? not to mention my email conversation with C!) I had tonight in a very long time, and it just felt so good to unburden, to open up, to share in a way that I don't do very often. I feel very much lighter and free-er. (Yeah, I know free-er isn't a word, and that it should be more free, but it's late and I am tired and remember -- I have a beery buzz. And the more I think about grammar right now, the more that beery buzz is leaving me. So I'm just going to let that one slide.)

I should go to bed before I ramble on any more. But let me leave this on the table: I'm so thankful for my friends, each and every one of you. Thanks for encouraging me, for praying for me, for loving me, for listening to me, and for just being there. I'm truly blessed to have you all in my life.

I like that idea!

A couple of my friends have taken similar quizzes recently, so I thought I'd take one as well. I could certainly live with these results!








What City Best Fits you??




PARISYou are a very relaxed person, you rather go to a place were everyone is polite and private. You like to be by yourself alot with not many people around you you are a very elegant and romantic person, thats why paris is a very good place for you since everyone respects eachother and doesn't get in your way.
Take this quiz!






*singing* Oh, Champs Elysees (bah-dah-dah-dah-dah) OHHHH, Champs Elysees! (bah-DAH-DAH-bah-dah) Au soleil, sur la pluie, a midi ou a minuit, il y a tous que vous voulez au Champs Elysees.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

soap

Aside from the fact that Brett is completely discouraged about not having a job, it seems he has waaaay too much time on his hands.

He's been using his time well, for the most part, working on a website to show his art (which is up and running, although very basic at this point) and trying to get one of his mopeds running. (Both of them broke down last week.)

So anyway, yesterday, I get this call from Brett as I'm riding home on the bus.

Me: [whispering, because I haaate people talking on their cell phones on the bus] Hello?

Him: Hey.

Me: What's up? I'm on the bus.

Him: Um, well, there's something wrong with the dishwasher.

Me: What's wrong?

Him: Um, well, there are bubbles coming out of it.

Me: [thinking, Ohhh, shit.] Did you put the wrong soap in it?!?!

Him: I think maybe I did.

Me: [cracking up, having lost most of my quietness] Well, TURN IT OFF!!!

Him: Ok...

So we laughed, talked about what to do about it, and got off the phone.

Later, I was asking him about it.

Me: So why did you put the dish soap in there?

Him: Well, it cuts grease really well...

Me: [aghast, as the realization hits] You didn't put MOPED PARTS in there?!?!?

Him: Well, my engine was all greasy.

I got kind of upset at that point because he has a (very annoying) habit of using my kitchen things for moped work, so I'll stop this recap...but it was pretty funny, especially because a few years back, I had a traumatic experience with dish soap in a dishwasher.

It was in college, and I was living in a house with, like 8 other girls for the summer, because it was cheap and I was going to France and wouldn't need a place for much more than a few weeks on either end of the France trip. (Note to self: never, never live in a place with, like 8 girls and one shower. Especially when the landlord decides to rip out the shower and take ninety jillion years to repair it, and will only come work if you agree to babysit his terror of a three-year-old son.)

I was preparing for my trip to France with meticulous care. Having never traveled abroad before, I was packing and re-packing my newly-purchased backpack almost daily, trying to fit everything in. I had it on the floor of my basement room, with all the other crap I was bringing in my carry on -- books, extra clothes, toiletries, CDs -- stacked around it.

A couple of mornings before I left, I woke up to extremely loud laughter and banging coming from the kitchen over my head. I didn't think much of it, until I heard my friend Bree's voice yelling and laughing, too. A few minutes later, she and Katy came running down the stairs to my room, cracking up.

"What's going on?" I asked, still groggy from sleep.

"I was running the dishwasher," Katy explained through her laughter, "and something's wrong! All the sudden it just started shooting bubbles and water out!"

Bree and Katy and I spent the next few minutes cracking up at all of the water and bubbles on the kitchen floor.

And then? I heard the dripping.

You see, my bag -- my meticulously packed bag, full of clean clothing and new books -- was right. under. the. dishwasher.

And what was dripping but soapy, nasty water, right through the floorboards and onto my brand new bag.

Katy denied that she'd put the wrong kind of soap in, but both Bree and I thought privately that she had, and that was confirmed when the landlord came out and couldn't find anything wrong with the dishwasher.

It was traumatic at the time, and I remember kind of flipping out, but everything turned out fine, and while I've lost touch with Katy, Bree and I still look back in fondness and laugh at that morning.

In fact, I called Bree to tell her about Brett's experience just after I got off the bus yesterday.

"Hi Bree, It's Leen."

"Hey Leen!"

"Um, so guess what just happened. I was on the bus, and Brett called, and he said there was a problem with the dishwasher."

"Uh, oh," she said, as she started to laugh, knowing exactly where I was going.

"Yeah," I said, "He put the wrong kind of soap in."

We spent the next few minutes cracking up all over again about the incident that happened five years ago, and the water and bubbles taht were all over my France bag.

Who knew that five years later we'd still be laughing?

So, let this be a lesson: Never, EVER, put regular dish soap in the dishwasher. Bad -- yet funny and memorable -- things are sure to occur.

Monday, October 30, 2006

thanks

Thanks to all of you who emailed or commented or whatnot after my post on Saturday. I really appreciate it. It makes a difference to know that people care.

We're no closer, as far as I can tell, to Brett having a job, but he has one part-time temp thing lined up for tomorrow so that is better than nothing, I suppose. I just need to keep reminding myself to have faith and to trust that God will provide the perfect thing at the perfect time.

I have a lot to do so this is going to be short. I'll try to post more later.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

*AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH*

That title? Yeah, that's me, screaming.

I think. I am going. To lose it.

The people upstairs are so effing loud right now; the baby is just screaming and the mom is yelling and there is thumping and bumping and banging.

Brett still doesn't have a job after being here for five months.

Consequently, we have no money.

I have no baking soda to make the cake I want to make and no money to go buy any.

For some reason, Brett hasn't slept in two nights. I'm worried about him.

And, on top of it all, Brett just called to say his moped seized up and he is stranded in West Seattle. No one is around who can go pick him up, and now he has no form of transportation and we have no money to fix his bike.

I think I'll go cry.

*edited to add* I did not, in fact, go cry, although I seriously thought about it. Brett made it home a little while later. He was, thankfully, able to get in touch with a friend who went and picked him up. His bike does need some work before it can be ridden again, unfortunately, but it's not as bad as it could have been, even if it will mean spending money we don't really have.

We actually had a great evening at our friend Bree's Happy Fall to one and all party, where I laughed so hard I thought I was going to choke...but that was only because everyone had dared me to stick an entire popcorn ball in my mouth, and I actually tried it, which was completely absurd. (No, I hadn't even had anything to drink -- I'm just that weird.) It was hilarious. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Follow that up with a lovely, chilly, fall-y, leafy walk home with Brett, and you've got yourself a good evening. Now I am going to go to bed and read and knit...a better end than beginning to the day, that's for sure.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

turn that frown upside down!

This morning, I was feeling really grumpy. (Gah. Hormones! Haaate them.) Anyway. Everything was pissing me off and I was just in a generally negative mood.

Until a few minutes ago, that is.

My dear friend Carolyn just emailed to tell me that she had gotten a call offering her what is essentially her dream job, being an English teacher! She had interviewed almost two weeks ago, and hadn't heard. They had said they would be letting everyone know right away, and of course, when she hadn't heard, we assumed the worst. It was really disappointing, because Carolyn would be a fantastic teacher.

So when the call came this morning and she emailed to let me know, I wished I were there to jump up and down and squeal and wave my hands around with her in a really undiginfied, girly way. ;p

I am so excited for her and so happy for her, you'd think that I had just gotten my dream job!

I can't believe how much her news has lifted my spirits. I can't stop smiling now! I guess it's a good reminder of how friends are supposed to be -- sticking together in the bad, and rejoicing together in the good.

Anyway -- all this to say a jillion, billion, zillion congratulations to Carolyn!

Monday, October 09, 2006

pantyhose = torture (a poem)

These pantyhose suck
They are way, way too tight
I should never have bought
The cheap ones that night

Instead of five dollars
I only spent two
And that was a mistake
Let me tell you

The ones that cost more
(Although they're still bad)
Are so so much better
Than these -- they're making me mad

These hose are all loose
Except in the waist
And there a most horrible
Thing’s taken place

The waistband is tight,
Tight like a vise
It’s cutting into my chub
It’s really not nice

It may sound quite dirty
But it’s not I assure
I want to rip these hose off
Though it’s not too demure

At least then they would not
Be slicing me in twain
With their tight nylon band
They’re driving me insane!

Can we please damn the person
Who made these required?
Or at least make him wear them
And be so miserably attired.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

disjointed random thoughts

It's been way too long since I have posted.

I guess the blogging thing, for me, goes through cycles of prolificness (prolicifity? I have no idea.) and through cycles of nothingness.

It would be nice, I guess, if I could get back into a cycle of posting regularly.

Life is just full, and in a good way. Work is busy, almost all the time. Something strange/random/exciting happens there almost every day. A huge flood of water suddenly pouring out of a urinal and down the freight elevator shaft one day, people having sex in a stairwell the next, and another day having a tenant call the fire department because of a "suspicious white powder" on the floor...that turned out to be baby powder.

Working in the office to manage a 50-story office building is crazy, and rarely dull.

~~~~~~~~~~

Anyway, other than work, we're busy two nights a week, usually -- Mondays are Moped Monday, and Tuesdays are our church community group. Weekends have been fairly lazy lately, watching lots of Six Feet Under on DVD, sleeping in, and eating pudding. (Mmmm...pudding.)

~~~~~~~~~~

I can remember a couple of times we were back in Maine, and we would say to one another, "Won't it be so cool when we're back in Seattle, and we can just hop on our mopeds and ride to Gordito's [our favorite Mexican restaurant]?"

We did just that on Friday night. As we were standing in line ordering, I said to Brett, "Man, we're really living the dream here, aren't we?"

He laughed and said, "Yeah, we really are."

Sometimes, I still can't get over the fact that we are back for good.

~~~~~~~~~~

We went down to Portland last weekend for my nephew Zachary's sixth birthday. I cannot believe he is six already! It seems like just yesterday he was born, a small, red little thing whose umbilical cord I got to cut. He is a kid now, a real boy, challenging and roughousing and going non-stop from sunup to sundown. It's so much fun to hang out with him and my three-year-old niece Adeline. They are both hilarious and fun and smart. They make me laugh and tear up sometimes and make me want kids of my own to be with.

~~~~~~~~~~

I made twice-baked potatoes for dinner tonight. Ohhh man, what a decadent treat. Filled with butter and milk and chives and roasted garlic and Tillamook cheddar cheese, these things are so. flipping. good. And yet, I don't even want to think about how much fat and how many calories were in the two I ate.

~~~~~~~~~~

I really want to / need to lose some weight. It's not that I look fat or anything, but I just feel icky. It's so hard, though. (See above for a case in point.) I just like to eat and I hate to exercise. That combination, plus the fact that it seems as though turning 25 made my metabolism slow to a crawl, makes it really hard to lose any weight.

~~~~~~~~~~

Anyway. This is, like, the most disjointed post ever. I don't really have a ton more to say...life is good, and busy, and full of friends and mopeds and work that I enjoy and church and God and good food. It's nice.

I should go to bed now. It's late, and I'm sleepy. I hope you'll forgive the disjointed-ness of the post. I really felt like I should update, even if it had no clear point or direction and was probably duller than dirt.

Friday, September 22, 2006

open letter

Dear extremely loud upstairs neighbors,

Look. I get it, ok? I get that kids are loud. I get that babies cry. I get that toddlers want to run around. I've tried to have patience, for the sake of your kids, and because I know that I'll probably have a baby in an apartment someday and I want people to have compassion on me when that time comes.

But what I don't get is why, first of all, you have three children living in this tiny, tiny shoebox of an apartment, which is a violation of your lease. I also don't get why you don't just leave, now that they are trying to evict you for said violation. I also don't get why in the name of sweet baby Jesus in the manger the kids -- ALL of them -- are up until unholy hours (translation: until 10 p.m., 11 p.m., 12 a.m., 1 a.m., even 2 a.m. sometimes) every night.

Well, maybe I do get that last one. Maybe it's because you never leave your apartment. Maybe it's because four people in a 6-700 square foot space is a little tight. Maybe it's because there is something wrong with the baby that he/she cries nearly constantly and since you never leave (for some mysterious and suspicious reason) (a man brings you a bag of rice every four or five days and that's supposed to do it for your food ration as well as for your human interaction with anyone other than your children) (my guess is that you're illegal immigrants) you can't take the baby to the doctor.

I have tried, believe me, I have tried so hard to have compassion for you. And I still do, in a way. Really, I just feel sorry for these three children, being cooped up inside all the time. But that patience and compassion is wearing really, really, really effing thin right now.

Because, people? It's 11:54 p.m. The toddler is hammering on the floor and babbling and screaming. The baby is crying. Someone else is dragging around what sounds like some kind of heavy furniture. And you, the parent, are shouting.

It's all making me really frigging grumpy.

Also, people? Earlier this week, you woke me up twice in the night with noise. You woke me up at 6 a.m. this morning with noise. In one way or another, you have kept me from being able to sleep every night this week -- WITH YOUR NOISE.

And that's just the nighttime! We haven't even touched on the daytime yet.

I can hear your noise over the dishwasher. I can hear your noise over my music. I can hear your noise over a movie, and I can hear your noise even when I wear earplugs. (I feel like I'm in a bad Dr. Seuss book here -- I can hear it in the day. I can hear it in the night. It makes me and my husband want to fight. I can hear it cooking dinner. I can hear it over the printer. Etc. Ad nauseum. Because the noise. never. stops.)

I am seriously going to lose it soon. I have tried coming up there, I have tried calling the landlord, I have tried banging on the ceiling, I have tried ignoring it. Nothing. Works. And I can't stand it anymore. I just want some peace and quiet!!!

So please. PLEASE! SHUT! THE! HELL! UP!

Sincerely,

Your (trying-to-be-kind-and-patient-but-gets-really-bitchy-when-sleep-is-affected) downstairs neighbor

why is it...

...that every time I'm left alone in the office to cover the phones I immediately develop the need to pee?

Sheesh. It never fails.

Anyway.

Not to be a total attention whore or anything, but I'm pretty proud of the fact that I got up early today and came into work and worked out in our fitness center. Even though the elliptical machine made me want to die, I still did it!

It's pretty disheartening, though, when the machine tells you how many calories you burned, and it's some paltry number like 72.

I've totally cancelled that out now by drinking two cans of Coke today. (Whining in justification: But I'm tiiiiiired! And booooored! And tiiiiired!)

So yeah. I worked out this morning. And it actually felt pretty good, and I didn't have to get up any earlier than normal -- I just had to catch an earlier bus. So I think I might start trying to do that every day or two...if I make it a habit maybe I can work my way up to catching an even earlier bus and having longer to work out.

Ok, I should get back to it...but still! I'm so proud of posting two days in a row! Yahoo!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Meh.

You know that saying your mom always told you? The one that goes, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

Yeah. That one.

Well, that's pretty much why I haven't been posting here lately. I've been feeling pretty meh, as we call it around our house. (Meh is one of my favorite words. Brett and I, depending on the inflection and tone, can use meh to express indifference, grumpiness, frustration, or even anger.) It's been a rough few weeks, and Lord knows I have used up my sharing-my-grumpiness-with-the-entire-world quota for the year. So I just haven't been posting.

I've started like eleventy-jillion (translation: five) posts, none of which I've finished (Obviously.) because, well, meh.

Anyway.

I'm just grumpy. And I hate it. I snapped at a ton of people (co-workers) (Brett) (my mom) today; I just didn't have the patience to deal with them. I felt like screaming, "BITE ME!" to the world and going and hiding. But, unfortunately, I am a (somewhat) mature grownup, so I just sucked it up and dealt with it.

I have to say that the day ended better than it began -- sort of. After work, we all went to The Garage for a happy hour celebration because some people were promoted. Two pints of Mac & Jack's, and one strike and two spares later, I was a much happier camper.

But then the "sort of" part comes in: I had to come home and say goodbye to my Brett, who is now on his way to San Francisco for the weekend, to go to a moped rally. I hate it when he's out of town...I feel all lonely and sad. Ah, well, that's ok. I'll get over it, and he'll be back sometime on Monday, so that is good. I am just going to try to have a fun weekend hanging out with girlfriends, having some alone time, and trying to study the Bible some. It should be nice.

So anyway. Not much more to say. It's late, and I'm tired, and our freaking apartment has no freaking hot water AGAIN (this happened right after I got home from France) so I have to go into work early to take a shower in the fitness room there. Gah. So irritating. I have no idea why the water isn't hot, either. It's just...not. I checked the circuit breaker in our apartment as well as the master hot water heater one in the basement. Nothing. Grrrr! I hate cold showers.

Yeah. So see, there's that whole griping thing again, which I said I was going to try to curb.

Ok, my bed is calling me for reals. I will try to post more regularly in the weeks to come...

Friday, September 01, 2006

I've been tagged!

Carolyn has tagged both Lisa and me for a book meme! This is my first-ever meme, so I'm pretty excited about that.

I've always loved to read. When I was a little girl, my mom would get upset because I read so much. I would rather have stayed in the library to read than go outside for recess, and I would stay up really late reading by the light of my night light so I could finish up the book I was working on. So, this meme is quite appropriate!

Here goes...

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451; which book do you want to be?
Like at the end, when everyone memorizes one book? Hm...that is a hard question. Maybe The Fellowship of the Ring. That's a tough one, though.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Oh yes. Aragorn (in LOTR) (see, I am a geek; I call it LOTR, plus I mention it in three of the seven questions in this meme) or Curt Fletcher in Each Bright River. Shh, don't tell -- I still kind of have a crush on both of them...

The last book you bought was...
Le Journal Secret de Laura Palmer: Mystères à Twin Peaks. I found it in a market in France for one Euro...it's basically a spin-off book from the Twin Peaks series that apparently got turned into French. It's like Laura's secret diary. Totally weird and random, especially considering that Twin Peaks isn't even that well-known here. I can't imagine it would be that well-known in France!

The last book you read was...
The Champion, a cheesy romance/historical fiction novel by Elizabeth Chadwick.

Currently reading...
Lord Peter, by Dorothy L. Sayers. It's a collection of all the Lord Peter Wimsey short stories ever published. I love the Lord Peter Wimsey novels, so it's fun to read the short stories and get a bigger picture of how Dorothy L. Sayers pictured him.

Five books you'd take to a deserted island...
1.) The Bible -- I wouldn't want to be anywhere long-term without my Bible.
2.) The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien -- Yes, this counts as one book! That is how Tolkien originally intended it to be published. As to why, it is one of my all-time favorite books that I can read over and over again.
3.) Each Bright River, by Mildred Masterson McNeilly -- A really random book from the 1950's about a girl from South Carolina who comes to the Oregon Country (and later goes to Washington State). I have loved this book since I was young, and it is one I can read over and over again.
4.) A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving -- This story is so rich. The characters are so well-developed I feel that they are real people, living and breathing on the earth.
5.) Kate's Book, by Mary Francis Shura -- This was one of my all-time favorite books as a young girl. I'd bring it just for the memories it would call to mind.

Who are you going to pass the stick to, and why?
Bree, because I know she loves books too, and Jamila, because she was the first person to pop into my head when I thought of someone who would be great at a book meme, even though I know she might not get a chance to get to it anytime soon since she just had baby Zachary.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

reverse culture shock

This afternoon, Brett and I visited our friend Kevin's moped shop, where Brett picked up a new spark plug boot and we hung out with Kevin and our friend Tim.

While we were there, a guy walked past the back door. I heard him start to walk by, and just after my mind registered that he was there, I realized he was talking/yelling at a girl who was also back there. For the first four or five seconds after he started talking, I was really taken aback by the fact he was speaking in English instead of French.

It was completely strange, and made me realize that I guess I was more entrenched in French culture and language while I was there than I thought.

Honestly, though, it shocked me how easily I adaped to speaking in French, thinking in French, reading in French. Even the first night we were there, when I was completely jet lagged and exhausted, I was able to communicate on a purely automatic level in the language. I barely had to think about what I was saying...I didn't have to think it in English and then translate it into French...it was just there, in my head, in French.

Weird. And extremely exhilirating.

I guess part of the ability to merge with the language sprung out of the knowledge that I was it, that I was the one everyone was relying on to figure things out. That responsibility motivated me to be much more bold than I would have been otherwise, I think. And that's a good thing: I know my French improved a great deal while I was there, largely because I gained a lot of confidence in speaking it and reading it.

Not to be a total braggart, but I had several people, many of whom were native French speakers, and some of whom were complete strangers, tell me I spoke French very well. That is a huge compliment coming from a French person. I even had one French woman think I WAS French.

All that simply rekindles my desire to continue to grow in my knowlege of the language. I know that while I do speak it well, there is so much I need to learn in the way of vocabulary, idomatic elements, and finesse. I'm hoping I can find people here in Seattle with whom I can talk and learn from. There's a cafe in the U-District that does language conversation nights, and Wednesdays are for French. I am going to go, maybe this week or the next. I really miss hearing the language since I've been back.

Anyway, while I was in Paris the last weekend before we came home, I wound up being by myself a lot, which I enjoyed. There's something about being alone in a big city that gives me a sense of...I"m not sure how to describe it. Maybe it's a sense of freedom and independence and, well, possibility, a feeling that the world is a really big place and I am just one small cog in it, and that anything could happen and I could go anywhere and do anything.

It was rainy that weekend, and cold, which was a welcome change for me since it had been extremely hot the whole time we were there. On Sunday, I got up and went to mass at Notre Dame with a few of the girls on the trip. (That was an amazing experience in itself.) The girls I had gone to church with went their own way after the service, and I went to do a few errands (relating to my duties as the French speaker on the trip). After that, I had the rest of the day by myself, since I had no way of getting in touch with any of the students.

I had wanted to do some last-minute shopping, so I left our hotel on the Ile St. Louis and walked across the Seine to catch the Metro Ligne 1 up to the Champs Elysees. I was standing in the train, near the door, as the train stopped at one of the stations; I don't remember which one -- maybe Franklin D. Roosevelt. As the loudspeaker sounded the tone that indicates the doors are closing, I recall looking out the door at the station, seeing the artwork on the walls, the advertisements, the people -- the entire scenario -- and feeling completely a part of the culture, and feeling like I could live there forever.

I wish I could describe it better. It was such a surreal and wonderful moment and something I'll remember my entire life.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Home again.

How can I even begin to condense my month-long trip into a blog post or two? How can I choose which photos to post from among the nearly 500 I took? How can I adequately convey the experience of being in French culture?

I don't know the answers to those questions right now. I'm exhausted (my flight from Heathrow to Seattle was canceled and I was re-routed through Atlanta, which added about 7 hours onto the day), jet-lagged, and I have a ton of stuff to get done today before I start my new job tomorrow.

For now, I'll just say that it was wonderful. I loved being in France, and as happy as I am to be back home in Seattle, I have to admit that I miss France today. I miss the buildings, the language, the pain au chocolat...

I guess I'll just content myself with the thought that I will be back, hopefully sooner rather than later, and I'll leave you with one of many great photos.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Pictures!!!

Finally!! Here is a link to my Flickr site, where I've put a bunch of photos from the France trip. Please visit, comment, enjoy.

I will try to add some more soon -- Brett has 2 more CDs full of photos at home with him...so we'll try to put them on as soon as possible.

Sorry I've been bad about updating recently...not much access to the internet. I will try to be better and I am trying to remember and write down stories to share later.

Gotta run -- someone else is waiting for the internet!

Friday, July 28, 2006

EN FRANCE!

Hello from France!

I am sorry I haven't posted much. Access to the internet has not been easy to get...and it is expensive when I do get on line.

Also; I haven't been able to upload photos to the internet either because of the programs here, but Brett went home yesterday and he will upload about 200 photos to Flickr or Shutterfly. I'll post a link when he does.

There are lots of stories to tell but not a lot of time to type them. We've visited lots of places: Mont St. Michel, Giverny, Rouen, the DDay beaches, Versailles, and lots of other towns nearby. It's great!!

We leave Honfleur (in Normandy) tomorrow for the town in Provence. I am looking forward to it...the change of scene will be nice, even though I love it here in Honfleur.

Brett and I went to Paris on Wednesday. It was great! I will definitely post more about it and post some photos too.

I hope that I will have better access to the Internet once we are in Provence, so I can stay in touch better.

I have to get back to the house for lunch now...but I will try to post again soon!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

There's a lot I could tell here: about our trip down to Portland last weekend, about hanging out with our friends Steve, Carmen and Giles over the Fourth, about our temp jobs, about all the books I've been reading, about the amazing moped rides we've been going on...

All of that is to say that I feel like I've been so busy just living life the past few weeks that I haven't really updated much. There's a lot I want to say, but I haven't found the time to sit down and write about it.

Anyway...I suppose that will come soon, once we're back from France and I'm working my permanent job.

Speaking of France, we leave THIS WEEK!!! I'm so excited. After some drama with our passports (which, $284 later, is now resolved), we are now getting ready to go. I leave on Wednesday evening, and Brett leaves Thursday morning. We'll be there just in time for Bastille Day, which it looks like we'll be spending in Deauville, a resort town on the Normandy coast. Fun!

I am so looking forward to having Brett experience French culture. He's never been out of the country, with the exception of a few trips to Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, so this will be a whole new world for him, one I know he'll love.

I know I'm looking forward to sharing certain experiences with him: walking through cities, buildings, and churches built when North America hadn't yet been discovered, eating pastries (tarte au citron is my favorite; I know he'll love the pain au chocolat) and drinking thick, syrupy espresso, swimming in La Manche (The English Channel), exploring Mont St. Michel, and visiting Paris.

It's going to be great.

But for now, I need to get busy with doing laundry and figuring out what to pack, which is kind of a daunting task. I haven't given it much thought, which is out of character for me...usually, I plan ahead for weeks with regard to packing. This time, though, I just haven't really thought much about it. I guess I need to get on that.

I should wrap this up -- Brett's sisters, Rachel and Amy, are on their way up to visit for the weekend. They should be here any minute. I'm looking forward to spending some time with them; with the exception of last weekend, we hadn't seen either of them in nearly a year. So it should be a good time, hanging out with them this weekend.

Anyway -- watch this space while I'm in France. I'll do my best to post more regularly while I'm there, with photos and written descriptions...

So -- a bientot, mes amis! La prochaine fois que j'ecrire ici, je serais en france!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Portions of an actual conversation overheard on the 5:25 #17 bus from downtown to Ballard last week:

On the bus. A woman who appears to be in her mid-30's talks on her cell phone. She wears a pin-striped blouse, brown pants, black ankle-height pleather boots, and a brown vinyl parka tied around her waist. She carries a black canvas bag with a Looney Toons screen print on the front. Her long hair is layered, and slightly stringy. Her complexion is bad; her face, pockmarked. Her voice is nasally. We come into the conversation in the middle, as it appears it has been going on long before we boarded the bus...

Woman: You nohw how I used to drink light beer?

~~~~~~

Woman: Yeah, well, now I drink, like, Ahhmber or something. It's got a nice tang to it, you nohw?

~~~~~~

Woman: No, I don't like anything dark, like Guinness? Gahd, I haaate that.

~~~~~~

Woman: Uhhh, nyeahp.

~~~~~~

Woman: Cha, well, you know I'm going to Hollywood, right?

~~~~~~

Woman: Cha, I'm going to Hollywood.

~~~~~~

Woman: When am I going to Hollywood? In September, for Labor Day.

~~~~~~

Woman: I'm going to HOLlywood with Sara and Ann Marie and Beth.

~~~~~~

Woman: Well, since I'm going to HOLLYwood, I'm not buying a separate ticket or taking more time off to come to San Diego to see you. I can just see you when I'm in Hollywood.

~~~~~~

Woman: No, I'm not taking any leave to go down to Hollywood.

~~~~~~

Woman: [sighs, as the bus sits 6 cars back, waiting to get on the Ballard bridge. This time of day, the line is usually backed up 1/2 a mile. 6 cars is nothing.] Traffic is a BEAR Right now.

~~~~~~

Woman: [with her long, layered, stringy hair over her face like a toddler might put it to play with it, as she examines her fingernails with their chipping paint] God, I can't hear you. Are you out in the wind?

~~~~~~

Woman: Ok, nyah, well, I'll talk to you later then. Ok. Bye.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Well, I'm back.

A virtual cookie to whoever can tell me what book that line is from...bonus points if you know who said it. (Hint: It's the last line of said book.)

Anyway...it's been a few weeks since I've been on here. And what a few weeks it's been…

It's a lot to write about, and to think about, that in only two-and-a-half weeks I've loaded a 16-foot moving truck with everything I owned, drove 3,400 miles, attended a four-day moped rally, unpacked the moving truck, unpacked the boxes, putting their contents into our new apartment, worked several random jobs, been to Portland for 24 hours to see our families and a bunch of old friends…

My life feels so different from what it was two-and-a-half weeks ago. That's not a long time, and yet to me, it feels like an eternity.

Anyway.

The trip out was fine. Long, really long, but fine. The moped rally was good; it was great to see friends from other branches. Moving in was pretty easy, although we had a few small snags. But that's ok. More about all that later. I have lots of stories and pictures to share. We don't have internet at home yet (stupid Comcast is being ridiculous and I am fed up with them, so it might be a while) so we are relying on the library and friends' houses to stay connected, which means we have sporadic access at best.

Things have been good since we've been back. We love, love, where we live in Ballard. It's perfect. I have walked more in the week-and-a-half that I've been back than I would walk for months when we were in Maine. (I hope that will help me drop some of the weight I gained in Maine…that is, if I can restrain myself from gorging on all the foods I've missed.)

The library, the grocery store, restaurants, coffee shops, the drugstore – basically everything we need is within a 10-minute walk or a 2-minute moped ride of our apartment. I've found myself startled by that convenience at odd moments since we've been back…after living in Maine, where going to the library meant making a 15-minute trip in the car, or where it was a 20-minute drive to get to any restaurant we liked…it's really strange, but wonderful, of course, to have all of these amenities, so close at hand.

We love, too, being so near so many of our friends. Nearly all of them live close by; most within a few blocks. It's so fun to hear mopeds whizzing past the house on a regular basis. And it's not just moped friends who are close – lots of other people are, too, which is fun.

Being near our church is nice, too. It's maybe a four-minute moped ride from our house. We've been going with some friends in the evening, to the 7 p.m., so it's a nice way to end the day and to start the week. (Plus, that way, we get to sleep in, which is always nice.)

It's nice, being so close to everyone and everything, especially since we don't have a car. The mopeds are the perfect form of transportation, though. Quick, easy, no need to search for parking, just a post or tree to lock up to. We just need to get mine registered and I'll be good to go. For now, though, it's the bus for me.

This morning, I walked to the bus stop from our house so I could catch the bus to downtown, where I'm working this week. When I left the house, it was a gray, cool morning, and I thought that it looked like it could rain at any moment. (That's typical Seattle weather…) It's about a 10-minute walk to the bus stop from our house – not long, and a good way to start the day, with a little exercise. It felt great to walk through the coolness of the morning and the emptiness of Ballard before 8 a.m. Anyway. I started to walk across Market Street toward the stop for the #17 and looked to my right, toward the west, checking for cars before I crossed the street.

What I saw took my breath away and nearly brought tears to my eyes. It reminded me how much I love this place. The Olympic Mountains – tall, regal, snow-covered – were silhouetted against the horizon, and the morning sun was reflecting off of their snow-capped peaks, despite the damp, gray day I'd seen so far. It was gorgeous.

That picture encapsulates how I feel, how we both feel, to be back here.

The bottom line is this: it is so. freaking. good. to be home.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I forgot.

Instead of packing yesterday morning, I spent a little while re-doing my blog template with one designed by the amazing Miss Zoot. I really like how it turned out! It definitely jazzed things up around here.

So thanks should go to Miss Zoot for designing such beautiful templates and letting random people like myself use them for free!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Meh.

Just a warning: this is going to be whiny. It's late, I'm exhausted, I'm grumpy, and I hit my head really hard on the sloped ceiling in our guest bedroom tonight, so I am not at my best.

Ok, here we go.

I will be so glad when this whole moving adventure is over.

I feel like I have been going non-stop for a week, packing, organizing, throwing stuff away, running errands. Yet, at the same time, it feels like I'm not getting anythng done. It's as though the stuff that needs to be packed just keeps multiplying or something, and the list of phone calls I need to make just gets bigger, and the list of errands to run increases.

I've been trying to set goals, like: pack everything in this cabinet, or everything in that closet, or consolidate this to take to Goodwill and the recycling center. For the most part, that seems to be working ok. The problem is mostly that I'm essentially doing it alone, with a little help from Brett when he gets home from work in the evenings.

It would go so much faster with even one extra set of hands...but alas, I don't have two sets of hands and most of our friends seem to be busy this week. Which, fine, I get that people have lives and that helping someone else pack probably isn't how they want to spend their spare time, it's just that it's tough to be doing this with little help, especially knowing that we have multiple offers for help on the Seattle end of things, and none on this end.

If I could, I would fast-forward until this packing up portion of moving were over and we were on the road already, on our way to the moped bbq, ultimately on our way home. The road trip part of moving is kind of fun: being in the car, seeing new places, hanging out with Brett, listening to good music...that part, I like.

This part? Going through all of our stuff, packing, throwing away, living in a state of chaos...this part I don't like.

I guess I should stop complaining. Overall, even though it's getting increasingly hard to be motivated, it's going pretty well, and I'm making good progress.

I took this picture earlier tonight. (There are more boxes there now.) So anyway, welcome to my chaos.


Only four more days, and we can load the truck up and have this part of the move be OVER. Thank goodness!

We had a great time at graduation.

I'm so proud of Brett for graduating with honors. What an accomplishment!

Here are some photos from the day.

The two of us at Flatbread Pizza after graduation

Brett, just after receiving his diploma

A picture of Brett and me that Brett's friend Anita took while we were at dinner. I like it a lot.The oft-talked-of, finally completed, beautiful and sexy Puch moped.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

An update, in haiku.

One week from today, one week from right now, we will be on the road.

Yikes.

There is SO much to do before that can happen. I have been packing pretty steadily for the past few days but I feel like I need to step it up if I'm going to get it all done. As soon as I post this, I am going to the store to get some boxes they saved for me and to buy lots more packing tape.

The past week has been insane. I thought it would be fun to fill you in in haiku-form, because I don't have much time to write.

Wednesday, May 10:
Jet lag really sucks
Fun concert in the evening
I really miss sleep

Thursday, May 11:
Lots of packing done
Yes, it's raining cats and dogs
Yummy Indian food

Friday, May 12:
Lots more stuff is packed
Dinner out with 'Nita's fam
Yummy soup and fries

Saturday, May 13:
Still it's raining hard
Family drama sucks big time
(Un)Happy Birthday

Sunday, May 14:
Graduation day
Brett graduates with honors!
So, so proud of him.

Monday, May 15:
Goodbye little cat
Goodbye to the in-laws too
Chill with friends at night

Tuesday, May 16:
Meet new baby Ryan
So little and so snuggly
More Indian food

Wednesday, May 17:
Feeling very meh
Then I feel better -- Car sold!
Again, Indian

So that's it...my life, in haiku. Now I'm off to get more boxes and tape...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

the lattes are sooooo good here...

I don't even know where to start...

I'm still in Seattle; right now I am sitting in the gorgeous and fantastic Seattle Public Library, which wasn't finished when we lived here before. It's really cool, and I can't wait to come here. It's right across the street from where I'll most likely be working...but more on that later.

Anyway. I fly back to Maine tonight, and will arrive at 6 a.m. tomorrow into Boston. I'll then take a bus back to Maine and Brett will pick me up at 10 a.m. My in-laws will then arrive at 4:30 p.m. That evening I am going with Brett and his parents to see Jon Shain play at Chicky's, which should be fun. And then it's graduation goodness for a few days, and then I'll be in major packing mode.

So, that's what the next few weeks look like for me.

Ok, now about the trip.

I can't even describe how amazing it feels to be here, to be home. So many amazing things have happened over the past few days. I don't have much time left on this library computer, but I'll do the best I can.

It was wonderful to see my mom, and I have also been able to see several good friends. I was able to sit down with my journalism professor for a while and chat (he was completely thrilled I stopped by). I'm hoping to see some more of my old profs today.

Also, in the flukiest fluke ever, I have run into two families I used to regularly babysit for.

One of them had been on my mind a ton lately, but the email address I had for them was bad, and I googled the dad and found his work email but never sent one there. Anyway, I was talking about them to my mom all day on Friday, about how I really needed to call them.

Well, my mom and I were at an intersection in Ballard (a completely different neighborhood than they live in) and I SAW THEM!!! I jumped out of the car and screamed the mom's name. Her mouth dropped open and she yelled, "OH MY GOD!" It was fantastic. So now I have their info and they have mine and we're going to get together when I get back here permanently.

Also, I signed a lease this morning on a 1 bedroom apartment in Ballard. My mom and I had seen two, both of which we liked a lot. One of them was bigger than the other, not in as great of a location (still the same distance from the library and the neighborhood's downtown but not near our friends), and more expensive. We liked that but then we saw another apartment, literally a block from some of Brett's best friends from the Moped Army. (Whom we later saw in front of their house as we were driving by...again, another kind of random sighting of some friends.)

There were 2 available in that building, one upstairs and one downstairs. The upstairs one wasn't very nice, but the guy on the phone when we called said they wouldn't consider renting the newly-remodeled downstairs one to us b/c we have a cat. The guy said he was sending his rental agent over to meet us at the apartment. Well, the rental agent drove up, and it turned out to be a good friend from college!!! After we saw the upstairs apt -- which was gross -- we decided we didn't want it.

My friend called back an hour later and said that they would offer us the downstairs apartment anyway, and that they would knock $50/mo off the rent if we'll sweep the common areas (which are not big at all) and keep our eyes peeled for maintainance issues. The apartment is a lot smaller than the first one, but I think we can make it work for a year or so since it's cheaper and we like the location. It is remodeled, has 10 units, and is pretty cute, AND it has a dishwasher!!!! There's onsite laundry, free storage, and free parking. Plus, it's only 8 blocks from the library, the grocery store, coffee shops, a movie theater, a drugstore, etc, 2 blocks from the bus stop, about a 25-20 min walk to church (5 mins on a bus), and like not even a full block from our moped friends. You can see their driveway from the driveway of this building.

So, that left us free to play on Saturday. We went shopping downtown, and my mom got me some adorable shoes at Nordstrom for my birthday, and then my mom and I went to one of my favorite restaurants for dinner.

Sunday, we went to church, which was great, and I got to see several friends there. After church I got a haircut (finally!) and my mom went back home to Portland.

Yesterday, I interviewed with two temp agencies, both of which said they would be able to give me work if I need it when I get back, and had lunch and then went window shopping with my friend Minda, which was so very much fun.

While we were in Anthropologie, one of my favorite stores ever, we ran into the mom of the OTHER family I used to nanny for!!!! And, she and her family are living five blocks from us this summer, while they are having an addition put onto their house. HOW COOL! I swear, you'd think Seattle wasn't a big city the way I'm running into people!

This morning, I interviewed for a job working for the company I worked for before I moved out here. It is similar to what I was doing before (commercial property management in a downtown skyscraper) and working with a lot of the same people. As of right now, if the property manager can work some things out timing-wise, it should work for him to hire me -- even though I'm going to France for a month!!!

I think I need to buy a MegaMillions ticket or something with the luck I'm having this week.

So, everything is great. I absolutely love being here. This is so cheesy, but I was standing downtown at a bus stop yesterday, waiting for the bus, looking at people, and listening to The Postal Service on my iPod and I teared up. I just can't believe that our time in Maine is over and that I can come home. I don't feel a sense of belonging anywhere else like I do here. It is so wonderful being here; I can't even describe it.

Well, I need to go meet my friend Bree and then hang out...I'll update more when I get home!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"[I'm] positively unemployed"

"I'd like to thank you all for nothin' / I'd like to thank you all for nothin' at all / I'd like to thank you all for nothin' / Nothin' / Nothin' at all..."

I'M DONE! I am sitting at home, in my pajamas -- completely unemployed. It's wonderful.

It's also really, really strange, and really bittersweet to be done with the Gazette. It's been my baby for the past year. I am sorry to leave Gorham and Westbrook. I feel truly invested in those communities. It's weird; there were so many times I couldn't handle it anymore, that I just wanted to be done and gone. But now? It's sad! I'm going to miss all of the people I've met and interviewed and gotten to know. If you're reading this and you are one of those people, thank you for trusting me with your reputation and your words. I hope I did them justice. I will miss having that privilege.

So I guess it's on to bigger and better things from here on out.

I leave for Seattle tomorrow, so the blog will probably go dark for a week or so, unless I can grab a few seconds to update from there.

Until then, I'm going to enjoy my unemployment! Yahoo!

Monday, May 01, 2006

I'm busy, busy dreadfully busy. You've no idea what I have to do. Busy, busy, shockingly busy...

Yeah. So, I'm busy. And stressed out. And I feel like now that the new reporter started on Wednesday, the "I'm really leaving" ball has started to roll...and everything is starting to snowball really, really quickly.

I feel like I'm staring at a hurdles course (not that I would know what that's like, since, you know, I hate to run and all) about a gajillion yards long. I can just see the end (living in Seattle in a new apartment, paying off debt, not worrying as much), but barely.

The hurdles are piling up and I just keep telling myself to take them one at a time.

Hurdle one: Getting through the next few days of work -- through Wednesday (May 3) -- without killing someone.

Hurdle two: Fly to Seattle Thursday (May 4), find an apartment, interview for temp jobs, meet with the group that's going to France

Hurdle three: Fly back from Seattle, arrive in Boston (6 a.m. on May 10), and greet my in-laws a few hours later, since they arrive for Brett's graduation that afternoon

Hurdle four: Hang with the in-laws (May 10-15), do the birthday thing (May 13), do the graduation thing (May 14)

Hurdle five: Pack the house!!! In 10 days! (May 15-24) AAAAH.

Hurdle six: DRIVE HOME! (May 25-June 1)

Interspersed in there are all the financial hurdles, including the fact that we need to fill our oil tank, the fact that we need our tax return for an apartment deposit, the fact that gas is at THREE freaking dollars a gallon, and the gas to get us back home is probably going to cost twice as much as the truck rental.

So. Lots going on. I may not be around much the next few weeks.

It hit me the other night that we are really leaving Maine, and soon. And I felt sad about that, oddly enough. I mean, this is the thing I've wanted, the thing I've looked forward to for two years, and now it's finally happening, and I feel sad?! I started to pick apart my emotions, and realized that I'm already starting to detach to a point where I can look back on our time here with nostalgia more than anything else.

And, too, I will miss my friends, a few in particular, and I'll miss certain aspects of my job. I know that I'm going to be so happy to be back home in Seattle that I'll get over this weird sadness. Until then, I guess I'll keep expecting it to surprise me by popping up every now and then.

Monday, April 24, 2006

wedding planning = moped building ?

This whole moped-building, end-of-school project of Brett's is starting to remind me of planning our wedding.

Just like with the wedding, his moped-building crises have mounted, first occuring monthly, then occuring weekly, then daily, and now, occuring hourly or even minute-ly.

It seems like every minute there's something else that's going wrong, from the paint chipping off, to the front wheel not spinning like it should, to the handlebars not fitting properly and needing to be drilled out and notched so as to fit around the forks. (I type to the sound of the drill behind me, which is making me sooo nervous, becuase this is the second pair of handlebars he's tried to make work, so if he screws these up, he's out of luck.) Those are just the crises in the past hour, since I got home from the Westbrook City Council meeting.

This situation also reminds me of planning our wedding because I know that in the end, it will all turn out ok, even if it's not exactly like the perfect vision in his head, just like our wedding wasn't perfect -- right down to missing tuxes for the groomsmen, a screwed up hem on a bridesmaid dress, no forks for the cake, and no liquor insurance-license-thingy until 5 hours before the wedding. But it all didn't matter at the end of the day -- tuxes were found, a seamstress came to the rescue, forks were bought (even if they were plastic), and by some miracle, a liquor insurance-license-thingy was able to be obtained on such short notice.

But just like I was a basket case even up to the morning of the wedding, right now, I know it's really, really stressful for Brett.

I'm not sure what I can or should say or do in this situation. My MO as of right now is to listen to his moments of panic and depression, to smile and say, "Sure," when he asks me, "Do you wanna come help me for a sec," and to generally try to encourage him that he can and will get it done, and that it will be wonderful.

On top of all of that, he's getting a migraine tonight, and no wonder. The stress and worry and problems and his desire for perfection are all getting to him, and all I can really do is just to be there if he needs me to hold this bolt or tighten that nut, and to hand him Advil in copious quantities.

It's not that I mind helping, I should say...I'll just be glad when all of this is over.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Someone out there hates the Gilmore Girls

We've been Netflix members for almost a year now. Unlike our rentals from Hollywood Video or Blockbuster, which always seemed to be damaged to the point of being unplayable, we had never had a problem with a DVD from Netflix. That is, until one of the Gilmore Girls DVDs I requested back in January or so arrived cracked in half.

I sent it back; they sent me a replacement.

A couple weeks ago, it happened AGAIN! A Gilmore Girls DVD, from Netflix was cracked.

I got another Gilmore Girls DVD yesterday, and guess what? CRACKED AGAIN.

I swear, someone at Netflix has issues with Gilmore Girls or something.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

since when did this happen?

While I was at work today, I made a phone call to the offices of one of the towns I cover. I wanted to make an appointment with a town official, to go over something for a story I want to write for next week's paper.

The phone call was a fiasco, with the substitute secretary telling me that I couldn't make an appointment, that I'd have to call back on Monday morning and hope he could fit me in.

See, I know that the normal secretary would have penciled me in somewhere, even if it was with the caveat that he might have to reschedule. But this lady? Totally didn't care that I have deadlines and stories I need to plan, and just kept saying, "Call back Monday morning."

I ended the call by (stupidly) saying, "Thank you."

And as the reciever hit the cradle (rather angrily, by the way), these words slipped out of my mouth with more vehemence and volume than I expected: "For your LACK OF HELP."

Everyone in not only my office, but the office adjacent to mine, burst out laughing.

My officemate said something to the affect of, "Wow, you've gotten so hardassed since you started working here!"

She's so right. When did it happen that I became the potty-mouthed person I am today, a person who swears way too much? That I became this girl, the one who drinks beer at lunch and then goes home and drinks nearly a whole bottle of wine that very same night? (Yeah, I did that after I wrote that entry. No, it did not feel quite as good as I'd hoped it would. I actually felt really sick. No, I haven't really had much at all to drink since then.)

This job has turned me sour. Dealing with people all the time, trying to do the best I can with the limited resources I have, working insanely long hours with no freaking overtime pay...ugh. I don't want to be a drunken, swearing, mean-behind-people's-backs kind of girl! But I aaaam!

At least I'm almost done; at least there's an out. Some of the qualities I've gained have been good. The assertiveness, the not wanting to take crap from people. But the potty mouth and the drinking? Not so good.

Oh well. I wouldn't trade the experience I've gained at this job for anything, though. I mean, I'm one of the lucky few who has been able to write for a living. It still boggles my mind sometimes! At least now, I know I'm capeable of it, and hopefully when we're back in Seattle, the door will be open for me in terms of writing possiblities, even if I don't do it full-time. Now, if I could just kick that swearing habit...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

a plea

I think most everyone knows by now that I'm going to France this summer, as a staff member on a trip with SPU. (For those of you who don't know, it's a month long, from July 12 to August 15. The first half of that is spent in Honfleur, in Normandy, and the second half spent in a town called Uzes, near Avignon in Southern France. I'll be helping with French speaking, translation, etc, and acting as an additional chaperone.) I'm completely thrilled and I can't wait. When life gets hard lately, I just imagine myself here, sitting by the pool and reading. That's where we are staying in Uzes.

Anyway, another amazing part about this is that Brett is more than welcome to come for the first half. Brett has never been out of the country, to anywhere but Canada. I really, really, really want him to be able to come.

We realized that we have enough airmiles for a plane ticket, too, thanks to our Alaska Airlines credit card, and the multiple flights back to the Pacific Northwest over the past few years. Again -- another blessing.

Oh, and did I mention that we would be there together over our third wedding anniversary?

Yeah. So perfect.

Except we can't get a reservation using airmiles to save our lives. AUGH!!!

The explanation the airline people are giving me makes sense, I guess, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with.

Apparently what's happened is that the airlines release a set number of mileage plan tickets for each flight 330 days before that flight. And apparently there are people just waiting to pounce on said tickets.

People like us, who wait until (*gasp*) three months before the trip, are apparently out of luck.

I've called repeatedly, as the reservation agents have suggested, in case anything changes. And things have changed, every time I've called. The first time, there was nothing within three days of the dates we wanted him to leave and come back. The second time, we could get him there, but not home, and this time, tonight, there was NOTHING either way.

So, here is where the plea comes in.

I really, really, really, really want Brett to be able to come. (I know I said that before but it's the truth.) He's never eaten a real tarte au citron, or walked through a European marketplace, or seen a 14th century cathedral, or been to see the Louvre, or any of that. I want him to experience that, and I want to experience that with him!

If any of you readers have any advice about this, about how to get him a ticket using airmiles (we absolutely cannot afford to pay for a ticket outright; they're running around $1200 right now), or if you have any connections with either Alaska Airlines (who our miles are through) or any of its European partner airlines...please! HELP! Any good advice you can give would be welcome...and in lieu of advice, your prayers, good thoughts, and lots of crossed fingers that we'll be able to get him a ticket would be awesome, too.

Friday, April 14, 2006

I should get a diploma, too. Or maybe something slightly more sparkly than a diploma.

Freakin' A.

I have just spent the last three hours sanding, sanding, sanding down the fiberglass and paint on Brett's moped for his school project. I'm covered in fiberglass/bondo dust, and little flecks of paint from the moped. I feel gritty, and I have a cough from the dust. I had to wear a mask!! A freaking mask! I mean, just look! I look ridiculous. (Note to Snarkies: Notice, my fat, fat arms. LOL.)



We go to New Hampshire tomorrow to paint the moped, at our friend Kahlil's dad's sign shop. He has a spray booth and is kind enough to let us use it. Well, to let Brett and Kahlil use it, really. I'm tagging along to hang out with Kahlil's mom, Bridget, who is completely fun and someone I want to be like in another 20 or 30 years.

I'm looking forward to hanging out with Kahlil and his family, which will seem kind of like a vacation, especially as I am taking the train home by myself Sunday night.

But dude. After everything I've done for Brett's schooling, particularly this past quarter, I seriously deserve to get a diploma too. I should get to walk across the stage with him or something. (I'm not saying I want to, I am just saying that there should be some kind of special award for super-patient spouses. Like maybe these. Or these. And yeah, there's these too. Sigh. Ok, I'm so not getting any of those, because one of the reasons I've been so patient this semester is related to the fact that this project has cost so damn much money and I haven't really said a word. So those aren't really a possibility, alas.)

Anyway. Between the different aspects of this project, and of school in general, like the financial aspect (helllOOOOO poverty and credit card debt), the time aspect (I never see my husband), the I-am-covered-in-fiberglass-dust aspect (BLECH. I need a shower), the I-edit-and-rewrite-papers aspect (I feel like I've had a huge hand in helping write every paper he's had to since he started college), the moped parts in every room of my house (yes, that's right, every room), the calls of, "Do you wanna help me?" (and even though I'm thinking, "No, that absolutely the last thing I want to do right now," I still help), the fiberglass dust that is currently all over my kitchen (see below) ... it's just a lot. (Yes, that is my kitchen, and my sweater on the chair, which are covered in sanded fiberglass/bondo dust. No, for some mysterious reason, Brett won't close the door while he's doing this. Yes, the cat gets out, and she's not supposed to. Yes, I try to keep the floor clean, and no, I don't succeed very well. Yes, that is Brett's major manass that I get to see all the time.)

I am, of course, extremely proud of Brett, and of what he's accomplished, and of how he's changed and grown artistically while being at school here. I'm really excited to see where he'll go with his art once we leave Maine.

But, when it all comes down to it, I don't want to brag or anything, but I? Have put up with a hell of a lot the past two years, especially the past two months, and it just seems like there should be some kind of reward in this for me, too. I guess that's not how it works...but darn it, it should work that way, after all I've done.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Kathleen Walker Show: All Drama, All the Time

I feel like 99% of what I post here is drama. I know that it's not quite that high, but still. And I know a lot of it is drama that I create for myself. (I'm trying to work on that whole "creating drama for myself" thing, with mixed results.)

But I digress. In the past two days, I have gotten two bits of news that have both been really, really hard for me to take. Both of these things involve people very close to me, and both of them are MAJOR drama. Sad drama. Hurtful drama.

I'm not really ready to write about either of them in detail in such a public place as a blog. One of them (let's call it Drama Situation A) I almost certainly will write about here in coming weeks, but due to current circumstances surrounding it, I can't really talk about here. (Although, if you're dying to know, email me, and I may be able to share that way.)

The other situation, (We'll call it Drama Situation B) I will likely never talk about here, but has just as far-reaching possibly even ultimately a more devastating impact as the first one. It's just of a more private nature and not something I can really share with all of Internet-land, at least right now. Maybe I'll share portions of it in the future, but that's really going to depend upon what the people involved in the situation do next.

For some reason, Item B is a little easier for me to digest. I don't know why; it's equally as hard as the other. It shouldn't be any easier, but I guess such is the mystery of human emotion. Who knows why some things affect you more than others?

Item A, however, is something I'm having a very. hard. time. with. I just found out this morning in fact, in a very roundabout way, and am completely shocked and hurt about the situation in general, as well as how I found out.

I have about 900 emotions flowing through me. Jealousy, frustration, embarassment, anger, sadness. Hurt that I wasn't told directly. It's really running the gamut right now and I'm (unfortunately) at work and really need to try to get some things done. (Crying at my desk is not one of them.)

So, I guess I should try to work, even though I'd really rather go home and eat ice cream and maybe drink some gin. (With tonic, of course.) Too bad they don't have gin-flavored ice cream...hmmm...

Anyway. Not to sound totally self-righteous, but at least I'm making better choices with my life than these people are. That's comforting, I suppose. And, at least maybe all of this will be fodder for a great novel someday. That's comforting, too.