Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Just because

Decade debate

Top Eight reasons why the 80's rocked:
  • Glam rock
  • Day-glo socks
  • Madonna - she was the archetype of everything that was evil about pop music when I was growing up
  • Songs like, "She Blinded Me with Science," or "Whip It"
  • MTV
  • Shoulder pads
  • Indiana Jones
  • Power ballads
Top Seven reasons why the 70's rocked harder:
  • Roller Disco
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Star Wars - when it was actually good
  • Bell bottoms
  • Richard Nixon
  • Mustaches
  • Brown and orange paisley

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

sick as a dog

One of the cover stories today on People magazine was about Ellen Degeneres' dog adopting fiasco. Of course, of all the articles I could choose to see on the cover of People, anything but Britney Spears pretty much tops my list.

Seeing that story is what prompted my metaphor. I am, indeed, as sick as a dog, although I really have no idea what that's supposed to mean. Perhaps it's like happy as a clam - which actually used to be happy as a clam at high tide. The second makes sense; the first does not. Perhaps there's an ending to the 'sick as a dog' phrase that I don't know that would make it make more sense. Or make me make more sense, but that isn't likely to happen given how many drugs are currently pumping through my system.

My coworker kindly provided DayQuil, but I'm a Tylenol/NyQuil fan myself, so my mom is getting me some on her way home from church tonight. I can't wait to down some nasty medicine and drift off into la-la land. I do not see how I'm supposed to continue to work and move and then go back to work while I'm sick, but my sick hours don't start accumulating until the first of the year. And I wouldn't want to squander them this early on anyway. But still... the misery, she had no company, so my coworkers infected me, and now I too am miserable.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Weekend tidbits

Well, I didn’t have carrot cake. Which makes me sad, because I love carrot cake and cream cheese frosting. I will simply have to make some next weekend, and pretend that I did it this weekend. :) We made peanut butter cookies instead, and mom ate ten of them last night. How she manages to remain so thin is beyond me.

My cousin and I visited our grandmas this weekend. Neither of us were very good about visiting once we got out of the house, and then when grandpa died, we felt guilty (for different reasons, I was out of the country, she thought she still had time to visit) and now we make time to visit the grandmas every year. We went to Port Townsend and ate at the Nifty Fifty’s – it used to be more cute, but now it’s run by what appears to be an Indian or Pakistani family. I have nothing against immigrants making good in this country, that’s kind of the point, but a fifties white bread America soda fountain/café with Indian/Pakistani servers? It’s just weird. We also did a little shopping which was detrimental to my pocketbook. Now that I have a job, I keep thinking I have money, which is not true. Alas… but the purse is delightful, as is the necklace, and I LOVE my new sweater coat.

I have only three days left of the evil commute. I move on the first of November, with the help of my Uncle P. and my mom (thanks, guys!). I’m looking forward to being within walking distance of everything – even the grocery store is only two blocks away – and within reach of easy bus lines if I have to go anywhere other than downtown/first hill/Pioneer Square area. I do love living in the city. :D

Friday, October 26, 2007


Today is a rather nice fall day for Seattle. The air is nippy, it’s partly cloudy (although one can probably expect the sun to come out shortly), and there’s that lovely crisp freshness of autumn welcoming the coming winter that is lurking, undefinable, behind the long shadows of the high rises.

Today is also Friday, and as most offices downtown have a casual Friday, Seattle is a veritable sea of jeans this morning. I looked closely, and saw only one pair of black slacks entering the Washington Mutual building when I walked by. My building must be slightly more dressy because the woman in front of me going up the elevator was dressed in lovely black fishnet stockings, cute black wedges and traditional business attire. Still, I’m pleased with the amount of casualness I see – I doubt this would work very well on the east coast, which I’ve heard is far more fashion conscious than we are.

Today is also the first night of the weekend before Halloween, meaning lots of Halloween parties all throughout the area. My cousin is coming up to visit, and we will have carrot cake with cream cheese icing in celebration. I hope that many people will have fun this weekend. I read an ad recently in craigslist for writers writing about loneliness in Seattle. The ad contended that while other cities had their fair share of lonely, depressed people, Seattle has a unique culture of loneliness and depression. Some blame it on the weather, some blame it on the mouth-breathing males, some blame it on the stuck-up females. I do not agree with this hypothesis, however – but what do I know? I don’t actually even live in Seattle yet. Here’s to hoping there are some great parties this weekend and lots of people have lots of fun and feel lightness in their hearts.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I learned a new word today. While reading about various campaign strategies being employed by various Democratic frontrunners, I came across the word ‘sclerotic.’ It was used in reference to Edwards’ attempt to characterize Hillary Clinton as part of the Washington establishment. I know the root word is similar to sclerosis, so I thought perhaps it meant something about being twisty and decided to look it up. According to Merriam-Webster Online:

sclerotic: having to do with sclerosis.

That being entirely useless, I looked up sclerosis.

sclerosis: 1. pathological hardening of tissue; 2. an inability or reluctance to adapt or compromise. etym. from the Greek, sklerosis, to harden

I am very much in like with my new word. I think there are a lot of people to whom it would apply nicely. However, I do not think that it applies in this case, being that Hillary Clinton is probably one of the most adaptable politicians in Washington, one who is perfectly happy to compromise if it suits her goals. There are many other people for whom this word is far more appropriate. Donald Trump, I think, is the epitome of “sclerotic.” Perhaps also the Queen of England. But probably not Hillary.

Monday, October 22, 2007

no, really, my master's is TOTALLY helping me here

Today's filing fun:
  • the cities of Redmond and Bellevue have so many sub-folders that I spent an hour filing and only found the correct folders for half of my loose papers
  • there are three different locations where a file MIGHT be... they could also be in an office or at someone's desk. It's entirely random
  • by far the best was a piece of paper faxed to the City of Bellevue saying that the lawyer would like a Roast Beef & Cheddar sandwich. I filed it under "Meetings"

Saturday, October 20, 2007

On Budgeting

One of the things I always enjoyed about reading classic non-fiction literature is the chapter headings. Rather than trying to find something funny to say, such as "Flaming Toasters," a chapter in a Dave Barry book I read about toaster pastries getting jammed into a toaster, lighting on fire, and burning a house down (the name brand toaster pastries do indeed burn at heights of a foot or more, more than enough to light your cupboards above the toaster on fire, which Dave Barry apparently tested himself, in the true spirit of scientific discovery), the chapter heading would have read something like, "On Dumb Things That Can Burn Down Your House," or perhaps just, "On Stupidity."

Today, I wrote up my first budget in awhile. Not having money makes budgeting rather a waste of time. There isn't anything coming in at all, so how is one to organize one's expenditures? Well, now there is money coming in, although deplorably little in view of my spending habits to date. I have a lot of traveling expenses to pay back to my cards. Yes, plural. Although, I did lose one of my cards - I know it wasn't stolen because nothing's been charged, but I was actually dumb enough to simply lose it. Anyway, the budget - my apartment in Seattle will eat up a significant chunk of my monthly income, approximately 35% of my monthly income after taxes. I feel that that is an acceptable percentage, if not ideal. Until April, I'm still in hardship deferral on my giant student loans, but as soon as I start paying them back, they will eat up approximately 23% of my monthly salary. So, until April, I budgeted 23% of my income for "me" stuff - I'm getting my brother a camera, I'm getting myself a new lens, and I'm buying some sort of loveseat/couch and some art prints for my new apartment.

I have found that the primary problem with a budget is not not having one - I've never really had a budget I could stick to - the problem is when your income is spotty. When it's nonexistent, you realize that, and plan accordingly. When it's spotty, for whatever reason, then you get into the "I know I have $25 remaining, so I can safely buy $20 worth of groceries" mindset. Then you realize that the National Park Service has finally deposited the $5 parking check you wrote four months before, and you actually have $19 in your account, and your $20 worth of groceries just pushed it over the edge into "fee-land." "Fee-land" is a place where the bank, correctly deducing that you have no money, has decided to charge you for the privilege of pointing out that you have no money. Then, once they charge you to the point that you not only have no money, but you won't for quite a while, they charge you again for having the temerity to have no money in your account. It's a happy place, and it ought to be entirely illegal. I would vote for someone who promised to adjust banking laws regarding overdraft charges. It should be a percentage of what you overdrafted (what Bank Austria did on my account in Vienna), or a flat fee, whatever is LESS.

But I digress. Now that I have a steady income, and I have bothered to work out some sort of budget, I'm looking forward to not receiving any more of those nasty little postcards in the mail that informed me - and not particularly politely, either - that I had, once again, entered "fee-land."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Big storms, power outages, oh my!

Yesterday, the tail end of a Pacific cyclone hit the Seattle area (and other parts of the NW, but mainly us). It was delightful when ensconced in a high rise in downtown Seattle, and it was even bordering on balmy when the wind wasn't knocking me over walking down to the ferry.

I was mildly perturbed when I heard over the ferry intercom that the Port Orchard ferry had been cancelled due to weather, but I thought - I'm going to my hiking class at OC anyway, doesn't matter. But, when I got onto the bus, I heard the power was out at OC earlier, and they have a habit of cancelling classes on the drop of a hat, not to mention for a giant storm and power outages. So I rushed off the bus, hoping to find the fabled Port Orchard ferry replacement buses, but they weren’t there, so I asked the ticket seller, and she said that the ferry was there, and I’d better hurry!! geez… I made the ferry with about one minute to spare. It was pitching and rocking like crazy, though, quite a fun ride. I’m glad it takes a good half hour for me to get fully seasick, because if I’d had to deal with that for much longer, I would have puked.

The guy who filled in on the Access bus last night has my enormous gratitude for taking me directly to my house, because downed trees had knocked out power lines all over the Kitsap Peninsula, and the entire city of Port Orchard had no power. I tried calling the taxi company, but they were out too, and my mom was out of town, so if the bus driver hadn’t taken me all the way home (which is out of the city limits, so he’s not technically supposed to), I would have had to walk home in the dark and stormy night. That sounds very dramatic, and I would really rather not have that sort of drama in my life.

It was quite fun digging out the candles – mom doesn’t keep them in a special place that I know of, so I went out digging in the garage for my own candles that I put there when I moved back from Eugene last year, using my cell phone screen to see. Scented candles burn quickly – they’re pretty silly. They took about two hours to burn down completely, whereas the tall white taper only burned about two inches. I was hoping that the power outage would stay going until the morning so I could be late to work, but no such luck. It was back on around 2am.

Today promises to be much less exciting than yesterday. I don’t mind though – what with the stress of this commute for three weeks now, I am perfectly happy with an utterly uneventful Friday evening.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Happy Birthday to me!

Today is my birthday. yay! Of course, I still had to wake up early and go to work all day, but it's still my birthday. I didn't really do anything fun except talk to my brother and cousin, but I went to the symphony with the coolest artist in the world on Friday night, and I'm going somewhere with my mom this weekend. So, birthday celebrations will be had. Tonight I also had a baguette and some cheese. It was good.

My job continues to be slightly mind-numbing. We had my first review today, and I was told that they thought it was a good idea to get me up to speed - but slowly. So, I'm still stuck filing dozens of old items that previous secretaries dreaded doing to the extent that there is plenty from way back to 2002 lying about. Hey, at least it's something... I still haven't seen hide nor hair of the IRS stuff I was supposed to be starting on. But, it's a good job, I'm getting paid well, and I'll be able to move to Seattle by November 1. Life is good!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Tomorrow is payday. I like payday. But there's always something slightly enervating about the fact that all of my money is spent before I see it. For example, my hiking class is more involved than I thought it would be. Buying the proper equipment so I don't kill myself hiking in the mountains is a little more difficult - and expensive! - than I thought it would be. Caesar also needs new flea medication (and he's currently got a kitty cold that I hope gets better soon).

Today I was lucky enough to go hiking in Green Mountain near where I live, and then go to an awesome little jazz club in downtown Seattle for dinner. I felt no guilt whatsoever about my calorie intake after hiking seven miles. It was wonderful. It will also be wonderful to get my first check tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hump Day

I find the nickname for Wednesday rather strange... but now understandable. Today being Thursday, I know that I now have only two days remaining of my workweek. My workload has picked up, thank goodness, mostly because I'm proactive in chasing work. Now, my big project is back filing. I guess because everyone else hates filing, I'm often stuck with such projects. It doesn't matter though - at least I'm occupied, all day long.

Sadly, due to my commute, I have not had time to watch the Daily Show this week. I have been grateful ever since I saw that comedycentral put the entire show online (thank you, YouTube!) and I watch it faithfully. Except for this week. Hopefully I'll have time on Saturday. If you haven't watched the interview with Chris Matthews yet, you need to.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Of mountains and paperwork

My job is so easy. I sat at my desk attempting to amuse myself most of the day. Unfortunately for my compulsion to work all the time (while I'm getting paid for it), the lawyer who I was hired to support was out today with her ill son. So I had nothing to do. Until I get trained on the IRS paperwork I'm supposed to be working on, I'm getting paid excellent money for twirling my finger through my hair, reading the news, and staring off into space.

Saturday I went to the Mountain with my mom and her friend. It was raining, as usual at this time of year, nice and overcast, and we went in from the north, over to Ohanapecosh River. It was absolutely lovely! I hope some of my pictures of the trees turn out. It's so difficult to capture the majesty and beauty of a giant tree with a standard lens - or a lens of any variety, really. It's the inability to fit the entire tree into your field of view that makes it so impressive. The trees in this part of the Mountain were about one thousand years old. It makes me sad that there were such trees all over Western Washington before they were summarily destroyed, but I'm glad some have survived. Something like those trees - which started growing in the ashes of a giant fire before the Normans invaded England - deserves to be cherished and protected. Paradise was also lovely, covered in the first snow of the season. I have a feeling I'm going to get quite a lot of use out of those hiking books I bought. It's a good thing I like rain - I do believe I'll be hiking in quite a lot of it.

Side note: This picture, which I posted on flickr three days ago, got 30 hits in two days. Clearly, men in kilts and fleeces is the most interesting subject in my photostream.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Peasant hats and Gothic statues

Today on my walk up to work (my employer confirmed today that my trial period was successful, yay!), I saw a young Afro-American male wearing a style of hat that was popular during the 16th century, when Peter Bruegel was painting. Except, instead of thick homespun, this young man's hat was made of blue mesh fabric. Most odd. On the bus, another young Afro-American was wearing gangsta-style clothes, the flat brimmed hat, gangsta brand pale blue jacket, the half laced sneakers, etc. But he lives near my mom - I don't care if you are black, you are NOT gangsta when you live in the suburbs.

Here are my two favorite statues in Europe. These are from the Mirabellgarten in Salzburg, Austria.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Public transit

Wakeup - 5am
Leave for bus - 6am
Catch foot ferry - 6:30am
Catch Bremerton-Seattle ferry - 7:20am
Arrive at office - 8:40am
Leave office - 5:00pm
Catch Bremerton-Seattle ferry - 5:30pm
Catch foot ferry - 6:45pm
Catch bus - 7pm
Walk home - 8pm

No, I am not kidding. The bus schedule changed, so I had to walk home tonight, took about 35 minutes. At least I get rides three other days a week, and I actually get the car on Thursdays. It'll be good to move to Bremerton when I have the money, if only to cut this list down to "catch Bremerton-Seattle ferry."

It's dinnertime.