things i like
I'm having one last listen to "Charlie Brown Christmas" this morning before the holidays wind down, although it hasn't seemed exactly Christmasy this week with the tropical temperatures. Thankfully, it's snowing again in the passes and east of the mountains, so at least we can salvage our ski season.
One of my goals this year is to read the NY Times' ten best books of 2005. My brain could use a little exercise.
Back to work after 10 glorious days off... sigh. But I had a wonderful little vacation and a great holiday. We spent the 23rd with Jeff's family, catching up and exchanging a few gifts. Afterwards, we stopped by Eric's for a little pre-Christmas festivity with many of our friends (and lots of cheese). The 24th was spent recovering from Eric's, taking a nap, and doing a little last minute shopping before heading over to my Mom's house for the evening. We usually don't do much in the gift department on my mom's side (Christmas is about family, after all), but we do a lot of charity donations and the kids all get awesome stockings packed with chocolate and other fun stuff. Christmas day, Jeff and I just slept in a bit, then had some coffee and read the paper like we always do on Sunday mornings. We headed over to my Dad's for breakfast and yet more gifts, and later that day, Jeff and I opened our presents at home and made a nice, simple dinner to wrap up the holiday weekend. The holidays can get pretty hectic, especially with three families, so I feel pretty lucky that this year was easy and stress-free. Hope you all had a great holiday, and glasses raised to 2006!
Extra major bonus wildlife sighting! I was walking home from downtown, when I saw some people gathered around what seemed to be a very plain and uninteresting wall. I stopped to take a look and was amazed to see a wee bat sleeping in a corner right at eye level. It didn't move much, except to heave a big, heavy, sleepy sigh. Cell phone pic is a little grainy, but you can see he's awfully cute and fluffy.
I forgot to list the weekend's nature sightings!
Most of the birds are gone for the winter, but we saw tons of ravens, some California quail, magpies, bald eagles, a very cold-looking great blue heron hunkered down in a tree, one hairy woodpecker, a golden eagle and other raptors gnawing on a deer carcass, and lots of brown creepers, golden crowned kinglets and chickadees. yay!
Back from five glorious days east of the mountains. We packed up the car early Friday morning and headed to Leavenworth for a couple hours of skiing, then continued up the mighty Columbia to the Methow valley for more skiing and some backcountry education.
Jeff, Stephen and I spent the weekend learning the ins and outs of avalanche safety with an Avy 101 course taught by North Cascade Mountain Guides. We spent all day Saturday in the classroom, and were up at 5:45 am on Sunday morning for our day in the field, where we practiced snow pack testing and rescue techniques. It was a bone-chilling -7 degrees when we left the hotel, but it warmed up to a balmy 11 degrees by noon or so. The cold made for a long day, but we learned tons and the course was worth every penny. I've never been so glad to see a hot tub in my entire life.
Jeff and I skiied like crazy on Monday... 3.5 hours up to Rendezvous Pass, which is the hardest, longest ski I've ever done. We finally got back to the car just as it was getting dark. A nice easy ski on Tuesday morning wrapped up a nice vacation. We were greeted by 50 degree temps, pouring rain, and a very happy cat when we finally got home.
Thanks to Mike for sending me the best website EVER. It's got everything I love! Fuzzy kittens? Check. Impossibly cute Japanese consumer goods? Check. All manner of baby rodentia? Check, check, check. Sigh... so happy.
We put up our Christmas tree last night. Loooove the Christmas tree. We listened to some awesome holiday tunes while decorating... I'm especially fond of Johnny Cash Christmas. The season has arrived!
An odd combination of menstruation and cell phones. Tampax offers the chance to create your own unique ringtone here. On a side note, did you know that Americans spend well over one billion (yes, billion) dollars each year on personalized ring tones?
An awesome weekend! Saturday, Jeff and I went up to Snoqualmie Pass for some skate skiing (it was REALLY cold, but very nice). Saturday night saw the combined birthday celebration of Ketil, Becky and Hannah, and this morning, Sus, Becky and I went to Discovery Park to track down the Snowy Owl that has been hanging out there for the last two weeks. It was very cooperative and we were able to spend about 45 minutes watching it snooze on a wood pile.
To top it all off, we spent the afternoon making Christmas cookies, which was really fun (and delicious).
Worried about losing your manhood when your woman drags you to see Brokeback Mountain? Maybe you should read The Straight Dude's Guide to Brokeback before you go. (can't wait to see the film, by the way... I've already heard great reports)
Finally got ourselves up to the mountains this weekend - long overdue! Jeff and I hitched a ride up to Snoqualmie Pass with Roger for our inaugural skate ski session of the season. We skied a nice long stretch of trail that starts just beyond Hyak... even on a flat trail we were all pretty beat after 2.5 hours.
Here's a picture of my finished blanket. It took ages to finish, but it was worth it. Yay, craft!
Happy Birthday, Mom! (isn't she cute?!)
We had the absolute delight of seeing The Dina Martina Christmas Show last night. It's the funniest thing I've seen in a long, long time... highly recommended.
Happy Birthday to my man!
Congratulations to all our half-marathon racers! Valerie, Sus and Ketil all kicked some serious ass. Results are here. Very impressive!
I've got far too many crafts going on right now. I'm nearing completion on a patchwork blanket, I'm halfway done with a sweater, and I've got a list of projects a mile long that I can't wait to start. Thank god I've got lots of time off coming up.
I couldn't wait for Thanksgiving, so I'm doing a mini version for me and my man tonight. Just a wee bit of cranberry, mushroom cornbread stuffing, roasted yams and acorn squash, and a nice piece of salmon. Delish.
Sometimes the web is just such a beautiful place. Maybe it's the librarian in me, but all that classification happening behind the scenes just makes me all warm inside. I know this is old news to some, but I recently ran across some concepts that I haven't been able to stop thinking about, conceptually or visually. Specifically, I bring to you tag clouds and folksonomies.
Ignoring my previous post about not buying stuff, I'm pretty excited about my new gorilla pillow that I got on Saturday.
I've realized that I like baseball movies. A lot. I don't even like baseball all that much, even when the Mariners are winning. But when I think about the movies I most like to run across when I'm surfing channels on a lazy Sunday afternoon, they all seem to revolve around baseball. The Natural, Field of Dreams... I love 'em all. This weekend I was lucky enough to see most of Bull Durham ("is somebody going to get laid here or what?") and A League of Their Own. It was pretty awesome.
King County has a "waste free" holiday campaign going on, focusing on giving experiences rather that stuff. Some of the best gifts I have received have been tickets to readings and performances. Besides, we generate an extra 25 million TONS of garbage between Thanksgiving and Christmas... that's an awful lot of crap.
There's nothing I like better than baffling consumer products aimed at making us feel bad about ourselves. While watching Sex and the City tonight, I saw an add for something called an intimacy cloth. Intimacy cloth? Who comes up with this shit?
I must be getting old, because I'm pretty excited about the Martha Stewart holiday cookie magazine I bought last weekend. I think I've already looked at it ten times. It's a little bit embarrassing.
It usually takes a lot to piss me off most days, but there's one thing that gets me every time. Once or twice a week when I'm helping a patron at work, they will actually answer their cell phone (insert very loud annoying custom ring tone here) and start talking. Usually they don't even apologize or say anything, they just start a new conversation right there, completely oblivious. Sometimes they wander away, but often, they just stand there and expect me to wait until they are done. It's infuriating. Do I not have anything better to do? Sometimes I will stare at them the entire time, but if I'm really pissed off, I just walk away. Both are small and petty retaliatory gestures for sure, but they make me feel slightly more powerful.
Ah, Texas... land of contradictions. On one hand, we have the recent passing of the statewide ban on gay marriage. On the other hand, St. Andrew's Episcopal School rejected a three million dollar donation, because the money came with the condition that the school remove "Brokeback Mountain" from the senior English curriculum.
Who doesn't love a gigantic pink bunny? An Italian group of artists who call themselves Gelitin have created a 200 foot rabbit (knitted by many little grannies) and had it deposited on a hillside in Italy. Press release is hilarious.
Just when I think this country can't possibly get any more conservative, the Seattle Times brings us this article. The latest issue of Seventeen magazine has an article called "Vagina 101," which aims to educate young women about their bodies (I've seen it, and it's nothing you wouldn't find in any self-respecting anatomy book). However, it seems that some Albertson's stores have decided not to carry this issue because of its "graphic" nature. God forbid young women should have answers to their questions.
Snow! After a string of dismal ski seasons, it looks like we might finally luck out. It's been snowing all over the state this week - Crystal Mountain opens on Friday, and Baker opens on Tuesday. yay!
And today... I got off my soapbox.
Check out this awesome story about the camel library in Kenya. Sweet!
I just read an interesting piece on one couple's struggle to eat locally for one full year (click here for article). Apparently, the food industry in the US accounts for nearly 20% of all fossil fuel consumption (not surprising when you learn that food travels an average of 1,340 miles to get to your table). The Sustainable Table has a fascinating article on the environmental costs of getting food from the farm/factory to you.
I've had a couple of solid accomplishments at work recently. The first is that I have successfully started a teen book club at Foster library. Not only are real live high-schoolers showing up (score!), they want to meet more often than my original once-a-month plan. They are all too busy to actually read much, yet they seem to like just showing up and hanging out and talking about books and school and all sorts of other stuff. I love it. The second exciting thing is that I put up my first GLBTQ book display for teens. Tukwila is not exactly a hotbed of gay teenagers (at least to my knowledge), which is precisely why I've done it. If I've educated one person or helped a confused student feel a little bit better about him- or herself, I've done my job.
I know I'm a big ol' dork, but I'm soooo excited about Seattle Arts & Lectures' Wilderness and Imagination presentation, with lectures from Subhankar Banerjee, Terry Tempest Williams, and King Nerd David Allen Sibley. I'm especially excited to hear Banerjee speak. If you are not familiar with him, he ditched his high-paying tech job in Seattle and spent two years documenting the flora, fauna, people and seasons of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. His project has been one of the best tools conservationists have in fighting ANWR oil exploration and drilling.
I've had a couple of people ask me about the letters I sent to JCrew, so I'm posting them here. Feel free to use and/or distribute as you like.
I was going to let the upscale JCrew thing go, but now I'm mad. Furthur perusal of the latest catalog revealed an array of fur products, including rabbit, mink, and coyote. I've noticed that fur has been creeping back into the realm of acceptability during the last couple of years, but with JCrew taking it mainstream, I'm forced to take action. I'll be using some of my precious time off today to write a letter of protest. Yeah, I know, it won't change anything... but maybe it will. You never know.
UPDATE: Apparently, I'm not the only one. A quick internet search pulled up plenty of information about JCrew and their latest fashion trend. A vast majority of fur (including what's offered in the fall JCrew catalog) comes from China, where no animal rights laws exist to ensure that animals are humanely treated or killed. PETA has some information for you here and at the very clever and highly disturbing JCruel.com.
Trying to prepare for Halloween but feeling less than creative? Try this for a little inspiration.
Jeff finally got some pictures up from last weekend. Check 'em out here.
Site Meter is AWESOME. I put one on grittykitty a few weeks ago, as I was curious to see what kind of traffic I have been attracting. Quite a bit, it turns out. Most are predictable, like my friends and family, but this week I got visits from the UK, Dallas, and Toronto, among others. The best part about Site Meter is the level of detail you get about your viewers. For example, I noticed that someone from Orem, Utah recently stopped by. Intrigued by this wayward visitor, I decided to investigate. Turns out this person was directed to my site via a Goggle search for "when is an abcess ready to lance." I can only assume my humble blog turned up in his search results due to last summer's Abscess Chronicles of Buddy the Cat. Probably not so helpful for someone seeking actual information, but highly entertaining for me.
I've just discovered the cutest thing I've ever seen in my entire life. Go here for more on Owly and his creator, Andy Runton.
Happy birthday to me!
Work has been taking up most of my time lately, but I did take an extra day off last week for our annual autumn mountain biking trip to Winthrop. It was exactly what I needed, although I'm still recovering from all the riding we did. Pictures will be up soon.
Jeff has been obsessing over getting a tiny vacuum for our new rug, which I think is pretty cute. After much deliberation in the aisles of Fred Meyer, we finally settled on this sweet little number.
Daaaaamn... I'm tired. I've visited what seems like hundreds of middle school classes during the past couple of weeks. don't get me wrong, it's really fun and rewarding, but sometimes school visits are like being on stage in front of an audience full of monkeys. And even though I really love the books I bring to my classes, it can be hard to maintain the proper level of enthusiasm after the 15th repetition. I'm looking forward to my weekend, that's for sure. Heading east of the mountains for the annual mountain biking trip... one last hurrah before winter moves in. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I'm way excited to get on my skis this year.
A deeply disturbing day. It began with waking up from a dream that Penny was still alive. I was petting her, but then I realized her stomach was covered in cancerous tumors. Awful, I know. Then at work later that day, I spent about an hour trying to help a woman find information supporting the theory that gay marriage leads to polygamy and incest. She said it was just for a paper, but still. (I wasn't able to find much to help her, much to my relief). Finally, last Friday night Valerie commented that we had developed into our own little cast of thirtysomething, and I just can't shake the feeling that she's right.
Work has started to get crazy busy. During September and early October I try to visit as many classes as I can to promote reading and programs at the library, and I already have about 12 scheduled. It's always pretty fun to bring books to kids and see if I can talk about them in a way that makes a jaded, MTV-generation pre-teen interested. Believe me, it doesn't always work. But sometimes it does, and that's when it all pays off. Nothing better than having a kid ask to take home one of the books I've talked about. Even better, sometimes I actually see new kids in the library, looking for the books I brought to their class.
Jeff and I went backpacking this last weekend, and we had the best time, despite some cold and windy weather on Saturday. Not much in the bird department, but we did see two fat black bears and scads of deer walking around in our camp sites. On our second night, we could hear actual chewing as the deer grazed around our tent. I always forget how much I love backpacking, and every time I go I vow to do more in the future. Sub-alpine wilderness has got to be one of my favorite things on earth. A few pictures are here.
My friend Caroline turned me on to Trader Joe's dried Granny Smith apple rings, and I think I've eaten at least two pounds in the last couple of weeks. Muy delicioso!
We're packing up this morning to head to the Olympic Peninsula for a little backpack trip. should be fun, except I can't see the mountains through the rain clouds...
Sweden has a sweet new library program where you can "borrow" one of nine people available for checkout for 45 minutes. The project aims to use face to face dialogue rather than the usual written publications to educate people and break down common stereotypes.
I usually let Buddy out of the apartment for a short while each day so that he can roam the hallways, mostly to alleviate his boredom and to socialize with the other cats on our floor. Usually, I follow him around to make sure he's safe, but yesterday, I let him wander unsupervised while I worked on some stuff in the apartment. When I went to check on him, he was nowhere to be found. Frantic searching through all the hallways was unsuccessful, and, although I figured he was in someone else's apartment, it didn't stop me from quickly spiraling into a paranoid and distraught mess. Five hours later, Buddy wandered back home, completely unconcerned. Turns out he had snuck into our neighbor's apt right before she took a long holiday nap and got to visit with her cats for the afternoon.
We donated some money to the Red Cross last week, but after seeing tragic pictures of some of the thousands of pets that were left behind in the wake of Katrina, I donated another $100 to the Humane Society to help with animal rescue. I'd rescue them myself if I could... just imagine if you were forced to evacuate your home but had to leave your wee furry friend behind. Plenty of people in New Orleans decided to stay home and brave the floods rather than abandon their pets. Read more about the animal rescue efforts here.
Reading the newspaper lately has been a little like watching a civil war unfold in a third world country far away from our land of plenty. I guess it doesn't take long for the potentially lethal combination of poverty, heat and lack of basic human resources to turn normally law-abiding citizens into roving packs of criminals committing murder, theft and rape. Troubling times, indeed. I'm in full agreement with the criticisms against our government's failure to respond in a preemptive manner - how can we not have been better prepared for a natural disaster that we knew about days in advance? We all have an extra $50 or $100 bucks - pass it on to people who need it more than we do. You can donate money for relief efforts here or here.
Had a busy but fun weekend - headed over to Winthrop on Friday night for some fresh air and stargazing, then up at 5:00 am to get Jeff to the Cutthroat Classic check in. I left shortly afterwards for an awesome hike up to Goat Peak. Such a beautiful hike, and only 2.5 miles to the summit! Since I was up so early, I saw tons of birds - mountain bluebirds everywhere, lots of chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches, a Swainson's thrush, and I added another new bird to my life list: the delightful Townsend's Warbler. Muy bueno.
Jeff and I met up after our respective activities and headed to the swimmin' hole for a quick (and cold) dip, lunch, and a drive down the valley towards Lake Wenatchee, where we met up with friends for the annual Car Camping Extravaganza. Dinner, campfire and messy s'mores made for a good night. We hit Hidden Lake for more swimming before heading home. One last hurrah before the weekend was over, though. We met up with Roger and Malia to see Neko Case, who was perfoming at the zoo. All was well until the skies opened and the rain came down in buckets. We were soaked and cold and ready to take off when we decided it would be way more fun to stay and watch the show in the muddy field with the other freaks. It was great! Everyone who stayed were in great spirits, laughing at the absurdity of watching a concert in an absolute downpour. What could have been disappointing and lame ended up being really great.
Last Sunday Caroline and her man Dave took me on a little adventure. To be fair, Dave did warn us that we would be pushing our bikes at least 40% of the time, and he was right. The "trail" was all but abandoned and had more than a few washed out ravines and rock fields, but when we could get back on our bikes, it was great. Caroline and I (being the smart ladies that we are), ditched our bikes around three miles in and hiked the rest, while Dave loaded up his bike on his pack and started walking. We got turned back just after the six mile mark due to impervious overgrowth (bushwhacking not being my strong suit), and we headed down for a dip in the most glorious swimmin' hole I've ever seen. Beautiful, turquoise cascading pools and a hanging garden with a small waterfall made it a perfect spot to wash off the sweat, dirt, and spiderwebs we had collected on our hike. A few pics are here, although they don't do the swimmin' hole any justice.
I have been reading tons of graphic novels lately. Lots of manga, which is fun, but also more serious, "arty" GNs, which I have a newly found appreciation for. For those of you who dismiss GNs as comic books for people who can't read, I encourage you to check out the following: The Couriers, Flight, and (a personal favorite) Blankets. All of these have fantastic illustrations and smart, interesting plots. Good stuff.
Go see this movie. It is comic genius.
Sus and I went birdwatching yesterday morning at the Montlake Fill behind the UW. Not only did we have a pleasant morning walking around in the sunshine, I added TWO birds to my life list! The first was a Least Sandpiper, which took FOREVER to identify, since all those little sandpipers look exactly the same. The second, which I never would have noticed without Sus pointing the out to me, was a group of Vaux's Swifts flying with the abundant barn swallows. Sweet!
Also, this is really dumb, but it makes me laugh anyway.
Quiet weekend. Jeff is livin' the life of leisure out in Sun Valley for 10 days, so it's just me and Bud holding down the fort. We have played many, many games of catch so far this week, and I think he's starting to get pretty bored. I have every intention of using this time productively to work around the house and finish some long-term projects, but most likely I will just end up eating lots of cereal in front of the tv. One reverts to bachelorette habits pretty quickly in the absence of husband.
It's been two weeks since we moved in, and things are slowly starting to find permanent homes. We bought a big fluffy white rug (we're taking bets on who will be the first to spill the red wine), but we still need some furniture. What worked in our last house doesn't quite fit in here, so we're on the lookout for some chairs and a coffee table. Plus, I'm feeling the need to acquire "adult furniture" now that we're respectable homeowners. Call me crazy, but being an adult ain't all that bad...
Congratulations to Hannah & Jon! We had the pleasure of attending the most beautiful wedding on Saturday afternoon. The outdoor ceremony was followed by a fantastic cocktail and hors d'oeuvres hour (delicious figs with gorgonzola were a personal favorite), which led to an elegant dinner. I can't remember a more pleasant evening. A few pictures are here.
We've been in our new home just over a week, and I'm absolutely loving it. There's shops and restaurants all over the place, we run into friends just about every day, and can walk downtown in about 20 minutes. One thing I really like about our condo is the view. Thankfully, we can see the mountains from almost every window, even though we've traded the Cascades for the Olympics. Here's a few pictures:
Buddy update: The Notorious B.U.D., who we thought had been adjusting beautifully to his new home, seems to have taken a turn for the worse, and I had to take him to the vet yesterday for an emergency enema. We noticed that he had not taken a dump in the past couple of days (believe me, you KNOW when he's been in the litterbox), and then came the barfing. So, I dropped him off yesterday for a little "cleansing." When I called to see how he was doing, the vet told me that after they gave him the enema, "he pooped a lot." Anyway, he's still there, and I hope to pick him up this morning. If you've ever wondered what it's like to give a cat an enema, read this story, passed along by my ever-resourceful librarian friend, Jen.
YAY! we're moved in and loving our new home. Beautiful city and mountain views AND we overlook the back yard and garden. So far everyone seems really friendly and nice, and I'm so excited to be livin' the urban lifestyle. I'm probably pushing the neighborly karma by poaching someone's wireless connection - we'll see how long it takes them to notice. Spent most of Friday packing up and moving. Props to Jeff C for helping us out - we wouldn't have been able to do it without him. Saturday and Sunday was mostly taken up by cleaning out the old house, throwing odds and ends into boxes and filling up the front porch with crap destined for Goodwill. Buddy seems to be adjusting just fine, which is a relief. There's other cats roaming the hallway, and I bet they'll be delighted to have a new playmate.
Packing, packing. I've been getting a few boxes packed every day (still working on books for now), but it's starting to add up. We've got a nice little stack in the corner of the living room. We're so excited to move into our new little home. I've been listing things on craigslist to help us downsize - so effective! If anyone wants a free futon, let me know...
We're starting to pack things up for our move, weeding through our book collection and all our things, deciding what will stay and what will go. With Penny gone, we're ready to get out of here as soon as we can. Too many reminders that she's not with us any longer. Even Buddy has gone looking in all her favorite hiding spots. I know it's not the same as losing a person, but it's still pretty devastating to lose a little creature that you have spent the last three years with, day in and day out. Sad days, indeed.
Rest In Peace, Penelope
Our beloved Penny was hit by a car today. I like to think she's somewhere in Kitty Heaven, where the mice are slow, the birds are fat, and the porch is sunny every day. She will be deeply missed.
Spent three glorious days east of the mountains this weekend. Beautiful hikes and mountain biking, brilliant stars at night and the delicious smells of juniper, pine and sage. Pics are here.
Had to take the shame train to work this morning as the car needed another visit to the shop (hopefully it's all taken care of now, as multiple repair visits were starting to get expensive). I hadn't taken the bus for a while, and thus had forgotten what it was all about. The morning's ride wasn't too bad; finished off most of Sunday's NY Times and talked to a guy from the Ivory Coast for a while. He was very excited when I told him I worked at the library... went on and on about how much smarter he has become since he's started going to the library every day. The evil side of public transportation reared its ugly head on the way home, though. Bus was way late, I got pushed out of the way by some dude who wanted to get on before me, we hit every single stop on the way downtown and it took FOREVER. I was thinking of commuting by bus one or two days a week, but that pretty much killed it for me. I can't believe I can ride my bike to Tukwila in less time than it takes for me to ride the bus.
Looks like we bought ourselves a condo. A few pictures are here (ignore the furniture, it's not ours). The condo is on 16th and Olive and is in a beautiful old brick building. We're pretty excited to move into our new place and settle into our own little piece of real estate.
Bling Backlash: props to Kanye West and his song "Diamonds From Sierra Leone." After learning about the darker side of the diamond industry, Kanye wrote this song to help educate people about the massive human rights abuses connected to the diamond trade in countries like Sierra Leone, the DRC and Angola. Read more about it here and here. It's nice to be informed, isn't it?
I just pulled a bee stinger out of Buddy's chin, which is already swollen and pink. What a dork. This poor cat wouldn't last ten minutes in the real world.
Congratulations are a few days late in coming, but CONGRATULATIONS to Shanti and Alex. Wee Anya Marin was born June 25, and she's pretty cute!
Back from Chicago and I'm sick as a dog. Seems like every time I fly I end up knocked on my ass by some virus. So now I'm home, curled up on the couch, watching bad tv and wishing I had a gallon of orange juice. Did get a few pictures up, though. Did not, unfortunately, get a picture of very exciting celebrity sighting: Jerry Springer! He was stepping out of a limo going into the John Hancock Center. Muy bueno!
I was in Chicago for the American Library Association annual conference... imagine 25,000 librarians collected together in once place. So many sensible shoes! So many tote bags! Denim jumpers and whimsical jewelry! It was truly a sight to see. The conference was actually really great. I saw a bunch of great programs that will help me at work, so it was totally worth going, illness and all. Jen and I also had some delicious food and managed to sneak a little shopping in as well. The only thing I wasn't able to see was the Cloud Gate, which was mostly covered up for cleaning... except his little butt was poking out just enough for a picture.
Still on the condo hunt... we dropped the ball on the cute one last week and someone else put in an offer. We're going to see more on Thursday, so hopefully we'll find something we like enough to put an offer on.
Off to Chicago tomorrow morning to attend the American Library Association annual conference! Not only will I be spending three days cramming my brain with new librarian skills and knowledge, I'm rooming with my friend jen, and she knows where the good shopping is to be had. And last time I was there, we had a damn good time (relive the moments here). Apparently we're going dancing on Friday night... hm.
I'm having a dilemma. We've found a great condo, one that we both really like and could see ourselves living in for years to come (you can see it here). Great location, very cute, reasonable price. There are two issues. First, the dues are REALLY high due to a deeded parking spot. Second... the kitties. This condo is on the second floor and has no way for the kitties to get outside, and I'm pretty sure that Penny will not be able to adjust to indoor life. Everyone seems to think that giving up my cat(s) is a reasonable sacrifice for a piece of real estate, but it makes me very sad to think about them up for adoption. What to do?
Jeff just hooked us up with the new Mac operating system. I usually don't pay much attention to upgrades and such, but OS X Tiger has a few features that I'm pretty psyched about (one of the developers clearly understands the concept of ready reference). Besides the very styley dashboard, Tiger comes equipped with the Oxford English Dictionary. Now, I'm a big fan of the OED and I use it all the time at work, but to get it from home I have to log in via the KCLS website. No longer! Now it waits patiently on my desktop, readily accessible at all times. The librarian in me is so happy.
My little sister graduated from high school last night. Congratulations, Lily!
Yet another article about the risky business of home buying from the NY Times. Nearly half of Seattle-area home buyers are opting for "interest only" loans these days. It sounds great - your payments for the first 3 to 5 years are interest only, which allows you to buy a little more house than you would have otherwise. However, after that first period is over, your payments jump up substantially, and many homeowners are finding they can't really afford what they've bought. Between that and the increasing trend of foregoing inspections to get the upper hand in bidding wars makes for a scary market, indeed. Did I mention we're going to look at condos this weekend?
Sometimes public library work is exhausting. This week I had two days of school visits to sixth graders, most of which went well. I've come to realize that teachers see my little presentations as opportunities to take a break and flee the classroom. Despite my requests that some sort of authority figure be present at all times, yesterday's final presentation quickly spiraled into my worst nightmare. Not only was it the last class of the day (where kids are the least likely to be interested in what anyone has to say), but both the teacher and the school librarian disappeared, leaving me to fend for myself in front of 30 twelve year-old kids. All my attempts at entertainment and discipline failed, and I finally had to cut my losses and end early. Is it really my job to discipline a classroom full of 6th graders? No. Does it happen all the time? Yes. What's so frustrating is I know there are kids in the room that want to hear what I have to say and are excited about reading (one of them saw me on the sidewalk after school and begged for a copy of one of the books I had talked about), but I spend so much time trying to keep things under control that I can hardly do my talks. My other main gripe about public librarianship is the creepy men we have to deal with on a regular basis. Last week one guy signed up for a library card and then asked if we carried "Deep Throat" magazine. ugh.
Buddy update: the Fat One has almost fully recovered, which is a relief. After three days of wound maintenance, I was pleased to have him back to normal. He weighed in at a whopping 17.2 pounds at the vet. I know he's sneaking into the apartment downstairs and eating... there's no other explanation for his fatness.
Abscess makes the heart grow fonder...
Abscess. n. A collection of pus or purulent matter formed by a morbid process in a cavity of the body.
The Notorious B.U.D. is out of commission for a few days. Do you know what happens when a cat has an abscess? Well, first you take it to the vet, where they lance the offending lump. Then, they insert what is called the "drain." Buddy has two holes in the abscess, through which a piece of nylon cord has been threaded and the ends tied together. This low-tech but highly efficient apparatus wicks out any new pus and/or purulent matter from the abscess, where it then drips on the plastic cone-collar Buddy is forced to wear around his neck for the next three days, making quite a mess. Of course, the "drain" requires cleaning and maintenance numerous times a day. I'm happy to report that the first cleaning was far less horrible and hideous than expected. For the most part, poor Bud seems to be doing fine, although he's spent most of the day sitting in one spot, head hung towards the floor in the most pitiful and forlorn manner I've ever seen. I can't tell if he just feels like shit and is really tired, or if he truly is humiliated by having to sport the satellite dish around his neck. Penny won't go near him... either completely embarrassed of dorky younger brother or terrified of alien cat in house. Was originally appalled at $350 vet bill, but am increasingly pleased with low cost of paying someone else to lance my cat's boils.
Have been crazy busy. House hunting is taking up most of my free time right now. I knew it would be hard, but I didn't think it would be quite this hard to find a wee house for us to buy. Between prices going up about 18% in the last year, inventory down 25%, and a median price of $415,000 for a single family home, we may find ourselves priced out of just about everything. On Monday I went to look at one house (tiny, really dark inside, and just kind of weird), that was "moderately priced" at $280K. When we went in to look at it, a woman was laying on her bed and said she was too tired to get up. She gave me a little wave when I walked by. There must have been some hidden charm that I didn't see, since it sold within 24 hours. Today I'm going to look at stuff in West Seattle, where apparently you can actually get a cute, move-in ready house for under $300K.
In other very exciting news, Buddy seems to have developed some sort of large growth under his jaw. Yay! Can't wait to see what that's all about...
Had a fine mini-vacation this weekend. Left early on Saturday morning and headed over Highway 2 towards Leavenworth. Got my ass kicked on the hardest mountain bike ride I've ever done. I kept thinking I would turn back, but then, who wants to be a quitter? Nine and a half miles of climbing straight up, only to come straight back down again. My ass was sore for days, but I got a lot of practice descending on trails that are steeper and more technical than what I'm used to. Views from Mission Ridge were spectacular, and all the wildflowers were in peak bloom. We hung out with Doug, Al, and friends on Saturday night, where highlights included Doug trying to start a fire by propping up last year's christmas tree in the fire pit and pouring gas on it. Now I understand how forest fires get started... it took about one second for the tree to explode into a 20 foot column of flames.
The NY Times has been publishing a series of articles on social class in America called Class Matters. Here's their description of the series: "A team of reporters spent more than a year exploring ways that class - defined as a combination of income, education, wealth and occupation - influences destiny in a society that likes to think of itself as a land of unbounded opportunity." I encourage you to read it, it's fascinating stuff.
Mary and I went on the most fantastic hike to Surprise Lake yesterday. The lake and nearby Mt. Spark Plug (true!) were absolutely beautiful. Everything was clear and picturesque beyond belief.
The house-hunting saga continues. I'm slowly learning that you simply can't judge a house by the pictures on the Windermere site (I know, duh). I went to look at the most beautiful little bungalow, perfect house, perfect price. Things were looking pretty good until we saw the basement. The house was pretty much propped up on some toothpicks and piles of dirt. Scary. But blessed Cousin Peggy is taking me out yet again today to look at more stuff.
I'm also spending a lot of time trying to get a website up for my dad. I know it still needs some work, but if y'all have some input, please pass it along. Don't worry, you won't offend me.
Dork alert: saw a Rufous-sided Towhee down the block last week. Not particularly noteworthy for normal birdwatchers, but my neighborhood just doesn't see a lot of ornithological excitement so this is good news, indeed.
Just spent a fantastic weekend in Bend, Oregon. This is the third year we've gone down there to race in the Pole, Pedal, Paddle. This year, the ladies team kicked some serious ass - fifth place in the Women 30-34 age category! Go ladies! Mike posted pictures here, and thanks to Mike as well for organizing another fine weekend!
Dork alert: Was very excited to have seen (thanks to an alert and watchful Sus), a new bird to add to my life list: a male black headed grosbeak. Very exciting stuff.
Also, we didn't get the house we bid on last week, so it's back to the drawing board, but it looks like a bunch of things went on the market last weekend, so fingers crossed...
Have been crazy busy looking for a house. We're putting in a bid on a cute bricky grandma house in Columbia City today, although there's no real chance in hell we'll actually get it. The search continues...
Ladies and gentlemen, WE HAVE BIRD! after weeks of nervous waiting and much handwringing (when will they find it? who will come? is this stupid thing broken?), we finally received our first visitor to our new bird feeder. As expected, it was indeed a house sparrow, but o! glorious nature has finally graced us with her presence. I, of course, scared it off immediately by trying to document this momentous occasion, but it will be back! o happy day
It's May already. What gives?
The more i listen to the Magnetic Fields, the more i love them. Deceptively complex and beautiful little songs. Apparently Steven Merritt is working on a stage production of "Coraline," which, for those of you who don't read young adult literature for a living, is a Narnia-esque story about a girl who finds an alternate universe through her closet, only in this one her parents have shiny black buttons instead of eyes. creeepy.
Talk radio is one of my least favorite things (even if it is NPR), but I'm willing to give it a second chance now that Jeff has told me about bird note, a new 2 minute feature on KPLU. My favorite so far is a feature on one of my all-time favorite birds, the wee winter wren. It's unbelieveable how much noise can come out of such a teeny tiny bird. Listen to the "Champion Songster" here.
Everyone keeps asking what married life is like. Well... so far it's a lot like unmarried life. Jeff and I still seem to have problems using identifiers such as "husband" and "wife," but maybe someday we'll get used to it. Don't get me wrong, being married to Jeff is great. Being "married" is still pretty weird.
One of our favorite wedding gifts was this awesome bird feeder (courtesy of Becky & Sus) that we simply cannot get over. It's so very very cool. We've loaded it up with bird seed and wait by the window with barely contained anticipation of our first visitor. Given our sparse yard, we don't often see many birds to get excited over, but perhaps this bounty of easy snacking will bring us something new. Fingers crossed...
Wedding photos are finally here! Many, many thanks to everyone who sent us their pictures. We had such a fantastic day, thanks to all of you who were there and helped us have the best wedding ever! Even more pictures from Mike are here.
Finally got some photos from NYC up on the site. Enjoy!
I stumbled upon some paintings by Portland artist Amy Ruppel while wandering around Belltown a couple of months ago. I love love love these precious little gems, and have sadly missed out on her last couple of sales. Fingers crossed that I can get my hands on one soon.
Back from the honeymoon! We just spent a fabulous 7 days wandering the streets of nyc. Highlights included a beautiful show of Diane Arbus photographs, a Basquiat retropsective, much walking around lower Manhattan, attending smart and blissfully un-PC Avenue Q, and plenty of delicious food. Lord knows I like a vacation that revolves around eating. Added bonus: celebrity sighting! Nearly got mowed down by snarky Queer Eye "star" Carson Kressley as he came marching out of a Chelsea apt building. It ain't much as far famous people go, but I'll take it. Pics to follow soon.
After a full year and a half of not posting a damn thing on grittykitty, I finally got around to getting started. I spent a few weeks screwing around with some blog software, but it seems I severely overestimated my tech-savvy ability. I finally decided it isn't worth the effort (and I hate feeling completely incompetent), so I'm doin' it old school. Plain ol' html. I like simple.