Monthly Archives: June 2006

flora & fauna report

Spring has sprung on the S.S. Octopus of Loooove. Click the images to make ’em big.

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I wanted to plant Dahlias in honor of Delia, because her name was originally Dahlia. Then Dehlia. Then Delia. This pink beauty burst out to introduce herself last week.

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This is the afore mentioned lotus blossom.

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The fushia is dropping handfuls of gorgeous pink, purple and violet blossoms all over the dock.

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There is absolutely nothing in the world like waking up and going to the upper deck to spend a few moments of early morning sunshine with a vine of bright purple blossoms nodding their heads in the breeze in a salute to sunrise.

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Jasper likes to keep an eye on the marina. if anything is amiss, he sounds his Siamese foghorn.

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Our new kayak!

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I forget what these are named but I picked them out because they were purple.

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I love that sunflowers look like they’re waving and shouting an excited “HI!”. This one is an Autumn Beauty, and the other blooms should be various October
colors like orange and yellow and chocolate. We grew these from seeds!

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i love us

By G. Scott Thomas
The Business Journals
Original Article
Which community boasts the highest concentration of brainpower — and therefore can claim to be America’s smartest big city?
The answer is Seattle, according to a new study by Bizjournals.com.
An analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data puts Seattle’s No. 1 ranking in perspective: Forty-seven percent of Seattle’s adults hold bachelor’s degrees, the strongest proportion of college-educated residents in any big city. It’s nearly double the U.S. average of 24.4 percent.
Seattle is second to Washington, D.C., in the share of people with advanced diplomas. Twenty-one percent of Washington’s adults have earned graduate or professional degrees, followed by Seattle at 17 percent. The national average is 8.9 percent.
San Francisco and Austin are the runners-up in the Bizjournals.com study, which ranks the relative brainpower of 53 large communities.
Rounding out the top 10 are Colorado Springs, Minneapolis, Charlotte, San Diego, Washington, Portland, Ore., and Albuquerque.
Bizjournals.com analyzed the educational levels of adults in nearly 16,000 cities, towns, villages, boroughs and unincorporated areas. Communities were ranked in three population categories, based on a formula that rewards places with heavy concentrations of college graduates.
Smartest Cities

  • 1. Seattle
  • 2. San Francisco
  • 3. Austin
  • 4. Colorado Springs
  • 5. Minneapolis
  • 6. Charlotte
  • 7. San Diego
  • 8. Washington D.C.
  • 9. Portland (Ore.)
  • 10. Albuquerque

The rankings reflect each community’s collective brainpower, which is tied to its residents’ abilities to innovate, create, compete — and make money.
A worker with a graduate degree earns 45 percent more, on average, than a colleague with a bachelor’s degree, and 167 percent more than someone who never went beyond high school, according to figures released last year by the Census Bureau.
The Bizjournals.com study found that America’s brainpower is concentrated in technology centers, national and state capitals, college towns and affluent suburbs.
Seattle, San Francisco and Austin rank first, second and third among large communities because they’re the only ones where more than 40 percent of adults have bachelor’s degrees.
Arlington, Va., is the brainpower leader among medium-sized places. Sixty percent of its adults have bachelor’s degrees, two and a half times the national average.
Topping the rankings of small communities is Ann Arbor, Mich., the home of the University of Michigan. The four runners-up are also college towns, starting with No. 2 Newton, Mass.
Not all results of the Bizjournals.com analysis are positive. The study found that Miami has the lowest brainpower of any large community. Just 16 percent of Miami’s adults have earned bachelor’s degrees, which is 31 percentage points behind Seattle’s rate.
Santa Ana and East Los Angeles — both in California — rank last in the other two categories.

a colorful weekend redux

Oh, oh , oh. Aren’t you a lucky duck. Here’s a full-color fantastical guide to the previous entry, complete with all the colors mentioned: yellow, red, green and periwinkle.

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Dumb picture of my feet and Shelly’s houseboat through my stateroom window.

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Jaspie in his basket, napping in the sun.

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Daffodil. Sunflower. School bus. Peee. You know — yellow.

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Oh this is what I looked like about 2 months ago. When I had time for things like shampoo and hair dryers.

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The bootiful view of Puget Sound from Highland Park in Queen Anne, en route to dinner last night.

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Downtown from Kerry Park — the Needle and The Mountain, all big an’ pritty.

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The Boy and his two-pound sandwich. I’d like to mention we left the house in search of a salad cause it was “too hot to eat much”.

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He finished it, too.

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This shot makes Seattle look all exotic and stuff.

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More mountains and bridges and things.

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Uberskoot a la blooooooo! P.S. I’m totally coveting that hot pink chair.

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a colorful weekend

Hi kids. I almost died. How was your weekend?
The past few days have been pretty eventful. I developed some horrific twenty-four hour virus Thursday upon waking and sincerely thought I would perish, even after extensive ingestion of gatorade and applesauce. Friday it turned out I was totally fine, but touched by seeing my whole life flash before me, I realized I wanted sunflower yellow hair at least once before the end of my days. So Saturday I dyed what little hair I have left. And then Sunday I spent most of the afternoon cleaning up voluminous cat vomit but smiling because I know it is actually what I want to do with my life. As a result, this morning I was offered the job at PAWS and I start this week.
I’ve been obsessed with this awesome VW bug for months now, but after my interview at Brenneke last week, I was informed that I don’t actually need a car because the school provides massage tables for use while at the school. I was distraught trying to figure out how I was going to strap the table to my scooter for the daily commute. What a relief. So knowing the purchase of a Super Beetle is probably not in my near future, I spent a sizable chunk of the weekend restoring my venomous yellow scooter to a brilliant periwinkle blue. This resulted in an awesome farmer tan and some mysterious glitter on the asphalt at Wishville. I can never leave well enough alone. I wanted to paint the Uberskoot purple, but I could not find a proper purple paint anywhere. So instead, I opted for bright blue. Then during a post-paint trip to Fred Meyer to get a glossy coat, I found spray glitter paint and proceeded to cover the scooter and the majority of the vicinity with sparkles. I’m debating on what the final step will be — whether I’m going with milions of tiny saltwater fish, or black and pink stars. Suggestions?
So to recap, Uberskoot: blue, neck: red, hair: yellow. Oh, and pockets: green. Yay, cats.
Supposedly it’s been hot here. After my weekend in Boston, I remembered what hot actually is. Like, 95 degrees and 95 percent humidity. Seattle is usually 75 and 20 percent humidity in the summer. So it’s been 80 degrees and the community is feeling it. And talking about it. Pretty much every conversation has to do with either the heat wave or World Cup soccer. The Boy has quite an elaborate weather site if you find yourself aching to know the temperature of Lake Union on any given day. I think he’s the only person I’ve ever met who can make weather funny. Oh and last night he ate a 32 ounce sandwich that was four feet long so I just thought I’d pass that bit of trivia along. I have photographic evidence.
And the Mountain was out yesterday. We went up to Kerry Park so I could take some pictures. If you’ve ever seen a postcard of Seattle with the Space Needle and Mt. Rainier, it was probably taken from Kerry Park. In fact, there were about 250 people there last night taking the exact same photograph. Originality rules!!!!
We had dinner by the Waterfront with its charming combination of beauty, industry, and insane drunk people with Tourette’s syndrome screaming obscenities. Two teenagers were making out in the sunset. I wish I was living in Seattle at 16. Though when I was 16, Kurt Cobain was still alive. So I guess it would have been cooler to have been 16 in Seattle in 1992. Except now I’d be even more jaded and “indierock is SO 1994″ than I am now. Which would be unbearable.
I have to go find my camera so I can upload pics from yesterday. I’ll be back shortly.

cats: 3, sanity: 0

Well isn’t this getting interesting.
I have my admissions interview for Brenneke in half an hour.
And I just got off the phone with one of the lovely ladies of PAWS, who is very excited that I want to work for them. She said the shelter manager was pleased as punch to see I applied. So barring some strange catastrophe, I think I may have gotten the adoption counselor job at Cat City.
I talked to my manager at my office nine-to-fiver after I got off the phone with the shelter. She was open to a semi-flexible schedule on Fridays, as expected, though she didn’t exactly throw me a party to celebrate. That’s okay. I’ll do my job and keep up my end of the bargain and all will be well. The best part of this is that the shelter coordinator said that in all honesty, they’re looking for someone who could actually do more than a seasonal position, and other shifts open up often. She asked me if this was what I wanted to do on a larger scale in my life, and I told her that I’d take a full-time position today if she offered it to me. I originally applied for a full-time position at the Lynnwood shelter, but in the end I realized the commute out there (in excess of an hour most days) was just too much, especially since my main form of transport is a scooter. Cat City is only a 10 minute drive, though. So this opportunity really looks brilliant, and they even offer full benefits at 32 hours per week. And my office nine-to-fiver is not a permament position either; I am on contract until the end of August. They have not guaranteed me employment in the fall.
So I have my admissions interview for massage therapy school shortly, and I just feel like everything is all up in the air — in a good way — I mean, if I take this Cat CIty position, and it starts moving rapidly toward more gainful employment, I sure have no problem putting massage therapy school on hold until the next session to see what happens at PAWS. Cause it would be nice to have life-affirming work without the 15 months of madness and $15,000 in tuition.
This is exciting!
And confusing!
And exciting!
Okay I gotta go brush my teeth and print out my Personal Essay. And that’s personal with a capital “P”.

the universe has a strange sense of humor

Do you like my new template? I know it was knitting-themed for awhile and I apologize. I loved the look and feel of the knitting template and it took me quite a while to make it not knitting. Oh the trials of working behind a firewall…
So a few fun things going on right now. Last week, caught in a bit of career confusion, I put a request into the Universe for some signs. Make it clear, I said, and I will do as I should. It’s just that I’ve got these four options I’ve been working with for a year now, and I’m not sure which one is the right path. None of them would steer me wrong, but I’d like to invest my energy into something that I will love for a lifetime. Or at least the next decade.
I started a scoreboard. I informed the Universe that the first path to score 3 positive points would be the one to follow. If a path scored 3 negative points, it was disqualified. And the signs started rolling in.
The most fun part of this sort of undertaking is trying to decide what, exactly, is a sign. Because you could pretty much read into anything if you try hard enough. (I swear that the soymilk in my tea poured in the shape of a white dove — that means peace, right? So I’m supposed to be a peace activist!) But I figured I’d stick to big signs. The undeniable ones.
I should also say at this point that it has become VERY clear to me that I cannot, will not and shall not work in an office of any type, kind, or flavor. Period. No fluorescent lights, no recycled air, no 9 hour work days while the rare Northwest sun is shining. No sensible shoes, no corporate policy. Ideally, I’d like to work for myself. Run my own show. I’m good at it. Just read the results of my career survey in the previous entry.
So the four paths down which I could skip at this point in time are as follows:
1. Piano Tuning. Last winter I bought a piano and hired this kid to tune it. When he came to work on it, I started talking to him about tuning. I’ve always been fascinated by piano tuners, and it seems to be one of those professions surrounded by a cloud of mystery and awe. He had a little wooden tool box. He was there an hour and I paid him almost $100. I was wondering what he did that was so darn special.
So I started studying piano tuning. What a perfect job, right? Make your own hours, don’t have to deal with anybody, play with an instrument, tinker, collect tools. Make $100 an hour. And it turns out there’s not that much to it. I bought all the tools and opened up my piano and started turning pins. It’s a little tedious, but I’m sure once you’re good at it there’s a Zen-like rhythm to it.
I learn better in a classroom environment than from books, so although the manuals were well-designed and I had illustrated guides, I started looking around for piano technician schools. There’s not many. Piano tech is still kind of an “apprenticeship” type trade. But the best school in the country, with this truly comprehensive program, is in Boston. That’s right, the city I moved 3,000 miles from. (-1)
I toyed with some ideas about how I would do school. It’s a fulltime day program, which means either not working while doing the $15,000 program for a year and a half — or waiting tables (-2). Oh, and relocating across the country. Oh, and paying Boston rents again (-3). Oh, and, no.
2. Freelance Writing. This one should be pretty self-explanatory. I started reading about freelancing, and how it’s actually done, because I don’t remember what I learned in college. Thank god for my $120,000 education. I bought some books, several of which were inspiring, and saw that it was absolutely doable. It was flexible. It was something I loved. But I kept coming back to the fact that whenever I am “forced” to write, I get anxious, neurotic, paranoid and blocked. I thought about having to live like that every day of my life (-1). And then also it takes a year sometimes to get paid for an article (-2). And I would have to interview people I don’t know. Regularly (-3).
3. Animal Welfare. This topic is a given, and one I have been engaged in since I was about five years old and discovered that my bunny was winning blue ribbons at the Durham Fair not because he was pretty, but because he was potentially good eatin’. I’ve been volunteering at PAWS for a year and a half, and it has often been the highlight of my week. I’m getting involved outside of PAWS, in a few different arenas, and learning how to live a compassionate lifestyle. Even if this passion of mine never developed into a paid, self-supporting position, I will be involved with it for the rest of my life to some degree. I have started a website, which is not live yet, and I would at least like to spend some time on that. I’ve been doing letter-writing campaigns for spay & neuter laws and anti-fur laws. I’d like to take on the puppy mills. This would be fulfilling work for me. The only problem is that it doesn’t often pay. Money, I mean.
Still, the first positive sign came disguised in the form of two customers on Sunday. I converted both of them to our way of thinking purely by giving them the information they were lacking in a compassionate way that didn’t offend them or put them on the defensive. That can be a very difficult thing to do. People are often quite attached to their beliefs, whether they’re based on accurate information or not. The trick is to inform them without tripping their ego sensor and causing the steel door to slam down in your face.
They were very difficult customers and two very heated topics — indoor/outdoor and declawing. After overhearing the consultations, the toughie shelter manager came over and said, “Wow. That was amazing. You are a natural at this. Good job. That was simply fantastic.” I was glowing afterwards and felt really good about the communication with these people. They left feeling listened to and taken care of, informed, and grateful. They felt like they had options they didn’t have before. I gave them a new way to think about the issues at hand. I wanted to do that every day of my life. (+1)
Enter sign #2. I get an email from the volunteer coordinator saying that there is a paid, seasonal position opening up at Cat City. She said it is a good opportunity for someone who is interested in working at PAWS (and getting paid) to get their foot in the door. Not only do I find the training exciting, it’s free and doesn’t require time off from work. And this particular shift is temporary, so I could test the waters, and it’s Fridays and Saturdays, so I could work a little bit of a flex schedule at my office job and totally pull it off, bringing in some extra summer money, too. (+2) The final sign will be whether or not I get the job, right?
4. Massage Therapy. The final path. One I have been dancing about on for several years. Last year around this time I started looking at schools in the area. I attended an open house at Brian Utting School and fell in love with the place. I took an introductory course there, and left knowing that’s what I wanted to do with my life. I let my guard down and allowed my parents to convince me otherwise. They basically said it was a foolish idea, a ridiculous profession, and taking time off to go to school would be a year of “lost income”. I couldn’t afford it right then anyway, so I shelved the idea.
Then last week, in light of my Quest for Career Truth, I became determined to look into it again. I became convinced that I would never have the money, or the time, and I needed to do it anyway. I felt like if I barreled my way in, the details would sort themselves out. (Jump, and a net will appear.) So I left work Friday and went to the Brian Utting School to pick up an application.
The admissions advisor gave me some bad news. The space I had fallen in love with, an enormous room of hardwood floors, natural light, and Chinese lanterns, was being sold, and the school was relocating to Bellevue. Which is too far away for me to commute to every day. My heart sank. I took the application packet and went to a dark corner to sulk. I felt like I had finally run onto the right path with flying colors, only to get hit by a bus. (-1)
But. Not one to be knocked down, I went online and researched what other options were available here. The respectiable Brenneke School of Massage happens to be less than a mile to my house, and less than a mile to my work. On Friday night, I filled out an online request for a course catalog. On Monday morning, a woman from admissions called to tell me that day just happened to be their open house and could I attend cause she’d love to talk to me? (+1)
I went. The first person to talk to the group was a graduate who, six months after finishing the program, was supporting herself full-time with her own massage practice in downtown Seattle. She was a corporate ladder-climber who was working 60 hours a week while doing the massage therapy program at Brenneke. She said it was doable. I looked at the course catalog, and they have a new session they will begin implementing in the fall. It’s for full-time professionals, those of us who can’t afford to take a year and a half off from work and pay for school, too. Reading the description and requirements, I knew I could fit it into my schedule if I was dedicated. (+2)
I talked to the admissions person some more, and she gave me a tour. It felt like a good space. Not as Zen and organic as Brian Utting, but suitable. Everyone was warm and friendly. Their philosophy is spot-on. And get this. Once you complete their program, you can also take the certification in Small Animal Massage, Equine Massage, and Canine Hydrotherapy. That’s right. The Universe laughed out loud. Can’t decide? Shizam! (+3) I sent them my deposit. Classes start in September.

June already?

Hi. Sorry I haven’t updated — I’ve been sleeping. I gave up caffeine and promptly got into bed for a month. I’m emerging now, blinking and confused, rubbing my eyes in the bright light.
I’m going to Boston next weekend. I haven’t been back since I moved two years ago. I can’t believe it’s been two years. I’m looking forward to seeing all my peeps.
I took a career test today and here are the highly-entertaining results. It makes me sound like an antisocial recluse.
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You would be very happy in a career that utilised your level-headedness, and allowed you to work mainly on your own. You want a career that allows you to be creative, without having to be involved with lots of people. Some careers that would be perfect for you are:
* Artist
* Historian
* Nutritionist
* Novelist
* Photographer
* University Professor
You like working and being alone. You like to avoid attention at all costs. You tend to keep to yourself, and not interact much with the people around you. You enjoy spending time with a few a close friends. You like to listen to others, but don’t like sharing much about yourself. You are very quiet and private.
You are very practical, and only act after thinking things through. You don’t like being forced to answer quickly. You have to evaluate the situation completely. You make decisions based on what you can verify with your senses.
You like to be deeply involved in one or two special projects. You like to be behind the scenes. You are very logical and fair. You feel you should be honest with others and protect their feelings.
You trust your gut instincts. You are easily inspired and trust that inspiration. You are very innovative. You analyse things by looking at the big picture. You are concerned about how what you do affects others. You worry about your actions and the future. You tend to use a lot of metaphors and are very descriptive and colourful in your choice of language.
You are very creative, and get bored easily if you don’t get to express yourself. You like to learn new things. You don�t like the same old routine. You like to leave your options open.