You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2010.

We made it to Bend Oregon in about 7 hours. About an hour longer than it should have taken, but we are hauling a huge trailer. I love staying at McMenamin’s Old St Francis School because of the amenities. The rooms are all wood paneled with stand up showers the size of a walk on closet. You get free movie tickets and admission to their soaking room. There is also a pretty good restaurant on the premises, but tonight that let us down. The food was really mediocre and disappointing. I got the whiskey glazed salmon, and the sauce was good but the fish was overcooked the mashed potatoes were cold and the zucchini had actually gone bad. The Mister’s mahi mahi tacos were mushy and cold. Our waiter was surly and too busy. We decided not to get dessert, which would make me sad except that my stomach is now upset. Could make for a bad day on the road tomorrow. We did get comped for my meal–I had to say something–but otherwise the whole thing was just disappointing.

We had a great appetizer and beer sampler at the Deschutes pub earlier, so the day wasn’t a total wash. nd there is sunshine here! I have seriously been missing that lately.

Now we are in line to see Hot Tub Time Machine with about 30 other people.

I wish it were to dessert… bad one, I know.

Tomorrow we begin the 3 day journey to Las Vegas, which will be the home away from home for the next year.  We stop in Bend tomorrow night to enjoy the Old Saint Francis School, then on to Carson NV to visit my sister and celebrate my birthday.  We will stay for a day, then head on to Las Vegas.  The temp is already in the 90’s, and I know after all the rain we’ve had, I shouldn’t complain…I’ll just say that heat and I don’t get along well.  The Mister starts his residency in 2 weeks.  Exciting!  And sad :(  I will miss him and he professes that he will miss me too.  This is going to be a tough year.

Today I finished up bike to work month with 224 miles, and it was hard.  It has been really rainy this week, and while I enjoy a little rain to keep me cool, this rain was the drenching kind.  It got inside my rain gear, soaked my shoes and the day I didn’t put my rain gear on, made my jeans so wet I could wring out a small stream of water.  Yesterday I rode downtown for the first time for a work meeting, then up to Wallingford for a hair cut, which required a ride up Stone Way.  I was so sore today.  That hill is a killer.  Those extra miles don’t even count, as bike to work month is only for biking to work and home.  I made it though and plan to continue when I get back from vacation.  I will probably throw in a run or 2 a week also, depending on the sleep schedule.

What am I reading? Burning City by Ariel and Joaquin Dorfman.  I am only a few pages in, but liking it.  The narrator reminds me a bit of  I am the Messenger.

I just finished Gregor the Overlander and it was quite fun.  It is nice when an author has a big success and the stuff she wrote before was just as good.  It gives you more to look forward to.

I got a sneak peak at the first 2 chapters of Tell me a Secret by Holly Cupala and I can’t wait to read more.

Usually when I don’t post for a while, I am still thinking about posting and feeling guilty for not getting around to it.  A sign that my life is super eventful (in an everyday is busy in a mundane sort of way) is that I haven’t even thought about posting.  I sort of forgot I had a blog until I ended up with a few free hours this morning due to a canceled run with friends.  I was clicking around in my usual internet haunts, sad by the lack of new content when I spotted WordPress in my Chrome lineup and went “duh, speaking of lack of new content.”

Why has life been so busy?  Lots of work meetings, interviewing new volunteer candidates–I am actually going to have to make some tough decisions this time–, Bike to Work month–186 miles ridden in May as of yesterday–, planning for a union conference in Boston in late June that I just found out I would be attending and The Mister is getting ready to leave for his adventure in surgeoning.  In fact, we are leaving on Saturday to drive him to the land of deserts and gambling.

We had a grand send off party for him last weekend.  Many of his friends and family came, as well as mine.  The weather held just long enough to get us through.  I made some tasty ribs and salmon, tabbouleh salad and Parmesan chive biscuits.  The Mister got to spend some time with his childhood friend and it made me smile to see them together.  My best friend, who is also moving away for residency, was able to be there for a while.  I am going to miss her so much.  Luckily her new home is on the way to his, so when I road trip in November, I can stop in and visit.

In my chats with people about Bike to Work Month, I have realized that despite my list of “pet peeves” in previous posts, I have been largely unmolested on the roads.  I know that some drivers dread seeing a biker in their lane, imagining the worst–and some riders live up to that.  I don’t feel that I am one of them.  I am overly cautious when it comes to signaling turns and making sure that I wait my turn at lights and stops.  I have occasional slip ups, but I do as a driver too and I think that everyone does.  This month I have ridden more than ever and had fewer problems with drivers than I ever have as well.  I have also not seen as many stupid biker tricks as I have in the past.  Good for you Seattle.

And speaking of pet peeves, why is it that the hills never get any easier?

What am I reading? I finished Bitter Seeds and heartily recommend it.  The writing really draws you into the story and while the settings aren’t overly described, I found myself picturing clearly the race through France to the Channel, the doctor’s home, and the barracks where Milkweed was housed.  The characters were sparely described as well, but you didn’t feel that they were unformed, just somewhat mysterious.  I am looking forward to a sequel.

I just started Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins.  She is the same woman who wrote Hunger Games and Catching Fire.  Gregor is the first book in a series that she wrote earlier for younger children.  I am giving it to the Offspring next, as I think he would really like it.  I can’t wait until Mocking Jay comes out…sigh.

I am home sick today.  Luckily there is nothing really pressing that I am missing at work, although there is always something I should be doing.  Yesterday was super busy with reference questions and readers’ advisory and I was alone last night.  I doubt that is what gave me an upset stomach though.  It is all ginger ale today.

There was one cute dad and son duo who wanted picture books with superheroes.  I showed them the youngster comics (vs teen or adult), but those seemed a little much for an almost 2-year-old.  All of our superhero picture books were checked out, but I put several fun looking titles on hold for them.  Dad was very excited.

One of the drawbacks of being a very busy branch is that we often do not have popular titles that are on the shelves at other branches.  When I first got to my new branch, I felt like the shelves were full of fluff and books you give kids who have read all the popular stuff–not saying they are bad books, they just haven’t gotten the acclaim of others due to timing, marketing or whatever.  Soon I realized that everything I am used to seeing and being able to recommend was simply checked out.  Which is a good thing, but makes RA difficult.  I can see this happens in adult and children’s collections, too.

There is a computer class today, but it is taught by a coworker.  I have one on Friday, so I need to make sure I am better by then.  I am a little glad that the weather has turned rainy again so that people will be more motivated to come to our classes rather than spending the day in the sunshine.

Being Treasurer is anti-climatic so far.  We had an executive board meeting last Friday where I was vocal on the points that mattered to me and listened otherwise.  I once called someone by the wrong name and another time said the wrong month repeatedly–but I am sure no one noticed what a moron I am ;)  I need to find that magic thing that will open up my memory for words and names.

What am I reading? Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis is an alternative history of WWII Europe where a Nazi doctor has made gods out of children, or just experiments gone wrong.  I am about a quarter of the way through and enjoying it.  I have to say that I don’t understand why someone who likes this wouldn’t like Boneshaker.  I’m just saying.  (This was recommended to me by someone who didn’t and when asked why, just said “I couldn’t suspend my disbelief.”  Hmm.

I also just finished Foiled by Jane Yolen, which was very good.  I loved this story of a young woman who is a fearsome fencer in New York. At school one day she meets a beautiful boy and falls for him, but something is not right. When his anger and fear show themselves, she is strong and stands up to him.  Beautiful graphic novel, wonderful story.

So this was my 10th day riding and my 136th mile this month.  Go me!

Still noticing a few things.  I swear a lot more riding than driving, but I think that ultimately it is less stressful.  I mostly swear when I mis-shift on a hill, a driver does something stupid that affects me (or for that matter when it doesn’t affect me), a cycler does something stupid that could have turned out badly (still a mommy in here, I know…) or when I get a bug in my mouth.

The bug thing kind of has me dreaming about a mesh face mask made out of window screen material.  At first I was thinking in the style of one you would wear when sick or working with noxious chemicals.

Then I was thinking of those masks you can wear snowboarding.  Both seem too hot, but made of mesh, they should be ok.  In my daydreaming–realizing that I would look seriously strange wearing such a thing–I imagined painting part of a face on it so that it still looked like a person.  Sure, maybe some day.

New and remembered pet peeves while riding:

1. Riding uphill in the sun sucks.  I get so hot and the biggest hill is always right before I get where I am going, either home or work.  Today I arrived with a seriously red face and on the way home I had to walk for a block to get a headache to recede and my head to stop pounding.  I don’t know what I will do for the rest of the summer.

2. Now that I have put my seat higher, my knees are happier but my back is killing me.  I find myself hunching over.  I might need to raise my handlebars a bit.  Or I could go get a professional fitting (which they supposedly did when I got this bike…).

3. People walking 4 abreast on the Burke Gilman Trail.  Ok, fine with me if you do this, but when a bicyclist says “on your left,” get the frick out of the way.  I gave you plenty of time and your buddy got the hint.  When I say “thanks” when I can finally go by, you should add “a***ole” on to the end, or just substitute “f-you”.

Ok, some things I love about riding:

1. How beautiful the Lake or Canal are when I go by.  Any weather, they are beautiful.

2. Smiling at families riding together.

3. Racing down hill in my highest gear, can’t pedal anymore, just feeling the air whiz by.

What am I reading? I just finished Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner.  It took me a little while to get into it, but when the plot turned towards norse mythology, I got hooked.  This one is different from Bones of Faerie, in that it is set in modern times with modern teens.  Iceland is an interesting place to visit with all of its geological activity–volcanoes (hmmm, prophetic?) and earthquakes.  Reading this so soon after seeing Under the Great White Northern Lights and reading about the volcano eruption gave me a feeling that information is cyclical and it is my time to know more about Iceland.

Things are busy, but not worth blogging about, which is why my posts have been sporadic and kind of dull.  I am finalizing a second round of classes for Summer and getting sworn in as Treasurer of the Union today.  I have been successful biking to work every day except Monday, when I took the Offspring to school.  Oh and the Offspring turned 16 that day as well.  Crazy stuff–I find myself glad he isn’t getting his license for a while, partially because I don’t want all the changes at once.  I can’t wait to get him out in a parking lot with old Betty though.  His first swing at a standard clutch should be … fun :)

As mentioned before, I was already riding about twice a week, but I find that I notice more details when I ride every day.  Like my soft brakes.  I kept meaning to look at them, but this week I finally fixed them.  I also realized that my seat must have slipped, so I fixed that as well.  Here are some non repair/maintenance things I have noticed.  These could be called pet peeves.

1. Runners in the bike lane: this is on the street around Greenlake.  Really?  Why?  There is a perfectly good gravel trail 3 feet to your right where I will not do you bodily harm trying to pass between you and cars.

2. Clouds of tiny bugs around Greenlake, but also in Ravenna.  Stupid things are invisible during certain times of day.  I really don’t need the extra protein or additional matter in my lungs, mouth, throat, nose, etc.  I often find them clinging to my clothes when I get where I am going.

3. Drivers, please treat me as a car!  I don’t want you to stop for me to cross the road.  This only holds up everyone (and looks silly when you are the last car in a line and I could have crossed behind you really easily).  I also like to stick with the right away on back streets–don’t stop for me if I am on your left and don’t try to rush through if I am on your right.

4. This probably sounds like the opposite of above, but drivers, please don’t hover behind me.  Pass if you can with 3 feet of space.  otherwise you feel creepy stalkerish.

There are more, but it is time for work.  Ciao.

Had a wonderful, if too short, weekend off.  Two of my brothers graduated and I got to be there for one of them.  I have such talented siblings.  It was nice to spend time with my family and to take a trip with the Mister and the Offspring.  Totally missed the sun here in Seattle–it was patchy in Spokane–but at least it is supposed to get nice again tomorrow.  I am going on a visit to a high school tomorrow with some colleagues and I might see a couple of my teen volunteers there.  They are really doing a nice job for the library and one of them helped out at an author visit over the weekend while I was away.

One of my volunteers at University is applying for jobs with the library and I have been helping him with interview tips and letter editing.  He is a great kid too, graduating this year and going to the local university next year.  I hope all his hard work pans out and he gets a student position.  He gave me chocolates from Frans to thank me and I dutifully shared them with my coworkers (although they seem to be not taking any because they are my treat).  Help me eat the chocolate!  Please!  :)  And I can verify that they are really good.

The Offspring turns 16 today.  I can barely believe it.  I took him up to school this morning after getting him breakfast and chocolate milk.  That is our biweekly tradition, really.  I am taking him shopping in a couple weeks for most of his present.   We got to celebrate over the weekend with family and it was wonderful.

What am I reading? I keep skipping around right now.  I am still enjoying This Book is Overdue but am also listening to book 4 of the Bloody Jack series: In the Belly of the Bloodhound.  I super love this series and think about it when I am not listening to it.  The reader does a wonderful job in the audio version, doing all the voices, and there are many with a ton of different accents, with skill.  In this book, Jacky has returned to Boston to outrun a price on her head and goes back to the Lawson Peabody School for more lady learning.  On the day of a scheduled outing, she and her entire school are kidnapped and only Jacky Faber can get them out of it.  The details of the time are well researched and described, making the series a good read for those who like historical fiction, but also scratch the adventure itch for those who are Harry Potter lovers.  Give them a read!

I’m feeling rather accomplished today.  Mostly in the baking and shopping departments.  I made cupcakes as a trial run for the Mister’s going away party, some protein bars and some bread.  The bread is still baking, so I guess there is still room for disaster, but otherwise everything turned out great.  I also got 85% of my shopping done for birthdays and graduations.  There are just way too many this month: 1 sibling, 1 Offspring, two parents’, one step parent and 2 friends’ birthdays , 3 sibling graduations and Mother’s Day.  Yikes.  We are heading to Spokane this weekend for what I just realized the last time in a while.  My last brother is moving his family to Washington DC, so there will be little reason to go there aside from the Mister’s family and since he will be in Las Vegas, still little reason.  That’s ok, I will be super busy traveling to other places.

Speaking of traveling, I already have 2 trips planned to Las Vegas, aside from actually getting him there.  Furlough week and Thanksgiving week.  I just hope I can get the Offspring this year and that his grades are good enough so he can take a few extra days off.  We will stop in Cali to visit good friends, Northern Nevada to visit my sis and Las Vegas for a holiday with the Mister.  Road Trip!

Biking to work is going well.  I made it 4 days in a row for a total of 48 miles and I plan on riding tomorrow and Friday.  I will skip Monday to take the Offspring to school.  I wonder if I can make it the whole month.  I doubt we will beat the other team at the library.  They have more people and at least one is riding 23 miles round trip.

What am I reading? I finished Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende and liked it quite a bit.  There were some issues I had with the story line and the turn near the end, but otherwise it was very enjoyable.  Right now I am reading The Beautiful Dead by Eden Maguire and it hasn’t grabbed me yet.  There just isn’t enough story development and parts of the plot keep popping up as we meet characters.  We’ll see.

Funny how you can be going along, all sunny and happy and one person can burst your bubble.

I was helping an elderly person at the computers, she was fairly tech savvy, but was having a hard time with forwarding an attachment on WebPine (totally archaic program…).  I got shushed by a patron a bit further down and was told that I was being rude.

Now, rude to me is going to someone’s work place and telling them how to do their job, and interrupting someone else’s customer service experience to make your own me time (in a public place, no less) a little more pleasant.  But I guess that is just me.  My response, after swallowing the negative reply I wanted to give was, “I’m sorry you feel I was being too loud.” and resumed helping the person in a lower tone of voice.  The lady had a harder time hearing me, but that is just too bad, I suppose.

Ok, venting done.

It is bike to work month and I am captain of my team.  I have been a little disheartened that the log in capability on their website has been down yesterday and today–the first two days of the challenge.  No one can log in or join a team.  I added my email of concern to the undoubtedly huge pile they will find tomorrow.

I usually ride to work 1-3 days a week, taking the bus the other days and driving only when I pick up the Offspring and take him to school–so every two weeks I drive twice.  My challenge to myself it to bike every day in May except when I bring the Offspring to school–because I would be late if I drove home first to ride.  My commute is between 6 and 10 miles, depending on my route.  The longer one is more scenic but has just as many hills and takes a bit longer.  I usually leave those for later shifts and Sundays.

The hardest part of this will be when I have meetings at other places in the system.  I think most of these will be at Central and I haven’t come up with a good route there yet.  I can probably get there faster on my bike than on the bus because of timing and meandering routes.  I might end up doing a combo bike and bus, though.

What am I reading? I took a break from everything else to read Isabelle Allende’s new book The Island Beneath the Sea.  I highly recommend this historical fiction of the long war to liberate Haiti during and after the French occupation.  The story is set around the life of a female mulatta slave and the families around her.  A good portion of the story is set in New Orleans and the details are well turned.