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I’m sitting

We’ve been talking

But now sound is rushing in and light is rushing away

The darkness creeps in from the edges

Creating a perfect tunnel vision

I tell you “something is not right”

The bathroom as a refuge, maybe there things will return to normal

I stand and the world turns sideways

I become aware

People asking me if I’m okay

Have I eaten today

Taken anything unusual

Yes! No! What?

A woman looks at me with concern, asking questions

Another hovers

A man moves in and then back, the women have it under control

It takes an aggravatingly long time before I can sit up

And I have to lay back down

The darkness takes me again for a moment, but I’m the only one who knows

Or that’s what I think

You are there, nervous, afraid

Later, you will Google symptoms and diagnose me over and over

Trying to find an answer

I get into the chair, apologize for taking people from their dinners

From their dates

From their conversations

I put some food in my mouth, chew, act normal

Just in time

A paramedic with a stretcher enters and is shooed back out at my request

More embarrassment

I’m counting minutes until I can leave

Until the eyes will stop watching

Until I can be myself again

How will I trust my body, my brain, not to betray me?

I get to my feet and leave that place

I don’t look back

I realized I never checked in about my med stuff. It was benign, which is a great relief. Now on to the fun stuff.

I hiked around Mount Shasta in June, which feels so long ago now. It was a really quick trip, but one I’d always dreamed of. As a child we’d go visit my grandparents in California and we’d pass Mount Shasta on the way. I was always wowed by it’s snowy peaks and would sometimes daydream about what it would be like to ski down those slopes. Of course, in my dreams it was like a regular blue run, but long and more fun.


One of my brothers suggested this as a 3 day trip. Shasta is a 10 hour drive from where we live, so that’s a tight turn around. We were joined by my cousin and my brother’s brother in law (say that 10 times fast…) met us there. Another brother came from Reno and met a friend there, but we didn’t see them until our second day.

After the long drive to get there, we set off on the Bunny Flats trail immediately after getting our permits and hiked up to Horse Camp just before dark. It was a beautiful place and we got a good spot under a tree that didn’t have snow. People rave about the composting toilet there and for good reason. It was clean and fresh smelling. There’s a stonework lodge that seemed well equipped. This location is maintained by the Sierra Club Foundation.

We slept until … 3am? maybe 5. I no longer remember. Probably because I hate getting up that early. But since the stars were still out and it was summer, I think it was 3ish. We left our camping equipment behind and just brought our layers, some winter climbing equipment, and some food. We hiked up to Helen Lake, which is where my other brother had camped the night before. Despite our early start, there was a line forming at Misery Hill just as the sun was coming up. The landscape was breathtaking, although it was hard to take pictures because of the dim light.


Helen Lake covered in bright tents.

At this point my merry band had just myself, my brother and my cousin in it. The brother in law had gone ahead after we arrived at Helen Lake. The other brother and friend were somewhere ahead of us. I still had energy, but we were getting tired. I would point at a landmark on the hill and say, “let’s go there, then we can decide if we want to stop.” and finally we hit that point where we decided to turn around. The wind had picked up by that time and was making moving upwards a bit harder. 

I never had the plan to summit. I wanted to enjoy a hike in the snow on childhood favorite memory. Now I have a new snow filled memory to add to my collection.

The hike down was so gorgeous. It was only 9am when we stopped for this “summit beer.” But you can see what I mean. The coozy is more to protect my hands from the cold than to keep the beer from getting warm.

Here’s a link to the album if you’d like to see more. We camped the last night on National Forest land, which was a first for me. I almost did it again on my Olympic Peninsula bike camping trip in August, but luckily we found a mostly abandoned campground instead.

More about that trip later.


I’m moving into my new place. Part of me wonders if it’s really as good as I remember. It’s been almost a month since I’ve seen it.

Actually, I’m only moving in the few things that I still own, probably 2-3 car loads of stuff. There’s new flooring going in on Monday, so anything new has to wait until after that. I can put stuff in the bedroom and storage room. I mostly have camping equipment, clothing and bike stuff. I’ll be sleeping on a twin blow up mattress until I have time to get a real bed delivered. At least I have cool sheets for it.

My real move in date is October 4th.

I’ve been doing a lot of hiking lately, going mostly with my good friend and once with my brother and cousin. On Tuesday, my friend and I did a bus hike bus trip from Seattle to Coal Creek, hiking from there to Cougar Mountain, then across Cougar Mountain to Issaquah, then taking the bus back to Seattle and home. We didn’t take as many pictures as we should have, but it was a good 12.5 mile hike.

Click here for more pictures of that adventure. You can get some nature right in the city(ish area). I hope to check out more Seattle parks (like Discovery Park) and bus out to the North Bend/Snoqualmie Falls area on my weekdays off. I know the weather will turn at some point, but I want to continue to be prepared for it as it comes.

I’m still having trouble sleeping (I’m writing this at 1:20 am, but will schedule for morning so that more of my friends will see it), but I think that will pass when I have my own place.

I have 2 weeks until I move into my new apartment.

2 weeks of tortured luxury. First world problems.

I’ve got a great place to stay until then. I get to practice being alone and that part seems fine. But it all feels false. I am hugely grateful and acknowledge that my brain is being a big jerk.

I wake up at 5am (or 3am or sometimes 7am!) and can’t get back to sleep. There’s nothing to fret about. No plans for my brain to spin. Everything is taken care of. I just lie there in the dark.

Only 2 more weeks. I got a coloring book. I have my crochet project. There is Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime. I can pass the time.

I wonder if this is what it was like when I was a child and woke up at the crack of dawn. Wanting the day to start, but no one else was ready to get up yet. I have to go and play quietly in my room until the rest of the world is ready for me.


Today was a 7am day, with minimal waking in the middle of the night. It’s going to be a good one!

Quaxing is the movement of things by bike, and according to this definition, also by public transit. Following on my last post, it was moving day. Only moving out, not moving in, so entailed getting the rest of my belongings off of the boat and into storage. I have a borrowed trailer that I use for work, and I brought it to the place I am staying, because schedules.

Then on Tuesday, my day off, I began the Great Quaxing. I filled it to the brim, twice.

All of this, including the packing up, took about 2.5 hours. So, now you know just how little I own. There are some things that are already in the storage unit, along with one set of metal shelves. So I own about twice what is on these two bike trips. Nothing like living on a boat to make you whittle down your possessions.

I’m moving into my new apartment on 10/1. It’s only slightly bigger than the boat, but I will have it all to myself, which is both good and bad. As most things are. Right now I am in comfortable limbo, staying at a friend’s empty condo. I know, how lucky am I? Everything has really worked out well for this change. The worst part is waiting for my new life to start.

And I just figured out how to use Google Drive to host my photos!!! That’s pretty exciting.

I’m no longer a boatwife. I won’t say that I’ll never sail again, because I will, but I will not be taking month long excursions to exotic places. It is just not for me.

Since many year long sailing excursions are my love’s life dream, we’ve had to re-evaluate our relationship and come to the conclusion that we should part ways. I’ve attained a small apartment on land. It’s not an easy decision, but the best one in the long run.

To take my mind off of these huge changes I’m spending time with friends and family, planning hikes and future adventures. I need to get a wheelie cart for my kayak since I’m only a long block from Green Lake and can easily explore that water if only I can lug the kayak down there.

So, onward and upward, as they say.

Here are some photos (click on the picture for more) from my recent hike to Rachel Lake and Rampart Lakes. I very much recommend it.


I’m holed up in my fancy hotel, cramming for my presentation tomorrow. All of the work has been done, now it’s all about finesse and timing.

I get really nervous speaking to peers. Someone in the audience probably knows more about my subject than I do. Middle school taunts loom large in the back of my brain. It’s not logical, it’s just there.

So I’ve been working on it. I’ve signed up to talk about our new Service Learning model to the library world at large. I spoke at the Young Adult Services conference in November and will be speaking at the Washington Library Association Conference tomorrow.

I’ve made some realizations. Having a partner is key. One person droning on is never as exciting as two. It takes the pressure of all of those eyes off of me to have another person up there and allows me to take a breath when I need one.

I deliberately procrastinate on practicing my slides until within a day of my presentation. It keeps me from getting nervous leading up and keeps everything fresh in my mind, what I want to say and how I want to say it. Why torture myself sooner than necessary? The trick is to make sure to leave time in what can be a busy conference schedule to practice on my own, and then at least go over timing with my partner.

Having really wonderful friends doesn’t hurt either. I’ve had support from several people who have helped me see past my boogie men to the heart of the matter, and offered to be there for me at my presentation to cheer me on.

The presentation in November went great. I won’t pretend that I am suddenly a rock star–I have coworkers who provide celebrity grade performances when on stage; I don’t have that skill and I probably never will. Part of getting over my anxiety is letting things like that go. However, if my subject is interesting and I can present on it in a steady and interesting way, I’ll be happy.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep practicing in this luxurious cage.


Like many libraries, ours has been shifting attention to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), with a bit of art thrown in for fun and creativity (STEAM). We hired Juan Rubio about a year ago to join our Youth and Family Learning team. He is amazing and procures cool gadgets and funding for work hours to cover us learning about the cool gadgets. A few of the things he’s brought us are Geolocative Games, 3D Printing Programming, Little Bits, and Finch Robots.

So far I’ve had training on the Finch robots. We use Samsung Chromebooks with the Snap Extension. You can use the Snap without the Finch and program a Sprite to move around, so it’s worth checking out if you are interested in really basic programming. There are 4 levels of difficulty in Snap, which is useful in teaching. The picture below is level 3, which I find to have the most functionality and easier to use than level 4.

Screenshot 2016-04-20 at 9.08.26 PM

Here’s where I warn you that I have no background in programming aside from a little HTML, CSS and XML. I do understand that the Snap commands represent a more complicated coding language underneath. I’ve even learned how to have the program show some of that language, but I don’t know what it means.

You can still teach Snap/Finches without knowing coding languages. It’s mostly logic once you get the hang of where everything is. You need a Control and a motion command in order to make the Finch do something. You can add operators and sensors and use variables to do more complicated sequences, as you can see above.

Some things were frustrating for me and the students. The Finches didn’t always behave as they should, even when the program was perfect. Sometimes the problem was that a student would have 2 or more programs running at once and they would interfere with each other. Other times the traction on the floor or table wasn’t good for the Finch’s wheels. Sometimes it just didn’t do what you told it to. Especially when it came to the sensors. I was able to turn this into a learning experience where we tried many different things to get the Finch to do what we wanted, trying different inputs and environments. The students learned that sometimes the environment is going to get in the way of what you want to happen.

I’ve had 2 groups of students so far. I do outreach at a local family housing community center, where families are transitioning out of homelessness. It’s long term housing, so they’re fairly stable, at least in having a place to live. The teens that I work with there are mostly girls from ages 11-14. For these classes, I went once a week for 3 weeks and had an hour each time. An hour was not enough and the teens have a lot of things on their plates, but we had a good time and they learned a lot. We’ll have our party in early May and students will be challenged to make their Finches dance, make music and do a light show.


The other program I’ve had was at our branch over Spring Break. It was 3 days long with a party at the end of the 3rd day where they showed off the tricks they’d learned. This group was mostly boys, ages 8-12. They’d all had Scratch before, so understood most of the Snap programming basics. I had to modify the first few curriculum for them, then move quickly to the more advanced workshops.

My next training will be on the Geolocative Games. With that, we’ll create a game that is a digital scavenger hunt. There are a lot of ways to make this game beneficial to the community. One of my colleagues did a project with her service learning group where they researched the history of their neighborhood, then put locations named after iconic people into their game, with information to teach the gamer about the history.

It was a really fun and sometimes frustrating experience. Totally worthwhile. I wouldn’t have been as successful if I hadn’t had a very wonderful coworker at my branch who could help me with the more technical stuff. He is also a very patient and intuitive teacher and I learned a lot having him there to help with the outreach programs.


I had the weirdest dream last night. I don’t remember all of it, but I was on a supported ride, and I was riding alone. There was someone I was competing with, who was fairly evenly matched with me. We were racing along, taking turns at the front. At some point I lost him. Then I lost the ride itself. I ended up in sand. It was bright and sunny and I could see everyone up above, on a pathway that was paved and I was riding in sand along the bottom of a cliff.

I felt something go wonky with my bike, so I looked down. Suddenly parts of my bike were gone. The front wheel, my handlebars. I was left holding the stem. I didn’t crash, but I lost momentum and set her down gently. Suddenly I was in an urban area, climbing around an industrial building. I found a Mad Max style bike shop, thinking I could bring the parts of my bike there to get it fixed. I had to hurry though, I was loosing my nemesis.


Then I woke up.

I was so invigorated after riding in the Emerald City Ride (a 20 mile course across the new 520 bridge, up the express lanes of I-5 then along the west side of the Lake Washington loop) that I signed up for Flying Wheels century in June. Below is most of my Wooleaters group on the Emerald City Ride. We’re standing on the new 520 Bridge. I’m holding my shoe, as I’ve just figured out that my cleat is horribly loose.


I’ve ridden Flying Wheels twice before, both times with very little training. It hurts to ride like that, but not for very long, which is probably why I haven’t learned my lesson. This year, I’m going to try training though. A friend of mine reminds me that I need to do it every week, so I’m more likely to get out there and ride the distance.

I’m not in bad shape for it anyway. I ride around 100 miles a week with my regular commute and errands, then I sometimes pick up a 40 mile ride with friends on my Friday off. I know I can do better, though, and I recently hurt my knee. It doesn’t hurt when I ride, just when I run and sit around too much. I guess that tells me what I need to know.


Above: I was looking for a good picture from the 2015 Gallery that Woodinville Bicycle took, but this is what caught my eye. You’re welcome. In his defense, there were some intense hills.

Last week I did a 55 mile ride with a Wooleater friend. We meant to do 40 miles, but missed a turn. It turned out fine and was actually closer to what our goal should have been anyhow.

Chris and I are going to ride to Vashon tomorrow to meet some boating friends who have been sailing the South Sound for the last week. It’s a 28 mile ride, and while I should be doing twice that for my training, I’ll be fine with that. Sailing with friends is worth it. So I guess what I’m saying is, I’m training when it fits, and otherwise I’m getting miles where I can.

I’m just returning to the boat after a week house sitting for friends. I missed it!