Thursday, August 30, 2007
When I'm out in such beautiful surroundings I can't help but praise God and thank him for the flowers, the clear sky, the mountains, and the water. I prayed for Tim on his way to work and for continued guidance to use my time wisely and seek the right job. Being a good steward of my time, especially now when I don't have a lot going on and it's easy to waste, is something God had been impressing upon me in the last week. I was thinking about this as I walked, and there were several other people out walking their dogs or running. Not all of them say hi or smile when they pass, but a lot do. I had passed the block with the great view when a very small older lady in an oversized green sweatshirt came toward me on the sidewalk. I prepared myself to smile and say hi, no matter what she did, because I've decided I don't want other people's aloof behavior to change my natural tendency to be friendly. But before I could speak she said, "Look at you walking like that! I used to be able to walk like that, and now I get out of bed like this," referring to her shuffling pace. I can't remember exactly everything she said, but she went on to tell me how quickly life passes and then you're old, and you wonder where the time has gone and you live with the thought of "I should've." She put a wrinkled hand up to my face and got very close, peering up at me with light blue eyes. I do remember clearly what she said next: "If one day you feel that something's been given to you, then go after it. Go for it!" and she pumped her fist like a coach. "And remember to always ask God to protect you first."
She may have been a little crazy, just coming up to me on the sidewalk like that. I smiled and tried to respond to her while she was talking, wondering if she were speaking out of regret or fulfillment. As I kind of edged away with a "Thank you, you're right, I will," she called, "I love you." All I could lamely respond was, "Have a great day!" She went on her way and I resumed my walk. Walking back home, I'm not sure I did the right thing. Is it right to respond in kind to a stranger who's a little eccentric and therefore probably not genuine--how could she be?--and say "I love you" back? I think we all tend to protect ourselves, and that's what I did, not wanting to be untrue. I wonder if this woman has a family somewhere, or if she talks to everyone she meets simply because she doesn't have anyone to pay attention to her. I wonder if her life has been full, and whether the memories she looks back on are sweet or painful. I know that if I hadn't been so sore this morning, I would have gone on my normal run and never have crossed her path. So I believe this chance meeting was one more little nudge from God to take a step in faith, whether that's with a job or something else, and pursue the future he's laid out for me. I know that if I do that, at the end of my life I'll be able to look back without an ounce of regret.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
I have been driving Tim downtown to catch the bus to work this week. It definitely saves on gas and is a good option for his commute rather than driving to Redmond every day. We're also looking into a vanpool which would leave from an intersection close to our house. Tim would like to buy another bike (he hasn't had one since his sophomore year in college, when the one he had was stolen), and then he could ride to a bus stop close to the 520 bridge, which goes over Lake Washington into Bellevue/Redmond, and then catch the bus there. I keep telling myself to put a map on here to orient everyone...I'll look for a good one.
I had my first experience with the city bus yesterday. Not being used to riding buses, I felt silly waiting at the stop outside our house, thinking that everyone who drove by must know that I wasn't sure when the bus would show up--it didn't come according to the schedule I found online. When it finally came and I got on, I had $2 out because I had read it cost $1.50. The sign in the bus said that fare as $1.25, and rather than fumbling through my wallet for a quarter, I put in both bills and then asked the driver where the change slot was. Of course the bus didn't give change, but I did get a transfer slip which I figured out I could use for my ride back up the hill when I had done my errand downtown.
Which brings me to the thing that wasted much of my afternoon yesterday: trying to get my Washington driver's license. Some of you may remember what a headache it was for me to title my car in New York last year (driving up to Syracuse for the inspections, etc, because it is a rebuilt vehicle). Incidentally, I didn't have a problem getting my license in NY, but it is proving to be very difficult in WA! I wouldn't be so interested in doing it right away if I didn't need to go ahead and get my name changed so I can be up-to-date with my bank accounts and start getting things switched over legally to Psiaki. It's embarrassing to say, but I've been to the Department of Licensing in downtown Seattle twice now, and twice I've been turned away because I don't have the proper proof of residence. The first time I just brought my lease, along with my passport and all that, and the man at the counter said that a lease didn't count, which I find ridiculous. He mentioned that an insurance policy would work, and so I walked back home (I walked about 6 miles that day; the DOL is FAR from where I live, and I hadn't figured out the bus yet) in a huff because our new policy for this address hadn't come yet. To make a long story short, it came yesterday, so I went back downtown only to be told that it didn't count either: I needed a homeowner's policy! I saw the same man and complained that they made it very difficult: here I was trying to change my name and comply with the law about getting a new license, and they wouldn't let me. Other things that would count, like a utility bill, won't be issued to us at this address for a while because we just moved in. The only way I can get my license is to drag Tim with me to a DOL on the weekend and use his pay stub for proof of residence. So I'm feeling a little handicapped here. I guess bureaucracy will follow you wherever you go!
But back to my run this morning. It was the strangest thing. I rounded a corner and in my peripheral vision glimpsed a little sunset maple in someone's front yard--with bright red leaves! I almost stopped, I was so startled. And there was already a little circle of fallen leaves surrounding the trunk on the ground. Someone already has autumn in his front yard!
Monday, August 20, 2007
"My way" is something I've been thinking about a lot in the last week. I admit that I get kind of cranky when people ask me what I "do"--like in Office Space: What would you say you do here? (Sorry for the double movie reference). Well, right now, what I "do" is what I imagine a stay-at-home mom would do, except very scaled down because we don't have any kids. I do laundry. I unpack. I dirty dishes and then wash them. I run and try to stay in shape. I walk to our downtown mailbox to check mail (which reminds me, please do not send mail to our 800 Fifth Avenue address; if you don't have our new one let me know and I'll send it to you). I spend time on the phone with friends and family to reconnect. I'm even spending some time working on a new writing project to see if this is something I want to commit to long term. And that's where the thorn in my side comes in. What is my next step for a career, however that is defined, and what is my goal? People ask me all the time what my ideal job would be and, the thing is, if I knew that I would be out looking for it! I know I want a job working with people, planning and organizing things (because that is my nature), and I want it to be instructional in some way. Plus, I can't ignore my love of reading and writing. I know that I don't want to be at a desk all day. I hope to have the kind of job where I am up and about, actively forming relationships, in whatever context that may be. Sound a little vague? It is to me, too.
An obvious choice might be teaching, and this is one of my favorite possibilities right now. I think my talents and interests would equip me well to be a teacher, and if you put any stock in those personality profiles, I am an ENFJ, which is the teacher/giver personality. I have developed a heart for teaching through bible studies I've led in both the college and high school age groups, and teaching English or creative writing is an option I keep coming back to. I have thought about applying for a local MFA program, which has both the writing and teaching elements--it would give me a structured environment to work on my writing and also prepare me for the classroom (admittedly, one of my favorite places). But there are so many questions surrounding tuition, a two-year commitment and the end goal of that program (will I be a teacher or writer foremost? or something else not yet on my radar screen?). Because I believe that the LORD leads us in his will one step at a time, my ultimate concern is not a five- or ten-year plan. But it is wise to consider my aims in pursuing another degree, especially since Tim and I hope to start a family in a couple of years (all you potential grandparents and great grandparents out there, this is not a promise! Nor is it a threat).
For now, I continue to think and pray about next steps, as well as comb some local websites for ideas. If you have any bright ones, let me know!
Thursday, August 16, 2007
I just found out that our wedding is the spotlight wedding in our photographer's new newsletter! Many of you have already seen some of the amazing photos that Luke Walker and his partner, Alisha, took at our wedding on July 21. I was so excited to see that Luke had also put us up in the portfolio section of his website. Go to www.lukewalkerphotography.com, click on Portfolio, and then on Weddings.
I've mentioned that Luke will be uploading all the photos from the wedding to another website, Pictage, which is also where you can order prints. When that happens I'll post the link here.
I am having so much fun reliving the wedding through these beautiful photographs!
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
1 empty house + a little money to burn = shopping trip to IKEA!
I had never actually seen an IKEA catalog, much less their gigantic tourist attraction of a store. Going to IKEA is an event. We drove around the whole place looking for the one entrance, then walked in with the crowd through the showrooms, past the restaurant and bistro (they have both!), found our items of choice in the self-serve warehouse, wrestled the boxes to our cart, paid, loaded them up, drove home and assembled! Phew. (What I didn't mention is that we really went to IKEA twice, with a trip to Sears in between).
We're trying to add one piece of furniture at a time so that we can think about each thing, be it a table or dresser or mattress, individually and get something we actually like rather than something to just take up space. Top priorities are a bed, dining room table and chairs, and some extra counter space for our kitchen. When we decided on this house we were concerned with the condition of the kitchen: not much had been updated, counter space was scarce, and there was no dishwasher. We chose to live with the old oven/stovetop and fix the counter and dishwasher issue by buying one of those portable dishwashers with a butcher's block on top. We also wanted to get a small cabinet of sorts to place next to the dishwasher to extend the counter space and add some more storage. At IKEA we found the cabinet you see above, which took us about an hour last night to assemble, and also a dishwasher cabinet which will provide a nicer countertop and be level with the cabinet top. Once the dishwasher arrives I'll post a picture of the final produce!
The house is looking more like home as we've been able to unpack most of our clothes and kitchen items. Our pantry has a lot of shelving, and most of that has been taken up now with appliances and bake ware (we are well stocked!). All we need now is the food! Also, Tim went around the house today with his power drill and tightened all the screws in the doors to make them latch better. The best part is, he has FUN doing that kind of thing. I do think life will be cheaper with such a handy husband.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
I can't help but notice things about Seattle that are strikingly similar to Ithaca, and of course some that are different. VERY different. Take this wine bottle here. It's the wine we had at my birthday dinner Monday night at Cafe Juanita (http://www.cafejuanita.com/) in Kirkland (also the city for which the Cost-co brand is named). First of all, thanks to my parents who gave us an IOU for this fabulous eatery back at Christmastime once they knew we were moving to Seattle. Second of all, a big shout out to the Washington state legislators, who have made it possible for fun-loving residents like me to take their unfinished bottles of wine home from a restaurant. Maybe you had a cocktail or two before dinner, and the bottom of that bottle seems a bit too far away? Don't worry about wasting money on undrunk goodness (or worse, finishing it when you really shouldn't). As long as the cork was popped at the restaurant, your friendly server can recork the bottle for you to take home. The ultimate win-win situation!
Some other observations:
1. In the spirit of letting the wine flow freely, both alcohol and beer are sold in grocery stores in Washington State. (Only beer in New York)
2. Seattle is a whole lot bigger than Ithaca. I know that was obvious.
3. A similarity: some aspects of the weather. We may be chilling at 60 degrees while those Ithacans we left behind are suffering through a heat wave, but, yes, the sun does come out in the summer. I think Ithaca and Seattle are neck-and-neck for cloudy days per year.
4. Lake Washington. Cayuga Lake. Both are nice for a dip or a sail.
5. I thought that by moving out of my Fall Creek neighborhood in Ithaca I'd escape those two lane roads which are really made one-laners by the cars that park on either side. Wrong. Welcome to Queen Anne hill, where only one car can fit down the side streets at a time AND not all intersections even have stop signs!
6. People in Seattle say "right on." Don't know what that's about. Matt Sears, if you're looking for another reason to move to the Northwest after you finish your Ph.D. (besides to be close to us, of course), here it is.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
We've been in Seattle for just over a week now, and I can't believe how quickly the time has passed since the wedding. One cross-country flight, honeymoon, and apartment hunting week later, it seems like it was ages ago! Thank you to all who were able to come; we are blessed that you celebrated our marriage and this new stage in our lives with us. We couldn't be more excited about where God has led us in Seattle and all the elements that are coming together. I am setting up this blog in hopes that we can keep in touch with all of you who are far away. Especially with the three hour time change, it's difficult to connect in a meaningful way to share what's going on with us as we are still in transition. Addresses and phone numbers will change and we still have yet to move into our new place (we've rented a house!), but all that information will be coming soon. We hope you'll interact with us on this page, and of course we would love to catch up with each of you individually. Let the adventure continue!
Cameron and Tim