Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick-or-What?

I hate to sound like a miser. I really do. But this is my first Halloween to hand out candy on my own (no longer living with my parents, in a dorm, or in the student slums of Collegetown) and that stuff is expensive! I just found out that my neighborhood at the top of Queen Anne Hill is one of the most popular for trick-or-treating in Seattle, which would be fine if, like in any normal city, trick-or-treating were contained to a few hours on Halloween night. The papers in Cincinnati used to print the trick-or-treating times for each neighborhood, and it was considered bad form to go early or ring doorbells after the time was up. Which is why I am registering an official grievance against the city on my blog: these costumed kids are apparently liable to come anytime from 3pm to 9!

Kiddos, when I was your age we had two hours to race through the neighborhood and get all the candy we could. There was the house we hesitated to go up to because you never knew if the monster sitting in the porch chair was a big piece of plastic or a man in disguise who would chase you down the sidewalk. And there was the man on the cul-de-sac who always gave away full-size Hershey bars. We made sure to run there before he ran out. And there was also the older woman who gave away apples--we avoided that house.

Why do kids need six hours of trick-or-treating? Maybe I'm overreacting, but I'm kind of relieved that a meeting at church will keep us away from home during a couple of prime hours. Tim thinks we'll return to a house that's been egged by angry sugar-seekers and smashed pumpkins on our lawn. Seriously? I guess kids are super serious about their candy. Boo.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Volunteer Effort

Since mid-September I've been volunteering in two places, and I just realized that both are about to end and I've never mentioned them! The first is an after school program called Seattle SCORES which focuses on poetry and soccer. The program meets every day but I go on Thursdays to help a group of fourth- and fifth-grade boys with poetry. Because of the way the schedule has fallen I've not gotten to help them write it, which is what I thought I was going to do, but I've encouraged them as they memorize it for their big poetry slam on November 8, at which I'll be ushering. It is so enjoyable to watch young boys build their confidence through poems and the spoken word, things which quickly become uncool as you grow up. The other place I volunteered is the Seattle Tilth Children's Garden, and I have to say that was more out of my comfort zone. I was going on Friday mornings or afternoons to help lead tours of elementary students through the organic garden, where they can taste, smell, touch, and look at the plants and herbs growing there. They also got to do some digging and seed collecting and looking for worms in the compost pile. It was fun, but having no background in gardening I was expecting to get a little more training than I got, and it ended up being stressful as I struggled to keep the attention of squirmy bodies and bored parents through the tours that I knew little more about than they. Last Friday was the last day, and I wimped out since I had a lot of preparations to make for a wine tasting party we had that night and my heart really wasn't in it. It was a stretching and growing experience, but trying to be encouraging about something I actually know about--writing--has been much more fulfilling. SCORES will end with the poetry slam next week but pick back up for a winter quarter, which I may continue to do if I still don't have a job. But there are some interesting possibilities on that front. More to come later!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

To Reheat, or Not to Reheat?

That is the question. And we now have the power to choose! Friends of ours from small group received three microwaves for their wedding this summer, and when they tried to return this one at Target they could get only $7 back since it wasn't on their registry. Thus, they offered it to us! Though I admit to having enjoyed making oatmeal slow food-style on the stovetop, I was unable to warm up coffee...or anything...without turning on the oven or the stove. It's nice to be back in the 21st century.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fall weekend










We didn't get to pick apples this year, but we did have a fun weekend hanging out in our cold house (finally we turned the heat on yesterday!)...visiting the original Starbucks in Pike Place Market...and getting pumpkins with some friends from our church small group!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Question

Me: You should probably put on some deodorant.

Tim: Question: If you could be clean or be happy, which would you be?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Conference Bike



I was walking home from the 7-Eleven where, interestingly enough, I had paid our gas bill, and two guys pulled this thing out of the back of a U-Haul. I couldn't walk by without asking what the heck it was. They said it was a Conference Bike (www.conferencebike.com/index.html), fresh arrived from Amsterdam. The two guys said they owned a Dutch bike shop in Ballard (www.dutchbikeseattle.com/), the neighborhood where our church is located, and asked if I wanted to hop on. After some wheedling--you shouldn't get in a car with strangers; was a seven-man bike the same?--they won me over, as well as another woman crossing the street. Everyone had to pedal at the same time and one of the guys steered the bike. It was pretty easy to go, but in this hilly neighborhood, it quickly became tiring. When we starting careening down a slight downgrade (that thing is heavy, especially with four people on it!) I asked if it had breaks, and sure enough it had, a hand break that they claimed was the same as the breaks on a Porsche. People on the sidewalk stared as we rode past, and the Conference Bike dropped me almost at my door. How's that for a crazy afternoon! Maybe when we're in the market for a new bike for Tim we'll go check out the Seattle Dutch Bike Co. Those guys sure know how to advertise!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Something very Ithaca




The Fremont Troll and organic cat treats. Such reminders of Ithaca! The troll--located under the 99 bridge, just across the canal from where we live--is great because it was a community unity project, which sounds like something Ithaca would do (with probably a similar result), and the cat treats would certainly be a hot ticket item on the Commons.

Monday, October 8, 2007

PS, the fridge came

It's funny how something can cause a bunch of stress and then, when it's resolved, we move right on to the next thing. Our new fridge did come, bright and early on Saturday morning--the delivery men just about woke us up, in fact. We are truly thankful for the fridge even though I neglected to mention it here right away, and we spent several hours grocery shopping on Saturday afternoon to prove it!

Oh those Yanks



One thing that's no different in Seattle than it was in Ithaca: Timmy's still cheering on the Yanks! It was pretty exciting to see them come from behind and beat the Indians last night. They're still in the running! (Sorry all you Red Sox fans...I wouldn't care about baseball if it weren't for Tim...)
And yes, our TV is still on the floor.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Fall in the Northwest










Autumn is my favorite season. I like to get cozy with a sweater and a bowl of soup, or take a walk to look at the beautiful changing leaves. I am amazed by how many plants keep blooming and all the berries and flowers I continue to see! The temperatures have been in the mid-50s during the day, and a bit colder at night. The house generally stays just under 60, but there have been days it's been at 55! Still holding out on that heater...
The fall always makes me think of one of my favorite poems, Sweet Afton by Robert Burns. Nickel Creek, a very special folk bluegrass band, performs a great version.
SWEET AFTON -
FLOW gently, sweet Afton! among thy green braes,
Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise;
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream. -
Thou stock dove whose echo resounds thro' the glen,
Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den,
Thou green crested lapwing thy screaming forbear,
I charge you, disturb not my slumbering Fair. -
How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighbouring hills,
Far mark'd with the courses of clear, winding rills;
There daily I wander as noon rises high,
My flocks and my Mary's sweet cot in my eye. -
How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below,
Where, wild in the woodlands, the primroses blow;
There oft, as mild Ev'ning weeps over the lea,
The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me. -
Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides,
And winds by the cot where my Mary resides;
How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave,
As, gathering sweet flowerets, she stems thy clear wave. -
Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays!
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream. - -

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Party like it's 1899

I should have know about that smell coming from the fridge two days ago. Usually I'm pretty good about throwing away leftovers that are past their prime, but I figured whatever I was smelling was just not sealed well in its container. Fast forward to yesterday morning, when I poured myself a bowl of cereal and opened the fridge for milk. Whew! It was stinky and warm. I opened up the milk and it was completely rancid, as was the rest of the food in the fridge. It was actually warm to the touch! I recollected that the fridge had been making louder noises than usual, and now I saw why: the motor kept running but it wasn't cooling. Instead, it heated up things like leftover tomato soup and pork chops and parsley, which combined for a truly awful odor. I threw out all the food and called the landlord, who sent someone over the check out the fridge this morning. The damage was about $700 to replace the compressor, which basically equals a new fridge for us. I listened to the repair guy explaining on the phone that the fridge was at least 15 years old, probably more, and he told me afterward that our landlord thought it was only 3 or 4. He's not expecting to replace our fridge until the weekend, or perhaps early next week. I don't mean to complain, but...wait, yes I do. It's a FRIDGE! The best I could do was save our flour and nuts I kept in the freezer and put a couple vegetables in the antique vegetable cooler in the pantry. And now here I am drinking my coffee with no milk, which, let me tell you, is not my favorite thing. Before he hung up, the landlord said he was sorry. "Have fun eating out!" Indeed. Buddy, we're ordering pizza and sending you the bill.