Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bad week.

Something is wrong with the Universe this week. I've talked to several friends about this and we all agree.... stars are not in alignment, it's too hot, people are cranky and going crazy? It's been a bad week. This week started off with the headline news of two women in the South Park (Seattle) neighborhood that were attacked in their home by an intruder on Sunday July 19th. Both women were stabbed, one died and one has to live with the memory of this tragedy. While I didn't personally know either woman, they were friends of a friend, so that brings it real close to home. In fact, both were coming to my friends birthday party this week so I would have met them there. Their Evite reply of "Yes: Teresa and I would love to be there!" is a haunting reminder that their plans changed in a tragic and unfair way.

The story has been all over the news this week and it has put fear into us all. (See story at It's been hot in Seattle, but we are reminded by news journalists to keep our doors and windows closed and locked. You tend to look at strangers more closely, wondering if they are "good" or "bad". I lay awake at night wondering what I would do if an intruder came to my home. How would I defend myself? What weapon would I use? What would be my escape route? Where would I run to? Or would I be able to defend myself? What if I didn't? What if I just curled up and let whatever happen happen?? These are the hardest questions to answer because you just don't know what you would do in that situation - unless you have been through that situation. You hope and pray that you never have to experience something like that.

I think the worst part for the survivor would be that it was a "random act of violence", with no real explanation, no real motive. How will she re-cover from that unfairness? How will she get over the fear of being brutally attacked in her home while sleeping? How do you feel safe again?? How will she adjust to living a normal life without sad memories constantly flooding her thoughts? How will she learn to accept, forgive and show mercy to the person who stole her best friend and life partner from her? Do you forgive the person who ruined your life?? I don't know if I could. Depending on the circumstance or crime, I wonder to what length could I forgive? Forget?? I know I would want justice for any crime committed against me - but maybe I'd want revenge too? What level of "payback" is appropriate? It's so hard to know how you would react in certain situations. The news last night said they have arrested the suspect so hopefully this will be the start of the healing process for her friends and family? (See story at,0,3056246.story).

Coincidentally, I just read "The Shack" by William P. Young for my book club and it really touches on all these internal head/heart questions. The main character suffers a random act of violence and the book touches on his years of emotional suffering because of it. Guilt, sadness, loss of life joys. Then he goes back to the scene of the tragedy and gets an opportunity to talk to God and work through his sadness, bitterness and loss of spirituality. It's an amazing story of relationships, spiritual education and openness (without regard for any one particular religion or sect). In the end he comes to a place of understanding and forgiveness for the perpetrator, which then leads to finding actual closure on the tragedy. After reading this book you can't help but have a new (or re-newed) opinion of spirituality but getting to that point means really questioning yourself. I'll certainly be questioning myself, my thoughts, my actions, my life... more in the future. Hopefully it can help me achieve the never-ending struggle to be a better person?

Later in the week I received more bad news. My Dad was rushed to the VA (Veterans Administration) Hospital emergency room on Thursday. They couldn't do a Cat Scan there because their machine broke (huh?), so he was transferred to Swedish around 2AM. After initial testing, it turns out that he passed a blood clot from his heart to his brain and he suffered a small stroke. This is in the aftermath of last weeks hernia surgery where he was advised to go off his blood thinning medication (Coumadin). Going off the blood thinners probably triggered the clot and hopefully going back onto the medication should prevent future issues. The bleeding in his brain has stopped but his vision is affected. He could read the card I got him but it was very difficult as he is seeing bright flashes of light and spinning (yet blurry) colors in the peripheral. If you know my Dad, he actually likes shiny, trippy color bursts so this could make him very happy?? His favorite color is MYLAR for crying out loud! I am obviously kidding though, because not being able to read, watch TV, or drive would seriously hinder his lifestyle so we are hoping the blurry vision is not permanent. We have to wait and see. Last night he was transferred back to the VA and is expected to be released today. He'll need to come back this week for follow up on his hernia surgery as well as get the MRI and EKG that he was supposed to get at Swedish? Why this was not done yesterday, I am not sure. But he seems to be in good spirits, says he feels fine and has remained surprisingly calm during the whole episode (and if you know my dad, patience and calmness are NOT adjectives that normally describe him!)

Sorry today's post has been kind of morose. It's been one of those weeks. Hopefully it turns around today. I am going to meet some friends for the Ballard Seafood fest so should be a good time!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Bite of Seattle

Yesterday, I went to the annual Bite of Seattle at the Seattle Center for the first time in years! While it's traditionally a fun time (bands, beer gardens, FOOD!) I usually can't stand the crowds so I stopped going for a while. But yesterday was one of those great summer days in Seattle and I really wanted to be outside enjoying it. As per usual, parking was difficult (and expensive!) around the Seattle Center. Again, with the bus theme, this is a perfect example of why you should take the bus. We didn't take the bus and it cost us $10 to park and about a half hour of frustration while looking for parking! Once inside the Seattle Center grounds, there were huge lines to get anything - whether it was food booths, beer gardens, bathrooms, or events. The good part is, that everywhere you are, there is lots of music and tons of great people watching. Kids playing in the Fountain. People dancing in the sun. My best tips for the day: pack your patience, wear sunscreen, keep your cash and ID handy, and bring your own water! It was about 80 degrees yesterday which is pretty hot for Seattle. If you haven't experienced it, you should do it! It's free admission. There is one more day of it this weekend! Photos courtesy of my friend Pam (Renegade Studios).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More thoughts on Riding the Metro

So it's been two weeks that I've been without a car and had to utilize the bus system in Seattle. I know I sounded all giddy with excitement before... at the "great opportunity" to learn the bus system around town. I must admit that my attitude has changed a bit now... and riding the bus is more of a frustration most days. Mapping out the bus routes and trying to make connections takes some time and planning. Even though the Metro Trip Planner ( helps make it easier, I have found a few faults. For example, I was sitting next to a young girl and she was asking me about the bus route we were on. She had used the Trip Planner to make her way from Wedgewood/Sand Point to North Seattle Community College. The Trip Planner had actually taken her all the way downtown, then she had to transfer, to get onto the bus we were on. Her total trip time was pushing two hours! It was ridiculous. I told her I was pretty sure she could get the 75 bus from Lake City to NSCC directly. Or take any bus to the Northgate Transfer Station and then hop on the 345 over to NSCC. (Internally I was kind of surprised at myself for sounding like such a seasoned bus rider! She, on the other hand, probably thought I was drunk since I had just come from the dentist where I got a filling and my mouth was still numb. I knew I was slurring, but didn't realize I was also drooling until after she got off the bus. Ooops....) Basically, I learned you can't always trust the Trip Planner. The Trip Planner lets you choose the "fastest" routes, the "least amount of walking" routes, and the "least amount of transfers" routes. Sometimes choosing one or the other gets you a completely different trip. Today, I am heading to the airport for a work trip. I used the Trip Planner and I got completely different routes each time I did it. None of which were very convenient considering 3 transfers, and having to walk & wait around with luggage and a laptop. New tip for riding the bus: If the ride is longer than 1.5 hours and makes you transfer three times.... take a cab instead!

I've also learned that it's not that fun to be on the bus when it's hot. Even with the windows open, you can only get a breeze when the bus is in motion. Last Friday I took the bus downtown to meet some friends for drinks. There was an accident on the Aurora bridge so we sat there for what seemed like forever before all the traffic could be diverted into one lane and get past this wreck. When the bus is not moving, there is no air flow, and that means everyone gets hot, sticky, sweaty. Which is NOT how you want to feel before meeting friends in a trendy Belltown establishment! Don't even get me started on the dude who smelled like manure. I am not trying to be politically correct by saying "manure". If he smelled like poop, I would say poop. But he smelled like manure... cow manure. Trust me, this girl is from Ellensburg, so I know what manure smells like. Put it on a hot bus with no air flow, and now I want to vomit. New tip for riding the bus: bring Kleenex, Purell, and something to fan your self with.

Can I also vent about bus etiquette for a minute? If someone doesn't give you eye contact, they don't want to chat. If that same someone is avoiding eye contact AND highly engrossed in a book, they really don't want to chat. If that same person has to put down her book, look you in the eye and TELL YOU they don't want to chat about your get-rich-quick real estate ideas, then they don't want to chat. And if that same person says NO I AM NOT GIVING YOU MY PHONE NUMBER, that means they don't want to chat with you now, or ever! Geez, what is so hard to understand. Look, I try to be nice and polite as much as possible but it can only last so long when dealing with idiots. Especially if your unwanted conversation starts like this... "So, you are pregnant, right?" (Seriously don't ever ask a woman if she is pregnant if you are not 100% sure.....)!

Update on my car. Still in the shop. Won't be ready until the 27th. Police still haven't found the driver who hit me so don't know if they have insurance or not. This means two more weeks of riding the bus. Neat!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Daily Om - Walking Thru

The below is from my favorite daily inspirational message that gets emailed to me. This one reminds me of several dear friends who have recently moved away from Seattle to persue other endeavors. While I miss you, I applaud you for taking the chances you have taken! Enjoy!

July 9, 2009
Walking Through
When Doors Open

When a door opens, walk through it. Trust that the door has opened for a reason and you have been guided to it. Sometimes we have a tendency to overanalyze or agonize over the decision, but it is quicker to simply go through the door and discover what's there as that's the only way to know. Even if it doesn't seem right at first, opening this door may lead to another door that will take us where we need to go. Doors open when the time is right for us to enter a new space, metaphorically speaking, and we can have faith that walking through is the right thing to do. Sometimes we linger in the threshold because we are afraid of leaving our old life for a life we know nothing about. We may have voices inside of our heads that try to hold us back or people in our lives saying discouraging things. These voices, internal and external, are known as threshold spirits, and they express all the fears and doubts that arise at the beginning of a new life. Nevertheless, none of these voices can hold us back, and they will fall silent as soon as we cross the threshold. There are many doors that open in the course of our lives, leading us into new relationships, jobs, friendships, and creative inspirations. Our lives up to this point are the result of all the doors we have walked through, and our continued growth depends on our willingness to keep moving into new spaces. Every time we walk through an open door, we create a sense memory that encourages us to move into the new fearlessly. When we enter the new space, we almost always feel a thrill and a new feeling of confidence, in ourselves and in the universe. We have stepped across the threshold into a new life.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Car-less in Seattle

Since getting my car smashed in by a hit and run driver on Wednesday, I have had a good opportunity to take the Metro Bus around town. I am actually getting to feel like a pro! Seattle has a pretty good bus system so once you figure out the routes, you can get anywhere! It's cheaper than parking - and less frustrating. I don't think I'll ever attempt to drive and park for any sporting event again, now that I know I can get a stress free ride to the front door of any stadium - for $2.00! In case you are thinking of also "going green" and riding the bus, I decided to list some of the tips I've learned for becoming a "seasoned" bus rider in Seattle. Maybe it will help you?

1. Use the King County Metro website "Trip Planner". Just plug in your address and your destination and it will tell you which bus(es) to take!
2. Have correct change handy (or buy a bus pass, it saves you money and you don't have to constantly hunt for correct change)! It's $1.50 - $2.00 depending on time of day.
3. Wear comfortable shoes, you have no idea when you might have to "run for it"!
4. Bring a book, this helps to avoid "eye contact" of people who want to sit with you and/or strike up an unwanted conversation. And of course, reading is fundamental... you might learn something?!
5. People will stink... so get used to it. Learn that it is OK to change seats or move away.
6. Buses start and stop... a LOT! So you may find yourself sliding around on the seat a LOT. Until you get your "sea legs" try sitting next to the window as there is a foot rest under the seat that will help you hold your position better.
7. Re-think your accessories. If you are like me and you have a purse, laptop and possibly a gym bag and/or grocery bag... it can start to get a little cumbersome. Combine: Find a good laptop bag with a long, durable shoulder strap that has enough room to hold your wallet and other personal items. Wear this over the shoulder and across the chest for maximum comfort (and safety from would be purse snatchers). I happened to find a great messenger bag at a thrift store - designer label, red and black leather, lined, with great pockets for keeping personal items organized!

I am sure I will think of more tips as the days go by. My car is in the shop and will probably be there for another two weeks! Almost $7,000 in damages on top of that - yikes! Hopefully the police were able to track the driver down (a witness got the license plate) and hopefully he has insurance! I have to get a copy of the incident report to find out - which is another "process" altogether. I am sure I'll blog about that exercise in frustration as soon as I go thru it!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 4th Weekend

Fourth of July fell on a Saturday this year so like most, I had Friday off. In order to start the holiday weekend, I decided to have a small-ish July 3rd party. Most of my girlfriends showed up as per usual, but we were seriously lacking in male ratio so it kind of ended up being a "Girl Party". My friend Tina arrived from San Jose late in the evening so had to be subjected to our alcohol induced conversations on men and sex. She was surprised to find that all of us were still single - being the fabulous, professional, emotionally & financially stable women that we are! Tina thinks we have enough material to do our own Sex In The City type show! Sex In Seattle? No Sex in Seattle? How To Get Sex? Hmmmm. Will have to think about that.

On Saturday, we walked around Greenlake to get a little exercise. It was a great day in Seattle. Beautiful weather and lots of people out enjoying it! Later in the afternoon we headed over to my friends place on Lake Union, the Neptune Building. Her building has a great 4th of July party on the rooftop and we knew that would be a great place to view the fireworks show over Lake Union. Plus... the party was only $7 for all the food and drink. An amazing deal any way you look at it! The party was great, highly organized and you know how I love that! There were several outdoor grills with burgers and dogs. There was a station for pulled pork and some other amazing simmering meats. Corn on the cob, pasta salad, cole slaw, fruit and veggies. Yum! There were several kegs with an assortment of beer and a DJ spinning tunes all night. We danced, met some new people, had a great view of the city and an amazing fireworks show!

On Sunday, Tina and I headed over to Mae's Phinney Ridge Cafe for breakfast. One of my favorite haunts for weekend grub! As we were eating, I got a text from some other friends who were going to brunch at Campagne in Post Alley of Pike Place Market. We decided to join them for the champagne (hold the brunch, we already ate!) and had a nice time visiting and re-capping our weekend stories. Tina and I then walked thru the Pike Place Market to see what was going on there. I don't really go there except when visitors are in town so it's nice to walk thru every once in a while and feel like part of the tourism. Today was particularly busy! Streets were closed to vehicle traffic and extra booths lined the market. I think I got some good photos of the market and its offerings. Again, a beautiful day in Seattle. Sunny and hot - like summer should be!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

One of THOSE days!

Do you ever have "one of those days" where nothing goes as planned? I am having such a day! First of all I was woken up at 6AM by my doorbell. My neighbor says to me "You need to come see your car". As I dressed I thought about what I would find outside. A broken window? Graffiti? No. It was a smashed in back end. The car was not only bashed in but had moved all the way into another parking spot! Someone had apparently tried to turn around in our parking lot and smashed into my car plus two others. The other two neighbors that were affected gathered around and did the usual thing: took pictures, called the police, and discussed at great length what we thought might have happened. A high speed car chase? A drunk driver? Fortunately for us a dog walker guy came over from across the parking lot. He said he heard the crash and saw the car that hit us. He even had a license plate number for us. Yeah! When the police officer finally showed up, we had some EVIDENCE! The officer took all our info and then was off to locate the suspect car. The last update I heard was that the car (no driver) was located several blocks away. Parked in front of the registered owners apartment! Uh, WTF? Apparently our suspect was even more stupid than we thought. Seems like he drove home and parked? We don't know yet if the driver was the registered owner. Still waiting to hear if the driver was located. Hopefully he has insurance because he is going to need it!

After that excitement, I came to find out that my friend who was going to be flying into Seattle for the weekend, was sick. So under DR's orders, the trip is cancelled. I am bummed as I had some fun plans for us this weekend. It couldn't be helped but it was Bummer #2 for the morning and it was only 7AM!

I spent the morning dealing with insurance and police all the while trying to work. It was an unusually busy day at work so that was unexpected. I had to forge through it as best I could. By about 2PM I was hungry and decided to stop to make some lunch. I decided to cook some corn on the cob and had a large pot boiling on the stove when another of my neighbors stopped by to inquire about the smashed up car. As I was talking to her, a small gust of wind slammed my front door shut, locking me outside without keys, shoes or my phone. Bummer #3! I knew that my upstairs deck door was unlocked so my neighbor helped me locate a ladder and we tried to get to the deck from that. Doing this entailed a barefoot walk across some really HOT blacktop, through the prickly brush and dried grass and over some very small, sharp rockery! Unfortunately my fear of heights kicked in (or maybe my fear of rickety, lightweight ladders!) and I couldn't get up the ladder far enough to haul my butt over the railing. Yikes - what to do! In the end, my other neighbor (who is also the President of the HOA) came to my rescue. He actually had a spare key from the last owner of my condo. So I was able to get in and save my kitchen from imminent cooking disaster!

What a frustrating day. I am ready for it to be over! As a Professional Organizer I am very scheduled. I make to-do lists and I make plans. None of this was on the calendar today! So what did I learn? I am going to have to think about that and get back to you!