Please follow my adventures for the time being over here:
I may return to this blog later when I am no longer in Germany.


Ok, real quick post here from my phone. For those of you who may already have heard, I will be taking an extended trip to Germany this spring. I'll be leaving on April 6 and returning on July 1. This means I'm spending the last 2.5 weeks in Seattle getting my stuff packed/sold/donated/moved, and saying goodbye to friends. If you are a friend who lives in Seattle and wants to bid me farewell (or good riddance! Or you want my possessions while I am away! Or all of the above!), I will let you know shortly where and when you can find me and buy me a beer. Hint: it will probably be at a bar somewhere.

Going to Germany is of course going to be totally rad. But I don't know exactly what I'll be doing there, as I have no employment lined up. So far my plans include visiting friends, family, and settling in Berlin for a little while. So if you have any leads on jobs or connections, holla atcha girl. Me. I'm your girl.

This blog, long dormant, will serve as a travel update diary of sorts. It's due for an overhaul, so when I find the time I will make sure to do that. I'm considering buying an iPad to take with me for easy updating purposes - anyone have any insight into the German WiFi network? Of course my iPhone is coming with me. It would get lonely here if I left it behind.

If you want to visit me in Berlin, you are certainly invited. May or June should be fine. Just let me know and we'll figure something out!


Tearing down the walls.

Been gone a while. No blog posts. Not sure why. Guess I have Facebook Updates to substitute for these longer rants and raves, taking all of my thoughts and packaging them into little 32-character snippets that get tossed into the wild winds of the Internet. Come to think of it, that's how my thoughts appear nowadays. Hard to tell if I'm losing focus as I age and can't think about one thing long enough to form a cohesive thought about it, or if FB has shaped the way I think to spit out only small half-formed witticisms and bits of randomness.

Anyway. I've spent a lot of time in the last year walling myself in. Trying to figure out things for myself and in the process attempting to force everything around me to fit into my picture of how things should be. Did not realize I was doing this until tonight, and as the realization washed over me, it caused a small emotional breakdown. Felt good, actually. I hadn't allowed myself to feel emotions for a while because they didn't fit into that perfect picture. Emotions had taken such a backseat to the point where I'd convinced myself they weren't worth feeling; I didn't care enough about them to let them work their way out. To be more precise, my general apathy towards most things had extended to the little things that are, when you face them, big things. In ignoring the little things, I ignored the feelings too. Wish it were easy to tear down the walls. I know it's not, but I want to start trying.

For a while, I was thinking of ways to escape the country. Nothing worked out, and I'm still here, albeit with a different job. But I think that's about to change. Looking to head out to Berlin for a little while in the springtime. Not sure why, but it's something I feel I need to do. Haven't been to Germany since 2008 and I'm starting to really feel it. I've been doing some traveling stateside, which is all well and good, but my passport is begging me to dust it off and take it on a ride. I'm more than happy to oblige.



Haven't written on this thing for quite a while. Feeling pretty prolific today as far as my thoughts in my head go, so I thought I'd do a quick burst of blog entry. (Happened to be walking by the library, and am at a 15-minute internet terminal, so it'll be short-lived.) If it's any good, maybe I'll republish onto Facebook for more to see.

This morning was spent walking through the park with a good friend, conversing about this and that, and really getting to some good points on important issues. At the first and foremost in my mind this weekend has been the American obsession with the automobile, and all the problems it creates. People can live so much more pleasantly and efficiently when they don't have to worry about safely driving vehicle, parking it, keeping it running and fueled, etc. Many might see the lack of a vehicle as a constraint, but I see it largely as a freedom. When I'm out exploring a city or neighborhood, I don't want to worry about where I parked the car, how much I have to pay for the parking vs. finding a free, cramped spot on the street, whether the car is being broken into while I'm gone, and limiting my distance traveled so I don't end up too far away from the vehicle. I'm much happier stepping off a bus. That way, I can wander to my heart's content. When I'm ready to go home, often miles from my original point of entry, I find another bus stop and take a different route home. Or I can cycle my way through the city, and not have to worry about parking, while at the same time getting my exercise for the day. The typical American might view a city as being cramped, which is all the more reason to move to the suburbs. Free parking! You can drive where ever you want, whenever you want! No citations! Great. C'mon, guys. The problem is not the city; the problem is the car. You're attempting to fit something large into a space that cannot accommodate it. The solution: don't drive. Simple as that.

Oftentimes, when walking over the bridge that spans the girth of I-5 at rush hour, the sheer amount of machinery crawling slowly below makes me sad. This happens every day, Monday through Friday. Wasteful machines, each propelling a ton of metal, each guzzling gallons of gas and tearing up the concrete, all just to get one or two hundred pounds of human a little further up the road. It's disgusting.

Out of time for now, but I'm sure I'll write more on this in the future, as I do think about it pretty much constantly.


Musings on a Brighter Future

This is ridiculous. I'm in the library with hours of access to a great, high-speed desktop computer. I ventured here for the express purpose of preparing for my interview in two days. Instead of researching and taking notes, I have been looking at all sorts of other stuff on the Internet: information about nursing programs, my pregnant cousin's pictures on her blog, job postings on the UW website, salary information for various career pathways. Of course, Facebook and Gmail factor highly on the list, as well. But back in college, I used to procrastinate using solely those two websites as my distractions, plus the occasional joke website or cute Lolzcat picture. Now, after spending 2 hours on a computer without having tackled my interview prep, I feel that though I'm putting off my main goal, it's not a waste of time because I have not merely been browsing but actively researching. Thinking about things like the future, which in college my brain simply did not have time to process. I was too busy looking at the trees to notice the forest, too preoccupied with waiting for everything to slow down to wonder if I would hate it when it finally did.

And I'm there now. I'm working and it's boring. I have held the same weekly volunteer position for nearly 3 years. I live in the same house as last year. All my life, my circumstances have changed every fall, and I accepted it as frenzied but normal. All of a sudden, normal has become this feeling of treading water. Not regular water, either. Something thicker that inhibits movement. Oatmeal, perhaps?

Perhaps this is what settling down feels like. I'm not ready for it. Will I ever be? I can't answer that now, but I can set myself back on the track I used to ride, and see where it takes me. And that's exactly what I intend on doing.


What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

—Langston Hughes


Ultimatum to Self

Enough fucking around. It's time to travel.


I'm Gonna Take a Ride

Today is the day I take my virgin Link Light Rail trip to SeaTac Airport. That's where I'm hoping to end up, anyway; the train actually ends one stop short of the airport, due to a compromise struck in the final stages of light rail development in order to meet some semblance of a deadline. Rumor has it there's a shuttle at the end of the line that will take you the last mile or so that the rail, in all its heavily-anticipated glory, has as of yet not been able to conquer. Since the car I'm scheduled to retrieve is parked at a lot a distance away from the terminals, the shuttle will be a welcome aid but not entirely necessary should it turn out to indeed not exist.

Upon boarding at the Westlake stop in the transit tunnel, I take my seat in the empty train. We slowly wind under the streets of downtown Seattle, picking up passengers along the way. Besides the uncommonly smooth ride, there is little to diffferentiate this leg of the trip from a regular bus ride through the tunnel. My first indication that I get that this trip might be different occurs at the last stop in the Ride Free Zone, the International District station. Two Sound Transit officials in clearly-marked obvious uniforms board the train. They wait for the train to start pulling out of the station before very politely announcing that they would please like to check your ticket, thank you so much. This is a pleasant departure from my experience riding public transit in Germany, where the undercover (but still fairly obvious) ticket checkers give themselves away almost before the doors close with a hastily-barked "tickets, please!" ("hastily-barked" is the manner of speech for many German speakers, regardless of content.) The man approaches my seat and I dig into my wallet for my Orca card, which five minutes earlier had made contact with the card reader on route to the platform. Having used this new pass of mine a few times on the city bus, I had tapped it on the reader with all the confidence of a lifelong train commuter; most of this confidence dissipates, however, as I extend the pass to the official. Maybe I was supposed to wait until later? Could I have perhaps used the wrong reader? Thankfully my worries are unfounded, I learn from the way the man smiles, nods, and thanks me for flashing my newest best friend Orca. Puzzled, I ask him how he knew I paid. With a disarming wave of his hand, he explains that most ticket enforcers have a handheld device to read the status of your trip from your card. He is gone before I can ask him why he is the exception, or if it is true that I need to "tap out" at my destination. I assume that there will be more people to ask if these things become truly relevant. I also wonder if I'll always be able to get away with a simple Orca flashing, and if the attendants will always only enforce the bit of rail between the International District and Stadium stations.

Settling into my seat, I note the names of the passing stations. Names! They have names. In Germany, each bus stop is given a name, which is usually announced over the PA before that stop is reached. This happens on the light rail, too, I note joyously. I recall that just yesterday, bussing through an unknown part 0f Beacon Hill, my boyfriend and I did a fair bit of neck-straining to find street names in an effort to pull the stop cord in a timely manner, and still managed to miss our desired stop due to an unforeseen detour to the medical center, at whose threshhold we sheepishly deboarded, fearing the guilt that ensues when one pulls the stop cord and does not get off the bus. Riding the Link, you simply read the sign or listen for your stop to be called, at which point you just stand up and get out. No pulling of cords, no pushing of doors, no craning of neck. You just go!

In today's adventure, this part is even easier, since I'm riding to the end of the line. It is a beautiful August day outside, sunny and warm. Parts of Seattle fly by my window, streets and restaurants that I had only ever heard mentioned in my trusty NFT or on Yelp, respectively. (Both of which are now available as apps on your iPhone!) Speaking of iPhones, mine is busy looking up maps of Tukwila, to perhaps get an idea of where this thing is going to drop me off. Am I going to be within walking distance of my destination? I forget about this pursuit the moment we turn the final corner and Mt. Rainier appears in all her splendor and glory. Not much can overshadow the fascination that is the iPhone, but Mt. Rainier is one of them. Basking in the sunlight on this cloudless day, she looked radiant, majestic. I mouth a wordless prayer of thanks to the gods of light rail, who have allowed me this moment to turn my undivided attention to this dormant volcano, and pity the drivers of the cars far below on the interstate, who must pay attention to the road and can only steal an occasional glimpse of the mountain. I save a small slice of the pity pie for future Killah to eat, knowing that I'll be one of those drivers before the hour is out.

The Tukwila Transit Center

We pull into Tukwila station, our final destination, and all passengers must exit the train. I grab my purse and jump out the door, trying simultaneously to get Google Maps to present me with something I can work with. (Does anyone know a better way to pull up a map than using Safari, which takes way too long? Is there a good app for this purpose that I don't know about?) Messing around with my phone causes me to almost miss the tap-out reader. Luckily a dude with an Orca card (and a bike! We were both very Seattle at that moment) tapped out in front of me, reminding me to do the same. Looking out onto nearby International Boulevard, I ascertain from the street numbers that I am 45 blocks away from my destination. Not exactly walking distance. My transfer is still valid, which means I could take a bus up the street, or I could go with the shuttle option. I choose the latter, if only to get the full experience. The bus driver waves me on, smiling at my Orca pass and letting me know that they are not equipped to take those yet. I get the impression that this Orca-as-VIP-card-by-default thing is happening a lot all over the city, which does not upset me. Automatic gold. In my hand.

I love you, Orca!

Once I'm at the terminal, I decide to go ahead and take the bus that goes south towards the park-and-fly where my father's car is parked; after all, my transfer is still valid! Orca has been keeping close track for me. It's now been two hours since I boarded my first bus in Ballard. Not all of that can be counted as travel time, because I did stop in at Pike Place to walk around and buy a few local gifts for some international friends. All in all, not too bad! And I had time to listen to some Thom Yorke, answer a bunch of messages and emails on my phone, and see some new sights.

Driving home: definitely less pleasant than Link Light Rail.

The trip home, now as a single-occupancy vehicle, is much more mundane and does not provide the euphoric feelings that Orca and Link worked in tandem to bring to me. One thought that does bring me a small bit of joy is the fact that today might be the last time I drive over the crumbling Alaskan Way Viaduct. It's a pretty view, and I agree there needs to be some sort of link there to help out congestion on I-5, but this ratty old concrete eyesore isn't going to cut it for much longer. Not that I fully support the tunnel option, since it's not condusive to public transit use, nor will there be any hopping on and off in the downtown corridor, but that's another post. Suffice it to say, my Link light rail experience was fantastic for the first time out, and I highly recommend you try it!

The road home might never be the same again.


I Could Have Bought a Vibrator

But instead, I took my $50 to Amazon.com and bought a food processor.
Probably the handier of the two choices, and almost as fun to play with. Two hours after opening the package, I have 4 different-flavored tubs of hummus and a half-cup of pesto. I doubt I'd get such productive results from a vibrator. This model from Hamilton Beach does lovely work, considering its modest price tag. Sure, nearly the entire thing is made of plastic (including the bowl), but it gets the job done without too much repetition of the old pause-and-scrape technique. I'm pretty sure this little gadget is going to figure into my cooking life pretty heavily for the next two weeks, until I get distracted by something else and forget about it. Speaking of which, can you even buy sex toys on Amazon?



This doesn't make any sense...



My time this weekend was mostly spent on a bike or in a halloween costume, and sometimes both simultaneously. I'm kind of sore now, but I feel great.

My time today was spent in class, all day long. I was going strong at first, but now it's 4 pm and I'm tired. Considering calling in sick to my volunteer commitment. Not sure if this is a good idea.

Time I spent trying to figure out my schedule for next quarter, which is also my last quarter of school: 2 hours.

The time I have to be up tomorrow to get to work on time: 3 am. I believe I'll call in sick to my volunteer thing so I can sleep a full 8 hours tonight, and not be so tired at lab tomorrow.

That is all I have to say about time... except that there is never enough of it.


Almost through my horrible Monday-Tuesday routine. Just 4 hours of lab to go. That's the icing on the cake of 2 days' worth of work, with the cake being layered as follows:

6 hours of class, one 1-hour break, starting at 7:30 am
4 hours homework time, dinner break
volunteer work, 6:30-8 pm
home, 6 hours of sleep (max)
7.5 hours of working at TJ's, starting at 4 am
1 hour break

Yikes. Why do I do this to myself?


Isn't retail the best? This is what I feel like every day.

For example, take yesterday at work. I was kneeling, putting mints up on the displays next to the registers. A coworker of mine opened his register and had a customer in tow, meaning I had to get out of the way. He looks at me and says something to the effect of "Uh oh! Better move!" in a joking manner. I smile back as I'm standing up and say, "I'd better make like a tree and get outta here!"

The customer, a young, short woman in her late 20's, looks back at me as if I'm the dumbest person she's ever seen and says, "I'm pretty sure it's 'make like a tree and LEAF.' "

I still don't know whether she had no sense of humor, or she just thought I was an idiot. Either way, it made me laugh for about 10 minutes straight. I really did have to leaf the area...

(Comic from www.katebeaton.com)


Did you miss me?

New things are happening, new life developments and all that jazz. Life's a whirlwind and I have a hard time catching up on occasion. I should be happy about living in the here and now, and I am, really. It's just that once in a while, I'd like to have a chance to glimpse into the future, and figure out what I want to do with it.

I must go now... and nap.