January 25, 2009

In response to the 25 Things thing on Facebook:
  1. I have a very noisy cat.
  2. I don't write as much as anyone who has claimed to want to be a writer should.
  3. Walking from a West End theater to a hotel one night in London was a life-changing event.
  4. I'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up... there's just so much I want to do!
  5. The best compliment anyone has recently paid me came last week when a neighbor said, "Whenever I walk by your yard, I think 'little farm in the city'."
  6. I horde food and books.
  7. I spend 9 hours a week in a coffee shop, and I don't work there.
  8. It's been a good week if the car leaves the garage only once.
  9. I wonder how long it will take me to feel like it might be ok to travel internationally again.
  10. I read more speculative fiction than most other genres (although I haven't done a formal survey to be sure).
  11. I hate shopping.
  12. I'm seriously considering learning to make soap.
  13. I used to go to church three times a week, but I haven't been in years.
  14. I don't "see" things like I used to... no forest fires that aren't there or crumbling abandoned buildings superimposed on busy LA grocery stores.
  15. I much prefer to visit snow than to have it visit me.
  16. I try to avoid high-fructose corn syrup and industrial meat.
  17. I think my daughter is brilliant.
  18. We don't have cable or get any TV channels.
  19. I don't read as much as I'd like to.
  20. I've found crocheting blankets to be good for dealing with grief.
  21. I'm looking forward to, and a little freaked out by, taking Caitlyn camping this summer.
  22. Cooking Wednesday night dinner for a dozen people is a highlight of my week.
  23. A piece of me misses living in earthquake country.
  24. Meeting Ian was one of the best, if not the best, things that ever happened to me.
  25. Sometimes, I'm still scared of the dark.

January 23, 2009

Neil Gaiman - one of my most favorite authors ever and probably the most real celebrities I know of - has Twittered about a project Ian did. (Neil's part is here.) I don't know about Ian, but I'm perfectly giddy about the whole thing!

January 13, 2009

Caitlyn has decided to determine the distance between home and school. So she counts to herself, "One, two, three, four..." starting, of course, at some random point along the bus route. When the bus stops, she stops. When the bus gets going again, she picks up where she left off. "Eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one..." She gets to thirty-nine before needing help.

"What comes after thirty-nine?"


"Forty. Forty-one, forty-two, forty-three..."

She made it to one hundred nine before getting snarled up in what should be next, asking me instead for what should come after ninety. Fortunately, it was our stop and we exited the bus. Caitlyn announced, "It's 98 to school!"

January 08, 2009

Food Democracy Now!

The folks at Food Democracy Now! have a little petition going with recommendations for various Under Secretary of Agriculture positions, twelve individuals who are "champions on issues of sustainability" and who have spent their lives "standing up for independent family farmers". If you eat, care about what you eat, would like to see policies that support small family farmers before multinational agri-business conglomerates, or think that maybe an on-going habit of stripping the fertility out of our soil and then letting it blow away just so we can get one more bushel of corn is a stupid thing to do, I encourage you to join Michael Pollan and myself in signing it.

January 06, 2009

So, in the middle of December, Seattle got sat on by an arctic air mass that kept our high temperatures just on either side of freezing. Then, naturally, a storm or series of storms moved in and dumped all kinds of moisture through that arctic air mass, resulting in snow. Quite a bit of it, which is unusual for Seattle, since we're so close to sea level and all. And because of the arctic air mass, the snow didn't go anywhere, which is what it would have normally done. Nope, it sat and got snowed on again.

Apparently, this kind of series of events that results in 12 inches of snow hanging around is something that, statistically, happens here once every 12 to 20 years. Not like some places that see snow that arrives in November and lingers til March. Yet, you'd never know it from the whining and grumbling going on.

You see, the roads weren't cleared. Oh, sure, they plowed and sanded the arterials, the highways and bridges and main thoroughfares, 24/7, but the residential streets got neglected. The airport has more snowplows than the city. The city doesn't want to use salt for environmental reasons. Local businesses lost money because the last minute holiday shoppers couldn't get out to spend their bonuses. The whining has gotten so that the City Council's first item of business for the new year is figuring out "what went wrong" and grilling the head of the transportation department.

Um. It was a "once in every 12 to 20 year" storm or series of storms. Things are bound to get a little rough during such events. People are bound to be inconvenienced by them. Snow at sea level is inconvenient by definition. Is it really necessary to have an inquisition? Caitlyn and I walked about one mile to find a functioning bus route, and we (mostly) treated it as an adventure. And we live in the neglected south-end of town. Do we want to pay for the quantity of salt needed for such an event and the storage of it, with our local sales tax at 9%? How about more road maintenance because more aggressive plowing would tear up the surface? Anyone here want to pay for that?

Sure, things could have been done better. There could have been much better communication between the city and the bus system. Trash and recycling collections could have been resumed in a more equitable fashion, not just letting the poorer parts of town go weeks without collection. And employers should have been more flexible with their employees who couldn't get to work. Adjust schedules or be lenient or grant some bonus sick days or something. Permit telecommuting when possible (geez, Microsoft). But the people who demanded employees get to work when getting to work was impossible to do safely - you all should be left out in the snow, preferably with only a hoodie, a pair of tread-bare sneakers with a hole over the right big toe, and half of a cheap chocolate bar.

January 04, 2009

The snow falls on Seattle, again. Hopefully, this will be just a temporary light dusting and not a repeat of last month.

That's about 12 inches in the back yard, nearly burying my (mostly dormant) raised beds. Although, maybe a three month snow cover in the back yard would be a blessing, since I wouldn't be able to see just how traumatized the non-deciduous plants are. I try not to look, since I won't know until spring if all the shriveled leaves mean the plants won't survive this experience.

Still, Caitlyn likes the stuff, and it's very pretty freshly fallen. I didn't miss the sound of traffic at all during the week last month when the snow shut down Seattle... But I did learn that I'd much rather visit the snow than have it visit me, if only because it mucked up all my plans, keeping us mostly confined to the house during Caitlyn's holiday break from school. We did do much better than lots of other people, though: we didn't loose power once, we have all sorts of food stored up, we know how to get around without our car, and the amount of stuff we throw away in any given week is way below average, so we weren't as inconvenienced (or neglected) as some by having our trash collection service go AWOL for three weeks.

January 01, 2009

Maybe I'll have an comment about this later. But for now, it seems important enough to post. Focus the "save the world" energy toward women and girls and massively increase the impact and effect of the effort. Odd that this bit of information is still news.