Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
As you have all noticed, I’ve taken the last few days off from writing my NaNoWriMo novel. I have 5,000 or so words left and 9 remaining days, and I’d really like to devote a lot of time to writing straight through. The last few days were crazy enough that I didn’t have much or any time to devote to NaNo novelizing. However, today is free and really nasty outside, to I have no excuse not to finish.
What, you may ask, was I so darn busy with the last few days if I’m unemployed and practically a stranger to this area? Well, on Thursday, I met Every, my nominal boss at the Bike Alliance, at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She taught a class for commuters at Children’s on how to change a flat, and asked if I would assist. I showed up on the Xtracycle pretty much drenched; spent an hour and a half or so there not doing much, since she pretty much just lectured, and then rode home in my damp clothes. Riding the Xtracycle, particularly in a hurry as I did on the way there, is a remarkably difficult and tiring exercise. I came home and did not that much afterwards. I think a hot bath may have been part of the equation, but I don’t recall.
Friday was my Busy Day. I left the house at 9:45 by bike and rode to the Fergusons’ house in Fremont. They very kindly let me leave my really nice bike safely in their garage, which meant then I didn’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day. I got there about 11:05 or 11:10, changed, and then realized it was 11:17 and my bus was supposed to get to the stop at 11:19. I rushed out the door, barely pausing to grab a #16 route schedule from Deborah, and ran all the way to the stop. Fortunately for me, he bus was late, and it just pulled up to the red light opposite the bus stop when I came panting up. Thanks to Mom’s generosity, I had a booklet of bus passes that were much handier than $1.75 in cash.
I rode that bus (#30) from Fremont to Queen Anne, where I met up with a friend, Dickson Lane, from my LCI class. He was in Seattle for one day teaching a class on PowerPoint presentations. I took him to Kidd Valley on W. Mercer Street and Queen Anne Avenue (I think that’s where it was). We had a great time catching up for about an hour. Dickson is effusive, friendly, and loves to talk, so it’s pretty easy to spend an hour talking with him.
I walked him back to the really fancy office where he was teaching and then continued on to Elliott Avenue & W. Mercer Place, where I caught the #24 down to the Bike Alliance. I had lost my transfer and paid another $1.75 ticket instead. The #24 dropped off practically at the Bike Alliance’s front door, which made my job easier. I got there about 1:30 and stayed until 4:30 or so. We started me on my intended volunteer project, which is writing a how-to manual (SOPs, really) for how to do essentially every part of every job at the BAW. I suspect they’re dramatically underestimating how big of a job this is. Anyway, on Friday Every described in detail one thing she does, and then a couple guys came in who wanted to talk about running a bike parking facility. They had a 3-year-old boy with them who was very interested in everything, so I entertained him (and myself) while they talked.
During that time I also touched base with Karissa, who wanted to hang out in Seattle, and we eventually formed a plan to meet at the Fergusons’ house. Karissa lives in Snohomish, so coming all the way to the International District was going to take a very long time on a Friday evening. Mentally thanking Deborah’s foresight in giving me a schedule for a bus that goes almost straight to their house, I took the #16 back up to Fremont (cha-ching! Another $1.75). On the way I had an interesting conversation with a girl, almost exactly my age, who was studying for her GREs and who wanted to get a PhD in international relations. She also was really excited about Ultimate Frisbee. I asked lots of questions and listened a bunch on the way up.
When I got to Fremont, I called Karissa again — I don’t have a cell phone, so Planning Ahead was the name of the game — and discovered that she had found the right street. She pulled up at the Fergusons’ house; I gathered my crap, squeezed it (including my bike) into the back of her “green Exploder” SUV, and we drove back down south. She wanted beer and french fries, so we stopped at a bar and did that. I had three glasses of water. We sat outside — it was not raining, amazingly, but was plenty cold and windy despite the excruciatingly hot heaters, which roasted our feet and legs and left the rest of our bodies cold. Then we went all the way down to the Goodwill near, you guessed it, the International District. Goodwill is very strange, especially since Ian and I have offloaded a huge volume of our own junk at the Goodwill in Worcester. After Goodwill, Karissa and I drove all the way back up to SPU, wandered around lost there for a while, and eventually found her brother. With no small amount of finagling we squeezed his laundry basket, bulging backpack, mandolin, and little tiny piano (seriously) into the car along with my bike, my bag, and all Karissa’s junk. Then Karissa drove me home, a mere 10.5 hours after I had left. I was really tired.
Saturday I got up and went for a vigorous 2-hour fairly hilly ride with Dad. The highlight of that ride was riding through a section of road that had flooded. I took the deep way and got my feet and lower legs totally soaked; Dad took the shallow way and didn’t even get damp. But my way was more fun. I made a wake in the water and as I pedaled every downstroke went under water. Late in the ride – at about 9:55 – we realized we had to get home in a hurry because we had a memorial service for Vanessa Jander to go to at 11:00.
We rushed home, showered, and whizzed out the door in plenty of time. The memorial service was very nice, but long. Many people knew and loved Vanessa; I’d played with her boys, who are the same age as me and Colleen, when we were in elementary school. Since then we haven’t seen much of each other, but I’m hoping that will change. One of the fun things about moving back to the place you grew up was getting to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances you haven’t seen in years. We also saw quite a number of people from the neighborhood I doubt I’ve seen since elementary school.
Immediately after that I was supposed to go over to Jane’s house to say hi. I was so tired, though, that I called and rescheduled — and then spent most of the afternoon napping. At 6:00 or so I left to meet Sara Hayden at her house, and from there we went to the Seattle Symphony, stopping at a gelato place for cake (not gelato, due to the cold, windy, rainy nature of the evening) beforehand. Sara has season tickets and invites somebody different each time. I really enjoyed the evening, which was my first night at the symphony possibly ever. The conductor, Arild Remmereit, was fascinating to watch (check out his ever-entertaining floppy hair, which even made it into the Classical KING FM review, in this video); the music was accessible and beautiful; and the pianist, Gabriela Montero, who played Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467, was fabulous. She did these amazing improvisations that made the music so much more compelling and beautiful. The audience gave her a standing ovation and she came back for an
encore, which was playing improvisations on any theme put out by the audience. We wanted her to keep playing, it was so wonderful. The second half, which was entirely Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, “Pathétique,” had us on the edges of our seats almost the entire time. To my untrained and ignorant ears, it was compelling and beautiful.
I got home at 11:30 and slept really, really well. Now, having been to church at Northshore Baptist Church (meh; the best thing about them is their marketing), I am ready to tackle the last push for finishing the Really Bad Supernatural Teen Romance Novel. Here we go!