Friends around the world

The first sentence is always the hardest. After that, i just dive right in…

Quick note: i’m just gonna have to start using some last initials when i talk about people – it’s getting too confusing! Not so much for me, but for you’all. So i’m gonna, but if anyone wants me to not publish their full name on my highly-trafficked and immensely popular website for my billions and billions of visitors to see, please let me know, and we’ll come up with some fun, anonymous nickname for you, like “doody-head.”

Sent out a much-overdue here’s-my-new-address email this weekend. If you didn’t get one, it’s because i don’t love you. Or because i don’t have your email address or my message bounced. Or i figured you already have it or have access to it. You pick. My efforts paid off, as right away several long-lost friends replied! Always a good thing. It was great to hear from Jen H (i’ll write back to you tonite – promise!) – she’s living it up in the suburbs of Great Falls, MT. I found out Claire K graduated from the University of Wollongong in Australia in december and is still living down under and doing crazy other-hemisphere things. You can check out her photo chronicles right here or on my ‘friends on the web’ link under ‘features.’ There’s some pretty goofy pics in there, i gotta warn ya. Looks like she’s having a good time! Also heard back from Karen C in DC, she’s busy making the world a safer place to sue your neighbor (j/k Karen!). Haley J replied that life is great down in Louisiana, she’s on her way to an SCLA insurance certification and hopefully a business trip to Seattle in october, so i can give her a guided tour! And with the record for quickest reply is Annie D, who shot back a message from her portland digs before i was even done sending the last of the address updates out. She’ll be visiting Seattle hopefully the last part of march, so we’re making plans to hang out and party in the city, especially now that she’s gonna be old enough to get into a club (happy birthday a few weeks early!).

Oh, and you’d think i’d be done… but i’m not! Cathy P replied to my ‘merry christmas’ email to let me know that (1) she’s not Cathy P anymore, she’s Cathy R, (2) the reason she didn’t get back to me is cause she was on maternity leave, and (3) she and Darin have a brand new boy, Ian, who’s doing great (and is super-cute, judging by the pics on his website)! How crazy is that – congrats you two! And how out-of-the-loop am i, that i didn’t even know they got married last year! So, they’re living in MN and sounds like everything’s happy in their world. They might even be moving to Seattle sometime soon, so of course i’m gonna try and convince them to make it even sooner!

Aaaaand, there’s more! Mrs. Benjamin and i are working out my financial future, starting with a big fat consolidation loan to rid me of those credit cards. Very cool, super exciting. I’ve got a bottle of wine that Josh L brought back from france that i’ve been saving for the day i mail the final payment on them. I was beginning to think it was going to be vinegar before i got to it, but now i’ve got a targeted payoff date (and it’s before i retire! ;).

So that’s really cool, especially because it’s going to allow me to visit Christian N (see, with the last name thing?) in Germany in the fall. I talked to him yesterday, we’re thinking september is our best bet. There’s not a rush anymore, cause he got promoted – congratulations man! – to assistant director and is now a full-time employee, so he can stay there as long as he pleases. Super cool. Sounds like he had a pretty good week too, watching the World Cup ski events, meeting the whole US World Cup team, getting into the local paper as part of a cheering crowd of fans, eating free lunch with the athletes all week… yeah, pretty cool, i guess. Oh, and teaching 15 6-year-olds how to ski somewhere in there, too.

What else is going on? Seriously, do you need any more? Well, okay, i’ll indulge you. Home life is good, Josh is finally getting over his strep throat or whatever, so he’s back on the soccer team starting tonite. (Total digression – check out the pic off to the side there, this is one of my favorite of Josh H’s artwork.) Kim’s been going skiing every weekend (augh! jealous!) and dealing gracefully with being the only organized person at her new job. We’re settling into the cold weather (it was 35 yesterday – brrr!) and getting the house in shape for a summer ripe with houseguests and bbq’s. First on my visitor calendar will be Danielle and Miguel spending a week in Seattle for spring break, and then Annie D doing the same, a week or so later. March is gonna rock!

Oh, just one more blurb, and then i really am done! Guess i should have split it up over a couple of days… Steph and i went shopping downtown this weekend, and spent our much-appreciated valentines’ gifts on cool stuff. My personal fav is a shirt that i’m wearing to the next Nissan meet. Which, incidentally, will be the saturday that Danielle and Miguel are in town, so i’m for sure going to drag them along! But isn’t that shirt totally cool? Yeah, i thought so, too.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is it for today. 🙂

Putting up walls

Another beautiful sunday morning – well, at least from indoors! It’s bitter cold out there, a biting wind coming off the water and humid enough that it feels even colder than it is. Every little gap and crevice in this big old house seeps frigid drafts across the floor, and even wool socks aren’t keeping my feet warm today. I definitely need to invest in some rugs!

Josh and i had a lovely breakfast at the Pepperdock (a beachside cafe). It’s just not sunday morning without a huge ham and cheese omelette. Headed downtown with Steph in a couple hours to buy a few things and get some sunshine (again, from indoors). Big plans for tonite involve writing some overdue emails to friends, a few loads of laundry, and a new simpsons episode. It’s been a very lazy day so far, very nice.

At work tomorrow, after our staff meeting, we’re relocating our entire department to temporary spaces down the hall. In the next few months they’re going to be remodeling our current space, and then we’ll move back into a completely different arrangement than our present one. Not to be overly negative, but between you, me, and my weblog, i think it’s gonna suck. Our present setup actually works pretty well. It’s a big open space, with desks and tables against the walls for all of us, and a few high benches for testing computers and stuff. Kristen, our dispatcher and administrative goddess, has a desk right in the middle of everything, and we have lots of open floor space to accomodate the frequent deliveries of computers and hardware, as well as the occasional swordfight or rubber band war. In the new arrangement, Kristen will be in an office across the hall, two locked doors away, with not even a window between us (sucky item #1). She’ll be paging us on an intercom when she needs something or to see if we’re even in there at all (sucky item #2). Whereas now i sit at a desk right in front of the windows – with a rather nice view of downtown Seattle – i’ll soon find myself at a standing-height desk in a small room bumping elbows with the 4 other field techs, with not so much as a hallway-facing window or any other ration of natural light (sucky item # 3). Besides Kristen, the other person i frequently need contact with is Kevin – our sys. admin. – and he, too, will be a couple locked doors away and down the hall (sucky item #4). Now i’m not trying to be a big whiner here, and i’m sure it’ll be fine however it ends up. It’d have to be pretty drastically bad to make me anywhere near as miserable as i was at my last full-time job – it’s still a pretty cool place to work. But it just kinda sucks when you get used to something and it’s working, and some outside force has to come along and screw it up for the worse. I’ll probably end up just spending less time there, as i’m not really going to have a place there that’s mine anymore anyway; it’s all going to be ‘open-season’ desk space. Which will be good, as i’ll put less miles on my car driving to bellevue all the time, and will spend more time in the field offices keeping them happy. Plus my day is a lot more flexible when i’m on the road, and i don’t get recruited for unpleasant projects when i’m not around to be volunteered. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. But my coworkers are pretty cool, and are the facet of the job that really makes it rewarding. It will suck not seeing them as much; it gets kinda lonely just driving around by myself all day. Again, not trying to start my own pity-party here or anything, and of all the things that could be happening this is a pretty inconsequential one, but i just needed to lament the end of a good thing and share my opinion on this subject with the world. Leave my mark on history that i think this is a bad idea. So there, john l scott, you have my opinion. I can’t make you listen.

A whole bag of guacamole chips

It’s 2 am on sunday nite but i’m just not sleepy – seemed like a good time to give the weekend update. I can call it the weekend update because it’s still officially the weekend – presidents’ day is so sweet, especially when combined with company holidays!

Had a nice relaxing weekend so far, spent saturday around the house getting stuff done and doing some unpacking. Sunday did some more of the same as i was awake freakishly early. I did go to bed at a decent hour – this week at work wore me out! – but i forgot to close the curtains and i think the sunshine got the better of me. Of course, by the time i had gotten out of bed and found a shower and breakfast, any trace of sunshine had turned completely into a torrential downpour. No matter, as by noon i was in Ian’s garage again (this time in the basement, where it’s warmer. Yes, i’m a big wimp about the cold. No cracks about being from Montana, either – i’m a Seattleite now, i’ve acclimatized, 30 degrees feels cold to me!). Didn’t have much to do to my car, although i have a few ideas, mostly i just took some things apart to look and did some wiring work. Stayed less than 6 hours this time, which is my record – although this is the 5th weekend in a row that both Ian and i have spent in that garage on the business end of a wrench, which is a record, too. At least nothing was wrong this time, tho…

I booked out of there to meet Libby, so we could do her taxes at Starbucks. Okay, that sounds weird – we went there to use the internet and drink coffee and e-file her taxes. Trouble is, T-mobile was being stubborn and kept booting us off, so it took us longer than it should have and was kinda frustrating. With espresso in hand, however, we were both jovial about the whole thing and made a pretty good time of it. Dropped her off and headed up 99 to see Jason & Julia’s great new pad, and play gamecube (Timesplitters is cool!). Between Jasons’ gamecube and my PS2, i don’t foresee either of us getting a lot accomplished when we visit each other. They booted me out when bedtime hit, so it was back down 99 where i caught up with Patrick (um, on the phone) and talked him into turning around and coming back across the lake to downtown. The plan was a hip-hop show at Medusa, but cover was wicked and it was almost 1, so we walked up to Belltown Billiards for a couple drinks instead. Again, an observation at how cold it is… especially since i left my jacket in his trunk – augh! They closed early and turned on all the lights (c’mon! I know it’s sunday, but it’s a holiday weekend!) so we jetted out. I had a good time completely toasting this integra on S99 on the way home – apparently his car just looked fast, where mine looks slow and is fast 😉 – and that brings me to now, sitting up in bed enjoying wireless internet and a bag of guacamole chips (try them, seriously, they rock). And since i don’t have to work tomorrow – which as i mentioned above is totally sweet – i see no reason why i shouldn’t stay up a little longer and shop for 300ZTT’s on ebay motors… So that’s what i’m gonna do. Isn’t being an adult cool sometimes? 🙂

Feel free to send me a teddy bear

Friday, valentines day, a long weekend, and there was no frost on my car this morning. So already this day’s off to a good start. Actually, i don’t know why i listed valentine’s day as a good thing, cause i’m single, and no one’s giving me any candy today, but it seems to make everyone in a good mood, and it makes me feel like spring… so whatever.

It’s been a long week at work, busy and stressful, and i’m really looking forward to having monday off. No big plans for the holiday – couldn’t talk anyone into going to Van City with me – so i’ll probably just stay home and unpack. Not super exciting, but i need to catch up on some sleep and some stuff around the house. Have a few items to list on ebay – make some money to buy toys for the car – so i’ll try and get that done, too. And i really really will email everyone the “hey i moved here’s the new address” email and i have some pics of the new house to go with it.

It’s a bit overcast today, but traffic was light, it’s a bit warmer than it has been, and i can see the Olympic range and the Needle out my window. And it’s friday, and Kim made a pot of coffee this morning (nothin says good morning like a travel mug o’ joe), so today i can handle anything.

Most alarm clock sounds are unpleasant by definition

Ugh. Mondays suck.

So i have my radio set to C89.5, right. For you distant types, they play techno and house pretty much all the time, no commercials, it’s a great station. Perfect to wake up to. Except on monday mornings. Monday morning at 6am they have a 10 minute segment on current news, or some such rubbish. Only monday mornings, only at 6am. Otherwise, no talking, just wake-up-and-get-out-of-bed music. So guess what time my alarm goes off – you guessed it, 6am. Works great every other day, but monday morning, the day of the week i most need a good beat to get me on my feet (hmmm… that rhyme wasn’t intentional) i wake up to news. I don’t know about you, but the last thing i want to hear first thing in the morning is current events. It’s enough to make me want to stay in bed forever…

Speaking of current events, John S and his navy dispatch are underway starting this week until sometime in april. Sucks for him and his new wife (as of saturday) as they didn’t even get a honeymoon yet. Best of luck and safe travels to him, hopefully i’ll have something cool done to my car to show him when he returns. (So far most of the cool stuff is thanx to him). I’m sure he’ll get tired of playing ps2 in the radar room and be ready to get back on dry land by the time their tour is over. 😉

Weekend was good, tho, at least there’s that. Friday afternoon Mrs. Benjamin and i sorted thru my finances a bit, and she thinks she can help me make more sense out of it all. As if i don’t talk fast enough already, talking about my $ situation makes me stressed and i start to talk even faster, so i pretty much blabbed her ear off. Next time maybe i’ll take a sedative before we get into the discussion. Friday nite was Hillary M’s bday shindig. Ceces birthday was only a day away, too, so our gig was actually a double-party event. Being the hostess-with-the-mostess that she is, we all joined Hilly at her apt in Queen Anne for drinks and whatnot, then headed to Kell’s, an irish pub in Post Alley. After rollicking to some traditional and not-so-traditional irish tunes, and a few birthday spankings from the band, we closed the place up and headed back to Queen Anne. As super-hostess one more time, Hilly treated us to late nite grilled cheese (Hilly makes the best ones ever – and Molly says her tuna melts are to die for, as well, although i personally find tuna melts a little creepy. If Hilly’s making it, tho, i might give one a try, as i was most impressed with her grill cheese prowess). I crawled home a bit before 4, and then was up again at 8 so i could jet down to the storage locker in Renton with a few odds and ends, but not without a few advil and some unpleasant thoughts directed at my alarm clock. Then it was back in Ian’s garage for another Maxima session, this time with the correct springs – and not ford focus ones – thanx a bunch shox.com! :p It looks great now, and the ride is much improved. And no more scraping holes in the tranny pan going over manholes. You think i’m kidding? We had that to fix saturday, too… While i was over there, Ian assisted me with swapping out my car’s serpentine belt – it was about due – and i finally fixed the bloody taillights that have been driving me crazy – the turn signals were a different shade of red than the brakes. I know that sounds picky, but on my current budget that’s the kind of stuff i can afford to fix, so i’m gonna do it right! Anyway, got those things done along with a few other stray items. Also helped Patrick put his new Warpspeed Ypipe on, which i think sounds sweet but he thinks is too loud… whatever! It was a long day and i’m sore again, but Ian’s always appreciative of the help, and i learn a ton, so as Martha Stewart would say, “it’s a good thing.” Course that doesn’t have quite the same charm when she’s wearing an orange jumpsuit… 🙂

Sunday i installed a wireless network at the Benjamins’ house (thanx again you guys – you’re the best!) and Colleen, Josh, Kim and i tried out a new Thai place in the neighborhood – which turned out to be great. Josh brought home a takeout menu. 🙂 And then i made Kim and Colleen watch Zoolander, which i think is a really funny movie. Colleen thinks i’m a big dork for thinking so, but she lost a game of paper-rock-scissors and so now is officially the bigger dork. That movie just cracks me up – “i feel like i’m taking crazy pills!”. I’m still laughing today… on the inside.