Friday, September 25, 2009

Yo from Evergreen State

I went to Pacific Lutheran University, a small liberal arts (and obviously Lutheran) college in Tacoma, Washington. Eleven years later, my little sister is off to college and she chose Evergreen State College, a very liberal college in Olympia, our state's capitol and with a reputation of being a bit odd. Having now spent some time here and hearing Katie talk about the community, I think that this is the perfect place for her. And at Evergreen they really push for taking care of your environment, they have an organic farm, require that all students recycle, and the campus is aiming to be waste-free by 2020. I think that's pretty amazing. I did express to Katie that maintaining this kind of lifestyle to this degree will be hard when she leaves campus, but she already knew that, and is just excited to learn as much as she can.

It's been great to meet some of her suite-mates, to see these baby-faced kids so excited and enthused about learning and about their futures. The gal across the hall, Audrey, her ultimate goal is to be a tree-hugger and to save the whales. My thought was "Well, you're at the right place then." It's so not my place. I needed structure and grades at that age, hell, I still do. I think it takes a certain kind of student and person to succeed here, and I think my kid sister is just the type to make the most out of her time here.

Yesterday we went shopping for 10 hours, and spent 5 more today, getting supplies and all kinds of stuff for her to cram into her single/single room. It's been fun, tiring, and interesting, seeing things from her perspective. I am so stinkin' proud of her!

Why am I still hanging out here in a dorm room that is in a bulding that looks like it was made for public housing in Philadelphia? Because Interstate 5 at this hour would be much much worse than listening to my sister sing along to Sublime and un-pack her stuff...

...I gotta go. I guess it's time for me to get to work and put together her "steam buddy".

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Old Friends and Lots of Laughs

Tonight I had a fantastic time with old friends. Matt, Phil, Curt and I all went to PLU together. Phil, Curt and I lived in Hinderlie for at least 2 years, and many of my freshman year memories involve hanging out with those guys and their roommates, Jeff and Shawn. Phil happened to be in San Diego for a conference and very generously offered to drive up to see us for dinner.

I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. We shared memories and cracked stupid jokes, predicted what Curt's daughter, Lyla, will be like in 21 years, and created new memories. The setting was perfect - Bucca de Beppos (if you haven't been, you must go) - and again, we laughed incredibly hard. I hung back and let the guys do most of the talking which was fun. I realized how long it had been since I was the only girl in the group, and I rather enjoyed it. Well, that's not true. Lyla was there, and she was quite a scene stealer at 7 months old.

In any case, the night couldn't have gone better. And now that I'm full of Italian food and gelato, it's time for bed. That much laughter takes a lot out of me!

Thanks, guys (and gal) for a wonderful evening!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Life Lessons Essay

Most of you know that I wanted to enter this contest for Real Simple Magazine. The subject was "When did you realize that you were a grown-up?" I knew instantly what I would write about, and had all summer to work on it. I ripped out the essay advertisement and kept it on my desk to remind myself to get to work. And of course, each day that went by I'd think "Tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll start the process." (If you're curious, I wrote about the death of my mom.)

Not so much.

Fast forward to last Friday. Deadline is Labor Day, four days away! I write out what happened, but there's no emotion involved, it only listed the events of what happened. Matt it's ok, but that I need to tell my story. As I get feedback from my friends who are writers, I hear the same thing. So I dive a little deeper, and get more involved. But my emotional core is still locked tight. This isn't a place I want to go, mostly because it's hard to get back to center when I'm in that place. So, Labor Day arrives and the essay still isn't ready. So I sit at Matt's desk and he helps me edit and tighten up the phrases. I crack, I start to sob, and walk away, telling him that I just need a break.

And then, ahead of time, it's done. I get ready to send the essay. I type out "please consider this essay blah blah blah" and press send. Done!

The email bounces back.

I re-send. Bounced back. Again. Bounced back.


I hop on the phone. Call customer service. Closed because it's Labor Day. Freaking out and over-emotional, I get into bitch mode and twitter about what's going on and does anyone know someone at Real Simple mag?

Enter co-worker Meghann. VP of Publicity and awesome at Roadside. She gives me an email address to one of the associate editors. YAY! I email the contact explaining how I got her email address and could she forward my essay on? Thank you! Ah, relief.

I call customer service this morning. They tell me I wasn't the only person having trouble and here's the alternative email address you can send your essay to. YAY! So I email my essay to that address and send another to the A.E. to please disregard my last email and thanking her for her time.

I would love to share this essay with you, but contest rules clearly state that upon submission the essay becomes property of the magazine. I don't want to risk publishing it because I could be disqualified.

That said, I think writing this essay has helped me move on to the next stage of grief, whatever that is. I know that whether I win or don't, the point is that I did it...


But I still want to win!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


We do live in Glendale, but we are safe from the forest fires. The Station fire has to jump the 210 freeway, another hill, and a bunch of houses before we need to be concerned, and I don't think that will happen. I am very grateful for experienced fire fighters who are doing the very best they can.

The air is gross, the smoke combined with smog makes for painful sore throats and a little dizziness, and combined with the heat...well, it's just safe to say that we're living indoors with the a/c on all the time now. The sun is an eerie red tonight, and the thick layer of smoke is just plain gross. I can't believe we have to breathe that air into our lungs.