Jellyfish revisted

on Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Now that I'm getting back into this blog thingy I'm trying to get to know the features and I've stumbled into the "Stats" page of my dashboard. It has statistics on how many people have viewed the blog and breaks it down into which posts were 'most popular'. Perplexingly, one that I wrote last year called "Chironex fleckeri" gets an astonishing number of hits per week. Why? I had posted a picture of a jellyfish I had found on a beach in Malaysia and placed my sandal next to it to see it proportionately, and I had commented on how I was terrified of jellyfish after watching the movie "The pursuit of happyness". There's no way to tell exactly WHO is checking your blog (and I don't really care, anyway), but you can tell what search engine they used to find it (and if they were using a Mac or PC). I noticed that most were coming from google images, so I decided to enter "Chironex fleckeri" into google images to see what pops up. Looking at the pictures and remembering the movie makes me yet again terrified of jellyfish, and amongst the pictures of long tentacles and badly-lacerated legs stung by them, was MY picture.

The picture of the jellyfish and my flip-flop, popping up as #13 on google images. I have no idea how google images works, and am even more perplexed as to why my blog picture would even show up. Poor, unfortunate people (probably college or high school students doing projects on Chironex fleckeri, or perhaps someone just as terrified of them as I am) stumble upon my blog and are surely disappointed that it is not a scientific discourse on the species. I highly doubt that the jellyfish that I saw was even the same species. Isn't Google supposed to be smarter than that?

Book sale

One of the greatest discoveries of my life on this island is the library book-sale. For some reason, the Bainbridge Island library has a thriving volunteer base. And apparently the Islanders here have magnificent collections of books that they decide to donate to the library for their book-sale, to raise money for the library. Held every other week alternating tuesdays and saturdays, the book-sale occupies an entire section of the library basement. I walked to the library this morning to return some magazines and to check out some cookbooks, but instead wandered down to the basement to see what great finds I could discover today.

Wind back to last evening. I spent a few hours babysitting 2 children who, due to the absence of an afternoon nap, were rather temperamental. It particularly struck home with me this evening because someone at my church said on sunday that what children need the most are 1) love and 2) consistency. It's true. Parents pride themselves on having perfected routines. Bed-time especially is a precise science. Some children have bath time every night at 7:00pm (Is this normal? I only remember taking a bath once a week growing up!), and another child I baby-sit for falls asleep every night listening to "Stand by Me" by "Playing for change" on YouTube. If anything breaks from the plan, the child's world implodes. Bad news for everybody.

So I was thinking about this and thinking about my life and how, although I do have a great deal of consistency in my every day life right now, I don't know if I really want it. Traveling is the opposite of consistency. Nothing is normal. Moving from place to place requires one to be flexible and at peace with not knowing the plans for tomorrow or where I'll sleep the next evening. I'm in a season of consistency because of school right now (classes don't change from week to week, nor does the work-load!), but I think I'm ready for a change. I want to live my life (the IN-consistent side of me) a little bit more before I settle down to routine forever.

I came home from babysitting and told Reuben that I changed my mind about having kids anytime soon. I said it kind of jokingly, but it's something that i'm definitely thinking differently about now. Getting married humbles you in so many ways, but having children requires you to die to yourself 1,000x more. Am I ready to commit to that?

So I get to the library book-sale this morning and I wander over to the children's section. I pick out a few titles that I know...and keep looking and discover a few that I don't. Some classics, some not. I wind up taking home a huge stack of children's books, set them down on the kitchen table and tell Reuben that I still feel the same way I did yesterday, but somehow I ended up with all these books. For someday.

Spring freeze

on Sunday, February 20, 2011
My longing for spring this morning was met with mixed feelings. I woke up to it being 30 degrees outside (that's cold even for winter time here in the Seattle area), but it was blue skies and sunny and beautiful. I love to see how frost creates a whole new beautiful world of sparkle.

The first evidence of spring is the blooming of the Indian Plum. I noticed it pop up 2 weeks ago from today, but only now have I seen it begin to flower. Hooray!


on Friday, February 18, 2011

One of the best perks of being a student at UW is the U-Pass. The U-Pass is a brilliant idea that UW conjured up to encourage students to use public transportation. U-Passes cost $99 a quarter (roughly 10 weeks). Assuming I go to campus 3x a week (often more, and sometimes I require 4 in a day), that would require me paying bus fare six times...and at $2.25 that really adds up. When our house was broken into, they (he, she, whoever) took my ID beloved U-pass. I was lost without it. I had to stop by RiteAid on the way to school on Tuesday to conjure up $1 bills and quarters to pay the bus fare. I had to take the little transfer ticket. Ugh. I definitely needed a new UW ID, but wasn't sure whether I should buy another U-Pass for the remaining 3 1/2 weeks of the quarter left, as it cost $40 to replace. I did the math and calculated that it was worth it. Even if it hadn't have been cost effective, I think that the value of not having to worry about dollar bills and quarters and transfer tickets would have been worth it. Simply having to flash my U-Pass to the bus driver on the way out is brilliant (brilliant in the British sense of the term).

When I was inquiring about purchasing my new U-Pass, I discovered that not ONLY is it good for King county transportation, but KITSAP as well. Meaning, Bainbridge! Why haven't I figured out this before now! Reuben graciously drives me to and from the ferry. He's a dedicated chauffeur. I've always seen the buses waiting by the ferry, but the only thing I've ever known about them is that they only run at peak commuting times (a.k.a. mornings and afternoons/evenings, not during weekends). There's a bus stop right outside our street, and now instead of wasting gas and Reuben's time, I can take the bus home! Hooray for buses and the U-Pass!


on Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I need a break. I have so much to do, a grant to write, another paper to finish, and hours of reading for class tomorrow and Friday. I have to babysit this evening. It's not raining outside, and, shockingly, the sun is shining. I want out. Although I'm all about being outside no matter the weather, I can't seem to justify taking that time in the midst of so many other things I need to do in the next 2 weeks.

I went out today to go for a walk around the neighborhood, but the birds were chirping right outside my door and I didn't get past our driveway. Although the trees are what shades our house from receiving any sort of sunlight in the winter, how lucky we are that we can live amongst such great and tall things.

I'm tying really really hard to see signs of spring, not just because of how beautiful how the world becomes, but because I think my spirit needs it too. Here's what I've found so far in the space of our yard:

Come spring, come! (And with it, a lighter work load for me!)

Valentines Day

on Sunday, February 13, 2011
Although Reuben and I have observed several Valentines Days in the past few years, this is our first Valentines Day as husband and wife. Last year when I was living at IslandWood, he arranged to have flowers and chocolate sent to my cabin along with the help of my friend Zoe.

This morning I woke up to Reuben sneaking out the door. I knew he was up to something (last minute something!) so I hung out in bed and read the only pleasure reading I have at the moment: Little House on the Prairie (Pa left for Independence!). When Reuben had come home and I came out of the bedroom, this is what was waiting for me:

I had been eyeing the tulips that I saw last week at Pike Place Market. They are the ultimate sign that spring is on its way (despite the look of the sky today!)

I have been a avid user of "Stickies" on my Mac, and this morning Reuben had left a message for me:

For breakfast I made our favorite, french toast with a little Valentine's Day theme.

Happy Valentines day and thanks to my wonderful husband :)

Break-In Blessed?

on Friday, February 11, 2011
This morning Reuben and I woke up to discover that our house had been broken into. When we woke up, Reuben had asked me if I had gone to the kitchen in the night and had left the light on, because he could see that it was on from our bathroom window (we never leave the lights on). I was the first to walk about, and the first thing I go look for is my laptop. Check. All is well. I start to get onto ITunes because I wanted to download some new music for the run I was going to go on, when I looked over and saw my school backpack wasn't where I normally leave it. A little odd, but not so because Reuben sometimes moves it around. I walked around the corner to see where else it might have been placed, when I saw that the basket of keys by our door was missing. THAT was odd. Then I had a mini-panic attack and went to the front door (unlocked) to make sure that our cars were still out there. Check. Then I saw that the sliding-glass door next to our kitchen table was unlocked. Odd. Ugh. We called the cops and the very nice man that came by said that 4 other break-ins had been reported in this neighborhood this morning, and by the end of the day the total number of break-ins in this neighborhood last night would total 7. (And our neighbor's house had been broken into this afternoon around noon). My school backpack with my UW library books (perhaps they really wanted to read "Brown, not White" and learn about Chicano school segregation in the 1960s?), my wallet with my UW student ID and U-pass, ferry pass, cash, credit cards, and license were in there, along with my phone. My Ipod is gone, along with its charger. Smart guy, at least he knows that Ipod batteries go downhill as the device starts to age. Reuben's wallet was gone, along with all his cards and IDs. Even my babysitting money was gone that I had earned for the past two weeks :( A few other things were missing too, that took us awhile to remember: A jar of spare change, Reuben's yellow plaid jacket hanging on one of the chairs was gone (the thief will be easily spotted if he ever dons that on the island!), his sunglasses, a head-lamp, 4 mini-cheapo-bottles of red wine were taken (and spilled all over the next victims house!), and some Bath and Body peppermint hand soap from the kitchen sink, that my sister gave me for my birthday. It was delicious smelling soap, and it was antibacterial, but.....really, soap?

I had class this afternoon starting at 12:30, and I needed to be on the 10.25 ferry. Luckily Reuben went to Wells Fargo and was able to get a temporary card to get some cash out, and luckily he had a spare key to his Subaru. So he dropped me off at the ferry and I left for school, like always. I thought about staying, but there was nothing I could do to change the situation and I didn't want to hang out in this house all day and dwell on it. When I started thinking back about the morning as I rode the ferry, I didn't have an ounce of anxiety or anger. In fact, a sense of gratefulness welled up in me...truly peace that passes all understanding. I was able to bring my computer with me to was sitting right next to the couch, but the thief didn't see it. Losing my computer at this point in the school year would have been quite a blow. I took Reuben's cell phone...Reuben had brought it to our bedroom during the night, so that wasn't taken. It seems like I passed an unusual number of ambulances today, and I was so grateful that even though our home was violated, neither of our bodies were. It could have been so much worse. Everything that was taken is replaceable. Completely replaceable. I cancelled my bank cards before there was any new activity on my account, and new ones are already on their way to me. My mom has sent me a spare Subaru key. I still have my temporary drivers license since I only got it renewed a few weeks ago. My passport was sitting right on the dining table and it wasn't touched. Reuben and I just had our interview for his green card application yesterday, so we had all of our important legal documents sitting out in the next room, which they didn't go near. Both of our road bikes (one borrowed from Laura) are still sitting inside in our entryway.

I'm so grateful. We won't get our cash back, I have to get a new license and a new student ID and U-pass, eventually a new IPod (but these days I only listen to the sounds of nature when I run!), and a new backpack. I'll have to pay for my library books. We'll change the locks on our doors and cars (since they took our keys). But once that's's done. That's it. They didn't really harm us, just inconvenienced us. God is good. Maybe I should have listened to the USAA guy when he tried to sell me renters insurance. Oh well. We haven't had health insurance either for the past 5 months, but God has graciously spared us from any injury or need for medical care.

Perhaps tonight we'll be more intentional about closing our blinds or at least keeping our valuables out of sight. Despite what was taken, we are richer than we've ever been, because of the knowledge that God is watching over us and because we still have each other.