Columbia City and Me-Time

Friday, December 3, 2004

I was playing with my website today, mostly making some internal changes to speed-up the generation of the musings and photographs, and I did a huge bad thing, because many of my musings just vanished. I’ve spent the last hour recovering them from my iBackup account. I am incredibly thankful for that $3/month backup site. My heart just about stopped when I rendered my website and half my musings vanished, poof, into the nether regions somewhere. I don’t have a very good idea of why this happened and I’m at the stage where I’m going to hope it never happens again (wishful thinking at its best). It might have something to do with some changes to the code or some minor maintenance I was doing with the directory structure. Enough useless worrying, here are some thoughts I had today:

It’s a merry, merry post-headache day, and I have the time and the energy to write and write and write. I’m not sure if you’ll see much of my writing, since I’m going to delve back into the editing of The Flying Toe Stomp, but if all goes as planned, I’ll hopefully have the story edited by the end of this weekend. I’m about a third of the way through and I’ve finished most of the interesting parts. I need to rewrite much of the remainder of the story because the voice and quality just isn’t there. Luckily, it’s always easier for me to rewrite when I have words in front of me and a good understanding of what I want to say.

Columbia City

After finishing my afternoon writing session, I took a walk to Columbia City, which is a few blocks long, with two coffee houses (not much of a surprise, this is Seattle after all), and a few galleries, bookstores, and restaurants. Columbia City is a cute area that reminds me of NYC, if you imagine NYC as three blocks long. While I did need the exercise—I haven’t been to the gym in two weeks now, and it’s not looking good, the gym, that is, I’m still looking as fit as a fiddle, a skinny fiddle, but a relatively healthy one—I did have an ulterior motive for my thirty-minute stroll. It seems I neglected to pay my water bill and the water company was threatening to shut off my water in the next few days. I’m the first to admit that I’m lazy when it comes to bills, which is why I automated most of my bill payments. I even signed up for automatic deduction for my public utilities, but that takes a few months to kick in. So, I trekked down to Columbia City to the community window, which as far as I have been able to figure out, provides a payment window for utilities, transit passes, passports. The friendly guy behind the three-feet of bulletproof glass told me that on Tuesday, the public utilities would accept credit card payment on their website. I was a week short of saving myself a long walk. But the walk was just what I needed to reconnect with myself.

I’ve noticed a tendency of mine lately to fill up my quiet time. I’ll be sitting, thinking about something, when disruptive thoughts will go through my head. I’m not used to being alone with my thoughts anymore. My writing over the last two months has been almost constant, and the time I would have spent thinking I now spend pounding away at the keyboard. This is not always a good thing. My thoughts turn repetitive and derivative, and don’t go much of anywhere when I don’t spend some time with OT (that’s original thought, for those of you who are not regulars—and, someone please tell Word to stop changing OT to TO!).

I could have driven to Columbia City, but I just don’t do enough walking in Seattle, especially now that winter is almost upon us. My car has many distractions: the XM radio, the phone, the navigation system, the terrible traffic. When you’re walking anywhere, it takes a while. Even somewhere you can drive to in less than five minutes might take twenty minutes to an half hour to walk. And during that time, I found myself thinking and enjoying just walking and listening to nothing. Every so often, it’s nice to reconnect with yourself. Yeah, it sounds narcissistic and it probably is, but it does help me in some strange way.


Little brown-haired girl eating a very large gingerbread cookie, head first of course. Her mother, black, straight hair, cut to her shoulders but just hanging there, looking almost greasy, although you get the feeling that it’s clean. She’s wearing black shiny shoes and no socks. She has a white long sleeve shirt and a blue puffy vest. The little girl is wearing a white sweater with jeans.

They’re discussing why Starbucks has holiday decorations that all look the same. The mother is drinking a coffee and the little girl is starting to get a bit wild with all of the sugar she’s eating, including a strawberry milkshake type drink. The girl asks about the decorations, and the mother tells her they’re not terribly Christmasy because there’s a giant decorating company that decorates all the Starbucks in the same way. She also tells her daughter about the other holidays that occur during December—and she adds that may be why the decorations aren’t all green and red.

They discuss Hanukah, and Kwanza. The mother quizzes the girl on what happens during Hanukah. They come up with a dreidle (tough word to spell), lighting of calendar for eight days. For Kwanza, which the mother describes as an African holiday, but the little girl didn’t know what she was talking about, he little girl has no idea.

Two ladies sitting next to the fireplace are discussing balls of yarn, which one of them brought bags and bags of yarn. One of the yarn balls on the floor by the little girl. The mother tells her daughter to give them the dropped ball, but the little girl doesn’t want to. She is scared. The mother does it for her.

The sugar is starting to drive the little girl crazy. Her feet are tapping and she’s unable to sit still. It’s either the sugar or ADD. They leave. (Okay, I was desperate to write something and nothing was going on around me.)