I’ve created a new way to organize my favorite food and I’m sharing the love.
… And what it’s like to move up here.
Imagine coming from a perfectly manicured area—where all trees are watered and trimmed, and all vegetation is so controlled, with that omnipresent-gardener feel—to a city set in a bloody forest. This forest that looks like it’s just waiting for its chance to take revenge on what our logging and concreting has done to it. The forest sprouts up, lush and green and gorgeous, everywhere. And it’s not the same plants either—there’s tons of variety. On a walk/mini-hike we did near our place, we walked near ferns that were tall and wide and gorgeous enough to feel like we were in Jurassic Park. There were hills of thornbushes just like the ones I’ve read about in rabbit and rat stories. We spotted a wild raspberry bush. Even the rabbits seem unreal; they are more like bunnies, actually, with their adorably short ears, fat stomachs, and bushy white bottoms. Wildflowers are everywhere! Seattle is a temperate rainforest, and yeah, I really feel like I’m in a rainforest when I’m hiking through it. It’s wild, free… alive.
You know, traffic kind of feels that way too. When we get on the teeny-tiny freeway, with its crowded entry- and exit-ways, “wild” is definitely the word that comes to mind. I honestly feel like I should be wearing a helmet whenever I get into the car.
So… our cats love it here. We have been having a hard time with our cats the last year or so. They just kept meowing. Over and over and over. Like, we were looking up recipes for cat stew. But here… they’re stopped. For a while we thought that they were still in moving-shock, but we realized it’s because we’re on the top floor now, and so they don’t hear mysterious thumping and noises to egg on their curiosity. Top floor = no meowing. We will ALWAYS live on the top floor now.
So, we have a 4 month lease, specifically because we planned on looking for and getting a house right away. Buuuuuut that has all changed. We just don’t feel that rush anymore—that house-hungry-ness. Thank God! I had it bad, but it feels good enough to just move here and buy our own furniture (not used!!) for once. So, our plans to get a house are indefinitely on the hold.
So let me tell you about the apartment. On the other side of the wall, is one of the miniature libraries of the King County Library System (KCLS). I love it! The KCLS is one of the best in the country with an ongoing interlibrary loan system between all libraries in the system. With all these smaller libraries dropped in (very close) intervals throughout the county, the libraries actually make up this big composite whole. It’s the library of synergy! They library databases are shared, and a whole half wall in the library is dedicated to the Holds that come in for patrons from the other libraries. It’s not the stand-alone experience of Provo or Orem libraries.
Uh, yes, duh, of course I’ve applied. They had a surge of job openings before we came, so there was only a couple of jobs left, but I’ll take what I can get. Even though I submitted an application weeks ago, all I’ve heard is that they’re still reviewing them (what the what?). I’ve also applied for a school library job (And here is where fear repeatedly trumps the thumping of my heart!) and at the University of Washington’s library. All–public, school, academic–have nice perks. And here in Washington, libraries are paid their graduate-degree-mettle. They have a good community basis here and good schools. This reminds me: I ran across a political sign planted in the ground: “Close Tax Loopholes. Consider our kids and schools!” Yeah, Washington, this is the attitude that makes it so you do not have the massive school closings and hundreds of fired teachers and crushing library budget cuts of Utah’s recent history. Can I just say, I love this attitude toward taxes: community first! It’s about synergy, the whole being greater than the parts—the community being built up instead of the individual coffers. It’s what fosters the interlibrary loan system across the cities, instead of the stand-alone Provo/Orem libraries.
So, yeah. Yeah, this is a place where I can sit back with hands behind the head and feel pretty blissful. Especially with the balcony door open to let in the cool breeze, with a white and grey blanket of clouds dropping down damp wetness so light that it can’t even be called a drizzle… It’s more an un-fog, really. In other words, bookies, it’s the perfect reading weather. The perfect sleep-in weather. The perfect get-up-early-and-jog weather. The perfect writing weather. The perfect thinking weather. Unfortunately, it is the not-so-perfect camping weather, which is what we had planned for tonight! Oh well, I guess.
Well, almost equidistant to the library in the opposite direction of my apartment is an open-walled local produce market. There’s also a little Safeway just across the street, too. And this is awesome. All in Utah, we shopped what I like to call “the Mormon way.” (There’s offense there at all, fyi.) It’s where when things are on sale, you buy tons of it and store it away for the future. Dan and I have always done this. Emergency food, and all that. Well, God, don’t hit us with a disaster anytime soon because we don’t do it that way anymore. With the shops being so close, I’ll find a recipe in the morning, and go shopping for ingredients in the evening. And that’s it. No long term groceries, hardly. And guys, I love it. We buy as close to the ground as we can get our food, and it just feels good. I love that we have more money now; we can afford to buy local, we don’t have to stock up on sales, and we don’t have to worry about getting the best deals at each store. We just … buy. Taking my cloth sack and walking to the library for a book and then to the market for a handful of items … this is the life.
So let’s talk about diversity. Yeah, like it’s exists! After living in Utah for so long, I was starting to think the world was made up of varying colors of peach. But now, Dan is the only white person on his team at work. There are just lots of different cultures here—it’s common to hear a variety of other languages and accents. There are also different lifestyles, like the openly and obviously gay people here. I was shopping for a purse/bag/thing, and the sales guy said, “Oh yeah, this bag is great! I actually have it at home. Oh, and [points] this one too!” It’s stupid really, and probably discriminatory in its own way, but I really want us to collect a hugely diverse group of friends.
Hey, my stomach is growling. I’ve got to go stuff my face. Yes, if you’ve read this thing through, I realize I’m a jerk for not posting pictures yet.
How to guide for both student and spouse to survive the last weeks of a masters thesis 101:
1. Have a doctor who marathon every night.
It seems like I did a project on the gender binary in book cover art a semester too early; check out these super interesting articles about the topic!
Grades came in today and school is officially, officially over. And Dan also started his thesis paper today! Big, feels-super-good day. When Dan came home for lunch, I pulled out the Martinelli’s hiding in my bottom drawer for his big day, and was surprised to see Dan reach down to his bottom drawer to pull out a little something for me too. (Do marrieds ever wake up to find their brains have fused? Should I be worried here?)
Here’s a bit about my time “at” FSU.
The basics: I got an ALA-accredited Masters in Library and Information Sciences with a specialization in School Media Library from Florida State University. Since my goal is the workforce and not academia, I did an internship instead of thesis. I interned at Dixon Middle School and it rocked!
Groupwork is hell. I took 5 courses this semester and had groupwork in 4 of them. And it wasn’t measy-peasy groupwork either; it was intense semester-building-up long long hours of groupwork. It sucked the life out of me and I almost died. But God had mercy on me; one of these groups was amazing beyond words and participating in that group was actually a real pleasure.
FSU had a great year in the world of reviews. Overall, the Masters program is ranked #13 in the nation. The School Media Library Specialization was bumped up to #1 this year. Pretty cool, since the library program at FSU is largely online and it outranks even the traditional, face-to-face schools; even students who live near campus tune in for class through Blackboard Elluminate/Collaborate, just like the distance learning students.
Gradewise, I was on tenderhooks. I had a 4.0 coming into the semester and didn’t anticipate being able to keep that up. It was a really really close call. I was torn — a 4.0 looks pretty schnazzy on a resume… but getting just below that mark feels about 10x more comfortable to me. Either way it was a win-win or a lose-lose… go figure! I don’t want potential bosses to think I’m smarter than I am, you see… but I am precise when it comes to following directions and fulfilling assignments, which is really what the grade represents anyways.
I get attached to professors. And that doesn’t change with an online program. I’m going to miss my professors. Especially Dr. Gross… She was everything you want in a professor — challenging, intelligent, kind, interesting. I made sure to take a class from her every semester and I am so glad I did. Recalling the FSU experience for me will largely be me remembering my classes with her.
My verdict of online schooling is… (drumroll)… it depends on the subject! Online worked great for my program; it actually enhanced the experience more than a face-to-face program could have. It was all about studying information retrieval systems, and since everything is done on the computers anyways, it was just extremely practical. For the more practical things, I used the Provo, Orem, and Dixon MS libraries, so that I got the practical experiences I needed. And since we all had real-time class time — where everyone logs in to class and participates in the professors lecture — it wasn’t so different from face-to-face as it would initially seem. But I can’t see online being ideal for Business or English majors.
Probably the real downer is after all that virtual reality stuff is yet to come: when I enter the workforce with real live breathing people instead of avatars. I’ll have to catch myself so that I actually say “hahaha” when laughing instead of stating “l.o.l.” 😉
Seattle is looming closer than ever. It’s right there, barely out of arm’s reach. I can’t believe it. With our road trip last year and the one this year, we have now done a circumference of the states, and I can wholeheartedly say that the northwest coast is by far the most beautiful and appealing to me. And, add on top of the beautiful scenery the fact that it’s a thriving area for computer gurus (hurrah for Dan!) and for librarians (King County Library System, anyone?) and is a hotspot for vegans and green living, and you’ve found yourself in the Schulte’s Great Valley.
There’s really only one downside to the whole situation, as was re-emphasized to me last night… My family will be here, in Utah, a long day’s drive away. Our weekly (oftentimes more than weekly!) visits are going to come to a brutally abrupt halt.
NO. I don’t want that to happen. Yesterday, my sister called and said “Come over! I bought corn-on-the-cob!” Cornonthefreakingcob?? I wish I could convey to you the history of corn-on-the-cob and my family. We just freaking love it, because somehow, we only ever get it a few times a year. And every time we do it’s just amazing. We waited until late because my sisters weren’t home from work yet, and then husked, and by around 9pm were able to eat. I’m sitting here, laughing, as I remember it, because most of us are in the kitchen, buttering and salting our corn and eating around the walk-around counter, and Sawyer squirts and Jacob shouts “HEY! You squirted in my eye!” and we’re just eating and all saying “It’s so good. It’s, like, SO GOOD.” And then another family member walks in the room and we say “It’s SO GOOD. You’ve got to get some some! It’s just SO GOOD.” And eventually everyone is in the kitchen, digging in to corn-on-the-cob. And suddenly, I’m not sitting here laughing so much as I am choking back sobs. And after the corn-on-the-cob, it’s late, and Dan wants to tell my little boys — my 10 year brother and my 8 year old nephew — one of his awesome/charming/goofy bedtime stories and I’m on the bed and Jacob is cuddling against me, and his shirt is off and he pulls me arms across him and his skin is so soft and his hands are so small and he is so affectionate and clings to my arms and does his characteristic quickglanceupatmyface whenever he laughs and when the story is over he holds tight and says he doesn’t want me to go, and he doesn’t just mean tonight, but he means Seattle too. And I don’t want to go anymore. I want to stay and watch my boys grow and keep taking them laser-tagging or after-school ice cream visits or mini-golfing, or ANYTHING, just as long as I’m with them.
They’re my family. We all stay close — close friends and close to home. But not now.