Wednesday, August 28, 2013

End of Summer

This summer was not very bikey. Although I did mundane stuff on my bike because we need food and toothpaste. We didn't really go our of our way to plan bike days. Instead we did a lot of walking, I might have burned some holes in my sneakers and we have a whole album of adventures our tiny group of mostly well behaved kids.

I started one of my classes at the beginning of August. Setting up my work space and computer was an adventure setting it up. My router decided to die and I got to experiment with a new computer. Windows charms, not so charming. We are well into August and my technical issues have been resolved. Today my kid starts school and it is going to be interesting getting to school without our bike. I think I made our summer a little too fun that when the principle called to check up I admitted that my kid was not interested in going back to school. Our family made the choice of not having a car and now that I look at the calendar my kid really only has school for nine days in September and hopefully in October I will have a commuting biking machine.

My kid went through a major growth spurt and so the new bike will be really nice once it arrives.
In the meantime, here is a collage of  our walking and sometimes biking adventures:

Cool Book at the Kondike Gold Rush Museum

Zombie Apocalypse at Gas Works Park

Visiting Sven the Rat on the Underground Tour

Keeping cool at Cal Anderson Park

Touching Bottle Cap Art on Broadway

Watching Salmon at the Locks

Chasing the Cycle Saloon

Hanging out at the Zoo

Rode the blender bike at the Zoo (Made by the famous Haulin Collin)

Stood on top of an Amazon building

Got wet at the Seattle Center Fountain

Turns out my kid is a Mortal

Posed just like art at the Seattle Art Museum

Cooled off at the Sprinkler Fountain on Lake Union
These are just a few of our adventures. We have a whole album of pictures, including our scavenger hunt to Pike's Place Market where the kids were given $1.25 each and had to figure out what they could buy at the very touristy market. One of the kids managed to get 7 cool dice and a bouncy ball for $1.00. So, don't think you have to spend lots of money on an outing.

So, here comes the beginning of jammed pack year of 4th Grade homework.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Rat Du Jour Part 2

Nobody told us about Sven the rat
Remember my rat problem? Turns out a big machine called "Big Bertha" is boring a new hole in downtown and digging up all the rat homes so they have decided to make Pioneer Square their new home. EWWW!

They are like the huge Norwegian rats living in our yard and posters are up in Pioneer warning of the impending Sven rat. Watch out. Scandinavian rats are here FOREVER! I wonder when they will make themselves at home in Ballard just like human Scandinavians?

Now what I hope is that the rats don't get bright ideas and come die in my yard. We have taken a lot of shrubbery away and I am collecting cardboard for my new cardboard weed covering project. I was inspired by one of my neighbors bringing his extra cardboard to my yard. I hope he understands that I don't do the same kind of gardening like I do in the winter. I hate sweat so I wake up early, water my plants once or twice a week and leave it alone.
You like all the places for rats to hide. Well, what bothered me most was that my elderly neighbor would almost kill himself to weed wack for me. It was really nice but I needed to come up with something better. So, I card boarded everything. I then went and got truckloads of mulch and covered it. Another part of my yard will get more cardboard and mulch soon.

Back to rats, take a trip downtown and look at all those burrows. EWWW!
Wait, that is not a rat. That is a dog I found and someone called it a rat. We didn't get a dog. Our neighbor was out and she was loose so we kept her until they came home. While she was visiting I put her in the basket because what else do you do with a dog this size?

Here is her glamour shot or slightly confused shot.
Please don't bike with me!

Next time this dog is going for a ride.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Standing on stuff this summer

As our summer of walking we have noticed lots of new things in the city I am too lazy to stop on my bike at. On our way back from visiting the office of Car2Go last week we walked to the Olympic Sculpture park on Elliot Bay. The new art installation is a roof. Olympic Sculpture park is the kind of place you can interact with art, including climbing on it. I didn't really prepare ourselves for our new interaction. Apparently the roof art requires that you have rubber soled sneakers and be at least 10 years of ago. My daughter likes sandals so she was snubbed and pretty bummed about the whole thing.

Instead I decided to stand on the roof alone and take a picture. Here I am standing on the roof.

After standing on the roof we walked from the park to downtown.  While walking into Belltown we noticed lots of interesting stores and businesses but they all had one problem. Most of these places were obstructed by huge cars, like this one:

I think this street would be a great place to put a bike way. In general, traffic is low and if the city of Seattle wants to curb crazy violence maybe restricting available parking would help this neighborhood.  Not only that, but it turns out business increases with bike ways. See the case for the bikeway on 65th Ave. The only complaints come from people who have to park but seriously, if a 9 year old can walk here so can you. In general, that business in the picture looks more attractive without that huge SUV parked in front of it. I know, some people need their car but the only people I know who need such a large car are large families. Otherwise you are just a jerk with a big car.

This summer we have had several encounters with people driving SUV's. I am not ready to blog about this encounter but maybe once summer is over I might feel better about the whole incident. Right now my view of people with honken cars is messed up. I see the world like this now. You have a big car and are one person in it= you are a big jerk. Are you in a Hummer?=Even bigger jerk. This is how I am going to view huge personal cars until proven wrong.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rat Du Jour

I promised to update you on a list of topics so here is our rat story.

This summer the rat population increased exponentially, to the point where one Shabbos I saw 16 hanging out all over our front yard. It was so disgusting. It was bad. The next day I ventured out to Lowes and purchased rat bait stations with poison secured inside. I met a woman at the store who was also purchasing bait stations so she could be out in her garden without having something fuzzy come running out of the bushes at her.

I put my bait stations out and waited, nothing. The next solution was to fill all those pesky holes the rats decided to next in. So, I got rock and gravel and filled up the holes. This seemed to have reduced the population but then we started to get our rat of the week.


Does that look like a bait station? NO! Somehow this ended up under the plum tree and I got the honors of bagging it for posterity.


Week #2 we got this one, convulsing and dying in front of the door. We did the only nice thing and drowned it.

I got the honors of draining the water and bagging this one too. Yeah for me!

Then on Shabbos our landlady showed up to check the traps and found a dead squirrel under our plum tree. Since it was our day of rest I was only able to capture that picture in my brain.

Week #3
We went out to do errands and came home to a mysterious Wendy's soda under my tomato plant. Okay, weird. Then it started to smell. Dead smell. So, I tried to find the dead thing. The smell got worse. We have little garbage so Thursday I went to throw something in the can and found a Wendy's paper bag in our garbage with a dead rat. In order to come dump that rat there it takes effort. How rude, at least bag it like I did. So, again, I got the honors of bagging that one too, in order to avoid MAGGOTS!

Oh, but week #3 doesn't end there. I smell dead again and found one of the traps near my tomato plant had a dead rat in it. So, Mr. Peyos did me a favor and disposed of it.  I am sorry we don' t have pictures of those ones but this is becoming old.

As part of my morning prayers I am going to ask G-d to make this problem disappear. Until then, I will be having the rat of the week.

Whoever threw the Wendy's bag of rat in my can, CUT IT OUT!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Online Learning Skills

Someone new to my biking blog may have noticed the content change. Like I said before, I am just adding to my rainbow of information. In any case, everything is related to biking. My pedal forward into online learning through SLIS is very exciting.  
I am the kind of person who likeseder (order). I like schedules but I am also flexible to recognize when something is not working and switch it up last minute. I like deadlines and find that they motivate and push me. I am a problem solver. If I can't figure it out I look everywhere for the answer and am not afraid to ask questions.  Are you also ready to take the leap to learn online then do this survey. It might surprise you: Are you ready to learn online? 

What else comes with learning in general? Collaboration and Teams. Are those nasty words to you? For anyone who has had a job then you have experienced "Teams". After watching two online videos for my course I realized I was never in a real "team" I was in something else 

Dr. Ken Haycock gave a list of the 6 phases of a project. 
  • Enthusiasm (yeah, let's have a carnival with clowns) 
  • Disillusionment (oh, the clowns canceled and we didn't make a back-up plan. All hope is lost) 
  • Panic (Day of the event and still no clown?) 
  • Search for the guilty (Let' s blame the garbage man for the clown problem) 
  • Punish the innocent (NO carnival! No snow cones! Nothing! You kids can cry your eyeballs out now) 
  • Praise and honor non-participants (It is so great that so and so on vacation was involved in this carnival project) 
To say that I have not experience this scenario is an understatement. I only wished that the "teams" I worked in worked as they should. 
So, what I learned from Dr. Haycock and Enid Irwin is that we have to all bring information to the team by agreeing on common goals. In order to facilitate this we have a team leader who actually leads and helps to diffuse situations where we might go off on a tangent. Worse case scenario, help to settle matters with "blocker" or as Enid Irwin put it "destroyer". Having a open attitude, participating and having a sense of trust are key. I hope to keep my learning open so I can be a valuable member of a real team in future projects.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hello, isn't this blog about biking?

So, I try to write funny and entertaining post that can be read in the privacy of the bathroom but it has been hard this summer.

Besides riding my bike and waving frantically to everyone I meet, I have taken to working on my next career move. For most of my life I have had a special way of finding jobs where I was involved with libraries. On one of those desperate moments when one of the two adults needed a job I somehow managed to become the part-time library assistant at a public middle school. I loved that job. I found it exciting to do all the duties related to the library, including covering the books. After a 2 years of doing that I had to move on because when you work in public schools you get the yearly ulcer of your job put in the special category of limbo.

You can pickle that!
I worked another job which was entertaining but nothing related to libraries so I quit and decided to start a graduate program. So this year I start all courses related to a Master's in Library Science.

So, while I wait for my bike, more to come about that, I will probably blog about buses, walking, my horrific encounter with a lady and her Ford Explorer and lastly library learning.

Oh and.... my adventures in pickling, my dead rat photo collection, and the nice amount of Shabbos toilet paper I have been cutting.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Walking on the Broadway Bikeway/Cycletrack..whatever it's called

The other day we went on a bus quest to find kosher steak at Trader Joe's. Yes, you can get kosher meat at Trader Joe's. I know a lot of people think this is impossible and schelpping all the way to Mercer Island is necessary. I don't like going anywhere where I can't multitask and Mercer Island is lacking in anything I really need except HUGE blocks of munster cheese.

On our way back home we walked through Cal Anderson Park, admired the fountain and then tried to walk to Gamestop because a certain little person in the house earned enough money to buy herself a DS game. On our way to Broadway we were met by a really nice construction lady directing us to walk on the bikeway/cycle track under construction. The whole bikeway is being done in pieces and had we not stumbled through the park we would have never known.

Here is my kid walking on the track, TADA!
 Can you see the excitement? Look at the barrier. It is not just a painted lane. I drooled and oohed and awwed while my kid pleaded for me to open up the bag of nuts she is holding.
If you turn around look north on Broadway you get machinery parked in the soon to be lane. What is that in the distance? It is a light signal that directs cars not to crash and kill you when making a right hand turn. Let me zoom for better oohing.

I know, I should have taken a dedicated picture but people were looking at us funny on Broadway. To think we looked funny with all the other colorful stuff that goes on there. For example, last week we saw a dude standing outside Blick with denim overall shorts. He had one of the overall buttons up and the other down exposing half of his naked underneath body, ughhh.

Back to biking. Somehow I feel like I am the only one who cares about this construction. During the construction of some of the trolly tracks on Madison and Broadway my kid took a video of what looked like lava being poured onto the tracks. This is how we spend our time, so exciting.

So, progress on construction is coming along. We did see lots of people try to bike on Broadway and frankly that is just a pain with the uneven road and lack of space. So maybe for safety sake find another road. Sure, Broadway might be more direct but falling into a hole will set you back.

Bike Escape: Fay Bainbridge Park 2019

I went camping without kids. How did I manage that? (insert shrug) One of the old time pedal parents went with me. Our schedules for this ...