Wednesday, March 19, 2008

kidz on the streetz

I was chaperoning about 25 teens on a school bus yesterday coming back from a vocal clinic. The choir director asked the driver to stop at a strip mall so the kids could buy lunch after their long morning. As they filed off the bus, I slipped some money to Larkin, to which she enthusiastically responded, "Beastly!" and continued off the bus. Whatever that means, I'm pretty sure it's not "thank you." But it was definitely positive, and I got to learn a new word that the kidz are saying. You know, the kidz on the streetz. Keeps me young.

A few days ago, Rowan was following an adult conversation that turned toward the undervaluing of nurses in our country. Remembering when he broke his collarbone on the playground in kindergarten, Rowan reminisced about having to visit the school nurse every day to have his shoulder iced. Luckily, I had paper & pen in front of me and was able to catch it verbatim. "Yes! For instance, I am exceedingly grateful to Nurse Alice. Though she put me in considerable misery, it was oddly satisfying."

I don't think that's what the kidz are saying. -k8-

Saturday, March 15, 2008

you know it's you, babe

I sold the Corvair! Long live the Corvair!

Those who knew her know what a heart breaker this has been for me. Never was there a more stylish, handsome car. I mean, look at this beauty! Man, did we turn heads...

A couple of years ago I got a hankering for a new hobby. I wanted to learn how to work on & maintain my own car. Given the complexity of today's computerized engines, this meant looking for something older, simpler.

And then our eyes met...a 1964 Corvair Monza. It was love at first sight. I have never fallen for a car like I did for Babe. Sure, she may have been Unsafe at Any Speed*, but I was completely taken with her clean, classic lines. And I loved the sound of the air-cooled rear engine (trunk in the front). Alas, that was shortly before the fates took my life & threw it at the fan. In addition to some parental crises that occupied my energies and weighed down my spirits, the stick shift became difficult to operate when I had a numb, pained right arm. Same with the clutch & my left leg. So every time I didn't drive her for a spell, she'd stop running.
*What is it with Nader? Why is he always making trouble?

I made a meager attempt to sell when she was still running, but my heart wasn't in it. After she died yet again from lack of use, I made a more concerted, but still not enthusiastic attempt to sell her. I think I was still lingering in denial. It's a comfy place!

Now, in the context of a new lifestyle that does not include filling every last minute with responsibilities and appointments, I sold her. And it was a pleasure. Here's why.

I ran a new ad, slashing the price lower than ever, which generated a lot of response. One gentleman, Mark, was very interested. I would even say that based just on the photos & description, he was downright smitten. Ahhh, a sorry sap, just like me. I knew he was my man. He wanted to come by that very evening, but lived out of town & couldn't make it before darkness fell. The next day, I saw a man pull up & start looking Babe over with eager interest. I came outside, extended my hand, and said, "You must be Mark!" No, he says, "Dave."

So after a little while, Dave says, "you mind if I just try to get her started right here? If I can, I'll probably buy her." Sure, good luck! I went inside & discovered 2 messages from Mark. The first was letting me know he was on I-5 heading my way. The 2nd message was to "sincerely apologize" for the "inexcusable language" he'd used on his previous message. Apparently, someone nearly ran him off the highway, causing his to scream an expletive right before he hung up. I was glad he called back to explain, as I was concerned about the guy with Tourette's heading my way.

A few minutes later, I see another fella has joined Dave & they're both ducked under the hood. I head out, extending my hand, "Mark, great to finally meet you!" No, he says, "Allen." So Allen sticks around chatting us up & we establish that he's 2nd in line for the car if Dave doesn't end up taking it. Right then, Babe's engine roared to life and within another minute, Dave was driving her around the neighborhood. I can't tell you what that did for my heart. It actually swelled & I became teary eyed. What a sucker.

Ok, so just as Dave comes pulling back around the corner, another truck pulls up & a good ol' boy pops out, looking alarmed to see the car running. "Tell me that's your dad or your husband that just got her running," he says as he comes toward me. "Mark?" I say, extending my hand. "Yeah, great to finally meet you, Kate."

I had to break it to him that not only was Dave not my dad, but that he'd likely buy the car, and if he didn't, there was a 2nd guy in line already. Oh, Mark was a sad looking fellow then. After Dave pulled up, the 3 of them started talking about the car, and Dave & Allen could see how much Mark had his heart set on it...Dave actually started to waver. "Well, maybe not. You really want her? If you want her, I guess I could step aside." I am not kidding...within another minute, the 3 of them had (d)evolved into a Chip 'n Dale routine. Oh no, I couldn't! Oh, but you must; I insist! Indubitably!

I told them I'd give them some time to talk amongst themselves while I went inside. The sad thing was that I knew this wasn't the car for Mark. See, along with his big heart came an even bigger gut. I mean really big. Babe is a small car. Without even seeing him try, I knew he could not physically fit behind the wheel. Not even possible.

Which is probably what led to the final conclusion, that Dave was the proud new owner of Babe the Blue Corvair. He paid me right then, cash. (It should be noted that despite this long & sordid tale, I sold her for $400 more than I originally paid.) Mark told me that it was worth the trip just to meet such a "peach of a lady." Awwww! The guys stood around talking with me a bit longer before we all hugged (yes, hugged) goodbye.

Craig's List, my friends. It doesn't just help you buy & sell things, it helps build community. The next day, Mark sent me an email saying that while he was disappointed not to get Babe, she couldn't have gone to a nicer guy. And further, he was so glad to have made 3 new friends out of the deal.

Indeed. -k8-

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

rushin' roulette

I don't mean to rush headlong into a new posting without allowing my previous hommage à l'amour to adequately linger, but I can't take the chance. I took a friend on one of my favorite urban hikes to El Carreton today because I knew it would be right up his arroyo. And how does he repay me for this insider information? He threatens me.

That's right. We're just walking along & I'm pointing out this 'n that, saying I'm going to post this here blog, see? And then he just ups and says, "Not if I do it first," and starts snapping pics & shooting videos. Whatever!

Mr. Fancypants Blog Stealer was especially impressed with the new public art we have on the Interurban Trail. There are at least 6 different installations running along either side. Each is a different "flip book" style for when you run or ride past quickly.

The volcanoes are so bright and colorful. It's not until you get very close that you realize the pictures were made from all different kinds of gummy candy.

My personal favorite is the series that starts as a little fawn with antler buds that grow to be this impressive rack.

I walk this trail every day, so I was really worried when I saw workers in orange jumpsuits setting series of metal posts in concrete. I thought...well, I'm ashamed to admit that I completely assumed they were doing something stupid and ugly. Public art never crossed my mind. (Carving K +T into the concrete did, though, so I carved.)

Why did I assume the city would want to stick it to us somehow rather than beautify our trail? Because I'd been recently collecting evidence of how extremely ghetto our stretch of the IU Trail is, compared to once you pass over the city line at 145th into Shoreline. It's as if the clouds part, sun streams in, and thousands of little angels flock around, singing joyfully.

By crossing one small street, you enter a world of fancy brickwork, sculpture, covered seating areas, random art and benches, trail maps, center lines, landscaping, obvious maintenance, and most importantly, trash cans.

Unfortunately, when they linked our stretch of the Trail up with part of the larger IU system, they merely paved a former community-use greenbelt from 110th to 130th. This invited much heavier traffic, but the city supplied no amenities to support that use, nor any apparent maintenance. Not even a single garbage can. So this leads to partly-responsible citizens tossing their dog poop bags into the bushes rather than carrying them home. And while I certainly understand the inclination to part with that little package ASAP, it merely creates a bigger problem than if they'd simply left the pile on the ground.

But then came the art.

Hey, look how easily I'm distracted! Show me some pretty, shiny things & I won't even notice the dozens of plastic bags dangling off blackberry brambles like some hellish Christmas scene.

But let's end on an up note.

Please enjoy this short video of Tim taking Rowan's scooter for a spin on the IU Trail. Be sure to note what he has in his hand. Good citizen! -k8-

Sunday, March 9, 2008


This week was Tim's and my 15 year anniversary, so I am writing this as a gift to my husband. Though we’ve known each other over half our lives now, we had our first date 15 years ago, March 1-8, 1993. Our first date lasted a week.

That was back when I still lived in Bellingham & was the editor of The Echo newspaper (anyone remember that rag?). Due to an arrangement with an advertiser, I had use of a cottage on the Oregon coast. I was 6 months into being a newly single parent, so I was very tentative, but Tim & I had been dancing around the obvious for awhile. I summoned my nerve & invited him to join me at the cottage. I’ll never forget how excited and nervous we were on that long drive to Newport, OR.

There was so much magic that week. The dunes, the endless beach walks (including the discovery of a beached ship, the Perseverance, which we took as a sign), cooking together, finding that rare Redd Cross album. And more than anything, the way we found that we fit together, in so many ways, in such a natural way. And so much laughter. My face ached from all the smiling.

When we got back to Seattle, it was hard to part ways, but I had to get back to my baby in Bellingham. I’d never been away from her that long before. After I returned to real life, I was filled with fear and doubt. But I got home after my first day back at work & found a vase of irises on my front porch with a very sentimental note.

From then on, we put a lot of miles on Tim’s VW bus & my old Toyota wagon. We never went more than 3-4 days before one of us made the drive. This went on for about 4 months before I manufactured a business opportunity in Seattle and started house hunting. Larkin & I moved into a wonderful duplex in the Wallingford neighborhood in July of ‘93. Tim moved in with us on a more permanent basis 6 months later. We eloped 2 years later and were married in the living room of the cottage in Newport, where we had our first date.

What are the lessons learned after 15 years? Patience. Communication. Humor. Romance. Keep the love at the forefront. Keep the family there, too. Keep the passion alive. More patience. More humor. Don’t give up; keep trying. Listen. Listen. Talk. Listen. Listen. Talk. Even more patience. More passion. More humor. Perseverance.

I still can’t say that I believe humans to be one of those very few species that naturally mate for life. But I can say with all assuredness that if it’s possible, I found the bird to fly there with.

Happy anniversary, Tim. I love you, honey. -k8-