Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lakeview Cemetery and Volunteer Park

Robb and I spent a recent day off together checking out some interesting parts of Seattle in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Our first stop of the morning was the Lakeview Cemetery. The main draw at this cemetery was to see the graves of Bruce Lee and his son, Brandon. However, an added bonus for these history lovers turned out to be the many, many graves of Seattle city founders. We found the graves of many founders, whose street names and neighborhoods now decorate Seattle. We saw impressive family plots for Mercer, Denny, Phinney, Renton, etc. And we also saw the grave of Princess Angeline (the daughter of Chief Seattle.) It was a beautiful cemetery with obviously lovely views of Lake Washington.
After a solid 1.5-2 hours in the cemetery, our next stop was a stroll through Volunteer Park. This park boasts a really neat observatory/greenhouse. There were several rooms, featuring orchids, cacti, carnivorous plants, and orchids. The orchids were beyond beautiful. Robb came away from the greenhouse with a couple of fun carnivorous plants.
Going through the park, we next found ourselves next to this round sculpture, called the Black Sun. If you notice, right next to it you can see the Space Needle in the distance.
After the Black Sun, we made our way to the Water Tower. We climbed up 106 steps to see the views from the top. At the top of the Tower were also several historical placards about the parks system in Seattle.
After Volunteer Park we drove around looking for Bimbo's Bitchin' Burrito Kitchen. We had read about this place in an outdated guidebook several months ago and tried to find it, but a parking lot was in the place where the building should have been. But Robb researched it when we got home and we knew that it was just located only a couple of streets away. So we finally found it on this particular trip (although it's renamed Bimbo's Cantina, I will ALWAYS call it Bimbo's Bitchin' Burrito Kitchen) and we had amazing burritos!We left Seattle mid-afternoon and stopped on the way home at a movie theater to watch Pixar's Up in 3-D. It was a really amazing movie (and fun in 3-D); I really think Pixar movies are better for adults then children. The themes and lessons and stories are just amazing. A great ending to a great day.

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Job = New Challenges

Well, no unemployment for me. No lapse in benefits. No stressful days looking at the checkbook. My last day in my current position will be July 15. My new position, still working for the state and in the same Division, will start on July 16. All of my insurance, vacation, sick days, seniority, same pay, etc. just transfer over. I will be much closer to home; instead of an 1+ hour commute to Lacey, I now will be commuting about 20 minutes to Tacoma. My job will me much different. Instead of a Management Analyst, I will be a Case Manager. It's not something I ever imagined myself doing, but it should be an interesting experience. I think I will learn a lot and grow a lot as a person. I'm not sure if I'll stick with it for a long time, but it's nice to know that I won't have to worry about unemployment right now. We'll see how I like it and go from there.

It just feels very nice to be so well-liked by the people I work with, that they did everything in their power to find me another position so I would stay with the Division. I think they want me for the long-term. So even though my current position was eliminated in this tough economic climate, they recognize that I'm talented in many ways and can take on new challenges. It's great to feel like an asset.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

State Deficit = State Lay-offs

Now I thought working for government was supposed to be a more secure type of employment. That's the deal: low pay, but at least it's really hard to lose your job. (Now, as someone who is a fan of new public management - thank you grad school - I don't support this plan. I think government employees should be held accountable and paid appropriately. But that's a conversation for another day.) Well, in this economy, all rules are off. I found out in the beginning of June that my position is being eliminated in mid-July. Our Division is having to deal with massive lay-offs (I'm talking 100s of people across the state), so I don't take it personally. In fact, I've got a lot of people working on finding me a different job in the Division; it seems like management adores me and doesn't want to lose me.

I'm feeling very positive about this. I'm ready for a new challenge and feel that everything happens for a reason. I should know more in the coming weeks about job options, but I'm not too worried. (Well, I suppose I'm a little worried. I haven't been sleeping great. I've been having crazy dreams about losing my job and looking for a new one.) In fact, after I was told of my impending joblessness, I came home and Robb and I had champagne to "celebrate." Of course, I didn't want to open and consume an entire bottle, so Robb found these cute little cans of sparkling white wine that open like soda (is a flip tab the word?), are pink, and had awesome straws. I love new beginnings.
Commemorate Lay-Off Day!

Seattle Bathhouse

Wow, I'm behind. If my mother tells me that I need to blog more, that shows I need to keep more on top of this blogging commitment. Let's get started on catching up. So Robb has a list of 30 things to do before he turns 30 in October. (So do I, but my list has a few years to get to. Therefore, we haven't really focused on getting through my list yet.) On his list was to see a play in the Seattle Public Theater at the Bathhouse. After some research we decided to attend the play A Wedding Story on a Thursday night.
Robb had the day off so he took the bus to Seattle and spent the day having Seattle fun without me. After work I picked him up in downtown Seattle that evening and we headed to Greenlake. Apparently some people swim in Greenlake (although I don't know why. The warnings about and copious evidence of geese droppings were disgusting.) But Greenlake has a lot more going for it then swimmers with questionable tastes in hygiene. There are paths all around the lake for runners and walkers. There are crew teams practicing their rowing. And there are plenty of places to sit and reflect.
The Bathhouse was built in the 1920s next to the concrete steps into the water. It has since been converted into a very small public theater. (I'm guessing maybe a 100 people would fit in there.) The venue was small and uncrowded on a weekday evening. The play we saw was really good. The small cast were incredible and onstage for the entire 1.5 hours without a break. It's hard to describe the play's plot, but themes included descent into Alzheimers, losing a spouse to the disease, parents and children's relationships, lesbian love, Casablanca (the movie). A funny, beautiful and moving show.
After the play we headed to Burgermaster. When Robb first got to Seattle he had visited Burgermaster a couple of times, but I had never been. It's a local small chain that is a drive-in, eat in your car, type of joint. A recent Seattle Metropolitan magazine had included Burgermaster in their top places to get a burger this year. I had a really awesome double-cheeseburger.
It was a really fun date night. Robb and I don't go to the "theater" very much, but it was really fun to do something different, especially on a work night!