Saturday, September 27, 2008

DMV Confession

It might have just been luck. But I didn’t deserve it. I was thrown together. I slept past my alarm. I even forgot my bike helmet until the 4 year old neighbor reprimanded me and recommended that I go back home and get it. As it turns out, the Washington department of motor vehicles can give you a written test, upon license renewal. I hadn’t reviewed the difference between a guidance sign and a warning sign or read over the driver’s manual. And, I had moved, which can require documentary “proof of residence.” I had no such documents with me. I had just rolled out of bed. I’m not a morning person. I was not looking or feeling very swift.

I walked into the DMV and there were people EVERYWHERE… angry, unhappy people that had been waiting for hours. I only had really allowed an hour and a half to renew my license, and my lack of preparation made it seem a little unlikely to happen today. I wasn’t worried. It’s not my style, and besides, I don’t even really drive. I was not under the same pressure as the other, much more respectable Washington residents at the DMV this morning.

And I couldn’t find the number dispenser. There were several lines and you were supposed to have a number to know your place in line. Gosh, I should have had some coffee. I did a full lap through all of the irritable people, trying not to stand out or look too happy. I may become a target. This type of tense environment can be dangerous. A riot could have broken out at the DMV this morning.

Finally, on the beginning of lap #2, I found the number dispensers. They were by the door, when you walk in, under a large sign that read: PLEASE TAKE NUMBER HERE.” Everyone can get a license. It’s not as intellectually challenging as I was finding it. As I started to push the button to dispense my number, a young woman at my left asked, “Are you renewing or getting a new license?” I had no intellectual capacity to spare, so I answered her honestly and acted like it was a reasonable question. Normally, I may have wondered why another DMV patron cared about my renewal vs. new license categorization.

“I’m just renewing,” I told her.

“Some guy got tired of waiting and gave me his number. I’m in the ‘new license’ line so I can’t use it. Do you want it?”

“Sure, thanks! That’s really nice.” Sweet. It was number 48. I took it and kept my other number, just in case. Cool, maybe that’ll speed things up a little. They weren’t calling the renewal numbers yet. I had no idea how long I was expected to wait. But whatever. I’ll just give it to someone else if I have to leave.

Right after I found a place to stand (all of the seats were taken and it actually took a few minutes to find a place to camp out that didn’t invade someone else’s personal space bubble), the reality message came. One of the DMV staff members stepped out from behind the counter and said “if you are waiting to get a new license, the current wait time is approximately two and a half hours. If you are waiting to renew your license, the wait time is approximately one and a half hours.”

Yikes! No wonder everyone was so stressed out. I briefly wondered how long my wait time was going to be, since I had the special number from my friend by the number machine. They still hadn’t called any numbers from my line since I had gotten there, so I had no idea where I stood. One man, who had also noticed that the “renewal” line was not only moving slowly, but it was not moving at all, took this opportunity to get some face time with the DMV guy making the announcement.

I couldn’t hear the entire exchange, but it ended with “Listen! I’m waiting for another 30 minutes; you had better start calling license renewal numbers before I leave!” And he was fuming. We were just short of a fiasco. The room was just shy of the tipping point to revolution.

As I was thinking about this, and wondering how angry that man would be if he knew about my little number situation, the number announcer came on: “number 48, please go to window two. Number 48, window two.”

And there I went, took the vision test, gave them my new address, took a new photo, and signed the form… approximately 15 minutes after arriving… completely unprepared. Anyway, glad I got my new license. I’ll have to remember to do a bunch of nice things so I don’t mess up my karma too too much!

Sunday, March 2, 2008


I Love Berkeley

Escape to California

California was a good place to find refuge from the Seattle rain with family this winter.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Billy’s mom died last Thursday. It wasn’t very long ago that she was diagnosed with cancer, but they had time to start making plans. She died much sooner than expected. The whole family was planning to get together while she was still able to enjoy them. That was supposed to be this week. I haven’t talked to him yet, but I hear that Billy flew to Texas just in time, and was able to be with her in her final moments.

The same day that I found out that Billy’s mom and her doctors had decided that chemo was not an appropriate option for her, my Aunt Diane was diagnosed as terminal. She has three sons who are taking care of her. I admire their positive outlook, and their hope/acceptance balance. I have a lot of emotions that are a little more neurotic and confused.

This week, it seems like everyone is dying of cancer. I’m a little sad, but a little weirded out as well. It feels like the plague is striking again and picking up speed. I’m worried about my friends and family. I worry about myself. I’m sad.

Fight cancer.
Billy’s mom, Diane, Scott’s dad, Gina,
Meghan’s father, GRANDPA.
Everyone everyone EVERYONE!
Find peace.
Rest In Peace.
Peace. Fight. FIGHT!
Cigarettes. Cell phones. Car exhaust.
Chronic exposure.
Acute exposure?
Unknown risk.
Everything everyone everywhere.
Live In Peace.
In Peace.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Thankful in Fernley

Fernley, Nevada is one of my prime Thanksgiving spots, I recently discovered. Uncle Danny and Aunt Kim moved there a few years ago and this was the first time that I've managed to visit. It's a small town without a whole lot of population. My cousin Lisa enjoys traveling through the Sierras to play in her soccer games (yes! Good job Lisa!) I'm hoping to convince her to move to Seattle for college. Then she can play in Co-rec. That'd be fun!
I flew to Fernley via Mt. Rainier. Check it out! Twas a gorgeous day!

As we looked down at the baren Nevada desert landscape, I had the great pleasure of listening to this: "People say there's overpopulation," a woman behind me proclaimed, "but there's not," she was very matter of fact. "Because, I mean, just look at Nevada. It's totally empty. There ain't no people here." I was slightly irritated at her presence. But I was stuck with her, given the airplane situation. It certainly wasn't worth intervening. Just when I was about to get back to my Harry Potter book, she decided to continue. "I mean you could just take all those people in China, and put 'um right here in Nevada!"

God bless America! It's not every country where people say things like that!

Anyway, back to Fernley: We enjoyed a mean game of... of... this game that's kind of like Taboo and Pictionary, but you don't have to buy it. You just make it up yourself. I will not make up a name like Tabictionary or Pictionoo.

Believe it or not, Fernley is not the only place in the area. Virginia City took us in for the afternoon. It showed us its Cowboys, its gambling, its unexplained love of Mark Twain, and a memorable fire drill in the local theater... It was a just a fire drill. It wasn't a security alarm that went off because my family was having an impromptu talent show on the main stage that we thought was not in use. Soooo, no worries there. Just a fire alarm!

This is Robin hanging out with a statue of Mark Twain (the aforementioned love). She's HOT!

Tahoe also allowed us to enter... even after our talent show episode in Virginia City. They hadn't blacklisted us, at least not yet. We didn't actually enter the lake, for fear of freezing our little booties off, but we did walk around and check it out a little bit. And we ate burgers and garlic garlic garlic fries. They were good. I love garlic. And, while we alienated the rest of the world with our powerful breath, we had each other man. We were in it together. My family is there when I need them!

These are the Perrymans. I love them very much. I realize this is not a very good picture of the Perrymans, but it my only picture with all four of them. In fact, this, my friends is my only picture of Cheryl in my entire photo collection from Thanksgiving. Note to Cheryl Perryman: hang out with us for longer! Maybe next year I'll include your entire face in a photo, instead of only two-thirds of it!
We all had a GREAT time in Fernley! Even Robin thought so! Countless thanks to Kim, Dan, Cheryl, and Lisa for hosting us all and throwing a rockin' Thanksgiving party!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mongolian Camel Movie

The railway runs through Siberia and the Gobi Desert. It kind of looked like this most of the way from south of Lake Baikal to Ulaanbaatar, except the little pond was special.

We found refuge inside the ger for a mean game of sheep ankle bones. It's a game played with... ankle bones of sheep.

The National Park had some beautiful views, but unfortunately not any hiking trails that we saw.

This would have been a perfect sampling well for my microbial source tracking project. The cows hang around right next to the drinking water well. I would say this is a high-risk well. It may or may not have been the source of my intestinal difficulties to come.

This is what the traditional Mongolian gers (or yurts) look like. The families move five or ten kilometers away, four times each year. It takes three adults about an hour to disassemble on of these gers and pack it up (usually onto a truck).
It was beautiful in Mongolia... but darn cold!