The Future is Female

The photo above is from the Women's March on Washington in the nation's capital, which took place on January 21st on the other side of the country at the same time that I was marching in Seattle. Taken by Kevin Mazur, it's one of those "right time, right place" photos that leaves you in awe. It's amazing. I noticed several powerful Carrie Fisher/Princess Leia signs during our march, but the composition of the two separate signs makes this one of the best photos I've seen from the marches.

Seattle's version of the march started at Judkins Park and finished 3.5 miles away at the Seattle Center. Since Judkins is relatively close to my office in the International District, I drove to our parking garage with my mom and her friends, discussing Trump on the way. I planned to meet some of my friends (Lydia, Eric, Lynn and Tim) on the way to the park at a nearby p-patch. That plan worked out well, because cellphones really didn't work due to the sheer number of people converging, and it would have been next to impossible to find each other otherwise. (Somehow, some way, Anna still managed to find us more than two hours later!) I didn't have time to make a sign beforehand, but my mom handed me an extra one when she walked on ahead. I had never been to Judkins Park, and thank goodness it's large, because the turnout exceeded everyone's expectations. The organizers had estimated about 50,000 people would attend, but the total came out closer to 175,000. Incredible.

Directions and guest speakers began around 10:30am, and the march officially got underway just after 11am. But, because of the huge concentration of people, for most of us that didn't mean much. I think it took over an hour to move about 75 yards. Around that time, they got on the speakers and said that the front of the march was three blocks from the Seattle Center, and yet there were still people in the park. That meant the crowd filled the entire route from start to finish! Amazing! Our pace picked up around 1pm once we were farther along on 20th Avenue, but not much. It really wasn't until we got to 4th Avenue that the crowd got less congested, and I finally had the arm space to hold my sign out. We made a small detour to Pioneer Square to grab a snack and headed back into the crowd soon after. It was 3:30pm by the time we finally made it to the Space Needle and took some victory photos. Since so many people had already come and gone by that point, it didn't seem like there was really an end event anymore and we split ways. My mom and her group were at Nordstrom Cafe eating pizza (they got too hungry to finish the march), so I met them there and then we all walked back to the International District. According to a map I made on Strava, I walked 7.2 miles in total. Needless to say, I was exhausted afterwards, and I think I went to bed at 9:30pm.

Since the unexpected outcome of the election, many have criticized Seattle and other areas with a high concentration of liberals as being influenced by their Blue Bubbles. They say that the people within them are sheltered from the "real" America, the working class America. Maybe there is some validity to that, but based on yesterday, the opposite certainly felt true. I couldn't believe the differences between all of the people who came together! Sure, most of those in attendance were women, and that was the whole point, but probably a third of the crowd was supportive men. I saw Americans of all colors and shapes. I saw Christians, Muslims, Jews and atheists. I saw straight people walking side-by-side with their LGBTQ neighbors. I saw families with children who didn't cry or complain. I saw people in wheelchairs and on crutches. What I didn't see was a a single act of violence. In fact, I didn't even hear so much as an angry voice. I don't think you could say half of those things about Trump rallies during the election season, but that Seattleites came together so completely made me proud of my city.

This was an incredible experience, and one that I'm so glad I decided to participate in. Though I only marched with a half dozen friends, I know several more who also attended, along with others in marches across the country: Mariana in St. Petersburg and Capri in Los Angeles. For many people, myself included, this was their first march or protest. I can only hope this sense of solidarity continues for these next four years, because it's going to be necessary. But if the size and scope of this movement is any indication, there are a whole lot of nasty women out there who will not be silenced.

So yes, she's watching you, Donald. And she is all of us.

2017 Resolutions

1. Finish graduate school

Okay, this one is pretty easy. I only have one class left and should be done by the end of February!

2. Keep my condo tidy and make necessary improvements

I say every year, and it's always very hard for me, but in 2017 I need to be better about adulting. I also want to make the changes that I've put off for so long, such as replacing the carpet and installing ceiling fans.

3. Read 24 books

Hopefully I'll find myself wanting to read more once school ends, but that kind of depends on what I decide to do about the CPA exam, too.

4. Work on my mental health

At the end of 2016, after a series of panic attacks, I was diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder. This year I want to start managing that better, including figuring out medication, continuing therapy, and maybe writing more for stress relief.

Year in Review: 2016

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

Visited Spain. Went to an NHL game (Tampa Bay). Went to an away Seahawks game (Tampa Bay). Kept most of my plants alive!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

  • Use all my vacation time

Check! I mean, mostly. I did end up working during some of my days off, but at least I wasn't in the office.

  • Read at least two books per month

Nope... I read three books in January and nothing else, though I had another few in progress all year.

  • Keep my condo tidier/organized

Yes and no. I realized that this got out of hand when I started grad school, and it was just really hard for me to get on top of again between that, work, seeing friends, etc. But, my mom is the best mom in the world and came over three times to clean, organize and help me get rid of things. And I've kept it looking good since mid-October!

  • Pass three sections of the CPA exam

HA! I am now eligible to take the test, and I've paid for Audit, but I haven't scheduled it yet...

And yes, I'll do resolutions for 2017, too.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not this year, but I know of some babies coming along next year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

There are a couple who I think I could have been close to... And while obviously I wasn't close to Carrie Fisher, losing her (and then her mom a day later?!) during this disaster of a year stings. I remember the first time I saw Star Wars at age 11 and she was the biggest aspect of it that made me such a fan. I thought she was incredible.

5. What places did you visit?

Spain (May/June), France (side trip in May), and Florida (November).

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Spending more time with friends and family, since I'll be done with school!

7. What days from 2016 will you always remember?

November 8, for reasons obvious to any American, especially those who were disappointed/disgusted/in disbelief. November 9, when I had a panic attack during the Neko Case concert in Tacoma and again while driving home.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

See #32 below.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Procrastination. It's been a very significant part of my school and work lives lately, and something I'm struggling to overcome. Trivia nights and watching Netflix just sound so much more appealing!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Peroneal tendinitis from running. Shin splints from running. Stress fracture from running. Sprained foot from an apparent inability to walk down stairs. I'm sure there's more, but at least I'm well-stocked with KT tape, ace bandages and crutches now.

Also, #anxietyprobz... 

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Flight to Barcelona.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

This was a difficult and stressful year for so many, but also for one friend in particular. You were and are so much to so many people, and I'm so proud of how you handled everything life threw at you, bap!

13. Where did most of your money go?

Other than mortgage, tuition, etc., it went to my vacation to Spain for Capri's wedding.

14. What did you get really excited about?

Going to Europe for the first time in seven years. Also, it was my longest vacation since that same England/France trip!

15. What song will always remind you of 2016?

I don't think there is one, really. Maybe "Feel So Close" by Calvin Harris, since we did a flash mob to that at Capri's wedding.

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? I suppose sadder.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter, tbh. I did really well running and swimming regularly during the first part of the year, but that fell apart after a series of injuries, and it was hard to get back into the routine.
c) richer or poorer? Richer, I guess. Insignificantly so, though.

17. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I probably could have and should have spent more time with friends. There are some that I haven't seen in literally six or more months. 

I also probably should have written here a bit more. I started and abandoned several posts, mostly about bigger things like the Spain trip and Ragnar. I'll try to be better about it next year.

18. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Procrastinating.

19. How did you spend Christmas?

The Seahawks played at home on Christmas Eve, and I had bought tickets to the game back in July. Since Mariana and Luther were in town and going, too (yay!), we did a big tailgate, getting there by 9:30am. I really should have worn more layers, though, as I was freezing and took forever to thaw out after! What a crappy game, too. They came back to tie it, but then Hauschka... Why can't we beat the Cardinals?!

Afterwards, I drove to my grandparents' house in Renton for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. Everyone was there except Stephanie and Kenny (two grandparents, two parents, two aunts, one uncle, 10 cousins, nine cousins' kids, 11 significant others and myself), and a lot of people actually stayed past 8:30pm! When we got home, we got on Skype with Stephanie, since she and Ryan weren't coming to town until the 29th. She had already opened her Christmas pajamas, but watched me open mine, and then Mom, Dad and I watched It's a Wonderful Life before wrapping presents and going to bed.

On Christmas morning, we Skyped with Stephanie again and watched her and Ryan open the presents Mom had sent to California. After that, the three of us opened our own presents upstairs and had french toast and mimosas for breakfast. We later saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at the Factoria theater. (I had heard they served alcohol after a recent remodel, but that wasn't the case.) When we got home, we watched Elf and the Sunday Night Football game while making a turkey dinner, and then played Mexican Train while watching Home Alone. I lost...

20. What was your favorite TV program?

I finally, finally watched Orphan Black, and I can't believe I waited so long! I watched all four seasons three times through, back-to-back. And then again this month. So. Good.

21. What was the best book you read?

I didn't really read this year, because of grad school. (Well, kind of. I felt like if I was going to read, I should be studying, so I often did neither.) So, I only finished three books, and those were all in January. I liked Carrie Brownstein's memoir, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, but it didn't feel super cohesive. So, my favorite book was probably You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman, which was pretty bizarre and unlike anything I'd read before. And it has this too-real quote:

"Loving someone was no guarantee of how they would treat you. All it did was raise the stakes."

22. What music did you get excited about?

I listened to Ladyhawke at Christina's suggestion, and her music became my go-to for much of the summer. I also met her after her show at the Tractor Tavern (immediately following seeing case/lang/veirs at Woodland Park Zoo) and she signed the copy of the record I bought there. The new Phantogram album had some awesome songs on it, and they were great live, even though I couldn't see much of the show. #shortgirlprobz

23. What did you want and get?

The West Elm bar cabinet I'd had my eye on! I'd wanted a bar cart for years, but none were exactly what I wanted. This one comes pretty darn close. I need a few more glasses for it, but it's fairly well-stocked.

24. What did you want and not get?

I started casually looking for a new house or townhouse, but the Seattle market is just too insane, and the timing wasn't (and still isn't) right. I'd like to have some more space and a small yard for Ellie, but for now I'm settling on making my condo a little better.

25. What was your favorite film of this year?

I didn't see many movies this year (I think only three), but Rogue One was definitely the best of them. I wish it wasn't a standalone film, but I'm glad these other stories are representing the series so well. Felicity Jones killed it. And that scene at the very end...

26. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

31. My parents picked me up from work, and we went to Six Seven at the Edgewater Hotel for dinner. About a week later, I did a separate friend party. We were going to go to a small bar for classy drinks before going to Waterwheel for divey karaoke, but I didn't think everyone would fit in the venue for the first part of the evening. Christina and Ben stepped up and offered to host at their place instead, which is walking distance from Waterwheel. Ben made cocktails, I brought snacks, and it worked out really well! Unfortunately, Waterwheel was packed, so only Annie and I got songs in (Salt-N-Pepa and Fleetwood Mac, respectively).

27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

A sweater and jeans, most of the time, with either Vans or Converse. Maybe my brown Tieks, if I felt slightly more like trying.

28. What kept you sane?

My little disposable vape pen with high CBD levels was pretty handy.

29. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I mean, with how much I watched Orphan Black, it has to be Tatiana Maslany. Specifically in her role as Cosima (especially when with Delphine), though all the clones are amazing. Except Rachel. Fuck Rachel.

30. What political issue stirred you the most?

Election 2016 in its entirety. I mean, that's the case for everyone, right? It's scary that the country is in Trump's (tiny) hands now, and that there's so much uncertainty for many marginalized groups. At least people are angry and making something of that anger. I've been donating money to charities (Planned Parenthood, ACLU, etc.) and would like to be more involved going forward.

31. Who was the best new person you met?

I don't think I knew Kathryn last year, and I had only met Carrie one time last year before we all started running on Thursday mornings. I've been out of the habit the last several months, but they're a fun group and so sweet, and I would like to spend more time with them. Kathryn organized a fantasy football league this year that is about half Oiselle girls, and I wish we'd gotten together to watch a game or two!

32. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

Well, this is the big one, I guess. After dating for years yet never feeling right with any of those guys (both wonderful and otherwise), I'm finally starting to accept and acknowledge what I've felt constantly throughout my life. It's only been a little over a month since I've started "coming out" and exploring this new aspect of my life, so there's a lot of uncharted territory here. There's so much I still don't know and likely won't know for a while. But at this point, I do know that guys aren't for me, even when on paper it seems like we'd be perfect together. I know I won't ever be happy if I keep looking for something that I know in my gut isn't right. For a very long time, I told myself I could. I wanted to be like everyone else. But something clicked in me recently, and I knew I couldn't continue on like that anymore. I couldn't continue to hide behind my fear of so many unknowns, especially not with Trump taking office in a few short weeks. This isn't the time to hide. To do so would be to ignore a part of myself, a part I openly celebrate in others. I haven't told many people yet, but those who know have been supportive, which is about as much as I can ask for! Thanks, friends!

33. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"Your heartache is not forever
It’s another road that we walk together
And our lives become much stronger
As the world goes on much longer
I wandered far to find the answers
What keeps me alive while taking chances

When you’re always almost lonely
You forget to take it slowly"

- Ladyhawke, "Wild Things"

The Best of 2016

I started and abandoned a few posts during the year detailing some of the major things I did this year, but I still want to show them here.

January:

New Year's Eve was spent with Christina, Capri, Carmen, Ben and Martin at Artist Home's party at Conor Byrne. We pre-func'd at Capri's with some prosecco cocktails before heading over. I had an extremely bad headache, though, so I left shortly after midnight. Yay for it being walking distance from home!

I have been a Friends fan since the show started and know virtually everything about it. So, when I saw that Central Cinema was hosting a Friends trivia night, I knew I had to go and dominate. Luckily, Carly, Annie, and Kim are huge fans, too, and we even got together beforehand to prepare. Brianna joined us on the day of, and though we made some dumb mistakes, we took home the second-place prize out of 40 teams!

February:

Christina loves 80s music, and Nite Wave happened to be playing in Ballard on her actual birthday!

March:

I did a lot of running and swimming, but then got tendonitis in my ankle...

April:

After several weeks of physical therapy, I was able to finally run the Seahawks 12k! I register for the race every year, but for one reason or another have never been able to attend. I didn't really have time to train due to my injury, but at least I finished!

For Capri's bachelorette party, we went to dinner, a speakeasy and then dancing. I think it's safe to say that fulfilled my Capitol Hill quota for the year. Raj also met up with us at the very end of the night, since it wouldn't be the same without him!

May:

Obviously, the biggest thing that happened in May was heading to Spain for Capri and Sergi's wedding. I stayed with Bea in Barcelona on the first night, and then Capri reserved an apartment for the rest of the time we were in the city.

On the 30th, we left Barcelona for the vineyard house in Tordera and went to Calalla de Palafrugell for a stormy lunch on the beach.

On the 31st, we drove to France to tour some castle ruins in the Pyrenees and eat crêpes.

On the way back to Tordera, we stopped in the tiny medieval village of Besalú.

June:

At the start of June, we were still in Spain. On the 1st, Christina, Raj and I walked and drove around Costa Brava before meeting up with everyone else for dinner in Begur.

We went to a couple old villages (Peratallada and Pals) on the 2nd and perfected our selfie art.

On the 3rd, Capri and the rest of the wedding party had photos to take, so the rest of us (me, Raj, Martin and Capri's mom) went to Girona at Sergi's suggestion. I really wish we had been able to spend more time there, because it was amazing! We saw a few of the locations where they shot Game of Thrones and walked along the entire wall that runs around the city.

Capri and Sergi's wedding was on the 4th, and it was hands down the best wedding I'll ever go to. The location was beautiful, the food was delicious, and the dancing lasted until after 3am.

Missing this Tordera house!

July:

With a trip to the Enchantments coming up soon, I went on a soggy hike with Capri, Raj and Amy to Mount Defiance.

For the second year in a row, I participated in Ragnar Northwest Passage. This year I was on a different team, with Carly, Annie, Kim, Carly's stepbrother David, and his friend Katie. We had more than our fair share of issues, including a flat tire before 5am and an injured runner, but we finished!

August:

I took a day off from work so that my mom and I could watch a Seahawks practice.

And right afterwards, I went hiking to Rachel Lake with Raj and Capri!

September:

Raj won the lottery for an Enchantments permit in the Stuart Lake Zone! This meant we had to hike up Aasgard Pass to get into the core zone, and...I ended up having a panic attack as we made our way over there. I still had a good time, even though I did have to spend 6+ hours by myself waiting for the rest of the group to come back. I think I made the right decision about not going up, especially since I hadn't been training and hadn't even been running because of a stress fracture. At least I got to try out my new ultralight one-person tent!

October:

Not a very exciting month, as most of it was spent cleaning and organizing my condo. I didn't even do anything for Halloween! But I did go to the Seahawks game against the Falcons with Mariana while she was in town for less than 24 hours!

November:

When the Seahawks schedule was announced earlier this year and I saw that they were playing in Tampa after Thanksgiving, I pretty much immediately booked my trip down there. Luther's parents overlapped with me by a few days, but we all had a great time, as always! If only the Seahawks we know and love had shown up for that game, too... I didn't see any dolphins or manateezes during the trip this time, but I did see Mariana and Luther's new house! Hopefully I can visit again soon!

December:

This month flew by, and I didn't really take very many pictures, honestly. We went to see A Christmas Carol at the ACT Theatre on Mom's birthday, with dinner at Sullivan's beforehand. A few days later, we did my birthday present for her, which was to see the Theater Anonymous production of It's a Wonderful Life.

The Seahawks played on Christmas Eve, and since Mariana and Luther were in town for it and the holidays, we did a big tailgate, arriving before 9:30am. I was under-dressed and freezing for most of the day, so I don't think I'll make that mistake again. I couldn't find anyone else to go with me to the game, but luckily Mariana offered to sit with me for the second half!

Stephanie and Ryan couldn't come up for Christmas, so we Skyped with them in the morning and took a (blurry) family picture (with the dogs, too, of course).

Stephanie and Ryan actually arrived on the 29th, and we had a family dinner in Renton on the 30th with Pat, Mike and Donita.

And, I guess that's 2016! Of course, there were many more moments where photos weren't taken, as well. The year had its ups and downs, but I'm glad for the time I spent with everyone!

2016 Resolutions

Here we are on January 1, 2016, so what better time to share what I plan to do and achieve during the new year?

  • Use all my vacation time

This was a goal last year, and I ALMOST made it! I only lost two days, and hopefully I can get that down to zero this year. I'm going to Capri and Sergi's wedding in June and will try to make a decent vacation out of that trip, so hopefully that will help! I also hope to go to Arizona and Florida at some point, as well, and I'll likely have to take a few days off for CPA exam studying...

  • Read at least two books per month

I always try to read 40 books each year and fail miserably, but in 2015, that was largely because of school. I'll still be in school during 2016, but I'd like to try to read more than I did last year, even if that means swapping out a few Netflix binges.

  • Keep my condo tidier/organized

This is a really hard one for me every year, but I'm 30 now, and should be able to adult better, right? (Yes, I just used "adult" as a verb.)

  • Pass three sections of the CPA exam

If I have things planned correctly with school, I will start studying for the exam in May. Goodbye, life!