Only RICH People Ride Buses

Only RICH People Ride Buses

Err…not last time I checked!!

Or so some dude named Dori said. I saw the link to his article on this Seattle Transit Blog and it inspired me to make the image that you see here. The logic being that it is HORRIBLE logic. I have lived many many years riding on public transportation and for a lot of those I didn’t have a car. I wanted one, but unlike this people in the study this guy Dori is referencing I was not rich.

I have been a student, pregnant woman, disabled woman, woman holding a baby, and all of that on the bus and I would just be laughing at this campaign because it is so so obvious that it needs to be a YES but then again that is how I felt when we had the junk food tax, and the rich tax that both got beaten down by some good marketing. I remember for those campaigns I was living in a part of Seattle that did not have very many wealthy people in it, but I remember the signs just peppering the streets claiming that their taxes would be going up (total bullshit). I thought people in Seattle, a place KNOWN for having smart people would look at the details and realize that it really wouldn’t impact them unless they could well, afford to have it affect them. Then the junk food tax?? Don’t get me started. I am like you know someone who attributes healthy eating to my healthy body and absolutely think that these foods that are giving us diabetes and making us obese pay out some of that just like cigarettes and alcohol do but this time the polls showed that it was more important to keep our soda cheap than to provide healthcare to children that need it.

Okay, I’ll step off my soapbox now…but SEATTLE!! PLEASE!! Let’s make our city a better place to live…the more of us on buses the less of us in cars, the less of us in cars the less pollution, the less pollution the fresher our lovely air is for us to breath. Fresher the air is for our children’s children’s children to breath and so on.

So, about those tabs, I am feeling the need to make another graphic. I looked up the bus fares, and the highest fare is $3, the lowest is a $.75 for a reduced far for senior citizens, people on medicare or with disabilities. This means that the one year numbers add up to between $234 and $1560 approximately for Senior/Disabled and 2 Zone Full Far bus riders.

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Before I Blogged (flashback!!)

After making my first online professional profile page (I love it!) I found myself looking up logos for companies that I worked for in the past…then that got me looking up some of MY old sites (like this one, about a decade ago) and found a sweet version of what would soon be this blog… it is a pregnancy log from my first pregnancy that took place in 2006 my Pregnancy Web Log which I had linked off of what this site once was (of 2005)

Screenshot from April 2006

My personal portfolio site from a decade ago…

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Afternoon Commute

I’m thinking about adding an hour to my commute.

Ok, that sounds a little intense, I guess if I subtract, from the hour that my new commute would take, the current time I spend walking to the bus stop and on the bus, I’m really only adding about 20-30min depending on what bus I take.

See, what happened is that I was at work this afternoon/evening, it was between the typical end of the day (5:30) and about 6:15 or so, I missed my bus, got an email that upset me a little bit, and long story short, was NOT interested in standing at the bus stop for 20m waiting for the bus.

So I started walking.

I felt kind of depressed, I felt like talking about it but I didn’t know who to call. It made me think about a blog post I read the other day titled “Riches to Rags” and I was thinking about posting a response. I wanted to write about stuff like, finding jobs to make friends yet how those work friends sometimes are purely seasonal, and/or how crazy it feels to walk by so many people on the sidewalk in a day (I walked more than 6 today!)…with only a few who make eye contact. I wanted to expand on how lonely it can be in a room full of people, and about efforts I’ve made in my past to try to make friends that are comical to look back on… in part because they didn’t work. I think all experiences are valuable though.

Baby Magnolia Tree

Breaks my heart to see how confined this tree is.

I walked by a magnolia tree. I have walked by MANY of these, and yes they are beautiful, but the ones that I saw were so contained. Surrounded by and planted within the concrete that we walk on known as “sidewalk”. I admired the huge magnolias I saw in some yards, and I cried for those baby trees that I don’t think will last for more than a few years, and if they do it will be because they fought for it.

That “because they fought for it” part cheered me up. It got me thinking about trauma…and how beautiful it is. Realizing that some, if not most, of my best and most long lasting friendships were either created from, during, or even sometimes because of trauma. I thought of when I suddenly couldn’t walk back in 1999, and it is easy to remember who was there for me. Equally who wasn’t, and those lessons make intentions and where effort should be spent crystal clear.

I even started to miss NYC a little bit, I’m not sure if it was because I was craving human interaction that is inevitable on the streets of NYC, or if it was simply because I miss my friends.

When I talked to that nice guy, probably about 10-20 years my senior with the skateboard, it was fun, but I felt kind of bad when he fell and his skateboard went down the hill I was imagining riding a bike down. He said it is good that my son (at 2) is interested in and getting started with skateboards.

I didn't expect to see this on my way home from work.

I didn’t expect to see this on my way home from work.

Soon after that, of all things, walking within the Seattle city limits I found what looked like a swamp. I stopped walking so I could take it in, and took a picture with my phone. It was so beautiful, yet so, odd at the same time. Right by a mall, and apartments, and with a little blue condom right between the “nature” and the street. I laughed as I imagined the interaction that led to that little treasure, was it teens in a car? Trying to walk to the park (aka swamp)? I didn’t know, but I bet it was an interesting experience.

I thought about when I couldn’t walk right, but never stopped, and I laughed. I celebrated my ability to walk and I am sensing a new routine. Maybe even a reason to start getting up earlier.

I started thinking about what feeds my soul, and who I really am. I remembered when I wanted to have and imagined myself with dreadlocks…and imagined cutting half my hair off, dreading it, and then going with a crazy short cut when I was done with that phase. I thought about spending days, multiple days just walking around and paying attention to the world around me, just so I could reflect on it. Maybe taking pictures like I did when I was in college, it was before I knew about blogs and I used to update my site daily with new pictures I took during the day.

I realized walking without words was a kind of meditation.

Every person I saw with a dog I felt connected to…because they made eye contact and then I told them how beautiful their dog is. I was glad they went for a walk at the same time I was out.

Thank you for reading, this is kind of a summary touching on some of my deepest thoughts…maybe I’ll link out and expand sometime.

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Winter Memories…

So, here in Seattle this year we didn’t get much snow…I hear that it is still happening on the other side of the country but here I only remember about, 2 days of snow. Most recent one, was on a Sunday, I remember because of this picture I took:
2014 Snowman Moment
I was at Center for Spiritual Living that day and it really wasn’t very eventful, but I remember this moment, probably looking for my kids or something, and this little snowman caught my attention.

I was so enamored with it I literally got down on the ground to get the angle I wanted and took a picture of the little guy. I just thought that it totally represented what a “Snow Day in Seattle” is. It was the way the little guy was already melting, even though I knew it was just built with the new snow…I fell in love with it, took a picture, then found the kids.

It was probably about an hour later that my husband came back from his meeting or wherever he was, and after chatting for a while suddenly said, “Did you see my snowman?”. I cracked up and pulled out my phone to show him this picture…and still am convinced that I must have felt his energy in that snowman and was drawn to take a picture because of that…

Hope your snow days treated you well…

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Float Tank Experience

Today after work I had my first experience of sensory deprivation. I got this deal off of Groupon for it and was pleased to realize how close it is to my job!

I knew I’d be doing the Float Tank session and so made a point to (like usual) stop drinking coffee or tea after noon, and when I got my lunch I was able to rationalize a coconut based smoothie (both the meat and the water) and slurped that down knowing I’d be taking in the goodness from both the inside and the outside. I had a gluten-free veggie pita too which was yummy. Geoff and I have recently cut meat out of our diet and it definitely slims my local lunch options!

So anyway, I’d planned to work late since my appointment wasn’t until six but I worked later than I really meant to, I think I got there about five (instead of ten) minutes early. I walked into the place and there was a nice man working there who helped me get all ready and showed me around while I sipped the cup tea he gave me. I used the bathroom before going in and I’m glad I did because I noticed they had a hair dryer at this point! I’d noticed someone leaving there with wet hair when I’d been there to make my appointment so I was very pleased to make this little discovery.

When I went into the room that holds the float tank I disrobed, and took a shower. They have a nice single shower stall that is bigger than most with one of those cool shower heads that drips the water out like it is raining. They had organic/natural soap and shampoo on hand too which I also appreciated after a long day at work.

After my shower, I dried my face (he’d recommended this) and climbed into the tank. It wasn’t until I was in there and had floated for a moment that I remembered the ear plugs he’d told me to use, so I got back out, put those in, and then climbed back into the tank.

The tank is pretty big…though I did wonder if it would be long enough for my husband (who I’m sharing my groupon with so he can try!). I know they have different size tanks though so I figure one must be longer.

Anyway, so I climbed into the tank, which felt kind of slippery but not excessively so. I floated. It is definitely kind of trippy to be able to just float like that…I kind of felt like if I fully relaxed my head then my eyes might submerge, but they didn’t. I also noticed my arms, when next to me, naturally moved toward my body, as if I had my hands loosely on my hips, this was kind of distracting so I tried putting my arms up, which was great because I realized that if I wrapped some of my hair which was of course all spread out in the water) around my fingers, then the buoyancy of my arms kind of supported my head which helped me relax a little bit more.

I was saying some affirmations about love, spirit, stuff like that, and I remembered that the man there also recommended stretching, which was a GREAT idea considering I was so sore from the yoga class I took last Saturday. So I started doing sort of a floating version of side bends, in my yoga class we’d done a version of cat/cow that involved bringing the right shoulder toward the right hip to stretch the left side, so that kind of describes how I did that. Other than those things I focused on breathing. I also turned out the light, they have a button with which I could do that so I figured I might as well so I would stop looking around me thinking about how funny it was that I was floating in a box.

When the music started…I knew it was time to get out. I exited the tank and got back into the shower and washed off. When my hand brushed my nose I noticed it seemed to have salt crystals on the top of it, which I thought was funny. I felt relatively normal, in good spirits and relaxed. I was getting dressed and realized I did it in the wrong order which I also thought was funny, because I put on my shoes before my pants, so once I addressed that I headed to the bathroom, chatted for a minute and then dried my hair. It was a good one so this didn’t take long.

After I came out of the bathroom I was offered a water and I took that with me as I walked to Starbucks to get a Rooibos Tea to walk home with as it is still a little bit chilly outside even with my dry hair. I felt very present, and aware. For example when a man crossed the street toward me, and was talking on his phone, and walked by me without making eye contact I started thinking about how new cel phones are. We didn’t used to have the option of talking to someone who wasn’t there while we were walking. It made me wonder if that meant that it used to be considered more rude to walk by someone without saying hello than it is now. I made a mental note to let my kids know that people didn’t always talk on phones while they were walking and also to be more conscious of my surroundings next time I am out in public having a conversation with someone not there, and to tell them it used to be strange to walk around alone talking to someone somewhere far away, because they couldn’t hear you!

Soon I got to where I crossed the freeway and that was beautiful, I looked up toward the sky and noticed that I could very clearly see lots of stars. I never thought of the freeway as a place to go star gazing! I looked for my favorite constellation, the Big Dipper but I didn’t see it, one of them was bright enough that I think it was the North Star though.

Everyone was home once I got there which was a nice surprise and now here I am! I feel pretty relaxed still and will definitely float again…I’m curious to see how my experiences change because I was told that it takes a few sessions to really kick in, and while I’m not sure what that means, I imagine it means I’ll be able to more easily meditate and turn off all the thoughts in my mind which would be really really nice.

Alright, now it is time to finish my dinner and start packing…we should be in our new house in about 2 weeks and hopefully get most of our stuff there sooner. Let the purging of most and packing of the rest begin!!

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Visualizing Data

Alright, I’m sure you all knew this would happen at some point. I have found what Tableau has that is called “Tableau Public” and I am learning all about data visualization…of course as a concept this isn’t new to me, I remember learning about the Napoleon Battle and seeing Edward Tuftes visualization of that:

…but the way Tableau has it set up so I can use my .xlsx files from, well from wherever to create kick ass graphics and charts is kind of, um, well stimulating.

So far the biggest challenge is finding the right data…of course I have my data from sites that I have, some google analytics and also things like the demographic data of the members of some of my sites:

So let’s just say I have a newfound respect for Data Mining…and I’m excited to learn more about using live databases, databases constantly being added to and changing, to create the dynamic visual representations of said data. If you can’t see the graphic above and instead see a big white space…I’m still learning to properly embed my can see my PROFILE too, as it has links to the visualizations I have created…

Need I refer to my “Medical Analytics Fantasy“? It’s still on my mind…I’ve been teased by some seemingly relevant innovations on this one but it has not yet fully manifested as my fully crowd-sourced medical goldmine of data yet. Someday.

So, I’ll keep working on my Tableau skills and hopefully soon you will be blown away by the data I was able to get a hold of to communicate to you here…then you’ll be sharing it, talking about it, conversations will start and it will be grand.

Three cheers to making the world a better place!! My next class is about data mining…I know it exists and about it as a concept, but I’m drooling a bit to get my hands on it…is that strange?

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Decided to Write

I’ve thought about writing about things like this. I’ve thought about writing about what it is like when my “MS Symptoms” happen.

Usually, by the time I realize I should or want to write about them something crazy happens, like my fingers/hands go numb or something.

This time, it’s my legs, and just my legs. In the past it’s been a full side, either my left or right side is just, “off”. Right now? It is my left leg that is the most messed up. My right leg for about a week had a strange numbness, it was more than numbness though, hot things felt cold, cold hot, and I was able to do things like was my legs, yet not feel it (no complaints with that one!!). My left leg though, is really weak. It was weak last week too but seemed to get better after a massage…so maybe I just need one of those. My left leg, basically feels like it is utterly exhausted. If you have ever lifted weights until the point of exhaustion, when you literally feel ‘gumby’ and like you can’t lift anything, and standing up (if you worked out your legs) feels close to impossible. That is about what my left leg feels like.

This means I can’t chase my kids.

This means that when I walk to work, crossing the freeway, I worry about if I might fall when I walk on the decline down the hill.

It means I really think about things like if I’m wearing shoes with heels or flats (I can ONLY wear heels if they are part of a boot and are supportive around my ankles…real heels would be like donating my ankles to a good cause!).

It means when I’m walking around my house, I actually kind of appreciate the unpacked boxes, because I can lean on them as I pass by.

It means that to find something to wear to work (yes I’m working full time now) I squat down to look in the dryer and when I ‘stand’ I fall, at least until I catch myself with my hands, because my right leg is so dramatically stronger than my left.

It means my toes are hitting almost every other step.

It means that it takes conscious effort, to empathize with a sprained back, or an ankle that got hurt, because I’m a little bit jealous that they can feel it enough to complain. I do empathize, but it is a very conscious effort.

It means I think about everything, as if it is my last day. We never know when our last day will be, and with such dramatic symptoms, it is clear that it could be WAAAY closer than expected.

It means I wonder if my stories will ever be told, be told loudly enough to make a difference.

It means I miss my kids, and sometimes am bawling at the thought I might never chase them again, or pick them up without first making sure that if I fall, I can grab something stable to keep them safe.

I don’t appreciate ANYTHING left on the floor. My toe catches. It catches on stairs, it catches when I walk downhill, and it absolutely catches on anything (blanket/clothes/toys) that I happen to step over on the floor.

Fortunately I haven’t had any bad falls yet.

I’ve been wracking my brain trying to remember all I did to try and help my condition last week. See, last week, I got WAY better. Or should I say that two weeks ago, it was bad like it is now, but then at the end of that week, I took care of myself. I got a massage, I did what I had to do. I saw my naturopath and stocked up on things like GABA to ease my mind, CALM (magnesium) for the same reason. Then this week happened.

I have been trying to stretch the Psoas (sp?) that was deemed ‘tight’ doing yoga positions like “Pigeon” whenever I can. Doing mini lunges one one foot and one knee.

I have been focusing on how much I love my legs. How much I appreciate my legs.

I have completely broken down when with my kids because I’m scared that I might not be able to chase them again.

I feel self conscious when I walk around outside, because though I’m sober for the most part, I worry that I look drunk. I pick up my son, but then I worry, I feel guilty that if I take one step “wrong” then I could fall and he could be hurt.

I’m taking my fish oil, my GABA, my DHEA, my multivitamin, Vitamin D, and Magnesium.

I’m praying to the world to please give me my legs back, and let me feel better. Let me use my body.

Posted in Health, Kristin, Multiple Sclerosis, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I <3 my Epsom Salts!!

Man, last weekend, just prior to moving into our new house I tweaked something in my back…it happened when I lifted my son either to the sink to spit out his toothpaste or when I set him down on the step in the bathroom to brush his teeth.

But however/whenever it happened, the next day, that back pain had fully transferred to my neck. Then we moved to the new house, then the whole “When Women Succeed” event and yeah…I have been dealing with this insane neck pain ever since.

Lucky for me, on Wednesday we had a masseuse come into the office, so I got a good 15min massage on my shoulders and that really did seem to help, yesterday during Thanksgiving I didn’t feel it much, but today? Today it was INTENSE. It’s the kind of pain where I try to say, lift my head when I’m laying down, to turn to the other side or something, and it is pretty excruciating.

So skip to the point of this post…Epsom Salts…Geoff and I had discussed the possibility of using them, I knew where they were, but I didn’t use them until today.

It was my first bath at our new house, and I only filled it about 6-7in or so. I poured the whole bag in, and kept the water low so that it would be as concentrated as possible. I soaked for as long as I could, and I’m not sure how long that was, but now, at least an hour or two later my neck is feeling SO SO much better.

I love that I know that magnesium is good for healing these sore muscles and the epsom salts are a good way to get it…I also have some liquid magnesium in the fridge that I’ll take orally tonight with the hopes that it will be TOTALLY better tomorrow.

Anyway, if you get any muscles that are either spasming pulled or just feeling like a big (or small hard) knot then I DEFINITELY recommend this method…I’d used heat a few times in the days prior and my bath was as hot as I can stand too, but this is lasting longer than any of those other heat techniques I was using.

I’m thankful for the Epsom Salts and all the massage therapists who have recommended them to me in the past!! I am getting better!!

While I was taking my bath I couldn’t help but think about how ironic it was considering so many people I know were talking about “brining” their turkey the day before…I LOVED being brined ;-)

Posted in Grateful, Kristin, Natural Remedy, Natural Treatment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Economic Agenda for Women…

Today was quite a day, and it is only 12:02pm right now, so technically I have not even had lunch yet…

When Women Succeed, America Succeeds

Kristin Bennett shared the stage with Representatives Adam Smith, Suzan DelBene, and U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to talk about the need for affordable childcare.

I’ll start with telling you about where I went this morning, I was at the Seattle City Hall, along with Rep. Adam Smith, Rep. Suzan DelBene, U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and two other community members speaking on a panel.

Here is the program for the event today..

Here is the program for the event today..

I was there to share my story that touches on the challenges of finding childcare, particularly when trying to go back to work after being laid off while pregnant. Fortunately for me I have a very happy ending, I am working right now at an awesome design company as an Account and Project Manager.

My husband and all three of my kids were with me at this event, as were a number of elected officials, representatives from a LOT of supporting companies and non-profits, Bill Gates Sr. and many more, there were not enough seats and there were people standing around the room.

After I spoke my piece, it was not long before my kids kind of started wandering up to me, I didn’t mind. I was done talking and I used it as an opportunity to kiss them and ask them to please walk slowly and very very quietly back to Daddy. When it was Zazen that came up to me, he wanted, Yup. You guessed it, he wanted his “Na-na” which is the word he uses to describe breastmilk. I didn’t hesitate and I propped him up on my lap, carefully lifted my top shirt, lowered my undershirt and discreetly let him quietly nurse. This lasted a few minutes and then he eventually went back to dad (with a big smile on his face!).

After the whole event was over, I was approached by at least three women who thanked me for sharing and said I did a good job, but then they got more serious, and then REALLY thanked me for nursing my son. One woman specifically thanked me for helping to be a part of normalizing this method of feeding our babies, and another reflected on her days nursing her kids in public.

I read my story off of notes provided to me based on my story, it’s all my story and it is real, and I felt like I did a pretty good job, but getting all of these messages from people who saw me caring for my son giving me acknowledgement really made my day. I am very proud of myself for not being shy about feeding my son when he is hungry, even if I am on stage with a bunch of representatives.

I’d do it again in a heartbeat, and I’m referring to both speaking out about whatever I am advocating for at the time, as well as nursing my little nursling when he needs it, no matter where I am at.

Sleepy Zazen

Here is my little prince sleeping last night, he fell asleep just after insisting that he was NOT tired…

Other coverage of this event:
Seattle P.I.
Komo News

Posted in Community, Grateful, Kristin, Mom Life, Parenting, Seattle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Working Mother

Ironic…I have been thinking about getting more posts on here, particularly about this topic of being a working mom recently. Of course that whole “being a working mom” thing has rendered me pretty tired, so it hasn’t happened.

See, working mom. Where do I start. Coming from a place of being a full on SAHM, this is how it starts. First, I increase the number of days my 4yo is in preschool. Then, I establish that my 8yo (3rd grade) can and will stay after school for a few hours. It takes a little more sensitivity/persuasion, but the other part of this is convincing the preschool my 4yo goes to to accept my 4y 4mo old son as a student…even though for preschool the usual starting age is 2.5yo.

SO, once that is in place…there is other things to be taken care of. YES 8yo is in after school care but that is $9/hr. YES the younger kids are in preschool but that ends at 1:30pm. I am expected to work until 5:30pm, so this is a problem…the texting, networking and emailing to babysitters/friends/family commences.

Ok…now we have some folks who can help with pick up. One person, a babysitter who has helped with the kids before, and is SOMETIMES available, charges $15/hr…we can make that work, it is only a few days a week. Grandma, who works a lot still can still do one day a week BONUS it is free, but it only stands if she is still in town and other complications don’t arise. Another Mom! We find another mom, $10/hr, she is great and even lives near the school, can pick the kids up and keep them for a few hours….except sometimes her son is taking a nap or she isn’t feeling well.

So commences…the whole, “I better figure out my hours this week” moment…I look at the week, mark of the days that I “know” are covered…usually by my mother in law, or my husband, and for the other days… the texts fly. I ask the mom first, she’s only $10/hr which days she can take, mark those down, confirm with husband, “Are you sure you can’ take them on ____ days?”, then I follow up with the remaining days, the uncovered days and I call the $15/hr babysitter…I see if she can or can not pick up the days on those days. Then I look at the hours I’ll be able to be at work, I mark them on my calendar, and I send them to my team. “And so it is.”

Ok, after school is pretty much taken care of…hen look at the meetings I have that week…ok only two days I have to be at work before nine, so I confirm with my husband if he can or can not cover those days. I mark the calender for the days I do not have coverage, I’ll be in by 9 on those days…IF I can get the lunches made and be out of the house by about 8:20…otherwise I’m closer to 9:15.

I’m almost out of what I’m calling this “transitional phase” that represents us moving into our next house and me working full-time…this represents when my husband takes over most of the kid time. Though with the fluctuating requirements of his time and more, it is all questionable. This is the transitional time of MOMMY GOING BACK TO WORK.

It is a time we will all remember. It is a time that will never be forgotten.

I left out the parts about kids being hurt, who had to deal with it, and what was done about it…another time that will be mentioned. Good night. Mommy must sleep to deal with tomorrow. Maybe I should make some lunches first….

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