Things I’ve learned from Pokemon Go

Ok, I give in, I am actually playing Pokemon Go. And J has been unable to resist, after walking around the block with me the other night, and doing all sorts of game research “for me” LOL He downloaded it last night and got to level 5 in one night walk to Delaware Park hahahaha. So we’re going to brunch and on a pokemon date tomorrow. There is a definite lack of pokemon activity in my neighborhood.

So now, my continually updated list of Things I’ve Learned From Pokemon Go

  1. There is a JFK memorial in the little cemetery across the street from the NTPD. (But it appears it’s no longer there, or I’m just blind because I couldn’t find the stone)
  2. There is a nature preserve with trails in NT: The North Tonawanda Audubon Nature Preserve (also known as the Klydel Wetlands). http://www.buffaloaudubon.org/tonawandaklydel.php (Ok, now that I looked it up, I did sort of know it was there, because they started talking about it when I was finishing high school, BUT I didn’t know it was that big, I only knew the yellow trail.)
  3. There is a mini Statue of Liberty across from the Twist of the Mist near the Rainbow Bridge.

 

To be continued….

Pokemon Go

So it’s been 3 days since the world went nutso over the new Pokemon Go app. I started seeing posts about it Monday so I dled it to see what it was. Now, I am of the age where I missed the Pokemon phenomenon, and I really know almost nothing about it. But this game is brilliant. I can understand how people who are younger than me, and were into Pokemon, are going bananas. It really is just such a great concept, to get people out and active, walking around to collect pokemon, get to stops and gyms to train and battle, meet other players in real life, discover your city. It’s just fantastic. Now I’m not really playing, I just wanted to see what it was like, and then I went out to the Terminal today to see if there were any there, so I could get a neat looking screen cap. (I did, plus it’s a gym and there are 2 pokestops there too) I wish I could be more into it, it seems fun, but I don’t expect to play more because I’m just not going to walk around alone, looking at my phone all the time. But perhaps I’ll keep it on the phone to potentially get creative screenshots.

In garden news, I harvested all my garlic this week. At the garlic seminar I went to with Susan a few years ago, I swear the instructor said to wait 3 weeks after the solstice to harvest, so that’s what I’ve been doing and it seems to be a good time to do it. I harvested 21 Japanese garlic bulbs (a spicy variety I got at the seminar), 40 bulbs from cloves I saved from last year’s harvest, and 26 from cloves from the farmers market last fall….It’s a lot of garlic. Every year I just get more out of control, planting more, I need to dial it back a bit this year. Even giving half of last years harvest to my mom, we still both have cloves frozen in jars in the freezer. I may try to dehydrate some as an experiment, and maybe make my own garlic powder.

The peas are nearly finished, and the green beans are just starting to come in. The reseeded tomatoes have gone nuts, I’m not even going to be able to reach all of them (again). Lots of peppers on the plants too.

 

I’ve been watching Doctor Who to finally finish last season, but I’ve only been half paying attention while playing a game on the laptop and typing this. They seem like important episodes (Clara dying, the Doctor mourning), maybe I should watch them again…

My letter to Hogwarts

Today I received my letter to attend Hogwarts. FINALLY! Sadly I am nearly 36 now, and I don’t think I’ll be able to attend, so I wrote them a letter.

 

Dear Professor McGonagall,

I was very excited today to receive my invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry beginning September 1st. Unfortunately, your owl seems to have gotten very lost or distracted on his way to deliver my letter, as it is 25 years late. If your owl ever does return to you, perhaps you should let him retire, as he has put in a lot of work getting the letter to me, or perhaps he is not very good at his job.

Given that I am nearly 36 years old, I don’t feel that my attendance at Hogwarts would be welcome any longer. However I was wondering if you might offer adult education classes at night or on weekends, or maybe have an online school I can attend as I am also not particularly close to Scottland. Or maybe there is a GMED (general magical education development) class I could attend instead, so I could then continue my studies at Wizard College.

Please let me know what my options are, as I am very excited to (finally) receive my magical education, even if it is as an older student. I look forward to hearing from you, may I suggest a faster owl this time though?

Yours,

Sara Etten

gardening!

It’s that time again, it’s finally sort of warm out (70) with little threat of super cold nights (under 50), time to get the plants in.

My garlic from November has gone craaaazy. It feels way taller than usual for the end of May, but who knows. I got the broccoli, kale, onion, potatoes and peas in over the last month (oh and carrots) and they are finally getting bigger. I had to reseed some peas that didn’t sprout, so they’re a little behind but it’s ok. Green bean seeds went in on Friday, and I was able to get my seedlings in yesterday and today.

I tried to downsize again this year, because I plan to “cook” the bed behind the house, and cover crop it in the fall so I had to plant all the early crops back there. That leaves a smaller space for everything else, especially the peppers. I had planned to do only 4 of each kind of pepper – hot portugal, hot banana, jalapeno and bell – but the nursery had 6 packs so I had to rearrange a bit. I kept to my plan with the tomatoes tho – only 2 cherry tomato plants, and 4 large tomatoes (New Yorker type, never had it before). The cherry tomatoes are all reseeding from last year, which I was planning for, so I should still end up drowning in them later in the summer. 3 cukes instead of 2, so I’ll be overloaded, and right now just one eggplant. I thought I was out of room by the fence, but I have space for a few more things if mom wants to get anything else.

I planted 3 kinds of potatoes in the bag, a regular yukon or something, and then red and blue Adirondack. It’ll be neat to see if they work out well and I have fancy colorful potatoes.

I still need to get some basil, and I planted something called a mushroom plant – an herb with leaves that are supposed to taste like mushrooms, for salads or stir fry or whatever. We’ll see.

no one can ever be happy for you part 2

It’s been a week since “the news” broke about my promotion. The hate has slowed down, but it still bothers me. I was congratulated by one of the people who thought they were a sure thing, and I know he was super super upset he didn’t get it, but at least he was cordial to me. I’m trying to give 0 fux about the whole thing, I’ve spoken to a few of my friends who are above me, and I know they are all sure of their decision, but when you hear that someone who is supposed to be a friend is talking shit about how I’m not qualified for the position, it stings a bit. And it’s fucking nonsense. How much more experience do you want!?!?

It’s also super frustrating to hear that I only got the position because I’m a woman. Fuck. Off. Other women applied, why didn’t they get it? Why didn’t both open spots go to women? Maybe I got it because I’M FUCKING GOOD AT MY JOB.

It’s really mind blowing to me that people think I’m not qualified. Before this you could ask anyone who the best dealer at ____ game was, and they’d say me (except craps!). You could ask what supervisor someone wants in their pit, because they do a good job, and I’d be on the list. But now, I’m not good enough, I’m just a woman.

 

aweriuawejfg;iuorjeagsuojrkjbfgu;jnjbagh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I can’t imagine being a minority and dealing with these kind of statements my whole life. The sexism is bad enough, to have to deal with the racism too….Ugh.  At least no one has said I got the job because I was blowing the director (no, surely someone HAS said that.)

no one can ever be happy for you

I applied for a promotion at work a few weeks ago. I wasn’t sure I had a chance in getting it, despite being qualified, because there were only 2 positions open and a lot of interest from very good candidates. But I got it. !!! Yay!

That’s the good news. The bad news is now half my coworkers are pissed off and talking shit.

I’ve gotten a variety of reactions, from sincere congratulations, and people being glad that management finally made a good decision, to surprise, and to insincere congratulations and anger.

I was surprised myself, because the way things have gone in the past, management seemed to always know who they wanted for the positions, and the interviews were rather irrelevant. So everyone assumed who the 2 were going to be, and that didn’t include me. I’m hoping the people who were surprised at the choice to promote me were surprised for this reason, and not because they don’t think I can do the job. (And that does seem to be the case.)

In one way, the anger I understand, as it’s coming from other applicants. I got the job, and they didn’t, so that’s fine. However some of it’s a bit misguided because some of the applicants thought they were basically guaranteed the job but I got it instead and they are incredulous that I could have possibly gotten it.

Do I really need to go through my qualifications? Do people really think I’m not going to do a good job, or that they would be better at it? Is 13 years with the company, 4 in management, plus previous management training and experience not count? Does my 4 year college degree not count?

So I’ve gotten some congratulations from these people, but they seem to be half hearted, and I’d rather they not say anything at all. But I suppose it’s better than the cold shoulder, and an unwillingness to help me, which I experienced last night on the craps game.

I know the “experience” thing comes down to craps. I am the first to admit I do not have a lot of experience dealing craps, but you know what? Neither do a lot of our current managers (including one of the shit talkers who is already in the position I just got) and they are able to do their jobs just fine. The candidates who have a ton of experience are upset that they got passed over by someone without the knowledge they have, I understand. But maybe they should look at the other requirements of the job, at their personal performance, etc before they criticize me and my ability that hasn’t even been demonstrated yet. If I end up sucking at the job and being unable to perform duties related to managing a craps game, then by all means, criticize me. Or help me and teach me what I need to know to properly manage the game, which has little to do with being able to actually deal it proficiently. That’s why on the list of requirements of the job “management knowledge” is all that is needed in a game if you have enough experience in all the other games (which I do.)

I shouldn’t be upset at the “hate-orade” and shit talking, because upper management, the people who matter, chose me to do the job. They think I can do it, and do it well. But it feels shitty to thank a person for their help and advice before my interview, to have them congratulate me and offer their help in training, only to find out they told other people that they don’t agree with my being chosen, that I don’t have enough experience. It feels shitty to work with another applicant and have them not speak to you at all. It sucks to have to wonder who really is happy for me and wants me to succeed, and who is talking shit about me to everyone else.

Washington DC 2016

It was time for my randomly booked vacation week, and while I waited and waited for the DC Bloody Mary Fest to announce a date, so I could change my week and try to go at that time, they take forever and I finally gave up and just booked a trip to visit Cassie during my already booked week. So I went Thursday night til Monday night, and it wouldn’t be one of my vacations unless it threatened rain the entire time and was cool and gloomy. It ended up only in the 50s most of the time, but I didn’t get really rained on until leaving for the airport to go home. And really, 50s is ok, it’s not hot and unpleasant, and not freezing.

Arrived Thursday late afternoon and basically just hung out, with the intent to go to bed fairly early so we could get up early to make the trek down to the Williamsburg area. The main reason to go down there was to try to visit the field of President heads that was featured in Smithsonian Magazine a few months ago. From our recon, it looked like it wouldn’t be too hard to just drive by the farmhouse and keep going, because it looked like a normal road. When we got there we found it was a private road, which we went down anyway, but there was a ton of construction going on on the property, and no way to drive past the house toward the heads. Lots of people were around and looking at us as we turned around, so sadly, no President head photos. Since we were down that way, and we didn’t have an interest in spending $50 to visit Colonial Williamsburg reenactment site, we passed that and went to the real historical site of the Jamestowne colony. When you approach the area of the colony, you come to this fancy building, and for $17 you get to go through the site and see reenacters and exhibits, and learn about the colony….we bought tickets, but then looking through the map brochure, I noticed that this wasn’t really where we wanted to be. We had planned to visit the actual site, where they’re still doing archaeological digs, and was part of the National Park system. So we asked the ticket lady and she said no, that wasn’t where we were, we had to keep driving past that area, and gave us a refund. We almost got fooled into another “silly” reenactment area!! (Ok it’s probably nice, it’s part of the Virginia Museum system or whatever, but it’s not the National Park). Cheaters. Stealing the park’s tourists. We got where we wanted to be, and spent a few hours walking around the original colony site and seeing some of the current digs still being worked on. It was neat. Grabbed some food, got a speeding ticket 🙁 and headed back to Reston for the night.

Saturday was still gloomy, but had a better forecast (no rain) than Sunday so our goal was the National Arboretum in DC. Grabbed some brunch (even if I didn’t attend a bloody mary fest, I made my own, with 4 different places), and on the way to brunch passed Arlington Cemetery, and decided to detour and go visit since I hadn’t been there before. It was really nice, and we had perfect timing to witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Spent a few hours walking around there, and decided to go to the Arboretum anyway, though it was late. I was hungry by then, and another potential bloody mary stop I had mapped out was on the way so we stopped at Union Market to grab one. Union Market is a really cool place full of all kinds of different little lunch counters set up. Very hipster lol. All the food offerings looked really good, if I lived there I’d definitely frequent it. It’s sorta what the new Expo Market in Buffalo is aspiring to be, but 4 times as big. My bloody mary from Buffalo and Bergen came with a bagel sandwich with lox, cream cheese, onion and capers. Dear lord it was ridiculous, and it was a good lunch. Eventually made it to the Arboretum with an hour to go, and checked out just a little bit of it. It would be a cool place to visit again, lots of trails to investigate. Saturday night we went to see Cassie’s friend play jazz at a cajun place in Manassas.

Sunday was supposed to storm so we chose that day to go to the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum in VA so I could see the space shuttle Discovery. Gah. I’d been to the DC Air and Space a few times, and I’m really not an airplane person, but space craft is a different story. It is so amazing, and I wasn’t sure I’d not cry (I wanted to, but I managed to keep it in). All the other air craft at the museum is nice too, some really cool looking planes, the Concorde, plus the ridiculously awesome SR-71 Blackbird spy plane (the other centerpiece of the museum after the shuttle). But the shuttle!!! They did a super nice job with the hangar they built for it, and your initial impression of it when you walk in, it’s awesome. That’s the only word for it, used the appropriate way. Full of awe. I get amazed sometimes about what humans have accomplished, this was one of those times. They have a whole host of other space craft, like the various Mercury capsules (they had John Glenn’s Friendship 7 in the restoration hangar, which was awesome), and an area of hanging satellites which were super cool. Just so much awesome. Highly recommended. (That night, we looked up where the other shuttles ended up and Atlantis is at Kennedy Space Center, in an equally awesome display, so now I have to go there, and one ended up in LA and their eventual permanent display is going to have it displayed vertically with the rocket boosters, which will also be amazing). I managed to only spend $50 at the gift shop, and $12 of that was to become a member of the Smithsonian (suggestive selling at work). I got a mug in the shape of the bottom of a rocket, a neat 3-d metal puzzle/model of the shuttle, a shuttle pen (not an astronaut pen, those are $30) and a memo holder that looks like Sputnik!!! So cool, so nerdy.

Monday Cassie had to work and I had the whole day to be a tourist before my flight home, so she dropped me off at the subway and I went downtown. My plan was the National Zoo, and then I figured I’d stop by the monuments for a bit because I hadn’t gone to them since the 8th grade class field trip in 1994. Then there was a fog advisory, and I thought, holy crap that’s probably awesome looking so I flipped my plan and went to the monuments first (the fog had lifted mostly by the time I got there but there was still a bit hiding the top of Washington, so it was neat). I started with the Einstein statue on the way to Lincoln, where I spent 5 minutes watching a bird fight. It was so weird. Einstein is a little pudgy and cute. Onto Lincoln and the reflecting pool. I thought about renting a bike share, because I knew it was going to be a bit of a hike to get from Lincoln to Jefferson, but I didn’t know what I’d do with it while I went into the monuments, since I had no lock so I just walked. FDR was one of my goals because I’d never been to that monument, and along the way was the Korean War monument (new since my last visit 22 years ago lol) and MLK monument (new in the last few years). The Korea monument was really very nice, no one was at MLK because it’s sorta in between the reflecting pool area, and the tidal basin, and if you’re walking the signage isn’t fantastic to get to the tidal basin. I had to back track a bit to find where I needed to go to get to MLK and FDR. Lots of people at FDR because there were buses. FDR, my fav president! He had a nice memorial with lots of waterfalls, lots of great quotes, and everything had braille which I thought was neat. One area of these bronze columns and bronze panels could have used some interpretation, I really couldn’t figure out what it was representing, and I tried to listen into one of the field trips but couldn’t quite hear. Since I had already made it that far, I continued walking to the Jefferson Memorial, which we had only driven by on the bus in 8th grade. He has a nice fairly simple memorial, with a nice view across the tidal pool. I was ready to move on to the zoo, so I googled the closest metro stop, and walking there took me past Washington (which I also haven’t really been to, but am not really interested in). So I saw them all except Vietnam, which I’ve been to twice, and there was no need to visit again (I have no family attachment, and you only really need to look up Thomas Fox, the guy who’s name my childhood street was named after, once.)

The National Zoo was fairly nice, though not my favourite zoo ever. They have giant pandas, including a baby, which is the main draw to the zoo at the moment. It is an Olmsted designed park/zoo (it seems like they all are!), and I actually hated the layout. It wasn’t really a loop, so I ended up missing things, having to back track to areas 3 or 4 times, and when I decided I was done and it was time to leave (skipping Amazonia because I wasn’t backtracking AGAIN), I had to walk through the entire zoo again to get out and get back to the metro, which was a mile away. The sun finally came out while at the zoo and it got pretty hot, and I got sunburned of course. The pandas were nice to see, tho I’d seen some, and a baby, in San Diego with the Foos. Buffalo Zoo has a nicer bird house, with a ton of birds, where DC’s had a parrot a duck and 2 peacocks….I thought I was missing something. They had 2 sand cats, which were super cute (they look like house cats, but live in the desert), and 2 adorable baby fennec foxes. They had a bunch of big cats, lions, tigers, cheetah. A whole group of elephants. It was nice, just not mind blowing. The Phoenix zoo’s monkey enclosure where they run around you was one of the best zoo things I’ve been in, nothing like that here.

So I headed back to the subway, and to Reston and Cassie picked me up at the station. Grabbed dinner, and relaxed before my flight. Enter giant thunderstorms and torrential rain. My flight was delayed, but then not delayed. Of course, the exact time we had to leave for the airport was the worst of the rain, and I had to run to the car through rivers of water running down the sidewalks, and step into a pond in the parking lot to get in the car, where the water was over my shoes and my sneakers filled with enough water that I had to pour it out. So my flight home I had soaking wet freezing feet, but at least it wasn’t cancelled like my normal luck flying. Then I get home to find my furnace has broken and it was 58 in my house, so I couldn’t even get warm lol. Life.

Had a great time, saw so much stuff. I bought a jawbone fitness tracker a few months ago, and this was my first vacation with it, and I had been wondering how much walking you/I do on vacation. In my normal life, though I walk a lot at work, I rarely get over the 10,000 step goal unless I’ve jogged 2 miles and/or went shopping somewhere. The Arlington day measured almost 12,000 steps, 5 miles, but Monday…dear god I got almost 28,000 steps, which was 12 miles LOL. My feet were hurting so bad at the end when I had to walk all the way back through the zoo, and I was so hot, but no blisters, so that’s good. I’d not have made it if there were blisters. The other 2 days hovered around 6-7k, which seems kinda low. I chalk it up to the tracker not being good at measuring “slow walking”, which there was a lot of at the museum. Suuuuper sore now though, I think I’ll be just fine sitting on the couch all day waiting for the furnace guy.

Asides:

  • DC is a good place to take a family because all of the Smithsonian related museums are free. So if you’ve got a couple and a bunch of kids, you aren’t spending $100s to get entry into each museum. I guess parking is expensive ($15 flat at Udvar, hourly at Arlington, $25 or something at the zoo), but if you stay in the right place, a lot is walkable.
  • I know that we were probably equally obnoxious to other visitors when we went in 8th grade, but we didn’t all have our heads in our phones, taking tons of selfies with selfie sticks, etc. I do remember a teacher scolding me and a friend for imitating a statue of a nurse holding a body (WWII female/nurse memorial or something), and I didn’t understand it as disrespectful at the time, but it was, and these kids were the same…taking photos behind the men standing in a bread line at the FDR memorial…but here, their teachers were taking the photos, not scolding them.
  • I had to pee at the Lincoln Memorial, and the bathrooms are ground level to the left if you’re looking at the front. I mention this because there is also a small museum on that side, with photos of the construction, different events and protests there, and it was really cool and probably not many people know it’s there. THEN you can take an elevator back up into the memorial instead of going back out and taking the stairs again (because I wasn’t done shooting it).

 

And now a political aside. All these Presidential monuments feature quotes from each one, profound, inspiring statements from speeches and writings. Regardless of what side of the political spectrum you are on, these quotes and these accomplishments are inspiring. Then you think about what this election has become, and the things that get said, and wonder….in 2050, or 2100, what is President Trump’s memorial going to look like? (Who am I kidding, President Trump will start building his own monument as soon as he takes the oath.) Something gold and phallic I’m sure (yes I know all obelisks are phallic, but it will be the greatest, the most phallic obelisk). Epic quotes like, “I have the best words” and “bleeding out of wherever”…”I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”…”The beauty of me is that I’m very rich”…”My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”

What have we become?

dream

I had a baby, and I did not care about it AT ALL. I had no attachment to it whatever, I wasn’t even sure it was alive because it didn’t cry or make and noise, or move really. I left it with someone to go on vacation, and came back and hadn’t missed it at all (“it” lol, it was a boy). I picked it up to try to act like a real mom, and burp it, and it finally started moving and stuff. I had no equipment for a baby, like a crib or changing table, or diapers or anything. I was holding it and I realized that it was going to turn into a crazy serial killer, or possessed demon like the kid in the Omen, because of a lack of parental attachment. And as I was holding it, it started turning red and shaking, the eyes turned red, and steam was coming out of it’s ears and I was like, yep, I was right, it’s already a demon, I should kill it. Suddenly it got really small, and fit in my hand like an action figure, so I figured I could just squeeze it to death and I did, and popped it’s arms and legs off. Problem solved.

dream

I had this amazing Harry Potter dream. I was at Hogwarts, but it was in the 1920s, and I was part of a group who basically started the Daily Prophet and created all these changes at the school. We started the Prophet on thin pieces of wood, and each one was hand etched by this one kid. I couldn’t believe how much work it was, and I kept saying, we’re wizards, we should be able to create something to make this easier. Then there were weird things about the school, like there were no bathrooms. There was also some kind of time travel portal a girl accidentally found, which took her to a department store in the 1970s. She was trying on make up and a guy walked by her all glammed up, and she asked him if he was sick, and he want off on her for being judgmental about how he dressed, that he must be sick or gay, and she was like, I’m just asking cuz you have blue eye lids (he had bright blue eye shadow on), and then he was totally ok, because she was into how he dressed and she liked David Bowie (although she’s from 1920 and wouldn’t know him). She got a bunch of stuff from the store and was going to go back through the portal, but security came and thought she was stealing, so they chased her around and they ended up back in the castle somehow, and we all had to hide from security. So I ended up hiding on top of a very steep roof with another student from the Prophet. I was trying to convince him, again, that we could do the paper easier than hand etching each one, and that we saw the muggle world in the 70s could mass produce stuff, so we should invent it now in the 20s.

 

I don’t remember much, but omg it was such an awesome dream. There was loads more I forgot while I kept sleeping.

Prince

So, Prince died. That was a surprise. I can’t say it’s affected me at all, as I was never a Prince fan. I didn’t dislike him, I liked all the big hits, but for whatever reason he never appealed to me the way other pop stars from that era did, and I didn’t pay much attention to him. He was a great musician, and he’ll be missed.