Sunday, October 31, 2010

Olympic Sculpture Park

Early yesterday morning Mike and I went to the Olympic Sculpture Park in downtown Seattle. It is a 9-acre public park with bigger-than-life, permanent sculptures and it also welcomes visiting pieces. The sculptures are visible from the street and I’d always wanted to stop by and take some pictures. Plus, I knew that there was a giant Mexican sand painting on display (inside the pavilion...this is rainy Seattle after all) to celebrate el Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Day). So off we went!

It started to sprinkle as we left Kenmore and before long I had the windshield wipers going. Slow speed, but windshield wipers going nonetheless.

Soon enough we were downtown and we found parking right across the street from the park. The sprinkling had subsided, but a chill was definitely in the air.

We headed straight into the pavilion to see the sand painting. There was a staff person sitting nearby, keeping her eye on it. I asked permission to take a picture and she said that would be okay, but that we should not touch the piece of art.

This picture doesn’t do it justice. But I didn’t want to step onto one of the chairs to get a better shot. The detail of the sand is amazing. And it is quite large - maybe 20'x12'.

Moments after I snapped my pictures a toddler ran over to the sand painting – luckily the staffer saw him and rushed toward him, the mama caught the little rascal just in time, and the painting was left unscathed.

We wandered outside to see the piece I’ve always wondered about. This is Typewriter Eraser, Scale X, created in 1999 by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. It’s made of stainless steel and fiberglass painted with acrylic urethane. It is NINETEEN feet tall and on loan from the Paul Allen Family Collection. (Note the live human on the right to see just how big it truly is.)

This is Split, created in 2003 by Roxy Paine. It’s made of polished stainless steel and is fifty feet high. If it wasn't for the shiny, steel color, I would have thought it was a real tree - really!

And guess what? There were many, many more pieces I would have liked to photograph, but my camera battery was exhausted. ARGHHH!!!! I was so mad at myself.

But I found that there are free 1-hour public tours (Saturdays noon-1pm; Sundays noon-1pm & 1pm-2pm) of Olympic Sculpture Park so we plan to go back and take the tour sometime soon. And yes, I will make sure my camera battery is charged.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three

My job search continues. And this week I came across an employment advertisement that included the following:

Approved resumes will receive a personality and cognitive test leading towards an interview process of both a verbal and working interview.

Well, that intrigued me more than the job itself! I sent in my letter of interest and resume and following is the email response I received:

Thank you for responding to the Craigs List add (sic) for employment. You have advanced to the second round of the qualification process. Please complete the two enclosed attachments and send them back. The personality test has no right answers but obviously we are looking for a certain type of person. Have fun.

Ahhh...the personality test included a battery of multiple choice questions such as the following:

Someone cuts in front of you at the post office, You find this

Not at all annoying
Slightly annoying
Very Annoying

How important is it for you to help humans or animals that are deprived

Somewhat important
Quite important
Very important
Extremely important

Philosophical debates (what is the meaning of life)

Interest me
Bore me

The second section of the personality test had me rate myself as follows:

Rate the following statements on a 1-5 scale
Write your answer after the statement

I am romantic

I am organized

I am playful

I am assertive

I am a care giver

I am out-going

I am able to criticize others without feeling uneasy

When working on an important task with someone, I like to dominate.

I like arguing as a sport

I prefer friends that are assertive

My ideal partner should be assertive

My ideal partner should be socially outgoing

The cognitive test made me think. Hard. I found it quite challenging. Following is a taster of the questions asked. Can you answer them all correctly??

Each row of numbers forms a series. Write in the brackets the number that logically follows.

3, 6, 12 , 24, ( )
81, 54, 36, 24, ( )
2, 3, 5, 9, 17, ( )

The numbers in each row run in series. Write the two numbers that should appear in the blanks on the right-hand side double squares.

1-2 2-4 3-8 4-16

3-4 4-6 5-8 ( )

2-8 3-12 4-16 ( )

This last one was the hardest for me. It really made me think.

Each set of 4 numbers in a row follows a set of rules.
Each row follows a different set of rules.
Solve for the fourth number in the third set for each row.

1/2/3/0------2/3/4/1------4/3/2/ __ Answer

2/3/1/5------4/3/2/10-----1/2/1/ __ Answer

2/4/3/5------1/2/3/4------3/4 /2/ __ Answer

I hope you liked the sample questions. There’s nothing like a little brain candy to keep us happy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Autumn is here. I always liked autumn because it meant going back to school and I always liked school.

At this point in my life autumn means different things to me. It means it’s dark when I wake up in the morning and on my walks I see that the leaves are dying and turning glorious colors. It means it rains more and I have to use my windshield wipers a lot. It also means it’s time to clean up the garden and harvest the last of the veggies.

This week I cut down the sunflowers and tomato plants. Mike mowed the lawn for the last time and whacked part of the pumpkin patch. The squash is still growing, but we'll clean it up with the rest of the pumpkin patch.

I’m so happy to see that ALL of the sunflowers finally bloomed! And some of them got so very tall. I will be harvesting the seeds in the next day or so.

This stalk had 3 blossoms and 3 more flowers that didn’t get to bloom!

This my white pattypan squash. There are six squash on this plant, but most likely only the big one will make it to the oven.

Here’s my pumpkin. Well, the biggest one we have – see how it compares to the size of my credit card? Unfortunately, I don’t think it will turn orange before Halloween.

And the best part about autumn is the title of the post. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from Safeway. They are my favorite and a seasonal special. Go get some and you’ll see what I mean!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gloria’s Just Faces-Unibrowed

I recently added Gloria (lover of all things Frida Kahlo) and her blog to my blogroll. I did that because Gloria is a very interesting Latina and I like to read about her art, her cooking and her zest for life.

On August 19, 2010 Gloria provided herself a daunting challenge. She had received some paper, Papel Amate, that she really liked for painting and she decided to use it for a journal that would have paintings of 40 faces on 40 pages – all done within 40 days. Wow. Challenge, indeed!

She posted pictures of her paintings on her blog and on September 4, 2010, I had my first glimpse of Mindy. You see, Gloria named all of her faces and she even included snippets of dialogue with her faces. I liked Mindy because she reminded me of myself...jejeje...

Gloria kept up her momentum and on September 22, 2010 she completed #40. Again, wow. Gloria had prints made of the faces and I was surprised to read that she was going to give away 5 of the faces to lucky readers who commented on the blog about which was their favorite face.

Well, of course I commented on Mindy and low and behold, on October 1, 2010 I found out I was a winner! Yes, Gloria sent me the Mindy print. And ever since then I have been looking for the perfect frame for Mindy. I finally found it and this weekend I hung Mindy in our living room.

Isn’t she beautiful? THANK YOU, GLORIA! Mike and I will take Mindy with us wherever we go...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Follow-up About the YMCA

Not too long ago I posted about visiting the Northshore YMCA and the water exercise class. Today I have a short follow-up.

The second time I went to the class there was a different instructor. A guy named Rob – Rob the tattoo fan – he has a very large tattoo that covers most of his chest, his back and his right arm. And he also has a good sized tattoo on the calf of one of his legs. (Señor Zapata recently wrote about tattoos...great post and comments!) Rob must be into pain because there’s a lotta ink in his skin. Ouch.

Anyway I thought Rob’s Shallow Water Aerobics class was a lot better than the first one we went to. Rob actually got in and out of the pool to demonstrate the moves and that was very helpful – especially to new people (like me) in the class. He also had his music blasting and I could really tell that he likes the Black Eyed Peas.

The third time I went to the Y the same woman I referred to in my original Y post led the class. Her iPod was working this time, but the music was so loud I couldn’t hear her calling out the moves. Plus, she didn’t get up on the deck so I couldn’t see what she was doing. I looked around at others close to me and it seemed like no one really knew what they were supposed to be doing. Well, except the floaters…they were still yakking it up.

I checked the Y’s schedule and found there is another class called Aqua Power. It looks more intense and like a good workout. I think I’ll try that sometime soon.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Capt. Mike and Seattle’s Best Kept Secret

I recently posted about the Center for Wooden Boats (CWB) on Seattle's Lake Union and that Mike went to an orientation for volunteers and he will soon be volunteering for CWB. And as I was recently reviewing the CWB website I learned about Seattle’s Best Kept Secret…every Sunday CWB sponsors an event called Cast Off! – a free public sail. All you have to do is show up at CWB at 10:00 am on any Sunday morning and sign up for the afternoon sail at 2:00 pm. How cool is that??

So on Sunday morning we drove down to CWB. Because it was such a sunny day CWB had 3 different boats sailing at 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00! We signed up for the 3:00 sailing on the S/V Admirable. And since we knew ahead of time that we’d have a few hours to kill we brought our bikes and drove to Colman Park on Lake Washington.

The park is on Lake Washington Boulevard South and we got on our bikes and made the leisurely 3.5 mile ride to Seward Park in the morning sun. We biked around Seward Park and then headed back to the truck. But along the way back we stopped at the Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center.

There was a sailing class that had progressed to the dock and we watched as the students put their small, student-sized, boats into the water.

Back at CWB we checked out all the beautiful wooden boats. We learned that the Admirable was built in San Francisco and was used for gillnetting salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska. It had a crew of 2 and could carry THREE TONS of salmon! I just couldn’t believe that. I had never realized sailboats were used for commercial fishing.

We watched as the Admirable docked with the passengers from the 2:00 sailing.

At 3:00 twelve of us donned life jackets and boarded the Admirable. The captain, John, was very knowledgeable and he was our “tour guide” for the next 45 minutes. He pointed out many of the Seattle sites and provided a lot of information about sailing. He also let people take turns manning the tiller in the aft of the boat.

Yup. There’s Capt. Mike! What a happy day for him.

And because we’re on the water, the seaplanes were coming and going. Here’s Maggie II from KING 5 TV’s Evening Magazine and Kenmore Air.

Since Kenmore Air’s Lake Union Seaport is pretty close to CWB I had the pleasure of seeing one after another of the graceful little planes taking off and landing in the lake.

This one’s coming in for a landing...right next to us!

Before we knew it, the sail was over. It was a lot of fun and just about a perfect sunny Sunday in Seattle!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Girls’ and First Time Ever BOYS’ Night Out

Usually when we have a girls’ night out, it’s GIRLS only! But Saturday night we changed tradition when we invited our boys to come out with us. Well, actually Cheryl changed things because she invited us all over to her house for a dinner party. How exciting – a chance for the guys to see what a girls’ night out is all about and an opportunity for the guys to hang out together. I had just got a new camera (again - my other new one could not be repaired for a rea$onable price) and tried out the timer feature. It worked at home just fine except I don't know what that bright strip is on my arm! Mike and I were the first to get to Cheryl and Pat’s and I had to take a picture of her lovely table. Isn’t her dining room gorgeous?? We gathered around the kitchen table to enjoy drinks and a spinach artichoke dip with chips and relax before dinner. That’s Julie, Beth, Pat, Bob and Mike. Soon enough we sat down to enjoy a Caesar salad, lasagna and French bread, followed by pistachio ice cream. Yum! And after all that Cheryl brought out some photo albums. From many, many years ago with pictures of most of us in them. We laughed and laughed. And I made a short video – but everyone looks very grumpy watching me make a video. If you want a giggle, check it out!

Friday, October 15, 2010

WorkSource Washington

WorkSource is a joint venture of organizations dedicated to addressing Washington State’s employment needs. In addition to an online job search feature, there are WorkSource offices that offer additional assistance in searching for and finding jobs. This includes workshops and Wednesday morning I went to one of the workshops.

It was Module Four of a six module program and it is named Perfecting Applications. The description of the workshop follows:

An important part of any job search is to understand the employer’s point of view. In this workshop you will learn how employers read applications and how to be better prepared to meet an employer’s expectations. The workshop explores how to organize and communicate, in writing, your skills and abilities in a way that stands out from the crowd. You will leave the workshop with a master application that will be helpful when filling out paper and electronic applications and start you on your way to developing a résumé.

It sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, I was very disappointed in the workshop. It was led by a woman with a Human Resources and Communications background, but I felt like I could have provided more “real-time, real-life, real-job seeker” information. After all, I am the one completing applications every week and I have seen many different types of applications that are being used. The trainer was pretty vague in many areas and she didn’t seem to have a grasp on what’s out there right now and how applicants can be best prepared.

She also touched on résumés (which are included in Module Five), but again it didn’t seem like we were hearing from an expert who’s “in the know.” Plus, her résumé samples had errors on them – when you’re training unemployed people to put their best effort out there, wouldn’t you want your samples to be perfect??

I’m scheduled for another workshop next Wednesday. Let’s hope it is more beneficial.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


No, I’m not talking about the Village People…

We recently received an offer for a free three-day pass at the YMCA so Monday morning Mike and I rolled outta bed and went to the Y. For a water exercise class! Well, at Northshore YMCA they call it Shallow Water Aerobics and it runs from 9-10am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from 8-9am on Saturday.

It was our first visit to the local Y and it was pretty impressive with the weight room and all the cardio equipment. But we were interested in the pool. And it was nice. We have gone to other water exercise classes over the years and I must say I was surprised at the large number of people that turned out for this class – and more than one man was in the pool which is kind of unusual.

Our leader began by yelling out moves from up on the deck and soon enough she joined us in the water. Unfortunately, she had a problem with her iPod and during the whole class she stressed about not having music. The water was fairly warm, but not so much that it got uncomfortable. As with all exercise classes, you can work as hard as you want and Mike and I gave it our all. It was a little hard to understand our leader at times so we stayed close to her so at least we could see her moves in the water.

We noticed that a large group of people in the deep end of the pool weren’t paying attention and doing the exercises. Mike soon found out those people are referred to as “floaters” – they get in the pool, but they spend the hour socializing, not exercising…hahahaha…they probably tell their spouses that they’re headed to the pool for their exercise class – when they actually mean “exercising their mouths” class.

Before we knew it - it was 10:00 and we were done. The class was mostly calisthenics, not the complex dance moves I'm used to in water exercise. Nevertheless, it felt very good to stretch and bend in the warm water. We swam for just a bit and then headed for the whirlpool. Now that was hot! And the jets were strong. We relaxed there with some of the women from the class and then we were off to the showers. It was a great visit to the Y and we plan to go to the class again on Friday.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Center for Wooden Boats

Recently we were at Kenmore Air on Lake Union and while waiting for the weather to clear so we could fly on a seaplane, we wandered around the lake and visited the Center for Wooden Boats (CWB.) CWB has a small fleet of historic wooden boats that are available for rent and it offers classes in sailing among other activities.

Mike recently received some information about volunteer opportunities at CWB and on Saturday he attended a 3-hour volunteer orientation. He should be receiving his assignment shortly and he may end up working on boat restoration projects, helping out at events like the annual auction, manning the front desk at CWB or helping to get people on the water. And for every 3 hours of volunteer work he earns 1 hour of boat use time.

We’ll be learning more about CWB and I’ll post about it. One thing I just learned is that every Sunday there is a Free Public Sail! All you have to do is show up at CWB on Sunday morning, register and then be ready to sail at 2:00. I wish I’d known about this earlier – we would have been out on Lake Union in the summer when it was nice and sunny!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

After the Job Fair…

I was happy – and somewhat surprised – when I received a call from a temporary employment agency recruiter that I met at the Job Fair on Wednesday. I had an interview with the recruiter Thursday morning and went through the entire application process. Prior to our appointment, I completed an online application that was very, very detailed. It even requested a listing of the interviews I have had since returning to Seattle and asked why I thought I did not get an offer after the interview. That seemed fairly “probing” at the time, but today it has got me reflecting back on those interviews, wondering what I could have done better.

During the appointment the recruiter advised me that she would email me a link to a website so I could take some online tests at home to validate some of my software skills. When I read the email I saw there were SEVEN TESTS for me to take – 5 were software and 2 were data entry (10 key and alpha numeric). That surprised me, but the software programs all had tutorials that I could take before attempting the tests.

So what did I do Friday morning?? First I cut my fingernails off so I could type faster. Then it was tutorial city…followed by test city. And I did quite well! I actually like taking these types of tests. I always learn something from the tutorials and taking the tests helps to implant the information in my brain.

I emailed my recruiter some additional documents and she sent off my materials to a potential employer. And then I went back to my job search and submitted 2 more applications for other positions...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

International District

We returned to Seattle from Mexico, via Salem, mid-May. But I am still looking for a job. And not to say that I haven’t enjoyed “The Summer of Mike & Cynthia” – I have! We have done so many fun things together, gone so many places, seen so many friends…it has been fantastic and I’ll always treasure The Summer of Mike & Cynthia.

But it’s time for me to go back to work. I learned about a Job Fair on Washington State’s WorkSource website and it was held yesterday at the Seattle Seahawk’s Quest Field - on the VIP Club Level no less. So I printed some resumes, got dressed up, and practiced my 1-minute sound bite before Mike and I headed downtown. The plan was for Mike to go get coffee and walk around Pioneer Square while I attended the Job Fair and then we’d hook up and go to the International District for lunch.

It was my first ever Job Fair and I was a little disappointed because some of the scheduled employers I had wanted to meet were not there. Hmpff! But I spoke with a few representatives, asked lots of questions, gave out resumes and collected business cards.

As I was leaving the VIP Club Level, I noticed there was access to the seats and I wandered out to take some pics of the empty stadium. When will I ever see it like this again?!

And one of the colorful entrances.

I walked from Quest Field and off in the distance I spied Harborview Hospital. It’s famous for treating traumatic head injuries. And I know that for a fact since Mike was rushed from another hospital in Monroe (many miles away) to Harborview after his Harley crash. It’s so cool how the hospital truly does look over the harbor.

I found Mike and off we went to the International District. I wanted to spend a little more time at Uwajimaya and get some lunch in the Asian food court.

We noticed the dragons hugging the utility poles.

And the pagoda-like structure high above the street.

Soon enough we were at Uwajimaya and I was starving. I got Thai food. A lunch special with garlic chicken, red curry chicken, rice and a spring roll. I took this picture, but noticed that my napkin was in the way and I wanted to take another shot. I stood up and WHOOPS – my camera sailed outta my hand and hit the floor. With the lens out. And it’s still out. Yes, I broke my new camera that I have not even had for one month. ARGHH! We tried to get the lens to move, but it was not cooperating.

I ate my food, but I was so mad at myself. We took a short stroll through Uwajimaya, but needless to say, I couldn't take any more pics, the mood was sour and soon we headed home.

When we got back to Kenmore we took the camera to the shop where we bought it and they suggested we take it to a repair shop downtown and see if it could be fixed. Alternatively, we could send it to Nikon in California and see if they would repair it under warranty, but it would be gone for 6-8 weeks. So we’ll try the local repair shop first.

On a good note, late yesterday afternoon I got a call from a temporary employment agency recruiter that I met at the Job Fair. I have an appointment with her this morning. We’ll see!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Yesterday Mike and I were in Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle...we finished our errand and had time left on our parking meter so we wandered over to the International District to visit Uwajimaya – an Asian specialty store with items ranging from unique seafood, produce, cookware and more! Years ago in high school I took Japanese and as part of our Japanese Culture class we took a field trip from Lynnwood to Uwajimaya and I have always loved going back.

There are many tanks of live seafood including crab, oysters, lobster, clams, and fish. These are tilapia.

And for the creative cook – fish heads.

Sea urchins.


Sashimi, including octopus, tuna and scallops.

Quail eggs – I’ve heard of pickling them...

Tofu – the largest selection of tofu I have ever seen!

And my favorite, Hiyashi Wakame Chuka salad made with seaweed. I had this with dinner last night. YUM!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sunflowers in October

I have to laugh when I look back at pics of our sunflowers and pumpkins. We should have planted the seeds earlier. And a sunnier Seattle summer would have helped. But it is what it is and I’m happy to say we finally have sunflowers in bloom!

The pumpkin patch in August.

The pumpkin patch now.

There are lots of babies like this...I’m just not sure there will be enough sun for them to blossom into jack-o-lanterns.

The flowers are so delicate. It surprises me that these beautiful flowers become hard, round gourds.

The sunflowers in August.

The sunflowers now. Notice how they've grown taller than both windows. I never even thought of the windows when I planted the seeds.

I love looking at them. They look like they’re smiling.