research project announcement

i need your help finding participants for a school research project! here are the details:

Attention LGBT/Queer Community and Allies:

We want to gather information about the experiences of people coming out in a religious family. We do not want to exclude anyone, so that's as narrow as the topic gets. All experiences, all religions are welcome to participate (including people who no longer practice the religion of their family and people who are not coming out to their family because of religious concerns). We will be doing a qualitative project, so we are just looking to learn more about these experiences. There is no final result we are aiming for. We will ask for narratives- open-ended interviews. We would also love it if people wanted to share their experiences in any other ways- art, poetry, song, photos. However, this is certainly not a requirement. The interview process would take 1-2 hours. We would like to do it by Skype, but this is not absolute. There is no compensation. Ultimately, we are hoping to increase our own awareness of such experiences, as well as the awareness of other social workers viewing the project (professor and 19 other classmates).

Other important things to know: the project is QUICK. Essentially most of the research portion will be done over the next 10 days, so we need participants by Wednesday, August 4. Our final paper is due August 17th. So, this won't be a long process. This is not a professional study and will not be submitted for publication. Only myself, my research partner and my professor will see the final paper. We will also do a presentation for the class. We need people with access to a computer, and ideally a Skype account (or the willingness to set one up). We will protect the identity of the participants in the paper and presentation. All contact information (such as phone number, email address, skype account) will be destroyed at the end of the project.

People can email me: gohollo@u.washington.edu for more information or if they are interested.


spider season, pluots and volunteerism

it's spider season here in seattle! i imagine many of you outside of seattle are experiencing the same thing. i have to say, though, i don't recall so many spider webs growing up in denver. there were of course spiders, but those colorado species must be more careful about hiding their webs. here, you can't walk 3 feet without crashing into a web. it's actually kinda icky. they even create webs on our car. seriously, they are EVERYWHERE! (i tried to take a picture of a web, but no luck.)

i also wanted to post a picture of pluots. pluots are a cross between plums and apricots. it looks like we got the "flavor supreme variety. you can't tell from the picture, but they're actually green with streaks of red on the outside.) i'm not a fan of stone fruit, and the taste of this didn't surprise me any, but the color... isn't it fantastic? so beautiful! my favorite fruit hybrid is the grapple- pronounced grape-pull i can't get blogger to show the long a symbol). they were big for a season in denver, but i haven't seen them here at all. anyways, those things are GOOD!

i just saw that my favorite store in seattle (paper delights!) posted about a new book: 100 best volunteer vacations to enrich your life. if anyone is looking for a gift for me, this would be wonderful- along with plane tickets of course!


giving up sandals?

running isn't pretty, but i wouldn't have guessed that i would have to give up open shoes! it's july, and believe me, i want to wear them. but see picture below (i'm putting it at the bottom, so it's easier for you to avoid looking at if you prefer) for just one area of my destroyed feet. my running coach just reminds us that running makes for cuter butts. i don't know about that, but i do know i'm feeling ambivalent about giving up more shoes. first i have to give up heels to cope with all the walking and the hills. and now i have to give up sandals in order run? bummer. for now, i'm not giving up either. i'll be wearing my sandals (cute orange ones!) at the zoo this afternoon, and i'll be running again on monday. so watch out seattle! if you see me coming, avert your eyes from my damaged feet!

on a lighter note, we've begun harvesting strawberries!


something a little more interesting?

i realize my recent posts have probably bored you all away, but sometimes i've just got to get it out! those who know me know that i love to over-analyze and even complain the interest out of life. so, there you have it. anyways, i thought it was time for some pictures. not exciting pictures, but hopefully interesting enough to bring you back to reading. :)

running has been going... just going. some weeks are fantastic and others are enough to make me cry. this week it was almost vomit and faint. i had my first try at speed interval training. basically, you go a shorter distance and alternate between a slower jog and a sprint. i lasted about two miles and then quickly veered off path while gagging. thankfully i didn't fully expel the contents of my stomach (yep, i swallowed!), but soon after i started seeing spots. so, that was fun. since then i've been taking it easy. especially since i pulled a hamstring while sprinting and then smashed my knee (yes, i trip in my own house quite often) in the same day. but, i can't take it too easy since i've only got 4 weeks to go before the lake union 10k. in a couple weeks i'll be starting a speed class, which will hopefully make me a more efficient runner and help me stay on pace. i'm aiming to "shave" a full 20 minutes off my race time, so i've got to get my butt in gear! i know, all this suffering for a measly 6 miles? makes me feel lame! and so, it is now the eve of a hilly, 5 mile run at 8am tomorrow. i'm gonna rock it! right?

speaking of four weeks away... my bestie sarah is coming out the same weekend as the race! i am sooooo excited! she hasn't visited yet and i can't wait to drink wine! yep, i'm going to have to risk mild dehydration on race day to catch up with one of the loves of my life. we have a bit of a wine history... wine walks (yes, that is walking around our neighborhood while drinking out of huge plastic cups), wine while watching so you think you can dance and american idol, wine while on the phone with eachother, wine while cooking, just a whole lot of wine. and i miss it. i miss it so much. wine is not the same without sarah, and it is time for a reunion.

garden news: we brought the strawberries inside and have been able to enjoy them at last. the plant is doing very well and we're getting about 3 times more strawberries than i expected. the raspberries are slowing, which is a relief. the tomatoes are FINALLY turning color. however, this morning when i went to check on their progress i found holes chewed into my gorgeous babies. holes! damn squirrels! i couldn't bear to takes pictures of the damage or tell anthony. i know i can't bring those inside, so we're going to have to come up with some other solution in order to actually get a harvest. lavender is growing like CRAZY. pears are getting bigger, and apples would be getting bigger if the squirrels weren't at those too.

anyway, i hope this blog gets more interesting for all of you again. with 5 weeks of school, it may not, but we've got a few things planned: woodland park zoo this weekend, a softball game and a bbq next weekend, san francisco (again), seattle square, the big race, and denver all in august. i'll try to take better pictures so you at least have something pretty to look at while pretending to read!

and now i better start working on my school assignments!


first day of school!

we just jumped right in! this is going to be a struggle... i am a very detail-oriented person who likes to control my surroundings and to take responsibility for herself and only herself. this poses a lot of challenges in school, especially a graduate social work program. be forewarned that this is now going to turn into a laundry list of complaints.

first, our syllabus is very general. it does not even describe our assignments! assignments that are due NEXT CLASS! next, our professor has a very rich history and is clearly very educated and knows just what she's talking about. however, she knows so well what her thoughts are that she sometimes forgets to share them with the class. this is difficult for all new students that are anxious about upcoming assignments- me. back to the syllabus... it doesn't even list some of our assignments! what?! how am i supposed to prepare?! today she asked us to do a project about our identity (which requires a lot of reflection) that is due next week. this is on top of the other assignment that's due NEXT CLASS! i realize that in graduate school there is always too much work to do. there is endless reading and there are ridiculously long papers. however, i need some time to prepare! as in, put it on the syllabus so i know just how many projects and papers i'll be juggling before randomly announcing them in the last 10 minutes of class! now back to my upcoming assignment... (can you tell i'm overwhelmed here?) we were randomly placed in groups of 4 (who the hell likes being randomly assigned to a group?!) and told to select readings. this turned into a jumbled mess and it turns out that my group has to do a 20 minute presentation about the readings for the class during our next session. of course we are all busy and no one can meet until monday- the day it is due. what?! ridiculous! oh and it can't just be a dry power point. we have to incorporate activities so the class is engaged in the learning process. what is it with social workers and group projects that have to be engaging? really now, you know you all hated doing group projects too.

so now i'm doing the best thing i know how to do when i feel off-center: make a list. in fact, i have made 3 lists. 3 lists that will get me through the next several days. i have a feeling that i'll have 10 times that number of lists by the end of this quarter! here goes nothing!

 by the way, my mind is already buzzing with project ideas. i'll share my "photovoice" pictures next week (you'll see) and may end up soliciting you for data (i.e. using you as a participant for my final research project) in a few more weeks. [some of you already got to be the very interesting foci of papers for my 1st year of school. i am eternally grateful and sincerely hope you did not suffer as a result of my wretched clinical "skills." thank you!] just you wait. i'm taking you along for this ugly ride and you're going to suffer right along side me. bet you now wish i had turned this into a blog about my running adventures, don't you?


say something

apparently my dad has tweeted out the link to my blog. don't get me wrong, i'm flattered, but now i feel pressured to say something witty or interesting. or to just plain say something. the truth is, i mostly write this blog for myself and a handful of family and friends who want to know i'm up to here in seattle. perhaps a couple of people from the general public have stumbled upon it, but i'm pretty certain they never gave it a second look.

so, instead of relying on me to tell you something about seattle, here are some of my favorite blogs and websites:

seattle metronatural
seattle metropolitan
my neighborhood blog
my old neighborhood
nearby neighborhoods: wallingford, ballard, queen anne, university district, maple leaf


weekend at home

we had lots of big plans this weekend, but ended up spending much of it at home. there was actually a lot going on in seattle this weekend and we are sorry to have missed some of it. however, sometimes i just need a break! we were still busy though! i picked up my reader for my summer class, which starts this week. wow, that thing is huge! having a year of grad school behind me already, i figured not much could surprise me. but the heft of that thing for just 9 class periods still blew me away! i honestly can't believe how soon i'll be sitting at a desk, frantically searching for answers in readings that i didn't get through all while thinking about that darn 20 page paper that's due tomorrow and i've barely started. ah grad school, you just seem a world away! this past year off has been so full of change that i have completely and totally separated myself from the act of being a student. while school has been on my mind this entire time, i've completely lost all memory of how to write using apa and the best way to decipher which readings i'll actually use. i am desperately hoping i'll pick it all up again very, very quickly.

although i haven't started classes yet, i have been very busy preparing for my advanced internship. for social work students, the internship placement is incredibly important in getting the practical experiences necessary for a career. my first year practicum was the greatest work experience i have had to date. it was incredibly rewarding and challenged me in ways i could have never anticipated. the work was fascinating and drew out my passions for social work. i should have known it would be nearly impossible to find a placement to rival that one. however, i have done the necessary work of deciding how to make a confident choice in my internship search. stay tuned for more news on that front!


the seattle myth

Knute Berger writes about "the myth of the seattle nice" in his book, Pugetopolis. i've seen evidence of it in researching particular issues. and now, it's right in neighborhood. essentially, the people of seattle are known as crunchy liberal types. and, many are. but a lot are afraid. afraid of people. all people. they support social services and liberal causes on paper. but bring a person who isn't gentrified near their kids, and they scream wolf.

for instance, i have recently been researching the great jail debate of 2008. i would first like to say i am against building new jails, because (as evidence shows) more time does not equal less crime. however, if a jail had to be built (in this case, it does not, which is why they took the idea off the table), it wouldn't be so bad having it down the street. research from the u.s. justice department shows that neighborhoods with a jail show no difference in crime rates than comparable neighborhoods that do not house a jail. in some cases, the crime rates are actually lower in neighborhoods with a jail. additionally, property rates are not affected by presence of a jail. and further, there is a greater police presence. believe me when i tell you that criminals want to be nowhere near a jail. think people. just think. or read the research. anyways, i read the thousands of comments people had when their neighborhood was being considered as a potential site for the new jail. just about every one mentioned their children or their property rates. they had so much to say about bringing negativity and "trash" and crime to their area. but many clearly didn't understand the failings of the justice system and the dismal failures of our society. for these failures have led to the need for so many jails. [and yes, i have worked in the criminal justice system (and still do), and have done a whole lot of research. i do actually know what i'm talkng about.] oh, and did i mention that this would be a municipal jail, housing only misdemeanants. that means no arsonists, no sex offenders, no violent offenders. i.e. no child molesters, no murderers, no rapists (at least not for the current charge which landed them in jail). anyway, perhaps children would be less inclined to get in trouble if they had a jail across the street to remind them of hell every day. what do you think?

my point is, people in seattle LOVE to say, "NOT IN MY BACKYARD!" i am so over reading and hearing those 4 words strung together. and now, it's all in my face.

i live in greenlake. my neighborhood is middle to upper middle class, pretty darn gentrified (as most of seattle is), and full of jocks and young families. however, being in liberal seattle, surrounded by the well-educated, i suppose i just assumed most of my neighbors believed in social justice and you know, civil liberties. i believed that until i became aware of the uproar my "civilized" neighbors are causing over 20 homeless men moving into the neighborhood. a church right in the middle of the 'hood has decided to host the SHARE program, a wrap-around transitional housing program. the men would live in the church, look for work, build life skills and get other resources while searching and preparing for permanent housing. this is not an emergency shelter that will attract whatever it is my neighbors seem to think is cause to fear for the end of the world. these neighbors of mine were interrupting and shouting at the preacher during a community meeting last night. come on! i'm a serial interrupter, but i can refrain from shouting at least. and if i can be respectful, then i would hope my genteel neighbors can too.

anyway, i would like to remind people of their privilege. i would like remind the people that surround me that most of us have never suffered in the ways that these men have. your life experience is no less meaningful, it has just been different. please respect those differences. please show our children that we can be a community that supports one another. please act with kindness and compassion. please be an example in humanitarianism. please bring back my faith in the people of seattle. it's so very important to me.

that's enough ranting for today i suppose.

read more about this on the neighborhood blog.


fun-filled seattle weekend

sad news... those damn birds managed to eat our ripe strawberry... again! i think we're going to have to bring it inside if we ever want to actually eat the fruit.

our weekend started with a 4 mile run through woodland park and around green lake with beth baker's 10k club. saturday was warmer than expected and we certainly all felt it. after recovering from our run, we headed to mobile chowdown iv. mobile chowdown is a street food fest, offering the best mobile food seattle has to offer. this time around, there were also several vendors from portland and a beer garden. it was pretty darn hot, so we didn't stay as long as we originally intended. but, we did brave the line for marination mobile's kimchee fried rice (with fried egg on top) and aloha pork sliders. we also got scoops of meyer lemon and mint stracciatella from parfait. next time i'd like to try the sliders from maximus minimus.

on sunday it cooled off to a perfect 79 degrees. we headed to the international district for the annual summer fest. the international district hosts all things asian (including the huge uwajimaya market and the best darn asian food (from dim sum to veitnamese to traditional japanese to filipino to sushi to whatever your heart's content) this continent has to offer. the summer fest is a celebration of asian culture. we made it just in time to watch a kung fu demonstration, followed by the lion dance and a whole lot more kung fu. we had lunch at the best vietnamese restaurant in the country, green leaf, and then got lopez island creamery ice cream. every time i visit the id, i wonder why we don't go more often. it truly is always a good adventure involving excellent food.

speaking of excellent food, we ended sunday with a homemade fruit crostata. we used raspberries from our own garden and apricots, plums and peaches from our produce box. i still do not love fruit desserts, especially those involving a crust, but it was good to use up some fruit!

we've had a major cool down today, only in the 60s. i am relieved. i love seattle's cooler, cloudy days and i'm not looking forward to the next heat wave. besides, who wants to run when it's so hot and muggy?

finally, sammy is not feeling well once again. some of you have been privy to his chronicle of stomach and eating issues. well, they seem to have returned. he's stopped eating and started throwing up again- in the bed no less. he is constantly uncomfortable and you can hear his stomach growling in the next room. i don't know what to do to convince him to eat, but we'll keep trying!


his legend lives on

several days ago bear, my brother in law's dog, passed away. he was a very special dog with a wise soul. he is very beloved and there will forever be a place in our hearts that shines with his light. many of you met bear and commented on his gentle spirit. he truly was one of a kind.

bear was adopted from wolfwood refuge, a nonprofit rescue organization for wolves and wolf dogs. my brother in law has adopted 3 wolf dogs from wolfwood. bear was the first. from what i've heard, wolfwood is an incredible place, where they are very careful to maintain the rules of the wild. they don't adopt these dogs out to anyone, and they take special care to make sure a new owner understands the contract they enter into when taking such a dog home. not everyone can handle the responsibility of caring for a wolf dog. but if you are interested in supporting the cause and honoring bear's memory, please donate to wolfwood today. if you had the opportunity to meet bear, let them know! i have no doubts they remember him well.


hot? in seattle?

that's right, it's extraordinarily hot here. i had no idea how horribly humidity could affect my capacity to handle warm temps until tuesday rolled around. the temps weren't even high yet, but i could definitely tell a huge difference in comparison to the dry heat in colorado. my heart goes out to all the east coasters suffering 3 digit temps with 85% + humidity. in my book, that equals death. since tuesday, the temps have inched higher. yesterday we hit upper 90s. inside my house, it was in the 90s as well, as proven by my thermostat. temps in the 90s are unusual for this area, so NO ONE has air conditioning in their homes. it just doesn't exist up here. so, it's pretty much impossible to function during these mini heat waves. thankfully, temps are falling a solid 10 degrees tomorrow and after the weekend we should hang right around mid 70s for the next week. perfect.

as always, it's important that i mention food. these days we have more raspberries than we even know what to do with! we're averaging about 3/4 pint a day now, which is far too many day after day. so, i'm freezing them for smoothies and raspberry ice cream. i see lots of raspberry ice cream in our future! we have put our strawberry plant under a metal chair for protection from the birds and we're just about ready to pick our first one! just one single strawberry, but we have very high hopes for the little guy. we just increased our produce box delivery to every week. i'm sure you're all sick of hearing about it, but i'm just loving it. we got a ton of fruit this week- apricots, plums, peaches, cherries and blueberries. i'm making a crostata in a few days. i'm not a lover of fruit deserts, but i'll give it a shot. i can only handle so much fruit and cream, so i've got to start branching out if i want to continue enjoying the bounties of summer.

somehow, i've taken to running once again. somewhere, deep in my soul i've always felt like a runner. but my body thinks it is on the verge of death any time i move my legs faster than a 20 minute mile pace. as such, i've never kept up with running. i burn out too easily. but for now, i'm really loving it. loving it more than i ever have before. this is all very much due to beth baker with running evolution. beth is a hilarious running coach that hosts groups for non-runners, turning them into runners. i've now got a "running groupie" membership (this is a real thing folks) that includes a happy hour run and a trail run, among other perks. i'm also in the 5k club AND the 10k club. 10k club starts tomorrow with a 4 mile run, so let's hope i can keep up! i'm half tempted to turn this into a running blog, but my attempt this morning was a dismal failure due to the heat, so i'll spare you the gory details. except for this one: blood blisters. yep, the most i've run so far is 3.5 miles and i have blood blisters! yuck. good thing i loaded up on blister prevention socks at the nike employee store!


frankie loves to sing!

when we got home from portland we got this little report from frankie's dog day care. cracks me up since i'm always telling everyone she loves to sing. you just have to hear it for yourself, but i can absolutely guarantee it will make you laugh. :)


4th of july weekend in oregon

it has been a long several days without internet, but i'm back to update you about our trip! it all started with the seattle train station. what a let down! somehow i got it in my head (no thanks to all of you!) that riding the train would be romantic or glamorous. um, no. not at all. no security lines was great, and the leg room was also a plus. the views were pretty decent (especially on the way back!), but the food was horrendous. next time, i'm packing a cooler! anyways, we arrived at the portland station (which is about 1000x more beautiful than the seattle station) and were greeted by uncle keith. we drove through portland to west linn, a suburb of the city. keith's  house is right on the willamette river, so we dumped our stuff and hurried down the hill to take in the scenery at the shore.

the next morning, the action really began! we had a nice run into the lake oswego farmers market. we got lots of goodies for the family bbq and had breakfast at just about every stand. that afternoon, cousin timm took us to where he works- the nike campus (fondly nicknamed "disney land" by the family). that place is spectacular! the gym is like nothing i've ever seen. it truly was a treat to get a tour of the place. he also took us to the nike employee store- the highest grossing store in the WORLD. we certainly dropped a pretty penny in the place, but well worth it at 50% off everything. i have enough running gear to last me years!

the excitement continued with the holiday. the 4th is always a holmes circus. that family has pyromania running in their blood and they spend hundreds (and up into the thousands) for fireworks each year. it takes hours to get through all those boxes! many of the neighbors also put on their own shows, so it's nice to just plop a lawn chair on the shore and watch all the commotion. there was also quite a bit of eating involved. and lots of nervous laughter over the little kids exhibiting early signs extreme pyromania.

anyways, it was all absolutely exhausting, but we managed to pull ourselves together for a trip to multnomah falls the following morning. just beautiful. there are a lot of options for hiking and camping, but we weren't really dressed for hiking, so we did a short 2-mile trek and called it a day. next time, we will definitely have to come prepared for a full day's worth of hiking. after our wonderful wilderness adventure, we went into the city for lunch and then back to the train station for our ride home. today i am just beat, but i need to pull myself together and get ready for work tonight!

finally, it's important to mention that today was anthony's first day at his new job with the architecture firm callison. we'll keep you posted!