session day 95

i'm no longer living in olympia, but i'm still living on capitol time. i am seriously obsessed with budget talk. i listen to budget hearings all day while working and have even taken to watching cspan. i'm so very happy i have found my passion. but how that translates into a post-graduate job, i have not a clue.

i'm back at united way of king county and so very grateful for it. the people are truly wonderful. i've been working more closely with the public policy team and am getting a much wider perspective on local, state and federal policy.

life is really hard right now, but i'm privileged and hate to complain. i know i have been out of touch with pretty much all of you (does anyone even read this?), but know you are always on my mind.

we decided to continue our gardening efforts and actually planted seeds this year. we were a little late in getting started, but we do have some sprouts coming up. inside right now we have both red and yellow tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, basil, mint, and marigolds (for the pests). outside we have radishes, beets, blueberries, strawberries and carrots. we have yet to start our arugula. this is the most exciting thing in my life right now, so once things really start popping up i'll snap pictures and post.

here's to getting back to blogging!


one of these days

ah friends, one of these days i will triumph over this ridiculously dramatic quarter. that day is not today, but i shall return victorious. miss and love you all. if i've been a bitch i'll apologize through a more appropriate forum after i violently strangle this last paper. hugs!


thank you

i can hardly keep up with myself these days! more changes are in store, and it's been a rough past couple of weeks (nothing tragic, just stressful). but the point of this blog is to thank all of you that have been showing me the love. you have been so incredibly supportive and validating. i've even gotten new socks out of all this. ;)

i can't wait to graduate.


session day 36

whoa, people at the capitol are into valentine's day! all day long i heard people saying "happy valentine's day!" 75% of the people i saw were wearing pink or red. there was candy on my chair when i arrived this morning. and i got cookies for hearing out the legislative agenda of occupational therapists. feels like elementary school! except i am working on cost-benefit analysis and researching federal food safety. even better!

i apologize that i don't post pictures any more. i started taking the shuttle to and from the parking lot. aside from that, i don't make it outside very often these days. and, trust me, you don't want pictures of what i'm looking at all day. something exciting- i attended the senate hearing for the death penalty elimination bill last week. it blew my mind to see some of these senators in action- in an unsettling way. people, be careful about who you vote for. make sure you let your legislators know what are agenda is. seriously! i was glad i was there to witness it though. and, the house has introduced a companion bill. we'll see how far we get this year!

additional exciting news: daylight! it starts getting light around 6:45 am and doesn't start getting dark again until about 5:30 pm. this is hours more daylight than we were getting just a month ago. even if i don't catch it while leaving the office, at least i get to enjoy my drive into work!


i'm still here!

we're about one third of the way through session here, and i am still struggling to get my bearings. it's been hard- really hard. everyone is stressed to the max, which results in bad moods among some. it's hard to work with such drastically different personalities and give everyone what they need- right NOW! i must say it has been an interesting session, despite the drama. i've already learned a great deal about the processes involved in making and amending state policy. i can't say i haven't thought about how wonderful it might be to go back to united way. with each passing day i am more and more grateful for the thought my supervisor at uwkc put into make my time there worthwhile. these days i'm particularly concerned about what it will take to get a good recommendation out of this and, most importantly, a J-O-B.

it's such a relief to come back to seattle. in fact, it makes it almost too hard to do anything besides rest. i am so far behind on school work! it's excruciating to think about adding anything to my schedule- including trips. we had been thinking about visiting denver over my spring break, but it's just too much. too much money and too much energy. we're both just about at our max these days. actually, we're probably significantly over our max. we did get our tickets to cleveland for a wedding in april. and with the bahamas in may, graduation in june and oregon for independence day, it's looking like we won't get back to denver until mid-july (we have a boulder wedding on july 16th). kind of a bummer, but such is life right now. if you're thinking about visiting, please wait until may or later. by then our house will hopefully be a little more visitor friendly too! we're trying to do some re-decorating and re-configuring in order to make our home more amenable to having friends or vacationers over. it will be a slow process, but i'm hoping to get the bulk done by mid-march. stay tuned for pictures- maybe. :)


christmas...a month later

our christmas cactus has been blooming the past couple of weeks, and i had to share. it's got plenty of blooms at the moment, which is a nice reminder of spring. anthony got this plant as a gift from his (late) sister vivian nearly ten years ago. it has bloomed every season. it often is about a month off- last season it bloomed over thanksgiving, but i'm not complaining. i'm surprised it has stuck with us all these years and continues to put on a spectacular show! especially considering it's in the same plastic pot from from the store.

and while i've got christmas on my mind, i wanted to share this photo i  got over the holidays in denver. as you know, lilliana and umeko visited. lilli really loved kiyomi and even let her mom leave her in kiyomi's arms for a solid hour. this is what ensued...

speaking of spring, i shot this picture of some shoots coming up in our front yard. i took a walk around green lake this morning and saw all sorts of green things pushing their way into the sunlight. spring will come eventually!


session day 16

today i was looking in the bathroom mirror trying to rub off the mascara smudges under my eyes. turns out they are dark circles. fabulous.

olympia is amazing. it's rough running around the capitol campus in heels 10-12 hours a day. but, i love it. and it's strangely energizing. i have been spending more time in senate hearings, which are more different than the house hearings than i expected. there are so many interesting bills and budget proposals floating around that there is no way any one person can keep track of it all. going to different committee meetings in both houses helps me get a wider perspective of everything that's happening beyond the scope of my few issues. tomorrow will be a huge housing lobbying day. i've got msw friends who have organized gatherings, so i'm looking forward to observing their hard work in action.

state policy is definitely where it's at for me.


session day 8

this is what the capitol looks like at 5:00 p.m. today was a big lobby day for lots of groups. it was wonderful to see so many people advocating for their communities. i'm really looking forward to all of the upcoming lobby days. i'm finally getting settled in and learning what i will be working on this session. i'm sure you will get sick of hearing about my issues, so i will spare you for now. when i know more, you will too.

it was great to be home this weekend, although we were so busy i still didn't manage to get any school work done. it has been pretty warm, but wow did the winds really kick up. it was blowing so hard last night our windows were shaking. that means no sleep for me. i better get used to that though. the weather this week is supposed to be mild, and we may even get some sun! this will certainly be a welcome change in comparison to the snow, heavy rain and wind we've had this past week. i snapped this picture in the university district sunday morning after volunteering at the youth shelter. i can relate, as i have now broken my 4th umbrella since moving to seattle. this time anthony bought me one with wind vents. woohoo!

another welcome change is that i'm just starting to notice the days getting a few minutes longer. i have been complaining to myself that the winter solstice is one big hoax, as the days seem just as short as they have for the past few months. however, the sun seems to be setting about 15 minutes later. i'm not sure the sun is rising any earlier, but i'm hopeful that spring will indeed come. :)


session day 2

this is what the capitol looks like at 7:30 a.m. there are actually lots of beautiful buildings on campus, but i work in this one (yep, the one with the dome), which is the legislative building. the house floor is in this building, so it's nice to not have to travel very far for session. today i got to watch the governor's state of the state address. i even got a seat! it was very ceremonial, but also packed full of awesome moments.

i also went to two hearings today and listened to many, many testimonies from constituents, advocates and lobbyists. it was more emotional than i was expecting, and there were even tears from those speaking. this is going to be a very difficult session.

it's snowing right now. it has snowed every day that i have worked at the capitol (this does include last week!), so i guess it is a little more winter-y in olympia than seattle. i do not enjoy cleaning off my car and scraping windows at 7:00 a.m., so i am looking forward to the warm front that is supposed to move in overnight!


session day 1

the 2011 legislative session has begun! this morning began with snow! not always my favorite thing to see, but it kind of added to the excitement of the day. the office was bustling throughout the morning with lobbyists, lawyers and others stopping in with candy, fliers, etc. and asking to schedule appointments. mid-day i got to watch the house opening ceremony, which was pretty exciting. after roll call, the members voted on speaker (rep. chopp), speaker pro tempore (rep. moeller) and chief clerk. i had to learn what the responsibilities of the speaker and speaker pro tempore are (as well as the caucus and whip- lots of terms i've heard, but never stopped to think about what they mean) in the afternoon i attended the ways and means committee meeting, during which the someone from the governor's office reviewed the supplemental budget with the members. i learned that the ways and means committee deals with the operating budget, which is obviously a huge project, particularly in this very difficult year. i'm really looking forward to attending those meetings for the rest of session. overall, the day was exhausting and i still haven't even found my desk or logged into my leg email account! now i understand why legislators cannot even get around to reading constituent mail, much less respond! thank goodness for legislative aides!

(pictured is the door to rep. pettigrew's office) tomorrow i will be attending the health and human services committee meeting, hopefully finding my desk and logging into my email account, attending the agriculture committee meeting, attending the ways and means committee meeting and then possibly going to a budget review later in the evening. i had a 10 hour day today and will be working 12-13 tomorrow. it's 8pm and i just want to go to bed. how the heck am i supposed to do school work?!

here's to a productive learning experience!


changes in the new year

happy new year! our nye festivies were pretty low key this time around. maureen made a last minute trip to seattle to see us (and watch intervention) for the new year! we got a drink at the pink door late afternoon and then made our way home hang out. we made a simple dinner and then just watched fireworks on tv. we didn't even open any of the sparkling wine we bought! just one of those years.

i need to get you all up to speed on my big change...i have officially changed practicums to work with Rep. Pettigrew. i finished up my big evaluation project at united way of king county at the end of december. i got a loan to help with housing (and other) costs, and my dad got me a great suit. just before the new year, maureen and i drove down to olympia to look at some rooms for rent and check out the capitol campus. the campus is absolutely beautiful. and although seattle is surrounded by water, i was shocked at how many lakes are around olympia. it's definitely a small town, but i imagine i will be too busy to even notice. i did find a place to rent that is just 1 mile from the capitol. it's not exactly what i was hoping for, but it's short-term and i will basically just be sleeping there. from what i hear, i won't be home until after 9pm on most days, so i probably won't even be eating much there.

the legislative session officially begins monday, january 10th. in just a few short days i'm getting swept away into the madness! i will be moving down to olympia this sunday. i have been driving back and forth this week to help get the new office set up (he has moved into a leadership position, so new fancy office). i got my id badge and am getting set up with email and a parking pass. on friday i have new staff orientation. i will have to leave seattle by 6:30 a.m., so a very long day before my frantic weekend of packing!

classes started yesterday, and i am off to school again today. i'll be olympia 3-4 days a week, class 2 days a week and work 1 day a week. busy, busy, busy! i am hoping to update about my new legislative experience once a week. my dad gave me his old iphone, and i am trying to figure out how to blog from that. i can get into this site, but it won't let me upload pics from my phone. any tips?

gotta run to catch the bus! best wishes for 2011!