Yet Another Late Discovery

As seems to be my habit, I’ve discovered something delightful only after it’s ended.

I follow the Geoff Marshall’s YouTube channel, but I haven’t yet subscribed to it. He does tours of the London Underground, and finds interesting quirks in the stations. He also does a series in which he visits the “least used” train stations in the UK. I visit it every once in a while, when I’m in the mood to listen to something besides music and “life in Japan” videos.

Yesterday, while listening to Geoff visit a least used station, I discovered that, earlier this year, Geoff and his partner Vicki Pipe went on a crowd-funded journey to visit every train station in Great Britain. Of course, I’ve discovered it after they’ve completed the journey.

It took them 105 days to visit all 2,563 train stations. The journey was recorded on 59 videos, plus some “bonus content” videos. The All The Stations web site is here, and the YouTube channel is here.

I was listening to the videos today. I got through the 12th one when I realized I’d somehow gotten them out of order. Not being all that familiar with Great Britain, I didn’t notice the jumps in geography until I stopped watching and noted where I’d left off.

Geoff and Vicki obviously had a lot of fun touring the country, meeting people, and finding interesting sites. I’m having a lot of fun watching them.

Here’s Episode 1, Day 1 of All The Stations:

(Oh, and I’ve subscribed to Geoff’s channel.)


Confusing Feelings

Tuesday night, as I was writing a blog post about my streetcar ride home, Phillip told me it was OK to write about his mother. He never told me I couldn’t write about her, but I haven’t because I’m confused about the whole thing.

Phillip mother died last Sunday.

We didn’t like her. We didn’t like her because she hated us. I’ve been taught not to speak ill of the dead, and that’s part of why I’ve put off writing about this.

Phillip took Monday and Tuesday off. He lost his mother, after all. I won’t try to describe his feelings here, but I’ll say this much: He’s in mourning, and he’s confused.

I think going to see Coco, a movie about Día de Muertos, was therapeutic for him.

I met Phillip’s mother only once in the 20+ years he and I have been together. It was shortly after Phillip and I met. We flew to Spokane to visit her. We stayed in a hotel, and ate in restaurants. I saw that Karyl was a charming woman, with a great sense of humor. She was a very good Scrabble player. Mostly, though, I saw that she was a bitter and angry person who vocally hated anything that didn’t conform to her world view. Being around her became an unpleasant experience after a short time.

From the stories Phillip has told me, I’ve learned that his mother was a different person – a playful, happy person – when he and his siblings were growing up. (There’s a great story about her playing catch with a jar of mayonnaise.)

Phillip kept in touch with her for years. Then, after too many Christmas cards addressed to “Phillip and the pets”, he broke off ties with her and asked her not to contact us. We’ve declined invitations to family gatherings because she’d be there.

Phillip’s family members have had varying levels of contact with her.

There will be no funeral. There will be a family gathering of some sort next year. Phillip and I plan to go.

I haven’t been able to sort out my feelings. I don’t know how to feel about the death of someone who hated me.

Different Commutes

Today was the 10th anniversary of the Seattle Streetcar. In celebration, both streetcar lines were free all day. This didn’t mean a whole lot to me, since my employer pays the full cost of my ORCA card, so technically, the streetcars are always free for me (unless you factor in the cost of the labor I put in to get that ORCA card – which I don’t). Still, I love our streetcars, and I thought this was pretty cool.

It’s been too long since I last rode the First Hill Streetcar, and a whole long longer since I’ve had the opportunity to ride the South Lake Union Streetcar.

I left work this evening and walked down to Jackson Street, getting stopped by “Don’t Walk” signs the whole way. (I was in no hurry. As always, I’m a fan of the slow commute.) I got to Jackson just as a streetcar was pulling into the stop. (Oh well, I’ll wait for the next one.)

I stepped onto the platform as the streetcar was loading passengers. I reached the back of the streetcar as the “Doors Closing” signal started sounding. (Oh well.) But the doors stayed open. It seemed that the driver was waiting for me. I quickened my pace and stepped into the streetcar. (Thanks, driver!)

I wanted to snap a photo or two on my commute home, but I had no waiting time on the platform, it was too crowded inside the streetcar to get a photo without someone’s face in it, and it was too dark outside to get a reflection-free photo out the window. (There were empty seats here and there, but many people seemed to prefer standing.)

It was a quick ride home, but with the walk down to Jackson, I got home a little later than usual. (It was not one of the more direct ways home.)

Yesterday, Phillip and I met up at Pacific Place after work, to see a movie. I rode a Link train from Pioneer Square Station to Westlake Station. Then I went up through Nordstrom, and over the sky bridge to Pacific Place, where I found Phillip waiting for me.

It was an hour until the movie started, so we had dinner at Johnny Rockets.

Cristina met us at the theater, early enough that we could have waited dinner for her, but we didn’t know when she’d arrive. (Sorry, Cristina.) The three of us hung out in the lobby and had a nice chat.

Michael found us after we’d found seats in the theater.

The movie, by the way, was Coco. It was wonderful. I highly recommend it. I’d love to own the DVD someday. I’m pretty sure all four of us were crying by the end. (There’s a little more to the crying, which I may, or may not, expand on later.)

After the movie, we all said goodbye, and Phillip and I walked over the bus stop near The Paramount, where, we learned, Hilary Clinton was speaking. We just missed a 49 bus, and had a 13 minute wait for the next one. (It was a pleasant night out, so it was a nice wait.) Then we walked home from Broadway.

And, of course, last Friday I rode home via the U District on the 74 bus.

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll have a more typical commute home.

A Ride Up The Hill

I’ve been hanging on to some illness for about a week. It’s nothing major – fatigue, mostly, some sniffles.

On Friday, Phillip office had its after-work holiday party. I rode a 74 bus from Pioneer Square Station to a couple of blocks from the party. That 74 is a nice, handy  route when you want to get to the U District at the end of the day.

On Saturday (yesterday) I spent the day inside our apartment.

Today was Writers’ Group. I didn’t want to miss it, because we were welcoming a potential new member. He’s a friend of Russ, and has a couple of self-published books out. I was still slightly under the weather, though, and I wasn’t looking forward to the walk up the hill. Before I asked Phillip if he needed the car today, I checked on the frequency of route 10. It was running frequently enough that I didn’t ask for the car.

I walked over to Olive and got to the bus stop about a minute before the 10 arrived.

There was still some walking involved, from home to Olive, and from 15th Avenue to Barbara’s place, but it was all flat, except for one downhill block. It was a nice day for a walk, too.

The new guy couldn’t make it today, so it was Russ and Barbara and me. I brought a piece that was a re-written version of my blog post about the night the power went out. (I was thinking it was a good way to introduce the new guy to my rambling day-in-the-life style of writing.)

It was a good afternoon.

I rode a 10 bus back down the hill, after a 3-minute wait on 15th.

Reading For No Reason

I’m reading a good book right now. It’s well-written, and the story is fascinating. I really have nothing bad to say about it.

Unfortunately, I’m just not in the right frame of mind for it. It’s too easy to find something to do other than read it. (No, I’m not talking about Saga. Saga was one of the things that distracted me from this book.) I’ve deleted the draft of the review I’d started writing about this book. I may not finish this book before it’s due back at the library. That happens to me sometimes. It’s a reflection of me, not the book.

I was reading a few pages of this book at the bus stop this morning. I got distracted by the sight of someone scraping ice off of their windshield. I realized that if I were reading this book for the Reading Challenge, I’d be motivated to finish it. I’d push my way through it, even if it wasn’t as good as this book is. I’d write that review and post it.

These reading challenges change my reading style. I read faster, and I read with more motivation.

I Made It To Work

Yesterday afternoon, Phillip notified me that, according to the Seattle City Light map, power was out in our neighborhood. Neither one of us were home, so there wasn’t anything we could do about it.

Three hours later, I checked the map. Power was back on. That’s the way power outages typically occur in our neighborhood: When power does go out, it’s never out for more than an hour or two. (Well, except for that night when it was out for eight or nine hours.)

We got home and reset the clocks in our apartment. These days, that’s only two clocks – the bedroom clock and the microwave. We’re content to let the VCR blink 12:00. (Having no cable TV, there’s nothing to set to record.)

My weekday mornings have four important times: First, when I wake up; then, when I get Phillip out the door if he’s riding a bus to work; then, when I get Phillip out the door if he’s driving to work; and finally, when I get myself out the door.

The bedroom alarm wakes me up, and then my phone’s alarms remind me of the other three times.

I woke up this morning before the alarm went off. Then something – I have no idea what – told me something was wrong. I looked at the clock. It was the time I’d normally be getting Phillip up to catch the bus. The alarm hadn’t gone off. We’d set the alarm incorrectly.

We both rushed through getting ready. Normally, we’d have our own times without getting in each other’s ways, but not this morning. Phillip managed to get out the door, catch a bus, and get to work on time. I managed to get myself out the door on time, with my hair still wet.

On the Westlake Station platform, a stranger asked me if this was where the train to the airport stops.

“Yes, it is,” I answered.

“Well, how would I know that?” he asked.

“There are signs, like that one,” I replied, pointing to the sign above our heads. Then, worried that that might have sounded sarcastic, I added, “Or you could ask someone standing around.” The stranger laughed at that.

A moment or two later, that same stranger asked me, “Do all the trains stop at every station? I mean, are there express trains?”

“No, they all stop at every station. From here, the train will get to the airport in about thirty-seven minutes.”

“Oh, that’s perfect.”

I got to work on time, of course. A coworker, who typically arrives before me, arrived a few minutes after me. Her bus had broken down. She was on time for work, however. (She, like me, allows for a flexible commute.)

Right after my coworker and I exchanged stories of our atypical commutes, I received a text message. Link light rail service was temporarily disrupted. Five minutes after that, Link service was back.